Archive for June, 2010

My photographer – Erica from Photography by Arika Reed – published a blog post yesterday full of LOTS of photos from our wedding. If you’ve been dying to see pictures as much as I have (come on, isn’t everyone?), go check it out.

And leave her positive feedback! We all know the power of comments on a blog. Erica worked really damn hard all day on the day of the wedding and hasn’t really stopped since to get everything edited and perfect. We can’t thank her enough!

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Le coif

Remember when I freaked out about my hair? Well, in the end, it worked out beautifully. In fact, I was absolutely IN LOVE with my hair. Like I mentioned before, my sister Andrea decided to mess with it Friday night and came up with something I really liked. Loved, actually.

So she recreated it on Saturday. Andrea and Erica (my photographer) were in the bathroom with me, and my mom and sisters were in and out. It was a lot of fun.

I don’t have any great pictures from the front somehow (though I’m sure Erica will provide many), but you can kind of see the whole thing here.

This is the side people saw during the ceremony.

Here you can kind of see the front. I also just love this picture because it looks like I’m lecturing my tiny little grandma!

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The week before our wedding, I woke up everyday to a sweet gift from Mike. I’m going to Paris later this year with some friends, so he surprised me with a lot of fun things to get me prepared. Each gift was placed near my purse, where he knew I’d find it, with a sweet note that he had written.

Day 1: A pocket map.

Day 2: French phrase book.

Day 3: Walking tour map.

Day 4: Universal phrasebook.

Day 5: Zagat restaurant guide.

I was equally ambitious, but in a different way. I got him one gift, which I gave to him on Saturday morning. I ordered this tiny book from quotesandnotes on Etsy.

It had a bunch of blank white sheets inside that I filled with things that I love about Mike. Like this one…

I ordered it awhile ago and wrote things down whenever I thought of something else I loved about him.

We had sort of decided not to do bride and groom gifts, but then we both broke the rules anyway. Oops.

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I took the Friday before the wedding off, but Mike had to work in the morning. While he did that, I went grocery shopping with Des, my stepmom. We bought WAY too much food, as Mike has already detailed. By the time we got back to the house, Mike arrived with a bunch of borrowed chairs, trash bins and the ice cream machine! Slowly others in my family started showing up, and we banded together to set up the yard and the garage. We also made tissue paper poms and paper pinwheels.

I was pretty chill and relaxed on Friday. I got a little testy a few times when I was trying to “manage the work,” if you will, and others were distracted by, what I considered at the time, less important things. I tend to get like that though on any given day. I like people to FOCUS! (I yell that a lot) and get things done before they run off in a million directions. I pulled the “this is MY day!” card a couple times, but only as a joke.

(Setting up chairs.)

(Setting up tents… just in case.)

Somewhere in there we ordered pizza for everyone. A très chic rehearsal dinner if I do say myself. After all the setup, we ran through the ceremony with my sister, the minister. It was a relatively short ceremony, but we arranged and wrote the whole thing (except for a very sweet part Emily wrote), so it was special to us.

(This photo is completely unedited. It really was that green and bright in the yard!)

Then we practiced my hair. My friend Robin was going to do it for me on the big day, but my sister Andrea wanted to try something. She and I had a similar vision for my hair so she gave it a go. We mostly focused on the front Friday night, and she did a great job. But on Saturday she really made the whole thing stunning. I loved every inch of my hair, and I love that it came together last minute, and I love that someone close to me did it, and I love that it was free!

(This is Friday night. You’ll be able to see some good ones of Saturday later.)

Then, because I hadn’t tried it on in a long time, I made sure I could still fit in my dress. Thank God, it fit. I had kind of decided, if I needed to, I’d just improvise. Wear something else maybe. But I was relieved it fit because I love how it added to the overall look of… well, everything.

Because my dad was playing a small part in the ceremony, we wanted to practice once more when he got home (he took all the kids to a tee ball game and got them out of the house – bless him). So, we rehearsed again!

And then we finished up a few odds and ends and peaced out. It was a really good day-before-the-wedding.

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Just thought y’all might be interested in seeing the final product of our Unity Quilt project. This was one of the very coolest things we did. It took quite a bit of work, and I got worn out (and sloppy) toward the end, but it was so worth it. I love how it turned out, and I love that we’ll have it forever.

