Just like the engagement blog, I wrote this blog for myself, it’s long and contains every detail and thought I had throughout this whole process. Feel free to just scroll through the pictures!
We started our wedding day with room service on the balcony! Ryan woke up about 7 hours before he had to, but he enjoyed waking up all our neighbors by yelling “We’re getting married today!” He continued to do this when we got back on the ship, but it changed to “We got married today!” Most people looked at him like he was crazy until they saw me in a white dress. By the end of the cruise I think everyone knew who we were, it was great.
The one thing I always wanted from my wedding was time. I’ve spent 10 years of my life working in the industry. I’ve seen how fast it goes by. I’ve seen how busy the bride is on the wedding day. I’ve seen how she’s hidden away for half the day, kept away from people who flew in from miles to see her. I wanted to spend time with my people.
We also knew that a lot of Ryan’s friends and family would be flying in from very far away, why not make it worth the trip?
I literally made a new plan for my wedding monthly for the last several years/decades. I just needed Ryan to show up. I dreamed of inviting everyone to spend a week at the beach and then suddenly, low-key have a ceremony in the living room of a beach house on a Wednesday night. I also kinda wanted a beach wedding but I didn’t want to touch sand on my wedding day.
I didn’t want to play hostess for everyone for an entire week. That would put me in charge of meal planning and activity planning for a whole week, that sounds stressful, no thanks.
(Please note the Harry Potter spell on the back of my shirt “Accio” means “Bring it to me”. Thank you Mary!)
While still dating, Ryan and I were talking about how cool it would be if our families went on a cruise together. Then we thought, Hey! That could just be our wedding! Get everyone on a cruise and get married. The idea launched from there.
I planned most of the wedding while we were evacuated in Tennessee for Hurricane Florence. I fell in love with the colorful resort we found in Nassau. It was perfect, we got off the ship, got married, and busted it back on to the ship before it left the port, for CocoCay. Then we spent the next day with everyone on a private island in cabanas with lots of shade, snorkel masks, and fruity drinks.
Because we arrived by ship, we couldn’t do a rehearsal until the day of. We had the quickest rehearsal ever, and Alex was the only groomsman there at the time. We made him stand in for Ryan! 17 year old Alex was brave, we high-fived instead of kissing! I laughed so hard!
I cried 3 times on the wedding day. Once getting ready, once when I reached everyone at the head of the aisle, and once during the vows. Ryan cried until the ceremony started.
I like this picture above because it has my mom, dad, brother, and Ryan all in one frame.
I wanted the ceremony to be meaningful and memorable. To me the vows were really important. I also chose my brother as the officiant, this meant all jokes had to be pre-approved, I’m fun like that.
I asked my dad to dance with me down the aisle, it was fun, but I still choked up a little bit. Ryan’s favorite moment, Ryan saluting my dad through tears!
I think I put more work into the vows than anything else. Ryan and I came up with some phrases that summed up how we felt, and since then we have used them to encourage each other when making big decisions “I love you unconditionally, I support you completely.”
Including Ryan’s dad in the “Rope Tying Ceremony” was special for both of us, plus I felt like it was a nice nod to their families’ strong ties to the Boy Scouts. We plan to mount the rope with the words “Dolan Family established 2019” underneath.
I was really drawn to the ceremony wording “As stress is applied to two individual ropes, the knot becomes ever stronger, as do two individuals in a marriage.”
This video was a total surprise to me! I asked Amanda & Jeff of Dreampop Media if they would just make a few video clips throughout the trip so I could make a picture/video slideshow when I got home. Instead they blew me away with this video!
I tried so dang hard to be my own wedding photographer, but it just didn’t work! I had Shelley’s phone hooked up to the selfie stick for too long, it lost connection. Oh well, I always say, something has to go wrong at a wedding, if this is it, so be it. At least I didn’t drop it in the ocean. Besides, my photographers were awesome!
