& Let me tell you something about our bridal party: it consisted of some of the most amazing people on this planet; filled with so much personality and love, each and every single person that stood beside us made our wedding day reach above and beyond anything we could have imagined.
We also couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day – nestled in the middle of December, we were thankful for vibrant sunshine and a relatively warm morning. James & I had both hoped for rain, but didn’t want it to interfere with the wedding at all. We couldn’t believe it when we walked outside at the end of the day for our Grand Exit and it had started to sprinkle! Our dream of rain had come true, and our awesome photographers braved the rain (which quickly escalated into a downpour) for more photos afterwards (more on this later).
The brief moments before I walked down the aisle were filled with so many emotions. I had written letters to both my parents, and James’s, which I gave to them minutes before the wedding started (cue all the tears). I can’t even begin to explain to you the feelings I experienced as I stood in that room, seconds away from my long-awaited dream, hand in hand with my incredible parents who had raised me, and in so many ways shaped me, into the woman I was standing there before them. It was an experience I will never be able to put into words.
Before I knew it, we were being rushed off to stand in line. I could hear the music echoing behind the walls as my bridal party walked ahead of me down the aisle. I remember my legs starting to shake as the nerves settled again – this was it. I was minutes away from the greatest adventure of my life. It was so close, and the moment overcame me like a rushing flood. I linked arms with my dad, looked over at him and took a deep breath. Our song started playing, filling every corner of the worship center, as the doors simultaneously opened in front of us. I swear that very instant felt like how I always imagine the gates of heaven opening will feel like. It was transcendent; it was pure magic.
I walked down the aisle, surrounded by all of our loved ones, but kept my glance fixated on the love of my life, an eager smile forcing back tears (didn’t work for too long, he blubbered like a baby).
We reached the end and my dad handed me off (again, surreal). Our ceremony was officiated by a man who is so dear to both James and I (College Pastor Gabe Garcia). He prepared a wonderful message about the true meaning of marriage, encouraging us with gospel truth and shared a glimpse of our love story (cue all the laughter, tears, and smiles again).
James & I wrote our own vows to recite to each other, which was one of the most special parts of the day (read my vows to James here). I will never forget the way James smiled, one hand holding mine, his sweet promises reaching the deepest parts of my soul. It was beautiful and my heart was so full.
During our ceremony, we had planned a special moment for our families to surround us and join in prayer, as we lifted up our marriage to our Heavenly Father, thanking him for our love – our story – and all that was to come of it. One of my incredibly talented bridesmaids, Chelsea, sang a beautiful song (seriously, she has the voice of an ANGEL), which made the moment all the more special. It was a precious time for all of our loved ones to witness the dedication of our marriage to the one who loved us first.
After exchanging rings, we were announced Mr. & Mrs. James Gage for the first time ever (eep!) and had our iconic first kiss as husband & wife. The room filled with music once again, as we walked back down the aisle, hand in hand, husband & wife, eager and excited for all that this new adventure would bring. We mingled a bit in the hall with our bridal party, the memory of what had just happened already creating a permanent glow on my face, and a deep feeling of joy in my heart.
The next few hours consisted of the best party of our lives. Seriously, our friends are awesome. We didn’t think anyone would want to dance at noon on a Saturday, but my goodness did people prove us wrong! Our reception ended up having some of the greatest dancing we had ever seen at a wedding before, the room filled with an unexplainable amount of energy. It made the celebration all the more fun.
Again, it all went by so fast – our reception was amazing, and an incredible tribute to all who had contributed (in so many special ways) to our relationship. We had started the reception off with an ice breaker game to kick off the party, where we were asked a series of questions (sitting back to back as to not see each other’s answers). This was SO fun and turned out way better than we had imagined.
This was followed by our dreamy first dance. When I was a little girl, I dreamed about dancing to Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E” at my wedding. That dream of mine came true, and I so often find myself wanting to re-live every step of that dance – every precious moment of it.
Also can’t get over the Mother-Son dance, during which James’s mother had surprised him with a sweet video that highlighted a bunch of memories recollected over the years.
And the Father-Daughter dance was more emotional than I had expected. The song we danced to was a secret up until the very moment. “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw was his choice, and it brought a whole flood of emotions I was not prepared for!
We had also decided to help serve the food to all of our guests, which was a great way to see everyone and serve our loved ones at the same time.
The toasts made by our family were some of the most iconic moments of the day, the words spoken touching our hearts in such special ways.
And then there’s the traditional bouquet and garter toss… (is it just me or do all of the girls look terrified of that bouquet! BAHAHA!) (& yes, my little brother caught the garter…HAHA!)
& the cake cutting…our cake was BEAUTIFUL! (thanks to Stephanie Haendle). I also surprised James with an awesome grooms cake! (we had hidden Lord of the Rings themes throughout the whole wedding – I walked down the aisle to The Hobbit Song, our ring bearer walked down the aisle holding a sign that read “We are going on an Adventure!”, and we added a few other personal touches here & there).
Followed by lots of dancing…
And the most perfect day ended in the most perfect of ways – with sprinkling rain and a tunnel of our loved ones to run through.
We drove off in our car, into the rain that had quickly escalated, with the echoes of our sweet family & friends ringing in our ears. We had smiles so big it hurt, and we held hands as if we would never let go. It was perfect.
We then drove to a breathtaking spot on a mountaintop in the pouring rain to take a few additional photos with our photographer. It was one of the most precious moments I have ever experienced, standing in the rain, first time as husband and wife, hands entangled in one another’s. Every kiss felt like the first, our vows still echoing in our ears. We were standing on the edge of forever in the pouring rain, and I have never experienced anything so magical.
*Photography credit: “Jake & Kim Photography”
*Florist: Acton Creative Flowers
*Dress: Pebbles Bridal
*Caterer: Stone Fire Grill
*Venue: Grace Baptist Church, Valencia CA
Check out our wedding video BELOW! // (credit: Unity Wedding Films)
*Check out our PROPOSAL story, here*