Stacia & Andrea’s Wedding: Part 2

After all the prep work, Saturday morning finally came! There were mimosas, manicures, hairdos, and lots of waiting.

Wedding morning mimosas
Photo courtesy Stacia’s brother, Henry.
Wedding morning manicures
Photo courtesy Stacia’s brother, Henry.
Prewedding festivities
Photo courtesy Stacia’s brother, Henry.

And then, before we knew it, we were all prettied up and ready for a wedding:



Ski lift wedding party

Photo courtesy fellow bridesmaid Emma
Photo courtesy fellow bridesmaid Emma

I’m not even going to try and steal photos off Facebook of the gorgeous brides on their lovely day because the ever awesome Amanda Summerlin was there to capture everything! (In case you think I’m kidding about her awesomeness check out our various adventures with her here!)

Bates Photo

The wedding went off beautifully! Everything was gorgeous and there was seriously the most rocking wedding dance party I’ve ever experienced. Seriously.

Congratulations you two!!!


Stacia & Andrea’s Wedding: Part 1

After spending a lovely day with Susan enjoying New Hampshire, it was time for the main event of the trip: Stacia and Andrea’s wedding! Stacia and Dre made the long trek to southeastern Utah to celebrate Forrest and I so I was honored to not only be in Maine for their wedding but to be there as a bridesmaid.

Stacia and Andrea
Stacia and Andrea at our wedding…the night before Stacia proposed!!!

When I arrived at the hotel, no one was there and I had a few minutes to myself. When everyone returned, I was welcomed exactly as I would expect from Stacia’s family: they immediately demanded that I get myself a drink…and were delighted to find that I had already helped myself. The evening was spent catching up, enjoying burgers and hot dogs, and wound up with the hot tub. The GoPro came but was not ideal for low light conditions. Stacia and I did attempt a selfie which is adorable no matter how blurry:

Stacia and Beth

The next morning it was wedding go-time: loading up cars, carting stuff to the gondola, and getting everything neat and pretty for the wedding. I was a couple thousand miles away for picking out bridesmaid dresses, pre-wedding crafts, bachelorettes, and so on so I tried my best to make up for it during set-up! Seriously, I just didn’t stop moving PLUS captured photos on the GoPro all day:

Stacia and Andrea wedding setup

Stacia and Andrea wedding

Summer Chairlift

Stacia and Dre put so much thought into making the North Peak Lodge at Sunday River look amazing. I was so happy to be part of the great crew of their family and friends there Friday putting it all in place!

Chair crew

Wedding setup

Pre wedding dancing

Set up crew

After the Lodge was all in order for the big day, it was time for the bridal party to get their act together during rehearsal:

Wedding rehearsal

And then we all got treated to a delicious dinner before another evening of hot tubbing and good ol’ fashioned fun.

I had hoped to make the wedding and assorted events one post but I got carried away with photos! More tomorrow!!


Scottsdale Thanksgiving

Forrest and I spent Thanksgiving in Scottsdale with Maryanne and Seth and their families. We had such a wonderful day! They were kind enough to let us arrive early and shower before helping prepare food, looking at wedding photos, drinking wine, reminiscing, giving thanks, eating tons and tons of food, and enjoying the day so much.

Thank you so much Seth and Maryanne for inviting us. We had such a great time and are very thankful for friends like you guys.

Wedding, Part 19: Tuesday—Portraits

On our way home from our hike on Tuesday it was torrentially raining. However, a quick look at the radar showed that things to the west (in our planned photoshoot location) were looking clear. F put on his suit, I put my dress in the van, Amanda grabbed her lights and her backpack and away we went—no showers, no makeup, just us in our sweet wedding duds one more time.

I’m so glad we did this. I got to spend a bunch of time with F just being us after the bustle of the wedding and a house full of people.

Wedding portrait

And these pictures. Wow.

Wedding Portrait

Wedding portrait

Wedding portrait

Wedding portrait

Wedding portrait

All photos copyright Amanda Summerlin.

