Our Sweet Summer Wedding

I can’t believe today marks 4 years since Kevin and I got married. So much has happened since then and yet, it feels like yesterday.

Our first year of marriage was all about learning to handle finances and adult responsibilities as we welcomed our first child. The second year was about finding our groove as new parents. The third year was spent working in our greenhouse and dreaming of more children and more space. And this fourth year was jam packed with designing and building a new house and bringing our second daughter into the world.

There have been so many challenges along the way and we’ve had to work through our own selfishness, anger, pride and disappointment. We are both 9s on the enneagram so handling conflict is not our strong point but it feels like we are making progress and learning more about how to be a team. Marriage is not easy but it’s full of rewards and I feel so grateful to have Kevin as my husband.

Today, I just want to take myself back to our wedding day and remember not only the fun details of the day, but also the emotions I felt as I embarked on this journey.

Orange and pink wedding centerpieces

We got married in my parent’s backyard just a short walk through the woods from where we live now. I envisioned a beautiful summer day with green grass, blue skies, and a hot sun.

Outdoor wedding set up

Unfortunately, rain kept us from having the outdoor ceremony I had hoped for and we ended up having to move the chairs to the tent and switch our plans. It was a bit sad for me, HOWEVER, the rain falling gently on the tent made the most romantic sound and it ended up being really cool.

Backyard Wedding Reception Tent

I will always be someone who loves color so we choose hot pink and orange as our colors. A friend of ours helped us with flowers and decorations and she did a wonderful job balancing hot pink and orange with white so that the color wasn’t too overwhelming. I loved how everything turned out!

Head table back drop

My summer wedding would not be complete without a couple of cheesy Napoleon Dynamite references, a watercolor theme, and popsicles. My sister-in-law did calligraphy on our name cards, our lemonade bar instructions, and our unity ceremony board. She did an amazing job! More on her work later.

Watercolor popsicle stand for an outdoor summer wedding

Flavored Iced Tea and Lemonade Bar for a summer wedding Unity Ceremony Ideas for a Wedding. A cord of three stands is not easily broken.

Dress shopping was so fun! I knew from the beginning that I was looking for a trumpet shape with a sweetheart neckline. I fell in love with this one after a few different trips. I never want to plan a wedding again but I would definitely go dress shopping another time.

Wedding dress hanging from a tree. Wedding photography ideas.

Christina Dinehart at Sweet Bliss by Chris did our cake and Stephanie Debolt was our photographer who took all of these pictures. They both were so great to work with!

Orange and Pink Watercolor Wedding Cake

We took all of our bridal party pictures beforehand and did a tear-filled first look. I loved doing it this way.

Wedding Party PhotosWedding Party Photos

First Look PhotosFirst Look PhotosWedding PhotographyWedding Photography

Bride and Groom, Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

We had a quiet moment together right before the ceremony started which was so sweet. Instead of dealing with the pre-wedding jitters alone, we had each other’s company and comfort, knowing that our lives were just about to change forever.

Wedding Photography

Our wedding was on a Friday night and started at 7:30 pm. I loved the idea of an evening wedding and we wanted to have Saturday to travel so this worked best. Our ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and included vows that we wrote together. They were personal, meaningful and were a true promise we made to each other. But neither of us wanted to take the mic and make a speech so we still repeated them after the pastor like traditional vows.

Wedding Photography

To celebrate our 4 year anniversary, I asked my sister-in-law Karen to write our vows on a sign to hang above our bed. Of course, she did an amazing job and we are obsessed. To see more of Karen’s work, visit her site here.

Wedding Vow Calligraphy for Bedroom wall Art

“I promise to love you, putting your needs ahead of mine and giving to you without restraint. I will cherish who God made you to be and value our differences. I will be honest, faithful, and trustworthy and I will give you my best as we seek and follow Christ together throughout all the days that I am given.”

It’s so humbling to see these vows again and do a real heart check. Am I doing these things I promised to do? Am I putting Kevin’s needs ahead of mine, valuing our differences, and giving him my best? There’s definitely quite a bit that I need to work on.

