our wedding // reception

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Party time!

But really, there’s nothing quite like the relief of being DONE planning a wedding and being able to just relax and enjoy everything and everyone.

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We spent some time before the reception taking more portraits [which resulted in some muuuuuch better light].

But then it was on to dinner!

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One of the big things I learned about planning a wedding is that at the end of the day the details don’t really matter – it just matters that you plan and prepare for something. People need to eat and somewhere to do that, but the specifics of what and where don’t make or break the day [unless it’s like reeeeeally bad, then maybe it would]. I love hearing the relief and joy in the parents’ voices at receptions – it’s just too good.

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We had a bounce house at our wedding. No, I’m not kidding. It was so much fun my family even used it the next day for a birthday celebration too!

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For our wedding favors we made homemade vanilla extract, bottled and labeled it all ourselves. We even spent hours and multiple drill bits on making the custom display…

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Entering the party like: whaaaat whaaat

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First dance! Let me just say, if you’re nervous about this you should be. Not really, but I would definitely recommend practicing before hand. You don’t need legit dance lessons or anything, but just practice moving together and talk about how you want your dance to go. We trimmed our song down quite a bit so that it didn’t drag on. It was definitely short, but we didn’t have any awkward moments of “man, this song just keeps going, doesn’t it?”

Don’t be nervous, this part is way fun even if you aren’t a dancer couple planning on doing the Dirty Dancing routine.

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One of my favorite parts of the reception was the anniversary dance! We chose some songs to be played and had all the married couples come to the dance floor to dance. Then callers announced lengths of time and the couples sat down as the number of years surpassed their years of marriage until only the couple marred the longest was left. The first one was: “if you have been married for less than 4 hours, please have a seat” which ended Matthew and I’s short stint on the floor :). It was lots of fun and it turned out my aunt & uncle were the winners!

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Instead of a traditional cake, we had a tower of mini cinnamon rolls. So. Good.
[our cute cake topper]

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One of the other personal touches was the bonfire + s’mores.

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Dance party!

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We enjoyed every last drop of the evening, in spite of the dropping temperatures.

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It was such a good day.

our wedding // reception

our wedding // ceremony

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Our wedding ceremony was the heart and soul of our wedding day.

Leading up to it I literally got knots in my stomach just thinking about walking down the aisle and speaking in front of everyone. But when the moment arrived the nervousness didn’t. I was so relieved to not spend such an important moment sick to my stomach.

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During the walk down the aisle, most of my focus was on not tripping over the front of my dress, which was somehow still too long in the front. I remember laughing with my dad and feeling so excited and slightly weirded out that so many people were looking at me.

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Matthew was feeling excited and pumped and focused on smiling so that his focus on walking at the right pace didn’t take over his face. All I remember is that by the time I could see him, he was definitely smiling.

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We both wrote our vows and it was incredibly sweet, but then Matthew took it one step further and SUNG his which was a total surprise [as you can tell by the last picture].

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I was so blessed to have my friend sing during two key parts of our ceremony, the ring blessing, and the feet washing.

Everyone gave me “you’re crazy” looks when I described what I wanted to do for the ring blessing (so I didn’t describe it to many), but it was one of the most special parts of the day and we were thrilled to include our guests in our ceremony in that way.

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Nothing too crazy or ridiculous happened during our ceremony and it went as rehearsed, thanks to the small army who helped ensure it did. Weddings are a ton of work and we are so grateful for the amazing people who gave of themselves on our wedding day.

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Yay!

p.s. Happy Back To The Future Day! Hopefully this means the edited hoax photos will stop going around 😉

our wedding // ceremony

our wedding // getting ready + first look

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One of the most special aspects of our wedding was the location. We got married out on the land I grew up on. It’s where Matthew and I hung out when we started dating and where many precious family memories were made.

Of course, it was also a very stressful aspect of our wedding, as we were the ones who had to ensure there would be bathrooms for 200 people and no fire ants.

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The wedding party got dressed & ready at my cousin’s house, which is also on the property.

