Photo Friday Flashback. – The Engagement Story.

On Labor Day in 2012, I went to dinner with Tiffany.  The dinner had been planned for a couple of days, and she picked me up in the early evening.  She asked Kevin for some law book, claiming that she needed it for work.

We spent a few hours at dinner as she filled me in on the fun-filled-action-packed weekend she’d spent in Stillwater with some new and old friends.

On the drive home, we were supposed to stop and pick up ice cream to take home to Kevin, so I was surprised when she passed right by the grocery store without stopping.

Me:  Aren’t we going to stop and get ice cream?

Tiff:  Let’s just go to your house first.

Immediately, a thought fluttered across my little brain.  And I instantly dismissed the thought as ridiculous.  Preposterous really.  I mean, at dinner that very evening when Tiff asked when I thought Kevin would propose, I had responded with a confident, “Oh probably next spring.  That’ll be our three year anniversary.  I’m certain it’ll happen in April of next year.”

So it was silly to even entertain the thought for a millisecond that SOMETHING was about to happen.  There was absolutely no point in getting my hopes up, just to be disappointed for no good reason.

As she pulls up in front of the house, I say, “Okay.  WHAT is going on?”

She reaches into her purse and pulls out a soft cover, black book.  “Just read this first.”

As I begin to read, my head is spinning.

“I don’t think one book could possibly hold or capture all of our fun times and good memories, but I thought I could at least try to capture some of the highlights from the last two and a half amazing years we’ve had together.”

Kevin made the book, a compilation of pictures and memories.  Like the night we hit it off at a bar on the Westside.  A Brooks & Dunn concert.  The trips to Denver, New Orleans, Napa, and Costa Rica.  The everyday things like reading together, cooking dinner together, and how he’ll narrate scenes from Breaking Bad as I cover my eyes during the violent parts.

“We have such an amazing life together, and so many more pages to fill with the adventures and memories to come.  Follow the path inside for the start of the next page in our book.”

*Flash*

Tiff:  Don’t mind me.  Just a little flash photography.

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Me:  This is…wow…is this what I think it…YOU KNEW?

Tiff:  You should go inside…oh and I’m waiting.  Don’t forget about me out here!!

So I go inside.  There are candles lining the entry way, flames flickering lightly.  {I remember thinking, “Don’t trip on the candles.  That would be bad.”}  As I follow the path into the living room, white lights and rose petals greet me, framing the dining room.

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And there was Kevin.  He said a lot of wonderful things and as I was listening, I made a conscious effort to commit his words to memory, knowing that I’d want to remember every sweet word verbatim.  And of course that didn’t happen – I think it’s all my brain could do to keep my body from fainting at the sheer excitement of it all.  Then he got down on one knee and asked if I’d marry him.  I barely let him get the words out before responding with a very strong YES.

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And we didn’t forget about Tiffany in the car.  :)

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It was so perfect.  I found out that Kevin had been planning the proposal for months.  Tiffany was the only person he’d told and the ring had been in the back of his car for two days because he didn’t want risk me catching him bringing it inside or suspecting anything.  {He had a nerve wracking dinner in Santa Fe the night before when we met friends for dinner and had to park on a deserted, dark street.}  The book had been tucked into the enormous law textbook and Tiffany had been given instructions to ask to borrow the text.

Needless to say it was the best surprise of my life.  A year ago he became my fiance; now he’s my husband and I’ll forever be thankful for him.

**Edit #1:  It occurred to me that I should also mention that he met my stepdad for coffee to ask permission.  Such a gentleman, my (then) boyfriend / (now) husband.

**Edit #2:  As referenced by Tiff in the comments below, she did drive down the wrong street on the way home.  That’s what caused me to ask her what was going on when we pulled up in front of my house!

05.24.2013 – Post-ceremony in photos.

Hugging:

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Family Photos:

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Wedding Party Photos:

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Drinking cocktails & eating appetizers:

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Reception-ing:

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Speeches: (check out a video on Tiff’s blog – here)

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First Dance:

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Perception: we’re sharing a sweet moment, whispering lovey-dovey things.
Reality: my dress came un-bustled and we were both dancing all over it.
Still special.

Color Ceremony:  (a sunset event at Roche Harbor) 

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Guestbook (Canvas) Signing:

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Remembering:

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Bride-and-Groom Photos:

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Tearin’ it up:

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Pictures and words don’t do it justice.  It was an amazing day.

05.24.2013 – I do.

After the first look, we met up with the wedding party to take a few pictures in the garden.  Just your typical Friday afternoon photo shoot.

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Then it was time for the ceremony.  Kevin and I stole a moment alone – just enough time for a selfie.

