Ever since I was a young child, I've loved stories. The avenue from which I get the story has changed over the years. I'll go through phases of being a bookworm, a movie junkie, a social bird, a blog slave, a newspaper or comic strip heroine or even imagining and writing my own stories. As long as I've been able to talk, I've begged my mom to tell me everything about her past. How was her room decorated? Who were her friends? What did she get for Christmas? What was her favorite meal her made? Where did she go on vacations? Why did she go to nursing school? Who was her first kiss? What was the most embarrassing situation you found yourself in? How did dad propose to you? Again, mom, tell me again. Read it to me again, mom. Can I watch it one more time? "Are you sure you want to watch Cinderella again?" Yes. Cinderella, Cinderella, in the sweetest story ever told.
I never understood the concern "they" had with allowing little girls to watch princess fairy-tales, play with Barbies and enjoy romantic, lovey make believe. Maybe I'm royally messed up and don't realize it, but fairy tales never gave me a false understanding of bravery, love and life. They enthralled me. They made my heart fill up and warm, like apple cider. I remember wearing my little plastic high-heels, prancing around in a stiff blue dressing, with a ripped wedding veil headband and wagon full of stuffed animals and acting out Cinderella as I watched it. The stories, the characters and the triumph over evil got me every time. Even when I was four. The story brought so much joy to my heart, and it made my mind buzz.
My enchantment with life has had some significant, um, deepening over the years. But I've never stopped believing that life was meant to be good, joyous and sweet... even if your life is one where those dearest to you have died, your family abuses and humiliates you, and you have not a single human friend to confide in. You can remain filled with hope, ever gentle and kind.
And you know what? There are Prince Charmings. Through patience, heartache and true loveliness, you really can fall in love, and commit to love someone. There are men who are relentless - who treat you with grace, honor and will not give up on you. And when it all seems hopeless, and like it will never work out well, a miracle happens. And it all ends well, after all.
I've mentioned my personal and family history with Disney and their stories, and you know that my handsome one pulled off the surprise of a lifetime in FantasyLand in front of the castle. So what else could we possibly base our wedding off of, other than a real-life storybook fairy tale (which many told us only happens in the movies.) What started with our first piece of inspiration (the opening credits to Cinderella) ended with the most meaningful, memorable, tender days of our lives.
Caleb loved the idea right away. He was the perfect wedding planning partner for me. He had only two "big" requests: 1) a chocolate cake with a castle and fireworks and 2) snowcone during cocktail hour. Other than that, he told me to do whatever I wanted and tell him what I needed him to do. If I needed help making a decision, he'd help me think through the options. He jumped right aboard and basically said "I love all your ideas. I'll help make them happen." It's a good thing I married him!
|our make-shift inspiration board|
|our make-shift flower inspiration board|
Without further ado, our wedding day:
"Leave the sewing to the wom-EN! You go get some trim-MIN! And we'll make a lovely dress for Cinderelley!"
This is a portion of a painting our dear friend Maureen Hartnett painted for us to display at our wedding and to keep forever. She went above and beyond creating this Mary Blair/Original Disney inspired masterpiece. I really fight back tears when I step back and look at it.
Real princesses wear gold. Sparkling gold.
We had to stop doing make-up several times so I could distract my happy tears.
Bridesmaids jewelry box!
She painted daisies into the picture as a tribute to my mother (they are her favorite flower), and roses are to honor Caleb's mother (since they are her favorite flower!). Incredible.
My grandparents wedding invitation (which is framed in our living room) and my grandmother's handkerchief. My grandmother (Bacca) was at DisneyLand the week it opened, she had a Disney-themed basement for the grandchildren to enjoy and she was with me the first time (and many times after!) I visited DisneyLand. She was the greatest women I've ever known, aside from her very own daughter, and I missed her dearly on my wedding day. My grandfather, PaPa, was planning on being at the wedding but last minute he couldn't make the cross-country trip. He died last week. These little mementos are more precious than I could express.
My $700 silk dress! What started as a size 14 off the rack "eh" dress was transformed into my (and Caleb's) dream gown. My fabulous friend and seamstress, Joyce, made fairy godmother magic happen. It was perfect.
Joyce hand-sewed these beads onto the neckline. Where did I get these beads? We invested nearly $20 in six Wal-Mart necklaces. I know, right?
My flowers were done by Jonalee of Simply Flowers. There is nothing more impressive to me as a bride than to explain a vision and then see just how well that vision was understood. Jonalee was nothing but professional, affordable and fantastic. She created bouquets better and more "me" than I could even explain to her. She outdid herself and I will be referring every bride I know to her.
Oh. Ha. Random iPhone picture of the bridesmaids gifts! They fit too well with the "whole wedding" that I couldn't leave this out ;)
A dear friend nailed my hair, and another talented friend did my make-up. My shoes were from TJ Maxx and my mom made my veil. Oh, and my earrings were $9 from Charming Charlie's. It was so fun figuring out how to make a "rich" look without actually spending very much.
If Disney was the "major" of our wedding, violins were the "minor." If I could only hear one more sound for the rest of my life, I'd without a moments hesitation choose Caleb playing his violin.
The plaid painting was made for me by the genius father-of-the-flowers, Seth. We were inspired by his art when we chose the colors for the wedding. And the little silhouettes are my dad's mothers, and they also hang in our living room!
I loved how the bridesmaids looks came together. I was adamant that I did NOT want them to look "like bridesmaids." They all worked so hard finding gold sequins. Right now gold sequins are actually trendy, but six months ago it was SLIM pickings. Also. My sister and maid-of-honor could have come right off the red carpet, yes?
(I am so glad I did bright coral nails! It's my favorite.)
I actually have incredibly attractive friends. (I picked them for their looks, obviously.)
Caleb's groomsmen selection tells so much about him. I love it. He has an age-range of 16-55, with a I've-known-him range of 25 years to 8 months. Caleb is loyal to the bone, and cares for people of every personality type, age and "kind." I love that about him. And I love that all these brothers and men call him "friend."
Remember when Caleb said "Whatever you need me to do, I'll do!"? His biggest and best honey-do our ceremony backdrop. Made from old deck wood he saved from a job (thank you Bryant and Tiffany!), he spent days on this project. First he drew a to-scale diagram which we scanned into photoshop. From there we mix and dumped colors into the right rectangles. We printed off our pictures and headed to Home Depot to match up all the paint. Then Caleb cut and assembled four four-foot wide panels (which, when put side by side, is 16 feet wide.) Next he chalk-lined the wood, primed with white paint, re-chalk-lined the wood, and then hand painted all the colors. Have I ever mentioned that I love him? The next big wow-factor of the ceremony were the wreaths my mom and Aunt Pam made out of pins, straw wreaths and leaves pulled off of two fake house-trees. THANK YOU.
Every single color on these paintings was meticulously researched and chosen. She used the flowers in my bouquet and googled those flowers and bought/mixed the exact colors those flowers bloom in. All the animals come in pairs: the birds, the goats, the bumble bees, the butterflies, the snails. The garden is filled with weeds to represent the struggle and beauty of married life: it isn't always perfect, but love does defeat all. Incredible. Unreal. Brilliant.
As Caleb and I were discussing which children should be in the wedding, we struggled to pick just two or three. So we chose 13 (and honestly could have had more.) They made the wedding day. All their excitement, bow-tied-cuteness, and emotions blessed our hearts. Thank you, mothers, for doing the real hard work of having your little people in the wedding. We just couldn't have had it any other way.
We did "things" a little bit different with our schedule. Since we had a Thursday wedding, and a very tight timeline with our venue, we decided to have cocktail hour before the ceremony. When guests arrived they were greeted with live Morris violin beauty.
Food and drinks were out and being served. The specialty drink of the day was a homemade Cinderella Blonde Ale, made by our wicked cool family friends, The Branchaws. Guests were encouraged to snack, mingle, take in the decor, and enjoy the entertainment.
