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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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).


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.


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.



Coming Next: The reception

The Rehearsal

I know I have jumped around a little in sharing about the week at the beginning of last month spent with my brother and his now wife preparing for and celebrating their marriage. But I promise from now on I will be going in a more linear pattern.

To refresh you minds, after Thursday’s activities (see Girls Day (and Night) Out) I got to leave Stina’s home with my husband who had just arrived jet-lagged from the airport and we moved into our own room. It was such a relief to seem him after a week apart although we had little time to ourselves, him just being there was beyond helpful for me.


Friday  morning (Rehearsal day) I left bright and early with my mother, Stina, and Stina’s father headed to the ferry to pick up flowers from Pike’s Place to use at the ceremony and reception space. For more on this check out: ( Little Norway and The Emerald City). To sum up: on the way back I prepped a sample centerpiece bouquet for the reception tables in the back of the van.


Straight from the ferry we drove to the crowded Moseng house. The amount of people spending time at the Moseng house had increased gradually as family and bridesmaids/groomsmen came into town. But now the house became full to the rafters with all those involved in the wedding ceremony. We took a moment to regroup, eat, and greet close family and friends, many of whom I’d seen last at Matt’s college graduation (see family time).

The ceremony space on Thursday in the sun

We all filed out in the rainy weather for the rehearsal. Luke was at the sound board filling in for the sound tech who couldn’t come until later that night. Stina was in one of Matt’s old flannel shirts, hair up, enjoying the rain with her practice bouquet getting soggy as she walked down the brick bath to their wedding gazebo barefoot.


The wedding coordinator helped us practice the walk-in/walk out timing to music with queues and the pastor summed up the actual ceremony. It only took about an hour to get all the family and bridal party on the same page.


Following this, I was in charge of getting 20 bouquets put together for the reception space.  The problem was I had less than an hour to do get it done. Fortunately I had the whole bridal party and a few extra hands ready and willing to help. I showed everyone the sample bouquet and gave some generic instructions based on color and shape. The next thing I know clippers, flowers, stems, and leaves are flying as everyone pitched in.  In less than thirty minutes we had more than 20 bouquets filled and ready to be taken to the Sons of Norway. This is my way of saying-thank you!! to everyone who helped!!



Rushing back to the hotel, we changed and then we were off again to the rehearsal dinner. Dinner was at Tap Rock in Poulsbo a Northwest Grill with local food. We arrived as everyone was being seated in the back room. The tables had been decorated with flowers in Matt and Stina’s wedding colors and ypre-planned menus with a custom congratulations to Matt and Stina were placed at every seat. Instead of sitting with family, Luke and I chose to sit my brother’s friends and some others from the bridal party. Before dinner my brother thanked everyone for coming and announced to those who didn’t know that Stina and himself would be taking a job with the Army Cor of Engineers in Memphis TN. We then enjoyed a good steak dinner and local beer and wine as we caught up with family and friends.


Afterward we all piled into the cars and headed to the reception site, the Sons of Norway in Poulsbo to decorate. Once we arrived we changed into our working clothes and got started. From fixing the rafter lighting, to decorating tables, placing bouquets, to labeling favor jars, everyone pitched in.


It was at this point that we had dessert of coffee, cookies, brownies, and homemade blackberry pies made by my wonderful mother-in-law !

Luke and his father John enjoying some guy time

I rounded the tables carrying a bucket of spare flowers and with the help of my grandmother perked up the bouquets everyone had done earlier in the day. I also filled in silk flowers and extra vases in those random open spots.


Everything worked out so well. A table dedicated to photos of married couples dating as far back as great-grandparents was all set up with labels, a wall of strung photos from Matt and Stina’s childhoods were placed along a back lattice wall. The head table was decorated with bunting, the favor table set up with crates, signs, and labeled homemade apple jam.


