Recollections of a wedding: one year later

Steve and I have been married a year. Woot. Woot.

While looking back on events can paint a different picture than what may or may not have actually happened, I thought it would be fun to share some of my recollections of our wedding day, with a one-year-of-marriage perspective on them.

Also, TL;DR for reals.

I suppose the story starts the night before.

Steve’s mom hosted both families at her home for dinner so everyone could get to know each other before the big day. Not everyone could come, but it was a nice dinner with some stressful conversations about the next day, as expected.  

My parents came down together but afterward my dad dropped my mom off at my house. She was going to spend the night to help me get ready in the morning and to make sure that I didn’t run away. (I don’t know WHY everyone thought I might be a runner…)

We got home late and I still had a bunch of things to think through/work myself into a frenzy about. As it got even later, I diligently tried to go to sleep to no avail and luckily had a friend who was up late and sending me encouraging messages that I could do this.

Early the next morning, I took my dog on a walk like I normally do. She needed it, and I needed it. But I was surprisingly calm about things—so grateful for that.

Except there was a weird and very loud boom in the morning that maybe sounded like the apocalypse but turned out to be a meteor. A good omen? Who knows.

And then the frenzy of getting ready began. My sister came over to do my hair. I just did my own make-up because I am me and didn’t really want to look anything other than myself.

Steve drove to my house to get ready, and we packed my stuff into his car to head to the temple early.

I left my mom with my car so she could drive it to the temple. The plan was for her to take it there and back again to my house. Then she’d just go with my dad the rest of the time (the long of the story is this prevented them from having to drive two cars home late at night after our reception and an exhausting day). Steve and I would then switch cars and take my car to the reception (since Steve’s car is nicer and I didn’t want any decorations to ruin it) and then drive it back to my house and go with his car to our honeymoon AirBNB. Why so complicated? Because I am Liz.

I’m sure you are not surprised there was also a 10-page shared document for the family with every last detail about the wedding. I’m surprised they still talk to me.

Also in the car were 24 clear umbrellas that we got the day before because the weather said it was going to rain. No rain in the morning, but the day was muggy…for Utah, that is.

We got to the Bountiful Temple at the asked-for time and in short, our whole experience with the temple from scheduling to receiving our sealing certificate in the mail was not a particularly great one. I don’t want to dive into details, but they made the day a whole lot more stressful than was ever needed and I am surprised at knowing the importance of marriage in my Church and knowing the experience around the main event just isn’t that fabulous. Still recommend it, though. You know, all that stuff about being together forever and such.

I wore my wedding dress with a white cardigan instead of a temple dress for the sealing. My mum helped me get ready and I tried super hard not to be stressed-ornery. You can ask her if I succeeded (no, please don’t actually).

And then the sealing. I would say my favorite part of everything was when Steve and I walked into the sealing (marriage) room at the temple and saw everyone we just love so so much in there. It was very crowded (we may have fudged a little on the allowed numbers) but joyful. And I had some pretty joyful tears (perhaps a bit of anxiety tears mixed in). My mission president was our sealer, and he did a nice job with everything. When it came down to the actual ceremony, he just about forgot one part, everyone laughed, and that was a welcome relief. A few other “You had to be there” moments ensued with much more laughter that would be better recounted in person but involved Steve being very embarrassed at the emphasis he placed on the word “forever”.

After the ceremony, we went our separate ways to get ready for pictures. My hair was completely flat (Utah humid) so Katie did my hair again. We asked for assurance over and over that everyone was ready and waiting outside before our grand exit (we had arranged for babysitters for all the kiddos at a nearby church, so pickups were necessary). And out we went. We had practiced an exit dip kiss that I totally messed up #typical. Then the nieces and nephews ran and gave us hugs so that we didn’t look awkward just standing there (photographer pro tip). It was magical and lovely. But of course not everyone had actually made it back yet, so we got another exit party a few minutes later.

