Monday, August 1, 2011

At Last

Friday, July 29, 2011 started on a worrisome note. I woke up at 7am and worked on a few last minute things on my computer. My mom called around 8am and said her doctor had just advised her to go to the emergency room because the pain in her ribs had intensified over the past few days (she was injured on July 18th by a ride at Kings Island Amusement Park). My best friend and matron of honor Amy called around 9am and we chatted for about 30 minutes while she drove home from the chiropractor; thankfully she was feeling okay. Finally, I heard from Greg, who was not feeling well due to nerves and a few too many beers & wings at his impromptu bachelor party at Buffalo Wild Wings the previous night.
Doug LaRowe rides with us to our hotel a few hours before the wedding
Greg and his brother Doug picked me up from my grandmother's house around 12:30pm. We drove to Holiday Inn Vanderbilt where Greg & I would be staying for the night. We had about an hour to kill before we needed to go to the chapel, so we transferred some music to Greg's iPod to play during the post-ceremony photo shoot and Greg ate some Kashi granola bars and pretzel snacks I had brought. I decided to go ahead and apply my makeup, hoping that I would not get too hot decorating the chapel and have to re-do it.
Skinner Chapel undecorated
Skinner Chapel decorated for our wedding
 We arrived at the chapel around 3:00pm and immediately started decorating. Doug placed the slipcovers over the chairs, Greg set up the music and I worked on the altar arrangement and garlands (I made the altar arrangement, my bouquet & Greg's boutonnier using silk flowers from Hobby Lobby and ribbon from Michaels). Amy & Eric Johnston arrived by 3:30 and she did a wonderful job tying all of the eggplant organza sashes over the chairs. Greg's best man Eric Speich and his girlfriend Jennifer arrived by 4:00pm as did my dad and his wife Debbie who was also our wedding photographer. By that point we were pretty much finished with the decorating and could relax for a few minutes before getting dressed. This was made easier by the Jameson Irish Whiskey and wine that was provided by the Johnston's!
Eric Johnston instructs Doug LaRowe as to how to serve the pre-wedding whiskey
All of our guests had been instructed to wait in a nearby building upon their arrival at Scarritt-Bennett Center. Skinner Chapel only seats 20 people (we had 17 guests excluding our officiant Ralph Griggs, Greg & myself). Amy & I got dressed in the auditorium adjacent to the chapel while Greg got dressed in the bathroom. Other than having a little difficulty getting Greg's boutonnier pinned on as well as tying a bow on my gown's sash (the satin was so heavy it made the bow droop so Amy & Debbie had to pin it together), the whole getting ready process went smoothly.
Amy Johnston helps me get dressed
The pre-ceremony music started at 4:40pm and Eric Speich & Doug LaRowe seated our guests two by two. I hid in the auditorium so that the only people who saw me in my dress prior to the ceremony were Amy and Debbie. The ceremony started at 5:00pm as our officiant, Greg, Eric and Amy walked in one by one to "The Best Is Yet To Come" (Frank Sinatra). Finally it was my turn and I walked in to "At Last" (Etta James).
my Matron of Honor Amy Johnston and Greg's Best Man Eric Speich are with us as we begin the ceremony
The ceremony lasted approximately 12 minutes. Everything was perfect although our officiant did mispronounce my name a couple of times in the very beginning. Luckily he corrected it for all the critical parts of the ceremony! Once we were presented as Mr. & Mrs. Greg LaRowe, we walked out to "I Feel Good" (James Brown). Greg's brothers Doug & Brian served everyone glasses of celebratory Barefoot Bubbly champagne immediately following the ceremony.
Greg & I enjoying a glass of champagne after the ceremony
After a short break we started posing for photos, first with our officiant, then with our family and friends (I had asked Debbie not to take any during the ceremony due to the small size of the chapel). Greg & I then moved outside for a few shots on the beautiful grounds of Scarritt-Bennett while our friends dismantled the chapel decorations and our family proceeded to the reception.
L-R: my sister Emily Corbin, my step-dad Ronnie Campbell, my mom Diane Patterson Campbell, the bride & groom, my paternal grandmother Betty Smartt, my dad Jerry Smartt, my step-mom (and our wedding photographer) Debbie Smartt
Greg's youngest brother Brian LaRowe, his dad Dave LaRowe, the bride & groom, Greg's mom Linda LaRowe, Greg's brother Doug LaRowe
We arrived at Nero's Grill just a few minutes past our scheduled 7:00pm dinner time. Once we were all comfortably seated in the Cactus Room and everyone had something to drink, we started to eat. Our first course was a mixed greens salad, followed by a choice of steak, chicken or salmon. For dessert we had red velvet cake with lavender-colored icing made by Anne's Bakery.
Greg & I cut the cake
Our private dining room was connected to XM satellite radio which we had tuned to Station 66 (Smooth Jazz) for background music. Greg & I had prepared a slideshow featuring over 800 photos of us from the past 2 1/2 years as well as highlights from our around-the-world trip which ran continuously throughout our dinner (you can see many of these photos by clicking on the slideshow on the right side of this blog's home page).
Best Man Eric Speich opens his gift from us - a custom-engraved beer mug
After all the toasting and feasting, most of the group moved into the bar area where Teri Reid & Jenny Hoeft were playing live music. No party would be complete without a rendition of Rocky Top and a little dancing (Teri's selection for us was I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher)!
our first dance as Mr & Mrs Greg LaRowe
Thanks to all our family and friends who were part of this special evening. We had a wonderful time!!!
The link to some of my favorite pictures from our wedding is embedded in this post's title.

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