Thursday, July 11, 2024

A Stunning Wedding Celebrating the Other N and M

It's taken me ages to blog about the wedding that was the main reason we travelled back home recently! Longtime readers will know that the other N and M are dear friends of ours, with whom we've spent many late karaoke nights and memorable trips together - particularly during our time in South Korea. I was honored N asked me to be a bridesmaid, and I was thrilled I made it back to the States for her bachelorette and wedding.

The other M is Kenyan American, and N and M did an awesome job of incorporating Kenyan traditions into their wedding weekend. The rehearsal dinner was a Kenyan feast where I got to eat kachumbari, nyama choma, sukuma wiki, and other Kenyan foods I've really missed since we lived in Nairobi. N and M wore a few sets of traditional clothes, and baby S was enchanted by N's final outfit (and especially the headpiece with gorgeous beads and face-framing chains, which he thankfully did not tear asunder with his adorable but destructive little hands).

Then, the night before the main wedding, I had a sleepover with N. We giggled late into the wee hours not because we were swapping stories and gossip but more because of a series of comic mishaps from a freezing room to uncomfortable sheets to loud, barn-style bathroom doors that didn't quite shut out all the light. Little did we know this was just an ominous taste of what was to come the next day. (Don't worry, the bride's face was spared. And mine eventually recovered... Keep reading if you're dying to know from what.)

N has fabulous and elegant taste, and combined with her eye for detail I knew the wedding would be stunning. N went a step further and even made the bridal suite special. From breathtaking views over the DC Waterfront in floor-to-ceiling windows to an Instagram ad-worthy pastry/fruit/champagne spread, we started off our morning on a lovely note.

Soon enough, the hair and makeup artists arrived and the styling rotation began. I was one of a few bridesmaids who had opted out of the hair and makeup. I had recently had my hair damaged by a salon when I had gotten it styled for the annual Marine Corps Ball. On top of that, I've found my fine hair and sensitive skin occasionally don't take kindly to the intense products and methods professional hair and makeup artists use - and I didn't want to take any chances.

I decided to do my own hair and makeup to play it safe. Thankfully, I used to wear makeup every day and I don't think I was too rusty on my skills with that and my chosen heatless curls (that I had simply slept in the night before). Surprisingly, that curling method seems to last longer than any other in my hair, and I wish I had known that technique for my own wedding, where my curls promptly fell flat about halfway through.

Unfortunately, right as the photographer arrived to start taking photos of our group getting ready together, we started panicking because the groom's bowtie was missing and there was a concern it might mistakenly be in one of the bags brought to the bridal suite. (By we I mean the bridesmaids because our bride was a queen and cool as a cucumber. From what I heard, the groom and groomsmen weren't particularly stressed, either.)

The worst part was I, clumsy woman that I am, frantically opened a closet door only to have an ill-balanced ironing board shoot out and peg me right in the face! I had just put the finishing touches on my makeup, so that was annoying, but it also was quite painful and my upper lip bled and became swollen. I was in distress and totally failed to hide it, but everyone was so sweet and promised me they could barely see the swelling. I dipped into the ice from one of our champagne buckets and iced my face until it went down and had just enough time to reapply my makeup before the photos. You can't even tell, right?

Thankfully later we (myself included) were all able to laugh about it. I'm so relieved it didn't derail N's special day! After we finished getting ready we went outside for some photos along the DC Waterfront. It was so much fun, and groups of people kept shouting and cheering for us since we were obviously a wedding party.

Once we finished pictures, we went inside to wait for the start of the ceremony. The ceremony was my favorite kind: personalized, sweet, and not too long. I almost cried when I saw N, radiant, float down the aisle in her gorgeous dress. Our friend S was the officiant and I almost cried again when he described what a lovely person N is so beautifully and perfectly. I was close enough to see her groom's thrilled face when he saw her walk down the aisle, and that filled me with so many tender memories of my own wedding almost 10 years ago now. (And yes, they did find him a bowtie!)

After the ceremony, we had cocktail hour where we could catch up with old friends while N and M took photos with their families. I was also excited to find they had zero-alcohol beer at the bar. Once we finished cocktail hour and had our wedding party entrance to the reception my accompanying groomsman and I decided to toast and clink beer bottles when we walked in, which we were happy to see entertained the crowd as we'd hoped.

The decorative details were extraordinary, from the fresh floral custom seating chart outside to the lush centerpieces and wicker-accented chairs perfectly matching the garden party theme inside. I sat at the wedding party table for a delicious seated dinner. It was so good, I could not believe it was wedding food! The elegant cake also tasted as good as it looked!

Once we were done with the meal, I hit the dance floor with the bridesmaids and danced most of the night away (with periodic breaks to sit with M and to take photos in the photo booth with friends). We went all the way until the event ended and even joined the afterparty. I could barely keep my eyes open but didn't want the night to end. I wished N and I could've had more time together (like that one time we took a girls' trip to Richmond), but I had to fly back to Dubai the very next day. I'd missed N so much, and I was so happy at least to be there with her on her wedding day.

I'm sure we'll be reunited with the other N and M again, whether that's back in Washington, DC or somewhere else in the world. We are so glad to welcome them to the married club and all the adventures married life brings. Congratulations to our dear, dear friends!

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