Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wedding Reception Dinner

Our wedding was the most incredible day of our lives. I was super excited to arrive home from school today to see a package on our door step. It was our wedding video!! I've been dying to see it, so I grabbed a glass of wine, Ben a beer and sat down to watch the video. It's absolutely beautiful and made me cry!

I've blogged about most of our wedding day with the exception of the reception. Our wedding and reception were one of the most fun days I've ever had, not to mention the most fun wedding I've ever been to. I'm biased of course, but have had numerous people tell us what a great time they had.

We started right in on dinner after the cocktail hour. We designed the evening so that the salads would be served, and then the slideshow would play. Nicole spent hours upon hours on this slideshow. Everytime she had it finished, something would go wrong.....the computer would crash, refuse to burn it to DVD or some other crazy situation. Nicole remade that video 4 or 5 times, but it still turned out great.

So the slide show played during the salad course, and then we went right into dinner. The dinner was fantastic, although I wish I had been able to eat more. I was so excited, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had to force myself to eat, but everyone said the food was great. We chose 3
entrees to offer for dinner. The chicken, beef or tortellini. All three were super yummy!

The photographers stole us away during the middle of dinner because they said we would regret it, if we didn't head outside for a few more photos while the light was fantastic.

After dinner, we went directly into speeches. All the speeches were great, but my dad's was particularly hilarious. My mom insisted he figure out what he was going to say (especially if he was going to have a drink or two before). He wrote everything on note cards, and then somehow managed to mix them up before he spoke. His speech made so little sense, people were roaring with laughter. Funny thing is....I loved it!!

Ben made us cry with his heartfelt words, both to our parents and to me. You could tell in his speech how much he dearly loves me, even if he does make crazy sometimes!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursdays

It's been a while since my last thankful Thursday, but I'm hoping to get back on track here.
I am thankful for so many things, even though it's been a rough month for us here.
Just a few of the things I'm thankful for:
* The Holidays! I love this time of year and can't wait to spend time with my family and my new family!
*Skiing with the family the whole week of Thanksgiving. We'll miss Lauren & Chris, but will have lots of fun, flying down the mountain.
*Having a job......although it may not be fun at times, it's a paycheck and I know it will get better.
*My sweet puppies, who I enjoy so much more, now that we have a yard!
*My husband and his willingness to spend hours putting together furniture that he didn't care to have, but he knew it made me happy.
* Finally having a kitchen table...you'd be surprised at how long it's been since we were able to sit down someplace other than the sofa for dinner.
*My family...who I miss dearly and get to see very soon.
*Our new place.....and washer and dryer! Love it!
*The best friends a girl could ask for. We always have fun when we go out together!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wedding Ceremony Script

Our wedding ceremony was everything I wanted and more. Neither Ben nor I are super religious, but did want to have a somewhat traditional ceremony. We decided to ask our friend, co-worker, and Ben's old roommate Mike to be our minister. He said yes without hesitation.

Mike was ordained online and we met up about a month before to talk about the ceremony script. I gave mike a sample ceremony I found online and told him he could use that one or change it up to something he thought would be better.

Mike did an amazing job. He emailed me a first draft and that's the one that stuck. We didn't change a thing and I couldn't have been happier! I found a really cool looking journal and copied his script into it. Then, Ben and I wrote our own vows and added those to the journal.

On the wedding day, Mike read our vows aloud and we repeated them to one another. It was a wonderful reflection of US! I'm a little biased, but I've never had more fun, or heard more laughs in a wedding ceremony.

Here's a copy of the script from our fabulous day:

Dear friends and family, with great affection for Ben and Anna we have gathered together to witness and bless their union in marriage. To this sacred moment they bring the fullness of their hearts with love to share with one another. They bring the dream which bind them together in an eternal commitment. They bring their gifts and talents, their unique personalities and spirits, which will unite into one being as they build their life together.

Who give this woman to be married to the man? Dad: Her mother and I do.