Biodegradable confetti, I just couldn’t add enough colors to this wedding!
These wonderful people rocked our cocktail hour while we took “formal” photos. Our bartenders were the best, I believe the drink of the night was called “Pretty Lady”, it tasted like candy, yum.
Love these pictures of me and my dad, so typical.
I’m glad Ryan’s family loves me and treats me like their own, and most of all they gave our marriage their “thumbs up” approval!
My other family of 10 years! Thank you so much for coming, I know the kids hated missing school. It meant the world to me!
It was such a joy to finally see everything come together!
Amanda & Jeff from Dreampop Media were troopers and came on the whole adventure with us! Ironically I met Amanda and Jeff at a wedding where we were all working. I knew they were the colorful photographers for me. Are your photographers this cool?
I like the part where I’m the only person who knows that there is a fitbit tracker hidden in my shoe, because I’m obsessed with knowing how many steps I took each day. Our wedding day was a measly 12,819 steps. This is my beautiful sneaky face.
We did our first dance with our parents to “My Girl” my dad sang this song to me so many times it was the only song I considered for this moment. We had the DJ announce that our first dance would be with “Our first true loves, mom and dad.” You can also see the exact moment I knew I had to take my veil off for my dance with Ryan.
Looking at our first dance, I can remember how tired I was, I hardly slept the night before. At first, I was disappointed in myself because we had practiced so hard, we had taken lessons for 6 months, and in the moment I just felt exhausted. But when I heard people start cheering I remember feeling elated and remembered how much fun it was to do the dance that we had worked so hard on. It was a great team building exercise for our marriage. Lots of communication, patience, and understanding our limits.
We love the band, Matt & Kim. I walked down the aisle to the song “Happy When You’re Happy” (It was printed on the “wedding program”, and our first dance was “Hey Now“. Our dance was loosely based on their video. We were lucky enough to have a dance teacher, Brittany Pontuti, choreograph and teach us our own dance at Amanda’s gymnastic/dance studio, 77 & Sunny.
You can watch the full dance video here:
I wanted everyone coming on the cruise to know how much we appreciated them and that we wanted their trip to be amazing. I decided the best way to communicate this was with tie-dyed goody bags. (I almost didn’t get the tub clean again.) They were filled with snacks, Advil, bandaids, sunscreen, pepto bismol, propel, a beach ball and patriotic socks for the groomsmen! I loved that people actually used the bags on the ship!
Another diy project that my aunt did the “diy” part for was my veil. I had wanted to use something from my mom’s wedding dress and it just so happened that her veil tulle matched my dress perfectly. My Aunt Anne made me a new shorter veil using the same material and pearls from my mom’s. One of my favorite things!
My friend Jessie made us the perfect cake topper! Two little blue crabs wearing the most adorable wedding outfits. I will treasure these forever! (We went crabbing on our first date! Also props to Ryan for picking out the perfect cake!)
These girls are MVPs. Jessie and Elizabeth were tasked with turning my favorite flower, hydrangeas into beautiful centerpieces the day of the wedding. I road my bike uphill both ways to swim team practice twice a day for 12 years. Every June I passed blue hydrangeas and fell in love with the blue puffy flower. They were a must have!
I brought 7 pieces of luggage on the cruise, two of them were filled with glass vases for the reception. Only one broke!
I had this itinerary custom made right before we left and then rushed to get it printed in time. It helped answer a lot of questions!
I love that I got to keep my flowers, they are sitting on my desk right now, and made an excellent gift for my bridesmaids. We weren’t allowed to bring the flowers back into America and I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing away my bouquet, so I got a fake one! I specifically looked for a brand called “Real Touch”. They look and feel very real! I got cabbage roses and anemones that matched each of my bridesmaids’ dress color.
My maid of honor was 13, I asked her if she wanted to hold the ring, she said “Yes!” I said, “Remember, we are getting married on a pier over the ocean.” She said “Noooo.” Compromise: We added flotation devices to our rings so they wouldn’t fall in the ocean.
