Tuesday, January 22, 2013


And now the party!!!

This was the point in the night, where everything important had been done, and now it was time celebrate!!!!

John Lynch wrote this on his Facebook wall the morning after our wedding and it perfectly describes the night:

I helped perform a wedding last evening. But it was an entire historic community marrying off Aaron Mertz and Miranda Thompson. It is easy, in the day to day, to forget the power of life-giving community which stands together long enough, allowing a setting for God to do His wonder. Under a canopy of lights and perfect weather, in a magical backyard, God showed us His glory, power, love, patience, timing and grace. Friends laughed, mingled, danced and reunited, with great joy, not even noticing they'd been the heroes in this story. Sandy Mowen came out of retirement to shepherd us with grace and masterful skill, Don Nelsen did his magic with sound, David Pinkerton was the perfect MC, Kelsie Pinkerton and Sarah Doyle floated around the event, taking majestic pictures, Chris Tinard filmed with brilliance, the legendary JoAnn Stern made the cake, the Mozingos and great friends served up food fit for heaven. Nancy Hahn and friends helped present incredible desserts. Pat and Laurie, Randy and Linda showed how healthy families give their kids away, dozens of heroes helped serve, Mark Williams embarrassed us with dancing that is banned in several states. Dozens of others served without notice or fanfare. Last evening, I stopped several times and just stared at what love looks like in a community. Well played community. Well played.           ~ John Lynch

And with that, there is no better way to describe the night except to just give you more pictures - 

A picture of our Venue - The Hearn House - after dark

Thousands of twinkle lights provided a magical glow
Nancy Hann did a flawless job of designing and coordinating our dessert table. She asked people to contribute and people made the most delicious treats for our guests! Literally perfection! I got one of the S'mores treats before they were all gone.

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Mertz!

Our first dance was to "Today" - by Joshua Radin

My dad and I danced to "Mandolin Rain" - by Bruce Hornsby. I have had that song picked out for years. It is one of my dad's favorite songs and I think of him whenever I hear it. When I told him months before that it was the song I'd chose for us, he nearly cried. Nailed it!

Aaron and Laurie danced to "My Wish" - by Rascal Flatts

I'll do a separate post for the dinner, but it was in a word - Phenomenal!
After the dancing and before the food, we watched a slideshow of mine and Aaron's lives. Shawn put it together for us and it was a hit! So fun that so many people at the wedding were in pictures with us when we were little or in high school. Amazing!

Andy gave the "best man" toast

Kendra gave the "Maid of Honor" toast
After dinner, it was cake time! Aaron was a gentleman and didn't get any frosting on me... I on the other hand gave no mercy.

Get you're dance on!

Another photo favorite! He looks so terrified... what is going on here?

Another must at my wedding was to have Mark Williams dance to "Shout!" He has done it at all of his kids weddings, and I had to have him dance at my wedding. His break-dancing is truly something you can't look away from, but kind of want to! ha! He also asked me if he could wear his kilt to the wedding, and Aaron and I could not refuse!

There it is... those who weren't prepared for it, were in awe - NOTE: He does have something on under the kilt... no worries :)

Josh and Kate did our guestbook and they are getting married in May!!!

with John and Stacey Lynch

Bruce was a groomsmen of course, but he and Janet did our pre-marital counseling. So blessed by them as friends!

These are my girls! We have stood by each other for the last 10 years! Can't believe I get to have each of them in my life! (From left to right: Kelsie, Nicole, Heidi, Sarah, me, Tara, Jessica, Jeannette, and Meredith)

Our amazing Photographers Sarah and Kelsie! They are responsible for all these beautiful pictures!

My nephews, Jonah & Nathan, made a night time appearance at the wedding!
Read on my mom's blog about how she made the boys onesies with vest... such a sweet story!

During the dancing and dessert time, we had a photobooth open for our guests to have some fun! Our friend Rod Gipson did the photography! What a sweet keepsake to have our guests pictures from the photobooth. We also saw some crop up in this years Christmas card pictures! 
Aren't we adorable!

The groomsmen

Fun with Sparklers!

And the Grand Exit!

A perfect end to the wedding!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I was entirely  present at the ceremony and was taking in every minute. Even a week later, I could remember John sharing our story and what our dad's shared. But now, nearly 2.5 months later, I have forgotten. Luckily we got it on video and will get to watch it over and over in future years :)

Most people warned me that I wouldn't remember a thing, and that thought made me sad. The ceremony was what I was so excited about! So I was determined to soak in every moment, and even though it is fuzzy now, I am glad I can remember what I can and I cherish it deeply.

