So many of us use our camera phones as a matter of convenience rather than always taking our point-&-shoots or DSLRs everywhere. And with the improved quality of the photos, it is a wonderful way to capture everyday life.
Jessica and Heidi have devised a wonderfully creative class to help us rock it out even more! Class starts November 8th, but Jessica is already offering suggestions for apps. Every day, starting yesterday and leading up to the beginning of class, she's posting these suggestions on her blog.
Heidi is the queen of hybrid scrapbooking and all things crafty and she'll be showing us to use these photos in scrapbooking. Can't wait for that!
As with all of Jessica's classes, there's no need to be online at a certain time every day or even to be online at all during November 8-16th ... Once you purchase the class and it goes live, the information and videos are available to you forever so you can do the learning whenever you want. And if you only want to do the photo stuff and not the scrapbooking, that's fine too. The info is there and you choose what to do with it!
If you use your phone as a camera and want to learn how to use it even better and more creatively, this class is for you. Don't miss it—especially at this very low price of $19! Click HERE to get signed up! Pronto!
See you in class!
Ok ... so it's Tuesday and I'm just now posting the Le Weekend post. Stop judging me. :)
Truth is, I'm still coming out from under the wedding fog. I realize that many of you super-resilient types would've been back-to-normal the next day, but my reality is that only today—2+ weeks later— did I get around to popping the used candles out of the candle holders, moving boxes to our already-full garage, and trying to sort through the mess in my dining room, which is still filled with wedding paraphernalia that needs a final resting place. I chose the priority of a lengthy rest before addressing all of that.
For this moment and before I move forward to my next days, my advice for you in anticipation of any event—as huge as a family wedding or as small as a dinner party—is that you plan ahead, enjoy each moment as it presents itself, and finally, take plenty of time after to relish its details and relive its moments.
In the coming days, I'll be sharing about the changes we made around the house to get ready for guests (things I intended to share ahead of the event—such as our front yard remodel—, but just couldn't make time for them!). New recipes are coming, too!
From the moment Emily and Kyle got engaged, I wanted her (them) to make the major choices for their wedding day. I'm grateful and fortunate that she sought out my advice on so many things. Although we had a small handful of conflicts, I feel that she did a wonderful job of navigating them, both of us compromising, and ultimately seeing their vision come to life.
As for the finances, if I were you, a parent with "marriageble" kids—and that would be any reader with kids no matter their current age!—, I would be so curious as to what is typical to spend on weddings today. Because we were part of that group of parents a few short months ago, I'm going to tell you what we did with the hope that it might help. We didn't have a clue where to start, but given that Ken and I are traditional, we wanted to give Emily and Kyle their wedding celebration ... in other words, we wanted to pay for it all. Our name is not Gates or Buffet, however, and according to the internet, the amount that we arrived at was deemed ridiculously miniscule. Apparently, it's not unheard of to spend a minimum of $30K on a conservative wedding. :/ In the beginning, I wondered if we could do this in the style Emily would appreciate and that I would approve, but my common sense and work ethic kicked in and said, "Of course this can be done! Necessity is the mother of invention and we can have whatever we want!"
Ken and I discussed what would be feasible for us to spend on a day that would allow Emily some flexibility of choices while keeping us out of debt and decided that $10K would be our ceiling. Some of you just fell off your chairs, didn't you?! You either think that is ridiculously high or ridiculously low. And you would be right! There's no right or wrong amount to spend. It all depends on what you have, what you are willing to compromise, what you can do for yourselves, what your time allows, and what is important to you.
For us, it was what we felt comfortable with and what we could do given our resources. Of course, Emily and Kyle were welcome to exceed that amount, but they understood that if they did, it would come out of their pockets.
