Okay, not in.... m-m-my (...a lil' stutter) dreams, did I think that that my unpainted, rusty, yard junk would be a part of my daughter's decorations for her "other" reception.
My dear friend from high school offered her yard and ranch for Kiely and Matthew's party. It was exactly one week from the day they were married in the Manti Utah Temple. Matthew's family was even blessed by Gail's offer to stay in her artist studio. She really is a famous artist and honestly, it was a gracious act of kindness that was beyond anything she could ever imagine. I wish I could adequately tell her and thank her somehow. The studio is a beautiful, secluded cottage near her home, just a jog-up the rows of lemon trees to the main house. Kiely dressed there in her wedding gown and lifted-up her dress with her cowboy boots showing. She literally and giggly, just ran up to the open house in those big 'ol boots. I had no idea she was wearing her cowboy boots. I guess she wanted comfy shoes.
Gail's back-yard is similar to ours, only in that it goes on forever. The main part of her yard is exceptionally lovely and when we first looked at it, none of us knew of the blossoms that would enhance the reception. Blooms of trees, flowers, and plants all joined in coming-out to decorate an already perfect place. The silk tree, front and back just greeted everyone with never-ending falling petals of that seemed to just take the place of any pretty rose pedals we could ever find. It all matched and looked wonderful.
My dear sister, Lori Brown made the cupcakes for all the children and were a hit. Actually, when the cake ran-out everyone went for the special lemon cupcakes. I have to get the recipe from her. They were wonderful...that's what I heard because they were all gone at the end of the evening. She's in the next picture below with her friend and mine, sweet Janie.
We didn't paint anything, but used shoe polish to darken the wood on my old flower cart to match the brown accent color and that was it. It had to be a little special for the gorgeous cake it was to frame. None of my round tables, chairs, lamp stands, benches, were worked on at all. It was done rustically and oh, we did borrow my mom's gazebo for the presents. We call it the "bird cage" (my mom lives next door on our family ranch) and it is really rusty and just like Kiely wanted it. There was Grandma's bird cage! We put my old iron bench in there, sans cushions, and covered it with a cowhide and a glistening table cover and voila, a place for all the presents.
We had the "Kiely/Matthew growing-up program" in the breeze-way to the garden. Everyone that signed Tressa's, Kiely's sister, hand-made, beaded, guest book. And there everyone could see the "This is Your Life" program running projecting on the big screen. Many sat for a bit watching Matthew and Kiely growing-up or came back for the viewing later. That was the only music. We forgot the music player in Utah. No music again, but it was fun to visit and not worry about all the songs and their order, etc. Honestly, it was much more relaxing for me not to have to think about it, anyway.
Thankfully, almost every bit of the Sunkist Gems candy was eaten at the reception. I would have not liked to have left-over candy for months. It would have been like Halloween or Easter candy calling me. Wait, I could have stored it and given it out on Halloween to all the kids that come to our house. No, wait..again..no one comes to our house! Danger Ranch is scary, dark, has dogs, loud screaming donkeys, and big, hangy trees that grab at you at night. Nope. I'm glad the guests loved the candy.
We had all the tables from our family's gatherings covered with the dyed sheets and table covers and they went up against large corner of the patio with the curb, making a perfect place for Kiely's sister and cousins to help serve and set-up. They did so much, Gail did so much. Not only did she provide the place, but she was decorating as well.
She is most definitely, a dear, dear person. Me, I was clueless to everything going on around me. I can't really remember much, except a bunch of kids were locked in the "fancy", rented outhouse. They were pounding and yelling in the middle of the party. The little boys were teasing the little girls. Steve dispatched them from that joint, really fast! The teasing with children doesn't seem to last all that long. The teasing games of the young turn to dances, and dating, and courtship, and marriage, and gone.
My son made all the signs for the directions to the reception and the cute restroom sign. All of the signs were beautifully made in a great, large, and readable font. I wish I could peel them off the boards and give them to Kiely and Matt. Well, not the restroom one, but the others. They are there to stay! Dustin makes decals for fire trucks and engines. That is his hobby, labeling everything and of course, big engines need big signs. Dustin even made them a little "house saying" for their home as a wedding present.
Steve and I in the receiving line.
Above are Matthew's parents. They worked so hard setting-up and taking down at both receptions. So much work was done without me in Utah and I owe them a huge amount of thanks for taking on so much for us. Kiely married into a precious family and I'm glad and blessed we are a part of them.
