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Last weekend, one of my lifelong besties, Ali, got married at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, not far from where we grew up. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I was so honored and thrilled to be one in hers. It was the first wedding that Tony and I went to after we tied the knot, and it was so exciting to be at a wedding again… Given my feverish obsession with all things bridal, I wasn’t sure how I would feel going to weddings after we got married. Nostalgic? Sad mine was over? Relieved and relaxed? Noticing details I missed, and would never have the chance to replicate? Overjoyed for the couple? In all honestly, it was a combination of all of those feelings. But above all, it was happiness for my friend Ali and her brilliant, sweet groom, Garrett.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

{I’m closest to the dog, on the floor with bad posture. Ali is far right, not looking at the camera.}

Garrett is one of my favorite people I’ve ever met. And also the smartest. But he doesn’t throw it in your face… The guy’s a doctor and his specialty is so advanced I don’t even know what it’s called, but it has something to do with brains. But whenever we hang out with them, he bros out with Tony over their favorite workout supplements and gym routines. (But maybe because this is just the highest level of an intellectual conversation we can achieve, so he humors us.) I’ve written before about how far Ali and I go back (all the way to the diaper days!) She’s one of my dearest friends, and someone who has stuck by me even when I made the decision to perm my bangs. She’s also as smart as Garrett, which is very. The girl is driven. She used to do flash cards at sleepovers, which has paid off with her Dr. Ali title. But she’s kind enough to pretend that my performing for free in shows on weeknights is just as cool. They are what I like to refer to as “grown ups.”

Crocker Art Museum wedding

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{Ali, far left. Me, far right. Jax, the turtle.}

I flew in a few days early from Vancouver, so I could be there for all the wedding festivities. Friday morning, my parents and I took our 5 dogs for a walk around the neighborhood, looking like the insane animal hoarders that we are, and spotted Ali and her family outside their house. It was the day of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The day before the wedding. And they were so calm. And happy! They were going for a run, just like normal people on a normal day! Maybe Ali didn’t catch bridezilla disease because she is a doctor. Or because she is far less melodramatic than I am. In any case, I offered to come over and help assemble/craft/be a shoulder to cry on or person to do shots with/drive stuff to the venue. But she chirpily replied that they were all set and good to go, and they were just going to enjoy the weekend. Exactly what a wedding weekend should be… And such a foreign concept to us! The day before the wedding, and no one was in tears! Those doctors just have it together.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

{Ali + her sweet parents}

That afternoon, Jax (our other lifelong bestie) and I carpooled together to the rehearsal. She took a big risk agreeing to ride with me, as I am not known for being on time (I am actually known for the opposite). However, we were the first to arrive, getting there 15 minutes early! I consider that one of the great achievements of my life. Ali was gorgeous and glowing in a white dress. The bridal party looked straight out of a J. Crew ad. I joked to Jax that, as pretty much the only non-doctors, we were the black sheep and she replied something along the lines of “Speak for yourself, I went to an Ivy League.” So, I was the black sheep, I guess.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

{Jax + me, taking advantage of the beautiful venue. Literally.}

The space was absolutely gorgeous. I’d been there on field trips as a child, but had forgotten (or, more likely, never really appreciated) just how spectacular that museum is. The ballroom has so many elegant details, it is the perfect place for a wedding; everyone always talks about how it’s smart to get married somewhere scenic outdoors because then you don’t have to decorate as much, one of the big reasons why we chose Tahoe, and the same can be said for a museum. It was just beautiful. And the rehearsal dinner was equally special; it was at one of the nicest restaurants in Sacramento, Mulvaney’s, and was decorated so beautifully, it could have been a wedding.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

Saturday morning, Tony arrived from Vancouver… He’d had a night shoot, and gone from set to the airport. I’m a monster if I get less than 8 hours of sleep (I have no idea how I will one day survive motherhood), but he was as chipper as ever, and spent the morning helping me get out the door. We were supposed to have clipped the fabric ribbon on our bridesmaid dresses off in advance, but I’d of course forgotten, so Tony delicately chopped it off with nail clippers while I tried to figure out how to get my hair extensions in without the help of a professional.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

{I got them in!!!!!!}

When I got to the bridal suite, Ali’s hair and make-up was done and she was laughing with her bridesmaids and popping bubbly, so relaxed. She looked perfect. It was such a far cry from the chaos of my bridal suite (more on that later). She was present and excited, a mode every bride hopes to be in and very few achieve. Her parents arrived, her mom helped her into her gown, and all of us teared up looking on as her dad saw her in her dress.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

Crocker Art Museum wedding

Ali and Garrett decided to do “first look” photos prior to the ceremony, so we jetted off to the museum and got our vogue on, and then went off to the museum’s bridal suite to chill. Ali planned the whole thing herself, and it was all so organized and ran on time… Ali kept a clear, cool head the entire day. I have never seen a bride so zen.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

{bridesmaid bouquet}

Ali’s uncle, also a doctor, officiated the ceremony. We all cried. Ali’s junior bridesmaid cousins were adorable. And then, it was time to party! I’d regrettably worn completely unreasonable shoes, so I hobbled straight to Tony, who was in line at the bar getting me champagne, and sent him to the car to trade my sweaty heels for flip flops while I inhaled appetizers barefoot like the lady I am.

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Ali & co. outdid themselves with the table settings; the floral arrangements, linens, gold flatware and vases were all so beautiful and made the gorgeous space even more beautiful. The food was family-style, which meant being able to sneakily eat three meals without being That Girl Who Went To The Buffet Three Times, and I thank Ali for that. The speeches were loving and hilarious. The music was awesome. There was a popcorn bar. We rocked it on the dance floor until Tony told me he was about to fall asleep dancing, and I remembered he hadn’t slept for two days, and my parents drove us home while I ate the chocolate caramel favors in the backseat. It was the happiest day.

Crocker Art Museum wedding

Ali told me in the bridal suite just how special it was that she, Jax and I have all been bridesmaids in each others weddings, and I couldn’t agree more. Life gets so busy, it’s hard enough to nurture friendships with the people who live in your town, much less spread across the state, and somehow we’ve managed to remain besties for almost thirty years. I feel very lucky, and watching her stand up there, beaming as she promised to love the love of her life for the rest of her life, was a moment I will never forget. Congratulations, Ali and Garrett!

Crocker Art Museum wedding