Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Well hello friends and strangers! Yup. Again I beg for forgiveness for neglecting this blog. Believe me, no one hates it more than I do. I've kept a journal since I was 8 and the lapses always reflect times in my life when I'm ignoring what I know I need to do....but in my defense, I've had some Pretty Major Life Events happen since June.

Our summer was momentous, to say the least.  One of the biggest events and one we were looking most forward to was my sister Kate's wedding in Portland, OR.  She and her sweetie, Chris, have been together for...a long time.  I don't even know exactly when they got together...2005?   They met in college, or shortly thereafter when they were both still here in Arkansas.  They moved to NYC together (oh how I miss having a free place to stay on the LES), but were eventually driven out by the intensity, expense, and lack of immediate access to nature.  So they hauled off to the complete other side of the country.  Shamefully, I had never visited them in Portland.  The closest I got was that trip to Spokane, WA in 2010 when Kate and our dad drove all the way from OR to visit me.

One reason these two Arkansas expats chose to have their wedding in Oregon was to show all their family and hometown friends why they love their city and area so much.  It was so touching to experience how their community of friends came through, giving of their space, time, energy, and resources to help make Kate and Chris's wedding a very special occasion.  And man oh man, was it ever.

Our sister Jessy flew up a few days before we did.  Stella and I got there the Thursday night before the big day.  Stella had never flown this far west before and was, as expected, quite excited about flying over the mountains and desert.  As we descended into Las Vegas for our connecting flight, she couldn't help getting photos of the sunset over the desert landscape.  Suddenly this hand shoots forward from the seats behind us, flailing around and hitting us both quite forcefully.  "TURN OFF YOUR CAMERA!" The hysterical voice behind us yelled.  "NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES!"  Stella tried to explain that one tiny iPhone camera is not going to derail an airplane that is basically already landed.  Of course now we know it's no big deal for something like this to happen, but back in the stone ages of August, 2013 apparently this woman needed to go all vigilante justice on my teenage daughter. 

But we got to Portland safely and began what were definitely the best days of the year for me.  Kate's wedding was perfect in every regard.  I hope these photos below show, in some small way, the immense love put forth by everyone involved. 

This is the wedding site the day before.  A friend who lives on Sauvie Island MOST GENEROUSLY allowed his property to be used as site for the whole event.  Fun fact about Sauvie Island - it's a declared agricultural zone so in order to buy land there you must have some sort of farm on it.  So many adorable U-Pick farms!!

Could you get more idyllic?  My daughter and my sister Jessy working on making wedding signs and decorations under the shade of an apple tree.

Walking up over the berm that separates where the house is and then headed down toward the beach

The Bride-To-Be photobombed by the fruit of my loins.  Burning off old brush, setting up the wedding tent.

We went to one of those previously-mentioned U-Pick farms to cut wedding flowers.  $20 for two buckets full of zinnias, sunflowers, and snapdragons...the total cost Kate spent on wedding flowers (not counting the $1 vases we got at Goodwill)

Oh yeah - I forgot to tell you I chopped my hair off and dyed it dark brown, something Sunshine's been wanting to do for years.

Gettin' artsy in the sunflowers.  Stella's bag was a gift from a beloved Thai student, handwoven in Thailand.

The motherlode of wedding flowers were donated by Kate's immensely talented gardener/urban farmer/flower arranger/goddess friend.  Those hydrangeas!!

The nitty gritty of flower arranging for the table top arrangements.

Pretty Jessy, in a dress from her shop, and a pretty dahlia


Main arrangement for the guestbook table.

Little Instagram compilation of my Stella in her element (did you know she's a naturally talented flower arranger?  She is.  I'm hopeless without her - we'll get to that later)

The main event, y'all - the bride's bouquet.  Wild, beautiful, unique, surprising - just like the bride.

The rehearsal dinner was held in this incredible old building that houses a contemporary art gallery and an event space.

Still can't believe this came from me.

We weren't really supposed to be hanging around in the gallery, but couldn't help take advantage of the abundant natural light

We got a little crazy with the picture-taking near sunset.  See Jessy there?  She's leaning against the "art."  We were quickly and politely chastised for it.

I mean, come on with this!  Too much beauty!  Jessy is wearing my all-time favorite piece of jewelry, handmade by my friend Flannery Horan.

As though the night weren't perfect enough, a double rainbow emerged just as we were sitting down to dinner

Phone capture of Kate looking serious. 

Blurry one of Kate and me - another phone capture.

Our other sister Suzannah and her family arrived, with our niece Lily - who adores Stella.

