We took the babies home with us after
You might remember these two from our trip to Vegas earlier this year. They met at a car club so it's only fitting that one of their wedding colours was Subaru racing blue and they got married on a race track during a drifting event.
We hit Pike's Peak International Raceway for rehearsal the night before.
And yes, they always laugh this much. It's part of what makes them awesome to be around.
In fact, their entire families are awesome. Except when the mother of the groom accidentally gives your husband so many cocktails that he's the last one to rise on the morning of the wedding...
Staying with the bride and groom has its perks. In particular, two beautiful little girls who have completely and utterly stolen my heart. I wasn't even sad that Bill slept in because I got to monopolize their time.
SR chilled with YouTube videos of people opening Play-Doh (WTH is that all about?) while VN got a sink bath.
VN was fine with bathing, diapering, and a lotion rub down.
But she nearly died from having clothes put on. #truestory
Dad came by to make her feel better (and wrangle her) so that SR could have a sink bath, too.
Mom knows that SR's sink bath days are numbered but hopefully by the time she outgrows the sink, SR can bathe herself by then so Mom doesn't have to hunch over the tub. Tall girl problems.
Dad's a bit of a knucklehead sometimes - he made SR angry when he came and rinsed some ice off in the sink and splashed her.
The Groom's best friend showed up at the house, which was good since wrangling a baby takes a crew of at least 3.
Time for some fancy hair-do doing. Mom trained SR to sit still for this starting at an early age.
I, on the other hand, still fight with my 15-year old daughter when it's time to get her hairs did.
Auntie Bill finally got out of bed, and he's as good as 5 baby wranglers all on his own, but when the aunties and uncles started showing up, it was time for him to put down the kidlets and pick up the camera so the Bride, me, and the two munchkins could head for the track and get ready.
The Groom's family lived in Belgium for several years and two of their friends came to Canada for the wedding. We had met the ladies the night we arrived in Colorado (the Bride was breastfeeding and had to ditch early on her own bachelorette party because her boobs were sore after a long day of running errands) and again at the rehearsal dinner, but there wasn't much time for talk so it was really nice to see them first thing when we arrived at the PPIR. They had a family tree bracelet for the Bride...
And sweet-as charm bracelets for the girls.
... and immediately jumped in to help with anything they could, from trimming pieces of lace tablecloth to ironing.
The Bride's Dad is a card. I told him he wasn't allowed to be in the room with us and his solution was to shield his face with a purse. Or maybe it's his murse. Hard to say with him - he's always been a little strange.
The Bride got into make-up several years ago and did an AMAZEBALLS job. If she lived in Canada I'd bring her on as one of my preferred artists... though she did need help putting her
Meanwhile, SR found the plastic bag her and her baby sister's dresses travelled in to be a great toy. Not only did it make a stunning fashion statement, but she managed to learn a new "popping" game from one of the Belgian sisters. Just like bubble wrap, only better. Her face against the window? She had eaten all the nuts I'd stolen from next door and asked me to go get her more. Like they were hers in the first place. She's lucky she's cute.
Back at the house, the Groom was busy grooming.
The Bride's little sister is a total sweetheart. My daughter and I got to meet her last summer and it was nice to see her again, too! She graduates next year and already has plans for college.
Not wanting to have tiny lashes, the Bride's soon-to-be sister-in-law also got some help getting her lashes on.
Who doesn't feel like a total rockstar laying in someone's lap getting spiders applied to their eyelids on the floor of a reception hall while a drifting event happens right outside the window?
The Groom's Mom owns a salon and did most of the ladies' hairs, but it really was a team event.
Next door, Plan B to move seating inside to where the dance floor would later be was implemented due to the rain that had crept in. More importantly, though, desserts from Little London Cake Shoppe were being laid out.
A sidebar is needed here to talk about the Father-of-the-Bride's wife, who took charge on pretty much all of the decorating, from getting the linens ironed (by me and the Groom's Dad) to the tablescapes to making the corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets, this lady is way talented!
(I asked the Bride's Dad if he should have had callipers handy to make sure all the cupcakes were equidistant on the stands, but he assured me he had it mentally mastered.)