Thankfully for us all, Emily and Kyle are both frugal. To be clear, "frugal" doesn't mean "cheap" ... it means spending wisely, getting the best value for the money. One example of their frugality concerns Emily's wedding dress. She picked it out online at J.Crew and the first time we went to try them on, she bought it! She purposefully tried it on last because she wanted to rule everything else out. :) It was under $600 ... $575, I think. It arrived in the mail and a few days after, she received an email advertisement showing the same dress ON SALE! She returned the first dress and ordered another one at the sale price of $425 and in the color she originally wanted (classic ivory versus ivory). Alterations (an added train and taking it up 1.5 inches in the bodice the week before the wedding—don't brides usually GAIN weight?!) ultimately drove the price up a bit, but still totally worth the savings. A splurge she made on her dress was the beaded sash. After looking for weeks, she ultimately decided it was worth the $100 for the perfect handsewn/stitched sash. She was right. Swarovski crystals on long satin ribbon ... stunning.
As mentioned in the previous post, I did the posters and signage, but I have no idea what it would've cost to have had that designed and printed "out of house".
We ordered the invitations from Paper Source (less than $600 because Emily decided she could do without the letterpress ones ... boo hoo!) and we saved about $400 on top of that by opting to assemble them ourselves. Can you believe they charge that much to glue the die-cut front to the kraft paper back? We are fully capable of gluing so we set up an assembly line one evening after dinner and knocked those babies out! She sprayed them on the back ...
... handed them to me holding only the edges ...
I recommend purchasing postage online ... I despise standing in line at the post office! Another time saver was the address stamp that Emily had made with her and Kyle's names and address. It made addressing the envelopes so much faster, easier, and neater. A detail that Kyle insisted on and that our traditional Emily initially opposed :) was to set up the RSVPs on a personal website. This eliminated extra postage and envelopes (a savings of probably $500), provided them a cyber-space to share their story, photos, and gift registries, and kept all the RSVPs very orderly.
The burlap runner was always a consideration ... It would add texture, was reusable, and, let's face it ... it's awesome. I ordered it from burlap-tablecloth.com. I do think they could've been a bit more creative with their website name but if that's all they have against them, I'll overlook it. I looked at Jo-Ann's to compare prices of burlap and finishing the edges myself. It would've been about the same cost, but I would've had to spend time either fraying the edges or overlocking them on my machine. My time is costly and I preferred paying shipping than spending time. So I ordered it for about $120 and it came on a lovely roll that could be spread out easily. As mentioned in the previous post, Ken free-handed the "R" and Emily and I filled it in with Sharpie.
Emily is going to use part of the runner to make Christmas stockings for them and the rest of it ... well, maybe we can make oodles of burlap crafts to sell on Etsy and recupe the $$?
The hurricane lamps for the aisle were purchased at HomeGoods for about $16 each. I needed 10, but only found eight in one size. But there were two larger ones that I purchased and placed next to the mothers' chairs. We got the battery-powered candles at Costco (thanks to my friend, Salby, for stopping in one day to grab them!) in packs of four for about $25 and I had 2 already at home. We put them on top of pint-size canning jars (no cost as I already had them) to make them taller and my niece, Ashleigh, cut all the tulle (Michael's Craft Store, $9.99 each for2 rolls of 50 yards) in the correct lengths, then filled the hurricane lamps with it, swirling it around the candles just right. Beautiful! I plan to keep a couple of the hurricane lamps and the candles, Emily wants at least one of them, and other friends have asked if they can buy some. Money well spent and obviously, regained.
Glassybabys are not cheap, but they are one of my favorite things. They are absolutely stunning, sentimental, and created by a Seattle company with a compelling story. Buying as many as needed to make the statement we wanted to make would've blown our budget clear onto the next planet, but knowing they can be rented for $5 each made it a choice we couldn't refuse. We rented 60, giving us plenty to fill the mantle as well as a trio of them accompanying the centerpiece on each table in the reception hall. Ultimately, we could've gotten by with a few less since we reduced the number of tables in the reception hall, but that just allowed us to use them in other places. Emily picked out Midnight, Linen, and Beach glassybabys and the florist did a beautiful job of styling the mantle. Glassybabys, globes, candle holders, greenery ... all contributed to a beautiful mantlescape.
