I finally have uploaded pictures from Katherine and Sam's wedding, which was July 21st. All of June and the first part of July were definitely a countdown to that big day, at least in our house. The boys were excited to get to the point where Sam officially became their uncle.
Friday night we had the rehearsal dinner, and I couldn't resist dressing the chance to dress the boys similarly.
We practiced the ceremony three (?) times, and the boys were very good and patient, but they were definitely ready to get outside as soon as possible.
After the rehearsal, we headed over to Sam's parents' house for dinner. Mike and I decided we would give Sam and Katherine their combination wedding/graduation gift. We had this piece made at an awesome place here in town called Sticks, which is a place that makes custom pieces out of birch, poplar, and driftwood. After struggling for months to decide what we would get Katherine and Sam for both their wedding gift and graduation gifts, one Friday night I was watching a show I DVR'd and happened to hit stop right when a commercial for a Sticks trunk show was on the screen. So that got the wheels turning, and Mike and I started brainstorming, I sketched out a rough draft, and a few days later we met with an artist and explained everything we wanted, and voila! This piece was born. We were super excited to give it to them because we felt like it turned out even better than we had hoped for.
The day before the rehearsal we dipped the boys' hands in paint and used them to make heart-shaped handprints with the boys' names in them inside the back of the piece. It's a large piece- 24x24 inches, and it's about 4 or 5 inches deep.
I think Katherine and Sam were pretty surprised.
Here's an explanation of what we had put on the piece, starting at the top in the center and going clockwise:
-St. Olaf- the college Katherine and Sam both just graduated from. The crest in the middle is the St. Olaf symbol. It also has 2012 on it.
-The building on the right is St. Olaf's Old Main. Katherine and Sam were amazed at its likeness to the real building.
-The circular symbol covering part of Old Main represents Oxford, where Katherine studied for a semester last year.
-Below that is the blue EMT symbol, which is for Sam, since he was an on-campus EMT for a few of his years at St. Olaf.
-Next to that it says X + Y = Z, to represent the fact that Katherine was a math major.
-Under the math equation is a pennant with St. Olaf's cheer of Um Ya Ya on it.
-Inside the heart it says K + S.
-The lower left corner is a person thinking, which represents Katherine's philosophy major.
-Above that there's a double helix to show Sam's biology major.
-Above the DNA strand is a mortar and pestle, because Sam was also a chemistry major.
-Finally, in the top left corner, those are not spatulas, they are the equipment used in broomball, which Katherine and Sam both played intramurally.
We also were able to put stuff along the sides since they are 4-5 inches wide. So along the top side, we have, "Congratulations Katherine and Sam! We love you! -Mike and Sarah." Along the bottom we have, "We love Aunt Katherine and Uncle Sam! -Zach, Drew, and Jake." And along the sides we picked 2 quotes. The first is a piece from the ever familiar 1 Corinthians 13- "Three things will last forever- faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love." And the other side says, "To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with," which is a quote from Mark Twain.
Here's our family photo from the rehearsal dinner. Notice Zach doing bunny ears behind Mike. Always the jokester, that Zach.
Jake enjoyed testing out the temperature of the beverage containers. I thought it was pretty cute.
The next day was the big day! Woohoo! After a run in the morning, I gathered up my stuff and headed to the mall to meet the other bridesmaids, Katherine, and the 2 moms, so we could get our hair done. I never liked my hair on my own wedding day, but I was too shy to speak up, so that was one piece of advice I was sure to give to Katherine. Then I ran into the same problem as I sat there in the chair, where this lady, who maybe was pregnant, but maybe not (weird elephant in the hair salon, especially when I asked if she had kids and she said "not yet" but didn't go on to say she was pregnant or anything, leaving me wondering the whole time), curled and curled and curled my hair, and then started pinning part of it up, and I could tell I was not going to like it. She asked my opinion at one point, and I felt like I couldn't say I hated it, but I did say, "Well, could we make the part not so long?" because that was the nicest thing I could think of to say that would prompt at least a subtle change. So she changed the plan some, and while it was better, I wouldn't say I loved it. Maybe it was because I am just used to my hair being straight and the curls threw me for a loop. It looked awesome in the back, but I really cared more about how it looked from the front. Anyway, when I look back at pictures now, I don't dislike my hair that night, but I wouldn't necessarily ask for it to be done that way again.
Anyway, after getting our hair done, we met back at Kevin and Cynthia's house for lunch. Katherine's two personal attendants, Hannah and Brianna. These two ladies were incredibly helpful all day long!
After lunch we headed to the ceremony site, which was an old church that has been converted into a cafe and art gallery. Katherine's best woman (no maid of honor here!) got her this neat hanger for her wedding dress.
The other two bridesmaids and I decided that Cynthia, Katherine's mom, should help her get her dress on. When we told Cynthia this, she suddenly got choked up. This got Katherine choked up, and then also got me choked up. It was a sweet moment to be a part of.
