I am so glad we had this party at our home.
We looked at several venues - each one beautiful, with the potential to be an excellent location for their nuptials. Fairview Farm right here in Powhatan was, quite honestly, my first choice. I was secretly hoping she'd pick the rustic barn.
But when we asked, "Where do you see yourself, dancing your first dance with your husband, where do you want to be?"
She closed her eyes and thought for a minute.
"In the backyard. Under the trees."
And that's exactly what happened.
Every moment last night, from the ceremony to the party - it was as we dreamed it would be. Even better, because the reality of the friends and family gathered around to celebrate with us created a sense of fellowship and love unique to that particular moment.
It was amazing.
So, a few things that I've been thinking of since we crawled out of bed this morning, like old decrepit people who worked 16 hour days for the better part of the entire week.
(Because we did.)
First of all, the help of our friends this week was invaluable. Several people came by during the week to offer assistance with set up, flowers, table settings, creating signs and such. People dropped off stuff we needed to borrow. Folks came by with flowers for the happy couple - just because. Folks did so much, offering time and resources so generously; it made my heart full.
We're so thankful for every one of these gestures of love, but Judy Ringgold went above and beyond in unexpected ways. Jackie Heberle was the genius behind a lot of beautiful things. Chad Milburn not only orchestrated a surprise honeymoon (and Shannon was GENUINELY surprised to find out that she'd be leaving Sunday for a week-long cruise!), but he also showed up Thursday asking Tony, "Need any help?" Tony said, "Can you build a stage?"
And so, he did.
Amber Towler is a friend, but she's also and talented and incredibly valuable wedding planner and organizer. Her attitude and her skill set made this wedding happen. She's an honorary Brawley, for life.
Cathy Rusch drove in from Maryland to prepare appetizers and then drove back to Maryland.
Lisa Sizemore and her crew did a bang-up job with food, managing the largest event she'd ever tackled. It was wonderful to see familiar faces on her crew (I love living in a small town!) The food was delicious, and the bonus of special Powhatan High School Marching Band sausage balls specially prepared for Daniel was the icing on the cake.
Not to mention the actual cake she brought as a gift.
All of the friends and family who prepared desserts - you blessed us. The leftovers have provided an interesting post-party breakfast.
Lastly, Katelyn and Michael of Katelyn James Photography were a fabulous addition to the evening. The photographs they took will allow us to relive this incredible celebration for years to come; they give us a chance to share the evening with friends who weren't there. The combination of their professional work and the way Katelyn and Michael interacted with our family and friends made the day better. They became part of the celebration; it surprised me to realize what a great difference that made in our day. We'll have the photos, but we have the memories as well; Michael took the groomsmen to 7-11 to get free Slurpees (after all, the wedding date was 7/11/2014), ostensibly to kill time while Katelyn finished Shannon's pictures - and it became part of the fun of the day.
So many people made this a special day.
I am, truly, so glad we had this celebration at our home. I mean, look at this (all photo credits to the amazing Katelyn James):
|That's OUR YARD, y'all!!!!|
Indeed, it was a wonderful day at home.
However, the joy of having all this happen at home continues the next day. We woke up this morning and looked around and remembered: We had a big party here. Wow.
I wouldn't trade it for the world.
And just a note; the new Mrs. Wagner called early this afternoon. She's at Barnes & Noble, looking for books to take on the honeymoon.
That's my girl.