A Perfect Wedding Weekend <3

AHHH! I am SO SO SO excited to share this momentous weekend, I cannot even contain it. But I will say.. it was one of those weekends that was just soo good, I’m afraid I won’t do it justice! I have an obnoxious number of pictures to share, so I’ll try to keep the typing to a minimum.

Also, I accidentally published the first post after only uploading a few photos- super sorry if you get an additional e-mail!

SOooooOOoo…

Let’s get started shall we?!

Clair is one of my best friends since sixth grade of middle school. We were inseparable, and still talk on a nearly daily basis even from across the country. This wedding was a celebration beyond compare.

With Clair’s permission, I want to share a little background with you all. Growing up, Clair has always been the life of the party, the “live in the moment”, nurturing, compassionate, beautiful, fun loving, happy-go-lucky, and all around amazing friend. However, she definitely has the give-everyone-the-benefit-of-the-doubt type characteristic, which lended to some not exactly great relationships.

Then a couple years ago, a tragic, life-altering event happened that would shake all our worlds. Clair’s little sister, her beautiful, perfect 16-year-old sister passed away in a horrible accident. Even typing this, tears come to my eyes. Gosh, I miss her, and it is still incredibly hard to believe this is still the reality we live in. But around that time, Clair met Robby- truly one of the most incredible men I have ever met and definitely the most perfect man for Clair. We always say that Kat pulled some strings in Heaven to make this happen. So, although this wedding day was super bitter-sweet without her little sis, seeing where Clair is now and who Clair is with brings us all more joy than I can possibly describe. I would desire nothing less for my best friend, my sister. I love you, Clair & Robby. ❤ ❤

The weekend began at SamWanna Salon in Akron, OH where the sweet bride treated us all to manis and pedis. Come on now, how stinking sweet is that?!

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You guys know this girl never gets her nails did being a nurse and all that. What a treat!

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In the evening, we got all dressed up and headed to the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. It was such a wonderful time.

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Me with Momma Babak, mother of the bride (but also my second mom growing up). ❤

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The beautiful bride ❤

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After the rehearsal dinner, I stayed with Clair and the maid of honor (Clair’s sister, Elane) at the Residence Inn Marriott in Akron. It was a stinking blast to say the least (girl’s night!).

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Annnnd cue the multiple snap chat photos!!

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At 6:30 in the morning (3:30 am my time in San Francisco) I woke up to squeeze in a quick run. Can you tell I’m ecstatic to be up so early? Lol.

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It was worrrth it, the line up from the hotel for breakfast was fab. So many delish options and the coffee was on point!

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After breakfast, the other girls came by for mimosas and bridal party pamper time!

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The stunnerrrr… ❤ (I know I am using an absurd amount of hearts in this post, but it’s entirely warranted).

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For lunch we had takeout Aladdin’s (a God-sent restaurant from above, amen, hallelujah, praise Him from whom all blessings flow). This Greek food is fabulous, and I could seriously eat it for dayyyyyyyyssss. Dat hummus, dem grape leaves, dat tabouleh, dat PITA…… do not get me started!

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Post getting Hair Did. I cannot do my own hair for my life, so these moments must be documented.

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Snap chat x2

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All our makeup DONE!

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Don’t mind us.. 😉

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Clair and the maid of honor (who seriously gave the BEST speech of all dang time).

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Here is a full on bridesmaid pic! Clair gifted us all these gorgeous robes for that pamperin’ process, and to wear in the limo on the way over. (PS. She ordered them from Etsy for any future Mrs. out thur)!

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After many laughs, mimosas, and ratchet dance moves we jumped into the limo to head to the party center (fun fact: I worked at Todaros Party Center in high school with my Clair bug).

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I meannnnn…

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Aunt Mo also met this little nugget for the first time (Clair’s son, Jacob). Y’alll….. MY FREAKING HEART. I could not even handle it.

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HE IS PERFECT

img_3955Naturally, I didn’t get any pictures of the ceremony being on stage and all that jazz *hair flip*….

But for dinner, there was a fabulous array of cheese, crackers, spinach dip, and then main courses of chicken, steak, and a vegetarian option (HOLLAAA!). This was ah-vegan-mazing! SOO Dahhh lisshhh ! I don’t know what they did to these veggies, but they were flame. (Potentially literally, maybe they were barbequed?!). Also, I quickly snatched my favorite rolls that I used to secretly eat while making bread baskets when I worked there and carb loaded for the dance floor.

