wedding catastrophe: part 3

Are you ready for the story?  The one that will either make you feel sorry for me or that will encourage you to see past the “wedding”?  {i’m going for the latter here, so try to focus on that when rolling your eyes}

Here it goes:

As was described in this post, our rehearsal was beautiful.  Casual, comfortable, and exactly what we hoped for.  The sun was shining and we were elated at the beautiful weather.  After practicing our walks to and fro, we celebrated our impending marriage with our closest of familial relations.

with a short list of to-dos, i went home to my parent’s house, one last time, as a single lady.  i snuggled up with my sister and best friend, trying to calm myself of the anticipation and excitement.  it was finally happening!

the morning of march 21st, 2009 was beautiful to say the least; although it’s beauty resided primarily within the dimensions drawn by the drastic and daunting grey clouds that hung low in the sky.  with a mid-afternoon wedding on the schedule, we shrugged our shoulders as we continued to pray that the rain would hold off until the evening … although we all knew those clouds carried too much weight to hold much longer.

after picking up a few of the bridesmaids, we arrived at the wedding destination, where the grass was made greener by the overhanging grey in the skies.  it was still beautiful. we put the final touches on the site, and then my girls stole me away into the ranch house, where i was met by a stylist, promising to make me water-proof.

the rain started slowly and shifted between a slight drizzle and a mild down-pour.

and then, the clouds parted, just long enough for the first look and some magical pictures in a field or two.  given the muddy situation of the property, our pictures were more limited than i would have hoped, however, we certainly made do.

once the rain ended our photo shoot, we separated to our designated “ready rooms”, until the ceremony was scheduled to start.

2:30-2:45 – guests started to arrive
3:00pm – ceremony was supposed to begin
3:01pm – cue torrential downpour

as the umbrellas could only hold so much water, my family invited our guests inside the old house, as we “waited for the rain to pass”.

our wedding planner, along with the help of my brother-in-law, mapped out a new site for the ceremony, which included a pop-up tent and the laundry room.

i can’t even remember how they described it when they asked for my approval.  i just remember knowing that they would point me in his direction.  and that’s all that mattered.

after hand & foot warmers had been passed out to our guests, who were probably hating us, laughing at us, and mocking us at the time, they were assigned to one of the multiple locations around the lawn that maintained a view of the new ceremony location.

and then, i was led down to the laundry room.  not knowing where i was going, my dad led me past the washing machine and out the door, where a dear friend holding a rainbow umbrella escorted us from one pop-up tent to the next.

people were standing in every direction, huddled together, and hiding from the drops.

but we were getting married.

somewhere, between the laundry room and my soon-to-be-husband, my veil fell off … and i never even noticed.

the salt used for our salt covenant (similar to the sand ceremonies) was chunky when the time came to combine our pillars.  but nothing a quick shake and plop couldn’t fix.

our pastor shortened the ceremony to accommodate the cold, the wet, and the frozen.

the fireworks that were set to go off when we kissed, came across as more of a “boom”, as the overcast colors covered the glittery sparks.

i don’t remember the food.

the only dancing that took place was our first and the father-daughter.

people left before the family photos were finished.

all post-wedding pictures were taken under a tent, which caused an awful light that our photographer failed to correct in his editing.

my grandma got pneumonia.

we left before the evening fireworks show was set to occur, due to the lack of company.

the fabric roofs of the pop-up tents created a series of waterfalls as the drops pooled in their canopies.

it was chaos.

but at that moment when our vows were exchanged and we became one, it became my dream.

sure, i wish things had turned out better, but when it comes down to it, i am so glad i don’t have to plan another wedding.  i am so glad to be  married to this incredible man that calls me his wife.

we have the rest of our lives to make beautiful memories.  so what, if our wedding wasn’t exactly the most comfortable of adventures.

to this day, people still tell us that it was the “most memorable wedding” they have every been too.  and maybe they don’t remember the pretty little scrolls my mom and i spent hours rolling and tying.  maybe they remember the candied favors running pretty green and white colors onto their already wet hands.  maybe they remember the chaos more than the ice cream cake.  that’s ok.

and you know what i know they remember, though?  they remember our vows.  they remember that we got married.

perfect is relative.  my wedding day was far from my “dream wedding”.  and it’s what most brides would cry over.  but for me …

it was beautiful.  for me, it was perfect.