Wedding day morning - the view from our hotel balcony.  For people who know Portland, this was right off Burnside.

In another case of crazy serendipity - the salon where Kate regularly goes, and where she was having her hair and makeup done, is run by Gaylen, who Jessy and I grew up with little ol' Eureka Springs, AR!  I love it when that happens. 

Proper Salon

This gal, Emily, also lived in Eureka Springs - small world, small...

Stunning, no?!?!

Driving over the bridge to Sauvie Island, the sliver of land that separates two rivers.

The wedding photographer is outside, getting a snap of Kate downstairs and Chris upstairs, both looking outside - not having seen each other yet. 

Okay, can we talk about this dress?!  Kate sent me a photo when she first found it.  Again with the serendipitous event - but this dress is vintage, brand new and never worn with the original tags still on it, and it fit perfectly the first time she tried it on!  No alterations necessary!  It fit her criteria perfectly - vintage, unique, beautiful, and she could dance in it.

Wearing her husband-to-be's grandmother's pearls.

Jessy and me

and Suzannah and me

These two again with the model looks down

Suzannah with her sweetie Justin and sweet baby boy Izen

It's coming together - let's get this show on the road

Our dad, still in full mountain-man mode, and Kate.  THAT BOUQUET!!

Chris and his uncle, the officiant, waiting down on the banks of the Columbia River

Hey look - it's Margot and Jordan from Arkansas!  Her dress complemented Kate's.

maybe one of my favorite photos ever.  The adoration this younger cousin has for her older cousin....oh my...just reveals so much.  And Stella giving me her best model face.  Lily is wearing the junior bridesmaid dress that Stella wore in Jessy's wedding in 2005.  See - sometimes it's good to be a hoarder!

Papa and Kate at the top of the berm.

The flower girl started back up the aisle when she ran out of petals

We did it!  Only took EIGHT years!!

Sweet thing these two did - directly after the ceremony, they took a walk alone together down the beach to soak it all in just the two of them.

Found my dress on clearance at TJ Maxx for $15.  I don't know why I always have to brag about the deals I find.  I can't just be all "Look at me in my pretty watercolor design dress!" 

Jessy also found her dress for super cheap.  Two cheap sisters here.

With our cousin Chris, who we hadn't seen in many, many years.  Good thing he gets along with girls, because he only has female cousins.  I love the look on Stella's face.  And yes, I couldn't put my wine glass down for any photos, sorry.

Chris's beyond adorable sister Rebecca who we've known and loved for the past 8 years.  Happy to have another sister-in-law!

Our dad and Kate, just before official photos.

Mount St. Helens watching over us in the back there

The beloved only boy in our family

Another of my favorite quick phone shots from the dinner - my dad imparting wisdom (or probably just a bad joke) to Stella
I have only a few videos of the late night festivities.  We danced.  Oh man, did we dance.  We were up very late dancing on the banks of the Columbia River, sitting around the bonfire, changing into warmer clothes and flatter shoes.  We didn't want to leave this magical place.  But eventually we had to.

The next day we all went out to the Sokol Blosser Winery.  Our new brother-in-law is an architect with a firm that did this amazing work.  In return, they gave a deal to them to serve Sokol Blosser wines at the wedding. 

A stripey/black & white bunch.  The bride & groom look remarkably good for having hosted a hundred people and staying up until 3am the night before, huh?

The lady who made us all happen

After the winery we met up at a big park with a massive rose garden for a picnic.  Portland is known as The Rose City. 

The rock - also vintage, duh.

After the park, desperate for more family time, we met up at the apartment our dad had rented out for takeout Thai and last moments together.  Love this look on Lily's face.

Our beautiful mother

Peek a boo!

In the Phoenix airport on our way home.  Hearts full, bodies tired.  Until next time!!

It was just one of those perfect events.  Lovely wedding.  But the best was all the family love and no tension or drama (well a tiny bit...but come on, for us it was amazingly calm and easy).  I LOVE YOU KATE AND CHRIS!! 


Stacy said...

Squee!!! A blog post from you! Okay, first, your HAIR. Woman, you look absolutely stunning. Seriously. Second, so much love and beauty and scenery (gawds, those dahlias!) in one post is overwhelming. What a treat to find this in my feed today.

Anonymous said...

So much love! And those are some damn fine pictures. Congratulations to your sister.

Alannah said...

Oh you two sweethearts. Thank you Michelle & Stacy…It's gonna take me a while to get the blog all caught up to present time…I've still got to to cover our road trip to move Stella into her dorm, my decision to leave my job (!), and this amazing fall we've had….keep posted.