Today I’m taking a step away from bookish posts to talk about a recent trip I took. I hope y’all don’t mind, I will be back to talking about books super soon.
The long version
On January 3rd, I traveled to BWI to catch an airplane to Las Vegas, Nevada to be a bridesmaid in my “sisters”/ best friends wedding. I got up around 5:30 am and we stopped at wawa on the way to grab some food. Alison was driving and I was super nervous because it was raining. Also because this was my first flight in 6 years, my first one alone and I was traveling somewhere I had never been to stay in house full of people I didn’t know. We were almost the the airport when our windshield wiper broke! We quickly pulled over but decided we had to keep going so that I didn’t miss my flight. We finally got the airport and even though I hadn’t eaten, I got sick. After I calmed down, we grabbed my stuff out of the back and headed into the airport. Alison came as far in with me as she could before I had to go through TSA. We said goodbye and I followed the line.
Once I was on the other side. I quickly found my gate and made myself comfortable. I was around 3 hours early but I had wanted to make sure I had plenty of time just in case something happened. I sat and tried to read but was too nervous for even that. I did end up talking to a very kind older woman who was traveling through the gate next to mine. I hardly left the gate other than when I finally went to go buy some food (salted caramel rice cakes which were lost in the chaos of the weekend). When I got to board, there were only middle seats left which I was fine with so I sat between a sleepy looking man and very nice woman. She was kind when I got scared as the plane pulled back from the gate and kept the window open for me. She had asked if I wanted it closed and I said no that I was more comfortable with it open but she had the seat so it was really up to her. The flight attendents on this flight were great and even though it was a little bumpy, I think I did really well. I mostly watched the Downton Abbey movie and tried to read. We landed right on time and I texted Amanda to let her know that I was there. She told me where to meet her and I set off to find her.
I got a little lost and ended up asking for help to which the lady told me I ended to find and take the tram. I did and walked through baggage claim before finally finding a door to the outside. I called Amanda and asked where I needed to go and then waited for her. She got out of her car and made sure I was okay before helping me get my stuff inside. She took me to Chick Fil A for lunch since I was super hungry. Then we drove to where the reception would be. They were still setting up and we both got to work helping. I set up part of the hot chocolate bar and then put lights on the cake table (which didn’t end up getting lit). During the setting up of the lights, I took a misguided step to my left and stepped/fell into a pool which surrounded a tree. My leg and shoes were soaked but I kept going (hopeful that Amanda wouldn’t notice). Slightly before 4, Amanda came out and announced that she and I were leaving to go pick up her wedding band. I was more than happy to go with her since I was still very anxious. On the way to her car however, she noticed that one of my pant legs were different than the other and I had to admit what had happened.
After we picked up her ring, we headed back to her house to help with putting together the wedding flowers. I have experience in floral design because I went to a tech school for 4 years and trained in it. Once I said this, I had a lot of questions thrown at me and I was put in charge of making the bridal bouquet. I stood off the side with Amanda and messed around with it until she was happy. Around this time, it was almost time to get ready to go out to dinner which was the kick off of the bachelorette party. I didn’t end up making my own bouquet because we had to leave. We went to a fancy italian place and unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking what I got. I should have gone with one of the other things that had caught my eye so I’m pretty sad. But while we were there, I got to talk to one of the other bridesmaid whose name is Casey. Casey is so incredibly kind and I am so lucky I met her.
After dinner, we went back home and helped with more flowers. I should have taken this time to do my own flowers but as exhausted as I was (being 3 hours ahead of nearly everyone else) I was only interested in doing what HAD to be done so I could get some rest. We did 128 flowers for the backs of chairs and then we had what most people would call a typical bachelorette party. I am not going to go into any detail here for two reasons, 1) Amanda’s privacy and comfort and 2) I was very uncomfortable the whole time and wish not to remember it much. We went to bed extremely late for how early we had to get up and I was so excited to get some rest.
The next morning Amanda got up around 5 I think. Casey and I stayed in bed a while longer until we were told that someone was there to help with our hair and makeup. Casey got her hair curled so beautifully and my hair was braided a bit and also curled since I wanted something different than what I normally do. We watched (but mostly listened to Moana) as we did our hair and makeup.
Amanda’s wedding was very special and different to me because it was a mormon wedding. This meant that the actual marrying of Amanda and Jerem was done inside a scared temple. I learned there are many requirements you must meet before you can go inside. I am not mormon and therefore do no meet the requirements for going in for the temple sealing so I waited in the lobby or outside. After they were officially married, they came out and we took pictures and all that good stuff. One thing that was so special to me was when they were doing individual pictures with the girls and Amanda was that when it was my turn, Amanda took the time to make sure that I was doing okay (since I have extreme anxiety normally and not knowing anyone but her, being without my wife and being a place I didn’t know had sorta taken my anxiety to a new level). I was good for the most part and I happen to know that the videographer caught us saying I love you to each other so I really hope I get to see that. Amanda and I also recreated a picture we took at my wedding so I can’t wait to be able to put them side by side!!!!!
After pictures we did luncheon where we got to eat some really good pizza and salad. Amanda’s two sisters (Rebecca and Jaclyn) did some super sweet speeches and Jerem’s best man also spoke. Amanda and Jerem did the shoe game in which the bride and groom take off their shoes and trade one of each and then are asked questions (who said I love you first, who is the messiest sort of stuff) and they have to raise the shoe of the person who is the answer. After luncheon we (the bridal party mostly) went back to Amanda’s house to chill out for a little over an hour. This is when all of my feelings caught up with me. As everyone else went inside, I stayed in the van and cried a little. Honestly, I’m not too sure why I was so upset but I was. I went inside after a few minutes and found Casey. We took a nap in Jaclyn’s room and then it was time to head to the reception space for last minute details and a run through of the ring ceremony.
