ust in case you didn’t get enough imaginary couch snuggling while looking at our wedding album in the last post, let’s have another round! (If you missed it, start here to see the pre-ceremony prep and the ceremony itself.)
We first took some photos outside of the church. Here is one of my favorites:
A “legacy of love” picture, if you will. I can say with certainty that I’ve learned the best lessons about what a strong marriage looks like through the example of my parents – and I know Bobby would say the same about his parent’s marriage.
Here’s another favorite. My bridesmaid, Rochelle, knows me TOO well and sneakily arranged for a couple people to get lemon cream slushies from Sonic as a little post-ceremony pick me up. If you’ve never had one of these, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Still waiting for Sonic to obtain our permission to use this photo in an ad campaign in exchange for a lifetime supply…
The guests got a little break in between the ceremony while we went back to my parents’ house for some photos with our wedding party. They totally are called a wedding PARTY for good reason.
Just trying to be cool kids…
The South Dakota grasses and rolling hills were the perfect backdrop.
Haha, love that photo. I can’t blame them for swooning over Bobby.
Then Bobby and I got to take some pictures of just the two of us, which we’ll treasure for years and years.
Here was the dialogue that went along with this solo photo of me:
Annie, one of our photographers: “OK, make a face like, ‘Wooooo, I just got married!'”
Me: (see picture)
Annie: “Uh, let’s try that again and look just a little less terrified…”
The DETAILS are what I love to see at weddings and we were lucky to have lots of fun ones (again, aided by the talent, love, and care of so many family and friends).
Detail number one: our sweet older neighbors had a couple golf carts that they generously lent us – these were used to help transport guests in style from their cars (parked throughout the neighborhood), straight up to our house. Of course, I enjoyed riding next to my handsome golf pro of a husband.
My mom, her best friend Ginny, and my Auntie Kathleen had found mannequins for the back of the two golf carts and dressed them up as a bride and groom. Should these ladies become legit wedding planners or what?!?
It was my dream to have mismatched, vintage-y plates for guests to use for dinner and dessert. These were then washed throughout the evening and set out for people to take home as favors.
For about a year in advance, my mom helped collect these plates for us – both large ones for dinner and small ones for dessert. (In short, that’s a LARGE NUMBER of plates she helped find.) She was the queen of garage sales and thrift stores.
Look at this plate – if I had known that we would end up living in Vermont, I would have snagged it!
Auntie set up a table in tribute to our dear friends in India who were celebrating with us 1000s of miles away. Bobby and I stayed with Sudhir and Sashi and all their lovely children while on Semester at Sea. This family is incredible and so very special to us. They have taken in a number of children who come from extremely poor families – through donations from friends in North America, they are able to feed, clothe, and educate the children; they love them all as if they were their own. Bobby and I were blown away when Sudhir said they would be celebrating our wedding by holding a Mass in their home and then a wedding feast – along with Sudhir and Sashi renewing their 15 year wedding vows. We were honored and humbled and remain so as they keep us in their daily prayers.
My sister helped set up a photo booth…in the old chicken coop, ha!
I had gathered photos from each year of our relationship leading up to the wedding and popped these into a fun assortment of garage sale frames. These lined the fence that led up to the photo booth.
My mom and aunt took the covers of vintage records and attached those to the fence as the backdrop for the dance floor and bar area. Some of the records even had hilarious captions added, via Mom. Julio, what a stud…
Leah worked her little artist fingers to the bone in the days leading up to the wedding to create all these gorgeous chalk signs. Goodness knows I love some colorful chalk art.
Since the garden was/is spread out and multi-tiered, it was helpful to have the general timeline of events written out. That way, people were able to make their way over to the appropriate areas at given times, even if they had been exploring elsewhere in the garden.
HOW GREAT ARE THESE SIGNS?!?!?!
Sisters are the best. (Leah was my Maid of Honor along with being the Honorable Chalk Sign Artist. Both MVP type positions.)
“She seemed to move everywhere dancing & music followed her like leaves on the wind.” ~Brian Andreas, StoryPeople
Instead of a traditional guest book, we asked people to write messages on colorful hearts and pop them into jars. There was a jar for Year 1, Year 5, Year 20, and Year 60. The instructions read: “Please take a heart for each jar and write a wish, prediction, or advice for Grace and Bobby at their Year 1, 5, 20, and 60 anniversaries. These will be sealed in super secret envelopes and opened on the specific anniversary. Please do one for each jar and be sure to write your name on yours!”
I’m SO glad that we did this. And I’m SO glad that I had bridesmaids who were willing to slave away the night before the wedding, cutting out those cute little hearts.
One of my favorite moments from our first anniversary was snuggling up to each other and reading through the Year 1 hearts. We took turns pulling hearts out of the envelope and reading them out loud to one another. There was a mixture of hilarity, tenderness, and wisdom. I can hardly wait for the next 3 anniversary milestones to see what our guests wrote for those hearts!
The delicious food was set up in the vegetable garden on long tables underneath my dad’s grape arbors.
Friends and family were able to admire the vegetable and flower beds while waiting in line.
I spy a cute little ring bearer…
My talented aunt and our family friend, Lisa, baked and decorated the cake. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, mmmm! Didn’t they do a beautiful job?!?
We found these sweet little cake toppers on Etsy that the woman customized to look like us – complete with the gray/mustard yellow color scheme we had chosen. These are still such a treasure to have tucked away!
During the cake cutting, Auntie Kathleen took us COMPLETELY off guard by throwing hundreds of dried rose petals at us. She’d been collecting and saving the petals for weeks – minutes before we cut the cake, she’d tried to recruit some little girls to help with this secret mission but they all were too shy and demure. So she took things into her own hands and carried out the ambush by herself. It was hilarious.
