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  • Hannah

Mr + Mrs Mollard.

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

Well, I told you [in the 'Meet Hannah' page of my site] that the first wedding I ever did, and was ever a part, of was my own!


Rick and I go way, way back. Like, I remember knowing who he was in kindergarten! We grew up in the same church, even occasionally sat next to each other in Sunday School, but he was always too shy to let his love be known, so he was never on my radar! Fast forward to July 2005. It was 'Cruise Nite' and he and another friend came into the restaurant where I was working. Rick was dared by this said friend to ask me out "or else [his friend] was going to ask me out for him." So, he gathered up courage, came over to me at the hostess stand and gave me his phone number. I called him that night when I got off, "just to be nice" but, really from there, the rest is history!


He proposed a little over a year later on my 21st birthday....


Then, less than 2 months after that, I boarded a plane for a 4 month Tsunami Relief mission trip to Thailand.


Although, at that time, we would have liked a summer wedding, I felt that getting back from Thailand in May and getting married right away that summer was too quick. But, waiting another year was too long and just out of the question, so we settled for December...a Christmas wedding! But, you know what? It was beautiful, magical.


 

Planning my own wedding opened up a new door in my heart -- a new love, joy and passion. An outlet and reflection of my inner being and creativity. Ideas and inspirations I didn't even know were inside of me!

I had SO many ideas! But, since we were babies when we got married 😉 , the budget was tight! And, we had to improvise. A lot.


I remember that while I was still in Thailand, I drew up sketches of floor-length, deep chocolate-y brown bridesmaid's dresses with white (or ivory) fur shawls and fur muffs with pine/pine cones attached to the front of the muffs! I was warming up to the ideas of a 'winter wonderland' wedding. 😊

Me - in an ivory dress with diamond beading and gold lace applique.

(Christina Wu Private Collection)


That color scheme didn't last, however!

Back when we got married, you didn't match chocolate dresses with black tuxes (which were really your only option for suits then too). 😂 So to keep it timeless, elegant and classy, we did black tuxes and black dresses with champagne/vintage gold ties and sashes! For our budget and being thoughtful to the budgets of our high school and college-aged 'maids, we forwent the fur shawls and muffs. My mother-in-law made all the bridesmaids dresses (fabric and all cost $30 a dress! That was cheap back then too!) and the flower girl dress - she's awesome!

I had clipped out of a bridal magazine a bouquet of the darkest, biggest, velvety red roses ('Black Magic roses,' they were called). So that's what my bouquet was! Our maids each had a single rose stem. Simple, but just enough as the florist surprised us by adding some feathery tree ferns and hypericum berries to our floral arrangements to really give it a Christmas-y feel.

Fortunately for us, the church was already decorated with trees, wreaths and garland donning white twinkling lights. We had permission to arrange the trees however we liked around the church and stage as long as we promised to put them back where we found them.



I added two glittery white poinsettia plants to the center aisle stairs leading up the stage. My grandparents gifted us little white dove Unity Candle ceremony holders that we placed on the alter with a spray of flocked faux pine needles/cones and two Black Magic roses in honor of Rick's late grandpas. And we called it good for our ceremony stage focal points. 🥰


Taking Nebraska's winter weather into consideration, we went back and forth on what kind of reception to have and where to have it. We debated on having a dance, but that would lead us to another venue outside the church and we feared if it was a snowy or icy evening, our guests might have just opted to go home after the wedding, or that it would be a pain to bundle up and unbundle kids to go to and fro. So, we chose to just have a feast fit for Christmas at the church! I should mention, we had 400+ guests at our wedding! Yes, we did! The day was, like I said above, beautiful and magical! We had a light dusting of snow the morning of, but NO ICE! And the temperature was fairly comfortable for December 15 😀.

Getting back to the reception...at the time, Kearney eFree's sanctuary was in the gym. And their "reception room" would not have held 400+ guests, so we set up tables and chairs right there in the gym, complete with a center aisle running through, and did ceremony/reception seating all in one! It was not my first choice those 12 years ago, but after ALL the many compliments we got from family and friends as to how much they loved not having to "get up and move" to another location for the reception, but instead keep their seats from literally the ceremony prelude to the bride and groom departure, I was pleased with how it all turned out in the end!


I had envisioned the tables covered with black table cloths, vintage gold runners, and faux ice blocks (aka glass bricks) wrapped with thick ribbon like Christmas presents as our tablescapes! And a few golden trees (birch branches) with sparkly crystal beads picking up the candlelight on some of the other tables. But, as mentioned, we were young...budget was tight...the church had white table cloths for free. Glass bricks were pricey, so we improvised. Over the church's white table cloths, we accented with rented silver and gold table runners (from AAA Event Rentals).

For the reserved family tables, I added a large square mirror to the center and positioned a pillar candle inside a cylindrical vase and tree ornaments all around. Hobby Lobby was my second home!

For the 30+ other guest tables, we again used the white table cloths, gold and silver runners, and instead folded cube-shaped boxes and boxes and boxes (from the warehouse where Rick worked) then wrapped them all with, you guessed it 😉, silver and gold!

Each place setting had an Irish coffee mug with napkin and chocolate-covered mint sticks, plastic "silverware" and menu.



To me, Christmas dinner meant warm coffee and hot chocolate (for the guests) to drink. Three to four different soups to warm your body and soul! Maybe light sandwiches or a variety of rolls to go with. Followed by, of course, wedding cake, and then a rich spread of dainty Christmas candies, sugar cookies, and other delicacies!!


I was quickly talked out of that....bowls of hot soup (x) kids (x) 400+ guests in semi-tight quarters = "Not realistic, Hannah!" Alternative Christmas feast: pineapple-glazed ham, Parmesan-roasted baby potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds and bacon, garden salad, fruit and buttered rolls (all prepared by my in-laws' Bible Study group)! While the guests dined, The Nutcracker, Frank Sinatra and good ol' jazz serenaded the room.

And, to top it all off, my mom's women's Bible study group provided trays and trays of Christmas candies/cookies/goodies!


We ate, cut our raspberry-filled white cake (c.o. Barb Farber), did toasts, had our first dance (to "Just the Way You Look Tonight"), enjoyed a father-daughter and mother-son dance, visited with our guests and were off to our honeymoon -- all by 8:30pm!

I must say, I'm pretty partial to winter weddings now! 💁‍♀️🎄



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