Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Heldings

After a whirlwind of being on vacation for two weeks, having my mom move here indefinitely, moving house last week and then five days without internet we are back in action! I feel like I have a lot to catch up on, but one thing at a time...

First things first: the wedding. The reason we went to Utah for two weeks was for the wedding of my sister-friend Amanda and her fiancée Josh. The trip was a perfect time for us to fall back in love with visiting Utah, to reconnect with a lot of people we love, and introduce Gigi to important players in our lives. It was such a great, great trip.

Amanda and Josh Helding were married on June 15th in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple. After the sealing, we all waited outside for them to get dolled up, and I had the chance to take a lot of photos. You'll notice that these photos look distinctly lovely compared to my usual collection: it's because I borrowed Amanda's camera for the wedding day. Knowing that she would be busy and not taking photos at her own wedding (and that she owned a D-SLR), I asked her if I could borrow her camera for the day.

It was love at first click.

Amanda and Josh met serving a mission together for our church in the Rome, Italy mission. If you skip back two years, you'll actually see photos of us together with Mams in Rome on our Grand European Tour. Sometimes marvelous surprises come out of putting fame and fortune on hold to dedicate a few years of service to God and others.

And dun, dun-dun-duuuun! I feel that people look the best on their wedding day and graduation day (and worst at singing concerts and while they are eating), and Amanda and Josh were beautiful in every way. They came out of the temple holding hands and looking thrilled to be married to each other.

The above photo of Josh with his dad and step mom is one of my favorites. Every time I look at it a little platinum blond voice starts singing "Pa-pa-Paparazzi". And below at the reception for set-up... another of my favorites, because it is the quintessential Lindsay. Lindsay is my best friend, my sister and my mentor in pretty much every way. She is Amanda's older sister and since they have been planning this wedding for months together, Lindsay was the Boss at the reception because she had the vision of what it was supposed to look like. This photo of her in her set-up clothes, multi tasking and on the phone with the caterer/DJ/etc., and holding together the pieces of a big operation... that's her in a nutshell. She was incredible.

And then... the party. In the evening, after a few hours of relatively unhurried set-up, we gathered for family photos, a ring ceremony in the small chapel on site, and the wedding reception. The location of the reception was Wadley Farms in Lindon, UT, which was Amanda's pick to go along with their Italian themed wedding reception. We literally could have showed up and called it good without a single decoration because of the beauty of the setting. Below is the "grooms" room.

I took these photos before the reception started, so they are free of people, but I wanted to capture the vision Amanda and Lindsay had dreamed, and how pretty it was in real life. The weather was dreamy, which was a sigh of relief after a surprisingly cold and rainy first few weeks of June.

An hour or so before the start of the ring ceremony, the ladies dolled up in the "Brides" chamber for family photos.

Above is Amanda's side of the family: the Gibson, Maero, and Fetzer clans. Both the bride and the groom have parents who are divorced and remarried, so the married couple were lucky enough to have four sets of parents who all attended their union to shower the people they loved with love. Below is our line of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen. The black sheep is Francesco, the Italian favorite mission companion of Josh's who showed up the day before the wedding as a surprise, and didn't quite procure a gray suit in time. For the look of pure shock and happiness on Josh's face when his dear friend Francesco showed up the morning of the day before the wedding, all ready to join the guys on their golfing excursion, Francesco could have worn a dress for all we cared. The most important thing was that he was there.

After the ring ceremony, we went outside to greet our arriving guests. The table in the background was bartended by a man making Italian Sodas, who served people as they arrived.

Could there be a prettier backdrop than the Wasatch Mountains? It was such a stunning, pastoral view. Amanda's true love is desserts, so dinner was delicious but light and dessert was extravagant.

Just how I like it.

For dessert, Amanda had a unique plan: she made a "brides" dessert table, which was covered with Italian canolli, raspberry and lemon bars, chocolate dipped strawberries and glazed donuts, with lemonade on a neighboring table, and the "grooms" table featured brownies, all kinds of cookies, blondies and milk. Those two tables overflowed with dessert platters, and with all shapes of apothecary jars filled with white candies. Along with the gelato that was wheeled out on a cart into the grass, and the three layered cake, I think that the "dessert" area was thoroughly covered.

In the week preceding the wedding, as each of us family members showed up for the festivities, we were each given a DIY project from Amanda. I wish I had photos of everything everyone had made for the reception (homemade throw pillow covers, ribbon wands, banners, ribbon boards, etc.), but I've only got a photo of my project: paint it yourself wooden wedding cake toppers, which I painted to look like Amanda and Josh. Trying to paint a plaid tie with the tip of a toothpick was borderline insane, but it was really fun to contribute to the wedding, even in such a small way.

Throughout the evening there were many things to do and see: traditional things like the bouquet toss and the first dance, the Italian tradition of breaking a glass vase (the number of pieces represents the number of years they will be happy - it was pulverized, whew!), and the wedding favors were flip books, which was fun to no end. A small company had come with their equipment and props, and set up shop in the groom's room, where guests could record 6 seconds of themselves and friends doing whatever they wanted. Ten minutes later, the flip books were printed, cut and stapled, and we all went home with very personalized, very fun souvenirs. The groomsmen came up with some very hilarious ideas. And then, after all of the eating and dancing and having fun, the sky darkened and we all went out to the road with sparklers and saw them off on their Vespa scooter. I just hope that they had as much fun as everyone else did.

And that was the wedding and just a few photos from the day. We couldn't be more happy for Amanda and Josh, and the next chapter of their life together! Congratulations you two on your decision to join forces, and grow together and as individuals through your mutual love!