Saturday, May 26, 2012

Brennan and Kelsey Get Married

Six months ago our kids went to a Christmas party at church.  When we picked them up they were jacked up on sugar and dying to introduce us to their new friends, Brennan and Kelsey.  We expected pint-sized new friends and were surprised when Brennan and Kelsey turned out to be engaged college students.

Grant loves Brennan because he's wild and crazy, tons of fun, loves candy, kids, and Jesus.  Oh and he taught Grant how to break dance.  We love Brennan because he's a grown-up version of what we pray Grant will be like in ten years.  We, like Grant, also love his fun, crazy, wild, candy-Jesus-and-kid loving personality.

The girls were initially enthralled with Kelsey because she's stunningly beautiful and had both a boyfriend and a big, pretty engagement ring.  (These are fascinating things to little girls).   They also fell in love with her sweet and fun spirit, her quickness to laugh, her love for Jesus and her love for them.  We love Kelsey because she's taken the time to get to know each of our girls personally and goes out of her way to let them know that she thinks they're special.  Of course we also love that she's tons of fun, and is a Jesus-and-kid loving role model.

Our family has spent the last six months getting to know this really great couple and were super excited to receive a wedding invitation addressed to "The Stilp Family."  Before I told the kids, I clarified with Brennan and Kelsey that they indeed wanted all four of our children at their wedding.  Their response?  "Yes please.  Kids are required."  What's not to love about that?

We all dug out our wedding clothes from Peter and Molly's wedding (a blog post I've been wanting to write for over a year now - how embarrassing) and managed to recycle a good portion of our fancy clothes.  Paige had grown so much that her dress was now a tunic top.  Grant and Alli needed shoes.  Grant really didn't want to wear dress pants, but Brennan (who was being "forced by Kelsey to wear a suit") gave Grant the green light to go with jeans.

Kelsey told the girls she planned to have an open call for flower girls at the wedding and then asked them to make sure they volunteered.  Our girls felt so special and told everyone who would listen that they were "THE" flower girls in the wedding.  I wish I could have heard the pre-wedding conversations of the other twenty little girls who also were flower girls.  What a beautiful concept.

Kelsey and Brennan's wedding was outside at 5 Rock Ranch.  Nestled in the foothills of Yamhill County, it would be hard to find a more serene or scenic setting for a wedding.  God gave them incredible weather too - a little overcast (perfect for photos) and about 70 degrees.
The archway where they exchanged vows
decor at the head table
It was obvious as we pulled into the field doubling as a parking lot, that hours and hours of time and attention had been poured into the details and decor of this wedding.  Kelsey chose a natural theme to match the setting and used wood, river rocks, and moss to create stunning centerpieces for all the tables and candle holders.  The aisle was lined with burlap and they married in a meadow overlooking a stream under a canopy made of birch trees.  Brennan's personality was not missing though.  He wore Vans with his suit and ditched his jacket as soon as the ceremony was over.
Grant was really thrilled to get a sneak picture with Brennan before the wedding

The procession of flower girls was really, really sweet.  They paired up two by two and each flower girl very proudly carried a paper cone filled with flowers down the aisle before circling back to their parents.
Paige and Hallie

Katie got to help Alomae come down the aisle

Alli and Sydney
Kelsey and Brennan chose not to see each other before the wedding ceremony which added to the excitement of waiting for her to make her appearance.  Watching Kelsey emerge from a canopy of trees was like watching a movie unfold before my eyes.  She was absolutely stunning - like something you'd see in a magazine - in a classy and elegant mermaid-style dress.  She walked across a bridge to her Daddy, who watched her with admiration and love.  He sweetly extended his hand to her and they started their journey across the meadow and down the burlap aisle to her groom who was waiting with tears in his eyes.  The emotion and tenderness of that moment will stick with me for a long time.
our kids anticipating the bride's entry

so much tenderness
Their wedding ceremony was filled with love, laughter, family, and Jesus.  It was obvious to everyone who witnessed their wedding that Brennan and Kelsey share a deep love for each other, for their families, and for Jesus.  What an honor to be a part of celebrating with them!

Mr. and Mrs.  - congratulations!
Other highlights:  Grant (who is now 11 years old) was never far from the action.  He watched the cake cutting, the toast, the special dances, and jumped right in the mix with all the single men to catch the garter.  I was in the other room when Brennan tossed the garter but I heard a roar of laughter and then the DJ say, "...and his name is Grant."  Oh dear.  Apparently Grant thought the garter couldn't touch the ground so he launched himself in the air and made a diving catch just before it hit the ground.  He is now the proud owner of a purple and white garter and does NOT plan to marry any time in the next ten years.
This picture just captures Kelsey - always smiling.  Always being kind to kids.
Our kids, who love to dance and somehow have great rhythm, cut it up on the dance floor.  Grant and Katie showcased their breakdancing moves (that Brennan taught them), and Grant did the worm across the entire dance floor.
Grant thinks Brennan and Peter (pictured with Brennan) are about the best guys EVER.

Oh, and we got a family picture where everyone is looking at the camera, showered, and not in camping clothes.  SCORE!

Congratulations Brennan and Kelsey!  We celebrate your love and look forward to making more memories with you both in the future.

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