We got married August 15, 2015, which pretty much makes us old news. Yet, since I refer to my wedding so often when talking with Brides, I thought it was time to go ahead and write a blog post about our big day.
We got married in Hocking Hills (Logan, Ohio) at an event center called Crockett's Run. It was the first and only site we toured but, when we (mostly I) fell in love with it, we decided not to look further. Plus, we only had 5 months of engagement and most venues are booked at least a year out.
Our wedding weekend was so much fun - we had a bouquet-making party at The Flowerman on Thursday, we picked up our custom made ceremony backdrop on Friday, and later that day our entire Bridal Party and immediate families headed to Hocking Hills for our wedding rehearsal. After our rehearsal and dinner, our Bridal Party headed back to the venue to spend the night - we rented two cabins on the property (one for the guys, one for the girls). I was definitely a Bride that needed to see it all together in person before guests started arriving and staying on the property allowed us to be the ones to set everything up. Plus, it was so fun to spend my last night "single" having a sleepover with 6 of my very best friends.
When the girls and I woke up, they opened their Bridesmaid gifts and, to my surprise, they had a sweet wedding day gift for me! My Maid of Honor had put together a book of letters from my Bridesmaids, my parents, my soon-to-be in-laws, my siblings, and best of all, my soon-to-be husband. My 'Letters to the Bride' book was such an incredible, personal, and thoughtful gift. Reading the sweet letters while having my hair and makeup done was one of my favorite parts of the day.
I tried my best to hold it together while reading through the letters, but 3 of them were too much for this emotional girl to handle.
My Father-in-law wrote, "From the moment I met you I knew you were perfect for Zach." And on the back of his letter he included a poem, which ended with, "And on the day that you shall wed, How happy I will be; For my son will gain a loving wife, And a daughter will be given to me".
My daddy wrote, "Your engagement caught me off guard (yes, Zach asked him first, but, we only dated 9 months before he popped the question), but then I thought about other decisions you've made: world travel, college, and work and I realized you'd always been right."
My sweet husband's letter ended with "I love you so much, my bride, and I can't wait to wake up next to you every morning. Love, your husband."
I think I cried more reading these again while writing this post than I did on my wedding day! #hotmess. Reading these letters on the morning of my wedding just made it so real. That day I would lose my maiden name, I would join a new family, start my own little family, and finally get to be a wife (something I was seriously excited for).
That morning, after we exchanged gifts, ate breakfast, and spent some sweet time together, the girls and I headed to set up the ceremony and reception. Staying on the property of our venue made it so easy to set up the decorations ourselves and see my vision come to life before the wedding actually started.
Having two photographers (in my opinion) is a must for a wedding. The guys and girls can get ready at the same time, each with their own photographer to document, you get two view points of every moment, and while one photographer focuses on the must-have or traditional shots, the other can capture candid moments, which are the ones you really want anyways.
I have THE most handsome husband! And, even though he's not a huge fan of having his picture taken, he said he had fun in these moments with his best friends before the wedding. Even though a few were posed, our favorites were the candid shots of the guys just being their goofy selves.
My memories of getting ready on my wedding day are filled with so many laughs, the love of my favorite people, and feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world. My 6 closest friends spoiled me way too much and seriously put me on a pedestal throughout my engagement, planning festivities, and especially on my big day.
Once decorating, getting ready, and Bridal Party pictures were done, we relaxed and waited for 5:15 to come so we could line up for the processional. As us girls were heading from our cabin toward the ceremony site, we heard my mom yell, "go back!". Since the property of Crockett's Run is quite large, we couldn't see from our cabin that dark clouds were forming over the ceremony site. And, right about 5:30, when the ceremony was supposed to be starting, it started pouring rain, and I mean TOTALLY pouring.
They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, and though I don't believe in luck, the rain wasn't really a bad thing. I wanted to get married outside, so I was fully content to sit tight and wait for the bad weather to pass. Though I couldn't talk to Zach because he was waiting with the guests, he told me later that he knew I would want to wait and he would also wait as long as it took to give me my dream wedding. Our guests took shelter in the lodge where the reception would be held and they went ahead and watched our slideshow, which would have been played during the cocktail hour.
The extra time with my girls was actually really fun! We were in no rush, so we took some more pictures, ate more food, and had a sweet time of prayer before I became a wife. And, I had actually wanted a later ceremony anyway! We only decided on 5:30 because our venue was such a drive for the guests and we didn't want everyone driving home so late. Ideally, we would have picked 6:30 or 7 for the ceremony, and with the rain delay, that's exactly what we got! By the time our ceremony was getting started, the sun was setting in the valley, and because of the rain, mist was settling on the surrounding wildflower fields which made for stunning processional, ceremony and formal post-ceremony photos.
As the girls as I were relaxing on the back deck of our cabin, we began to hear the ceremony music playing in the valley, which was the sign that I would get my outdoor wedding, after all.
All day my Bridemaids had been chanting, "Alex is getting married! Alex is getting married!" and now they could finally say "Alex IS married"! I was so excited to see Zach after a long day apart, I could hardly wait to get down the aisle and become his wife. Our ceremony was intimate, personal, and so beautiful. Our great friend Paul custom made our chapel-like backdrop for a unique touch on our ceremony. After the ceremony, guests were dismissed to the cocktail hour and our Bridal Party took some gorgeous sunset photos.
The sun was setting, the wildflower fields were shining with mist, and I had just married my best friend! Talk about a picture perfect moment!
Alright, since this post is already a million miles long I'll keep the reception portion short and sweet. After we took photos, we headed up to join our guests at the reception. Zach and I usually aren't huge fans of dancing at weddings, so we assumed we'd probably leave by 9 or 10. BUT, we were having so much fun and dancing so much, we ended up being the last ones there (besides our incredible parents who stayed and cleaned up) and we didn't head back to our cabin until midnight!
We loved everything about our wedding day (yes, even the rain delay) and we love absolutely everything about our life as husband and wife. Zach is a fantastic provider, protector, and partner. Plus, he spoils me rotten, treats me better than a princess, and still calls me his "beautiful Bride". I like to tell him, "you're my favorite person in the world, after Jesus".
Alright, just two more pictures, I promise. I can't refrain from posting two of my absolute favorite shots from our wedding day.
The first is a picture of my little cousin, Cameron. He and his older brother were our Ring Bearers and did such a great job. I love this photo of him. Maybe he was in a mood or just camera shy, but his apparent "attitude" actually made a pretty cute photo. Look at this little stud!
The second photo is of Zach's paternal Grandpa, Lee. Both sides of Zach's family have welcomed me in with open arms and I am so blessed to be a Balmert. Lee and Claire (the original Mr. and Mrs. Balmert) set a wonderful example of love, loyalty, and faith for us and the entire family. Lee was excited and proud to watch his grandson wed and he stuck around to take pictures of us after the ceremony. I am excited and proud to be his granddaughter-in-law.
I can only hope my Mr. Balmert is as good looking as Grandpa in his 70's! :)
Well, that's it! That's the summary of the first day of our life together. I apologize for the length - paring down 300+ pictures to choose my favorites took probably as much time as I spent writing this! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. Being Zach's wife is one of my favorite things in the world (being a Wedding Planner is next).
Love Mrs. Balmert