We presented it during the ceremony – my sister, as the minister, explained its meaning while Mike and I showed it off.

(This is during our “rehearsal.” I don’t have a ceremony photo yet.)

Then we hung it up in front of the fireplace, with a nifty little diagram I mocked up, throughout the reception.

Pretty effing cool huh?

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(Our photo booth shot.)

Mike and I had every intention to give a little toast or speech of sorts at the reception. We wanted to thank everyone and acknowledge some special people who helped us out in a big way. But as we were driving to the hotel that night, it struck me that we never did it! So after our honeymoon, I took the notes we had made about what we wanted to say and crafted an email that we sent to all our guests. I thought I’d share it here, too, so everyone can see what awesome people we have in our lives!

Hello everyone,
Mike and I intended to do a little toast or speech at the reception, but the evening got away from us and we forgot! But we thought it was very important to acknowledge how much help we had in putting together such a perfect day. So this is our “speech” in email form.

Thank you Dad and Des for letting us take over your house, yard and garage to have our wedding and reception. The amount of work you put into making the day amazing was astounding, and there’s no way we could thank you enough for everything you did. Thanks Des for whipping up the incredible taco bar. We can’t believe you said yes when we asked you to do it! It was a lot of work, but it was also delicious! Thank you!!

Thanks also to everyone else who helped with the food. Mom Nykamp – your cupcakes were perfect, and we saw first hand how much work went into perfecting them and creating that amazing cupcake stand. Dad Murray – you sure know how to make a killer ice cream sundae bar. We know it was a big hit with everyone! Aunt Bev, thanks for agreeing last minute to put together your famous black bean salad. And same to Kathy for your guacamole, which we heard several raving compliments about!

Emily, thank you for getting ordained so that we could be married by someone very special to us! You did a great job, and we feel very lucky to have had you playing that role. Andrea, thank you for making my (Shannon) hair beautiful. It was a last minute decision, and you totally rocked it. Brian, we know your videography was top notch! Thanks to all our siblings (and siblings-in-law) for your countless hours of yard work, craft projects, set up and clean up. We never could have pulled it off without you!

Thanks to our friends, as well, for all of your contributions. And Erica, thank you for letting us fly you in all the way from California to take our photos. It was so fun to have you there and we have no doubt the photos will be amazing. We got a great deal – a superb photographer at a low cost! Robin, you know how much we love our invitations. Have we raved about them enough? Because we LOVE them! Thank you for making our vision a reality. And Jess, thanks for letting us borrow the tents – it was a relief to know if it rained, we had some shelter other than the garage. 🙂

Thank you, in general, to everyone who contributed to our day. Thank you for bringing tables and chairs so we didn’t have to rent them. Thank you for sitting out in the humidity so we could have our dream backyard wedding. Thank you for coming from all over the state (and country) to support us. Thank you for contributing to our Unity Quilt. Thank you for spoiling us, and thank you for loving us. We had an incredible day, and we’re so glad you shared it with us!

Love you all!
Shan & Mike

PS – Just in case there are questions or confusion about what to call us now, neither of us changed our names at all. We’re still Ms. Shannon [MyLastName] and Mr. Michael [HisLastName]. Or Shan and Mike works just fine too. 🙂

PPS – If we missed sending this email to anyone, please pass it along. And if we missed anything in our thank yous, please know that we appreciate everything everyone did for us and realize how blessed we are!

Seriously, everyone was so awesome with everything surrounding this whole day. We never felt unnecessary pressure from our parents or anyone else. They had no expectations other than that we do what makes us happy. Instead of offering “suggestions,” they offered nothing but help and support. It might have been a completely different experience otherwise.

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Most of the festivities at our wedding and reception were outside (hallelujah for cooperative weather!), but we had a few things to look at inside, too. After the ceremony, we displayed the Unity Quilt inside (more on the later), and we also set up a little gift table area type thingy.

One of the best things about holding a wedding and reception at a relative’s house is that any little thing you forgot, you just find it around the house! For instance, completely unplanned, we used this table, a white sheet and an old wine box (for cards) that we found around the house to set up a gift table area.

As for the rest of what’s here..

