Tag Archives: weddings

Illinois Trip + Julie & Ryan’s Wedding

Alex and I flew back to Illinois one last time this past weekend to celebrate the nuptials of my wonderful college friend and roommate, Julie, and her now husband, Ryan. Conveniently, Julie grew up in Geneva, Illinois, which is the town right next to Batavia, where Alex’s parents currently live. It works out quite well when I can squeeze in a visit with Julie when I am staying in Batavia with Alex’s parents, and for this trip, it was extra nice since the wedding was so close!

{me with Julie on her wedding day!}

{me with Julie on her wedding day!}

We arrived really, really late on Thursday night/Friday morning. To kick off the wedding events I met Julie, the other bridesmaids and the MOB {mother of the bride!} for coffee in St. Charles, one block away from where the wedding was to be held. I was exhausted to say the least. I’m sure I didn’t make the best company, but it was really nice to see the bride and her entourage while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.

{the lovely bridesmaids with the bride}

{the lovely bridesmaids with the bride}

The weather while we were in Illinois was so nice! It was crisp and cool and I don’t think I saw a cloud the whole time. I was fortunate enough to get two long walks along the Fox River while I was there, one happened to be on Friday afternoon while Alex and Stan were off on their own adventure.

As a member of the bridal party I had rehearsal duty to tend to. The rehearsal and dinner went off without a hitch!

{my handsome date for the rehearsal}

{my handsome date for the rehearsal}

{the bridesmaids coincidentally all dressed alike for the rehearsal}

{the bridesmaids coincidentally all dressed alike for the rehearsal}

{Julie with her brother, Joe}

{Julie with her brother, Joe}

After the rehearsal we made a pit-stop over at the Bailey’s home. The Baileys are family friends of Alex’s parents and recently moved into a new home just seven minutes from Alex’s parents and are almost done with a major renovation. We got to see the house over the summer when it was amidst construction, so it was fun to see all of the progress, particularly Nora’s dream kitchen. Just like my in-laws, I simply adore the Bailey family and always enjoy seeing them when we’re back in Batavia.

{hanging out in the Bailey's kitchen... the island is big enough to fit a couple of beds on it and the entire wall on the right side of the photo is a refrigerator... absolutely amazing!}

{hanging out in the Bailey’s kitchen… the island is big enough to fit a couple of beds on it and the entire wall on the right side of the photo is a refrigerator… absolutely amazing!}

Saturday came bright and early and I ventured off to be a bridesmaid for the day while Alex spent some time with his family. His nana, sister and brother in-law all came over to his parents house, so they got to catch up all afternoon while I was gone doing wedding stuff.

{Julie's stylist nailed her braid and twisty bun!}

{Julie’s stylist nailed her braid and twisty bun!}

{gettin' our hair did...}

{gettin’ our hair did…}

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{all she needs is her white dress now!}

{all she needs is her white dress now!}

{sharing a sweet moment with her dad to help ease the pre-wedding jitters}

{sharing a sweet moment with her dad to help ease the pre-wedding jitters}

{on our way to the church we stopped at a favorite spot of Julie's so she could snap a few pictures}

{on our way to the church we stopped at a favorite spot of Julie’s so she could snap a few pictures}

{the new Mr. & Mrs. Johnson!}

{the new Mr. & Mrs. Johnson!}

{the weather and setting couldn't have been more perfect for Julie and Ryan's photos! the bridal party walked around the grounds of the reception venue for a while, posing in front of barns, on and next to fences and in front of the gorgeous trees lining the property. I can't wait to see how the professional photos turn out!}

{the weather and setting couldn’t have been more perfect for Julie and Ryan’s photos! the bridal party walked around the grounds of the reception venue for a while, posing in front of barns, on and next to fences and in front of the gorgeous trees lining the property. I can’t wait to see how the professional photos turn out!}

{their creative guestbook... canoe paddles!}

{as an ode to their passion for the outdoors, they used canoe paddles as their creative interpretation of a guestbook}

{sadly I don't have any photos of the ceremony since I was standing up with Julie and Ryan}

 

{the reception was at the Dunham Riding Club in St. Charles, Illinois}

{the reception was at the Dunham Riding Club in St. Charles, Illinois}

{cupcakes!}

{cupcakes!}

Julie and Ryan’s wedding was really nice and I so enjoyed being a part of their celebration!

The final full day of our trip was a big and busy one, too! Donna invited her whole family to come watch the Bears game at their house so we could have the opportunity to see people. Thankfully we had a “small” group of only 18 family members who could make it. It was a really nice size group because we were able to spend time with everyone and not feel overwhelmed. Alex has a truly wonderful and loving family and it is such a blessing to be a part of it.

{catching up with Nana while sneaking tastes of the great food that Donna prepared for the big game}

{catching up with Nana while sneaking tastes of the great food that Donna prepared for the big game}

{so great to catch up with these guys!}

{so great to catch up with these guys!}

{go bears!}

{go bears!}

Our last hurrah in Batavia was enjoying Pizza Villa pizza and beer nuggets for dinner while watching Mrs. Doubtfire on Sunday night. Pizza Villa is a restaurant in Alex’s hometown of Dekalb and he has fond memories of eating beer nuggets {basically little pieces of pizza dough that have been fried with Italian spices and you dip them in marinara} and wanted a bit of nostalgia.

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And just like that, our last planned trip to the Midwest of 2015 is behind us! Thanks to our friends and family for being so accommodating and we hope to see you soon 🙂

Midwest Summer Trip

Alex and I just returned from a ten day jaunt around the Midwest. We bounced around from place to place in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and ultimately ended up staying in six cities across the three states. The primary purpose of our trip was to attend a wedding in Illinois one weekend and a wedding in Minnesota the following. We decided to turn it into a ten day trip to squeeze in some time with some family and friends during the week between the weddings.

{picturesque view in Minnesota}

{picturesque view in Minnesota}

The trip began in Illinois where we were attending Alex’s high school friend “AK” {Adam}’s wedding very close to the town where Alex’s parents live. We had a fun day with Alex’s parents before heading north to Alex’s hometown of DeKalb where the rehearsal dinner was taking place on Friday evening. It was really nice to get a chance to re-connect with several of Alex’s friends from high school.

