This past weekend I had the amazing privilege of being a bridesmaid for my oldest friend in the world, Shaolin. We’ve known each other since we were babies when our parents met at my hometown church. My earliest memory of us two was taking swim lessons at the YMCA together – Shaolin was fearless and jumped right in while I was crying on the side, and she took my hand and told me “it’s okay.” It was friendship at first sight ❤
Shaolin held her wedding at the groom’s hometown in Tyler, Texas. It was my first time being a bridesmaid AND attending a wedding, so there was definitely a bit of a learning curve, but overall the entire weekend turned out to be such a blast!
Friday: roadtrip + rehearsal + girl’s sleepover
The majority of Friday was filled with travel. I landed in Dallas in the early afternoon and met up with the other three bridesmaids who came in from LA. We picked up the rental car and was off for a two-hour road trip to Tyler!
The car ride was filled with endless chatter while blasting county music – turns out a love for country was one thing we all had in common (#whenintexas). We all met each other for the first time and got to know one another. It quickly became apparent that I’ve been living in such a bubble in SF. The drive in rural Texas was so picturesque (white picket fences, galore!). I learned that the maid of honor is a teacher for special ed while going to school and one of the bridesmaids owns a bakery…these ladies are so beyond impressive and I just loved meeting people outside of my usual bay area tech/finance bubble!
Right near sunset, we made it to the church that the wedding was held for rehearsal. The church was on a RANCH – so much open space right by the lake, just beautiful! We all greeted Shaolin and her fiance with the biggest hugs. It was also the first time I saw her parents and brother in 18 years!
The groomsmen were all a bunch of hilarious goofballs and we all instantly knew we had a fun wedding party. It was funny to realize that all the bridesmaids were single, city gals from California and all the groomsmen were married or in relationships from Texas. The guys were beyond sweet and humble – another bubble popping instance. Us ladies all said to one another how we were NOT use to such gentlemanly treatment coming from California!
Afterwards, we headed to the rehearsal dinner back in town.
Best part of the rehearsal dinner – the BBQ. The BEST I’ve ever had.
The families and friends took turns going up and giving toasts/speeches to the bride + groom. It was so nice to hear stories and get more color to Shaolin’s relationship and hear the amazing impact she and her fiance have had on so many lives, as well as hear some embarrassing stories. 😉
Then, the ladies drove back to Shaolin’s apartment for a fun sleepover. Shao didn’t want to have a bachelorette party and so this was our way spending some quality time before her big day. We kept things low key and mostly prepped for the next day – cleaning up, doing some hair prep, and of course, face masks 😛
Saturday: wedding day!! + after wedding fun
The alarm clock went off early at 6:45am. First thing, mimosas 😉
We started right away on hair and makeup, which two of the other bridesmaids took charge of. Getting 5 girls up, fed, hair done and makeup on takes quite some time.
I’m not the most stylish person, so it was such a treat to have someone else do my makeup and hair for once. There were literally 12 different products on my face so this is definitely something for special occasions, but I definitely took away some tips this weekend on skin care and makeup!
Playing wedding photographer on my iPhone 😛
I was the first one ready and so I had some down time to relax and entertain some of the kids which always warm my heart. It was the calm before the storm.
The next two hours were very hectic. Despite getting ready for hours, we still ran an hour late, and it was a mad dash to get all our stuff together and head to the church. There were so many moving parts: hiding Shao from the groom, helping set up, keeping our hair in tact…I thought being a bridesmaid was all fun and glamour but this proved me wrong.
Next came the fun part – girls photo shoot!
It’s not a photo shoot without a jumping photo 🙂
Trying to make Shaolin laugh for her candid laughing photo, ha
My favorite picture
After the photo shoot, it was time to say “I do”. The sun was out and it turned out to be the most beautiful ceremony.
There was so much excitement and energy after the ceremony – perfect for channeling it to our second photoshoot, this time combined with the groom’s side.
Then it was reception time! They decided to keep things low-key and turn it into a fancy version of a coffee hour versus the traditional full sit down meal. I was skeptical of the idea at first but it couldn’t have worked out better with the whole relaxed feel of this church wedding.
After the reception, we sent off Shao and Peter to their honeymoon, and it was clean up time for us. Despite being sleep deprived and jet-lagged, we all powered through cleaning the church as well as Shaolin’s apartment (we didn’t want her coming home from her honeymoon to a big mess). It took a few hours but that’s what we were there for.
Followed by a well-earned dinner with the ladies at Raising Kings.
It was still a little early by the time we were done, and so the best man invited us to his friend’s house in town and the rest of us partied for the night. It was so nice to let loose after all the hard work.
Overall I’m so glad I got the opportunity to serve as a bridesmaid for Shao and also meet some amazing new friends. I was telling one of the bridesmaids on our ride back to the airport that it felt like we knew each other for years even though we only met 48 hours ago. I’m so touched by how easily we all opened up to each other, and now I know I have some friends to stay with in LA!
Congratulations Shao and Peter!!! ❤