I’ve had pictures uploaded for several weeks now, but I didn’t know where to start… or stop.

So, with [my sister] Ervina’s assistance, today is the day to write about [my other sister] Claudia’s wedding!

However, be forewarned: this is my last sister to be married and I want to drink every last delicious drop of the day. :)

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It all began five-six years ago. A certain man was interested in a particular girl, soooo he asked her dad about her… The dad said, “She’s too young. Forget the idea.”

The certain man didn’t forget. In fact, his love only grew. And in time, the girl grew up. They worked together for several years at the youth center, pouring themselves into the lives and hearts of kids. And the young man asked again, and perhaps even again. And in time, the girl [who said she was never going to get married] fell in love too.

As the time came for their wedding, they wanted it to be a picture of Jesus Christ and His return for His bride, His pure, spotless bride. It’s a death to self, and a living in the life of Christ.

This is the wedding of Christopher & Claudia.

 The Invitations

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If anyone knows my sister Claudia, they know she is a free-spirited, unforgettable kind of girl. She’s awesome!

The poster-sized invitations were the first sign that this was going to be a unique wedding. The wording is so fun too, and worth reading if you can.

“… rejoice that they are finally getting married…. if you want a spot at the party please rsvp… due to the bride being an avid garage saler and the groom building a small abode, the happy couple would prefer gift cards…”

I requested that she mail one of these colorful hand-sewn envelopes all to way to me just so I’d have the fun of getting it in my mailbox. :) Apparently everyone else loved it too. There were only a few negative responses to the hundreds she sent out!!

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There aren’t many brides who would want rain on their wedding day. Especially not when the entire wedding is planned for the outdoors, without even a tent.

The wedding was going to be all out-doors, from the ceremony to the reception, on the beautiful grounds of my parents’ property.

In two days the plans were transformed and yet somehow still the same.

There was so much joy!!

And God was so glorified.

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The great Plan A got thrown to the wind and rain, and Plan B began with a very large tent.

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The last-minute changes were made possible by the fabulous family and friends that showed up and worked so hard to make it happen! You know you have awesome friends and family when they are willing to be drenched in order to make your dreams come true! :)

// The groom and bride-to-be the morning of the wedding! //

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// like I said, awesome friends,
who came to help in rain jackets and boots! //


The Theme of the Day.

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The Preparation

// details hand-written by my sister, Ervina, on an old chalkboard //

The Wedding!

This scene was designed to
1.) portray a biblical picture of Christ coming for his bride, and
2.) induce large goose bumps on everyone watching.
It accomplished both in a wonderful fashion.

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Meet the Groom.
He was coming for his bride, and he would stop at nothing to “gain the desire of his heart”
(thank you Ervin Barkman for the quote).

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 Chris & Claudia spoke during the ceremony,
sharing their passion for souls and their desire to live pure and holy before the Lord of Heaven.

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The Wedding
{the details}

Getting ready to the tune of rain on the skylight didn’t dampen anyone’s feelings.
How could feelings be dampened when she just. looked. so. beautiful?


The Bride

The bridesmaids arrived at the First Look location before the groom AND before the photographer! So we had a loads of fun taking a few pictures before the rest of the people arrived. :)

Meet the beautiful bride!

// Who needs professional florists when you can pluck some beauty from a friend’s garden and stick some peacock feathers in the middle? //

The Bride & Groom

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One of my favorite things about the wedding was something I did not get on camera due to being in the bridal party, but there was a confetti storm at the First Kiss! It was rigged from the top of the huppah, and was THE most awesome First Kiss I’ve ever seen at a wedding!

 The Bridal Party

Maybe it was because I knew all the girls, and most of the guys too, but this bridal party was just so much fun!

I loved the colors and styles in both the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Nothing matched, but everything was coordinated.

// brothers and sister of the groom //

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The Sisterhood ♥

They thought they’d be all emotional and stuff but they were too excited and stuff for their little sister.

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Claudia and Ervina. Best of Friends since Claudia’s birth. Inseparable sisters. Bride & Matron of Honor.

Claudia & Jana. 4th and 2nd-born sisters.

