Tag Archives: weddings

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A Dream Do-Over

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BY LAURIE HAAG | PHOTOS BY NATALIE SPAULDING PHOTOGRAPHY AND ASHLEY WALTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Wedding planner Laurie Haag and her husband experience the wedding of their dreams

May 7, 1988, is one of my favorite days ever. It’s the day I married my husband.

Fast-forward to May 2018, and I can’t believe 30 years have gone by so fast. When we got married, we were very young. We lacked a lot of resources and we had some unusual rules to follow at our church because I already had a baby. So, our wedding wasn’t exactly a “dream wedding,” and from time to time, we have joked about and discussed redoing it.

At our 10-year anniversary, it would have been impossible to redo a wedding celebration as we were in the throes of raising four young daughters and were basically super poor at that time.

At our 25-year anniversary, our oldest daughter was due to have her first baby any day during that timeframe. We couldn’t risk missing the birth of our granddaughter, or our daughter and son-in-law not being at our party.

So, this year, as we were anticipating 30 years and reminiscing about our life, Bryan asked if I thought we should go for it and re-do the “wedding.” We were sitting beachside during a romantic dinner while on vacation and it just seemed like it was meant to be. He asked if it should be a full-fledged vow renewal, and all I could think was that I just didn’t want it to come off corny. But really, a lot of the traditional ceremony things are what we missed out on, so we felt like it was really important and would be special.

The Vendors Venue: The Loft on Spring Wedding Dress: Laurel Wreath Bridal Anniversary Band: Koerber’s Fine Jewelry Catering: Stumler’s Catering Florals: Merci Bouquet Cake: Mert’s Cake DJ: A Class Act DJ Various Rental Items: Party Central Videography: Matt Simpson Photography: Natalie Spaulding Photography and Ashley Walts Photography 77

The Vendors
Venue: The Loft on Spring
Wedding Dress: Laurel Wreath Bridal
Anniversary Band: Koerber’s Fine Jewelry
Catering: Stumler’s Catering
Florals: Merci Bouquet
Cake: Mert’s Cake
DJ: A Class Act DJ
Various Rental Items: Party Central
Videography: Matt Simpson
Photography: Natalie Spaulding Photography and Ashley Walts Photography
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I had a mere six weeks to plan the whole thing, but I do own three wedding businesses in town, and I have all the experience, resources and friends in the wedding industry to pull it off to perfection.

The day was so special. The girls and I started off our day with brunch at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, which decked out our table with flowers and mimosas. We got ready at the Beauty Lounge located at Eventful 203 (which I own). Then, we headed down to Brooklyn and the Butcher for some photos.

The ceremony and reception took place at the Loft on Spring (which I also own) and it was full of sentimental, funny and lively moments.

Bryan surprised me with an anniversary band during the vow renewal that was officiated by our good friend Ray Green, the pastor at Graceland Baptist Church. We did a short first dance to “I Want to Grow Old with You” by Adam Sandler. Our best man and maid of honor from our original wedding were both able to come, and since we didn’t have toasts at our first wedding, they were gracious enough to do a toast at this one. It was so sweet and, of course, I cried.

But probably the best part of the whole evening was when Bryan did a dance with our four daughters. They started out with “My Girl” and each daughter took a twirl around with their dad during the first verse and chorus. Then, the song cut to “Bad Boys,” then “No Diggity” and finished out with “I’m Too Sexy.” They had it all perfectly choreographed, and it was definitely outside of my husband’s comfort zone. He typically hates to dance, but he really stole the show and it was a hit.

Really the whole day was about celebrating family and celebrating all the things we had gotten through in 30 years. We are a testament that things in life can be crazy, disappointing, chaotic and full of crises, but if you just stick together through it all, then you will also be able to enjoy the times when it’s sweet, peaceful and full of goodness.screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-30-02-pmscreen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-30-14-pm

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Couple Wins Spin-A-Round Sound Productions Giveaway

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Chelsea Hargis and Michael Heater are the winners of Spin-A-Round Sound Wedding DJ Giveaway, an online contest hosted by Extol Magazine and Spin-A-Round Sound.

