(This post is long overdue – forgive my tardiness.)
Do yourself a favor and press “play” below and listen to the song while you read this post. A) It’s a great rendition of the all-time classic. B) You’ll understand later in this post. (Disregard the video … it’s the only one I could find.)
12 weddings in a year-and-a-half. Crazy, right? You got the low-down of the first half of my non-stop wedding schedule in part one of this blog, so I am just going to pick up right where I left off, when we went to Chicago for Tiffany and Brian’s wedding. And three months later … we flew back to Chicago for another one.
So, where was I? Oh yes, we’d traveled 3,194.48 miles up to this point.
(This post is lengthy … thought I’d warn you in advance.)
#6. Ross Wedding, August 6, 2011
This was the first time I would meet a lot of Jimmy’s family, including the bride and groom. We had just ended a week-long vacation with Jimmy’s mom, dad and sister in Door County, WI. (I’d never hear of it either. J’s family has gone on annual vacations to this beautiful, quaint town for all of his life and this was the first time he took a girl with him. Cute, right?)

But I digress. That Friday afternoon, we the five of us piled in the Honda Pilot and made the six-hour trek to Bloomington, IL, where Jimmy’s cousin would be married. This is where the groom, Thure, and his bride, Laura, met in college. We got there in just enough time to change for the rehearsal dinner and head downstairs to the hotel’s banquet room.
We spent the evening mingling with Jimmy’s family, celebrating the couple, playing beer pong (I know, awesome rehearsal, right?) and enjoying a few local brews from the tap house across the street. Then it was time for the big day. A charter bus picked everyone up from the hotel and drove us to the wedding and rehearsal . Good thing, because it was out in the middle of nowhere and we would have all gotten lost. (Well, we did, actually. The bus driver got slightly confused…) The venue was gorgeous – it was at a private club on acres of green grass and bright flowers. Everything was draped in a deep purple, a buffet lined the center of the dining room and the entire back wall was lined with windows which overlooked the scenery.  Thure and Laura were grinning ear to ear the entire time and couldn’t have been happier.  One great thing about Jimmy’s family (there is much more than just one thing, no worries) … they know how to tear up the dance floor! I even had his dad out there doing the Dougie!! Yes, seriously.
 It was a great excuse for a vacation, a beautiful wedding and so much fun getting to know all of Jimmy’s family!
 #7. Kline Wedding, September 10, 2011
Well, this one didn’t pan out quite like the rest. I met Lindsay, the bride, shortly after I moved to Jacksonville. She and I quickly became very close. She lived with me for a few months before moving to Orlando, where she met her now husband. She and Scott were to be married at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, FL, Lindsay asked me to be her maid of honor and I accepted with pleasure. She was going to have a small beach wedding and found gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer dresses she wanted her bridesmaids to wear. Not long after purchasing these, she found a J Crew dress she liked better, so we got those, too. Fortunately, she was working at Lily so we got a great deal on the dress! And since she changed her mind about the dresses, she bought the second one for us a sa  gift. Unfortunately, things went south, we had a falling out for a variety of silly reasons and I was no longer the MOH … or in the wedding. I didn’t attend the wedding, but I saw pictures on Facebook and it looked beautiful. 
#8. Forrest Wedding, October 22, 2011
We met Sean and Sidney in April 2011 when we moved in to a new apartment complex. They were the most adorable couple you’ve ever seen. Both redheaded and as sweet as could be. He is way over six-feet tall and she is barely five-feet tall. They are both musically talented, artistic and full of personality. They’d been dating for seven years (I believe) and were engaged when we met them. We all became very close and Jimmy and I were extremely delighted when they invited us to their wedding. We, along with Marissa and Aaron (also from our apartment complex) loaded up the car and hit I-95 for a road trip to Atlanta for their wedding weekend in mid-October. The wedding was on a sunny, cool and crisp Sunday evening at a gorgeous venue called Dunaway Gardens in Newnan, GA.  The ceremony took place in the courtyard and chairs lined the stadium-like steps. The guests were escorted to the courtyard on a golf cart and patiently (and anxiously!) waited. Music started and the bridal party came down the steps from either side and  spread out along the front.