{Alex and AK in front of AK's sporty car}

{Alex and AK in front of AK’s sporty car}

The wedding took place on Saturday at Fisherman’s Inn in Elburn, Illinois. It was a beautiful venue and a gorgeous day for a wedding, albeit a bit muggy! The wedding was quite large, I think there were more than 300 people there to celebrate Adam and Katherine, but the venue did a great job accommodating all of the guests. Alex got a chance to spend some quality time with a bunch of friends from high school. I had met his friends before but this trip reminded me just how nice they all are. He really has a great group of friends back in Illinois.

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{the grounds at Fisherman's Inn}

{the grounds at Fisherman’s Inn}

{the wedding goers! Alex sure made a handsome groomsman if I do say so myself! :)}

{the wedding goers! Alex sure made a handsome groomsman if I do say so myself! :)}

 

After stopping at AK and Katherine’s post-wedding brunch and visiting Nana {Alex’s grandma} for tea on Sunday morning we headed up to “the lake” for a few days. Alex’s parents have a lake home in southern Wisconsin and it had our name on it!

{Lake Delavan, Wisconsin}

{Lake Delavan, Wisconsin}

{loving the time out on the boat - we took several boat rides and got to test out the new waverunner!}

{loving the time out on the boat – we took several boat rides and got to test out the new waverunner!}

{me and my beautiful mother in-law!}

{me and my beautiful mother in-law!}

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{we saved our water ski day for the last morning and all four of us took turns water skiing.}

{we saved our water ski day for the last morning and all four of us took turns water skiing.}

Our time in Illinois came to a close quite quickly. We spent our last night in Chicago with Alina and Alberto and got to stay in their new apartment! It was the most relaxing part of our trip because of the time at the lake, and it was also really, really enjoyable to spend such meaningful time with Alex’s high school friends. They are such genuine, considerate people and they’re great friends, too!

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We landed in Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and headed to the cabinet showroom. Yep. That was our first stop. My brother is remodeling our bathroom this fall and he wanted us to check out some cabinet options so we checked that off the list right away. The rest of the day was spent with my dad.

{we had a really nice walk around Lake Harriett in Minneapolis}

{we had a really nice walk around Lake Harriett in Minneapolis}

{after our walk we headed over to Loring Park where Alex and I got to meet my dad's partner, Fred (yes, they have the same name), and enjoy a really nice dinner at Loring Street Kitchen}

{after our walk we headed over to Loring Park where Alex and I got to meet my dad’s partner and enjoy a really nice dinner at Loring Kitchen & Bar}

Thursday was my mom’s day. It got a bit ridiculous when I started scheduling everything out to make sure I fit in time with my parents, so my mom got one whole day and my dad got two half days. That’s the way it has to be sometimes!

{We headed to Taylor's Falls, about 30-45 minutes outside the Twin Cities, which is on the St Croix River, for a hike}

{We headed to Taylor’s Falls, about 30-45 minutes outside the Twin Cities, which is on the St Croix River, for a hike}

{we were going to kayak down part of the river but one of us got a little too sunburned on the boat in Wisconsin...}

{we were going to kayak down part of the river but one of us got a little too sunburned on the boat in Wisconsin…}

{After our hike we came back to my mom's house for some time in the pool! It was just what we needed - a nice cooldown and relaxation time. My friend Kelsey and her boyfriend Franc joined us later on for dinner.}

{After our hike we came back to my mom’s house for some time in the pool! It was just what we needed – a nice cooldown and relaxation time. My friend Kelsey and her boyfriend Franc joined us later on for dinner.}

{I also got to enjoy my brother's company that night, too!}

{I also got to enjoy my brother’s company that night, too!}

For the second part of my dad’s day we went out to breakfast, stopped by my friend Cammy’s new fixer-upper {I cannot wait to see the finished product!!} and then took a stroll through the White Bear Lake Farmer’s Market. It was a nice leisurely day before we had to head out to Lake Minnetonka for the rehearsal dinner for Sammy and Amy’s wedding.

{the rehearsal dinner took place on a boat called Lady of the Lake, which was chartered for a 3-hour cruise around Lake Minnetonka. Alex had never been on the lake before, and I hadn't been since I was a kid. It was super nostalgic for me, and it was fun to see how much Alex enjoyed it too!}

{the rehearsal dinner took place on a boat called Lady of the Lake, which was chartered for a 3-hour cruise around Lake Minnetonka. Alex had never been on the lake before, and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. It was super nostalgic for me, and it was fun to see how much Alex enjoyed it too!}

{Sammy, whose real name is John, and Alex were nextdoor neighbors our sophomore year of college. Sammy's roommate was a high school classmate of mine. It goes without saying that because of their similar senses of humor, the three guys became great friends very quickly! We are so happy for Sammy and Amy and it was a pleasure to go back and attend their wedding.}

{Sammy, whose name is actually John, and Alex were nextdoor neighbors our sophomore year of college. Sammy’s roommate, Phil, was a high school classmate of mine. It goes without saying that because of their similar senses of humor, the three guys became great friends very quickly! We are so happy for Sammy and Amy and it was a pleasure to go back and attend their wedding.}

Saturday was hands-down the most crazy day of our trip. It was a really fun day filled with seeing old friends, but we bounced around from the northwest corner of the Twin Cities to the northeast corner and then back down to the southwest corner for the wedding before heading to the airport at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. Ay caramba!