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Ready for another honesty hour? This was not the greatest time I’ve ever had. I was feeling so many things and nothing at all and I felt like I was going to burst into tears at any moment. Matthew bought me coffee and had someone send it upstairs to me and I just held it in my hands for an hour and never took a single sip. Thank goodness my sister forced me to eat or I would have been a wreck.

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I don’t know if I was stressed or in shock or just plain tired, but I simply sat quietly on a stool for hours while my hair + makeup was done. I mean, just look at my face:

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This is what I looked like for hours.

The boys seemed to have a much better time and I could hear them talking and laughing downstairs.

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As always, there were things that were supposed to be done that weren’t ready on time, for example my dress wasn’t steamed and I had our old timeline in my head so I wasn’t stressed about time but everyone else was.

I wasn’t even in my dress yet and everyone was freaking out “Matthew is already at the spot waiting for you!” Trust me, it wasn’t the first time I’d left him waiting and won’t be the last, I’m sure. 😉

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I finally got out the door and packed into the passenger seat of the car and rode the mile to where we planned our first look. As soon as I was walking toward the car I felt better. I felt excited and nervous and weird and ready.

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Matthew was waiting for me and I got out of the car and we got our set up figured out, and then… it got awkward.

I have no idea why but for some reason I didn’t know what to do and everything felt weird and awkward. We were talking to each other as he was faced the other way and I don’t remember what I was saying but I’m sure it was something like: “uhh, hi. i feel so awkward hahaha. what should i do? am i walking too fast? so, i’m um just going to reach out for your right hand ok? ok, don’t turn around yet. ok. is this good? i don’t even know. ok! tadaaaaaa!”

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After that initial awkwardness of trying to stage a grand reveal, the rest of our time together before the ceremony was incredibly fun and sweet.

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We were able to go down to the river to take some photos like we did for our engagement shoot, which was extra special, but, MAN, was it bright.

Future brides + grooms, listen to your photographers’ advice about timing and do what you can to schedule for the best light. We adjusted our timeline and did what we could, but at the end of the day October 25th was just. plain. sunny. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and everyone was all excited saying “oh, it’s such a perfectly gorgeous day, there’s not a cloud in sight!” and all I could think was “I could really use some overcast light today.”

We ended up with some great light after the ceremony and it all worked out in the end.

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To anyone on the fence trying to decide whether or not to do a first look, I would highly recommend it. At first Matthew didn’t want to do a first look, but after thinking more about it agreed to it.

It made sense for us due to our location – there was no way I wouldn’t be seen before the ceremony since we would be outside in a field. It definitely didn’t take away from walking down the aisle and I didn’t have to concentrate on catching Matthew’s reaction, instead I concentrated on not falling over my dress.

Being [almost] alone together before the ceremony was so special and calming and I can’t imagine not having the photos we got during that time. After such an intense morning it was a relief to go off with my about-to-be husband and have the chance to clear my head and regain focus on the day ahead.

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gosh I love him.


Our incredible photographers: Brett & Jessica

Other posts: wedding party

our wedding // getting ready + first look

our wedding // wedding party

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Our incredible wedding party was made up of 75% family but all 100% are dear friends. We are both richly blessed in the family + friends department and determining the size of the wedding party, for me, was one of our hardest decisions. We wanted to keep things on the smaller, less overwhelming side, and to do that meant careful consideration of who to include.

Honesty hour: I struggled a lot with this, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings or leave anyone out. There are so many decisions that go into planning a wedding and for someone who has been called indecisive her whole life, the whole process was exhausting. But at the end of the day I was the one who had to live with my decisions and in the wedding party department, I think we nailed it.

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I mean, come on – look at those gems <3.

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bridesmaids

Sisters all around! My six bridesmaids were my three sisters and Matthew’s three sisters. We have amazing sisters and it felt so right to have the six ladies I’d be spending special occasions and holidays with the rest of my life by my side for the Big Day. Plus, over the years, I grew close to Matthew’s sisters and they have become dear friends.

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For some, choosing all family might not be the right choice, but for me it was and these six ladies helped, supported, and celebrated me during the months leading up to and on the actual wedding day.