Wedding Photography

After the ceremony, we wanted to have a quick reception. As a play on the phrase “short and sweet” we used #SchwartzAndSweet as our wedding hashtag and that’s where the name of this blog comes from! We were able to greet our guests, eat, have dessert, do toasts, dance, watch fireworks and leave by 10:30 pm which meant everything took 3 hours in total, a success in my eyes!

Father Daughter Dance Wedding PhotographyFirst Dance Wedding Photography Wedding Photography

My mom and I spent hours making platters for our shrimp and antipasto skewers by gluing pink lace over a foam circle and then gluing the foam to a charger plate. It was so much work but I love how they turned out! We also had cheeseball, a dessert bar, and a s’more station.

Kabob Presentation for a WeddingKabob Presentation for a weddingFruit Kabobs for a weddingWedding Photography

Overall, my goal was to make people feel full of love, romance, and fun. These pictures bring me so much joy and I’m so thankful to have them.

Wedding Photography Wedding Photography Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography Fireworks at a wedding

Our Wedding day was so special and it’s so fun to remember it all again. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to keep putting in the work for a beautiful marriage. It’s truly a treasure that is worth it all.

Thank you, Kevin, for putting up with 13 months of wedding planning and every difficulty we’ve faced. You’re the best and I love you so much! ♥️

Our Sweet Summer Wedding

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10 Things That Happen When You’re a Non-Amish Woman Married to an Ex-Amish Man

As is common around my area, my husband was Amish for the first ten years of his life. His family then left the Amish and moved to a different school where we met in the fifth grade.

Three out of my four grandparents were raised Amish but neither of my parents were so I really didn’t know a whole lot about the Amish culture until my husband and I started dating.

Like any couple, we didn’t know how our childhood would affect our relationship until after we got married. Now that it’s been 3 1/2 years since we said “I do”, I’ve started noticing a few things that seem to come up often in our life together.

So without further ado, here’s 10 things that happen when you’re a non-Amish woman married to an ex-Amish man.

1. He Talks Dutch in His Sleep

There have been multiple times that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to my husband talking in his sleep. I’m always intrigued by sleep talk and love how funny it can be but the problem is, his sleep talk is only in Dutch which I don’t speak. So not only do I get woken up, but I have no funny story to tell in the morning because I have no idea what he said.

2. You Disagree on Your Sleeping Habits

Speaking of sleep, there’s probably nothing that my husband and I disagree on more than our sleeping habits. I truly do love sleep and in general, I prefer to stay up late and sleep in. But when you grow up Amish, you are taught the value of the old saying “early to bed and early to rise.” There are chores and animals to take care of first thing in the morning before going to work or school. Even though we don’t currently have a farm, my husband is still accustomed to waking up before the sun, working all morning and then relaxing in the evening which is the complete opposite of me. I wish I could be more like him and I’ve tried multiple times to change but let’s be real, it’s just not in my blood.

A non-electric washer and dryer that an Amish woman uses to do laundry.
A beautiful, simple, non-electric laundry space ♥️

3. You Constantly Wonder If You’re Doing Enough

If you don’t know much about the Amish let me tell you that Amish women

Get.

Stuff.

Done.

I am constantly baffled at how they manage to cook three full meals each day, do the laundry without an electric washer or dryer, keep a squeaky clean house, maintain huge gardens, sew all their clothes, preserve their harvest and mother a handful of children at the same time. Meanwhile, I feel like I run in circles all day and nothing ever gets done. Even though my husband is completely gracious with me, I still can’t help but compare and wonder if I’m doing all I can for our family. Maybe if I just woke up earlier….

4. Your Husband Wants to Take “Off Sundays”

One thing my husband and I differ on is our expectations for Sundays. I was raised in a family that went to church every single Sunday so to me, Sunday isn’t Sunday without it. But the Amish only have church every other Sunday and use their “Off-Sunday” to truly rest. So while I may have a tendency to feel guilty for missing church, my husband thinks complete rest is an equally important part of the Sabbath. This is a new concept for me and one I’m still wrestling with but I can see the beauty of it and those Sundays that we’ve taken to rest have been truly refreshing.

