Erin & Bill: I Do

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I’ve spent the last two days trying to narrow down the photos I would post from Erin and Bill’s fabulous Madison wedding this weekend, and I just couldn’t. They are entirely too photogenic, their families too sweet, their wedding day details too gorgeous and personal and touching. So this is going to be a long one…

Erin wanted strictly photojournalistic wedding coverage, which as a former photojournalist, I loved. As Erin explained to her young son, “Christina is going to take pictures that tell the story of our special day.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Erin and Bill met on Match.com, my first couple to meet online (I think… correct me if I’m wrong!). It’s funny, because they’re the kind of couple where if their friends had known each other, they would have long ago said, “You have to meet this man,” or, “You have to meet this amazing woman.” They’re that perfect for each other. So chalk one up for internet matchmaking sites. Here they are preparing their vows just before the ceremony. The clock above Bill’s head says 15 minutes to show time, and the heart says “happiness.”

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Erin and Bill refer to each other as “We Plus 3,” because their devotion to each other includes mutual devotion to Erin’s son Owen and Bill’s sons Campbell and Nick. The boys were very much a part of the ceremony and the entire day. Here Bill gets a reassuring look just before Erin is walked down the aisle by both her dad and son.

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The boys took turns reading from the children’s book “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. It was hands down the most touching reading I’ve ever heard, and so perfectly fit both the love Erin and Bill have for each other and the love their children have for them. It begins:

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember.

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The Blues Brothers, after the ceremony.

Erin and Bill’s first date was something of a happy disaster, which they decided to reenact with the wedding party before the reception. They rented a trolley car, just like they had ridden in together that cold January night. Here is Bill telling everyone the story of how he was waiting outside the restaurant he had carefully chosen to take Erin to (Natt Spil, on King St.).

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He saw her coming across the street, and she took his breath away.

smithblog11But then the restaurant was closed. In a momentarily hilarious twist, Natt Spil was closed when we arrived on their wedding day, too… but they re-opened just for the wedding party.

Inside, toasting to do-overs…

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Holding hands on the bar at Tutto Pasta, where they actually had their first date.

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Entering the reception at the incomparable Madison Club.

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They got through about half of Etta James’ “At Last”…

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Before one of the boys inserted himself into the first dance.

smithblog141The DJ said the boys asked him about 15 times to play “Paradise City,” and he finally did. Can I describe to you how crazy they went when that opening guitar solo started? No, I cannot. They were absolute maniacs and it was awesome. That’s the only way to put it. And Bill was right there with them.

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On the balcony overlooking Monona Terrace.

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Erin cutting a rug to “Elvira” with her brothers.

When I was leaving for the night Erin absolutely insisted that Bill walk me to my car, even though I was parked on the street right in front of the club. “There’s no saying no to her,” I remarked to Bill in the elevator. His reply: “Why would I?”

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