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OK. Someone bring me tissues.. have you ever seen anyone more perfect?! Stahp dis.

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And the gorgeous couple after ❤

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One of the best parts of weddings is seeing people you love love love love. Here is my sweet Lynds, who you may remember had her absolutely incredible wedding in July! You can see throw back pics of all of us in that post- Clair wasn’t able to make it because she was due with Jacob!

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Me and the perfect Maid of Honor (also a fellow nurse). ❤

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Me, ma, mo dinos. (No worries- you do not need to understand.. we don’t even understand)… jus’ three girls, tryna make it in this world. What is happening……… (once again.. see throw backs here).

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This is I and another good friend, Kristen (Clair’s cousin). Stop growing up, please and thank yas.

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The whole church gang all together ❤

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Uhm, yum? Need I say more?

Also yum… getta load of this arm candy!

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Alien hand once again making a debut ^^^^^.

I also may have had a minor toe fiasco on the dance floor… resulting in a  bit of blood. What’s a good night without an injury?! One of the bridesmaids so sweetly helped me out .. we got that sucker bandaged up so I didn’t miss another second of dancing. 💕

Thank you, Clair and Robby, for allowing me to be part of your perfect day. (No- I am not over-utilizing the word perfect, it is entirely justified!).

After the wedding, we went back to DJ’s mom’s home (also my second home) for pumpkin pie, dirt pudding, and great chats. Oh how I miss the days of spending hours chatting in that kitchen ❤

The next day, DJ finally got his ultimate pancake fix. Heck yah. There are OFFICIALLY no better pancakes (nor better pumpkin pie) than Mom B’s. The. BEST. Even on her birthday, she spoiled US with all the yums.

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On the flight back I worked out my schedule for December and early January. My research project is due in about three weeks (EEK!). I will be devoting nearly every second of free time to it, but I cannot wait to share with y’all what we have been working on. I nibbled on pita bread, hummus, tabouleh, olives, and feta. Is there anything better?!

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I hope you all are doing so well. I’ve been totally MIA on your sites, but once this research project is turned in I will be able to catch up a bit. Love to you all and a happy holiday season!!!

xo ❤

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Our Engagement (12-22-14)

On December 22, 2014 my life changed forever. This day holds within it a joy that surpasses even some of my most fondly reflected upon moments in life. It was the day DJ asked me to be his wife.

He was in Puerto Rico when the sun rose that day with his college basketball team. They had traveled there for a tournament, and I hadn’t seen him for a couple weeks. I was missing him fiercely. He was coming back that very day, and I was thrilled that we would just be able to talk again.

My family and I were in Traverse City, Michigan at this time for the holidays- the place that formed me and molded me through my life, created some of my most treasured memories, and was a home and safe haven if I could identify any. My beloved and I had also fostered great memories there from climbing the world-renowned Great Bear Dunes to whipping our way through the ice cold waters in various water sports to strolling downtown with ice cream cones in hand to placing our own footprints in the beached sand of generations before.

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It was our special place with endlessly treasured memories.

I knew we were going over to my Aunt and Uncle’s for dinner that night. I looked forward to spending time with my family in their beautiful home that overlooked the bay.

On our way there I was texting DJ. He told me he was back in the U.S., and I was nothing short of ecstatic. I longed to see him, but I knew that it would still be a few days. I asked him what he was doing on this first night back and he responded, “Just having dinner with my family.” I didn’t think much of it.

We arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s. I walked up to the door and stepped inside. Music filled the air that tugged on a string on my heart. Our song. DJ and I’s song. Then I saw the candles and the framed pictures of him and I from five years ago when we started dating that littered the foyer.

I soaked it up, mouth agape. Slowly everything started coming into focus more clearly. My heart raced with a mix of bewilderment and exhilaration.

DJ stepped out from behind a corner. I was elated to see my love. My family was all smiles, all knowing. He took my hand and led me down their stairs that winded into a beautiful open living room.

The pictures of us that lined the walkway showed us growing up together in a pictorial timeline as we walked along, hand in hand. From teenage kids to young adults, the pictures told stories, and those stories told stories, and those stories brought us to the place we stood today.

