So you’re a newlywed, huh?

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.49 AMI was chatting with a friend recently about someone she knows who’s getting married. We covered some of the details most people love knowing about when it comes to weddings: location, the couple, the excitement of the families. It’s great when two people love each other, and side note, if you’re a girl wondering if a guy might be interested in you, check out another post of mine: 10 Signs He’s Into You.

My friend mentioned that the two people getting married aren’t Christians and neither go to church, which is why their wedding is taking place somewhere other than a church and not officiated by a pastor. We sort of left it as hoping for the best for the couple and that their marriage will last. I enjoyed the conversation but always wonder why I come up with my best comments well after any particular topic is over.

In this case, I didn’t have much to say in the moment about the folks getting married not being Christians. But if I could do it over, I’d say something about all of us, no matter where we are now, started somewhere. We all have a story and sometimes a relationship with God starts at a young age, sometimes not. Sometimes it never starts at all. My hope for these soon-to-be newlyweds is that in the process of getting married, and being married, that God reveals Himself to them. After all, marriage is spoken about a lot in the Bible and I believe God holds it in very high regard.

Another hope: just don’t screw it up! I say that playfully, yet reflecting on how mankind has pretty much screwed up everything at some point or another. God has given us so many good things, marriage included, and we’ve managed to pervert all of it. And that goes for Christ-followers, too. Here’s the thing about that, by the way. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. People who call themselves Christians aren’t any better than anyone else. Like it says in the Old Testament, “We all like sheep have gone astray.” We’re all looking for an answer. We’re all seeking peace, happiness, and something to worship.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.23.01 AMSo I still definitely hope for the best for my friend’s friends who are getting married. I hope it’ll last, that they positively wreck the statistics of divorce. And especially, I hope somehow they’re willing and able to understand a little more about God through their marriage. And if/when they have kids, they get another glimpse into the character of God, as it’s revealed through a parent’s love for their children.

Maybe you can’t exactly relate to getting married, being a newlywed or even becoming a parent. Hey, I certainly can’t! But we can all relate to one key take-away:

Whatever you’re doing, just don’t screw it up. 🙂
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.36 AM-Out of the Wilderness

PS. All of these stunning photos were taken by amazing photographer Joe Hendricks. More incredible wedding photos can be seen on his website, along with breathtaking landscape photos (available for purchase)! Click here, you won’t be sorry!

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Wedding Reception Playlist Music

Stuck not knowing which songs to play at your wedding reception? If you don’t have a DJ or just want to give the DJ a list of songs to work with, look no further. I compiled these from a few other lists, as well as suggestions of my own. This list is strictly fast/dance songs. I may also compile a list of slower music in the future. If you have other song ideas, feel free to comment below! I’ve made a note of songs that have suggestive lyrics, they are in bold.

RAP/R&B:
I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
Low (Apple Bottom Jeans) – Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
In The Ayer – Flo Rida Feat. Will.I.Am
Big Poppa – Notorious BIG
Hypnotize – Notorious BIG
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
Jump On It! – Sir Mix-A-Lot
Dynamite – Taio Cruz
Tootsie Roll – 69 Boyz
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
Teach Me How To Dougie – California Swag District
This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
Yeah! – Usher Feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
Hot In Here – Nelly
U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
Bust A Move – Young MC
Timber – Pitbull ft. Kesha
Hey Ya! – Outkast
Wiggle – Jason Derulo
Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake ft. Timbaland
My Love – Justin Timberlake ft. T.I.

OLDIES/ROCK FAVORITES:
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Love Shack – The B-52′s
Brick House – Commodores
Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
I Love Rock And Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Play That Funky Music (White Boy) – Wild Cherry
Some Kind Of Wonderful – Grand Funk Railroad
1999 – Prince
Mony Mony – Billy Idol

DANCE:
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & Goon Rock
Just Dance – Lady Gaga Feat. Colby O’Donis
Jump Around – House Of Pain
Thriller – Michael Jackson
One More Time – Daft Punk
Twist And Shout – The Beatles
The Twist – Chubby Checker
Y.M.C.A. – The Village People
The Train (Come On And Ride It) – Quad City DJ’s
Macarena – Los Del Rio
Cupid Shuffle – Cupid
Cha Cha Slide – DJ Casper

