Zach and Clake Cut the Cake!

I have been trying to put this post together for WEEKS now, and haven’t been able to…too many photos to pare down and too much fun to try to cram into one blog post! The first weekend of October, our entire Minneapolis friend group made a pilgrimage down to South Bend to witness the marriage of two of my favorite people, Zach and Colleen!

I gushed about how excited I was on the day we got on the road…but nothing could have captured how amazing the weekend was. Z & C threw one of my absolute favorite weddings I’ve ever been to. The entire weekend felt like the perfect encapsulation of everything they’re about… fun, some party action, lots of Notre Dame, and most significantly a ton of love. These two are so in love with each other, but more importantly, they are absolutely adored by everyone in their lives. It was amazing to see that, and to feel how huge and meaningful the presence of that love was all weekend. Unbelievably meaningful and heartfelt across the board.

We arrived around dinner on Thursday night and spent the entire night reliving a classic Thursday night at Notre Dame, starting off with a dinner at Legends (that we didn’t pay for with Domer Dollars!)…

…followed by a trip to O’Rourkes, which will always and forever be Kildare’s in my mind. We enjoyed some beers, bonded with our waitress, and sent our night on a sharp turn for crazy with a few rounds of “breakfast shots,” a concoction of Jameson and buttershots with an OJ chaser that tastes exactly like pancakes and deliciousness.

From there, we headed to the cabin!! It was so fantastic to get to spend some time with Zach and his family in a lower-key setting…our small group enjoyed cocktails and catching up before the night took its second sharp turn for crazy. Riley, Zach’s younger brother, decided we were all going to Club Fever. 

ND grads know that Club Fever is utterly ridiculous. For Minneapolis friends, it’s sort of like The Library but sleazier…almost a Sneaky Pete’s type environment. I DIED with excitement and then felt incredibly old as we all gawked at the babies in their six-inch heels.

We assuaged our old-fogey hurt feelings with a few selfies, and a few Redheaded Sluts…


…and headed to Steak’n’Shake around 2am in a desperate bid to sober up. Too much fun, and it was only Thursday!

Friday was the kind of day that makes Notre Dame look insanely beautiful and makes Notre Dame lovers glad to be alive. 

We took a long tour of campus with friends Chris and Jodi, ate lunch in the dining hall, and made an all-important Grotto trip for a few moments of silence and reflection. I had a blissful afternoon to myself and spent some time wandering campus solo, which I completely cherished, before meeting up with friends Brett and Bekka for dinner. We then headed over to the rehearsal dinner afterparty back at the cabin! 

Lots of photos of high school classmates…

Old roommates…

…and “book club” veterans…

…and a selfie in the bathroom for good measure because I adore this girl. 

One of the highlights of my weekend was getting to watch non-Notre Dame friends experience my alma mater. It was jarring but gratifying in the best of ways to watch these worlds collide, and we had so much fun with it. As far as the “after party” goes, Zach’s parents’ friends totally outlasted us…we threw in the towel around midnight when they were still going strong! I can only hope I grow up to be that cool. 

Saturday dawned really cold and a bit grey, but we decided to brighten our day with BACKER LUNCH! …until we realized Claire didn’t have her ID, so we ditched and had a one-on-one date at Wendy’s hahaha. Then it was a mad rush to get ready and make it to the church on time for the event of the weekend!! 

I can’t even put into words how beautiful a Basilica wedding is, and Zach and Colleen’s lived up to all my previous experiences. Colleen could not have been a more absolutely stunning bride. Watching her walk down the aisle on the arms of her mother and uncle brought me to tears almost immediately. 

I always love to snag just one photo of the vows…although I never try to take a picture of the kiss, because usually I’m doing dorky little hops of joy as it happens. 

MARRIED! These beautiful people! I love them so much! 

The reception was at the hotel we were all staying at, so we headed back and killed a little time in the Catholic gap with champagne in Greg and Alex and Laura’s ridiculously large “executive suite.” We’re talking full boardroom, sitting room, and giant bedroom. It was bigger than my apartment. Cocktail hour was fantastic! The appetizers were mind-blowing. Crab cake tots?! Yes please. Plus I got to hang out and be the “plus three” to THESE lovelies. 

The facility was already a gorgeous raw space, and Zach and Colleen’s personal touches added so much to the evening. Their guestbook was a personalized map (I signed over most of Central Africa, because I’m a huge dork). 

I also loved the beautiful navy linens, which, combined with the gold chair covers, made the entire room perfectly Notre Dame-y. The centerpieces were all different…so fun to check them all out! 

Every toast was absolutely perfect. Colleen’s sister and mother gave the most incredible testimonies to how amazing Colleen is…I didn’t think it was possible to capture her, but of course as the two women who love her most in the world, they pulled it off. We all cried. Bobby, Zach’s best man, told a story I know well about freshman year at Glee Club House and a certain trophy…which brought the room to tears of laughter…and brought it full circle in the best way, bringing us to more tears of joy.

Each of the first dances ended up being “special:” Zach and Colleen’s first dance was to “Your Song,” by Ellie Goulding, and involved some fantastic dips and twirls and whatnot in the middle, but watching them made me tear up (common theme for the evening). 

While Colleen was having her uncle-niece dance, Zach grabbed her mom and brought her out to the dance floor as well. So touching.

Before Zach and his mom’s dance, his dad (I think) explained the significance of the song they were dancing to. Zach lost his granddad, a music teacher and jazz aficionado, a few months before the wedding, and they would dance to his favorite recording of his favorite song. I completely lost it (as did, um, EVERYONE else in the room). Such a beautiful tribute! 

This is getting insanely long, so I’m going to power through and wrap it up as concisely as possible. 

Steve-O’s “snapchat glamorshot” of me: Obsessed. I love that dress (steal of a deal from J.Crew Factory)!

Their cake: adorable. Their cupcakes: delicious. 

Our sneaky viewing of the ND-Clemson game: super stealth. Super disappointing game. Whatever, we had an open bar and a ton to celebrate, so I barely noticed or cared. Still, thanks Greg and Rabes for making sure we could watch it (when nothing more important was happening, I promise!). 

The photobooth: utterly ridiculous magic. 

These two: So beautiful, so loving, and so, so loved. Thank you for an unbelievably memorable and heartfelt weekend, Zach and Colleen! We love you a lot!