Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Brother's Wedding!

{Wedding Events}
July 2012

It was a gorgeous week! We had been looking forward to this wedding for quite sometime. My younger brother Brandon had attended middle/high school with Richelle, but they didn't start dating until after graduation. Four dating years later, they had finished college, were employed, & had an apartment "in the works" waiting for them to move in...all they needed to do was

Richelle had celebrated holidays, birthdays, vacations, a baby shower, name it...she was there right along with us & we could NOT be happier with the girl Brandon chose to join us. I am proud of my brother Brandon & what he & Richelle have accomplished. They are perfect for each other! I was so happy to be a part of this special day.

{Rehearsal & Rehearsal Dinner}

Before heading to the rehearsal, the bride & her bridesmaids spent some time together getting our nails done. They treated us to lemonade, biscotti & other snacks while we were there. My sister-in-law Mindy & myself got pedicures & color, while the other girls waited their turn & picked out colors.

The rehearsal dinner & wedding were both held in Pittsburgh, PA. The location of the rehearsal was at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.
A very neat place to have a "Penn State" themed dinner. 
This was the room where the dinner was held & was decorated with white flowers in blue vases.

The Penn State cake was made by Helen Rose. She made most of our birthday cakes growing up & even my wedding cake! We couldn't go through another event without "Helen" cake =)
Brandon got Penn State cuff links as a gift from mom & dad that he wore on the day of the wedding.

Me with my beautiful sisters =)

Older brother Matt, Mindy, Brandon the groom, "my" Matt, Greyson, & me.
 Greyson with his new aunt & uncle! The bridesmaids & my little family.

The rehearsal took place at the wedding site - Phipps Conservatory.
Greyson with Aunt Mimi...he was suffering a "cold" from teething & didn't feel well part of the time.

 Nana got lots of loving time with Greyson...wearing his "blue & white", he ended up taking a nap half way through the dinner. The little cousins that were in the wedding broke out their Penn State jerseys =) 
It was a fun time celebrating & getting ready for the big day!
Our first cousin, Rhett, Matt, Brandon & dad...BIG Penn State fans =)

{Wedding Day}

It was an evening wedding that started at 6:30 pm. We had all day to get ready then made our way down to the hotel in Pittsburg where Richelle was getting ready.

The bride wore these beautiful aqua colored heels. This accent color popped up here & in some of the bows on the programs. The white Bible & the garter that she wore were beautiful. The Bridesmaids wore nude stilettos that looked perfect with the very pale pink bridesmaid dresses.

Richelle's cousin & maid of honor helped her get ready. My precious baby Greyson was dressed in his "Sunday best" {a cute little smocked button outfit =)}
The bride gave each of us a pink pearl necklace as the gift for being in her wedding, so Mindy & I took one final picture together just before heading to the conservatory.
We were SO excited Richelle was joining our family & adding the 3rd & final sister to the mix!

In order to get more pictures, Brandon & Richelle opted for the first look before the ceremony. Once we all arrived at the conservatory, we witnessed this sweet moment.

After their pictures, we spent time in the Bridal Room.
The guests were arriving & it was almost time!

 Little miss Makayla made the cutest little flower girl. The bouquets were gorgeous full of pink & white roses & hydrangea's. Matt delivered the all white bridal bouquet to Richelle as we were getting ready to head down to the ceremony site. She pinned one of my mom's broaches onto the bouquet for some added "bling" & could be her something "borrowed" =) 

The guests had arrived & were waiting patiently in the beautiful outdoor setting where the ceremony took place.

The final moments passed & we were all ready go! Richelle was STUNNING! Her dress was absolutely gorgeous & she was beaming since I'm sure she had waited long enough for this day to come. =)
 Cole, Quinn, Conner (hidden behind Cole) & Makayla, were excellent in the wedding. They looked so cute with their little pink bow ties & Makayla's dress was beautiful! 

My brother Matt walked the Grandmothers to their seats & Brandon walked the mothers down the isle just before standing in his place at the front.

Then it was our turn. Two other bridesmaids are not pictured & this was the only one of the bride coming down the isle because they were too blurry. 