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The ceremony was short and sweet.  Probaby 20 minutes all inclusive – processional, ceremony, recessional.  Boom.  Done. 

My sweet and funny Aunt Sandy is a district judge and performed the ceremony. Kevin and his parents walked in to Windstrings (an instrumental trio) playing Canon in D.  Then the bridesmaids and groomsmen walked in, and finally my parents and I did.  At some point, Windstrings switched to an instrumental version of A Thousand Years, by Christina Perry. 

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This groom.  *Sigh*

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We started with vows: 

On this day,

I give you my heart,

My promise,

That I will walk with you,

Hand in hand,

Wherever our journey leads us,

That I will nurture your dreams,

Help you shoulder our challenges,

And share with you the joys of life.

I promise to love and care for you,

And I will try in every way to be worthy of your love,

For all the days of my life.

Then we put letters that we had written to one another in an empty wine bottle – we’ll read the letters on our fifth wedding anniversary.  And then we’ll write another set of letters to read on our tenth anniversary and so on and so forth every five years forever. 

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And finally, the exchanging of rings. 

I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage

For today, tomorrow, and all the days to come.

Wear it as a sign of what we have promised today,

And know that my love is present, even when I am not.

With this ring, I thee wed.

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And then he kissed his bride.

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And there was a recessional to What a Wonderful World. 

The recessional included high fives, chest bumps, etc. courtesy of the wedding party.

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It was perfect – even (or maybe especially) during the imperfect parts.  Those are some of my favorite pictures from the day.  Like when a plane flew overhead, and we had to pause so it didn’t drown out what we were saying:

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Or when I got lost in Kevin’s eyes during the ring ceremony and said, “Wait…what??” during one of the repeat-after-me phrases.

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My husband and I agree – it was an absolutely wonderful day.

05.24.2013 – To first look or not to first look.

First looks are completely a matter of personal preference. Kevin and I decided to do a first look before the ceremony. Mainly because if I was feeling emotional on that particular day (hey, it could happen), I could get the ugly cry out of the way early.

The first look was just me and him. And Mike our awesome photographer. And Tessa was nearby. And a whole bunch of strangers gathered around watching.

{It was weird – we had sooooo many strangers take pictures of us through the wedding day. Some would just kind of hover and snap away. Others stopped us to ask if they could take our picture.}

Maybe we looked famous. Natalie Portman (that’s who would play me in the movie) and Matt Damon (obviously) tying the knot.

Anyway. We did the first look. I did not have any pictures of this to share. Until earlier this week when all 700 pictures arrived from our photographer. So here are a few favs from our first look.

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Life is full of first looks, but this one was my all-time favorite.

05.24.2013 – Primping and prepping.

I woke up early on the morning of the wedding. A girl doesn’t get married everyday, after all.

Sweet texts had already started blowing up my phone – friends and family who couldn’t be there to celebrate proved that out of sight does NOT mean out of mind. My support system is pretty much the most awesome group of people in the world.

Tessa, Kevin, and I went to the courtyard/pavilion area (where the cocktail hour and reception were to take place) to set out the reception programs, the adorable little sail boat place card holders, and the place cards themselves.

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The place card holder with place card indicating the assigned table.
No name shown because, well, this is the internet.

We opted for two long tables that seated around 25 at each table. The tables were labeled with names – Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor. There were white linens, with black table runners. Six centerpieces – three on each table. White chairs.

Then we went to breakfast. And simply enjoyed our morning. And eggs Benedict with crab.

These are the things that I did not have to worry about on the wedding day weekend:

  • Decorating – A wonderful vendor named Slava took care of that by hanging white lights and white paper lanterns. Well, and God – because the place is just gorgeous to begin with.
  • Setting up tables, chairs, and place settings (Roche Harbor did that.)
  • The fact that the black table runners we ordered were not on said tables (Tessa coordinated with the event people to get that corrected – and poof! Runners were on tables.)
  • FlowersRobin’s Nest in Friday Harbor did a lovely job with the bridesmaids bouquets, corsages for the moms, and boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen. And Tessa delivered all those flowers to the appropriate people. Robin’s Nest also made centerpieces for the tables.

