Wedding Wednesday: Our Alaska Civil Ceremony – Part 2

So, I’m married (thinking that you may have heard that by now – it was a pretty emotional ride!). And, since we only had three days to plan the whole thing, obviously our pre-chosen wedding party were not going to able to be there. So! Ever flexible (and really must be when you’ve only got three days to get hitched), we looked around us and selected a wedding party from the people (literally) standing there – mostly my family.

And luckily, most of them had already been slated to appear in our May wedding! So, I was able to use some of the same people for the same jobs (the Mother-of-the-Bride escort, the Bride’s escort, the flower girl, and the officiant were all the same). Two of my May wedding junior bridesmaids were upgraded to bridesmaid status (they were thrilled!) and one of nieces got pulled into doing the Maid of Honor duties. On The Boy’s end, my brother-in-law stepped in as Best Man and (about ten minutes before the ceremony!) he grabbed one of his friends to stand up as a Groomsman.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

Acquiring the ring bearer was another story! I wasn’t planning on having one but my great-niece (the flower girl) was insistent! She’s been a flower girl before and informed me that he “had to have a Ring Boy”. No matter how many times (and different ways) I tried to explain to her that we weren’t going to have a ring bearer and her Grandpa was going to hold the rings – she still calmly insisted on “a Ring Boy”. Finally, I called an old childhood friend and asked to borrow her son (who knows me) for the ceremony. She laughed and he agreed and was wonderful.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

My little sister and my niece were ecstatic were to be asked to be junior bridesmaids in the May wedding and really excited about being upgraded to bridesmaids for this ceremony. I told them to wear whatever they loved most from their closet. Then my sister insisted upon buying them (and her granddaughter, the flower girl) all matching dresses. They were lovely and super helpful in the hours leading up to the ceremony – they helped clean and cook and do some crafty projects. Very exciting stuff when you’re a tween.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

In sweeter news, I asked my teenage niece to be Maid of Honor (she was so delighted that she immediately called her mom to tell her and bought a new dress!). This was especially wonderful because she is planning on joining the National Guard and would have been in basic training or tech school during our May wedding (and therefore, would have been unable to attend). She was an amazing MOH, she was calm and helpful. She helped me into my dress and shoes. She did my hair (and the little girls’ hair, too!) and helped do a bunch of little DIYs the night before the ceremony.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

From the very beginning of our engagement, The Boy and I wanted my dad (the man who introduced us) to officiate our wedding ceremony. So when all this went down (and my daddy’s main concern was not being alive for our wedding) – we moved the schedule up and were able to have him marry us. It was one of the sweetest, most emotional, most amazing experiences ever (you can read our entire ceremony here).

Of course, since my dad was marrying us – everyone wanted to know who was going to walk me down the aisle. I hated the idea of being “given away” (how old-fashioned) but I loved the idea of having someone to walk with (since I’m pretty damn shy and hate having people look at me). So I asked my little brother to walk with me as my escort. He loved the idea (he’s quite the hamm-o) and was happy to do it at our Alaska ceremony (and will again at our May wedding). Also, I’m thinking of renting him out since he was so calm and acted really grown-up (and kept telling me how pretty I looked and that he loved me)!

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

At first, the Boy wasn’t going to have anyone stand up with him but, after we chatted a bit, I was able to get him to understand how much people love being asked to be in a wedding. Most everyone is hugely flattered to be asked so there was no reason for him not to ask anyone. My brother-in-law (and the Maid of Honor’s dad) was reeled in as the Best Man. And minutes before the ceremony (no, seriously – minutes before) The Boy snagged one of this old friends that he used to work with when he was stationed in Alaska to be a Groomsman.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

We ended up not getting a chance to rehearse (that’s a post for another day…) but everyone did really well. Even the two littlest ones managed to stand quietly during the entire 20-ish minute ceremony (part of this may be due to them being Mormon. Mormon kids are taught to “be reverent” at a really young age and seem to be able to be quiet and attentive for long periods of time [this is purely hypothetical – I have no idea why they were able to make it but they did and this is my guess]). Everyone else muddled along pretty well after getting a quick rundown of the ceremony (and processional) right before the ceremony.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

The coolest thing was that teenage Maid of Honor was even legally able to witness the marriage license! In the State of Alaska, so long as witnesses are of sound mind and able to understand what being married means – they can sign. It’s so cool that she was able to do that and I love that I have her signature on our license.

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

And last but not least, I can’t forget the Mother-of-the-Bride’s escort. My youngest brother is terribly shy. Like super shy. But he still wanted to be in the wedding so I racked my brain trying to figure out how to include him and scored when I remembered that it would be odd for my dad to walk my mom down the aisle and then ditch her to officiate (Funny… but odd.). So escort it was and he really liked that job. He liked being important enough to start the ceremony (heading up the processional) but enjoyed having his part small enough to hang in the crowd with our mom during the bulk of the ceremony.

So that’s our Alaskan civil ceremony wedding party. Have y’all planned your wedding parties yet? Any unusual wedding party assignments? Any thoughts about extra or non-traditional wedding party jobs? Let’s talk about them in the comments!

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