Our gorgeous bouquets were created by a family friend florist who also did bouquets and arrangements for my sister’s wedding. She did an incredible job and I’m so thankful to have such stunning photography to preserve their beauty! Our bouquets featured dried wheat, lavender, delphinium, larkspur, stock, lizianthus, monte casino, and spray roses. The bouquets were one of the surprising elements of the day because, while I told the florist the colors, style, and flowers I liked, the first time I saw the final product was as my bouquet was handed to me on my way to the first look.

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bridesmaid dresses: forherandforhim.com in deep claret


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groomsmen

Matthew’s men were three of his brothers-in-law and three of his long-time friends. They’re such a fun [and handsome!] group.

It was fun for me to just hear about how much fun the guys had hiking and go-karting together for Matthew’s bachelor party.

Matthew may have been born with only sisters, but these are his brothers.

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As a gift, Matthew got each of his groomsmen burgundy bowties to match the ladies’ dresses. Their boutineers were simple greenery + lavender and Matthew’s had the addition of a few white spray roses.

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One of the best things about having our siblings+theirspouses in the wedding party was how it gave us this:

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these are my people and this picture almost brings me to tears every time I look at it. You can be sure an 8×10 is framed in our living room. ❤


As far as scrapbooking the wedding party goes, I’ve got two spreads and two inserts! All that’s left is filling in some journaling cards and embellishing a bit and this section will be done! I’ve got some fabric swatches and other ephemera from the planning stages that would be fun to incorporate those things too. I’ve not been able to scrapbook every day like I originally planned, but I’m doing more than I had been!

our wedding // wedding party

blog-tember day 19 // the best day

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Saturday, Sept. 19: Tell us about one of the best days of your life.

I imagine some people might think it obvious for me to choose my wedding day as one of the best days of my life, but really I think the main appeal is that it is recent enough to remember and it was very well documented.

Because truth be told, my wedding day was not the best day of my life. In fact, the first half of it was really bad. I didn’t get very much sleep the night before [surprise, surprise] and the whole morning while getting ready I felt sick and like I was going to start crying at any moment. I was left alone with the lady doing my hair & makeup and it was really weird and not fun and all I wanted was to see Matthew and not feel such enormous pressure to be pretty.

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But after our first look everything in me calmed down. I felt zero nervousness the rest of the day. I didn’t have nervous butterflies walking down the aisle, I wasn’t scared to read my vows in front of all those people [like I had been sick to my stomach about for the last year], and I had absolutely no worries about things going “wrong”.

It was weird in a way because it felt like just another day. It was, but it also wasn’t. My entire life was changed forever because of that day but it still just felt like another day, although a bit busier than usual ;).

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Marrying my best friend and being surrounded by so many wonderful people who love and support us was the best part of my wedding day. I poured SO much of myself into planning and preparing for that one day that it almost sucked the life out of me.

One of my most favorite memories of the whole day, though, was after we had walked through our glow-stick tunnel and driven away in our painted up car. We were about 5 minutes down the road when I remembered I had left my [1 and only pair of] jeans back at the house and we went back to get them.

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This turned out to be a small miracle because I was not really in a good place when we were leaving. I felt so sad to be leaving all of my family and the thought of moving was overwhelming me.

At my sister’s wedding a year earlier, they made their grand exit, drove around the block for a while, and came back to get their stuff before heading out on the honeymoon. The hour or so when they came back to get their stuff was one of the best times of the whole day – it was just family and a couple close friends and we got to see the new couple totally lit up with joy and excitement and be excited with them. We talked about our favorite parts of the day in rocking chairs on the front porch of their wedding venue. It was such a sweet, special time that I wanted so badly for my own wedding day.

It was just our two immediate families back at the house and we got to hug everyone one last time and I got to say bye to my dad because I didn’t get to before we left the first time. It was so hard to not want to just stay and hang out around the fire. The little moments deep in the night with the choicest of people are some of my most favorite.

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We went back and took some pictures together under our big, white tent that was lit up with Christmas lights and it was just so good. We then went and grabbed my pants [I’m still SO glad I remembered them before we were too far away!] and I got to hug my sisters and say bye one more time and then I was whisked away by my new husband.

