Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our McWedding: Part 1

Oh goodness, it has been so long since I have done a wedding recap. Seeing as how today is our nine month-aversary, why not start again? Hmm where did I leave off...oh yes, I was getting into the car with my dad to head off to the church!

Our wedding ceremony took place at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, which is the oldest Catholic Church in the Diocese of Wilmington (built in 1841). It really is a beautiful church, and it was the perfect place to get married. 

Here's what was going on at the church while we were on our way:

One very handsome groom was having some fun photos taken with his groomsmen. It appears they are trying to look like GQ bad boys in this shot.  In reality they are the sweetest guys you could ever meet.

This is one of my favorite shots of the boys.

Ryan looking very happy to get married.

Our ring bearer was obviously totally oblivious to what was going on. The photographer found him hidden in a pew playing with his toy car.

My Dad and I arriving at the church. Because the church is so old, there was no room to wait in. I was told I could either wait in the limo, or wait behind a divider in the entryway.

I chose the divider. Bad move. I could see everyone coming in and could hear them talking. Something about that made me so unbelievably anxious. Not anxious about getting married of course. It just heightened all of the emotions of the day. All I wanted to do at this point was get to Ryan. 

Luckily I didn't have to wait too long. Soon the music started and my brother escorted our mom down the aisle. 

Ryan's brother followed suit escorting their mom down the aisle.

Our moms at the altar after lighting the unity candle. 

The boys are all lined up (in reverse order). This way each groomsman would greet a bridesmaid, file into the pew and then Ryan would be left waiting for me and my dad.

Finally...sweet sweet freedom from behind the divider :0)

The flower girl and ring bearer getting ready to make the trip down the aisle. I made an on the spot decision to pair them up with my maids of honor (my sisters). Since they were both pretty young, I had some reservations about them getting nervous while making the walk. Best decision of the day. I seriously recommend this if your young attendants are under 4.

Handsome little ring bearer getting ready for his big moment. 

Smooth walk down the aisle. Success! I bought the ring bearer pillow here. It was made from an vintage wedding gown, tied with light blue vintage ribbon and topped with an antique key. I absolutely loved it, and figured it counted as "something old."

Precious flower girl making her way (again successfully) down the aisle. Random note- I bought both the ring bearer outfit and flower girl dress on sale from a department store after Easter. For any brides out there, this is a great alternative to the expensive outfits found in boutiques. 

Close up of super cute flower girl! Like the pomander? It's fake. There was no way I could justify spending what the florist quoted me on flowers for a 2 year old. Especially when they would be carried like a purse ;0) I purchased it on etsy here. The quality was amazing! It seriously looked real, and the flower and ribbon colors were customizable. 

 I just had to include this shot. This is the super sweet limo driver who made sure my train was all straightened out. That's what I call going above and beyond! 

Finally it was time. Cannon in D started softly playing and the doors flung open. I still remember the sound of those doors opening today, and all the sudden being just overwhelmed with feelings of love, support and excitement. It was one of the best moments of the day. 

Next up: A walk/almost run down the aisle, and the ceremony begins!

For all you new readers, here are the re-caps in order: 

P.S. So many people gave me a hard time about getting married in July because of the heat (the high was about 77 the day we got married). Well here I sit 9 months later in APRIL in 90 degree weather. Lesson of the day: the mid-atlantic region is a fickle beast. 

All pictures courtesy of Kate Leigh

Thursday, April 16, 2009

4.16.07: neVer forgeT

I had spent most of my junior year checking out pretty much every college from Delaware to South Carolina. Yet none of them felt right.

Then one day a classmate randomly mentioned that he had been to Virginia Tech and that it was really cool. I checked it out online, and mentioned to my parents that I'd like to visit it if possible. My parents (who were going through this whole college search thing for the first time and were beginning to get paranoid that I was never going to find a place I wanted to go to), made an appointment to visit the school the following weekend.

I'll never forget the feeling I felt when we turned into the campus. Many people probably say that you can't fall in love (especially with a school) at first sight, but trust me I did. I remember driving up past Lane Stadium, and then driving past the dorms, drillfield and classroom buildings. I was absolutely sold. There was no where else I wanted to spend my college years. I knew that something about this school was going to make those years special. I knew it was going to be the place where I really discovered who I was, and it would help make me the person I was meant to be.

Once I started school at VT, I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity. Freshman year, I ran for class office, and was elected Vice-President of my class (at VT you hold the position for all 4 years). I also was a member of the Student Government Association and the Student Alumni Association. I often got to emcee the pep rallies, which I absolutely loved doing. I was also co-founder and vice-president of an organization that many of you probably have heard of by now- Hokies United. The group was created after 9/11 to help the campus deal with the tragedy of that day. We made the organization so that it could be reinstated in times of difficulty...which it was for things such as the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. I still remember sitting on the floor of the room that night hashing out the plans for the group with my fellow students... never, ever in a million years did I expect that it would be reinstated one day to help deal with the biggest tragedy the school would ever experience.

The activities I was involved in were only one part of my experience at Virginia Tech. The friends I made there are the friends I know I will have forever. They are a family to me. I also had wonderful relationships with so many of the teachers and administrators. When I said that the school would make me who I was meant to be, it was these people- my friends, the teachers, and the staff that made that all possible. I can truly say I graduated having accomplished everything I set out to, and I had grown to be a much better person all due to the support of these people. I graduated with a second home, a larger family, and a place where part of my heart would always reside.

Like I'll never forget where I was on 9/11, I'll never forget anything about April 16, 2007. In fact, it took me four tries just to write this post because the feelings are still so raw. Sometimes I struggle with that...struggle to figure out why, almost two years later, it still hurts so much. But I'm learning to give into it, because, after all, they don't exactly write grief books for massacres. They don't really have support groups for this kind of thing. You come to realize that there isn't a right or wrong way to deal with something like this. You learn to deal with it anyway you can by trying to figure out some way in your mind to semi-comprehend what happened.

It's hard to comprehend that level of evil. And if your sane, I don't think it's possible to ever really comprehend it. Putting chain locks on doors so that rescue workers can't come in. Shooting so many rounds that faces were unrecognizable. Taking the time to mail a video to NBC in between shootings just so the whole world could see even more just how sick you were. 32 innocent people killed. 32 innocent lives taken in such a horrendous fashion. 32 angels who should still be here today. It's a level of sickness that I never thought I would have to learn to try and understand...and have to try to learn to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness comes, and other days you take it back in anger. Anger at seeing another mass shooting happen in the U.S. Anger in knowing that as graduation nears, there will be empty seats for those who won't get the chance to throw their cap up in the air and walk away head held high with their diploma.

But you try not to let the anger win. When you fight through it, and through every other emotion that you have- the grief, the sorrow, the disbelief- these feelings that hit you on levels you never knew you would have to experience- you try to come out of them with a positive thought. You come to realize that this experience will always leave you with a wound on your heart. Yet, somehow, even though you have seen the worst the world has to offer, you can look around and realize that there is more good in the world than bad. And that's what makes you carry on.

In reality, this could have happened at any campus. Unfortunately, it happened at mine. Sometimes though, I like to think that if it had to happen, it happened at my school because God knew we'd be able to show the world that evil does not and cannot prevail. But we will prevail.