While we were wrapping up family photos, the first of our guests started to arrive. Remember how we were really behind on hair and make-up, since the stylists were running late from another wedding? That threw off our timeline a little bit, so I snuck inside the Oak Tree Manor house as soon as the photos were done so I could hide from the guests. I figured that running into them before the ceremony would be pretty anti-climactic.
Outside, our two ushers, sweet family friends, were greeting the new arrivals and handing out programs.
And behold—behind the ushers was our “wedding wall,” a divider made of wood pallets that helped block off the ceremony area and served as a nice rustic gallery of sorts. We hung engagement photos and family wedding photos on both sides of the wall. It was a little tribute to some of our loved ones who have passed away—and it made me so, so happy to see their faces smiling back at me from the photos.
And beyond the wedding wall, the beautiful sofreh assembled by the women in Mr. W’s Persian family lay waiting.
The large mirror is to bring light and brightness into the future, and the candles symbolize fire and energy. The bite-sized cookies (yumm) are to be shared with guests after the ceremony.
The glass cloches and wood flowers made me positively swoon. Ugh, so pretty! Mother-in-law Wallaby gifted me several for Christmas, and they’re now perched on our living room shelves.
At the center of the table, the pomegranates—the fruits of the heavens—are for a joyous future.
Every wedding sofreh includes decorated eggs and nuts, which symbolize fertility. (Hopefully good luck for future Walla-babies? )
From a window inside, I could see our guests seated and waiting for the ceremony to start.
And our string quartet (four music students from Rice University) jammed out. I hired them a few weeks before the wedding, and I gave them a lot of creative license. So I’m not exactly sure what they played, but they sounded great. The classical music created a romantic ambiance outside under the trees.
The wedding party lined up in order of appearance inside the house, and I spent the final moments before the ceremony with my dad. We had found the living room completely abandoned, so we plopped down on one one of the pretty antique couches and tried not to cry. There’s no one I’d rather have spent those last moments with than my dad. He managed to come up with some pretty good dad jokes, and I cracked up. Then we both admired my bouquet, which I hadn’t had a spare moment to really notice before that point.
The bouquets had been dropped off much earlier in the day, but I was so busy setting up decorations and being made up (tough work, being a bride!) that I completely forgot about my bouquet. Someone handed it to me during those minutes before the ceremony started, and I was blown away by how beautiful it was. Lisa, our florist, took my inspiration—garden roses, dahlias, craspedia pods, hanging amaranthus, seeded eucalyptus—and ran with it. She wrapped the bouquet with lace and twine to match my romantic, natural theme.
And the flowers smelled divine. Look what was tied to the bouquet for good luck:
I was equipped with the best luck: bee luck.
Two weeks before the wedding, I checked the mailbox and found a small, thin package addressed from New Orleans. Inside was the sweetest note from Mrs. Beanstalk, and two bee charms which she had passed on to me for good luck.
Of course those charms made their way onto my bouquet, and sneaking a peak at them right before the ceremony gave me a feeling of love and support from this awesome community.
From inside Oak Tree Manor, I could faintly hear the first few lines of the wedding party recessional (“Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,” by Handel). Hive, it was finally game time!
Up next: Mr. W and the wedding party storm the altar.
*All photos by the superlative Mustard Seed Photography.
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