A Vow Renewal Second Wedding Reception and Trip to Wisconsin

Our summer has been busy. As many of you may already know, Victoria and I got married in Texas in January. Since a lot of my Wisconsin family and friends couldn't make it down to the wedding, we decided to have a second reception in Wisconsin. We planned also have a second ceremony before that reception and partake in some of the unique Wisconsin wedding traditions.

Looking back, planning two separate ceremonies and two separate receptions in two states across the country was a monumental task. There was definitely a lot of work involved! Then again, these are the special parts of our lives and this work is worth it. Almost every element revolving around our wedding was special and unique.

For an engagement ring, I wasn't just going to go to a store and buy something off the shelf. I wasn't even going to make a diamond the main rock in the ring. Instead, I drove up to Thunder Bay, Ontario, went to an amethyst mine and bought an amethyst stone, and then brought the amethyst back to Texas. I then proceeded to have a custom ring made with that amethyst. I did this because Thunder Bay is one of my favorite places in the world the visit and the largest deposits of amethyst in North America are there (some amethyst can be found in my native Wisconsin). Amethyst represents deep love and I felt that was more fitting than just buying a diamond.

To propose, I chose to propose at the Alamo. This is where our first date ended up. I proposed in the spot we had our first kiss and then we went on to celebrate Texas-style at Whataburger. Everything about the ring and where I proposed melded our Wisconsin-Texas culture together.

Where we got married held significant family value on Victoria's mother's side. The Inn at Salado was once owned by Victoria's great-grandparents and was her grandmother's childhood home. It had since been converted into a bed and breakfast and wedding venue. This was the perfect place to get married. On top of that, Victoria's aunt Caroline, on her dad's side, is a Lutheran Minister, so she acted as the officiant and married us.

The interesting thing is I'm Catholic and Victoria is Methodist. In many ways we've melded our denominations and one week we go to Catholic Mass and next week we go to a Methodist service (actually at Victoria's childhood church, Oak Hill United Methodist). As you can see, we had a Lutheran minister marry us. It seems Protestant-based denominations are less strict when it comes to this than the Catholic Church.

In order for the Catholic Church to formally recognize a marriage, it has to basically be done in an actual Catholic Church by either a Priest or Deacon. Anything outside of that is not considered valid and it needs to be made valid through a process called, “convalidation.” This was going to be our snag and we originally planned to do the convalidation in Wisconsin, hence our second ceremony.

With that being said, there's another process called dispensation. Basically, it's getting a formal exception approved by the Bishop of your local dioceses. We signed up for marriage prep classes at our local Catholic Church, St. Louis King of France, and then got everything in order there. We worked with a Deacon and filled out all the paperwork for a dispensation. Due to the place we were getting married having historical family value and also the officiant being family and clergy of another denomination, we were granted a dispensation. Our wedding in Texas would fully be recognized by the Catholic Church!

There was now no need to convalidate it. We could now do a simple vow renewal. We had been working with Deacon Ray at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Marshfield. My parents belong to Sacred Heart and this was my childhood church. I even went there for elementary school. Deacon Ray has known my family for years, so he was the perfect person to officiate. We got all the plans together and decided to have the reception at Bakerville Sports Bar and Grill.

If you've read this far, you can see there was a lot behind every aspect of our wedding. It was a ton of work, but worth it in the end. Victoria is an amazing woman and everything we put into this whole process represented us.

After all this planning, it was finally time to fly to Wisconsin and have the vow renewal and second wedding reception. As you know, I hate flying and would prefer to drive, but we were cramped for time. The night before we decided to say goodbye to Austin for the time being, so we ate at one of our favorite places, Wally's. We made sure to leave our bad attitudes in the trash can.

It was an extremely early morning to fly out. In many ways seeing it was already 82F (28C) at 3 in-the-morning made me excited for Wisconsin.

We headed to the airport, parked, rode the bus from the parking lot, made it through security, and then hung around a mainly empty airport.

We were hungry and the only thing open was an Einstein Bagels with a Caribou Coffee. Everyone in the airport had the same idea.

Since Caribou Coffee is based out of Minnesota, they have some cool designs on the cups that made me more excited to get to Wisconsin.

We had breakfast and then got on the plane.

There must have been some really bad flooding around St. Louis. When we were about to land for our layover, I noticed a lot of standing water.

At our layover, I got an energy drink to stay awake. The layover wasn't long and we were on the plane and in Milwaukee in no time!

Milwaukee or Minneapolis are the closest major (and cheap) airports to Marshfield. They're each a three hour drive away. With that, we had three hours to drive, so we went and got our rental car.

I love driving on the open roads. I hate driving in congested cities. Victoria offered to drive out of Milwaukee. I took her up on her offer.

After all this driving, we were getting hungry. We stopped in DeForest and found a Rocky Rococo attached to a gas station. After walking in, I could tell I was in Wisconsin with all the New Glarus beer on a pallet.

This time, I took over driving. I drove the rest of the way to my parent's house.

We then checked into Hotel Marshfield.

After that, we met my parents for dinner at El Mezcal. I had a taco salad.

When we got done eating, we were going to go back to the hotel. We were exhausted from being up so early. We decided to drop by Festival Foods along the way to get some alcohol.

I had a beer before going to bed.

The next morning, we met up with my parents, and we loaded up the vehicles with stuff and brought it to Bakerville Bar.

We started getting everything in order.

Once things were setup, I got the battery for the Cougar and the toolbox to get everything in order to take the Cougar out. Victoria and I went to where I store it and got it up and running.

We drove around a little bit, stopped at Kwik Trip for a quick bite to eat, and then headed out to my parent's house. Jordy was excited to see us.

A while later, we had brats and hamburgers.

The weatherman was mentioning the “high” heat indexes. To Victoria and me, it felt great! There was a threat of rain, so we decided to get the Cougar back in the garage before it hit. Lucky we did.

We decided to do a little exploring in the rental car. We drove past where they were building the new high school football stadium. We then went out to Kuyoth's in Stratford (the place I bought my Cougar).

We needed gas, so we filled up. I thought it would be cool to drive out to Lisa's Landing and check out the scenery there.

We headed back into Marshfield, stopped at Chip's and had some supper, and then got back to the hotel room to get some rest.

The next morning consisted of packing our stuff up so we could stay at the Holiday Inn later that day.

We then went back to Bakerville Bar and put the finishing on decorating. Some of my aunts and uncles showed up to help, as well as some family friends. We got it done in no time!

After that was done, we headed out to my buddy Mike's place so he could detail the Cougar. Mike is one of the only people I trust to do this.

I then took it to the Lava Wash.

By that time, we were able to check into the Holiday Inn. While planning everything, we found this was a central location for everyone and they were easy to book a room block. We decided to stay there the night before the vow renewal and the night of.

We then met my parents and Victoria's dad and his wife at Nutz Deep to have a Friday night fish fry.

After eating, Victoria and I decided to hit up Downtown Marshfield. We first walked to The Swamp and had a drink.

Once that drink was gone, we decided to walk to another bar. We passed Hardacre Park on the way to Goodfella's.s

Goodfella's is a quirky bar and the patrons are even quirkier. Some guy brought his bird to the bar and I even got to have it sit on my shoulder.

After a few drinks, we walked back to the hotel.

Oh no! The next morning it was raining. This was the day of the vow renewal and I really didn't want to take the Cougar out in the rain. It looked like it would pass. We had things to do so I was hoping that things would dry up in the meantime.

We first got breakfast at Melody Gardens. I then dropped Victoria off to get her nails done and then took the back roads to Wausau so I could have my suit pressed at Men's Wearhouse.

I then drove back and picked Victoria up. We decided to get lunch at Taco John's.

Thankfully, the rain had stopped! It was soon time for the vow renewal at Sacred Heart!

The vow renewal went well. Outside, we had the muscle cars lined up. We'd partake in the old Wisconsin wedding tradition of bar hopping between the ceremony and reception.

Our first stop was Nutz Deep. I made sure to have a Hamm's.s.

We then went to Five-O-One and I had a Budweiser.

Two drinks were enough. It was time to put the Cougar away and take our ride out to Bakerville Bar.

We passed an Amish buggy along the way.

We then got out there and partied. On the scoreboard was the date of our actual wedding.

After all the partying, we took the shuttle back to the hotel.

The next morning, we packed up our stuff to check out of the Holiday Inn. We then met Victoria's dad at Melody Gardens.

One thing I wanted to do is get all the old gas from last year out of the Cougar. I figured a little mini-road trip to North Wood County Park would be in order to run out the rest of the gas.

We drove through the park, checked out (well I checked out) the suspension bridge, and then we were going to check the campground until I came across high water. I wasn't as daring with the Cougar as some of the other people were with their vehicles.

I turned around and headed back to Marshfield. I got gas and then put the Cougar away.

We then picked up a pizza from Papa Murphy's and went back to my parents. I made sure to wash it down with some milk.

After eating, it was time to get back to Hotel Marshfield and get some rest. We decided to stay at Hotel Marshfield to save some money over the Holiday Inn. The next day, we'd be heading to Milwaukee to spend the night before we flew out.

The next morning was busy. We first got the tools that I needed from my parent's house, so I could remove the battery from the Cougar and get it all ready for the winter.

We stopped by Feltz Tire and I BS'ed with Dustin a bit.

After that, we got everything good to go for the Cougar for the winter and visited with my grandma.

Once visiting was done, we got gas, got a sub from Subway, and visited with my other grandma.

We were actually in luck. My grandma was also eating lunch so we were able to eat with her. We then headed back out to my parents' to drop off the tools. I stopped by the car on the silo.

It was now time to leave Marshfield and head for Milwaukee. By this part of the trip, we just wanted to get to Milwaukee. We pretty much drove straight through to the La Quinta we were going to stay at, except for a short detour at Evanswood Village Shops.

Before we went to bed, I wanted to get one last Wisconsin fix. Cousins Subs was just down the road and the perfect place to do it. I got my turkey sub (with everything on it) and a side of cheese curds.

We stopped by the BP Station across the road from the hotel and got some snacks for later and also some Sprite to mix with the bottle of liquor we got from Wild Grape Wine Company that was in Evanswood Village Shops.s.

We had that quick drink and got to bed. The next morning was super early again to fly back to Austin.

We dropped the rental car off and then headed into the airport. We had to wait for security to actually open, but we were soon on our plane. We had a short layover in Nashville, but were in Austin in no time!

This was a heck of a trip and we were very busy. Shortly after I got back, I flew out to Salt Lake City for work. It was definitely a busy July and in September, I've finally gotten a chance to write about everything. We covered a lot of ground and did a lot of things in a short amount of time. I can definitely tell you it was an adventure!

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