My bestest pally Lydia got married! It was a blast. When your best friend gets married, at least in my experience, it is so so confusing and so so amazing at the same time. I kept looking over and being like “I am at a wedding! There is a beautiful bride in a wedding dress! This is so pleasant!” and then doing a double take and like “Oh @#%* that girl in the wedding dress is Lydia! My best friend since I was 14!”
I got a plus one to the wedding and I brought along my sister Malindi. She is, by far, the best wedding date in the history of wedding dates.
Malindi was basically a guest member of the wedding party (at a certain point, Lydia just opted to pull her in for the photos). While we did various official wedding tasks she just took care of every little random detail that people hadn’t thought of (negotiating a bigger room with the hotel staff, setting up the pre-wedding hangout decor, picking up the Indian food, etc.) She also served as the motivator during the epic glamorizing session pre-wedding, selecting sweet jams and dancing enthusiastically.
But let’s rewind a bit in time. Malindi and I hopped on a plane at RDU (our mom, because she is a fantastic human being, gave us her airline miles for free) and arrived Thursday mid-afternoon to Chicago, where Lydia and Brian live. From O’Hare, we hopped in a shuttle up north to Lake Forest, where the wedding was held. The venue was Elawa Farm, and it was DOPE.
We began with the rehearsal- already verklempt.
Then we had a super boss rehearsal dinner! I love getting to go to the rehearsal dinner for a wedding. Smaller crowd, actually getting to talk to people in depth. Much more my introvert speed. Lydia’s grandma was a really epic lady and it was particularly a treat to get to meet her.
Check out this tasty, uber summery menu:
We started with little crostini which were SO GOOD.
One with hummus and fresh tomaters, one with cheese and mushrooms and then more cheese (the mushrooms were SO SO GOOD)
Then for my appetizer I opted for the salad which was just perfect and fresh and pretty.
Then I had the salmon, which was perrrfectly cooked. And the broth and veggies underneath it were delicious too- the fresh summer corn gave such a wonderful pop.
Sorbet for dessert. GORGEY color. It was, I wanna say, raspberry and blood orange?
The next day, Friday, we did various activities around town (including mani-pedis while watching the Olympics, a super fun way to spend an hour).
Then because there were so many out of towners, Lydia and Brian invited everyone to a casual hangout in a park. Lydia’s stepdad had a whole vision for the stereo system and Victoria saved the day and made it happen. (Fun fact: many of Lydia and Brian’s college friend are past/current circus members. They have mad acrobatic and juggling skills!)
Decor was super cute. There were tasty treats.
So the mani pedis early in the day were really just a foreshadowing of the INTENSE GIRLINESS THAT WAS TO COME. Girliest 24 hours of my life. SO FUN.
- Mani pedis
- After the barbecue, Lydia and Malindi and I shared a hotel room and ordered some Indian food which we ate in bed (!). Then we put on face masks (!) and watched Bridesmaids (!!)
- The next morning, we went to Dunkies for coffee and bagels and I loudly went YES HELLO DO YOU HAVE ANY BRIDAL SPECIALS HERE IS THE BRIDE WE ARE HERE GETTING COFFEE FOR THE BRIDE SHE IS GETTING MARRIED TODAY
- Then we went on a secret early errand
which definitely wasn’t to Victoria’s Secret
- Then it was hair and makeup time! Oh my gosh it was so so fun! As yall have gathered from the tone of this blog, I am pretty low key when it comes to putting effort into my personal appearance and I do my hair and makeup maybe twice a year, and never very elaborately. WELL, the makeup lady was a GENIUS. She said the goal was basically like Photoshop in real life and mission accomplished! She AIRBRUSHED makeup onto our face which was cool and weird and I was thinking would be uncomfortable but was in fact like having a small fan gently blowing cool air on your face. And it was great because I looked like MYSELF (freckles!) but BETTER (sexy eyelashes, wider set eyes). Don’t have formal photos from the wedding yet but a bonus of the individual false eyelashes she put on was that they lasted for a few days so I was back to being my messy self except with GORGEOUS eyelashes! I stared at them at every opportunity.
- Then it was to the hair genius. I said “Iunno, I’ve never had my hair done fancier than a blowout. Here’s what my dress looks like. Do whatever you want.” IT WAS SPECTACULAR. Shoutout to Malindi for getting a picture. When I took out at the end of the night I found NINETEEN hairpins.
