Wedding week: the bachelorette cruise!
I did NOT mean to go so long without posting! I uploaded my last post, where I showed you one of the first pictures of me as Mrs. Gardner, while Paul and I waited to board our honeymoon cruise. I had every intention of blogging when I got home. What I didn’t count on was being physically, emotionally and mentally WORN OUT by my wedding. I remember waking up on October 15, a month after our wedding, and thinking “Well, I’m starting to feel a little rested.” I just had no idea how truly life-changing it is when, well, everything in your life is changing. Between the visa process to get Paul to the US, helping him acclimate once he arrived, getting used to being in the same country, planning a wedding, bringing in guests from England, several intense weeks at work, running my photography business, helping as a caregiver for Aviean and actually getting married I was just worn out.
One thing I wish I could change about my personality is my reaction to change. Even when there are good changes in my life — and marrying Paul is definitely a good thing — I still got very emotional as I felt a lot of relationships with family and friends shifting as I married Paul. I have had changes in almost every area of my life — family relationships, friendships, my work, etc. — over the last few months and it really shook me up a bit. Honestly, I still feel like I’m finding my footing in my “new world” but I am very, very happy to be here and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Marrying Paul was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever had to make.
Another reason I’ve held off on blogging was because I wanted to wait until I had my professional wedding pictures back so I could actually show you something other than just my words. The pictures arrived late last week so I thought that, this week, we could do a bit of catching up. Over this week, I’ll share pictures with you from my wedding day, the honeymoon and maybe even a little of what we’ve been up to since we started settling in after the honeymoon.
First up, the bachelorette cruise! I may have explained this before, but back in the Starlite days, several of my friends and I had a joke about how, one day, we would go on a cruise together to relax from all of our years of serving processed nacho cheese to middle school girls. Of course, we never really made it happen so, when it so happened that most of my bridesmaids were some of the many girls who really helped Starlite at different crucial times, it just seemed like a good idea to try to make it happen. We did make it happen, with seven of my ten bridesmaids being able to go (three others had to stay home with their young children). We found an extremely affordable cruise and were sailing towards the Bahamas before we knew it.
Unfortunately, because of my work schedule between my “real” job and my photography business, I couldn’t really take any time off for the cruise until… the week before my wedding. That’s right; a week before my wedding, I left the country. If you’re shaking your head at your computer screen right now, I completely understand. But, I will say this — being literally unable to do wedding tasks for about 72 hours was a really, really good feeling. I probably could have used one last weekend of planning and errand running, but I would never trade the time I had with my friends. It is getting more and more difficult for us to see each other as people move, have babies and continue evolving into whoever we’re going to end up being. I’ll always treasure the fact that, for a few days, we were together in one place.
Here we are as we waited for the safety drill. Kimberly made us veils (yes, made them) and brought a sash for me and beads for the other girls!
From left to right, that’s Brandy (college roommate); Kelly (college friend); Melanie (high school friend); me; Christan (college roommate); Cate (college friend); Cara (college friend) and Kimberly (college roommate)
We had just a little fun before the safety drill began…
After the safety drill, we headed upstairs to “tour” the spa. They were giving away some free spa treatments and you know we were all over that. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the girls had chipped in together and had actually paid for me to have an amazing hot stone massage later that afternoon! I cannot imagine a better gift for a stressed out bride-to-be. I almost cried because it meant so much that they did it.
I don’t have a lot of other pictures from the cruise, unfortunately. We had a good time together and it was amazing to see how everyone’s lives are still connected but still going in separate directions as we get older. I was emotional for a lot of the cruise because, in the midst of everything changing in my life, I was recognizing how, really, all of our lives have and are changing. Friendships are evolving and somehow, we’re already talking about “the good ‘ol days.” I am hoping that we still have a lot of good days ahead of us, too. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever find ourselves all swimming in the clear waters of the Bahamas together again, but I hope we have a lot of other good moments to come. Maybe it’s Pollyanna-ish for me to hope, but I can’t help but think that there are still babies to be held, weddings to be attended and Target runs to be made no matter how many miles — or evolving lives — separate us.
Tomorrow — my bridal showers held this past summer!
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