Saturday, January 29, 2011

And We're Off

Taken on my 2005 trip to New Zealand.

We're heading out on our 13 1/2 hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand for our 3 week plus and long awaited honeymoon.  Wish us luck on our adventures along the way and if we can, we'll post updates when we can to this blog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Tables

Our tables were beautifully decorated by our wonderful wedding planner, Beth, of Amy Byrd Weddings, and her assistants with our home made menu cards, chocolate bar favors, green button mum blossoms, and little ivory votive candles.

We had originally thought about using the Incident Command System, better know as ICS, to name our tables, but we ended up going with the names of some of the places we will be visiting on our honeymoon to New Zealand.  Which, by the way, will begin in just 3 days!!!!!

The menu cards that we made were actually different for each table.  On the backs of the menu, we wrote a description of the place and what we planned to do there.  If you put together one menu from each of the eight tables, you would pretty much have a description of our entire trip.

So just in case you weren't able to grab a look at each one, here is what you would have found by putting together the puzzle in the correct order.

Pronounced ao tea’ roa

Aotearoa is the most widely known and accepted Māori name for New Zealand. It is usually translated as “the land of the long white cloud”. The name is attributed to Kuramarotini, the wife of one of the first great navigators to arrive in New Zealand. Upon seeing the new land she cried out “He ao, he ao tea, he ao tea roa!” (A cloud, a white cloud, a long white cloud!)
Zeke and Adina will be headed to Aotearoa for their honeymoon on January 29th, 2011.  It’s summer time in the southern hemisphere then and they’ll be traveling almost the length of the long white cloud over the following 3 weeks.


Auckland is the largest and most populous city in New Zealand. It’s located on the north island and has been ranked as one of the worlds top most liveable cities. Auckland straddles the Auckland Volcanic Field, which includes over 56 extinct volcanoes. There are still at least 14 large lava tube caves that run from the volcanoes down towards the sea. 
Zeke and Adina will arrive in Auckland in January 31st and will be staying on Queen Street in the same backpacking hostel that Adina stayed at in 2005. It’s just a short 5 minute walk dow to the ferry terminal, where they plan to take a couple of ferry rides to Devonport, Rangitoto Island, and Waiheke Island. They plan to stay in Auckland for about 4 days.


Rangitoto Island is the youngest and largest volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf. It’s just a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. It is linked by a causeway to a much older island called Motutapu. Except for one primitive campsite there are no dwellings or residences on the island.
Zeke and Adina will take the ferry to Rangitoto Island sometime during their stay in Auckland between January 31st and February 3rd. They plan take the short hike up to the summit and around the rim of the crater.  They will also explore the lava caves and beaches. 


Waiheke Island is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. It’s about a 35 minutes ferry ride from the city of Auckland on the north island. Waiheke Island is famous for it’s scenic beaches and arts community.  
Zeke and Adina will take the ferry to Waiheke Island sometime during their stay in Auckland between January 31st and February 3rd. They plan on spending time on some of Waiheke’s many beautiful beaches.  They will also very much enjoy the ferry ride through the gulf islands and will probably rent bicycles to travel around the island for the day.


The word Waitomo comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole or shaft). The Waitomo Caves are a system of over 300 caves that dot the countryside. There are three main caves; the Glow Worm Cave, Ruakuri, and Aranui.
Zeke and Adina will be taking the Black Abyss Tour in the Waitomo Caves on February 5th. They will abseil into the Ruakuri cave and spend 5 hours underground climbing, squeezing through rocks, tubing down rivers, and doing something called a flying fox. But they haven’t figured out what that means yet!


Turangi sits at the southern edge of Lake Taupo on the Tongariro River. It is the main gateway to Tongariro National Park in the central part of the north island of New Zealand.
Zeke and Adina will be arriving in Turangi on February 6th and will stay just two nights.  They plan to use Turangi as a jumping off point for completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a full one day trek across some incredibly scenic volcanic geography. They will also probably spend some time exploring around Lake Taupo, which actually sit’s on the caldera of a volcano which was formed after a collapse during an eruption about 26,500 years ago.