And then pictures—the part everyone loves the most about weddings.

But this picture—it hangs on our wall as a symbol of all the great love we share for all these wonderful people and that they share for us. Family and friends are such a blessing.

While our photographer had our photo shoot list, the heat and the tiredness and the emotions and everything had a bit of an impact on the childrenz.

Due to this, we think it’s why—to my deepest regret—we didn’t get a picture of just my family on our wedding day. Too many meltdowns, not enough ways left to bribe children, and extreme chaos with that many people. Alas.

As required people finished photos, they trickled off to head toward our luncheon venue. And finally we were done (even though the photographer and videographer wanted us to do more).

As Steve and I finished, my mom (who stayed so she could help me change into my luncheon dress) discovered she couldn’t find the keys to the car (my car) that she had driven to the temple. A search ensued in and around and back into the temple and then…a recollection. She had given them to my dad to grab something out of the car and they were likely in his pocket, which was well on its way to the luncheon venue half an hour away where he was going to call everyone together and give the prayer so they could get started while we made our way there. A quick phone call and much panic ensued. How would my mom get the keys back? Or get the car back to Midvale so we could switch out for the reception? Should my dad turn around? The luncheon was already running late…what to do?

Finally, the easiest choice was to take my mom with us to the luncheon. At the time, this was not funny at all, but of course it’s hilarious now.  A newly minted marriage, a moment in time where Steve and I had hoped for a drive to decompress, be grateful we made it through, and talk through the experience and sealing and all that was to come—with my mom sitting in the back seat.

It was one of the most uncomfortable, awkward drives in my life because none of us knew what to say. But it didn’t matter because I turned on my phone to a few voicemails from my wedding day vendors!

The first—the luncheon restaurant calling ON OUR WEDDING DAY and calling the bride—to ask what time the luncheon was supposed to be at. Apparently, the owner had gone out of town and left two different start times (and evidently didn’t leave the phone numbers we told them to call if there were issues! Ie. NOT our phone numbers). By that point, our entire family was at the luncheon, and we knew it really didn’t matter—we just hoped there was food ready. (We don’t really recommend the restaurant for events, but it was literally the only place we could find among dozens we called that could accommodate the size of our group, on the day and time we needed, and that didn’t break the bank).

And another from a vendor confirming the photo booth for the reception—that we had already confirmed that week by phone, email, and text. STRESS!!!!

Then, I racked my brains for how to get my car from the temple and called in two of my dear friends to see if they could make a drive after the luncheon to switch out cars for us. Bless them for it forever and ever amen.

All of this made us late to the luncheon and quite rattled. Someone of course insinuated that we made up the story of losing the keys so we get could get some “alone time” before the luncheon, yes, that insinuation. I don’t think they understood the lost keys left my mom as chaperone instead of us alone.

Even so, I went into the bathroom and cried for a bit before I was able to come out and eat with everyone. Such drama, Liz.

The plan had been to have some special comments from my parents and Steve’s mom and for Steve and me to share our deep gratitude and love for everyone who came. But the lateness and timing and all that happened left us still eating when others were finishing and leaving and then…the time had just passed, and it was out of our control. I know my parents felt bad they didn’t get to share anything and believe me, I felt bad, too. Still do feel sad about that one.

But off to the reception venue to get Wheeler Farm ready. I have a blessed neighbor who is also a wedding planner (definitely recommend) who we hired to help get things set up, which was a major head start. She got the other vendors (the lights and caterer) in place. And once our entourage arrived, we all just pitched in for the rest. Some people say a lot of little details don’t matter, and I agree, but we loved our cute details. Simple centerpieces we made with our colors, a photo gallery of our ancestors on their wedding days (or thereabouts), Hershey kisses on the tables (since Steve is from Hershey, PA and his siblings had done that as well), a slideshow of our photos, and a newsletter about our marriage (because I’m nothing if not a journalist).

