Tag Archives: wedding

The Wedding(s) of the Century

Hello Friends!

Wedding weekend extravaganza is officially over. Joe and I were married this weekend…

Or were we?

That’s right, we had a bit of a surprise during our ceremony.

But now the cat’s out of the bag, and you all can be in on it too! During the wedding, we showed a slideshow, and today I’d like to share it with all of you! (It’s 7 minutes long, so those wanting to jump to the really good part, should fast forward to 4:30ish.)

*All music composed and/or arranged by Joe Gantzer, except the Greek song, all vocals by Joe Gantzer and Jess Witkins. The Disney song has been rearranged by Joe Gantzer.



Beware Of Open Bars Near Your Open Bar

By Misty’s Laws


Since Jess is about to embark on a journey of love and foreverness that many before her, including me, have taken (and somehow survived), I thought this might be a good time share my own wedding story, which might serve as a cautionary tale for her upcoming nuptials.

I was married on a rainy day in October, almost 12 years ago.  Leading up to that wedding, I was what could best be described as a dragon breathing, hair-trigger, insane beast . . . better known as a Bridezilla.  It happens to all of us.  I’m sure not Jess, of course, but pretty much everyone else.  I never thought in my life that I would be someone who stressed over details such as table
settings and flower arrangements, but there I was.

But a really strange and wonderful thing happened the day of the wedding.  I woke up and I had the weirdest feeling . . . complete and utter calm.  Today was the day and it was all over.  The planning, the stress, the details… everything was finished.  All that was left was to get married.  It was incredible.

Although I seemed very calm and happy, the people around me were wary of my new state of being.  They had experienced the monster I had become and were skeptical of my newfound peacefulness.  Hence, when we arrived at the hair salon and I realized that we had left my headpiece back at the hotel and asked my dad to run back to fetch it, they expected some type of rant or fuming state because of this mishap, and I watched as my bridesmaids and mom exchanged wary glances.  But
instead, I serenely sat and drank my mimosa, and patiently waited for it to arrive.

And despite the clouds and drizzle outside, I felt fine and knew it would be a beautiful day.  Some people say that rain on your wedding day is good luck, and I was convinced at that time of the truth of
this statement.


When we returned to the hotel room to get dressed and ready for the wedding, there were a million people in the hotel room and I was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.  It was the closest I got that
day to becoming annoyed.  But, instead of yelling and throwing a childish fit, I just took a breath and focused on getting into my dress.

Once everyone was ready to go, and the photographer had snapped a few “getting ready” shots, we went downstairs to catch the limo to the chapel . . . but it wasn’t there.  It was running late.  My maid of honor had the company on the phone and was very firmly explaining that this was unacceptable and that we couldn’t be late, but I just spent the time getting some more beautiful shots taken in front of the hotel.  I was still happy and calm.

The limo arrived soon after and we were off to the wedding.  By the time we arrived, the sky had cleared up and it was a beautiful day with a gorgeous blue sky above us.  The wedding itself went  smoothly, but I later found out that as we were doing a final prep before I walked down the aisle, somehow we got lipstick on the wrap I was wearing around my shoulders.  My bridesmaids wisely did not inform me of this, and instead just reconfigured the wrap to cover it up.  They told me later and I found it pretty funny.

The reception was wonderful . . . mostly.  However, all those little details that I had stressed over and meticulously planned?  I didn’t care at all.  People were eating, drinking, dancing, and having a great time.  And so was I.  Every once in a while, somebody would walk over and place a drink in my and my husband’s hands, but because we were always meeting and greeting with people, and then later dancing, we would usually set them down somewhere and forget about them, until someone brought us another.  This is to say that we weren’t drinking very much . . . at first.

Here is where we face our greatest problem of the day, and where I finally lose that zen-like calm.  It started the moment when my husband’s best buddies from high school realized that there was an
actual bar in the lobby of the hotel, directly outside our reception hall.  And when they decided to forego the open bar we had paid for for our wedding guests, and instead decided that they would go across the lobby and buy shots.  Mainly . . . mind-erasers.  These shots were then fed to my new husband, who drank them out of a sense of fun and responsibility, not because he’s a huge drinker.  A few of those bad boys, and it was all over.  Luckily, this was at the tail end of the night, but our last dance was not pretty, let me tell you.  I was holding him up as we clumsily swayed on the dance floor.