{Steph and Molly came over to Sarah's house for brunch with their kids on Saturday morning. Sarah and Mike live near where we were on Lake Minnetonka the night before, so they graciously drove us to and from the rehearsal and we spent the night at their beautiful home. I hadn't met Steph's seven month-old son yet, so this was a perfect chance to do so!}

{Steph and Molly came over to Sarah’s house for brunch with their kids on Saturday morning. Sarah and Mike live near where we were on Lake Minnetonka the night before, so they graciously drove us to and from the rehearsal and we spent the night at their beautiful home. I hadn’t met Steph’s seven month-old son yet, so this was a perfect chance to do so!}

{After brunch we trekked across town back to Mahtomedi, where I grew up, for my friend Kailey's son's first birthday party. I am really glad we squeezed this in. It was a perfect lake setting and I loved catching up with my girlfriends!}

{After brunch we trekked across town back to Mahtomedi, where I grew up, for my friend Kailey’s son’s first birthday party. I am really glad we squeezed this in. It was a perfect lake setting and I loved catching up with my girlfriends!}

{this was the most relaxing first birthday party I've ever been to!}

{this was the most relaxing first birthday party I’ve ever been to!}

{we ended our evening at Sammy and Amy's wedding in Chaska. We got to catch up with Phil and Anja, two of my high school classmates, and Phil was Sammy's roommate when they lived next door to Alex. It was really great to get a chance to spend time with them.  Yes, we had a little fun in the photo booth!}

{we ended our evening at Sammy and Amy’s wedding in Chaska. We got to catch up with Phil and Anja, two of my high school classmates, and Phil was Sammy’s roommate when they lived next door to Alex. It was really great to get a chance to spend time with them. Yes, we had a little fun in the photo booth!}

The trip overall was fantastic and crazy. It’s never very relaxing when we go back to the Midwest, but I feel like we did manage to squeeze in a few days where we didn’t have a ton going on. I am so unbelievably grateful for the friends we got to see while we were back. It’s truly incredible and makes my eyes water a bit just thinking about how many wonderful life-long friends we both have and how easy it is for us to go a year {or several!} without seeing each other and pick things up like we saw them yesterday. I especially enjoyed spending time with Alex’s high school friends – it’s really rare and I so, so, so enjoyed them. I only wish we could have seen all of our friends and family members, but it’s next to impossible to make it work when we’re back for such a short time.

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Thanks to our friends and family for a wonderful time! We hope to see you all soon {come visit us!} 🙂

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Weekend in Chicago

This past weekend we hopped on a plane and headed to Chicago for a few days with Alex’s family. Alex’s cousin Josh was getting married, which prompted the trip, but we took an extra day to spend with Alex’s sister and her husband in the city.

{quick selfie at Josh & Janessa's wedding}

{quick selfie at Josh & Janessa’s wedding}

We flew in late Thursday night by way of Alaska Airlines, our new favorite airline. Alaska is nothing short of amazing – we had such a great flying experience. Alina and Alberto picked us up and whisked us off to their apartment in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago. They just bought a new apartment a few blocks away but don’t close for a week so we weren’t able to see it quite yet.

{Alex and Alberto had a good time smoking hookah together}

{Alex and Alberto had a good time smoking hookah together out on the porch}

Our time in Chicago was quick and the weather was horrible. The predicted high on Friday, our only day in the city, was 86 degrees and it was supposed to rain. In reality it might have gotten to 55 or 60 degrees with a nice, consistent drizzle. Alex and I were not prepared for the chilly, rainy weather {go figure}, so after Alina and I went to yoga the four of us headed to a nearby neighborhood for lunch and a stroll.

{the neighborhood we stopped at was very Swedish so we popped into a Swedish bakery and got some treats}

{the neighborhood we stopped at was very Swedish so we popped into a Swedish bakery and got some treats}

That night we had an awesome dinner at Gather, a restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is close to Alina and Alberto’s place. The restaurant specializes in sharable plates, so we got a bunch of stuff to share. Everything was delicious! We had a really nice evening together.

{great evening out in Chicago!}

{great evening out in Chicago!}

Saturday morning we drove west to Batavia where Alex’s parents live. I had a brunch to attend in the nearby town of Geneva which was planned to honor my college friend Julie, who is getting married in October. It was really nice to spend some time with Julie and two of the other bridesmaids, plus it was a really nice morning.

{bridesmaids brunch!}

{bridesmaids brunch!}

That evening we were joined by Alex’s cousin Bryan, and his wife, Sarah, and some friends of Alina’s, Atalie and Ben, as we went to Josh and Janessa’s wedding. By mid-afternoon it was hot. Hot and huuuumid. And there were looming storms on the horizon. Perfect weather for a barn/outdoor wedding!

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The wedding was held at Heritage Prairie Farms in Elburn, Illinois. The property was beautiful – lush, rolling grass and gardens, along with a few barns, a cute little house and a huge party tent. Josh, the groom, is Alex’s cousin, but they also graduated in the same class from the same high school, so while this was a family wedding, it was also a “friend” wedding where Alex got to see a lot of his old high school classmates.

{all dressed up and ready to go!}

{all dressed up and ready to go!}

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{the lovely property}

{the lovely property}

{inside the barn where the ceremony took place}

{inside the barn where the ceremony took place}

{the reception tent - thank goodness we had a covered spot because it POURED later on in the evening}

{the reception tent – thank goodness we had a covered spot because it POURED later on in the evening}

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{Bryan and Sarah :)}

{Bryan and Sarah :)}

{The cake cutting!}

{The cake cutting!}

{Alex and me with Stacy, Alex's cousin, and Alberto}

{Alex and me with Stacy, Alex’s cousin, and Alberto}

The evening was really nice. We had a great time seeing Alex’s family, dancing and catching up with Alex’s old friends from high school.

{Alina and Josh}

{Alina and Josh}

Our last day in Illinois was fairly low-key. We spent the morning just lounging around, chatting and hanging out. Bryan, Sarah, Atalie and Ben stayed over at Alex’s parents house, so it was nice for everyone to have more time together. I had one more bridal party affair to attend – I had my friend Julie’s bridal shower on Sunday afternoon, followed by a quick stop at the Bailey’s {family friends of Alex’s parents} new house.

{the bridesmaids with the blushing bride (Julie is in the middle)}

{the bridesmaids with the blushing bride (Julie is in the middle)}

We had a really nice trip. It’s always great to catch up with Alex’s family – plus it had been quite some time since I had been back in Batavia and Chicago. But, it won’t be long before we’ll be back again…

Comb Family Trip to Seattle

A big part of the Comb family made the long trek out to Seattle this past weekend for my cousin Jonathan’s wedding. My dad, Fred; brother, John; and aunt Janny (my dad’s sister) all came out for a long weekend from Minnesota. We squeezed a lot into our time together, including a trip around the Olympic Peninsula, lots of family time and a fair amount of eating.

