Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My Last Week As A Bontrager

The last week before my wedding flew by in a blink, literally. It was the fastest week of my life and one of my favorites of all times. The beginning of the month had some intense moments (thanks to my rather last-minute planning with a few of the wedding details) but by the time that last week of December had arrived, I was relaxed (choosing to be!) and determined to make it a week of memories. If I could do my engagement over again, there are some things I definitely would've started on earlier, and various details/etc I might have done differently, but there is one thing I would do almost exactly the same, and that is how I spent the last week. 

It definitely was a wild one. We had the holiday celebrations, bachelor/bachelorette parties, both wedding venue setups, and the rehearsal to fit in there along with everything else. But I did my best to be super intentional about all the extra little moments, and we ended up with some of the sweetest memories from those seven days. 
My dear aunt + wedding coordinator---so thankful for her and all she did for our day!
Last lunch out with my father. I've always been super close to my dad and we had a lovely time at Olive Garden.
Feeding the baby calves one last time with my sis Liz.
I told the littles that we'd make homemade pizza together one last time. What fun we had!
On Friday night (just over a week before my wedding) we had our annual Bontrager family Christmas Eve formal dinner of special appetizers etc. It was such a special evening.
Next, I spent Saturday, the 23rd, in Kansas celebrating Christmas there with my fiancรฉ and his family. Sadly I managed to get zero pictures of that and only got one of us over looking at progress on our new house! 
I also slipped over to our new home for a few hours to do some minimal set up for our master bedroom and the main bathroom, and to unload the carload of my things.
I also promised the brothers that I would make homemade bread one last time before my wedding. Somehow, by the time it was all said and done, all five younger siblings decided they needed to learn and observe the process, so we had a big bread-making party.
Thrift stores + amazon literally make my world go round in the terms of purchases. Found this beauty to use for a welcome sign.
My grandma, bless her heart, is the queen of cooking and can make the best pies known to mankind. She always takes special requests from her children + grandchildren for what kinds of pies to make for our big Christmas get together. I always request custard because her custard pie is simply one of my favorite foods of ALLLL time. This year, however, the Bontrager clan decided to have their big Christmas get-together on New Years Day, right after my wedding, since so many of the out of state family was coming in for the wedding. This meant, however, that I would not be present, obviously. =) 
Grandma thinks of everything, though, and knew I would miss my custard pie...so what did she do but bake me up my own personal pie the week before my wedding. SO sweet!
Last Sunday morning rush + drive to church with my babies. Goodness, how I miss these little ones. 
Hanging with my girl.
Seriously. Left a part of my heart forever back in Iowa with this girl. She loved me and my shoes so much and the feeling was so mutual.
Continued with one last old and special Sunday night tradition of my homemade soft pretzels. Texted all the family and told them that my pretzels were rolling out one last time! 
Friends helping clear the stage and set up the arch, Wednesday night after church.
One last family dinner all together, at Carson + Lina's home. 
Snow!
Christmas food + decor.
With the dearly beloved cousin + sis at the bachelorette party.
Set up at the reception venue...
progress!
On Friday, at the reception venue...smiling and looking just a little dazed because HOW WAS IT THE DAY BEFORE OUR WEDDING ALREADY?!
Getting real!
I have to say that it was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced in my life, to have so very many friends flying/driving/arriving in just for John's + my wedding. I felt so extremely overwhelmed and so very loved by all the sacrifice + commitment made by hundreds of our friends + family. Above, a quick pic after our rehearsal with my dear kindred spirit from Texas. Those southern friends were the true MVPs-bless their hearts; snow, ice, and temps that plummeted into the negatives and they still were smiling. =)
This was the last picture we took together before our wedding day! It was late at night and we were some of the last people to leave the church from the rehearsal. As we walked to John's truck, it was snowing in the street, and I knew we were destined for a beautiful winter wonderland wedding the following day. 

My favorite memory from that whole day was after John and I got home. All of the littles were in bed, and a few of the "olders" were at the reception venue finishing up last-minute touches. My parents were already in bed but still awake. I went in to tell them goodnight and just couldn't quite pull myself away, so I asked John to come in, and we sat at the foot of their bed and all chatted together about all that had happened, how amazing the day/week had been, and how incredible it was that THE DAY was almost there!

That late night talk that Friday night, December 29th, 2017, was one of my favorite memories of the whole week. I have spent so many formative moments in my life at the foot of that bed, talking + sharing with my parents, and to have my "last" late night talk in their home as their single daughter, be with my fiancรฉ and my parents, was one of the sweetest things ever. It was one of the greatest joys of my life to know that they were so proud of me and John, to know that they loved him just as one of their own children, and to know that they were 100% supportive and thrilled for us. I can't even describe how amazing it was to have such complete joy, peace, and happiness all the way around.

