Jenni & Nick Crawford
Maybe he was only flirting, but two years later they found themselves at the altar at Immaculate Conception Church. Surprising each other had kind of become their thing - but it wasn't always easy.
Nick's second, real proposal came after another wedding, when the couple traveled to Hawaii for Nick's brother's wedding. He had been trying to find the moment to propose to Jenni but wanted to wait until after his brother's celebration.
On a black lava beach at Kona on the island of Hawaii, he had used white rocks to spell out the question. At the time, Jenni was making breakfast for everyone and was annoyed that Nick was calling her to come out to the water. He told her there were dolphins.
“The rocks (spelling out his proposal) were behind her,” Nick said. “She could see it, but she wasn't seeing it. I finally had to say, ‘Up here is a dolphin!’ before she saw it.”
“I don't know that she ever said yes,” he recalled, teasing his bride. “She was more ticked off that there weren't any dolphins.”
“He did good,” she said, smiling about the memory.
Jenni had experience as a helpful bridesmaid but found out that there's even more to being a bride. Nick had only two opinions - he wanted Jenni to wear her hair up and at the reception he wanted a DJ instead of a band. Her mom, however, is a pro at planning.
“She already had a box filled with stuff when we got home,” Jenni said. They set an October date with a ceremony at Immaculate Conception, her family's church, and a reception at the Monsignor Galvin Parish Hall. There would be a large wedding party made up of sisters, brothers and friends and 350 invited guests.
She found the “perfect” dress locally but found a “more perfect” dress on her fitting visit - and it fit without alteration. The men were in black tuxedos, fathers adding charcoal vests.
Jenni credits her mother's skillful bargain-shopping for the decoration at their beautiful reception. “She should do this on the side! We have everything saved in a storage unit for the future, because I have a sister.”
The church was decorated simply by their florist with floral orbs on the ends of the pews and an altar arrangement. Jenni's bouquet and the mothers' corsages were also adorned with small, silver picture-frame charms. “Mine had pictures of my deceased grandparents and a great-grandparent,” Jenni said. “My mom's had her mother and Nick's mom had her father and her sister's pictures.”
Nick surprised her (again) with a sapphire ring for “something blue.”
Jenni had carefully scheduled most of the photography for before the ceremony and lined up family photos only afterward, so guests wouldn't have to wait long at the reception.
After all the smooth planning, Jenni was still surprised to find herself nervous to walk down the aisle. “I thought I was going to pass out,” she confessed. “My dad definitely knew it. I think everyone knew it!”
She had planned one more surprise that blew Nick's cool a bit, as well.
“His little niece walked down the aisle ahead of me with a sign that said, ‘Uncle Nick, here comes your bride.’”
Nick admits he teared up a little at that moment and even the other groomsmen were a bit misty.
Their wedding held one more surprise that neither of them could have planned. On their honeymoon in Mexico, they were on a deep-sea fishing trip when Nick hooked a big catch. He battled for an hour to land it into the boat. It was an 8-foot shark!
They had to decide, on the spot, whether to keep the shark as a trophy or put it back into the ocean. They were forced to make a hasty decision with perhaps not quite a full disclosure of what mounting and shipping it would cost. The crate alone was enormous, Nick said.
“He has a man cave in our house where he can hang it,” Jenni laughed.
“She's a good wife,” said Nick gratefully.
All photos by Virgila Dale Photography