As planned, my bridesmaids and I rolled up to Heinz Chapel chauffeured by Mom Octopus in her slammin’ Dodge Caravan. She pulled into the primo spot right behind the Chapel, and the parking attendant informed her, “oh, I’m sorry, ma’am, this spot is reserved for the bridal limousine.” Bridal limousine? You’re lookin’ at it, buddy. Bridal minivan or bust!
Oh, I’m sorry, what was that? You’d like some pre-ceremony chapel eye candy? Sure, I guess I can show you a little somethin’.
(All photos courtesy of Corey Ann Photography.)
These windows tingle my spine every time. They are seventy-three feet tall. While I love these photos, I’ve yet to see a photo anywhere that completely captures how truly stunning this place is. What I also love about the windows is that they honor both men and women equally, and represent moments in history, literature, philosophy, and music, as well as religion. Emily Dickinson, Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Pocahontas, and Shakespeare are just some of the figures depicted in the windows.
My cousins Jenna and Meagan welcomed guests and distributed programs, while the Octo-Groomsmen waited to gallantly escort people into the pews.
Poppa Octopus waited quietly for the wedding ceremony of his first grandchild to begin.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the bridal dressing room, the Octo-Maids were convening for some last-minute primping and readying. Heinz Chapel has a secret side entrance that the bride and her party get whisked away into, so that guests (and the groom!) don’t catch a glimpse of them before the ceremony. Getting me inside had this air of Secret and Official Business. I sort of felt like I was in the CIA or something.
This picture makes me laugh, because I know exactly what was going on as it was taken. MOH/Sister Lauren had been in charge of holding my copy of my vows in her purse, but at the same moment she went to the bathroom, our officiant stopped by to pick them up and hold on to them for me for the ceremony. I grabbed them out of her purse, and in my mild fluster, forgot to tell her. Lauren subsequently thought, for a moment, that she had lost my only copy of my wedding vows. Here’s what she was saying as picture was being taken: “Ooooohhhh maannnnn, I seriously just almost—*camera click*—shit myself when I thought I lost those vows! (MOH/Sister Lauren is very fond of vulgar bodily humor. She shares a deep bond with her new brother-in-law over this.)
Mom Octopus fussed with my necklace one more time….
…and then it was time for my favorite thing in the whole world. The thing that made me feel more bridal and special and awesome than any other part of my entire ensemble, possibly even more than my actual wedding gown: my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful veil.
I touched up my lip gloss one more time (and, also, how COOL is this shot Corey caught?!).
The next few moments were some of the most special of our entire wedding day. I was totally ready, and just moments away from heading upstairs, and up the aisle to marry Mr. Octo. I paused for just a few quiet moments and took it all in.
It was just a really special, amazing moment, in which I felt really present. I don’t even feel silly telling you that as all of us in the room realized what was about to happen, there was honestly a little bit of awe in the air.
As I fluffed my veil, my bridesmaids gathered around me and looked at me, too. They were so sweet, telling me, “you look perfect,” and “you look like you just stepped off the cover of a magazine.” I felt really beautiful, you know? It’s a moment that I hope every bride gets a chance to feel on her wedding day, a moment where you just feel really, really, really beautiful.
Then, I decided I was pretty psyched.
The coordinator had been periodically stopping by to update us on what was going on upstairs, how long until we needed to prepare to line up, and so on. When she stuck her head in and said, “five minutes,” I felt truly stunned. I couldn’t believe the time was almost here.
Then, the pre-processional began. The coordinator called my mom up the short flight of stairs to begin her walk up the aisle to light the unity candle. Shortly after that, she called my bridesmaids upstairs, to line up with their groomsmen. When they were all arranged, she came back and called for me. It was time.
Previously, in the Octopus wedding….
- We did errands all the live-long day.
- We ran late, we got stressed, and we argued.
- We rehearsed and had dinner, and had a great time doing it.
- We got fancy with hair and makeup.
- I got bridal.