God, love has been Your richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and a woman which matures into marriage is one of Your most beautiful types of loves. Today we celebrate that love. May Your blessing be on this wedding service. Protect, guide, and bless Ben and Anna in their marriage. Surround them and us with Your love now and always. Amen.

A reading by close friend Heather (which she chose and then read at our ceremony).

It is an honor and pleasure for me to officiate the marriage and union between Ben & Anna. I can still remember the first day that Ben saw Anna at work. He asked if I had seen the hot, new dance teacher. I told him that I had not and he suggested that I "Check her out" because she was "very hot." I also recall their first date and how nervous Ben was before the date. He was so anxious and excited that he forgot his wallet and was late to pick Anna up. I also remember him getting home early from the date and asking him how it went. He said that it went well and that he hoped to see her again. Once they had started to date steady, Anna gave a completely different version of the first date. The past 3 years I have seen Ben and Anna move from an awkward first date to a strong and powerful relationship full of love. They are a perfect balance and compliment to each other and are faithfully devoted to one another. The troubles they have encountered have only made them stronger and have made them ready for a lifetime of joy & happiness together.

They are whole heartedly committed to each other and will solidify that commitment today in front of their friends and family. Let me charge to you both, to remember that your future happiness is to be found in mutual consideration, patience, kindness, confidence, and affection. Ben, it is your duty to love Anna as yourself, provide tender leadership and protect her from danger. Anna, it is your duty to treat Ben with respect, support him and create a healthy, happy home. It is the duty of each of you to find the greatest joy in the company of the other; to remember that in both interest and affection you are to be one and undivided.

Ben, please repeat after me (Vows written by Ben):
I Ben, take you Anna to be my partner. Loving what I know of you and trusting what I do not yet know. I look forward to spending my life with you, raising our dogs together and maybe even a few kids as well. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you when times are tough. I promise to love you in good times and in bad; when life seems easy and when it seems hard; when our love is simple and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you and never complain when you drag me to yet another dance show. With kindness, unselfishness and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I promise you this from my heart for all the days of my life.

Anna repeat after me (Vows written by me)
I Anna, take you Ben to be my lawfully wedded husband, my constant friend, faithful partner, and one true love. You make me feel safe, alive and whole. I look forward to sharing our lives together, traveling, raising children that have your good looks, and just being content in one another's presence. I promise to support you in your dreams, and comfort you when the Mets lose. With kindness, unselfishness, and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I promise you this from my heart for all the days of my life.

Ben and Anna, you have made a very serious and important decision in choosing to marry each other today. The quality of your marriage with reflect what you put into nurturing this relationship. You have the opportunity to go forward, from this day, to create a faithful, kind, and tender relationship. May we bless you this day. It is up to you to keep the blessings flowing each and every day of our lives together. We wish for you the wisdom, compassion, and constancy to create a peaceful sanctuary in which you can both grow in love.

(This was repeated to each of us, with our response of "I DO")
Ben/Anna do you understand and accept this responsibility, and do you promise to do your very best each day to create a loving, healthy, and happy marriage, as long as you both shall live?

The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you Ben may place a ring on the finger of your bride.

(Exchanging of the rings repeated by each of us)
I give you this ring, as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.

Because Ben and Anna have desired each other in marriage and have witnessed this before God and our gathering, affirming their acceptance of the responsibilities of such union, and pledged their love and faith to each other, sealing their vows in the giving and receiving of rings, I do proclaim, by the power vested in me, by the state of California, that they are now husband and wife. Let all people here and everywhere recognize and respect this union now and forever.

Ben, you may now kiss your Bride.

It is now my privilege to introduce to you, for the first time, Mr. & Mrs. Gravenkamp!

**Happiest day of my life. Thank you to Mike for a job well done. He did an excellent job writing that script, and made our day incredibly special because of it!

The Wedding Ceremony!