The florist is Geneva Sipes. She does flowers on the side of her full-time job, but if there was some way I could help her do flowers full-time, I would. Her work is beautiful, all of the vases for the centerpieces and window bouquets were included in the very reasonable price of $775 and contributed to our event in an absolutely gorgeous way.
And lastly, the venue ... the Great Hall at Green Lake. I'm not even sure how Emily found this place other than her excellent sleuthing skills. That kid can smell out a good deal from miles away. The Great Hall is in a 1921 building and has all the charm of yesteryear ... brick exterior, turquoise entry doors, wide staircases, tall ceilings, massive moldings and baseboards ... simply elegant. The price was right, they didn't require the use of a particular caterer, and we got a "neighborhood discount" on top of that because of the time Kyle has lived nearby. The disadvantage was the tiny kitchen and lack of stove or oven. Since we weren't serving a full-on dinner, this wasn't really an issue for us and the caterer was able to bring things already warm and although they cooled throughout the afternoon, the amount of leftovers suggested that no one noticed or minded!
The caterer Emily chose was Duos Catering. We never did a tasting or anything ... leap of faith! They came highly recommended to her and we just went with it. They worked with Emily's allergy very easily and as we received quotes from them, we realized that we could perhaps offset the cost by providing some of our own serving platters, etc ... They were open to that idea and we estimated that we saved about $400. Which we promptly turned around and put towards renting the little white chairs from them rather than using the red ones the venue offered. Win-win. The caterer supplied the plates, glasses, and forks, too.
We got a Banquet License ($10) which allowed us to serve wine and champagne without having a bartender. Trader Joe's was our friend in this department! Not only do they have excellent prices, but they order it all in and load it in your car, offering their congratulations all the while. Emily and Kyle chose a chardonnay called Linen from Bergevin Lane Vineyards in Walla Walla (the font on the label might have had some persuasive power) and a red blend "Hot to Trot" from 14 Hands in the Columbia Valley (the "14" on the seal might have had persuasive power here—they were married on the 14th) ... All kidding aside on the font and the "14", they are great wines and available at Trader Joe's for $8 or less. We knew that champagne could run the bill up a bit, but there's was no dissuading us from choosing Schloss Biebrich, a German dry. Wanna know how much it was per bottle? $4.99! A steal for a beautifully palatable bubbly! I've had more expensive champagnes that are not nearly as good as this one. It was hard to estimate how much to purchase and TJ's told me that I wasn't buying enough, but given that it was an afternoon wedding and knowing who the guests were, I felt pretty safe ordering two cases of each. Ultimately ... it was way too much, but we're not complaining with the leftovers. ;) I got the sparkling apple cider from Costco. The food and wine were easily a third of our total budget, but could just as well been half of it or more!
[I just re-read that last paragraph and it sounds like we are super cheap! $8 wines and $5 champagne at your daughter's wedding?! Really? Well ... yes, really. :)]
Photography ... this is one area we chose not to skimp! You only have one chance to capture a wedding day, rain or shine. Ken and I feel very strongly that having an excellent documentation of the day was worth every penny. Her rates are competitive, for sure, but we still were able to keep that cost under $2000. We hired Karen K. Wang Photography ... and would recommend her highly. Her aesthetic is close to mine and Emily & Kyle love her work. No brainer!
So ... let me wrap this up: Clearly, catering, the venue, and photography were our big expenditures. Then Emily's gown, flowers, and decor, with invitations and postage bringing up the rear.
Adding these figures puts us at $800 over budget. However, with the $500 refund on the venue, and once we sell these hurricanes, discount the undrunk wine, and make money off of our burlap crafts, we'll totally be in the black!
How could we have saved even more? By making our own hors d'oeuvres and asking friends to help serve, by not renting the white chairs, by foregoing the glassybabys, by having the wedding at home or outdoors (NOT.AN.OPTION) or at a church (but most charge for use of the facility and are not as picturesque as this venue), by not having the burlap runner or hurricanes on the aisle ...
Would we have opted for any of those choices for further saving? Not in a million years ... every dollar and every minute of effort spent on this very special event was worth it all. And I'm pretty happy that we are so close to budget!
