My sweet daughter's wedding is over now and I can relax a bit.
It was such a beautiful wedding. 80+ people drove all the way down to Dauphin Island, Alabama to witness Joey and Crystal pledge their lives to each other. We had several groups that flew or drove across country to make it, and there were a few people that totally surprised Crystal by showing up. It was the perfect amount of people - a wonderful mix of people from both families plus many very special friends. Friends from every part of Crystal and Joey's lives - I am so thrilled they all came. I know many others wanted to come, and we appreciate all their gifts, prayers, and well-wishes.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I want to say that it took a village to put this wedding together. I had no wedding planning skills and very little time to get with Crystal and plan things, but Joey's family, my family, and several of Crystal's friends all jumped in together to make this wonderful and blessed event come together. So many people gave of their time and talents during every stage of this wedding process.
When I say Joey's family helped, that is really an understatement. They are the most organized, gifted, and truly sweet people. Joey's grandmother cooked the wonderful food we had at the wedding (it was barbeque chicken and pork with lots of wonderful trimmings) and the rehearsal dinner (it was a shrimp boil, bread pudding, banana pudding, and peach cobbler). She had a giant team of helpers - talented women - family and friends. Every time I saw her during the weekend she was smiling even though I know she was unbelievably tired. Joey's Mom, Terri, did a lot of planning, rented the house we had the wedding at, did a ton of borrowing, begging, purchasing, and toting of decorations, serving items, lights, tables, chairs, tablecloths, and even a van to pick up wedding guests as there was very little parking (I could go and on - she even brought along the DJs and a family friend to drive the van). They were all like a well oiled machine - they work together like dancers who have been together for a long time. They never stopped smiling except maybe when we talked about the possibility of rain. Joey's brother Tatum helped with setting up chairs for the wedding and a ton of other things. Did I mention that Joey's Dad is a Minister and that he performed the ceremony plus did a ton of work setting up and taking down (Ricky even did the shrimp boil with another army of helpers)? I will be grateful to them all for helping to make this ocassion really special for Joey and Crystal.
I had some great helpers too. My Sister Sharon served as the Wedding Coordinator and she lent us lights, decorations, silver serving knifes, her time, and much support and love. Our friend and true sister Patty also helped with candid pictures and her support and love (not to mention the errands she and Sharon ran and the shoulders they provided when I needed a little cry). My sweet husband Kenny helped me with getting the rest of the tables and chairs we needed, watching over my parents and making sure they were taken care of and shuttled around, helping Ricky and the others cook the shrimp boil, and putting up and taking down everything. Carol, Claude, and Judy drove down and kept us entertained (they even found one of Kenny's long lost cousins for us). Crystal's Dad (my ex-husband) shared the costs with us and couldn't have been a more loving and devoted Father (Joey's family helped a ton as well with the costs and are even sending the happy couple to Jamaica - see I am telling you they were a big blessing). I am so scared I have left people out in this story - there were so many helping hands! Even the photographer, Spring, was a blessing. She hasn't been doing a lot of weddings this year due to her busy schedule, but she agreed to do this one plus she drove all the way down to Dauphin Island (it is over 4 hours) and spent the day keeping everyone laughing and relaxed. She is a total sweetheart. Even the bakery staff was helpful. They drove the cake over an hour, carried up some pretty steep steps, and stuck around while we frantically tried to find the purple flowers to add to the cake (this adventure took awhile too because the flowers had been moved and were in a box in the corner -YAY to Wendy who found them and saved the day or at least the look of the cake - LOL).
Crystal and Joeys' friends pitched in with planning and with helping to put everything together and taking it all down. What would we have done with out their smiling faces, strong backs (Tony, Miles, and Heath - you never hesitated to jump in and I will never forget it), and eternal laughter? I don't think they stopped laughing and smiling the whole weekend. What a pleasure they all were to be around (even some of their parents and siblings helped with the put up and take down - Miles, your family rocks). Crystal's sweet friends and her sister Alex (my other sweet baby) gave of their money, time and talents. I am grateful for all they did - especially with all they did to make sure Crystal didn't totally stress out. I think it was the most calm I have ever seen Crystal at a major event. Kristina, Laura, Alex, and Rachel even helped keep me calm! I don't want to leave out the fact that Rachel and Heath were in the wedding, but they also were the ones that introduced Crystal and Joey. They helped tremendously during this whole process as did all of the wedding party - Rachel even did most the girls' hair including Crystal. Allie was the perfect Sister (at least no one told me differently) - and her Maid of Honor speech was a tear jerker.
Speaking of tearful moments:
*The sweet letter Joey wrote Crystal before the wedding letting her know how much she means to him and how excited he was.
*The moment my Mother and Pop arrived at the wedding and everyone was making a fuss over how sweet they looked - it was a special moment for me.
*When Crystal looked at me on the beach before the wedding and I started crying and then she started crying and then all the girls in the wedding party started crying.
*The look on Joey's face when he saw Crystal for the first time in that beautiful gown - he started crying and then his Dad said to him, "Go ahead and cry Son, I will cry with you."
*Crystal seeing the look on Joey's face and having her wish come true - she cried (then we all cried even more).
*Tatum's speech (Tatum is Joey's younger brother) at the rehearsal dinner and the sweet flowers he gave Crystal.
*When Crystal and Joey had their first dance - I hugged Joey's Mother (Terri) and we both cried.
*During the ceremony when the Dolphins were swimming back and forth in the ocean right in front of Crystal and Joey - it was like a wonderful sign the world was happy this event was ocurring.
*Alex's heartfelt speech at the wedding - she put sooo much thought into it and delivered it perfectly.
*When it was all over and I realized how many prayers had been answered - prayers for pretty weather (the chance of rain was 100% for this day, but not a drop fell the whole ceremony), prayers for smooth sailing in all the activities, prayers that all Crystal's dreams of the wedding would come true, prayers I had sent up for 22 years that Crystal would find true happiness and a wonderful husband, prayers that my Mother would be able to make it to the wedding, prayers that Kitty and Bobby's son Jamie would be well enough for them to come, prayers that others would fill in and get this wedding to come out wonderfully since I knew I couldn't do it without them, prayers that my sweet Husband would feel included and enjoy himself (he loves Crystal and Joey and it can be tough to be a step-parent at a wedding).
Oh, I could go on and on, but I am sure I have written way more than I should have...I just wanted to get all this out from inside me. I just wanted you all to know how blessed I feel; how happy I am that Crystal and Joey had a fairytale wedding; and how grateful I am to everyone who helped.
We won't have the wedding pictures ready for 4 weeks but I snagged a few pictures from Patty and Alex and have posted them above. The first one is of as much of the immediate families we could find at the time, the second is the happy couple for their first dance, the second is them walking down the beach right after the wedding, the next is my parents (aren't they the cutest?), then it is Allie and Crystal, and the last one is a cute picture of the gorgeous bridesmaids and Crystal playing around before the wedding.
Thanks for taking the time to visit with me and share in this sweet time in our lives whether you were there physically, mentally, or even if you are just finding out about it now from this post. Send up a few more prayers for us too - prayers that this marriage stays blessed and that they grow closer together and closer to God every day.
Hugz to all!