Wedding, Part 11: Reception

Before we had dinner, we had a hilarious marriage certificate signing. I don’t know why, everything about it was funny: starting with the fact that when someone grabbed a book to sign on, someone selected something by Glen Beck. As it got passed around everyone was careful to hide the spine. And then Stacia had to hold Jason’s hand:

hahaha (Amanda Summerlin)
hahaha (Amanda Summerlin)

Among the things that were important to me when planning our wedding was having everyone sit down to eat. We knew our wedding would be pretty small and I really hoped to have everyone sit down to one long table. It just reminded me of our Thanksgivings growing up when my mom would insist on seating 27 somehow in our house.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

At dinner, some of our family and friends toasted us and the atmosphere was wonderfully relaxed. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the evening was absolutely glorious.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

As dinner wrapped up there was pie cutting and then F and I stood to do our first dance.

So we live out in our old van
Travel all across this land
Me and you

Free, Zac Brown Band

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

There was a little dancing afterwards but mostly? This wasn’t much of a dancing wedding. The morning had been full of running, riding, and sightseeing followed by furious wedding preparation so it was more of the chat-about-this-awesome-trip-we’re-all-on sort of night. Which was just perfect for us.

3Up Family Dance Party (Amanda Summerlin)
3Up Family Dance Party (Amanda Summerlin)

Wedding, Part 9: Ceremony

Benedictio May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you—beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. -Ed Abbey

F and I wrote our ceremony and vows together. We used traditional Christian wedding ceremonies (specifically the one from The Common Book of Prayer) as a basis for writing the ceremony but made it completely our own. We decided to ask Jason to be our officiant. This ended up being a great choice. Jason played the role well not only during the ceremony but in the lead up to the wedding as we spoke on the phone a couple of times about the ceremony and when he would call to jokingly ask us if we were nervous yet. F and I both felt really great that we had someone who knew us and what we wanted (and didn’t want) from our ceremony.

I love my puppy watching me intently (Amanda Summerlin)

After we finished with our portraits, it was ceremony time. We walked into the house and   directed people out to the ceremony site. The last person we found in the house was Chris who helpfully handed us his full can of Johnny’s American IPA*. We shared the beer and joked with Jason as we waited for everyone to settle in. This quiet moment, with some awesome levity added by the addition of the beer, was really very nice.

Once it was time to start, Jason walked in, followed by F. To the opening strains of Zac Brown’s Free I started my walk down the aisle. I remember looking at everyone looking at me the moment I walked out the door, but after that? I was just looking at F and grinning. I hardly remember getting down the aisle.

It’s hard work being so handsome. (Amanda Summerlin)

I hardly remember the start of the ceremony. Things started to slow down a bit for me when Stacia stepped forward to read Benedictio from Ed Abbey’s Earth Apples; I tried to hold onto each phrase and savor it but as she read the final phrase, “where something more strange and beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams awaits you—beyond that next turn of the canyon walls” I felt the first tears prick at my eyes. Next, Sandi, F cousin, read Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The poem states so much so perfectly for F and I.

Jason spoke briefly about how he met F and how he’d watched F and I grow together.

Then it was time for our vows. Although teary, I mostly made it through the vows with a fairly steady voice. When I got to the last phrase (the one I could never read at home without tearing up) my voice broke. I’m not sure how much anyone could understand me, but F’s reading of it was nice and clear.

Vows. (Amanda Summerlin)

After we finished our vows, Jason tried to jump right to pronouncing us man and wife while F was still trying to get my ring out of his pocket. I’m pretty sure I interjected, “Hey!” and I remember at least a few other people (probably F and my mom) jumping in as well. We all laughed and moved back in to the ceremony.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

After Jason (finally) got to pronounce us husband and wife and our kiss, rather than recessing, we invited everyone to the front to take a group shot. Following the group shot, we asked everyone to take their chairs over to the dinner table (just around the corner of the house), and broke out the wine, champagne, and beer.

(Amanda Summerlin)

Song of The Open Road by Walt Whitman

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?




*Turns out, the Moab brewery unexpectedly has developed a pretty yummy session IPA.


Wedding, Part 7: Final Wedding Preparations

Once Robin and I arrived back at the house with all of our rental items, it was time to get to work. Steve and I moved tables around to the back of the house while Robin took charge of arranging all the chairs for the ceremony. Next, we pulled out the decorations stash from the storage area and discussed what would go where. I thought that we should wait a few hours to put out the tablecloths but Steve thought that now would be as good of a time as any. I told him which jars we were using to decorate the table and suggested that some rocks would make a good accent and just turned him loose.