I’ve known for a LONG time that there would be zero cake shoving at my wedding. It just strikes me as mildly hostile and I’ve seen it turn “mean” – the bride usually is trying her hardest to look like she’s having a really great time having frosting smeared all over her carefully done makeup, but half the time it looks like an act. (P.S. This is me on my soap box. If you truly want the tradition of cake smooshing at your wedding or had a blast doing it, then that’s certainly your call! Just not our style.) As such, we gently fed each other cake and it was sweet and loving, which is exactly the tone we’ve tried to take with us into marriage.
After cake, there were toasts (some of my favorite things on earth. Actually toasts AND toast are on my list of favorites. Coincidence? I think not.)
My parents are always looking for ways to lure us back to South Dakota. Seeing as there aren’t any top golf courses for Bobby, my mom found him a government position! Ha! Mom just slightly changed this campaign sign so it’s ready for whenever Bobby decides to run…
My hilarious brother, Stephen, was the MC – a role he was born to play.
The night segued into dancing, where there was another small musical disaster waiting to happen (for disaster number one, refer to my post about the ceremony). We had hired a live band to play for the dance, which was SO fun. Amongst all the other wedding planning tasks, though, we had failed to get a first dance song request to them in time for them to practice and add to their repertoire. No matter, iPod to the rescue! The band assured us that if we put our song on an iPod, they’d happily pipe it through their sound system.
One of the very first conversations that Bobby and I ever had concerned the grave question of “If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take one musician with you to play for the rest of your days, whom would you take?” Bobby initially said “The Boston Pops” (since they could play a multitude of songs and styles) until I clarified that this would be TOTAL AND COMPLETE CHEATING. The question clearly only allows for you to take ONE musician. So he switched his answer to ‘James Taylor’ and my jaw dropped because that is exactly who I would take. You don’t run across too many Millenials who are adoring James Taylor fans…this was obviously love.
Bobby proceeded to tell me that, not only was he a fan of James Taylor, but that his dad used to be the headmaster where James’ twin boys went to school and that James had been to dinner at their house before. WHAT?!?!?!?
SO, as we reflected on what a good first dance song would be, we thought that “You’ve Got a Friend” would be perfect. Perfect lyrics, perfect artist, perfect back story.
Here was the imperfect part: despite having given the iPod to the band, we hadn’t decided on an exact cue to give to the band for when to play it. The band had been playing as people finished eating their cake and were milling around, which was great. But nobody was really dancing because they were all being polite and waiting for the first dance…Bobby and I just stood by the dance floor, thinking that the band would get the signal, wrap up their song, and cue up our good buddy James. This however, did NOT happen. The band was SUPER into their jam session. Just when you thought the song was winding down, they would ramp it right back up. In the moment, it felt awkward to go up to them and say, “Ahem, this music is really great and all, but could you guys wrap up and put on the iPod for now so we can do our first dance?” We waited for a few more minutes but the jam session continued.
I had the brilliant idea that if Bobby and I were to just step to the middle of the dance floor than SURELY the band would realize that it was time to put on our song. So we glided out to the middle and the band KEPT ON JAMMING. Not only were they playing their hearts out, but they were doing so to a reggae type song. I hate reggae! It’s honestly the one type of music that I’m really not fond of (accompanied by heavy metal, I suppose). I have no idea what our first dance song actually was, although I have a mild recollection of the lyrics talking about war. I’m sure some of our guests are still trying to decipher why in the world that song had significance to us…
Let’s just say our first dance fiasco was an early lesson in flexibility!
After this mishap, I was bound and determined for the father/daughter dance to go as planned…mostly because I had choreographed an epic FAMILY dance that was totally secret. We had feverishly practiced everyone’s parts in the days leading up to the wedding and my sister’s boyfriend had mashed together all the songs. The dance started off nice and innocuous with my dad and I dancing to a Joni Mitchell song…and then…BAM!
I just felt it in my bones that the Nixon Family Wedding Dance would go viral. And maybe it would have, except I kept it SO secret that I didn’t directly ask any specific person to video the dance. Luckily, our friend Larry whipped out his cell phone and took a video. He hadn’t been anticipating this, so the angle wasn’t the best and the first 30 seconds were lopsided…but at least it’s preserved! You can see the epic dance video right here, for your viewing pleasure.
And here are a few still shots. It remains as one of my favorite memories from the wedding, dancing up a storm with my family like that. They’re such good sports!
Then the dance proceeded and the moon was shining and all was right with the world.
I could dance with you for a thousand more years, my love.
The entire day was magic and I love re-living it.
At the risk of this becoming a MILLION WORD blog post though, may I just add one more thing? A brief but important post-script of sorts? In this age of Pinterest and Martha Stewart it’s so easy to get carried away with magical weddings and forget that a magical wedding, ultimately, means nothing. The magic is in the marriage. It’s in the tearful and hard conversations, it’s in the mundane moments when you don’t feel like being generous to your spouse but you do it anyway. It’s in the exhausted laughter when your dog flops into a mud puddle right before he’s supposed to get in the car. Those are moments that you don’t always see blog posts about, but they are there and they are real.
Weddings are AMAZING (I obviously loved ours, just in case that wasn’t evident in the slew of photos) but they are nothing compared to the good and wholesome and hard work of loving each other just a little better each day. And that’s work that I’m far from perfect at but ever grateful for.
Here’s to three years of adventure and so many more to come. xoxo
*Again, many thanks to Annie and Jacques of Daniel Photography and Design for the wonderful photos. You two do amazing work!