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Here we are, half a month past our first anniversary and I’m finally posting some wedding pictures! I’m not quite sure where the time goes now, but after getting married last year I’ve had a hard time staying on top of blog stuff. Better late than never, I suppose! In this post I tried to give a brief overview of the day while respecting the privacy of most of the people who celebrated with us (sorry, family – you just got used as illustrations again). I hope you enjoy it!
‘Twas a rather dreary day for taking pictures, but thankfully it didn’t pour down rain!
My two bridesmaids and me…
Yes, I routinely stand around holding my sister’s hand like this.
This pose is far more realistic, minus the hand-hold.
Ryan and his groomsmen…
Our bridal party. We kept it small, even though there were so many people I would’ve loved to include. My sister Katelyn was my maid of honor and my friend Shavonn was my other bridesmaid. Ryan’s cousin and brother rounded out his side of the equation.
My beautiful mom. She did so much to help me with all the wedding planning.
Me and my two moms…
My siblings and me…
My family…I’ve been able to see them a few times since the wedding, including flying back home and spending a week there in January while Ryan was on night shift. If I start thinking about them too much I’ll miss them. 😉
Ryan’s family…including Charles (Ryan’s brother) and Missy, who got married 5 months after we did! I’m SO thankful that I married into a family who has quickly become a real family to me. I just wish we could see them more often! (They live in Ontario, Canada, where Ryan grew up. It’s a long way from Louisiana, but we’re heading up to see them in a few weeks on one of Ryan’s vacations!)
Above: My brother Josh, my sister Nicole, and Ryan’s sister Alyssa passed out wedding bulletins before the service.
Below: My bridesmaids and I carried single roses. Ryan gave me a single rose the first weekend he came to see me when we started dating, and I love the simplicity.
Groom + sidekicks waiting for us to walk down the aisle…
My dad walked me down the aisle before heading up to the pulpit to greet the congregation and open the service.
We had several congregational songs as well as a sermon, then the singers (who also sang a processional and recessional from the back of the church) came up to the front where I joined them in singing my favorite choral song: “Entreat Me Not to Leave You” (Dan Forrest).
My dad performed the ceremony, which made it extra emotional.
Our parents came up and prayed with us to close the service.
We kept things pretty simple where décor was concerned. I’m not into a lot of fuss and nonsense. For years before knowing that Ryan Burkholder existed I was hoping to be able to get away with having a wedding ceremony tacked onto the end of a Sunday morning church service with a carry-in dinner afterwards. My dad was in favor of my idea, but few other people were.
On all the guest tables we just used dollar store plastic tablecloths, royal blue napkins from a party store, Andes mints at each place, and centerpieces made with quart-sized Mason jars (which I am now using) filled with roses and baby’s breath (ordered online from Sam’s Club and delivered to my house two days before the wedding).
Ryan made the bridal table trellis you see above out of some old barn boards he found through Craigslist. It turned out very nicely, I think. (The tulle, lights, and ivy now hang in our living room and bedroom, but the trellis remains in my dad’s workshop waiting for one of my sisters to get married. You’re welcome.)
To decorate the bridal table my mom sewed a table runner out of leftover fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses. I banged together the wooden box out of 2×4 scraps and stained it, then filled it with pint-sized Mason jars filled with flowers. We bought random glassware from a thrift store, filled them with water, and floated tea light candles in them.
Some little owls that my sister Nicole carved for us as “cake toppers.” They were supposed to go on the carrot cake I was making for our bridal table to enjoy at the reception, but the cake was “structurally unsound” so we ate it on Friday while setting up the reception hall instead.
The hot drink bar…with plenty of hot tea options, of course.
Initially I was planning to make my own wedding cake, but thankfully my mother was horrified at the idea. (Looking back, it really was a terrible idea. Maybe not for everyone, but for me it would not have gone well.) I wanted a traditional wedding cake but they were freakishly expensive so we went with cupcakes instead. If I had it to do over again I would’ve figured something else out because the cupcakes didn’t quite have the “it” factor, but we also had high quality ice cream cups and a nice fresh fruit bowl that my grandma put together.
For the meal we served barbecue pulled pork (catered by James, a man from our church who makes excellent barbecue) with the option of having it on a bun or in a cup. My mom mixed up great big vats of a baked bean medley ahead of time and prepped shredded cabbage and dressing for coleslaw to be mixed together right before serving. We also had chips and pickle trays and cheese plates. Nope, it wasn’t all THM-friendly, but it was easy, the cooks didn’t have to do a lot of prep work, and there were options for people who wanted to stay pretty healthy, so I thought we hit the best of all worlds.
For those wondering, there were around 300 people at our wedding and reception (despite the lack of pictures of them…haha). We did a fairly informal food setup where people just filed through and filled their plates, potluck style, then found seats at the tables in the gym. Our wonderful cooks kept everything filled up. Instead of having bridal table servers, Ryan and I along with our bridal party just went through the line after everyone else had gone through. (They came straight to the reception hall after filing through a receiving line where Ryan and I greeted them (or they greeted us and gave their congratulations) on their way out of the sanctuary after the service.)
We sat at the bridal table, and since we were the last ones to get our plates other people were already done eating and took great delight in coming up to take pictures of us – with our mouths full.
After most people were finished eating, a steady stream of people trickled to the microphone set up near the bridal table and gave their well wishes and told embarrassing and funny stories from the bride and groom’s respective childhoods (as well as a few anecdotes from the not so distant past). There were also quite a few musical endeavors (which pleased Briana greatly), including a few songs by the Aspire Ensemble that went to South Africa in 2017.
PS | If you watched Myron’s vlogs about our trip to South Africa and felt like you got to know the group personally, you might be interested to know that I was the first to tie the knot but was quickly followed by Vlad and Shavonn. Yuriy married another friend of mine (not on the SA trip) last fall, and Myron and Valonna are engaged!
Since so many people attending the wedding had been to Shenandoah Christian Music Camp in years past, I had asked Yuriy to invite all alumni up to sing “Prayer of Thankful Praise,” the song with which every SCMC Virginia program is closed. They crowded around our bridal table and we filled the gym with the gloriously full sound that comes from a large group of people singing in 4 – and in this case 7 – part harmony.
Ryan along with his dad, 4 brothers, and cousin sang a song as well.
My dad told everyone about how Ryan was going to have his hands full keeping me in line because of my stubborn and strong-willed personality. 😛 (partially joking)
To close the reception, Ryan gave a speech. A very good speech, according to all accounts later received. Briana listened in silence after claiming the mic for a brief wisecrack about her mini van that nobody understood.
We drove about two hours north to a cabin right outside of Asheville, NC, for our honeymoon, where we stayed for three days before flying to Louisiana the Wednesday after our Saturday wedding so Ryan could go back to work on Thursday. Ah, such is life as a doctor’s wife! 😉
Update: Thank you all so much for the kind comments! I read each and every one and appreciate them so much. I also want to add that if this post looks idyllic to you, keep in mind that it is and it isn’t. Marriage is definitely not always easy, and we’ve had our rough spots just like any other set of fallen human beings learning how to live together unselfishly, but we always have the bedrock of our covenant before God to fall back on. There is safety and security in believing that marriage is permanent.
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