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Friday, June 9, 2017

Our Wedding Rehearsal Weekend

I've blogged about Zach's proposal before and have even blogged some of our engagement photos, but I've never done any blog posts about our actual wedding. The reason for that is I lost about 3 years worth of photos and all the ones from our engagement, wedding, and part of the early days of Kye's life were included in those photos that were lost. All I have from that time in our lives are professional photos and Facebook ones. Which, those of you who were around when Facebook first came out like I was, y'all remember that Facebook used to only allow a max of 50 photos per album. And it was a PAIN to upload to them. So I don't even have a whole lot on Facebook either.

In honor of our 10th Wedding Anniversary I went through and saved the pics off of Facebook and uploaded the professional images so I can do some wedding related posts! If I'm ever going to do them, now is the time, right?!?!

I love that we got married young. It was during such a carefree time in our lives and all of our friends were also young so they didn't have a lot of responsibilities yet either. Zach and I got married in Cocoa Beach, Florida. I'm originally from Satellite Beach and at that time my dad had a home in Melbourne and my mom lived there as well. Zach and I headed down to Melbourne as soon as school got out in early May and stayed down there until our honeymoon! We got everything ready for the wedding and Zach actually build a deck for my dad as his summer job ;)

We decided to get married on Memorial Day weekend and I'm also so glad we made that choice. It's such a great time to get married because it's a beautiful time of the year, people have off work/school and it's a great time to celebrate anniversaries in the future ;) It's always made getaways easier for Zach and I for sure! We not only decided to get married during the holiday weekend, but we actually got married on the Monday of legit Memorial Day. We chose that so out of town guests could make a weekend trip out of the wedding and could head home on Memorial Day after our reception. We got married at 7 AM (yes AM) so everything was wrapped up by the time they would need to be checked out of their hotel rooms around 10!

Since we didn't get married until the Monday, we invited most of our wedding party and close friends to come down early and we planned a weekend full of events. We invited any local wedding guests as well as any who may have been traveling down for the wedding to attend a lot of the events we had planned out as well.

When Zach and I think back on our wedding, I think the weekend actually leading UP to the wedding is some of our favorite memories. We had SO MUCH FUN. My dad had a pretty good sized house and opened his doors to all of our friends so we could all crash there for the weekend. We had a guys room and girls room and it was like a big sleepover! Just as a side note for those of you who didn't know us then...we were just as conservative then as we are now. So it was a non-wild weekend and a dry wedding too ;)

Ryan, Katie and Travis came down earlier than everyone else so we had a little extra time with just them and us and then we all went to Orlando to pick up several of our friends who flew in for the weekend!


My wedding diet: I drank a slim fast for breakfast and for lunch and then ate a small dinner each night. Whatever it takes for your wedding day, right? ;)


This picture cracks me up. My brother had a big truck and some of the guys crammed in it to go to the airport. I can only imagine the memories Travis (center) and Ryan (far left) have of what looks like an epic experience. I think their facial expressions say it all haha


The first night of the weekend we kicked things off with a Mystery Dinner Theater in Orlando (Slueth's). It was super fun! The show was great and interactive and they did something special for Katie as it was her birthday! 


I love that we have so many great pictures of Austin from our wedding weekend :)


When we chose our wedding party I was still pretty new to Valdosta. Most of my wedding party was made up of friends from high school. Katie and I had become friends but weren't super mega tight at that point. I remember Zach and I took her and Ryan out to dinner and Zach asked Ryan to be his best man and I asked Katie to be a bridesmaid in the wedding and she was super shocked! Out of all of our wedding party, I'm the most thankful I chose Katie because that decision is really what blossomed our friendship and took us from only really being friends as a group to being solo friends. She was amazing throughout our entire engagement (we got engaged Feb 2006 and didn't get married until May 2007) and I love that we're still such close friends now. She was with me when I got my wedding dress, beside me when I said "I do", and in the hospital waiting room when each of my babies were born. I'm so thankful for our friendship!


Some family came along too!





Zach and Brandon were both part of the show!


Zach is still really about food but back in college he was ALL about it. He cooked these huge breakfasts each morning we were there! 


I remember sitting around with Ryan and Katie one night and just being silly and thinking up ideas for us to do during this pre-wedding weekend. Ryan is very sarcastic and suggested both a scavenger hunt AND a roast. I don't think he thought we'd actually DO them but we did! And they were awesome!

We split up into Boys VS Girls and created a super fun scavenger hunt. We had to take photos of each item we found to prove that we found them. I have all of the girls pics saved ;) 

Part of the boys team!


Ready to go!

(Michelle is my childhood bff standing beside me and Taylor is my bff from high school who was my maid of honor standing beside her)


Austin and Danielle (who is a close friend from elementary school)


Some of the items were super funny and silly and I know Zach had to be the one who created the list...like kiss someones feet!


