Almost a week ago, I married my best friend and I keep replaying the entire weekend in my head over and over. I can’t believe it all really happened. I can’t believe I was surrounded by my amazing family and friends and they welcomed Dan and I into married life. There are so many things I want to remember, so many moments I wish we could have recorded. I keep making list of moments I don’t want to forget so I can continue to remind myself everyday how lucky I am.
1) My brother entering the rehearsal to the Imperial March dressed in a full Darth Vader costume.
2) My father in law’s speech and the moment he hugged me afterwards and I felt like his daughter.
3) The guestbook my cousin Dana created for Dan and I. A hand-drawn scooter with thumbprint balloons floating above us.
4) My Aunt Suzanne’s memorable meeting of my new Uncle in law.
5) The way our families blended every night before the wedding. We were all meant to be joined together.
6) Seeing my best friend from middle school the night before the wedding. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss our friendship. Her presence at the wedding was such surprise and delight.
7) Writing letters to Dan and my parents at 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. The front of Dan’s letter read “Because you’re my lobster.”
8) Sneaking down to Dan’s room to try to see him one more time before the wedding.
9) Walking down to the bar at 1:00 AM only to find my dad, my mom and my father in law chatting away.
10) Having a sleepover with mom.
11) Dance parties in my room while the girls got their hair and makeup done.
12) Reading Dan’s letter to me.
13) Becoming beautiful and barely recognizing myself in the mirror.
14) Hugging my brother because he brought me Starbucks.
15) Getting into my dress and having a major panic attack about being in front of so many people.
16) Eliza doing something I never thought I’d see to calm me down.
17) Running down the hallway to get to the elevator to see Dan.
18) Peeking over the grand staircase to get a catch a glimpse of Dan.
19) The photographer telling me to walk down the staircase and stop at the landing so he could get in front of me for shots. I made it to the landing, spotted Dan and started running down the stairs. I heard the photographer yell after me to stop at the landing so I ran back up the stairs. Once he gave me the okay, I ran straight to Dan and tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and all my fears and anxiety faded away.
20) Seeing my mother crying in the lobby after I saw Dan for the first time. I ran up to her and told her “Mom, I’m okay. I’ve found him now. We are going to be okay.” I just kept repeating “I found him” over and over to her because I needed her to know I was going to be alright as long as I was with him.
21) Getting in the trolley to shoot amazing photos all over the city we love.
22) Pausing the photoshoot to play tetherball (yes, in my wedding dress) with Dan. I won.
23) Walking back into the hotel lobby and seeing my dad waiting for me.
24) Eating french fries (with ranch) and drinking 312 (with a straw) at the hotel bar just an hour before the wedding. My family and friends all started to come downstairs to take the trolleys over and I got to greet each and every one. While it may have taken some of the awe away from seeing me in my dress, it put me at ease and it gave me a personal moment with my favorite people in the world.
25) Seeing my good family friend Ray (basically my Uncle) tear up as he saw me for the first time.
26) Turning down a car, cab, and trolley to walk the half mile to the ceremony alone with my dad.
27) Having a final talk with my dad on our walk to the ceremony. We were stopped by random tourists for photos and we had to stop in an apartment building so I could cool down along the way :)
28) Seeing the reception décor for the first time. My cousins Diane and Dana did an amazing job setting everything up and adding their own touches.
29) Waiting with my bridal party and father inside before we walked down the aisle.
30) Being signaled to walk down the aisle, panicking about being in front of 100 people then immediately calming down as soon as I saw Dan.
31) Looking at Dan as I walked down the aisle because all I saw was him.
32) The officiant referencing Star Wars in his greeting.
33) Our vows to one another. I cried and lost my place many times. Listening to Dan read his made me feel so loved and special.
34) The kiss. I tried to do it earlier than the officiant wanted but as soon as he pronounced us I believe I kissed him at least 3 times because one just wasn’t enough.
35) Walking back down the aisle and seeing all of our friends and family waving at us.
36) Once Dan and I stopped at the end of the aisle he said “Well hello Mrs. Braun” — I completely lost it.
37) Dan and I took 10 minutes for ourselves after the ceremony. We talked about the ceremony and sat in silence just taking it all in.
38) Surprising my mom with Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest” as guests walked into dinner. Somehow a Disney transition song turned into a full-on dance routine with an audience all around us.
39) My brother in law’s speech welcoming me as his new sister.
40) My father’s speech about raising me as a little girl.
41) My mother’s speech referencing the “Thank You” note she received from Dan.
42) 112 people toasting “more than my luggage”
43) Joining my husband on the dance floor for our first dance. We remembered everything we learned in our dance classes and I twirled perfectly. Dan whispered in my ear “in four beats we’ll go crazy” — I counted down 4,3,2,1 then he and I separated and danced like crazy in the middle of the dance floor.
44) Dancing to “Butterfly Kisses” with my dad. He talked the entire time telling me how much he loved me and how I’m still his little girl. I cried so hard that my mom came up with tissues and my dad pulled her into help finish the dance together. Holding my family close during that moment was so surreal and touching — I couldn’t have asked for a better father, mother, daughter dance.
45) My brother giving me a Stella scooter as a wedding gift, only encouraging our obsession with motorbikes.
46) Dancing all night to every song and ending the night with an “Ants Marching” routine and Dan’s wicked dance moves during “Gangnam Style.”
47) Walking back to the hotel at the end of the night in a complete state of euphoria.
48) Waking up the next morning and every morning since next to my husband.
-Mrs. Suzanne Braun