Once the festivities were over, and we went to the front desk to get the keys to our honeymoon suite,  the night desk clerk was clueless as to what we were talking about.  In attempting to explain to him that we were the couple who just had the 4 hour reception in the room directly beside his desk, and that there should be a room waiting for us (supposedly filled with flowers, champagne and strawberries, per our prior request), he just looked at us blankly.  This was about the time when my extremely inebriated husband decided that he had had enough of this guy, and wanted to fight him.  So, we then had to hold him back and firmly place him on a couch across the lobby to chill out.  By the
time they found us a room (not the honeymoon suite, just a room), we were too tired to care.  One of us was about to pass out, as well, so you can imagine how exciting my wedding night was!

So, that is the story of my magical wedding day.  Mostly serene, until the very final moments.  To avoid this, I would suggest not having your wedding where there is a real live bar close enough for shot
purchases.  Either that, or put something in your wedding vows for Joe to recite, wherein he promises not to get wasted on your wedding night!  Mazel Tov and good luck!

MistyMisty is a lawyer by day, ninja by night.  At least one of those things are true.  Recently, she discovered that she is growing a baby ninja, and can’t wait until the baby starts training . . . inside her belly.  Misty sometimes finds the time to write about various inane subjects at her blog:  Misty’s Laws.

My Virtual Wedding Party – Guess Who’s In It!

I’ve been working on wedding planning…which let me say, is NOTHING like the Disney movies depicted. Snow White had it so freakin easy. Seven little men to boss around and she SLEPT through the whole planning process! She just woke up with her prince there!

Sign me up for hibernation until the honeymoon!

How do I make THAT happen? *waves magic wand*


Well, Joe and I decided a long time ago we would not have a wedding party. A non-traditional, but more intimate, part of our day that I’m happy about. I like it that the only one I’m going to meet at the alter is him.

And let’s be honest, I’ve been in enough weddings to last me a great while, so I don’t need a bridal party to complete the day. I used to tell Joe I was going to write a book about us, and I would call it Every Role But the Bride because I’ve literally been EVERY ROLE but the bride: junior bridesmaid, maid of honor, bridesmaid, flower girl, officiant – in that order, no less. I know, it confuses me too.

Now I’ve taken to referring to our story as That Book About Us. It is our own. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Since I don’t have a swarm group of bridesmaids, and we’re still figuring out the details for other wedding necessities, I thought I’d break away for some fun by planning my virtual wedding party!

Jess’s Super Awesome Virtual Wedding Party

Officiant > Gene Lempp  My longtime writing partner, beta reader, and best of all, friend, who I will always refer to as the “Writer Whisperer” because no one can talk down my spaz like Gene has to be the officiant because he sounds like Barry White. (I know, we’ve spoken on the phone.)

Matron of Honor > Marcia Richards  My Redhots bestie who started up the Life List Club with me, is the most positive person I know, overcame cancer, and my favorite – lost her whole manuscript and sat her butt in the chair to REWRITE the whole thing because she cares about her work! We’ve never met in person, but we’ve chatted on the phone and sent care packages to one another for years. Two rules for you, Marcia: #1 – Do not mention Fifty Shades of Gray in your reception speech and #2  – Bring cookies.

Bridesmaids > Misty Laws I met Misty in the comments section of Renee Schuls-Jacobson’s blog, where we could’ve filled an entire blog with just our comments on the movie Singles. What more do you need to know to love this woman?

Renee Schuls-Jacobson  Renee is one of those people who could spit on a page and it would come out being the most beautiful poem you’ve ever read. The girl is TALENTED! She’s going through a tough time right now, so send her lots of love and healing, because I want her to dance at my party!

Julie Glover  Julie’s been my DFWcon roomie for two years, and I’m sad I won’t see her this year. I expect her to kick off karaoke at my bachelorette party.

