My Story: My Wedding Week

I had the best wedding I could have ever imagined. It was my dream wedding and so much more. We rented a villa in Tuscany and spent a week there with 39 friends and family members. We literally got to party and celebrate the whole week long. We spent a few days in Rome sight-seeing. We spent a day in Florence seeing The David and enjoying my cousin dancing in the street with some of the street performers. We toured a winery and explored the Tuscan countryside. And of course we hung out by the pool at the villa and relaxed as well.

Some of my favorite memories from the week include the opera re-enactment of my husband and my relationship that my family put on, family and friends cooking together in the giant kitchen at the villa, the girls only dinner complete with marriage advice, and of course, the scavenger hunt sort of Italy Pictures 314thing we did - where we paired everyone up in groups of four or so and gave people different things they had to find and buy for our anti-pasta dinner that night. When we got back to the villa everyone had made such great finds and we had a wonderful meal. My dad got different olive oils and balsamic vinegars that had been aged for different amounts of time and we had a massive olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting - yes, it was awesome!

Probably my favorite pre-wedding festivity though was when we went to Sienna. Most Bryan and Iof the group split up and toured around, but Bryan and I got dressed up in our wedding attire and took pictures with our very Italian photographer. It was one of the only times all week where Bryan and I really felt like we got a chance to actually talk. I felt like we got tojust wander around the city and talk and kiss and the photographer took our picture as we went. I'm sure that he gave us much more direction than that, but it felt like it was just the two of us for so much of the day.

Something else really special about that day was that it happened to be the day after the famous horse races in Sienna, so there were flags and parades everywhere honoring the winning family. The main J29square was still filled with mud from the races and there were still bleachers set up off to the side. We hadn't known about the races or planned on any of that, but it ended up being really fun and creating a fun background for some of the pictures. We followed the parade to the end and even got our picture taken with the owner of the winning horse - that picture was in the paper the next day! So, we even got to be semi-famous in Italy.

I also loved my bachelorette party. I had the best bride's maids ever! All six of them are just the coolest ladies ever and we had such a blast talking and giggling and playing truth or dare. There was of Italy Pictures 982course some drinking, and lots of dessert, and even a little skinny dipping in the pool. It was so much fun to just relax with my girls before all the wedding festivities began.

The great thing about having a week with all the wedding guests doing all these things together was that by the end of the week everyone was so comfortable with each other. A lot of people had known each other before the week began, but there were also a lot of people who didn't. By the end of the week it felt like we were all family. Because of that at the wedding there wasn't much "his" side and "her" side separation. We'd all gotten to know each other. It really felt like throughout the week Bryan’s friends and family became my friends and family and my friends and family became his friends and family.

Having a weeklong celebration also meant that well… we got a week long celebration! Instead of feeling like we put in all this planning for ONE party we got to feel like the party just kept going. We got to work up to the wedding, each day celebrating a little more until the big event at the end. I liked that. It really made it last and made it all the more special.

Well, that's the week leading up to my wedding... up next: the ceremony and reception.

Rejoicing in the journey- Bethany Stedman