After all the pictures were taken, Aaron and I separated into our respective areas of the house to relax, decompress and get ready for the ceremony. I was glad for this time to refresh. I probably looked like a zombie! I literally sat in the corner of the room in a rocking chair and stared off into no where... don't even ask me what I was thinking about. I remember being nervous and anxious to get through the ceremony and on to the party afterward! I was nervous about music and sound. I was SO excited for the words John would share and our dad's would share... but I mainly just needed to switch my brain off and be quiet. My girls waited on me hand and foot... Jeannette held my dress when I had to go to the bathroom... people brought me food to snack on... Elisabeth fed me white cheddar pop corn bits directly into my mouth. However, the most remarkable moment was when I asked Carla to sing for me.

If you have ever heard Carla sing, it is one of the most powerful, soulful, worshipful voices I have ever heard. She was so sweet to honor my request for a song before I walked down the aisle. I sat listening to her sing the word "our God is mighty to save..." and I sighed with the relief of the knowledge that I was deeply loved. You could hear a pin drop in the room because no one had ever heard Carla sing, save my mom.

While Carla was serenading the girls, John was down with the guys in the basement praying

Aaron said there wasn't a dry eye in the room while they prayed. What a group of strong, sweet, Godly men.

Then John came up to pray with us... and the tears kept coming

I want to take this time to talk a little about my friend John Lynch... I am such a lucky girl to count him has someone in my life. Someone who is readily available to me, someone I know I can count on to always be for me. He has been my pastor for my entire life and my dad's best friend. For probably the last 10 years, since I have been of a marrying age, John has asked if he could somehow be apart of my wedding someday. I would laugh and assure him that he was going to be performing my ceremony! I wouldn't imagine having anyone else. Aaron too has counted John a dear friend for most of his life as well, so it wasn't much of a conversation at all when the subject of who would perform our ceremony came up. It was John.
My FAVORITE thing about a John Lynch wedding is how he takes the bride and grooms life story and masterfully weaves it together to show what an amazing love story God has written for them! It was the one moment of the entire wedding that I looked forward to the most... I admit, even above being pronounced Aaron's wife. I was so excited to know people got to hear our story - an awesome story! A story full of hope and waiting and trusting in God's timing. It is a story that proves God is FAITHFUL! He is always working for our good and His glory and it is something amazing to behold when it all culminates in a day like this. This was the moment my friends and family would be reminded or told for the first time that there is a BIG GOD out there and a precious SAVIOR who desperately loves us!

And so with that the focus of the day... with John at the helm to beautifully convey to everyone there, I was more than ready to walk down the aisle to the love of my life.
Of course I had to show you one of the greatest moments in Wedding history... Jack was awesome!

Me and my dad... I could hardly keep it together at this point... my dad has already lost it
And there he is... my love.

I'll have to post our story on here someday as John read it. There was so much laughter and memories. John asked us to pear down the childhood part, because the 16 years of our love story was going to take up enough time. I stood there across from Aaron and just kept thinking, This is it! I can't believe I'm here! I can't believe its him! 

As part of our ceremony Aaron and I asked our dad's to get up and share something. They were perfect! My dad shared about how my entire life he had been the one to help me make big decisions, to calm my fears, to answer my questions. I would spend hours with him discussing God and life and fears and pain and hopes. But from this day onward, he would no longer be that person for me... Aaron would. Of course my dad would always be there for us, he would always be the first man in my life, but now Aaron was the most important man in my life.
Pat shared such sweet things to. He affirmed Aaron in what an amazing man he was, and affirmed me of how wonderful it was to have me in his family. And then he spoke to my parents. He spoke about the joining of families and thanked them for raising me and loving Aaron. He assured them I was going to be loved and protected by him and Laurie as well. Then the four of them stood up and hugged each other. What a great moment!

After that was time for the rings...


We exchanged traditional vows and were pronounced husband and wife and then we decided to take communion as our first act as husband and wife. My cousin Lyle and his beautiful wife Anya sang the hymn "Before the Throne" while Aaron and I took communion.

I was in their wedding nearly 2 years before and it was my honor to have them as part of mine and Aaron's wedding day

If you notice behind and above us in the ceremony was our gorgeous Chuppah! Laurie's family is Jewish and so we were so excited to honor that in our wedding with a Chuppah above us and Aaron smashing the glass after the ceremony. The glass signifies that although the glass can be broken, our marriage never will.

