The Reception

I ended my last post with looking back on my brother’s wedding ceremony a month ago (to get caught up see: The Wedding).  After the ceremony we left the Moseng house and headed to the Sons of Norway downtown Poulsbo. Luke and I carpooled with my in-laws and arrived quickly after most of the bridal party.

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Everything looked wonderful just as we had set it up the night before (see The rehearsal). The head table was decorated with a full yellow table cloth  and crocheted runner. Mason jars lined the head the table prepped for placing the bridesmaid bouquets in. The table was set with an eclectic collection of tea cups and blue glass plates.

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Each yellow monogramed napkin was folded in it’s place. As we settled in I saw the MC/DJ was setting up by the favor table prepped with crates full of mini jars of spiced apple jam. People were beginning to fill into the guest tables and mingle looking at family pictures, signing the guest book, and writing adviced cards.

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Guests began to line up for coffee punch in glass cups, hot coffee, or tea.  Once drinks were served the line for the create-your-own snack at the trail mix bar grew quickly.

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When all the guests arrived, the wraps, sandwiches and fruit salad were laid out and once again a food line began to form. Once the bride and groom had arrived the fun began. Sparkling Cider was poured for all guests as Stina’s father, her sister, and my brother’s Best Man Andy gave toasts. Following Matt and Stina had their first dance then Stina danced with her father and last my brother danced with my mother.

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Then all married couples were asked on the dance floor. During a basic waltz the MC called out numbers if a couple had been married less than that number they were asked to leave the dance floor. Luke and I knew enjoyed our 45 second dance then twirled off when “one” was announced. The last remaining couple had been married more than 60 years and Stina gave them one of the bridal bouquets.

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After this the traditional folk dancing began. All the Moseng siblings and their now spouses danced together. Then the Moseng parents joined in another couples dance.  Last it was our turn.

Stina’s mother Lisa came to the mic to instruct us as all were welcomed on the dance floor to learn a few Norwegian folk dances. The first dance was basic, taught to the first graders but by the third or fourth dance the number of steps had increased dramatically. Although there were many mistakes and moments of confusion it was a great way to meet other wedding guests and share in the local and family culture. After trying to do a “Grand March” through the many people on the dance floor the folk dancing ended.

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Stina and Matt of course also did the bouquet and garter toss. This was my first wedding other than my own to not be in line for the bouquet. One of my cousins got the garter at my wedding and this time his older brother got Stina’s.

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The plates were then cleared and Matt and Stina went to cut the traditional European wedding cake. White cake with raspberry and bavarian cream filling was served alongside refills of coffee and tea. The dance floor was opened once again to classic slow dancing and swing music.

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Slowly the non-relative members of the bridal disappeared to decorate the couple’s car. As dancing continued Stina and Matt talked with friends and family guests. Those who traveled from Oregon began to leave having a long day and a car ride to get home.  My family wandered out to the terrace overlooking the waterfront on this beautiful sunny Washington day as Stina and Matt got ready to leave.

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We all gathered outside in the parking lot prepped with bubbles to shower the newlyweds as they left for their honeymoon. When Matt and Stina arrived at his CRV we all pitched in to clear the windshield of Oreos, the sun visors from rice or glitter, the inside of the car from balloons filled with glitter (among many other things). Every window was covered with writing and of course there was a string of cans tied to the back bumper. After a little frustration trying to clean off the car they were off to catch a ferry ride to their hotel for the night.

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Luke and I had a red eye flight to catch that evening back to New York so we took some time to say goodbye and thank you to the bridal party, Stina’s family, and then our own. We headed back to the hotel with Luke’s parents, changed and packed for the airport. Then we left for Seattle for one last night in Washington (see Little Norway and the Emerald City ).

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August 3rd was a beautiful day and it was such a wonderful wedding. Every detail was noticed and appreciated. It takes a lot of work to pull all the the pieces together but with everyone working together the day went pretty smoothly. I was so glad Luke and I could be there to celebrate in such an important day in my brother’s life.

The Wedding

Today marks one official month since my brother’s wedding. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I know that our first month of marriage flew by with so many changes and transitions-I know my brother and Stina must be feeling the same way.

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Saturday morning, finally the wedding day: I got up bright and early to curl my hair at the hotel (it’s always odd to me to have to curl curly hair). I got all of my bridesmaid items together and met my parents in the lobby. We headed to Stina’s favorite coffee shop where I filled in a large order for the bridal party’s caffeine wants. With to-go carts in hand, we carefully got into the car and drove to the Moseng house.

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By the time we arrived all the bridesmaids were up and getting ready. The the wedding coordinator was  helping with hair alongside Stina’s hairdresser. I doled out the coffee then my parents picked up one of Matt’s high school friends and drove to Stina’s brother’s house to take pictures of the guys getting ready.