{getting the trip started off right at Bottlehouse!}

{getting the trip started off right at Bottlehouse!}

Shortly after everyone arrived on Thursday night we headed to Bottlehouse for dinner and some amazing wine.

Just after dinner I had to take Alex to the airport for him to catch a flight to Chicago to surprise his dad at his retirement party. More on that in another post!

Friday morning came bright and early and we set off for our 15 hour tour of the Olympic Peninsula.

{family ferry ride}

{family ferry ride}

{view of downtown Seattle from the ferry}

{view of downtown Seattle from the ferry}

{Jackson came with us for the trip and experienced his first ferry ride}

{Jackson came with us for the trip and experienced his first ferry ride}

{Hurricane Ridge}

{Hurricane Ridge – our first stop of the day. Hurricane Ridge is on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle – when you look across the Sound over to the Olympic mountains you are essentially looking over to Hurricane Ridge.}

{Enjoying the view - they were looking north towards the San Juan Islands and Canada!}

{Enjoying the view – they were looking north towards the San Juan Islands and Canada!}

{Fred and Jan having a great time together}

{Fred and Jan having a great time together with the Olympics in the background}

{John and me - it's hard to get this kid to smile in pictures for some reason}

{John and me – it’s hard to get this kid to smile in pictures for some reason}

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{stop two: Crescent Lake for a picnic}

{stop two: Crescent Lake for a picnic}

{Jackson got to take a quick swim}

{Jackson got to take a quick swim in Crescent Lake – notice the color of the lake – it is really exquisite!}

{We drove just over an hour around the peninsula to the coast side. Just past Forks, WA is Ruby Beach, which was our next destination.}

{We drove just over an hour around the peninsula to the coast side. Just past Forks, WA is Ruby Beach, which was our next destination.}

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{There is something about the coast that makes it foggy when the rest of the peninsula is clear and sunny - the temperature dropped about 15 degrees here too!}

{There is something about the coast that makes it foggy when the rest of the peninsula is clear and sunny – the temperature dropped about 15 degrees here too!}

{Jackson was having a great time at the beach!}

{Jackson was having a great time at the beach!}

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{Our final stop was at the Quinalt Rainforest. Here we saw the world's largest sitka spruce tree, a 600-year old cedar tree, and, of course, the Quinalt Rainforest. This was the last destination of our 15-hour road trip.}

{Our final stop was at the Quinalt Rainforest. Here we saw the world’s largest sitka spruce tree, a 600-year old cedar tree, and, of course, the Quinalt Rainforest. This was the last destination of our 15-hour road trip.}

The theme of Saturday was Jonathan and Kelly’s wedding. Their ceremony wasn’t until late afternoon, so we started our day with breakfast at the Hi Spot, followed by a quick trip downtown.

 

{John really wanted to do the Underground Tour while he was here, so we made that happen. The tour is a comedic history lesson that provides a look under Seattle's sidewalks and roadways into the underground space.}

{John really wanted to do the Underground Tour while he was here, so we made that happen. The tour is a comedic history lesson that provides a look under Seattle’s sidewalks and roadways into the underground space.}

{Tried to go up to the Smith Tower observation deck but I guess they don't allow visitors anymore!}

{Tried to go up to the Smith Tower observation deck but I guess they don’t allow visitors anymore!}

{So we headed up to the Columbia Tower and had coffee on the 40th floor instead of paying $15 to check out the observation deck}

{So we headed up to the Columbia Tower and had coffee on the 40th floor instead of paying $15 to check out the observation deck}

{New bike program! It's like we're a real city now!}

{New bike program! It’s like we’re a real city now!}

Jonathan and Kelly’s wedding took place at the Washington Park Arboretum, which is in Seattle, just about 2 miles north of my house. The bride and groom are both very into nature so the arboretum was the perfect location for their nuptials to take place at, if you ask me. The wedding was very casual, low-key and very much celebratory. It was a perfect party to honor Jonathan and Kelly and their love for each other!

{Jonathan and Kelly walked down the aisle together to the song "Latch", which was beautiful. I always love it when the couple walks down the aisle together for some reason. Something new I had never seen before was that their parents were all waiting for them at the altar. A really sweet touch!}

{Jonathan and Kelly walked down the aisle together to the song “Latch”, which was beautiful. I always love it when the couple walks down the aisle together for some reason. Something new I had never seen before was that their parents were all waiting for them at the altar. A really sweet touch!}

{Both the bride and the groom looked exceptional! I'm guessing I'll never see Kelly in a dress again, but she sure pulled off her short white lace dress and adorable white lace ballet flats!}

{Both the bride and the groom looked exceptional! I’m guessing I’ll never see Kelly in a dress again, but she sure pulled off her short white lace dress and adorable white lace ballet flats!}

{sweet touches - the place cards were origami cranes!}

{sweet touches – the place cards were origami cranes!}

{beautiful setting for Jon & Kelly's wedding!}

{beautiful setting for Jon & Kelly’s wedding!}

We had a great time seeing family and witnessing the incredible network of friends they have in Seattle. Both Jonathan and Kelly grew up in Seattle and went to college in Washington and have amassed quite a crew of friends, which is fantastic.

 

{Jon and John hanging out with baby Henry}

{Jon and John hanging out with baby Henry}

{the guys!}

{the guys!}

{the proud new dad!}

{the proud new dad!}

{The weather was just perfect for Jon and Kelly's wedding. We really had a great time!}

{The weather was just perfect for Jon and Kelly’s wedding. We really had a great time!}

First thing on Sunday morning I headed to the airport to pick up Alex from his trip to Illinois, then we swung back by our house and grabbed the gang and drove over to my aunt Cathy and uncle Michael’s home for a post-wedding brunch. Their home is on an incredible piece of property – they live on what’s called the Montlake Cut – it’s a canal that connects Lake Union to Lake Washington and there are so many fancy boats that pass through – enormous sail boats, yachts, kayaks, charter cruises, speedboats, cigar boats… you name it, we probably saw it!

