Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | July 5, 2015

On This Day I Marry My Best Friend!

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding invitation

Our invitations read . . . “On this day I marry my best friend”, and that’s just what I did 25 years ago this coming Tuesday!   Neither one of us can believe it’s already been 25 years since we started our journey together though life!  I remember my parents celebrating their 25th Anniversary, and it just doesn’t seem possible for us to now be celebrating ours.  But you know what they say . . . time flies when you’re having fun, and so far we’ve been very blessed in our lives, and so much of it has been great fun!

Our wedding was special in so many very ways.  Because of a health issue in my family, there wasn’t much extra money for our wedding, and with Wes and I being “starving artists”, we didn’t have it either.  But that didn’t keep us from having a  fairytale wedding in the least!  We were truly blessed to have lots of wonderful friends from our church, and numerous close family members, that jumped right in and helped out!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo8

My sweet and very talented mom made my beautiful wedding dress, which she and I modified from a pattern and designed ourselves, making it so precious and special! We also made all of our flowers arrangements, along with some help from Wes and his airbrush.  Family and friends’ silver was polished up and used, and the best part was that much of it was done with help from them, and almost always involved a supper party at my grandparents’ house or theirs!   The day of our rehearsal dinner was a wonderful one indeed!  Wes and I, along with our family, spent the day in the sun at the beach, body boarding, surfing and snorkeling, and it couldn’t have been any better!  That evening, our rehearsal was very laid back, as were still dressed in our casual beach attire.

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo6

Following the rehearsal, we enjoyed a yummy BBQ supper party at our dear friends Jeff and Debbie’s house. They graciously furnished the meat as well as much of the other food, while other friends brought even more food and another dear friend, Danielle, had made us a beautiful cake. It was a great party and celebration for everyone there, as we ate, laughed and talked! Wes’ best man Jim even played guitar and sang a song which he had written just for us! Moreover it gave Wes and I a chance to practice feeding each other cake before the real thing the next evening!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo5Notice Wes isn’t nice and gentle like I was feeding him his cake!  That’s Debbie with us above.

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo4

We finally all called it a night, since there was still much work to do the next day!  We were blessed to have two very dear friends, both named Jenny, who together created the most beautiful wedding cake ever!  Three tiers complete with flower lined bridges leading to two other side cakes were decorated with shell designs and turquoise flowers, and it even included a fountain!  Wes’ groom cake was most appropriate, an artist palette, and a delicious chocolate one at that!  We  also served a buffet dinner, which was graciously made by our friends and ourselves, so it was a busy day for so many!

After we arrived at the church that evening, we were hit by a major thunderstorm, which thankfully ended before the wedding started!  I had prayed for a happy and funny wedding, not wanting it to be sad or too serious.  And funny it was, from my Dad and I not being sure when we were supposed to walk down the aisle. So, they ended up closing the doors and then reopening them minutes later, leaving poor Wes wondering if I had changed my mind!  Then the flower girl didn’t want to go down the aisle by herself, so her mom practically crawled down the aisle behind her. When Pastor Mark said “Wesley”, Joshua, our precious “ring barrar”as he called himself, also exclaimed “Wesley” out loud too, questioning who that was, since he had previously only heard Wes called “Wes”.

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo3This is one of my favorite photos of my little precious buddy and myself!

rachelle siegrist and joshua

Later in the ceremony, when Wes and I lit the unity candle together, we realized we had forgotten to trim the wick, and the flame suddenly grew very tall, almost catching my veil on fire and sending a cloud of smoke into the air, thus causing me to get very, very tickled!!! But that wasn’t all, and I’m still not sure if it was a case of unquenchable thirst or what, but Wes decided to chug his entire glass during communion while everyone quietly waited . . . and waited. Then, the wrong side of the tape containing one of our favorite songs was accidentally played, subjecting the attendees to five minutes of wordless music! Of course, once again I began to laugh, and had to almost bite my tongue to stop!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo1

Soon we were pronounced husband and wife . . . kissed . . . and were waltzing down the aisle, hand in hand.
It was truly most memorable and entertaining and I loved every minute of it, and wouldn’t have had it any other way!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo2

Then I saw the next big surprise of the evening! My Dad had worked it out for us to ride in our friend’s limousine, complete with a tag reading “Bass Funeral Home” on the front! My Uncle Landon, along with my brother riding shotgun up front, graciously drove us to our reception. It was simply beautiful and quite magical inside as everyone arrived and the feast began! Much laughter and conversation, along with the love shared amongst dear friends and family filled the room that night!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photo7

