abortion survivor

(not here comes the bride . . . but something absolutely worth sharing right now!!)

I remember reading Gianna Jessen's autobiography years ago. 

Watching her talk and share her heart is AMAZING! 

If you have not read or heard her story . . . this is worth your time.

the processional

the site of the ceremony

Like I've mentioned before, we got married outside under a big tree.  It was a gorgeous tree that is over 100 years old.  All the pompom flowers you see hanging from the tree were made by Lawrance (well, I did a few to show him how, but then he did all the rest)--didn't he do a great job?

While Sam and Lawrance seated the grandparents and my mom, Fairest Lord Jesus was playing.
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And, here is a moment I am SO glad was caught on film!!  I love my mom!!!IMGP4199.JPG

Then Jerry--our dear friend and neighbor for many years, who also welcomed his home up to Lawrance while he was in Texas--opened the ceremony with prayer.2863619733_7bb9d794f7 

Then the boys--Lawrance and Sam--came in.  My brother served as Lawrance's best man.  He did such a great job.  I loved looking over at him several times during the ceremony, sweat pouring off his face, but always getting a smile from him.

Then our junior bridesmaids and my sister, serving as the matron of honor walked in.  The bridesmaids walked while "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" was playing.

These precious girls are from my home church.  I used to take them to "little ladies lunch" after church when I was at home working on my master's degree.  They would sit with me during the service, and are some of the beautiful young woman I am blessed to call my "little friends."  God has graciously blessed me with "little friends" everywhere I go!  Now, they are young woman . . . it was a treasure to have them be a part of our wedding. 

Also my junior bridesmaids were a HUGE help!  They carried my train while we took photos.  They ran to get me some lip gloss in the middle of the reception.  Anything I needed they were happy and willing to help with.  One of my friends said that she wish she had had junior bridesmaids at her wedding because of just how wonderful a help they were to me. 

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next time . . . here comes the bride . . .

wedding slideshow

I put most of this together a few weeks ago when Lawrance was at work. 

This is the "short version;" it basically shows us getting married and mostly only has pictures of us as a couple.  It was my first time using a movie maker.  I'm not sure this is the best quality or the best tool to use.  Anyone else have experience with making slideshows that aren't hosted online?

We are thinking about possibly using a few slideshows from our American wedding at the Taiwanese wedding. 

a private moment together before the wedding

We wanted to see each other before the wedding . . . so we did. :)

After getting ready, we had a few moments alone.  Then our photographer (my oldest, as in longest known, friend) came in and took some shots of us enjoying those first few moments as bride and groom--our last few moments before becoming husband and wife.

I LOVE this photo; she caught his expression beautifully!!!

seeing each other before the ceremony!

I also decided--a few days before the wedding--I didn't want the veil to cover my face.  I needed to read my vows and do some other things during the ceremony, and to me it was just in the way.  So, I was just going to wear the veil in my hair.  But, then when all was said and done, (like after it was in my hair and I was putting on the dress), it bugged the heck out of me.  Too puffy and now it no longer served a purpose, so it seemed pointless to me.  Wearing a veil didn't make me more or less a bride.  So, I wanted to remove it all together.

I knew this part of the wedding was important to Lawrance--the lifting of the veil.  So we talked about, and he suggested we do the veil lifting privately on our own before the ceremony.  So, we got a few veil shots before the ceremony.  And, I am SO glad that we did . . . some of them turned out really cute!!

kissing under the veil

kissing under the veil

There is one more thing I have to tell you about the veil-lifting.  In Taiwan, men roll the bride's veil up and over, so it is a slow ceremonious event.  So, that is what he did.

rolling the veil

But . . . after he was done rolling . . . still not kissing on the lips.  We've waited this long we could wait another half hour. ;)

kiss me

Here we have it step by step.  It was so fun!!  I'm glad we did this . . . and I liked very much that it was just between the two of us.

Rolling the Veil

We're ready . . . come on guests hurry up!  We wanna get married!!! :D

bride and groom

Seeing each other before the wedding was a great decision.  It wasn't part of Lawrance's culture to wait to see the bride.  In Taiwan, the groom goes and gets his bride and brings her to the celebration--lots of cars, noise, and fireworks in procession (in modern times at least).  And, we'd already seen each other all that morning and early afternoon . . . so why not? 

It was a very special moment and perhaps my favorite of the day--ok, one of the top highlights of the day.  It also made my walk down the aisle much less nerve-wrecking.  We were able to fully enjoy the ceremony and the meaning of it all rather than be so caught up in seeing each other for the first time after getting ready--which is so absolutely wonderful in and of itself.

