Arriving at the church was surreal. I could hear the bagpiper that we had hired to play in front of the church from blocks away. Daddy Cloud and I had rode the short ten-block ride in the limo alone, and we laughed the whole way. I was nervous and giggly and I think he was trying to do anything he could to keep both of our nerves under control.
From where we were sitting waiting in the limo I could see last minute guests arriving and my ‘maids lining up, ready to start their journey down the aisle. I had planned every detail of what was going on inside the church, so even then I was trying to imagine what the following pictures would turn out looking like. I knew that up first would be Nana Cloud, then MIL Cloud and Mama Cloud.
After our moms lit the unity candle the processional would continue with my cousins carrying the cross and the Bible. Then the bridal party would begin with some very handsome guys.
Then, one by one, my bridesmaids began to disappear out of sight and into the church.
I was counting and trying to take deep breaths, but I knew that as soon as I couldn’t see my MOH anymore it was going to be my turn very, very soon. Only two special little ones had to go before me. What I didn’t know was that there was a small situation going on in the back of the church. Up until the moment before it was their turn, our adorable little ring bearer had been screaming bloody murder. I was later told that he stopped as soon as he had to walk, as if he knew what needed to be done. I knew I loved that kid! Let’s be serious here—look at these pictures and you can see that they really stole the show! And yes, he is also rockin’ the Adidas Superstars!
The kiddos were walking and our planner Windy headed out to get me and Daddy Cloud from the limo. For those that aren’t familiar with Richmond or the Cathedral, let me set the scene for you a bit. On a fairly warm Saturday afternoon in November there are tons of people out and about. The Cathedral sits smack in the middle of Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus. When I say “in the middle,” I mean there is a dorm to one side, the library behind, and the student commons and dining hall next to that. Across the street is a large public park. Every single upcoming freshman tour group walks by the Cathedral steps, and our wedding day was no exception. Many people had stopped to look and listen to the bagpiper, but when the church organ began and the trumpeter was playing, a full blown crowd had gathered. I was still giggling nervously as Daddy Cloud offered his hand to help me out of the limo. And then some of those people who had stopped to watch STARTED CLAPPING. I remember asking Daddy Cloud what the hell they were clapping for. He of course looked at me like I was nuts and reminded me I was wearing a huge white dress and veil. Oh, duh. Back to focusing on not tripping—that would really mess up my timeline.
I know everyone says this, but it really is the God’s honest truth—everything was happening really, really fast. All of the sudden we were walking towards the altar and I could see the man who was about to become my husband. I was still blabbering/attempting to whisper nervously to Daddy Cloud and he was reminding me to shut up, as people were taking our picture and I didn’t need my mouth hanging open in every single one. I don’t know what I was saying or giggling about at that point, I just knew that at the end of the long aisle I could see this man that I love so much who swore up and down for almost two years that he was not going to cry when I came down the aisle. But now his chin was quivering and I could see the tears on his cheeks. My own eyes were also filling with tears and my cheeks were burning from the enormous smile I wouldn’t have been able to hold back even if I tried.
(As a small side note that picture of Mr. Cloud is one of the reasons I love love loved getting our pro pics back and looking through them! Not only is his reaction something I love to look back on, but see that guy leaning in towards the aisle a bit? That’s my uncle, a man I have always looked at as being a serious tough guy with a very serious job in law enforcement. When this picture was taken, I was busy staring down my soon to be hubs so I hardly noticed anyone else’s reaction to our special moment. I was so touched to see my uncle’s reaction, being very close to tears as well, and that makes the picture even more priceless.)
One thing I do remember talking about in the limo with Daddy Cloud is how he would hand me off to Mr. Cloud. We practiced at the rehearsal, but if you remember I was a bit distracted. So I decided right then and there we needed to practice, and of course Daddy Cloud just got more proof that his little girl was a little nuts. So we winged it, and there was hugging and tears all around. I still don’t know what he said to Mr. C since I resisted my urge to be nosey and lean over to hear. But I will never forget him telling me to have a happy and wonderful life. Gah! Hive, I can’t lie, I’m tearing up now remembering that moment!!
After my Daddy gave me away, the ceremony began as our priest, Father Bob, started with a prayer. None of which I remember—all I could do was stare at the handsome guy to my right. We were finally getting married!
All credit for the images above (unless otherwise noted) go to our incredibly talented photographer Jessica Oriole Salay and amazing second shooter Jenny McQueen for Oriole Photography.
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