This post is long... and full of photos stolen from various friend's and family's cameras... I'll post more once we get the rest back from our awesome photographers.
April 12, 2012 was by far the best day of my life. That's saying a lot considering the vast quantity of epic moments that have made up my 25 years.
I woke up after a sleep in my cloud-like bed and hugged my soon-to-be husband. It was our wedding day! We opted for breakfast at the resort next to ours, trying to avoid the giddy guests who were certain to shower us with attention that I wasn't ready for. I'm not a fan of being the centre of attention, so walking down the aisle was a great enough task in itself.
After a couple of delicious platefuls of french toast and bacon, we returned to the resort. It was time to part ways for the day! Since our wedding ceremony was so late in the day, we didn't feel the need to spend the night prior apart. I would have gone crazy. Enjoying our morning together was the perfect way to calm our nerves and begin the day.
Ryan was off to his parent's room, while I wandered the resort in search of friends and family. I'd managed to get a sunburn the day before the wedding, despite all of my desperate sunscreen applications in the days prior. Fortunately, it had turned into more of a tan overnight, and my friend Carley joined me in the shade for the day, nursing her own painful sunburn. We sat on the balcony drinking pina coladas and relaxing. I felt so fortunate to be able to just have so much time to enjoy my day. Weddings back home always seem so rushed and busy.
Around lunch time my friend Talin came to my room, along with our awesome photographers Dylan and Whitney. Talin made my hair big and beautiful, and I felt so grateful to have her there! I am completely incompetent when it comes to makeup, so I'd made an appointment at the spa right after my hair was finished. It was a bit tricky trying to communicate with the makeup artist who spoke limited English, but when all was said and done I was happy with the result.
Back to my room I went, trying to avoid running into Ryan in the process. I had time to spare, so I relaxed as Talin made my mom's hair beautiful. I watched the clock as the time to the ceremony grew closer. Before I knew it, friends were flooding into my room to see me and get in their photos before I was too busy taking photos with my new husband instead. With my mom's help, I put on my dress and felt like Cinderella as my friends helped adorn me with my jewelry... it was almost time to go!
As everyone headed outside to get seated for the ceremony, we did last minute touch-ups and waited for our cue. Unfortunately Talin had been so busy slaving over making my mom and I look good that she barely had time to get ready herself. When the wedding coordinator showed up to pick me up, she still needed to run back to her room (which happened to be on the other side of the resort) to change into her dress. I'm kind of obsessive about being on time, but this was worth waiting for. We appreciated all of her help and there was no way we'd start without her... besides, isn't the bride supposed to be late?!
Once she'd made it back in record time, I walked into the hallway with my mom on one side and my stepdad on the other. I heard the music start and it was time to turn the corner and walk down the aisle. My aisle! Oh my goodness, it was time for my wedding!
Grinning from ear to ear, I walked across the sand to my smiling fiancé. There were cameras surrounding us and the scenery was amazing, but I didn't see much aside from him. We stood hand in hand as we said our vows and officially became Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and Krysta Shippelt. (I'll have you know, typing that was extremely strange...)
Everything was perfect. The weather, the company, and the joy that we felt. It was better than chocolate and airplanes and skydiving and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time... combined. It was the happiest moment of my life... and then we kissed!
We walked back down the aisle to glasses of champagne and proceeded to toast all 34 of our awesome guests.
After a few group photos we ushered them to the cocktail hour to load up on snacks and drinks while we headed down the beach with our photographers and got a few shots as the sun set behind us. We headed back to begin our reception... which was awesome, in my biased opinion.
It all began with dinner. I'd made up menus that were very aviation geek-ish and therefore great. We dined on a tomato and zucchini salad that was super yummy, followed by a beef filet tournedo with mashed potatoes and asparagus, which was incredible. Dessert was a hazelnut chocolate mousse. As we ate dinner, we squished sand beneath our toes and all was right in the world, if only for a night. Rather than clinking glasses to get us to kiss, we requested that our guests get on the dance floor, grab the maracas from the table and do a dance for us. This resulted in many laughs and a few hilarious videos. Once everyone was well fed, it was time to dance... on our light up dance floor. With our entire group barefoot, we danced under the stars, taking a break for cake... mocha flavour! I only got a few bites that Ryan fed me, and then it was back to the dance. I tossed my bouquet to Talin, and Ryan tossed my garter to Kyle. We carried on with the party, even extending it an extra hour because we weren't ready for it to end.
Finally, it was time to call it a night. We headed back to our room to drop off our stuff, found a bottle of champagne left by the hotel staff, and proceeded to the lobby to share it... we weren't ready for the party to end!
As people parted ways... some to bed, others to the clubs, we called it a night and retreated to our room. It had been the perfect day, and I felt like the luckiest, happiest girl in the whole world.
The next morning we awoke to our first day as a married couple. It was Friday the 13th, but bad luck was nowhere in sight. We ordered a feast from room service for a romantic breakfast in our room, and then enjoyed a morning of sunshine and cocktails. The wedding fun wasn't quite over yet... later that afternoon we got all dressed up once again and met up with our photographers for our trash the dress photo shoot. I'd been looking forward to it for months. We strolled the streets, taking photos as people drove by honking and shouting "Novio! Novio!" . After our city shots, it was back to the beach... and into the water. I'd got a ridiculously good deal for my wedding dress, so I wasn't at all afraid of getting it dirty and soaking wet. We sat in the waves, posing for photos not only from Dylan and Whitney, but also from amused passer-by's.
On the way back to our rooms to dry off and change, Ryan requested a photo of us making "sand-angels". I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of lying in the sand and flailing my arms, but I knew how happy it would make him and reluctantly agreed. Yuck! It was all worth it though, we'll do anything for a good photo!
I showered the sand off, wearing my dress, and then took it off for what may be the last time. The thought of that made me a bit sad, but we'd had an incredibly perfect wedding and I was so satisfied in how great everything had turned out.