Shared with Christina Block’s kind permission, the pictures featured in this blog post were taken by the incredibly talented team behind Christina Block Photography.
Ross and Leslie’s Wedding: Part Two
Leslie, her bridesmaids and her flower girl all arrived at the wedding venue 45 minutes before the ceremony began. We wanted to be sure the bride was hidden from her groom and guests and while we chatted away, Ross and his groomsmen finished their pictures on a quiet St. Augustine street.
Recognize anyone? Ryan was one of Ross’ groomsmen!
As longtime blog readers know, Ryan and Ross were fraternity brothers and best friends in college. (Ross was also a groomsmen in our wedding!) I’ve known Ross for 10 years and could not have been more thrilled when he started dating my sister. It was wonderful to see Ross surrounded by men from all stages of his life and a handful of guys I know and adore from college.
Before their wedding day, Leslie surprised Ross with peach argyle socks to wear which I thought looked awesome with his classy black tuxedo.
Once the last of the groomsmen pictures were done, the guys walked to The White Room to greet guests before the ceremony began.
While I waited with my sister and her bridesmaids downstairs, Leslie’s photographer told Leslie is was time for a special pre-ceremony moment with Ross where they were able to hold hands, talk to each other and pray on either side of a wall without Ross seeing his bride.
Though I wasn’t there for this moment, I can say that when Leslie returned to the room where we were all waiting, she was beaming. Her nervous energy seemed to evaporate and she was filled with an excited calm. More than ever, it seemed like she was ready to marry Ross.
In the moments before we were ushered upstairs, Leslie’s bridesmaid Allyson said a prayer for the wedding ahead and Ross and Leslie’s future together.
After some tears and hugs, it was time to pack into the elevator and line up! It was almost time to walk down the aisle!
The mothers of the bride made their way down the aisle first. Ross’ mother was escorted by his brother and best man, Jeremy.
Ryan escorted my mom down the aisle before joining the other groomsmen by Ross’ side.
As the bridesmaids began walking down the aisle, my sister, dad and I huddled together and shared some last-minute “I love yous” and hugs. As I left the two of them together, I took a deep breath to keep the tears back.
When I took my first step down the aisle, I remember immediately locking eyes with Ross. He looked confident and nervous at the same time. As he stood under the gorgeous wooden cross, I walked toward him and knew he couldn’t wait to see the woman who would follow the precious flower girl behind me.
My little sister. His bride. His wife.
When I asked Leslie whether or not she thought Ross would cry on their wedding day weeks before the ceremony, she said, “No. He feels like there’s pressure on the groom to cry… like everyone wants the groom to cry or something. He thinks that will psych him out, so I don’t think he will cry.”
She was wrong.
Her groom cried.
And I will never forget the way he looked at my sister that day.
I will also never forget the way my sister looked at him.
That is Leslie’s I’m trying as hard as I can not to cry face.
And this is my dad’s Forget it, I am crying and I can’t stop face.
As the pastor asked my dad the standard, “Who presents this woman to be married to this man” question, his reply was barely audible as he hugged and kissed my sister and placed her hands in Ross’.
After the pastor welcomed everyone and shared some beautiful words about Leslie and Ross, it was time for the bride and groom to exchange their vows. They elected to write their own vows and share them with each other for the first time on their wedding day.
They were emotional, funny and extremely heartfelt.
As Ross and Leslie recited their vows and the tears started flowing, my dad and Ross’ mom stepped up from their seats in the front row and handed them tissues for their tears which they gratefully accepted!
More laughter came once my sister was done with her soggy tissue and decided to hand it to me. Some things only sisters can get away with, right!?
That was one of those hilarious, “Did that really just happen!?” moments for sure!
Hearing Ross and Leslie speak such loving words to each other made everything inside of me overflow with happiness. I have all the faith in the world in their relationship.
They are wonderful apart, but even better together.
Soon after their vows, it was time to exchange rings. I was responsible for carrying Ross’ ring and made sure to keep it safe on my thumb until it was time for me to pass it off.
For my parents’ 30-year wedding anniversary, my mom and dad changed out their original wedding rings. The ring that now sits on Ross’ left hand is actually my dad’s original wedding band, melted down and fitted to Ross’ finger and style preference.
After the exchange of rings, it was time to kiss the bride!
Husband and wife!
I have never seen Ross or Leslie look happier than they did that day!
To be continued…
Reception fun to come!