He led me outside the basement door, down their mesmerizing stone walkway lined by candle votives to a trellis. Next to the trellis was the bay. The bay that held petoskey stones, my feet in their infancy, and my favorite memories from childhood. Next to the water’s edge was the most recent picture of us on the table, the culmination of our current journey, soon to lead into a future that neither of those people in the propped frame could have foresaw the true beauty of.

He told me many sweet things. Oh so many sweet things that I cannot recollect. Then he was on one knee and in a whirlwind, in a moment, my heart cried a definite “yes” so uncharacteristic of my indecisive nature.

He placed the ring on my finger. Physically gorgeous, yes, but the symbolism was more profoundly beautiful than anything I could express. My love grew in that moment. Words truly cannot describe those depths of the heart.

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We were engaged.

That night he did have dinner with his family, his soon to be family. We chatted about how he drove seven hours from the airport that day, about his trip, and about our future. 

Nine months later  we were married and two years after him getting some dust on his knee we are happier than we have ever been. 

I love you DJ. Thank you for asking me to be yours and demonstrating unconditional love to me each day.

Here are our engagement pictures from the next April 🙂 All photography to follow is by Julina Marie Photography .

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 Thank you all for being supportive of our relationship, and thank you to our Lord and Savior for guiding our steps and directing them toward one another.

xo ❤

Mack

 

Bora, Bora, Bora

Anyone know the title’s reference? Gosh, I’m such a Netflix junkie. I really need to cool it. Anyways, I thought there would be no better time to do a recap post from our honeymoon than now considering we were there this time last year! We stayed at Four Seasons Bora Bora. Just saying the name makes my heart hurt a little because I miss it so badly! DJ and I both agree that every second of the trip was nothing short of magical. It was the perfect honeymoon. Dutch goes the photo has challenged us to submit something around the color “Blue”. I have to say there was nowhere in the world that I saw more beautiful blues. Here is my submission for the challenge. I think this photo captures so many different shades of gorgeous blues from a deep indigo to bright aqua.

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Traveling to the island was a fabulous adventure in itself. Tahitian airlines is highly recommended- the food is not your typical airplane food. We stayed one night in Tahiti before actually taking a smaller flight onto the island of Bora Bora.

** Side note: in the collage above I couldn’t decide if I wanted the food or our wedding rings to be the large picture. Shows where my priorities lay (lay or lie?! Ugh! IDK!). I digress.

When we first arrived they treated us like royalty. The staff offered us the most delicious mango juice we have ever had. I can still taste it. “La Orana” is a popular saying there for hello. You catch on quickly that you use this phrase frequently. The staff was incredibly friendly and we would always exchange the greeting in passing. DJ and I still joke around and say it to each other. It makes us miss this place something fierce!

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We then proceeded to our little bungalow. Bungalow, bungalow, bungalow. Just a super fun word to say, don’t you think? Looking back through these pictures I crack up at the number of ring pics I took. Such a typical newlywed girl! It was also sorta a big deal that my nails were done because I have them painted like .00005% of the time due to nursing and also just because I’m too impatient to let them dry.

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Generally, our days were pretty relaxed. I will hit on a few essential highlights.

First, we were greeted with the most exquisite champagne set-up. The coconut contained a delicious array of fruit and a jam for dippin’. Coconut strips are big in BB. They would hand them out casually to us when we were on the beach getting ready to go jet skiing or shark diving (more about this soon, no worries 😉 ) . IMG_8273

Next, one word: Breakfast. We would get up in the morning and go to the breakfast buffet. This is not your typical breakfast buffet, this is like blow-your-mind gourmet cuisine. It was so good that even Jimmy Kimmel ate there with his family! Nope, not kidding, JimKim and the Jennifer Aniston clan were all there post her wedding with Justin Theroux at the same time as us. One day DJ and I were passing Jimmy (first name basis here) and his wife. He smiled and said HI (H-I) to us! HI. Ya’ll don’t understand. Star stinking struck. But, back to the good stuff (food), we sampled everything under the sun. They had a ridiculous amount of fresh fruit, french crepes, parfaits, an omelette station, and fantastic coffee. DJ loved getting their juice of the day. I thought their french toast was out of this world. The jams were not just your typical Smucker’s jams either (& I love my Smucker’s!). They were so good that I took a few of the mini jars home with me and still have them in my fridge. They are too cute, so I don’t want to eat them!

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…THE VIEWS! Oh how gorgeous this island is. I do not even need to say much- I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Although, the pictures cannot even do justice!