I would highly recommend it to others!!!  It is a decision I am VERY happy with!

On the other hand . . . sometimes looking back at some photos I regret that I made the
decision to not wear the veil so quickly; I love photos of brides wearing veils.  I love the photos we have of me wearing a veil.  So, I
console myself by thinking I can make sure to wear a veil at the
Taiwanese celebration.  So, it's all good.  If I didn't have that bit
of consolation, I'd choose to be pleased that I did at that moment what
seemed best.  HOWEVER, I still reserve the right to decide at the last minute I don't wanna wear it again. ;)

it's hot under there you know . . .

me, the bride having some fun

I love this playful shot of me waiting for someone to bring me my flowers. 

(We forgot them for most of the bridal shots and almost missed them for the shots we took with the bridal party.)

I am so thankful that we did decide to go with an outdoor wedding even if it was August in Texas!  It was hot . . . but not unbearable! :)

I never would have chosen an evening wedding . . . but I preferred outdoors over afternoon (afternoon would have been unbearable) . . . so evening it was. ;)

one more cool stylist fact

I almost forgot about this until I was talking to Lawrance tonight.  My hair stylist spent the first few years of her life in TAIWAN!!!!!

She called her dad between the trial run and day of to find out the name of the exact city.  He was stationed--and so they lived--in TienMu, which is a part of Taipei.

Too cool!

putting on "the dress" and other bridal details

Finding a modest wedding dress is NOT easy!!  There are many more choices online than there are in the stores. . . but after just a few hours of trying on dresses, I realized how VERY important it is to actually try on the dress.  Especially when the wedding day is less than 60 days away. :D

So, what I ended up with is perhaps not one I would have picked had I had more time to be selective (picky), but I learned to love it and am happy with this choice.  And, I was also very grateful that it fit without alterations; the only alterations needed were to add the bustle to the train.  Oh, yes, and we added cap sleeves that I taped with body tape to my shoulders to keep in place and give just a little more coverage.

Lawrance was totally unfamiliar with the "can't see the dress before the wedding" tradition in America . . . and not very happy about it either. He kept begging to see the dress.  The dress hung in a bag on my bedroom door for a week before the wedding . . . he was very tempted to unzip the bag and take a peak. 

But somethings are worth waiting for. Later, he told me that he thought the wedding dress is like wrapping paper on a present.

The Dress:
the dress

Mom and Sarah helping me get dressed:
putting on the dress

Mom reassuring me (I love the look on her face here):
getting ready

Everyone helping out:
getting ready

I also took a few bridal shots before the wedding since I hadn't done that earlier:
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bride me, the bride

me, the bride

Some of the bridal details . . .
The pearl earrings I wore were the same ones one my mother wore on her wedding day.  My paternal grandmother had given them to her upon my parents' engagement. 

The necklace, was my "something borrowed," it also belongs to my mom.  My dad gave it to her this past Christmas.  I liked that it was simple and elegant. Just a single drop pearl on a 

The strand of tiny pearls around my wrist was my "something old."  My mom had a broken pearl necklace that had belonged to her paternal grandmother (my great grandmother).  Lawrance and I restranded the smallest of the pearls into a bracelet. I was so afraid it might break (they holes were very tiny so we had to use really skinny string) and that 60 precious little pearls would spill everywhere.  But, it didn't.

And, my shoes . . . cuz I wanted to go barefoot but that didn't please the groom . . . I compromised and wore sandals that I found at walmart for next to nothing . . . and that Lawrance absolutely loved. :)  So, all was good there.
bridal feet with sandals

And the lace on the dress . . . that was probably my favorite part of the whole dress . . . the train was lace!!

lace train

Yay!!  all ready . . . now let's get this party started!!   Bring on the groom . . .

me, the bride

getting ready for the "big day"

After the quasi-rehearsal, we all grabbed a quick bite to eat and then started to get ready.

The hardest part of my entire wedding planning was finding someone to do my hair (and make-up).  No one seemed to be available because it was a holiday weekend and others never returned my calls.  At times it was a bit frustrating.  But, in the end, I finally knew why I had to wait until the week of the wedding to secure someone to do my hair (and make-up). 

She--the stylist--was at another salon.  We had to wait for her to change jobs and then for her new employer who had turned me down before to go through a list of brides and see if they had found a hair stylist yet.

Why??  Because this stylist needed to hear about God's kindness.  She needed to be encouraged in her faith.  She freaked out and got goose bumps as I told her our story of God's grace in our lives.  It meant a lot to her.

Did I enjoy the bumpy, emotional roller coaster ride of stylist after stylist rejecting me or accepting and then later declining?  No, not at all.  But, now looking back . . . I see God's hand in it.

