Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Honeymoon- St. Thomas USVI

We arrived home from Wilmington on Sunday night April 3rd around 9pm. We quickly unpacked the car of wedding presents, wedding decorations, clothes, etc. so that we could hurry up and repack for our Honeymoon. It was a quick turnaround, but one we were very excited about. We were sad that the most amazing weekend of our lives had come to an end so it was nice to think about the Honeymoon. We left Monday morning bright and early for St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. I have to admit that it took me a day to get out of the “weddings over” slump. Thank goodness we were in absolute paradise so it wasn’t too hard 
We arrived just after lunch time on Monday and headed straight for the hotel. We stayed at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef thanks to my god-father Earl. He was incredibly kind and for a wedding present let us use his Marriott points for our 10 day stay in St. Thomas. I couldn’t believe how incredibly generous and selfless he is. Thanks dad for such an amazing god father!
Our first day was spent at the hotel enjoying the water, beach and room service. Needless to say we were exhausted from the weekend’s events, so a nice relaxing day lounging around our hotel was just what we needed. We had a nice seafood dinner out and then called it a night so we could rest up for the remaining days.
We were woken pretty early as our room faced the back of the hotel where the maids and workers utility office was. Since this was our honeymoon we decided to see if there was anything they could do to move us to a quieter room with a better view. Next thing we knew, we were being moved into a waterfront villa with an AMAZING view. Re-packing and re-un-packing was definitely worth having this room free of charge for the remaining 9 days stay. All I can say is Marriott definitely treated us like gold throughout our stay.
I’ll spare the moment to moment details and get to the main excursions we took. We started with a catamaran trip and snorkeling. We left from the hotel and headed out on the Sea Turtle excursion. The boat was really nice but sure was packed. In about 45 minutes we made it to our destination and quickly jumped in the water to begin snorkeling. The sea turtles were HUGE and everywhere. We even got to hold a sea urchin.
There were so many places we had researched and knew we wanted to see that we decided to rent a scooter while we were there.
At first we weren’t sure if we would rent it for just a few days, but before we knew it we ended up keeping it the entire rest of our trip because of the convenience of getting around the island and seeing the numerous places we wanted to see.
On our fourth day we hopped on the scooter and headed around the island stopping at Magen’s Bay . Magen’s Bay is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We definitely agreed with the advertisement and felt this beach was incredible. We hiked from one end to the other, snorkeled, got some sun, and enjoyed a nice drink under the pavilion as we watched the sun set. We were hoping to get back to this beach another time while we were there, but there were so many places to see and things to do that we never got a chance.
On our fifth day we decided to take the ferry over to St. Johns. We had heard so many wonderful things about this island that we had to see it for ourselves. The neat thing is that you can take a ferry that allows you to bring your scooter or vehicle with you. This was the way to go because we definitely saw way more of the island with our own transportation. We were able to scoot around the entire island and see so many national parks as well as BEAUTIFUL beaches and fun little touristy shops and restaurants. We would lie out on the beach and snorkel for about an hour or two and then we would jump back on the scooter and head to the next destination.

We enjoyed St. John so much that we decided to come back on our eighth day on the island. We tried new restaurants and new beaches so as not to see the same thing twice. St. John was definitely one of our favorite places and we will be sure to get back there sometime soon…we hope!
For the rest of our stay we traveled to different beaches, spent some time at our resort, met fun locals as well as vacationers, shopped at the numerous duty free shops, enjoyed the nightlife, and ate at amazing restaurants. We enjoyed fabulous meals all around the island. One of our favorite hole in the wall spots was an outdoor jerk chicken and bar. There was always live entertainment and a sweet man cooking the jerk chicken. He would always give me samples. Another neat thing about this place were the chairs.
They weren’t normal bar seats, they were swings. We had a couple of nice dinners out as well as a few local yummy spots. We tried breakfast all over the island but my favorite was the crunchy French toast and fruit from our hotel.
Oh so yummy!!!
Kevin and I each picked out a “present” for ourselves to remember our honeymoon by. I chose David Yurman Jewelry and Kevin picked out a really neat watch. We picked up a few gifts for Ellie, my aunt and cousin who watched her and our parents. One of my favorite finds was a hand painted ornament with a bride and groom on the beaches of St. John. It says Just Married 2011. I can’t wait to pull it out this Christmas.
Before we knew it our trip was nearing an end. We had the most wonderful time and knew we would someday be back. We got lots of sun, spent amazing time together that we will never forget and traveled all over St. Thomas and St. John. It was definitely the PERFECT honeymoon. Needless to say when we returned home we may have been in a bit of a depression from the whirlwind 2 weeks we had just spent together. It was back to reality and work for us. But we sure were thankful to see our sweet puppy. We have so many incredible memories that we will treasure forever. We are so thankful for each other and the ability to take such an amazing honeymoon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wedding Day (April 2, 2011)

I know they say it’s supposed to be, but I can honestly say my wedding day was TRULY the best day of my life thus far. Every single detail was perfect. It started pretty early because of course I was having trouble sleeping at this point. I was way too excited! My dad got up with me again and we had coffee together and just talked about what was about to happen. I treasure the time I had with him that morning.

Soon enough it was time to start getting ready. Suzanne, Ren, Devin, Anna, and I jumped in the car and headed to the salon to begin the pampering. Once we arrived at the salon we all began getting our hair and make-up done. I was recommended to this salon by a sorority sister of mine. Her sister in law is the owner. Recently she opened her make up shop next door called Blush. Having both right next door made it so much easier! It was really nice to sit around with the girls and kick off the wedding day with excitement. I’m not exactly sure it quite felt real just yet. A few hours later we were done and ready to head to the Brooklyn Arts Center.