And I’m pretty sure they had the largest bridal party I’ve ever seen.
Their entire ceremony was unique and personalized for each of their personalities and their own love story. The best part, though, was when Sean pulled out his guitar and sang his new bride a song he’d personally written for her called “Hello Little Darlin’.” Sid just had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her face and started dancing to his song as the crowd clapped along. And when Sean forgot the words to the second verse because his nerves got the best of him, it only made it that much better. It was the sweetest, cutest thing ever!!!
The reception followed up the walk under several large white tents covered in white lights. The entire experience was unique: the centerpieces on the tables were colorful vases hand-painted by a friend of Sidney’s, their cake was made of Camicakes (the best gourmet cupcakes ever), instead of a first dance, they sang “Lucky” by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz together and the mother/son dance was to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” It couldn’t have been more fun, memorable, perfect and completely them.
#9. Love Wedding, November 5, 2011
Chantel and I have been friends since high school. She was one of the most beautiful girls in school and never had problems meeting boys, during and after high school …. she  just seemed to have trouble finding the good ones. But the day she introduced me to Matthew I knew he was the one.

Chantel has always been a priss-pot (sorry girl, but you know it’s true!) She primps every time she goes to the restroom, is addicted to $30 Chanel lip gloss and, since her mom is a hair stylist, is forever changing her long blonde locks. So imagine my surprise when I found out Matthew was a good ole’ country boy who hunts, fishes and drives a truck! But he is nothing but 100% perfect for her!! The way he made her smile and the way she talked about him, you could tell they were made for each other. He even got her into deep sea fishing!
Chantel and Matthew married at a beautiful historic church in downtown Savannah, and the reception followed at the American Legion. She looked like a magazine bride. Everything was perfect, her bridesmaids all looked beautiful, the venue was stunning and the food was delicious. Did I mention they had a photo booth? The only thing that could pull us away from that was when the DJ played Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back,” which has been mine and Chantel’s song since we tore up Chicago back in 2007.
 I have never seen Chantel happier than on this day. Even the power outage in the women’s restroom didn’t phase her! And just wait until you see the groom’s cake (below)…..
#10. Daman Wedding, November 12, 2011
The following weekend, we trekked to Atlanta again to see one of Jimmy’s high school pals tie the knot. He and his finance, Jessie, met in school at UGA and couldn’t be more perfect for each other. Their wedding took place at the Peachtree Club in Atlanta, GA and was such a beautiful, unique and fun venue. The ceremony took place outside on the rooftop at sunset with the Atlanta skyline as the backdrop.
 The bride, Jessie, wore a beaded, vintage gown and Alex, the groom, smiled ear-to-ear when as she walked down the aisle. I love that part. It’s so exciting and adorable to see the initial reactions, especially that of the groom.

 The couple wrote their own vows and, instead of someone singing during the ceremony, a friend read a poem that she’d written about the couple. And my, oh my, did it bring tears to everyone’s eyes! Sweet, heartfelt, cute and funny … it was perfect.
After the ceremony, we all headed inside to the parlor for cocktail hour while the dinner buffet and dance floor were being set up. When you walked into the parlor, servers had Old Fashions and glasses of champagne ready, and the bar was available for other options. The entire wall was a glass window overlooking the city – it was beautiful!
Next, we headed to the banquet hall for dinner. The tables were lined with black and white accents and candles, and a buffet lined the wall. We sat at a table with several of Jimmy’s high school buddies, enjoyed dinner and had a great view of the cake cutting!
 Once everyone finished dinner, we all headed back out to the rooftop patio, which had been transformed into a dance floor. Their high school friend was the DJ and we all danced until we couldn’t dance anymore. Heels were off, coats were off .. nothing was stopping this group. Even the dads were breaking it down on the dance floor!
Then it was time to go out in downtown Atlanta. Well, for everyone else. The open bar got the best of me so we headed back to our hotel room. The next day consisted of everyone exploring the city on a beautiful fall afternoon, visiting MLK Jr.’s home and enjoying a delicious lunch … while I napped in the bride’s bed trying not to get sick. Pathetic.
