What a wonderful weekend!! Of course, the highlight was the wedding on Saturday, September 15, but we had so much fun and activity leading up to that day! When I arrived on Wednesday Amber and I picked up her gorgeous dress and I was trained on hooking up the bustle! That evening we just relaxed and waited for Howard and Scott to arrive from their long drive. All went well, the gifts arrived (having filled up the entire trunk and back seat of Howard's car).
Thursday morning was our scheduled trip to the White House. Apparently you have to "know someone" now to get in for a tour. You can also contact your Congressman and he will get you in. We met our guide, Cindy, and unfortunately because Bush was practicing a speech in a section of the White House we were scheduled to see, we had to wait outside for an hour and Andrew couldn't stay. He still had a bit of work to finish up so it was just Howard, Scott, Amber and me on the tour. We saw all the colorful rooms, The Red Room, The Blue Room, The Yellow Room, The Green Room, State Dining Room, and even stood on the front portico! That evening we all walked to dinner, both families, to a local restaurant.
Friday morning Amber, the Bridesmaids and I all went for our mani/pedi's at a local salon.
The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for the Rehearsal Dinner that night. The dinner, hosted by the Porters, took place in the Westin Hotel's Pinzimini Room and was wonderful. Very private and fancy! Amber and Andrew presented their attendants and parents with wonderful, thoughtful gifts and everyone enjoyed the amazing food. After dinner all the under 30 set headed out to a local karaoke bar for more fun!
Saturday morning the Bride, her maids and I all enjoyed a pre-wedding brunch then headed off to the hair salon. Amber's hair looked amazing and she only suffered a moment of not liking her hair and then decided it was fine! Yeah!!! Around 3:30 we all started getting ready so we could have our photos taken. The Groomsmen (including Tyler and Scott) went first and then took a limo to the wedding site. Then it was the Brides turn, including her Bridesmaids and parents, for pictures. The Westin had a lovely little park area which was perfect for pictures, complete with a beautiful fountain.
Then it was our turn to head out in the limo.
When we arrived at Cabell's Mill we only had about 10 minutes before the ceremony began. The ceremony itself was so beautiful. Kathy (Andrew's Mom) was escorted down the aisle by Andrew, with Bob (Andrew's father) close behind. Then I was escorted down by my handsome sons! That was a treat! Then each Bridesmaid was escorted by a Groomsman and finally Howard and Amber came down while the string trio played! It was a beautiful location and the weather cooperated. It was actually a little chilly which helped those of us who were on the warm side!!
The ceremony itself was so lovely.
They had both written what the loved about each other and that was read by the Pastor. It was so touching to hear their feelings about each other. They do compliment each other so well and are such good friends and you could really tell it from their vows. They had so many nice touches in the actual ceremony. Early on the Pastor called up both sets of parents to stand with them and promise to support and accept them into their families. All too soon the vows were over and it was time to get the party started! After pictures, of course!! Hopefully we got tons of great pictures of the families.
After the Bride and Groom made their entrance Howard gave his Father of the Bride speech which was wonderful.
Then it was the Best Man's (Andrew's brother, Chris) turn and Maid of Honor (Nicole). After that was the first dance, followed by the Father/Daughter dance and all the other ceremonial touches, cake cutting, etc.
Then the dancing began. It was so much fun to watch the Bride & Groom and all their friends on the dance floor. Those "crazy kids" know how to have a good time and they certainly had it that night! They all have so much energy and I learned a couple new dance moves!
The party continued until 11:00 when we had to be out of there. We all took a bus back to the hotel and the after-party started in the lounge of the Westin. Only the die-hards stayed for this one! Many went off to bed as it had been such a long, exhausting day! We just didn't want the day to end! Amber and Andrew had to be at the airport at 5:00 a.m. so they didn't stick around and many others had early flights so the party didn't go on too long.
Tyler and I had to be to the airport by 10:00 and Howard and Scott began their drive home. Everyone made it home safely, some with a few flight delays, but at least they made it home. Amber and Andrew are on their fabulous honeymoon in Costa Rica and life slowly gets back to normal. Life post-wedding seems so calm!
It was so wonderful to see family we hadn't seen in a while and have some close friends there and meet lots of new people! Andrew's family is so nice and Amber is so fortunate to have so many new "sisters" and a new brother!
We can't wait to see what the future holds for this much-loved, newly married couple!!