My alarm was set for 8am, but I woke up before it went off. The sun was streaming through the window of my room. Across the way, I could see Adam's hotel and a big smile came across my face. Today, I would marry my favorite person in the world.
I showered, dried my hair, and threw on my bridal robe.
At 9am, my friends arrived at the hotel. This was one of the best decisions I made regarding my wedding day. I have a small group of other close girl friends, many of whom were involved in the wedding, but I didn't ask any of them to be bridesmaids. On blogs, I always see brides getting ready with their big group of bridesmaids and it looks like so much fun. I was a little sad I wouldn't get to have that because I chose not to include most of my girl friends in the wedding party. But about a week before the wedding, I realized that just because my friends weren't my bridesmaids didn't mean I had to miss out on a big getting-ready party. So I invited 5 of my closest friends to the hotel to get ready with me.
One friend brought bagels and cream cheese for everyone. I provided orange juice and Champagne, and my mom bought Champagne flutes for the occasion. I threw my iPhone on the portable speaker system I brought and turned on the jams. The party was under way.
It was so nice to have everyone around. In addition to my friends, my
mom, aunt, gramama, and several of my cousins were around, too. Whenever
I needed something, I delegated to one of them. I can't tell you how
relaxing it was to say, "Hey, L, can you call the photographer and let him know
what room we're in?" or, "Hey, E, I left my necklace in the room. Can
you go get it?" I even borrowed my friend J's flip-flops because I didn't have anything else to wear except my wedding heels.
Having so many people came in handy right away, actually. The hotel was nice enough to let us use a conference room for getting ready, but we discovered as soon as we walked in that there were no mirrors. A very nice maintenance worker removed a mirrored closet door from a room and brought it down to us. When my sister tried to prop it up on the window sill, it fell down and broke. I had nothing to do with it, so I claim none of the seven years of bad luck! But fortunately, we were right in the middle of downtown Chicago, so my friends ran around the corner to Bed, Bath and Beyond, and purchased a few floor-length mirrors. We propped them up in corners and on tables, and our dressing room was functional.
Once the mirrors were in place, I sipped orange juice while my friend A did my hair. Then I did my makeup (just like Kate Middleton).
I was almost ready to put my dress on! But first, I needed to add my jewelry. At the last minute, I decided not to wear the dangly earrings I'd bought. I always wear studs, so the dangly earrings didn't feel very "me," and I didn't love them with my dress. Instead, I wore a pair of simple pearl studs with a diamond halo that my parents gave me as a law school graduation gift.
I didn't plan on wearing a necklace, but Adam surprised me with a beautiful pearl and diamond necklace as a wedding gift.
Now, all I needed was a pretty white dress...
All photos by Andrew Collings Photography