The dinning tables were prepped with blue table runners, yellow monogramed napkins, crocheted doilies (of my moms) mirrors, and bouquets. The entrance table was prepared with the guest book, a dating memory book, and a decorated mail box prepped for advice cards and wedding cards from guests. (More pictures of all of this to come).


In no time the place was prepped and looking beautiful. You could tell everyone was excited and ready for the next’s days festivities! Stayed tuned pics and details from the big day are coming soon!!

Pre-wedding: the last minute details

As I mentioned earlier this week there was a good sized gap between the Saturday of Stina’s Bridal Shower  and our Thursday Girls Day (and Night) Out.  As the future sister-in-law it was hard to be far away from family apart from the wedding planning of my only sibling. So I was ready and willing to help with those last minute wedding details during the week before the wedding.

wedding week planning board

Monday I took a halfday-break and spent some quality time with a good college friend and her son. The outing included ferry rides, joining in some of her day errands, playing outside with her son and their dog, picking up some yogurt, then heading back on the afternoon ferry. By 3pm I was back running errands and doing wedding prep with the families.

pedi relax time


Tuesday’s highlight was getting some good TLC time just the Mom’s and daughters. We went out to get our nails done and some lunch. Stina got both a mani and pedi while catching up on pop culture info she’d been too busy with wedding planning to notice.


hyped up on caffeine prepping flower girl baskets

In between Tuesday and Wednesday the family worked on a large variety of wedding details. Taking turns spending time together, eating meals, and drinking a ton of coffee. My family also ran back and forth from Joann’s and Micheals’ several times in those few days gathering ribbon, silk flowers, fabric, stationary, easels, and more.

wrapping tea cups for the reception
The garden prepped to be the ceremony space

We tied ribbons on the favor jars, created chalk signs for the reception and ceremony space. We helped with music selections, the boys prepped the yard and created lines for people to park in the field. My mom and I decorated the flower girl baskets . My dad helped in the yard and pack and organize resources for the reception.


prepping chalkboard signs

I worked with other bridesmaids to fold napkins, ceremony programs, and prep table runners for the reception space. Whenever we finished one thing we started work on another asking what was next until we all decided to call it quits for the evening. During which whoever was available to help would gather to eat, talk, and relax.

beautiful garden flowers in the front yard

Although it can sometimes feel stressful to have such a long list to accomplish it is great to know you have a back up team to help you get to that wedding day. It was amazing to see two families get to know each other, communicate, and learn to work around and with each other. It was a great opportunity for us to learn to be there for Matt and Stina and live (even if only for a week) as one family.

Matt and Stina know that they are truly blessed with great friends and strong families who are more than willing to pitch in to make what is important to them happen.

Girls Day (and Night) Out

This past week I shared about my now sister-in-law’s bridal shower (see Stina’s Bridal Shower). Saturday to Thursday afterward was a blur of errands, small details, and quality time with the Moseng family (some of which I’ll share later).

But skipping ahead to more fun, all the bridesmaids arrived in town Wednesday night and Thursday for the Bachlorette party. Similar to the suggestions about creative bridal pary gifts, (see Tell them Thank you) Stina decided instead of giving us a present, she provide us with some quality time making our present.


So all of the bridesmaids, close female friends, moms, and flowergirls (and their Mom) all went to the Dancing Brush Studio, a pottery decorating place downtown Pouslbo. We had reservations for a large table, which the owners decorated with balloons. One of Stina’s bridesmaids had decorated bright blue T-shirts for us bridesmaids and Stina to wear for our girls day out.


We each had our choice of a specific price range of objects to paint. I chose a round mug. Many people chose to go with a theme in the colors of Stina’s wedding.


Mine was unfinished on the outside with blue dots and a blue colored handle. The inside of the cup I painted bright yellow with a blue H for Halvorson on the bottom. I told Stina that every time I use this cup for tea or coffee I will think and pray for them.


It was a enjoyable afternoon listening to folk music and having the place mostly to ourselves. We got a chance to get to know everyone and learn about people’s creative sides as they painted their cups, mugs, and other clay items.


