Photos from our Wedding Celebrations

Sunday marks six months since John and I got married. Aside from a few official wedding photos, I haven’t posted much about our wedding. I love scrolling through pictures on my phone that family and friends sent from our Luncheon at Maggiano’s, our Virginia Open House, and our Iowa Open House. I figured instead of just looking at these pictures on my phone, it was time I made some of them into a blog post. But who I am kidding, I will still probably scroll through the photos on my phone at least once a week.

To begin, here are some candid photos taken by family and friends at the Temple after we were officially Mr. and Mrs. 🙂

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I served my LDS mission with these awesome ladies.
I served my LDS mission with these awesome ladies.
These are my two closest and dearest friends from my post-college years. We lived together for three years.
These are my two closest and dearest friends from my post-college years. We lived together for three years.

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When I see this photo, I just laugh. I want to know (a) what we’re looking at and (b) what we’re thinking haha.

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Now for a few official wedding pictures with those we love…

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Almost everyone who was there at the Temple with us.

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My family minus my brother Blake, who is serving a mission for our church in Arizona.
My family minus my brother Blake, who is serving a mission for our church in Arizona.
John's immediate family plus his Uncle David.
John’s immediate family plus his Uncle David.
The "traditional" wedding portrait.
The “traditional” wedding portrait.

After the Temple, we all headed to Maggiano’s for some delicious food…

Our Wedding Luncheon was at Maggiano's - one of my most favorite restaurants!

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This is my favorite picture! It was taken after John and I left Maggiano’s. It makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Now onto the Virginia Open House…

We had five cakes at our Open House. This was one my favorite - chocolate raspberry :)
We had five cakes at our Open House. This was one my favorite – chocolate raspberry 🙂
Melissa & my Aunt Diana getting things ready.
Melissa & my Aunt Diana getting things ready.
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Good family friends from my growing up years.
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John and his mom.

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Two of my longest friends and their boyfriends.
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The receiving line.
My mom and aunt who worked so hard coordinating the Virginia Open House.
My mom and aunt who worked so hard coordinating the Virginia Open House.
The Crams who so gracefully let us use their beautiful home for the Open House.
The Crams who so gracefully let us use their beautiful home for the Open House.
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When we got back to our apartment after our honeymoon, this beautiful bookshelf was there. John is very, very close with his Uncle David. David kindly left this present for us. It will be something we cherish for years.
This picture captures the chaos that was our living room for a few weeks after we got married. We are SO thankful for the generosity of those who sent gifts. These plates are extra special to me because they came from the man who introduced John's parent s to the LDS Faith. I am so grateful for his willingness to share his faith with others.
This picture captures the chaos that was our living room for a few weeks after we got married. We are SO thankful for the generosity of those who sent gifts. These plates are extra special to me because they came from the man who introduced John’s parents to the LDS Faith. I am so grateful for his willingness to share his faith with others.

Right before Christmas, we had an Open House in Iowa to celebrate with the Longeneckers’ family and friends…

Our Open House in Iowa was six days before Christmas. So the Longenecker home was beautifully decorated for the holidays.
Our Open House in Iowa was six days before Christmas. So the Longenecker home was beautifully decorated for the holidays.
Here we are with John's parents and Grandma Pat, his paternal grandma.
Here we are with John’s parents and Grandma Pat, his paternal grandma.
These are John's maternal grandparents, Grandpa Louie and Grandma June.
These are John’s maternal grandparents, Grandpa Louie and Grandma June.
This is Brian Tree and his family. Brian and John served their LDS missions together, and the Trees came from OK to IA for our Open House.
This is Brian Tree and his family. Brian and John served their LDS missions together, and the Trees came from OK to IA for our Open House.
The night after the Iowa Open House, John's extended family gathered for a present opening party.
The night after the Iowa Open House, John’s extended family gathered for a present opening party.

We’re now nearly six months in, and boy oh boy I am grateful for John. I love being with him and living life with him.

