We had talked about it all year, how much we would cry, what songs the band would play, how we could get through our father daughter dance without sobbing, it was all we could talk about for months. We decided on butterfly kisses for our father daughter dance song. Since I was a little girl, we always knew we would dance to that song at my wedding. My dad would play it on the piano the months leading up to the wedding, and even at the first note I would start to tear up, thinking about how special that moment would be. My dad and I share a special bond over music, so not even one day after I got engaged, we knew exactly what band we would have play at the wedding. I grew up listening to this band every summer, and the thought of having them play at my wedding just meant everything to my dad and me. My dad spent weeks perfecting a mix of songs to play in between the band’s sets during the wedding reception. Every night the weeks leading up to the big day, we played the mix dancing around thinking about what an incredible time we were going to have at the wedding. So many emotions flooded these moments imagining how everything would play out on the wedding day, and we just could not contain our excitement.
So you can only imagine the feeling I felt on our wedding day when Joey and I returned from taking our portraits, ready to enter our cocktail hour, and receiving the news that my dad had become extremely sick after our ceremony, and would not make it to our cocktail hour or wedding reception. We were in shock, unable to process what was actually happening. Who was going to give a speech? Who was I going to do my dance with? What about the mix he gave the band to play, and all of the music we looked forward to for months upon months to dance to? He isn’t going to see us introduced for the first time, he isn’t going to see mine and Joey’s first dance, this could not be real. So many thoughts flooded my mind. After getting this news, Joey and I collected ourselves and went out to greet our guests, who at that time had no idea what was going on. The swing of emotions that followed is something I still struggle to describe. Stepping into cocktail hour arm and arm with my husband, I felt the greatest sense of joy and bliss I cannot even put into words, but as it often did throughout the day, this blissful happiness was immediately met by immense sadness knowing my dad was not there. Before heading into the reception, we talked through all of the changes we needed to make. My mom would be saying his speech, grandpa would escort my mom in for introductions, no parent dances, and so on. Once again I was met with this polarizing pull of emotions feeling such heartache, while simultaneously feeling pure joy as Joey and I walked into our reception for the first time as husband and wife. and shared our first dance.
I remember sitting down for dinner, looking around at our beautiful reception I had spent so long perfecting, and turning to my maid of honor and bridesmaid in tears explaining how guilty I felt for all of our beautiful décor, when the only thing that matters is the people surrounding us on our day. I was so lucky to be surrounded by my husband and such supportive friends and family to put a smile on my face and remind me our wedding day was about celebrating Joey and I. Later on in the evening, we had a surprise firework show and the second it started, I knew my dad had planned the entire thing. I was again met with the most polarizing pull of emotions feeling SO exhilarated and grateful for this unbelievable surprise, but also feeling the most pain knowing my dad secretly planned the entire show, and could not even be there to experience it with us.
If it were not for the help of my husband, family, best friends, cousins, and all of the other amazing people in our life, I am not sure if I would have emotionally made it through that night. I have never been surrounded by so much love and support, and all of those around us made sure we had the absolute time of our lives at our wedding. Now do not get me wrong, we had an INCREDIBLE wedding day. The pure happiness and euphoria I felt during that day I do not think will ever be matched in my entire life. Marrying Joey is something I looked forward to for eight years, so the feeling of actually living in that moment cannot be described. It was pure bliss. When we look back at our photos, the pain of the day slowly fades away, and we are left with the memories of the surreal feelings of happiness we felt throughout that whole day.
I vividly remember after receiving the news, telling my mom in tears “I want to just redo this whole thing, I wish we could have a redo”, as I processed the thought that this was it, my dad was missing this milestone in my life, it cannot be redone. Well, not so fast! We decided, why not have a redo? Why does this have to be a one and done type of thing? So, surrounded by our closest family and friends, three weeks ago, 8 months after our wedding, we had our redo. We went back to our original venue, our band came and played, my dad said his speech, we had our parent dances, I got to wear my wedding dress again (who else can say that?!), and we danced the night away! The only difference is that this time, there were no fancy decorations (except signs of course), no fancy food (can you say burgers and pizza?!), it poured outside, and guess what? We still had the BEST NIGHT, because we were surrounded by the ones we loved. Now our wedding did not turn out in the traditional way, but as a result we were able to celebrate twice, and do so surrounded by the love and support of our family and friends. So the moral of this story for all of you planning your wedding: Do NOT stress out about the small things. At the end of the day, the ONLY thing that matters is marrying your sweetheart, and celebrating your marriage surrounded by the ones you love. That is the most important detail.
Photography: Massart Photography
Planning: AMC Weddings (HUGE shout out to Ariana for handling ALL of our wedding day challenges with ease, she was a calming presence throughout our entire day, and ensured our day ran smoothly even with the numerous changes we needed to make)