Okay so once the girliness had concluded it was time for the wedding itself. I was actually the maid of honor (!!!) so I was rather busy for the ceremony. No pictures yet, hopefully there will be some good ones once the formal pics have arrived.
The ceremony was lovely though. They blended traditions, since Lydia was raised Methodist and Brian was raised Jewish. Lydia’s pastor from home flew out to officiate and she was adorable- at the last minute to surprise Brian they decided to include the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony, as happens in Jewish weddings. And during the ceremony the pastor talked a little bit about the reasons for the breaking of the glass. And then later at the reception some of us mentioned how nice it was to include that and she was like, “As a feminist, I could not have included the part in the ceremony if it was at all referring to the loss of virginity, but it wasn’t, so it was okay.” HAHAHAHA LOVE IT.
I would call my performance as the maid of honor mixed, since I forgot the groom’s ring back at the hotel (wince) and then after my toast I went to hug the happy couple and my hug with Lydia the bride went fine but then I went to hug Brian the groom and dumped champagne down the back of his suit (cringe). But, it was enormously meaningful for me to celebrate my very best friend and the love and happiness she has found with Brian. So hoefully they forgive me for my performance.
As for the reception, it was super excellent. The weather literally could not have been more perfect so everything was outdoors/open air barns and things.
And for some odd/excellent reason, the farm where they got married had a nature center so mid-reception you could go visit the bobcat (!) and various birds of prey and gators and things. The bobcat was loving life and napping like a boss.
And there were also little walking paths among the gardens which were just GORGEY.
The food was great (I had gotten to read the various catering menu proposals prior to the wedding which was like fantasy football but actually fun!) The style of their reception was also I think just how it should be: there was no formal sit down dinner with assigned seats, just various tasty passed apps and then stations to go and get food. Then you could sit down at a table with whoever you liked and/or hop around from table to table.
A cheese section is always a great idea:
Of the stations, the make your own crepe was my favorite. I got one with ratatouille and ricotta cheese that was like… everything. My life.
Lydia really loves cake and I knew the cake portion of the evening would be a highlight. Credit to one of Lydia and Brian’s other friends for posting this picture of the two of them on Facebook… it makes my heart go all soft.
They had THREE kinds of cake: unpictured bourbon chocolate, basic white cake with berries, and LEMON THYME CAKE which was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted. All the cake was exemplary (and had really good frosting, not the usual weird formal stuff that looks good but tastes crappy) but the lemon thyme one was the stuff dreams are made of.
And then it was time for some sweet party jams.
The evening began with a super cute band.Lydia and Brian did their first dance to a jazzy cover of Got To Get You Into My Life by the Beatles. The lead singer also sung songs in French and looked like an old time movie star. She was dreamy.
Then to pick up the tempo after the band was gone and get everyone DANCING, Lydia and I made the dancing playlist (a SUPER fun activity) and it was just really really excellent because of course it was. We really only played like three or four new-ish songs including the always excellent Cheap Thrills by Sia. Nostalgia was the major element. We tried to keep the music vaguely thematic for the wedding (though we made an exception for Dancing On My Own by Robyn, because it’s such a great song, even though it’s about a breakup).
- The Way You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson
- Waiting for Tonight, Jennifer Lopez
- Hey Ya, Outkast
- LoveFool (!)
- Bailamos, by Enrique Iglesias (Malindi and I did a passionate duet on this one and people seemed tickled at our sisterly bond)
Here are some pictures that reflect the awesomeness of both the playlist and of my friendship with Lydia.
The night zoomed by (I know all the brides and grooms say that but I also observed that as a member of the wedding party). I tried to get out of my comfort zone and go around greeting people because it seemed like a good maid-of-honor-y thing to do. The bugs were eating everyone alive so I also took it upon myself to be the circulator of the bug spray (along with everything else in the world, the wedding planner- the most astonishingly capable woman I have ever met- had an ample stock of insect repellent in her giant pack).
And then it was sendoff time! Lydia told me the photographers would be gone by this point so to be sure to get some good photos and I mean not to brag but I DELIVERED.
Brian reaching out to his mom…❤ so sweet.
So that was it, the best wedding ever! And I will have backyard flowers that will remind me of the magic of that evening!