This night was the last night before our wedding! John gave me one last hug and drove off into the snow, and I went to bed scurried around packing up and finishing a few things,
as I completed my last full day as a Bontrager!
-Chels

24 comments:

  1. Thankyou Chelsy for the update. I LOVED it. I was so happy and thrilled for you with reading about your late night talk with your parents! That will be a lasting memory you'll have for the rest of your life. What a thing to cherish! There is lots of young people that don't have that kind of blessing...Thanks again for your story. It was inspiring. Candi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right-it is a memory of all memories! I've definitely been waaaay beyond blessed when it comes to incredible parents/family!

      Delete
  2. Your favorite memory part.. it's about making me cry. It is the moments like those that are what life is all about. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is SO TRUE. I about cried all over again just writing this all out today! Best of times.

      Delete
  3. Loved reading this! One of my favorite last single week moments was he late night talk I had with my parents after my rehearsal dinner :) We also had a massive blizzard the week of the wedding which helped me stop, slow down, and enjoy those final special moments with my family! On a side note - I'd love to know your favorite bread and soft pretzels recipes!! (A fresh soft pretzel is def one of my husbands love languages!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll try to post them sometime in the near future! =)

      Delete
  4. what a beautiful recount chelsy. I've started following yours n your familys blog since the maxwells announced yours and johns engagement. i feel like i know you! God bless ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Happy to have you following along!

      Delete
  5. This. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Thank you for sharing <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aww...I don't even know you, but I was in tears as I read about the "lasts" of your week before your wedding! Especially, the part about the many times you have spent at the foot of your parents' bed, and how the two of you were able to do that together on that last night. It is so hard to leave the ones you love, but God has surely blessed you with a beautiful new life. Married life is so precious...this June, Lord willing, my sweet husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. It seems like just a few months ago that we stood where you and your husband now stand, as newlyweds, so hopeful and excited for the future. Through the years, God has been so good and so faithful. I know He has great things in store for you and your husband, too, and trust He will bless you with many happy years together! Congratulations! You seem like such a sweet person. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really lovely post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Chels! This is such an exciting time in your life! Thanks so much for sharing these happy time with your blog readers!❤

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loved reading this! Takes me back almost 25 years to our wedding and the last week. I love that you were intentional about what you were doing in those "last" memories. So smart! Not only will they be treasured memories for you, but for those whom you love as well! Your younger siblings, especially, will not forget the time you carved out to spend with them! Good job! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Loved this so much, Chelsy! What priceless memories and pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonderful post. So many memories made. I also noticed that there were A LOT of chairs at that reception hall.... approximately how many guests did you and John have at your wedding? I think it looked to be around 500 chairs? Looking forward to more updates from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had just over 600 guests at our wedding ceremony, and around 575 at our reception. =)
      At least those were the numbers I heard. =)

      Delete
  12. So special dear girl! LOVED how thru out your whole relationship/engagement + wedding, you always were intentional to have time for others. Blessed by your sweet heart for those around you; it is beautiful!So thankful the Lord has blessed you w/ this precious new season.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such a sweet post!! And congratulations on your marriage! :)

    The thing I'm most curious about is that homemade pizza! I've got a goal to try my hand at some this year—so I beg you: WOULD YOU SHARE THE RECIPE, PLEASE?! ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‚

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks girl!

      And actually I never use recipes when making pizza. But I do have a couple of "approximate amounts" crust recipes that I use, and will try to share those in the future! Maybe on Saturday night (our weekly pizza night) I can actually attempt measuring in order to share a "real" recipe?! =)

      Delete
    2. Ha! I get you on the "real recipe" thing! :) If you would so kindly nail down what you do, I'd be so happy! Thanks much, Chelsy! :)

      Delete
  14. This is so sweet and special, Chels!!! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Loved reading this, thanks so much for sharing! That sounds like one incredibly busy week but so special too. I was going to ask if you'd share your pretzel recipe sometime but I see someone has beaten me to it. :) I've never had/seen a soft pretzel in my life so I'm curious to know what they're like!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Random, but do you share your hot pretzel recipe? I have loved readying your blog posts by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I'll be posting it yet this summer!

      Delete

Comments containing profanity and/or hateful language will not be published. Also, anyone with a question must provide their full name. Feel free to email me with questions on topics not pertinent to the post. Thanks y'all!