Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Wedding

This past week was one of the most amazing of our lives.  After 7 wonderful years Emily and finally tied the knot in marriage.  We had friends and family from across the country by our sides and it was an amazing day.  The weather was perfect and everyone had a really great time and all came to understand why we call the Northwest our home.   This is probably the longest blog post I've ever written as I tried to capture all the memories I could from the week. Click the title to read on and scroll to the bottom of the post to see the links for our photographers blog about our wedding day and to order photos from wedding gallery.  Grab and drink,  take a seat, and click the title to read on, this is a long blog post.....

After 7 wonderful years with my beautiful Emily it was time to finally get married.  We were both exhausted from wedding planning and trying to figure out the best vacation for all of our nearly 100 guests but we were also super excited to finally be tying the knot with each other.  There are many photos in this post and trying to align them with the text would be impossible so I've put them in general order but they might not match exactly with what I'm writing about along the way.  Enjoy though!

Our family began to arrive the Thurs before our wedding.  It was just Emily’s Parents with my mom and her friend Elayne arriving the following day, along with Emily’s brother Chris and his wife Julia who got into PDX late that night.  On Saturday night we had a full house of Elayne, my mom, Emily’s parents and Chris and Julia staying with us.  We spent most of the day Saturday finishing up decorations for the wedding such as the pots Emily had bought as wedding party gifts and shopping for last minute items for the wedding.  

On Sunday the parents took off for their Hood River rental houses and Julia and Chris headed for the coast packed up with all of our gear to do some camping and exploring.  I had set them up with a rough itinerary for the next few days to keep them entertained.  Matt, his wife Sarah and his brother Logan and wife Jacquie had also finally made it to Oregon over the weekend but they had a MEGA loop of stuff to see and do so they had started their journey without stopping to see us first which was fine since I had just seen Matt less than a month ago anyway and I was planning on catching up with them on Wednesday.

I spent the next 2 two days at work, I’ll admit, very distracted.  On Monday I had gained the courage to finally look at the wedding forecast and I was both excited and worried when I saw that it would be perfectly clear, but 90 degrees!  This put me into a small panic for our guests and I spent the afternoon and later that evening designing a ceremony fan with a MadLib on the back for people to fill out.  On Tuesday I took it to Office Max and had them printed out on tough paper.  Emily’s mom would later help us by gluing them all together to tongue depressors for our guests to use during the hot ceremony and leave their funny MadLib wedding wishes for us.  I also ran over to Voodoo Donuts and asked them to design a big wedding cake donut for us with grape frosting in the shape of a heart.  I should have been specific on spelling as I was spelled “John” but I didn’t really care.

Nicolette and Ellie flew in on Tuesday around Noon and my mom picked them up from the airport.  I was able to leave work around 2pm but after packing up all our remaining items and squishing Leo into the front seat with me in my truck we didn’t get to Hood River until about 5pm that night where we ordered pizza for dinner.  I had stopped at Emily’s parents place to drop off stuff on the way into town where my mom’s rental was and found that they had ended up in a palace!  It was set high on the hill with 3 stories, an incredible view of Mt. Adams, a hot tub below and a beautiful yard with a cherry tree that was absolutely packed with cherries!

As soon as I walked into my mom’s rental I was greeted by my beautiful daughter who babbled on about all her excited plans for us, only momentarily distracted by Leo who she was excited to finally meet.   While I was introduced to Elayne and caught up with all of them Ellie took off to finish constructing her elaborate treasure hunt for me which consisted of hand written notes taped to the floor of the house starting from upstairs.  She was so excited to watch me struggle to read her hand writing and follow the notes through the house to her hidden treasure she had put behind the front door which consisted of her blankets tied up with a plastic flower, flashlight and five dollar bill.  She even let me keep the $5!  

Shortly after the hunt Emily stopped by to say hello to everyone.  Ellie instantly remembered her and gave her a bunch of big hugs and eventually took her off to her room to play with Leo where Emily gave Ellie her flower girl gift and jewelry.  By that time Ellie had been up for a very long time without a nap as it was about 2am her time.  Emily left and I ducked out of sight for her mom to put her reluctantly to bed...

I had planned to spend the entire day with Ellie on Wednesday as it was her first trip out to Oregon and her first time on a mountain which she was very excited about.  She had sent me a fathers day card and video of how she thought climbing a mountain with dad would go down.  It was super cute.  But, by the time we got up to Timberline Lodge I think she realized she wouldn’t actually be climbing to the top!  Elayne and my mom stayed down at the lodge while I bought tickets for Ellie, her mom and I to take the Magic Mile lift up the mountain.

This was Ellie’s first time on a legit chairlift, and possibly Nicolette’s as well.  I was nervous about how Ellie would handle the height but she did just fine and I kept my arm around her.  Nicolette on the other hand, noticed how dangerous she thought it was, and clamped her hands down on the safety bar with a death grip.  This was all very amusing to me.  On the way up I pointed out all the skiers to Ellie and told her how it was my favorite sport and that I really loved climbing mountains like these.  She said she thought skiing looked too scary but I promised her when she got older that I would teach her how someday.  

At the top of the lift she became super excited to see so much snow in the middle of summer and began running all around in it.  We guided her around the other skiers and boarders coming to and from the lift so she wouldn’t be run over by them and found a patch of flat snow to run around in and snap some photos.  Nicolette seemed happier to be off the lift but I don’t think she was that impressed by the mountain or the views unfortunately.  I could tell that some of me had passed on to Ellie though as she loved it up there and was fascinated when I told her she was standing on hardened lava and the mountain was actually a big dormant volcano. 

We stayed up there for about half an hour or so before returning back down the chairlift to the base and joining my mom and Elayne.  We checked out the lodge and the buffet at the restaurant but decided to drive down to the Huckleberry Inn in Government Camp for lunch instead.  I got a big bowl of oyster stew and a french dip.  From there it was an hour drive back to Hood River and by the time we got back it was apparent that Ellie needed a nap and no longer wanted to be outside.  So much for my day with Ellie..., but understandable for a jet-lagged 6 year old.  

Instead of heading to the gorge with Ellie I found myself driving to Wahclella Falls with Leo to meet up with the Jones’ at the fish hatchery and go for a short hike with them.  It was great to see Logan and Jacquie and I was amazed at the amazing trip they had done rafting the deschutes, biking in Bend with a guide, and sunset at Crater Lake before making it all the way back up to Edgefield for a couple days.  They also were planning on driving out to St. Helens on Thursday before the rehearsal dinner!  