wedding catastrophe: part 2

last week, i gave my unsolicited advice in regards to planning a wedding.  if you missed the post, my basic recap would go a little something like this: focus more on the vows, less on the colors … because, chances are, a part of your perfectly planned day will most likely go wrong and in the grand scheme of things … that’s ok.

and here’s where my wedding can be used as the example of all examples, when it comes to chaotic weddings.

we’ll start with why we chose to have an outdoor wedding in march.

first of all, we were supposed to be in a draught.  as in, dangerously low in the precipitation category for the already water-deprived state of California.  thus, choosing the day before the start of spring seemed like a not-entirely-crazy-decision … at the time.

but more importantly than that, i had always dreamt of getting married on my grandparent’s small 10 acre ranch.  {in reality, though, it’s not exactly a ranch given that it is only 10 acres, but before the land was divided, it was the homestead of a 100 acre ranch … hence, it serves as our family homestead).  i spent my childhood running through those fields, fishing in the pond, tending to the orchards, and so on.  and not only that … it’s where erik and i first met!  sentimentality upon sentimentality.  enough said.

given the fickle nature of the weather forecast, we considered renting a tent … but we were on a budget.  and by budget, i mean, a tent was sort-of-not-really a possibility {at least since renting a tent at the last minute increases costs by ridiculous amount}.  sooooo, we risked it.  we had our church reserved as a back-up location, but we had NOTHING to decorate it with, had we needed it (which we did).  all of our decorations were solely for the out of doors.  and once we saw the white flowers my grandpa had planted at the foot of the (would-be) altar, even my parents agreed … we couldn’t change the location.  no matter what.

we spent most of the month looking up at the skies, wondering what the doppler radar would read come wedding-weekend.

another couple at our church reserved the weekend before ours for their outdoor wedding ceremony.  i felt like the entire church was praying for 2 consecutively dry saturdays, that march.  we were so excited when the skies failed to empty their drops on the hemington’s big day.

and we prayed for the same blessing.

but you know what … sometimes, God has other plans.

in another post, i’ll detail the chaos the ensued … but first, i have to show you how perfect our rehearsal was.  80 degrees, sunny, and bright.

had we known the sun would choose to smile on march 20, 2009, we would have sacrificed one more day of planning to have been hitched one day earlier.  but alas … God has other plans, right?

wedding catastrophe

we are already rounding out 2012 as fall slowly {yup, here in California, it’s still moving very slowly} creeps up on us. the time of year when the air is crisp and the colors are vibrant fills my soul with the type of warmth that merits some marshmallows and chocolate. it’s bonfire season, yet again. it’s time for oranges and yellows and sweet bright reds to slowly take over the green life in the leaves. this, is the perfect time of year.

i always thought i wanted to get married at the end of september or october. i envisioned burnt orange roses, accompanied by delicate yellows and pinks. an outdoor ceremony at my grandparent’s ranch, where bonfires would adorn the lawn to keep guests warm, while roasting their s’mores. in my head, it was rustic, yet elegant … casual, yet classy. simply … beautiful.

but then again, that’s just what was in my head.  oh, the visions a girl has nestled inside her head for her wedding day … perfection.  right?

think again.

in reality, i got married in march. see, even though the fall seemed to be the perfect time to celebrate a wedding, the question was popped in mid september. a month long engagement was nixed by the financial source {my parents} and a year long engagement was pretty much the equivalent of an awful form of torture for us.

thus, a prompt 6 month engagement landed us in march.

and you know what? i could have cared less that i wasn’t getting my fall wedding. i was getting married! and that’s all i cared about.

now, i’ve watched the wedding drama captured {and let’s face it, most likely created} by reality tv.  i’ve seen the melt downs, the bridezillas, and even the perfect-dream-come-true weddings.  but even moreso, i’ve been in weddings, i’ve attended weddings, and i’ve planned a wedding … so when i say this, it comes with some experience:


i see too many women drive themselves crazy over planning the perfect wedding.  they stress over the colors, the flowers, the cake, the food, the centerpieces, the this and the that … but how much time do they put into the ceremony?  and i don’t mean the way it looks.  i mean, what is said.  the vows.  the promises.  the prayers.  the commitment that is solidified and confirmed on that day.

in all honesty, probably not enough.

