Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wedded bliss in the District.

Saturday was wedding day, the day I was most excited for (and the day you are probably most excited to read about). Sister Hansen's house was really close to the temple, so we were able to wake up at a reasonable hour to get ready for the day. Kind of funny, when Sis. Hansen saw me that morning, all dolled up in my fancy clothes, she said, "Oh, that's kind of a cute outfit." I said "thank you," but then immediately wondered if I had mistaken an insult for a compliment.

The D.C. temple is really spectacular. It looks like a marble castle with huge golden spires, surrounded by trees and flower gardens. And the inside is just as beautiful as the outside. My favorite part was the jewel-toned stained glass in the stairwells.

(Read more about what goes on in the temple here.)

After we participated in some proxy sealing ordinances for some of Dill's deceased relatives, we went to the marriage waiting room to gather for David and Rachel's wedding. All the guests were supposed to be in the waiting room 30 minutes prior to the actual ceremony. Time was ticking by and at about a quarter 'til, we noticed none of the groom's family and friends had arrived besides us and his dad. Uh-oh ... The time of the ceremony came and went and there was still no sign of them! I started to get a sick feeling, imagining car accidents, cold feet, all sorts of awful scenarios. Finally, they showed up -- turns out their GPS navigator had taken them on the longest route possible, on the belt way, all the way around the city!

(If I learned anything on this trip, it's never trust a navigation system.)

The ceremony started a little late, but it was certainly worth waiting for. David and Rachel looked so exquisitely happy. I have been to lots of weddings, but never one where the bride and groom seemed more perfect for one another than David and Rachel did. They were glowing with happiness. They knelt at the altar and promised to love each other and God eternally. It was amazing.

After the ceremony, we all headed outside to greet the new husband and wife as they exited the temple. Pretty standard for Mormon weddings. You can usually count on about a half hour for the bride to get completely gussied up and ready to go, so you chat with friends and family and snap a bunch of pictures while you wait.

Dillon talks to Aunt Sherri, the groom's mother

Groom's sister, Kristin, looking awfully purdy

Well, an hour passed and there was still no sign of them. What was going on? We were all getting pretty impatient, especially the kids. Eventually, they emerged and we had the customary celebrations, kissing, hugging, pictures, etc. Turns out Rachel's zipper had broken and she had to be sewn into her dress. Yes, you read right -- SEWN INTO HER DRESS. After I found out about that, I was amazed it didn't take longer than an hour!

David hugs his sister

Bride Rachel hugs her adoring niece

David and Rachel were so kind as to provide boxed lunches for all the guests who greeted them as they came out of the temple. It was a really thoughtful gesture, one I'll have to store away for when my children get married.

After the temple festivities were finished, we figured we had a few hours to kill before the reception that evening. We headed over to the National Cathedral in the meantime. Boy, am I glad we did. It was a sight like no other!

Taken with my point-and-shoot ... how can you take a BAD picture of it?

I couldn't help but gawk at it from the outside, but the inside was even more elaborate! Unfortunately, my point-and-shoot didn't capture the enormous stained glass windows quite as well as I'd hoped, but we did get one good shot of the two of us inside:

I mean, seriously ... !

The crazy thing is this magnificent structure wasn't even COMPLETED until 1990. Could have fooled me -- looks just like an authentic 16th century Gothic cathedral to me.

While at the National Cathedral, we got word from the groom that we needed to be at James Madison's Montpelier, the reception site, an hour earlier than originally planned for pictures. We figured we'd have plenty of time, but we hopped in the car and got going. Good thing we didn't waste any time -- an accident on the highway added an extra hour to what was already going to be a 2 1/2-hour trip! We barely arrived in time.

Montpelier is, how should I put this? GORGEOUS. I mean, it was like being in a fairytale land. Rolling green pastures kissed by the sun, huge trees framing the picturesque scenes ... I couldn't help but stare. It looked like it hadn't been touched in hundreds of years!

The bride had arranged for all of her guests to take a tour of James and Dolley Madison's mansion before the reception. One of the best parts was seeing the room where Madison first drafted the Constitution. Talk about hallowed ground! At the end of the tour, Dill and I went up on the terrace for a photo op.

David and Rachel walking up to their new mansion ... they wish!

Rachel shows off her dress -- the one she was sewn into.

David, looking quite dapper.

The Mr. and Mrs.! Check out her bouquet.

The tour ended with a self-guided walk through the Madisons' garden. I'll add I want a garden just like this when I grow up. Someone please make this happen. A tiny path lined with immaculately-trimmed hedges, roses and flowers of all colors and sizes, a pretty wrought-iron gate at the end and just beyond that, a horse pasture! No joke.

Oh yes, I spent $7 on the outfit I wore to the wedding. It's just how I roll, I guess!

Kissing in the garden? DUH + me by the gate.
The reception and dinner was held at the visitors' center in the Grand Salon and it was just beautiful in there. Unfortunately, my camera had died by that point -- too many pictures in the garden, I guess. But you can check it out here if you're truly curious. The food was great and the company even better! After dinner, the groom and bride exchanged rings and vows. Again, their love for each other was so  honest I couldn't help but get misty-eyed. Then, they cut the cake -- a unique peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake made by a local baker. It was heavenly!

We finished off the night with a divine slice of cheesecake and dancing out on the patio. I even did my Beyonce' booty shake for everyone (peer pressure).When it was time for the newlyweds to depart, we formed a victory tunnel and someone unleashed a bottle of sparkling cider. Classic.

It was a perfect day for a perfect couple. I feel honored to have been part of it!


  1. so cute! i love her dress, so very royal ;)

  2. So fun :) You look lovely, not sure what was meant by your Sister H's comment. I hate when people say things like that to me, not sure how to take it!

    That reception venue is to die for! I really like the photo of you by the gate. How fun.

  3. I think you should video the said Beyonce booty-shake and post it.

  4. Such a great recap Jenna and I love all your photos! I have some of you up on our flickr account and I'll get a few more up within the next few weeks. So glad you could make it!


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