Emily and I were a little disappointed that more of our friends and family didn’t use our wedding as a vacation destination for more exploring (the big reason why we planned it for a Friday - so people would have the weekend as well).  Almost all her bridesmaides came out on Thurs and flew home on Saturday without anytime to really appreciate all there is to see in the area.  Her brother Chris and Julia, Cherie & Adam, the Jones’, Dave & Karen, her friend Amy & Matt and her cousin Gary were the exceptions who took extra days to explore and told us later was well worth it.  Although disappointed we did understand as many had children to get back to and busy work lives and most people on the East Coast don’t realize there is so much more to see in the Northwest than the major cities of Seattle, San Fran and Portland.  We hope we won them all over with the location and view from the wedding so that they will return for longer and more personal visits with the both of us!

I invited the Jones’ to the BBQ Emily’s parents were throwing at their house on Wednesday but they all looked exhausted and wanted the night to explore Edgefield so they declined and I headed back to Hood River with Leo.  That night we had a great bbq with burgers, pasta, salads and plenty of beer.  Almost all of Emily’s family had arrived that day and were enjoying the view of Adams over the Columbia River when I arrived.  

Emily’s dad was incredibly kind to fly many of them out to our wedding so we could share our day with them.  Chris and Julia had gotten back from the Coast and visiting Mt. St. Helens and were really excited about all they had seen.  In a short while my mom, Elayne, Nicolette and Ellie showed up to the BBQ which was the first time the whole Riggott clan had officially met my daughter.   She was rested from her afternoon nap and was full of energy to talk to everyone.   I hung out on the porch for a while with her brothers and dad and Emily spent a lot of time playing with Ellie at a table which I thought was really good for them to get to know each other better so Ellie wouldn’t forget her new step mom ever again.  

After a beautiful sunset many of the jet-lagged family started to retire to their rooms for rest.  I had been staying in Cherie and Adams room the night before but after exploring St. Helens coming from Seattle they were arriving that night and I would have been on the couch so I decided to stay at the Riggott house with Emily and Leo.  Thanks to Em’s parents for a great BBQ at their place!

It was nice to sleep in a while on Thursday morning (without a cute 6 year old dragging me out of bed at 7am).  We ate some snacks and left overs at the house before Emily went off on errands and a hair appointment and I headed to the other house to see Ellie and get ready for the rehearsal.  It was great to see Cherie, Adam and Asia in the morning for a bit.  I really love those guys!  Adam wanted to check out the town and the kiteboarders on the river so after getting ready they took Ellie with them, who had become instant friends with Asia.  I drove them down to the beach, dropping them off so I could head back and get a hair cut.  

I headed around the corner to Salon Visio for a hair appointment.  They wanted to shampoo me and put crazy stuff in my hair but instead I just asked for a trim.  The woman was super nice but without clippers, a neck shave and basic sideburn trimming I don’t feel I got much for the $20 I paid her...  From there I stopped back at the house and then headed over to the Hood River Inn with all my stuff to check in and await the rest of our wedding party.  

I got a few phone calls from some of my groomsmen on their way up from Corvallis saying they might be late as I watched Emily’s bridesmaides arrive but thankfully all showed up in time.  I had passed Chris in town looking for gas and told him to meet me in my room for a couple drinks.  He showed up 20-30 minutes before we all had to meet with a bunch of yummy beers left over from Whistler which was awesome.  After a few beers is when I realized I didn’t know where Leo was and called my mom.  She didn’t have him, but thankfully Nicolette was able to pick him up as we needed him for the rehearsal at the vineyard.  Once we all showed up I piled a bunch of guys into the truck and we drove up with the others with my mom following us.  

The rehearsal went smoothly with Jennifer and Sandy politely giving us instructions on where to stand and where to go.  We were testing out Leo in the ceremony and were a little worried when came bounding down the cement steps pulling Ellie along the way.  Ellie also got a bit distracted during the rehearsal and we debated having her sit with her mom during the ceremony but thankfully decided to keep her up there in the long run.  Our wedding party was huge!  Holm, Hartz, Scott, Jason, Kevin, Nick, Chris and Matt on my side and Cassie, Lynette, Gomer, Beth, Jen, Julia, Danielle, Amy and Ellie on Emily’s side.  Emily and I had two big fans of of best friends spanning out from us like wings!  We ran through the rehearsal twice before getting back in the cars and heading down to dinner. 

The rehearsal dinner was beautiful in the Shoreline room of the Hood River Inn.  Wine and beer was served at the bar as soon as people started arriving around 6:15-6:30.  We had planned on dinner at 6:45 - 7 but we pushed it back to 7:30 for everyone to have some time for drinks.  Amy had created a wonderful slideshow of us for everyone to watch starting from us as children all the way to our adventures together in the Northwest.  There were definitely some funny shots that everyone got a kick out of.  Well done Amy!  The tables were all set up on the deck overlooking the Columbia which was a great last minute idea by Jan, the banquet manager there.  For dinner we had a buffet of Roasted Pork Loin with Spiced Apple Relish, Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, Chicken Picatta with Lemon & Capers, Toasted Pasta with Tomato, Basil & Garlic, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, a House Salad with walnuts, gorgonzola & balsamic vinegrette, a fresh fruit salad and rolls with butter.  For desert we also had individual apple tartlets with whipped cream.   Jan also had local Mirror Pond Pale, Full Sail Amber, Mirror Pond, Black Butte Porter, and the usual Corona, Bud & Coors Lite.  She also had White Salmon Chardonnay, A to Z Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley Blossom, Mt. Hood Pinot Noir, Maryhill Merlot, and 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon.  Although she said it would also be stoked with liquor it didn’t appear to be when we were there for the dinner... no biggie though.

Emily’s dad had asked Sandy to say a prayer before dinner but she mentioned that we had asked not to mention much about God in our service.  I was going to ask her but with everything going on I simply forgot and feel bad about it.  We both would have been fine with a few words before dinner but I think she was just playing it safe as she was probably worried it would have upset us.  That is one thing we found out about our wedding... it was overwhelming for us and trying to remember all that was asked of us was daunting.  It was wonderful to have dinner on the deck at the same time the sun was setting over the Columbia with friends and family all around us.  Ellie spent a lot of time with us and we did our best to make it around to the tables as we could to catch up with everyone.