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Claudia and Clarita. I adore her! ♥

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Décor & Seating Area
{the details}

Such fun and creativity!

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// I made the zebra pillow, by special request of the bride :) //

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Hello benches.
You’re beautiful and an hour or two on you is fine but I count myself most fortunate to not to spend too much time on you.

// a friend of Claudia’s found this floral chair at a yard sale – isn’t she a beauty? //

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// button monogram of the surname //

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// another button monogram created by Ervina //

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Ceremony Details

My husband and brother-in-law created this wedding huppah, which was a great accent piece.

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// layout of the ceremony and reception – the wooden benches were arranged in a half-circle around the huppah. The benches were  courtesy of the Amish neighbors! //

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The Little Kiddos

The idea was that flower girls and boy would carry little vintage teapots filled with sprinkles and confetti and glitter. :)

The reality is that they all became a little frightened, and plans didn’t go exactly as hoped. But it was okay.

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I hardly have any pictures of them at the wedding, but the ones at the rehearsal are so cute!

// nephew and niece of the groom //

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// our two little flower girls, perfect at the practice round :) //

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// oops. sometimes it’s a little too busy for tired kiddos. //

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// fun kiddo time //

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// lovely seesters of ours ♥ //

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// grandmother of the groom //

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// my handsome son //

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Other bridal party informals…

// my brother James and I //

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“Make a face depicting your relationship as children.”

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“Make a face depicting your relationship now.”

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// Abigail and Claudia. Best friends. //

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// Danielle and Claudia. No longer just good friends: now sisters-in-law as well. //

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// Beautiful Beth. Sweetest friend ever. //

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The Reception

Because of the rain there were no longer tables for everyone, but we created a special place for just the bride & groom. It was absolutely beautiful!

My sister Ervina and I put together some vintage plates, goblets, and linens, and my husband hung the chandelier. The vintage gold chairs were absolutely fabulous! Two of them will be lovingly brought to my home now. :)

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The caterer was fabulous-

not only in the food but also in the presentation!

She even brought these vintage umbrellas for above the serving areas – perfect décor for the rainy day!

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I only wish I would have gotten more pictures of the food presentation, it was SO pretty.

// yogurt parfait bar //

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// straws for the iced coffee, sweet tea, and lemonade //

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My dad has six brothers, and he had this great idea that they would all fire up grills and make all the hamburgers and grilled chicken – for 400 people! One faraway brother in Thailand and his family were so missed that day…

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// Father of the Bride //

There not enough hours in the day for the amount of hours he worked. On top of being up since the crack of dawn and making the property perfect and running around up to the minute the wedding started drenched to the bone from the pouring rain he also was preparing his fatherly speech and pastoral vows for the couple. He’s our hero. And at the end of the day, give him a grill to man, chicken to taste test, and his brothers to laugh at and he just might be in his glory.

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There was face painting for the kiddos, by the talented Becca and Deanna.

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a few family pictures…

// groom’s family //

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// brother of the groom & children //

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// friends ♥ //

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// cousins! ♥ //

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// I just LOVE my family //

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// the one poor picture of our little family! at least you can see the adorable dresses my daughters wore! :) //

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// my two men //

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// my parents ♥ //

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// brides can be classy AND fun //

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Rainbows of Flowers

Claudia wanted color in the wedding, and the flowers provided and arranged by friends were fabulous and beautiful!

I love wedding details. Here are a few fun colorful shots!

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// my mommy’s hands //

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One of my very favorites of  the whole wedding – the rainbow of flowers.

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And that’s the basic gist of it all. :) Forgive my elaborated version, but I simply could not condense it. That will be the real photographer’s job. :)

A lot of people said it was one of the most meaningful weddings they’d ever been to in their lives.
I say I’d never seen a wedding so prayed for in my life. I guess that’s why.

Congratulations, Chris & Claude.
Thank you, Jesus.

