Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you with love: Mr. and Mrs. Zwart!
The bride and groom united in marriage on the deck of the Lake Lawn Queen as the sun set on Lake Delavan. Guests immensely enjoyed the gorgeous weather and view during the ceremony and dinner cruise. An evening of dancing and celebrating under the stars on the top deck was a night to remember. It was a lovely honor to get to know the bride and groom and to officiate this beautiful ceremony that united two wonderful families.
Enjoy a few excerpts from this special ceremony below.
The processional song you are about to hear is extra special. The bride secretly recorded this song for the groom with the help of the groom’s son, Carter Z. This is a gift to Frank with love from Leslie. (Leslie singing her version of Leah Nobel’s song “Beginning Middle End”)
Frank and Leslie chose this reading entitled, Maybe, and there are a lot of underlying emotions in each stanza.
Now, all those maybes led you both here…exactly where you are meant to be. We are truly blessed with how people are placed in our lives according to God’s plan and most especially according to God’s timeframe. Three years ago this month, on a first date sitting at a wobbly table, the timing was finally right for these two beautiful souls to meet. We will never know why it took so long and why you both had to endure so much and go through all those maybes, but there you both were- placed with gentle perfection by God onto the same path, and somehow, everything that came before made sense, because everything going forward would be appreciated to the depths of your souls. As challenging as it may have been to have faith in a happily ever after for yourselves, Leslie and Frank, your love story was waiting for you.
Leslie said about Frank, “When we first met, I already knew you.”
What happened next is the stuff dreams are made of. Joy! Your existence was consumed with joy and solace. You found the person you feel safe, secure, and most yourself with. You found the person most accepting of your flaws and wounds. You found the person most encouraging of your dreams. You found the person who loves you so completely that you simply can’t do anything but believe that your dreams have come true.
Then, on a picturesque evening walk on a bridge over a stream, Leslie commented that it was a perfect night. Frank chimed in, “You know what would make it more perfect…,” and Leslie turned around to find him on one knee, poised to propose. And it was perfect.
Wow! Your dreams have come true. You are now merely tasked with living happily ever after with the person most perfect for you. You don’t need to be pinched. This is real life. This is really happening!
Now that you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, where do you go from here? Well, wherever you go, you’re going to go together…and it’s going to be so wonderful!
But, there’s even more! Frank and Leslie both say that their favorite part of “us” is the family. God is great, and He healed broken pieces by beautifully blending your families together. Frank and Leslie, you have been brought together with love and purpose and so have your children. Today, your marriage vows also unite your children, Carter, Makenna, Kylie, Jude, Lyddie, and Landon, and you are now the most glorious thing of all- a family. Let’s not forget the cats, Mylee and Kristy, too. Together you are whole. You are one. You are blessed.
Today, in the presence of these witnesses, Leslie and Frank are ready to be united as a family. Also sharing in the love today are those gone before us, especially Leslie’s stepfather/Papa Bear Vern Avery and Gran Melva Dite, and Frank’s parents, Frank Senior and Shirley Zwart. May we know in our hearts that they are watching over this union with joy. With faith in each other and faith in God, may Leslie and Frank’s marriage and family be blessed with eternal love and togetherness.
(Frank) Today I stand here with you, and I am filled with such happiness. From the moment we first met, I knew that together we could build something remarkable, something that could withstand all of life’s challenges.
Your kindness, your love, and your loyalty have continually inspired me and helped me grow and learn. In you, I have found a true companion who puts her heart into everything she does for each of our children and our family and friends.
Over the last three years, we have shared a lifetime worth of memories together, and I cherish each one of them. From us going on road trips and exploring new places together, visiting amazing destinations, and walking on the most beautiful white sand beaches, to the special moments that we have celebrated and shared together. I thank you for sharing it all with me.
I am in awe of your immense capacity to love. You love and care for each of our six children, for our friends and family, and for me. You unfailingly stand by me and encourage me and together we strive to become the best versions of ourselves.
Leslie, I promise to love you unconditionally, to always be there for you, to support you in your dreams, and to make you laugh every day.
I will cherish our relationship and work hard to keep it strong. I will always be honest with you, even when it’s hard. I will always be faithful to you.
I promise to be a good husband and a good father. I will raise our children with love and respect.
I will make sure that our home is a place where we can always feel safe and loved.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for being such an amazing mother to each one of our children Lyddie, Jude, Landon, Makenna, Kylie, and Carter. You are patient, kind, and loving, and they are so lucky to have you in their lives.
I promise to do my best to support you in raising them, and to help create a happy and loving home for all of us.
You are my companion, you are my best friend, and you are my guide.
Today, and every day, I love you even more deeply than I ever thought possible. Today, I give you my heart, and reaffirm my commitment to making you the happiest person I know. Now, and forever.
(Leslie) My best friend and beloved partner- when we met, I was a much different person than I am today. Yet even then, you have always accepted me for exactly who I am and where I am in my journey. I am far from perfect, but you have never once asked me to change a thing about myself. Rather, you have shown me what true friendship and partnership looks like, and in doing so, forever changed me. In the past three years, you have shown me what it is to be cherished. You have walked with me and held my hand as I confronted and overcame some major challenges, obstacles, and goals- constantly cheering me on, telling me I can do this, and that I am beautiful and smart and loved. You have never underestimated me, even in those moments when I underestimated myself.
Quite simply Frank Zwart, you are my home. You are the kindest, gentlest, most patient man I have ever met. I love the strong friendship we share and know that is the foundation of our relationship. You are truly a gift to me from God, and I will never be able to express my gratitude to the Lord for bringing us together at last, against all odds. I want to share every moment of the rest of my life with you. You are the love of my life. I truly believe that we are two halves of one whole, my love. I have been waiting for you for so long it brings tears to my eyes. And yet, I know that, had we not each navigated our own broken roads, perhaps we would not love and appreciate each other the way that we do. And we would not be sharing this journey with these 6 amazing young people.
Kylie, Carter, and Makenna- you have been through so much. It is a miracle to me that you have all accepted me as your dad’s partner. I had no idea what to expect at the beginning- but as I got to know each of you and see how incredible you all are in your own right- I realized that my feelings for you go so far beyond the relationship I have with your father. You are each so smart, kind, and strong. I see so much of your father in you, but also so many amazing things that are special to each one of you. I love the relationship you have with your dad, and seeing you bond with my 3 little ones has only deepened my love for you. My children needed your father, but they also needed you. Thank you for loving them so well. Today as we take this step to formally blend our family, I promise to love, cherish and respect each one of you. I can’t take away the pain of the past, but I can promise that you will always be safe, loved, and home with me, no matter what challenges this road ahead of us may bring. I claim each one of you as my own children from this day forward, and that is a bond that can never be broken.
My love- today, I pledge to be your wife in every sense of that word. I vow to love, respect, and cherish you. I promise to be there for you in the good times and bad times, cheering you on, holding your hand, and bearing what life brings together. Today, I commit my heart and my life to you and to our children, for the rest of my life and beyond. I am honored to be part of this beautiful, blended family, and I promise to cherish and protect it with all of my heart. With love and devotion, I take you as my partner, and I embrace you as my husband with joy and gratitude. From this day forward, we are one family, united forever.
To Frank and Leslie and the beautiful family that they have joined together! Cheers!