How to have the best #wedding day ever

We finally said I Do!  And it was one of the best experiences of our lives to date.

Mike and I are officially husband and wife…even scarier, I’m now Mrs. Michael Renieri!

We had an #epic wedding day.  Our weather was incredible (dry, sunny, high of 80…unheard of for St. Louis in early September).  That was just the start.  Here’s how we accomplished the perfect wedding day.

We began by pretty much having a plan for the entire day down to the minute.  I woke up on schedule, adrenaline running high.  Mike and I did one more practice round of our first dance and then with a quick “happy wedding day babe”, I headed out to my first stop of the day – hair and makeup.

Promptly at 8:00 am, I met my bridesmaids and the hair and makeup artists of Ravishing Bridal at my sister’s home.  I took my place at 8:30 and didn’t step out of the hair and makeup chair until noon.  At 11:30 our photographers arrived and began capturing moments here and there around the bustling house.

I’ll never forget the look on my girls’ faces when my bridesmaids first saw me in my Maggie Sottero #primrose wedding gown.  It boosted my confidence immediately and I felt ready to walk down that church aisle (witnessed by 230 guests).  Sitting next to my dad in my parents’ Lincoln MKZ, we made our way to the church with my sister and mom folded carefully in the back sat.

The walk down the aisle and frankly the entire wedding ceremony went by in a blur.  I remember searching for Mike and seeing his grinning face for the first time, I remember feeling extremely faint and dizzy for the first 20 minutes or so of the ceremony, I remember the huge relief I felt when I was able to hand off my bouquet to my sister and be rid of the 15 pounds of stunning roses, dahlias, eucalyptus, hydrangeas, etc.  I remember reciting our vows after Father and hearing a few chuckles in the congregation as I spoke loud and clear (a decision I had made earlier as I am normally soft-spoken and prone to mumbling).  I remember smiling gratefully at Father for his quick concise homily, I remember vaguely hearing the vocalist pour her heart out during the hymnals, and I remember feeling lighter than air as Mike walked me back down the aisle.

After an hour of photos, we joined our wedding party on the waiting party bus and I happily downed a cup of champagne.  We took photos in Layfayette Park, laughing cheerfully at the nearby Canadian geese watching our every move.  Empty stomachs and lots of champagne had us giddy and the girls and I snapped as many #selfies as we could in our wedding day finest – the bridesmaids looking lovely in their chiffon raspberry-hued gowns.

Finally it was time to make our way to the reception.  We pulled up to the venue to find our event coordinator and day-of attendant waving at us vigorously.  They immediately snuck us girls into a lower-level bathroom where we freshened up and my dress was bustled.  I removed my cathedral veil and instantly felt 10 pounds lighter, moving around freely in my recently bustled gown.  Anxious and excited, we made our way into the ballroom to greet our guests.

I met Mike at the stairway entrance and took in the view of the stunning venue.  An old brewery, the Centennial Ballroom sparkled with blush shades of uplighting against exposed brick walls, gleaming decades-old hard wood floors, and draped cafe lights over-head.  Guests poured in and I barely had time to sip the vodka tonic my day-of attendant thrust into my hand as I hugged and kissed anyone and everyone passing by.   Eventually speeches began and we took our places at the head table.

My father, sister, and Mike’s brother toasted us in exemplary fashion and I couldn’t have been prouder of my family.  The friendly staff grinned at our 14-top head table as they delivered yummy dishes of pistachio-glazed salmon, saffron chicken, and eggplant risotto.  After a quick bite of vanilla bean wedding cake, Mike took my hand and we hiked up to the dance floor where our band awaited us to begin our first dance.  We started out slow to Jon Pardi’s Head Over Boots, and right when the song picked up, Mike threw me out in a perfect twirl.  Guests cheered and whistled as we maintained our rehearsed routine.  Cameras flashed each time the skirt of my dress flowed around me and I couldn’t have been happier dancing in my new husband’s arms.

Our band continued to keep the dance floor packed, just as we requested.  We received rave reviews from our guests – free booze, delish food, and irresistible entertainment were the hit of the night.  We wanted to keep the evening simple and focus on the important things.  If you weren’t socializing with an old family friend, you were out on the dance floor making new ones.  The night played out exactly how we wanted – with every single guest having a fabulous time.

Mike and I will never forget our wedding day.  We worked hard all year to make it an unforgettable night and we loved celebrating every second of it with our family and friends.  #NoRegrets.

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