...and four bridal showers, and five rehearsal dinners, and 6 different states (not all for weddings), one youth camp, one funeral, two conferences, lots of house guests, the Grand Canyon, and, and, and....
Oh my goodness! It has been extremely fun and joyful and extremely chaotic and crazy all at the same time! I've written about some of the perks of being a pastor's wife before, and weddings are definitely one of them, but TEN in ONE summer??? Privilege may have spilled over into pressure with the clothes, travel, kid-sitting, gifts, and time required to pull this off! And you know what else? We could have gone to THIRTEEN! That's right. We, regrettably, had to reply "no" to three weddings ~ two were out of state (as in Texas-Oklahoma out of state, not Connecticut-New Hampshire-Vermont out-of-state!), and one was planned after we already had vacation reservations in Maine.
Ready for the Summer 2011 Wedding Tour in Review? Buckle your seat belt; it's quite a ride...
Wedding #1 ~ Kristen and Ben
Held in the beautiful chapel on the campus what many hope and pray will soon become the C.S. Lewis College. Kristen and Ben are now a part of Vita Nova ~ one of our recent church plants. Nate did a great job on their ceremony, and I think he came close to having as many weddings as we did this summer. I had to steal this photo from Facebook, because I forgot my camera! (And we had to leave quickly from the reception because of kid stuff!)
Wedding #2 ~ Kim and Stu
Their first date was in the spring of their senior year at UMass ~ to the ROTC Ball, and then Stu was off to the Army for 5 years. I don't think many people believed they would survive that long distance romance for that amount of time (several deployments, too), but they did!
Kim and I grew close after she had become a Christian and began attending our church. My first memory of her is from the night our church rented out the local theater for a private showing of The Passion of the Christ. She didn't know us personally at that time, but made it a point to come and shake our hands and thank us for hosting the event, as it had a great impact on her. After that, she was in our small group Bible study, and we enjoyed many Starbucks dates before she graduated and even after, which meant meeting at one halfway between Boston and Amherst! (Or Applebee's or Friendly's...)
Theirs was a gorgeous wedding on a resort balcony with Mt. Washington as the scenic backdrop, and since we arrived at there at 4a.m. after flying back from a funeral in Texas, we were glad we booked two nights!
Wedding #3 ~ Katie and Ian
This one surely wins the prize for the longest engagement! Katie and Ian had been engaged over 2 years by the time their wedding date came around. This wedding (and the next two, for that matter) meant a lot to Robert, since both Katie and Ian gave their lives to Christ in our church, were also both baptized, engaged, and then married in our church. What a privilege to walk with people through all of those milestones, and Katie and Ian are such a joy to be around!
They met in the marching band at UMass. They have been kind enough to kid-sit for us on occasion, and now they courageously lead our church childcare ministry ~ which I think is rather interesting irony. In time, I think you'll agree... ;-)
Wedding #4 ~ Autumn and J.J.
Already dearly missed, J.J. and Autumn moved to Colorado just a few weeks after their June wedding. They love the outdoors, hiking, skiing, golfing, and rafting, so it seemed the perfect place to start their married life together, but our church suffered a great loss because of their move. They were involved in greeting, leading small groups, organizing outreaches, and just being an all-around encouragement to everyone who came through the church doors. Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple! Missing them so much these days!
Wedding #5 ~ Kylie and Dusty
Simply elegant style. Kind, gracious, and humble families. I had to make two collages for the Kylie/Dusty wedding, because taking pictures was just so fun and easy ~ a beautiful day, and an outdoor reception cater to that, of course, but this wedding was just especially special. The rain that poured and poured in the days prior to their wedding day were symbols of the attacks of the enemy this couple experienced on the eve of their wedding, but what followed was certainly one of the most beautifully redemptive things I've ever witnessed. They overcame. Christ in them was the victor, and it was as obvious in their faces and in their vows as it was in the bright sunshine that appeared in perfect time! The Lord was so present and beautiful!
We're so thankful that not only Kylie and Dusty are a part of our church, but Kylie's amazing parents ~ Ralph and Vicky. What a blessing to watch a family love each other and persevere through all of life's joys and challenges.
