Our Beachy Wedding Weekend: Day 3: Rehearsal

Our wedding weekend took place in St. Augustine, Florida. If you missed part one + two of this series, you can read one here and two here. Otherwise read on for our rehearsal on the beach, rehearsal lunch, and first dance practice!

DAY 3 - Rehearsal Lunch

1 day before we said "I do"!

Late the next morning, we headed to North Beach Park on Vilano Beach where the ceremony was to be held. Upon seeing the condition of the beach, my immediate thought was: “We can’t have the wedding here!”

There were construction vehicles nearby and the dunes were piled incredibly high that I could not imagine walking down them in my wedding gown. About a week or so before, our wedding coordinator warned us that the city called her to let her know that they’re running behind on repairing the dunes. She was hopeful the work would be further down the beach by now. Steven and I even checked out the beach after she said that and it looked fine.

But of course, a little over 24 hours before our wedding, it wasn’t fine. I wasn’t too concerned with the construction vehicles. I figured they would most likely have moved on by tomorrow. It was the sheer height of the sand once you walk across the Love Lock bridge from the parking lot and onto the beach that worried me.

You can't tell from this photo, but that was a steep walk.

All I could see was me in my wedding gown tumbling down a sandhill. What worried me even more was seeing relatives, especially less graceful ones, tumbling down the hill. The last thing I wanted was someone to get hurt!

Steven’s mother tried to make me feel better by showing it’s not so bad by trotting down the hill, which resulted in her falling into the sand. Nice try, Mom!

My brother and sister-in-law and Steven’s parents were all trying to reassure me that it could work, but in my heart, I wasn’t so sure and I felt like this spot wasn’t meant to be. I called our coordinator and she said they could do their best to level out the sand before the ceremony. I agreed to give it a shot and see what happens the next day.

We went through the ceremony rehearsal, which was mostly to make Steven and the groomsmen feel better about how things would go since us girls were practically pros at being in weddings by now. 

After rehearsing, we headed back to the love lock bridge that connects the beach to the parking lot. Steven and I had purchased an engraved lock to put on the bridge. On one side it says our names and wedding date and on the other side, it reads “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. We’re both huge Grease fans and there are definite clues in our wedding that allude to that, but more on that later. We put our lock on the bridge and posed for some photos, which wasn’t easy to do with all of the people walking by. (By the way – they wound up doing construction on the bridge and clipping all of the locks a few months later!)

With rehearsal out of the way, we headed to Beaches Restaurant (which I think is closed down now) for lunch with the bridal party, their significant others, Steven’s parents, brother, and my brother, sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew.

The rehearsal lunch was a source of stress during the planning for me since I wasn’t paying for it and Steven’s parents were, I didn’t want to take advantage of their gift. Picking a place that wasn’t too pricey and keeping the guest list reasonably small were two things I tried to do. With keeping the guest list small though, you’re bound to worry you’re leaving other people out, like my sisters and all of Steven’s siblings.

My brother, niece, and nephew all had a role in the wedding, which made it necessary for them to be at the rehearsal.

The planning of this weekend was a challenge for us both. We’re generally “yes” people who never want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause conflict. We had to repeatedly put our feet down during this whole wedding process. Maybe it was meant to challenge us so we could stand up for ourselves and each other more.

Once we sat down at the restaurant, I felt like I needed a mental/physical break. I wanted to relax and enjoy lunch and not worry about anything else, but I felt overwhelmed by everyone asking me what the plan was after lunch. A little bridezilla showed through as I may have given a death glare or two any time someone asked a question about “the plan”. I wanted to eat lunch in peace and everything else could be sorted out after.

After lunch, I got to have some alone time with my bridesmaids. We headed to Jacksonville to pick up the wedding favors – Crumbl Cookies – and got caught in a tornado warning. So we hung out at Starbucks, enjoying each other’s company until the warning passed. Some time with my three best friends was much needed!

When we returned to the house, the bridesmaids and one of the groomsmen’s significant others took control of putting the cookies in favor bags. Steven and I snuck off into the carriage house (ok, that sounds straight out of Bridgerton 😂)  where the reception was taking place the next day. We desperately needed to practice our first dance, which started out as you’re regular swaying slow dance to our song–“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. But then, the song cuts short and another one starts, and that’s when the choreography kicks in. (Find out more in the reception post!)

We went through our dance routine a few times, happy we could now practice it in a larger space rather than our small living room. We knew the dance wouldn’t be overly polished and perfect, but it was our dance and represented us. We wanted to have fun with it!

After we were done rehearsing, Steven put on “Kiss The Girl” by Brent Morgan, which is the song I walked down the aisle to. He pulled me into his arms and we danced as he sang the song to me. It was one of the most romantic moments in my life and I’ll always cherish it. Steven knew how much I needed to just be there with him in that moment. To not stress about the wedding and what needs to be done. To not be surrounded by everyone asking me questions. I needed to be in his arms dancing and hearing him tell me how much he loves me.

I was much more relaxed going back into the beach house after that. Everyone staying at the house played a few rounds of “Heads Up” and it was wonderful having my friends and Steven’s friends all having fun together just like they had the night before.

Soon it was time for Steven to head to the hotel. While we weren’t traditional about everything, we didn’t want to see each other on our wedding day until the first look. The guys took Steven to the hotel and hung out with their friends who were staying there.

Meanwhile, the girls and I hung out in my bedroom and since Steven was gone, we pulled my wedding dress out of the bag so it could breathe. While the bridesmaids admired my gown, panic struck me because I couldn’t find my veil! I started looking everywhere and even called Steven’s mom since the veil had been at her place the past nine months.

While I was panicking, the lights began to flicker in the bedroom. Danielle, the maid of honor, and my best friend since 2nd grade said “Sand, are you seeing this? It’s your mom.” Too frustrated to be sentimental, I said “Well Mom, help me find my veil!” Sure enough, a few minutes later, the veil was found in the wardrobe. I guess my mom wanted to get my attention and she had to try extra hard because I was so preoccupied.

I went to bed that night knowing she was with me and that I was marrying my soulmate surrounded by so many people who loved us.

Check back later in the week for Day 4: The Ceremony, but now, you can catch up on the first 3 parts of the wedding weekend blogs!
Day 1: The Beach House and everyone comes to town!
Day 2: Bridal Shower / Bachelorette/Bachelor Party... a fun day/night filled with mermaids and pirates!🧜‍♀️🏴‍☠️
Day 3: The Rehearsal Lunch, First Dance Practice, an almost missing veil, and signs from Mom!

Author

  • Sandy Lo

    Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.