– A framed copy of our invitation. We framed it for ourselves because we love it so much, but we thought it would be cool here, too.
– A digital photo frame. It’s my dad’s and we just loaded some of our favorite photos of us on it.
– “Clothesline” photo collage. We collected about 15 photos of each us growing up and used string and paper clips to display them (because we didn’t have clothesline and clothespins on hand). I’m the top row, Mike’s the bottom. The third row is a few photos of us together.

This area was fun for us to put together, so I hope it was fun for everyone to look at.

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With pictures to come, let me describe the much anticipated taco bar. It was awesome.

Oh…sorry, you probably want a little more detail, huh?

First, I have to give props to my new step-mother-in-law (weird) and her preparation. The NSMIL graciously agreed to make her famous tacos, but then realized that it was for 60 (!) people. She went shopping with her family motto: “go big or go home.” Any concerns of running out of food were put to rest when she brought home 30 pounds of meat,

a garden of vegetables, a number 10 can (the giant one) of refried beans, restaurant sized boxes of rice, and 3 whole watermelons and cantaloupes. We had just enough food. Actually, we had leftovers. More on that later.

If you’re not familiar with catering, there’s a lot of planning involved. Large batches of food take a lot more time to cook, refrigerators only hold so much, and you have to keep everything hot until serving time. We (and for the most part NSMIL), ended up cooking the meat the night before, prepping the service line…

…and heating things all through the morning, baking rice and corn cake just before the ceremony, and magically bringing everything together by 4:45 where it was all served steaming hot–or ice cold–to our hungry guests.

Meanwhile, we had serious dessert prep going on. As you recall, we featured an ice cream bar and a cupcake tower. The ice cream bar, complete with soft-serve machine, was generously provided by my Dad. We had soft-serve vanilla and Breyer’s chocolate ice cream with a variety of toppings, including chocolate syrup, strawberries, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts, sprinkles, and even maraschino cherries. It was, without a doubt, a hit. It was truly sad when, after the kids’ 4th helping, we finally broke down the machine and put it to rest. While the ice cream bar was being purchased, my Mom was busy in a cupcake frenzy. We gave her carte blanche as far as the cupcakes were concerned, and she amazed us. She baked 3 different cupcake flavors, matched them with scratch-made butter cream frosting, and individually decorated them. She even bought a cupcake tower made out of cardboard that she applied fabric to and decorated with ribbon and artificial flowers. The final outcome was nothing short of a professional cupcake display. Way to go Mom!

(Notice our cake toppers!)

From the cupcakes to the tacos, we had more than enough food for everyone. That turned out to be good though, because our reception went quite late. By about 10:30, the close family still standing congregated in the kitchen for a late-night feeding frenzy. Most of us were quite busy during the early portion of the reception, so the feeding frenzy was well-deserved.

Overall, the food couldn’t have worked out better. Everyone loved the spread, everyone got enough to eat, and NSMIL got to feed her family leftover tacos the next day (or six).

Thanks to everyone who pitched in! We couldn’t have done it without you.

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I’m sure my dear friend from Photography by Arika Reed will have some good shots of all the little details, but in the meantime, here are a few of the things we put together the Friday before the wedding.

These are what we were calling the centerpieces, even though we really just put them on various flat surfaces around the yard. We used the vases we bought from Goodwill for the FMGSS, poured in some miniature gumballs, and stuck a lollipop in each. They were cute and fun.

Did I mention that while Mike was pouring the gumballs into the vases, he managed to spill a bunch all over the stove? And in the taco meat? There’s a bar area behind the stove, and that’s where he was sitting when working on this project. It was a scramble to remove them all before they melted into the meat. Of course, I managed to find time to grab the camera…

And here he is filling the piñata in the same place. No candy disasters this time (unless stealing several pieces for himself counts).

These are the candy favors I made. I put them in one of my craft baskets with the sign I made, and placed the whole thing on a little table near the gift table. Toward the end of the evening, we recruited one of the kids to carry the basket around and pawn off what hadn’t yet been claimed.

Yes, candy was a recurring theme.

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Sneak peek

I’m still working on getting photos off my camera, and our professional photos will obviously take awhile, but here’s a sneak peek of the wedding thanks to some photos my brother-in-law posted on his facebook right away.

I love this photo. We used my camera for the photo booth, so my pictures are all pre-wedding or photo booth related. I can’t wait to see more like this!

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