Everyone had a most delightful time, and I’m still told occasionally that it was the best wedding some have ever been too! But when you have the gracious help from lots of wonderful friends, you can only expect wonderful things! Before we knew it, we were changed and running for our “decorated” (destroyed) car, while being bombarded with bird seed! Soon we were on our way to West Palm Beach, and would board our cruise ship the next morning, heading to Mexico! We were going to just go camping in the Keys for our honeymoon, since we didn’t have much to spend on it, but two of our dear friends blessed us with a most generous gift certificate, and we choose a 7 day cruise to Mexico on what was then the oldest ship still afloat, the Brittanis! It was an old Greek vessel, so that made it most interesting trying to learn our way around the ship with much of the signage written in Greek!

wes and rachelle siegrist wedding photohoneymoon

Needless to say, it was an amazing week, as we played, ate scrumptious food, explored and snorkeled in the gorgeous turquoise waters of Cozumel and the such! But alas the funny happenings weren’t to have ended yet, for when we returned to our car, which had sat in the intense Florida summer heat for 7 days, we were welcomed by a horrible stench!!! Unfortunately, we had forgotten and left some broccoli and cauliflower which was sent with us in a basket, along with an assortment of yummy edible treats, the night of our reception. You guessed it!  We rode the hour long trip back home with windows down and heads hanging out . . . laughing all the way!  Occasionally I still like to ride along with my window down and my head hanging out . . . while enjoying life with my best friend 25 years later!

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Until next time . . .


Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | July 1, 2015

I’ll Teach You To Paint If You Marry Me!

The Start Of Our Life’s Journey Together

By Wes Siegrist

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist back in September 1989

We’re often asked how we met and if we were both artists at that time.  We thought, since we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this week, that this is an opportune time to share more of the story than we’re typically able to say in a few seconds at a show or encounter.

We were actually introduced to each other by Rachelle’s mother, Sally, in August of 1989.  I was working at the time doing t-shirt designs, logos and billboards for a group named Youth Arise.  [A coming together of local churches and organizations to promote activities for the youth of the area and I was part of the group as a representative from two different church youth groups]   Sally had known me for several months prior but was unaware of my artistic side until I started volunteering work with Youth Arise.  Knowing I was also active as an art teacher to adults and kids in the surrounding area, she had asked if I would be willing to speak to her daughter about art to which I answered “yes”.

My life quickly changed for the better later that week when Sally surprisingly introduced me to not the little child I was expecting, but a very cute young lady!  Rachelle loves recounting how at that initial introduction I was holding a heaping plate of brownies! (Those who know her FONDNESS for chocolate understand!) [I was taking them back to share with my youth group …really!]  Funny, but neither of us recall really talking about art at that meeting other than perhaps noting I had designed the t-shirt I was wearing!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist back in 1989 datingOur first date took place at the Okeechobee Pizza Hut where I nervously asked Rachelle for a pen and proceeded to draw and doodle all over the placement with the excuse that I couldn’t talk without a pen in my hand!  Afterwards, Rachelle went back home with me to meet my Nana, whom I was living with, and to see my studio and college portfolio.  She was getting ready to start college herself for commercial art and I had just graduated from college the year prior with a BA in Fine Art and a BA in Graphic Art.  Later, we went back to her house where I played guitar for the family.

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in 1989 at Highlands HammockI was teaching watercolors at the time at the Highlands Museum of the Arts in Sebring, FL and offered for Rachelle to join my class.  The hourly commute, to and fro each week, was a great opportunity to get to know each other and we often visited Highlands Hammock State Park, near the museum, to walk in the woods and share a picnic.  To answer the other question: No, Rachelle wasn’t an artist when we met.  She had interest in the field and had done a little oil painting with her Granny Beth, but my class was her first attempt at serious painting.  I additionally helped tutor her in her classes at college once she started her semester.  It was during a discussion about her career path that the now legendary phrase was spoken … “I’ll teach you to paint if you’ll marry me?”  Yes, that’s a cute paraphrase of my superfluous discussion but suffice it to say, she agreed.  At least, she kept dating me!  We made it all formal a bit later when I airbrushed a t-shirt with the phrase “Larry, May I Ask You A Question?” and wore it the night of my birthday.  I figured surely her father couldn’t say no at my birthday party!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in January 1990While Rachelle attended community college, she also continued to sit in on my various classes as scheduling allowed and managed to join my Nana and I at some art shows. (Pictured above is us at the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables, FL in January of 1990)  I also sat in the back of some of Rachelle’s college classes and much preferred helping her with art homework over science, English and her dreaded Engineering Drafting class!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in February 1989I “surprised” my family in February by introducing Rachelle as my fiancee when she flew home with Nana and I for a several day visit! I’m still not sure how I convinced such a lovely princess to spend the rest of her life with me but I’m fairly certain teaching her to paint wasn’t what swayed her … it must have been the CHOCOLATE!!!!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist with Kima

Rachelle will be sharing memory highlights and photos from our wedding on the upcoming Sunday blog.

Special thanks for indulging our overt sentimentality this week ~ The Lovebirds, Wes & Rachelle

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