Stina guessed that there were plans for a follow up party but didn’t know what we were actually doing. Stina’s sister Elisabet and I had been planning this over the past weekend, picking up supplies at party stores and pulling the last minute details together. We also somehow mysteriously ended up showing up together and late to the pottery decorating session (so we could secretly decorate for later).


After we were done with our pottery pieces (which would be mailed to us later) the Mom’s and young ones left and it was only us girls. Elisabet had sneakily packed a pretty little lace dress for Stina to wear for her night on the town. Slowly each one of us snuck away also to change out of our art clothes and into some fun dresses and skirts.


With zebra print goodie bags filled with taffy, chocolates, ring pops and mini comb tiaras in hand we went to the nearby downtown coffeeshop. Stina leading the way while wearing her beautiful plastic princess bridal crown, we talked and hung out enjoying the weather outside the coffee shop.


Making Stina close her eyes and spin around, we guided her to our next designation: dinner. We walked her up the steps to this little bistro called Mor Mor  downtown Poulsbo. Mor Mor is a quaint restaurant with an extensive wine list and many delicious dinner options. They had a great selection of soups, salads, small plates, appetizers, and pasta dinners so that everyone was happy.


After an enjoyable dinner, we all piled into cars and carpooled back to the Moseng house. When all the girls arrived they found the dinning room table decorated in pink and black ready for a dessert bar. This particular party was covered in plenty of wonderful sugary treats.


The table was prepped for decorating your own cupcakes. One of Elisabet’s friends had made amazing from scratch chocolate kalhua cupcakes which the girls then decorated with fresh vanilla or raspberry frosting and pink or pearl sprinkles. In the center of the tables were also berry blast Oreos, pink and white mints, new york patties, and watermelon drops (Stinas favorite fruit).


We took our treat and sat down to enjoy watching Stina open her gifts.


After gifts were given, we transitioned to round two of the dessert bar (did I mentioned plenty of sweets) and opened up several types of ice cream and topped it off wtih fudge, carmel, whip cream, cherries (the whole deal).


We then took our frozen treats downstairs where the last phase of the night was to be set up for one of Stina’s favorite movies: Ever After. As several of us quoted along with Drew Barrymore and the rest of the cast (yours truly included) we also discussed the following day: Rehearsal.


Thursday was a break from all wedding planning, focused solely on celebrating with female friends and family.  It was so much fun to show Stina that her “sisters” knew what would be fun, comfortable, and very “Stina” for her last single girls night out.


Stina’s Bridal Shower

So you must think I’d  forgotten my promise to share all the wonderful details from my brother’s wedding. Well, I hope you haven’t lost interest, because I am finally ready to dole out the details.


I arrived late on Friday night July 26th after a day of airport travels. The next day was Stina’s Bridal Shower. That morning was spent catching up with my mom while enjoying some much needed coffee and packing presents for the shower.


Now before I share about the shower, let me answer one question: How do you creatively gift-give for a bridal shower on a budget /when you are traveling across country? 

Answer: Instead of picking off the registry, I choose to create several smaller items.


Item 1: I found a basic pictured frame at Target for less than 10 dollars and filled it with a photo from my brother’s proposal (printed at a local pharmacy)


and their engagement announcement/save the date card.


With a little help from double stick tape and card stock it all came together wonderfully. Since I was traveling via three different planes, I wrapped the glass frame in some bubble wrap and layered it between a few shirts in my luggage. Total cost: 12 dollars


Item 2: Also from Target , in the 1 dollar section I found a small makeup bag/pouch which I filled with relax/spa goodies.


Wedding planning can be so stressful so I thought: why not pack a little pick-me up? I found a sleep mask for 2 dollars, a sample size stress relief lotion from Bath and Body Works worth probably 2/3 dollars.


Then I added in some Yogi detox and stress relief tea I already had around the house. Last touch was a hand written coupon for 2 free massages with an expiration date of the day after the wedding. Total cost: 5 to 6 dollars



Item 3: I found a old fashioned metal recipe tin decorated with red and yellow daises on Etsy for 13 dollars.