Hidden costs: parents' clothes, siblings' clothes, dinners/brunches, hospitality (if you're hosting wedding guests at home), etc ...
Confession: It's not easy for me to divulge dollar amounts, but I hope my candor in these financial matters is helpful to any of you planning or looking to plan a wedding in the near future.
I'd like to think that even if we didn't try to conserve financially that Emily and I would have done many things on our own because of the sentimentality and personalization it lent to the day. She decided on a neutral palette of white, khaki, navy and gray with some greenery and other textural elements in fabrics and lighting. Her operating words were "classic and timeless" ... something she will still be proud of 25 years from now!
Lucky for us, I've a learned a few things about design and Photoshop and Emily trusted me to design the posters and other signage that we'd need. I have no idea what this would've cost us, but I feel that it was a real dollar-saver! We mimicked the font on the invations as closely as possible and during the reception, I got a huge compliment ... from a graphic designer! Yeah, I felt pretty good about that one.
Because the venue was in a city-type setting and our guests were parking on the street and possibly walking a bit, and because the hall and reception rooms are on the second floor, we put a sign on the outside door so that our guests would know they arrived at the right place.
"Merriment" follows the wording on the invitations that stated "hors d'oeuvres and merriment to follow".
Burlap is a wonderful thing, but Em and I felt that it can be way overused. Emily decided to restrict its use to the aisle runner (Source given in the next post). Ken freehanded the "R" using the font we used on the signage and then we filled it in with Sharpie. Yes, a good ol' Sharpie.
If you use burlap as a runner, plan to put that rubbery shelf liner type stuff under it or a rug pad. It is really slippery! My brother, Tom, was able to find some way to secure it (I don't even know how!), but please be very careful. One benefit is that it kept the processional walking slowly. ;)
The candlelit hurricane lamps down the aisle turned out so pretty, thanks to my niece Ashleigh, who cut all the tulle and arranged each one. We used battery-powered candles in them ... and huge thanks goes to my friend, Salby, who chased those down for me, thereby eliminating yet one more thing from my to-do list!
Early on, I suggested that we use glassybabys for part of the candlelight. Again, more on those in the next post, but it is a detail that I'm so glad we implemented! The florist did a beautiful job on this mantle-scape.
Each member of the family had reserved seats, some with names on them and others with the relation ... We considered backing them with kraft paper, but in the end, decided it was a detail that could be foregone.
Communion table ... covered with a white cloth and topped with a crocheted topper that Mama Trudy gave me a long time ago ... set with Emily's lace plate, my silver goblet, flowers, a glassybaby, the marriage license ... all sentimental.
I mentioned this table in the last post ... wedding photos of each set of parents captioned with the years they've been married ... and counting. And the middle photo of Kyle and Emily with the caption "47 minutes ... and counting".
We rented plenty of plates and glasses, but to ensure that everyone had at least one, we had a bowlful of metal-ringed tags strung with navy blue ribbon that Emily had stamped with a khaki-colored heart on one side and left the other blank for people to write their names. They could then tie the marker onto the stem of their glass (I wish I had a photo of those.) We offered white wine, red wine, sparkling apple cider, and French pink lemonade ... and of course, champagne for toasting. (More on purchasing those in the next post.) We framed these instructions to sit next to the bowl of tags on the beverage table ...
You can get by without having a guest book if you devise a clever way to replace it ... and Emily did. She decided on placing stacks of Madlibs and Guest Notes at each table. We framed these instructions in picture frames that Emily had shipped home from Mama Trudy's and then painted navy blue. Some had easels and we bought inexpensive ones for those that didn't have them attached. They sat next to the centerpieces and glassybabys in the center of each table. Having these rather than a guest book eliminated the line that forms to sign one and also gave Kyle and Emily something to read and reminisce over later.
It was a great way for guests to entertain themselves and interact while waiting on the bridal party to return from taking photos and before the food was served. [Em ... just noticed that I didn't change the "drinks" to "beverage" like we talked about. Oops.]
