Monday, September 29, 2014

My Little Sister's Wedding

 I mentioned that back in the middle of June my youngest sister got married. I now have a bunch of pictures collected (some that Mara took, and some taken by my niece Margaret and Sister-in-law Holly and a few by me) and so I thought I would tell you about it.

Where should I start???

I love weddings and very much enjoy my business of doing wedding flowers and decorating at weddings and a few times I have also been hired to play music at weddings and I enjoy that little bit of involvement in a wedding of people that I don't even know. But there is something very fun and special about a sister's wedding especially when you are happy about the guy that she chose and see God's leading in the whole situation.

   My little sister Keren. She was born when I was 13 (nearly 14). I loved all babies, holding them whenever I would have an opportunity. When we learned that my parents were going to have another baby I was completely delighted! She is the youngest of 6 (I am number 3) and I remember many a discussion over what she or he would be named with we kids thinking that we should have a say in it too. My parents had chosen to do Bible names for all of their children but were having trouble coming up with a girls name that they wanted to use. If I remember right it was my older sister who ended up suggesting Keren - one of Jobs daughters (In the Bible it is Keren-happuch but they didn't use the happuch part).

  Keren was a well loved baby with plenty of willing arms to hold her. I remember many an hour of playing the piano with her laying on her stomach on my lap. She was quite content there and I loved being able to do two of my favorite things at once-hold a baby and play the piano. She also did a lot of walking around while holding on to our fingers and ended up being a very early walker at 8 1/2 months. Another thing I enjoyed doing was sewing so I had fun doing that for a real live baby doll.

  Pretty soon I was off to college and then busy raising my own family. Keren had just turned 8 when Mara was born and Keren loved being a young aunt (my older sister also had a boy, one year older).  The year that Mara was born we were living in Iowa and Ken decided to take a surprise visit up here in December (Mara was 2 months old). He had not told either my parents or I about the plan. When we got to their house he thought it would be fun to put Mara in her car seat at the door and then ring the doorbell and hide. Keren was the one to come to the door and she was one excited little girl to see her baby niece there. She had been hoping we might come. A couple years later (just after Jonathan was born) we moved up here. I have been very thankful to live near my family again and to be able to get to know my youngest siblings better.

   I actually met Benjamin around 13 years ago when we were still living in Kansas and had gone to Topeka one weekend and went to church there and Benjamin's family had us over for dinner. I can't say I really remember Benjamin particularly as they have a family with seven kids and six of them are boys so Benjamin didn't really stand out. We have kept in touch with his family a little through Facebook however and a few years back his mom sent me a message saying that she had been on this blog and seen things about a younger sister and wondered if she was still unattached (I don't remember exactly what word she used) as she had a son who would like to find a good girl. I said she was still "available" and it wasn't all that long before Benjamin came up our way and checked out the University up here and also visited at church. He planned on coming up to go to school soon but ended up getting cancer so that plan was delayed a bit but he did come up eventually.

  It wasn't love at first sight for Keren and Benjamin but the family really enjoyed getting to know Benjamin. He shared our love for the Lord, our enjoyment of the outdoors and camping and exploring, he likes music and enjoys photography (and can take some pretty neat pictures!), didn't mind working, was frugal and my boys especially loved having him around.  To quite a few of us he seemed like a perfect match for Keren who also is a great photographer and loves the outdoors, etc. We were pretty happy when she finally decided that he was the right one for her.

    But on to the wedding.....

For quite a while as I have been working in the wedding field I would see various ideas and think "Maybe we could do that when Keren gets married." I don't honestly know if we used any of those particular ideas but I did have a lot of fun helping her get things ready for her wedding. Here are some various pictures of some of the details of that day.

  It was kind of fun to watch the style of wedding unfold. When they first got engaged a lot of different ideas/themes were thrown out there and mostly rejected. But one thing that they did know was that they wanted to get married outside. They thought that the amphitheater at the state park would be fun but it was decided that the side yard at the church building would be far more practical.

  Then Keren got a dress - a pretty, light, whimsical dress. It just had spaghetti straps and we like things to cover more than that - but Keren got it anyway knowing that we could fix it. She and I had fun shopping for fabric and lace to fix it up and then adding some fabric to the bodice in both back and front and she wanted lace cap sleeves. We didn't find a big lace to use for sleeves that we liked so we sewed together strips of lace that we did like. It looked beautiful.

 Then we talked about flowers. She wanted a whole bunch of colors: purple, royal blue, cream, bright green, white and even a little red along with various greenery. She liked the kind of wild, flowing, natural look. She rather liked peacock feathers too so we decided to put them in both Benjamin's boutonniere and her bouquet.

  They ended up finding royal blue dress for the bridesmaids and decided to sew purple and lavender dresses for the flowergirls (4 nieces).

  As the planning went on it seemed to me a rather woodsy, whimsical wedding was what was wanted. It just so happened (I love how God works things out!) that our family was busy clearing our land to get ready for building and that left us with a big source of branches and other woodsy stuff. When quite a few birch trees had to come down I thought how fun it would be to use them in decorating. I saved a whole pile and then share with Keren my idea of making a screen out of them to kind of enclose the benches outside and also maybe make it so that she wouldn't be seen as quickly when walking up. She liked the idea.

The Wednesday before the wedding Keren, my girls, my sister Martha and my niece Molly and I went over to our land on a rainy afternoon and loaded up a bunch of branches, maidenhair fern, moss and some big tree circles that Ken and my brother Luke had cut for me and took them all to the church building to use for decorating.

