Oh, how I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall of our wedding. To soak in all the details, see everyone, play croquet, eat a full meal (ha!), and dance the whole time.
Instead, I will relish in the photos that are friends and family took in the week of and day of.
It was amazing. We rented three cottages on Lake Michigan with friends and spent Monday and Tuesday at Lake Michigan all day, just a five minute walk from our houses. Frisbee, sandcastles, sunsets. Burying each other in the sand, flreading books…it was so relaxing.
Dune Climb, mini-golf, tubing on the Platte River on an accidentally long seven hour journey, drive-thru movie, brewery and yard games. So many many friends and family joined us in the days before the wedding. Everyone was meeting each other and enjoying the area, just as we had hoped. We loved that many people were there early, making it their own vacation and making memories there.
The rehearsal was Friday and went well.
The day of was a dream, a very fast whirlwind of a dream, but a dream nonetheless. Chad and I got ready in separate houses – each of us wrapping up last items with friends.
We headed to Old Settlers Park, meet up with my cousins Jack, Joel, Max, and Josephine who would be our ushers and my cousin Joe who would play bagpipes. My uncle Gregg Shotwell married us, and we could not have asked for a better officiant and guide to our wedding and marriage. Chad’s sister Shala and my brother Dylan each chose and read poems.
Liam, Chad, and I had our private ceremony on the dock of Glen Lake, where we all hugged and honored this moment where Chad officially became Liam’s stepDad. Liam walked me down the aisle and did so well. I am so proud of my boy, as he fast becomes a man that I will be proud of. He and I hugged as we started the ceremony.
Chad and I wrote the whole ceremony and our vows. We both made it through without crying… Too hard. 😉
My favorite part of the ceremony was the Persian Sugar Ceremony. An old Persian tradition where people hold a cloth above our heads and people can gring two sugar cones above our heads, sharing words of love and advise for us. We had asked our parents and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Don to participate, and were so happy to see friends and family join to share love as well.
It was especially kind and beautiful that this cloth and cones came from Iran, where Chad’s Dad Ali had gotten them. These cones had been used in wedding for many years, one family to the next, adlnd was now in America at ours. The years of experience, kindness, and love shared will be honored for the rest of our lives.
The reception was amazing, a blur of laughter and dancing and great people. 125 people joined us for this special day, and when we entered the reception hall, it was exactly as we had hoped these last eighteen months of planning. Our band was playing, lights were strung on the ceiling, our photo booth and croquet was setup in the back, our menu and signs were decorating the areas, accented by vingettes of Moonrise Kingdom style pieces that I had collected.
Each table was interactive, from the butcher paper table cloths with crayons, to the vintage board games, books, magnifying glass, sunglasses to take home all over, flashlights to encourage tag, and Legos. I had made little kits for all of the kids – with a box to color, kazoos, crayons, sticky hands, field guide notebooks, watercolor painting sets, and a pencil that looked like a branch.
The food truck was amazing, and everyone was raving about the brisket. I loved taking moments to just watch, observe the conversations and friendships. Our band ended and we had a wonderful toast by my Uncle Gregg.
Dances with my husband, dances with our friends, croquet games, and photo booth laughs. It was an adventure in our great collection of days.
The night ended with a bonfire, beautifully organized and set up by my cousin Sonia and her husband Pat. We didn’t think it would work out, but decided to head over to the beach to relax. When we got there, we saw 30+ people all there. A dream come true.
So many people coming together for us. It was an honor, so humbling, and beautiful. I cannot speak, even now, of the gratitude that I have for every person that attended, helped set up or take down, took photos, played games, ran up and down the street in races, drew with sidewalk chalk on the front path…
These people have given so much to our lives already, made us who we are, helped us and guided us and they came to celebrate on this weekend.
We cleaned up, ate leftover ice cream for breakfast, and drove home. Relaxing in our beds, cuddling up with Oscar, Buckley, Liam, and my new husband, Chad.
We’re off on Tuesday for the honeymoon: Big Sur, Monteray, San Francisco, Sausolito, Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Redwoods, Portland, Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood, home. Camping, reading, wine, beer, hiking, record shopping, ocean kayaking, great food, sunsets in the ocean. We cannot even fathom how gorgeous it will be.
If you read this, thank you for everything you are and everything you’ve done to support us. We wouldn’t be us without you, and it’s an honor everyday.
Much love and more updates after this next adventure!