Around desert we both stood up and said a few words to everyone thanking them.  There was about 50 people at the rehearsal dinner.  We wanted everyone to be there that had travelled from the East Coast so we could get as much time with them as possible but a few families weren’t able to make it like the Rochester Wilcox crew and Sue’s family.   We pulled out all the presents we had picked out for our parents and the wedding party and began to pass them out.  This was an expensive trip for our friends and families, even the ones from Corvallis who had to get two expensive hotel nights so we wanted to get them some cool gifts.  Emily had picked out a bracelet and earings for her mom and her mom had made some incredible ear rings and necklaces for all the bridesmaids as well.  Emily also gave my mom some ear rings as well.  We gave our parents a collage of photos in a frame that were taken at our engagement shoot along with a poem that read: 

A Thank You Poem for Mom & Dad
"How could we possibly thank you enough, to the ones who made us whole. The ones to whom we owe our lives, the forming of our souls. The ones who tucked us in at night, the ones who stopped our crying, the ones who were experts, at knowing when we were lying. The ones who made such sacrifices, to always put us first, who let us test our broken wings in spite of how it hurt. Who painted the world a rainbow, when it was filled with broken dreams, who explained it all so clearly, when nothing was what as it seemed."

"What way is there to thank you, for your heart, your sweat, your tears, for ten thousand little things you did, for oh so many years. For changing with us as we changed, accepting all our flaws, not loving because you had to, but loving "just because." For never giving up on us, when your wits had reached their end, for always being proud of us, for being our most reliable friends."

"And so we come to realize, the only way to say, the only thank you that's enough, is clear in just one way. Look at us before you, and see what we've become. Do you see yourselves in us? The job that you have done? All your hopes and all your dreams, the strength no one ever saw, a transfer over many years. Your best was passed to us all. Thank you for the gifts you give, for everything you do. But most of all, thank you for making dreams come true. We love you."

Emily also gave her bridesmaides and our parents hand painted and decorated pots  with photos on them of us with them that they could plant flowers in.  Inside the pots she put lavender seeds for our moms and Ellie and zinia for everyone else.  I had bought Leatherman Juice S2’s for the guys that I had engraved with their names on them.  Emily’s brothers, dad and I got Silver for all being family now and the rest of the guys got a cool Beaver Orange version.  I had thought about putting our wedding on them but wanted my gift to be a really useful one that they would have for years and figured their names on them would help them not get lost so easily.  I really think they were a big hit with all the guys.  Emily and I thanked everyone for joining us so far from home on our big day.  We also handed out a box full of Ray Ban sunglasses of pink and blue color with “J&E 7-19-2013” written on the side of them.

One thing I want to remember about the rehearsal dinner was how cute Ellie was talking with everyone.  All our friends and family got to finally meet her and she was super cute the whole evening running around giving hugs and chatting it up with everyone.  She took the stuffing out of the flower pots and even was trying to sell them to people as birds nests.  She then took me aside and down the steps to the waterfront to negotiate a deal with me.  I can’t remember what it was but I think the deal was for her to babysit Leo or something for $1 but she wanted to break out the chores that she would need to do to equal the the $1.  It was super cute and I really wish I had recorded the conversation.  

For the rest of the evening we all shared drinks and caught up with one another from around the country.  The beer was free at our rehearsal dinner until around 11pm when they closed up shop and we moved to the bar to see the end of Tony Smiley playing there.  We barely got there in time to see him ending his show on stage, which I heard from others was quite different and he may have passed out on stage for a while or something... The bar oddly closed at midnight so we all barely had time to get a drink or two in before last call was made.  I can’t recall fully who ended up lasting that late with us but I know Matt, Scott, Colin, Aaron, Holm and a few others were there with us, but no family left.  I was pretty lit so I really appreciated it when Colin headed back to my room with me to hang out bringing alkaseltzer, gatorade and vitamins with him as well so I’d feel great for my wedding date.  It was great to catch up with him for an hour or so and he definitely saved my ass because I felt great the next morning.

Friday was our big day.  I woke up a little groggy but feeling far better than I would have without Colin’s visit.  I wandered downstairs around 10:30 to meet up with my mom and Elayne in the hotel restaurant with my blue ticket for a free breakfast.  Chris and Scott joined us for breakfast as well.  It was then back to the room to gather everything I needed for the ceremony and catch the shuttle up to Gorge Crest with the guys.  

The shuttle service was provided by Columbia Wine tours and although they ended up taking care of us on our wedding Christi was less than pleasant as the driver.  We had been told before the wedding that we would have their full services at  our disposal for the day but when us guys got in the van and asked when the other vans would arrive to shuttle guests from the hotel up to Gorge Crest I was told shortly that the vans would be there at 2:30 and 2:45 instead of 2:45 and 3:15 like I was told before and we had told her on several occasions.  Perhaps there was a miscommunication between her and our day of planner Jennifer, but even if that was the case she wasn’t very pleasant.  I stayed polite and told her there would be many people waiting at 3:15 at the hotel for rides and she acted very upset that she would have to call in another driver from another job... another job... apparently we didn’t have priority as we were told.  Later I heard from our guests that the driver that came for them didn’t know his way to the venu and didn’t even have money to cross the toll bridge into Washington from Hood River.  Our guests ended up with some nice views of the gorge on the way up but only because the driver got really lost.  In the end, everyone made it ok, but out of everyone we hired for the wedding we were certainly the least excited about our shuttle service. 

When us guys got up to the vineyard we hung out in the upstairs side apartment while the girls were getting ready on the other side.  The only thing traditional about our wedding that Emily really wanted to stick to was the “reveal” - the first time I would see her would be when she walked down the isle.  This was fine with me but posed a little bit of a problem with the photographs as we would have to spend more time after the ceremony getting shots.  Us guys got there at noon while the ladies had been there since 9am getting their hair done by Patricia from Gorge Brides.  We spent some time drinking beers and playing washers on the lawn as Josh and Alice took photos of us hanging out with the amazing view.  Everyone we had hired stayed busy setting up for our big day which was nice that we didn’t have to do much, except relax.  