This was one of the things were I was glad I was not "married" to any one idea.  Because she totally didn't do what I had picked out from online photos, and she didn't do exactly what she had practiced on the practice day.  But, it turned out to be something I liked, and that looked like "me" (my style) and still captured the feel of what I wanted (simple but elegant). [Oh, yeah, and I also wanted something that hid the fact that 85% of my hair was permed straight.] So, that's great!! 

So, without further ado, I give you the wedding hair:
wedding hair

And, just for comparison, here is the trial run from a few days before the wedding:trial run of wedding hair

Here are some other shots of us getting ready. 
 makeup makeup
Sarah getting her hair done

Not only was the stylist blessed on that day by our story . . . she made my getting ready simply fun.  She was relaxed, comfortable in her own skin and made me laugh--which as you know I love to do!!
let's do the hair

And, of course, what wedding day is complete without the official MOB nap?
the essential MOB prewedding nap :)

Side note: It took me a long time to finally voice why looking "beautiful" was important.  When I had a little meltdown over not yet finding someone to help with hair styling, Lawrance of course was like "What's the big deal.  You are beautiful no matter what. You could come down the aisle with nothing done to your hair and no make-up and you would still be the most beautiful bride in the world to me." He was very kind and encouraging. 

I knew he was right.  I knew beauty is all in the eye of the beholder and only skin deep.  I knew my mom was right--that I'd glow because of the day and day's events. 

But . . . I wanted to "feel" beautiful too.  I wanted to "feel" special.  Since I'd permed my hair straight, I felt like I had no idea how to make it "nice" or wear it more formal.  Curly hair is so much easier!!  And, I wear very little make up on a day to day basis.  I wanted a little something that looked natural and accentuated the positive.

At times I felt very vain for wanting to feel beautiful . . . but . . . this was a special day, so I wanted to feel and look special too. 

quasi-rehearsal on site

After we worshiped together, we piled in cars and headed north to Salado.  Then, we had a lunch time rehearsal with the family members who would be in the wedding.

We didn't do a full, formal rehearsal because (1) the day before we were at my grandmother's 85th birthday party, (2) the night before there was another wedding going on, (3) there were only a few people involved--it didn't seem necessary, and (4) the groom's family didn't come to the wedding.

Let's talk about that real quick. . . . Since the time from deciding to marry and the actual wedding was very short--three months--that made buying international tickets difficult.  Originally it was his father's idea that we go ahead and marry this summer instead of waiting another year, so since it was their idea this softened my guilt of not having them be apart of the day.  But really, this entire ceremony was a very Western/Christian thing to do . . . the ceremony we choose to do has little to no meaning to my new in-laws.  This does NOT mean it is not important to them nor does it take away the sadness that they were unable to attend, but it does lessen the sadness a little. 

Also, we are going to also celebrate our marriage in a very Taiwanese way in the spring (6 months after our American wedding) which will be MUCH more meaningful and important to them.  All involved felt ok with our decisions . . . and Lawrance didn't mind so (I made sure of that MANY times) . . . so this was what happened/is happening: we celebrate American style in America and Taiwanese style in Taiwan.

Lawrance was also comforted by the fact that neither of my grandfathers had their families present at their weddings . . . he felt like he was in great company. :D

(We also had another quasi-rehearsal a week earlier for some of the
"little people" who would be in the wedding.  We wanted them to know
what to do, but didn't want them to have to stick around for several
hours waiting for the wedding to start.)

Here are a few shots from our informal and VERY HOT rehearsal:


silly groom


morning of wedding

Our wedding was at 6:30 pm in another town about 45 minutes away from my parents' home. 

Since we didn't have a rehearsal the night before, we did a walk though around noon with the family members in the wedding and then met for a lite lunch.  Then the girls left to go get hair and make up done. 

But . . . before I get ahead of myself . . .let's talk about the morning of. 

Pre-Wedding Worship and Thanksgiving TimeLawrance decided to include a tradition from Taiwanese weddings into our wedding day in America.  In Taiwan the bride and groom give a gift of appreciation to their parents.  Since we were not going to do this at the wedding, he decided to invite my parents over to our neighbors' home (where he was staying; they are more than neighbors since we've worshiped together for over ten years). 

Lawrance desired not only to thank my parents for how they raised me and for allowing him to become a part of the family, but he also desired to start off the day focused and centered on Christ.  He wanted to calm his own nerves by worshiping the Lord, reading Scripture, and spending time in prayer.  He wanted to remember the whole purpose of this day was to glorify God.

