Ryan and I arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon to kick off Kristen and Matt’s wedding festivities. My friend Leah picked us up at the airport and brought us back to her place where we relaxed, snacked on trail mix and caught up for a few hours before Ryan and I had to leave for Kristen and Matt’s rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Kristen and I have been friends for twenty three years. Isn’t that insane!? We met in first grade and she is my oldest friend. Kristen volunteered to give me a tour of Pleasant Hill Elementary School when my family moved to Palatine, Illinois and I was the “new girl.” We hit it off right from the start and I’m so glad we’ve continued our friendship through separate colleges and miles and miles of distance between us.
Kristen and Matt have quite a crazy story. Their childhood homes are located one neighborhood apart and though Matt is a few years older, they attended the same elementary school, junior high, high school and college and Matt’s sister was in our same grade, but they never met until after college. They are fantastic together and the joy and giddiness they bring out in each other is so wonderful to see.
A Quick Tour of Palatine
Kristen and Matt’s wedding day began with a light rain. The forecast called for showers all day, but fortunately the weatherman was wrong and though the humidity remained, the rain dissipated after 10 a.m.
Before Ryan dropped me off at Kristen’s parents’ house on Saturday morning, we did a super-short tour of Palatine so I could drive by some of my old favorite places. I always feel emotional and nostalgic anytime we go back to the place I consider my childhood home! (My family and I lived in our Palatine house from the time I was in first grade through my senior year in high school.)
We drove by my old schools and my old house.
(My dad installed that basketball hoop and I was so glad to see it’s still there!)
I miss that house so much. It was a wonderful place to grow up and I have so many fantastic memories associated with our time in Palatine.
Kristen lived in the neighborhood next to mine growing up, so after I snapped a few pictures of my old house to text to my family, we made the one minute drive to Kristen’s parents’ place where Ryan dropped me off at 9 a.m. It was time to get the wedding fun started!
Kristen and Matt’s Wedding Day
Kristen is one of the most organized people on the planet and I loved how we were all greeted with an agenda for the day. As a planner myself, I appreciated her attention to detail!
Since I opted out of having my makeup done and my hair appointment was the last one on the schedule, my morning was rather relaxed! Kristen’s four incredibly friendly sorority sisters, her now sister-in-law and her brother’s fiancé were my fellow bridesmaids and I had fun hanging out with all of them and snacking on the breakfast and lunch Kristen’s mom prepared. Of course the best part of the day was spending quality time with the bride-to-be!
Time started to pass faster and faster the closer we got to our intended departure time (isn’t that always the case?) and before we knew it, we were piling into an old fashioned trolley and heading to Holy Family.
Kristen rode to the church with her parents while the bridesmaids and Kristen’s brother rode in the trolley. Once we arrived, we made sure to hide Kristen from her groom and usher her into a room where we waited for guests to arrive before her 2:30 p.m. ceremony began.
There’s something about that waiting room that makes the nerves set in! (My friend Leah married her husband Matt at the same church back in 2011 and I remember the waiting room being the “room of nerves” then as well!)
We played some music and talked about how excited we were for Kristen, how beautiful she looked and how wonderful it would be for her to finally see Matt at the end of the aisle in a few short minutes. Kristen was filled with excited anticipation and when it was time for us to leave her with her dad, we hugged and cheered!
As we lined up, I started to feel nervous and excited as well! Weddings always overwhelm me in the best kind of way.
I walked down the aisle of the church Kristen and Matt and their families have both attended all of their lives and waited to see my best friend and her dad appear.
As the music changed and all of the guests rose from their seats, I watched as Kristen walked toward her future husband with the biggest smile on her face.
Matt’s eyes lit up when he saw Kristen and he was absolutely beaming. I also glanced at Kristen’s older brother who was one of Matt’s groomsmen and someone I’ve known since I was seven. I was touched by the love and pride I saw on his face while he watched his little sister walk down the aisle.
Kristen and Matt’s ceremony was a full Catholic mass and Friar John Paul did a wonderful job of adding unique touches that made the ceremony feel quite personal.
The ceremony included several readings, a unity candle and a special moment where all married couples were encouraged to raise their wedding rings for a blessing. At this moment, I made eye contact with Ryan and had to laugh since his wedding ring is currently resting at the bottom of a lake.
Before we knew it, Friar John Paul was introducing Kristen and Matt as husband and wife and the newlyweds walked back down the aisle, hand-in-hand!
The bridal party exchanged excited hugs with Kristen and Matt before it was time to snap a few pictures and join our dates back on the trolley for some drinks and more pictures before the reception began.
The trolley ride kicked off with a champagne toast before stopping for some outdoor pictures en route to Chandler’s Chophouse.
From this point on, the rest of the evening felt like one big party! Both Kristen and Matt have such a positive energy about them and this seemed to carry over to their reception.
I know this is a random thing to note, but the speeches at their reception were incredible! Kristen’s dad, two best men and two maids of honor gave touching speeches that had everyone raving. They really were that good and it was even more impressive that every single speech was amazing!
There was no shortage of people on the dance floor throughout the evening and I had a blast! From start to finish the whole day felt like Kristen and Matt. It was such a wonderful wedding.
Congratulations again to the happy couple! Thank you so much for including me in your special day.
I hope you have the most amazing time on your honeymoon!