i can say this even more, because my wedding was a catastrophe.  and utter mess.  it was cold and wet and chaotic.  i wasn’t supposed to walk out of the laundry room.  but i did.  and you know what, that washing machine led me towards my husband.  so God Bless that washing machine.

in another post, i’ll add further details to the chaos that was march 21st, 2009 … the best day of my life.  and you’ll see what i mean.  everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

but it wasn’t about the wedding.  and frankly, it wasn’t about all the people that probably thought we were insane for having an outdoor wedding in march {more on that later}.  it was about us.  me and erik.  becoming one.  vowing to each other and to God to be married, forever.

so remember that the next time you see a bride stressing over the “perfect” wedding … remind her to focus on her impending marriage instead.  it will be worth it.

Bucket List, Leap List … whatever you want to call it … We Have One

ever heard of a bucket list?  you know, the list of things you want to do before you … kick the bucket.  well, at least that’s why I figure they call it that.

the first time erik and I heard of a bucket list, was from the movie by the same name.  starring jack nicholson and morgan freeman, it was a movie we saw in the theater, back when we were still just a dating duo.  we thoroughly enjoyed our little movie date {out of the many movies we saw together, that particular outing sticks out to both of us for some reason}, and have often talked about what would be on our bucket lists …

now, I understand that most of the things that end up on a bucket list are rather trivial.  they are the sort of things we want to do or see while still on this earth … rather materialistic, is it not?  well, in an effort to steer clear of attempting to make a profound theological justification for the idea behind the bucket list, I’m simply going to say that I think it’s a fun idea.

the second time I really read someone else’s bucket list was on this blog.   about a year and a half ago, the writer behind the blog and her husband made a “pre-baby bucket list.  it’s simply a list of things to do prior to making a few additions to the family.  because things just get a little more difficult to do once you have a little miniature running around.

and i think it’s a fantastic way to truly enjoy and appreciate the period of time you have with your spouse. while it’s just the two of you.

because we will be parents for the rest of our lives.  and for this time only, we solely bear the responsibility of being a husband and a wife.  and we want to live this time of our lives to the fullest.

we aren’t in a rush.  and we shouldn’t be.

please, don’t get me wrong.  we are excited about starting a family.  someday.  {and should it happen before our timeline allots, we will be thrilled, to say the least}

but for now, in an effort to fall deeper in love before we decide to pop out a little benson, erik and I jotted down a few things we want to do, prior to growing the love circle.  it’s a list of adventures and memories we want to create.


some are a bit extravagant.  some are very simple.  and some {ok, maybe just one} are actually stolen straight from the pre-baby bucket list of the blogger mentioned above.  we are excited to have a list that will encourage us to take every opportunity for adventure, as often as possible.  we may not finish the entire list … but whatever we don’t finish prior to having a baby, will be transferred onto the “life bucket list” {which already has a few things on it}.

so here goes.  we started out small … doable.  {however, we reserve the right to add to this list at any time}

maybe we should have started the actual list earlier in our marriage.  but regardless of whether or not our adventures were penned on paper before having been experienced, we have certainly enjoyed more than a few memorable thrills … worthy of making it onto the bucket list  {since they are just now being penned, they will also be checked for completion}

introducing our Pre-Baby Bucket List:

  1. visit chicago, eat real chicago pizza, drive to wisconsin, see the farm that housed the many memories of erik benson, see milwalkee, and go to a brewers game
  2. snowshoe up kirkwood on a full moon
  3. buy dinner for a couple in love at a restaurant … anonymously {see #14 – we couldn’t help but steal this one}
  4. spend all of our budgeted christmas $ on another family
  5. go hunting together {which means take the hunter’s safety course together}
  6. sit in the fancy chairs at a nice movie theater {the ones that move} or go to a theater where they serve dinner & drinks during the show
  7. get all dressed up and walk down the aisle together … again {set to occur on may 20th}
  8. trip {though brief} to New York … see the statue of liberty {completed june 2009}
  9. take a major road trip … 34 hours to be exact, to the lower dakota {completed november 2010}
  10. camp out in our truck and mountain bike up the coast {completed may 2009}
  11. get a dog {completed january 2011}
  12. spontaneous day trips to san francisco and lake tahoe {completed multiple times}
  13. go back to where we honeymooned {completed october 2011}

