wedding moments, part 3

our sealing was absolutely the best thirty minutes of my life. and the rest of our wedding day was just incredible to me - everything felt so perfect and magical and full of love. i knew i would be happy on that day, but i could have never anticipated how full of joy i was - i've truly never experienced anything like it.

am i oversharing here? i just want to capture things (in multiple places!) while they are fresh in my mind, so i can remember them forever, ever. and this much joy?! i just have to share. so, to pick up where i left off...

-the experience of taking pictures outside the temple was pretty chaotic, to be honest. lots of people, lots of kids, lots of cameras, lots of instructions, and i wanted to talk to and hug and celebrate with each one of these people so very dear to my heart! our photographer was an absolute champ dealing with everyone and everything, but just the nature of huge families and not tons of time equaled some frenzy. it was happy frenzy, though. there were these somehow still, joyful, beautiful moments laced through the hoopla -- stealing kisses as our very most loved ones surrounded us on all sides, laughing as my dad took selfie videos, excited looks into eyes of friends and siblings and parents. the weather was outrageously perfect - not chilly and not too warm, sun shining but not beating, and a lovely little soft breeze - and i didn't see a single other bride around (that is quite unusual at the salt lake temple grounds).

{official pictures to come, but here's a couple that siblings snapped that i love!}

-after we'd wrapped up pictures, we needed to go straight to millcreek inn, where we had our wedding dinner, right away (we were a bit behind schedule)...but we stopped for a few minutes, just the boy and i, and sat on the edge of the reflecting pool and decompressed. everything had just happened so fast and so brightly, so it was good to just sit and talk in the kind sunshine for a couple of minutes, alone after being surrounded by so many loved ones.

-as we walked up the downtown street to get in the car, i caught a glimpse of our reflection in the storefront windows and i gasped. we were married! and we looked really good :) just seeing us together, dressed like that, striding hand in hand - gosh it made my heart so happy.

-when we arrived at millcreek inn, i just about died at how beautiful everything looked. seriously, we could not have dreamed up a more perfect autumn evening. the foliage was softly flaming and the brick paths were freckled with gold leaves and our wedding flowers were draped over the arches and placed so exquisitely on the tables and the slanty sunlit views of the gilded mountains were open and clear and delicious. the setting was just so much prettier and more lovely than i could have ever hoped, and i'll just never forget my first views of it.

{i was sooo happy to have my sister shawni, who came all the way from china, at the wedding}

-after we took a few pictures, the music was turned on (jazz classics perfectly selected by my brother eli) and the lights along the building illuminated and the people very, very most beloved to us began arriving. those twenty minutes of appetizers and greetings was just splendid.

{this picture of my brothers - oh my gosh i love them! - shows off how gorgeous the foliage was!}

-then, the boy and i sat to eat flanked on either side by our parents, and i had the best view of my entire life, no doubt. there's just no way to describe how wonderful it was to be literally surrounded by truly (almost) everyone i love most in the world, with the person i love most in the world next to me, and the people who so positively influenced him around us too. i mean, it was just so, so, so outrageously wonderful. everything around seemed just so full, so saturated...i felt like the love and joy could reach so far through the outdoor space, yet wasn't diluted at all. as we all ate our salads and bread i stopped to hear the merriment, and notice the magic of the candles and flowers and occasionally falling leaves, and feel the warmth of the heat lamp behind me and radiating from my happy, happy heart.

-each of our siblings and two of our friends each gave a one minute toast, and then our parents had a chance to share some thoughts. there was just this crystal clear love in the air. the twinkle lights in the trees came on and dessert was brought out (oh man, i loved the dessert that we brought in and the millcreek staff plated and served - pumpkin cake with fresh whipped cream and pomegranate seeds). the things that were said were so thoughtful, tender, genuine, and kind and my heart was glowing.

-as i rose from my chair to say a few words, i was totally overwhelmed with love and gratitude (are you sensing a theme here?!). standing next to my true love and surrounded by our beloved parents, i looked out over my brothers and sisters who are the truest friends, and my friends who have been like sisters, and my new family and all the people who built my husband and i was electrified - just buzzing with joy. i gave my husband book to the boy and explained to everyone that he is so much better than anything i could have dreamed up, and that i wouldn't have our wild ride any other way, and that i know our love will last forever. then, hearing him thank everyone and thank god and express love for me - it was the calmest, most pristinely beautiful feeling - i was so full up yet so at peace.

-after taking some time to say goodbye to our loved ones, we went inside while my dear, dear, dear friend dani prepared guests for our send off. we weren't planning on doing anything special when we left the dinner, but dani asked if she could plan something which we loved! she didn't tell us exactly what it was going to be, so it was so fun and exciting to walk out of the front door of millcreek inn to a sparkly golden tunnel of love. dani had made navy signs with glittery words on them (i wish i had pictures! - "charian" "you did it!" "hooray!" "c+i" and even "dripping with passion"!) and sticks with gold ribbons to wave and she set up a bubble machine that filled the air with magic :) everyone cheered as we walked through the tunnel to our car and it was just about the most fun thirty seconds ever.

