Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Dream Wedding

First, let me just say that I know the title sounds a little cliched...but honestly, I couldn't find better words to describe my wedding and honeymoon. I tried thinking of something a little more creative and it just sounded forced, so I went with what came naturally. It's been three weeks since our wedding now and it literally feels like it was just a dream. Every night I have thought about the events of the day, the big and small moments, and I try my best to memorize each and every image, conversation, and taste. It's already fading. I'm so happy we have photographs that help us hold on to these very special occasions. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook since returning from my honeymoon - searching for all of the albums that friends and family have posted, tagged and commented on until my heart felt full and my memory was strong once again. I loved my wedding. I only wish that I could've sat down and had more conversations with all the people I love. I know it's ridiculous to think you will get to sneak off and have 5 minutes with everyone but for some reason, that's what I had hoped for. If you think about it practically, 5 minutes with each person at a 150 guest wedding would come to about 12 and half hours. Hmmm...that would be the longest reception ever.

I think I experienced all of the good emotions a person can enjoy in one day. There were moments of nervousness, panic, and self-doubt...but once the doors opened at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and I saw my future husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle, I couldn't take my eyes off of him and I felt like I was at home in his gaze. My bestie, Jordyn's voice sang sweetly as I walked down the aisle to a Les Mis medley, a favorite musical and story that Adam and I both love. I continued to keep my eyes on him as my dad and I slowly walked forward. A long time family friend, Pastor Dave, was there to welcome us and perform a beautiful ceremony. I was very moved by the reverent way in which he delivered the message and walked us through our vows. As he spoke, Adam and I looked into each other's eyes and I could see that we were both so connected and confident that this is truly the person we had both been waiting for. As tradition goes, the ceremony ended with a kiss and a festive song as we departed, followed by the rest of the wedding party. We were greeted by so many hugs from our friends, full of joy and moved by the promises we had just made to each other. The wedding bell chimed and everyone cheered. It was like a blanket of warmth, love, and support.

We stuck around Port Gamble for a few minutes as our guests headed out to the reception house. We loved our photographers, Crystal and Jason, they made us feel so comfortable and had so many wonderful, artistic ideas for capturing all of the special moments of our day. Please go check out their blog to see a few of their favorite pictures from the wedding. I've looked at them several times already!

As we drove out to Hansville for the reception with Crystal, I had an idea to stop by the Point No Point light house to capture a few, last minute, beachy pictures (like the one featured at the top of this blog post). The sun was starting to set, the fisherman were out trying to snag a catch, and it was just lovely. I'm a big fan of the ocean and large bodies of water so I'm very happy we were able to get a couple of photo's in that setting.

After arriving at the house and seeing a few of the decorations in the front, Adam and I made our way upstairs to the balcony where we would be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. and greet our guests. But first, I made a quick hair piece switch and replaced my veil with the lovely, modern-styled birdcage that my dear friend Jordyn had made for me by her California Designer friend, Shawntel. Katrina, my new sister in law, the lovely lady who gave me a fabulous updo, helped position the birdcage in place and away we went.

It was magical standing up on the balcony, peering out over the entire backyard at all of our beloved friends and family...all smiling and waving back at us. That was one of my favorite moments. Standing up there and making eye contact with each and every person. I think my eyes watered...but it was hard to tell with the thick lashes that I was wearing. After greeting the guests, we made our way downstairs and around the house. Elaina was my day of coordinator and florist and she executed the set up and decor arrangement to perfection. I remember getting all of the decor set up and ready the night before and thinking to myself, I really want to be out there setting all this up. I couldn't have left this job to a more capable lady, Elaina's eye for design, her sense of structure and her easy-going nature make her every bride's dream for a designer and day of reception coordinator. She is also a singer and along with the band, serenaded us during our first dance to the song, "At last".

We were immediately directed to the buffet line where we loaded up on fruits, salads and cheeseburgers (I still wish I could've had french fries). I however, could hardly eat. I was so excited. I just wanted to hug and squeeze and talk to everyone there. I think I ate a quarter of my hamburger...yep, just enough bites to let everybody see the famous "cheeseburger face" that Adam is so proud of (he captured this horrible picture of me eating In & Out and saved it as the picture that pops up when I call him on his cell - aka cheeseburger face).