During this time the boys were meeting up at the Hilton to begin getting ready before the photographer arrived at 1pm.
Once we (the ladies) arrived at the Brooklyn Arts Center I took off for the church so I could see what the set up looked like. You spend months and months trying to put together a wedding but you don’t really know what it’s going to look like until it’s actually done. I walked in and was immediately amazed. I could not have imagined it being so incredibly beautiful and elegant all while keeping it rustic. I was blown away by the cake, the colors, the table and centerpiece set ups. I could go on and on about how incredible and personal it looked. I can only imagine Kevin felt the same way when he saw it.

Next to the Brooklyn Arts Center church was an old house that we were fortunate enough to use to finish getting ready. It was perfect for this. There was an area with mirrors from floor to ceiling and a vanity where we got dressed. There was a dining room with a huge old antique wooden table where we were able to get a quick bite in of sandwiches and cupcakes. There was even a living room area with comfy couches to hang while we waited.

Once we finished lunch we turned up the music and began getting dressed. I was really getting excited at this point seeing all the girls getting ready. Finally it was time for me to get my dress on. My sister and mom helped me in and the photographer snapped away.

Soon enough we were all ready. A few minutes later Chase walked in with a special treat. He brought the ladies a bottle of Cristal champagne.

We popped the bottle and toasted to the day. A minute later one of my best friends gave me some very important news. She pulled me aside and poured her champagne in my glass. I looked at her and she informed me she was pregnant!!!!!!!!!! My best friend Brittanie was pregnant with her second lil baby. I was so excited but had to keep the news a secret as she was not very far along at this point. She knew she needed to tell me because she was not going to be able to drink during the day and she knew I would wonder. After receiving this special news we were off to the Brooklyn Arts Center to take a few pictures. Guests were arriving at this point so we had to be careful about getting next door without anyone seeing me. We headed upstairs to take pictures on the balcony.

As soon as we were done we headed back to the house next door. During this time the boys took pictures with the other photographer outside of the hotel on the water.

Before I knew it, it was time line up. I couldn’t believe it was time but I thought here we go. My dad came over and grabbed my arm, at which point I almost lost it.He leaned over and gave me a kiss and told me he loved me. I think I had perma-grin from that point on. The rest of the day went so incredibly fast. I walked out the door to the beautiful steps and looked straight at Kevin and the huge grin on his face. It looked just as beautiful out in the courtyard. The flowers, the white chairs, the rustic accents, it was all perfect and just what we had envisioned.I began walking down the steps, down the aisle, towards my husband! It was amazing. I couldn’t believe this moment I had waited so long for was finally here. He looked amazing and I couldn’t believe this was my life. I felt so incredibly lucky at that moment.

The ceremony was beautiful. Our pastor’s words were perfect for us and soon enough he said “you may now kiss your bride”! Before we knew it we were walking back down the aisle to go begin the reception.
The wedding party and our families met back in the Brooklyn Arts Center to take pictures up on the balcony while the guests enjoyed drinks and H’orderves in the courtyard.

After the inside pictures our guests were invited inside to begin finding their seats. At this point our wedding party headed to the courtyard to take a few outdoor pictures.

Next we headed back to the BAC to have the wedding party announced and our grand entrance. Immediately following was Kevin and I’s first dance. We danced to Ingrid Michaelsons version of Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. That moment was one of my favorite moments of the reception. It was just Kevin and I for a few minutes. I have to admit it was a little nerve racking with all our guests watching us, but it was neat at the same time. Following our Kevin and I’s dance my dad and I danced the father/daughter dance to something very special. It has been my dad and I’s song since I was little. We danced to Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. Following my dad and I, Kevin and his mother danced to My Wish for You by Rascal Flats for their mother son dance.

Following the first dances everyone took their seats and my dad began his incredibly sweet speech. It was quite long, but truly from the heart. He said the kindest most heartfelt words I’ve ever heard from him. It was definitely an amazing speech that I will never forget. Once he ended, Kevin’s dad said the prayer and it was time for the buffet.
After everyone ate the real party started. The DJ turned up the music and everyone began dancing the night away. Kevin and I quickly rushed off to take a few photos down by the water with our photographers as the sun was setting. Once we returned we saw that they had set out the flip flop party favors and all the girls on the dance floor had popped off their heels and were enjoying dancing in flip flops.
During the remainder of the night we had the usual bouquet and garter toss, cake cutting, maid of honor and best man speeches. Yes, I did shove the cake in Kevin’s face and no he was a lot nicer and spared me.

We danced and danced the rest of the night. I don’t think I left the dance floor more than a few times to talk to some guests.

Before we knew it, the night was coming to an end  We were escorted out of the BAC through our guests lined up with sparklers. At the end was our trolley.

We jumped on and asked our guests to join us. At which point we headed to a bar in downtown Wilmington for a few more drinks. They even talked me into going with them…in my wedding dress. Not sure how I felt about it at first but I sure was the talk of the bar. People I didn’t even know were trying to buy me drinks. A couple drinks later Kevin and I said goodbye to our remaining guests and we headed back for the hotel.

It was the most perfect night we could ever have imagined. We woke up the next morning with smiles from ear to ear. We headed downstairs and met some of our guests for brunch before we headed off for our trip back to Maryland to get ready for the Honeymoon.