My baby brother is now a married man. This is something I’ve imagined for years and years, praying for the woman he would someday marry. Well, ladies & gentlemen, that young lady was the lovely Valerie Hoven, a woman with grace and beauty who is a perfect match for my brother, Jake. On Friday, May 31, during a whimsical ceremony filled with joy and clear examples of their love for one another and for their heavenly Father, they became husband and wife. I’m teary just writing about it. I simply could not be happier for the two of them.
|designed by Jordan at Tin Cup Design|
The formal festivities began Thursday evening for the rehearsal and groom’s dinner. The ceremony took place in the picturesque, sprawling yard of our friend and pastor, John, which is actually the very place Jake & Valerie met a few years ago while attending a small group Bible study. The house and yard are filled with old-Duluth charm, surrounded by trees, and boast a spectacular view of Lake Superior. Perfect for a whimsical wedding.
Thursday evening was chilly but dry. Jake and Sammy had a little time together before the event began.
One thing I knew before knowing who Jake would have stand up in his wedding was that there would be a lot of character in whomever he chose. I was right! Jake has crazy stories with each of these guys. There was a lot of joking and laughing. Wayne, Jonne, Kenny, Nick, and our older brother Mike.
John kept things light during the rehearsal and moved things alone nicely so we could get out of the cold. You just never know what the weather will be like in Northern Minnesota. Last year at the same time was hot! Spring has been late, late, late this year.
My mom and dad. Aren’t they cute? I was so happy for them during all of this.
Seriously, these guys were so fun.
This picture makes me realize that my brother isn’t little Jakey Wakey anymore. Look at him, all handsome and put together. We’ve always been really close.
After the rehearsal, we headed downtown to Tycoon’s, a very cool alehouse and eatery that is located in what was Duluth’s city hall and jail over 100 years ago. How cute are these two?
My mama and my sister, Mama Bex.
My dad and Pete. Pete had his beard, which I loved, until just after the wedding. I think it’s a very “Duluth” look.
I love these two. They’ve been through an awful lot together, and after 32 years of marriage, they are still a beautiful example of love and commitment.
Jake and our parents.
I have to admit that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep the night before the wedding. Two days beforehand, I decided that I wanted to make all the cupcakes for the wedding. No worries, I wasn’t throwing things off or ruining someone’s contract. Our friend Anna, who is a fabulous baker, was going to make them, but when the time approached, I realized I did have some time available and really wanted to do it. It had always been the plan that I would make the small cake for them to cut. I already knew what flavors they liked and the whole wedding scheme, so I told them I would take care of everything. We all got home from the groom’s dinner at about 11:30 Thursday night, I slept till 2am and started baking. This may sound awful, but trust me when I say I completely enjoyed it. I had picked up a can of Starbucks iced coffee earlier in the day and had endless episodes of Project Runway on Hulu to play. The house was peaceful and quiet while everyone slept and I baked away. I saw the sun come up, took Ella to preschool, and went home to finish. I eventually squeezed in a nap. It was such a pleasure to provide the cake. I don’t have many photos, so I hope the photographer got a few. Here they were all lined up on my dinning room table, waiting to be delivered. I did about 150 regular size cakes and 75 mini cakes along with the two-tier cake to cut.
Just as I was about to load the Jeep with the cupcakes, this is what happened. HAIL! Goodness, who plans for hail on their wedding day?! It let up after a while, but the pouring rain came and went a few times through the afternoon.
I painted these signs earlier in the week for the wedding route. They were put up the morning of the wedding.
The ladies dressed and primped at the ceremony site, inside the house. I about cried when I saw Valerie. She was stunning. I was focused on being with the girls and having a good time getting ready, so I didn’t take many photos before the wedding. I did snap this, however, of the bride’s necklace. It was a family heirloom and held photos over her grandparents. How beautiful.
Ella adores her Uncle Jake.
My beautiful Ella, ready to be a flower girl.
My little sister, Jenny, was in charge of keeping the kids together before the ceremony. Not an easy task! All of the nieces and nephews were in the wedding: Hailey (5), Ella (3 1/2), Malena (3 1/2), Maira (2), Wyatt (2), and Sammy (1). They were all pretty adorable.
At long last, it was time for the ceremony! It had been raining most of the day, but at 7pm it stopped and remained dry the rest of the evening. What a blessing. We all lined up on the steps near the house where the guests couldn’t see us. The plan had originally been that Ella would pull Sam in the wagon, but it was tricky because of all the rain. At the last minute, we decided I would carry him since Jake really did want him to be a part of the ceremony. I was happy to have him with me. After Valerie made her entrance, Pete took him for the remainder of the service.
At last, the bride emerged.
And she joined her groom.
A truly beautiful couple.
During the ceremony, the couple served communion to each other. You can see it set up on the barrel behind where we were standing.
After they took communion, the wedding party and parents gathered around the couple to pray.
Finally, John announced the newly married couple and, as they had their first married kiss, a firework exploded from behind the guests!
The fireworks continued as they exited and the band started playing!
We ate and danced the night away. It was absolutely beautiful. The perfect celebration for a couple who has an incredible journey ahead. I’m excited to see where they go together and all that they will do!