Snapshots: Halvorson wedding behind the scenes

This will be my last wedding related post for a while ( I promise). But I thought you might enjoy seeing a few more behind the scenes pictures collected from iphones (along with a few professional shots) that have come in from Matt and Stina’s wedding. If you haven’t read up on the wedding events then you may want to skim these posts: The RehearsalThe WeddingThe Reception,  before scrolling through these extra snapshots.

Here they are:

Getting ready:

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Post-picture lunch/brunch break with family and bridal party:

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My mom’s mother and my cousin Paige

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My Dad’s Mom and the sixpence for Stina’s wedding shoe

Stina waiting for the guests to arrive watching them from the upstairs window and entertaining the flower girls:

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Prayer time for Stina with all the bridesmaids and female relatives:

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Time to line up for the wedding:

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The ceremony (and singing):

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The processional:

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Matt’s best friend from high school and I

Celebrating after:

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My mom, my Aunt, and I

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Cousins iphone moment

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From left to right: my father (in law), my dad’s dad, and my hubby

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Matt and Stina snapshots:

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Something borrowed-hairclip from me

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rainbow polka dot socks so my brother wouldn’t get cold feet

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Details from the reception:

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at the trail mix bar

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family wedding photos

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mailbox to fill with advice and wedding cards

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wall of pictures of Matt and Stina growing up

Let’s Dance!:

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Traditional Norwegian folk dancing

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Saying Goodbye!:

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Thats all for now! Thanks for reading and sharing in this wonderful family event!!

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

Tell them Thank You!

We are now counting down to my little brother’s wedding.  In T minus 16 days, I’ll be the proud big sister standing with the other bridesmaids watching every moment up close.

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my brother’s wedding in only 2 weeks

When I think back to my wedding, one of those last minute details was personal gifts and thanks yous to those who mattered most: bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, and others who significantly helped in the journey to the day at the altar. If you read my Favors from Friends a great way to Save blogpost then this will be an expansion on my last important note: don’t forget to tell them Thank You!!!

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Bridesmaid gifts:

Traditionally brides give their bridesmaids a small gift the day of the wedding usually as everyone is getting ready. It is common for this gift to be  jewelry such as earrings, a pendant necklace, or bracelet that the bridesmaids can wear that day.

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As you may recall, I had a family friend make bracelets with purple glass beads and a golden clasp for my bridesmaids. These bracelets was casual enough my bridesmaids could wear them again buy classy enough for the wedding.

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But you do not have to be traditional and give jewelry.  How about some lip gloss, or small sample-size hand lotion? Maybe you can’t budget-in these gifts. You can alway make a small personal keep sake or of course keep it simple and write a thank you card. The gifts are no where near as important to your female friends and family then a personal thank you note recognizing their help in getting you to this significant day.

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Groomsmen gifts:

Luke chose to give out nice hunting knives to his group of Northwestern groomsmen. Although guys are not as apt to write detailed thank you notes, it is a good idea to have something small to recognize they chose to be there for you and to thank them. How about a beer or coffee mug? Sunglasses if it’s a summer wedding?

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Or maybe you just want to take some time to get coffee, a beer, or a burger with them before the wedding hits. (Some time other than the bachelor party); low key hang-out which you can do with everyone or each individually.

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Ring bearer, Flower Girl gifts

For a kid being in a wedding requires a lot of patience, wearing fancy clothes all day, and a large amount of time spent with grown-ups. So taking the time to thank them for being good is important. I chose to buy my flower girl  jewelry from Claire’s: a little costume pearl bracelet set and a necklace.

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Again, you do not have to give jewelry. What do little girls like?  Bubbles, coloring books, dolls, stuffed animals, get creative!!  I did not have a ring bearer but think about giving him small toys like bouncy balls, hot wheel cars (or a cheap version), coloring books, toy dinosaurs etc. Of course remember to buy age appropriate toy!!

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Volunteer Helpers:

I had good friends volunteer to do my hair and another to do my makeup. I knew neither one of them would accept a check for their services. So instead I bought them both gift cards for facials from our esthetician friend.  You may have all paying services, but if you have asked a friend to MC, be the DJ, wedding coordinate, take photos/video, or professionally do everyone’s hair/ makeup and they are not getting paid for it-consider at least a 5 dollar Starbucks thank you card.