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Honeymoon in Southern Virginia

The day after John and I got married, we headed down to a secluded cabin in Natural Bridge, VA. I realized looking through pictures last week that I didn’t post a thing about this.

I would highly recommended where we stayed. It was a two story cabin with a fireplace, a porch swing, a supply-stocked kitchen, and a peaceful cabin feel. There were even horses on a nearby property that we could see while sitting on the porch swing. The drive down was truly beautiful. It was the last week in October, and the leaves were magnificent.

This past year John traveled a great deal for work (like every other week). Consequently, he preferred to go somewhere driving distance for our honeymoon. I was happy to go along with that because what I wanted most was a relaxing week with him. After planning a wedding, a week at a cabin was the perfect way to relax and enjoy being married.

The Natural Bridge is one of the “Seven Wonders of the New World.” It’s a rock bridge that formed naturally. There is a walking path that goes under the bridge and leads to a waterfall. There are also nearby caverns and other natural beauties to explore. Each night there is a 30-minute light show projected onto the bridge. I would definitely go back to this cabin and to this area.

Outside our cabin.
Outside our cabin.
Inside by the fireplace.
Inside by the fireplace.
The Natural Bridge.
The Natural Bridge.
Nature lookout by some falls.
Nature lookout by some falls.
Inside the caverns.
Inside the caverns.
A sample of the light show on the Natural Bridge.
A sample of the light show on the Natural Bridge.

Before heading down to Southern Virginia, we spent our first night in DC at the Mayflower Hotel. It’s a historic and very cool hotel. My friends and family wanted to make sure we left Maggiano’s in style, so they made sure to decorate our car. We definitely got some looks on our way into the city.

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Inside our car was a basket of goodies from my parents. It was fun to be able to take these treats down to the cabin to enjoy. It was a perfect.

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10.24.2015: Our Wedding Day

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I’ve been meaning to write a post about our wedding day for a few weeks now. This past Saturday marked the final wedding celebration – the Open House in Iowa for John’s family and friends. Now it’s on to writing lots and lots of thank you cards!

Since I haven’t been able to fully put into words the experience of the day, I decided to write down ten wedding memories and share ten of my favorite wedding pictures.

1) One of my greatest wedding desires was to keep our wedding day focused on the ceremony and the promises to God and each other that we made that day. We opted to get married in the morning and then have a luncheon with family and close friends at Maggiano’s, one of my all-time favorite restaurants. We then had our Virginia Open House/Reception the following weekend. I loved the fact we structured the events this way. It made the actual wedding day so special and less tiresome than it could have otherwise been. It was also super fun to come back from our honeymoon and still celebrate our wedding with additional friends that next weekend at the Virginia Open House. We’ve both commented to one another how grateful we are for how our wedding day was structured.

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2) When we arrived at the Temple to be married, we were seated on a bench in the foyer waiting for our parents to arrive. While sitting on the bench, I remembered I had both of our wedding bands in my bag. So I pulled out the band that John needed and handed it to him. What I didn’t notice, but John was aware of, was a group of teenage girls standing nearby. When they saw me pull out the ring boxes, they got very giggly and were SO excited to see a bride and groom. At that point, we weren’t dressed in our wedding attire, so aside from hearing our conversation and seeing the ring boxes, they would’ve had no idea we were about to get married.

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3) We were married in the Washington D.C. LDS Temple. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be married in an LDS Temple. You’ll see in the picture below the inscription, “The House of the Lord. Holiness to the Lord.” I am grateful to have been married in such a sacred place that will serve as as symbol for us of the types of lives we want to lead.

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4) The fall leaves looked incredible on our wedding day. You never know what weekend the fall leaves are going to peak. Some years the leaves peak early in the season, and some years the leaves peak late. I am not really sure when the leaves are supposed to be at their peak, but they were gorgeous on our wedding day.

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5) My favorite part of the wedding festivities, aside from marrying John, was the opportunity to spend time with family. My brother came into town, as well as other aunts, uncles, and cousins. The night before the wedding, my family had a bonfire in our backyard and roasted s’mores and hot dogs. We sat around the fire, ate delicious food, chatted, and laughed. It was such a fun evening and one I’ll remember for a long time.

