Typing these words out, it’s hard for me to believe that in a weekend I was a part of two lengthy car trips to West Virginia to see the marriage of two of my closest friends from college. But, yes, it did happen. And it was quite an adventure.
This trip was almost non-existent because Bria, Kae’sha, and I hadn’t worked out the details until literally the week of the wedding, but we planned accordingly with the most glamorous options only two post-graduate and one college student could afford: one room with a king-sized bed at the Quality Inn, and a six-hour drive from Savannah, Georgia, to Lewisburg, West Virginia.
However, we were mistaken about a lot of things – the six-hour drive was actually an eight-hour drive, which turned into a twelve-hour road trip due to two hours of being stuck in traffic in North Carolina, and heavy rain at night that caused us to drive about 40-50 mph on the 70 mph freeway.
None of us had ever been to West Virginia, but we learned one thing very quickly crossing that state line: there are no lights on the highway, and there is no way you can see the lane lines, especially in the pouring rain. So, instead of making it to Lewisburg at our ETA of 9pm, we arrived at 1am.
But hey, no worries! We made it, and that’s all that mattered. We crashed as soon as we got into our hotel room, exhausted from spending basically the entire day on the road.
The next morning, we all enjoyed the complimentary Quality Inn breakfast of ham, eggs, Frosted Flakes, bagels, and coffee. And after breakfast? We all got back in bed, and laid there until noon, still exhausted from the late night drive. The wedding wasn’t until 5pm, so we had plenty of time to get ready.
Here are some pictures of us in the Quality Inn parking lot all wedding-ready because only the classiest wedding pictures are taken in hotel parking lots 😀 :
Unfortunately, something we didn’t plan on was being out of range of T-Mobile service, so depending on GPS to find a Dollar Tree (for Bria to find some gift wrapping for her wedding gift to the Mihoks), and the wedding and reception venues was out of the question. I looked up directions on Bria’s laptop beforehand, but let’s have a #realtalk moment, shall we? – I suck at directions. I just do. I told Kae’sha to turn right toward the Super 8 Motel…it was on the left. I could have sworn Google Maps said right. Directions just aren’t my thing, which is why maps and GPS are my friends.
We ended up just making a stop at Walmart for Bria’s wedding gift needs, and then driving the twenty minutes out into the hilly countryside that is West Virginia toward the Mount Hermon United Methodist Church (since there was rain in the forecast, the planned farm wedding had to be moved to the church instead). Since we didn’t have the help of a GPS, Kae’sha was slowing down at the sight of any church steeple we saw throughout those cow-covered, rolling green hills. Eventually, though, we made it, and there were thankfully a couple of people in the parking lot directing people to empty spots.
We walked up two concrete staircases toward the entrance to the church. A man stood at the door greeting those who walked in, and a bridesmaid was handing out wedding programs. A young man who actually turned out to be one of the groomsmen, walked toward us, held his arm out to me, and asked if he could help us find seats.
***ATTENTION! To all those having a wedding in the near future, these are two things that are lifesavers for wedding guests: one person directing you to an open parking spot, and another person directing you to an empty seat. Best things anyone attending a wedding could ask for. That and food, I guess. And for me, dancing is a major need.
Anyways, as I was led into the church by the groomsman, Kae’sha and Bria in tow, I saw almost all of the pews filled with people. Seeing mostly unfamiliar faces, I deduced this crowd would be mostly family members of Hannah and Michael. I did spot several graduates from Covenant sitting in pews in the middle of the church though. We were definitely some of the last people to arrive, but I was thankful that we weren’t late.
Two boys, one on acoustic guitar and the other on a violin, played a couple of songs as the audience waited for the ceremony to begin. One song was country, and apparently, they played “Wake Me When September Ends” by Green Day (please don’t hurt me…I’ve never actually listened to Green Day that much so I didn’t really recognize the song. I only knew because of Bria and Kae’sha. I’m sorry!).
The ceremony finally began with the seating of the parents and grandparents. I won’t give you a play-by-play of the wedding, but all you gotta know is this: IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.
I tried taking pictures with my phone, but they are crappy as all get out, so I won’t blind you with the pixelated pictures of Michael and Hannah standing at the altar where a sheer white curtain hung in an arch, a vine of leaves and lights wrapped around it. Behind it was a long rectangle with the same curtains, vines, and lights that was placed to accent the arch. From where the audience was seated, on the right behind where the groomsmen stood was a table for the newlywed husband and wife to take communion for the first time together.
