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Apologies for being away for a while. Last week, my family and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for our dear family friend, Andrew’s wedding to his beautiful bride Alicia. This is my best friend’s family. It’s a very unique situation as we are best friends and our moms are best friends and our dads are best friends. In addition to that, I love her brothers. You know some friends, where you just tolerate their siblings? Not the case here. As an only child, her brothers are the closest thing to brothers I’ve ever had. They are great guys. This was the oldest brother’s wedding. Our two families have been friends for 20 years and during this time our parents have prayed for our spouses. To meet Andrew’s bride, Alicia, and to celebrate their wedding was off the charts amazing. P.S. She is sensational.

It was such a full and beautiful time of love and service for this incredible couple.

At 5:30 a.m., we sat on our plane as passengers filed in. And then, out of the blue, Victoria’s grandparents walked on! By the time I was five years old, Victoria’s grandparents insisted I call them Mama and Papa. They are so dear to me. When they stepped on the plane, it was like the party really started!

We arrived on Wednesday evening and drove to Alexandria where we were staying with the bridal party and family. First things first, I was reunited with my bestie, Victoria, who lived abroad for the last year. Finally, no more skype! It was magical to see each other in person! We couldn’t stop hugging!

Reunited and it feels so good!

We found food and crashed after a long day of traveling.

Our hotel was on King Street, which is right in the middle of all of the loveliness of the town. This colonial town, founded in 1749 is packed with colonial charm and an adorable waterfront. We walked along cobble stone streets to explore countless restaurants and boutiques. Alexandria was our home base because not only is it an adorable little town, but the reception was held here.

Thursday morning, we headed out to Falls Church (where I lived summer 2010), to begin prep for the rehearsal dinner. The Barretts (extreme foodies, master chefs and winery owners) hosted the rehearsal dinner on Saturday evening.  Because of this commitment to food, they did all the cooking themselves. We served as kitchen prep help and errand runners. It was actually so much fun. The house was full of love and service, all for this sweet couple. We peeled peaches and garlic, diced cucumbers, ground coffee, cleaned-up the grounds around the house, arranged flowers and a whole lot more.

Sozo wine brought from Seattle for the party

Victoria chopping marcona almonds for the salad

In between our work we would take brakes sipping pinot gris on the front porch. Ahhh… I love a deep front porch with rocking chairs.

After a long day of hard work, we headed to the church for the rehearsal and then to the Brasserie Beck for a mussels and wine dinner. Yum! It’s a posh restaurant on K street and was the perfect location for delectable food, laughs, toasts and cheers.

Victoria, the bride and me

Me with the parents

Friday morning was spent finishing Thursday’s tasks at the Falls Church house. Did I mention that this house is straight out of Southern Living? Tots adorbs.

That evening was the rehearsal dinner. It was perfect in every way. We were served a four course dinner with wine pairings and heard toasts heart warming stories from each side of the family. A highlight for me was sitting with some of the bride’s family and getting to know them more.

Me, Taylor (best man and Victoria’s little brother) and Victoria

Me and the parents

Suddenly, Saturday arrived. that morning, I headed to the bridal suite to help Victoria, my besite, with her hair. Then I went back to my room to spruce up and don the outfit that took me months to assemble. The Rhodes family was lookin’ fly if I do say so myself!

Then we were off to the church! The wedding was held at The Falls Church, just outside of D.C. in Virginia. In addition to being beautiful, one of the founding members was George Washington and one of the first readings of the Deceleration of Independence was read on its steps. How cool is that?!

Before I knew it, the organ began, Andrew was standing at the altar and the bridesmaids began to file in. Sweet Victoria was already crying on her way down the aisle and seeing that, made me lose it. Then with a collective gasp, Alicia entered. She was stunning. A vision. Each and every detail was perfection. Her dress, her hair, her blue sequenced shoes, I could go on. The ceremony was wonderful and perfectly honoring of their love and faith. Few dry eyes remained by the time they kissed. I’m honestly not much of a crier, but when it comes to weddings, I’m a mess. I just love LOVE!

The beautiful bride and groom

Then, we were off to eat, drink and be merry, all to celebrate this marriage. It was a delightful time, with yummy southern food. My favorite was of course were the crab cakes. Definitely had more than one.

After church on Sunday, we went to brunch, which of course included more crab cakes. This time, crab cakes benedict!!

Then it was off to walk the streets of Georgetown. If you ever go to D.C., this is a must. Cobblestone streets boast some of the country’s best fashion shops, my favorites were Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines. Despite the blistering heat (102 degrees) and oppressive humidity, it was a great day.

Monday, we traveled home, again with the Barrett grandparents and also Victoria.

Now home, I’m just basking in the wonderfulness of the trip. SO many precious memories and times spent with dear friends. What a privilege and honor to be apart of this celebration.

Me with the bestie at the Lincoln Memorial. Big victory: I walked up all those steps with no increased pain!!

On a personal note, it was a very successful trip. While I continue to have nightly migraines, I’m able to manage them with medication and wake up just fine the next morning. Unfortunately, the only exception to this was on early Friday morning, I got a terrible migraine that prevented me from going to my appointments to learn more about grad school. Big bummer. However, health victories include: walking up ALL those steps of the Lincoln Memorial, dancing at the wedding, walking through DC and Alexandria and working hard preparing for the wedding for two days. All this with no increased abdominal pain. Wahoo! I’m so, so grateful to be doing so much better and was therefore able to really enjoy this trip. Now, we officially have a successful trip on the record.