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Tabs' Blog

My Wedding Day

Tabitha Helms

Three months ago, I became Mrs. Tabitha Joy Helms. I've meant to write my reflection about the day for a while, but life was off and running as soon as we got back from the honeymoon. It hasn't slowed down three months later, but I at least have a long, three day weekend to catch up on some things, including this. So here we go:

My Wedding Day

The long year plus of planning finally was finished. I had completed every project I wanted to, packed up boxes with pictures for a quick, easy set-up, and assigned helpers to a variety of tasks. 

The set up the day before was when I had my brideizlla freaking out and crying hysterically moment. I had arrived at the venue with less help than I expected, my husband-to-be's car had decided to die and get towed to the mechanic to deal with after the honeymoon, and none of the tables were set up. The venue owner jumped in and helped with the set up even though it wasn't her job according to our contract...our rental vendor had given me misinformation. We survived the chaos and my fiancé and I managed to steal a quiet moment together to smile and say we couldn't believe it was finally here! 

Set Up Day

We got cleaned up and had the rehearsal, which went fairly well though it started late. I was super excited to wear my first ModCloth dress for the occasion!  


After the rehearsal, we headed over to Reagan's work office for the rehearsal dinner, which was an awesome carnival theme. You can read about our rehearsal dinner here. We all laughed so hard and had a really great time. 

I went to bed at a relatively decent hour and awoke at a relatively decent hour too. The wedding wasn't until 4, and I didn't have to be at the venue until 2. So the morning seemed to drag on forever! I did my hair and make-up myself at home. The bridesmaids all came over to get ready too. It was a bit stuffy, but I loved us all being together and helping each other with hair and make-up. It was a very special memory. I made the girls brunch and gave them books that I picked individually for each of them along with their jewelry that my Aunt Dorothy made for the wedding. 

We headed to the venue and went to the Bride's quarters to meet the photographer, Katie McGihon--a family friend of Reagan's family. We started off with Scott taking pictures of the guys (They kept parading past my window, and I kept sending someone out to chase them off! I wasn't supposed to be seen, haha.) 

Katie took pictures in the bride's quarters of me, my girls, my mom, and my mother-in-law. Katie and her husband, Scott, were an absolute delight. I was impressed over and over again with their expertise, grace, and professionalism. The pictures were gorgeous, and we were so happy we picked them!

Then it was time for the first look. Reagan had already seen my dress because he was designing the wedding program and needed to know the shape. But, he hadn't seen it on me, so I was very excited!

I was so happy! I was walking on air. It was such fun to get to walk around and enjoy the quiet as we took pictures and took in the day. The weather was lovely, the venue was simply beautiful. All the details had come together wonderfully. We spent so many hours over the past year doing crafts, making lists, shopping, and dreaming of how to make it our day. We made wood burned aisle markers with 1 Corinthians 13 phrases on them, cones for a petal toss, Reagan designed a beautiful program and did an ink drawing of a tree for our guest book, we painted signs, picked out gray and yellow accessories, and entreated friends to make us banners, rings, a cake, caramel corn, etc. It was absolutely beautiful!

We decided on a book theme wedding because we both love to read, and it's one of the things we love to do together too. Some of the books we used as centerpieces were ones we had read when we were dating. It was so fun to have books we connected over as showpieces on our special day. Reagan designed a bookmark for the guests to take home. We wrapped so many old books with gray and yellow fabrics to use as levels. We used yellow wrapped boards stacked on encyclopedias at our avocado bar. Our ring bearer held a book tied with our rings. And we made a library card catalog display for our seating chart. I included a heart cut out of book pages on our centerpiece flower jars, and I made our cake topper with a book page pennant. I LOVED creating all the book details!

I have seen a few "book weddings" before, but I could find nothing that used trinkets from the stories as decorations. So we forged ahead with many trips to party stores, craft stores, and the internet to find small toys and supplies that we could use. We wrote an inscription in all the centerpiece books and had a game on the back of our programs that the guests completed during the appetizer hour and the reception to win the book at their table. We wanted our guests to have the opportunity to get to know each other and to have fun. From the comments they've made, we think we accomplished our goal!