 The next afternoon we went to work to "plant" birch trees where there had not been birch trees before. :-)
What fun to work together with my younger sisters and daughter.
The other kids had fun playing "wedding" while we worked.

Ready for the wedding.

Only one little problem.... On the wedding day it decided to rain. Outside just wasn't going to work so well. Though there were breaks in the rain it was chilly and damp. So inside it went.

 Programs were talked about but then I suggested that we could just write everything out on a chalkboard. I had this old one at our place and had fun decorating it for the wedding. I believe the easel belongs to my sister-in-law, MollyBea. In my opinion this option works really well as people can figure out who is who without a bunch of wasted paper.

That nice birch tree screen that we made.... well we decided to bring much of it inside. My brother Peter helped a lot with this and we attached them to the end of some of the pews on the center aisle. I had some extra tulle (from another wedding) which worked for attaching them. Everybody went right to work that morning to get everything looking lovely inside for the wedding. We decided to just bring as much of the outdoors in as we could.

My sisters Martha and Anna went shopping and got a trellis to use inside for an arch. Somebody at my parents had picked a bunch of Kiwi vines to wrap around it and I made little flower arrangements for each corner. Keren helped with getting everything in place too. The candelabras which my Dad had made for my wedding got pulled out and put to use. The planters which Keren had purchased for outside got pulled inside for decoration.

My sisters picked up some river birch trees to use for decoration too.
For the tables we used the slabs of wood that had been cut from our land and then I put vases with greenery and the extra flowers that we had. We also put moss and other woodsy things around the base.
We had a few glass animals that we had fun adding to some of the tables. It was fun to make each centerpiece and little unique and fun.
Keren and I consulting as I am working on the table flowers.
A display of wedding photos of family and friends. The reception area was decorated with a bunch of tissue paper flowers that Keren and a bunch of others of us had made.

I also painted a verse with flowers for decoration. That was a fun project for me using flowers that Keren had picked out for her wedding.
Megan got into the painting mood too and made this creation which Keren happily put up too.

The morning of the wedding people kept coming to me and asking what they could do to help - including our good friend Dale Blanshan. I put him to work carving Keren and Benjamin's initials on a stump to be used on the cake table.

MollyBea and Donna working on getting the tables all covered.
For the longer tables instead of having the circle slaps of wood I got some birch branches and we laid them down and then put some little jars with flowers in them by the branches.
For the entry way some of the guys moved more of the birch "trees" for me and then we added some greenery and flowers.
This is a closer picture of the entry way. We also put lanterns with candles out here.
More stumps and flowers.

I thought I would share a few of the posed pictures from the wedding too....

I love this one that was taken of Keren and her flower girls. Keren made the baskets and the purple dresses. The lavender dresses were made by their mothers. The girls and I made the headbands.
Keren and her bridesmaids.
Our family. Kind of a big bunch - it is challenging to get all of us looking at once. This is all but one brother-in-law and one nephew.
Benjamin's family. Only one of his siblings is married so their family hasn't gotten so big yet. I imagine it will eventually.
Keren and Benjamin and their swordsmen. Aaron and Jonathan served as ushers (along with my nephew Harrison) and Lars and Gregory carried the rings.
When you got to the wedding the "guestbook" was a picture that MollyBea had painted and which we adding our thumbprint for the leaves. We put 3 different colors of green paint on sponges and then people could use it like a stamp pad. Keren had baby wipes for them to clean off with. I really wish that I had a full picture of it (someday I will get one) as her painting turned out really cool especially the way she incorporated the wedding colors of purple, lavender and royal blue. We wrote our names in our thumbprints and then we were supposed to write a favorite verse reference in the roots.
The wedding was lovely. I didn't actually get to see a whole lot as I and my friends Tracy and Aaron were playing music and once the groomsmen got on stage we were only able to see their backs for the most part. But that is all right. :-)
Our good friend Jason Corder performed the ceremony.

My Grandpa had special words of instructions for them right away after the ceremony.

Mom and a big crew of helpers had made a bunch of cheesecakes, cupcakes, salads and such for the reception. The food tasted yummy.
The tables were filled with all the lovely guests.

  The wedding was quite fun. It was wonderful to celebrate the joining of Keren and Benjamin's lives and getting to spend time with family and friends (many having come from a distance) was a great additional blessing.

.... So I finally finish this post at the end of September. I had started it months ago but then wondered if I should have Keren and Benjamin approve it before posting it and then life got super busy and I never had them do it. Well - they were out for Mara's birthday today and I finally remembered and they said it would be fine to share - so here it is.


Nola said...

I love the woodsy theme! If I could do my wedding over I would do that. At the time I wasn't as sure of myself and confident to do something more out of the ordinary like that (well, at least around here that is fairly unique from what I've seen). I love it.

Abbi said...

Thanks so much Nola! It is fun to hear from you again. At the time I was getting married most things were done fairly traditionally so though I love those ideas it just wasn't done then so it is fun to help my sister (and eventually) my daughters with weddings and use some of the unique ideas out there.

Catessa said...

What a very pretty wedding, and how lovely that so many of you helped to make it that way for your sister and her husband!

I read your blog every few weeks, and must say that I sometimes envy what seems to be such a happy life.


Abbi said...

Thanks for joining me here! We are blessed with a happy life - not perfect and not without a trouble here or there but yes, happy. I hope that yours will become that way as well!


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