The Elizabethtown couple was one of three finalists chosen after submitting their entry (see an edited version below) before allowing the public to weigh-in. The grand-prize winners ran away with the majority of votes and have won a full wedding night deejay package, including a four-hour reception or wedding/reception service, two deejays, DMX-controlled light show – which includes four DMX moving head lights, 12 par lights with two eight-feet truss stands, two four-feet truss stands and 10 uplights – for a total package valued at $2,000.

“We are overjoyed to have won this amazing prize,” Chelsea said. “When I signed up, I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would ever be selected along with the other couples, let alone win.”

The pair is already working with Todd White and his Spin-A-Round Sound team to plan their dream day.

“Our wedding is planned for Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at College Heights United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky,” said Chelsea. “We are dancing our first dance as husband and wife to Hozier’s ‘Work Song.’ About a year or so ago, we were riding in the truck one day and Mike played it for me, and that has become our song. Mike and Charlee, our daughter, will be accompanying me and my father during our father/daughter dance. We are dancing to a slowed down version of Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child of Mine.’


SPIN-A-ROUND SOUND PRODUCTIONS

502.468.4134

spinaroundsounddj.com 


Chelsea Hargis’ Winning Entry 

Hello my name is Chelsea Hargis, and my fiance Michael Heater and I have been together three years in March.

On Dec. 25, 2017, my now-fiance Michael Heater and I woke up like any normal morning. OK, it was not exactly normal because it was Christmas Day, and our 4-year-old daughter was excited to open presents.

After all of the wrapping paper had settled down, Mike told me I had one more present to open and handed me an envelope with a beautiful poem inside. After reading the poem, I was given a box that I assumed had a gift in it. Instead, there was a note that read, “Haha gotcha, now turn on the TV and press play!”

There was a video preloaded onto the screen. In it, Mike turned around in a chair – very Dr. Evil-style – stroking our cat. As he started to talk, he revealed he was his evil twin brother Ike Heater, and he had stolen my gift and poisoned Mike (who, sitting nearby o the couch, pretended to collapse, which I later found out was his way of inconspicuously being able to be down on one knee to propose).

Our daughter started to yell at the TV because the evil man hurt her daddy, but soon we led on a scavenger hunt around our house. After all of the clues were collected, there was a piece of a riddle on each one that prompted me to read the last words of each which read, “Chelsea, will you marry me?”

Mike was now down on one knee with a ring in his hand I instantly started to cry (and not a pretty cry either – full-on ugly cry). Instead of saying yes, I asked him if he was messing with me because this was something I had wanted for a while now. He said he was not joking and that I still hadn’t given him an answer. I said yes, of course, and then we shared a kiss and a hug. It was the most elaborate way to propose I have ever seen. It was so thought out and something I will never forget.

*This entry has been edited for publication purposes.


Want your wedding or engagement announcement featured in Extol? Send an email to extol@extolmag.com and put “We Do” in the subject line with your contact information. 

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We Do: Extol Weddings | Hitched at Harvest

Couple wins all-expenses-paid dream wedding, thanks to local vendors

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY WALTS

Jamie and Sydney (Gohlston) Oliver wed Oct. 14, 2017, at The Loft on Spring after winning the first-ever Get Hitched at Harvest giveaway.

Laurie Haag, owner of Eventful 203, Laurel Wreath Bridal and Loft on Spring, came up with the contest as a way to celebrate Harvest Homecoming’s 50th anniversary. She easily garnered the support of local vendors, all of whom donated their services, and asked the public for email submissions. Then, a committee made up of community members picked the winner: Jamie’s entry about his soon-to-be wife

“You have to fight through some bad days, to get to the best days of your life,” read the submission from Jamie. “A lot of times you hear about the love of your life, but what about the life you’ve grown into by love? I wasn’t always the man I am today. I didn’t always want the things I have today, but because of Sydney and the way she’s always put love first, her love of life, her love of our children and her love of me, I’ve grown – by love. … Sydney is the love of my life and the hardest rock I know. She’s a diamond! When life’s pressures were applied, in the midst of darkness, she turned our life into something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.”

On Sept. 29, Laurie announced on WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” that Jamie and Sydney were the lucky couple who had won the dream package, which included a wedding dress provided by Laurel Wreath bridal, a rehearsal dinner dress for the bride (and 20 percent off bridal party dresses) from Sapphire on Main, a rehearsal dinner at River City Winery and an Oct. 14 wedding at The Loft on Spring.