 #11. Orfan Wedding, December 31, 2011
Now, this was a wedding I don’t think anyone could ever forget. It was absolutely nothing short of perfection and fun from start to finish. My cousin, Emily, had been dating Chris for a LONG time and their engagement was way overdue! (Sorry Chris, but you know it’s true.)  They live in New Canaan, CT and decided to have their wedding on New Year’s Eve. I know what you’re thinking: Why would anyone get married on NYE? And why would anyone get married on Dec. 31 in Connecticut? It’s freezing cold!! Before I could even ask Emily those questions, she said they were trying to decide on a date and thought New Year’s Eve would be fun. It’s one of their favorite holidays, people are always looking for a party for that night, this party would be free and who wouldn’t want a chance to visit NYC, since it’s less than an hour away? I couldn’t agree more with all of the above! And to make it even better, Jimmy and I decided to make a trip out of it, going up a few days early to visit with the family and staying four days after to spend in New York City. The morning proved to be an eventful one: We got to the airport, Jimmy’s phone was stolen on the plane, we searched and filed a claim – no luck, we met up with the groom for a ride to their house and tracked his iPhone the entire ride home and didn’t realize the app we were using was a hoax until nearly 40 minutes in to the drive ….. fun stuff! We spent the day with the family (my dad, his girlfriend, brother, sister-in-law, aunt and two more cousins were there, too) and headed to the wedding venue later that afternoon. They rented out this really cool venue/hotel called Dolce in Norwalk, CT for their guests to stay, and their reception would be there as well. Dolce apparently used to be a monastery, but has been converted into a hotel, meeting center and wedding destination. It sits on 45+ acres of green grass, beautiful trees and peaceful scenery.
Friday night, we headed to a nearby restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. Jimmy’s favorite part: The local and craft beer selection. My favorite part: We  rode to and from the restaurant on a chartered school bus!
We returned from dinner and everyone headed upstairs to the hotel bar, which was full of nothing but wedding guests. My (almost 40-year-old) brother convinced Jimmy to stay up until 4 a.m. with him … neither of them were in the best shape the following day. The wedding ceremony took place Saturday evening at their church and it was absolutely beautiful. It made everyone cry. Emily always looks gorgeous, but she was absolutely glowing as she walked down the aisle, and her dress was perfect for her. Caroline, Emily’s sister, had organized a surprise for Emily and Chris after the ceremony. When they walked out of the church, we all had sparklers and the youth group Emily leads all had on “Team I Do” T-shirts. It was so cute, and the sparkler idea was even better because neither of them expected it.
 
 (Photo from Emily’s Facebook page)
The reception took place back at Dolce, with a cocktail hour first. Christmas trees with white lights lit up every room and the decor was very rustic and almost woodsy. Cocktail servers walked around serving hours devours and cocktails, and I didn’t waste any time take pictures! (By this time I was already on memory card #2….)
The banquet hall doors opened, everyone flooded in and out mouths just dropped. It was absolutely beautiful. Candles and white lights lit up the room, white and green floral arrangements lined the tables … it was simply breathtaking.
The bride and groom entered and made their way to the dance floor for their first dance, which was to the song I had you listen to at the beginning of this post. I’d never heard that rendition of the song and fell in love with it. Speeches followed and tears flowed. Caroline, sister and maid of honor, gave the most amazing speech I have ever heard and Chris’s brother and best man followed with another incredible speech. After we ate and the formal stuff was over, it was time to party. Instead of a DJ they went with a popular band from New Jersey called The Nerds, and they might just be the best band I’ve ever heard. They played nearly EVERYTHING and had more energy than I’d know what to do with! After dancing our booties off (like my dad below), we headed over to the cake for the cutting.
 Did I mention that their cake was made of Funfetti?
Or that they had an ice cream sunday bar?
 After more dancing, we were directed upstairs to the bar for the “New Year’s Eve Party,” and this is what we walked in to …
Everyone grabbed noise makers and  “Happy New Year” hats that were scattered around the room and readied for the countdown.
