1. Picture Board
A few weeks before the wedding, I started working on a picture display board. I included pictures of us growing up, pictures with our friends and family, and pictures of us when we were dating. Our photographer captured a perfect shot of my dress and our years of youth. A moment that stirs up wonderful memories of childhood.
2. Love Letters
My bridesmaids came in the room with a big red bag full of tissue paper. I opened it quickly and found a very sweet letter from my husband to be and a large canvas print of one of our engagement pictures. The picture was black and white and it was of us holding hands and jumping from a rock. It was a wonderful reminder of our wedding day. Together, jumping into an exciting lifelong journey.
(Al) – Shortly after us guys arrived the bridesmaids came in with a note and a gift from Katie. I had my best man inspect the present just in case the bridesmaids were scheming nefarious plots and was pleased to receive a beautiful leatherman, and a cute note from my darling.
3. Getting Dressed
After 3 days of dress shopping and going into numerous bridal stores, I finally found the dress that I was dreaming about. It was made out of soft tulle, lace, and was flowing free down to the floor. On the wedding day, my mama helped me put it on and zip up the back. I could see in her eyes tears of joy. I was her little girl that was getting married.
(Al) – The guys dressed up in a separate area of the venue, you could say in the place for stallions.
4. The look on their faces
As we were twirling around and dancing in the room to relieve the building up anticipation and butterflies, my papa peeked in to take a look at his princess. My eyes met his. He told me that I was a beautiful bride and gave me a smooch on my cheek.
My mama had been such an encouragement through the wedding prep months. During the days when I was about to go sit in my closet from being overwhelmed with the wedding planning (yes, you do get overwhelmed even if you try not to and sitting in my closet helps :P) she would cheer me up with her encouraging words.
5. July 3rd=HOT
A month before the wedding I started checking the weather forecast almost every week. I didn’t want it to rain and I didn’t want it to be scorching hot as we were going to have an outdoor wedding out on a ranch. Well, weather has a mind of its own and it was 101 degrees on our wedding day. YAY! Just what we wanted! (sarcasm) We accepted it and made the most of it!
It was getting too hot in the bridal room and my ring boy and bridesmaids cooled me off with a cold drink and fans!
(Al) – Despite the heat, I had a great group of guys with me who helped keep it cool with their upbeat attitude and plenty of water refills.
6. Pray and everything will be ok 😉
Before walking out of the room and heading to the ceremony we gathered together and held hands to pray. It was an amazing experience to hold the hands of the ladies that touched my life in many ways and feel their encouragement and support as we offered up the day to God and His good hands.
7. The First Look
We decided to do our first look at the ceremony. A few days before the wedding my papa put together double doors and a frame to go with them through which I would walk in and see my soon to be husband waiting in anticipation by the altar.
As the door opened, our eyes met and we couldn’t help but smile uncontrollably. My heart was racing and was threatening to burst from excitement. I was ready to just skip and dance down the aisle to my sweetheart. As my papa handed me off, he shook Alex’s hand and handed him mine.
(Al) – This is the look of a face that is seeing the most beautiful woman in existence.
8. Thank you dear friends,
For all those that braved the heat and came to our special day, we appreciated your presence and were happy to see you all.
I started writing my vows a month before the wedding and perfecting them every week. Sometimes, I just sat on my porch as the sun would be going down and practiced my vows. These were words that attempted to speak my heart about our life together and the deep love that Christ had placed in me for this man.
You’re probably wondering why my maid of honor is hugging me during our ceremony…. Let me tell you, she came up to hand me my vows. Vika was my best friend growing up and to this day we still are even though we live a few states away and haven’t seen each other since our weddings. Crazy things like that happen!
Growing up we created many crazy memories together and stuck close through the good times of life and hard times of life. I valued her advice and suggestions through my dating months and during the engagement as she was the first one to start dating and get married a couple of months before me. Her joyful spirit and silliness made our wedding day one very memorable and treasured day. During the reception she made a maid of honor speech that stir up laughter and smiles. God has blessed our friendship and through it I have learned many things. Love you, VIKA!
