Weddings are notorious for whirling by in a blur—you plan all year for an event, and then it’s over in a matter of hours. So on the plane ride to our honeymoon destination, I jotted down a few moments that stood out in my brain before they disappeared forever and become an inaccurate memory.
Here are the highlights of our wedding week, from my perspective and in no particular order. I am obviously missing many other narratives, but I hope these quick tidbits will serve as a happy (and at time, hilarious) reminder of what happened on June 17th, 2017.
All of the below photos were snapped by the talented Katelyn James Alsop.
Remember on wedding day...
…when the electricity was flickering off and on in the Berkeley Plantation's sitting room as a thunderstorm rolled through the area. I wondered aloud if this meant the power was also going off in the ceremony and reception tents. Every bridesmaid said, "Noooooo!" in perfect unison. Turns out, the power was going off in the tents—but it was better that I didn’t know.
…when Ryan first saw me in my wedding dress, and we had a beautiful moment to ourselves.
…when it started raining while the bridesmaids and I were doing our portraits, so we ran for cover. The girls tried to stuff me into the gift shop, but in the process Grace cut her finger and started bleeding. Meanwhile, I slipped on my dress and was about to face plant onto the ground, when Groomsman Phil screamed, "Briiiiiiiide!" and caught me just in time.
…when during the ceremony Father Jimmy kept trying to make us hold hands, but we were so sweaty and really just wanted to swat the bugs off our faces.
…when pregnant Bridesmaid Kelsey fainted during the ceremony, most likely because it felt like 120 degrees under the tent. She was OK after some fanning and water!
…when the bridesmaids, Dad, and I screamed “Sound of Music” songs before we walked down the aisle. (Video, below.)
…when some of the groomsman and wedding guests took a quick dip in the James River.
…when Leiv handed me a shot of tequila before the ceremony, as the thunderstorm roared on.
… when the drizzle stopped just as the bridesmaids were walking down the aisle. We all tossed our umbrellas over the hedge at the last second. The rain began again after Dad and I entered the tent. The momentary reprieve was a little blessing.
…when Suzanne, Kathryn, Grace, Mom and I sang "Going to the Chapel" on the car ride from the hotel to the plantation. Looking back, there was a lot singing at this wedding.
…when Kelsey and Ryan Webb nailed their rehearsal dinner speech by creating a pretend app called the Brit Fit (not to be confused with a Fit Bit). The app would let my husband-to-be know when I'm getting antsy, among other facts to assist with my quirky ways.
…when the Nugent men all teared up during their brilliant and well-thought out toasts.
…when Dad made everybody cry during his speech at the wedding.
…when the Nugent, Fitzgerald, Lombardi, and Roberts families were all honored at dinner. The silver centerpieces on the tables were cherished heirlooms, mostly from our grandparents' collections. Lore, Mom, and my florist were so helpful in making this vision come to life.
…when my sisters gave the perfect speech. I felt so loved by the people who know me best.
…when Harlan picked up Mom on the dance floor and threw her over his shoulder so she was essentially crowd surfing.
…when the Polaroid photo booth idea actually worked.
…when Dad and I danced to Barbra’s "Happy Days are Here Again." It was the live version of the song, so there was tons of applause on the track. People must have thought the applause was all coming from the tent, so they gave us a standing ovation! We also did an impromptu kick line and I hope it was documented on video somewhere.
… when the New York girls tossed me in the air on the dance floor. I remember looking down at Sarah and Chinae. They were surrounded by my huge dress and using every muscle in their bodies to keep me afloat—but both were still smiling.
…when some of our friends and family wore trash bags from the bus while running to the ceremony tent. Most also abandoned their shoes as the rain came down. (Sorry, my dears. You all still looked stunning.)
…when I tried to quietly sneak into my hotel room after being at the Tobacco Company Bar until 2 a.m. the night before the wedding. Suddenly, I heard from the darkness, "Britney Fitzgerald, I cannot believe you are just getting home." My sister Grace was tucked in bed and laughing at me.
…when we spent two days putting together welcome bags and favor boxes with the whole Fitzgerald-Spicer Clan the week of the wedding. Copious amounts of wine made it worth our time.
…when we played hard on Thursday night at Casa Del Barco. There were definitely some parent tequila shots.
…when we had to make about six rain plans the week of the wedding, due to one tent being too small and a 100% chance of scattered showers.
…when Ryan and I took a moment to observe the celebration from afar while holding hands and smiling.
… when the CNU crew waited 10 minutes to take a picture with me (unbeknownst to them, I’d gone to the restroom). I felt so loved by longtime, loyal friends.
…when shirtless Karl and Dylan had a dance off to Britney Spears’ "Toxic."
… when Photographer Katelyn hesitantly walked over to Ryan and I at dinner. She said, "So I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell you this. And you don’t have to, but… there is actually a sunset. I know we weren't planning on doing sunset photos because of the rain. But I thought I’d let you know..." Ryan and I agreed to take a few more photos. KK became super excited, and we ran together through the tent to catch the glowing light just in time.
… when Uncle Michael spun me around the dance floor, like a true professional. The full circumference of my dress was finally captured!
…when one of our guests told us that she never once used the restroom trailer and peed in the woods all night. I later found out she was not the only one to do so.
…when everyone sang “New York, New York” as Ryan and I exited the venue through a tunnel of sparklers. I almost cried as the faces of loved ones in the crowd glowed in laughter. It was a cinematic moment that felt like a proper end to the evening.
One of my favorite takeaways from this whole experience is that you all have memories, too. Every person I’ve spoken with post-wedding has told me a hilarious, insane, or perfectly lovely anecdote about their time in Richmond, Virginia. Thank you for turning our special day into a story—there were so many tales of adventure, love, and sacrifice.
And that is the best gift we could ever receive.