Tongariro National Park is the oldest national park in New Zealand. It’s located in the center of the North Island and is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The park was the fourth National Park established in the world. There are three active volcanic mountains in the center of the park, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. 
Zeke and Adina are planning to complete the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on February 7th within the National Park. It’s a full day’s trek past active craters, steam vents, and jewel colored lakes. 

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is located at the north end of the south island of New Zealand. The park blankets the northern end of a range of marble and limestone hills and it’s interior is honeycombed with caves and potholes. However, the real reason to visit are it’s beaches, golden sands and gleaming azure water.
Zeke and Adina will be exploring the park for over 5 days starting on February 10th. They plan to take a water taxi from Marahau each day to spend time in a different area of the coast each day.  They plan to take up lots of sunshine and enjoy swimming and kayaking on the coast.


Hokitika is a small town on the wild west coast of the south island of New Zealand. The town was originally based around gold mining but now is well known for green stone carvings. 
Zeke and Adina are planning to stop for the night in Hokitika along their drive from Abel Tasman National Park to Fiordland. They picked the small town as a spot to stop because of the beautiful and dramatic pictures of the forested mountains towering over the black sand beaches.


Fiordland National Park covers the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand. It’s the largest National Park in the country and includes the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. During the cooler past, glaciers carved many deep fiords, the most famous of which is Milford Sound. The region is one of the most rugged parts of the country with jagged mountains, dense forests, and deeply recessed fiords.
Zeke and Adina are planning to launch their exploration of Fiordland from the city of Te Anau. They would like to walk parts of the Milford Track and take a boating cruise through the deepest of the fiords, Doubtful Sound. They will arrive in Te Anau on February 16th and will stay in the area for about 4 days.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Favors

For our favors, my mom and step-dad made us custom wrapped "Bees Knees" chocolate bars from their Life by Chocolate business that they own and operate. The print that you see on the side of the bars is our wedding quilt, which my mom also made for us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Driftwood Sign Holders

We knew we would need some sign holders for our table names, a guest book sign, and for our photo booth, so we made a special trip out to the coast of Washington State to gather some driftwood.

Zeke hand sawed 3/4" lines down most the tops of each of the pieces of driftwood (some eventually required a mechanical saw) and we printed all our signs on card stock to make sure they sturdy enough to stay upright.

So now we're left with all these beautiful driftwood sign holders with no idea what to do with them.  Any suggestions out there?  I would hate to just get rid of all of them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Table Assignments

We decided to do table assignments for our dinner in order to give our guests some direction on where to sit, but also to give them the flexibility of choosing their own seats.

We imagined lots of little ideas for how we could do the table assignments and ended up painted a large cork board with a dark brown paint and using tiny sewing pins to pin little cards with the guests names and table assignment. Due to some unfortunate events, some guests had to cancel at the last minute, so I had to rewrite one of the cards myself, but it all turned out quite well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Ceremony

Our ceremony site was the backyard of the house we rented. On clear days you can see the whole Carmel area, but for our ceremony a wall of clouds seemed to have perfectly formed just in front of the site.  The clouds actually blew in and around the ceremony and gave it sort of neat affect, so I guess we were okay with it. We framed our little site with some pampas grass in tree stumps, that our wonderful florist provided for us.

We walked down the hillside to "All You Need Is Love" from the Across the Universe Movie Soundtrack.

This is one of our favorite pictures that Claire captured.

You can see the some of the poofs of clouds well in this picture.

Zeke's cousin Geoff officiated the ceremony for us and did such a wonderful and heartfelt job.

We included a hand fasting or binding ritual in our ceremony to demonstrate that not only the two of us were being bound together, but so were our communities.  My two step-sisters brought the cord tied that was covered with ribbons tied by our closest friends and families.

And there it is!  The kiss!

And here's the dip with the petals.

And here's the rest of the petals. Zeke's uncle took an informal, but great, video of the ceremony and you could see people picking petals off each other after the toss.  It was pretty fun to watch.

Our kiss was supposed to be during the song "Photograph" by Weezer, but that didn't end up happening.  It took a couple seconds but then the music started and we all laughed about it!

Rather than walking out of our ceremony we just chose to celebrate with our friends and family.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Our Petal Toss Cones

We wanted to give something to all of our guests to be a little part of the ceremony, so we settled on a petal toss during our kiss (pictures of that later!).

