Thursday was truly the start of our wedding festivities. 

Back to the site of our proposal. Also the spot where my niece would roll down the mountain during the rehearsal. I loved seeing her so happy!

Back to the site of our proposal. Also the spot where my niece would roll down the mountain during the rehearsal. I loved seeing her so happy!

Susan and I spent the day hanging out on the grounds, organizing the wedding items, picking up last minute gifts for wedding party gift bags. Most of the gifts we used were little souvenirs from the property - Biltmore postcards, Biltmore mints, Biltmore shot glasses for the fellas, little journals. I love the Biltmore garden gift store most of all. They've always sold these blue bottle fizzy drinks called Something Natural. Our tradition has been to always pick up two on our way out of town as a treat on the way home. The week of our wedding they were discontinued, leaving a blueberry-lemon sized hole in my heart. On Thursday before the wedding I bought the last set of them for our wedding party. 

Here's the true heart stopper of the day, though: 

Our plan was to be married at the Biltmore with friends and family, and then leave for Rome on Monday for a Vatican wedding. Getting married at the Vatican is no small feat. We'd been working with the Vatican for almost a year - mounds of papers and certified copies, lots of meetings, promises of handing over your first-born child (that's kind of literal)... and all we had left to get was a certified civil marriage completed in the U.S. Without that we couldn't get Vatican married.

No problem! Our flight to Rome wasn't until 1P.M. on Monday after our Asheville wedding, so we'd have plenty of time to get the document certified at a courthouse Monday morning.

It wasn't until a few days before we left for our wedding that we realized... Monday is Memorial Day. Courthouses are very much closed. 

We went through a dozen different scenarios on how we could avoid getting married before our ceremony on Saturday, but none of them ended up with us married at the Vatican. This, to me, was pretty freaking sad. We decided to have a courthouse "wedding" on the Friday during our Asheville wedding festivities. We were very clear... to us it would only be added paper work. Our REAL wedding wasn't until Saturday with our friends and family. The courthouse is NO BIG DEAL.

But to get married on Friday morning at the courthouse, we needed our marriage license by Thursday at 5. Ken got to Asheville at 4:15, almost an hour or so late - and he's NEVER late!

So... 

We hopped in the car, and sped our way along the streets of Asheville. Pretty sure Ken broke a few laws getting us there on time. Meanwhile, I was just triple checking that we had the requirements to get our marriage license: 

Drivers License: Check!

Social Security Card: Check! Wait... I always keep my social security card in my wallet.

Except for the day before I left for Asheville, when I thoughtfully decided to leave it behind, so I wouldn't forget to bring it to Rome.

We literally had to run to the courthouse, crashing through the doors just a few minutes before they closed. The clerk was very clear. No social security card = no wedding license. No wedding license = no Vatican wedding. 

Little Interjection: my niece painted this watercolor of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We used this image in the design of our programs. We wanted to incorporate as much art from our immediate family as possible, and boy did they deliver the goods. As for the programs, we just designed them ourselves and printed them on card stock at Kinkos. Simple!

Little Interjection: my niece painted this watercolor of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We used this image in the design of our programs. We wanted to incorporate as much art from our immediate family as possible, and boy did they deliver the goods. As for the programs, we just designed them ourselves and printed them on card stock at Kinkos. Simple!

"But we'll take a pay stub with your social security number on it," the clerk offered. 

"I can do that!" Easy, I'll just call this place who's sent me a paycheck... They're just in California... still at lunch. For the next five minutes I had teams of people on the other side of the country scrambling to find a pay stub. "You guys," I wrote in an email. "My wedding literally depends on you getting back to your desk in three minutes." And they did!

Just at the last second, the pay stub came through on my phone. The clerk barely glanced at it, but we were set!

One thing I love about our relationship is that we always get things done. In fact, we seem to operate even better under pressure. Best of all, no matter how many times I forget things (which is quite often), my fella never makes feel stupid or incompetent. He never (outwardly) rolls his eyes. He just teams up with me to help find a solution. I love that we're actual partners in life. I know how rare that kind of relationship is. 

That night, as our friends and family started to arrive, Ken and I spent the evening with our best friends, catching up on the verandah. It was strange and wonderful to see people I've known for so much of my life interacting with new family. The air was soft. Everyone seemed at ease with each other (mostly). At one point, Beth and I snuck up to my room for our stereotypical, girly jumping-up-and-down-while-squealing-at-the-dress-moment. I was so damned happy she was there that night. 

For reasons unbeknownsts to the others on the verandah, Ken and I called it an early night.  But we knew it was because when we woke up, even before breakfast, we had to go and stealthily get ourselves hitched up... 

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