I've known Nicole Santiago since 1998 when we were freshmen together in David John Hall at BYU (our group was known as the 2100 floor divas). She was a local girl from Provo and had the sweetest parents who took in our big group of friends for wonderful home-cooked meals and treated us like family every time that we saw them. After our freshman year, Nicole and I would take kickboxing classes together in the RB and also do long walks around the Provo temple at night. I loved having that time with Nicole, exercising and catching up on life. Nicole is hilarious - she is definitely germaphobic. When I think of Nicole, I think of hand sanitizer. :) But I also think of so many other things. She is a strong, confident, organized, creative, smart woman who doesn't settle for mediocrity and has accomplished so much in her life.
Now years later, I was thrilled to have the chance to fly back to Utah for Nicole's wedding to Meindert, a Dutch guy from Holland who I had never met, but had seen him on Skype when I was with my big group of friends for a reunion in May (that I still have yet to blog about... those photos are all on my external hard drive). He had a fabulous accent, spoke English very well, and was very handsome. It was really fun to see him in person a few weeks ago at the wedding festivities. Nicole and Meindert met in Germany when they were both there for business. Nicole works as an event planner for Xango and has traveled all over the world. Lucky for her, she met this guy in a restaurant and they hit it off right away. I'm pretty sure they dated for about a year and a half, long distance for the most part, with chunks of time together in Utah and in Europe. It's a fascinating story and I am just so happy for Nicole - she deserves someone who will cherish and love and treat her so well, just like I know Meindert will.
On to the pictures - Nicole with her divas that could make it out to the wedding. There were eight of us total who came in for the wedding from all over. It's especially amazing because we all have kids, which makes it extra hard to travel and get away for a wedding! Me from Chicago (2 kids), Emily from Spokane (3 kids and one on the way), Wendy from D.C. (2 kids), Sally from Orange County (3 kids), Gwendolyn from Los Angeles (1 kid and another on the way), Amber from Atlanta (2 kids), Kelly from Utah (4 kids), and Asialene from Philadelphia (2 kids - she was isn't pictured in these first set of pics - she came for the second day of wedding festivities). We didn't have a ton of notice - Nicole and Meindert set the date pretty fast to make things work with visas and grad school schedules (you can read about their visa miracle on her blog here). Meindert will be attending business school at the U of Utah, starting this January. This first set of pictures was taken at the reception the night before the actual wedding ceremony. All of the events were held at Sundance. It was beautiful!
Nicole and her sweet dad, Frank:
Gwendolyn's brother came with her and shot some of these pictures for us:
This last set of pics is from the next day - first, before the ceremony:
The wedding ceremony:
After the ceremony, waiting for our turn for pictures with Nicole outside, we took a few of our group - we do love to take pictures... :) But hey, it's not often that so many of us are all together!
All of Nicole's friends who came to the wedding - girls from high school, college, and beyond:
I love when we all get together. Here are Emily, Amber, and Wendy posing like the Shabby Apple clothing ads. Emily is especially awesome sporting her prego look. :)
Wendy, you were tall in those heels!! I look like I'm a foot shorter than you :) I probably was.
Amber and Wendy showed up wearing the same Shabby Apple dress in different colors. They dressed them up differently, so you would never know unless you looked really closely. Here they are pretending to be shocked by being matchy matchy:
They just make me smile. It's always so fun to see these old wonderful friends.
After Nicole and Meindert were done with pictures outside, we enjoyed a delicious luncheon. Here is the head table with Meindert's family on the left of the image, Nicole's on the right. Meindert's mom spoke limited English - it was really touching to hear her give a short speech to the couple. His family seems so nice.
And finally, Frank and Ella (Nicole's parents). Frank is so funny and used to always say, "Arms up to the divas!" and raise the roof with his arms. It was really fun seeing them again after so many years.
Congratulations Nicole and Meindert! I'm so happy for you.