One of my favorite things about weddings in Loudoun County Virginia is that it takes me home. I always love going back and seeing my old stomping grounds, my family and of course running into familiar faces. In this case, Sarah and I went to high school together and have known each other for quite some time. Her wedding guests included many other familiar faces from our high school and even one of my past brides from just over three years ago!
Sarah and Andrew's wedding was full of fun, laughter, and personal touches. Her maid of honor put together a STUNNING floral arrangement for the backdrop to the ceremony, family and friends helped with baking hundreds of cookies for an incredible cookie bar, Carl Winslow was there in spirit with their #carlwinslow923 hashtag, and an heirloom ring from her grandmother was the official wedding band for the day.
Oh yikes. One of my worst fears. There are a few things that I am super anal about when it comes to my couple's weddings. Their gifts, cards and things of sentimental or monetary value. I always count cards, tell multiple people the count, and make sure that they are secure along with any gifts pretty early in the night. Heirloom items that have been in families for generations are always handled with great care and supervision and packed securely once they have been used for their purpose. In Sarah's case, one of those heirloom pieces was her wedding band. It was her grandmothers ring, and moments before the ceremony, it went missing. SO... what happens. When the best man approached me saying he couldn't find the ring, my first response was "Are you sure?". "Yes, I never had it." "Ok, let's go look." Keep in mind this is 15 minutes before the ceremony is to begin. Sarah's wedding band was so much smaller than Andrew's that it wasn't noticed at first in the bag they came together in. Crisis averted. I thought.
While lining everyone up to start the ceremony, Stephen (best man) approached me. He had a look. The only thing I said... "you lost it didn't you...?", his response, "I don't know where it went". So, we, myself, Andrew (groom) and Stephen (best man), headed back to the groom's suite and literally tore the couch cushions out and scoured the floors. No luck. He reached back in his pocket and that's when he realized there was a hole in it. We knew he hadn't been far so it was somewhere inside the building. I turned to him and handed him one of my bands. "Put this on your pinky, DO NOT lose it, we'll find hers". He looked at me kind of confused, I assured him we would find it, but she needed a ring to get married with. We left the groom's suite and went back to the line up. The remaining groomsmen, parents and bridesmaids looked at us and asked "Do you have it?", my response, "Everything is under control". What else do you do in that situation, you lie. I didn't feel like anyone else needed to be in on the secret.
We began the ceremony. As I sent the last of the bridal party, I walked into the Bridal suite and told my bride it was time. I also let her in on the secret. I told her that her ring was missing... that's when she told me it was her grandmothers. My heart sank for a brief second. I told her it would be fine, that Stephen had one of mine and not to look shocked when it was placed on her finger. I never once questioned telling her. You get married one time right? The last thing I wanted to happen on her wedding day was for her photographer to snap a picture of an unfamiliar ring being placed onto her hand. I could think of 100 different ways that picture could look, and a look of shock or what in the world, was not how I wanted her to remember those moments for years to come. I do not regret those 20 seconds, from walking in the door to her suite, telling her the secret, lining her up at the door, fluffing her dress and sending her down the aisle.
I normally get to spend the ceremony watching from the back, this time, myself and the Venue owner as well as the catering staff went on lockdown. We locked all of the exterior doors to the venue, flipped the couch cushions in the grooms suite (again), scoured the floors to the venue before the chairs and tables were set into place, and crawled on our hands and knees in the men's bathroom just to be sure. No luck. The ceremony was ending, I had to go get my bridal party. First question from Sarah "Did you find it?", my response "No yet, but we will." Now that we had man power in the bridal party, I let them in on the secret. At first they laughed at me and said "you're good!", "what a poker face", and after a chuckle the search began. The groomsmen went to work, a strip search started on the Best Man, maybe it fell in a shoe, or sock? A few moments after he shut the door we heard cheers. He didn't get too far, before it was found. Not on him, or even in that room, but laying on the floor between two tables. It was very clear that it fell out of his pocket, down his leg and rolled into the place it was found. After a sigh of relief, a few candid photos of Andrew placing the REAL ring on Sarah's finger, the weight was lifted and they were left with a story to tell their future children.
WHAT I LEARNED
It takes a village... and quick thinking. Telling everyone would have caused more stress than needed. Once the critical parts were over, the collective effort of the catering staff and bridal party got the job done and found the ring. The rest of the evening at Shadow Creek was picture perfect. Many thanks to everyone for pulling together and finding what some may call a tiny piece of metal, but something that held so much sentimental value.
Venue: Shadow Creek
Coordination: Two River Events
Florals: Rick's Flowers
DJ Grant: Play Productions
Cake & Cupcakes: Sweet Lilies Bakery