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Rachel & Dan

You guys. I’m not even sure what to say here, other than RACHEL ROLLED DOWN A HILL IN THE MUD IN THE RAIN IN HER WEDDING DRESS. And then in true Team Practical fashion wrote it up like nothin-doing. Like, “there was the reception, and then it rained, and then I rolled down a muddy hill in my wedding dress, and then I went inside, and what a fun day!” I’m going to go out on a limb and say this probably makes her everyone’s new bridal hero, yes? Because holy h*ll. That is one awesome woman. And. On a more serious note, what Rachel says about needing to feel the support of the generations before her that were sustained by marriage, as she walked down the aisle? That’s how I felt, and part of what so many of you said yesterday. And I don’t hear other women say that often enough, so cheers to you Rachel. You made my heart sing.

My husband, Dan, is the id to my ego, the method to my madness. When wedding planning was hard (85% of the time), he would coo to me that we’re a team, propping me up when I was beaten down from criticism. I would then return to planning, and when some new variation of the same problem arose, he would tell me again, “we’re a team, and you can send those mean buggers my way if they’re going to keep this up.” And so on and so forth.

Fast forward to June 5, the wedding day. All those criticisms and difficulties disappeared and revealed some really beautiful DIY/DIT elements, from the pinwheels and homemade guest book to the iTunes playlist and dessert table. The pinwheels, guest book, and playlist I did. Not one, but TWO, sets of people brought speakers for the music, and a very wonderful aunt donated the awesome pastries as a wedding gift.

The details at our wedding were simultaneously important and dismally minuscule. The stuff I DIY’ed partially stemmed from nervous energy but also helped save money. But the details from other people? WOW! Those really mean something to me! Are there pictures of the dessert table? No. In that way, they’re unimportant. But what those donated details signified was love and well-wishes, and that makes them wonderfully momentous.

The central parts of my wedding memories, though, are anything but details. The moment my father and I got to the aisle and he bawled so hard he had to stop walking is important. The moment Dan and I joined hands with the pastor to pray to God that He would bless our marriage and supply us with love, patience, and strength for the rest of our lives was important. The moment Dan I were announced as husband and wife, for the very first time, was important.

Some much less noticeable aspects were also central to the wedding. I wore my Nana’s crown from her wedding to my Pop-Pop 57 years earlier, my deceased Grandma’s wedding ring, Dan’s deceased Gram’s engagement ring, pearls from my father, and carried a hankie embroidered by Dan’s mother.

In addition, my brother carried my deceased Grandpa’s pocket watch in his tuxedo pocket. Those little pieces, which almost nobody knew of, gave me the strength to walk down that aisle and say those vows. They made me think, “So many people Dan and I have loved and trusted have stood at this altar and stayed together for the duration of their lives, so we can do it, too.” It was also the most personal way Dan and I could honor our lost love ones.

One of the most important memories stemmed from a one of the most frivolous parts of the wedding. As our indoor/outdoor reception drew to a close, rain began pouring from the sky. I grabbed a few friends and ran outside, relishing this wedding gift from God. As more guests trickled out, some to watch and others to dance right along with us, more mayhem ensued. At some point, people started rolling down the grassy hill next to the courtyard. After my roll down the hill, I fell head over heels with dizziness a few more times.

Three very good girlfriends picked me up, carried my soaking train, and helped me back up the hill to find my new husband laughing wildly at his crazy wife. It was this unexpected but hugely meaningful thing…to do something most people would find insane and to then have a few good friends hoist me up, brush me off, and send me back to Dan, who was amused but not surprised at my decision.

There are tons of pictures of all of those moments, and very few of the details. And you know what? That’s wonderful, because the most important thing to come out of my wedding isn’t a homemade pinwheel or playlist, no matter how great they were. The most important result of our wedding is our marriage, complimented by the promise of support from our community. So while some details were positively meaningless (the pinwheels), the time and effort that other people expended for our wedding are phenomenal messages of love and care. And without the support (both the impalpable and the obvious) of the ones we love, I don’t think Dan or I would have arrived at the altar as freely and joyfully as we did.

Photos By: Lovely friends and family, specifically Rachel’s good friend Erika Koop, who is a budding professional photographer.

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