From there we had to take care of the logistics so we went inside and signed the marriage certificate to make it all official. From there we went right into cutting the cake. Early in our engagement Adam and I had a conversation about the tradition of feeding cake to each other. I said I thought it was a little silly and that I really didn't like it when couples smash cake in each other's faces. I just don't get the humor. He was replied by saying, you are definitely getting cake in your face. To which I replied, I better not or I will be mad. He pouted for a while and then commented about how only the fun couples smash cake in each other's faces. I told him look, I'm going to spend 2 hours putting make up on my face (not really) and don't want to get all messy wearing the fanciest dress I will ever wear. Well, I mentioned this in front of him and several friends to get opinions and everyone agreed that cake face was lame. When the actual moment came for me to feed Adam his piece of cake, I gave him his wish and fell prey to the crowd saying "do it, do it". I followed this up with a large kiss intended to remove the majority of the cake near his mouth. When it was Adam's turn to feed the cake, he lovingly and gently popped a small piece right in my mouth. He's such a sweetheart. And now according to him, I will always be thought of as the fun one and he, the boring one. I say not the case. The fun one is the person who allowed the cake smashing in the first place, right?

After cake we moved on to the toasts. Amy Richardson, my matron of honor and lifelong friend started it off by wishing that all of our ups and downs happen between the sheets:) I was afraid there would be several embarrassing, younger Melody stories - but to the dismay of the guests - she was kind of enough to only say some of the sweetest things anyone has ever said about me. Jordyn, my new sister-in-law and co-best friend followed Amy. I will never forget hearing Jordyn's perspective and version of the Adam and Melody story. I have already thought of her last words and sound advice on two occasions, "Melody, take care of my brother. Adam, take care of my best friend." It's really as simple as just taking care of each other, isn't it? Adam's two brothers and co-best men followed the girls, hard acts to follow. Simon, the family comedian, entertained us with several stories that sound very familiar - the older brother and younger brother stories. It made me smile to hear Simon recount growing up with Adam as a big brother - Adam is such an academic, he actually had a project for Simon to read a book and write a book report and for that he got to go to a baseball game or some such reward, I can't remember. And lastly David, the middle boy in the family...with similar funny stories about Adam being so private (romantically) and wandering off to get married and then randomly showing up one day at a family event with a wife and two kids! Luckily that didn't happen though (it wasn't really an option), and we all got to enjoy a nice big celebration!

From there the night is kind of a blur. We spent the next hour dancing beneath the cafe lights that covered the deck and softly illuminated the dance floor. Adam and I to our song, "At last," inspired by the lovely Barack and Michelle at the inaugural ball. We had a couple of twists, spins and a dip but otherwise, it was just a basic side to side dance and we both managed to not stomp on each others toes - so it was a success. My father and I followed (neither of us dancers) to a bit of a lengthy song (we both agreed): "The Way You Look Tonight," but it was a beautiful moment with my dad where memories of playing catch in the back yard, him taking me around the block on a sled when it snowed and all of the fond memories I have ever had with my dad flooded my mind. I love him so much, he has spent his life taking such good care of me, my mom, and my brothers. For my wedding, he made all sorts of beautiful furniture that you can see in the pictures on my photographers website. From Adirondack chairs, to a small love seat, coffee table, end tables, cupcake table and arbor, he really showered my reception with beautiful furniture and went to incredible lengths to help set up the candy table, lights, and other decorations so that it would be a dream wedding. And it really was dad, thank you.

Adam and his mom followed up the dancing with a great song from The Beatles, "In My Life". I can't believe Michele made it through that song without crying even a bit. I know it was such a special day for her, to see her eldest son get married...a man who has become an inspiration to her in many ways. I love how much Michele loves Adam. I love her so much for the love that she has for all of her family. It was such a sweet moment that they shared. Adam and I were blessed with two fine examples of family and marriage. I am so thankful to my parents for teaching me about love, about compromise and being selfless, and of course, about giving and being generous. Anita and Hank, you are the best parents God could've given me. Mark and Michele, you are the best new parents a girl could ask for.

There was a lot of dancing afterwards, mostly by the Cook clan, and I tried to make my rounds and spend time with everyone and also see the decorations and sweet details like the candy table, and the family wedding portraits and the beautiful furniture. This was especially wonderful to view in the candle light which made everything so much softer and magical.

