In my new favorite book, A Place for Us (wrote all about it back HERE, and a little HERE too) there is a part where the daughter of the family is getting married.  It talks about the parents and how “it was a strange time in their lives.  The children, like paper boats, they were releasing into the water and watching them float away.

As my time passes as a mother, I keep sending out paper boats.  More and more of them.  Graduation from high school.  Internships.  College.  And college again.  One relatively close and another across an ocean.  A mission to a foreign land.  Service trips.

It is difficult for me to send them out.  It is painful as I try to loosen those heart strings I have wrapped so solidly around them.  And with each paper boat I send out to sea I wonder: will it stay afloat?  Have Dave and I reinforced it well enough?  Does it have the inner strength to hold up against the ripples that will come?

Perhaps sending off a child into marriage is the biggest paper boat we’ve had send off.

And it happened on December 20th.

My head was swirling with logistics and details, my eyes were swirling with tears and flip-flopping emotions, and my heart was swirling with gratitude.  It was a day that I’m still, almost a month later, trying to grapple with my emotions about.

So in some ways I like that it’s taken me so long to download pictures from all the festivities.  Sometimes the further away you get from something the more put-together it looks.  Ha!

I hesitate to post these before I get the professional ones back but the photographer said that could take six weeks (yow!).  So we’re starting with a myriad of pictures my sister took mixed in with some that my family airdropped me from their phones.

Here we go.

I have so many out-take pictures of Max and Abby’s wedding, but I think this one is my favorite:

They were a little bit late.

It had been a morning like none other…Dave and I woke up and had a good little fight induced by all the stress in the air .  There were a few hangers in the works that gave our breakfast plans with Abby’s family a little curve ball.  There were nine girls/women trying to get ready in my bathroom at the same time. There was an accidental iron-a-hole-right-through-the-front-of-a-bridesmaid-dress incident.  But through all of that those two were smiling and running into that temple to get married forever and ever.

And I just love the symbolism of all that.

Here is a little part of how the “prep work” went:

One of my best friends and her daughter (below) came to help with hair/make-up, etc….and my niece (a couple pictures above), came to help with hair too (we had a whole slew of heads of hair to pretty-up 🙂

It was her birthday…how nice is that that she came to help out on her own big day?

Max and Abby, although late, made it, and of course everything worked out just fine.  Because they were the guests of honor of course.  And since I don’t have pictures from the actual ceremony, I’ll paint a little picture with words:

There was something in that room, perhaps my hovering, helping angels, (talked about my thoughts on angels back HERE) that just patted me gently on the shoulders, smoothed my racing heart, wrapped me up in love and peace and gratitude and deep astonishment.  I was surrounded by so many people I love so much.  My son was getting married.  To a girl he is head-over-heels in love with.  Who makes him shine like I’ve never seen before.  And they get to be married for eternity, to work out their differences through the good times and the bad, to build each other, to learn from each other, to grow together forever.  They both have a strong love of Christ in their hearts.  It’s planted there solidly.  And I think that’s the key that will get them through all kinds of things.  Highs and lows.  Beauty and sorrow.  And there’s something inside me that tells me they are a good match for that.

My favorite part of the ceremony was Abby’s “YES!” and watching Max beaming across at her.  I love them.

Following the ceremony we went out to hang out with everyone and wait for them to come out.

This is our friend and videographer Lindsey Kesler. 
She is so talented and did SUCH A GREAT JOB on the video (coming tomorrow).

Anxiously awaiting Max and Abby’s appearance.

The dads got to open the doors for them to come out…gotta love Dave’s pose:)

…and there they were: the new Mr. and Mrs.

(I love how you can see Lucy trying to capture the moment on her little iPod from the right corner.  Sweetness.)

We were all pretty excited.

Here’s Dave’s family who were there:

…and my family too:

I shouldn’t post this until we get the “real” pictures, but here’s at least a glimpse of how the wedding party looked:

…and our “new” family:

Eyre grandkids:



My brothers & sisters:


The moms:

…and more sisters:

Some more of Abby’s family:

Oh goodness it was a happy afternoon.  
And I got to share it all with this man I adore:

The two of us releasing our paper boat out to sea.

It’s difficult on a mama’s heart to send those paper boats out on the water.

But it helps that mama-heart when that companion “paper boat” looks at the one you’re sending out like this:

Aw I love those two.

To be continued….


  1. Silly questions. I know Max is extremely tall, Abby looks so tiny! I've been trying to gauge her height, haha! How tall is Abby?

  2. Lovely photos. Can’t wait to see more. Beautifully written. As I mom of teens, I can so relate! (Wiping tears). Shawni…you made that boat strong and it met another boat, so it is not alone at sea. No boat is ever alone. Always protected and guided. Ok..going to cry now.

  3. This is the sweetest! Reading this I am happy to have all this morning sickness, and the craziest toddler boys. I am not ready to let them sail off. What a fun season for your family though. Especially since you can be proud of their choices.

  4. Wow! What an exciting and complicated mix of emotions you must have felt! Thanks for trying to put the indescribable into words for us. I like how Abby and Max didn't feel like they had to make their wedding parties "matched sets." It looks like Abby chose all sisters and Max good friends?

  5. There is a picture of you watching them come out of the temple and, while I’ve always thought you resembled your mother, that photo made me smile at how much you are becoming like her. Lots of tears and happiness for your family on a lot of levels. I always thought of marriage and weddings as a wonderful and happy time… until I had kids and then I realized the depth (in my mind, still have littles!) of what that would entail. There is a lot to grasp there. Bless you for raising great kids (boats) who will sail to amazing places!

    1. Oh thank you! The more I can be like my mother the better!

      There is some depth of what all this entails, lots to grasp as you said. So grateful Max chose someone we love so much!

    1. Oh I was in there! I wrote a little about the ceremony up in that post since I couldn't take pictures inside. The pictures were just of all of us waiting outside the temple for them to come out together…and make their first appearance as a married couple. Excitement all around!

  6. I"m so happy you wrote about the wedding!!! My eyes are a bit wet right now, so beautiful, loved your thoughts. As I send my senior off on a mission this summer, I'm feeling that paper boat feeling FIERCE!!! Great analogy. Cute bride and groom…the HEIGHT DIFFERENCE!!! So cute.

  7. So beautiful!

    But I'm a little confused… why was Abby wearing a shorter dress while going in for the ceremony and a longer one while coming out? Where there two different ceremonies?

    1. I believe the shorter dress was the dress she also wore to the after-party and the longer dress coming out of the temple is her actual wedding dress that she was probably married in during the ceremony and for pictures outside. Both were so beautiful- what a glowing, happy bride!

  8. Hi Shawni,
    Perhaps dont think of your children as paper boats; they have been so fortified with love and shored up with all the right teachings. I would think of them more as righteous ships moving down their pathway to destiny. You are not setting them adrift; rather letting them go to their next harbor. You have given them all the tools they need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *