Picture Perfect: Rehearsal Surprises

Cam and his friends took their chicken party outside to the pool, and I made a brief appearance, cloaked in a giant hat, coverup and huge sunglasses for fear of getting an accidental tanline. Caroline, my trusty stylist for the weekend, offered to come over and do my hair for the rehearsal. She arrived, and we got to work in that huge bathroom vanity.


We chatted for a while, and had a string of visitors in and out of the suite, and several stragglers who hadn’t yet seen the bidet, and in typical Camera fashion, we were running a little late. Cam and I jumped in the car and sped off to the venue, which was only about 15 minutes away from the hotel.

We ended up being the first people to arrive. So we hung out for a few minutes, enjoying the view, and trying not to melt in the summer heat. I distinctly remember telling him “this is it.” And it was – the moment was finally here. Image



The rest of our slacker wedding party and families arrived, and we gathered inside the “man cave” at the Island House, so Lynn, our Day-of-Coordinator from the Island House could get the festivities underway.

She did the usual introductions, explained who would be walking with who, where and when, and then she let us practice.

The groomsmen, Cam and officiant went out first and lined up, and the bridesmaids followed one by one. And then it was my turn.

I think it was Lynn’s idea to have me start walking from the top of the porch stairs, and have my dad meet me at the bottom. There was no symbolic reason for this – it’s just hard to walk down steps with another person next to you.

I focused on not falling down the stairs. Mind over matter.

Papa Camera told me jokes and funny stories the whole way up the aisle, and when we got to the front I saw this lovely site


I believe my words were “What is that?”

That = the gray pergola/arbor/arch. MOH JJ said it came off like I didn’t like it, but I was just genuinely confused. I thought it looked cool, but it wasn’t the plain white arbor my rental coordinator had told me about. I was so focused on the mission at hand that I almost didn’t even notice it, and when I did, it came out so wrong.

Turns out Cam had commissioned GM Art to make this for me. He’s an art teacher in DC and has done paintings for our other friends’ weddings, so I should have known he was going to do something for us. I just had no idea it was going to be the wedding arch.

Cam looked at me and said “I had GM Art make this for you. We’re going to decorate it tomorrow with fabric and flowers, and then we’re going to bring it home and take it with us from house to house in the backyard. We can build a garden around it, and our children can play under it, and then they can use it for their weddings.”


Guys, that was it. I lost my shiz. First time I cried that weekend. I am so loved.

Somehow, I gathered myself so we could finish the rehearsal and get the heck out of that heat.


Bridesmaids trying not to melt.


Groomsmen trying not to melt.


Pretend announcement that we’re married, sans kiss.

ImagePretend recessional.

After everyone recessed, I took another photo of the ceremony site:


I tear up every time I look at that arbor. Love.

It was probably the fastest rehearsal in history, taking only 30 minutes with a wedding party of 16 people, plus a flower girl and ringbearer, bride and groom. But the temperature was in the high 90s and everyone wanted to get inside, myself included. So we went back into the house to cool down and talk about plans.



How did your rehearsal go? Did your fiance do anything special to surprise you?


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