Oh, and Caleb got his snowcone! :) :) :)
Our nod at Main Street USA in Disney Parks was our traveling singing quartet! My childhood best friend, Sam (inside left) and I made a deal with each other in highschool: I'd take pictures for him for free, and he'd sing at my wedding for free. This year we both got to cash in on our word! James, Julie's husband, and Kevin, Maureen the painter's husband and Lydia Jane's father, and a heaven-sent friend of Sam's made this troupe complete!
Guests were also wow-ed with Bill Kerwood's mind-boggling and hilarious magic tricks! I love how he works: he gets the whole audience involved and roaring. I could hear the squeals and laughter from the bridal suite.
The table-card display was made by my mama. Wooden dowels, ribbon and paper! The moment I saw this idea, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Once the table cards were pulled off, the ribbons remained as decoration. Win-win!
I bought nearly 12 different fabrics from Spoonflower to make all the napkins for the wedding. Except I didn't make them. My mom and cousin, Ashley, did. The week of the wedding Ashley sewed ALL the napkins and runners by herself. Where do these people come from?! And how did I get the honor of being related to them?!
The food was just as colorful as the rest of the wedding. And man was it tasty!
This instagram snap from Jamie is a great view of the ceremony setting. Caleb made the simple wooden "door-way" and we found the gold curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It tied all my color-scheme ideas together so well.
I haven't never felt that much feeling in my entire existence. Those last few minutes are powerful. I could see Caleb getting lined up and I really was just overcome. Panting, pacing, "whooooo"-ing, trembling, shaking. It's an out of body experience.
Hot smoking siblings. The processional music was inspired by chick-flicks my dad and I watched together when I was a child. My dad has always been a sucker for good one-liners and romances that will make you cry. We've watched so many good movies together over the years, and he is not ashamed of this tender side at all. The family members and wedding party walked down the aisle to was the Theme from Sabrina by John Williams. We can quote Sabrina for an hour to each other. But my favorite line has to be this narration: "Once upon a time...there was a very, very large mansion, almost a castle. And on this very large estate lived a small girl. And life was pleasant there and very, very simple. But, then one day, the girl grew up and went beyond the walls of the grounds and found the world." Once I graduated highschool, my dad told me I needed my Sabrina moment; I needed to grow up and see the world. Tears.
The flower girls (and ring bearers!) walked to Somewhere In Time Theme, by John Barry and Roger Williams. The 1980's movie is a little slow, but it's the first real romance I had ever watched. My mom was out of town, the rest of the kids were in bed, and dad and I had a special evening together. I'll never forget it.
These are my favorite lines from Somewhere In Time: "The man of my dreams has almost faded now. The one I have created in my mind. The sort of man each woman dreams of, in the deepest and most secret reaches of her heart. I can almost see him now before me. What would I say to him if he were really here? 'Forgive me. I have never known this feeling. I have lived without it all my life. Is it any wonder, then, I failed to recognise you? You, who brought it to me for the first time. Is there any way that I can tell you how my life has changed? Any way at all to let you know what sweetness you have given me? There is so much to say. I cannot find the words. Except for these: I love you'. Such would I say to him if he were really here."
The moment was perfect. The music soared and right on cue dad and I emerged from the curtains. I've heard it said dozens of times, but it was true: as soon as I saw Caleb, I was completely calm. Just smooth, clear, still happiness. All my butterfly-nerves and fast-breathing and racing-heart-beats evaporated into peaceful bliss. And I only had eyes for him.
Still makes me cry.
Glassy, locked eyes.
After all my years of watching this moment happen, we were finally in it. It was happening to us.
(Too excited to pray.)
Our good pal Bill led us in worship to my favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art. Funny story: Back before Caleb and I were actually dating, on one of those long long phone calls, I dared Caleb to sing a song on the spot over the phone. He said he would do it only if I yodeled first. He was sure that would be the end of that discussion. I turned on The Lonely Goatherd from Sound of Music, yodeled along to it while Caleb laughed in fear. Once I was done, it was his turn to sing. He sweetly sang "How Great Thou Art" to me. Tears. And. Ha. We were too distracted to worship.