“There’s a cadence in which society tries to follow rules,” wrote Jamie in his submission. “Love tends not to follow those rules. It has no rhyme or reason, no fault nor blame and as a pastor once told us, ‘Love holds no records of past transgressions.’ It is unconditional. It may not be the greatest love story of all time, but it’s all love for us.”


HITCHED AT HARVEST VENDORS

VENUE: The Loft on Spring

FOOD: Stumler’s Catering

BAR SERVICE: Wick’s

FLORALS: Merci Bouquet

DJ: Spin-A-Round Sound

CAKE: Sweet Stuff

PHOTOGRAPHY: Ashley Walts Photography

BRIDE’S DRESS: Laurel Wreath Bridal

BRIDE’S WEDDING DAY PREP: Laurel and Lavender Beauty Lounge

BRIDE’S MAKE-UP: Beauty by Olivia Louise
BRIDAL DRESS ALTERATIONS: Alterations by Carol

GROOM’S TUX RENTAL: Sew Fitting

GROOM’S ACCESSORIES: Him Gentleman’s Boutique

COMMEMORATIVE SPARKLING WINE BOTTLE: Hoosier Wine Girl

REHEARSAL DINNER: River City Winery

BRIDE’S REHEARSAL DINNER DRESS: Sapphire on Main Boutique

MEDIA PARTNER: Extol Magazine

 

 

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Wedding Woes

For better or worse, the big day doesn’t always go as planned. 

My husband and I got married in February. We thought it would be fun for the officiant to pull two small breath sprays from his jacket pocket right before we kissed. My now-husband was supposed to spray the breath spray in my mouth but ended up spraying it all over half of my face. At least I was minty fresh the rest of the evening. 

–Caroline Crowell


We had a February wedding and it snowed a few inches. It was beautiful outside the church and it made for some cool pictures. We had a fabulous reception that was lots of fun and went late. When one of our guests – who has an Ultra-Brite smile – was leaving, she slipped on the ice and knocked out her teeth, her very perfect teeth. 

–Johnny Harralson 


The night before our wedding, the priest called and said he could not marry us. My brother-in-law spent all night and the early morning looking for a priest. Until this day, I’m not 100 percent sure the priest he found was legit. 

¬–Jennifer Yennes-Vizhnay 


My husband and I got married twice. The first was a bedside ceremony at my dad’s bedside in Audubon Hospital (ahead of schedule) because things were looking pretty grim. Ten days later, he passed, and then 12 days later we went ahead with our scheduled ceremony. At one point during the ceremony – after I had walked down the aisle – the minister announced, “We are gathered here to witness the ceremony between…” and our two-year-old daughter, who was in the front row, started clapping loudly, and yelled out “Yay!” which had absolutely everyone laughing, including the minister. We got pictures of the exact moment and it’s one of our favorites. 

–Shawna Lynn Shepherd 


I must have had the wedding jitters. I almost passed out during picture taking and actually have a picture me sitting on my husband’s lap after they cold wash-clothed me looking quite pale during pictures. Then on to our reception in our local high school cafeteria (that was the reception place). I made it through all the motions of that. We finally left and stopped at his aunt’s home as planned to change clothing, and I got nauseated. Let’s just say my dress had to be bagged and left behind for his aunt to get to the cleaners. Then on to The Hyatt to clean up and allow me to sleep my wedding night off. Trust me, no alcohol was involved, just good old-fashioned jitters. Thank goodness God didn’t tap my husband on the shoulder during the ceremony and say, “Hey, I don’t think this is going to go as you thought!” A few years later, I was diagnosed with NF2 brain tumor and it has been an ongoing journey since. He’s still my rock after 37 years. 

–Cathy Guthrie 


My brother had a July wedding with an outdoor reception. Atlanta in July. His bride is an only child with no extended family. Ours was extensive and it seems all of them drove hundreds of miles to be there. The bride’s father had the belief that since we were all Baptists the open bar would not be a big expense. Accordingly, he selected the premium champagne but forgot to request water. When the caterers came asking for permission to crack multiple, additional cases of expensive champagne, he distractedly said, “OK.” Seniors, boomers, and tweens spent hours slaking their thirst with very good bubbly. The father-in- law dined out on the story of the Baptist Wedding until the day he passed. And that’s not even the biggest disaster of the day of my brother’s wedding. I’m sure you’ll do this again someday, so I’ll save the better stories. 

