(Note: All of the below photos were taken by Peter Hoffman of Peter Hoffman Photography. Steal, use, rip off these photos without permission, and beware my wrath!)
I got ready at home, sat at my kitchen table and had my makeup done while my Mom did the dishes, surrounded by my bridesmaids with family members popping in and out, my itunes lulling me with favorites, and shoved my face with a sandwich in between shadow and blush. All the chaos and comfort of my own home set me at ease.
I wrote our vows with Ben over the phone, as he left two months before our wedding to take a job out here in Colorado. We had our good friend Trevor, the pastor of our little house church, run the ceremony. I can't imagine our ceremony officiated by someone we didn't know. It made so much more special to have inside jokes cracked by someone who sat through hours of pre-marital counseling with us.
Having my best friends and sister-in-laws with me meant more to me than almost anything. I spent most of my childhood years getting along much better with guys than girls. Too much drama. But in the last 5 years, I've fallen in with girls who will stick by me no matter what, and I love them like they are my own family.
My Bridesmaids are wearing rolled paper bead necklaces from Beads of Hope, which we sold at FMSC, the organization I used to work for. Making the necklaces helps income-less women in Uganda get back on their feet. In my mind, they were more valuable than pearls.
My beautiful friend Ania made it to my wedding, which was an amazing blessing as she lives in Poland. My other two besties didn't get to have her there on their big days, so I'm especially lucky that she could stand up with me.
We got married at an Arboretum in the Chicago area and stayed true to our outdoorsy nature. Who needs church weddings when God is everywhere? I also want to stress how amazing Ben's groomsmen were. They were all available when needed, and willing to help with anything and everything. Ty even held my train and walked us from location to location while we took photos outside.
Our wedding was supposed to take place on an open lawn, surrounded by hedges, on stone steps. But at 5:28 for our 5:30 ceremony, the skies opened up and spilled a massive thunderstorm from out of nowhere. At first, I was devastated that the wedding I'd been planning for over a year was crashing down before me. But after a 45 minutes delay, the venue surprised me with this gorgeous and never-before-done alternative. And it was perfect.
My Secret-softie of a Dad letting a few tears down as he gave me off was extremely special (he usually hides his emotion well).
And we were hitched! The ceremony went by amazingly fast, and all of the sudden we were husband and wife. We walked out to a few good friends' acoustic rendition of "Never Had Nobody Like You" by M. Ward, and got ready to party!
Because this is already obnoxiously long, I'll put reception pictures in a Part Two post. Stay tuned!