Bonnie from Bloomsbury Flowers in Stevenson, WA did a wonderful job with the flowers for our ceremony and Emily’s bouquet.  All the guys were given little Boutonnieres of billyballs and other small flowers that Jennifer helped put on us before the ceremony.  The girls all had baby’s breath and Emily’s bouquet was made out of Dahlias, Gerbera Daisies and other beautiful flowers.  We also had baby’s breath to hang on the chairs for the ceremony but we forgot to do so.  There were also large hydrangea’s that were set up behind us at the ceremony.  All the bridesmaides also had bouquets for the ceremony along with our mothers.  All the flowers matched very well with the vivid poppy color theme Emily had picked out for the ladies and the grey suits us guys had on.  Other decorations inside included a big E&J above the mantle, a big mirror for the table assignments and a cool basket for the cards and madlibs to be put into.  Linens were all provided by Jennifer Jones as well for the tables through a sweet connection she has in Hood River.  

Around 2:45 we returned to the upstairs and began putting on our clothes.  This is when I almost had a panic attack.  I HAD NO PANTS!  On the way over the bridge the van window was open and all our clothes in the front seat began to blow out the window but Jason through his good arm down on them to hold them down.  My first thought was... oh my God, my pants are in the Columbia River!  Nobody really took me seriously until I started to visibly panic and a search ensued.  After a few minutes I heard someone laughing.... Matt had found my pants in the washing machine under where my suit was hanging... they had fallen off the hanger into the machine, not the Columbia River.  Phew!  Crisis averted.  Josh and Ryan (the videographer) and their assistants hung out with us guys while we got dressed then hustled out to get video and shots of Emily and the ladies.  I was quarantined in the room as the girls walked around outside and was forbidden to go near any windows because I might see her.  

Soon it was time for us to head out for shots of the guys and then towards the back of the building where we would line up to head down.  I had been given a few drinks which was just about what I wanted for the wedding to loosen me up a bit.  I was busy shuffling around saying hi to all our guests when Kevin mentioned, “I don’t want to freak you out but the rings are missing” which was probably the wrong thing to say to the groom at the time... a search ensued with Josh, the photographer, helping out and thankfully they were located at the bottom of a bag that one of the girls had forgotten about.  Ok... pants and rings... got em’, time to line up.  

Speaking of cocktail hour... let’s just take an assessment of what we offered at our wedding... Beer (Sessions Lager, and Sessions Black Lager, Deschutes Inversion IPA, Rogue Dead Guy and Ninkasi Oatis = 150 bottles).  Wine (A case of The Pines Big Red,  a case of the Cerulean Pinot Gris and a case of the Cerulean Reisling.  Multiple Bottles of Champagne for a toast from the parents and a signature cocktail (Rum Breeze) made with soda water, Cruzan rum, Cruzan Cheery Spiced Rum and black cherry juice with a lime garnish.  Oh, and we also had a bourbon bar with ginger beer soda (not just gingerale).  On the bar we had Wild Turkey Honey, Corner Creek, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Big Bottom Bourbon and Ransom Whipper Snapper.  We also had 2 bottles of Crater Lake Vodka, 2 bottles Cruzan Cherry spiced rum and 2 Eastside distilling spiced rum 2 Cruzan silver rum, and two bottles of baileys.  When all was said and done we only had a few beers left and a half bottle of the East Side Distilling Spiced Rum... Well done friends and family! Ok... back to the wedding.

Right before we started to line up our DJ, Jesse Espinoza, came up to me and said, “I’m so sorry, I downloaded the wrong song for when Emily walks down the isle”... ok... what to do.  Got it, Spotify.  I pulled out my phone, thankful to have reception, downloaded the song for offline play, handed him my phone and said,  “play it on loop”... problem solved.  Jesse and I had connected over Facebook and Spotify where we had collaborated on a playlist for the wedding.  For the wedding procession we looped from my iphone an acoustic version of “What a wonderful world” and then Emily walked down the isle to “You are the best thing” by Ray LaMontagne.  After the ceremony we all walked out to “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers and Emily and I were later announced to the reception with “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei from the Kill Bill Soundtrack.  Our first song was “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam with Emily dancing with her dad to “Turn Around” by the Brother’s Four and I with my mom to “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone.  Ok, now to line up...

When we lined up everyone was chatting behind me as I was the first to walk down the isle with my mom.  Jennifer couldn’t get everyones attention and I was getting a little pissed so I yelled for everyone to shut up... which worked.  I felt a little bad later that I had brought anger to the moment but we were running a little late and nobody could hear Jennifer.  I could tell my mom was super excited about everything as she was beaming when we walked down the steps to where Sandy was standing.  

From there everything was sort foggy for me.  I know I was super happy to be up there waiting for my bride.  I wasn’t drunk.  It was just a very overwhelming happy feeling.  Watching all of my wonderful friends walking down the isle with Emily’s beautiful bridesmaides and then seeing Leo walking very calmly down the steps with my beautiful daughter smiling the whole way... no words can really describe it.  Perfection would be the closest I could come up with.  Then I saw her, and although I consider myself a pretty tough dude, I started tearing up.  Months had gone by of her freaking out anytime I went near the room where her dress was and now finally I got to see her in it walking down the isle with her dad.  I’m not religious by any means, but if angels are really considered the most beautiful things in the universe I was now seeing one walking towards me to be my bride.  Yeah, it was a lot to handle.  

Leo took his place at our feet on the grass with his butt in the sun and without me realizing it army-crawled himself into the shade behind me halfway through the ceremony.  Besides Sandy pronouncing my last name wrong during the ceremony everything went very smoothly .  Thankfully, she could be heard well by everyone.  It was about 85-90 degrees and we could tell people were pretty hot in the sun so were happy that the ceremony only ended up being around 20 minutes long.  Hopefully, people were using the fans that I had made and Patti had put together.  Keith did a great job reading his funny story of friendship which we felt encompassed how we viewed life and my mom did a wonderful job reading her poem we had picked out.  

It was a little awkward standing up there with everyone’s eyes on us for so long but I just kept staring into Emily’s and felt ok, occasionally looking down at sexy dress too... :)  At the wine box ceremony Sandy read word for word what we had written which was about placing letters in the box but it was all done already so I just held it up to show everyone what it looked like.  Sandy had given us several copies of the ceremony but because she didn’t know us that well I had stayed home from work one day and pretty much re-written the whole thing to how we wanted and Emily was super happy with what I had put together as well.  We didn’t want God in our ceremony as neither of us are religious.  We did want stuff about nature and our love for the outdoors but didn’t want us to sound like wood nymphs praying to ferries either... so I re-wrote it to something in between that we thought sounded great.  