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I joined in getting makeup done and then spent a good deal of time letting the wedding coordinator pin up my long thick hair. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed considering the days events, everyone was excited and enjoying themselves including Stina.

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When the groomsmen and groom arrived around 8:30-9:00ish  Matt and Stina did their first look. I helped watch her lace train as she came down the house steps and around to the bridge over the coy pond.  All the close family and bridal party stood around (but far enough away to not be in pictures).  It was a beautiful moment.

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After this, we started in with the bridal party pictures followed by family pictures around 10:00am.

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Then all of us crowded back into the house for a late breakfast/early lunch before the wedding. We watched from widows of the house as guests began to arrive and fill up the white chairs in the garden.

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During this time Stina was confined to an upstairs bedroom and enjoyed  reading child stories to the flower girls. Right before the wedding was about to start, all of the female relatives and bridesmaids gathered around Stina to pray.

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Then the bridesmaids lined up behind the bushes ready for our musical que. The brick path was covered with a white runner. Shepherds hooks with potted fuchsias hung along the path as well as fresh flowers from our Pikes Place trip were laid on the side of the path.

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By the time I walked down the aisle the garden was crowded with people. So much so that although we had a sign saying there was plenty of room some had to stand along the trees for most of the ceremony.

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The three sibling flower girls came down in a bunch all similes in their matching dresses and hair. The oldest passed the wood ring box my father made onto the best man. Then came Stina in a beautiful lace covered wedding gown smiling all the way.

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My brother’s pastor from his college in Oregon was the officant for the wedding. As usual the giving away, prayer, and a short sermon were done in front of a beautiful gazebo filled with fresh flowers from the garden. Behind Matt and Stina was a table with a large bouquet of flowers, two candles, and the Moseng’s  family Bible where all marriages have been written down for generations.

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The Pastor (whos name is also Matt) shared about how love becomes a choice not only an emotion through the years of marriage and on the importance on choosing love and the behavior of love even when it is not easy. We all were handed hymnal inserts from the program and sang among a very musical audience. (Matt and Stina were heavily involved in the music department at their school) A wonderful chorus rang out with Great is Thy Faithfulness. ( I was happy to get through almost the whole thing without crying).

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The rest you probably know: the exchanging of rings, the vows, the announcement, kiss, and processional (to a surprise Star Wars song for Matt). As we waited for family to exit the bridesmaids, my brother, and Stina waited behind the same bush we had waited behind as we shared tears, smiles, hugs, and looked at their wedding bands.

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Following was an enjoyable time of greeting guests, friends, and family talking together while waiting to see who would leave first for the reception. After some informal photo shots we all started toward the field waiting in line to leave the Moseng house and head to the reception downtown Poulsbo.

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Coming Next: The reception

The Dress

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The Wedding Dress. It is the most expensive dress you will ever wear and the one you will have pictures of forever. But without  direction, shopping for a wedding dress can be an exhausting and frustrating. Here are a few things to consider before   shopping.

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#1 know you budget and stick to it!!!

A. If you don’t know exactly how much you have to spend on a dress you are bound to spend more than you expected. Although workers at bridal shops are extremely helpful and friendly, they are also salespeople. After trying on several “nos” at my first bridal store, out came an off-white dress covered in lace and applique. It was beautiful. Beautiful that is until I heard the cost. So warning: do not even allow them to put you in a dress that you cannot afford-if you are not sure  ask them –before you put it on and fall in love.

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B. Alterations and rush-order fees: Your dress will need basic alterations (hemming and bustling) which can cost a pretty penny. If you need the dress to be pulled in somewhere it will cost extra. Each place has a different rate/policy about alterations-so ask for an estimate.  It is still important to have your dress altered by professionals; trust me it’s worth the money.

Also know your timeline. If you are going to have a short engagement (like I did) you will probably have to pay a rush-order fee. Bridal shops expect you to come in 4/6 months prior to the wedding. When your engagement is less than that you are already behind in their mind. So tell them your wedding date and ask if/how much a rush order fee would be. That may determine which dress you can afford.

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Hint: For all of this it may be helpful to bring along a calculator . Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t forget about taxes!!

Note for alterations and trying on samples: Sample dresses have been flattened and worn over and over again. So if you  choose a dress with layers of tulle, when the dress is pressed it will be more full than when you tried it on in the store or even during alterations

For example, during alterations I asked for a layer of tulle to be removed from my modified/mini ball-gown. When I saw the dress pressed it still looked very full. At my outdoor evening wedding reception, the tables and were chairs close together.  Because of this and how full my dress was people ended up stepping on it, pulling the bustle out. After awhile this became pretty frustrating.  So much so that I convinced Luke to not twirl or spin me too much for our first dance for fear I may trip and fall.