5. He Calculates Travel Time by Horse and Buggy

When it comes to how early we need to leave the house to get somewhere, my husband is the King of the phrase “hurry up and wait.” Granted, I’m not necessarily the Queen of being on time but there are instances where I am just baffled by how early he wants to leave. This is especially confusing to me because if we get there early, he usually likes to circle the block until it’s time to go in. But the other day it dawned on me that perhaps deep down, he’s thinking of his horse and buggy days and basing his calculations off of that. This makes so much more sense!

Dressing in Amish clothes for an Amish wedding
Dressing in Amish clothes for an Amish wedding

6. You End up Sitting in Darkness

We have electricity and lights in our home for a reason but sometimes my husband prefers not to use them. As evening comes, he loves to let the darkness fill our home until we can’t see anything at all. This drives me crazy. Furthermore, at Christmas brunch, my in-laws all voted to keep the lights off while we ate. They all loved it. I suppose it would be quite lovely to be more in tune with the Earth’s natural rhythm of light but my eyes simply do not agree.

7. You Must Have Applesauce in the House at All Times

One thing Amish people love to eat is applesauce. They especially like to dip their pizza in it and mix it in their casseroles. My husband isn’t even as big of a fan of applesauce as his relatives but we still have to keep a couple jars of it in the house just in case he suddenly craves it. Sometimes I will have dinner all set out on the table and my husband suddenly disappears only to emerge out of the basement a few minutes later with a jar of applesauce to accompany his meal. Who knew it was such a staple!

8. He Will Try to Get You to Sew

I will never forget the year my husband came home with a sewing machine for my birthday and said “we’re never buying clothes again.” He was joking of course. I think…

Truthfully I had expressed a desire to learn to sew and I did make a couple things when we first got the machine but I’ve struggled to persevere. It just doesn’t come natural to me. Sorry husband.

9. You Are Denied a Dessert Plate.

One thing I was very confused about when I started going to Amish gatherings was that there were no dessert plates. Everyone simply put their dessert right on top of where they ate their regular food (or even mixed it in just like the applesauce). Occasionally, I’ve asked my husband for a dessert plate and he just laughs at me. I don’t like the idea of my sweets mixing with my savory food but then I realized that it’s not as bad as washing all the dinner AND dessert plates by hand like the Amish would have to do. So while I’m thankful for my dishwasher, I don’t complain about the lack of dessert plates when I’m at an Amish ice cream supper.

10. You Get Enlightened

Anytime you mix two cultures in as intimate a relationship as marriage, you’re bound to find out that not everyone sees things the same way you do. While these differences can sometimes be frustrating, confusing, or difficult to adapt to, they can also open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Furthermore, letting a new culture teach you can bring a greater balance and wholeness to your life. And whether we like it or not, this is what makes marriage so beautiful ❤️

Do you have a cross cultural marriage? What are some ways you and your spouse see the world differently?

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The number one thing I learned in my first year of marriage Click the image to find out what I learned in my first year of marriage ♥️

7 Tips For a Quick Wedding Reception

Wedding receptions come in all shapes and sizes and everyone has their own opinion about what makes a reception great. Some people value decadent five course dinners and others dream of hours of partying with plenty of drinks and dancing. On the other hand, some couples prefer a reception that, while still tons of fun, is short and to the point and let’s you move on to your happily ever after. If that’s you, here’s 7 simple tips to plan a quick reception that doesn’t compromise on your favorite festivities.
1) Do a Receiving Line After the Ceremony
I get it, people don’t like receiving lines because the guests in the back row are left sitting there forever while waiting for their turn to be dismissed by the bride and groom. But even though it can feel like a huge chunk of time, it really is the quickest and most efficient way to make sure you get a chance to talk to each one of your guests and thank them for coming. Otherwise you end up wandering around during the reception trying to make sure you talk to everyone. Not only is this impossible, but it also means you either miss out on your chance to eat and dance or you do all three which takes double the time and really stretches out how long your reception lasts. There will still be plenty of time to talk more with your close friends and family again but since you’ve already touched base with everyone, you won’t be spending tons of time making small talk with your great aunt’s new boyfriend during your reception.


2) Make a Clear Path From the Ceremony to the Dinner Tables
Once you’ve dismissed people, they have to have a good understanding of what they’re supposed to do next. Otherwise they end up hanging out and never making it to their table until they’re repeatedly coerced to do so by ushers or an emcee. The next thing you know, you’re starting your reception 30 minutes late. To combat this, make sure your officiant gives good instructions after the ceremony and make a clear path to your dinner tables. Literally lining the pathway helps as well as good signage if there’s quite a distance between the ceremony and reception areas. However, the best way to get people seated quickly is by providing an incentive and what gets people more motivated than food? So salad or cheese ball or some other appetizer out on the table and ready to be eaten is the easiest way to get your reception started promptly.


3) Take All Your Pictures Before the Ceremony
Now that you’ve figured out how to get your guests seated quickly, the next thing you have to accomplish is getting the bridal party to the reception on time. The easiest way to do this is to take all of your bridal party and family pictures before the ceremony starts so that only minimal pictures are needed in between. Thanks to the invention of the “First Look” where the groom sees the bride for the first time on camera before the ceremony, this is becoming much more popular. Not only does this keep your guests happy because they aren’t struggling to find something to do while you take ten million pictures, but it also gets your reception started earlier and you move on to the rest of your life quicker! Remember, that’s the goal here.


4) Make A Reception Playlist
When I was planning my wedding, I wanted to know exactly how long everything would take (Type A personality, maybe?). The best way I found to do that was to make a playlist for the entire reception and let it be the guide for when to move on to the next event. So after everyone was seated, the bridal party was announced and my dad prayed over the meal. I then had my emcee start a playlist of five songs totaling somewhere around 20 minutes that played while we ate dinner. As soon as it finished, we knew it was time to start the toasts. Likewise, I put together a playlist for dancing that simply played from start to end. By doing this, I could accurately plan out exactly how long my reception would last and it kept things moving along nicely.

Schwartz Wedd.-958
5) Do Toasts and Dances During Dinner 
So even though my dinner playlist definitely lasted twenty minutes, I knew people probably wouldn’t be done eating by then. That was ok though because I specifically wanted people to be able to listen to the toasts from the Best Man and Maid of Honor and then watch my husband and I’s first dance and the father daughter dance WHILE they were still eating. (Remember these dances were timed out on the playlist so I knew exactly how long this portion will take.) This cuts back on time tremendously because it’s an easy way to multitask. People eat and watch a show simultaneously all the time and because your bridal party and parents are the first to get their food, they are usually mostly done eating by then anyway.


6) Do Dessert and Dancing Simultaneously
On the note of multitasking, another thing that doesn’t need its own dedicated segment during your reception is dessert. Instead you can let people serve themselves cake while other people are dancing. Not only does this majorly cut down on time but it also gives those non-dancers something to do besides awkwardly watching the dancers dance. And while there are some dedicated people who want to be on the dance floor the entire time, most people are happy to take a break for a song or two while they eat a couple of cupcakes.

Schwartz Wedd.-1100
7) Let Your Sendoff Plan and Time Be Known
This is perhaps one of the best ways to keep your reception on schedule. At some point, when you have everyone’s attention, let them know exactly when and how you plan to leave your reception. Maybe you’re doing a Sparkler Tunnel at 9 pm or Fireworks at 10:30. Whatever it is, announcing it will keep everyone accountable to staying on schedule because you all have the same goal in mind. Additionally, giving people this information will make it more likely that they stick around to see you leave because they know exactly what to expect and will be motivated to wait for a fun send off. This way you will likely be one of the first couples to leave your wedding which was a high priority for me.

