Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Marc and Jaime's pre-wedding reception

The Sunday before last my parents hosted a pre-wedding reception for my littlest brother, Marc, and his fiance, Jaime. They'll be marrying in Florida on labor day weekend and wanted to celebrate with everyone who would be unable to travel to Florida.

The weeks leading up to the reception were packed with preparations. My brother and his fiance came into town a couple of days before the reception, and upon arriving my brother noted, "It's like Father of the Bride around here!"

Marc's fiance, Jaime (on the left) and our dear family friend, Annie

My parents are surrounded by such wonderful friends. Many of them helped my folks get ready in the days before the reception — they baked, did yard work, shopped, and decorated. I've been sleeping outside on the deck a lot this summer, and at midnight the night before the reception, while lying out on the deck, I heard my parents and some good friends in the yard below setting up tables. You know you've hit the friendship jackpot when your people are over at midnight helping however they can.

Before the people arrived

On Sunday afternoon, people started to arrive. Family, and friends, and lots of babies. I love having babies around with their fat little legs and their soft little heads.

Baby photos taken by Carolyn Nichols

Everyone was excited to congratulate the soon-to-be-married couple!

The love birds, Marc and Jaime

Jaime's parents were in Washington for a cousin's wedding so they attended the reception, too. Jaime's mom is on the far right. I'm next to my mom who is next to my sister. 

The spread of food was absolutely beautiful.

Food, food, glorious food!

 I couldn't stop taking pictures of it.

Photo credit: Ann Beaudry

The three ladies on the left are a mother/daughters trio responsible for the food table, minus the sandwiches and fruit bouquets which other talented friends made (photo credit: Carolyn Nichols)

After Marc and Jaime had a chance to mingle with guests, we all gathered to hear the story of how they met. My dad kicked off the sharing time with some introductions.

He introduced family that had traveled from Arizona and other parts of Washington:

Two of my aunties

And he introduced Jaime's parents, who shared a bit about their family and their excitement for Marc and Jaime's commitment to each other. 

My parents also shared a bit:

And then Marc and Jaime came up and shared their story.

It was funny, and tear-jerking, and generally wonderful. You can read about how they met and started dating here.
Photo credit: Carolyn Nichols

The crowd loved it.

Photo credit: Carolyn Nichols

It was so fun to celebrate with them!

After Marc and Jaime shared, some old family friends came up and gave them marriage advice.

I tried to pick a few of my favorite pieces of their advice to share with you, but it was all so good that I've posted the whole thing with their permission:

"Never raise your voices to each other.  You will develop self-control that will benefit your relationship in the happy times as well as the difficult ones.

Make it your personal policy to forgive any offense against you, even if your spouse does not apologize or recognize their behavior as a problem. (It may not be-it might be you!)

Do not tolerate stereotypes and jokes about the other gender, especially as they relate to marriage.  You can quietly refute these cultural lies without causing offense by praising your spouse.

Every day thank God that someone on this earth chose to love you.  NEVER lose the sense of wonder that a human being, created in the image of God, able to make independent and thoughtful choices, decided that out of all the people on earth, they would love YOU.  This is important to do ESPECIALLY when they disappoint you or when you are angry about something.

Focus your attention, daydreams, and thoughts on the good you see in your spouse.

Since most of communication is non-verbal, make the commitment to converse with your spouse mostly through face-to-face conversations.  Setting appointments or details through text or email are okay- but it is not adequate for most spousal conversations.

Respect the otherness of your spouse.  Do not attempt to convert them to your point of view on life.  Their unique perspective adds to the strength of the relationship.  When you are inclined to argue or dismiss an opinion of your spouse, instead, ask yourself, “How does this opinion add to the totality of who we are?”

Frequently ask yourself, “How many things can I list that I do only because it pleases my spouse?”  This is a measurement of your personal sacrifice for the one you love.

Be loyal to the new family you are creating.  You are not a mini-Jackson clan or a mini-Richter clan.  God wants to make a new family-different from both the Jacksons and the Richters through your marriage.  Your new family will have its own idiosyncrasies or profile.  Guard it.

Be intentional about interpreting your family of origin to your spouse; customs of families need to be explained so that your spouse has a realistic view of the non-spoken milieu of your family.  

Lovingly be on your spouses’ team as they struggle against sin.  Remember your life goal is to be constantly growing in holiness.  Let God decide if you constantly grow in happiness. 

 Be honest with your spouse about your personal struggles and failures as a believer.  Especially if you are having a consistent struggle-hiding it from your spouse diminishes your security in your relationship as you will soon be thinking, “If he/she knew this would they still respect/love/honor/appreciate me?”

Avoid creating a mental scale of how much each person bears responsibility for any issue.  Give yourself 100% to the other, not waiting to see what you perceive to be their commitment to you.  Marc, be ready to lay down your life, your preferences, your rights, your ways, to sacrificially love your Jaime.  Look to God to know what loving the other would look like in any given situation.

Follow wherever God leads you whether it makes sense according to conventional wisdom or not.  Be ready to be led, by seeking Him with an open heart, not holding onto places, possessions or people.  Don’t be afraid to go (or doubt his leading) when pain and disappointment are part of his plan for you. You will be surprised at how he will care for you and teach you in those places. 

If God graciously gives you children, enter into your parenting roles with the certainty that you will be trained by God through your role as a parent far more than you will train your child.

Pray together every day. Pray for each other every day.  Ask God to show you ways to serve him together.  Remind each other every day with words and actions that you are happy you married your spouse and that you love them.  Be physically affectionate to each other in ways that please your spouse.

Expect that marriage will be the closest thing you will know of heaven before you are actually there. It is.  God Bless you Marc and Jaime.  We pray that the joy you experience in your marriage will surprise you beyond your fondest dreams."

Isn't this advice just the best?

After the marriage advice, another old family friend came up and led us all in a toast to Marc and Jaime's future together.
 And then, another old friend came up to lead us in prayer for the happy couple. We have so many old friends. It is truly delightful.

And then it was time to eat cupcakes, drink ice water, and be merry!

It was a truly celebratory day with some of the people we love best. And in a few weeks, it'll be destination Florida for a real, live WEDDING!

Happy Tuesday, folks.

Cheering for you,


© by scj


  1. Thank you for sharing the marriage advice! That was wonderful and was hoping someone was taking notes :0) so good seeing you and so happy for Marc and Jamie!

    1. April,

      I think everyone wanted that advice after the reception! It was lovely seeing you and meeting that sweet grandbaby of yours. :)