In response to my dear friends who asked me to write about my wedding (now a date in history, 6 long years past!), I now set my hand (or fingertips) to writing about that blessed day.
At that point in our walks with Christ, Josh and I had developed in our theology only far enough to understand that a wedding was not about 2 people, but really about Christ and His bride, the church. In our hearts, we longed for Christ to be the One lifted up . . . though we were rather young and if I were to be totally honest and real, I'd admit that pockets of my heart also longed to see Gretchen lifted up. Maybe not in the usual sense, but I certainly had to fight the battle of self-promotion that comes along with wedding planning -- I wanted people to say that our wedding was the best, the most fun, the most unique. Those are good things, of course! But the pride in my heart kept me from enjoying most of the process of getting ready for a big party . . . but I digress.
So that was my heart. But I do reflect on the Lord's goodness to us that day with a thankful heart, and it is with that heart that I share with you now the day Josh and I entered a covenant relationship with one another.We got married June 2nd, 2001 at Calvary Baptist Church in Danville, Illinois. Pastor Joe Humrichous married us, and our witnesses were my maid of honor -- my sister Anna -- and Josh's best man -- his brother Ryan. We both have big fams, so in the wedding were my 3 sisters Anna, Abby and Emily (Nancy was not in our family as yet), pictured in blue, red and light yellow, respectively, and Josh's 3 sisters Kari, Melissa and Laura, pictured in pink, yellow and dark blue. My friend Misty (red) was my one non-related bridesmaid. Josh had his brother Ryan, my brother Nathan, his cousins Georg and Jeramie, my cousin Robbie, and his friend Scott. As you can see in the picture, I wanted everyone to wear something they liked and felt comfortable in, so the girls chose their colors and dresses, and the boys all wore navy suits. Daisies match everything!
I bought my dress off e-bay (which had just arisen in all its glory as an endless resource for frugal wedding planners) for $40. It was from the 60's, and even though my mom freaked out initially that I was wearing an old hippie's dress, she was okay with the overall look that came out. It was made out of a soft cotton seersucker material -- so comfortable! We made a daisy wreath with a bunch of ribbons hanging from it for me to wear instead of a veil. The auditorium was quite simply decorated (I wanted none at all, but my mom just couldn't stand that!) with a couple large potted flowers and sticks with yellow berries on them hanging from each pew (they were left over from Courtni Rudolph's graduation open house!). Josh and I faced the audience as we said our vows and were charged by Pastor Joe (who stood on the floor in front of us). Our attendants stood around us boy/girl. I am all about that look for those of you who may be planning a wedding! It is so much easier for everyone to see the bride and groom. We all sang a congregational song together: "We are so blessed".
Our reception is my favorite part! I really really wanted to have a casual picnic at my parent's home (my home at the time!) for the reception. It took some cajoling, but my flexible mom agreed to let us make all the food for everyone. Misty, Anna, my mom and I made a huge spread of Italian beef, shredded chicken sandwiches, potato salad, veggies, baked beans, cottage cheese salad, Balreich's potato chips and fruit. Misty and I also made about 50 pies -- big lovely 10 inch ones. Josh and I were not so into a fancy wedding cake, and we like pie better anyway! I can't remember all the flavors of pie we made, but I promise every crust was home-made and hand rolled, and every apple was hand peeled. I've not been in the presence of so many huge pies since that day!
Have you seen Steel Magnolias? If you are a girl, you truly MUST see this movie! In Shelby's wedding, they have a groom's cake in the shape of a giant armadillo, made with red velvet cake and gray icing. Somehow during our 11 month engagement, we decided we needed one of those, too. Enter Misty, Anna and Gretchen, armadillo cake designers. I was the engineer. I figured out what shapes of cakes we'd need to build this guy with (a loaf pan for a head, for instance). Misty and Anna were the artists, decorating with heavy gray buttercream icing to their hearts' content. We multiplied Evelyn Hill's red velvet recipe by 6, and made a lifesize armadillo out of cake the day before the wedding. The next morning when I came downstairs, it looked like the armadillo had been run over by a car -- his red insides were showing where his heavy buttercream side had caved in on him! We served him smooth side facing out.
It was a fun day (though rather cold for June!). I saw teenage boys playing basketball out front, kids playing on the swings in the back and various ladies sitting in the family room by the fireplace. Just what I'd hoped for! I tossed my bouquet from the upstairs balcony outside -- no ceiling to hit!
As we left the house for our honeymoon, we were sent off by a fun crowd of all ages waving sparklers, blowing bubbles, tossing snap 'n' pops, and giving us hugs and cheers. Amid the bubbles and smoke, it was like a beautiful cloud of happiness! We cried as we drove away -- feeling more blessed and loved than we'd ever felt before.
**Edit: I do apologize for the poor quality of pictures here. I know that is what you all want to see. Unfortunately, all my pictures are in scrapbooks and frames and I do not have a scanner! This is the best I could do!