Daniel means so much to us as a couple because Daniel and Ryan were college roommates and it felt like we were the “three amigos” for years and years. Daniel was also the best man in our wedding and he is someone both of us consider one of our very best friends. Seeing him so happy and in love with Katie who we truly believe is his perfect match in every way brings us so much joy. Their wedding weekend was so special and I’m grateful we could be a part of it.
We arrived in Jacksonville on Thursday and the boys were psyched for a few nights of sleepovers with Mae and Pop while Ryan, my father-in-law and I continued south for the wedding festivities.
We spent most of Friday morning in Jacksonville before making our way to Orlando for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. After a rehearsal at the church, we enjoyed cocktails and a delicious meal at Russel’s on Ivanhoe. The bride’s sister-in-law and mother put together the sweetest slideshow of Daniel and Katie and included interviews with their parents about the couple. It was such a creative take on a traditional slideshow and had all of us laughing more than once at their sweet and hilarious answers, advice and stories.
We wrapped up the night by heading out to a local outdoor bar and enjoyed some drinks before calling it a night.
I slept horribly on Friday night which is never fun but admittedly extra annoying since I was away from the boys and my body decided to rebel and keep me up for hours. Cool, cool.
Thankfully my lack of sleep and Ryan’s early internal alarm clock gave us a few hours of time alone in the morning to drive to Thornton Park, park our car and walk around our old stomping grounds. Ryan and I met in college in Orlando and lived together in the city for four years before moving to Ocala and eventually North Carolina so it was nostalgic to be back in a place that means a lot of us.
We walked by our old homes and it took us back to such a fun time in our lives.
The above apartment was located in the back of a bungalow and cost $600 a month in rent. We called it the “mini house” and we lived there while I worked at my first job our of college as a public relations assistant for the Orlando Museum of Art. It had a washing machine that hooked up to the sink and was the place we lived in when we brought little puppy Sadie home with us!
My favorite Orlando apartment was the second place we lived together and it’s also the place where we lived when I started the blog! Memoriesss.
Our third Orlando apartment was only a few houses down from our second and was located behind another bungalow. This is the place we not-so-affectionally refer to as the Mouse House because it had a horrible mouse infestation. We moved into that house because we loved the large fenced-in backyard for Sadie and it was our first home together as a married couple!
After passing all of our previous homes, we walked around Lake Eola as Ryan practiced his best man speech aloud with me.
We then hopped back into the car to drive over to Baldwin Park for breakfast and another quick trip down memory lane. We drove past the dog park where we took Sadie a million times over the years and the little spot by a lake where we got engaged!
Eventually Ryan’s duties as best man in the wedding kicked in and I dropped him off at Daniel’s house before driving to Great Clips for a much-needed haircut. Four inches later and I felt like new woman!
Since the wedding took place at 2 p.m. at a local Catholic church, I didn’t have much time to get back to the hotel to change and curl my hair before my father-in-law joined me and we drove back to Daniel’s house to pick up the groom, Ryan and Daniel’s nephew.
We had about an hour at the church before the ceremony officially began and then everyone took their seats and beautiful music began playing. Katie looked absolutely gorgeous and watching Daniel’s face fill with emotion as she walked down the aisle was my favorite moment of the ceremony.
“You may now kiss the bride!”
Following the reception, we drove over to Armando’s, an Italian restaurant frequented by Katie’s family, and it was such a great spot to continue the wedding celebrations. The drinks, food and dancing were all fabulous and we had the best time letting loose, dancing our hearts out and listening to heartfelt and hilarious speeches from Ryan, the maid-of-honor, Katie’s father and Daniel.
Since our ties to the couple come through Daniel, this was our first time meeting Katie’s extended family and we commented more than once that Daniel is lucking out big-time with her crew. Everyone was so fun and welcoming and we had the best time partying it up with the blended groups of family and friends.
The reception flew by and before we knew it, the DJ announced last call and we were hugging friends and family goodbye. We had a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call on the agenda so we could drive two hours back to Jacksonville and scoop up the boys before continuing on with the 6+ hour drive back to Charlotte.
We spent a little time at my parents’ place on Sunday morning and dug into a delicious cheese puff casserole my mom prepared for our gang as we chatted about their time with the boys. I loved all of the pictures and updates my parents sent me throughout the weekend and it sounds like they had a great time filling their days with beach time, s’mores in Leslie and Ross’ backyard, lizard hunting and pizza!
Sunday passed by in a blur of travels back home and once we made it back to Charlotte we didn’t have much time to spare before dinner and the whole bath + bed time routine.
The week ahead should be a good one over here and I’m hoping to have the chance to update the blog a few times, possibly with another gift guide if I can find the time to put it together soon!
Enjoy your Monday, my friends!