Ceremony setup

While Steve was outside decorating the tables, Robin and I started getting things ready to make my bouquet. We started by making stems out of some of the succulent blooms to mix in with the roses we bought at the grocery store. (I’d decided to just take whatever flowers I could get and used a dozen white roses and a dozen blush roses.) Robin was quite the pro at making excellent stems. Since she was so good at wiring the succulents, I put her in charge of F’s boutonnière and my mom’s corsage.

Robin working on flowers
Bouquet making
Bouquet making. (Amanda Summerlin)

About this time, Jolleen got back from town and insisted I have a bagel (she even toasted it and put butter on it for me). Then she set to work making a tie to go with her class As; it turned out quite well! You’d never notice it wasn’t the official tie. (She’d lent her black tie to her husband and it never made it back to the uniform bag.)

As I was eating my bagel, I wondered outside and was absolutely delighted by Steve’s decorating job. He’d built a small rock tower as a centerpiece to the tables, scattered the candle jars around super artfully, and found great places to use more rocks to hold the tablecloths down against any wind. He’d also put some candles on the pie table and put out the log rounds for pie stands. (F cut the tree for the log rounds on our property.) Everything looked AMAZING. (And I didn’t have to do a thing.)

Steve at wedding
Steve relaxing with his handiwork in the background. (Amanda Summerlin)
Steve’s masterpiece

Next, Robin and I assembled my bouquet. I don’t know what I would have done without her! She’s much more artistic than I am and was great about seeing where we were getting holes, where a succulent should go and what color rose we should add next. I just did a lot of bouquet holding while she did the arranging and wire wrapping.

Around this time, Stacia and Andrea returned from visiting Arches (sounds like they had a great sunrise visit!) ready to help. I handed copies of the lasagna recipes to Jolleen and Stacia and away they went. They turned into a regular lasagna making assembly line while I jumped in the shower. Jollene mixed up the ricotta mixture while Stacia and Andrea assembled them in the crockpots. Meanwhile, Robin made sure that all the dishes were being done.

Lasagna Making
LLasagna making assembly line (Amanda Summerlin

Just as they were finishing up, the boys got back from their motorcycle ride. This is when time started going fast for me. F, Jason, and I took some time to go over our ceremony in the front yard and it was then that I realized I was nervous. Jason asked for our input on something and whatever I said must have either sounded stressed out or weird because F just looked at me and said, “Calm down.” I proceeded to put my arm around him and stand there while he and Jason hammered out the last minute details.

Just as we finished up with Jason, Stacia finished washing Sprocket and was heading out for a walk. Since it was time for me to get dressed, I suggested that when she got back, she should bring him upstairs to the apartment where he could hang out with the girls and I could keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t go find some red dirt to roll in while he was still damp (because he absolutely would).

I had a quiet few minutes starting to put my hair in hot rollers before Stacia and Andrea burst in, Sprocket in tow, with two cans of Coors Light for “old times sake.” Andrea even brought in a bowl so I could share my beer with Sprocket. Since I was sort of struggling with the rollers (it’s hard when you can’t see what you’re doing!), Stacia decided to help me out. Fortunately, Amanda made an appearance about then and was able to capture my bridesmaid working wayyy out of her comfort zone. Soon, Jolleen joined us and they worked together on finishing up while Andrea opened a bottle of champagne.

Wedding 20120922-38
Group hair effort. (Amanda Summerlin)

While we were waiting for the curling iron to warm up (we’d run out of curlers for my thick hair), I did my makeup. Sandi and Ashley joined us for some champagne and Ashley helpfully did the final curls and helped me take out the rollers. My mom, aunt, and godmother arrived just in time to help me get into my dress. We all finished off our champagne as Jolleen went to find out where our first look would be and if they were ready.

Sandy and Ashley joined us for the finishing touches.
Me and my mom
Veil adjustments
All smiles.

When she came back upstairs to tell me that we were ready, I felt this big sigh of relief. F and I originally hadn’t planned on seeing each other before the ceremony but I wasn’t nervous exactly, just more a big bundle of energy and being beside F sounded like the place to be.

Ready for the first look.

Wedding, Part 6: How to use Crockpots to Self-Cater A Wedding

We were really conscious all the way through our wedding planning of what was really important and let that guide how we spent our money. One of the big ticket items for a lot of people planning their wedding is food. Catering is expensive wherever you are but we didn’t have many choices in Moab and our wedding wasn’t even going to be in town. I did some checking around to be sure and the final answer was, “Yup, won’t be paying someone to cater!”

