noun (mur-tem-ber-fest)

A festival thrown in honor of a great dude named Murray, celebrated not in his chosen month of October (which would have been called Murtoberfest) but in September, the month (and day) on which he was to be married.

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cue Edward Sharpe’s song ‘Home’  …
if you actually have that on whatever device you are reading this from, you should probably hit play now.

… it went off without a hitch. Really, it was an incredible event that I am so incredibly proud to slap my name all over. I worked hard for this. Really hard. I have been crafting up ideas for the last year and 1/2 to make this wedding/celebration exactly as I had always dreamed it could be.

Dad and I arrived in Iowa on Wednesday evening to open arms and a delicious dinner. On Thursday we figured out where this party was going to happen and what needed to be cleaned, swept and power washed. We accomplished that and rounded out the night with some of my lingering crafty projects. On Friday I went to Omaha to get a great friend from the airport, had lunch with family, bought some last minute goodies and headed back to keep on working. There was much to be done but more specifically, I needed to keep my mind from wandering to what I ‘should’ be doing at that very moment. From what the rehearsal would have looked like. From what last minute projects I would have felt were necessary that Murray would have deemed LONG ago to be over the top and unnecessary. Perhaps those handmade napkins?? 🙂

Then it was Saturday.

Shortly after getting up and downing a trusty cup-o-joe, I headed out to the site of the festivities to get crackin. The tables were going to arrive before too long and once those got there I could plow ahead to make this an unforgettable party… And drag along anyone who was willing to help, which to my delight was EVERYONE!

We unpacked candles, paper lanterns and bamboo forks. We discussed the placement of the never-ending supply of Christmas lights. We hemmed and hawed over the weight of string and if the string in hand would be heavy enough to hold all those lanterns we had just unpacked. We got the mason jars with their ‘necklaces’ in position and labeled all of the home brewed beer.

At about 3:30 I finally felt like I could breathe … just about everything was in place. The space was absolutely stunning. And the remainder of my best friends in the whole wide world were starting to trickle in. That was my cue to wash the several days of moving, sweeping, packing, unpacking, crafting, thinking and crying off of me.

The rest is a bit of a happy/sad blur … There was an amazing crowd, great music, a beautiful sunset and most importantly, lots of hugs, smiles, laughter and memories. In light of everything over the past year, I really honestly couldn’t have asked for a better day. And that’s part of what made everything so hard, I think. I knew going into this, one year ago, that Murray would never let this day be anything but flawless. I knew he would give us the most amazing weather he could. He would get as many people there as he could. He would get everything to come together with as little frustration or tears as possible. And he sure did! At some point during the evening I stopped in my tracks and gazed up at the beautiful moonless sky and my friend beside me said ‘this is just perfect’ and I wholeheartedly agreed. It was.


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I’m so proud. Not only of the beauty but for how all of us embraced everything and plowed forward. We took the lemons of a day that was supposed to be amazing for so many other reasons and made lemonade.

Besides talking about the festivities and sharing some photos, I also wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone that helped make this happen!!! If you were there and helped serve pies, hang lanterns and lights, make signs, drink beer, eat that pie or hug us, THANK YOU! If you could not make it but sent thoughts and messages either through text, email, facebook or writing in the clouds, THANK YOU! And while I’ve gotten pretty good at taking self portraits (if I do say so myself), I certainly can not claim the ones above as mine. A big chunk of these lovely photos are credited to my amazing friend, Emily, who is 1/2 of why this date was picked in the first place. I made a point to leave my camera in the house during the party because Mur had joked (at least I think it was a joke?) that he would hide my camera on the morning of the wedding. So that’s what I did – I hid it.

While I hate to stop writing here since it makes the reality that all the hoopla is over that much more real, I believe the photos and words paint an amazing picture of not only the celebration, but of how truly loved and missed Mur is. And that is my goal.

I’ll conclude with a BIG thank you to my amazing clients who have had incredible patience for the last month (well, year). It has helped more than you may realize! And now, I’m on my way to a shoot a lovely pittie who, rumor has it, loves people AND treats – my kind of gal.