Arm in Arm: The Details

If you followed any of my wedding planning posts, you’ll know that the Armadillo wedding was a DIY-filled day.  That being said, I’m especially proud and excited to share photos of our reception details with you guys, because I personally created nearly everything that people saw the moment they walked into our reception space.  It was such a surreal feeling to see it all come together after 18 months of hot glue, ribbon, spray paint, and elbow grease! (A couple of these photos are repeats, so just bare with me!)

Our thumbprint guest book tree welcomed guests the moment they walked through the door.  I was so glad we went with this version of the guest book–the finished product now hangs in our living room, and I love looking at the physical representation of all the love and support with us on our wedding day!

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Once they made their way a little further into the space, guests were welcomed with a photo display I made with Mr. A’s and my childhood photos.  I used two old windows and covered the panes with our photos, each framed with sheet moss.

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Rockin’ the surfer hair in high school. Sexaaaay.

High School Mrs. A.  Apparently it was cool to look like a 30 year-old?

High School Mrs. A. Apparently it was cool to look like a 30 year-old?

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Our centerpieces were simple.  Manzanita branches potted in terra cotta pots and filled with moss.  We added some purple butterflies and dangled a few crystals on each of the branches.  We used hundreds of glass jars with votive candles inside, which really set a cool ambiance in the room.

Our centerpieces were simple. Manzanita branches were potted in terra cotta pots and filled with moss. We added some purple butterflies and dangled a few crystals on each of the branches. We used hundreds of glass jars with votive candles inside, which really set a cool ambiance in the room.

Paper placemats sat at each of our guests' spots at the tables.  They had an A-Z list of our favorite things as a couple, and I thought this was such a fun and inexpensive way to add a personal touch to our reception.  Guests loved them!

Paper placemats sat at each of our guests’ spots at the tables. They had an A-Z list of our favorite things as a couple, and I thought this was such a fun and inexpensive way to add a personal touch to our reception. Guests loved them!


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The ceilings in our reception space were pretty bare, so we made some makeshift chandeliers out of hula hoops and icicle lights.  I thought they turned out great!

The ceilings in our reception space were pretty bare, so we made some makeshift chandeliers out of hula hoops and icicle lights. I thought they turned out great!

There were a few minor details our photographer didn’t get a chance to capture, like our “thank you” sign at our gift table along with our birdcage card box, our simple favors (Hershey’s kisses in a little pouch for each guest, nothing fancy) and the DIY paper bags we made for dishing out fresh popcorn as a late-night snack for our guests.  All in all, though, I think our photos really grab the tone we set out for our celebration:  handcrafted, fun, vibrant, and low-key.

Are you planning on your big day being heavy on the DIY?

Up next, we shake our groove thangs!

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Arm in Arm: Let’s Cut that Cake!

Our cakes were some of my favorite “things” in our entire wedding.

The wedding cake was a three-tier multi-flavored cake with simple buttercream frosting and faux flowers sitting on each of the tiers.  It was topped by my DIY Lollipop Workshop-inspired cake topper, which is easily one of my proudest DIY wedding accomplishments.

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This fun little topper now sits on our TV stand in our living room. It’s such a fun reminder of one of the happiest days of our lives!

When it came to our cake, the littlest details were not forgotten.  I scored a groom Lego mini-figure for a few bucks off eBay, and had our baker slip it underneath the bottom tier of the cake.  Mr. A is a Lego fanatic, and I figured he’d get a kick out of this little surprise!

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We also DIYed the groom’s cake, again paying homage to Mr. A’s obsession with Lego.  The inside was Funfetti, Mr. A’s favorite, and despite staying up until 3 a.m. the night before the wedding to get it finished, I think it turned out pretty darn awesome for an amateur like myself!

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The DJ started playing “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, and we did our marital duties as we sliced that sucker open.

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We had the “smear vs. no smear” discussion many times during wedding planning, and although Mr. A and I agreed to not smash each other’s faces with cake on our wedding day, I still felt it necessary to give him a “don’t even think about it” smirk.  Luckily, he was sweet to me and stuck to our pact!


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I like to call the next series of photos, “Mr. A’s First Time Popping a Champagne Cork.”  It went like this:

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I’m protecting my eyes…and my precious Kate Spade champagne saucer.


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Up next, I’ll share our reception detail photos before we get to boogie the night away!

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Arm in Arm: Wanna Grow Old With You

After toasts, the DJ invited Mr. A and me onto the dance floor to take our first steps together as husband and wife.  After little deliberation, we chose to dance to Adam Sandler’s “Wanna Grow Old With You,” made famous in his movie, The Wedding Singer.

Adam Sandler movies are a shared passion between us, and we loved the fact that the song is long enough to do the junior high sway to, but short enough to not get awkward.  The music started, Mr. A put his arms around me, and for a few moments, we were the only two people in the room.

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I wanna make you smile 
Whenever you’re sad 
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad 
All I wanna do, is grow old with you 

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I’ll get you medicine when your tummy aches 
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks 
So, it could be so nice growing old with you,…. 

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I’ll miss you 
Kiss you 
Give you my coat when you are cold 
Need you 
Feed you 
Even let you hold the remote control. 

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So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink 
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink 
Oh I could be the man that grows old with you 
I wanna grow old with you.

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At the end of our dance, we were suddenly both very aware again of the 150 people staring at us, and we both sort of instinctively went in and hugged it out instead of going in for a kiss.  We’re awkward like that, people.

Not having any rest, I went straight into the father/daughter dance with my dad.  You may or may not have guessed what song my dad and I danced to, but in case you didn’t, here’s the spoiler:  Somewhere Over the Rainbow!

The song was a 100% confident choice from the very beginning, although we chose to two-step to the ukulele version by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

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My dad and I are often not all that sentimental toward each other, but good ol’ Papa Dillo was seriously the biggest softie I have ever seen on my wedding day.  During our dance, he leaned in, told me he loved me, and said, “I just want you to know, I’ve been looking forward to this for a really long time.”  That got me all teary-eyed and wistful, and we really soaked up our moment dancing together to a song that meant so much to my childhood and my relationship with him.

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We sang the lyrics together for a good portion of the song, which is why my dad looks like he’s about to sneeze the the picture below.  After shouts from the crowd, I lifted up the skirt of my gown to give everyone a glimpse of my highly appropriate shoes, at which point everyone cheered.  I felt like a movie star, and at the same time, like a five year-old little girl standing on her daddy’s feet to dance to her favorite song.


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After we finished (the DJ faded it out after about two minutes because DANG, that song is long) Mr. A and I headed up to the front of the room to CUT THE CAKE!

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Arm in Arm: Wives, Submit Yourselves to Ridiculous Best Men

(I promise that blog title will make more sense in like ten seconds.)

While the room finally started digging in to dinner, MOH Henna and Mr. A’s Best Man got started with the speeches.  Best Man Chopper went first, and I prepared myself for the unexpected.

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He started off by introducing himself and how he and Mr. A have been friends since junior high school, and then made his way to the center of the floor with a bible in hand.  I had no idea what to expect, since Best Man Chopper is kind of a wild card and a total jokester, but I was totally ready to hear what he was going to say.

He started off with “Doesn’t Mrs. Armadillo look beautiful tonight?” to which everyone cheered and clapped.  And then he followed it up with, “And doesn’t Mr. A look beautiful tonight?” Everyone laughed of course, and then he continued.

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He said something about feeling it was only natural to use the bible in his Best Man speech that night, at which point our pastor, who was sitting just a couple of tables over, started belly laughing, which got the whole room going again. Best Man Chopper said something like, “let’s look to the bible to see what it says about marriage,” and then turned jokingly to Ephesians 5:22, and began to read aloud.  For those of you who don’t know what that says, here’s a snippet:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

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Needless to say, there was a mixture of boos and laughter, and in that exact moment, Best Man Chopper’s speech was infinitely hilarious.  Because as everyone who knows us knows (even Best Man Chopper) Mr. A’s and my relationship is very much a 50/50 partnership.  Sensing the reaction from the crowd, Best Man Chopper quickly continued through the rest of the paragraph, where it talks about husbands loving their wives as they love themselves and etc. etc. etc.  Once the room calmed down and he got ahold of himself, however, the speech turned a bit more sentimental.

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“In all seriousness, though, I love both of y’all to death, and you’re perfect for each other. I wish you tons of happiness.”  At that point, he raised his glass, and we were toasted!

MOH Henna went next, and I was ready for the waterworks.

Unlike Best Man Chopper’s speech, MOH Henna’s was much more sentimental, and much more emotional.  She started off talking about how when we were kids we always were dreaming up crazy schemes and making plans for the future.  But, she said, there was one thing we always knew and always mentioned all the time; and that was that she would be the maid of honor at my wedding.

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She did a great job, got both of us to tears, and at the end, everyone clapped.  She’s my cousin and my best friend forever, and I am so lucky to have such an amazing woman and confidante in my life.  I miss her to pieces everyday!

Once the toasts wrapped up, it was time to hit the dance floor for the first time as husband and wife!

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Arm in Arm: It’s Grubbin’ Time!

(HIVE!  Remember me?  Mrs. Armadillo?  I’m officially the worst blogger ever. -_-  But I blame that on how cray cray real world life has been lately!  Mr. A and I have been SO BUSY with jobs and house hunting and etc., that time just slipped away from me.  But I’m back to finish up my recaps, so hopefully you’ll forgive me!)

After taking some portraits in the local park with our bridal party, Mr. A and I headed to our reception where we were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by all our guests.  We didn’t have an intro song or anything fancy like that, but being swarmed by gobs of people and meeting some of Mr. A’s family friends for the first time was an equally fantastic way to make an entrance, if I do say so, myself.

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Since we didn’t have a traditional cocktail hour spread, our guests were pretty darn hungry by the time we made our entrance, so we went straight to dinner.  We served up hearty portions of chicken parmesan and penne alfredo buffet-style from Johnny Carino’s.  Our guests LOVED it (and so did I!)

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We had two buffet lines, which got everyone through with food in about 15 minutes.  Mr. A and I went first, followed by our bridal party, and after eating next to nothing all day, I seriously couldn’t wait to plop myself down in my chair and get my grub on!

Can you see my new favorite shoes sticking out from underneath the bottom of our table?  LOVE!

Can you see my new favorite shoes sticking out from underneath the bottom of our table? LOVE!

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We scarfed down our plates before our guests could finish their meals, that way we’d be able to do the first dances while folks were still eating.  Up next, we get toasted!

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Arm in Arm: Broken Bustles and Oak Trees

Immediately following the family portrait session, the plan was to head out to the community park for some creative outdoor shots with the bridal party.  Mama Dillo pulled me aside to help me with my bustle and change my necklace while the rest of the crew and our photographer headed toward the park.  After a couple of seconds of struggling behind me, I heard her mutter an unmentionable word and I jerked my head around.  “What happened?”

“The bustle broke!” she sputtered, and I bit my lip in worry, trying to keep myself from freaking out.  There were a few ladies still in the sanctuary, so my mom called out to them.  “Anybody have some safety pins?”  A few ladies came over with some, and she bunched up the train of my dress and safety-pinned the layers to the bottom of my bodice.  Giving her a shrug, I gathered up the rest of my gown, gave her a quick hug, and climbed into BM Mascara’s car to head over to the park.

Meanwhile, Mr. A and his groomsmen were already there, goofing off in front of our photographer.  That’s when these little gems were captured:

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I finally did arrive, however, and as I was climbing out of the vehicle, guess what?  The safety pins holding the train of my dress up popped and went completely MIA.  I immediately had a mental “eff it” moment, made my way over to the group, explained what had happened and why I was 30 minutes late, and let the train of my dress drag through the dirt, leaves and sticks in the park.  There was no point in crying over spilt milk, now!  I’d just have to hope there would be a way to fix it once I got to the reception so we’d be able to comfortably dance all night long.

