The first time I spoke to Wendy over Facetime (she was living in D.C. at the time) – she started telling me about her and Eli’s wedding. The ceremony would be held at Eli’s family church, and the reception would be at her childhood church. Right away I fell in love with the fact that they were selecting such meaningful locations, how special is that? But then Wendy paused. “Have you ever watched Parks and Rec?” she asked. A grin formed on my face. “Of course!” I nearly shouted into the screen, trying to not totally nerd out about one of my favorite shows. Wendy went on to explain that their reception was going to have nods to Parks and Rec, a show that both her and Eli love. I was SO in.
The day of their wedding could not have been better. Big, puffy white clouds danced across the bright blue sky and it was one of those summer days that wasn’t too hot with just a small breeze. It was perfect. Wendy and her girls got ready in a small room just off the sanctuary of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. Wendy’s sweet mom helped her into her stunning beaded gown while Wendy’s bridesmaids looked on. The tiny room was filled with joy and laughter when it came time to put on the veil – as it didn’t quite cooperate, which is pretty typical for veils. As Wendy’s mom slid the handmaid headband through Wendy’s adorable pixie cut, each bridesmaid held a part of the long, flowing veil – helping to get it in place. I loved watching how much each of the bridesmaids loved Wendy and did whatever they could to help her and make her day special. These girls are true gems, and I think that says a lot about who Wendy is also.
The ceremony was next. The bridal party walked down the aisle first, each bridesmaid carrying a book with lace and flowers in place of a traditional bouquet. As Wendy walked down the aisle, escorted by her mom and dad (which I loved!) – in that gigantic and stunning sanctuary, all eyes were on her. But the only other person she was focused on was Eli. He grinned ear to ear as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. The Catholic service was breathtakingly beautiful. It was incredible to hear about how special Wendy and Eli’s faith is to them and how they have live a life of serving others through out the ceremony. Following the offering of the gifts and the exchanging of rings, Wendy and Eli were pronounced husband and wife!
After taking some family photos inside the sanctuary, we headed to Nativity Catholic Church for some outdoor bridal party photos, stopping briefly for some playground time – because of course we did. Wendy and Eli’s bridal party was super fun, laid back and so happy to be there. They made this portion of the day so fun! We also snagged a couple photos of just Wendy and Eli. Between Wendy’s stunning bouquet from Woven Blooms to Eli’s super cool otter clip from his awesome coworkers – there was no shortage of lovely things to photograph, that’s for sure! And Wendy’s veil – incredible!
Once we were finished with the bridal party photos outside, it was time for Wendy and Eli’s reception! The tables were each cleverly named after the different locations through out Pawnee, Indiana. From Paunch Burger to Rent-A-Swag, it was all there! Guests enjoyed breakfast for dinner, a meal Ron Swanson himself would approve of. Wendy and Eli, being the hilarious and easy going couple that they are – shared their first dance to “Bye Bye, Little Sebastian” and then cut their wedding cake, complete with a Little Sebastian cake topper. Speeches were given by Wendy’s sister and Eli’s brother and special dances were shared with their parents. I was even able to sneak a shot or two of their rings, which were made by Eli’s step father!
Before long, the dance floor was opened and it filled up quickly as guests danced to songs by Outkast and New Radicals to name a few. Eli played the part of groom and DJ and did a great job! Friends and family members had a blast on the dance floor, even Eli’s grandma and the adorable flower girls got out there and cut a rug!
As the evening came to a close, the bride and groom snuck outside for a bit for some sunset photos and quiet time together. The golden light poured in through the tall pine trees as Eli told Wendy what he thought as he watched her walk down the aisle earlier that day. As they stood under those branches of those pine trees in small town Indiana, I couldn’t help but think of their next adventure and how it will take them to New York City to start their life together in Brooklyn, and I could not be more excited for them!
Congratulations, Wendy and Eli!
Special thanks to the incredible creative team!