Soon we were exchanging rings, and repeating our commitments and pledges to each other with the “I do’s”.  I’m not sure why but I said “definitely!” in the ceremony and it was super cheesy... not sure what I was thinking, perhaps to just personalize it a little bit more... It was kinda silly and it rightly got joked about after.  I didn’t even notice it at the time but Emily had put my ring on the wrong finger in the ceremony.... probably because I put out the wrong hand!  After some final words from Sandy we were being announced to the crowd and then asking Leo and Ellie to join us we walked out the isle to conclude the ceremony with everyone following us.  We forgot to put our funny ray-ban glasses on but apparently all the groomsmen did which I’m sure looked awesome on the way out.  Jesse had also brought a bubble machine and set it to go off as we left the ceremony which I thought was a super cool touch.  Ellie and Asia certainly enjoyed playing with the machine later in the night.

Right after the ceremony we were taken away for more photos and videos by our crew of photographers and videographers.  I say “crew” because we had two videographers and 4, yes 4, professional photographers.  Josh and Alice had won the Oregon Bride award and had asked us permission to bring 2 other people with them for free... Sure!  While they took pictures of us in every pose we could think of we sampled some of the appetizers that were being passed out and were handed drinks by our friends.  They got some great photos of our gigantic wedding party while all the guests got some cool cocktails and got out of the hot sun.  

Jennifer then rounded all the guests up shortly after the reception into the main building to start serving the plated salads.  Emily and I wanted to be creative with our table seating assignments so we had placed one of my photos used on my Trail Less Traveled Photography website on each of the tables.  We tried to capture all the various environments throughout the Northwest that Emily and I had visited.  I used the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Milky Way, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Sunset, The Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, a shot of some tall Doug Firs, the Oregon Coast, the Painted Hills, Mt. Rainier, the Salmon River, the Sisters Wilderness in Winter, Smith Rock, Tunnel Creek, and a photo of wildlife throughout the Northwest.  13 tables and 13 photographs.  

We put names and the associated photo name on 8x11’s on a mirror for guests to see where to sit.  They then were forced to walk around looking at the photos to determine which table to sit at which we thought was a great idea to show them some places we’d been... like a treasure hunt.  Emily had also bought 100 ripe pears for each guest.  At each table we put a dog paw sticker on the bottom of one of the pears.  Whoever got the one with the sticker could take the framed photograph home.  Unfortunately, in the chaos of the day we completely forgot to have Jesse make that announcement at dinner!  Whoops!  Also on the table were red wine glasses with our wedding logo on them for each guest to take home and a rented blue mason jar with baby’s breath (we were going to transfer them to the tables after hanging them on the chairs for the ceremony but forgot to put them on the chairs to begin with).  There were also small candles for lighting on the tables.  

Jamie Snell with Lamb’s Table Catering had created an amazing buffet for our wedding, sourcing nearly everything locally.  For appetizers after the ceremony she provided Elk and beef meatballs with garlic-plum glaze, prosciutto wrapped shrimp with seville orange glaze, and plum tomatoes halves stuffed with crab, garlic breadcrumbs and basil aioli.  For the plated salad we had seared oregon albacore with sasame and mustard see crust, mache leaves, avocado, dried cherries and shallot vinaigrette.  For dinner guests had a choice of grill-smoked sockeye salmon with romesco, grilled tri-tip with garlic sauteed mushrooms, or cheese tortellini with roasted summer squash, tomatoes and basil.  For the sides we had a watermelon with arugula and sheep’s milk feta salad with olive oil and champagne vinegar and a rice dish of brown rice, wild rice, black radish seed pilaf with carmelized onions, gold raisins and cashews.  The bread on the table was a baguette, and olive ciabatta with butter on the side and plated desert was butter shortcakes, meyer lemon mousse with fresh blackberries.

When everyone was sitting and the salads were being passed out for people to start snacking on Emily and I grabbed a signature cocktail from the bar while hiding from everyone before we were officially announced.  I had chosen the awesome song “Battle without honor or humanity” for us to be introduced to the reception with... It was a perfect choice.  Thankfully, we were able to sit down after the introduction and Jennifer indicated that we should be the first to grab a plate and hit the buffet which I gladly did after only having alcohol all day and a small plate of appetizers to try just after the ceremony.  

When almost everyone was sitting down Chris and Amy both gave us a toast.  Both were asked last minutes by the bridesmaids and groomsmen the night before and they really came through with good ones.  Chris had a longer one and told the funny story about how I was booted out of living with them on my way out here due to my blog photo (looking like a dude) and yet became best friends with him over the years.  It was nice he had a longer one as he, out of everyone at the wedding, probably knows Emily and I as a couple the best seeing that he joins us on most of our adventures.  After the toasts were done we resumed dinner.  The the food was spectacular, but unfortunately we had to wolf it down quickly so we could make our rounds to all the tables to greet our guests, before we were pulled away by the videographers and photographers for sunset photos.

We successfully were able to stop by each table quickly before Josh, Alice and Ryan stole us away for photos by the vineyard with Hood glowing in the background. We spent a long time getting various shots and videos down by, and in, the vineyard.  There were wildflowers everywhere and the sun was setting so I’m sure there were some really beautiful shots.   Leo was with us for some shot and it took some encouragement from others to get him to leave our sides for shots of just the two of us.  Asia did a great job keeping Ellie at bay who wanted to be with us the the whole time, not understanding that it was a day for Emily and I.  We really did try to give her as much time as possible throughout the day but it would have been nice to get a little help from her mom, which we didn’t.  

When we finally got back up to the reception we realized it was nearly 8pm and our timeframe had been completely blown.  We quickly entered and Jamie got the plated desert out to everyone as we started our first dances.  For months I had been dreading our first dance because I’m a terrible dancer and became terrified thinking about everyone watching us.  We had been so busy that we hadn’t even practiced dancing with each other either.  Thankfully, we had recruited my best man, and very talented musician Chris Holm (aka Holm Free) to play Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” live for us at the reception.   We thought this would be very special and I secretly hoped that people would be paying attention to Chris singing and playing rather than my sloppy footwork.  Unfortunately for me, Chris had to be set up in the corner close to the DJ where he was obscured behind some tables.  This left us out in the open for the dance and some people didn’t even realize until half way through that it was live music!  I don’t remember much of the dance as I think I was close to blacking out in fright for the whole thing.  Thankfully, I had a bit of liquid courage to keep me up right.  