Photo of two old people kissing


Camel Toe bahahaha


Getting a kiss from an older person.


Sitting in a convertible


A chef in a restaurant kitchen


Kid with floaties


This counted for TWO items: man in speedo and man with mullet ;)


The hotel room #423. I mean RANDOM


Someone from the group had to be buried in sand, I love how this random child helped


And of course we got Zach's car stuck. 


The boys ended up beating us because I think they got a photo with a REAL police officer and this was the best we could find ;)


That evening we had a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants: Longdoggers. The original location is near Satellite Beach and was a gas station across from the beach that they converted to a little restaurant that serves hot dogs and beachy type foods. We ate there every single time we'd come visit and it was the place we all went with my grandmother, Nana. They now have several locations and I always tell everyone who visits the area that it's a must-eat! At the time we had switched over to the newer location in Satellite Beach and the owner new us all really well and was so accommodating to our big crew for the evening!


Guess I have a back up plan ;)



Our crew! Seth and Crissy were already married. Seth (in the hat) was a groomsmen and Crissy was a big help all weekend even though she wasn't technically part of the wedding party. There is a funny story about their oldest child being conceived that weekend haha And it's funny b/c SO many people went up to Crissy all weekend and asked how she was related to me. People have always said how much we look alike (she's front right). Seth is now a single dad and has a great blog about his hilarious stories with his four kids! 


My dad, brother and cousin and Michelle and her mama


My mom, Zach's parents, Debra and Mickey (Mr Rusty's cousin) and Austin






This is one of the only pics I could find of us all just hanging out at Dad's house. My dad is a collector of things and he had all these old school pinball machines and stuff which made his house even more fun! 


We had a hardcore debate over the scavenger hunt!


And everyone worked together to set up our wedding centerpieces. I did just about everything for our wedding myself. My dad was so great about setting a budget for us and told me he'd give me all the money for the wedding upfront. Whatever we didn't spend, we could keep. It was an AWESOME incentive to really budget! I've always been a dealz girl, even as a bride. 


We later decided that having EVERYONE help was probably the downfall of our beta fish centerpieces. It was pretty funny because we had them all alive and well and by the end of the weekend we'd made several trips to a local pet store to get replacement fish and I actually believe the morning of the wedding people were trading out dead fish for live extras we had on hand. Don't call Peta on us ;) MANY of them did live and went home with people as pets (the ones we kept lived for YEARS)


The boys had a day of putt-putt and games at the location for our rehearsal dinner. Mrs Charlotte was able to rent the space for the day and they had volleyball and other things to do there so it was right up Zach's ally. We didn't do any bachelor/bachelorette parties (I did have a pretty awesome lingerie shower though) so a day of fun with the guys was perfect for this! He gave out all his gifts to everyone then as well. My mom hosted a brunch at her home for the bridal party. I gave out all my gifts there and we had a great time visiting!



Love my Nana :)


Front row from left: Jolee, me, Sabrina, Susi (both cousins of mine), and Michelle
Back row from left: Katie, Casey, Courtney, Danielle and Taylor



We got married on the beach located behind the Double Tree Hotel in Cocoa Beach. Many of our guests had rooms there for the weekend and we hosted our reception there after the wedding as well. They also set aside time for us to have our rehearsal there since it didn't make sense to try to do it all on the beach in the heat of the day AND it was good to know we had a plan B in case it rained :)


Following our rehearsal (which was pretty quick!) we headed over to where Mrs Charlotte had rented an outdoor area for our rehearsal dinner. It was catered and the food was great! Our wedding photographer, Javon Longieliere, came early for the wedding and did photos for us of the rehearsal too! I am SO thankful for all these images!!! We did a Hawaiian theme and told everyone to dress the part and we also did a roast of the bride and groom. Which was pretty dang daring of me! I really don't take criticism super well and getting teased can really cause hurt feelings, right!?! I really was all super fun though and couldn't have gone better!

When you put a good bull in the pasture...


Brandon went all out with the Hawaiian attire ;)


Soon after I moved to Valdosta (summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college) Zach and I were at the Country Club pool and we started playing with some kids. We hit it off with them immediately and I ended up babysitting for them on a regular basis. I'd pick them up from school each day and stay with them until their parents were home from work. I loved those children (well, still do!) in a way I'd never loved any other kids before and it was a BIG ah-ha moment for me about my future and about motherhood. Madeline and Candler are both still so, so special to me and I'm so glad they were part of our special day (they actually moved away after our wedding but I'm thankful for social media so I can still keep up with them and Madeline is in dang COLLEGE.). We actually named Kye after Candler :) 



We used a photo from our engagement session as a place for people to sign at the rehearsal dinner. We didn't have it out to sign at the actual wedding because we wanted it just to be from close family and friends. We still have it hanging in our master bedroom!


Wedding party (plus Crissy!)