We took the same Brown Bag Paper that we used for our invitations, folded the sheet in half, cut a half circle, and then cut down the middle of the fold.  We rolled these into a cone shape and sealed it with stickers from Paper Source. We then made two hole punches at the highest point of the cone and threaded a navy blue silk ribbon through the holes and tied a good square knot.

The cones were filled with freeze dried Peony Petals and hung on the back on the chairs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guests Arriving

These were such fun shots to see after the wedding.  We had planned to be out there mingling with our guests but it just didn't work out in the end.  I know I needed a bit of a breather after the whirlwind of photos we did. I am sad thought that I missed out on the mugs of lemonade and iced tea and the goat cheese stuffed apricots being served. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Special Flowers

As a surprise for our parents and grandmothers we had these corsages and bouts custom made by Midori Designs.

I contacted her about creating a custom flower for us, a blue cornflower specifically, as we had planned to have those in my bouquet and Zeke's bout. (It didn't end up working out because of weather issues.) But these turned out so beautifully.  She went through several different flowers and models until we found the perfect combination.  The best part about these is that they will last forever because their made of a super light clay.

I would highly really super-ly even recommend Midori Designs for the flowers for your wedding or any kind of event.  Oh and her hair flowers...amazing...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our Programs

Just like our invitations, we made the programs ourselves using Pages software and the beautiful tree that Amy created for us.

The inside had all of our wedding party and immediate family listed and the outline of our ceremony. The back had the names of our grandparents who couldn't be with us on the day and it also contained a couple of excerpts from my great-grandmother and grandfather's wedding book.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Burlap Table Ties

These were just a simple craft that really gave a good touch to the look of our wedding. They were just simple 3 inch wide and 2 feet long strips of burlap.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Big Group Picture

One of our favorite things that we asked for with our pictures was a big group shot of everyone at the wedding and they really turned out wonderful.

We have this photo blown up a little bit on our hallway wall and it's so nice to walk by and see another face in that group each time. It really is a great memory to have.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our Photos

Well, after a bit of a holiday season hiatus, I'm back to work posting the wonderful photos from our wedding.  This is the last set of posed shots that we took before the actual ceremony and it's so hard to narrow down the bests ones.

One of my favorite things about this set of photos is how different each of the locations are.  It's almost hard to imagine that they were all taken just minutes apart.

This was the start of our first look.  I loved the location we chose to do it at because of these pictures! I'm walking down the driveway of the house we rented and Zeke is standing just up the street, we literally were on a mountain top.  So beautiful, I hope some day we are fortunate enough to go back.

This was my favorite part of my dress and really the only thing I wanted in "my wedding dress."

At Carmel River Beach the sand was made of very large grains and was so so so cold!

This one is in my top two for sure.  It's on my computer screen at work.  The colors are just amazing!

This spot was an amazing find!  It seems so far away from the beach in this picture and looks so dreamy!

More dreamyness was found with this tree.

And here you go.  This is our absolute favorite photo that Claire captured.  Simply amazing.  Someday I want to blow it up real big and have it custom framed.  Oh someday...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Slow Cooker Sundays: Baby Back Pork Ribs

We bought some ribs during the week and had planned to make them on the grill this weekend, until we found out that a burn ban was in effect. So I did some quick research on the internet and put together a recipe to make them in our slow cooker.

They turned out quite good and reminded me a bit of the pre-cooked ribs that you can make in the oven, I think the brand is called Lloyds, very tender and very flavorful. We also unfortunately ate them all before we got a chance to take a picture...

2 tbsp olive oil
1 half rack of baby back pork ribs
1 bottle Bards Gluten Free Beer
1 1/2 bottles of Organicville Original BBQ Sauce
Additional BBQ sauce for dipping

Pour the beer and BBQ sauce into the slow cooker and whisk together.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet on the stove top at medium.
Cut the rack of ribs in half.
Quickly brown the ribs in the skillet and then place in the slow cooker.
Flip the ribs around, coating both sides with the beer and sauce mixture.
Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.
Continue to cook on low for another 3 hours.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from Seattle!

Happy New Year from Seattle!

We went down to Gas Works Park in the Wallingford neighborhood to watch as they shot fireworks off of the Space Needle at midnight.  Very neat experience! Seattle sure knows how to put on a fireworks display...