In all the world, you will not find better people than our families. Go ahead....try. I double-dog-dare ya. Ok, at least to us, they're pretty outstanding and I cannot fathom where either of us would be without these people.
First up, the hosts of this shindig on 9/28/13, my parents. They are my biggest fans and have always been there for me...letting me fall, encouraging me to get back up, dusting myself off and carrying on.
I don't know if I've ever met a family that has each other's backs more than the Staffords. Really. They're like your ride and die people. They're stubborn, strong-willed, easily forgiving AND forgetting, loud, and my kind of crazy.
These two, LOVE their boys. I KNOW our children with be spoiled rotten, just like grandchildren should be. I can't wait to see them as grandparents.
Speaking of grandparents, these are my two. My dad's parents passed away several years ago. My mom's parents have been married 67 years. I could devote an entire post to them, and one day I'm sure I will. They are my favorite people. I'm not sure I've ever learned more from someone as much as I have from my grandmother.
And just for memories' sake....my grandpa was awful proud to wear this gold necktie on this day. I got it for him for his birthday in August prior the wedding and told him it would be great to wear for our special day. So when he showed up at the church that morning, he came straight to me and made sure I noticed he was wearing it! He's so special to me!
You can't really notice it in this photo, but Ma's dress had quite a bit of sparkle to it. My sister and two cousins, were married before I was so we've seen her dressed up for a few weddings and we all agreed this was the "fanciest" dress we've seen her in. I think she was unsure of it at first when my aunt took her shopping, but everyone was complementing her right and left that day. She is beautiful!
Stephen's grandparents, his dad's mom and dad.....have been his lifelong next door neighbors along with his aunt and uncle. (Hence, why I refer to the road they all live on as the "Stafford Compound")
There's pros and cons to the families living in such close proximity; but ultimately I think the pros probably win. Every Sunday we all eat lunch together after church at Papa & Meme's. I love the traditions that they all have and how close this family is.
Stephen's grandmother, his mom's mom, Granny...just like his Papa and Meme, she would do ANYTHING for him. She is probably the most encouraging person I've ever met. She rarely has anything negative to say about anyone and has the most positive attitude of anyone I know.
The original 4...
And the now....
As wonderful as the original was, the now is even better!!
Those dapper Stafford men.
And now, another group of people I could spend hours talking about. My cousins.
This group is my mom's side of the family. My dad's side is wonderful too, but it's LARGE. My dad grew up in a family of 6 siblings...so add those spouses, and their children, and their spouses and children, AND their spouses and children....it's large. There's close to 50 of us now. Needless to say, it's not been as easy and accommodating to be as close with that many people. No less, love, just difficult to all be together at the same times.
My mom's family is a different story. And these cousins of mine...well, they were my first friends. The kids I spent my summers with, went to Opryland every summer with, went to Disney World too many times to remember with...they are my people.
Stephen and his brother, have different stories to tell regarding cousins. They only have two, Jared and Annalee. It's been so much fun watching their relationships grow just in the time that I've been around. I can't wait to see them all grown up and who they will become!
Stephen has just fit right in with my family and my cousins. Evan is experiencing the same thing with his girlfriend, Ashley and her large family. It's just an indescribable lifelong bond, and I'm glad they've both been so open to expanding their hearts to those bonds.
This one cracks me up. For each family wedding, we've managed to pull off a large family photo. Each wedding that passes, there's more new people added in the picture. Cousins marry and have babies. (In fact, there's been another baby since this picture was taken. Robert & Sarah welcomed Arabelle in July 2014.)
This was the before shot...chaos, confusion, let's get this over with so we can get away from all these bugs...(and props to my mother who is poised and ready for someone to take her picture. Not sure who she's looking it, but Shirley's ready for her glamour shot!)
And the after....muuuuuch better!
These next two, are on my Top 10 of favorites from the day. So many memories, so much wisdom passed down...
So much love.
Tomorrow on the blog, it's CEREMONY TIME!! Believe me, you don't want to miss it! People who were there are still talking about it...two years later! (It will forever be a legend in my own mind.)
If you've missed any wedding posts before this one, you can catch up with the links below:
Nursing Girls Shower - here
Church Family Shower - here
Stafford Family Shower - here
Flatt Family Shower - here
Girls Night - Little Black Dress Party - here
Setting Up - It Takes a Village - here
Rehearsal Night and Dinner - here
Getting Ready- here