Presenting Mr & Mrs Mertz!!!!

And this was the moment we became husband and wife!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I don't think Aaron and I would have survived , let alone pulled off all the details of this wedding, if it were not for our amazing family!!

Aaron's mom, Laurie, was the master of organizing help and calling people to see if they can do some wedding crafts/projects. She and Aaron's dad, Pat, built and designed our gorgeous Chuppah to get married under. She was there to run errands and pick up coffee, utencils, water bottles, etc. She was so available and willing to do whatever we needed

My mother was the heart and soul of this wedding! Every random item I asked to see if she had, she had 5. For example -
Me: mom do you have galvanized tubs for us to put drinks in?
Mom: I have 5
Me: what about wooden pieces to paint "Mr" & "Mrs" on and hang on the back of our chairs
Mom: yes, and I even have antique chairs for you to sit in special
Me: What should we put our cards in on the guest table
Mom: I have an antique mailbox that is ready to be painted...
You couldn't help but walk into the wedding venue without seeing my mom's hand in EVERYTHING! She was a champ and I know she constantly feels like she could do more to make my wedding beautiful... but at the end of the day, her greatest contribution to this wedding was... me! I would not be the woman I am today without my mom :)

As for the dads... they were the hard laborers. Hauling tables, hammering, sanding, sawing, upholstering, hanging lights around the venue, and making sure their wives didn't go crazy :)

My dad also contributed to making sure I was beautiful for my wedding day. He told my mom when I got engaged that he wanted to buy my dress and get me jewelry to wear for my big day. My mom and him got my pearl necklace that I got in Mykonos, Greece 4 years ago, restrung and then let me borrow some pearl earrings to match. What a sweet man to want to make sure I had pretty things for my wedding day.

My brother Shawn made ALL of the wedding stationary! I will do an entire post just about the invitations, monogram design, wedding programs and thank you cards... but know that every last detail was Shawn's design genius! We emailed back and forth countless times and he patiently bore my requests for miniscule changes and random questions about font designs. He was also there to just talk! I loved when he would pop up on Facebook and ask how wedding planning was going and if we needed anything. I also know he was there for Aaron for anything he needed to talk about. I love that they have a friendship all their own that spans much longer than mine and Aaron's relationship. He has been for Aaron and I from the beginning.

My sister Nicole was, as always, my rock. She is one of the most amazingly capable women I know. While juggling 4 kids and a full time job and all the other commitments in her life, she was still listened to wedding details, planned bridal showers and bachelorette parties, gave advise about marriage, wedding plans, food, etc! I will never forget when I first tried on my wedding dress alone in a bridal shop, I text her the pictures. She was with my mom at the time across town and when I called my mom to hear her reaction, all I could hear was Nicole in the background yelling - I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT!

Aaron's sister Ashley was fantastic!! She lived with Aaron leading up to our wedding and I don't think Aaron could have managed the stress without knowing she was around to hang out with when he got home. She helped with bridal shower invitations, planning, she took my unique bridesmaid idea and ran with it! She had the most amazing shoes and dress for the wedding! She and her awesome boyfriend, Jess provided hang out time, support and protection throughout all the drama that comes with a forthcoming wedding.

My brother Tyler! He was there for every random Target run I made. Okay, he works at Target, so I guess he had to be there, but every time I showed up, he would walk me around the store and keep me company as I grabbed random necessities. He was there for all the groomsmen activites loving and encouraging my husband and being excited for us! He loved getting to be apart of this wedding and be help with whatever we needed. He was there at the bachelor party bringing the most guns for target shooting and providing the boys with so much woodsy entertainment. He was there the day before the wedding climbing the tallest ladders, carrying the most chairs.He was the best little brother!

Overall we were so incredibily blessed to have been given the family we have - and not just for wedding planning, but for life!

Probably one of my favorite pictures of my whole life! (Shawn, me, & Tyler)

Love these men so much!

Aaron and Ashley
The whole Mertz family with Jess - Jess was an usher in our wedding

Thompson family without the kiddos

The whole gang... this is about the time Elsie started to have enough of photos again

After the ceremony Aaron and I scrounged up the rest of our extended family for some big group shots
The Larson side of the family was represented by Aunt Kathy and my cousin Kristen. LOVED having them there!

The Thompson family minus a few members!
The Epstein side of the family with Grandma Audrey

The Mertz clan! such a big family! So excited that so many of them could come