...to be continued...


wedding moments, part 2

hey, i just want to say that i know my writing about my wedding (well, and in general) is pretty over-the-top - i get that; i'm aware. but the passionate language is just kind of the point...if the title of this blog and my little blurb doesn't warn you sufficiently...lots of adjectives and dramatic descriptions are my schtick. i genuinely feel that language is so inadequate in expressing the experiences of mortality, but i'm pretty determined to make it work...and with my schtick as a starting off point, certainly the best and biggest 56 hours of my life will yield some dramatic writing. i certainly want to remember those hours as vividly as possible, and i really did feel them deeply.

i also want to say how tremendously grateful i am for my family and friends and all the sacrifices they made to be present at my wedding and to be so amazingly helpful in making it such a dreamy, magical weekend. the boy and i wanted our wedding to be a celebration of not just us, but of everyone who impacted our lives in a way that led to our love and decision to be each other's forever. a huge part of our wedding planning was thinking of things we could do to make not just ourselves feel special but especially to make our loved ones feel special. we wrote personal letters to all of our wedding dinner guests, spent a lot of time making sure that everyone liked what we asked them to wear, had friends and family weigh in on menu items and seating arrangements, contributed financially to travel expenses, and expressed gratitude as much as possible in the midst of the whirlwind of wedding festivities.

our friends and family were so generous and loving in offering to help execute the plans that i worked very, very hard on (and the boy contributed too! :) ) so that we could really peacefully enjoy our events (and because we don't live in the same place where we got married!). we will forever be so grateful for everything they did, from creating table numbers to picking up rental items to greeting vendors to coordinating shuttles to setting up music. i couldn't even make it to our hotel without shooting off some texts and emails of thankfulness. we were so eager to know how things went behind the scenes, and it has been pretty fun to learn about the adventures that happened when we weren't around! it's an amazing thing to have so many people who desire your joy and support your pivotal life events so loyally that the stress of helping to execute your so carefully made plans and dreams is truly an adventure rather than an ordeal.

the boy and i both can't stop talking to each other about how grateful we are to our family and friends, who came from texas, pennsylvania, ohio, arizona, massachussetts, hawaii, new york, california, china, colorado, virginia, washington and various parts of utah to celebrate with us. and it was truly celebration, all around.

okay...to pick up where i left off...some amazing, transcendent, gorgeous, joyful, magnificent, sublime, celestial moments from our wedding day (how's that for overkill? :) ) --

{it was the most beautiful, perfect autumn day on october 9 - brisk but balmy with slanty sunlight. we'd been hoping and praying so hard for good weather, and we had the best!}

-when the boy and i first met in a room in the temple dressed in our temple clothes, we had the best hug. everything was just so surreal. looking back on it feels like i was totally floating through it all. we got to sit together in an intensely beautiful and peaceful place for quite some time together. we weren't sure when we were going to be instructed to enter the sealing room, so we just drank it all in. i remember feeling soooooo in love and sooooo at peace.

-walking into the sealing room, crammed with the people we love most in the world, each watching us with such a glow of love and excitement - wow, that was a spectacular moment. we took our seats and it was quiet and still for a couple of minutes before our sealer arrived. i scanned the room and gosh, there just aren't words for that feeling. my fingertips were tingling and the boy's body was trembling next to mine. the air was heavy. i've thought about being in that spot in space and time quite a lot in my life, and there i was. it was just indescribably sweet.

-when we knelt across the altar from each other, and as the sealer pronounced the words of the ordinance, the boy looked deep, deep into my eyes and did not look away. it was like everything else was a little hazy around his face, but his face was so so crystal clear.

-after the words were said and we were sealed (!!!), the sealer said, playfully, "well, a kiss across the altar is not technically part of the sealing ceremony, so we can skip it if you want," to which the boy confidently replied, "no way." that was surely the best kiss ever. the sealer mentioned that it was sufficient and i mentioned that we could continue if he wanted us to :)

-as i slipped a wedding band onto my new husband's finger, i felt completely and utterly sure that we would keep our promises to each other and to god forever.

-we got to give a hug to each guest as they left the sealing room. this was the tenderest part of the day for me. the constant flow of different brands of love that i have for each person in that room ran through my veins and i just felt doused with adoration and appreciation. every embrace was so so special. oh my goodness, just thinking about it now makes me feel so full up with joy and love.

-after changing into my wedding dress and getting all ready for pictures with my mom and sister saydi, we walked down a long corridor to meet the boy. when we came to an intersection with another corridor, the temple worker who was helping us peeked around the corner to see if the boy was there ready to meet me. i was so bubbly inside and my mom and sister and i giggled together as she spied quickly :) he was there, so i walked around the corner and he had his "first look" at my dress, at me as his wife. i keep saying this! but it was just the best moment - the most pleasing, honeyed, melodious moment of true love.

