Ok, so I know I’m posting this on a Wednesday not a Tuesday, but I have my reasons. Or excuses… I was jet lagged, I had to work, and then I left my phone at work so I was missing some pictures. Anyway, better late than never right? Today’s post is a different kind of Tourist Tuesday anyway. It’s not really about Baltimore, it’s about being back in my home town and attending my friend Emily’s wedding in Baltimore. Emily got married to Matt, whom she met in business school.
And I gotta tell you, I was so excited for this trip. Sure it was going to be a short trip, but I was dying to see my childhood friends Lisa, Emily (bride), Emily (not the bride), Rachel, and Kelly. I love them! I’ve known them for over twenty years and when we get together it’s always a blast and always feels like a home coming.
Last Thursday my friend Lisa and her husband Mike picked me up at the airport and took me to get some dinner. We decided on fast food in part because it was late and in part so I could re-immerse myself into American culture. They took me to Arundel Mills, which is a gigantic mall with a casino and many fast food places all in a row. They took me to Wendy’s for a frosty (it’s like a milk shake) and then to Chik-fil-A for waffle fries. My brother Eric recently moved back to Maryland so he stopped by Lisa and Mike’s and we all sat around and talked for awhile.
On Friday, Lisa and I started our bridesmaid duties. We were in charge of getting materials to make flower crowns for the photo booth at the wedding. Our day started at Michael’s, which is a huge store that has everything for crafting and home decor. It’s the kind of store where you go and buy the things you need, then also things you think are cute, things that remind you of something you saw on Pinterest, and things that make you think, “yeah I could start a hobby in knitting/woodworking/whatever.”
I wandered around a lot, but only got off task a little bit. I bought some autumn leaves sprinkles and a small Thanksgiving ramekin. Mainly, Lisa and I had an absolute blast picking out fake flowers and greenery for the crowns – and best of all practically everything was 60% off. The next day the bridesmaids – and even the bride too – made flower crowns as we got ready and I’m really proud of how well they came out (and lasted over the whole night). In the picture above you can see Lisa making photo crowns and then a photo from the photo booth of me and my girls (from left to right, Kelly, Emily, Emily, Me, Lisa, Rachel, and Emily’s husband Jim’s hands) all wearing the crowns. I think we did a fine job. The photo booth photos were done by Poseybooth.
After shopping we met up with our friend Rachel for lunch at Nando’s. Nando’s is big here in London but I had never been before! So yummy! Then the three of us went to get our nails done at Bliss in Odenton. It’s a gorgeous nail salon off the beaten path. At first, I felt like the quality of the manicure wasn’t very good (Rachel and I both got cut and bled) but the nail polish has lasted nearly a week with just one chip (and I ate crabs, but more on that later).
Preparation done, it was time to finally drive to Baltimore for the rehearsal and dinner. I didn’t take many pictures during the early part of my trip, and now I wish I had. But the reason I didn’t take any pictures was because those places are part of the fabric of my upbringing. They are the places I know so well I can picture them better than any photograph. After the wedding we slept in Lisa’s parents basement, a place where I’ve spent many sleepovers before. The after party was by the Baltimore Harbor, a place where I’ve spent countless birthdays, New Year’s Eves, and celebrations. And the wedding itself was at Emily’s house a place where I spent many summer days swimming in the pool.
As Lisa and I drove all over the Baltimore area on 83 and 695 – roads I’ve been on hundred of times before it all felt comfortable and familiar. I know the landmarks, the lush trees surrounding the roads, and the spot on 695 where the radio never works. In high school I’ve probably driven on those roads with my friends talking about tests, college application and boys. This time Lisa and I talked about greying hair, saving for a house, and politics. The conversation has changed, but it felt exactly the same as it always had.
The rehearsal was at Emily’s house and then after we went to dinner at Sammy’s Trattoria. Matt’s (the groom) mother made us name tag buttons that said our names and how we were connected to the bride and groom. There was so much food! I started with apple cider sangria, then there were appetizers, then there were two kinds of pasta, salmon, chicken, and two kinds of dessert. Also, in talking to two other girls over dinner I learned that they were both in love with a chocolate chip cookie recipe from Jacques Torres that I’m going to need to try. After dinner we went for drinks at the James Joyce Pub, which is my parent’s favorite place to get a burger.
Saturday was all about the wedding. We spent the day make flower crowns and getting pretty (that’s Emily in the photo above getting her make up done). We bridesmaids got to choose our own dresses as long as they were blush colored and flowy. I was impressed with how closely our dresses matched. Emily wore her mother’s gown which has been altered for modern use (not more sleeves or turtle neck). It was such a lovely dress. I got my hair done in a side ponytail with just natural looking make up.
I was especially in love with the flowers! The wedding was filled with them. I also love bouquets with lots of texture and thought the fuzzy branch things were amazing. Emily’s bouquet was even more impressive with peonies, succulents, and rosemary.
As the guests started to arrive we spied on everything through the windows of the house. It was fun to see everyone’s outfits, see friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, and see the beautiful set up. Below are some shots taken by Mike. Below is Kelly and Dan – and I love this picture of him laughing. Kelly is my oldest friend and she befriended me on the first day of second grade when I was crying. There’s also a photo of Greg (Rachel’s boyfriend), Rachel, Mike, and Matt (the matron of honor’s husband). Everyone was looking pretty.
The ceremony was beautiful. It was a fairly religious ceremony but it had advice for everyone. He talked about loving each other, not putting everything on the other person, and to also give love to others. Mostly though, I loved watching the radiant happiness on Emily’s face. Just look at her as she walks in and out of the ceremony!! The pictures are blurry but her facial express is perfection.
My favorite part of any wedding though is the reception. I love good food and I love dancing They had two signature cocktails, incredibly delicious food (it was the first time I ever liked kale), and a great band called Spectrum. Also they had flip flops on the dance floor, which I totally used when my heels got painful.
But again, back to Emily. I love this photo (below), although blurry, of her and Matt getting ready to enter the tent. She hiked up her dress and the two of them literally bounded in. They then did their first dance and they are painfully, adorably cute and in love. Their first song was “All of Me,” which is usually done by John Legend and Emily sang it! And it was a surprise to everyone. She has always been an incredibly singer and she had secretly recorded the song and had it played for their dance. It was so beautiful and I’d love to hear it again.Overall it was a great party. The music was awesome, I got a minor shout out in the father of the bride’s toast for having traveled the farthest, and my friends and I had a blast in the photo booth. Below is a photo of our entire crew (girls+partners) minus Ryan and Matt. Love that photo, except for that Rachel’s face is blocked out of the E+M stamp.
Sunday was my last day in the US and Lisa and Mike made sure I got to do some things I’ve been missing. They took me to Target where I literally skipped through the store. It is such a fun place to browse! I went home with 5 different kinds of m&m’s, Sour Patch Kids, Tootsie Rolls, and two kinds of Oreos. I also saw crazy things like a Joe Flacco doll, a Chewbacca doll, sodas that spell NFL, and a cheeseburger pinata. God Bless America right?! This stuff is awesome!
Then Lisa and Mike did the best thing ever and they got two dozen crabs and some pumpkin beer for lunch. Picking crabs is my favorite thing to do over the summer. I love sitting around chatting with my friends. I love the burn on my lips from Old Bay. I love how messy it is. And I’m so glad I got to squeeze it in. It was too fast, but it was a perfect weekend. Repeatedly I felt so lucky to have such good old friends, that they have found such nice partners, and that no matter the time or the distance between us we can get back together and have a blast. Being with them is like wearing your favorite sweater: it feels comfortable and make you happy. I can’t wait until we’re reunited again.
* Thanks to Mike, and I think Dan, for the photos taken while I was doing my bridesmaid duties. Poseybooth took all the photo booth pictures (the ones with the E+M). They were super cool and emailed us the link to the photos immediately!