Pie and wedding dinner ingredients

Instead, we decided that self-catering was going to be the thing. While there’s a lot of information out there on the internet about how “self-catering” your wedding it seems like even more sources talk about how it’s a lot of work. They also warn you that if you don’t really like to cook and haven’t ever cooked for a crowd that your wedding is probably not the time to start. I really don’t like cooking. And I’m not particularly good at it. Given budget goals, the location, and the relatively small guest list we decided to do it anyway. (I rationalized to my mother that we have fed more people for Thanksgiving…)

Our menu wound up looking like this:

–Crockpot lasagna
–Garlic bread
–Caesar salad

We made two big crockpots and two smaller ones worth of lasagna and it was about perfect for 27 people. For the Caesar salad, we used 5 heads of romaine, also about perfect. For bread, I think we had four loaves. The lasagna went together really fast and if you had access to more crockpots this could absolutely be scaled up to a little bit bigger wedding.

Before the wedding, I tested the lasagna recipe to make sure it was okay in the refrigerator overnight and accidentally found that it was okay to make two days in advance (we forgot to eat it the day after I made it). Between pie baking and relaxing, the lasagnas didn’t get made in advance but Jolleen, Stacia, and Andrea threw them together pretty quickly on Saturday. They also buttered the bread I’d picked up at the grocery store that morning and put it in aluminum foil for heating.

I’d talked to Tasha several weeks before the wedding and asked her to be in charge of wedding meal logistics. Basically this involved putting the bread in the oven to warm, tossing the Caesar salad, and taking the whole lot out to the serving area. From what she told me it was pretty easy to get everything on the table, especially when Vanessa jumped in to help.

 Bottom line? This was a totally workable solution for us. I have really no complaints or things that I’d adjust. And since Tasha doesn’t either and the food got rave reviews, I declare this a major success.

Dishing up food.

Crockpot Sausage Lasagna

Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

8 curly-edged no-cook lasagna noodles broken in half
15 oz. ricotta
1 1/4 c grated Parmesan
1/2 c. minced fresh basil
1 large egg
1 1/2 jars pasta sauce (I use whatever’s on sale.)
1 lb italian sausage removed from casing
4 c. shredded mozzarella (1lb)

In a bowl, mix ricotta, 1 c. Parmesan, basil, egg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Spread 1/2 c. tomato sauce in slow cooker.

Arrange 4 lasagna noodle pieces in slow cooker (overlapping is okay, make them fit the best you can.), then dollop 9 rounded tablespoons of ricotta mixture over noodles. Pinch off one-third of sausage into tablespoon-sized pieces and drop over ricotta (yes, raw…it cooks, promise). Sprinkle with 1 c. mozzarella, then spoon 1/2 c. sauce over top.

Repeat layering of lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, sausage, mozzarella, and sauce twice more.

For final layer, arrange remaining 4 noodles in slow cooker, then top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzerlla and remaining Parmesan.

Cover and cook until lasagna is heated through. About 4hrs on low. Let lasagna cool 20 mins and serve.

Just a random note since this post gets found by Google fairly often (hi, Googlers!), I also did this for a big family meal after my dad’s funeral and it worked out really well. I assembled everything the night before in crockpots and started them when we left for the service. Lasagna is a real crowd pleaser so this makes for an easy way to serve a big crowd.

Wedding, Part 5: Wedding Morning

Ready to run
Pumped for a wedding day run

The run was awesome—I glanced down at my watch as we passed the 5K turnaround just before entering the portal and we were making awesome time. Once we entered the canyon though, neither of us were particularly worried about our time and the scenery left nothing to be desired. As we neared the end of the race, I was feeling awesome. With about four blocks to go, Jolleen encouraged me to push on ahead. I crossed the finish line in 54:34 (8:48 min/mi!); a PR for me!.

Entering the portal
Canyon running

After we took some post race pictures, we headed to Danette’s to borrow her truck so we could pick up the tables and chairs. (We also picked up her daughter Robin who was a huge huge help.) A few quick stops later (at the rental company, at a friends for a crockpot, and at the grocery store for bread) we were cruising down the river road ready for a wedding.

While Jolleen and I were running, F, Ezra, Skye, and Jason were out motorcycle riding at Slickrock. F: “Ezra rocked it. Skye hauled ass. Jason beat the crap out of his poor Reflex. It was awesome.”

F, Jason, Skye, and Ezra
Wedding motorcycle ride