Much unlike the weather today (at least here in NOVA), I woke up on July 9th, 2011 to a rarity in Central PA: a perfect, sunny, non-humid summer day.

Meagan Jepson Photography

It took me awhile to fall asleep the night before, but that morning I woke up in what I think was the most peaceful way possible–I awoke slowly and gradually with no alarm, and as I opened my eyes and realized that I was getting married today, I laid back in bed for a couple moments and took in my last time waking up as a Saylor. I rolled over and glanced at my phone to find a text from Ian: “Today is our day.”

It sure was.

I made my way downstairs, feeling surprisingly calm as I poured myself some coffee and took it out to the porch, to find my dad already out there, enjoying his newspaper and morning brew. At first glance, it could have been like every other morning–not really talking, mostly due to insufficient amounts of caffeine, leafing through the paper, making comments every now and then–except today’s comments were along the lines of how I was getting married. So I guess that’s what made it different.

So when I opened the newspaper, I was excited to find that particular morning was the day of Anne Ard’s– a family friend, bridesmaid’s mother, and co-officiant for our ceremony–monthly column. Even more exciting was that it happened to hit a personal note that day: “Know What to Look For In ‘The One'”. 

“It has finally happened. One of my daughter’s closest friends is getting married. Not an older, more experienced friend, but a friend only a month older than my daughter. Once again, I am asking myself, along with the mothers of all the other bridesmaids and the mother of the bride herself, “How the heck did this happen?””

That’s when Waterworks #1 began, the first of many for the day. (Read the rest of the article here!)

I headed inside for some food, smelling the breakfast casseroles in the oven for our bridesmaid brunch later, when my mom appeared at the top of the stairs with a little bag in hand–“I’m supposed to give this to you”. I saw the folded paper sticking out of the top and felt the butterflies in my stomach all over again. Several months earlier, I had mentioned something to Ian about exchanging letters on the day of our wedding. I didn’t know if he would remember, but he had! So back out on the porch I went, letter in hand. A lot of the time in the wedding photos I stalk, the bride saves reading this for when she’s surrounded by everyone and the photographer is there to capture the moment. But I wanted to take in every word of Ian’s letter before the hoopla started (and before my face was all made up and would get ruined from Waterworks #2). 

Good heavens. There had already been enough crying to last me all day, and I had only been awake for two hours.

The other part of Ian’s present was a ring to wear on my other hand–a red garnet. Absolutely beautiful. 

Things were starting to pick up inside. Neighbors were stopping by, and the flowers were arriving…

It was go time.