Inspiration for your road to the altar

We wrote our entire ceremony ourselves, which I highly recommend if you have the opportunity. It took some time for sure but every word was personal, sentimental, and so very “us.” After we had put so much time into its creation, I didn’t want to just hand our officiant a file folder of paper to read from. So, I turned to the ever amazing blurb and ordered up a small, square, hardcover book. Give yourself some time if you decide to go this route because it takes a few weeks to produce and expedited shipping will significantly increase the cost. It now sits on our bookshelf and I can only hope that our kids will enjoy reading it someday. I know I would love to have something like this from my parents wedding! Also, if you decide to write your own ceremony, I can’t recommend this book enough. It made the whole process quite simple.
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you will no doubt remember my months of whining about a “stick altar.” In the end, none of the men in my family were having it didn’t give into my pleading (not the first time for that). So our florist provided me with an alternative and agreed to fill the spray painted buckets with baby’s breath. We bought the buckets on sale at Lowe’s and Brad just coated them with some black spray paint. After the ceremony, they were brought over to the reception and sat outside the doors of the tent. If you have the chance to make something work in more than once place – do it!Our sand ceremony vases were set up to the right of the altar. They actually turned out to be one of the funniest parts of the ceremony, which you will see evidence of in just a second.
I made these paper envelopes for our readers, so that they would have their respective passages handy. I used leftover green paper from the envelope liners, printed out a damask pattern, and glued it all together.
Our adorable ring bearer, who was pretty happy to be running around in his shorts also provided some comic relief at the beginning of the ceremony. My Dad and I were still up in the boat house, waiting to walk down, so I didn’t see any of the mayhem but we could sure hear it (and caught the tail end of it all). The little guy walked down the aisle just fine, handed the pillow to his Dad as planned, but then instead of sitting down next to him he bolted back down the aisle frantically searching for his Mom. My Dad and I could hear the screams, and when we rounded the corner to head down the aisle he was coming right towards us frantically shouting”MOMMY! MOMMY!” at the top of his lungs. She was behind him trying to catch him the entire time, and he finally saw her and calmed down. My niece is the little cherub on the right, who could have cared less about any of the people staring at her and instead preferred to stop and admire the candles and flower petals. The older flower girl took her job quite seriously and was tugging her along while systematically dropping petals (a girl after my own heart – just look at the determination on her face).
“No seriously, I have to stop and get a closer look at these. Maybe I’ll pick one up for our stroll.”
“Are you not seeing this? What is your rush? There are candles and flowers down there.”
Meanwhile, my Dad and I started our walk down the ramp from the boathouse. I was sure that I would by a hysterical mess by this point, but I wasn’t feeling anything except for complete calm and extreme joy.
When we rounded the corner to start down the aisle, that is when the little ring bearer was coming at us. You can see him in the top left of this picture, no doubt consumed with relief for having found his Mom.
The sand ceremony took place towards the end of the ceremony, right before we exchanged vows. The idea behind it is pretty self explanatory – just like our lives from now on, once the grains of sand are combined they can never be separated again. To make it a little more personal we each used sands from our childhood. Mine (the white sand) is from the beach in Florida where we use to vacation every year. Yes, I am the type of person that saves sand, its a lengthy discussion for another time. We got married at the spot where Brad spent most of his summers, so we took his sand from the beach there. And that is where things went South…
I had asked a certain someone to go get some sand the day before, so that it would be dry and ready to go the day of the wedding. That didn’t quite happen. As soon as we saw Brad’s sand we knew something was amok and I instantly broke out into nervous laughter. Wet sand doesn’t pour, it comes out in huge messy clumps. You can see that the whole bottom of the vase is my sand. I kept pouring and pouring and looking over at him, and he was shaking his vase like mad just hoping for a few measly grains. One final shake and it came out…oh did it come out.
It went all over the table and into my shoes, but luckily some did make it into the vase. Our officiant started laughing and so did we, which turned out to be one of my favorite moments from the ceremony. I love that his sand is just a big mound on top of the vase!
Here is a look at the little grassy patch where we said our vows. It wasn’t a big wedding, it definitely wasn’t perfect, but everyone we love in the world was sitting behind us as we became husband and wife. And that is what made it a perfect day.
When the ceremony was over, I was filled with such a huge sense of relief and happiness. We did it, we were married, and now we were going to go celebrate with all our friends and family. I think I pretty much floated the whole way back down the aisle.
Tomorrow is the final installment – the reception. Thank you all for your sweet comments and emails, I am so glad that you’re enjoying it!


