Kelsey and Eli’s Wedding Weekend

This past weekend my cousin, Kelsey, married her fiancé Elias. These two are from Richmond, VA but reconnected and currently live in Boulder, CO. Because they are so close to my brother’s family, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them throughout their relationship and could not have been happier to make the trek to the East Coast to celebrate with them! Everyone has been interested to see how they would blend their traditional, southern upbringings with their more free-spirited adult lives. I’m pleased to say that, in my humble opinion at least, that they NAILED it!

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Let me back up a quick second though. So Thursday I flew to Denver and met up with my brother’s family on my layover. We then flew to Dulles and spent the night at my mom’s new house in Ashburn, VA. From there, we all drove together to my maternal grandparents in Williamsburg. It was a special treat to see my nieces playing with their great-grandparents! Then we were off to the hotel in Glen Allen. After quick rests, changes, and organization my niece went off with her parents to the rehearsal since she was a flower girl. Mom and I worked out and napped before catching a ride with my uncle to the rehearsal/family dinner. I won’t talk much about that so I can get to the good stuff, but suffice it to say that there was tons of food, tons of relatives, and tons of fun. Saturday morning we hit the pool with the little ones, went to a park, grabbed enough Chick-fil-a to feed a small army, and then migrated to Tuckahoe Plantation for the ceremony!!

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Before I get into the details of the wedding, let me first say that I am only going to highlight a fraction of the small details in place on Kelsey and Eli’s special day. They both worked hard to make this day exactly what they wanted it to be and I’m so proud of them for staying true to that. I’m going to mention or show in this post the things that really jumped out to me as unique or special in a way I hadn’t seen before.

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First was the seating and “stage” for the ceremony. Under the arch of trees, there were rows of benches for the guests who were instructed to “sit wherever and mingle”. Approve. But then at the front, there was a row of wooden chairs for the couple’s parents and grandparents. This added comfort and more of a decision from the seats to the bridal party. Handmade felt ball garlands were strung across the back as well. Additionally, the bridal party ended up sitting in a semi-circle on the pillows shown in the picture above. This was so they could see and be more settled as well. It also left just the bride, groom, and minister at the focal point of attention. I don’t have pictures of the actual ceremony because the couple requested that the guests not take them, but instead be present in the moment. Love!

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We got an adorable program, which I was secretly hoping was an interactive game, for the ceremony. It started with a blessing or warming of the rings. This was a tradition I had heard of but never seen in practice. Dan, the minister and our cousin, started by telling how our late grandfather held and blessed the wedding rings two weeks ago before he passed. Then he explained that as the ceremony proceeded, the rings would pass through the entire audience and back to the best man. We were to send positive vibes or prayers towards the couple while we held the rings for a moment. What a great way to include everyone!

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Sprinkled throughout the grounds were vintage furniture pieces in a variety of shapes and colors. They held the programs, gifts, activities, and drinks but also gave the wedding a more rustic, classy feel. On one such table, there were directions (painted on wood, of course) for guests to complete “thankful cards”. We were instructed to write or draw things or sayings or people we are thankful for. These will be re-purposed as thank you cards for the bride and groom. Who thinks of this stuff?! Oh, my yoga instructing, art therapy studying cousin… Right 😉

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No afternoon outdoor wedding would be complete without a set or two of cornhole boards. Luckily for Kelsey our other cousin, Michael, is a craftsman and was more than willing to make two sets of cornhole boards, which were decorated by a collaborative effort of several of our more artistically inclined family members. I may have to commission a new set from him well! We obviously played a few games during cocktail hour and after dinner. We were also instructed to paint a square or section of a large canvas in the tent as well. The happy couple plan to hang this artwork up in their house as a reminder of all of their family and friends who joined them this weekend. It evolved throughout the night and you can see earlier editions in my Facebook album, but the final(ish) product is above.

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Dinner was set up at a number of stations scattered around the grounds. And seating was an eclectic assortment of high-top bar tables, traditional tables and chairs, and couches with carpet. You can see an example in the corner of the picture above. There were also banners, flowers, and other colorful touches hanging from the ceiling and sprinkled on the tables. There were some more traditional aspects included in the reception, such as toasts and first dances and cake cutting. But, as you can see below, there were still unique touches with a variety of other desserts available as well. And we threw rainbow sprinkles at Kelsey and Eli as they sprinted for the car, since rainbow was (and probably still is) her favorite color. The bridesmaids and groomsmen each had a different color of the same bowtie and dress too!

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I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. Bottom line: the rest of my cousins and I decided that we will never be able to top this wedding. Oh, Saturday night after the event we all continued the party at my aunt’s house. Then Sunday morning we wrapped up with a farewell brunch. I even managed to sneak in a quick visit to my college friends, Alex and Megan, to catch up and meet their adorably small 55-day-old son, Luke. Then my aunt drove myself, one of the bridesmaids, and two of our second cousins to the airport for our flight to Dallas. We got away with no problems and somehow all made our close connections at DFW. I got home exhausted but happy late Sunday night. This weekend was a beautiful reminder of how important it is to be you, always, and to love openly those who are important to you. So thank you, Kelsey and Eli, for allowing me to be a tiny piece of your happiness this weekend… I love you both!!

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  1. Trackback: NC to NC Phase Four – CO Thanksgiving! | Rays of Funshine

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