#Erwinning Wedding Weekend

One of the biggest blessings in 2014 has been the excitement around celebrating with my fellow Kenyan adventurers as they all have gotten engaged, or married within this year.

The weddings and parties have brought us together for these highlights, and given us more time than usual to reconnect and share in each other's lives first-hand. It has also given us a chance to watch as the men in our lives become friends and bond over dealing with each of us in our reunited form- they graciously give in to photographing and listening to the many anecdotes about our times shared together in the wilds of Africa. 

In October, we travelled to Searcy, AR to celebrate the wedding of Sarah Hackney and her great new match, Patrick Erwin. Matt and I made a bit of a whirlwind over-night drive, but it was all worth it for a relaxing, rainy and cool fall weekend back on campus with so many college friends. 

The weekend started with a fall bridal brunch at the home of family friend. The food and details were lovingly planned for Sarah and all of her girls had the best time brunching on a rainy, but otherwise lovely fall afternoon.

After going on a Sonic run and hearing fun details about her upcoming ceremony, Jenny and I stopped in Shop Bella C to hug Matt's lovely cousin Laura and of course, shop! Matt stopped by to say hello too, bring Laura a treat, and give me the go-ahead for a shopping spree:). We were really sad Cristie was out of town, but were glad to finally see their incredible store front- we are proud of the girls, their hard-work and success, and are so thankful to have family that are such wonderful friends to us too. 

 The wedding party reconvened at the Hackney's to chat and do a little dolling up before the rehearsal and dinner. We drove to campus together and walked through the ceremony before sitting down to a great dinner in the Cone chapel. Sarah's family had decorated in a very creative fall and travel theme and it was entertaining to listen to everyone share their well-wishes and stories for the couple. 

After dinner, the entire crew moved across town to a welcome party with lawn games, food, dancing, and lots of time to catch up with old college friends. I loved this idea of providing a structured social time for guests traveling in! 

We were all disappointed for Sarah that the rain meant moving the welcome party and wedding ceremony indoors when it wasn't meant to be so, but the bride was calm, collected and happy in spite of the last minute changes. As it turns out, the ceremony was stunning indoors overlooking the rainy lawn and everyone had such a great time that I'm not sure anyone could have told it was the backup plan.

The morning of the wedding was rainy and cool, and the girls spent the morning on campus having hair and make-up done by the incredibly talented and witty Juli Waits, another friend and fellow alumna, watching Sarah (who made a stunning bride) prepare for her big day, and a few of us even snuck out for a big coffee run to our favorite college haunt, Midnight Oil.

I loved sharing honorary bridesmaid duties with Betsy, Jenny & Rachel for the day. Reuniting with our college lunch club, seeing the precious new baby girls of two dear friends, Tara & Betsy, watching Bethany wrangle her 3 nephews at a wedding (best aunt ever), and sharing time with Ashley, Molly, Beth, Ashley and others that I rarely have a chance to hug in person made the reception a very joy-filled time. 

I am always so grateful for my handsome wedding date. Things are more fun with him around, the drive so much more bearable, and it turned out to be really handy that after the wedding festivities, we were able to stay at the campus hotel.

After the wedding, I changed and took a walk across campus to visit Natalie's dorm (read really luxurious modern flat nicer than our current apartment:). It actually is exciting to see the new improvements on campus and how quickly things have been built up. Sadly Natalie was away on fall break, but her sweet roommate let me in so I could leave a treat and take a quick tour.

After some rest, afternoon football, and a quick wardrobe change, we drove down to Little Rock to meet friends for the after-party.  The bride and groom wanted to be sure to have time to spend with all of their friends who travelled in, and so they booked a venue for everyone to hang out together for the evening. The Arkansas-Alabama game made for quite the exciting atmosphere. Oddly enough, our close friends from Austin who had also been in Arkansas for a wedding, walked in to the same restaurant while we were there! 

The next morning, we attend services at Downtown Church. We were able to hug some of our favorite professors and friends attending there before meeting Laura, David, and Beckham for lunch. Beckham is about the cutest little boy you could imagine and Matt and I were thankful for our first opportunity to spend one-on-one time with David and Laura. 

The drive home went by fairly quickly, and when it was over, we almost couldn't believe we fit so much into one short weekend. Getting to experience true fall weather was so refreshing to both of us, and having so many friends and cousins together in one place was awesome!

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Erwin and thank you for hosting a fun-filled weekend! 

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