–Randy Smith

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Let’s Get Planning

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-10-25-33-amBut do you really need a wedding planner? 

BY MANDY WOLF DETWILER 

So, you’ve just said “yes!” Now what? Brides and grooms can become inundated with choices, from the dress and tux colors to venue seating, flower decisions and thank-you notes. Hiring a wedding planner can certainly ease the load, but is it an affordable option for the average future married couple? We talked to Jamie Lott, owner of Louisville Events4U and a wedding planner for 11 years.

EXTOL MAGAZINE: Who should hire a wedding planner?

Jamie Lott: The value lies in having a professional who won’t forget even the smallest detail of the big day. Wedding planners are all about the details – things you might miss. If you’re a detail-oriented person and you’ve got a career of your own, maybe a busy life with your fiancé, it’s much, much easier in my opinion to turn (wedding planning) over to a professional so that nothing is missed as part of your wedding planning process.

EXTOL: What are some of the most overlooked details by couples who plan their own weddings?

Lott: Transportation to and from the venue and/or the church. Things like right down to the catering. Did you plan on just feeding (guests) the cake or did you plan on feeding them another dessert? I’ve been to so many weddings where I’ve just done day-of coordinating and they ran short of cake. Little things like that, I’m there to remind you about.

EXTOL: Is there anyone who shouldn’t hire a wedding planner?

Lott: By the day of the wedding, even the control freaks, even the very OCD brides, have been very grateful that (a wedding planner) is there because she can relax and not have to worry about the details. My standard line is, “I’ve got this. Please don’t worry.” I do this almost every weekend, and if you haven’t thought of it, I will. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t need a wedding planner. I think there are some girls who think they can do it on their own, but I actually feel bad for them on their wedding day because they are so stressed trying to do it, even with their girlfriends. They should be getting ready that day. They should be with their family. They should be relaxing and sipping mimosas or whatever makes them happy versus worrying about setting up their tables and their centerpieces, and going to pick up this or going to pick up that.

EXTOL: What should you look for in a good wedding planner?

Lott: It’s all about the details. Look for the person who asks all the right questions, the person that is the best fit for you. Your personalities need to mesh. You need to make sure that you like this planner and this planner is almost a member of your family because of the length of time you’re going to be spending with this person and what this planner is going to ask of you. As you go along in this process, you need to be willing to work with this planner and trust this person.

EXTOL: How do you help set a budget with the bride and groom?

Lott: I’m very brutally honest and I ask them what they think they can spend on this wedding. If it’s a certain amount and that amount is very low, I ask them if they’re willing to do some of the work themselves, like we make part of the centerpieces ourselves and then we add florals from a florist –– anything we can do to cut costs. I’m very good about keeping them on budget. They take themselves off budget!

EXTOL: As a wedding planner, how do you handle so-called bridezillas?

Lott: In the industry, we all laugh at the shows because they pick the worst of the worst. I have been very blessed … that I have had very few “bridezillas.” Most of these girls are very grateful for the help, which is why they hired me in the first place. If they get a little tense right before their wedding, which is very common, we talk it out. … I try very hard to let them know I’m on top of this.

EXTOL: What should the wedding planner do and what should the couple take care of?

Lott: Everything, down to scheduling everything. I create timelines and itineraries, an overall day-of timeline for the ceremony and the reception so everybody’s on the same page. I make sure the DJ’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing, the venue’s doing what they’re supposed to do, and if that includes catering, we’ve gone over that menu 15 times. I don’t want that bride to think about anything but enjoying her day. … I keep a bride box with me on the day of the wedding of all the “what ifs.” If this breaks, if this needs to be taped, a first-aid kit, things like that that they would never have thought to bring.

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Bridezilla Be Gone

bride1BY DR. JENNIFER EVANS 

The term “bridezilla” has become almost as common as the monikers “bride-to-be” and “fiancé.” (FYI: Bridezilla refers to a bride who is extremely demanding and difficult to deal with during the wedding planning process.) 

We get it – planning a wedding is stressful. Here’s how to stop yourself from becoming the next scary creature (aka bridezilla) planning a walk down the aisle:

Eat a balanced diet and make time for exercise — every day. 