With the finishing touches in place for dinner, it was time for the groomsmen to arrive and for everyone to get their ties and flowers on. (And apparently chug a RedBull...)
I left the gentlemen to put on a few last-minute touches, like levelling the table for the sand ceremony to see how the ladies were getting along.
If you've never had the pleasure of watching someone put on a Spanx bodysuit, it's really quite an event...
Once the Bride was wrestled into her fancy underpants, it was time for dresses. The Bride's BFF made made this gorgeous wedding gown (that's actually long enough!) for her, and some crazy Canadian chick made the girls' dresses and smuggled them on the plane without paying for extra carry-on (shhhh. don't tell the cranky lady at the Westjet counter I didn't leave them in the backpack...)
Another sidebar here - remember I mentioned the Belgian sisters? Well, one of them happens to be a jewelry designer and brought these incredibly gorgeous rings as a gift for the couple. They are soooooo pretty!!!
Getting the Bride into her dress was a struggle, too. For her, anyway.
(At least she comes by it honestly - her Gramma was having her own silent struggles elsewhere.)
The Groom's son was a bit late arriving, so the Belgian sisters gave him his gift just moments before the girls got buttoned into their dresses.
Miss SR had been waiting All. Day. Long. to put her dress on. VN, on the other hand, wasn't any more impressed with getting dressed a second time than she was with the first.
Once VN was in her dress, she seemed quite content to go back to looking out her giant fishbowl. SR made me go get her more nuts.
The Groom's mom was the last to get her hair and make-up finished. She had wanted a the blue version of her dress, but they didn't have on in her size. Her options were grey or purple, and she went with purple. It's a gorgeous dress on her, but you'll notice that it changes colour in a few pictures. No, you're not locing your mind - I did that on purpose lol
Hey! Who let the riff raff in? No, wait - that's my husband/co-shooter and the Bride's big brother/usher. Never mind.
And suddenly, it was go-time.
For not having managed to do a walk-through or practice run with dropping petals, these two did a wonderful job.
The Bride's Dad offered her a breath mint and then sat down to watch his baby get wed.
This wedding was truly, deeply a family affair - the Bride's Grampa got commissioned so that he could perform the ceremony.
Each of the couple's fathers did a reading, and I confess it was hard to not get emotional - I often have blurry shots during the ceremony because I am a sympathetic cryer and bridesmaids are basically evil, but this time was all on my own because I've known this family for 17 or so years and have watched the Bride grow from a snotty 6-year old to a rebellious teenager to a dedicated, incredible mother. Having met the Groom and his family last summer, I felt in some ways like it was my own kids getting married, except I get to be Auntie instead of Gramma...
These two could not wait to put on their beautiful rings!
The sand ceremony...
Some Signing of the Important Things....
Some smootchy smootchy...
And voila! Mr. & Mrs!
Because it was cold and a bit rainy outside, I ran through family pictures like a drill sergeant.
I'm not sure if they're just used to being in police line-ups or something, but I had to keep telling everyone to take a few steps away from the wall and towards me...
The Bride is SUPER close to her Gramma, and calls her every day. I adore her, too, and was really excited to catch up with her!
The bride with her older brother, little sister, and little brother (my birthday twin!)
Sharp looking couple there!
I wasn't sure I would be able to get any serious pictures of the Groom's family, given that the Groom is playful and silly pretty much 24-7, but to be perfectly honest if there wasn't a pile of goofy pictures i'd think he was feeling ill.
Aren't they a beautiful family?!
The pretty little lady beside the bride (the one who sewed the bridal gown, yeah - that one) briefly joined the formals to get pictures of their families together. The two little girls front and centre? They're BFFs like their Moms.
While the family pictures took place against a sheltered overhang to protect everyone from getting rained on, the PPIR coordinator Dana scouted out a few locations for us to shoot.
She threw open the doors on the neighbouring garage, which was perfect since the rain just Would. Not. Stop.
The bridal party agreed to brave the sprinkles and wind for a quick photo in front of the grandstand before I ran away with the newlyweds.
I'm not big into racing, but apparently this car behind them is a fancy-schmancy dealie that's headed off to some big important race. It made a nice backdrop.