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  • Dessert – Rather than a traditional cake, we opted for a dessert bar with cake pops-decorated like little brides and grooms, naturally; red velvet cupcakes; and mini-chocolate cups filled with white chocolate mousse. Cakes by Felicitations artfully crafted the desserts and delivered them to the venue.
  • Food – The top-notch catering team at Roche Harbor prepared a spread that was unbelievably delicious. Prime rib, salmon, potatoes, asparagus, build your own mac & cheese bar…. Preceded by some of the best appetizers I’ve ever had. Oysters on a half shell, surf & turf canapes, fig leaf something or others, lamb in this amazing rich sauce. Oh and crab and artichoke tartlets, of which I may have eaten half a dozen or so.
  • Windstrings – This amazing trio of musicians came in from Seattle to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour. They had played at Roche Harbor before and were very prepared and reliable. Also, they sounded wonderful and made the atmosphere feel oh-so-classy (in my opinion).
  • Hair & makeup – Shawna did my makeup, and she did a fabulous job. It looks nice in the photos and is noticeable, but wasn’t over-the-top or too much for someone like me, who goes for a very natural look when it comes to dressing the face. The spa at Roche Harbor sent two hairstylists up to my room. The hair stylists took excellent care of my mom, Kevin’s mom, the four bridesmaids, and myself.

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  • Photographer – Our photographer from Powers Studios arrived early on the morning of the wedding and he was simply wonderful to work with all day. And you’ve seen some of his work. We picked a good ‘un there! He indulged my requests for specific pictures (like the one of my bridesmaids seeing me all dressed up for the first time, and the one of the bridesmaids in our matching “getting ready” shirts), had creative ideas, and was directive and to-the-point without being bossy.
  • Schedules – Honest to goodness, Tessa was such a lifesaver. I’m a bit OCD and totally Type-A, so I’d drafted a little schedule for the week. Tessa kept us on that schedule. She coordinated it all and Kevin and I could just relax and enjoy the day.

Instead of worrying about that, I could focus on things like having a bridezilla moment and dictating what my bridesmaids had to wear while getting ready.

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Shirts are from Old Navy and they have little blue anchors all over. I knew I wanted oversize men’s shirts monogrammed with the first letter of each girl’s first name. When I stumbled across anchor shirts on Old Navy.com, I had to get them.

{It was so convenient that nautical stuff like stripes and anchors were en vogue during the era of my wedding, which was held on a harbor with boats and stuff. Unplanned, but worked out very nicely. Of course, now this means my wedding can be dated. It’s like the avocado green appliances of wedding decor in 2013. People can look at pictures and be all, “Oh, there are anchors. This is such a spring/summer 2013 wedding.”}

Tessa and my mom helped me get ready in my parents room while the bridesmaids got ready in my room. Then the photographer got them all set up with their backs to the door, I walked in, and they turned around. It was so fun to see their faces! The picture that the photographer caught of their reactions was so perfect. If you haven’t already seen it, click on the link above under my not-stressing-about-the-photographer-blurb and it will take you to Powers Studio’s blog.

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The dress. I loved all the sweet comments and guesses that occurred after this blog post. Ultimately, I went with Audrey here because she:

  1. Was about half the price of Grace.
  2. Was lighter (the longer train and beading on Grace really weighed her down), which was important since I was going to be carrying it onto a plane, ferry, and multiple shuttles.
  3. Was less likely to look wrinkled after all that travel (the ruching on bodice of the dress is both flattering and great for disguising wrinkles).
  4. Was the dress that I felt the most right about when I first tried dresses on in October.

Trust me, there were moments after ordering Audrey that I thought to myself, “Did I choose the wrong one? Should I have gone with the open back and lace of Grace?” So it was a tough decision. But I really am happy with the dress I chose. I love it and it served me well. Also, Kevin said that it was his favorite from the beginning (I showed him pictures when I was looking and he would only say, “No comment,” because he wanted me to choose a dress that I loved and not be swayed by his input). He may just be saying that because he’s the nicest guy in the world, but he’s also honest and wouldn’t make that remark just for the sake of making it. So I think he’s telling the truth.

Anyway. After the bridesmaids’ first look, it was Kevin’s turn….

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{I know the wedding posts seem never-ending. I’m trying to keep them reasonable in length, but I want to get a fair amount of detail so Kevin and I can read about our wedding when we’re too old to actually remember it. :) Thanks for sticking with me!}

{Also, I was a bit preoccupied on the wedding day and didn’t take many pictures of my own. Therefore, several of the pictures in this post are courtesy of other people. Namely, Lisa and Joy.}

Shopping and rehearsing and karaoke, oh my.

Thursday was a day of many things:

  • Whale watching
  • Sea kayaking
  • Shopping
  • Driving around San Juan Island (in regular size cars and little scootcars – open-air mini-cars powered by a scooter engine)
  • Arriving (for those who had not come in on Wednesday)
  • Eating
  • Rehearsing
  • Karaoke

Obviously no one person did ALL of those things.  Our group split up and everyone explored the island as they so desired. 

When Kevin and I decided to do a destination wedding, our goal was to choose a place with a whole lotta options for activities (and someplace pretty because I did not want to deal with decorating).  San Juan Island was perfect – there are so many things to do and see. 