It got even more awkward for me after Emily danced with her dad wonderfully to “Turn Around” by the Brothers Four and I had to follow up with the song “You light up my life” with my mom that was twice as long.  She had sang it to me as a baby and of course had to sing it again while we danced!  I kept my cool and knew she was really enjoying the dance but I could feel every single pair of eyes on me!  Funny, I can stand with my toes over the edge of a 4,000 foot cliff on a breezy day but dancing in front of friends and family I’m shaking like a leaf.  

After the dances we pulled out the 3 day old grape heart-shaped Voodoo Donut we had got for the wedding and sliced it up quickly.  I’m not sure anyone even got a photo of it but we thought it was amusing and people could try the famous Voodoo donut without venturing into Portland and battling the lines.  Keith and then my mom gave a toast to which we all had champagne.  I can’t remember exactly what was said but I remember it warmed our hearts.  By the time all the formal events of the night were over with it was nearing 8pm already and it was time to get the dancing started.

We ended up asking Ryan to stay an extra two hours to get more video and the photographers were there until 9pm.  I invited them to stay as long as they could and have some drinks but I think they had another wedding to rest up for the next day.  Jesse got the beats playing on the dance floor which was cleared of tables and slowly people started to dance.  It was still pretty warm out and a lot of guests decided to mingle around the grounds which was totally fine with us.  As long as people were enjoying themselves.  

Throughout the day I noticed guests enjoying the pathways through the woods, the hammocks, the washer boards we had put up, and the bocchi ball that Doug had brought.  Yes, people were certainly dancing, but for the most part everyone was just enjoying the location in general and of course the yummy drinks.  Logan of course swept up the dance floor and got everyone excited.  He ended up having a great time dancing with Patti.  Ellie became an instant celebrity on the dance floor herself with all her moves and I had a great time swinging her around as well.  She was loving all the attention.  

Emily and I danced on and off and also walked around the yard mingling with guests and trying to make sure we let everyone know how appreciative we were they made it out for our day.  When I talked to Pete I heard that Ellie had wanted to people to dance and he told her to tell the DJ to play Macklemore.  To his surprise she did and the next song was thriftshop!  She certainly knows how to get her way!  Jesse seemed to play all our favorite songs and we didn’t even hear another slow song after our initial dances.  It was pure party music from that point on.  

The reception ended with Jesse playing “The Final Countdown” around 10pm when the shuttle arrived to start taking guests back to the hotel.  A quick announcement was made to tell people to take the photo frames home and to remember to sign the owl tree that we had purchased for guests to sign.  Leo was pooped.  He had been running around all day in the sun getting attention from everyone who all claimed he was the best dog they’d ever seen.  It was a little painful for Ian (Em’s co-worker who gave us Leo when he found him) to see how awesome Leo was and joked about trading dogs... Well, at the end of the night we found him on his side out cold tired from the day so we put a wine glass next to his face and got some funny photos before loading him into my mom’s car for the ride back to the house.  We were both super excited to have him at our wedding and not have to worry about his whereabouts.  

After helping to pack up what we could we joined Matt and some others in the last shuttle and headed back to the hotel.  We were the last to leave the vineyard after thanking all the caterers that we saw, so we were late in joining the rest at the Cebu Lounge.  We also had to take care of some business in the honeymoon suite as well.  When we did finally join up with everyone it was about 11:30 and I was worried that we would miss the last call.  Thankfully, the Conjugal Visitors were still playing and last call wasn’t until 1am!  Funny coincidence - Jason and Jenn had hired the Conjugal Visitors to play at their wedding in just 3 weeks and nobody had any clue they would be playing at the hotel until about a week before our wedding.  So, they got to get a pre-screening of the music at their wedding at our after party!  I had left my sandals somewhere in a bag when we left the reception so I was left wearing my dress shoes and shorts at the bar after we changed which looked a bit silly but at that point in the night I didn’t really care.

Many had already headed to bed by the time we got to the bar but there were of course the regulars like Cooper, Scott, Danielle, Garrett etc.  I had directed Jennifer to drop the leftover beer off at the hotel so we could continue the after-after party in our huge honeymoon suite.  After several white russians at the bar we said our goodbyes to family and headed back to our room with Cooper, Scott, Danielle, Cassie, Garrett, Cathy and Hartz, who had dropped off the booze for us in our room an hour earlier.  There wasn’t much left besides a couple beers and wine but Garrett had a bottle of whiskey if I remember right.  Bubbles were found and we fired up the the jacuzzi tub in the room while I got some tunes playing and smoked a cigar out on the grass by the river with Garrett.  I found it funny that Danielle made it longer in the night than Scooter for a change.  It was a perfect end with friends to one of the best days of our lives.  

In the morning we met friends and family for a private brunch that we had received with our rehearsal dinner package in the Shoreline Room again.  When we showed up and saw that it was a little fruit and some pastries I was a little pissed.  All the hotel guests had blue cards to get a free (and large) hot breakfast with eggs and meat yet this private brunch was lacking anything hot or meat... meaning the hotel was making out like a bandit not cooking breakfast for all the people at the brunch so Keith and I walked to the front desk and said something.  15 minutes later we had a tray of eggs and bacon which was all we really wanted in the first place.  This and the fact that we were told we’d have liquor at the rehearsal dinner and didn’t leads me to believe there is a miscommunication between Jan and her staff there... but again.. nothing to really get too pissed about as everyone still had a good time and nobody but Emily and I noticed.

From that point on it was a series of long goodbyes to many family and friends who had to make it back to the airport that afternoon.  Again, I wish we could have had one more night with many of them but we understand they all had lives to get back to.  After checking out it took us forever to get to the pool.  It was hard saying goodbye to Ellie but I gave her a bag of swedish fish Eric had given me the night before and she seemed happy.  We were given a few more gifts from friends as we saw them leave and then headed over to the pool to hang out for a bit with Kevin, Alexa, Garret, Cassie, Scott and Danielle.  A bunch of them were planning on camping that night somewhere in the Gorge to get away from the hot sun of the valley.