The Madlibs had a nod toward Princess Bride ... ;)
I'm pretty sure they have plenty of suggestions for naming their dog now!
The venue had the cafe lights already strung for us and we loved the atmosphere they created. The venue also supplied chairs, but they were red ... not part of the classic, timeless, neutral palette! We were able to rent these white, folding wooden ones through the caterer, and I was fortunate to be able to borrow tablecloths.
The florist provided Mason jars pinned with lace to keep the bouquets in until the ceremony began. The jars were then moved to the food and beverage tables for the bridesmaids to put their bouquets in during the reception.
My niece, Ashleigh, not only helped her mom with the hurricane lamps and numerous other tasks, but she also bravely stepped up to sing the hymn, "Amazing Grace". She did such a great job. We printed the words so the audience could sing along if they chose.
I made the cake using spelt flour so Emily could eat it ... AND so I didn't have to pay a bakery to bake a gluten-free one ... they are ridiculously expensive. Grandma Circeo decorated it and Auntie Erin crowned it with the same David Austin roses that were in Emily's bouquet.
And just in case someone didn't like cake, we had a cookie bar, all made with flour that Emily can eat without getting sick. Emily and Kyle made some of them, I made others, and Grandma Circeo made yet more when she arrived!
We made them all ahead and froze them. The night before the wedding, I took them out of the freezer, made a "goody bag" for the newlyweds to take on their honeymoon, and the rest thawed beautifully in time for the wedding. Emily's grandmas did a lovely job of plating them and arranging the dessert table.
The hors d'oeuvres were catered and consisted of five different gluten-free choices: pork-stuffed mushrooms, chicken pesto roulade, caprese skewers, mushroom ragout (served on a grilled polenta), and a huge vegetable platter with beautiful vinaigrettes on seasonal vegetables. I'll tell you more in the next post about how they allowed us to save money!
If it hadn't been for my brother, Tom, and my son, Ben, doing the emceeing, organizing the champagne toasts, and really stepping up to keep everything going, I'm not sure how the reception would've gone off ... they were fabulous. In addition, Angelo, on the tunes kept the dancing hopping!
I don't have a photo of it, but we had a special basket of coloring books, sticker books, and crayons arranged in mercury-glass votives ... to keep Busy Hands happy. That was brilliant thinking on Emily's part.
We were so grateful for each RSVP and wanted our guests to go home with something a little special. I made seven batches of Sugar & Spice Pecans, another one of Grandma Circeo's recipes. Emily and her friends had a craft night where they stamped muslin bags with their initials and stuffed them full of pecans. The sign reads, "It's been said ... we're nuts for each other. Thank you for celebrating with us. Enjoy some Sugar & Spice pecans." I tied it onto the basket with hemp twine. The Communion Table pulled double duty ... ;)
The morning of Emily and Kyle's wedding, October 14th, dawned gray with the sun peeking through shyly occasionally and I remarked that it was just like our own wedding morning almost 24 years ago, January 14. I hoped she would remember her big day with joy despite the rain and I kind of knew she would.
Emily had planned to have a Bridal Brunch with her bridesmaids and me at Portage Bay. There are tons of gluten-free choices such as these gluten-free Swedish pancakes with lingonberries ...
I stayed away from the sweets and chose a Spanish tortilla with arugula salad.
We then went back to Emily's condo and transformed the kitchen into a dressing room. Can you see the long mirror propped up on the toaster and leaning on the knife set? :)
Aly's job of helping us with our makeup was punctuated by Emily singing along with Disney Princess songs while Lauren did her hair ... "Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo ...", "You want to keess dee girl", "Some day my Prince will come ..."
...then she ducked out to have her nails done downstairs at the salon.
While we were busy getting ready, Auntie Erin was wielding her clipboard, keeping all the set-up and decorating in order at the venue.
She was helped immensely by my totally unselfish friend, Salby, who had come to our house the night before and loaded all the decor into her car. Tom (her husband and my brother) and Ben (my son) were invaluable Brawn. And not to be left out, Mini Brawn helped out a ton, too!