Then, we got to work with some group shots!

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The next photo is one of my favorites from our day.  It shows off all the pretty colors and textures in my bouquet, which I was 100% absolutely IN LOVE WITH.  Our florist took everything into account that I’d asked for and completely delivered on them.  He was able to utilize bright shades of purple and green, highlight my favorite flower (tulips), incorporate some kale into the greenery, and gave me the asymmetrical, garden-like feel I’d asked for.

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At the end of it all, our bridal party headed to the reception and our photographer told us to stay put at the park for two or three minutes before we joined them, that way he could get set up for our grand entrance!  We climbed into Mr. A’s car and sat there for a few seconds before we both busted out laughing.  “We did it!” we exclaimed.  It was the first moment we had alone together to really let everything sink in. We were married!  We were husband and wife!  We kissed and I leaned my head against his shoulder as we let the few brief moments of quiet bliss wave over us.  When the clock on the center console hit the three minute mark, Mr. A started up the car and we made the drive over to the reception, where all our friends and family were waiting to greet and congratulate us!

Did you have time to take some outside or creative shots with your bridal party?  Anyone else have a bustle break on their gown (or a minor catastrophe of equivalence?)

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Arm in Arm: Pretty, Pretty Portraits!

Hive, I kid you not:  THE MOMENT I was clear of any of our wedding guests, I kicked those heels off my feet.  They were K-I-L-L-I-N-G me towards the end of the ceremony, and despite the laughs from our bridal party, I dug for them from underneath the skirt of my gown and handed them to my new husband to hold, slipping the six pence into the pocket of Papa Dillo’s tuxedo jacket.  After our photographer gave the all clear sign, we all piled back into the sanctuary for some group shots.

And yes, in every single one of these pictures, I was sans shoes.

First up was Mr. A and I with Pastor Mark, followed by a couple of solo shots of us:

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Axe 'em Jacks, y'all!

Axe ’em Jacks, y’all!

Then, we did pictures with my family.

With my parents

With my parents

With my immediate family

With my immediate family

With my grandparents (I swear, it's like my grandmas planned to wear the same shade of blue!)

With my grandparents (I swear, it’s like my grandmas planned to wear the same shade of blue!)

With my entire clan!

With my entire clan!

We followed with pictures with Mr. A’s family:

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With Mr. A’s mom and sister

With Mr. A's grandparents

With Mr. A’s grandparents

With Mr. A's clan!

With Mr. A’s clan!

We took a couple of photos with the people who were involved in the ceremony:

With our good friends/ceremony readers

With our good friends/ceremony readers

With our ushers!

With our ushers!

With MOH Henna and Mr. A's Best Man Chopper

With MOH Henna and Mr. A’s Best Man Chopper

Me and our good lookin' groomsmen

Me and our good lookin’ groomsmen

Mr. A and our gorgeous bridesmaids

Mr. A and our gorgeous bridesmaids

We ended the portrait session with some fun shots with Mr. A and I and the kiddos!

Pretty flower girls!

Pretty flower girls!

Mr. A and his identical twin nephews.  The only reason I can tell them apart is because the one on the left keeps cutting a chunk out of the front of his hair!

Mr. A and his identical twin nephews. The only reason I can tell them apart is because the one on the left keeps cutting a chunk out of the front of his hair!

Goofy boys!

Goofy boys!

All in all, the portrait session at the church took about 15-20 minutes.  Our photographer was seriously on the ball with getting people up for pictures and then moving to the next photo group.  It was a painless and quick process and gave us just enough time to get outside for some artsy group shots with the bridal party before heading to the reception!

How long do you expect your portrait session to take?  Married bees; was the portrait taking a painless process or did it seem to take forever? Anyone else take their heels off for picture taking? 🙂

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Arm in Arm: Talent Oozes out of My Family and I Kiss My Husband for the First Time!

OMG, Hive!

