Weddings have stories. Some have stories within stories. Ours is no different. What is a little different than the normal wedding story is that ours is unconventional… Obviously not our first marriages – and our stories come with extra stuff. Beautiful extra stuff that needed just as much attention as the bride and the groom.
Here are our stories:
Let’s start with the beautiful venue. With COVID being in full swing we wanted a smaller type event with a more intimate feel, as this is a very intimate moment between a couple. My dad not being able to be present I searched for how to keep him connected – I even had looked in Rayne for a wedding venue knowing he was buried there. It never felt right. And there were other things to consider as well. The venue was the perfect location – the chapel overlooking the golf course that my dad had played before, the small quaint lodge that our family and friends could stay and enjoy the festivities, the location of our rooms to the basketball court and playground for the kids. Any parent knows how important it is to keep kids entertained – this court saw a lot of action, fun times, family bonding moments and more. The onsite restaurant, the event center again led to ease of managing our now growing group of 8 (we’ll get to that number in a minute).
You know how you have a certain vision in your head of the way things should be – like when planning a wedding. Again I am not a traditional bride with the traditional dress and veil. I wanted my bouquet and the decorations for the reception to match what I envisioned in my head and be appropriate. My sister stepped in for the rescue. She is so talented. I did not want flowers, I wanted my bouquet to look like i went outside and grabbed some beautiful greenery – She Nailed it. She went the extra mile knowing I wanted to honor my dad and included his referee whistle as well as his jersey number 00 in my bouquet. The reception greenery was trimmed from my yard and my mothers yard the day we left for St. Francisville. Just trimmings off some trees that we see everyday at our houses. She made them look beautiful and feel like a million bucks. (she has that gift). Having her special touch on our special day was important to me.
The Preacher… Dean had initially wanted some wise old man to perform the ceremony. His thinking was that someone old would have lots of experience with marriage and could add that wisdom to the ceremony. That was not exactly what I was thinking – and we had several heated discussions regarding the wedding officiant conceptually. I wanted Truett. Let me rewind and tell you how Truett fits into this story. In 2015 Lizzy goes off to college at Baylor University. At that moment in time, I was months into my divorce proceedings, sad and broken, and even more heartbroken that Lizzy was leaving me. Lizzy quickly develops a friendship with Truett. He is studying ministry/biblical studies and has career goals of being full time in ministry/pastoral work. In one of my MANY visits to Baylor to see Lizzy she introduces me to Truett. From the moment I met him – he made me feel SEEN and KNOWN at a time in my life where I felt invisible and unworthy. He affectionately called me MOM and instantly I felt like I had known him forever. He has a unique gift that will serve him well as one of GODs shepards. When Dean proposed and wedding planning commenced – I knew Truett had to be involved. He knew my story, my struggle – from the tragedy that was divorce to the redemption that was Dean’s love. He brought a freshness and humor to our ceremony that I wanted my guests to experience – He knew Dean and I and made it personal… in a real way. And in the end…. Dean admitted I was right. Truett was the perfect Man for the job!
When Dean and I blended families we ended up with actually 7 kids rather than only 6. I have an extra…. I have since 2007 had an extra beautiful soul I consider one of my own – Lilly. You will see her in my family pics from the wedding and if you scroll back on my fb or have been on my christmas card list for more than 6 years you will have seen her beautiful face before. Lilly blessed our lives in 2005 as Lizzy’s bff from Camp Champions. She was as vivacious as Lizzy. Lilly’s life had tragedy and we as a family stood in the gap for her and called her one of our own. We saw her more regularly when she lived in Austin… after moving to San Diego for college our physical visits got less frequent but she was never more than a text or phone call away. She flew all the way from Los Angeles to be with all of us on this important weekend – to celebrate this new chapter. That means alot to me and spoke volumes of our connection as a family unit – sometimes water is just as thick as blood!
Kip is going to be a great dad! When he comes to visit we call him the “activity coordinator” because he is organizing all the littles in games, outdoor activities, etc. So all of the littles were soooo excited and were anxiously awaiting his arrival on Friday afternoon before the wedding. When he arrives they are all pulling at him to go play. He takes just a few moments to do something special. Emily, his beautiful girlfriend shared this story with me after it transpired – because if you know Kip he does things completely under the radar – never looks for accolades. Shortly after Kip arrives he has a quiet sweet conversation with Dean’s boys. He gets down on their level physically (as he towers over them) and says something to the effect of – You know after the wedding we are going to be a family – Will you let me be your big brother? I can imagine their sweet faces when he gave them that option! How special that he went the extra mile to help us BLEND all together and make Ethan and Cooper feel PART of this newly defined family unit! I love that BOY!