{View from the backyard looking onto the Montlake Cut}

{View from the backyard looking onto the Montlake Cut. Across the water is the University of Washington campus – particularly the medical school buildings.}

{Cathy & Michael's backyard}

{Cathy & Michael’s backyard}

It was really nice to catch up with our family members. My dad’s sister, Cathy, and her husband, Michael, moved out to Seattle in the 70s and never left. Their two kids, Chris and Jon, grew up in Seattle, just about 2 or 3 miles north of where I live, and they both seem like they are staying put in Seattle, at least for now.

{The extended Comb family who was present for the wedding}

{The extended Comb family who was present for the wedding, which now includes Kelly – welcome to the family!}

Chris and his wife Heidi just had a baby {Henry} six weeks ago and I am really happy that my dad, Janny and John got to meet him during their trip. While my dad and John come to visit me fairly regularly, Janny hadn’t been out to visit since Jonathan graduated from college 7 or 8 years ago and I know she really enjoyed spending time with her Seattle family and re-visiting the city.

{Fred getting a chance to feed baby Henry!}

{Fred getting a chance to feed baby Henry!}

Sunday afternoon was pretty low-key. Janny stayed with Cathy for the remainder of the trip, while the guys and I just headed back to my house to relax for the afternoon. We did head out to Bottlehouse for a quick glass of sangria before venturing to the newest restaurant in our neighborhood called Vendemmia. It’s an Italian restaurant with fresh, homemade pasta and it was exceptional.

Our final day was also pretty relaxing. We had lunch out at Hi Spot then ran over to pick Jan up before driving over to West Seattle to Chris and Heidi’s home to spend some time with Heidi and baby Henry. It was a great end to our trip and time together. I am looking forward to their next trip out here!

Dave + Trish’s Suncadia Wedding

We had a blast celebrating the marriage of our friends Dave and Trish this past weekend in Suncadia, a mountain resort just past Snoqualmie Pass. The setting was incredible! Suncadia is a mountain-modern style resort and its backdrop is tree-lined mountains, so, really, you don’t need much more than that and a great couple to have an awesome wedding.

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Trish and Dave are really good friends of Carrie and Patrick, which is who set them up and how we know them. We are so looking forward to spending more time with the happy couple now that things will {hopefully} settle down since they’re not planning their wedding anymore. They are a couple that loves to travel and have a good time! We have a lot in common 🙂

Back to the wedding! We drove to Suncadia with Ryan and Mary and arrived just in time for lunch. We stopped in the town of Roslyn for lunch at The Brick, which may or may not be the oldest bar in Washington {depends on who you ask, I hear}. We loved both the town and the bar – the people were so friendly and the atmosphere was awesome.

Suncadia

Once we pulled into Suncadia we knew we were in for a treat. Our first stop was the bar followed by the pool. Hey, we were on vacation… The weather was gorgeous. It was a really nice temperature with partly cloudy skies, so it didn’t get too hot for our outdoor adventures. We hung by the pool for an hour or two before heading into the lodge to get ready for the wedding.

{this is a real berry press!}

{this is a real berry press!}

The ceremony took place overlooking the golf course and the mountains. Dave and Trish had their sister in-law officiate the wedding. It was short, sweet and to the point. There wasn’t much chatter involved except for their amazing personalized vows {Alex and Ryan even teared up!!}, the ring exchange and the presentation of Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard.

{picture-perfect backdrop for a mountain wedding}

{picture-perfect backdrop for a mountain wedding}

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{these were their programs - they doubled as fans in case it was too hot}

{these were their programs – they doubled as fans in case it was too hot}

{the programs were really creative infographics that told the story of the couple and their family. I have never seen anything like it before}

{the programs were really creative infographics that told the story of the couple and their family. I have never seen anything like it before}

{one of my favorite touches of the whole event was that the chair in the front on the groom's side was reserved for Dave's mother who passed away. It was a tear-jerker just looking at the empty chair with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on it}

{one of my favorite touches of the whole event was that the chair in the front on the groom’s side was reserved for Dave’s mother who had passed away. It was a tear-jerker just looking at the empty chair with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on it}

 

The whole evening was so lovely. Trish did an incredible job making the wedding personal to them, but she also added creative touches that you don’t see all over the internet and at every other wedding. She really outdid herself.

{for their guest book they had polaroid cameras + hilarious props and had their guests take photos of themselves and write a note to the bride and groom}

{for their guest book they had polaroid cameras + hilarious props and had their guests take photos of themselves and write a note to the bride and groom}

{beautiful cupcake table}

{beautiful cupcake table}

{gold and persimmon were two of the colors of the event}

{gold and persimmon were two of the colors of the event}

{the flowers in the centerpieces were stunning!}

{the flowers in the centerpieces were stunning!}

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{the Millers}

{the Millers}

We had an awesome time dancing the whole night and were happy to sleep in a bit on Sunday. The best part was that the celebration continued with a brunch the next morning. After we finished eating to soak up the remnants of the night before we set out on a little hike down to the river. It was such a gorgeous property!

{down by the river}

{down by the river}

{The Buffingtons}

{The Buffingtons}

{The Millers}

{The Millers}

Congratulations to the Hilliards!!

Bryan + Sarah’s Lake Geneva Wedding

Last weekend Alex and I jetted off to Wisconsin to attend Bryan and Sarah’s wonderful Lake Geneva wedding. Bryan is Alex’s cousin and we both went to Iowa State University with Bryan, Alex even roomed with him during our senior year.

I have to start this post with a few throwbacks to our college days… I was searching for some good ones and you better believe I found some gems…

{Cousins @ VEISHEA}

{Cousins @ VEISHEA – I am certain there was water in those Solo cups…}

{Bryan and Alex cheering on the always losing Cyclones}

{Bryan and Alex cheering on the always losing Cyclones}

{Halloween 2007}

{Halloween 2007}

{Bryan and me at 2007 VEISHEA}

{Bryan and me at 2007 VEISHEA}

{Me with Bryan and Alex at my 22nd birthday... man those boys had long hair!}

{Me with Bryan and Alex at my 22nd birthday… man those boys had long hair!}

 

Given their history and friendship, it was no surprise to hear that Bryan asked Alex to be his best man. I know Alex was honored to serve out that role. They all had an awesome time celebrating Bryan becoming a husband at his bachelor party in Chicago the weekend before. Alex had a great time planning the big hurrah and found a perfect bachelor pad next to Wrigley Field that came complete with a bar, urinals and a pool table.

