I have tried writing this post a dozen times in my head because I was feeling pressure to produce a piece of material that was reflective, inspirational, and I don’t know, all sorts of things that just aren’t me. It was so beautiful I felt I had to write an equally beautiful post to do it justice. But then the post never got done because I was trying too hard. So instead, I’m just going to go with the flow and let the words come to me. And share a whole bunch of pictures that capture the last minute preparations all the way up to the beginning of the ceremony, because after that, I sat back and enjoyed every second of the night and didn’t give my camera another thought.
First, my overall reflections on the day: PERFECT – even though not every little detail was perfect, the day as a whole was absolutely perfect. BEAUTIFUL – the setting, the decorations, the ceremony, the wedding party, the friendships, the family, all of it. FUN – I mean, it was just so dang much fun! The sheep, the socializing, the dancing, everything! So grab a refreshing beverage and sit back because there are A LOT of pictures.
Friday, September 23, 2016.
Prologue: I was up early and out the door at 7:45 to make it to Jordan by 9:00. I had meant to leave by 7:30 because I needed to stop and get gas, and I also wanted to get a coffee. So I was feeling a tiny bit anxious to be starting out late. But then something happened. I turned on KTIS (the Christian station I listen to) and it was pledge week. Now I am a little bit ashamed to say that I have never pledged to a radio or television station during their pledge week, but I felt the strongest calling to do so this morning. I can’t say that I have ever really heard God speak to me, and this is something that I’ve struggled with, but on this morning, I felt a presence and urging unlike anything I have ever experienced. So I pulled into the gas station, picked up my phone, and called. I gave my information and my pledge amount, and then they told me they had a prayer wall and asked if I had a prayer request. So I told them about the wedding and they put it on their wall. So there you have it, true to the general theme of the rest of my life, God spoke to me at a gas pump at the Super America.
I met Theresa and Rachael at Amanda’s and we walked over to the florist. I was nervous about making the bouquets (this was the one thing I had been most nervous about all along), and when we got there the florist told us that she had decided to just make them for us because they were pretty complicated. We could still make the boutonnieres, but she would do the rest.
After the flowers, we drove to Eden Prairie for lunch, and then made a couple of last minute stops. We went back to Amanda’s and wrapped the mums in burlap, put ribbons on the pumpkins, and packed our vehicles. We also enjoyed a little champagne (you may recognize this from our wedding dress shopping in Chicago!). I should mention that it was pouring rain at this point.
I headed to the hotel in Waconia so I could get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Gary and the girls had already checked in. This is where I FINALLY got to see Zach too. We drove to Baylor Regional Park and the rain stopped just as we were parking.
It was really windy and cool, but we walked through the processional a couple of times and then had tacos by the fire in the pavilion. Gary, Megan and I turned in early, but Amy went and hung out with the others on the patio.
Saturday, October 24, 2016.
We were up and out the door by 7:30 for our hair and makeup appointments at Sanctuary Salon Spa in Eden Prairie. They did an amazing job on everyone!
We swung by the venue to get a picture of Amanda’s dress and check up on the set up.
Then it was back to the hotel for pictures of Amanda getting her dress on. This is where we experienced our first minor issue. There weren’t any clean rooms for her to get dressed in. She didn’t want to go to her room because Ryan was in that area of the hotel. We went to my room next, but the girls had somehow managed to completely destroy it, and the haze of body spray was impenetrable. I knocked on Dick and Theresa’s door (which was right next to ours) to see if they could accommodate us. They did a quick pick up and we squeezed a photographer, a bride, five bridesmaids, and two moms into that Standard Two Queen room. I have no pictures because at this point I was afraid that my slightest movement would set Amanda into a tail spin. She came through it like the trooper that she is, and they were off to the venue for their pictures.
I got dressed, packed up the food I had brought for lunch, met up with Michelle and a couple of bridesmaids, and also drove back to the venue. Gary and I quickly set out the food and then went back to the hotel to get dressed. We thought we had lots of time, but shortly after arriving I received a phone call from Rachael informing me that the food was all gone, and Ryan and Amanda hadn’t even eaten yet. Well. Gary and I hustled out of the hotel (I made my best bow tie ever!) and went to the grocery store across from the hotel to get more meat and cheese. In our formal wear. On a Saturday afternoon. We may have attracted a little attention.
We restocked the food and then it was our turn for family photos. Dick took pictures of us on my phone and I took pictures of them on his phone. And it’s here that I will talk about the weather again.
It was overcast with a little breeze all morning. All of the weather channels we were following showed clouds but no rain until later in the evening. Not one single forecast from one single weather station, at any point during the entire preceding week or even during that day showed sun. At all. But at approximately 2:30, the clouds parted and the sun came out. And by the time the ceremony started at 4:00, we had beautiful clear skies and full sun. We had a little time before pictures and greeting the guests, so I grabbed a few last shots. And then it was time. And I was ready. I remember exactly how I felt in the moments before I walked down the aisle at my own wedding. And I felt a little of that again. But all of the nerves I had felt throughout the day (I have no idea why I was nervous), fell away and left pure excitement. After successfully walking down that very long stone path without tripping or getting a heel stuck in a crack, I snuck a couple of pictures in from my spot in the front row.
Can we all guess which groomsman was in the military? His commander would be so proud! And just look at that clear sky and the gentle breeze playing with her dress.
As I said, this is where I put my camera away and soaked in every second of the rest of the evening. Well, except for these last few… It was magical. Seeing both dads walk her down the aisle was breathtaking (even though Gary didn’t know he was supposed to hug her and shake Ryan’s hand – it was pretty cute). The words that Jeff (the officiant) spoke were beautiful and moving, the readings were beautiful and just so perfect. The vows, which they wrote themselves, were so absolutely them. And so beautifully recited. The flower girl and ring bearer stood completely attentive during the whole ceremony. And the celebration that followed was just the best time. People played games, ate snacks, drank beer, and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. The food was excellent. And the toasts. I can’t even. Dick, Rachael, and Jesse played off of each other as though they had written their speeches together. They were sweet, and funny, and so heartfelt.
And then they cleared the dance floor and I captured one final picture.
After that, Gary felt it was our duty to make sure people were dancing, so we were on that dance floor most of the night. We did manage to work our way around to all of our friends and family, but we also danced and danced and danced.
I missed the bonfire, but heard reports that the s’mores were great. It sprinkled a little bit, but not enough to keep anyone inside. At the end of the night we packed everything back into the cars, and headed back to Waconia. It was magical.
I am so proud of and amazed by all of the work Amanda put into this wedding. Her goal was a casual but elegant party for her friends and family, and that is exactly what it was. It was really hard saying goodbye to everyone Sunday morning, and it has taken me this long to recover. And remember that run in I had at the Super America way back at the beginning of this post? Yeah, He was there in every moment of that day too. I had no idea how much this would impact me. None of the previous childhood events – first day of Kindergarten, Confirmation, high school graduation, college graduation, etc. – prepared me for my daughter’s wedding. It’s just that big. It’s the end of an era and the beginning of an era. And it will easily go down as one of the best days of my life.