All the Single Ladies

this past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending time with a woman that I won’t hesitate to call, one of my faves.  her coordinates on the map are exactly too many miles south of my location {the city of angels, to be specific}; but I’m lucky enough to get a call when she temporarily relocates to the northern region I like to call home.

as is usually a part of our conversation, we talked for a while about single-hood, a state of life in which she is currently situated.  not necessarily to her liking, but she is there nonetheless.

our conversation about the over abundance of fabulous women caught in the world of single-hood got me thinking.  why are there so many women moving their way through life without a suitor?  even my husband doesn’t get it.

are guys dumb?  blind?  insane? why aren’t these fabulous women getting snatched up by a great, well-rounded, God-loving, adventurous gentleman?  are there any more out there?

we often try to analyze the situation at hand, by diagnosing the problem that seems to breed amongst young adults on the west coast {I specify the west coast, because that’s all I know … and my mid-western husband claims these problems are not so common in the center of the states, where chivalry still exists}; the problem of “non-dating dating”.  {yes, I gave it my own name}.  people date in groups.  they meet in groups.  they get to know each other in groups.  and they date in groups.  {not that alone-time is a requirement for dating at all.  courting is still a thriving option, and a smart one at that – if you ask me}.

however, when all is done in “groups”, one nearly discards the responsibility of pursuit.  initiating an introduction … and subsequent conversations thereafter.  why is that?  why has the good old fashioned “boy meets girl, boy pursues girl, boy falls in love with said-totally-fabulous-girl, and they live happily ever after” story seem so rare?  it’s more like, “boy and girl meet in a crowd and then see each other occasionally when the crowd gets together until someone says ‘hey, you should like him/her’ and then they mutually decide that they like each other enough to try it out”.

I was pursued.  for 5 months, we were just friends.  friends that hung out all the time, but still; just friends.  no hand holding, no cuddling; nothing.  he kept calling and he kept coming around.  until I knew him.  until I knew who he was as a man, as a friend, and as a companion.  through 5 months of pursuing me through friendship, he showed me that my heart was safe in his hands.  and then, he asked me to be his girlfriend.  after he asked my dad, of course.

call me old fashioned.  it’s how I think it should be.

the only consolation I could give my dear friend, amidst my lack of understanding of her current state of life {although I know what it’s like to be single … I may have played hard-to-get, but I was the only girl of all my friends to never {repeat: NEVER} get invited to a fraternity formal – or any other boy-asks-girl-type event – the entire duration of my college career.  I may have pretended I didn’t care.  and I really may not have cared … most of the time}, was that this is an incredible opportunity for you to grow in Christ and into the kind of wife you want to become.  it’s cliché, I know.  but a cliché only becomes a cliché because it’s rooted in truth.  right?

the deeper your heart is in the word, the greater you will know Christ.  by knowing Christ, you will learn more about yourself … who you are, who you want to be through Him, and how to get there.  use the advantage you have of time.  time to learn about the kind of wife God wants you to be for your husband.  time to rid yourself of those habits/reactions/not-so-uplifting-traits that seem “ok” while on your own, but might hurt your future roomie down the road.  because he’s going to be more than a roomie.  it’s more than a never ending sleep over.  it’s marriage.  the biggest and most serious commitment you will ever make in your life.  it’s never too early to start preparing yourself.  your husband will thank you for it.

it may seem far off and not in the plans for you.  but you don’t know that yet.  so don’t be afraid of ending up alone or worried that you aren’t going to fall in love … because you are too rad to waste time worrying.

use your time to prepare yourself.  don’t you hope God is doing the same work in him; for you?

my friend asked me what I wish I had “worked” on or learned about myself before getting married.  my answer: my fear of looking foolish.  when someone critiques something I did/am doing {or insert a million other possible situations here}, I get defensive.  I make excuses.  I justify every action.  it’s not becoming.  it’s not good.  {hence my reading and re-reading of psalms}  my reaction usually ends up hurting my husband.  the man that continually reminds me “I’m on your side.  always.”  I hate that I need that reminding.

had I been reading and fervently preparing myself for wife-hood earlier in life, with my future husband in mind, maybe I’d be at least a few steps closer to being the kind of wife God has called me to be.  {and missing all those fraternity formals wouldn’t have been such a {secret} bummer.}