the wedding timeline

One aspect of wedding planning that was always a great unknown to me was what happened in the hours leading up to the actual ceremony. Would I read the Times and sip hot chocolate while I composed my thoughts before my bridal party arrived? Would I be so riveted by a marathon of Treehouse Masters that I'd miss my wedding entirely? Would I -- most likely -- fail entirely to sit in one location for more than 10 seconds while I bounced around in my Plaza slippers and played hide and seek in my bathtub?

For anyone who's interested and especially for brides-to-be, I offer you our timeline:

My chariot for the evening.

The day before: I purposely went to the gym at 7:30 AM on Friday in the hopes that it would tire me out and help me get to sleep that night. Cardio followed by a slew of hair, makeup and nail appointments, our rehearsal at the Plaza AND our rehearsal dinner would surely make me exhausted, right?

Wrong. After finishing up the last of my thank you notes for the bridesmaids and a special card for Mike to open while he got ready that next morning, I finally turned in around midnight. About 10 minutes later I got a knock on the door.

"Mike!" I thought to myself, "Seriously? It's just one night."

It turned out not to be my lovesick fiance, however, but a waiter bearing gifts of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. This was a lovely gesture, (I think from the Plaza? I'm actually not sure...), but doesn't the celebrating come after the wedding? Rather than drink by myself, I popped the champy in the fridge where it was devoured the next morning by 10 hungry bridesmaids.

Steamer and chairs ready for the bridesmaids!

4:00 AM After trying to lie quietly in bed for what I thought was about an hour, I took a peek at the clock at saw it was the middle of the night. I grabbed the giant throw at the end of my bed to pull over my eyes and hoped for the best.

8:00 AM I'm pretty sure I fell asleep for at least a few hours, but by 8, I was pretty much wide awake. Since everyone was arriving in the next 45 minutes, I threw on my special PJs and started blasting Carly Rae Jepsen. Holy shit, it was my wedding day.

Doughnut Plant amazingness.

9:00 AM All the bridesmaids, Meredith (makeup) and her assistant, Liana (hair) and her assistant, arrived at the suite. My three dozen Doughnut Plant treats arrived soon after, along with a huge spread of greek yogurt parfaits, bagels, and lots and lots of coffee. While the girls started getting ready in hair and makeup, I gave them their thank you gifts and they presented me with theirs. More on both of these later, because they deserve their own post.

My custom robe made by my friends!

Meredith making Di even prettier.

10:30 AM Ryan, my makeup and hair guy, arrived and we, thankfully, didn't black out the whole hotel from the amount of appliances plugged in. I also sent Parker (niece) to Mike's room to deliver his gift and pick up his for me. Again, more on these in a later post.

Opening up my gift from Mikey. Please note the special PJs.

12:45 PM The photography and the videographer teams arrived as we finished hair and makeup, bringing the total amount of people in the room to about 657. We ate more doughnuts and sang along to Beyonce.

My dress!

1:00 PM My mom, my sister and my niece headed upstairs with me to help me put on my dress and veil. We were planning on doing it in my suite until the photographer saw the amount of food and booze spread across all available surfaces. Whoops. Luckily my parents' room was much more presentable and just a few floors away.

Mike waiting patiently. We made him keep his eyes closed.

2:30 PM After getting in the dress and a quick makeup and hair fix, I headed downstairs to outside the main ballroom where Mike was waiting to see me for the first time. If we're being completely honest, this wasn't exactly an ... unscripted moment. Mike had been waiting there for about 10 minutes facing a wall while we fluffed my dress and did general girly things. It also took me about 10 minutes to walk down the stairwell to him since we were stopping to take photos every 5 seconds or so. But eventually I got to tap him on the shoulder and he turned around and gave me a huge kiss. From this moment on, everything really started to blend together, so I'll be happy to see his reaction on video. I just remember kissing him a lot.

4:30 PM Many, many pictures were taken. Most of them were just of me and Mike and we went all over the hotel to find good spots. Full-disclosure: it was far too humid to take pictures outside, but I couldn't resist stepping outside the hotel lobby just for a few minutes because, um, I wanted to show my dress off to all the tourists. I mean, come on, this was my Kate Middleton moment! And it was totally worth it.

5:30 PM We went back upstairs to take a few quick chugs of champagne and for another hair and makeup fix. Oh and also? This is TMI, but whatever. I had somehow forgotten to put on underwear in all the madness, so we rectified that situation. Ha.

Most of the bridesmaids all done up! I have pretty friends.

6:00 PM The bridal party lined up in the lobby, with my mom, my dad and me at the very end. Surprisingly, I wasn't jittery at all while we were waiting. Even the day before I had told my bridesmaids that I was a little nervous to have everyone staring at me while I walked down the aisle, but by the time it happened, I had shaken out all my sillies.

6:30 PM The aisle walk! My skirt was large, but I didn't trip and I didn't ugly cry. Success.

how we planned our ceremony part II

juliet is married.