Just as we were finishing up, the sun decided to break through the clouds and cast some pretty golden light on these two.
Me: Put your foreheads together.
Groom: She put make-up on me!
Me: whisper sweet nothings in her ear.
Her: OMG - how do you even think of something like that?
We were only about 3 minutes late for dinner, a beautiful spread of tiny ham-cheese sammiches and yummy chicken-salad croissants with fresh fruit, lemonade, and iced tea. I'd show you a picture of the tasty treats from Mama Lisa's Roux World Kitchen, but I think my second shooter was too busy socializing with the locals to take a photo before it got devoured.
Mostly, I like to be ignored while shooting, Otherwise, I get stink-eye like this:
Unlike servers, who I swear wait until you take a bite before they show up at your table to ask how everything is, I don't tend to interrupt people during dinner - no one wants photos of their guests mid-chew - so we rejoin the wedding shortly after the DJ announced that there were several special kisses in the Hugs and Kisses from the Mr & Mrs boxes.
Gramma got to do a shot with the Bride.
And the Groom's son (who managed to get his hands on a purple kiss from some weird Canadian lady) got to do a "shot" with his dad. I think that whatever sugar-laden carbonated drink they pounded back was probably worse than whatever they would have picked for me...
Then it was snack time for VN before speeches.
The Bride's brother started with "I didn't prepare a speech so you know this is going to come straight from the heart" and ended up making us all cry.
Then her Dad got up there and made himself cry... and someone must have been cutting onions nearby because I was tearing up, too.
"Who makes these speeches so emotional?" he asked.
So the Bride's little sister offered to finish and Dad's speech made HER cry, too.
"My Dad broke my sister!" the Bride said, but he kind of broke us all.
The Groom's mom came up to say a few words, too, which we managed to get through without more waterworks. ~phewf~
Groom's sister to Bride: are you gonna put it in his face?
Bride to Groom: hold my fork...
This is the Bride's uncle and his wife. They were recently in Netherbitlandia and I asked if he'd bring me some salted liquorice. I was thinking a small bag. He brought me a grocery bag full of six different kinds. I am still working my way through them. So delicious.
Sidebar: Tyler took my daughter and I a) to the doctor and b) for a tour of the Seattle library when we were passing through on our way to Singapore a couple of years ago. I advise against needing a doctor, and highly recommend visiting the library.
I had forgotten to get photos of Gramma and Grampa B. during formals so I snuck them outside before the dances started.
These two dancing. All the love.
Until she got her eyelash ripped off...
SR got her own special song. I'm going to sing the first line for you.
Baby shark do do do do do do
With festivities well underway indoors, I ventured outside to get a few photos of the venue and ongoing track events.
The dance party was in full swing by the time I got back upstairs.
I had offered to grab a nice photo of the Groom's sister and her boyfriend earlier in the night but we quickly lost track of time so I stuck them under a pot light in the side room, used a 50mm at f2.0 and boom - a very nice portrait of two very nice people!
In case you're wondering about the crazy lighting, that's courtesy of HEPS DJ - no flash for this rainbow party!!! (He also set up the fancy light on the cake stand and the light pillars - it was super techy and super dorky and I super loved it!)
I barely saw my birthday twin all night - he was either dancing or chasing kids around all night. I'd bump into him in the kitchen where he would be huffing and puffing and hiding until he could catch his breath and go another 20 laps around the room. He did stop long enough to get his Gangnan Style on with his sisters and niece though!
There was one last picture I needed to get before calling it a night...
The newlyweds headed out with the Groom's Mom, the Belgian sisters, and the one remaining groomsman while my hubby and I took the girls back to the house with us. While they gambled and talked about putting hot peppers in inappropriate places and stayed up late drinking, my hubby and I gratefully curled up with a pair of beautiful snoring babies.
To the families, thank you so much for opening your hearts and your homes (but maybe not your liquor cabinets) and letting us be a part of this special day. It was wonderful reconnecting with those I already knew, and equally wonderful getting to know those I didn't. We are blessed to have such wonderful friends who are wiling to share their family with us - muchLOVE you all!!!