As promised, here is the rest of my April 25, 2009, wedding recap. The Friday before the big day was action-packed: After a quick nail touch-up, I joined my soon-to-be husband and our 18-person bridal party for a thank-you luncheon we hosted in their honor. From there we headed to the Legare-Waring House at Charlestown Landing for our rehearsal. Walking through two ceremonies with lots of people involved was time-consuming and not particularly orderly, but being a former dancer I took comfort in the old adage that a bad dress run foretells a great opening night (it's true!). After a lovely rehearsal dinner, where a series of heartfelt toasts from family and friends were the highlight, my groom and I kept the celebration going with friends at a rooftop bar at a hotel in downtown Charleston.
I woke up on the morning of my marriage to the most gorgeous day—sunny and upper 70s (we completely lucked out with the weather—something I'd stressed about, since all of our events were outdoors). Well, "woke up" isn't entirely accurate since I didn't really sleep...my head was spinning with excitement all night. I'd been totally calm and nerve-free up until then, but driving out to the wedding venue to get ready I had some serious stomach butterflies (brides-to-be take note: Popping one Pepcid and sipping a glass of champagne with my girls proved to be a highly effective remedy).
From that point on my recollection of the wedding feels like a movie played in fast-forward. Despite my relentless attempt to stretch each second out, those eight hours flew by. So I'll just describe my favorite moments, the scenes on which I'm constantly pressing the pause button in my memory:
Taking in the decor: Our floral and event designer Heather Barrie-Ahern draped the clear top tents—through which the blue sky and arching oak trees shone—with swatches of dark coral fabric and hung countless glowing lanterns at varying heights. It perfectly conveyed the Southern plantation meets Maharaja's palace feel I'd imagined.
Watching in awe as my matron of honor's mother iced, assembled and decorated the three-tiered wedding cake she'd lovingly baked from scratch.
Helping my bridesmaids pile dozens of sparkly bangles on their wrists and apply a colorful bindi (ornamental dot) to their foreheads.
Being literally and figuratively "tied" to my husband with a string during the Hindu ceremony.
Seeing my groom strain to catch a glimpse of me before my walk down the aisle in the Christian ceremony.
Gazing at each other at the altar while our good friend and groomsman performed an acoustic rendition of Nick Drake's "Northern Sky."
Laughing as four of my bridesmaids collectively struggled to bustle my gown's neverending train during cocktail hour.
Hearing the opening chords of our first dance song—which our band learned for the event—and stepping out on the floor.
Raising a glass to my mother's incredibly moving toast.
Cheering as my husband jumped in the fountain in the center of our dance floor—and was promptly joined by his brother and cousins.
The two of us climbing onstage and grabbing microphones for the band's final song of night, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." It was a true rock star moment, and a fitting finale to the happiest night of my life. —Elaine Stuart, senior associate features/travel editor, Modern Bride