(Al) – I wrote my vows a few months in advance and had them on notecards in my pocket. Although styled as a traditional vow, I personalized it with the expression of my heart for our marriage.
10. Amazing Grace
The last thing you would want to do at your wedding is to sing in front of your guests during the ceremony!
Yes, we did do that as stressful as it sounds.
We were planning on having our band lead our guests into singing Amazing Grace. We wanted it to be a time of worship and pointing our day towards Christ and what He did for us on the cross.
I think our band didn’t get the memo and we ended up leading the song! Since we don’t sing, it was borderline extremely awkward.
11. Joined Together
As we got on our knees and the bridal party stepped in closer together to pray with us, we asked God to bless our marriage.
It was special and heart touching to know that my girls were standing next me in prayer, my parents and friends praying for our life together as one.
12. The Kiss
Well as you can tell, we tried to do something creative, so he tipped me back and kissed me. I was scared I’d end up falling over, but he pulled it off without a hitch!
13. Walking into a new life together
In many Russian weddings, family and friends come up to the bride and groom and congratulate them right after the ceremony is over. We decided to escape right away and have a little moment together on a horse carriage.
We ran down the aisle to a flower toss and met with our family and friends afterwards for pictures and hugs!
14. Picture Time!
We had a wonderful photographer (Eugene Michel) who captured beautiful pictures of our day. We had a blast with him!
I grew up in a family of three girls with me being the oldest. Alyssa (on the left) was one of my bridesmaids and Deanna (on the right) walked in after my flower girls. Growing up and especially when I started dating, I started realizing how important my family was to me. The month before the wedding, it finally hit me that I would be moving away from them, to a new city. It was hard, but my time that I spent with them was precious and valuable. I treasured every moment and hug. I knew that I wouldn’t ever get it back. I call them almost every day and look forward with delight to every road trip to Spokane to visit them.
(Al) – I grew up in a family of six boys and one girl, being third in line. We had a pretty rambunctious childhood and as you can tell my parents have grey hair as a result of that! Although we have all turned out very different from each other in certain ways, we have a deep bond and enjoy impromptu get togethers.
This is a picture of three generations. My grandma, mom, and I.
I can’t say enough how much my life has been impacted by these women. I greatly respect and look up to them.
16. The Bridal Party
Our bridal party consited of very special people who have impacted our lives forever. We really had a fun time together that day being serious, silly, goofy, and crazy.
These pictures describe the kind of relationships I had with each one of these ladies. I love them all from the bottom of my heart and have been blessed by them throughout my life. Some of them I grew up with and others I met on a missionary trip to Ghana, Africa and we became soul sisters for life.
17. (Al) – On Point
Having a good group of groomsmen is pretty important, as its easy to start worrying about things that you shouldn’t and I was blessed to have my good friends with me.
Because everyone needs a jumping picture. Also, we look really cool.
18. Let’s Get the Party Started!
Our ceremony and reception took place at Quail Run Ranch in Newport, WA. It was a gorgeous venue full of beautiful flowers and greenery anywhere you looked.
Our reception was in a covered shelter and although it was a little crowded, it felt very intimate and was a family-like atmosphere.
It was very important to us to be able to acknowledge everyone who came, so we made an effort to speak with everyone who was there. We walked around to each table as much as we could, which also gave us a chance to stretch our legs and keep the blood flowing to our brains.
I decided to sing a Ukrainian love song at my wedding for 3 reasons:
- My husband is Ukrainian and I wanted to sing a song that would touch his heart.
- It was an opportunity to learn a song in a different language.
- I figured it would get his parents to like me even more. 😉
19. Cutting the Cake
My friend Vika’s mom made the wedding cake and it was absolutely delicious!
20. Sparkler Runaway
The day quickly came to an end and we ended it with a sparkler run through. It was a warm summer evening, unforgettable and magical, a day that I still reminisce about to this day.
Yeeehaww! We are married!