Flower Woman > Diana Beebe  I love making this lady laugh. I interrupt her often on Twitter re-making song lyrics to help her boost her word count. 😉

Wedding Planner > Jenny Hansen  Let’s face facts. Jenny has an arsenal of decorating supplies and ribbon, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of her skillz. Plus, can you IMAGINE the crazy things she’d bring to the bridal shower? I’m already blushing!

Caterer > Mark Petruska  Mark and his wife, Tara, are both foodies. Plus, they live near Portland, which is Joe’s and my favorite city. I see voodoo donuts for everyone!

Photographer > Tameri Etherton  And on the wedding day Tameri said “THERE SHALL BE BLING!”

Music > August McLaughlin  I trust August with anything. She would play beautiful guitar ballads for our ceremony, but even if the airline lost her instrument, and all she had was a set of spoons off the buffet table, I know it would still make me cry. August, you should probably start practicing the spoons…just in case.

Dance Party > EVERYONE ELSE!  Now that you’ve all learned how to successfully dance like Peanuts characters, let’s boogie!

Thanks for joining my virtual wedding party y’all!
Now show me those dance moves!

Top 5 Reasons It’s Fun To Plan Your Best Friend’s Wedding

Today I officiate my best friend’s wedding.  A few months ago, yours truly, got ordained through the Universal Life Church in order to perform the ceremony for my best friend’s wedding.

The process of planning the ceremonyhas been lovely.  This week for ROW80, my goals involved final wedding plans like arranging the ceremony, leading the “rehearsal dessert”, and today is the big day!  Wish my bestie, Cat, and her fiance’, Aaron, a very happy life together!

The Happy Couple!

Top 5 Reasons It’s Fun to Plan Your Best Friend’s Wedding

#5.  Becoming a Member of the Clergy

It’s cool you guys, I have a certificate and everything.  I’m totally legit.  Catherine wouldn’t let me wear a Pope Hat at the wedding, but I will make her call me Vicar Witkins before the day is through!

#4.  Shocking Your Fundamentalist Father With A Message Like “Guess What I Did Today?  . . . xo, Pastor Jess”

Every time I told someone I got ordained they laughed at me.  Can’t really argue with them, I laughed at Cat when she asked me.  Little did I know…

But once I got my certificate, I couldn’t wait to tell my Dad!  He was more enthused over the fact I can also perform funerals; thinks he’s gonna save a bundle by me speaking at his death.  Just cause he’s family doesn’t mean he gets a discount! 

#3.  Learning About Various Religions

In my extensive wedding planning research, I came across numerous wedding customs and traditions.  It was fascinating to know what different cultures deem meaningful in the union of two people.  Cat’s ceremony includes elements of christianity and pagan customs.  Handfasting is one element she liked, and you can read about it here, but this is only one version of its practice, it is found in many different cultures and varied in each from the color meanings to the strands of ribbon being tied or untied.

Cat’s ceremony also includes some sections from her grandmother’s ceremony, after whom Catherine’s middle name, Helen, is for.  What a privileged treasure for her to send the transcription of that ceremony to me so I could incorporate it into her own.

#2.  2 a.m. Wedding Playlist Text Sessions

Nothing like a 1-2 a.m. text session where the bride asks if you’re still up then sends you some lyrics from a mix cd you made her a year ago asking the song title and artist.  Bonus, I knew it!  Loved chatting with you, Cat!

Then of course there’s the dress fittings and emailed pictures of flower arrangements…

#1.  Telling the Bride and Groom How Much You Love Them in Front of Their Nearest and Dearest

The only portion I didn’t let Cat see of the ceremony is the “Sentiments of the Officiant”, which is me, by the way.  I’m pretty excited to get to share reasons why I love this woman in front of her closest friends and family.  It’s special, and I’m honored to do so.  Just hope I don’t cry!

That’s it folks!  Raise a toast to my best friend on her wedding day and wish me luck!  I know she’s going to love what I have planned:  “Mahwage!  Mahwage is what bwings us heah togetha today…”  You’re right, quoting Princess Bride is not an acceptable form of legal ceremony, but it would be really fun!

How are your ROW80 goals going?

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