First of all, I just want to say how incredibly bad I feel for such a big gap in my recap posts.  So much change has happened in the Armadillo household the past few weeks!  I was a bridesmaid in BM Mascara’s wedding the first weekend of June, which understandably took up a big chunk of my attention.  Then, after weeks of deliberation, I quit my job.  I’ve been working on two productions with our local community theater (assisting with directing for one and acting in the other.)  And then, out of the blue, I was offered and accepted a new position at the local jewelry store in town!  It’s not necessarily a career path, but it’s definitely something to help pull in extra cash for when we start paying off Mr. A’s student loans, and who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by diamonds for a living?!  I start my new job and training to be an accredited jewelry professional on Monday, which means I’ll get to be around beautiful sparkly things all day long and GET PAID FOR IT.  I’m pretty stoked because the job means peace of mind for me, a pay raise, and a much better working environment.  I win!

With that out of the way, let’s pick back up with the re-cappin’, shall we?  We last left off with mine and Mr. A’s vows to each other.  Immediately following those, we went into lighting our unity candle while MOH Henna and Bromadillo stepped up to the pulpit to sing a gorgeous duet.

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Doing the unity candle was something Mr. A expressed interest in during our pre-marital sessions with Pastor Mark.  I totally didn’t even want to do the unity candle thing, but since Mr. A had voiced very little in terms of opinions about the ceremony or reception, I knew we needed to include it!  I took a last minute trip to Hobby Lobby to get a few glass candle holders, two of the long, thin candles, a large green pillar candle, and a decorative pin to glue to the front of the green one.  It looked great, it was surprisingly fun to do, and it gave my brother and cousin the perfect opportunity to show off their pipes!

Hodges-Helmick Wedding (For FB)_130318 - 129Bromadillo and MOH Henna sang “The Prayer,” which is a song I’ve loved since I was in high school after singing it myself with Papa Dillo at a few local weddings.  I think the words perfectly sum up the thoughts and hopes of me and Mr. A for both ourselves and our loved ones, and the juxtaposition of the English with Italian translation in the duet was absolutely gorgeous.

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I pray You’ll be our eyes

And watch us where we go;

And help us to be wise

In times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer

When we lose our way;

Lead us to a place,

Guide us with Your grace

To a place where we’ll be safe.

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We ask that life be kind;

And watch us from above.

We hope each soul will find

Another soul to love.

Let this be our prayer,

Just like every child.

Need to find a place,

Guide us with Your grace,

Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

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Here’s the thing, though; lighting the unity candle took all of 20 seconds, so choosing a 3 minute song to accompany that action wasn’t the best idea in the world.  This meant for majority of the song, Mr. A and I just stood there staring at each other, giving each other googly eyes and whispering about the ceremony.  At one point, Mr. A leaned in and said something to the effect of “I don’t know what they’re saying, but they sound good!”  This caused the below reaction:

This is my "ordinarily I wouldn't find what you said so funny, but I'm all nervous and excited and overflowing with love that it's hilariously adorable" smile.  :)

This is my “ordinarily I wouldn’t find what you said so funny, but I’m all nervous and excited and overflowing with love that it’s hilariously adorable” smile. 🙂

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When Bromadillo and MOH Henna finished, the congregation erupted into applause.  I was SO PROUD of them for pulling off such a difficult song (both parts required pretty wide vocal ranges and half the song was sung in Italian, no less!)  In the end, I was glad I asked them to sing “The Prayer.”  It might have been a tad awkward to stand with Mr. A in front of a room full of people for that long with nothing to do, but the performance was sooooooo worth it.  And it made the ceremony that much more meaningful with two of my favorite people in the world offering up such a gorgeous and moving song.

After that, all that was left was the kiss!  Bromadillo and MOH Henna resumed their places with the rest of the bridal party, Pastor Mark declared us husband and wife, and told Mr. A he could kiss me.  And kiss me, he did!

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Pastor Mark really enjoyed our first kiss as husband and wife.  Not sure what that was all about, but whatever!


And with that, we were announced as Mr. and Mrs.!

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I grabbed my bouquet from MOH Henna…

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And we made the long walk down the short aisle as husband and wife!

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The next picture is funny…do you see the little arm sticking out from the pew on the right?  That would be one of Mr. A’s nephews, who pointed at his uncle and proclaimed, “You kissed her!”  He sure did, kid.  He suuuuuuuure did.

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After an excruciatingly long morning and afternoon, I was ready to PARTY!  Here’s my “OMG, I’m so glad I’m finally married” face:

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After we left the congregation to a mixture of “Ode to Joy” and the traditional wedding march, our families were escorted back out of the sanctuary, followed by all our guests.

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One of the best pictures of the day is this one of my dad.  This is the most genuine, happy smile ever, and I’m so glad our photographer was able to capture it!  It pretty much sums up the vibe of the entire day.

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And with that, it was family portrait time!

Did you have any special music performed at your ceremony by a family member or other guest?

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Arm in Arm: We Do the Deed and Make it Official

(WARNING:  This is kind of a lengthy post with our ceremony readings, vows, and etc.  If you’re not into these kinds of posts, feel free to skip this one.  In a nutshell, we went totally old school with our ceremony but used a couple of slightly less popular scripture readings.)

After we made it to the front of the church, Pastor Mark wasted no time in jumping right into the ceremony.  We stood there patiently, our fingers nervously intertwined as we gave each other sideways glances.  It almost felt like I was back in junior high trying to catch the attention of the cute boy across the classroom–except the cute boy had already asked me to marry him, and we were moments away from being husband and wife!

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Pastor Mark began with a brief statement on the gift of marriage:

“We gather in the presence of God to give thanks for the gift of marriage, to witness the joining together of Justin and Rachel, to surround them with our prayers, and to ask God’s blessing upon them so that they may be strengthened for their life together and nurtured in their love for God…in marriage, husband and wife are called to a new way of life; created, ordered, and blessed by God.  This way of life must not be entered into carelessly or from selfish motives, but responsibly, and prayerfully.  We rejoice that marriage is given by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and sustained by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, let marriage be held in honor by all.

Let us pray:  Gracious God, you are always faithful in your love for us.  Look mercifully upon Justin and Rachel, who have come seeking your blessing.  Let your Holy Spirit rest upon them so that with steadfast love they may honor the promises they make this day, through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.”

After his opening statements and prayer, Pastor Mark addressed each of us so that we could give our declarations of intent.

“Justin, understanding that God has created, ordered, and blessed the covenant of marriage, do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant?”

“I do.”

“Rachel, understanding that God has created, ordered, and blessed the covenant of marriage, do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant?”

“I do.”

The pastor then addressed our families.

“To the families of Justin and Rachel:  Do you give your blessing to Justin and Rachel and promise to do everything in your power to uphold them in their marriage?”

There were murmurs and exclamations of affirmation as our families responded.  At this point, my dad was directed to take a seat.  Before he did, however, he grabbed both mine and Mr. A’s hands, kissed them both, and whispered through tears, “I love both of you guys so much.”  It was almost enough to put me over the edge.

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After Papa Dillo took a seat, Pastor Mark went into a brief narrative about a funny moment in his and his wife’s relationship.  He recalled a time when a sink in their home started leaking water, and his wife kept saying how “somebody” should fix it.  He looked over at Mr. A and pretty much told him that whenever the term “somebody” was brought up when it came to fixing things around the house, that “somebody” was him. It was really cute and made the congregation chuckle, and definitely diffused some of the nerves we were undoubtedly both feeling.

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We he finished, my two very good friends from my master’s program at college stood up to read scripture.  Pastor Mark cued them with a quick glance.

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Rachael went first; (she’s jokingly referred to in our circle of friends as “Rachel #2” because I’m Rachel #1, duh!)  I thought long and hard about the scripture I wanted read at our ceremony because I didn’t want to use anything too overly done like the typical Corinthians reading.  In the end, both Mr. A and I settled on two of the most perfect scriptures for us.  The first was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

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LaMonica went next, reading Romans 12:9-15 and 21.

“9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn…21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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When both ladies were finished, Pastor Mark led us up the steps along with MOH Henna and Mr. A’s Best Man.  It was time to say our vows!

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Pastor Mark began:  “Justin and Rachel, since it is your intention to marry, join your right hands, and with your promises bind yourselves to each other as husband and wife.”

Mr. A went first with his vows.

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“I, Justin, take you, Rachel, to be my wife; and I promise, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.”

Then, it was my turn.

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“I, Rachel, take you, Justin, to be my husband; and I promise, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.”

The exchange of rings immediately followed.  Pastor Mark asked, “What do you bring as the sign of your promise?” to which MOH Henna and Mr. A’s Best Man brought forth the rings and placed them on the Bible.  Pastor Mark said a brief prayer.

“By your blessing, O God, may these rings be to Justin and Rachel symbols of unending love and faithfulness, reminding them of the covenant they have made this day, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

The ring exchange went much more smoothly than I thought it would.  I fully expected one or both of our rings to not fit due to stress and anxiety and swelled fingers and yada yada, but guess what?  They both slid on PERFECTLY with literally zero struggle!  I was totally relieved.

“Rachel, I give you this ring as a sign of our covenant, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

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“Justin, I give you this ring as a sign of our covenant, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

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Our ceremony was nearly over now; all that was left was to light our unity candle with special music provided by MOH Henna and Bromadillo. You’ll have to stay tuned to hear their amazing voices!

Did your ceremony surprisingly go off without a hitch?  Did you choose to go total old school with your vows and ring exchange like we did, or did you do something a bit more unique?  What scriptures or other special readings did you include in the ceremony?

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Arm in Arm: Dad Causes a Sobfest

Up until this point in our big day, I only had the minor urge to cry once (while reading Mr. A’s love letter to me.)  However, I was resolved to hold back the waterworks for as long as possible because I just really hate crying in front of people and didn’t want any of those ugly cry pictures (I’m not a pretty crier) in our wedding album.  The song I had chosen for my entrance, however, was one that I knew would get people emotional, especially my family, whose little girl had grown up and was now transforming into being a woman and wife.  No one except for Mama Dillo, our pianist, and Mr. A knew what I was walking down the aisle to until this exact moment, and the feeling I expected to have as the doors flung open and I made my descent with Papa Dillo in tow was not even close to the exhilaration, emotion, happiness and something that could only be described as utter bliss that I actually felt.  In that moment, I was in Heaven.

Our pianist started to play the faint, yet immediately recognizable tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star” in the effortless and emotional arrangement heard here (seriously, you’re gonna want to play this one):

I’ll admit, when the doors first opened, my eyes fell upon Pastor Mark, probably because he was front and center.  I quickly found Mr. A, though, and his soft and highly emotional smile put the hugest grin on my face.

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As Papa Dillo and I began our walk, I could hear some of our guests start to whisper and gesture over to him.  I could feel him shaking next to me, and broke my gaze with Mr. A to look over at my sweet dad.

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HE. WAS. BAWLING.  Like, sobbing, red-faced, tears everywhere–the real deal.  This, in turn, caused a major chain reaction, as my Gaga bawled…

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Mama Dillo strong-chinned it out…

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Pastor Mark let it all out…

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And there’s even evidence of my bridesmaids being incapable of controlling themselves, as seen here (thank goodness MOH Henna stashed tissues in the pockets of her dress!)

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The music ended perfectly with our walk down the aisle, and once Papa Dillo put my hand into Mr. A’s, the waterworks came.

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All the while, though, Mr. A did nothing but give me that sweet, dependable, “I’m so friggin’ in love with you and can’t wait to marry you” smile (which is, in fact, a real thing.)

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Pastor Mark took a deep breath, blinked away his tears, and said something to the effect of, “Gee, I hope I can get through this,” which of course made everyone in the congregation laugh.

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And just like that, we were ready to start the real meat of the ceremony!  After such an emotional entrance, I was more than ready to say our vows and start my next big adventure with the love of my life right by my side.


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What song did you use to enter the ceremony with, or what are you planning to use as your processional song?  Do you expect your ceremony to be an emotional one?  Is your dad typically not a crier, and did he/do you think he’ll cry on your wedding day?

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