Most brides-to-be are overwhelmed with fitting into their dress that they may be starving themselves into a crazed state of mind. Our bodies need food, so eat the right kinds to keep your mind and body in good working order. A balanced meal plan fuels your body and gives you energy.

Exercise is a great form of stress reduction, especially activities that incorporate mindfulness, such as yoga. Make time for exercise and think of it as a little much-needed “me time” instead of another thing on your to-do list.

Check yourself and check-in with others. 

Phone a friend, message your mom or schedule an appointment with your therapist. Find someone to talk to during this exciting time in your life. Having a person to vent to will help you avoid being overwhelmed by emotions.

Elsa and Anna had the right idea with their iconic song lyrics from the Disney movie “Frozen.” Make your mantra “Let it go, let it go” when it comes to things you cannot control. The weather, nope, out of your hands; the color of the floral centerpieces, yes, that you can control. However, if they end up being two shades lighter than your favorite lavender, again, let it go.

Post-wedding blues are a possibility. 

Many brides report an emotional letdown days or weeks after their wedding. It took months, maybe even years, to plan and the day went by so quickly. Some of the signs to watch for in yourself or a loved one are boredom, sadness, lethargy, loneliness and isolation. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, know that it’s normal. Try these tips to turn the blues into wedded bliss:

• Talk with your new spouse about your favorite memories from the wedding.

• Invite your friends over to share photos and stories from your honeymoon.

• Write thank you notes to those who really stepped up to help you even when you didn’t think you needed it.

If the feelings start affecting your life, talk to a professional. Norton Women’s Mental Health Services can help. For more information, visit NortonHealthcare.com or call 502.629.1234.

This article was written by Jennifer Evans, M.D., system vice president of Women’s Services, Norton Healthcare. Dr. Evans has more than 25 years of medical and surgical experience in obstetrics and gynecology. 

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5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know

5 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know

STORY & PHOTOS BY TONY BENNETT 

AS A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER, I’VE QUICKLY LEARNED TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS IS THE EASY PART. THE MANY HOURS OF PHOTOGRAPHY TRAINING AND PRACTICE ARE ITEMS THAT CANNOT BE QUANTIFIED. AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, I WANT TO GIVE MY CLIENTS THE BEST EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE. TO ENSURE YOUR WEDDING DAY IS THE JOYOUS EVENT IT SHOULD BE, HERE ARE A FEW ITEMS TO KEEP IN MIND. screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-3-40-05-pm

MAKE A BUDGET. The only thing you’ll have the day after your wedding are the photos. So remember to prioritize your budget. If you want great photos, you may want to cut the gelato bar and ice sculpture and pay a little more for a photographer with the experience to capture your special day.

TIME. Make sure you make time on your wedding day for photos. As a photographer, I love to get creative and I want to capture that “perfect” image you will cherish for a lifetime. This can best be accomplished by creating a timeline for how the day will flow and trying to stick to it as best you can. If there are certain people that you want to ensure you have your photo taken with, make a list and give it to your photographer at the start of the day. Don’t be afraid to tell your photographer what you want. That’s what we’re here for.

screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-3-40-21-pmADAPT. Every wedding is different. There are many aspects that can affect your photographs. Ceremony location, time of day and time of year (think sunset time) can all affect the look and feel of your photos. To capture better photos, your photographer should bring multiple light sources, including battery-powered studio strobes and speedlites, for quick movement between locations. Ask your photographer if he or she has those.

SMILE. This one is simple: Be happy on your wedding day. Nothing will sour your photos more than you stressing out before, during and after your big day than having a frown. This is your big day. Enjoy it.

 

 

screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-3-40-33-pmBE PATIENT IN POST-PRODUCTION. The wedding day may last for 8 to 12 hours (sometimes longer), but that is only part of what it takes to capture a wedding and deliver the final product. Long after the cake is cut and the guests return home is when most of a photographer’s work begins. A good one will immediately gather all the memory cards and download them to various locations. Data loss is a huge problem, ensure your photographer has a plan to take multiple precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen to clients. Also, moving through each of the images will take a number of days. Be patient. Every image we take during a wedding is edited, and this takes time. Then, when the client decides which photos to have printed and which to put in the album, a good photographer will put additional work into perfecting each image. Again, be patient.