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I gave these thank yous to my helpers the day of the wedding but you can always mail it to them later if you are concerned about them getting lost in the after wedding clean-up.

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Mom: (person that helped you plan/coordinate the most)

For me it was important to recognize my Mom. She was my right hand women during the whole engagement process: dealing with my stressed moments and helping me make decisions, stick to a budget, and a timeline.  So I bought my mom a ring with amber and amethyst colored stones which she could wear at the wedding.

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Your mother may not be your go-to girl. Maybe it is your maid of honor, a sister, a cousin, a roommate, or best friend. Whether you can afford a gift or not taking the time get to coffee or drinks, or just pulling them aside in the middle of pre-wedding events to share your appreciation is important. You know that without them you would have given up on trying to properly get down the aisle and given into the temptation to elope months ago.

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Grooms/Brides gift

In some circles it is also tradition that the night before the wedding the bride and groom give each other a small gift; something simple to say “thank you for getting through the past few months of craziness with me”.  After the wedding rehearsal, Luke and I sat in the car for a few quiet moments alone.  It is then that I chose to give Luke a card expressing some thoughts I felt more comfortable writing out for him then reading out-loud the next day. With this card came a Princess Bride themed mug that said “mawidge is what bwing us togevver today” and a bag of expresso beans from our favorite coffee shop. He now uses this mug for coffee breaks at work.

I got a canvas tote bag saying the same phrase

I got a canvas tote bag saying the same phrase

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Again, these gifts do not have to cost much or anything at all. Maybe it is important you express how you are feeling about your wedding the next day or want to give each other a card that says so.  Or maybe it’s important to just have a few minutes together:  go on a walk, get coffee or ice cream; something simple, something normal.

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The most important thing for all of these people is to express that you are grateful they were apart of your engagement and are there to support you on your wedding day. It  doesn’t matter how you express your thankfulness or how much you spend on their gifts-you know how best to tell them thank you.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Just as I wrote this past Mother’s Day (to read more click here) this is my first year honoring both of the men who now call me daughter. They are both hard working men who love the simple yet important elements of life: time with family, good homemade meals, the great outdoors, leading and teaching others, and working with their hands.

Luke and his father John

Luke and his father John

the men in my life (minus the brother/brother-in-law)

the men in my life (minus the brother/brother-in-law)

As with Mother’s Day, I could continue this blog post with compliments and tell of great moments with my fathers, but will continue with the wedding theme and again tell a story:

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As I mentioned in No bring bearer? No problem!!  I chose not to have a ring bearer and therefore no pillow to carry the rings down the aisle for our wedding. So what did we do instead?

My dad is a very skilled woodworker. Growing up the garage was always a woodshop. I can only remember one time my car was strategically placed in the garage around the table saws, lathes, and current projects. So when I asked my dad if he’d be willing to make a wood ring box to place in our flower girl’s basket I knew I was in for some surprising, creative, quality work.

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The result: three different wooden boxes all intricately designed, interesting, and beautiful. My father even considered my wedding colors picking light colored woods to balance out a dark strip of a highly valuable purple heart. He even asked my mom for some plush beige fabric which he used to line the boxes, making them into true jewelry boxes.

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In the end we chose the box pictured in the middle above partially for the craftsmen style and color contrast, but also because the lid slid open through grooves in the top of the box. This feature made it less likely anything would fall off or out the wedding .

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In the end all boxes were sanded, finished with layers of lacquer, and lined with the felt fabric. Now we have all three placed around the house one in our bedroom on my dresser, one in the pass through in the kitchen, and one in the built in bookshelf in the living room.

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Each serve as a safe place to put my wedding rings while I am working around the house and remind me of the patient, detailed, diligent, creative work and character of the one who made them.

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Love you Dad, hope you have a great Father’s Day!!!

Who to choose for your bridal party?

The people in your bridal party are there to support you, help you prepare for and celebrate in your marriage. Too often though bridal parties cause conflict, drama, and stress for the engaged couple. It all comes down to who you choose to be in your bridal party. (And when I say bridal party I am speaking bridesmaids and groomsmen!)