We also shared communion as part of our ceremony. Katie, Anna and Lydia sang a joyful version of "Oh, How He Loves Us," the same song we listened to on the truck-ride where I realized Caleb liked me ;)
I loved saying our vows. And I remember them very clearly. One good friend told me to pray before the wedding that God would give me "special memory" of the day. That He would help it not be a big blur, but that I would be able to reflect on and savor the little details of the day for years to come. I am so grateful that this did come to pass - I remember the wedding, especially the ceremony, so vividly and clearly. It was a holy moment.
Pretty human beings.
Dad and Mama Bear. And pretty fans.
I love this picture of the first kiss! See Daniel on the right side with his hand in the air? The groomsmen all let off air-horns when we kissed :) So great!
And just like after we the proposal, when I *instantly* felt engaged, I instantly felt married. It felt different. And better than ever.
Let me tell you something about a marriage ceremony: it changes you. The words you speak, the one you speak to, the depth and weight of why you are saying what you say: it's truly life-altering. It doesn't matter how many times you hear someone else say their vows, or how many times you re-read and practice your vows, when you are standing there, before God and man, looking straight into his eyes, a beautiful, heavenly wave comes over you. The words literally feel heavy. They ring coming out of your mouth. And then hearing them said to you? Experiencing in that moment the richness of the love God has for you through this man? Realizing that before the earth was formed, God had decided to make us to be together. That culture, geography, heartache and past would not keep us apart. That every marriage that led up this very second was also planned by God. Like the genealogy of Jesus, where nothing could stop the Son of God from being born according to prophesy in Bethlehem, that same God created a family tree, a lineage, a heritage for me and my husband to enter into. And God did it. All those sleepless nights, numb mornings, searing pangs of hurt, lonely weeks, bad decisions, and joyful desiring really were used for our good. The boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places; they've been pleasant all along. At times I wanted my gates to be in other fields, or at times that border seemed like the most painful, disruptive addition to my life. And, yet, there I stood, hand in hand with my dearest friend, most-trustest companion, silliest lover, and greatest-joy. God really did it.
Man, we can't wait to have our own little crew. Can I take 100 of these guys, please? Love them all so dearly.
All of our best ones!
This is my favorite picture of the day :)
If you've ever been on Storybook Canal in Disneyland, you can't help but fall in love with the miniature landscaping, plants and villages. That ride is my second favorite Disney ride, and our tables will slightly inspired by the colorful, storybook ride. There was not a single centerpiece, table setting or table that was exactly the same. It took a lot of work, but I loved the final result. So whimsical and fairy-tale!
When I was 18 I nabbed about 20 pieces of milk glass for $30 at an estate sale. Ever since I've been slowly adding to the collection. Janet and Mom were the milk glass heroes before the wedding! I have over 100 pieces now! Too much!
We entered the reception to "Thank God I'm A Country Boy!"...
... and Caleb and Daniel (of Twins + Violins. Woo Rah!) whipped out their fiddles and started jamming. It was a blast. Laughter, clapping, foot-stomping. It was the perfect "Oklahoma" entrance, and so "my boy."
Our first dance was to "Tale as Old as Time" from Beauty and the Beast. As soon as we started dancing thunder rolled, rain fell on the roof and a breeze sailed through the tent. It was so romantic.
Aaaand the chocolate cake with castle and fireworks. Thank you, Nurse Jess. You made him the happiest man, which made me the happiest woman.
These little tissue-paper covered mason jars were charming and wonderful. Again, thank you mom and Aunt Pam! Thank you thank you! The little details were so special to me.
Line-dancing was some kind of old fashioned fun!
Our last dance was one of my favorite moments of the night. Daniel played "So This Is Love" on his violin while the guests circled the dance floor. Right away we turned and ran through the sparkler tunnel. So dreamy.
And it was the sweetest day that was ever lived.