Kyle Interviewing Jen

10 for Jen

1. Who’s your favorite person in the world right now? Hi. You know it’s you. I’m not asking you this question because I know it will be some famous athlete and my feelings will be hurt.

2. What was the last crafting project you worked on? I tried to make a stuffed animal. It was supposed to be a giraffe, but his legs ended up on his sides instead of under him. Like he was a baby giraffe just learning to walk. I think I’ll make him into a pin cushion.

3. What has been the most rewarding part of writing on Marriage Project every day? I know we say this all the time, but it really does force you to be creative. It stretches me to think and create and write. And it’s a lot less scary to be vulnerable and share my heart when I’m doing it with someone else.

4. What one thing do I do that you didn’t expect? We had a friend recently ask what we were most surprised by since we’ve been married. Everyone always made jokes about how different it is to live with a boy… hardy har, tee hee, etc. At least I thought they were jokes. The thing is, Kyle was so clean and organized before we got married. It only makes sense that it would carry over, right? Hi- he has a wife to clean up after him all day, what’s the point of being clean? We have discussions quite often that start like this: “Cakes are these your shoes in the middle of the floor? They’re going to cause a fight…”

5. Who is your fictional character hero of 2010? I wish it was someone from a book since that would make me sound more intelligent, but it’s probably Tami Taylor

6. If you could play any sport professionally what would it be? Tennis. Minus the tennis elbow.

7. If you could have one tool to make this blog better, what is it? A graphic designer.

8. You can be transported to one country NOW, where are you? Possibly Israel. New obsession.

9. What is your lasting memory from our wedding? This is a hard question because I feel like I mostly remember all the little things that went wrong, even though nobody noticed. I know I’m not supposed to focus on those things, but it’s hard not to when you put so much time and effort into it. But my favorite memory is probably seeing all our friends and family after the video. That, or driving to Oklahoma City with you after the wedding.

10. What book are you dying to read? They’re not really reading books, but I have three on my Amazon wish list right now; all sewing books. Handmade Beginnings, The Bag-Making Bible, and Twinkle Sews. Gah, I’m an eighty year old woman.


Revelation Song

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t posted this before now. This was the song Jen walked down the “aisle” to: Kevin Porter & Ali Morgan singing “Revelation Song.”

2 notes:

  • It looks like Kevin is wearing swanky headgear right out of the early 90s…he’s not, he’s just awesome at the harmonica
  • If you’re in a hurry, the 2:00 – 2:40 section is the best part

Winner + Video

Congratulations Tracy Meraz, you’re going to love FNL! And thanks to everyone for playing yesterday…we were laughing pretty hard at some of the commentary, you guys definitely make this blog what it is. We’re just not sure what that actually is yet.

Instead of 2 guys a girl and a pizza place (as was entered as a favorite TV show yesterday) we have 2 articles, a video, and a trip to Canton. Enjoy.

Click on links below for articles (clicking on the pics won’t take you there)


1. The family Jen wants us to be?
2. I’m not sure that they agreed with our wedding budget

Strangely powerful.

Till Death (or OSU) Do Us Part…

In lieu of our semi-redneck, somewhat windy, extremely sweltering wedding ceremony we thought a few of you might not have been able to hear (or pay attention to) our vows to each other. Or maybe some of you weren’t there and would just like to read them…

We decided some time ago to write our own vows. The rest of the wedding was homemade, why not the ceremony? Another moment of full disclosure (MOD, if you will) – I wasn’t aware that when you write your own vows you have to read them to each other, I thought you repeated what the pastor said until my brother and sister pointed out how awkward it would be for the pastor to say “Jennifer, I love you.” Thanks guys.

Anyway, we tried our best to write to each other, from deep within where only our love for the Lord resides. Here’s what resulted:

“In centuries gone by men have fought wars over love.
Men have sailed the raging seas over love.
And men have gone to the grave, over love.

So I stand before you today
With a seemingly easy task
To simply profess my love and commit my life to you.
And yet, it is so much more complex.

For in the days and years to come
That profession will become a realization
That through each other
Sanctification in Christ will come to fruition.

Because of this it is my honor to protect and provide
My passion to lead with integrity
My desire to plan and to pray
My duty to pass on wisdom to our kids
And my honor to humbly love.

I know there will be fights
I know there will be struggles
I know what lies ahead.

But I choose you
And I want you to know
Even though I don’t understand how marriage works (what guy does?)
I DO understand the magnitude of it all.
I understand that Christ is enough, for both of us.

So I promise to choose you over OSU games
Promise to love or sons even if they hate sports
Promise to revel in arts and crafts with our daughters
Promise to let you be free and to guide us with wisdom
Promise to always write to you and date you and cherish you.
I promise to always climb through your bedroom widow to kiss you, tell you stories and make you laugh.

I commit myself to you
Mind, body, spirit, and soul
You have all my love, for the rest of time.”

“You make me more of who I already am. By your side, I am more confident, more creative, and more secure in Christ. I know I can fight any battle, but trust you to lead me through them.