There were some tricky buttons on that dress that required a little extra help.
Time for the veil!
I love that Katherine opted for fun purple shoes instead of basic white.
Katherine and Cynthia before the wedding.
Me with my lovely sister-in-law and mother-in-law, obviously before Cynthia and I got our dresses on. I really like this picture a lot.
Here is Katherine's bouquet.
Getting her lipstick on before pictures. This totally reminds me of a picture I got of my sister Becky applying lipstick before her wedding almost 9 years ago. I think it's just such a neat angle.
Finally, the three bridesmaids got dressed. We all got to design our own dresses, which was a cool thing to do. In addition to myself, Katherine's bridesmaids were her friend Kate (best woman, in the center), and her now sister-in-law Kelsey, who is married to Sam's brother. Kelsey was about 32 weeks pregnant in this picture.
Unity candle area.
Here are the two moms- Sam's mom, Tracy, on the left, and Cynthia, Katherine's mom, in green.
There was some card playing going on between Mike, Tyler (best man), Kate, and Alex, Sam's brother.
This is the table where the programs and the guest book were.
Katherine and Sam's guestbook was really cool. It was a photo book with pictures from their engagement photo shoot, and it had prompts on some pages, such as, "Where do you see us in 20 years?" or "Give us some good ideas for a date night," etc. I thought it was a really clever idea.
Almost time for our pictures to start- so Mike had to get his boutinierre pinned on.
The beautiful bride and mother-of-the-bride.
Mike and Katherine. Doesn't seem so long ago that Katherine was in our wedding, but it was 11 years ago and she was only 11! I just love this big brother/little sister picture.
Katherine and her dad. Another cute one!
Kevin had some sort of button issue, but I think maybe Tracy, Sam's mom, solved it.
Mike's mom and step-dad were a HUGE help to us on the wedding day. Not only did they go to our house while Jake was napping so Mike could leave and come to the ceremony site, but they also brought the boys to us and then drove to the reception not once, but TWICE (a good 25 minute drive each way) to pick the boys up in shifts (Jake needed to leave earlier than the older two) so Mike and I could stay later. Then they stayed at our house until we got home after 1:00 in the morning. They were incredibly helpful, and we couldn't have been more thankful to them for helping to make the day so much easier for us for allowing us to really enjoy the reception without worrying about our kids falling apart out of exhaustion.
Anyway, here are all my boys after they arrived at the gallery and we got them in their tuxes. So handsome, if I do say so myself!
Kate took a quick family photo for us, which turned out pretty good.
The boys did well during photos before the ceremony, and then retired to the basement to wait it out while the guests arrived. We kept them happy with fruit snacks and an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that was on my phone.
The rest of the group relaxed before the big moment.
The ceremony went very well. One thing Katherine and Sam did that I thought was really cool was that they had their attendants, Sam's brother Alex and his wife Kelsey, walk down together first and stand together on Sam's side, and then Mike and I walked down the aisle together and stood on Katherine's side. Then Kate and Tyler walked down together and stood on either side of Katherine and Sam, and then Zach, Drew, and Jake walked down the aisle together. I can't remember at this point if they held hands or not, but Mike thinks they did. It was fun to hear the audience kind of do a collective "awwww" as the boys came down the aisle. Then Drew went and stood with Sam, front and center, Zach sat down next to Grandma Cynthia and Grandpa Kevin, and Jake came up to Mike and me. We quickly got Drew sent to the right place, where he stayed throughout the ceremony. Jake was sort of up and back a few times between the seats and Mike and me. I had a bag of tricks right there in the front row with the boys, including snacks, books, coloring books, etc., but I did not want Kevin and Cynthia having to worry about keeping their grandsons entertained when they really wanted to watch their only daughter get married. There was one moment where Jake put down a coloring book and then Drew picked it up and Jake wanted it back, and there were some raised voices (mostly by Drew, if you can imagine), but we got it under control pretty quickly, and I don't think it was too distracting. I wish someone had videotaped the homily and vows, because I really hardly paid attention to them, as I was so focused on making sure the boys were super quiet and well-behaved. Thankfully, Katherine's uncle, who presided over the ceremony, kept it pretty short. That was very helpful. On the whole, if I had to rate the boys' behavior/performance at the wedding on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being perfect, I'd give them an 8, probably.
After the ceremony Mike and I got to ride in the limo with the rest of the wedding party, and Grandpa Kevin drove the boys to the reception site. The reception was at a golf course, so we went out on the course and took some more pictures. Then the party started, and it was so much fun. I was super nervous for the toast Mike and I had prepared, but I think it went pretty well. I did get one picture of Katherine and Sam during their first dance as husband and wife, but that was the last picture I took.
The next morning there was a brunch, which was nice because we got to chat with Cynthia's family a little more. We were all exhausted, though, that's for sure.
It was definitely an amazing weekend and we were so happy and honored to be a part of it. We are thrilled to officially have Sam as part of the family, and the boys couldn't be happier to have a new uncle.