Schwartz Wedd.-1199
If partying late into the night is something you’re excited about, then by all means don’t worry about a quick wedding reception. But if you’re hoping to keep the celebration short and sweet it will take careful planning and effort. My wedding started at 7:30 pm, we left at 10:30 sharp and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was three quick hours of pure wedding romance and fun. I sincerely hope this helps you plan the reception of your dreams and your wedding goes smoothly! It’s once-in-a-lifetime so remember to soak it all in and enjoy your day ❤️

If You Can’t Handle Me At My Worst…

Marilyn Monroe once famously said,

“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

Like so many of Marilyn’s other quotes, our culture has absorbed this one and we have let it affect the way we view relationships. We use this mantra as we fight with our significant others, we post it to our Facebook walls, and we even sing along to it in Machine Gun Kelly’s new song “At My Best.” Young girls everywhere write “can handle me at my worst” on their list of criteria their future spouse must exhibit. I’m serious.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the quote completely. Unconditional love, even in spite of totally undesirable traits, is something to seek out. Having people around us who accept us just as we are is vital to our well being. I would never advise someone to continue on in a romantic dating relationship where they are not valued for who they are, taking the bad with the good. And yet I consistently get a bad taste in my mouth whenever I come across someone repeating this famous quote.

For one, this quote feels like a license to be a difficult human being. Of course we’re all overflowing with imperfections. They seem to continuously spill out, especially on the ones we love the most. But if someone is having trouble handling our worst traits, we cannot just conclude that they don’t deserve us and keep on being our worst self. When we do this, we put the weight of sustaining our relationships completely onto the other person. It takes all of the responsibility off of us and blames someone else even though we have just admitted that we are the ones causing problems by being at our worst. And that’s absurd.

On the contrary, we humans should try to put our best foot forward for all other people. Not because they deserve it. But because giving our best to others is one of the most selfless ways to love. It demonstrates respect and humility and a willingness to sacrifice our emotions in order to regulate our actions so that we are easy for other people to deal with. This should be our goal. Inevitably, we will mess up. We will fall short. Our worst traits will come out. We can’t help it. But when this happens we should look around at who is still loving us. These people have chosen to accept us in spite of our failures. They are special. When we’re around them, we don’t have to fear what they will do if our worst slips out. What a sweet, sweet gift. Therefore, we should try even harder to be our best selves around these people. They truly deserve it.

So I hope that our new mantra becomes this,

“If you can handle me at my worst, then I want to give you nothing but my best.”

Perhaps this is actually what Marilyn Monroe was getting at, but a little tweak in how we say it can change our attitudes and relationships big time.

The #1 Thing I Learned in my 1st Year of Marriage

Kevin and I had a great first year of marriage. I will be honest, the year we were engaged was rough. Preparing for marriage without actually being married was confusing and difficult and we ended up just fighting a lot. So far, year number two has the added stress of a newborn and were still figuring out how to deal with that. But year number one was genuinely awesome. We really enjoyed each other’s company, we were eagerly anticipating the arrival of our first child, and we just didn’t fight all that much. However, when we did fight, more often than not it was about that M word that seems to infect so many marriages today. Money.

When we were praying about whether or not to have a baby, one of our main concerns was if we were financially ready. We both had mostly steady jobs, a decent savings account, and were fairly responsible with our money but we knew how quickly life can change all that so we just couldn’t know for sure. But we concluded that only God can predict what’s in our financial future so we decided to stand on his promise to take care of us if a baby joins our family.

About 6 weeks into our marriage I started to wake up each morning feeling sick. Sick and very tired. It was too early to take a test but I had a pretty good idea where this was all headed. That same week, one of us (I won’t disclose which one) backed into my brother’s car leaving a good old dent and consequently, a nice debt to pay. Right about that time, Kevin’s job significantly decreased his hours as the factory he worked at headed into its slow season and I got pretty worried.

“You know you’re probably going to find out you’re pregnant now, right?” My mom teased as I told her about the factory. She thought she was being funny but she had no idea that I was already staring that reality in the face. I had already found out that I was indeed pregnant.

I started my prenatal care a couple weeks later and found out just how much the next nine months would cost.
Stress. I was stressed.
I was worried.
I was trying not to be mad at whichever one of us hit a parked car in our driveway.
I was trying not to feel regretful that I had gotten pregnant when maybe we weren’t prepared.
Most importantly, I was trying not to feel totally betrayed by the God I had chosen to trust.
But I did.
And I was scared.
And I was mad.

