On last Thursday morning we packed up the car with a couple of bags and the above cookies and headed down towards Florida for Maria and Heath’s wedding.
After about 19 hours on the road and an overnight stay south of Nashville we arrived in Panama City Beach. In less than an hour we were changed into our swimsuits and enjoying some beach time and swimming in the Gulf.
We connected with Maria and Heath, Shannon and Derek, and Mom and Paul and spent the evening having dinner at The Shrimp Boat restaurant with a number of family members and friends that were in town for the wedding as well. The next morning we hit the (rainy!) ground running and the ladies spent the day at the salon getting hair and makeup down for the ceremony, complete with mimosas.
There was a bit of stress getting everyone through the salon in time, and a triathlon causing roads to be closed didn’t help in that regard! Thankfully, by the afternoon the skies had cleared and soon Maria was walking down the sandy aisle on the arms of her mom and dad. The ceremony was elegant and sweet, and a more comfortable, beautiful setting could not be imagined.
Paul had asked me to take charge of his fancy camera during the ceremony (which I loved, by the way!) so I’m waiting until they return from their Florida travels to get more ceremony shots. Justin grabbed a few on his iPhone, and I kinda like this shot of me taking a picture of Shannon.
After the ceremony, a reception and dinner were held at the Boatyard restaurant. The room and setting were comfortable and a good size for the group, and the appetizers and dinner food were exceptional. Roasted oysters, seared rare tuna, lime shrimp, veggies and salads, prime rib, pastas, shrimp and grits, roasted mahi mahi and other options were all part of the incredible spread. Plus, the sugar cookie favors seemed to be well received as well. While Maria and Heath made the rounds and tried to visit with all their guests, we enjoyed visiting with Shannon and Derek (who traveled to Florida from San Francisco).
Early the next morning we were packed up and headed back north again, though we choose a slightly different route to utilize the Interstates a bit more and fit in a short visit with some of Justin’s family. Our plan came undone rather quickly though, as just north of Nashville and south of Louisville, there were two MAJOR accidents, and the Interstate was completely blocked. We spent over two hours winding our way through the (very pretty) backroads of Kentucky, trying to avoid the backed up traffic in all directions. We later found out that people died in both accidents, and our inconvenient delay pales in comparison to what others were going through.
After the long day in the car the day before, we enjoyed sitting down for breakfast with Justin’s Uncle Mike, Aunt Shelley, and cousins Abby and Adam and their little ones, Mason and Ruby. This was our first time meeting Ruby, and I loved her smiles and chatter. We don’t get to see these great relatives as often as we like, so it was fun to connect with them for a bit on our way home.
Overall, spending 40+ hours in the car is not the best way to spend a weekend, but the reward of seeing and spending a bit of time with family and getting a bit of Florida sun was well worth it.