My love,


dress: Michelle Horst // hair: Gianna Stutzman Sensenig // flowers: Frieda Graber, Rebecca Graber, Deanna Graber, Esther Petersheim, Mim Beiler, Grace Good // wedding huppah: Kenneth Yoder, Benjamin Yoder // caterer and reception design: Kathryn Esh Dienner // bridal party pictures taken at the Cork Factory Hotel, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

42 thoughts on “Chris & Claudia {The Wedding of Rainbows and Raindrops}

  1. Elizabeth

    I LOVED all of these photos and the explanations to go along with them! Your post made me so sad I didn’t have more pictures from my sister’s wedding! However, my uncle was the photographer so I know lots were taken. ;)

    The flowers are so, so beautiful and I love the buttons in the bottom!..your girl’s dresses are adoarable! You looked so pretty! I love your little family!!!
    I like how all the brothers got together and grilled, what a special day. And the caterer…wow! I would love to see more pictures! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Rebecca

    EVERY single time that I read your blog I walk away with a contented sigh, a prayer to be more intentional in my living, and happily inspired by the beauty that I see and the love for our precious Lord lived out so beautifully! Thank you for such a lovely inspiration and such a lovely sharing of their special day!
    :) Blessings, Rebecca

  3. Carmen

    My mouth hangs open! Just gorgeous, and so unique. I love the buttons! So precious to hear how God honoring it was to witness IRL too! Clarita, your pictures are just perfect, and everyone is lovely – as always. I won’t start commenting on specifics, or I’ll be here a very long time.

  4. Aimee Weaver

    Ok, I just SOAKED IN your gorgeous pictures! The wedding looks so, so lovely and unique and PERFECT!!! You captured all the details so beautifully. Thanks for sharing!

  5. LaDonna

    And I’m thinking I would love to sit down and chat with your mom and ask her what she did to raise ladies with such joy and beauty glowing through them, and how I can teach some of that to my own dear little ladies.

  6. Angela

    Not sure if you are trying to totally inspire me every.single.time.I.visit, but if you are, I give you an A+mazing! I’m serious. I feel a bit giddy when I see your blog in my email cause I know I’m in for a treat. This seester wedding was no exception. So unique, pretty, & from the sounds of it, God was center stage. I have to admit, I am momma to twin boys, aged 18 1/2, who both are in courtships, and I often pass on your posts to their sweethearts so they can see all your great ideas! Blessings to you & yours~ Angela

  7. shelly

    Hmmm, I like the above comment, for starters. :) And, wow, wow. Everything is just gorgeous!! I love how (at least it appears) that no one had too, too much anxiety over that very rainy day and just embraced it and flowed with the changes that had to be made. I can’t imagine it being any more beautiful on a sunny day ~ rainy day color saturation is lovely. Love the flowers and buttons, yes. And the non-matchy clothes. And the color!! And the brothers grillings. So cool! :)

  8. Michelle

    I scrolled slowly and just soaked in the loveliness! I love, love the creativity and all the color! But even better than all the beauty, I love hearing that the guests found it so meaningful, too. I think that says so much about who your sister (and her husband) and your families are as people of God and that is an absolutely priceless treasure!

  9. Breana

    The romance! The beauty! It is soooo inspiring! *sigh* I absolutely L-O-V-E the wedding posts! Not just Claudia’s, but Ervina’s and Jana’s as well! :) Your family sets a standard for beautiful, Christ-honoring weddings!
    Clarita, would you pleeeaaase do a post about your wedding?!
    Thank you MUCH for sharing Claudia and Chris’ Special Day!

    In Jesus Christ,
    Breana :)

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Breana! You gave the highest compliment, and that is our desire in how to live – in a Christ-honoring way! And MY wedding?? Well, that was back 8 years ago, and even though I LOVE it still, I never thought about doing a post about it! I shall see! :) Blessings to you! ♥

  10. Cindy

    It was all so very beautiful and fun to look at! what meaningful details too. love it. I’m sure that was a short version, I know that I could have looked at moreMORE! pictures :) for lots longer. Sarah enjoyed this with me and said, hey! that’s the little boy with the mustache shirt (your birth announcement!

