At the end of June, we had the opportunity to go back home to Arizona for a whole 10 days.
The weeks before consisted of panicky packing (I'm a terrible packer, I need this for my birthday or something), Mexican food cravings, excited texts and Facebook posts, and lots of cleaning and Luna-loving to prepare us for the journey ahead.
The reason for our long-awaited trip was the marriage of my darling friend Lauren to her beloved beau Aaron. We had been planning and expecting to be going home eventually for their wedding, so we were extremely excited when they got engaged and set the date. June 23rd! (The anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law, as well!)
We promptly bought our plane tickets and were able to extend the trip to include several days of Arizona time before we headed to Cali for the wedding.
We hadn't seen Lauren since we went to New York in November, one of our favorite trips.
She was getting ready to move back to California from Connecticut, and she was really looking forward to being reunited with Aaron for good.
On Thursday, June 21st, I set out to see my bee eff effer. It had been a whole year and one month since I had made that well-known drive to California!
I was feeling very nostalgic.
Since graduating CBU, our lives have been very purposefully set in forward motion. We haven't had a lot of time to look back or to even miss our college days. We were pretty ready to graduate when the time came. But driving that road and being so close to Riverside was a really weird feeling!
When I arrived, there was a lot of fun stuff to do. Bethany (Lauren's sister and maid of honor!) and I ran some errands, and then we arrived at Lauren and Aaron's condo. Their soon-to-be home together!
I gave Lauren the presents I had brought to her, including the ring pillow for her little brother.
(Lauren had been wearing her bright pink bikini and her bridal crown all day long).
Then we got to work on some poofs!
I had done these before for my friend Britany's wedding, but apparently all my knowledge and experience was all for naught.
I was terrible at them.
Most of them ended up looking like this:
We somehow managed to create a few successfully. :)
The next morning was the rehearsal, so we all tried to get to bed fairly early. It was really fun to be with everyone again.
Me, Lauren's brother Chris, and his wife Alyssa decided to make the mandatory Starbucks run the next morning for the bride-to-be.
I won't get into how I got us completely lost and made us ridiculously late to the rehearsal.
Details are a bit hazy and I'm going to plead the fifth.
But I did manage to get this!
(The barista acted like I was speaking spanish when I said "bride". To make sure she didn't think I said "Bright" or "Pride" or something ridiculous, I made sure to say "Yes, bride. Bride. My friend is getting married, getting her a drink. For the bride. My friend is the bride. Getting married.")
I didn't want anything like this hilarious fiasco:
Although at least in that case, it could arguably make sense. My maid of honor was...made of honor. Sure?
Only in Casa Grande.
Rest assured, we did make it to the rehearsal, and all was well.
A lot of sweet moments.
Lauren's mom, Joy, surprised her with a beautiful citrine ring. Her favorite!
The wedding was going to be at The Vintage Nursery.
It's a really sweet place with a lot of beautiful details.
As you can see from above, the ceremony was going to take place in a lovely enclosed coliseum-style hill. The reception was in a large tent enclosure, which you'll see later!
After the rehearsal, the girls and boys said adieu, as we each went our separate ways for our pre-wedding festivities!
Us girls went for nails and a day by the resort pool. We all had to make sure we stayed out of the hot sun for too long -- we didn't wanna be burnt to a crisp for the big day!
First, we had reservations for a super fun VIP room at a really nice salon.
Upon arrival, however, it appeared that they had accidentally scheduled us for 10am the NEXT day. As in, 10am June 23rd. The exact time of the wedding.
Deciding that she'd rather get married on Saturday than get her nails done, we opted to find another salon.
Which actually turned out to be great! And we had it all to ourselves.
I loved the bright orange that Lauren's sister-in-law Kate brought for her to use.
Afterwards, we had a lovely and relaxing afternoon sweating it out in the sun. We spent some time under the umbrellas for lunch, and then luckily were able to snag some shade until our room was ready!
Several hours later, when we thought we all might die of heat stroke, we got the call informing us that our room was ready. We all rushed to the room and lounged about, enjoying the cool room and giving Lauren some more presents.
Then it was time for the 'rehearsal dinner'!
An awesome backyard dinner, complete with a professionally-done taco stand and lots of yummy fruit and chips and salsa. It had cooled off and there was a really nice breeze, it turned out to be perfect weather!