SING ALONG SONGS:
Sweet Caroline – Niel Diamond
Celebration – Kool & The Gang
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
Shout – The Isley Brothers
Come on Eileen – dexy’s midnight runners

NEW-ISH SONGS:
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
GDFR – Flo Rida
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Happy – Pharrell Williams
All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
This is How We Roll – Florida Georgia Line
Cruise – Florida Georgia Line
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
Turn Down for What – DJ Snake
Cowboy – Kid Rock

COUNTRY NON-LINE DANCE:
Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy) – Big & Rich
(if you’d like more country, let me know!)

A Love Story: Part Five

Before reading, feel free to get caught up here: A Love Story Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes this is all made up so please don’t congratulate me but do feel free to send me a Home Depot gift card as a wedding gift.

***

With the vows completed, I knew the moment was upon us. It’s funny, this part of the ceremony had me more nervous than the whole “till death separates us” part. It’s my father, anyway, that thought a fear of commitment was my problem. Turns out, he was partly right. I was afraid of committing myself to someone who was good. But now I’ve found great and with the smooth voice of Vince Gill, the guitar skills of John Mayer, and the certain come hither look of Johnny Depp, I began to sing. Acoustic-Guitar-1OK, that’s not completely true. My come hither look was more like Joey from Friends. But what was lost in talent was made up for in this being a surprise. That’s right. None but myself and a select few knew I was going to perform during the ceremony. Not even my soon-to-be wife knew. But hey, I love surprises. The idea came to me years earlier when a song grabbed me and didn’t let me go till I did something with it. The song was “All I Want Is You” and what I was doing with it was learning it on a borrowed guitar. No one in their right mind expected this from me because 1. I don’t play guitar, 2. I don’t sing, and 3. if I did either, it wouldn’t be front of an audience. But just after she finished her vows and the pastor prayed, I smiled and went to get the guitar. Forgetting that I was nervous, I looked towards the audience and shrugged my shoulders as if to say, “Here goes nothing.” Light chuckles from around the darkened room.

I tread my way through, rough but definitely sounding kind of, sort of, if you tilt your head a little, like the U2 song. After all, it’s not my talent or my desire to “make it big” driving me, it’s my heart. And to know this surprise might make her smile, that’s enough for me to say yes to doing something that terrified me. That smile, that smile is worth more than my comfort. I could barely look at her while I sang because I might forget the words, laugh, cry, or all three at the same time. But as I strummed the last note our eyes connected. That’s a moment I won’t soon forget. She looked so proud and happy. After setting the guitar back down, I joined her on stage, clasping her hands in mine. Meanwhile my brother made his way to the mic at the end of the stage. He read, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” That’s a couple of verses from Psalm 145. Then her sister, a bridesmaid, approached the mic to sing her favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”

At the time most couples would light a unity candle or pour colored sand into a jar, we opted to do both. We lit sand on fire and poured it in a jar. No, but that would’ve been cool, right? We brought bricks to each set of parents and had them signed. We told them that just like the 2 bricks will forever be part of our home one day, they will  be, too. That was her idea and I loved it since day one. She was full of good ideas. I learned that as early as our first date.

Check back soon for A Love Story: Part Six, which will reveal more about our first date.

-Out of the Wilderness

Wedding Highlights – “So Are You To Me” Peter Bradley Adams

The first time I heard this song by Peter Bradley Adams I knew I had to make a wedding highlight video to go along with it. The idea’s been simmering in my mind for over a year. I recently shot a wedding and knew it would be the perfect one to use. I’m also working on another one featuring this same couple with the song “White Dress” by Ben Rector, so if you come back to this site in a few weeks, you should check that one out, too. If you have a second, let me know what you think about this one in the comments below. Thanks for watching!

The Bachelorette Ashley, Episode 7: Ryan P. Talks About Water Heaters

After a July 4th holiday break, The Bachelorette show comes back with fireworks of it’s own. From a date that ended with the guy sent home to a surprise rose recipient, episode 7 offered a dose of romance, a splash of humor and a few heart-breaking moments with past contestant Emily Maynard.

