Saturday, June 5 was the wedding of Hannah (Cunningham) and Joe Reed. Congrats on a fantastic day! Here are a FEW of the highlights (and there were MANY!)
Thank goodness Julie Surratt & Phil Wilkinson only were outside for a little bit yesterday, for the buffalo gnats were crazy!
What’s a buffalo gnat? They’re these little black flies with a surprisingly big bite. You end up with a welt, and if you’re allergic even worse. When we moved to Jacksonville about 12 years ago, the gnats were not much of a problem. Only in the past few years have the swarms been something to consider.
Julie, an Illinois College alumna, wanted to stop on campus after the wedding to get some photos. A couple steps from the parking lot, as the wedding party walked past Sturtevant Hall, they were swarmed by gnats. We took a couple of quick photos, but there was more evading than posing. (Even worse, poor IC had their commencement outside the next day.)
This morning I was chatting with Pat Ward, an avid birder from Murrayville, who said the larval stages of the gnats come from local waterways. In years past pollution and silt meant fewer of the larval gnats survived, but now that streams and rivers are cleaner the gnats are making a comeback. He said frontier Illinois pioneers told of clouds of buffalo gnats driving horses crazy, and chickens would get suffocated (that happened two years ago to area chicken breeder Phil Bartz).
The University of Illinois suggests using DEET, but what I’ve found to work is vanilla. A bit of vanilla-scented lotion, or spray, or even the extract keeps the little buggers away.
Last year Lisa & David Jamiolkowski had their wedding at the end of May at Pere Marquette Lodge near Grafton, Illinois. We visited the lodge a couple days before the wedding and the gnats were bad, and we suggested Lisa & David to be prepared. They had spray bottles of vanilla on hand just in case. But, thankfully, the swarms disappeared right before their wedding. (The bugs die off after the water gets up to a certain temperature.)
So if you’re planning a wedding in Central Illinois in May, and you’re planning to have events outside, make some contingency plans for those pesky gnats.
Favors are a great way for couples to show some personality – and they can also be very useful for guests!
Fans on the seats at Jessica & Tim’s outdoor ceremony (21 June 2008) were particularly useful on their bright, sunny day. Those with less hair seemed to be especially thankful for the thoughtful favors.
Twice this summer, we have seen ring bearers brought down the aisle in a wagon.
At Stephanie and James’ wedding (7 June 2008), the littlest one slept through the whole thing, including when the other ring bearer stood near the wagon to check him out during the ceremony.
And, Jenna & John’s wedding (24 May 2008) also used a wagon for the little ring bearers. There are two kids in this wagon. The littlest one is all bundled up against the wind and dust. (**note:The color scheme of Jenna and John’s wedding was camouflage – and the little ones were well coordinated.)
Another situation that requires some real calm is, of course, the weather. The wedding day of Emily and Jk in St. Louis (6 June 2008) included scary-looking clouds, lots and lots of rain and even tornado sirens. But, Emily, Jk and their families took everything in stride. And while it rained during the ceremony and during the reception, there was a break in the weather while everyone traveled from one place to the other. During that break, Emily and I took, literally, 30 seconds to photograph near the gazebo that stands right outside the chapel. Of course, she wanted many more photos there, but the weather and time were not on our side.
Looking at the windows behind the maid of honor as she gave her speech, and you will see that the rain was not a drizzle.
There is nothing I admire more than the bride keeping her calm when something (relatively minor) goes wrong.
Lisa and Jobby (17 May 2008) chose to laugh along with their bridal party when the reception hall’s marquee had the groom’s last name misspelled. It was a digital, scrolling marquee, so every time it scrolled to “congratulations …” there was another round of laughter – and photos.