Your discipline is something I have never known. It makes me more confident in you than you will ever know, and I will trust you with everything in me until the Lord is finished with me on this earth.

I will strive all my days to make you proud of me, to raise your children as ambassadors for Christ, and to honor you with my words in all situations. While my identity does not hinge on the words you say, you are continually shaping how I perceive this world and where I put my focus. So go forth this day, knowing that my confidence is in Christ, but that every word you say is truth to me.”

For those of you wondering, “when will this ever end?!?” you’re in luck. This is the last wedding post you’ll have to endure. Tomorrow, it’s all about you guys, the readers. We’re having our first giveaway. See you then…

Kickin' Back
Kickin' It
Ignoring usual
(Some of) The Boys
(A lot of) The Girls

As always, pictures taken by Shari Hatfield…we can’t recommend her blog highly enough.

The Wedding Budget

Henry David Thoreau once said, “money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”

Moment of full disclosure: I don’t sit at an 18th century desk, drink duty-free tea, and pull Thoreau quotes from deep in my memory bank. I have a Mac, drink coffee, read Bill Simmons, and I googled Thoreau.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Thoreau was right, and even though we didn’t base our wedding on that single quote we put a lot into this idea of “how can we do this wonderfully in the most inexpensive way.”

There were a few decisions we made that helped alleviate the financial burden many weddings place on family and friends. First, and probably most importantly to the overall vibe of our wedding, we decided to have the ceremony and reception outside, at Jen’s parents house. The crux of that (and Jen doesn’t know this) really lies in the fact that I desperately wanted to be able to tell high-society, wealthy Dallas folk at all the galas and events we go to (zero so far), “yeahhhh, we got married in a barn.”

Hey, Jesus was born in a manger. #justsaying

So there was that, and it helped, since the cost of renting a place plus the amenities can run into the triple or quadruple digits (my research team is still looking into exact numbers). We also borrowed most of the equipment we used at the reception from LifeChurch.TV (Jen’s former employer). As much as we planned on keeping costs down this was an unforeseeable blessing because we had planned on renting most of these necessities.

The other big one was that we didn’t have a wedding party. This eliminated a whole slew of potentially awkward/expensive moments. You know that real dicey area when you get invited to be in a wedding but you don’t know who’s paying for the tux, bridesmaid dress, or bachelor/bachelorette party weekend? And you don’t want to ask because then if you have to pay for it there’s like this thing where you roll on that person for a few days and nobody wants that. We avoided that. In fact, as my wife documented here, we wanted to show our friends how important they were to us by making something to give to them instead of asking them to drop 2-3 Benjys (that’s a $100 bill for those wondering) on us. Crazy, I know!

Side note: we aren’t anti-wedding festivities. Well, we kind of are, but the point is that we have been thoroughly blessed by each and every person who has asked us to be in their wedding and the whole experience has been awesome. You might say we’re lucky, I just say we have awesome friends. The point is we just wanted to do it differently.

Those were the big 3. Venue. Equipment. Wedding party. From there we just had a hand-making bonanza. Well, Jen did, I kind of stood there and stared at paper flowers like they were Slovenians attending a post-United States vs. Algeria World Cup party, unable to believe I was getting married. Too soon on the Slovenians, or no?

If you’re interested I made up a detailed wedding budget in Excel. Have a look. This includes most everything save the rings, engagement week, honeymoon (my parents helped us…thanks guys!), and photography (Email me if you want any of that info.). If you’re not into powerful number-crunching programs that make grown men weep in delight then just enjoy the pictures below.

As always, wedding pictures by Shari Hatfield, visit her blog, it’s awesome. Header picture attribution here.

One of our faves, good summary of Bryan residence
Tried to spray paint Bryan out after ceremony, tackled by bride
GT probably making fun of me

As We Promised: Part II

The things I love most in this world are not new or shiny. They’re used, maybe a little torn or discolored, but they have a story – even if I don’t know what it is. Thus begins the tale of our wedding. We spent hours scouring antique stores & flea markets to find the perfect combination of old things. From the quilts we had for eating dinner on the lawn (made by my great grandmother…or someone else’s) to the banner made from vintage handkerchiefs to the old doors we used as tables, very few things were new or sparkly.

Among those old things were a collection of used books. Because there weren’t even 100 people coming to our wedding, we could afford (economically and emotionally) to make something special for each guest. The books were by far my favorite part of everything we worked on, and they turned out to be even more beautiful than I had hoped. We got the idea after running across this blog about 2 months before we got engaged, and I found most of the books at an estate sale. Then I called my friend Sydney (a book hollowing expert) and she helped get me started on this tedious endeavor.  We started working on them about a week after the engagement and finished about 26 hours before the wedding.

