My cousin’s wedding weekend in Virginia Beach was one of the best weekends of my summer! I was honored to be a bridesmaid, and I loved spending time with my extended family and celebrating my cousin and her new husband. I wrote about the events leading up to the wedding here.
The Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
As anyone who lives near DC and has ever tried to drive towards the beach on a summer Friday could have predicted, traffic was terrible. My aunt and uncle and I left early, but the drive that should have taken four hours took almost seven. We headed straight to the venue and sprinted inside in time for the second run-through of the rehearsal.
Before the rehearsal dinner, I went back to the Airbnb where I was staying with my parents, an adorable cottage a block away from the beach. It was nice to have our own living room and kitchen, even though we were just there for the weekend. It had stopped raining, so I had time for a quick walk on the beach before we left for the rehearsal dinner.
The rehearsal dinner was at a steakhouse near the wedding venue. I hadn’t met a lot of the groom’s family before, so I was glad it was small—just the family that was already in town, the wedding party, and their dates. I got to meet a lot of the groom’s family and friends and chat with people who I had met at the bridal shower and bachelorette party. After the rehearsal dinner, we drove the airport to pick up H, who had worked on Friday and flown down.
I woke up a little early on Saturday to walk on the beach and drink coffee on the porch of our Airbnb, preparing myself for the busy day ahead. I got to the salon at ten and joined the bride and the other bridesmaids for a few hours of primping and sipping mimosas. I’m normally outraged that bridesmaids spend all day getting their hair and makeup done and groomsmen start getting ready an hour before pictures, but I knew I was lucky to spend so much time with the bride on her special day.
The photographer showed up around two and took some candid photos of us getting ready as the hair and makeup artists put the finishing touches on the bride. After the photographer was finished, we crowded into the bride’s car to drive to the wedding venue, giggling because I had her huge princess dress in my lap. Once we left the salon, I was focused on not doing anything to mess up my hair or makeup, since we had to make it to the ceremony in three hours.
At the venue, we headed to the bridal suite and changed into our bridesmaid dresses as the groomsmen started to arrive, and then the pictures started in earnest. There had been a sprinkle of rain that afternoon, and we ended up using towels to dry off the deck so the bride could walk out there for photos without getting her dress wet. After the photographer took the wedding party photos, the wedding coordinator shooed us back into the bridal suite since guests were arriving.
The ceremony was beautiful and full of family—my dad performed the ceremony, my uncle gave the bride away, and my mom read one of the passages. We were on a second-floor porch looking over an estuary illuminated by the late afternoon sun. Since the bride loves the beach, I couldn’t imagine a better place for her to get married.
We took more photos during the cocktail hour, and after that I made a beeline for H, who had I hadn’t seen since that morning. We found our table just in time to hear the DJ announce the bride and groom, and then it was time for dinner—which I was ready for since I had snacked at the salon instead of eating lunch and missed the hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour. Once the dancing started, I was out on the dance floor doing the Cupid Shuffle and who knows what else for the rest of the night with the other bridesmaids.
We got back to the Airbnb at a decent hour, since we were riding with my parents, but I had underestimated how long it would take to remove my fake eyelashes (which came off with water, thank goodness), wash off my foundation so I wouldn’t turn my pillow orange, and take sixty bobby pins out of my well-secured updo. The next morning we just had time for one more walk on the beach before we headed to the airport for our flight back to DC. At the airport, H and I saw the new bride and groom at a nearby gate, on their way to the honeymoon in Mexico! We got to talk about how fun the wedding had been and their plans for the honeymoon.
The weekend was so fun—I got to catch up with family that I hadn’t seen in forever and make some new friends. I only regret that we didn’t manage to hit the Virginia Beach boardwalk after the wedding or the rehearsal dinner for a Ferris wheel-riding, funnel cake-eating after party.
Have you ever been to a beach wedding? Was it on the beach or did it have a beach view? Tell me about it in the comments!