Finally made it! "Father of the Bride" comes to mind =)

My dad was the minister who married them. It was a touching ceremony & at special moments even dad got a little choked up. It was the perfect day...they were married in front of a fountain in a gorgeous the middle of Pittsburgh. Like I said, there were times when you couldn't help but tear up, but then something would happen & we would all laugh & smile again...for instance...a helicopter flew over us at that exact time & dad made a remark about it being the paparazzi!  

 My brother Matt & I were honored to have a part in the wedding & also sing during the sand ceremony. We sang "A Thousand Years" as the sand (meant to be timeless) was poured into a vase. There were 3 different colors of sand being poured...2 colors represent Brandon & Richelle & the white represents God. They both held the vase with the white sand & poured it together signifying that God was the center of their marriage. Layer after layer went in until the end where they mixed all 3 colors by swirling them together at the top. It was very meaningful.

After the sand ceremony they read private vows to each other & exchanged the rings. 

 We finished singing, enjoyed the rest of the ceremony & finally had an official 
Mr. & Mrs. Brandon Ritchey!
We all walked out to a rock version of "Canon in D" which was a surprise to the groom from the bride. He thought the song was cool but didn't think he would be walking out to it. 
The look on his face was priceless! 
{You can check out the version they used here on youtube}

The reception was under an enormous tent that stretched the length of the garden & ceremony site. Everything was done in pastel pink & white. I loved the chandelier in the center of the tent! 

The cake was ABSOLUTELY was a white cake with mango filling! 
The mason jar centerpieces & "twig R" for the cake brought a rustic feel to the reception since it was outdoors. Everything was beautiful & elegant.

We got pictures taken while everyone was enjoying the reception. I just had to get one with my little brother...we are 4 years apart & had so many fun memories growing up. I just can't believe we are all old enough to be married with kids already...time just flies. 

Brandon was probably over the picture taking at this point...had to get that out of his system. haha
Richelle got a group shot with some of her friends from high school =) & of course a fun picture of the bridal party. I love Cole...he is such a ham! haha

The reception was dessert only (with the exception of some fruit that was meant to be drizzled in chocolate...still dessert). I didn't have time to sit down & taste everything but I did get some sort of cookies-n-cream cake popper thing that was TO.DIE.FOR. I heard raving reports that all the other little cake poppers & treats were just as good. They had little drink bars (non-alcoholic mind you) with servers that mixed up little fruit concoctions. I ended up with a strawberry lemonade mixed in sprite. It was so refreshing!  

Time to cut the cake! Yes...I think they did cram it in each other's face...=)
I didn't exactly get a piece of cake but my "second mom" was keeping Greyson for me so when I went to check on him I noticed that her son in law didn't eat his...snooze you lose...HAHA actually he didn't really want it so luckily I made out with the last piece & shared it with Mindy & the mother of the bride! LOL we all wanted to get a little taste of it because we missed the serving & it was already boxed up for the bride & groom. It was delicious!

Matt (the best man) & Erin (maid of honor) each gave really good toasts about the bride & groom. Our family & close friends mean so much & it was nice hearing about & reflecting on memories during that moment. After that they had the bouquet & garter toss!
It was so funny because one of Richelle's high school friends caught the bouquet & 8 yr old Cole (the ring bearer) caught the garter....afterwards he told Richelle's friend that he wished one of the "little" girls had caught the bouquet! haha

 It was wonderful seeing so many friends & family. I only get "home" a couple times a year & even then it is hard to visit everyone. Here they were all at the same place at the same time & I ran around like crazy talking & visiting with everyone.

{Bride/Groom first dance...Father/Daughter dance}
I missed Brandon & Richelle's first dance because I was talking, but I'm sure it was just as sweet as the father daughter dance! 

{The Guest Book}
At the end of the day, Brandon & Richelle were left with this fun piece of art. Thumb prints & signatures  representing those that had made an impression on their lives. Not everyone got to "sign" it, but what a fun & neat idea! Greyson even got his tiny thumb print in between Matt & I's. It was so cute!

Just like was over! We had looked forward to this day for so long & enjoyed every moment of it. Just being together, working on programs, getting last minute things done...all those things that go with weddings. It was so much fun...I love my family & this was the last wedding for us.
All 3 kids are now married...moved...& on our own.

Matt & I celebrated 6 years of marriage last month & we live in Alabama.

Matt & Mindy are getting ready to celebrate 5 years of marriage next month & they live in Idaho.