Finally it was time to go. I remember pouting about this and asking Adam if we could stay. I didn't want to say goodbye to everyone! But the sparklers and luminaries were lit, so off we went, around the house, past all of our lovely tables and decorations, through the pathway of candles and luminaries, friends and family, cheering for and wishing us well. What a perfect send off. Very magical.

And now we're back from our honeymoon and making plans for our life together. It's so fun to discuss the future with someone. To know that they are permanent, that they are for sure going with you. In case any of you are wondering, I've have decided to take Adam's last name, I'm now Melody Cook (not officially). I like the sound of that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a few short days now...

I woke up this morning filled with excitement for the day's activities - I'm going to take my bridesmaids, sister in laws, and mothers to have high tea at the cutest, sweetest little tea room followed by mani/pedis, some reception setup activities and last minute projects, and finally a small cozy bachelorette party over wine and dinner later tonight. It is going to be an amazing day, I can't wait to have all these amazing ladies surrounding me. Their love and encouragement have definitely helped me through all those years of dating duds, lonliness, and now to finally being with the man of my dreams, they have each taught me how to be a more loving and considerate partner.

Here's to all of my special ladies, I love you! Cheers!

Ps. I finally am so EXCITED!! What took so long??

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eight Days A Week...I Love You

Many of you know that I have been feeling a little on edge, nervous, cold feet, anxious, overwhelmed, etc...with the realization that my upcoming nuptials are just a few days a way. I think the tipping point was last Saturday at my friend Joni's wedding when I realized in fullness, the magnitude of this decision as I listened to their wedding vows up close, and in person.

I'm happy to say that my nerves have cooled down and I currently "feel" so in love and ready to be married. With only 8 days to go and nearly one week away, I am experiencing more clarity than I did throughout the entire engagement period. I guess it's mostly because like many brides, I became obsessed with the planning (which I had a great time with) and the details, that I started to feel a bit distant and I started to lose perspective of the things that really matter.

It was so refreshing to walk through everything with my parents last Friday (in a 6 hour cram session before I had to rush over to Seattle for Joni's rehearsal) - they have really picked up the last minute odds and ends and have made my heart feel so at peace, I am such a lucky girl. I got to see all the TLC that my dad put into making adirondack chairs, a cake table, a coffee table, ends tables and even an arbor (which I didn't get to see)...all to add an extra homey, crafty, unique experience for the guests at my wedding. But mainly just for me. Because he loves me so much. That's how it has always been. My parents, doing things for me and my brothers, sacrificing their own desires for me and my brothers.

I'm feeling really loved right now. Now if only I had my dress. Wait...back to what's important!! I'm feeling really loved right now.

I'm feeling so in love with Adam, my family, my new family, all of my friends who are coming into town for the event...Trish & Hans flying all the way across the country along with several of Adam's groomsman, my friends from California, Jesse and Kelly who I haven't seen in forever and would've never thought that they could make it...there are so many people are going above and beyond to say they love us and support us that I am just floored and totally humbeled by all of this love and generosity. My friends Lindsey, Laura and Jess who have driven me to Priscilla of Boston 6+ times to support me, shop with me, and encourage me when I have a melt down.

I'm not entirely sure what the Beattles meant when they wrote the song, 8 Days A Week - I'm guessing by the lyrics that they wanted even more time with the person they love - 7 days/week was not nearly enough. I want a lifetime with Adam - 8 days a week aren't enough for me :) And one wedding day will not be nearly enough time with all the people I love, but I'm really looking forward to it. I will be there. Thanks everyone - I can't wait to see you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yeah, I'll Just Suck It Up & Go With UPS or...What's In A Last Name?

All - after serious discussions this morning with my colleagues (most of which are Navy guys and Government employees), I decided to suck it up and pay the extra $$ to have my breakables shipped via UPS. One of the guys was telling me a few of his Grandma's horror stories with airlines damaging things in her suitcase...apparently she won't even travel without sending her things via UPS ahead of time. It does make the prospect of heading for the airport via public transportation so much more appealing. I'm still bringing a lot of extra stuff with me, but it's a manageable amount. Anyhoo, just wanted to give you an update in case the last email was seriously alarming. I was tired and venting. The sun rose this morning and I felt so happy because I know the next couple of weeks are going to fly by and then I will be Mrs. Melody Cook. It's kind of fun to have a name change, right? I was having some serious reservations about ditching "mathews" - it has served me really well and does seem to be so much more special now that I have decided to take his last name. Mrs. Melody Mathews-Cook is just too long and I don't want to lose my middle name, Joy. It was funny to see so many people raise their eyebrows when I told them I was considering keeping my last name - what's the big deal anyway?? So much of our identity is tied up in the last name - it's really difficult to pull off the whole switcheroo. I still call some of my closest friends by their maiden name. It wasn't until I changed their info in my address book that my brain clued in to the fact that they had new names. I guess it takes some brides nearly a year to officially change all of their records. Yikes. I have a hard enough time notifying everyone when I move...