Pre-Wedding Worship and Thanksgiving TimeWe met at the neighbors' home at about 9:30 for a great southern breakfast and then a time of worship and prayer.  During this time, Lawrance presented my parents with a gift of appreciation.  And, I also presented the neighbor couple a gift of appreciation. 

Lawrance led this very special time . . . which left all the girls in tears. :)

It was a WONDERFUL way to start off one the most special days in our lives! 

thoughts about our wedding

One of the things I fought during wedding planning was stress.  Meaning I made every effort possible to avoid it.  I totally wanted to enjoy the preparation and the day of as much as possible.  Of course there were a few intense moments--but let's just chock those up to little sleep and an uncooperative-for-the-moment computer. :)

In fact, for this self-confessed perfectionist, letting go of so much that I would have wanted "perfect" was both a struggle and a blessing.  My mom was great in her constant encouragement of "no second guessing" and "no, you are not allowed to rethink that."

Some other things that helped the stress factor was that we planned everything in practically one month.  The first month we were engaged I was still in Taiwan . . . I started to look at things online (mostly images of real weddings on flickr and a few blogs about real weddings).  And we did decide place and date that first month, but that was about all.  Oh, yeah, and I choose the gerber daises--the oh so important gerber daisies which set the mood for everything else I decided! :)

The third month, Lawrance was in America, and I wanted to spend lots of time with him, showing him Texas and introducing him to family.  So, of that third month, only the last week was "wedding week."  We did do a few other "wedding" stuff his first day in the States--got the marriage license, fitted the boys for tuxes, and picked out our rings.  But that was it for the next few weeks.

It was that second month back home that mom and I did most of the planning.  So, I count this as a good thing and not as a stressful thing because I couldn't have it in whatever elusive "perfect way" I could envision.  I loved that my choices--due to time and money--were limited.  Instead of how in the world could I make this as beautiful as possible, I was limited to "here is choice one, two, and three; which one do you like best?"  "Two please, but can we do it in pink instead?"  "Yes."  Ahh . . . so nice.

I also didn't have time "to be married to any idea."  There were several times we "cut" stuff simply because to do it in the time we had it would have been stressful . . . and no one but us even knew it was cut.

I wanted our wedding to be simple, joyful, and God-centered.  I wanted it to be uniquely us, but still have traditional elements.  I wanted it to be worshipful and reverent but at the same time a fun celebration.  I know it's a dichotomous combination, but somehow it totally worked and came together beautifully if I do say so myself! :)

And, Lawrance was totally flexible about so much and OH SO VERY supportive.  For example . . . one night as I was picking out songs to use for the wedding, he sat across from me folding tissue pompoms (which he is now an official expert at making).  I, of course, asked him his opinion, he gave it, and then I totally didn't go with his opinion.  I, of course, asked him though "is that ok that we go with the one I want instead?"  To which he very kindly replied, "I know what my job is.  My job is to fold pompoms, be here for you and support any decision you make.  So, yes, that song is great.  Good choice, honey."  And he meant every word; he wasn't being sarcastic. 

day of events and pictures in up coming posts . . . :)

it's YOUR day

"It's YOUR wedding: you can do whatever you want."
"This is YOUR day; you should have everything just the way you want."

I grew to hate phrases like these.  I did not own my wedding day.  It was not all about me.  

In American culture, there is WAY too much emphasis on the bride on the wedding day.  America has truly grown to be a very ME focused place.

A wedding is not supposed to be all about a girl's dreams coming true.  It is about God bringing a man and woman together and creating a new family.  It is a day to celebrate, honor, and glorify what God is doing. 

Even when choosing our "Entrance of the Bride" song . . . I choose a song that was not triumphant or

a shower

A few months ago . . the weekend before Lawrance came to America, there was a "Smith Family Bridal Shower" where all of my aunts and most of my cousins came to shower me with blessings.  It was the first time in two years that I had seen most of them!! 

My mom and sister did all the decorating . . . and they did a great job.  It was so colorful and fun . . . because, well, they used gerber daisies. 

See how cute? And yes they made those really cute daisy cookies!!
Beautiful Shower Layout Beautiful Shower Layout

We ate at a local Chinese food place that does the round table, everyone share thing.
Bridal Shower with Smith Ladies

Mom made me wear a silly veil for awhile while we played some shower games:
Silly Veil Mom Made

And, the girls blessed me with some cute stuff for our master bathroom, things to use in the kitchen, a great cozy blanket for two, and some beautiful lingerie too.
Bridal Shower with Smith Ladies Opening Gifts

One last photo . . . of me with mom, Sarah, and Grandmother.  I am blessed.  Oh, so blessed!! :)
Bridal Shower with Smith Ladies

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