Brandon & Richelle now reside in Ohio.

My parents...still live in Pennsylvania, in the same house we all grew up in, & have pastored the same church for 26 years...(& counting) =)
I did not get a picture of them together at this wedding so I am sharing THEIR wedding picture take 30 years ago! Their next anniversary is this October.

Needless to say we are "a little" spread out! So it makes these times extra special when we are all together. Now that Greyson is here, we have gotten to see my parents a little more frequently (every other month) so they don't miss out on his milestones. He is growing SO fast!

But back to the meaning of this wedding....
I'm so glad that each of us brought not just another son or another daughter into the family, but that we are all friends. My brother Matt & my husband were best friends in college so getting together with everyone always means a good time. Mindy & Richelle have become some of my closest friends--I love these girls & am proud of the sisters my brothers added to our lives. Most importantly, I'm glad that I have wonderful parents who have given us a prime example of what marriage means. Godly parents, instilling Christian values into our homes & families is what is truly important. I know they are proud of all of us & happy that Richelle has completed the family....well it's time for more grandchildren!! =)

Congratulations to
{Mr. & Mrs. Brandon (& Richelle) Ritchey}
The very happy couple....finally married!
Cue: THIS song=)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 4th & Visiting PA

The month of July held a lot of anticipation for our trip to PA. There were several "firsts" with this trip & we had been looking forward to it for quite some time. 
Since taking a step back from work, I was able to take off a couple weeks & spend 4th of July with my family. 
I flew up to PA with Greyson on July 3rd. It was his first time to fly & we were very prepared. He did wonderful! Even when our flight was delayed, he didn't fall asleep until we had boarded & sat down in our seats. He slept the entire flight & even through the Pittsburg terminal, all the way home to Nana & Grampa's house. It was great, even if we didn't get to mom & dad's until 2am. 

The next day, Greyson met a lot of the Ritchey family at the 4th of July family reunion. We had fun eating, swimming & visiting with everyone.

He absolutely loved Uncle Jerry's pool & had so much fun kicking & "swimming"

 We loved spending time with everyone, celebrating our freedom & thanking God that we live in the U.S.A!

After that, we had a wonderful week just spending time together & shopping. 
My mom modeling one of the new outfits I picked out for her...=)

Greyson loved spending time at Nana & Grampa's house. He even took his baths in the bathroom sink...the same one I used to get baths in when I was his age!

Having fun! 

We gave Grampa his Father's Day gift & Greyson helped him open in it. He loved the footprints from Greyson & the card & gift card from Matt & I.

He met lots of people at Grampa's church too & one of the ladies even got him to sleep...
He met a new friend Liam...

& my good friend Tina came to meet Greyson too =)

Then we went to a wedding-- my good friend Janice was getting married on the first weekend I was home. She was in my wedding back in 2006 & I was so glad that I was able to attend hers.

She looked absolutely gorgeous!! 

 Janice & Bill are married!! 
 It was a beautiful wedding & very fun day

The happy couple! 

Sunday, we got to spend time at my Mama's house. I love this picture of her talking to Greyson. 

My cousin Rhett, took him outside since it was such a beautiful day.

I love this picture of Rhett's daughter Makayla...Greyson loves kids & had so much fun with her!

Later in the week, Aunt Mindy & Uncle Matt flew in from Idaho! Daddy came the next day & we were all together for Uncle Brandon & Richelle's wedding. It was so much fun being with everyone! I'll post about the wedding separately, but the day after, we flew back home to Alabama. Greyson was very good throughout our wait at the airport & here we are on the plane. He did pretty good this time too, but was awake a lot more & did have a few crying spells. Thankfully Matt was with me on this flight so it was nice to have some help on & off the plane. 

Unfortunately while we were there, we all caught sinus infections. I thought for sure after battling it for a week in PA, that it would go away in a few days. Flying sure didn't make it better & I ended up sick another 2 weeks. I should have gone to the Dr. earlier but finally after I got a shot & some meds, it started getting better. Matt had it a couple days but thankfully his cleared up & it looks like we are on the tail end of this summer sickness.

My parents got it, my brother & sister in law had it & even friends in AL had it...definitely going around right now! So, overall we had a wonderful trip...even if we did get sick from being with family! It was  worth it =)

I'm a CEO!