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6) Before the actual ceremony, the officiator who married John and I gave us advice and counsel. As I sat next to John during this time and held hands, I felt such peace and gratitude for what was about to happen. I loved the feeling of anticipation.

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7) Throughout the whole wedding process I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and kindness of others. From an uncle who spent a whole day arranging the centerpieces and making my bouquet to aunts who devoted countless hours making cookies, helping my mom prepare for the Open House, etc. to the women at Harris Teeter who hand filled all of the cannolis for our Open House and were meticulous in their attention to detail, there were so many people who made us feel special and loved. Being the beneficiary of such love and support made me want to strive even more to support, love, and serve those around me.

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8) Instead of having a traditional, large wedding cake at our Open House, we opted for five smaller wedding cakes. And oh my goodness, they were so good! Multiple people commented on how much they looooved the cakes. The amazing thing is the cakes were from Harris Teeter, a local grocery store. We had taste tested cakes at a local bakery that had received a number of awards for their wedding cakes, but they paled in comparison to the cakes from Harris Teeter. My favorite was the raspberry chocolate cake. That is what I want for my birthday cake every year now 🙂

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9) I loved the luncheon at Maggiano’s. The food was delicious, the staff so helpful, and the opportunity to celebrate the day with family and friends in that environment was exactly what I was hoping for. We had four toasts during the luncheon, and each one touched on a different aspect of marriage. I appreciated the wisdom shared and the congratulatory wishes. The luncheon was perfect. What surprised me though about the whole wedding process was that is wasn’t the formal wedding events I most enjoyed but the informal interaction with friends and family who came to celebrate with us.

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10) Lastly, and most importantly, the most special aspect of the day was the person I got to marry. John is an anchor for me. He keeps me grounded. I don’t want to get mushy or cheesy on here. So I’ll keep this short and sweet by saying he helps me see the best in myself and the best in the world around me.

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Fall 2015 So Far…

Fall is in full swing, and I am loving it. This is my favorite time of the year, and I am excited that I get to get married in the fall. We’re just 12 days away from the big day! Thank you so much to everyone who has asked how it’s going and offered to help. Throughout our whole engagement, I’ve been touched by people’s kind words and gestures, and it’s definitely inspired me to be more thoughtful in my actions.

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Our wedding shoes! I posted this picture on Instagram when we hit the one-month mark.

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Almost a month ago, my sister hosted my bridal shower at my parents’ house. That same weekend, John moved into our new apartment, and we also moved the majority of my things into the apartment. Currently, I am living at my parents’ house and will until after the wedding. It was a busy weekend, but a very fun one. Thankfully, due to the Pope’s visit to Washington D.C., I had some time off during the week (because of the transportation nightmare it created) that allowed me to unpack and begin decorating the apartment. I haven’t taken any pictures of the apartment, but I need to. I want to capture images of our first home together. I have a feeling I won’t really get any pictures until after the wedding is over and we’re a bit more settled. But maybe I’ll be more ahead of the game than I think.

I tried to caption some of the decorations before the guests arrived. Melissa and my mom did a great job decorating.
I tried to capture some of the bridal shower decorations before the guests arrived. Melissa and my mom did a great job decorating.

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Last weekend, we went to Harpers Ferry and walked around. We talked about going on a fall walk for a while, but between wedding prep and the rain, we just never got around to doing it. The weather was cool and crisp. The leaves had not really started changing but it was still fun.

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This past week was Institute’s annual Fall Board Meeting. There is a lot of preparation that goes into this meeting. I think it all went well. In some ways I can’t believe it’s over. It’s been my measuring stick for the amount of time left before our wedding. And now that it’s done, that means the wedding is right around the corner.

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The Institute Curriculum Committee. This is the committee that I work the most closely with.
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The Board of Trustees Meeting.
A team selfie after the meetings with some delicious pecans a board member brought us.
A team selfie after the meetings with some delicious pecans a board member brought us.