Since there seemed to be a fair number of people who could not go into the temple for the sealing, Amanda and Jerem also had a ring ceremony. This for me is what I consider a “wedding” and I was so grateful they did this. We all lined up and got to hear the music so that we knew when to walk and then it was time!!!! The music was very sweet and I walked down the aisle with Jerem’s youngest brother. Watching Amanda walk down the aisle was very emotional for me because I love her so much and she has been my big sister for almost 8 years. She is one of the most amazing people I know and I am so happy that she found her happily ever after. When the ring ceremony was over, it was time to eat and party!!! They had soup and salad at their reception and I dug into some of the chicken and potato soup. They did a first dance to Can I Have This Dance from High School Musical 3 and Amanda danced with her dad to Cinderella and halfway through they invited all fathers and daughters to join them.
Casey and I ate dinner, danced together and all around had a really great time. After a sparker send off to the bride and groom around 7, it was time to breakdown the reception space. It took probably around 2 hours and then we were all back to Amanda’s house. One of the groomsmen was drunk (even though there was no alcohol at the reception) so Savannah (Bridesmaid) took him home and Jaclyn, Casey and I went to Jaclyn’s friends to make sure Savannah had a way home. We stopped at Del Taco on the way back and my exhausted mind ordered wayyyy too much food but it was all really great and I wish I had a Del Taco where I live. Once we got home, Casey and I ate and went to bed right away.
On Sunday, I woke up before anyone other than Amanda’s parents and kind of wandered around the house for a bit. After Casey woke up, I couldn’t find anyone who actually lived in Amanda’s house so we could only find a beach towel for me to shower with. I quickly showered and headed back downstairs to find Casey. We mainly just had breakfast (wedding cake which was amazing) and hung out before she and everyone else started getting ready for church. I am in a weird space with relgion so I asked if I could stay home and just hang out. Everyone was so kind about it and said of course so I took the time to (finally) have a proper phone call with my own wife before taking a short nap.
Amanda and Jerem came over to open gifts and I hung out with them, the best man and his wife until everyone else got there. Before we started dinner, I asked to be taken to In and Out so I could try it and I really loved their chocolate shake. The best part of going to in and out though was the time I got to spend with Jaclyn, Amanda’s little sister.
After we got back, we heated up leftover soup from the night before and watched them open the gifts. We couldn’t find what I had sent for a while and I was devastated as I had gotten something specifically for Amanda’s use and wanted to see her open it (I had almost bought it for her a previous Christmas but Amazon kept losing my packages). Right before they left to go back to their hotel, Jerem found it and I was SO happy that I literally was jumping up and down. I got them a gift card to Disney, a shower curtain, bath mats (all kinda boring but what they asked for) and an elephant shaped ring holder (the thing I was so excited about). They left for their hotel and Savannah offered to take us all to YSA which was a church event. I guess I was feeling some FOMO because I went with them.
At YSA (which I later found out stood for Young Single Adults (I felt kinda odd going as a married woman but it is what it is), we mostly just played a game called telephone charades which was a lot of fun and I had a great time. Casey got to show me the chapel were they have church and the stillness and quietness of the empty chapel was really peaceful. After YSA, we went home to hang out for a while. We had to leave the house around 3:30am because my flight back to Maryland was leaving at 6:40am. We watched National Treasure, decided we were hungry and that I wanted Chicken and went to Jack in the Box (amazing bacon and cheddar wedges) and then back to In and Out for another shake before going back and napping to Tarzan. I got up at 3:15 and packed the rest of my stuff and we headed out.
I was early again but I was more than happy to be because I got to watch the airport open and shop around before buying a Vegas T shirt to remember my time with. I boarded my plane and turned on music before deciding to nap. We hit some bumpy spots and next thing I knew they were calling for medical staff to the back of the plane. I got super scared and basically couldn’t sleep from this point on. Luckily everything was okay and we landed twenty minutes early and I was reunited with Alison. We went and wandered around a mall so I could talk to her without interruptions and then we headed home.
My favorite parts/highlights
Casey. Yeah I know it’s not an exact moment or memory but I truly feel that Casey will become a big part of my life. She was so kind and gentle with me when it was clear that I was uncomfortable and totally out of my element. Basically everyone but me was mormon but any time I had a question, Casey would sit with me and explain everything and I was able to talk to her about my deepest feelings of church, God and religion without fear,
Making Amanda’s bouquet. This was so special to me because I had spent all of this time doing floral in high school and hadn’t really been able to anything with it since. Knowing that I was making something special for her and that it would be just the way she liked it was so amazing and I am blessed to have been given that opportunity.
I’ve already talked about this one thing I really want to remember and cherish forever is when we got to take our individual pictures with Amanda. I walked up to her last and she gently rubbed my back and asked me if I was okay. We were both worried about me not knowing anyone other than her and being alone in a place I didn’t know. I told her I was doing okay and we recreated a special picture from my wedding.
I got to dance with Casey and Amanda to I wanna dance with somebody and that was a ton of fun.
All and all I think it was a pretty great trip and I would love to visit Vegas again and see Amanda and Jerem as well as do some more touristy things next time.