Then it began … 10, 9 … 4, 3, 2, 1 .. Happy New Year!!!
What better way to end one year and start a new one than as a newlywed? The celebration continued through the night, and the wedding weekend wrapped up with a Sunday brunch at the hotel’s restaurant. The entire weekend might have been the most enjoyable and unforgettable weekend I’ve had in a long, long time. Major props to my Uncle Greg and Aunt Suzanne for all of their hard work, to the Orfan family for a job well done and especially to Emily and Chris for throwing the party of a lifetime. You’ve set the bar high for future Ainsworth family weddings. (Thanks a lot!)
#12. Mousa Wedding, March 24, 2012
The first wedding of 2012, not including the roll-over New Year’s Eve wedding, was Megan and Adam’s. Megan and I have known each other since middle school and really started becoming good friends in 8th grade when we were on the cheerleading squad together. We continued our friendship (and cheerleading) through high school and lived together in college.
Megan met Adam early on in college and they shared an instant connection. Adam was completely different from any other guy she’d ever dated, which I suppose turned out to be a good thing! He was extremely goofy and didn’t care what anyone thought, super nice and got along with everyone, and instead of drinking alcohol, he resorted to Yoohoos. Pretty sure he’s still never had a sip of alcohol to this day. It wasn’t shocking when he asked her to marry him .. everyone was so excited (and relieved!), and he did a great job with the proposal. She thought they were just going for a couple’s photo shoot, and he’d apparently arranged with the photographer his whole plan. She was completely surprised and the entire proposal was caught on camera. Nice work, Adam!
 (I borrowed these pictures from Megan’s Facebook, taken by her amazing photographer Victoria Patterson)
 Their wedding took place on a beautiful March afternoon at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa downtown on the Savannah River.
Well, it wasn’t so beautiful most of the day, but the rain held off for their wedding and the sun shined beautifully. Funny how that happens! The ceremony took place outside and was absolute perfection. Jimmy says it was his favorite venue so far.
Megan looked absolutely stunning, as always, and I have never seen Adam smile as much as he did that day (and he’s always smiling!) They laughed a few times during the ceremony when one of them messed up, which only made it that much sweeter, and everyone cheered loudly as they were pronounced man and wife.
While the wedding party took pictures, we all enjoyed a cocktail hour outside, and the reception followed inside. Tables surrounded the dance floor and a buffet (with a mac & cheese AND mashed potato bar) was set up outside the banquet hall. Jimmy and I shared a table with several friends from high school, including best friends Lora, Sara (whose wedding was mentioned in Part 1) and Whitney (who is PREGGERS! – baby shower post to come).
This picture makes me realize how tall my shoes were.
The happy couple shared their first dance and the smiles never left their faces.
The reception continued with lots of dancing, pictures and the cake cutting. Adam wasn’t so nice when it came the cake, but Megan was a great sport!
And of course, I had to have my picture with the beautiful bride.
After the bouquet and garter toss, lots of dancing, too much food and a zillion pictures, the couple exited with a glowing sparkler tunnel.
Thennnn they went on an incredible honeymoon, and are living happily every after 🙂
See more photos of all of these weddings below.
I will say, out of all of these weddings, the groom’s cake from Chantel and Matthew’s wedding takes first place for most creative. Look at that thing – it’s a turkey!
Adam’s cake comes in a close second, with a PlayStation. And yes, the “game” is an edible photo of the couple.
These twelve weddings may have cost us a pretty penny, may have taken up many weekends and may have  used up all of our vacation days, but I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. We’ve made so many memories over the past year-and-a-half, witnessed many incredible weddings and got to be a part of our closest friends and family’s big day. In reality, it’s an honor to have even been invited to all of these. So what if we traveled 9,280.28 miles? We were able to visit places we may have never visited, experienced things we may not have experienced, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Oh, and to all of these couples, I’m sorry if you haven’t received a gift from us yet. We’re obviously broke right now … but we have a year to get them to you, right?! 😉
  
Posted by:Blakeley

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