Yes, Seth took his shirt off haha


Zach's side of the family who were able to attend


My Mom's side who were able to attend


and my dad's side!




Once dinner came to an end, the roast began!



Zach's family did a funny sketch about my nose ring (I took it out a couple years ago) and ended it with saying "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and they all had magnetic nose rings in. It was super cute!


Ryan, Katie and Travis did an awesome rap in honor of Zach's free-styling skills (I'm not joking haha). I remember Travis nailing a line about Zach marrying someone just like his mother. Which I don't find offensive at all because we do share so many wonderful qualities and I know he was only talking about those ;) 



Seth's was also super memorable. He pulled out their high school year book and read some of the crazy stories Zach wrote in it. My dad later said that it's the moment he realized how smart Zach is b/c it takes a smart guy to think up that creative of stories haha. Seth also talked about when Zach and I met and how Zach showed me a TON of photos he had. Like we just met and I'm seeing all his ex-girlfriends and everything. Seth was in some of the pictures and I asked who he was and commented about how I thought he was cute.



Another super special one was Uncle Spear. He was always tough on me growing up and I realize so much more of the WHY behind that now than I did as a teen. We always had a running joke about this yellow shirt he'd wear. It became a "thing" that he'd wear it whenever he was coming to town just to annoy me. He told the story behind it and gave it to me as a gift. We had no clue that he'd pass away just a few years later. It's so special to me that I have this shirt and that he gave it to me. I'm also so thankful he prayed for us at our wedding reception. I love watching that part of our wedding video. He was such an incredible man who influenced me in so many positive ways. I think about him often and how I know he'd be very proud of me in my faith and parenting. 


Our crew!


The Parkers!


Oh to be young and do SO MUCH in one weekend and still not have any bags under our eyes haha AFTER the rehearsal dinner a bunch of us went to go see Pirates of the Caribbean (it wasn't the first one...I'm thinking it was the 2nd or 3rd?). 




The dead fish saga began! I was SUPER thankful Crissy was there because she did a lot of the fish saving for us and was such a huge help. 


We attended church at a local congregation we'd always visit when we were in town and then had brunch at another FAVORITE spot for us. BAGEL WORLD. The original location is in Satellite Beach and when I lived there my freshman year in high school we'd all ride our bikes to get breakfast. I also have great memories picking up bagels after garage sale shopping with my grandfather. It's a special place and, again, we knew the owners at the time very well (they will STILL hook us up big time whenever we come to town b/c they remember us!) and they set aside spots for our large party too! 

Mrs. Charlotte's dad, Pepe, came down from SC with his wife Brenda for the wedding!



Courtney


If it's not already pretty clear, the four of us were SUPER tight in college. Zach and I still talk about how that foursome was probably the best friendship situation we've ever had or ever will. When you watch sitcoms, like Friends, and everyone just flows so perfectly together: that was us! 

Zach, Katie, Ryan and Me!


With Travis!




Mom, Mrs Charlotte and I all wore black and white haha


With Pepe and Brenda


After bagels some of us went to have our nails done! I remember a big group of people hung out by the pool and beach and stuff for the day (I think they knew if they wanted to drink any alcohol all weekend it was their only chance haha) so just a few of us got our nails done. It was a good chance to spend some quality time with my new sisters!



My last night as a Sedgley I had a room at the DoubleTree. All of the wedding party stayed at various places. The guys stayed at my Dad's still and had an EARLY morning setting up all the chairs on the beach. I wanted to get to bed as early as I could (because I woke up at around 3 am to get ready!!!). I remember sitting with my mom and Katie and the three of us crying. Not because we were emotional about me getting married, but because we were sad that all of the fun planning was coming to an end! I LOVED being a bride. I LOVED being engaged. I LOVED all the planning and details and just the whole experience. I was excited to be Zach's wife, of course, but sad to see that phase of life come to an end! 

Had to have my childhood sleep friend there with me!


Had some last minute things to do...including put the rings on the pillow for Candler!


Zach came by the room for us to exchange gifts and say our last goodbye before becoming husband and wife (I know it's a trendy thing to see each other prior to saying "I do" but we were mega anti-that and wanted the first moment he saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle!). 



My pearls! 


And I got him a watch (all from Steel's Jewelry and all, 10 years later, still in great shape!)


Danielle stayed the night with me that night. We both had our cuddle items haha. 


Ready to be a BRIDE!!!


That wraps up all of our pre-wedding weekend FUN. It was such a blast and I really wouldn't change a thing. I often tell people that the happiest day of my life was the day Zach proposed, NOT our wedding day. With your wedding day SO many things can go wrong. There were many things about our actual wedding and how things went down that I'd change. But our proposal? I didn't plan any of that! I didn't have any expectations! It was PERFECT. I feel very similar about our wedding weekend. It was fun, carefree, and left us with so many great memories on our last few days before becoming Mr and Mrs Parker!
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