Now that our wedding is over, I honestly wish I could do it again. Not because anything went wrong. Not because of the party and celebration. And definitely not because I want to go through all the planning again. I just miss the feeling of being surrounded by friends and family who are there to celebrate us.
Family, whether through blood or the tribe you build, is so important to Maks and I. And I can’t begin to describe how much it meant to me to have them – our parents, our siblings, our best friends, my big, crazy adoptive Russian family, and so many more special people in our lives – share this day with us.
First, I’d like to talk about how amazing Nicole Volynets is. Seriously, not only was she my maid of honor, but she was my wedding planner, too!
Nicole and Maks grew up together; her mom was like a second mother to him so they were like brother and sister. I didn’t meet Nicole until 2011, when we were both accepted into the first troupe of Dancing With the Stars. We just gravitated toward each other and loved being in each other’s company. So when she saw there was an attraction between Maks and I, she was right in the thick of it – she would be the mediator between what Maks and I would say about each other and she was always a friend to both.
I can go on and on about how much she means to me and how much it means to both of us that she agreed to plan our wedding – her strength, her style, her grace, her talent, her beauty – but through thick and thin she always believed in our love. She’s the sister I never had and now I’m happy that I can now call her my sister-in-law.
And then there were the family and friends from Australia – some of whom I’d known since I was 8 years old – who traveled halfway across the world to be there for me. All these years of living away, making friends with other people’s friends and spending time with other people’s family can wear on you. So it was so nice to be with my clique and, for many, finally introduce them to the love of my life.
I’d heard Maks’ story about coming to America a thousand times and various other stories of his childhood from friends and family – but he never heard those stories about me. But with my tribe present, Maks got to finally meet my extended family and childhood friends and find out a little bit more about me. It makes me cry just thinking about how special a moment that was.
Once Shai gets a little older, I want to take Maks and him to Australia so they can really see where I came from and meet even more family and friends.
Of course, there’s also my mum and dad – my rock and my teddy bear. They only get to see us every four months or so, so it was important to me that they had a special place in our wedding. My mum got to bring Shai down the aisle and she felt like The Chosen One – haha!
I’ve looked forward to having my dad walk me down the aisle for such a long time that it was hard not bawling through the whole thing. I’m just so grateful for the life they gave me and so happy that they could share in my next chapter.
Even though nothing has changed since getting married – we still have the same houses, we still have our son, still have the same lives – I do have a beautiful ring, a piece of paper that says I’m legally Mrs. Chmerkovskiy, and about a million memories of the friends and family that were there to laugh, cry and party with us while we made it happen.
Photo Credit: Jamie Levine Photography