We left the pool in the early afternoon and met up with Emily’s parents and Chris and Julia to head out to the Hood River winery to check it out.  It was a beautiful afternoon and I know they wanted to see some of the Hood River area before leaving.  We also saw Gary briefly who was trying to find a rental vehicle to go check out Mt. Hood so I simply lent him the truck and told him to enjoy!  We also said goodbye to Michael, Carol, Sue, Jason, and Kim and Drew and I gave them a scenic route to follow back to the airport to enjoy the gorge a bit more.  We then headed out and had a relaxing time at the winery building, sampling a variety of wines and enjoying the sunny day and views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.  On the way back into Hood River we drove up to a viewpoint over the valley to get a few photos as well.  We then had to say goodbye to Chris and Julia who had to catch a plane that night.  It was really great seeing those two and we hope that we won them over for future trips once the new baby Riggott is old enough.  That night we just had leftovers at Emily’s parents place.  Elayne and my mom came over and we opened our gifts in the living room for a while and looked at some of the funny madlibs that were left for us.  We also tried to consolidate all that we could for packing the next morning to leave.  

On Sunday we awoke and began loading up the cars with everything we could.  Gary had taken my truck to the airport the night before as it saved him expensive shuttle money Hood River.  This left her parents rental, our Prius and my mom’s rental.  Unfortunately, my mom had forgotten we needed their space and was driving back to Portland already... thankfully I was able to get her on the phone and have her turn around.   After loading up everything and Leo we headed into town to get some breakfast.  We wanted to stop at the Egg River Cafe but it was packed so we ended up at Bette’s Place in town instead which was also nice.  

We walked around town a little after buying Doggles and treats for Leo and returning a box of white wine that wasn’t drank at the wedding for a refund.  Keith picked up a tap from the Pelican Brewery and we also bumped into Sue, Erin, Ann, Fran and the guys in who were enjoying the day in the town before heading back to Seattle.  My mom and Elayne had already left for Portland as they ate earlier and wanted to see the Sunday Market.  From there we had a pleasant drive back on the Washington side of the river back home.  Em dropped me off a the airport where Gary had left me $20 in the truck to pay for the short term parking and I met everyone back at the house.  

That night Keith and Patti headed to Seaside to see the ocean and Emily and I grabbed dinner with Elayne and my mom at Planet Thai.  We ordered a lot as we were hungry since breakfast and had a great meal.  Elayne and my mom then grabbed a hotel room at the La Quinta Inn for the night to let Emily and I relax for the night and start to put away some of the gifts we had received.  

On Monday (my 34th birthday) I had to go to work as I don’t have any time to take off before our long honeymoon in December to Patagonia and Costa Rica.  On the way back from picking up my bike from a tune up at REI I stopped at Jakes Crawfish House to make reservations for our parents and us.  I was able to get out of work early and when we got home we found a box from Elayne that had arrived.  She had made us a beautiful quilt of amazing colors that reminded us of the earthy tones of the Northwest, complete with an inscription about our wedding.  It was really amazing and we thank her a lot.  My mom of course also bought our very $$$ honeymoon plane tickets which we won’t forget!  Dinner at Jake’s was pricey but amazing.  I had the dungeness crab back along with Keith who raved about it.  They had only tried watered-down crab at the coast so this was the first time they had crab cooked right and they liked it!

Keith and Patti crashed with us Monday night so they could catch their early flight on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, I slept through my alarm Tuesday morning and was late for work and also missed saying goodbye to them which I felt bad about.  After work on Tuesday we met up with Elayne and my mom again for dinner at Billigans and to say goodbye as their flight was in the morning on Wednesday.  

Well, I do think this might be the longest post I have ever written.  It was truly an amazing week and Emily and I are both super happy to have tied the knot with all of our closest friends and family with us.  Now we just have to get used to the rings on our fingers and wait for the videographers and photographers to finish up all the media for us.  Time to get ready for an epic honeymoon in Patagonia and Costa Rica this December as well!  Thanks to our parents and everyone else who stepped up and helped us with all the wedding planning over the past year.  I’m pretty sure everyone will agree it was a pretty epic wedding!  

Below is the full transcript of our ceremony:


Good afternoon, family and friends We have come here today to celebrate the wedding of Emily Riggott and Jon Ellinger. On behalf of Jon and Emily, thank you for joining us They are delighted that you have come to share in their joy during this special day In witnessing this ceremony, we are observing only the outward sign of an inward union that already exists between them. They come before us today to publicly affirm their love and commitment of marriage. Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. By making this commitment today, Emily and Jon’s relationship will become stronger, better, and deeper Today, Emily and Jon demonstrate their devotion to each other By dedicating themselves to a life together And they show their respect for each other By setting forth to honor the vows they have taken Today, their lives, which began on separate paths, will be joined as one.

Today represents not only the joining of Emily and Jon But also the joining of their families and friends Jon and Emily would like to recognize their parents on this occasion, They offer their profound gratitude For all the love and care their parents showed in raising them. Parents, the unconditional gifts of love and support That you have continually offered Have inspired them to become who they are today, And they thank you, from the bottom of their hearts, Without you, this day would not be possible. They are blessed to share their wedding day with you, their family and friends, And thank each of you for making the long journey here As much as today is a celebration of Emily and Jon’s marriage, It is also a celebration of their permanent bond of love, Which is built upon a foundation of 7 amazing years spent together And all the experiences encompassed by that time They have invited you to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, to the Cascades and the Columbia Gorge To show you a glimpse of an important piece of their love, To share with you these mountains, these rivers, these forests Because during their years together, They have spent many days, just like this, together So humbled and awed by the purity of their surroundings Their time spent exploring the outdoors has always been a time of peace, of connectedness, And of a deepening respect for nature, and for each other They ask that you open your hearts and minds To the timelessness of this place And to the love we are here to share through this ceremony.

We also remember those unable to travel here today and especially those no longer with us. I am confident the presence of Jon's father (Richard), Emily's grandparents, (Ethel and Clifford, Jack and Joyce) and Jon's grandparents, (Frank, Bessie, Frank & Mary) is also felt today on this occasion of great joy and celebration. As you look out over the Columbia River and Mount Hood, please take a moment of silence for those we have recognized.