Everyone was saying how calm I was for a bride within minutes of saying "I do". As I remember it, I was just super excited, and ready to commit my life to an amazing man. The Rivermill planner Jeri, lined us up, and I heard the last couple of songs play from our pre-wedding ceremony CD Ben and I had made together. (Songs from our years together than had special meaning to us)

***Flash back 6 months to our first meeting with our DJ.....Ben joked over and over that as long as he played Fergie's "My Humps" he would be happy. So, as Ben left our meeting to watch a baseball game, I came up with a fun idea and our awesome DJ helped me carry it out. We found a instrumental jazz version of "My Humps". He edited out the parts I didn't want and that was the song I had for him to play when Ben, our "minister" Mike, and the groomsmen walked down the aisle to.***

The last song of the CD plays starts playing and I tell the guys, "You better play this up, I have a fun song for you." After a little prodding, I told them what it was. Mike immediately says, "You're kidding......right?!?!" And then it started to play.
It totally lightened the mood, gave everyone a good laugh, and started our ceremony off with a little fun.Ben and I put a lot of thought into the rest of the music to be played for our ceremony. For the Grandparents & Ben's parents we played "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" because I love that song and we are huge Disney fans.Then my Mom, escorted by my Uncle Wayne walked down to "In My Daughter's Eyes". It was just a little something to show how much she meant to me on that important day. She did so much to make it the perfect day for me. My Mom is generous and kind, thoughtful and funny. I know it made her tear up, but it also made her smile and that meant the world to me.
For the girls, another Disney song. My heart was racing, and I was itching to walk down the aisle, but it was also bittersweet, because I was being "given away" to start my own family. Lauren cracked me up and she looked down the long walkway and aisle and said, "That is SO far" and proceeded to sprint down the aisle. Krista, much more calm, and Nicole and Sara, as if they'd done this a million times.
Shea, our flower girl and my new niece was all business. She took her job very seriously, knew when to walk and was absolutely perfect! She was a pro! She was all alone, but took her time, stayed an even distance with Sara and decided she was mature enough to stand up there with the rest of the girls for the entire ceremony!
Then it was my turn. "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn, was the perfect song, and I still tear up any time I hear it. (I will also be choreographing to it for our spring dance concert this year.) The first time Ben and I heard the song, we fell in love with it, and knew it would be the perfect choice. There was a pause and then the music started to play. My dad looks at me and asks, "You ready kiddo?" in a voice choking back some tears. That's when I lost it. "Dad, you can't do that to me, I'm going to ruin my make-up!"

My Dad walking me down the aisle was a dream come true. Everything was extraordinary. We took our time walking down the sidewalk and then turned to walk down the aisle of chairs. I caught Ben's expression, and knew I this was the man for me. He couldn't hold back tears, smiling through them. It also made me laugh, because he kept saying there was no way he was going to cry on our wedding day.We made it to Ben, who stepped in to take my hand, when my dad cut him off and said to me, "I get this first" and he gave me a tight hug and kiss on the cheek.Mike, our "minister" did a wonderful job on our ceremony! We got together a couple of weeks before the wedding to discuss his duties (I'll blog about that later), and plan out the ceremony. He read from the book I had copied his notes into, and then wrote our wedding vows in as well. Most people didn't realize that Mike is actually not a minister, but Ben's old roommate and our co-worker. We couldn't have had a better officiant. He knew us, and was able to re-tell stories from the beginning of our relationship.Ben and I wanted to write our own vows, but still be able to look into each other's eyes as we said them to one another. Instead of writing them down and reading them to one another, I had written them in Mike's book so that we could be somewhat traditional in our vows, but have our own twist on things. This was amazing, and something I would recommend to any couple who wants to have a personalized ceremony, with the feel of a traditional one.We got a few laughs, and it was interesting to find out most people thought Mike had written our vows.
When it came time for the exchanging of the rings, as is the case on most hot days, our fingers were a little bloated. I could not get Ben's ring on to save my life. I struggled for what seemed like 5 minutes, and out of nervousness, made the comment, "Well, as least we know it won't be coming off." This got a new round of laughs and made for some interesting pictures!

As the ceremony finished up, I was overflowing with happiness! It was perfect....not a thing I would have changed. Well, maybe the wind picking up, and me having to tuck my veil under my armpit so that it wouldn't whip me in the face. ;) But other than that, not a thing!