*Merry Christmas!*

We are celebrating our *first* Christmas together and are so excited! We're leaving tomorrow to head to Jacksonville and Lake City to spend Christmas with our families! Gabe is going to get his first pair of matching PJs, so I definitely can't wait for that. John was our guinea pig last year and now it's Gabe's turn!

More news and pictures to come when we get back. We love you all and hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!! :)

Here's a sneak peek of our tree! yay!

And of course our Christmas card, self timer photo:


Normal life...here we come!!!

Sorry I disappeared for a while...but so much has been happening I wouldn't even know how to catch up! We've been getting ready for Christmas here in sunny Southwest Florida...but we have BIG news to share!

Gabe got a new job!!! YAY!! Starting in January, he will be the Admissions Coordinator for the Heritage Institute, a local college in Fort Myers. He'll be helping and recruiting students for their specialized programs and we think it will be a great fit for him! There are also lots of other campuses around the country (including Jacksonville if we move back up to North Florida)!

The even BeTtEr news is that he doesn't have to work weekends anymore and most days he'll be home before 7. If you haven't ever worked retail hours...you may not realize just how excited we are about this. Gabe has been working 9 AM to 10 PM since we got married and we have hardly seen each other it seems. Now that's all about to change. We get to be "normal" newlyweds!! We get to eat dinner BEFORE 10 PM, spend time together in the evenings, sleep in on Saturdays, visit things in Ft Myers, visit small groups with churches and hopefully pick a church home...the list goes on and on!

So...needless to say...this is a HUGE blessing and we are so so thankful for all the prayers that have gotten us here. God has been so good in providing for us during these first 4 months of our marriage and this is just another example of His awesome provision.

Gabe is finishing his last week at Mattress Firm until Dec. 23rd...then he gets a 2 week break before a training trip to Denver in January! We're so excited for all this lies ahead in 2010!


The final wedding post...Details!

Just in case you're interested in some of the details incorporated into our special day...here are a few of my favorites!

My wedding shoes and tiara. Although I desperately wanted to have those cute wedding pictures with the hot pink high heels...my dress was too short for that and it was a blessing in disguise. I'm SO glad I got away with flip flops, it did wonders for my feet! :) And the tiara was my "something borrowed" from my sweet friend and bridesmaid, Jenna! She wore it in her wedding last May!

The memory candle. We had a candle lit in honor of 4 of our family members who have passed. White roses were places on their seats in their memory. And the dogtag you see in the picture belongs to Gabe's great grandfather who was killed in battle, but Gabe wears the dogtag every single day. He took it off for the ceremony and placed it on the candle in honor of his great grandfather.

The flowers. Done by Park Avenue Bridal...I was very pleased with everything they did! The ladies were SO helpful every step of the way. I also got to see everything the day before the wedding and make changes to the arrangements. Here's some pictures of my bouquet and the church decorations!

The invitations and programs. I designed and made all these myself! We had a little help with assembly on the invitations from a printing company (another nightmare)...but the programs were all put together by family and friends.

(We also sent out matching Directions, Reception and RSVP cards!)

Rings. I love wearing these every day! ;)

Reception Decoration. We put all the centerpieces together and I loved how it all turned out. We alternated centerpieces, using some shorter ones with all vases and gorgeous candlelight, and mixing in some taller 20" vases with gladiola to add some height.

The specialty tables. Just love the way all the little details came together to make our cake table and sweetheart tables so awesome!

Card cage. This one is a little random...but it was a cute detail that I really liked!

Guest book. We had a DIY guestbook and I love that we were able to showcase our engagement pictures and add a little fun and personality to this detail of our wedding. We also have a really unique momento we have to keep forever! I used My Publisher to create the book. It was really user friendly and I got to arrange everything how I wanted it. It was very affordable and turned out great!