{Alex and his cousins Jordan and Josh}

{Alex and his cousins Jordan and Josh}

On to the wedding! The vows took place at the Grand Geneva Resort right next to the pool {their event drew a crowd of lookie lous!} but overlooking the lake and golf course. It was a beautiful setting.

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The bridesmaids were absolutely adorable. Every last one of them was so darn cute! I loved the light peach colored dresses and they looked great next to the guys’ gray tuxedos.

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

Wanting a really personalized wedding ceremony, Bryan and Sarah asked one of their friends to officiate. It was Matt’s first wedding to preside over, and he nailed it! He kept it sweet, to the point and was well-rehearsed. You could clearly tell he was a genuine person and friend to the happy couple.

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After the ceremony we took the adorable trolleys to the “Mountain Top” which is a Wisconsin ski hill {emphasis on hill – if I could say “bump” I would…} on the property of the Grand Geneva Resort.

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The reception took place inside the ski chalet. Bryan and Sarah decorated the space with some rustic touches, like twigs and candles in mason jars, as well as romantic gestures through lighted draping over the dance floor.

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Pinterest was definitely involved in this wedding! Sarah executed on a number of adorable little details that made the day extra special, like the “Love is Sweet” candy bar, and the welcome bags that were in each room at the resort.

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Both the maid of honor and best man’s speeches were really heartfelt and mustered up a few laughs from the guests.

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We had a really nice time visiting with Alex’s family members during the cocktail hour and dinner.

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We so seldom see them that it’s always nice to get to catch up with his extended family, and I enjoyed connecting with his cousin Stacy, whom I had only met once before.

{Alina, Alex and Alberto}

{Alina, Alex and Alberto}

The evening went off without a hitch and it’s safe to say everyone had a great time!

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Finally, I really want to share their same-day wedding video. Seriously, watch this. Their videographer was AWESOME. They had a drone filming and the videographer edited this video and showed it at the wedding. Truly impressive!

Congratulations Bryan and Sarah!!

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Stan the Man

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was last weekend’s destination. We attended the wedding of Alex’s cousin Bryan and his now wife, Sarah, where Alex was honored to stand up as Bryan’s best man. After a very early flight on Friday morning and a quick layover in Chicago we landed in Milwaukee just before 2:00 in the afternoon, which gave us just enough time to check in to our hotel, get changed and for Alex to head to the rehearsal.

The groom {center}, his best man {Alex} and one of his groomsmen

The groom {center}, his best man {Alex} and one of his groomsmen on the boat for the rehearsal dinner

The wedding took place at the Grand Geneva Resort, which, fun fact, was built as a Playboy Club by Hugh Hefner in the 1960s. Now it’s a family-friendly resort, complete with a ski “mountain” and a nightclub that also hosts random Playboy events and rockstars, such as Def Leppard, as it did this weekend. The resort was great – we really enjoyed our stay there.

Once we got settled Alex headed down to the rehearsal while I met up with Alex’s family. It was so nice to get caught up with his extended and immediate family. Shortly thereafter we all piled into a few adorable trolleys that had been commissioned as our transportation for the evening down to the town of Lake Geneva. We were hopping on a boat cruise for the rehearsal dinner.

{The bride did an awesome job of mastering the art of the little details throughout the wedding weekend}

{The bride did an awesome job of mastering the art of the little details throughout the wedding weekend}

We set sail for a mid-evening sunset cruise on one of Lake Geneva’s famous mail delivery boats. Bryan and Sarah arranged a bar, of course, and Gino’s East pizza. If you’ve ever been to Chicago you understand the importance of deep-dish pizza. Gino’s makes some darn good deep-dish! It had been a while since I had indulged, but it was worth the wait.

Since Alex’s parents have a lake home on Lake Delavan, which is right next to Lake Geneva, I have spent quite a bit of time in the area and had been to Lake Geneva recently, but never out on the lake. There’s an adorable downtown with restaurants and shops that is right along the water’s edge. The lake itself is huge. I don’t know accurate statistics, so “huge” is going to have to do it. It’s not like a great lake, just a really big lake. The homes, mostly vacation homes, are incredibly beautiful and tasteful and include the Wrigley family estate {think Wrigley Field}, among other notable Chicago families. I had a great time just looking at all of the homes, not to mention meeting some of Bryan and Sarah’s friends and catching up with Alex’s family.

{Stan the Man and Alex}

{Stan the Man and Alex}

Friday came and went. Then the wedding day was here! With Alex being the best man I knew he would have a lot of responsibilities that day so I planned accordingly and was content to go park myself in a chair by the pool. Alex and I ordered room service for breakfast so that he could work on a computer project for Bryan and put his best man speech together. Gotta love last minute preparations!

Once he was all done it was time for him to get into his tux and head down to take pictures with the rest of the groomsmen. I took that as my cue to head to the pool! I thoroughly enjoyed a couple hours to myself with my Kindle {I was reading Unbroken by Laura Hildebrant, which I later finished and loved!}, umbrella drink and gigantic salad.

Fast forward a few hours and it was wedding time! The weather had been partly cloudy all day and depending on which weather forecast you looked at it was calling for a chance of rain or storms. Neither of which was good for an outdoor wedding… Thankfully the weather held off and actually was quite gorgeous, albeit a bit warm, and the outdoor wedding went off without a hitch! We had an awesome time celebrating the marriage of Bryan and Sarah and are so thankful that they’re in our lives. Stay tuned for a special post just about the wedding!

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

It’s always amazing how quickly weddings are just over. There is so much planning and anticipation and then the day comes and ends before you can hardly bat an eye. I remember that feeling from my own wedding, but this one seemed to come and go extra fast! We had a great time but were also looking forward to some down time with Alex’s family at their lake home the next day. We were able to make it over there around 11:00 and spent the rest of the day eating, hanging out, playing bags, going for a boat ride/out on the waverunner and doing more eating and drinking.