  11. Thelma

    i love it. you’ve prly seen my footprints coming back over and over. (that is, if this new blog of yours has footprints…). anyway. it’s just fun to look at. i think it’s so great that each of your sisters had a wedding so completely differant from each other, even tho they were in such a short time frame of each other.
    yes, i could have looked at lots more too, don’t apologize about the length to me:-)
    I do have a question, the shot of the groom jumping the fence. was that during the ceremony? like, he really did that? that’s fabulous.
    when her photographer blogs this wedding, do post a link.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      um, nope, this new blog doesn’t have footprints. :) and yes, the groom really and truly did that!! the shot I have is from rehearsal, but he did the same thing for the ceremony. it was the coolest thing! :)

  12. Emily

    What an INCREDIBLE wedding. The decorations are beautiful and you did a great job on these pictures. They are gorgeous. Who was the photographer? I would love to see more pictures!
    Oh, and you and your sisters are just beautiful!


  13. amber

    i just love your sisters!
    and i’ve never even met them.
    the joy and beauty and creativity is one thing..
    but there’s a warmth and graciousness that seems to exude from each of you too, making you all so likable!! :))

    this is an out of this world beautiful wedding. love LOVE the uniqueness in each and every detail.

    thanks for sharing. you can never have too many pictures in my opinion. ;))

    happy weekend friend. xo

  14. Chels

    Clarita, I was just THRILLED about the length. =) loved every single little long bit of it! So much unique-ness and loveliness!
    so, question…was the bride there in front of the guests first, and then the groom came in? I’ve heard of it done that way in a wedding before and I think its so cool-totally a picture of Christ coming for His bride. funny how we get it all mixed up sometimes…

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I always love your comments, Chels! :) And yes, the bride was there in front before the groom, waiting for him, when the groom and groomsmen came running in. It was most unusual, and I think the guests were not quite certain what was happening! :) They intentionally did not have programs for the guests to have, because they wanted the suspense and the surprise of what was happening – to reflect the coming of Christ and our readiness for Him. It was so so neat.

      The photography is Megan Nicole, right here. http://meagannicole.com/ So far she hasn’t posted pictures, but I cannot wait to see them!!

  15. Charmaine

    Beautiful- every detail! This is one wedding I did not want to miss, but so sad it didn’t work out for us to be there. Thanks for sharing- it gave a great taste of what it would have been to be there.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I’m sorry you had to miss the wedding too! It would have been such a fun one for you to be at! But I know about living far away… It’s just not easy to do everything as it once was!

  16. Chels

    oh and also…who was the professional photographer? I would LOVE to see pics of the ceremony!
    (your pics are super professional too…I’m sure you know what I mean when I say “professional photographer”. the hired one. =))

  17. Sarah D

    Oh Clarita!

    Thank you so much for sharing your sister’s special day…well, actually it’s clear by the photos that it was special day for your entire family! I’m so happy for you all!

    Also, can I hire you and your family to coordinate my wedding when and if it happens? LOL Seriously, you did a FANTASTIC job!

  18. Beth

    So beautiful!! I love all the pictures and I love how you love your family! Did that make any sense?? :D

    Congrats to your sister and many blessings to her and her new groom!

  19. tessfull2

    Beautiful wedding… you captured it well. I felt your love for your family as I read on enjoying every detail and pops of color. My fav pix is of the groom running toward his bride over the fence.. it seriously pricked tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I LOVE that picture too! It was such a beautiful description not only of the groom’s anticipation of the marriage, but also of Christ’s with His church! They are an amazing couple. :)

  20. Angie

    Beautiful bride but POOOOR groom’s outfit!!! Such a horrible laissez-faire look I’ve never seen before on a wedding! Make it better next try, Chris ;-)

  21. Christy

    I LOOOOOOVED seeing all these pictures. I always think from seeing her through your blog that Claudia seems to have such a fun personality. Her decor and style fit with that so perfectly. I am in love with the groom’s style. I have dreamed of photographing grooms with a less traditional style. Someday….I hope. :)

  22. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

    I know, I LOVED the style of the groom and groomsmen – it was so fun and yet stylish all at once. It makes me wish I could redo some of my very traditional points of my wedding. :) I hope you get to photograph one someday!

  23. Christy

    I was checking out the comments page Shannon pointed out, and saw this comment. :) I got one reply to email, but that’s all. The others haven’t been coming through.

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