We took some pre-ceremony pictures together with our bridal party. It was so fun having everyone together! Everyone looked great. I was so happy to see my dreams of gray and yellow in bright vivid reality!

Before we knew it, it was 3pm and time to give gifts to our flower girls and ring bearer (felt, quiet books we made ourselves!), pray with our parents, and wait for our ceremony to begin. 

When it was finally time for the ceremony to begin, my nerves were fluttering all around inside of me. Waiting at the side of the bride's quarters with my dad, seeing all my bridal party in front of me must have been the longest moment of the whole day. But then, it began: the bridal processional down the aisle. I heard the floating music and felt myself inching forward as each couple walked ahead. I took a deep breath and followed, facing my favorite moment of the day--a man I love more than life itself with his heart caught in his throat and his eyes shining with emotion as he looked at his bride. It was so special to start the ceremony with the pastor I grew up with through middle school and high school, and who pastored the church where Reagan and I first met. And it was so special to have my dad take his place and officiate the ceremony. He did a great job. I only noticed one moment during prayer that he had to take a long pause to collect himself. Everyone was amazed that he pushed through the emotions of the day to be able to officiate! Indeed, I cried more than he did! I couldn't help it; I meant every word I said as I pledged my devotion and service to my husband. It was such a sweet experience. I'm very thankful I had a beautiful, lace hanky that said Helms on it to allow me to cry gracefully! We were also blessed by a friend who made us a unity cross, that we put together during the ceremony--signifying our two roles, locked together with the Trinity. 

After the ceremony was the long process of family pictures. Even with being super organized--giving Nicole a list of all the pictures we needed complete with pictures of who was who so she could track everyone down, it was still a hassle trying to find everybody and get them all there at once. We started to feel a little overwhelmed and irritated at that moment. :-P There were also a lot of guests standing around taking pictures too, even though the photographer would have the perfect ones available for them after the wedding. I wish they had been with everyone else enjoying the appetizers. I didn't even get to see what the appetizer area looked like because we were so busy!

The reception began a little hurriedly because our Taco Man was eager to get people eating right when the food was ready. We scarfed down our delicious meal and then raced to do a receiving line while the guests lined up for their food. It was our best solution for getting to talk to everyone during the reception. It worked out quite nicely and we were able to take a picture with each guest that came through it. 

We then rushed into toasts and dances. Reagan and I had been practicing Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" that screeched to a halt in the middle and transitioned into "Be My Forever" by Christina Perri so we could swing dance--something he learned to do for me through private lessons while we were dating. I still smile thinking about his quiet whisper in my ear as we danced to the first song that he couldn't remember anything we practiced! He ended up doing just fine. ;) At the end he shouted out, "I did it!" to our guests. Haha! My dad and I danced to "It's for my Dad" by Nancy Sinatra, and Reagan and his mom danced to "Sweet Child O Mine" by Sheryl Crow. This was all followed by a few encore performances from the lip sync competition the night before at rehearsal.

Reagan and I slipped out with Katie and Scott to take some final pictures in the gorgeous light that was shining before sunset. They even took a picture with us, which she said they do with all their clients, so sweet!

Everyone had a blast at our photo booth, which was backed by a beautiful book quilt made for us from a friend of Reagan's family. We were blessed to have his family friend Amanda Waltman to be our photographer at the photo booth. 

The rest of our evening was followed by dancing, cake cutting of the beautiful cake my aunt made us, and a getaway with guests waving ribbon wands and blowing pinwheels as we drove off to stay the night at Hotel Indigo in the Gaslamp district to catch our plane to Cancun Secrets Riviera Capri the next morning. 

When it was all over and we reflected on it together, it was so different from what we expected. We spent over a year planning the details and we didn't really get to see any of those things. We didn't get to watch people experience them. The day was very much us being sent here and there and go to that spot, that we really had that blur of a day everyone talks about. I am so glad to have my pictures to relive the day and remember how great it was. I was so blessed to have all our friends and family there. The surroundings were beautiful. And my cheeks didn't hurt from smiling like I thought they would! 

Looking back, there's nothing I would change about my wedding day. It was a dream come true with my other half.