{Alina and Alberto taking a spin on the waverunner}

{Alina and Alberto taking a spin on the waverunner}

Mid-afternoon my college roommate Julie and her fiancee, Ryan, stopped over from their home in Madison. I hadn’t seen Julie since last fall and it had been since our wedding since I saw {and met} Ryan, so it was so good to catch up with them. Julie and I studied abroad together in Spain, which is how we became such good friends, then we lived together in an apartment our senior year. Now Julie is working on her PhD at the University of Madison while planning her 2015 wedding.

{Ryan and Julie}

{Ryan and Julie}

We had such a great day in Lake Delavan and loved catching up with everyone, including Alex’s parents, his sister and our brother in-law. I just hope we can see Julie and Ryan again before their wedding next fall!

{Time for a dip!}

{Time for a dip!}

The next day Alina and Alberto left very early to head into Chicago. They both just moved to Illinois from New York after spending close to two months in Italy/Europe this summer after their wedding. Alberto stayed in Italy with his family for an extra two weeks while Alina came back early to start her new job. It will be SO nice to have them in Illinois. We rarely saw Alina and Alberto when they were living in New York because it is really hard to do a coast to coast trip. We’re looking forward to the close proximity of the two of them, and also we are happy for Stan and Donna that they’re closeby.

{Alex and me with Julie and Ryan}

{Alex and me with Julie and Ryan}

Monday was another great day of R&R. We took the waverunner out and sat by the pool. It was quite nice if I do say so myself!

Our flight back to Seattle was scheduled through Milwaukee because it’s closer to Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan, so we thought it would be easier than flying into Chicago, even though we selected a flight that had a layover in Chicago. Once we landed at O’Hare on the way to the wedding we realized how dumb it was to fly into Milwaukee and fly through O’Hare. It was literally a 15 minute flight from O’Hare to Milwaukee. Our layover between flights was longer than the time we were on the plane. It took longer for us to board the plane than it did for us to fly between airports. Oye. So, mid-afternoon on Monday, Stan drove us an hour east to the Milwaukee airport for our 6:30 flight.

The flight was on-time. Until it wasn’t. Once we arrived and settled in at the gate we were informed that the flight had been filled with too much fuel in Chicago, where it was coming from, and they would have to burn it off before they could fly it to Milwaukee. Long story short, the plane was an hour and a half late and we missed our connecting flight in Chicago to Seattle. That meant that Stan came to O’Hare to pick us up at 9:15 p.m. and took us back to their home in Batavia. And yes, it also meant that he got to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to take us back to O’Hare the next morning for our 8:20 flight.

To put this in perspective, Stan drove us one hour east to Milwaukee, then at least two hours southwest {probably more like three hours, given that it was during Chicago and Milwaukee’s rushhour}, passing O’Hare to Batavia. He unpacked from his weekend at the lake then turned around and drove 45 minutes east to O’Hare, picked us up and drove 45 minutes west to Batavia. Stan really is the man!!

Oh the joys of flying! We’re home now and couldn’t be happier….

Cam + Adam’s Wedding

Alex and I were recently in Minnesota attending my good friend from high school, Cammy, and her now husband’s wedding. Their wedding took place in White Bear Lake on July 12th. My apologies in advance… I hardly took any photos!

Maht Girls

High school girl friends with the bride! Kailey was such a good sport. She was 38ish weeks pregnant and served as one of Cammy’s beautiful bridesmaids. She has since delivered a healthy baby boy named Samuel. {Photo credit goes to Barb!}

The original plan was for an outdoor ceremony at Matoska Park right on White Bear Lake. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate so they had to move the ceremony indoors to the same location as the reception. Luckily for them it was a great backup venue and it ended up working out just fine.

{this is what happens when your husband and bff steal your phone!}

{this is what happens when your husband and bff steal your phone!}

Having been friends with Cammy since sixth grade I know her style quite well. She has always had a very classic style with a bit of a trendy twist in there. If you took a picture of all of us girls and cut off our heads it would be pretty funny to see how different our styles are. Cammy’s, though, would be the most defined, in my opinion.

On her wedding day her true self really shined through. She always looks great but she looked like her most genuine self. Her hair was total 20s style and her dress… oh her dress… She bought a {vintage?} wedding dress, a bunch of lacy fabric and completely re-created the dress to be totally custom to her fabulous style. See for yourself… I stole this picture from her:

Cammy

{did I mention her mother is a master gardener?}

Their wedding had a lot of creative, un-traditional elements that incorporated their personalities and style. These two are pretty unique and special and their wedding highlighted a lot of their awesome quirks. Adams love of trees and their adoration of nature was apparent in their wedding invitation, table numbers, flowers and ceremony. Cammy’s vintage style was highlighted in the details and decor.

{The wedding was at the Kellerman Event Center. This photo is horrible, but the venue was beautiful with exposed beams and dark wood ceilings and floors. I loved the long tables.}

{The wedding was at the Kellerman Event Center. This photo is horrible, but the venue was beautiful with exposed beams and dark wood ceilings and floors. I loved the long tables.}

Cammy searched high and low for vintage plates. She hit the jackpot and they looked awesome with the gold flatware!

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{Each plate was different!}

{Each plate was different!}

Aside from the wedding itself, it was wonderful to have a chance to catch up with my high school girl friends and their husbands.

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A Weekend in Minnesota

On our way back from our recent trip to Europe, Alex and I made a pit stop in Minnesota to spend some time with my family, celebrate my dad’s big birthday and to attend my good friend’s wedding.

Beautiful Lake Shaimeau

Beautiful Lake Shaimeau

As we always do when we go back to our respective hometowns, we had a jam-packed schedule. My mom picked us up from the airport when we arrived and whisked us away to her backyard oasis. She knew just what we’d be in the mood for after being away from American food for a month! She cooked us kabobs, lots of fruit and veggies, and of course, wine.

It was a quick visit with my mom, but I was thankful to have an excuse to spend an evening with her. We were pretty beat after a very looooong day of travel so we didn’t stay up too late chatting with my dad when we got over to his house to stay later that evening.

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The next morning we were up bright and early, ready to head up to my family’s lake home to relax and celebrate my dad’s birthday.