Cooper is shy. Lizzy is not. Cooper struggles with being the youngest of our large group. Lizzy lost that title many years ago. Lizzy is used to having more sisters than brothers – its easier to relate to other girls. Little brothers are new for her. She took extra care to include Cooper in our family first dance. Even encouraging him past his shyness to let loose and have a little fun on the dance floor. Those sweet gestures that my bigs extend to the littles mean a lot to the those on the receiving end of that kindness.
I’m a blogger, right? So it is no surprise that I wrote my own vows. Dean is not a blogger – so it is no surprise that writing his vows caused him a ton of anxiety. I wrote mine weeks before and in 1 sitting, He put it off until the 9th hour. He was still struggling as I walked out the door to leave for St. Francisville. I noticed the computer screen he was sitting in front of displayed the topic he had googled “How to write your own vows” lol. During the ceremony there was no shortage of laughs about the fact that I wrote my own PAGE of vows. Dean opted for the customary and standard verbiage for wedding vows, although he had written something additional but changed his mind at the last SECOND literally and put that piece of paper back in his pocket. Which was fine with me. I know how deeply he loves me – no need for a public profession. For me, I felt so much more than just the standard vows. I needed to spill out what my commitment for him, our marriage and our family was – and I didn’t mind one bit that my “village” was watching. One sentiment that I wrote was that Dean’s love restored everything in me that was broken. Speaking that sentence brought tears to my eyes….
We underestimated the emotion our children would feel when we finally made our union permanent. During the rehearsal dinner, Kip, Lizzy and Mia made a toast, rimmed in humor but anchored in love for Dean and what he brings to our family. Maddie opted to express her feelings on Instagram – and her choice of words were wise beyond her years. During the ceremony, Maddie and Cooper were filled with emotion and cried tears of joy – Maddie the entire ceremony and after. It was a happy moment. She saw in real life what I preach all the time – beauty from ashes. When you read what Maddie wrote, you have to admit that she gets it more so than most adults do, she sees our love for each other and knows how special it is…… I want all of our children to experience what we have and what we will model for them over the rest of our lives.
My dad died April 12, 2019. I was dating Dean and had a pretty good idea that we would get married at some point. The day that my dad passed away I laid in bed and cried for what was lost… the special moments that he wouldn’t see. I so wanted him to give me away to someone who really deserved me and he didn’t get that opportunity. My son however filled that gap for me beautifully and I was honored to be given away by him. What I didn’t expect is that my mom would find love again, with a man who willingly stood in the gap for my mother during the wedding and eased her sadness over my dad not being physically there (although he was there in spirit) AND in the most generous of gestures extended what surely my dad would have done for me and covered the cost of a beautiful rehearsal dinner. If you think Dean and I are a beacon for finding love again, you should see my mother and Craig. At age 74 they are very much in love. At the reception when it was time to throw the bouquet I decided to hand it to my mother – as a wedding is certainly forthcoming. I wanted her to know that I support her and am excited that she has found love again! We are excited to welcome Craig into our family. More details to come…..
Here are special moments that were captured on film during the weekend. Its a glimpse of cooperation, togetherness, bonding, love and silliness – real life in pictures – its the abundance of life lived richly and very connected to the people we love. Grateful isn’t a big enough word to describe my feelings on this wedding weekend. It was simply magical and filled with lots and lots of stories…. thank you for reading just some of them.
BUT…. the main story is about a girl who meets a boy and they each find love again with each other after being discarded like yesterdays garbage. If I wrote a book it might read like a fairytale – a dark fairytale with a couple of twists and turns – albeit a fairytale… Our journey to each other spans more than 20 years – each having our own struggles within our own stories. Those struggles shaped us into the somewhat wiser, slightly weathered individuals we showed up as when we first met. The road that led us up to today was bumpy – to say the least – but full of great times and lots of adventures. Dean was patient as we navigated through and pealed back layers of my ultra independence (which is a trauma response), controlling & outspoken personality. But he did so with love…. he was understanding and loving and was always ready for a conversation about whatever baggage decided to show up that day. And I offered solice to him and a soft place to land from his experiences as well. What quickly became evident with Dean is that he loved me in a way no one else has ever loved me and embraced everything that I am (even the bad) – he jumped on the bandwagon that was my CRAZY traveling, always on the go, catering to kids, entertaining friends, social butterfly life and never missed a stride. Through all that life might throw at us we both agree we don’t want to go through it without the other. He’s the ying to my yang. A true love story and on my wedding day I felt like Cinderella marrying her prince charming!
And last but certainly not least: A developing story…… Like mother like daughter. The apple never falls very far from the tree lol