Thursday, May 5, 2011

the wedding

Watch out, this one is picture heavy.
Probably because it was three days full of hard work and I loved pretty much every minute of it.

This past weekend was the wedding of Desi and Miguel.
It took place at El Refugio - which is a camp that is a ministry branch of Youth World.
It is gorgeous out there - as you will see.
I had the undeniable privilege of decorating for and coordinating the wedding.
It was a super fun wedding to be a part of
Like high school, but funner.
(Movie quote: Legally Blond)

First joy - getting to know Christy (and many other wonderful people!)
While it may seem she is more interested in eating chicken feet (yes, she did actually put this delicacy in her mouth and gnaw on it for a bit.  yum.), she did a miraculous job on the flowers.
I think we were born to work together - so much fun and very like minded.

Being the moron that I often can be, I didn't even take any pictures of the table centerpiece that she did.
Lets just say they were fabulous.

The following picture really doesn't have anything to do with the wedding other than we took a few minutes to watch the goings on of a tarantula and a tarantula killer.
It was quite fascinating - the killer injects some kind of poison in the tarantula (Eric had to tell me how to spell that....).  It numbs the critter and then the killer drags it off somewhere - what he is doing in the picture - and who knows what he does with him.  Eats him?

Okay, that is quite a rabbit trail from the wedding....

Joy number two - lots of beautiful, natural elements.
A bunch of guys who work at El Refugio built a beautiful arbor/arch for the wedding.
They hauled a truck full of eucalyptus bows to tie onto the arch they made.
(that one I spelled all on my own - I only know how to spell eucalyptus because that is the name of the street my in-laws live on.... some things actually do stick in my brain.)
Third joy - the blend of three languages and cultures.
Yes, three.
Desi (in the middle of the picture below - in purple) is from Holland; we are (obviously) in Ecuador, and many of the people helping where from North America.
Here a bunch of her friends arrived to help set up.
She had something like 17 people come from her home.  That is pretty cool!I had them folding a million tissue paper pom poms.
They all did so much to help, had great attitudes and were a lot of fun.
I'm thrilled that now I have several wonderful friends in Holland!
There was a lot of dutch going on.  And some english. And of course, lots of spanish.
For three days.
It was a little overwhelming at times - but very very fun.

A big thing, apparently, in Ecuador is chair covers and bows - you are having a good wedding if you have chair covers.....  and of course, we needed to have a good wedding!
The colors of the wedding were yellow and orange - yellow, representing the main color of the Ecuadorian flag, and orange for Holland.  It made for a very bright, cheery, happy wedding.
And that was joy number four: it was just a happy wedding.
There was a lot of joy, enthusiasm and not much stress, even though there were a billion things to do.

A fifth joy was that I got to do some things that I liked - as far as decorating.
I always like decorating for weddings, but it is really enjoyable when you can take some liberties, show your ideas and the couple likes them.  It is also fun to make a lot of things from scratch, so to speak.
Maybe that all combined was the real joy - just having a lot of different avenues for being creative.
I haven't had the opportunity for so much creativity, and diversity in being creative, for quite a long time.
It really helps me "breath", so to speak.
Like with the name of this blog.
When I am able to be creative I feel the most free and I feel, in some ways, that I am glorifying God the most or in the best way I can.  I am breathing deeply of Him in using the gifts He has given me in a way that shows His love, His creativity, His power and His design.
It lights me up and I hope that light shines a path to Him.

Some of the fun things I made: signs for their seats - "Bruid" is "bride" in dutch.
"Novio" is "groom" in Spanish.
As Maddy pointed out, novio is also the same word for boyfriend and fiancĂ© in Spanish..... can get a little confusing!  Don't know how people distinguish where the person is in a relationships.
And I got to make the flowers for her hair, her bracelet and flowers for her shoes.
(Oh, and I altered her wedding dress - but that wasn't so fun.  I was very nervous about the whole thing.... it turned out well, but I don't like messing with something as important as that!  That is the second wedding dress I have altered in my life and I said "never again" after the first one - just because of the stress - and I say "never again" now.  I wondering how many times I will be saying "never again"?  I'm not a professional seamstress for crying out loud - I have no business doing that!)

The bride and groom.
Beautiful people.
They are beautiful physically, yes - that is obvious.
But boy are they beautiful in their personalities and their hearts.

This picture of the rings is one of my favorite pictures that I took.
Everything is so glowy and almost luminescent and etherial looking.
His has her name, hers has his (say that 10 times really fast!).
There is a picture later of the people who made their wedding bands.  Interesting people.

A lot of the tissue paper pompoms where hung inside the tents - both for the ceremony and reception.
This little boy is Aidan.
Aidan was the ring bearer and while not very cooperative and a bit of a handful, he sure is darn cute!
In Holland, generally they don't have attendants, so Desi and Miguel didn't.
The only other people involved in the ceremony (other than music people) were two nieces of Miguel's, who carried up their vows, and Aidan and Desi's youngest sister, who were to bring up the rings.
Desi's sister didn't end up getting to do her job as Aidan wouldn't allow her!

The ceremony had worship songs in both Spanish and Dutch.
The lady singing in this picture was leading the dutch worship.
To me it was a little picture of heaven.
My favorite picture of heaven is when the bible talks about every tribe, tongue and nation praising God together.  This was just a little bitty bit of that.  Just a sweet sniff - not even a taste, of what it will be like.

While it had been raining and raining for weeks and weeks, God blessed us with a beautiful day for set up and a beautiful day for the wedding (and even another one for clean up).
Ah, sunshine!