Most days, we loved just lounging on the beach. I read The Girl on the Train, highly recommended, and DJ stayed in tune with the sports world reading ESPN articles. We loved ordering lunch on the beach or at a beach bar. There is something delightful about digging your toes in the sand while munching on a nice juicy burger (a tuna burger in my case).

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We decided we wanted to try a couple excursions, but not go crazy. Before my last arduous year of nursing, we wanted to make sure we relaxed as much as possible! We went jet skiing one day and then went swimming with sharks the next. One of the most insane things I have ever seen was an eel that snaked its ferocious head out of it’s cave as we swam by. image

Our guide played the ukelele for us as we floated along the blissful water. We stopped at different locations and the leader of the trip would give us fresh mango, starfruit, and of course, coconut! The fresh air, golden sun, and rocking of the boat made us sleepy between stops but then we would get a new rush as we saw the sharks circling the boat- the sharks that we soon would be swimming side-by side-with. Cue the jaws theme song!imageimageimageimageimage

Dinners were … as you might predict… fantastic. I can’t even describe in words the incredible amount of seafood available. Some nights we opted to do room service while looking over the pristinely blue water, and other times we tried the restaurants. **Of course, we had to get the pineapple pizza at one point 😉

What would a good vacation be without embarrassing moments? One night I tried to take a picture of the new Mrs. Aniston when she was only tables away from us. We were dining at Sunset Grille surrounded by fire tiki poles that lit up the dark sky and the sound of the waves softly crashing around us. I probably ruined her perfectly romantic dinner as my camera flash lit up the entire area. I wanted to bury myself in a hole. I was mortified. If she noticed, she was sweet enough not to say anything. Also, while on the treadmill, Jason Bateman came in. Jason-freaking-Bateman. He started running a couple treadmills down from me, and we were the only two in the room. I tried to think of anything to say, and nothing came to mind. I truly understand the meaning of speechless now. I could not think of a single word. He asked if I would mind if he turned the music down. I said, “yes, of course” probably a bit too excitedly, but hey whatevs. He gets it, he’s him. I continued to try to think of any kind of conversation starter but felt so overwhelmed, like I might have a stroke, so I left. I LEFT. Who just leaves when a movie star is within conversational distance?! HELLO. I still want to smack myself to this day. My Aniston picture ended up being a picture of my kneecap as I quickly turned the camera with the flash away, so we won’t share that… However, I asked the waitress to take a picture of us one night hoping she would capture our friends (Jimmy Kimmel, Jason Bateman, and their two wives) in the background, and sure enough she did!!! This is one of my favorite little grainy pictures from the whole trip.

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I loved doing yoga, handstands, and sunbathing on our back deck. We would watch for stingreys and angel rays off the back too.

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Luckily, there was only one day where it rained the entire trip. The rest of the time it was bright blue, sunny skies. However, I didn’t mind the refreshing tropical storm. I love storms in general. This picture was taken before it hit. The photo captures the mood, which was quite ominous, but strikingly beautiful as well.

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At one point during the week we received a couple’s massage. It was maybe the most relaxing hour of my entire life. The spa location was just breathtaking. The hot tub faces out into the foliage of palm trees, tropical plants, and the characteristically blue water. It was truly paradise.

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We awoke from our Polynesian dream and had to head back to reality. La Orana!!!!

Wishing you rest and relaxation this weekend,

xo ❤

Mack

Our Fairytale Told in Pictures

Happy Monday! This day in particular has extra special meaning for us. It is officially our one-year anniversary. Today we reminisce on one of the best days of our lives. These pictures bring us such joy because they represent the day that we finally committed the rest of our lives to each other. It has been the greatest year of my life, and I am convinced I have the greatest man as my husband whom I continually fall more in love with each day. He also leads me to fall more in love with Jesus each day above all else. Marriage is not always easy, it is not always simple, but it has been the greatest blessing of my life. 

We would also like to thank our family and friends who have always supported our relationship and helped make this day so special for us. We love you!

Here is our wedding as told through pictures 🙂 Below are videos of our trailer and our surprise bridesmaid dance. Enjoy!

All pictures taken by Julina Marie photography.  Videos by ZMedia photography.

Wishing you a lifetime of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7,

xo ❤

MackView More: http://julinamarie.pass.us/bettingerwedding

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We exchanged notes before the wedding. Of course, I could not let him see me before the big walk down the aisle! I gave DJ a journal I had been writing in for the past year of our memories together.

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