Maybe I should rethink the switch...What do you think?? Are you raising your eyebrows as you read this? No offense or anything, I'm just curious because it doesn't bother me and I always wonder why it bothers some people.

Ps. I'm so happy that I don't have to lug a huge suitcases to the airport and worry the entire plane ride that everything is broken. Now I can just sit back and enjoy several hours of P&Q along with a few episodes of the Closer (new fav). Homeward Bound!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Why did I decide to get married all the way across the country? This decision has made planning our wedding so difficult in more ways than I originally imagined and tomorrow will be another frustrating obstacle as I attempt to fly with three suitcases that are overweight, full of glass and breakable items - and land in Seattle without any damage. Sure, just like any bride planning a wedding across the country, I used the Internet for several purchases, especially the extra large ones...but, you can never account for all of the little items that you will stumble upon as you wander in and out of your favorite stores and must purchase because they will definitely make the decor THAT much more preppy-chic! Or what about the 10,000 little votive holders that you had to buy in Virginia because the Seattle IKEA was all sold out and oh how delightful, IKEA does not ship glass...So, instead of sleeping, I am merely taking a break from packing to grumble about this unfortunate and daunting task ahead to the two readers who occasionally check my blog. Notice - it is nearly 12PM - and yes, I am feeling quite sorry for myself. Although I shouldn't be. I had an amazing day which included a stop at Tiffany's where I purchased this incredible necklace to wear on my wedding day and hopefully pass on to my daughter someday. I have a feeling a necklace is a little more classic than my dress leaving her more inclined to participate in my sappy tradition. The question now is, what earrings do I get? I'm not all about the matchy-matchy; I like things to look like they naturally go together without looking like a set. Anyhow, I sort of got sidetracked there - the point of this post is to say that getting married across the country is hard, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a full time coordinator.

Well, I'm going to finish packing - wish me luck with the airlines tomorrow :) Can you just imagine me on the metro with all of my bags? And yes, for all of you who are wondering why I didn't just mail everything...duh, I thought this would be the least expensive way to go and the safest - after all, who would you trust more with your breakables? USPS or the Airlines?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shabby Chic Signage with a Personal Touch

I honestly love - I really can't sing it's praises enough! It has come in so handy for adding personal style elements to the decor that I honestly don't have enough time nor enough creative juices to pursue myself. Since my reception is at a private residence, we knew that it would take bringing in a lot of our own style to make the venue say preppy-chic. This has been tricky living across the country - thank goodness for the internet, right? Now, if only I could avoid the shipping costs...Anyhoo, I was thinking a lot about including signage around the property that welcomes, thanks and again, adds a personal touch to the layout. I was originally planning on finding a few pieces of old wood, making a sign and painting myself (this would be fine if I wasn't a perfectionist and didn't have only one day of free time before all of the wedding festivities start) - instead, I found a solution and a lovely artisan on called The Back Porch Shoppe - I think I was actually hunting for picture frames when I found their sweet list of items. Anyhow, I asked them to do a small collection for me and they were so easy to work with and friendly. I haven't seen the signs in person yet, but here is a sneak peek that they just sent me (*the lettering is navy blue). I'm excited to use these signs (a couple of them) as decorations in our house after the wedding - I think they make a nice keepsake!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dress Disaster Averted

I have returned from the dress fitting and I'm happy to say that it was successful! It turns out the alteration lady is pretty awesome at what she does - thank goodness! There are a few kinks that she has to work out, but I think it will all turn out okay in the end. I really do love the dress and can't wait to wear it! Melissa Sweet's Reverie label is so incredible, I recommend checking it out if you haven't already! For all of you who said a little prayer for me after you read the previous two blogs, thank you - your support means a lot. I promise the next blog that I post will be a little more heart warming and not so stressful! Well, I'm off to boot camp! Cheers!