Although I’d been in Washington for a long time, I had to make a quick trip up because my oldest nephew’s dad was getting married!
Before the wedding though, my mom and I had Friday to spend together. I needed new running shoes so I convinced her to drive up to the flagship REI in Seattle so I could have a nice big selection (and still earn a dividend). We had a lovely time shopping together (and she insisted on buying me the dress I wore to the wedding) and then for lunch, I took her to a little spot that a dear friend had shown me a few years ago.
My mom and I both love oysters, especially raw. As we settled into our table, she pointed at a map on the wall and said, “Now I like that map.” I, the map obsessed daughter, laughed, because the map showed Pacific Northwest oyster growing locations.
Midway through our first dozen, Mom declared that we would be getting another. I basically spent the entire meal giggling at how excited she was.
The next morning, Mom had some errands to run so I asked her to drop me off at a trail and I got in some (humid) miles before the wedding.
Although, around the ceremony, it was really hot the wedding was really wonderful. I got lots of Andrew hugs:
They did such a good job of including the kids (all four of them!) including having my sister come up for their parent-kid dance to dance with Drew:
I hate garter tosses and bouquet tosses but watching Andrew and Junior giggle together as they waited was pretty adorable:
Since there was music, there was my family dancing. No one should ever expect differently:
Congratulations JJ and Destiny! I’m so happy to have you both (and your whole crew of munchkins) in my life.
After all the prep work, Saturday morning finally came! There were mimosas, manicures, hairdos, and lots of waiting.
And then, before we knew it, we were all prettied up and ready for a wedding:
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!)
The wedding went off beautifully! Everything was gorgeous and there was seriously the most rocking wedding dance party I’ve ever experienced. Seriously.
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.
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:
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 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!
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:
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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:
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 piebaking 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.
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.
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!.
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.”
Thursday morning, we got up, gathered our things, and prepared to head out to Castle Valley. I drove the jeep out to the house (after making a quick stop at the grocery store for the last pie ingredients) and was really quite delighted to see we’d found a beautiful spot for the wedding. I really wasn’t expecting to have Castleton Tower and Parriott Mesa so right there at our venue.
F arrived not long after I did and we set to work unpacking the van. It didn’t take us too long to get everything unpacked and sorted. I put some elbow grease into cleaning up the BBQ while F washed the patio…there were some rough edges to soften to make it wedding ready! We even took this opportunity to hang up Christmas lights in the trees around the patio—no reason not to enjoy the festiveness for a few extra days!
Tony and Vanessa came out to say hello in the evening and stayed for dinner before heading back to town.We were sort of expecting Thomas and Tasha to arrive in the late afternoon but apparently they had fun exploring in the Salt Lake area and didn’t arrive until nearly 11pm. We stayed up and chatted for awhile trying to wait for Ezra and Jolleen but they didn’t pull into the house until around 1am.
Friday morning, we were up bright and early. Steve, Ezra’s dad, arrived in time for coffee. F was anxious to get out and go riding and I had PIES to bake. Turns out he had to wait for Jason to arrive and I had to wait for measuring cups since there were none in the house (fortunately, Jason called to ask if we needed anything before he drove from town and he brought me some measuring cups and spoons).
Once Jason arrived, it was a flurry of activity as I started furiously making pies and F geared up to head out. Several pies later, my mom and aunt arrived from town to assist me. Several more pies later, Amanda (our photographer) arrived at the house. Pie making continued as the dirt bikers returned and others filtered in from adventures in Arches and the greater Moab area. F’s aunt and uncle arrived from Wyoming with their daughter and her husband.
By the time Stacia and Andrea arrived after their long drive from Denver, it was time go visit Castle Creek Winery. We were all pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wines. The sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and the cabernet sauvignon were all favorites. I had so much fun tasting wine with everyone, it was a really great way to wind down the day.
Back at the house, we had a frozen pizza feast for dinner (thanks Mom!), while people enjoyed some beer and wine on the patio and throughout the house, and then headed for bed.