The bridesmaids drove together to the venue and I was lucky enough to have Emily with me alone. As we drove, she expressed a little fear, but she wasn't really sure what it was about. I held her hand and told her "Don't worry about anything anymore ... the day is here and you're getting married! There's nothing else to do except enjoy it. Take in each moment, feel each emotion, and notice little things."
As the hour of the ceremony drew closer, the magnitude of the day started hitting me, too. The music started, Ben, who knows my propensity to tears, told me not to ruin my makeup, then escorted me to my seat. Kyle and the pastor entered, then I watched each of the girls come in, then I saw my baby in the doorway on her dad's arm, the light shining through her veil from behind.
[For the record, this photo was taken upstairs in the Bridal Room just before the ceremony. :)]
I was so "in-the-moment" myself that I didn't remember at first that I was the one that was supposed to stand so that everyone else would! I quickly hopped to my feet and through tears watched our beautiful Em come down the aisle. The only regret I have is that I didn't look at Kyle's face ... I hope the photographer captured it for me.
The ceremony was beautiful ... The pastor had a way of drawing the parallels between Jesus' love for us and the marriage relationship that really elevated marriage to its rightful place. As my niece, Ashleigh, bravely stepped up and beautifully sang "Amazing Grace", leading us all in joining her, Emily and Kyle took communion and signed the wedding license.
Finally, the pastor said, "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." And the bride emphatically said, "Amen!"
After they were pronounced man and wife, and introduced as "Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Ryan", they danced their way out of the hall to the tune of Hall and Oates "You Make My Dreams Come True" with each couple in the bridal party following suit. It was perfect!
Photos were next and yes, even though it was raining, the bridal party went outside to get some shots. I love how Emily is trying to protect that silk chiffon dress by tucking as much of it as possible under her short trench coat! Ah ... fall weddings in Seattle ...
And then the real fun began ... hugging Mini-Brawn, visiting with all the guests, trying to eat a little something ...
The toasts were beautifully presented by the Maid-of-Honor, the Best Man, and the Father-of-the Bride. Ken's toast and the feeling in the room as he delivered it will stay in my memory forever.
I didn't have dancing at my wedding so I took the opportunity to have a First Dance with my dad. He cried through the whole thing. Sweetness.
We ended by "dancing in quartet" with Kyle and Emily. It is one of my favorite moments.
We had so much fun, enjoying music, laughing, dancing, and making memories that we'll relive many times.
We ended the day with a large family dinner at a local restaurant that we all love. It was a brilliant idea that Emily had to decompress after the hoopla of getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception. We'll forever be grateful to dear friends who did the clean-up at the venue, allowing us the freedom to leave. I'm sure they'll never know what that meant to us!
[Most of these photos are phone photos taken either by my sister-in-law or aunt. I'm so grateful for them and look forward to seeing the photographer's photos, too.]
Emily and Kyle have inherited a long line of successful marriages to emulate.
Ken and I are fortunate to have both sets of our parents still living and still married! They are all young ... you'd never believe the oldest of the four is 75 years old, would you?
This is Ken's mom and dad, Bob and Regina and they've been married 54 years ...
And my mom and dad, Jon and Carolyn, have been married 48 years ...
My brother, Tom (who took on roles we weren't aware that we needed him to take!), and his gorgeous wife, Erin (who also had a hugely significant role) have been married ten years ...
I think we four might have curly-haired redheads in our grandparenting futures!
At the wedding, we had a table set with a wedding photo of Tom and Debbie with the caption "Married 40 years ... and counting" and one of Ken and me with the caption "Married 23 years ... and counting". Auntie Erin snapped a photo of Em and Kyle kissing during the ceremony, emailed it to a friend of Emily's who then rushed to a drug store to have a print made, framed it, and captioned it "Married 47 minutes ... and counting!" They joined a host of long-happily-married couples! (I haven't even mentioned great-grandparents or great-greats ...
The only photos I don't have of people that were present are one of my aunt and uncle, Don and LaVon, and one of Ken and me! However, Kyle and Em, you know what we look like, our commitment to marriage, and you know that we love you to the moon.