I was in a much better place after our second exit. I felt so happy and content after seeing everyone again and I felt ready to leave town with this great guy I was now married to.

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Since that day, and even before that day, I have had some of the best days of my life. One of my favorites was a day when Matthew took off work and we went around town. We went to a coffee shop for breakfast, and then went shopping at a Crate & Barrel, went out to dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill [so. good.], stopped by my sisters apartment for a short while to say hi, and then ended the night at Lowe’s getting lightbulbs or something. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it is one of my favorite days.

Other memories from similar days when we were in college are some of my favorites – sometimes Matthew would skip class to hang out with me and once we went and saw a movie. There’s something about spending the entire day with someone that can make you laugh so hard you cry. No big plans, just deciding what to do next without worrying about anything else.

Those are some of the best days of my life. And that makes me smile because there are more days like that to come.


Brave Love Blogday 18: vlog!
day 17: current obsession
day 16: me vs. me
day 15: in my bag
day 14: five books
day 13: current season
day 12: currently…
day 11: friday night
day 10: bucket list
day 9: dear me,
day 8: favorite season
day 7: blog name
day 6: style
day 5: itunes shuffle
day 4: passions
day 3: mood board
day 2: ideal day
day 1: introductions

blog-tember day 19 // the best day

marriage book roundup – part 1

Before we were even engaged, Matthew and I started reading marriage books together (ok, just one book before we were engaged but after that we tore through them). I’ve always been one to love these kinds of books and I read through the dating genre in my teenage years.

This is not a comprehensive list of books on this topic, but these are some favorites that we’ve read together and enjoyed.

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

Matthew and I read this book and worked through the workbook a few months before we got engaged. Marriage was on our radar and we talked about it – timing, budgeting, etc. so it wasn’t weird for us to read this book when we did.
We loved this book and workbook combo and it was instrumental in helping spark conversation about crucial topics and learning more about what the other thought and felt about things like “gender roles”, money, love languages, communication, and how to handle conflict. The workbook offers practical exercises and questions to help dive deeper into the topics covered in the book. I think it would be fun to go through this one again and look back at our answers from two years ago.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller
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We received this book as a Christmas gift after we were engaged and would read it whenever driving in the car together during Matthew’s last semester of college. This book is incredible. It is also very deep and you have to stay actively engaged at times to ensure you don’t get lost but it is worth it. One of the main focuses of this book is setting straight misconceptions and assumptions of marriage – both the overly-romanticized positive and dangerously negative. This book is for everyone – single, engaged, married, and anyone in-between. The concepts and truths in this book are truly eye-opening and life-changing. Owning a copy over borrowing it would be ideal because you’ll want to keep coming back to it for years.

Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

We borrowed this book from friends and enjoyed reading and discussing it. This book details “The Crazy Cycle” and talks about how when women feel unloved they disrespect, making men feel disrespected so they act unlovingly toward their wife and the crazy cycle just keeps going ’round and round. This book has had some negative feedback in the way that it addresses the woman and I myself found the tone to sometimes be off-putting. But one of the MAIN reasons to read books on marriage, aside from learning new things, is to open conversation with your spouse – so if you don’t agree or have other thoughts or ideas talk about them. Matthew and I were able to discuss what we thought and felt and how things differed for us compared to the generalized rule. The overall message of this book is helpful and needed and encouraged honest communication between us.

The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye

This was also a book we borrowed from friends that we read separately. The Act of Marriage is focused on sexual intimacy in marriage and practical information about the physical act of sex. This book is especially helpful for couples who are virgins who want a Christian-based guide to the act of marriage. Reading it going into our honeymoon helped us have a better idea of what to expect and how to approach sex.
While this can certainly be an awkward topic to breach, the book helps bring up concerns you might have and allow an environment for open communication between you and your spouse (or soon-to-be spouse). This definitely isn’t the only resource out there on this topic through a Christian filter, but it is a good place to start if you’re looking.

Note: all of the books in this selection are rooted in Christian principles but can be read and applied to any marriage. This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions are our own.

marriage book roundup – part 1