Lauren and miss Faye became besties while Lauren was nannying in Connecticut, and it was so fun to see them back together again.
Before Lauren moved to Connecticut, we had always joked about how she was going to forget all about me and find a new best friend. One late night, we named this fictional character Mary Marlin and bestowed her with all the best and most absurd qualities. Whenever we'd talk, she'd always let me know that she was on the cusp of finding her Mary Marlin.
Well, this is her Mary Marlin. In the flesh!
Bestie and bee eff effer!
I apologize for the coming onslaught of pictures, but some of these sibling shots are my favorite, and I had to include them all!
The soon-to-be brothers, Aaron and Chris.
The happy couple!
I love little Billy -- I met Billy when he was 3 years old, right after Lauren's parents adopted him. Seeing him grow up through our years in college together was so much fun. I loved visiting Brawley and seeing him. He's such a handsome kid!
Brothers will be brothers.
Lauren, Bethany and I shared the master bed. It was an interesting experience.
I slept as still as I could in the middle, and they both were very active sleepers. Sleep-Bethany was very angry at me on several occasions, and Sleep-Lauren was pretty restless.
Must have been the nerves.
Lauren's alarm went off not-so-bright and early, signaling the still-dark morning time. It was wedding day!!!
Four of us were headed straight to the hair salon to accompany Lauren for her wedding do.
The morning was on -- speeding by before we even had time to wake up.
The coffee helped!
We all loved Bethany's hair!
The finished product! Just in the nick of time.
Gorgeous curls for the lovely almost-Mrs.
So pretty! Love her little purple jumper.
All the other details fell into place.
Her colors were gray and bright orange.
Her sister-in-law Kate got her the most adorable hanger for her dress.
Everything from the ring pillow, flower girl basket, tissues, flowers, and lolli-pops were orange!
|Taking it all in. Right before the first look!|
I don't know why I get so nervous being a bridesmaid.
I feel really skittish and panicked before it's time to walk down the aisle. I think I just feed off of other people's energies. Whatever the reason, I was giddy with nerves and excitement when the music began.
The pre-aisle walking music featured tracks from The Holiday, one of my favorite movies.
It has possibly my favorite soundtrack of all time.
Cue music! And off we went!
(Little/big side note: my handsome aisle partner is Lauren's brother Jared. He happened to have appendicitis and emergency surgery the night before. But there he is, walking like a champ! No biggie! He couldn't miss his sister's big day.)
|Billy the Ring Bearer!|
|Jared and Kate's princess, Chloe.|
|Here Comes the Bride!|
Lauren walked down to a really simple and lovely instrumental version of "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. Listen to this to kinda get you in the feel of it all.
Here she comes!
|Lauren's grandpa offered up a prayer for the new couple!|
Introducing, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Seuss!
The reception took place on the same property, in a tent that was set up with a full breakfast bar.
Bagels, pastries, goodies, drinks, and a really stellar omelette bar!
Despite the heat, everyone enjoyed each other's company and the joy of seeing the new happy couple interact with one another.
So much love.
My hubby got a ride from our friend Steve. He had been staying with him and our other friend Mike for the few days leading up to the wedding, so I could hang out with Lauren and the girls.
I was really happy they were there :)
Steve made a really great wedding crasher.
Luckily, Lauren was on board for a crasher.
She didn't seem too upset :)
Me, Dusty, Steve, and our friend Brenton spent most of the reception together. Brenton had driven up for the wedding as well. Brenton, Dusty, Lauren and I had spent many-a-day together in college. It was good to have the gang back together.
I spent some time looking through all of their engagement pictures (which are some of the cutest engagement pictures ever, their photographer is adorable), and writing little notes and signing their version of a guestbook -- a birthday calendar!
Then it was time for the new Seuss duo to take off for their new lives together.
Things like this always go by really fast -- but it was lovely to be a part of it.
After years of scheming, dreaming, laughing and crying, I'm so happy my friend is so happy.
I knew as soon as I heard that Aaron liked the Labyrinth, that she had found a great guy. A guy that was enough like me, that he could make her happy. :)
I can't wait to see what's in store for them. I wish them many years of happiness, Godliness, loveliness, adventureness, and baby-having.
Love you guys!
(But I love you most, Lauren - always!)