Each included a personal note on a card handmade by me, a picture of us at our new home with our address on the back, and our marriage statement: see the card here. The back of the small card also had information about the blog we were starting and how to follow us on Twitter. Each was adorned with ribbon and a mix of eclectic buttons. Here are some visuals:

Books we handed out to everybody at the wedding
Books & Buttons

I also made my veil with a little help from this website and my mother. I planned only to wear it for the ceremony, but loved it so much I couldn’t take it off. If only I had an excuse to wear it every day.

My birdcage veil

Tomorrow: Envelopes! Bartering! The Cash System! How we pulled off a low-budget wedding…

Wedding Decor: The Tables

The Tables: Where we some people ate

It’s almost comical, and anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows this, that you can spend every waking hour researching and coordinating your wedding, and yet it looks like it all came together in one flash of magic. Poof. Part of me was ecstatic at the thought, part of me wanted to stand on my pretty little table and yell, “You have NO idea how much work this took!!” But in the end I refrained, partly out of dignity, partly because I was wearing a short dress.

First things first: 5 years ago, the average cost for a wedding in America was close to $30,000. We’re bringing that average way down.  Here’s a little bit about how we did it:

I knew the flowers would be a big part of the décor, but I also knew how much flowers cost and how quickly they die. My self-efficacy is dangerously high, so I set out to play God and create the Garden of Eden in a little red barn. I found several websites with instructions on how to make crepe paper flowers, but it turns out Martha’s never really tried her own instructions (shocker). So I made my own version and commissioned my mom and sisters to create hundreds of them. (email me if you want instructions) In the end, it was exactly like I pictured. See below.

Our wedding tables with faux flowers

The rest of the table was pieced together over a few months. I wanted the tables to have the feel of an old quilt, so I went to the local quilt store and found colorful fat quarters for $1.25 each. The tulips (the only real flowers, picked up at Sam’s 2 days prior) are in 12 old wine bottles I found at Goodwill for $5. I found the large black vases at Big Lots for $10 each- see the before and after below- and the burlap table runner was $4 from Michaels and added the shabby to my chic.

My mom found the glass plates and hurricanes at her Salvation Army store, and paid around $5 for an entire box.  Oh, and the tablecloths? Flat sheets (yes, bedding) I encountered at WalMart and talked the customer service lady into giving me for $2 each.

So the table you’re looking at sat 36 people and cost about $95. Spread out over 6 months, it turns out to be about $8 per pay check. Yes, please.

Tomorrow: my love affair with flea markets and why they love me too.  Wedding décor, part duex.

Why The Surprise?

So in case you haven’t figured it out yet (I think some of our friends are still trying to figure out what happened), our wedding was a surprise. We invited about 100 friends and family to what we were calling an “Engagement Party.” Except that when they arrived, we showed them the video of our engagement that happened 6 months prior and actually got married that day. Some have called it brave, some call it crazy, but we just call it love.

So why the surprise?

Our general love of weddings never quite existed. They were something we both participated in because we love our friends dearly, but neither of us had a desire to spend our engagement ordering bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, registering for gifts, going to showers, or talking to caterers or DJs or florists. We just didn’t. Nor did we have a desire to burden others with cost or hassle. (One of our friends just dropped $280 on a bridesmaid dress, $50 on shoes, $50 on alterations, $150 on a shower, and one evening of awkwardness at a bachelorette party. For one wedding.) What we did have was a deep desire to honor God and learn to love one another at an even deeper level. So through much prayer and creativity, we spent our 6 months of betrothal in a state of secret anticipation and joy, pouring into one another and into our marriage. We never looked back.

Most of the wedding was handmade, with hours spent scouring vintage flea markets, second hand stores, and DIY websites. Over the next few days, I’ll post about some of the things we worked on and how it all came together. Here are a few pics to tide you over. Happy Tuesday.

"Engagement Party"
Twinkle Twinkle

All these photos were taken by my beautiful friend and Tulsa photographer, Shari Hatfield. Find more of her work here.

Marriage Statement

We got married last night.

Nobody knew about it. They thought they were coming to an engagement party and a full-blown wedding broke out.

I lied, a few people knew about it, but most didn’t.

That’s how we wanted it.

It’s been our experience that it’s very easy for us (because we’re human) to get caught up in things. Things like showers and gifts and fine china. Things that aren’t 2 people standing before the Lord looking to be sanctified. We were scared of that so we did it different than anyone else we know has done it.

Of course, most people also don’t make a marriage statement like a company would make a mission statement. We’re different though. Or we try to be. Or we just think we try to be. Or maybe we’re just weird. I don’t know

I do know we  hate convoluted and complex. Our marriage statement is only 10 words. You can see it in the header. We handed out cards with that statement on them at our wedding. It entails everything we’re striving to be.

We hope people loved them as much as we loved making them.

Speaking of love, we’re honeymooning in Hawaii right now, and will be for the next 10 days. By the end I’m sure we’ll be ready to get back and post pictures and stories and videos from our wedding. Until then, though, we’ll be talking about what this blog will entail over the next year and spouting stories from our engagement week (which, yes, happened 6 months ago).

See y’all soon,
Kyle + Jen