I had heard from my dad that there had been an unusual amount of rain and because of that the lake was up very high; he had already had to raise the dock up twice that summer. I was glad, though, that I had some forewarning of what was to come when we arrived.

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The water was even higher than it was the previous weekend when my dad was up at the cabin. The driveway was now one with the lake in its low spots. The four feet of grass between the cabin and the lake was no more. There was at least six inches of water in the basement {about 12 years ago we had to fill in the basement with sand because the lake level had come up so high – the basement hadn’t been used in years prior, already}. The lake level was almost even with the top of our dock, which now needed to be raised a third time.

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Seeing the lake like that and realizing that the cabin is in grave danger of potentially not withstanding the winter really put a damper on my usual upbeat self.

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I was able to snap out of it and remember that we had a birthday to celebrate! My dad’s 60th birthday was the next day, but we would only get to spend a few hours with him that day. To celebrate his birthday a day early we enjoyed a wonderful meal of steaks on the grill and big slices of cherry pie a la mode.

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I found a custom sign company on Etsy and ordered a sign for the cabin as a gift to my dad, which is now proudly displayed alongside the bayonet when you walk in the door.

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Aside from the sight of the lake and not knowing the fate of the cabin over the next 9 months we had such a nice time relaxing and catching up with my dad. My family shares the property with my great aunt and her children so we were also able to catch up with them, most of whom I hadn’t seen in a few years.

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Our time at the cabin was very brief. The next day we needed to leave by noon to make it back to White Bear Lake for Cammy and Adam’s wedding. We had an awesome time catching up with my friends from high school and watching the union of such a wonderful couple. More to come on the wedding…

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That pretty much sums up our quick weekend in Minnesota! We flew back to Seattle Sunday morning and began getting settled into our normal life again…

If you’re wondering the fate of our cabin, my dad has three rows of sandbags to protect the structure from waves and an increasing lake level. He plans to replace or support the foundation before winter comes, as well as re-grade the yard around the cabin again. Last weekend he got a new sump pump to drain the water from the basement. His effort was successful, but now they need to bring in more sand under the house. Hopefully with a dry basement there will be no/reduced risk of this winter’s freeze cracking the foundation.

{photo credit goes to my dad}

{photo credit goes to my dad}

An Italian-American Wedding: Alina + Alberto

Italian’s know how to eat and they know how to have a party! We recently attended Alex’s sister’s incredible Italian-American wedding in Arqua Petrarca, Italy. Alina’s now husband, Alberto, was born and raised in a town not far from the village where their wedding took place which is what inspired the exotic destination. The newlyweds met in New York a few years ago when both of them were attending graduate school. Alberto had no plans to stay in the U.S. but Alina quickly changed his mind.

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The wedding was a mix of Italian and American cultures and it seemed like it highlighted a lot of the best of the two. The wedding ceremony was a traditional but abbreviated Catholic mass. Alina and Alberto did not see each other until they met at the altar and boy was Alina a stunning bride.

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The church where the wedding ceremony took place was in the quaint town of Arqua’ Petrarca. The church itself is 900 years old. It has a gray stone façade and boasts a lovely view of the town.

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In Italian weddings they do not have bridal parties, so there were no bridesmaids or groomsmen. Alex and I were honored to serve as Alina’s witnesses; however, and two of Alberto’s friends, Giulia and Lorenzo, were his witnesses.

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After the ceremony we relocated to Villa del Poeta, the hotel the Americans were staying and the site of the reception. The reception took place out on the veranda which overlooked the Colli Eugene valley. It was a quintessential view of Italian wine country with the fields of grapevines, rolling hills and small Italian-style homes scattered about the countryside. The veranda was extremely large and dotted with olive trees.

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Upon our arrival at the reception we found two enormous tables covered with plates and trays of appetizers, as well as a cocktail table that hosted spritz {aperol, Prosecco and soda water – a drink that is traditional to the region} and Prosecco. We were overwhelmed by the selection of food. There were probably 30 different appetizers to choose from, including, of course, cheese, prosciutto, breads, bruschetta, fried olives, fried zucchini and some crostinis with various spreads. Everything was terrific.

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We mingled until around 8:00 when we were shuttled inside to begin the four hour long dinner.  Did I mention that the Italians love to eat?

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Our dinner began with a vegetable risotto for the first first course {yes, there were two first courses} and was followed by a delicious ravioli. The first second course was an incredible pork dish with a thick and flavorful demi glaze and the most amazing roasted potatoes on the side. The second second course was beef Wellington.

Alina & Alberto had a bit of a New York theme to their wedding and Alex made their New York Subway inspired seating chart for them - it turned out awesome!

Alina & Alberto had a bit of a New York theme to their wedding and Alex made their New York Subway inspired seating chart for them – it turned out awesome!

Throughout dinner, the Italians kept starting cheers and chants and singing songs to get everyone excited about Alina and Alberto. 

Inside the light-filled dining room

Inside the light-filled dining room

 

After the meal we headed back outside for cake and the fruit course, and of course dancing.

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{Alina with her new nieces, Elena and Alessandra}

Alina and Alberto’s first dance was so fun to watch. They put together a compellation of a few different songs and choreographed a dance. From there, the rest of the reception was a mix of dancing, chatting and random pranks and jokes from Alberto’s Italian friends. It is an Italian tradition to play jokes on the bride and groom at the wedding, and Alberto’s friends pulled out the best ones. They wrapped Alberto up in saran wrap then put a silly hat on his head with a lit candle attached to it and gave the bride a squirt gun to put out the flame {yes this is normal, I guess!}. They also lined up 8 or 10 ladies and blindfolded Alberto to see if he could pick out which foot was Alina’s. Alberto remained a very good sport throughout the evening charades.

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In Alberto’s family no one had ever attended a wedding with a DJ, but needless to say his friends and family sure knew how to bust a move. The wedding wrapped up around 3:30 a.m. when everyone decided they had had enough and were ready for bed.

We had such an awesome time at the wedding. It was so fun to spend the day with my sister in-law and help her get into her dress and go get our hair done together. Everything was incredible!

Congratulations Alina and Alberto!