He is one of my favorite people in the whole world. And has been ever since we were kids. He is earnest and thoughtful and wise. He is tender and vulnerable with his thoughts and emotions, and strong and passionate in his convictions and responsibilities which, in my opinion, blends to yield such a remarkable and refreshing personality. He pulls my heart in. And then when you throw his humor on top of it all, it leads me to say what I said at the beginning: my brother is one of my favorite people in the world.
And he found a sweet, strong, beautiful girl to share his life with. So bring on the celebration!
When I arrived the day before the wedding, I found my parents' kitchen full of flowers and green sprigs and berries and pine cones, and both of my parents were hard at work arranging and sorting and clipping and creating.
One of my favorite things about my parents is that they do almost everything together. If Dad needs to drive two hours away to check on some real estate property, my mom will ride along in the car and then entertain herself as needed while he attends to the business. Whenever I call my mom, my dad is close within earshot and whenever I call my dad, my mom is right there. They browse RC Willey and go through every Parade of Homes, and then they pick paint colors and carpets and cabinets and appliances and they do it all together. So seeing them work side by side on the bouquet and boutonnieres for the wedding was nothing new, but sometimes the most beautiful things are the ones that you come to expect.
Anyway, this post isn't really about them.
It's about Brian and Cassie and a very diligent photographer.
Seriously - lying in the snow in his dress pants and tie... this is my kind of photographer! The sun was warm, but the air was quite cold. We all lasted for a little while outside.
Actually, none of the girls lasted at all outside because they were all much to delicate. We desert rats are not used to the cold anymore!
But the boys were happy to brave it for a while.
Eventually the cold wore the rest of them down and we all found comfort and warmth with the girls in the temple waiting room while the bride and groom had their pictures taken with all the combinations of people.
Eliza kept us entertained with her adorable little face.
But the truth is that we never really know what to expect with Eliza. Sometimes she's as gentle and sweet as a summer flower, and other times she's as fiery and unpredictable as an angry wasp. This is the look Brian always gets when he fears the summer flower is turning into the angry wasp.
Pretty soon all the pictures had been taken, so we hopped in the cars and made our way to the luncheon. And as my dad stood to talk about my brother, I felt a surge of pride that they were both mine. Those two, my dad and my brother, sat happily surrounded by girls and women through all my growing up years. They were my examples of what men should be like, and I have always been so grateful for their kind and gentle lessons of love and faith and leadership.
Also, my sisters. My beautiful sisters who are so full of strength and passion.
We kept ourselves entertained down at the far end of the table - and every time I looked at Carson, he was shoveling more and more and more food into his mouth. That kid is unstoppable!
But my favorite part of the whole luncheon was watching these two:
Brian has always deserved the very best. Someone who will love him for who he is and who will see all of his beautiful qualities and who will appreciate them and want to be surrounded by them. Cassie is that someone. I can see the love she has for him and it makes my heart so incredibly happy for them both. I can't wait to get to know Cassie better because from what I see, she is equally incredible and I'm sure there's even so much more that will be uncovered as time goes on.
Then it was on to the reception!
We all got there early so we could start getting everything all set... The Dodge family Styrofoam cake made another appearance:
No one guesses that beneath all of that frosting there is Styrofoam. It looks so beautiful and professional... my mom is a master at making the cheapest wedding cakes on the planet look so incredible.
And, if I didn't know any better, I would have guessed from the look on Brian's face that he just realized that he'd made a terrible mistake.
While mom, Michelle and Amber crafted that beautiful wedding cake, I spent my time in the kitchen cooking pot after pot after pot of delicious hot chocolate. After all, what's a December wedding without a little bit of hot cocoa and cookies to warm you? Timothy agreed.
And after the cake was all beautiful and the hot cocoa was all simmering, we all got together again for some more pictures. This one makes me smile - Teek's face is hilarious, and Eliza's smile is heart melting.
Someday, I know, I'll be the parent of a groom. I hope I handle it with as much grace as my own parents did.
Aaaaaaaaaaand, leave it to my Brian to be the only one with his eyes closed. Still love the picture.
Finally the evening started wrapping up and my favorite little brother took his new wife to the dance floor and they glowed with that sparkly, warm, new love.
And then, after the dance, I saw my parents pause on the step - obviously conversing about something - and they glowed with that deep, rich, older love, and I thought my heart would burst.
And then, can we talk about hands for a minute?
There is something so personal about hands. And the picture above says a thousand words to me about love.
Also, how adorable are these DJ's?
They looked like they were in their own little world shoved in that corner over there.
Wedding days are hard work for everyone involved - but what a beautiful celebration of love and of life and of tenderness.
I predict Brian and Cassie are going to make for themselves a life that is rich and full of love. And I can't wait to watch them do it.