And last but not least...The Favors. Gabe and I really wanted to give something extra special to our guests. Everyone knows we love music...and that's what brought us together in the first place. So...we recorded a CD with 6 songs...some of each of us singing individually and some that we sang together. It was a lot of work...but we had so much fun doing it! I'm so glad we were able to share this with all our friends and family and also to have for the rest of our lives! Someday our kids are gonna love this!


The first day of the rest of our lives: The Reception!

Party time! We had our reception at the Jacksonville Public Library, in the Multipurpose Room. The Library was recently renovated and was a perfect fit for our *very large* crowd.

We had a "cocktail" hour (without the cocktails), complete with live saxophone and piano, appetizers and punch. I'm a little sad I didn't get to see or hear any of this since I had to hide away in the back...but I hope everyone enjoyed it.

Next there was a big intro of the family and wedding party timed to the Top Gun theme song (props to Gabe for his song choice). The picture below is of our cute lil nephew ringbearer Ethan and our precious flower girl during their big intro!

We opened the night with our first dance as husband and wife to Mark Schultz "1,000 miles." While Gabe and I LOVE music...we have never been able to pick a song to call "our song" since we have so many favorites. So this one was perfect for us. :) We also had dances with our parents. This brought on Gabe's first and only tears of the day...dancing with his mom. :) It was super sweet to watch.

Our parents watching our first dance. Love this one. :)

Then it was time to EAT. We sadly had some serious issues with the catering service...but I didn't have the slightest clue that night (which is a good thing because if I had known it would have been a not-so-perfect day for me). Most people ate, we showed a slideshow of pictures of us growing up through our engagement (thanks Eric!!), then Gabe and I visited as many guests as possible. We had allowed about 3 hours for the whole reception, but I didn't feel like it was nearly enough time. With approximately 250 guests, we definitely didn't get to greet everyone that was there. That was a big bummer...but I hope it was understandable to the guests.

The rest of the evening was filled with cake (yes...we both ended up with it on our faces)...



the bouquet and garter tosses...

...and a sparkler exit.

I couldn't have asked for more. We really had such a wonderful day and are SO thankful for everyone that helped make it so special for us! Love you all!

The first day of the rest of our lives: The Ceremony

Videography: David Gilland
Officiant: Phil Courson, Pastor at Abundant Grace Community Church

The ceremony. I don't even know where to start. Honestly...I think everything was perfect! My parents actually got married in this same chapel, so that made the event extra special! :)

Everything looked great (besides those red movie theatre seats FBC refuses to replace lol)...simple yet elegant. The Thursday before we (mom, Kim, Gabe, Aunt Tina and me) spent a few hours stringing the tulle and lights down the aisles. It was a perfect touch to make the place "glow." The florist did an awesome job with their decorations too!

I'm trying to remember what I thought and what I felt during this part of the day...but that 30 minute ceremony seriously felt like about 5 minutes. I couldn't believe how it flew by.

I was totally nervous/excited right before walking out, but once I did it just felt like a dream. I had to keep reminding myself that this was MY wedding. That it was ME in the gorgeous white dress, that all these people were gathered here to support US, and that I was headed straight towards MY (soon-to-be) husband. It was completely surreal. I tried to take it all in, but it was just so much all at once! My gorgeous wedding party lined up across the stage (yes, somehow all 18 of us fit across there!), all the decorations, the people, everything at once.

Phil did an incredible job with the ceremony. He spoke about how throughout our relationship, we have truly sought to bring glory to God and how that should continue even more now in our marriage. It was so sweet and just beautiful. I am so amazed at what a incredible picture we were at that moment--symbolizing the love and commitment between the church and our true love, Jesus Christ. There is SO much more to a wedding than the flowers and the candles and the pretty dress. Its ALL about our Savior and it was so amazing to be a part of explaining that to the world.

We did the traditional stuff--vows, rings, unity candle, all that jazz. It was just such a special time. Wow. I couldn't believe it was over so quickly...but when we were announced as Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Bedenbaugh...there couldn't have been a happier person in the world.

I was a little excited...