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Here are 3 things you should know:

1a Know your expectations

Planning a wedding puts the bridal party and the future bride/ groom under a lot of pressure. Before choosing your bridal party, consider who is up for the challenge. Only you know what responsibilities and expectations you hope to delegate to your party. Ask yourself:

Do I want them to help with the invitations? Dress shopping? Registry?

What type of “day of” events do I hope they will take care of?

Do I want them to help organize my schedule?

I would suggest not having more than a few (1/2 ) bridesmaids/groomsmen that live far away. This is especially true for bridesmaids. You need some people  less than 4/6 hours away to help plan a bridal shower and be available to meet with you face-to-face.

My in-state support team : first cousin and college roommate

My in-state support team : first cousin and maid of honor my college roommate

Still do not dismiss your out-of-staters. Know when they can come into town for the wedding and let them help the week-of. Delegate things to them you know they can do long distance or that you won’t need until the week-of. They want to help even if they are not close.

Luke and his best-man who lives in Luke's home state of OR

Luke and his best-man who lives in Luke’s home state of OR

My matron-of-honor who lives in the state of  WA where I went to college

My matron-of-honor who lives in the state of WA

1b Know your values

I have heard several couples less than five years into their marriage share they are no longer in contact with their bridal party. If you are a young couple, you have a lot of change down the road: moves, careers, children, all of this can cause separation from those you are close to when you get married.

So think about:

– In 10 years will I still be in contact with my wedding party? Will that matter to me?

-Is it important that my future kids know who they are/or that they are involved in their lives?

-Why do I want them standing next to me at the wedding and in my family pictures?

It may be old fashion, but I see the bridal party as literally standing with you in agreement of your marriage. They are the people who I can go to or them to me as accountability to the promise I made on my wedding day. I want my future children to either know who they are or I will be able to quickly tell them their importance in my life.

My younger Engaged! brother and my first  cousin

My younger Engaged! brother and my first cousin

I would encourage you to include family in your bridal party. Even if you move far away, they will be around for holidays. There is a guarantee you children will know their aunts, uncles, your cousins etc. Also, if they grew up with you, they know your values, and expectations pretty well.

2. Know their personalities and character

A lot of problems and drama occur because the bride or groom do not want to hurt someone’s feelings by not choosing them to be in the wedding.  But often friendships end after a wedding because of  bridesmaid/groomsmen conflicts. You want people who are truly responsible and capable of being there for you in this important and stressful time.

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So mull over this:

-Are they encouragers/can they tell when I need help or a break?

-Are they trustworthy/reliable/dependable/on time?

-Will they be respectful of my family and work well with the other bridal party members? (AKA Would grandma like them?)

-Are they apt to push their wants on my wedding? Or be impolite in expressing their dislike for my plans?

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It is a privilege to be asked to participate in planning and/or being in someone’s wedding. The person has probably earned a special place in your life, gained your trust and respect. If you choose someone who is unreliable, disrespectful, or inappropriate then you will find yourself with unnecessary drama instead of encouraging help.

3.Know their experience and talents

Even if the people you are considering for your bridal party understand your expectations, are mature, and willing to help they may not know what to do. Once again, if you are a young couple then it is likely that your peers are not married, have not been in a lot of weddings, and very possibly have not been to many weddings. You may be surprised how many people don’t know what is included in wedding planning, or typical groomsmen/bridesmaid responsibilities.

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Consider this:

-Have they ever been in a wedding before? Have they been to a wedding before?

(If no then ask: are they quick learners?)

-Are they creative and independent?

-Are they flexible and organized?

I would highly suggest choosing at least one married matron of honor/bridesmaid. Having one or two people in your wedding party who have “been there done that” is helpful. They have perspective, experience, and can help you prioritize. They will know what you are going through and are less apt to project their thoughts on your wedding.

The best man is married and my brother and the other groomsmen are both engaged

The best man is married and my brother and the other groomsmen are both engaged

Answer these questions honestly. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in planning for the wedding and choose people who are strong in your areas of weakness. But be realistic, no one is perfect.  Consider these questions and suggestions and you will be on your way to building a strong support team!

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