There are a million trillion things that I wish I could say about this day. One of them being that it was truly the first day of the rest of my life-- the best day. For those of you who know me, you will know that I am less than calm, cool, and collected, but when I woke up on this day last year after sleeping from midnight to 6:30am, I was exactly that. I was ready to marry the one that I loved more than anything, and the one I knew loved me. I sat on my porch that overlooked the place that I would be sealed later that morning and tied my shoes before I went on a brisk walk with a cousin of mine that flew in for my special day. Upon my return, people began showing up to my house to do me up so that I would feel ready and beautiful on the day I became a (teenage) bride.
I remember how excited and happy I was when I was getting my makeup done in my parents bathroom. I posted three pictures on instagram and watched as people congratulated me through that social media platform. Shortly after I shared my sentiments, I noticed that Mitchell had also, almost in the same moment that I had posted. I held back the tears as I read his caption, "I could say a lot about today and this lovely lady, but simply put-- I love her and we are better together.” He had said it so well. Simply put, we are better together.
I finished getting ready, adorned myself in my “bride” robe, and leaned against the counter to catch my reflection in the mirror. As I did that, my dad walked into his bathroom, took one look at me, and started to cry. He had been quiet and reserved throughout all of the planning and wedding craziness, so to me, those tears were more response than I could have hoped for. We hugged as he expressed to me that he couldn’t believe the day that his daughter would be married was here, and that he had taken glances of my dress that was hanging on his armoire the night before. “It’s never going to go out of style, sis! You look beautiful!”
10:20 am approached and I was anxious as ever to drive down the street to the Provo temple where I would meet my fiancé for the last time. I took photographs at the base of our “tree” in the yard like I always had on every monumental day of my life (first day of kindergarten, high school, college, etc.), and hopped in the car with my parents who would carry me to the place I would be married. The five minute ride felt like 100 years, but when we finally arrived at the temple, with the sun beaming through a break in the eastern mountains, I felt peaceful and I felt ready.
Mitchell and I followed through with all of the instructions that the temple workers had given us. We signed our marriage license, got changed, and met in the Celestial room. There we sat for five or so minutes, just the two of us. The calm before the storm. We held hands through the hallway as we walked toward the room where our family would meet us and where we would be sealed. Our family had taken their seats prior to us arriving, so when we walked through the door and I saw those family members and close friends that I loved so much, I could hardly contain my emotions. My eyes welled up with tears from the realization that all of those people supported and sustained our marriage, and I could hardly breathe at the thought, the fact, and the feeling of the love that surrounded us through those people. Aunts, uncles, siblings, influential seminary teachers, leaders, and friends were about to watch as we made the biggest covenant to our Heavenly Father and to each other.
My grandfather, Cree, was a General Authority while I was growing up, so we had the privilege of being sealed by him. He began to share stories and counsel, and then invited Mitchell’s grandpa, who was a temple sealer, to say a few words. Mitchell and I held hands with each other and our mothers throughout the duration of the testimonies and stories shared, until it became too hot to even think about sitting close to each other and people started fidgeting. At that moment, everyone knew it was time and my grandfather called us to the altar.
The sealing ceremony itself is short but powerful. I wept as my grandpa looked at me and asked if I would covenant to Mitchell, to be his forever. I smiled in realization that Mitchell had said “yes” to me. And I shivered at the knowledge that right then, our family began and it was forever. We kissed over the altar, exchanged rings, and hugged each of our family members as they reverently exited the room. My smile beaming from ear to ear!
I went back into the brides room where I changed from my temple clothes into my custom made wedding gown. I stood in front of the long mirror admiring the dress that had been made to fit every inch and curve of my body as my mother zipped me up, fixed a few bobbi pins, and put my veil in— it was a scene from the movies. We laughed, hugged, cried, and admired my new wedding band that Mitchell had surprised me with just a few moments before. I spritzed some of my favorite perfume on and met my groom in the waiting room. We prepared to walk out the doors to greet the family members that were not in the ceremony with us and the temple workers stared and congratulated. I grabbed my bouquet (that weighed as much as I did, I swear) as we discussed the choreography of our exit— we decided to stick with a kiss (most uncoordinated people).
Our videographer gave us the “ok” and we walked out of the temple doors hand in hand as husband and wife. Our families cheered so loud, a sound that I can still hear in the back of my mind to this day! I was so happy to see even family members estranged from the church that had come to celebrate as we walked out of the temple together! And of course all of my siblings that were too young to be in the temple with us. We took family photos and cheered some more, and they were on their way.
Mitchell and I walked around the temple with our videographers and photographer for a good three hours to capture our love in the most raw form, at the place where we became one. It was so hot! By the time we were finished, my face was glistening and my back was completely sunburned from the V in my dress. We were hungry and wanted to get off our feet, so we headed to our apartment where our landlord (my old childhood nanny) had lunch and Coke waiting for us in the fridge.
We sat on the floor in what would be our bedroom and ate just enough to tie us over for the day. We checked social media to see what had been posted, and discussed the things that we had taken away from our insanely spiritual sealing ceremony. We laid there together for just a moment before we headed back to be with family before the celebrations would take place!