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Love Lessons: Lucia Applegate

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SO WHAT’S MARRIAGE REALLY LIKE? WE ASKED LUCIA APPLEGATE

Married for almost 30 years to Billy “Juice” Applegate, who died 9.17.2002 of an abdominal aneurysm.

AS TOLD TO ANGIE FENTON | PHOTO BY TONY BENNETT

Bill was just fun to be with and thoughtful as a husband, father and friend. He always woke up in a good mood. I once asked him why and he said, “Why not?”

We each had children from our previous marriages, but we had a plan that we agreed on that they were always welcome, any of them. And we meant it and followed through with it. I was very lucky because Bill was great with kids.

We never stayed mad long. We respected each other’s religions; I’m Catholic and he was Methodist. When it came to money, we shared the good and bad. We didn’t have lots and would be careful, but we were open about it with each other.

We weren’t perfect but we loved each other. We were with or talked to each other on the phone every day. I always knew where he was. He was a really good friend.

Being married to Bill was easy. I miss him every day. –Lucia Applegate

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Love Lessons: Wendy Dant Chesser & Mike Chesser

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SO, WHAT’S MARRIAGE REALLY LIKE? We asked Wendy Dant Chesser & Mike Chesser (pictured with their daughter Joslyn, 9.5)  

Married for 10 years; divorced for 6 years

As told to Angie Fenton | Photos By Tony Bennett

Mike Chesser: We met through mutual friends but didn’t go out for over a year. When we did, we saw “Something About Mary.”

Wendy Dant Chesser: There were times when we were the only ones laughing. That movie was hysterical (she laughs when Mike says “hysterical” at the same time).

Three hundred sixty-three days later, we were married. Mike was an event planner, so he handled most of the wedding details while Wendy managed the budget.

Wendy: I think we were – and we still are – there’s a compatibility in our personalities.

Mike: When you meet someone, I won’t go so far as to say it’s love at first sight, but you automatically connect with that person. That’s what it was. We knew each other. We met and had a great group of friends but didn’t go out for well over a year. It wasn’t until Wendy called my office asking for someone else and I thought, “Well, I know that person,” jumped on the phone and said hello because I hadn’t seen her in a while.

Wendy: Neither of us had ever been married before, and we were a little older.

Mike: We were just right.

After trying for several years to have a biological child, Wendy and Mike adopted their daughter, whom they met at her birth. “I’m now 9 and a half,” Joslyn said, tucking into the pancakes in front of her. 

Despite the joy, a few years later, Mike and Wendy eventually opted to divorce. 

Wendy: The breakdown of communication had gotten far enough. I don’t know that we saw a path back.

MIKE: Communication was our biggest issue.

Wendy: Which is ironic now because we communicate better than we ever have. We’re still family.

Mike: I’m always going to love her. Always. She is the best friend who never went away. It comes from the deep connection from the beginning.

In fact, Mike and Wendy dissolved their marriage by asking a friend to sign the papers (they didn’t use a lawyer and only needed a witness). Today, they are known for taking their daughter on shared experiences and trips together, and bewildering people with their incredibly-amicable relationship. 

Wendy: There’s a lot of people who still don’t know we’re not together, which makes it tough on our respective dating lives (Wendy and Mike laugh). … After we divorced, our first family photos were me, Mike, Joslyn, Joslyn’s birth mother and the dog. … The 10 years of marriage were not the easiest years of our life: We relocated to a different state, had job changes, couldn’t get pregnant, our house burned down four days before Joslyn was born.

Mike: But, with age and maturity comes a better knowledge and understanding. When you go through these type of life-changing situations and do a little bit of reflection and look back. That’s when you gain clarity and understanding. You don’t know what you don’t know. Until it hits you and you go, “I get it. I see it.” Right, wrong and differently, you move forward.

Wendy: If you choose to bring a child into this world with this partner –like we did through adoption – think about all of the scenarios and commit yourself to focusing on the child. It makes everything else easier. Marriage is one thing, but in our society today, marriage is not always a lifelong commitment but raising a child is.

Mike: Communicate. Continue to try and a communicate. Don’t wall yourself off because the communication starts to break down. This often comes with age, maturity and, in some cases, counseling. … That communication side is critical.

Wendy: Our marriage may have failed, but we’re the best at it!