Wedding #6 ~ Kristina and Martin
Winner of the "Most Intimate Ceremony" award of the summer wedding tour, Martin and Kristina's guest list included only two...Robert and me! Since it was not a first marriage for either (both of these sweet people have been through so much in that department), they wanted something small. Even though this was a later-in-life wedding, M & K have known each other since their Bible college days. These old friends re-connected via the wonders of Facebook. Since Kristina was living in out of state, the New England wedding planning was up to Martin, and I must say, he did a great job! He chose a quaint gazebo in a park in Vermont as the ceremony site. We headed there after a casual lunch downtown, held the gazebo ceremony, and then walked to the town hall to make it all official.
(You can get a certificate AND have a wedding all in one day in Vermont!)
Such a privilege to be a part of this sweet couple's day! So happy for them!
Wedding #7 ~ Katherine and Tim
Katherine was a part of our church for the four years that she attended Mt. Holyoke College ~ an all women's campus in nearby South Hadley. She met Tim after graduation and at the wedding of another MOHO, as they like to call themselves. Katherine is in the thick of medical school, so pulling off a wedding in the midst of it all was quite a challenge, but she did an amazing job! I was also amazed at their commitment to pre-marital counseling with Robert, because living in Pennsylvania does not make that a convenient exercise. We were especially blessed by Tim's parents who graciously hosted us all weekend and even invited us to the morning after brunch for their family! As we walked away from our hotel, Robert and I each felt so encouraged and blessed to have been with such kind and gracious folks. Very refreshing, I tell you!
Wedding #8 ~ Carol and T.J.
I'm sure you're not keeping track, but so far that's three outdoor weddings and two outdoor receptions. Also, that's SIX brides whose names begin with the letter "K" ~ Kristen, Kim, Katie, Kylie, Kristina, and Katherine. Wow! I Think it may be safe to say this was the summer of outdoor weddings and 20-something-brides with "K" names. Must have been a popular letter in the in the mid-80's?!? (And the late 90's, too, I guess, as I have two "K" kiddos myself!) Phonetically speaking, there is one more "k" bride, and she would be Carol! (I've got one phonetic "k" too.)
Carol and T.J. also had an outdoor wedding overlooking the scenic Quabbin Reservoir. This place is just a few miles from our house, and yet we had never seen it. We vowed to return, though, since it was so beautiful. This was the red-and-white-complete-with-gloves-and-hats-wedding ~ such coordinated style! We thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of the families, and Robert enjoyed eating the most gigantic plate of Chicken Parmesan and pasta I have EVER seen at the rehearsal dinner! (Chicken Caesar Salad sans croutons for this GF gal.)
Wedding #9 ~ Amanda and Aaron
Aaron and Amanda ~ A & A ~ the double vowel couple ~ no "k's" here. I think I can sum this one up by telling you that Amanda's Jackie-O-esque wedding dress had POCKETS. It made me want to get married all over again. To Robert, of course, just with POCKETS in my dress! But pockets were only one perfect detail of this sweet country wedding. The bridesmaids wore cowboy boots, the favors were jars of homemade jams and jellies, wildflowers in glass bottles served as centerpieces, and homemade fabric garland and pennants graced the outdoor reception patio. Reba McEntire even made a guest appearance to perform a singing "toast" looking eerily similar to one local church worship leader named Cindy. And the wedding cake? Peach cobbler and homemade ice cream!
Aaron and Amanda left Mercyhouse a while back to be a part of the start of Valley Church. They were missed, of course, but we are so thankful that Ryan and Christie got to have such a wonderful young couple to support them as they planted another church here in the Valley. Ryan did a great job on the ceremony, and is looking pretty good here surrounded by all of his pretty ladies.
Wedding #10 ~ Leah and Patrick
Well, we started with a Vita Nova wedding and we got to end with one, too. (There were several in between, that we were not a part of!) Nate did a wonderful job laying out the biblical purposes of and roles within marriage during this ceremony. It truly is a metaphor for the gospel ~ for the relationship between Christ and His bride, and it was just the thing that Leah and Patrick wanted their guests to hear. Another highlight of this wedding was the couple's first dance. Now, you have to know that even as athletic and tough as Patrick may seem, he was a dance and theater major in college, so I was not THAT surprised when he began dancing and lip-synching to "A Whole New World" from the Aladdin soundtrack. What did surprise us was that Leah did not skip a beat in joining him for her part in the duet and dance! It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen ~ so original, and such a gift for all those watching ~ smiles and laughter all around!
(I heard they did the MJ "Thriller" dance later, but we had to scoot to baseball games and
cross country meets.)
Whew! If you are still reading, you are probably as worn out as we were by this matrimonial marathon!
But it was a wonderful sort of weary, and definitely a perk for this pastor's wife ~ and family.