It started to cool off a little, so Miguel gave Desi his coat - pretty sweet.
After the ceremony, I helped Gina the photographer organize the families and friends for pictures.
And I snapped a few of my own.... 
I was her "second photographer" - not that she needed me.... she did a great job all on her own!
But that was my sixth joy - having an excuse to play around with some photography.
I didn't have time to really do what I wanted - I had some great ideas of pictures to take of the bride and groom, but was too busy and time was too rushed to do them.  But I still got to do a little - even if it wasn't the more fun, creative stuff.

The girls - Desi and two of her sisters who came, tried to do the standard "hold the groom" picture - with limited success.  Pretty hilarious!
Love the tongue, Miguel!
The dutch women with Miguel....
They were full of energy and ideas.
Such a great bunch of people to have the privilege to get to know.

A whole lot of orange.
The Casa G. boys with Desi and Miguel.
Love all those faces - each one is a joy to our family.

Friday while we were setting up, Desi and I discovered that we had a little miscommunication.
She thought I was buying birds and a nest for the cake topper that she wanted....  I thought she was.
So we needed a solution.
But that just added to the fun.

I soaked some branches and moss and then made a nest out of it.  I'll tell you, those birds are pretty clever.  Its not as easy as you'd think!
Then I took some unopened pine cones and covered them with a single layer of tissue, trying to make a bit of a tail and whatnot (she wanted orange and yellow birds).  
One of the men from El Refugio, Howard, made those gorgeous cake stands from some stumps.
He just stripped off the bark and sanded them down.  They were beautiful.
Like I said, El Refugio is a gorgeous place in and of itself.  There are all of these beautiful big trees everywhere that are so wonderful.  The road leading into the camp is lined with them and make a enchanting entrance.
To make it a little more festive, I tied long strips of ribbon (white, orange, yellow and coral) to many branches throughout the driveway.  Several people questioned my sanity when I did this - thinking it would look ridiculous.
But when a bit of breeze blew, I must say, it looked amazing.

Many became believers, I am happy to say.
The twin brothers here with Desi and Miguel are the ones who made their rings.
Lets just say they were quite the characters!

Another questionable moment was when I asked some of the men to hang a bunch of random jars that I wired.  The jars were hung on three huge trees.
Some of the jars had flowers (that we put in a few hours before the wedding started) and some had battery operated tea light candles that we turned on right when we put them in the jars.
They looked pretty during the day with the flowers....
and then they started to glow as it got dark.

Eventually Howard had to remove all of the candles sitting around the bench as the kids (unsupervised....very common here!) started playing with them.
But they were pretty while they lasted.
I just had to "throw" (excuse the pun) this picture in, because it is one of my other favorites.
While very far from perfect, I love this shot.  
I love the the flowers are (almost) in focus and everything else is blurry - shows the action of it all.
Maybe someday I'll get a shot like that just how I want it, but for now I am happy I got sort of what I wanted at all!

As the sun was going down, I started putting out paper bag luminaries all along the driveway.
Two of the men that work with El Refugio (and one of their daughters) saw what I was doing and came to help.
I definitely needed the help as they were frustrating little buggers to get to light!
The breeze I loved so much for the ribbons I didn't love for lighting candles.
The effect was well worth the effort.

The flower people where Christy ordered flowers messed up on part of the order - she wanted all orange and yellow rose petals to put down the center aisle for the ceremony.... they sent mostly red.
We decided to use them to shower the couple as they left for their honeymoon.
Everyone, except maybe the bride and groom, had a good time with that!
Since many of the guests don't own cars, Desi and Miguel had a bus chartered.
The bus left at 9:00 p.m. - very early for an Ecuadorian event!  
That pretty much meant that the wedding was over.  It was quite a blessing in disguise, as otherwise we could have been there until all hours of the night.
We, the many of us who put everything together, were pooped!
Very nice to have a definite ending time.

On Sunday after church, we picked up a bunch of pizza, hauled the Casa G. "family" out to the camp, and spent our afternoon out there cleaning up.
When we got there, Howard, Mary and Jonathan were already hard at work taking down jars and ribbons.
Mary didn't enjoy her ride on the tractor lift quite as much as I did.
I think Howard, her husband, wasn't quite as gentle with her as he was with me!
Bit of a rascal, that one.

First we had pizza.
(This picture was a total fluke - and most people would say that it looks like it - but I love it.... how Miguel's white shirt blends into the wall, the blur factor.  Call me weird, but I think it is cool.)

Then the clean-up began.
The kids all pitched in, raking up flower petals.

The guys cleaned up the reception area - sweeping, stacking and loading chairs, taking down pom poms and all that good stuff.  We picked up all kinds of garbage, scrubbed tables, sorted jars, etc.
With everyone working hard, we got the place looking fabulous in under two hours.
Then there was time for another romantic moment.
Or not.
But Cade did have some time to play on the old tractor.
Good thing it is only for decoration and doesn't work anymore!
It really was an amazing three days.
I've done a lot of weddings before but this one was definitely my favorite.
Besides it being so interesting with the blend of cultures and languages and it being in such a beautiful location, the way it brought so many people together was incredible.
So many people helped and worked hard, but yet everyone had a great time.
It truly felt like all of these many people who were involved - whether tying up ribbons, building arches, cutting flowers, setting tables, or whatever - were doing it because they were loving and serving God by loving and serving Desi and Miguel.
It was an amazing few days and I am so grateful that I was a part of it all.

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