Category Archives: Wedding

John and Chelsy Maxwell’s Wedding

The day dawned early for some and cold for all. We girls arrived at the church about 7:30 to get ready. The single and newlywed bridesmaids got ready first, and then the mommies showed up a little later.

The girls and Cathy Jo sang songs.

They also made sure to practice the whole-walking-down-the-aisle thing.

Coffee also arrived with a very kind brother of ours, so a peppermint mocha with the needed caffeine gave a delightful boost. Mom, Anna, Mary, and I helped with the little kiddos, and then, suddenly, things switched into high gear. All the children needed to be dressed, hair fixed, bridesmaids totally ready for pictures, etc, etc. If you haven’t experienced being IN a wedding, well, I hope you get the opportunity. It’s really such a special thing!

We are grateful for the Lord’s protection. On John’s way into the wedding, his truck hit ice on a bridge, and he slid sideways across it. The oncoming vehicle managed to pull off onto the shoulder, avoiding an accident. Wow! Praise the Lord for His mercy.

Anyway, back to the wedding morning. The photographer did a great job of working with such a huge bridal party. Most of the pictures finished about noon, and then we grabbed a quick lunch in the basement. Although I have to say, at this point, I didn’t have much of an appetite. The day’s excitement and reality of what’s happening hits about this point. At least for me!

My oldest brother, Nathan, and his youngest, Benji!
My oldest brother, Nathan, and his youngest, Benji!
Joshua looking very sharp

The five Maxwell brothers
The bridesmaids with Chelsy
Chelsy and Anna

Our lovely friend, Cathy Jo, totally blessed us. She helped Christopher and Anna Marie with their children.

My parents

John and Chelsy’s goal for the wedding was for the Lord Jesus to be honored and glorified. Another goal they had was for each guest to feel welcomed and loved. As their wedding party, we were their ambassadors, so we enjoyed mingling with the guests and talking. John was also greeting guests. People invested so much to come. They drove through bad weather and traversed many miles.

My dad’s sister and her husband

Ten minutes before 2, it was time for all the bridesmaids, flower girls, and bell ringers to gather in the back room. I figured we had awhile to wait–I knew John was giving a welcome. We talked, and prayed, and talked. And tried to relax.

Moments before the wedding

But suddenly, it was time. The doors swung open, and we quickly became a jumble of trying to get in line. With 14 bridesmaids, and going in the opposite order, well, you have to think quick.

I quickly followed Anna, and stood in the back of the sanctuary. Everything blurred together: the music playing, the wedding coordinator giving instructions for when to begin walking, and realizing the time had come. John stood at the front beaming!

The flower girls and bell ringers made for an adorable group.

The ceremony began with two congregational songs, with Chelsy accompanying. How sweet to have a bride play the piano with her groom sitting next to her!

Mr. Bontrager shared a message, and the most powerful part was when he talked about the blessing of children and allowing the Lord to choose the number a family has. The Lord’s done a mighty work in our family, because I was supposed to be the last child. God changed my parents’ hearts, and they allowed the Lord to plan their family after a seven year gap. Mr. Bontrager said there wouldn’t have been a wedding if that hadn’t been the case. Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and Mary stepped forward, and tears sprang to my eyes at the amazing, beautiful picture of God’s mercy.

John and Chelsy exuded such joy as they became husband and wife. There were two slight issues, though. When it came time for Chelsy’s personalized vows, she said she didn’t have them. So, off she and John ran to go try to find them. They couldn’t locate them, so Chelsy read them on John’s phone. Well, she got part way through, and his phone popped up with a warning that the battery was about to die! Thankfully she did get to finish. She told us later she still doesn’t know where the vows went!

I knew one of the best men was up to something when I saw a pair of scissors in his back pocket. Sure enough, at the ring time, when asked for it, he couldn’t produce the ring. A drone came flying in from the back, with Chelsy’s ring attached! Much laughter followed, and Joseph cut the ring off when the drone flew to the front.

A special part of the ceremony came when John explained to Chelsy that as he’d thought of what he could give her to symbolize giving his earthly goods to her, he wanted to give her a key to his house. It was now their house. A very special moment as he presented her that key.

The new Mr. and Mrs. John Maxwell!

Some of us in the bridal party dismissed the guests by rows. Then, people headed for the reception site, about 20 minutes away.

When we arrived, the reception bustled with activity. But somehow, everyone fit! Dinner was taco soup and cheesecake for dessert. After eating, people shared memories of John and Chelsy, and then John thanked everyone for coming. Following that, the reception hall turned into a big fellowship event!

Saying good-bye to a friend who came a long distance

These are my amazing sisters: playing games with the little kids at the reception.

The send off!

The guys did an incredible job decorating. The best part was the inflatable.

We are grateful to the Lord for a beautiful day to celebrate John and Chelsy becoming husband and wife.


“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24


Friday, the Rehearsal Day

Rehearsal day dawned snowy, and the snow continued most of the day. Dad, Mom, Anna, and Mary focused on the rehearsal dinner and decorating. Jesse also helped by cutting a lot of fresh evergreens, and then he drove the girls to a nearby Amish store before taking them to the church.

The extended family, Jesse and I spent time helping at the reception site (both the church and reception site were a little distance away). I loved seeing the teamwork of friends pitching in and getting a task done that would be impossible for just one family!

The rehearsal began late afternoon. When you factor a wedding party of over 30 people, well, details are important.

With ten little ones being bell ringers and flower girls, there was sure to be some drama. The drama came from an unexpected person: Danny. We really thought Benjamin would be the one, but no, Danny. With all of the activity and being separated from Daddy/Mommy, he fell apart in tears at the idea of walking down the aisle. They gently worked with him Friday evening and Saturday morning to see if he would acclimate to the idea, but on that timeline it was a bridge too far for this little 18-month old. He didn’t walk down the aisle with the group, instead, his daddy held him during the ceremony.

We ran through the order of events and practiced recessing and coming in, and things seemed to go well. This meant we were one step closer to the WEDDING!

After the rehearsal, we moved downstairs. We are so grateful to our friends who came all the way from the East Coast, West Virginia, and Idaho to help!

We served smoked meatballs over rice with brown gravy, salad, rolls, and brownies. When dinner was over, for those who were still around, we had a sweet time of prayer. Then, back to the hotel to try to get some sleep before the big day!


Breakfast with Nathan’s littles

Dad and I grabbed coffee at the local coffee shop and met up with friends. The snow was picture perfect!

Great selfie! Anna, Cathy Jo, Faith, and Mary

John grinding coffee for the reception.

Tina and I placed many napkins and spoons down on tables for the reception.

These girls did a beautiful job of decorating.

Joanna making brownies.

Mary and Toria.

The moms were a great kitchen team.

What an awesome decorating + kitchen team!


Jesse and my view as we drove to the rehearsal!

Selfie going on here.

Cute Benjamin

A full stage!

Lots of Maxwells and Bontragers!

I think Joshua and Drew made positively the cutest bell ringers ever!

Working on getting a system going here.

Guys, this was not my idea!


“And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you,
and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you:
for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they
that wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)

Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year! We’re grateful to the Lord Jesus for 2018 and what it will hold.

This past week has flown by in a blur, and the weekend’s events of John and Chelsy joining together in marriage were beautiful. Yes, Mr. and Mrs. John Maxwell!

I thought it’d be fitting to share with you the new Maxwell Family on Saturday!


“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him
in sincerity and in truth…”
Joshua 24:14

Joseph and Elissa Maxwell: Wedding Pictures, Part 4

The joy continued, and we loved talking with our guests! What a blessing that they came to share in Joseph and Elissa’s special day. There were many who had driven or flown quite a distance to come. We appreciate their sacrifice of time and resources.

The reception continued the celebration of these two lives joined together. The light dinner served was delicious and afforded guests extra time to fellowship. JandE-202


Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Maxwell were introduced, and then they shared some words with the group, along with thanking both sets of parents for all they did raising them.


Of course, they cut the cake.JandE-208JandE-207JandE-204JandE-215


While Joseph and Elissa greeted guests, the truck-decorating committee was hard at work. John, as a very benevolent best man, let his truck be used.  Our friend Dave did an amazing job with the writing (he thinks fonts!).

John rented a helium cylinder, so Anna manned that. They filled the entire cab with balloons.


Notice the hat and veil on the top? Very clever, John!

Then, it was time for the send off. JandE-217


Here’s an updated Maxwell family picture, with our newest addition, Elissa Maxwell.

After the reception, Christopher took some bride/groom photos. Even though the day had held a strong forecast of rain, the Lord graciously held it off.JandE-228JandE-230JandE-231JandE-233Each moment of the special day was a treasure–after all, it’s not every day you have a sibling get married! Joseph and Elissa’s wedding was a beautiful testimony of their purity, their commitment to each other, and their love and gratefulness to the Lord Jesus.


“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalms 19:8

Joseph and Elissa Maxwell: Wedding Pictures, Part 3

So we’re on to the ceremony. Excitement continued to run high. Weddings are such a joyous occasion!


Jesse is practicing above. He played the bride’s processional.JandE-151JandE-152

Anna practicing her special “How Beautiful.”


Joseph greeted guests, which was a special touch. People love interacting with the groom!JandE-159


And it begins! Joseph seats Mom.


Joshua was such a cute ringbearer!


And the trio of flower girls–wow! So precious.


Joseph and Elissa chose sand as their symbol instead of a unity candle. I love the sand idea: it shows how the two lives become so intertwined they’re inseparable! You can’t sort the different colored sand out once it’s mixed.



Joseph invited the guests to another wedding–the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).



Joseph and Elissa sang “Channels Only.” It was such a sweet thing to see them sing.JandE-199


The first kiss!JandE-201

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Maxwell!

After the recessional, we played a slideshow for the guests of Joseph and Elissa’s lives. People loved it! Anna spent many hours compiling the pictures. Great job, Anna!JandE-180JandE-182

Carter played music while they dismissed guests by row. Thanks, Carter!

JandE-183“… and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 12:9