Monday, September 24, 2012

Ashley + Ryan

On September 22, 2012, Ryan Taylor married Ashley Gomes at Mission Santa Clara at one in the afternoon.  After 17 months of planning (more months spent engaged than dating!), the big day finally arrived and we were all so thrilled to be a part of it.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Before the wedding of course came the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner!  We gathered together at Mission Santa Clara before heading to the Old Spaghetti Factory for a lovely dinner hosted by Ryan's mother, Sue, and her husband, Tom.  Sue and Ryan both got up to thank everyone for their involvement and help with the wedding.  The excitement and nerves were palpable as we mingled and looked forward to the next morning.  We didn't exactly party into all hours of the night, as we needed to get to the hotel and get some beauty sleep!  Below you'll find the bridal party, Ashley's family, me with the bride, Ryan's nephew Santino playing with his ring bearer's gift, and the bride and groom themselves. 

We were up bright and early the next day, and while the groomsmen went out for breakfast and hung out, we were going through our extensive beauty regimen.  A few words about being a bridesmaid: the experience could be likened to being in the military, and this was my first time enlisting.  There's a lot of intense training in the form of manicures and heel-walking and eyeliner application.  One must be prepped for disaster with loaded canisters of pins, both safety and bobby, hoping for the best yet prepared for the worst.  The motto is one for all and all for one, namely the bride.  But the best part of the bridesmaid's battle is that after all the preparation and all the nerves, the action is nothing but fun.


All of Ashley's wedding accessories were laid out for all to see, even her lacy white cuecas, which we had a nice laugh over.  The morning flew by, and soon it was time for Ashley to get dressed with all of us and the photographer surrounding her!  There are very few private moments on one's wedding day.

Ashley's dress was enchanting, embellished with lace, satin and jewels, and her train fell out majestically around her.  She looked stunning, of course.

After a few photos around the grounds of the Hayes Mansion (how cute are those little cousins?), we filed into our Hummer limo and we were going to the chapel to get married!

 Check the transformation.  I trust you can tell who's who.

We arrived at the mission and suddenly we were lining up, the music was cued, and our feet started carrying us down the candlelit aisle!  The church looked so beautiful all lit up; it was a perfect balance between religiousness and romanticism.

The ceremony was short and sweet.  After the priest shared his marriage wisdoms, their rings were blessed, the couple repeated their marriage vows, and with the help of their mothers, they lit their unity candle.  For a second we thought the priest had forgotten their first kiss, but he interrupted the music to allow them their special smooch, and soon they were headed back up the aisle, but this time as husband and wife!

We took many photographs of the bridal party and family both inside and outside the mission.  I love that most of our informal pictures in the mission have the bride and groom posing in the background.  Thanks for the unintentional photo bomb, guys!

My brother took a cool panoramic shot of us taking photos outside the mission.  Click to enlarge!

The limo ride over to the reception at Willow Heights Mansion with the whole wedding party was a blast.  Think champagne & sing-a-longs.  Once there, we took more pictures with the photographer before being introduced to the crowd.  Then there was mingling, photo-boothing, and hors d'oeuvre-ing, as well as speeches and toasts, before it was time to move up to dinner.

I swung around to the Gomes family table to get some shots with the cousins.  Unfortunately, Brandon and Ashley were nowhere in sight!  Here are the boys, Chris, Daniel, and Mathew, and then Melissa and I joined in.  The next photo is of Melissa and me with Tia Diane and Grandma.


Here are shots of the bridesmaids to my left and right at the table, as well as a shot of the beautiful place settings.  Being the huge baseball fan that he is, Ryan had the tables named after major league baseball teams.  Naturally, the head table was representing the San Francisco Giants, and the Dodgers table was, as my godfather proclaimed, "in the bathroom."  Also, the Giants won the National League West and clinched their division's spot in the playoffs the night of the wedding, so the theme seemed extra appropriate. 

My padrinho's (godfather's) speech could not have been more wonderful.  He spoke to his captive audience from the heart, tugging at our tear ducts as he told Ashley that she would always be his little girl, and making us laugh as he warned Ryan about her shopping habits (inherited from one of her parents, not him-you can do the math) and the necessity of keeping her well-fed to avoid serious crankiness. 

I worked my way around to get more family pictures, and I especially love this one of my mom and me.

Here's my mom with her brother, the father of the bride.

One of the top photos of the night, definitely, is the parents of the bride grinning and enjoying themselves at their daughter's wedding.  They deserved to relax-they pulled off everything famously!

This is Tio Mario and Tia Fatima (Tio Mario is one of the many Portuguese uncles you heard a lot about while I was in the Azores), first with me outside, and then with mom and padrinho.

Avó, all the way from the Azores!


Here are all the Gomes siblings with Avó and Madrinha; then we threw in my dad and the happy couple, too!

Ashley and Ryan's first dance was to George Strait's "I Cross My Heart".  They were so adorable, and I was happy to see them get some time to themselves!

After Ryan and Ashley's first dance, it was time for the beautiful yet sentimentally disastrous daddy-daughter dance, to the song "I Loved Her First" by Heartland.  They both broke down on contact, setting off a ripple effect on the rest of the surrounding family, and I had only one tissue that had to be rationed out.

Then, after Ryan danced with his mother, it was time for all of us to join in!  I got to dance with all my cousins, all my aunts and uncles, and would you believe that even my mom joined in the boogie celebrations?  My cousin Mathew said about Uncle Johnny, "I've never seen him move this much!"  You would think all of this was thanks to the open bar, but this wasn't the reason.  We were all just so overjoyed for Ashley that we had to express it in some way, and what better than shaking our groove thing in her honor? 

It was a blast watching all the traditions, like the messy cake-cutting, the scandalous garter expedition, and the bouquet toss, which fellow bridesmaid Amanda and I caught simultaneously!

Ryan and Ashley, you two are such a wonderful couple and it's easy to see that you two are meant for each other.  The wedding could not have been more perfect, and I hope it's a foreshadowing of how your marriage will be, filled with laughter, family, and love.  I love you both, and felt so blessed to be a part of your celebration.  We're all looking forward to being there for the many years you have ahead to love one another.  Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor!