We first met...April 3rd, 2016
First conversation...May 14th, 2016
First long conversation =)...September 5th, 2016
Began Relationship/First phone call...November 9th, 2016
First date...November 25th, 2016
Got Engaged...August 28th, 2017
Get Married...December 30th, 2017)
A dinner reception will immediately follow the ceremony. We hope you will all stay and celebrate with us!
Allison has been my closest friend + confidant for years. She can read my mind like no one else and is one of the strongest people I know. We have made countless memories over many sister roadtrips, shopping sprees, and late night movie/coffee/chocolate nights. We have gotten into trouble together more times than I can count, and yet we (almost) always come out laughing + with more memories for the books, one of the most memorable being a run-in with a border guard while crossing into another country on a roadtrip. Allison makes amazing cheesecakes and she is making all the cheesecakes for our wedding reception.
Liz was my buddy in our family’s pair system when we were younger. I was also at her birth and got to be one of the first people to hold her, and ever since then we have had a special bond. She is very artistic and energetic and she loves to keep us all updated on family + community news. One of our fun memories together was shopping for stage clothes at Burlington Coat Factory. We got slightly derailed in the hat section and ended up trying on all sorts of styles and taking selfies.
Rebecca is my baby sister and the youngest of the ten Bontrager kids. She is one of the quieter ones most of the time, but get her started laughing, and she will be going for quite a while! She is mostly peaceful and laid-back but on a recent outing with John + I, she and John managed to switch some "insider" information that apparently I won't find out about until John's and my wedding. She thinks it is pretty fun that she knows something about John that I don't. =) Rebecca is my youngest bridesmaid and I am thrilled to have all my sisters standing up with me!
Bryn is one of the most fun-loving girls you will ever meet. She can bring laughter into almost every situation and keeps us all in stitches on our family text thread. She + Mitchell give great advice and I have discovered that sitting on their kitchen counter is a great place to solve the worlds problems. Bryn is always up for an adventure and her door is always open and welcoming!
Carolina is a very strong and dedicated woman. I was friends with her before she + Carson were even together, and she has always been an encouragement to me. She has an incredible gift for making pieces fly! Lina has a very creative flair in decorating, and she and Carson love to host people in their new home. I was pretty sure she was the woman for Carson before he even knew she was, and she is definitely a prayed-for sister!
Cassidy is my sister in law with whom I have spent the most time, since she came and visited Josh twice while we were on tour, in addition to touring with us after they were married. She adds a ton of spice to our family and is always up for quality time! One of my favorite memories with Cass was a certain late night conversation with her, Allison, Lina, + Bryn, in which we heard about their very first impressions watching our brothers bring in laundry from the line all the way back in 2014!
Sarah is actually the first one in John's family that I connected with spring 2016. I met her (along with John) at the same event and later on contacted her with a writing question, as I knew she had published a number of books and I had some questions on the publishing process, etc. She was very helpful and we have stayed in touch ever since! Sarah often sends random encouraging texts, and I love her enthusiasm for life and her work.
Anna is very detailed and thoughtful. She notices things very well and is quick to respond with life-giving words. She has a big heart for others and loves to give + serve. There are a number of projects that she tackled in our house and spent lots of time working there with us! And her smoked meatballs are the best I have ever had!
Mary is very outgoing and creative. She has a great eye for colors and designs and did a beautiful job designing our wedding invitations for us! I got to know her better this fall as we spent hours together, she and I, tearing off wallpaper in John's and my new house. We had some great conversations and I look forward to many more in the future!
Melanie is married to John's eldest brother Nathan and they have five children. She is also a very good mama and always has a smile on her face. Melanie has been such a blessing to me-sending encouraging texts and giving much-needed advice for the engagement season. She is very honest and says things just like they are and I love that about her!
Anna Marie is married to John's brother Christopher and they have four little ones with another on the way! She is very organized and on top of things and I've been blessed by her generosity-she loaned us their steamer to get the wallpaper off our walls and also let me borrow several of her patterns to use for part of my wedding dress. She is a very sweet mother to her little tribe!
Elissa is married to John's brother Joseph, and she is the closest in age to me of all John's sisters. We love it when she and Calia show up at our house while we are working, just to say hi! =) As the most recent one married and the closest to my stage of life, Elissa has been super sweet and welcoming. I'm thrilled that we will be living just up the street from her + Joseph!
Marissa and I have been cousins + besties since childhood. We've had all sorts of drama and memories in the past fifteen years-everything from making loads of salsa at 1am, speaking in special accents, writing hundreds of letters back and forth , and getting ourselves into all sorts of scrapes, to name a few. I was her maid of honor in her December wedding almost exactly five years ago!
Charity is an incredible person! She loves people so much and she is one of my role models. I've been blessed to be mentored by her and to spend hours upon hours in her home, helping with her kids and learning from her. She has a beautiful voice and a very strong sweet tooth and she is super good at pranking people.
Joseph is my role model and example in everything in life. He was born before me. He bought his house first. He got married first. And he demonstrates how to be an amazing husband and father, while following the Lord. We work on many projects together, and have the best of times. We have spent many hours slinging mud on walls and rhyming the hours away. He was the brains and talent behind our construction business and continues to teach me how to do remodeling projects.
Jesse is my sounding board. We have spent countless hours talking and discussing everything in life. We also shared an office and bedroom for many years. He is very orderly and put up with my mess and piles for all these years. We went backpacking together, a first for both of us, thoroughly enjoyed making ramen over a camp stove, crossed a slippery log jam, snowshoed, and covered many miles . The bear sighting, thankfully, was very anti-climatic.
Nathan holds the privileged position of being my oldest brother. He is our local chicken farmer and taught me to butcher chickens. Back before he was married, I would ride my bike when he went on a run. He challenged me to race him up the “20th St hill” to Lecompton. He won. I lost. He has a perfect funny comment for any situation.
Christopher is methodical and organized. He can do 200 burpees in about 15mins. Growing up, he would take me out for lunch once every five weeks. I will miss looking out my window and seeing him mow his yard with a kiddo on his back, and the rest of his kids playing in the yard. He is also my most organized brother.
Mitchell loves milk and drinks more of it than possibly anyone else I know. We connected while we washed the bus, the first time I visited the Bontrager family. He spins killer puns and has a great sense of humor. We spent many hours discussing our relationships and life in general. If you are doing something new with the Mitchell, he will take time to patiently explain the process to you.
Carson can split a tractor one day and repair the silo the next day. Speaking of silos. You want to be standing next to him, if you are 60ft above the ground and wasps start swarming out of the silo. They don’t bother him. He is also a master hog sorter.
Joshua holds the only bachelors degree of all the groomsman. But a bachelor he is not. His passion for sharing Jesus is motivating. We enjoyed doing many activities together, including retrieving a cow from a creek, and wrestling. Incidentally, I discovered he has the hardest knees in the family. When I visited Chelsy, I would sleep on the bunk below Joshua. We enjoyed many late night talks.
Denver is just a well-rounded great guy. He can do just about anything and is always ready to help. He can install French doors, milk cows, and recite thousands of Bible verses from memory. He is a master piglet herdsman, a rip roaring four wheeler driver, and a willing bus driver.
Taylor is the quietest Bontrager. He has an amazing heart for the Lord and loves to connect with people. He is an expert dairyman and knows all of his dairy cows by number. Over the past couple of years he started playing the banjo and does an amazing job. He taught me how the “flipping calf bottle lids into the wash sink” game. My score didn’t hold up to his expert distance and obstruction flips.
Hudson had the most enthusiastic response when I asked him to be my groomsman. Our goal is that I would beat him in Dutch Blitz someday. Bike rides, playing in the hay, and catching mice are some of his favorite activities. He plays bass and steps all over the fretboard with some awesome runs.
Joseph Hale is my close friend from the north. We have spent many hours together discussing life and business. I appreciate how he is willing to tell me straight up when I am wrong about something. He is very generous and loves his family. We make a hilarious wheelbarrow racing team and he beat me in a rock throwing contest.