I swore I would cry, yet I didn’t. I think I was just in awe of how wonderful the ceremony was, and even at the fact that it was ACTUALLY happening. Here all of us had been talking of this day for MONTHS, and it was FINALLY HERE. It was so surreal.
Something I appreciate about the weddings I’ve been to so far is this: they’ve been fairly short. Like, still very powerful and meaningful, but shoot, before I know it, the audience is applauding Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, and it’s time for the reception!
We had to use a little bit of Bria’s limited data to find the reception space, but once we got to the location, there were signs to tell us where to go. Sort of. The campus it was held on was HUGE, with several different buildings, but no way to indicate exactly which building we were supposed to be in. But following other wedding guests got us to the right place. The reception site was perfect – tons of tables, a separate place for the cake-cutting that would happen later, a dance floor, food, everything a wedding-goer could want.
I’ll save all the details, and basically just put this picture up for you to see where we were sitting, and also give you a sense of what the reception looked like.
We had a phenomenal time sitting there, eating and laughing and taking pictures, and laughing some more. I was actually hesitant to bring my new camera into the reception because I didn’t want to feel pressured to take pictures of every single thing. But it was a good decision; I got some great snapshots, and Hannah’s mother even asked me if I could take a picture of them cutting the cake. I was honored; I think the best shot I got was the picture I used to start this blog post.
Maybe I’ll just put up pictures and let captions explain what went on during the reception. Pictures are worth a thousand words, ya know.
First, a few of the elements of the wedding (from left to right)…
- Homemade jam that, if I heard correctly, Hannah made for all of the wedding guests. I had some the morning after the wedding. IT IS SO GOOD.
- Our table centerpiece (because Bria thought it was beautiful, and said I should take a picture of it.)
- Some sparkling apple cider to toast to the bride and groom after the best man and maid of honor finished their speeches.
Hmm, what next? How about some pictures of the stars of the show, Hannah and Michael, the bride and groom themselves since, I mean, it was their special day. Here’s a compilation of them cutting the cake and having their first dance as husband and wife…
Now the reception..meaning, when all the formal stuff was basically over, and it was time to PARTY.
In this slideshow, you’ll see…
- What looks like a pep-talk between Michael, the groom, and Kyle, a best friend and groomsman… Kyle to Michael: “You will get out there and dance!”
- Robert and Kyle cheesin’ it for me. Don’t they look dapper.
- “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” I’m pretty sure most of the people on the floor during this song were from Hannah’s side of the family. It was a special request from her that this be played during the reception. And Michael actually got himself out there and did it! #proud
- Jimmy, Kae’sha, and Kyle. Wedding shenanigans, Part 1.
- A group of people who are dormant in this picture, but literally, right before and after I took this, they were going INSANE to that music! Get iiiiiiitttttt.
- Me, Kyle, and Jimmy. Wedding shenanigans, Part 2.
- Bria, WHO CAUGHT THE BRIDAL BOUQUET. Seriously, it’s just a fun tradition, and no one really cares if they catch it or not. But if there was anyone who cared less than everyone else, it was Bria. Which meant, she had to be the one to catch it. Bravo, bestie!
- Kyle, Bria, and Jimmy. Wedding shenanigans, Part 3.
It was such a sweet wedding. Bria and I discussed how despite the exhausting trip up to West Virginia, it was totally worth it to see our friends, who are basically family to me, get married. I’ve known both Hannah and Michael since my freshman year in college, and to see how their relationship has progressed throughout the years, and has finally culminated into this moment, only to continue as husband and wife is extremely precious to me. Ten trips such as the one we took Friday night would not have stopped me from witnessing their big day.
We got back to Savannah yesterday. Thankfully, we didn’t re-live the Friday night trip up to West Virginia, but drove in sunny weather with little to no traffic. And we were able to see some beautiful WV scenery that we’d missed on the way up since it was dark and raining.
Here are just some shots that I took through the car window as I sat in the backseat on the way to the wedding reception venue. West Virginia, you may be a little weird with your roads, but you are pretty gorgeous when it comes to land.
We got back with some daylight left in the day. However, I spent that daylight in my room, unpacking, cleaning my room, and writing this blog post haha.
A great wedding and weekend overall. #MeettheMihoks