THE PARENTS' BLESSING Sometimes marriage is seen as the union of two people. However, marriage is much broader. This wedding is also a celebration of family. It is the blending of two families, separate up to this moment, but united from this day forward blending their different traditions, strengthening the family tree. To honor this uniting of the families, Emily and Jon wish to ask their parents' blessing. Keith and Patti, do you offer this couple your goodwill? Do you welcome Jonathan as a member of your family and give him your love and affection? Keith & Patti: We do. Cynthia, do you offer this couple your goodwill? Do you welcome Emily as a member of your family and give her your love and affection? Cynthia: I do.

From the Bagavad Gita read by Cynthia Ellinger 
"Look to this day, For it is life, The very life of life. In its brief course lie all the varieties And realities of your existence; The bliss of growths The glory of action, The splendor of beauty; For yesterday is but a dream And tomorrow is only a vision, But today well lived makes Every yesterday a dream of happiness And every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day. Such is the salvation of the dawn." THOUGHTS ON MARRIAGE Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal; a joining that is promised for a lifetime. A wife and a husband are each others best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; and anger passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

READING by Keith Riggott 
Jonathan and Emily have chosen a story for Keith to read which they feel is representative of “their philosophy of life together” and how they will continue to live it. 

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two pints of beer. 

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed again that it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the rest of the space. He asked once more if the jar was full, and his students responded with a unanimous “yes.” The professor then produced two pint glasses of beer from under the table and poured the contents of both into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. 

The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things your family, children, health, friends and your favorite passions; things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, would still make your life full.” The pebbles are the other things that matter like your career, and your home. The sand is everything else the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.” “Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children, take time to get medical checkups, take your partner out to dinner and enjoy the outdoors. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the leaky tap. Take care of the golf balls first the things that really matter. Set your priorities, because the rest is just sand.” (At this point Patti will raise her hand and Keith will say, “yes?” and she’ll say: “Wait? What about the beer?”. Keith with a smile, “I’m glad you asked. It goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem to be, that there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

Emily and Jon, as we stand here in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge surrounded by friends and family I ask for your intentions by answering these questions with the words, “I do.” Do you Jon, promise Emily there will never be a day without your love for her? Do you pledge to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and to share in the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together? Jonathan, “I do.” And do you Emily, promise Jon there will never be a day without your love for her? Do you pledge to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and to share in the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together? Emily, “I do.” Just as the mountains and rivers nourish the earth and sustain life, may your constant love nourish and sustain each other until the end of time.

What token do you give that you will keep these vows (rings are handed to Sandy) The ring, in the shape of a circle is the symbol for many thing; the sun, earth, the whole universe. It is the symbol of wholeness and completion. Let these rings represent your two lives joined in one unbroken circle.  Your wedding rings are most special because they say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bonded, to allow the presence of another human being to enhance who you are. Your rings carry the potent double message: We are individuals and yet we belong; we are not alone. Jon, as you place the ring on Emily's finger, promise her,repeating after me. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you. With it, I give you my heart and my eternal promise that you will always know just how much you are loved.” Emily, as you place the ring on Jon's finger, promise him, “I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you. With it, I give you my heart and my eternal promise that you will always know just how much you are loved.”

Couple steps to the wine box In lieu of formal vows 
Emily and Jonathan have written very personal love letters to one another expressing all the reasons why they love one another, and the reason they are choosing to spend the rest of their lives together. Neither of them has read these love letters to anyone, not even to each other. I ask now that each of you place your love letters into the wine box with the bottle of wine you have selected and seal the box. Emily and Jonathan if you should ever find a time in your marriage where you seem to have encountered an insurmountable hardship, I ask that you together open the wine box, pour yourself a glass of wine and separate into a private room and open the love letter that was written for you. The hope is, that in that moment , it will bring you back to this moment. You will be able to reflect upon all the reasons why you fell in love and why you choose to spend the rest of your lives together. It is also the hope that you will never find a reason to open this box, and if that is the case, on your 10 year wedding anniversary your are to open your wine box, enjoy your wine and share your sweet love letters in celebration. Couple locks the box.

Before we conclude the ceremony, please join me in offering Emily and Jonathan our best wishes and good intentions for their marriage. Emily and Jonathan, We wish the inspiration of this ceremony will remain alive in your hearts and your lives forever, and your love will continue to give you joy and a zest for living. May you be a blessing to each other, sharers of each others joys. May you always need one another, not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you know your fullness. We wish for you a home not just a place of stone and wood, but an island of sanity and serenity fostering patience, understanding and friendship. May your house be a place of happiness for all who enter it... a place for growing, a place of laughter. When you are alone together, may you hide nothing, least of all your thoughts and feelings. Because as you open your hearts, you will come to know one another more and more deeply, and you will know yourself for that is the working of real love. May you take no notice of of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart , may both of you have hope enough to take the first step back. May you have happiness and may you find it by helping one another to be happy. You have love and may you find it by loving one another. May you succeed in all the important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise and often say “I love you!” May the spirit that brought you together nurture this marriage and your bond forever. May you walk together through all things and always remember that you are deeply loved. Let no one break apart the bond that you have formed today.

And now, for as much as Jon and Emily have consented together in marriage in front of these witnesses, their families and friends, and have declared the same by the exchange of vows and rings, it is my privilege to pronounce that they are . . . husband and wife!

You may seal your vows with a kiss! 

(Emily retrieves her bouquet from Cassie, couple face their guests) Family and friends, it is my and pleasure to present to you, the newlyweds, Mr & Mrs Jonathan Ellinger.

Jon & Emily Matt Amy Kevin Lynette Jason Sarah Aaron Beth Scott Danielle Chris Julia Nick Jen Colin Cynthia (Jon’s Mom) Ellie can leave with her mom or with my mom and Colin. Sandy

Jon & Emily, Sandy and witnesses sign documents immediately and then are free to party!

All of the photos in this blog entry except for the last 4 were all taken by our guests.  Our amazing professional photographers "Mosca Photography" will be post-processing our photos over the next couple months but for now, here is a link to the blog entry where you can find small versions of the photos they are currently working on for us.

Photos can also be purchased via Pictage at the link below.  Just sign the guestbook and create a password to view and buy the prints.  They are all amazing!

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