Let’s start with the good stuff.

that's me with a mustache

Ok, now on to the drama. Ryan P. is the last remaining contestant who has never got a one-on-one date and he’s determined to get one this week. There are three single dates so he’s got a chance but the first date went to Constantine. They take a train ride. This’ll probably be recorded as the shortest date in Bachelorette history because if you blinked, the next guy you saw was Ben F. Ben’s date began with a scooter ride up a mountainside. Major points to Ben for his Dumb & Dumber reference. Did you catch it? Was it:

A. telling the story of a guy he once met named Sea Bass
B. talking about Samsonite luggage
C. singing, “Goodbye my loooooooooove!” then bumping into the car ahead of him
D. a reference to Harry and Lloyd riding the mo-ped together

I’ll give a rose to whoever gets the right answer. So Ashley’s date with Ben F. went on and on… and on… and on…. until night turned into day. Where I come from we call that a sleepover. This made the guys jealous, especially J.P. He pouted, didn’t talk to the guys and the little vein in his head popped out. His low spirits made the group date almost unbearable for the two other guys there, Ames and Lucas. Doesn’t it suck when you’re on a date with a girl and one of the other guys on the date has a bad attitude? Man, that’s never fun. But anyway, J.P. got the group date rose. I guess it’s true what they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Anyway, the last one-on-one date went to the joyous Ryan P.

Ryan: “Have I talked to you about water heaters?”

Not really. I got my pen and paper out, but son of a gun, right when he was gonna give advice on saving hot water and some money, they cut to an Ashley voice-over. Turns out water heaters aren’t the way to a woman’s heart, so Ashley sends Ryan home without a rose. My guess is that’s not the last we’ll see of Ryan P. Here’s a picture of my cousin Will getting married.

that's him standing by the bride

The last 20 minutes was dedicated to confirming what we knew two months ago. Brad and Emily are over. Minus five points for Emily’s reference to the catchphrase of the year, “dot, dot, dot…” Why must we somehow include Bentley in every episode? Although, “dot, dot, dot…” is a pretty fun thing to include in, what?
A. conversations

Yep, that’s the right answer. Ryan and Lucas were sent home without a rose. Roses went to J.P., Constantine, Ben F., and Ames. And my eBay package from China arrived torn and with nothing in it. Thanks a lot Postal Service.

"WE CARE"

A Love Story: Part Four

As I slid the folded paper back into my pocket, the pastor asked for her vows. Her sister, standing nearby reached out with the handwritten vows, passed them to her, and she read.

I can’t remember the first time I saw you. Some people have a clear memory of the first time they met the one they love, but not me. I’d like to think it’s because in some way, somehow, you were with me all along. In second grade when my mom dressed me up like a bride. Junior high, when boys were scared to ask me to dance, did they know I was destined for a better guy than they were going to be, so they didn’t even try? The moments I had in high school with my dad consistently proving to me what a man is, and who a man is. Teaching me to be patient. Teaching me to respect and to fight for love. All of it was for you and without my dad’s wisdom, I may not have recognized you. But I know you. You are a good man. I can see where God is shaping you not to be just any husband, but my husband. And that’s why I am so confident in our relationship. God will be our foundation, our rock, our shelter, and our source of strength no matter what good things, bad things, sad things, great things, memorable or forgettable things we encounter from here on. And second to the Lord, I will count on you to be my strength. To be my shield. You’ve proven to me your love, and don’t need to prove it anymore because I’ll see your love every day in the way you live. When you love my family, you love me. When you love children, you love me. When you choose me over yourself, that’s when I’ll know love. The proof of our love is this day. These rings. The ceremony and the vows we’re taking in front of God. In front of my family, yours, and our friends, I give you my undying faith, my love, and my life. You have the best of me and it needs to be proclaimed, I am yours. From the moment I walked in here, no, from the moment I was born, I was made for you. I just wish you would’ve found me sooner, because then I could have loved you longer. But for the rest of our life together, I look forward to loving you well.

Check back later for Part Five.

A Love Story: Part Three

A Love Story: Part Two

A Love Story: Part One