I walked around with these emotions bottled up inside me for a couple weeks. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because we were still waiting to surprise everyone with the pregnancy. Finally, one morning at church I had to let it go. I had to just choose to continue to trust God even though I couldn’t tell what he was up to. So I gave it all to Him and in return I received peace and pure excitement for the pregnancy and baby that would soon enter our life. Little did I know that this would allow God to blow us away with His provision in the next couple months.

I’m an avid budgeter and I make sure I know what’s happening with every dollar we bring in. Every month I would look at my calculations and conclude that we might not make ends meet. And yet somehow, every month we had more than enough. I would look at Kevin in astonishment and he would just smile and say “God is good.” Sometimes we were provided with random side jobs that helped bring in extra cash and other times our monthly bills would just decrease for reasons we still don’t understand. But God still had more for us.

When I was 25 weeks pregnant I got rear ended while driving in traffic. I knew immediately that the baby and I were both ok but for everyone’s peace of mind we went to the hospital for monitoring just in case. As expected, everything checked out fine but then the next several weeks were full of insurance headaches for me. I often wondered why this had to happen. The accident wasn’t my fault so I shouldn’t have had to pay anything but I was still prepared to fight the agent when he called me one day to talk about the settlement. I was shocked, amazed, and humbled when he told me that in addition to fixing my car, they planned to send me a check for TWICE my hospital bill to compensate for any discomfort and stress. Part of me was upset that I never ever saw that coming but mainly it was just so great to encounter the God who can do more than I could ask for or imagine.

Soon after that, we also got our tax refund and a totally unexpected check in the mail because apparently we had overpaid on our property taxes the year before. We were completely blown away at how God had provided for us. You would think at this point I would have no reason to be afraid or stressed about money any longer but I confess that when faced with a difficult expense, I still was filled with fear.

At 36 weeks pregnant I was relieved to have completely paid off my prenatal care and the total cost of the out-of-hospital, unmedicated birth I was planning. I was now able to stop working and completely prepare my home and body to bring a child into this world. However, as life would have it, Kevin’s factory started falling apart and he had no other choice but to find another job. Fortunately, he had one right away but this completely messed with our health insurance. I told myself it was totally fine since the birth was going to go smoothly and I had already paid it off but in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think about what would happen if for some reason I ended up in the hospital.

I received the opportunity to find out for sure at 41 weeks pregnant when my blood pressure spiked and I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I was sent directly to the hospital to be induced and had to kiss my paid-off natural birth plans goodbye. After 40 hours of Pitocin our precious daughter was born perfectly healthy but my health declined. I ended up staying a total of five nights in the hospital, with 24 hours of magnesium and what felt like tons of blood work. I was so nervous about how much this all would cost and I cried when we got that first statement in the mail. I knew God had provided for us before and I knew he could again but I didn’t know how he was going to do it and that still made me nervous. Figuring out health insurance was a headache and I wondered often why I had to deal with it all. It took a couple months before it was all situated out but to my amazement we received two more refund checks in the mail and our insurance covered way more than what my understanding of our plan said they should have. God has truly blown us away with His provision and has shown me that I never have to doubt him again.

The title of this post may have lead you to believe this was going to be a mushy gushy post about keeping up with date night or something. But what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn is that if I don’t have peace with God in a particular area of my life, such as finances, then I cannot have marital peace in that area. If I don’t believe that God will provide for me, I will put pressure on my husband to do it and I will struggle extending grace when he, I don’t know, mistakenly backs into my brother’s car or something. Our marriage will be full of tension because ultimately, it will be full of fear. Conversely, nothing bonds two people together like being totally dependent on God and then watching him do amazing things. I thank God for every financial challenge we faced this year because money is one thing I definitely don’t want poisoning my marriage. Trusting in God is the antidote and I’m so glad we now have it in our home.
❤️❤️❤️

What have you been learning in your marriage lately? Let me know in the comments!

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If you can’t handle me at my worst then maybe I should try harder to give you my best
Click the image to read another important lesson I’ve learned in my marriage