A Weekend Away

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good morning and happy Wednesday to all of you! I'm up bright and early today, ready for 4 hours of genetics lectures, followed by an emergency medicine club lunch meeting, and then 4 more hours of clinical lecturing. ::twirls finger in air:: After the heaviness of yesterday's post, I decided it was time for something a bit lighter and more fun, so get ready for some photos and stories from our weekend away in North Carolina for Mike and Jen's wedding!

The journey started on August 7th at the unholy hour of 4 am. Ken and I piled into the car and drove to the Trenton-Mercer "airport", a term that I use loosely. Very loosely. In the loosest sense of the word. As in... yes, there were airplanes there and you could theoretically get from one location to another utilizing said airplane, but it was not a real airport. We figured that at 5 am, this tiny airport would be a ghost town. 


The entry area of the "terminal" was packed. Wall to wall with confused people with too many bags, small children, and not a clue of where to go. There was one desk to check in and check bags, so Ken and I figured that since we had already printed our boarding passes and paid for our checked bag that we could just throw our bag at someone and be on our way. 

Wrong again.

It took us almost an hour of standing in this painfully long and disorganized line to throw our bag at someone. There was a remarkably unhelpful agent who seemed intent on yelling at people, and plenty of angry travelers who were more than happy to yell back at her. There was also a completely inept family in front of us with 2 kids, a boy about 4 and an infant girl in a carrier. The father had completely checked out and was leaving the mom to wrangle both kids, and the poor 4 year old was having a meltdown because it was 5 am and he was 4. I partially felt bad for them, but I mostly felt like I wanted to punch them in the face. 

Once we got through the check-in line, we went to security, where the inept family followed us and mucked up the entire process by bringing what appeared to be every liquid they owned. Then a random guy tried to walk through security to give something to his family, because apparently he's been living in a cave and it's no longer 1965, so he almost got himself arrested. It was probably the most excitement that has ever occurred at the Trenton-Mercer airport. Ever. We got through security and went to our gate... which was one of 2 gates. TWO. There was nowhere to get anything to eat, really, but there was a bar (priorities, people) and a fridge case with some drinks, yogurt, and sandwiches. After a haphazard boarding, we packed into the plane and I promptly fell asleep before the plane even taxied down the runway.

A little over an hour later, we touched down in Raleigh-Durham and headed to the rental car place. Then, since we had been up since 4 am and it was now 9 am and we hadn't yet eaten, we headed to Elmo's Diner for breakfast. Jen had been telling us about it for years, and we knew we had to go at least once while we were down there. It certainly did not disappoint! I had the most amazing apple cinnamon French toast that basically melted in my mouth, and the coffee was amazing. So good. 

Why is there greenery on my French toast? Get that out of here.
After breakfast, we headed to the house where we were staying in Chapel Hill, which was about 25 minutes from Durham itself. We were fortunate to be able to stay at a family friend's house, which saved us a ton of money (and had bonus kitties!) Essentially, we got to the house and passed the hell out for four hours. It was glorious.

That night, we were able to meet up with Mike and Jen at one of their favorite hangouts, Satisfaction's, for dinner and drinks. It was so good to get them to ourselves for a couple of hours before the craziness of the rehearsal and the wedding set in. Also, as a life-long North Easterner, I was highly skeptical of pizza in NC, but I trusted Mike and Jen to not lead us astray. (I can think of few things worse than bad pizza.) Fortunately, the pizza was AWESOME, and we had a great time relaxing, talking about marriage, and playing with the camcorder that their videographer had given them to document their weekend. (Seriously can't wait to see that one!)

Ken with our cider and beer!
Jen, with her "something blue" cocktail
Mike and me! Friends since we were awkward 11 year olds. Now we're older and... still awkward.

Friday started with manicures and pedicures for the ladies of the bridal party, which was super relaxing. I seriously think I almost fell asleep. Afterwards, Ken and I grabbed brunch (where I ate more French toast... because I have a problem) and then headed back home to get ready for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner later that evening. Despite some rain, the rehearsal went well and the MOH, Anne, and I realized that if we were getting teary during the fake vows that the actual wedding day was going to be... full of tissues.

Anne, me, Jen, Jen's sister Sarah, and Jen's momma!
Duke Chapel in all of its glory!
Mike and me, again!
Saturday morning, we hit the ground running. Ken and I abducted picked Mike up from the hotel for coffee and pastries for breakfast, and then Ken left me at the hotel to get hair and make-up done with the ladies. I spent most of the day in the bridesmaid room, with a fair bit of running down the hall to Mike's room once hair and make-up were done. The girls' room was a lot of fun. Disney music (with sing-alongs, of course), lunch, giggling, and lots of silly pictures.

Jen, me, Lee, and Anne (MOH) in various stages of readiness!

Card delivery!
Hair stylists are magical. So are bobby pins.
Anne is working hard on her MOH speech, while Connie was working on her MBA readings, haha
Garter time! Complicated process.
Delivering superglue for broken cuff links... the best groomsmaid is on it!
Mike made us all cry when he read his card from Jen. Thank God for waterproof make-up.
Lacing her up!
After we were all ready, it was time for the first look! Sadly, it was raining, so we couldn't go outside to the grounds of the Washington Duke Inn, but the inside of the hotel is quite lovely, so the wedding planner and photographer picked out a great spot. As most first looks are, it was incredibly sweet. Cue more tears.

Then we piled into the limos and away we went! We took some more photos at the church, during which my grandmother's pearls totally broke and I nearly had a meltdown. Fortunately, the wedding planner swooped in and performed some magic using floral wire, and my pearls were individually knotted, so I threw the one that had escaped from the strand into my bag and the day went on. WHEW. Before we knew it, it was time for the ceremony! 

It. Was. GORGEOUS. They had an organist, as well as a trumpet player. Jen was escorted by her adorable father down the aisle to Trumpet Voluntary, and from the first note, I had tears. Thank God I had shoved tissues into my bouquet, because I was very close to ugly-crying, haha. It was just so romantic and grand and beautiful, and Jen was simply glowing. I loved watching Mike's face as his bride came down the aisle, and Anne and I were basically a mess. Not a dry eye among us! Jen and Mike are both fabulous musicians, and they met during high school while doing the musical. Jen went to Duke and sang in the chapel choir for 4 years, and so they had a portion of the choir there for their ceremony, which was just so lovely. They picked beautiful hymns and readings, and the priest they chose was from a program that Jen had volunteered with for a year after graduation, so he knew both her and Mike really well. Everything went off without a hitch, I didn't drop the rings, and there were plenty of happy tears.

They're so married!
Look at that smile. <3

After the ceremony, Anne and I signed the marriage license (official!) and then the bridal party headed to the cocktail hour while Mike, Jen, and their families took some more photos. The reception started right on time with fun entrances by the bridal party (Anne and I walked into together and "vogued" our way into the reception) and then Mike and Jen shared their first dance to "Bless the Broken Road". They surprised everyone with an amazingly fun and beautifully choreographed dance, and they just looked so happy. 

After some parent dances, we had dinner, which was lovely, and then the dance party started! There may or may not have been a shot taken by... the entire reception... and there was a s'mores bar! I was too busy eating s'mores to take photos, but trust me, it was amazing. Every event should have a s'mores bar, in my opinion. I might need to look into that for my next party...

Some scenes from the reception:

Monogrammed cookie with ice cream, because more desserts are always better!
These two little kids were on the dance floor constantly. Adorable!
Beautiful centerpieces!
Mike and me in the limo on our way to the reception!
The adorable and thoughtful clutch that Mike gave me for being his Best Groomsmaid :)

Disney magic and delicious cake!
Right before my Best Groomsmaid speech! Fortunately, I ended it right before I started crying uncontrollably.

After the reception, which ended around midnight, Mike and Jen invited Anne, Ken, and myself to Cook-Out, a local fast-food joint, for milkshakes! It was really fun... and delicious. (And no, calories so don't count when you're on vacation.... right?)

Anne, Jen, Mike, and me!
And then... we went home and I took 947 bobby pins out of my hair, took a shower, and collapsed into bed. We had another early morning the next day for our flight back to the fabulous Trenton airport, and I wanted to soak up all the sleep I could get. I can honestly say that it was one of the most fun weddings I have been to, and I am so glad that I could be there for Mike and Jen!

As expected, Trenton was a hot mess and even though we landed on time, we had to sit in the plane because "baggage claim" was over-capacity. That's probably because their "baggage claim" area was literally a trailer, and there wasn't even a baggage carousel, just a loading dock through which bags were unceremoniously tossed. Ken and I were not impressed:

Thank the Lord, our bag came to us in one piece and we were on our way. Home sweet home. 

The rest of that Sunday, I was out running errands to get prepped for the week, which meant Target, grocery shopping, and Staples (for school supplies!) I love buying school supplies. #nerdstatus

So that was the wedding weekend. There are so many things that I can't put into words that made the weekend wonderful. There was a warmth and love that was palpable, and Mike and Jen were sent into their married life with so much joy. I truly felt blessed to be a part of their special day, and it made me realize just how fortunate I am to have such long-lasting friendships as a part of my life. It was also great to get away for a long weekend, even if it was packed with activity. Sometimes, you just need a change of scenery and a few days to eat, laugh, and celebrate love. I hope you all have time to do that sometime soon. It's nice to remember that life can be sweet.

- A


  1. Looks like a fun trip and a beautiful wedding! I've always wanted to visit Durham. :)

  2. It was SUCH a good trip! I wish we could have stayed longer and explored the area... it's so beautiful and the people are so sweet. Also, I'm sure there's more French toast I could have eaten, haha. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  3. Ugh, I don't even know how you survived that! I think I may have walked back to Indy if I were you.


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