After nine years of marriage, we decided, it was time to renew our vows and put our best efforts into creating a celebration that best reflected who we are, what’s important to us, and some of our core beliefs. To that end we began planning what the event would look like, how we’d actually express our re-commitment to each other, and how we’d make a really great time for those who came to merry-make with us. We wanted it to feel very informal with lots of art, love, and laughter. Should it be called Yoderstock? Nope. We settled on the “Love In All Forms Event” as the label because that was what we were really going for – a celebration of the many types of art and interactions that spring only from a deep place of love.
Our ideas began taking shape and the plans involved a rural location, a separate starting location, tents, props, tons of homemade décor and food, and countless hours of time and sweat. I’m not sure of exactly what the very first actual creation was, but a few of the first had to be some of props that we used for a certain band photo shoot. All but one of those ended up not being used because of space constraints, but there were also napkins, curtains, a photo-board with head cutouts, a ticket booth, a concession stand, a functioning tv sculpture, and remote-controlled confetti blasting machines. And those were just the things that we got a ton of help with! There were also pinwheels, a marshmallow chandelier, a glitter-covered heart backdrop, a mason jar chandelier, a chalkboard tabletop, fabric flag streamers, a pallet stage, three huge parachutes, strings and strings of lights, and a dozen or so chalkboard signs to guide guests down a mile of driveway to the tents and parking area. There were many other things as well that required a lot of thinking, planning, and designing that were not so obvious, but completely essential to giving the day structure. Janie was an absolute rock-star at bringing all of this together and thinking of all the things that never even occurred to me or that I thought didn’t really matter. She recognizes the things that are key to creating a comfortable atmosphere while also providing direction. One of the many things I admire about her:)
As is typical in these things, we had more ideas and plans than we had time to thoroughly execute, and the last couple of weeks were intense. In the final week especially, there was not much sleep to be found in our house. It was so hectic that I put off getting a haircut until it was too late:( There were lots of last minute adjustments that had to be made due to the weather. What was intended to take place outside ended up having to take place beneath a second tent, further limiting our usable space. The second tent wasn’t set up until a day and a half prior, and most of the decoration and setup was to happen inside of this one. It was spectacular what our super-small team of family, the Zakulas, and Liz Whitaker were able to achieve in that last day. It wouldn’t have happened without them. A stage was built, a chandelier and stand was erected and lit, streamers and lights were hung, places were set, sound and a mic were wired and set up, hay bales and sheets were arranged, and a million other things that added up to way too much time, all got done! When we ran out of time, there were a few things that ended up not working out, which were hugely disappointing. The parachutes were a flop. The tv sculpture and confetti machines didn’t work because it was too cold. The heart backdrop didn’t get set up. And the sumo wrestling suits were incredibly underutilized due to the cold weather! All of these things, and I’m sure a few that I’m forgetting, while disappointing, didn’t stop us from having a fantastic time with our beautiful animals, our family, and many of our amazing friends. We could have done a better job of just “letting go” of the things that didn’t go according to plan (like we always try to remind our brides and grooms to do) and just being in the moments, but by the time that the Libido Funk Circus fired up with their set, we had done just that. And we really did cut loose and just have a great time. I really loved the paper lanterns that we lit into the night sky at 9pm. The energy and excitement of everyone joining in to create a super-cool spectacle in the sky and just generally having a really good time was awesome.
To recap the day as Janie remembers it in only a series of not necessarily connected words: Martinez on the floor, Kris in bed, “Jackie is like sunshine”, “good morning Target”, Starbucks, freaking out, pampered, surreal, puppies, Michelle Black, freaking out, crying, getting dressed, freaking out, chasing Cecilia, listening to Eliza freak out, striped tent, freaking out, putting things together, freezing, friends, more friends, freezing, good food, handsome husband, poop-covered Milky, happy Milky, games, laughter, changing, freezing, laughter, portraits, freezing, nervous, freaking out, beautiful Reesey, Coldplay, shaking happy, Zachary, laughter, stinking cute, laughter, oops, Zachary, fire, people getting burned, tent burning down, laughter, awesome, heat, warmth, “Yes!”, crying, beautiful music, nervous, crying, “shout to the silver moon”, puppies, love, crying, sprinkles, happy, Eliza, happy, stupid remote control, dancing, Libido Funk Circus, “Yeah!” Dancing, peach bellini, Roger Hurtado, cartoons, sweets, cupcakes, dancing, happy, changing, “Thriller”, laughter, magical, clear sky, freezing, friends, awesome, happy, beautiful, magical, surreal, lanterns, handsome husband, awesome good byes, dancing, “Into the Mystic”, dancing, exploding heart, Kris Zakula, Kris Zakula, Kris Zakula, exploding heart, love my friends, tired, chauffeur, puppies, kitties, home.
And mine: Martinez, Essenhaus breakfast buffet, last minute setup, driving, debating Great Clips, vintage glam wife, hugs, suiting up, Michelle Black, bow-tying, Oberon, propane, generators, puppies, cotton candy, popcorn, potluck, friends, friends, FRIENDS!, Wendy, “Thanks!” twisting games, Coldplay, Zach, “Oh, crap,” fire dancers, Zach, violin musicality by Sam, Eliza singing, more puppies, poetry, sprinkles, Libido Funk Circus, drinks, Masi Hooley Z convo, shots, dancing, caricatures, photo booth props, KZ photo bombs, paper lanterns, Kyle sumo showdown, and a Zakula-chauffeured ride home.
Thank you to all of you who were able to come and celebrate with us and to everyone who helped to make it happen! Extra special thanks to the amazing photographer/writer Michelle Black for photographing the day (view her blog about the day HERE), the awesomely-talented Carolina Martinez for shooting video and a few stills, Libido Funk Circus for their incredible spirits and musical genius, Jackie and Bethza for their respective mastery of hair and makeup, Liz Whitaker for helping bring it all together on Friday and Saturday, Cher Goggins of Merry Me Events for selfless provision of time and beautiful flowers on a busy day, and to the Joneses and Zakulas for the hours you invested with us, building and assembling many, many things!