Kevin went sea kayaking.  He may or may not have fallen into the water….  :) 

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Top:  Friday Harbor.

Bottom:  Kevin, his parents, and his best man. 

 

I went shopping.  A whole group of us ladies hopped the transit bus from Roche Harbor to Friday Harbor. 

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Top:  A bin full of hats?  We’re in – Charlie’s Angels style. –

I obviously didn’t get the we’re-smiling-not-making-weird-faces-memo. 

Bottom Left:  Lisa received her fortune from Zoltar in a little shop. 

Bottom Right:  I found a back-up wedding dress in a consignment store. 

 

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Top Left:  Shawna and Tessa pose in Friday Harbor.

Bottom Left:  Lisa and Tiffany stop…in the name of love.

Right:  Gorgeous scenery – I’d say so.  No decorations required.

 

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Top Left:  Sisters in sunglasses. 

Top Right:  My anchor. 

Bottom Left:  Fish and chips.  And an Oreo milkshake.  Tessa made me.  I like to call this photo:

“Geez, I hope my wedding dress fits tomorrow.” 

Bottom Right:  Roche Harbor…I love you.

Tessa and I left Friday Harbor early (after our fish and chips) to make a 1:30 meeting with the event planning people at Roche Harbor.  I feel like I should do an Ode to Tessa post.  That girl – she was the best day-of coordinator EVER.  Kevin and I had to deal with zero issues on the wedding day because she was right there – coordinating with vendors and just all around being awesome.  And the Roche Harbor people were amazing to work with.  If a destination wedding is in your future, check them out.  I highly recommend. 

I’ll follow-up the Ode to Tessa post with an Ode to Shawna.  She stopped by just before the rehearsal began to do my eye makeup. 

The rehearsal was relatively short and sweet.

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Top Left:  My girls sportin’ their chevron in coordinating colors

(completely unplanned – they just all have great taste).

Bottom Left:  My good friend Derek.

Right:  Pat, Kevin, and me – rehearsing

Then it was time for dinner.  So, so good – it was a BBQ set up near the dock.  Pulled pork sliders, barbeque chicken, pork ribs, corn on the cob, red-white-and-blue potato salad, tomato and cucumber salad, baked beans, wine, beer, sodas, and for dessert…s’mores over an open-pit fire.  Yum. 

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Top:  Part of the group 

Bottom Left:  Lisa, Manda, Tiffany, Shawna, Tessa, and Derek

Bottom Right: Christina, Matt, Nelson, Todd, Emma, and Kelly

 

Somehow, from there, we ended up at a Chinese/pizza/karaoke place.  Don’t ask. 

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Top:  The guys singing “Sweet Caroline”

Bottom Left:  Shawna and Derek singing a Taylor Swift — “Love Story”

Bottom Right: Lisa, Tiffany, and Emma jamming a little “Sexy and I Know It”

 

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Top:  Mom and Aunt Sandy singing “Rose Garden” (they actually sounded quite good!)

Bottom:  “All The Single Ladies”…by the ladies (L to R: Kameron, Lisa, Emma, me, Tiffany, Shawna, and Manda)

It was an action-packed, fun-filled day.  And my last night as a “single lady.”  What can I say…he liked it, so he put a ring on it…. 

Planes, ferries, and automobiles.

Getting from the desert to the Pacific Northwest is a trek.  First there was a flight to Seattle, with a layover between starting point and destination.  First leg of said flight left at 6:15 AM – that’s an early morning.

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Caffeine was therefore a necessity.

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We ran into Joy and Todd on the layover.  Joy was already super excited for the wedding festivities.

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Since around 25 of our guests were traveling out with us on Wednesday, Kevin and I decided to charter a shuttle to take our group from the Seattle airport to Anacortes, a coastal town where the ferry terminal lives.

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At the ferry, my stepdad was oh-so-generous and bought tickets for the entire group, which made the process really seamless.

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Finally, once the ferry docked in Friday Harbor, we all loaded people and luggage into two San Juan Transit buses, which Kevin and I had commissioned to take us from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor on the other side of the island.

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Home sweet wedding home.

I was nervous on travel day.  Travel can be nerve-wracking.  I found that when 23+ people are dependent upon the travel accommodations that you personally arranged AND you’re hauling around a dress, it is likely that one will be completely exhausted by the end of the day.  

Fortunately, everything went perfectly.  No flight delays.  All checked luggage arrived safely.  The shuttle made it to the ferry terminal in that perfect window of time between rushing to buy tickets and being stuck for a looooong amount of time in a small ferry terminal.  And Dan with San Juan Transit has serious skillz in luggage stacking. 

Day 1 of the destination wedding adventure – check.