I didn’t think about it at the time but both Ally and Shelley borrowed bracelets from me for the wedding, and they were each from my grandmothers. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Fake eyelashes and airbrush make-up were two of my favorite decisions. I was scared of sweating off my make-up in the Bahamas sunshine. My make-up stayed put all day! Looking at other people’s wedding pictures, every time I noticed a bride looking extremely beautiful it was usually the addition of false eyelashes, just sayin’.
(Sarah please note the picture below, I asked him to not let the braid touch my ear…)
I think I could have made an entire blog of Ryan’s dance moves. He never stopped. We did stop to eat food, but all I remember is that people raved about the coconut shrimp. Yum. We had Yoohoo as our toast because Ryan and his brothers grew up going to their grandmom’s after school and Yoohoo was a special treat at her house. Grandma Snyder passed away this past year so it was a nice way to include her. I tried to sneak the cans into the Bahamas to surprise Ryan, (totally illegal to bring food in from another country) but Ryan caught me, probably for the best, he’s a crier.
We went back to the dock to watch the sunset, I really wanted a picture of my college friends and our husbands. But where was my husband? Right back on the dance floor. Ryan’s desire to dance was the #1 reason we didn’t elope.
These pictures are some of my favorite from the wedding. My girls, our dads sitting together, Ryan’s dad hugging mine. My new father-in-law with glow-heart-sunglasses. My brother with our cousin. It was all so great!
Do you see my sneaky future sister-in-law, sneaking down to Love Beach?
I’m so glad this was caught on camera. Caitlin was sneaking us home our wedding in a jar. She brought home beach water and shells from our wedding! It looks really cool! So thoughtful!
I was emailed a few pictures from the resort owner’s girlfriend, they were sitting nearby watching. It was really cool to see this side of our wedding because I could see people’s reaction to our dance!
It was very very important to me that there were enough glow rings, sticks, and gems for everyone at the wedding to have one. I’ve worked too many weddings where there weren’t enough for the photographer to have one and it crushed my soul. Even our bartenders had one. It made my heart happy.
Look this is my blog, and if I want to say I had another favorite moment, I will. The last song of the night was Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. Totally unplanned but with the number of Billy Joel fans at the wedding it was the perfect way to end the night. I thought I’d never want to the wedding to end, but after that, I said “That’s it, end it here, that was perfect.” Also I don’t know what “Infinity Stones” are, but Ryan’s brother, Matt, has all of them.
I know Ryan enjoyed the wedding, but the spontaneous afterparty was his favorite part. He was announcing to everyone on the ship that we got married. So much so we attracted the attention of the ship’s crew. I thought we were in trouble but instead they brought us all free champagne and sang to us. I don’t know why for one second I thought we could go to Karaoke and not immediately be pulled up on stage. We all sang “Sweet Caroline” and we were then serenaded by one of Lisa’s coworkers that also happened to be on the cruise. It was a great time.
The wedding was great but spending the next day in the Bahamas was so nice. We didn’t have to say goodbye just yet. That’s what I wanted, more time! I packed everyone a beach ball so that this picture could happen. I did not expect the spontaneous dodgeball game though, that was fun.
I finally got the picture I wanted, me with my college friends and our husbands. Who cares if it’s day 2 hair?!
Wanna see the real wedding? It was the morning we left for the cruise. We wanted to sign the marriage license when we were still on American soil. Hotel lobby, wet hair, true love, t-shirts, surrounded by family. All that matters.
Back to Orlando for a short little honeymoon at Harry Potter World! Ryan got picked for the wand experience!
Then we did it all again two weeks later at my grandmother’s nursing home so she didn’t miss anything! A shorter blog for another day, whew!
For those super invested in the wedding or maybe unemployed, here is the long version of the wedding video. Lots more dance moves and my slow-motion reunion hug with Ally!