On cloud nine from our wedding ceremony, Anthony and I popped into the sacristy at the back of the church for our first order of business as husband and wife—to sign our marriage license! We hugged, kissed, laughed, and cried. When my brother Bart (best man) and my sister Molly (MOH with my sister Tess) joined us to sign as witnesses, it turned into one big happy, crying, hugging love-fest. I'm so glad Cory Weber managed to squeeze in that little room and be a fly on the wall. I don't even remember seeing him, but he captured our realization that we were MARRIED and our reunion with Bart, Molly, and Fr. John so perfectly.
Apparently, we were really in the clouds, because we later found out that we signed under each other's names instead of our own... and no one remembered to grab the license! (Fr. Joe from Holy Childhood came by the next day, handed it to me, and kindly noted, "I think you'll need this.") Note to all brides and grooms: put someone in charge of grabbing the marriage license—it comes in handy.
Immediately after we signed our lives away (in the best way), Cory led us to a spot around the back of the church to spend a few minutes alone together in prayer. This is something we had decided to do since we weren't doing a first look, but whether you do a first look or not, I can't recommend this idea enough. We talked to our photographer about it ahead of time so he could pick out a spot with good lighting and knew to take us there right after the ceremony.
We had heard so many times that your wedding day flies by so quickly, so we wanted to take some time just the two of us to stop and take it in (for those of you that have been following this series, you've heard that a few times by now). The day is full of preparing and celebrating with so many loved ones—and rightly so!—but we wanted to make sure we had a little time to ourselves to revel in the fact that we were officially married. Cory and his sidekick Alex stood from afar with their long lenses while Anthony and I prayed over our marriage, thanking God for this incredible blessing. Truly, they were five minutes in heaven.
Whether you're using the time to pray or say HOLY COW WE'RE MARRIED, these are minutes alone with your new spouse that you won't want to miss. (Bonus: the pictures were some of our favorite couple shots from the entire day—completely candid and filled with joy!)
Right on cue, we knew our five minutes were up when Denise, the church lady from Holy Childhood, came bustling across the lawn. She was worried we wouldn't have enough time to take pictures in the church, but because it was plenty light out, we had decided to take our portraits outside #naturallight. Our families filed outside and took multiple permutations of portraits full of love... and fun!
After family photos, we we headed to the pier to take bridal party portraits. When Cory asked us how we wanted to get to the Pier, we decided it would be fun to walk through town, to my sister Tess' dismay (her poor feet were killing her). Now we're talking Harbor Springs here, population 1,000, so walking through downtown was literally two blocks—I'm not that evil of a big sister! And although Tess I'm sure would beg to differ, I was so happy we walked those two blocks. Cars stopped and honked, people on the street cheered, clapped, and parted the sea for us. I couldn't stop smiling and waving my bouquet; I felt like we were the main event of a parade! We didn't plan this part, but to all the brides out there, try to go somewhere other than your venues in your wedding dress. Our short little promenade made us feel so special, like the whole town was celebrating our marriage! I love the following photos because they capture the joy we were feeling so perfectly (how many times can a girl hoist her bouquet? #WooGirl).
Taking photos on the pier, I just remember feeling so full of joy. My cheeks were hurting from smiling constantly, but I couldn't stop! I was not the least bit phased that the beautiful scallop on the bottom of my dress (which I was obsessed with) was covered in dirt from our walk through town. Nothing could bring me down.
As much as I thought it might be awkward being all lovey-dovey in front of a camera, I didn't even think about it, which speaks volumes to Cory and Alex. Cory includes an engagement session for all his couples, which is so nice for getting to know the photographer—and for getting comfortable on camera—before the big day. (Additionally, Cory is a northern Michigan wedding photographer, so he has shot many weddings in Harbor Springs, Holy Childhood, and at our reception venue. If you're going with a photographer who's not familiar with your locations, make sure they scout them for good lighting and such before the wedding.) Even more than our engagement session, I felt so comfortable and natural. I felt like Cory was more like a friend sharing in our celebration than a photographer (and my bridesmaids said the same!). Above all, Anthony and I (and our families) were just so overjoyed that there was no thoughts about being on camera or posing; we were just living in the moment!
Finally, we met my mom and dad in our friend Dr. Abood's convertible that he had lent to us for fashionable transportation to the reception. As we drove away, a dad said to his daughter, "Look, a bride!" so I gave my best princess wave to her (thank you, Princess Diaries).
As we drove the 15 minutes to the reception, my dad smiled and sang the whole way, "Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get maaaaarried," which had been on the Spotify playlist my sisters made us. It was so adorable. It was another reminder that Anthony and I weren't the only ones on cloud nine.