By the time we had taken our photos and after our rest, my hair was falling out of the pins. I went to my parents house to do a little “clean up” and then we took family “bridal party” photos. Because all of my friends were on missions, Mitchell and I opted out of a bridal party. I wanted only my closest friends to be my ladies that day, and if I couldn’t do that, I wanted just our family members. They worked hard over the last little while to find fancy dresses that matched the theme of our romantic outdoor wedding, and it came together so nicely. The boys in their suits, and the girls in our dresses.
I chose our reception venue months before we knew we were getting married. It was a place that meant a lot to me as a child and a place that I had gained a new appreciation for as I grew. I knew I wanted to be close to home, and our entire day was perfectly so. I chose the corner of Coventry Circle— the horse pasture that I grew up next to. It was walking distance from my home, so after family photos, Mitchell and I hopped on a golf cart that carried us to see the set up.
It came together just the way I had imagined— in fact, it was better! The florals were perfect (thanks mom). The music was fun (thanks Mr. DJ “I don’t remember your name— maybe Kyle). The weather was beautiful (thanks Jesus, you’re the man). It was everything I had dreamed of and more. The Fiore Pizza truck came and parked in the corner of the corral and served our guests from the bar, Marvelous Catering made the yummiest salads, one of which I kind of created based on seasonal produce (butternut squash, pepita seeds, and blackberries), BYU creamery provided ice cream, and my cousin, ellie, made the yummiest cakes… Probably ever (I had nine cakes, lol). I can almost taste the night.
For the first hour, Mitchell and I greeted our guests under a floral and raw wood chuppah made by my seamstresses husband. So many of our friends came through the line to hug us and congratulate us, it was crazy! Right as the hour struck, I was OUTIE— I wanted to party! We walked over to our cake table and cut into our raspberry-creme brulee cake, of which Mitchell made the BIGGEST, most retarded cut, and fed each other… Nicely. ;) Once we finished that, I walked over to the dance floor to meet my dad for our dance together. I had asked my dad to choose the song that we would dance to, but amidst all of the business just before the wedding, I think he had forgotten. So I made the stressful decision myself (as sweat beads rolled down my face).
Growing up my dad would always use the term, “chasing cars” as a way to express that he wanted to relax— to forget the world and just be. When I was trying to choose a song, this one came to mind, and to me, it was perfect. It started playing over the loud speaker, and as my dad approached me on the dance floor, he said, “I heard this song and I knew I was needed over here.” We snuggled together as we shared a few moments chasing cars together that evening. He looked down and asked me if the day had been everything that I had hoped, to which I responded, “everything and more.” It was true. We wrapped up our dance as the DJ invited my mother, Mitchell’s parents, and Mitchell to the dance floor and we all gathered for a group hug. The best line of the night came next, when my dad looked at all of us in the huddle and asked, “so… who’s paying for all of this?” ;) haha! It gave us all a good chuckle.
Mitchell and I then had our first dance to the song, Divide Me. We danced as the sun was setting, while our guests were finishing up their third or forth ice cream cone. I remember as a young girl always watching these first dances with googley eyes, and that night, I looked around to see young girls watching as I was in that place. It was a heart warming moment! We finished up our slow dancing, which began the best dance part of the year! Everyone joined in and the party was bumpin’. Ha!
Mitchell and I were able to snag a few bites of pizza in between getting funky with Uptown Funk, getting low to GDFR, and getting saucy to Single Ladies (k that was mostly me). We walked around and admired the way the lights flickered under the summer sky and I took a fork to every single cake to do a taste test, because I was the bride and I could. When it came time to leave, I wasn’t ready! I even looked at Mitchell and said, “do we have to!?!?” Of course we didn’t have to, but every great day comes to an end, and this was ours.
We hugged our families goodbye (and I sobbed as I thanked my parents for giving me the wedding of my dreams and the most beautiful, best day ever) and prepared for our send off. We drove away in a 1953 Rolls Royce as our remaining guests cheered and ran after us. We did it! We were married! And we were leaving the best party of the freaking century.
I talked about the reception the entire way to the Grand America. I cried as I expressed to Mitchell all of the people I had to thank for making my dreams come true. We checked our social medias one last time together to see what had been shared from our day, and retired for the night. Define that as you will. LOL
It’s been a year exactly since those moments, and in the last week, I have felt very similarly to the way I felt last year. The feelings of the anxiety of getting everything in line and in place the few days before, getting hair cuts and weaves, final dress fittings, and making sure reception plans set, the feelings of peace and love at our ceremony, the feeling of utter relief as we walked out the temple doors and realized that the stress of our engagement was over, the feeling of “ahhh, they pulled this off” as I walked into our reception venue to check out all of the hard work that had gone into making our day and my decor perfect, and the feeling of “wow, is this all really over?” as we left our families and friends behind to start our own journey together. It’s all so surreal, I can’t believe it! I literally wish I could live this day over and over and over again. It’s one for the books.
I have had some technical difficulties and hang-ups with our wedding video. I hoped that it would be finished so that I could share today, buuuuut, stuff happens and it wasn’t up to par. I’ll do that eventually, because it really showcases the feeling of the beautiful day that it was. For now, my wedding photos will do (trust me, they DO! I look at them at least once a week, lol), so enjoy!
Dress: custom design by me, made with love by Paula Nelson-Hart designs
Suits: Urbana Custom
Florals and decor: The Flower Affair
Photography: Whitney Kofford Brailsford
Rentals: Susan's Party Rentals
Food: Fiore pizza truck & Marvelous catering
Cakes: Ellie's Cakes
Invitations and signage: Printmark