Remembering Our Wedding One Year Later

One year ago today I was the most stressed and panicked I had ever seen myself.

It was the day before our wedding and nothing was going the way it was supposed to. Our flowers didn’t arrive on time {you can read about that here}, our venue wasn’t decorated, and I was late to my own rehearsal because I had an actual breakdown trying to deal with all of this.

At the time, I was worried that all the awful things that happened that day would ruin any memories I had of our wedding. And for a while, it actually did. I spent a couple of months after our big day not wanting to even think about the events that unfolded leading up to September 16, 2017. Someone would ask me how the wedding went and I would lie. I would tell them that it was great and beautiful — which it was — but in my heart I felt like everything had gone wrong.

As Justin and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary this weekend — we were supposed to head to the beach for a short getaway, but Hurricane Florence spoiled those plans — we have been reflecting on our wedding day. The other night, we spent our evening looking at photographs from that day. We remembered, we laughed, we told stories from the day, I cried a little, and I realized that while the day before our wedding was a disaster, our wedding day was truly beautiful — and it was ours.

For the first time, I am sharing a full post devoted to our entire wedding, and I am reflecting on the details of the day as I remember them one year later.

All photos are by Alisha Rudd Photography

The Private Moments

After our wedding, our incredible photographer sent us a note thanking us for inviting her to be part of our day.

She told us how carefree and relaxed we were through the day, and until then, it hadn’t occurred to me how carefree we actually were (probably because I was a frantic mess just 24 hours before I said “I do.”)

Upon reflecting on Alisha’s words and looking through the pictures she captured, especially the ones of just the two of us, I see what she was talking about. The day before our wedding might have been pure hell, but you would never know it by looking at these photographs.

In them, I see two people so madly in love; two people who waited seven years for this day.

We snuck away from the crowd every chance we got and sat at our table at the reception holding hands for longer than we probably should have, and I am so thankful our photographer captured so many of those genuine moments.

Even in the pictures she had us “stage,” I distinctly remember being so caught up in the moment with Justin that I didn’t even acknowledge someone was taking our picture.



 The Things Nobody Else Knew

Our day was full of small details that were actually big to us. We spent the months leading up to our wedding planning everything down to the tiniest detail. We wanted to make sure the day was a reflection of us and who we are together, as well as apart.

Most of the things were so small, a majority of our guests wouldn’t have even known.

Justin and I popped a bottle of champagne immediately following our ceremony, and the glasses we used to toast with were the same glasses my grandparents drank from at their 50th wedding anniversary.


I wore custom-made Chacos because this brand holds a special place in my heart. One of the last gifts my mom gave me before she passed away in 2009 was a pair of Chacos and then Justin gave me a new pair in 2013 as an anniversary gift. They have been with me on nearly every adventure I have taken over the last decade, so it seemed fitting to have a new pair for this adventure I was embarking on.

We are music people, so we spent countless hours curating song selections that meant something to us. For our first dance, we chose a classic and favorite, Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.”

My dad and I danced to “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. He is a huge Stevie and Fleetwood Mac fan and “Landslide” has been our song since I was a little girl.

Justin surprised his mom with Bruce Springsteen’s “When You Need Me,” as their dance music. She loves Springsteen and ended up in tears when the song began playing.

We wrote each other letters to read on the morning of the wedding.

We also exchanged gifts. Justin gave me a gorgeous bracelet and set of pearl earrings — jewelry for me to wear that day — and I gave him a bottle of Woodford Reserve with a note that said, “Aged 8 years — 7 years like our love and 1 year to grow on.”

I also surprised him with concert tickets to see his favorite band, the Foo Fighters.

Oh, and I Iced him.


I even surprised him by walking down the aisle to his favorite song by his favorite band — the acoustic version of “Everlong” by Foo Fighters. I guess you could say we had a very Foo themed wedding.


I honored my mom by wearing her wedding rings on my right hand and recreating my favorite photo of her captured on the day she married my dad.

The most special part of our wedding, though, was having one of Justin’s oldest and dearest friends officiate. It was such an honor to have this wonderful man, who we call Puck, stand with us, pray for us, and make us husband and wife.


 The Handmade Details

Our seating chart was made from an old window my mom collected years ago. I strung jute rope along the front of the glass pane and attached the escort cards (I also made) using miniature clothespins.



I spent months creating the signage for the wedding.

Table number holders were made from wine corks — thanks to my mother-in-law for helping me drink the wine to have enough corks to complete this project.

My best friend’s mom was sweet enough to make the favors — delicious sugar-coated pecans in tiny mason jars.


My dad made the tiered stand to display the cupcakes.

The Flowers

I have an entire blog post devoted to what went wrong with our DIY flowers, but I never truly conveyed how beautiful they were despite all the chaos surrounding them.

My bridesmaids spent hours the day before our wedding putting together these arrangements. They were stunning and exactly what I wanted.

The Ceremony





We planted a tree, which now lives in our backyard, and I forgot which hand Justin’s ring went on.

For our recessional music, the DJ (who I affectionately call DJ George with a beard) played “My Girl” by The Temptations at our request. I love how you can see Justin and I starting to sing along in the photo above. Again, so carefree.


One of my favorite parts of the day was when our wedding party gathered around us for hugs and congratulations after the ceremony. It was one of those genuine, organic moments that can’t be planned or scripted.

The Wedding Party


The Reception


We entered our reception to “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. That was my husband’s contribution to the music selection of the day.

My brother, who flew across the country to be with us, gave a beautiful speech to welcome everyone. This will always be a special moment for me.

Then, we partied.

All I wanted to do at our wedding reception was listen to our favorite music and dance with our family and friends. So, that’s exactly what we did.

It’s true what they say, the days are long but the years are short. I have no idea how we are already celebrating our first anniversary and sometimes I wish time could slow down so I can enjoy our moments together for just a little longer.

The last year has been full of highs and a few lows, but the good times greatly outweigh the bad. In just 12 months we managed to grow in our careers, visit California together, become godparents to two beautiful babies, buy a house, not adopt another pet, and you turned 30 while I didn’t age a bit.

Happy anniversary, darling. I love you to the moon and all the way back down to the dirt, and I can’t wait to see where we are this time next year.

Dammit, Hali


One thought on “Remembering Our Wedding One Year Later

  1. What a wonderful recapturing of a glorious day. I’m sitting here crying and laughing. Thank you and a happy first anniversary to you both! XOXO Ma


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