My mom and I partnered up to fill the tin with recipes that we know my brother likes. Total cost: 20 dollars including shipping (it can cost less if it’s a joint gift with other family members).


Now to the shower: That evening we piled into cars with all the presents and drove to the Moseng’s family church. The ladies of the church had decorated the room in shades of pink and yellow.


Chairs were lined up to face a windowed wall were a couch was centered for the guest of honor. Tea cups full of lemon drops sat on side tables covered in doilies and mason jars filled with fresh flowers.


A gift table was stationed on the right and a drink station on the left serving tea, and two types of lemonade.


The fun started with a game in which the engaged women in the room had to try to put makeup on Stina’s flower girls while blindfolded. The rest of the women verbally direct the girls as to where to put the makeup.


Following this, a women of the church shared a devotional and prayed for Stina. Then all women  were given the chance to share advice about marriage while Stina’s sister as quickly as possible wrote the words of wisdom down.


After this everyone took a break to enjoy vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cake, and fruit salad.

Both Moms enjoying the shower


While everyone ate, Stina began to open gifts. A system was formed: her sister would write down the gifts, the flower girls would hand me the ribbons to make the practice/rehearsal bouquet, then the mothers collected the gifts or cards.


Stina received many wonderful gifts, tea set from her grandmother, plenty of cooking supplies, and from my mother as she did with me (see Happy Mother’s Day) a homemade quilt in floral blues, yellows, and greens.

Three generations


It was a great start to a week of wedding events and most of all Stina enjoyed every moment of it.

My ribbon bouquet “masterpiece”

Pre-wedding Jitters

I’ve got pre-wedding jitters, only it’s not my wedding and they are jitters of excitement and anticipation. Today I am flying out to Washington. I’m coming into town a week before my little brother’s wedding so I can help with the last minute planning and participate in pre-wedding events. My pre-wedding itinerary includes: a bridal shower, moms and daughter(s) manicure date, pottery decorating class, bachlorette party, and of course the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner and the big wedding day: August 3rd.


In the midst of all of this, I plan on making up for my lack of involvement as the future sister-in-law and as a bridesmaid. I expect to be running back and forth to the craft store, helping the moms with last minute details and most importantly helping in anyway possible to keep the bride-to-be Stina calm.

Such a beautiful state 🙂

I would love to make this into a vacation and re-aquaint myself with the state of my college years and potentially visit with some friends, but I doubt I will get out of town that much considering I am not renting a car.  Although Luke and I have grown accustomed to sharing one car, I am still used to having a much more significant amount of time to myself: my schedule, my space, my quiet introverted world.

say goodbye to the car for a week
say goodbye to the car for a week

But this trip, from tomorrow until next Thursday, I will be staying with my parents and sharing a car with them. This is the first time since I moved out and got married that we will get this much quality time and in each other’s space time (aka sharing the same room/bathroom). It will require us all to have a little patience and show each other grace.

The Halvorsons
In a few days we’ll take the same picture but this time I won’t be the one in white

Also this is the first time Luke and I will be away from each other since we got married. There were a few nights the first two weeks of marriage Luke worked nightshift but since last October we have seen each other everyday.  So we will be making quite a jump from never being apart to being apart for a whole week. It will be challenging probably in ways I don’t understand yet. But I’m interested to discover how often we will want to text or call each other while we are apart. Let’s just say I am glad I will be busy and distracted. By the time Luke comes into town and checks us into our own room at the hotel the wedding events will be in full swing: family and wedding party arriving from out of town for the rehearsal the next day.


I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends and to sharing these moments will all of you. But you will have to be patient since I expect to be away from computer a lot in the next week. Until then I’d appreciate any prayers or good wishing vibes you want to send for safe travels and a successful and calm (as can be possible) pre-wedding week for everyone involved.


What are you looking forward to this weekend/next week?