Again, the theme was orange and brown and a little more yellow because of all the lemon trees that surrounded the ranch. The only "big" purchase here were the three very large umbrellas that matched Gail's umbrellas. They were at a recycling facility in Saticoy. The umbrellas were only $30.00 each and if you were to say, "Well, you can get those at Harbor Freight or Big Lots for the same price." They weren't "those kind" of umbrellas. These are re-matched from broken umbrellas that accidentally had something happen in a new shipment with the umbrella or pole and then recycled. The big difference is the quality. The umbrellas are used to decorate the store fronts of our local BIG supermarkets and last forever and they are very heavy. I love them and we are enjoying them in our yard now. The decorations around the center of each umbrella was from the Dollar Tree, again and really nice because most of it was orange-scented potpourri.
Oh, we did use the candles that came with the lanterns when we first bought them and scented with citronella for the creek gnats. They worked because there were no bugs, not a mosquito, a fly, or gnat anywhere. The dusk was just coming and the Open House was set at the time of the beautiful "pink moment" where everything in the canyon turns from orange to pink at the time the sun just starts to fall behind the canyons hills and mountains. It was a perfect evening and perfect weather. I know our new Utah family felt a little on the chilly-side, from our cool summer ocean breezes every afternoon.
Matthew and Kiely made their own favors with rope and a little saying attached. Very sweet thought, "Knot simply a thank you or a tasty treat, But a symbol of love, That is infinite and sweet." My mom bought some bubbles for the children. They were just little bubble containers from the Dollar Tree, again. We all bought the newlyweds a bunch of thank you notes from the same store, too.
It seemed the time flew by and Matthew's family left for home as did our new son-in-law and his bride. I kept telling myself, when we were preparing all this, "Only a few hours, total." "The time was a few hours up there, and a few here." "I could do it." I kept my swimming exercising-up until we left for Utah and started again when we returned and I know that helped make me feel less stressed, more relaxed, and able. Yes, able to walk quickly up the beautiful spiral staircase in the Manti Temple.
I love the blessings of women in the Temple and how Heavenly Father loves his daughter's with the honors of blessings above those of men. Truly, we are blessed with so much.
This is the long hallway after entering the Temple. There are offices, the bride's room and I think the turn that goes toward the foyer to wait to go up to the Sealing Room.
There is not a place in this world lovelier than our Sealing Rooms in the Temple. I will never, ever forget how these places affected me with their glorious decor and spiritual feeling there. The rooms really "take my breathe-away" with their sacredness and beauty. The sealing room at the Manti Utah Temple is indescribable. My mother-in-law and I, first to enter the room, we both paused and quickly took a breath, at the same time. I've tried to describe it and I just can't. I hope someday to be able to see that sealing room again.
Okay, I'm going to quote my husband. "No one even cares what anything looks like, tastes like, or where it's at." This was in regards to the reception and open house. Well, yes they will surely remember Peggy's "fat photo booth" application on her cell phone. A hit! And funny! But we will remember and have photography of it all. I'm so glad Christie, our friend, took such professional pictures. I look at all the pictures and think, "They were there?""That happened?" "Wow! I didn't see that!" Photographs are great, aren't they?
The cake will always be remembered, it was made by Christie's mother-in-law and the Bishop's wife. (it's the same person) This cake wasn't a fake one, it was real! The BEST ever! The cake really was the most beautiful and homemade cake. I still get compliments about how beautiful and yummy Kiely's cake was at her open house in Santa Paula. I hear about the falling silk tree blossoms and the beautiful Crape Myrtle that framed the bride and groom. I still hear about the sweet father-daughter dance with Brad Paisley's, *Then* And even though all the gossamer table covers puckered in the dryer when we cleaned them from the Utah reception, the table covers just sparkled with the dancing sunbeams off each dimple on the fabric. We won't forget some things and we do care. Maybe most guys just don't get it, right?
Do I want to do this again? Heck yes, and since we had most of our daughter's receptions here at our ranch, our home. I am aiming to get this place rounded-up, painted, the porch fixed, and my gardens back where they were just a few years ago. I'm pumped and I still have all the junk. Oh! I don't want my girls to get remarried...don't mean that. Just let me see? How 'bout a 40th-year marriage celebration for us on July 2, 2011? Bring it, I'm in! And, by golly, I'm having a bunch of music with a DJ! ....and Steve, too, of course.
Professional photos by Christie LaPointe. Thank you forever. We love you!