My version of an Irish blessing: May blessings beyond measure pour down on you. May you trust through difficult times. May God bless you abundantly. And may He give you grace to leave a legacy that rivals your heritage.
Early in the planning stages, Emily suggested planning a family lunch on Saturday before the wedding on Sunday. With all of our extended family a few hundred miles away at the closest, we'll create any chance we can to spend time together. Not as many were able to come as was originally planned for, but the time was invaluable just the same.
I made pans of lasagna and froze them early and my very capable sous-chef, Niece Ashleigh, helped me make a tiramisu. All that was left was to slice bread, make a large green salad, and bake the lasagnas. Easy Peasy.
With Auntie Erin present and it being college football season, we kicked the day off (no pun intended) with the Notre Dame game. Jake loved the game, too, but he patiently waited to play X-box with his revered cousin, Ben!
Emily is fortunate that both of her grandpas agreed to share Scripture reading during the ceremony. She asked them to read Psalm 103, one that is significant to us in that it was one of Mama Trudy's favorites.
Yeah ... those grandpas love their Emily!
Emily has eleven cousins, but only two were able to be here for the weekend. Ashleigh ended up with quite a significant role that I'll tell you about later! She is obviously beautiful, but her grace and loving ways are what define her.
Finally, Ben and Jake get to play X-Box. Jake adores Ben ... and I'm pretty sure Ben adores him back!
After all, there's not too many six-year-olds that get to hold and swing Ben's bats ...
We sure missed our brothers and their families, our cousins, and Kyle's grandpa who couldn't be here! We'll look forward to the day when we can all be together!
It was an evening we'd looked forward to for a long time. Almost all the details were in order for the wedding and we were anxious to see friends and family, then celebrate with a lovely dinner. Emily and Kyle chose the Great Hall at Green Lake for their venue. The space was just beautiful ... hardwood floors, huge white baseboards and moldings, tall ceilings, and a fireplace in the room where the ceremony would be held.
Even though the wedding was on Sunday, the rehearsal was on Thursday because of the venue's booking of other parties so we were so happy that Ben could drive up after baseball practice to be with us. My aunt thinks he is "kind of a big deal". :)
The traffic wasn't kind to us that night. Ken didn't make it until the end of the rehearsal and while we waited on him and the bride and groom, we snapped some shots ...
Some portrait-style shots ... and others, not so much! Of course, this is deemed normal behavior for these two ...
These are Emily's bridesmaids ... three beautiful girls.
Even Kyle and Emily didn't show up until well past the time the rehearsal was supposed to start and when she arrived, she found a bit of comfort in a legendary bear hug from her little brother. I love this photo and the fact that my kids get along so well! (Most of the time, anyway.)
The rehearsal finally got started and this photo totally showcases each of Emily's bridesmaids' personalities ... Meg, the sentimental one; Aly, the boss; and Hannah, the poised one.
As we walked through the ceremony, I got a little glimpse of what the wedding would feel like as a parent ... a little scary, a little comforting, and a whole lot exciting. I've always known that Emily would be a wonderful wife and some day, a fabulous mom and I feel that we did everything we could to prepare her. And yet I can't help but wonder if we did enough. Is that the way it always is with parents? Must we always second-guess ourselves? Must we always wish we'd done something different or better?
I'm ... BAAAACK!
I've been gone from cyber-space for more than two weeks and for good reason. Our first daughter was married on Sunday, October 14th.
The details and time to wrap them up took a bit of effort. I knew that time would be of essence before the big day, but I wasn't prepared for the toll it would take on me emotionally or physically. Is any mom prepared for that? That questioned, I'll still say that I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
My mom and dad left today to go home and I'm only now starting to process the events from the last few weeks. I plan to share photos and stories in the next few days so if you don't want to see them, I'll hope to find you waiting on the other side. :)
From our side, it was a beautiful ceremony ... one in which both Emily and Kyle made us proud parents. We are blessed beyond emotion or words.