Erika & Jeff Tying the Knot
After many laughs, tears, cupcakes, beers, speeches, and hugs, my oldest and best friend Erika and her new husband Jeff are off on their blissful honeymoon. In a word? This wedding weekend was perfect.
Like I told the crowd of 300 on Saturday night, Erika was the first person I met during my family’s visit to Scottsbluff, right before we moved there. It was the summer before we entered sixth grade. But it wasn’t until college that she and I really formed the special bond that we share today. Our time living together (along with our friend Amanda) in our little duplex in Lincoln, just a few blocks from the Nebraska campus, was one of the best parts of my life. And even thought we haven’t lived in the same state, or even within a 10 hour drive, since December 2003, we have remained steadfast supports for each other. Erika is the most incredible person and I could not be more thrilled that she found Jeff—in Scottsbluff of all places! They are a perfect match and this was proven over and over during the four days of wedding fun.
Let’s start with Erika’s dress. It was spectacular and she was just stunning in it. Of course Jeff looked very handsome, but his wife-to-be was nothing but breathtaking. She was the easiest bride too—so happy, relaxed, excited, and completely in love with the man by her side.
Did I mention Ethan was in the wedding?! I know, only about a hundred times in the past year. When Erika asked Ethan to be the ring bearer, I was over the moon, but a little nervous about getting him down the aisle. After some searching, we had the tux, shoes, and tie all ready to go. But during the rehearsal, Little Man cried, whimpered, and begged for me to hold him—nothing like his usual self. We had about five minutes of coaxing before moving on with the rest of the rehearsal, and I was sick to my stomach thinking Ethan would refuse to walk down the asile on the big day.
Then I had an idea.
I whipped out an “emergency sucker”— one is always on-hand in the diaper bag. He shared it with Grandpa for a little bit, then we had Grandma take it to the front of the church. Wouldn’t you know, he practically ran down the asile toward his sugary treat. This meant I actually got some sleep that night! So the next day while I was doing wedding prep, Ethan was napping and getting ready.
Mind-numbingly cute, right? Well, this is what happened at the ceremony (Erika hasn’t even seen this…hope she approves from Maui!):
He did it! The petals were a distraction, and getting lapped by the flower girl gripping tightly to her grandpa’s finger (Erika’s neiece Margot) didn’t help either. But he saw that sucker and went a-runnin’. He then proceeded to eat another sucker and a whole bag of freeze-dried strawberries while laying on the ground at Grandma’s feet during the 20 minute ceremony. I heard from those seated nearby that it was quite the display. He never made a sound other then one or two “Mama!” ‘s when he saw me up front (is it bad that I kind of enjoyed that?).
Crisis averted, cuteness prevailed.
On to Erika and Jeff’s wedding party, which was one of a kind. Made up of ultra-best buds, it was the most loving and supportive group of people I could have imagined (and was proud to be a part of!) surrounding the couple on their wedding day. And we all had SO much fun together! It’s extra special when you bring a group together and they leave as new friends. I can honestly say I can’t wait to see them all again!
Since the wedding was early, we had plenty of time to ride around on a “party bus” (rented from a livestock auction!) to take pictures, drink, eat, and relax. Our stops included the Scottsbluff Monument, a grassy/river area, huge playground, and Jeff’s favorite childhood hangout (a sweet old lady’s driveway where they used to play endless hours of basketball). Good thing the groom and groomsmen all changed into sneakers (a gift from the bride and groom) after the reception!
Then it was time to party. The personal touches at the reception were perfect—a drummer banged out the “Cougar Beat” (the local community college’s basketball starting lineup music) while the wedding party was announced, spouses/significant others sat at the head table, the bride and groom made the lighted wine bottle centerpieces, and Erika performed a choreographed dance with her dad. Surrounded by old friends and new…we all partied till the very end.
I’ll sum it up with a few pictures from the reception.
We are still travelling, heading home tomorrow, but I just had to get these pictures posted! Stay tuned later this week for more tuxedo pictures of Ethan.