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C. There are great options for cheaper dresses:

1.Buy used or vintage.  It know you want your own special dress. But who said a used or vintage dress can’t be special?  The dress can be altered (by professionals) and it will look totally different on you than a previous person. With your wedding, your accessories, no one will care or need to know!

2. Buy off of the sample rack. Some bridal stores have a separate corner where sample dresses are sold. You may wonder about their condition considering how many brides-to-be have tried them on. But for hundreds instead of thousands a small repair in addition to professional alterations and cleaning would be worth it. The bridal shop where I got my wedding dress had sample racks next door. I looked at styles and tried a few things on from different price ranges. Doing this helped me discover I could afford something similar next door.

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#2 Know your shape and style

You will save yourself a lot of dressing rooms if you know what style of dress you like and what flatters your shape. There is nothing wrong with loving the style of a mermaid or trumpet dress but if you are like me and do not have a long torso or narrow hips you may not be happy with the outcome if you try it on. Likewise if you are short or petite a formal ball-gown could swallow you up.

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This is not to say you shouldn’t choose these options. You all have beautiful bodies and you want them to look their best. So pick a style you are comfortable with and feel flattering in. Although I looked good in a lacy A-line they were more expensive and I was a little self-conscious of how prominent my hips were. So I opted for a modified ball-gown that flares out at the waste. If you need help determining your shape and style  check out real simple wedding dress: “perfect dress for your body type”.

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#3 Know your venue and time of year

Where you are getting married and during which season will also make an impact on your dress choice. You do not want to wear a heavy beaded ball-gown at a beach wedding in August. Or a tea-length lacy dress for a winter formal church service.

 I arrived and left the ceremony site by horse drawn carriage.  It was a little challenging with a large dress to find the seat and my dad (arriving) and Luke (leaving) had to support me so my slippery dress didn’t cause me to fall out as we went up/down the hill to/from the wedding site. It was a small issue but your ability to get around and feel comfortable in your wedding dress is important.

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My dress was perfect for me. It it had pockets, a sweetheart neckline, plunging back, embellished blush ribbon, and pearl buttons all the way down the train; simple and classy.  I know there are many beautiful options out there. My hope is this blog has helped you get one step closer to finding the perfect dress for you.

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Wow it’s been 6 months!!!

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Wow! It’s hard to believe it: 6 months ago today Luke and I said “I do”!

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We didn’t know that less than a month later we’d be on our way to a new life in NY.

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It’s been a crazy half/year of changes, challenges, and growth but I wouldn’t change it for the world!!

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I’m looking forward to what the next six months has to hold and to celebrating our first year of marriage in the fall!!

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Wedding Season has Begun!

I choice to take a mini-spring-break from blogging because I haven’t felt much like writing about our real-life stuff right now. Were are in the middle of some car drama and I’m in the up’s and downs of job searching. (And yes I’ll share that all with you . . . eventually).

But let’s change topics shall we?

A week ago when I was in the middle of a hectic run-around I received a very anticipated phone call. So I pulled my Walmart grocery cart to a traffic free zone and answering my phone. It was my brother  sharing the good news that he and his girlfriend had just gotten engaged!  Everyone knew it would happen very soon and we are all thrilled.

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Pacific City OR

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Thinking about their wedding plans I began to look back on some of the details of my own wedding almost 6 months ago. I didn’t pintrest my way through my engagement or blog it out. But knowing at least 8 (probably closer to 10) couples who got engaged so far this year I thought: maybe I should take sometime to share advice and details from my wedding? Maybe it will spark some creativity for those planning their weddings?

As we head into this wedding season I’ll be dispersing some details and advice blogs from a bride who has been there done that. (I think 6 months is long enough to reflect back but not so long ago that I’ve forgotten the little things.)

So for all of my engaged couples-enjoy! And for my single friends these blogs may be good to ear-mark for that future special day down the road. Or if you are not one of those single “one day, day-dreamer” types remember you’ll probably be involved in a friend or family member’s wedding in the next 5 years. Even if you were at my wedding you may be surprised by some of the sentimental small details you probably didn’t know about.

Here are some topics to look forward to:

Who to choose for the bridal party?

Special Guests: how to care for kids, grandparents, and those with allergies

4 month engagement- a timeline and some big helps

Favors from friends :a great way to $ave

The Sentimental Personal details

No ring bearer? No problem

Things to double check with DJ/MC/Video/photographer

Advice for the Bride on her big day

Tips for Bridal Party including: when planning a bridal shower/ Bachelor(ette) party

Invitations, Thank you cards, and Gratuity

And that is not all! (Yes I went on a brainstorming craze). What do you think? And don’t worry tons of pics from my wedding and updates on the bro’s wedding plans will be shared along the way!

Wedding Season had Begun!