A Summer of Weddings Part 1: Jonno and Esther

     So, finally, here is the explanation of where I’ve been all summer.  Well, actually it’s going to take a couple of posts (so bear with me).  I was honored last January to be asked by the lovely Esther Welbourne to help plan her wedding to Jonathan Waterloo.  Jonathan (or Jonno as we call him) is our pastor’s oldest son and went clear through our youth department since the first year we came to Oklahoma.  Phlegmatic to the bone with a sense of humor that makes everyone smile when he walks in the room, Jonno is very dear to our hearts.  When he brought Esther into our lives we were thrilled and quite frankly unbelieving that he would find such a beautiful girl who is absolutely perfect for him.  Always one to enjoy decorating AND spending other peoples’ money, I jumped at the chance!  We had so much fun with planning, shopping trips to Tulsa and work nights putting flowers together.  Esther loves purple Calla lilies, so there was our inspiration from which everything else fell into place.  I’d love to tell you that I personally assembled all beauties in this post, but, I’d be a liar.  Thankfully, there were a host of ladies and friends who were willing and honored to jump in and help, without whom none of this would have actually become reality.   Below, I’d like to just comment and go through my thoughts on various aspects of wedding planning…a job I won’t be doing full time anytime soon. 

My first surprising heart change came with the concept of the “first sight” photos that are gaining in popularity as a modern tradition.  I’ve always been a firm believer in the groom no seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle.  Not that I’m superstitious, I’ve just always enjoyed seeing the reaction of the groom!  However, it is true that in all practicality, this creates a time issue for picture taking between ceremony and reception.  Yet, the romantic in me just has never been able to give up the dream…until I see pictures like this

1st sight, Esther coming up behind.  Don’t you love all of the “peekers” out in the foyer?


     Now, how isn’t that one of the best reactions of a groom turning around to see his bride!  Oh, Jonno I love when you get all sappy.   This was truly a sweet semi-private moment for the two of them and still didn’t seem to take anything away from the ceremony.  As a matter of fact, I wonder if he felt more comfortable giving the full reaction than if he knew all eyes were on him.          

They chose to show a video before the ceremony and then came the moment of truth.  Now look at that picture.  Tulle and lights sigh…..Who wouldn’t want to walk down that aisle?

So this picture is purely for selfish reasons.  Can you say “best looking groomsman ever?!!”  Yes, 2nd man was a groomsman in his second “former teen” wedding.  That’s not me as a bridesmaid, but I like her and she’s another pastor’s wife so it’s OK.

Next, lets talk aisle runners.  My thoughts?  Ditch the whole idea….NIGHTMARE!  Ever see an usher sweat?  Well, this will drive him to it. 

The ceremony was precious.  I’ll admit I missed most of it, because I had to run down and get the reception ready.  However, when pastor (father of the groom remember)cried during this reading the whole wedding became an instant success in the eyes of every guest there. 

     Esther is nicknamed princess, because she’s beautiful and sweet and into the bling, hence the gorgeous tiara!  We tried to bling up the unity candle display for her as much as possible.  We glued purple and black ribbon with borders of diamond mesh.  We then wove purple ribbon through some tulle to make a cloud like surround.

         The beauty of this wedding was found in the detail.  Esther has a great eye for detail and thus wanted to make sure special attention was paid to every aspect of her wedding day from the moment guests entered the church.   We had fun making some special features for the lobby.  My personal favorite were the trees.  I’m planning to post a separate explanation of the making of these trees in a blog post to come.  However, for now suffice it to say they were stunning!  Four tree branches about six foot high concreted into coffee cans, were painted and glittered.  We strung beads and glued purple hydrangea blossoms for a sweet effect, and put two on each side of the foyer where guests entered. This made a path to the guest book area that was decorated with tulle, lights, calla lilies and a large portrait of the couple.

On the hallway wall leading to the reception area I had my flower lady, Betty, create a heart with an arrow out of purple mini carnations and foam core board.  I think it turned out absolutely lovely.

     One of the unfortunate results of Baptist weddings that do not include dancing or drinking alcohol is that people rarely hang out for very long.  Esther really desired to have her guests relaxed and mingling.  She totally wanted to enjoy everyone and wanted to create a relaxing atmosphere.  We chose to do this through both the lighting and by playing music in the background.  Guess what…it worked!  It was by far the longest reception I’ve ever attended at a wedding at our church.  The whole room seemed to be buzzing with guests eating and mingling. Wahoo!

    We set up a table of family pictures and an engagement album for guests to enjoy as they arrived.  The food tables and the head table were adorned with flowing tulle and lights with mirrors for a reflected glow.  (I’ll take a moment to say here that from a wedding planner’s standpoint I’m disappointed that I didn’t get more pictures than this, but oh well).

Our round tables had white tablecloths with black tops.  The centerpieces were simple with mirrors and lots of candles.  We used white calla lilies and turned water and wine glasses upside down for candle holders with purple carnations inside.  Inside the vases were water beads and submersible LED lights.

     Our piece-De-resistance was the cake table with the balloon backdrop. Ahhhh sigh.
cake by A Sweet Success Ponca City, OK
And what do you do with all of those balloons after the wedding?  Well, set them off at the exit of course!
And this?  Well, this was getting my J-Lo on with the wedding planning bit at the rehearsal.  My only
regret?  I didn’t have the head piece to cue all my “people” hee hee

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