Deciding whether or not to see each other before the ceremony is a very personal decision. I can definitely see both sides of the coin, but for our own reasons we decided to spend some time together before saying “I do.” In retrospect, these next few moments were the only time we had alone together all day and are therefore some of my favorite pictures. I love how the pier looks empty in the bottom two pictures even though it most definitely was not, which is why the picture above cracks me up.

If you look closely, poor Brad is already at the end of the pier practically baking in the sun. We wanted the picture of me walking down to meet him, so the girls went down the pier and asked people if they wouldn’t mind getting into their boats for just a few seconds, because there was a bride walking down to meet her groom. Almost everyone excitedly complied, except for that guy in the trunks there. The girls are laughing because they had already made one pass down the pier, and this guy was like “What? Why is there a bride here? I am tying up my boat!” So the picture below is taken at an angle (which I love) because I eventually just gave up and walked past the grumpy half naked boater.
Important advice for anyone else considering the “groom waiting at the end of the pier shot.” One of our lovely photographers, Lajuanna, made sure to tell Brad to keep his hands in his pockets and not hanging down at his sides or slightly in front of him. Apparently, when the groom’s back is to the camera and his arms are slightly in front, it winds up looking like he is “relieving himself” off the end of the pier. Sage advice, I tell you. Anyway – after we had our moment and came back down the pier, we went to the little boathouse for some group shots.
There are a lot more than this, but I know you all want details so I am trying to be as brief as possible! After the boat house, we decided to head over to the ceremony site so we wouldn’t have to rush around. We had asked our families to meet us at the ceremony site so we could also take all the family pictures prior to the wedding and also spend a little time with everyone.
I wasn’t around for this one, so I was kind of surprised when I saw all the crazy foot work. I took ballet when I was younger, I believe what we’re witnessing here is both first and third position. Beautiful demonstration, boys.
My bouquet all wrapped up and ready to go…Last but not least, Lola came over to meet us for her big photo opp. I know I keep saying this, but this one is also one of my favorites from the day. She was so happy to see both of us! This is going to sound totally pathetic, but when she came running towards me that was the first time I cried that day. I kept bursting into tears at random moments, and that was a big one.
Again, so funny. I was walking with the photographers and we were all behind Brad when he picked Lola up to walk back up to the boat house. We all started laughing and they began snapping away…
The sweet family picture…
Followed up by a very bored and tired Lola.
Love how she looks like the only guest at the wedding here (and a disinterested one at that). But she is rocking those pearls!
Check back later today for pictures from the ceremony, and tomorrow will be the reception!

Welcome Back!

January 5, 2009

I hope you all had a great holiday season and, if you’re like me, are adjusting to getting back on a schedule and back to work. I am excited to share this perfectly charming wedding with you, from the ever lovely Tana. I’ve written about her a few times before because she photographed my very dear friend’s wedding in 2007, and I have continued to love her work ever since.
A bicycle built for two and a golden retriever…can it get any cuter than that? I also love that the dog is sporting a polka dot bandanna, he fits right in with the relaxed atmosphere. Instead of serving cake the couple opted for pies, which in my opinion is a choice which will never lead you astray.
You can check out Tana’s blog for some more pictures of Jared and Holly’s wedding. Enjoy!

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