Jonathon and I met online in 2015. He had just moved from Colorado to Richland, Washington and he stole all my attention from then on. About a year after we started dating, he moved to Yakima, where I was born and raised; and we bought a house. He commutes to Hanford and I am the general manager of the Marriott here in town.

Almost all of my family lives in Yakima, so it seemed that Yakima was the best place to get married and the Arboretum in the fall was a picturesque setting for the wedding we, (Well, I) had dreamed of. I couldn’t have made it happen without a lot of help from my sister/Maid of Honor Haley.

We knew we wanted our wedding to be a big party that everyone would enjoy, so we arranged for a giant white tent from Bear Event Services. Since it was a fall wedding — on October 19, 2019, we knew the weather might be chilly, so we stocked the tent with heaters so we could dance the night away in comfort.

We kept most traditional wedding things but replaced a few others. My side of the bridal party, including the flower girls and ring bearers, was all family. Jonathon’s side was friends and family. My Uncle Rick was our officiant and I couldn’t have asked for a more loving and warm ceremony, with love coming at us from every direction.

When we got up that morning it was pouring rain. My grandma used to tell me that’s good luck, but looking at my 20-pound wedding dress, which would be dragging on the muddy ground, the rain didn’t seem lucky at all.

By the time we were ready to head to the Arboretum, we walked outside to meet our driver, Wendy, on the Little Hopper party bus. When she showed up, the rain magically stopped. She helped the bridesmaids put their things in the back and had water and snacks ready. She blasted the sound system for us and smiled as we sang along, relatively on key.

Once we arrived and piled out of the bus time seemed to be flying by. Our “first look” was everything we hoped it would be. Then we posed for intimate shots, which the photographers and videographer made easy and carefree. Then came group shots, family shots — and suddenly it was time.

The sun appeared from behind the clouds that had been covering it all day. I started to hear the piano version of the “Jurassic Park” theme song and the ceremony began. Walking down the aisle, all I could see was my future husband. It was such a beautiful moment. We said our own vows and exchanged rings as well as giving that kiss that seals it all.

Then it was time to party! Jonathon is a rocker so we of course were introduced as a couple for the first time to the sounds of “Crazy Train” and the rest of the night went flawlessly. We danced, cut the cake and ate wedding favors. We created those ourselves, with “his and her” favorites, Goldfish crackers and Teddy Grahams.

We tossed the garter and then, instead of tossing the bouquet — we gave it to the couple that had been married the longest. My Uncle Don and Aunt Colette have been married for 37 years. They told us the key to a long-lasting marriage is patience and lots of love. No better words to live by.

Towards the end of the night, we stepped away from the tent and looked back at everyone who was there to celebrate us and our marriage. It was a very amazing feeling to know and see in front of us how much support we have surrounding us.

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