-we walked together up the stairs to the exit doors, beyond which all our family and friends were waiting for us to emerge. our photographer was there to greet us and give us some instructions and it was this little mini frenzy as a temple worker tried to make sure everyone was ready and my sister splayed out my train and the boy and i looked at each other incredulously, like "this is happening!!" and then we opened the doors to lots of cheers and then so many little hugs.

 to be continued...


wedding moments, part 1

all our wedding festivities have culminated. we had a really wonderful time celebrating in texas in the boy's hometown on the 18th and last saturday was our palo alto reception. we are just blown away at how beautiful, lovely, and fun all of the events have been. we are so incredibly grateful for all of our loved ones who helped to make this happen.

i've spent some energy in the last seventeen days or so trying to figure out if my feeling that our wedding was just so so so tremendously magical and perfect and lovely and the best is just because it was our wedding, or if it really was that good...! i mean, i really can't get over it. i think i was worried that, knowing myself, i would be let down by how things turned out in some way or another. but the complete opposite was true - it was so much better than i could have ever imagined. it was so amazing and happy and fun and special and wonderful. all the work planning really paid off, an hundred fold (and i think our friends and family who put in so much work behind the scenes on the actual weekend and the following saturdays in texas and california feel the same sentiment :) ). it's so crazy that it's all over - that feels simultaneously tragic and triumphant.

during all the festivities in utah (and the other locations, too!), i just tried so hard to sear how everything looked and sounded and tasted and felt right onto my heart, super permanently. and on the plane home to california from utah after our mini-honeymoon, i wrote in my journal some of the moments from our wedding weekend that i want to remember forever, ever.

i felt such a total and luxe brand of calm throughout everything (except a couple moments of rush and chaos, of course!), which was surprising and so wonderful. i was euphorically excited and buoyantly happy, but the calmness pervaded everything entirely, like a super sweet coating on my glowing heart. it was pretty amazing.

until our official pictures come through, i'd love to share a collection of haphazardly collected iphone/sibling camera photos along with some of the favourite moments that i wrote down in my journal. {gosh, i wish i had a perfect picture of every single minute!} this will have to come in installments since there was just soooo much magic and joy october 8th, 9th and 10th (and october 18th in texas and october 25th in california!)

-i felt incredulously happy that my wedding eve had come and that i had so many people i love so dearly around me to celebrate as i looked down a table at my favourite restaurant filled with my favourite women.
{my best friend from basically birth planned a little "bachelorette" lunch for sisters, moms, sister-in-laws and bridesmaids. after eating my favourite meal on earth (dodo roasted turkey sandwich), many of us went to a random little nail salon for manicures and pedicures}

 -i heeded some sage advice of my sister saydi and stopped in my tracks to soak in the merriment and pure goodness at our family dinner. {we gathered our immediate families at the common space in my parents' downtown apartment building for pizza and toasts/roasts and getting to know each other.} in that sliver of time, i was just overcome with love and gratitude for the family i grew up in, the family that gave me my soulmate, and the new family the boy and i were creating together. as i surveyed the room, everything seemed slow and clear amidst the loud, messy, colorful chaos (lots of excited kids!). my heart was floored.
-as the last clean-up was happening after the family dinner, i stole the boy away for a walk across the street to temple square. the autumn weather was so kind, and the temple was bright and white against the indigo night sky. we sat on a bench underneath a tree, our entire vision filled up by the temple in front of us, and shared a moment of such true love sharing some gifts and saying a prayer. it was very tender and golden.
{my sisters and i took a walk around temple square a little later, too, and our conversation and the moment in time felt so surreal but really incredibly glad}
-i woke up on the day of my wedding and put on my running shoes as the dim first light of day snuck in the windows and the house was super silent with sleeping. when i left the house, my lungs were immediately invigorated with mountain air and all the cells of my body were awake with this biggest-day-of-my-life thrill. i ran up the hill, turned around and bam! there was the nearly full moon, hanging so soft in the pale sky above the ruddy colors of fall just barely being illuminated, seeming like a calming little gift from heaven. i prayed and i practiced what i wanted to say at our wedding dinner that night as i ran. and i felt so tremendously peaceful and so ready.
-my mom and i drove together to the sisters' breakfast we had on the wedding morning - just the two of us. the autumn colors coming down parley's canyon to east canyon to emigration canyon were just breathtakingly beautiful, swimming in the crystal clear morning light. we ooohed and ahhhed and then, when we parked the car, we shared a misty moment laced with sweetness that only a mother-daughter relationship can generate.

-my sisters and sister-in-laws presented me with a special-made book of advice and recipes as we ate breakfast at ruth's diner (the same place the boy picked me up from when he surprised me with our proposal trip!). i sat in the very middle of these women that i admire, appreciate and adore more than i could ever put into words and felt like my heart was clobbering all my other organs. also, the biscuits at ruth's diner are really out of this world delicious.
-after i got my hair done and did my makeup at my parents' condo downtown, i said goodbye to my sisters and mom and rode down the elevator by myself, everything silent and still. on the ground floor, i turned the corner to the lobby and there was the boy, waiting for me, beaming, with a rose in hand (bless him!). i don't think we said a word, just hugged so tight. i felt joy from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. we walked across the street together, sat on the edge of the reflecting pool and said a prayer, and then entered the temple.

to be continued!
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