The Newsletter

Just as the photo booth people got there to set up, though, it started to RAIN! They were going to be outside, and we had other stuff set up outside so there was a mad dash to relocate and change things up for it to fit inside. Someone ran to grab a canopy but in the end, that literal 10 minutes of rain (it was fine the rest of the night but the THREAT) changed the entire flow and set up of our reception.

But it did generate the most beautiful rainbow.

Meanwhile, I got my hair done again (Utah humidity hahahahah) and switched out my veil for a flower crown and made our videographer really mad that we were too concerned with the rain issue and getting the reception ready and not with walking around slowly and gazing into each other’s eyes.

Anyway, the plan was for a photo booth/guest book but no requirement to do the booth if you didn’t want to—it turned into a huge line wrapping all around the building for the photo booth that when people finally got to, realized they didn’t want to do it, and hadn’t needed to wait there. But we super enjoyed the photos after.

And instead of us greeting people on the way in, we ended up under the rain canopy and people started catching us on the way out. And while we had intended to be inside, we ended up outside and there was no turning back. We kind of feel like we “missed” our reception and the carefully curated playlist and seeing all the fun people were having (we assume). But that’s how things go.

I guess it doesn’t really matter, though, because we were showered with love—more than showered, it was poured on us. So many people we love from so many avenues of life. It was the best.

We also heard that there was a major event Wheeler Farm didn’t know about that somehow took over most of the parking where our guests were supposed to park. With some soft demands from my dad, the event manager opened up overflow lots—but we know parking was a nightmare and we feel bad about that.

About 8:30 p.m., we closed the line to go in for our first dance. My sister-in-law had practiced with us for a few weeks and choreographed a dance to “This will be an everlasting love.” We had so much fun preparing and then dancing but most people were gone by then.

Don’t worry—here you go:

Our wedding video for funsies:

Our wedding slideshow for more funsies:

And then we had all the nieces and nephews bribed and ready to start a dance party with us, which included the Boot Scootin’ Boogie, for which I had to bribe Steve to include on the dance list.

We know we broke tradition because we didn’t cut a cake—we just think it’s weird and we didn’t want to spend the money. My sister-in-law had us do one she made at a bridal shower and I think that was just perfect.

We also broke tradition by not throwing the bouquet. I have been single for far too long and been to far too many receptions where you get pushed into the crowd and it mostly just made me feel bad. There was no way I was doing that to my single friends. So again, my sister-in-law had me throw a bouquet just for fun at my bridal shower—and just for the nieces with no meaning other than the fun of it. In fact, I think I threw it about 5 times because they enjoyed it. So we did the things—just not at the reception.

At the end of the reception, we looked at the whole thing and saw that we barely made it on the crepes and fruit/cheese spreads we had ordered. A little too close for comfort, but it was over.

Everyone lined up outside with ribbons to wave us off and it was fun and magical. We slowly walked through the crowd (the photographer said it makes for better pictures than running) and just felt overwhelmed with the love and joy and happiness everyone shared with us.

And we got to my car—yes, the car of the lost keys—that had been safely returned and keys switched, and was now fully decorated. And because it was my car, I drove us away into the sun that had already set.

That is where I will end, but I still get tears in my eyes at the amazing love and support we were shown leading up to our wedding and the day of our wedding and of course through to our open house in Huntsville two weeks later and all through this first year. I will say it forever—but my biggest biggest regret was that we couldn’t invite everyone who we wanted to. We wish every last person we ever loved would have fit into our venue.  

We both love and cherish all of those we have known over the years and feel so grateful for your support. We hope you know we stand ready as the StittStrup (Stitt Meilstrup) Family to be there for you in all your life moments as well.

P.S. I am proud of myself for making it all the way through this blog without mentioning COVID-19. We got married during a stinking pandemic and it affected everything about how and when we planned our wedding and every single decision even down to having to change videographers two days before because ours got COVID. It was all very stressful, the end.

P.P.S. Yes, we still love each other.

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