Congratulations – Mikey & Mary Beth Got Hitched!

… when it comes down to it, that’s what life is all about: showing up for the people you love, again and again, until you can’t show up anymore.  ~Rebecca Walker

Mr. & Mrs. Olczak


Mikey & Mary Beth got hitched! Congrats! 8/1/15

This is a celebration worth writing about, the union of my cousin Mikey and his new wife, Mary Beth.  On Saturday, August, 1st, before God, they married in a small Catholic church in New Derry, Pennsylvania.  The reception?  The best venue ever!  The Planinsek Pavilion!  Yes, the very same location of the Fishing Derby (25th Annual Louis Planinsek Fishing Derby)!

It was a traditional, yet simple ceremony.  There wasn’t a lot of frills or fluff, they kept the wedding to the meat and potatoes, the important things, close family, caring friends, and the loving couple.  It was perfect!  After mass, everyone migrated to the Planinsek Pavilion for a good old-fashioned celebratory dinner and dancing.

It was a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies, low humidity, and we were even blessed with a light breeze. Like I said, perfect!

Now for some of the wedding details.  Be prepared, these little touches added to the wedding will pull on the heart strings.  A few years ago, the bride’s father passed away.  However, Mary Beth wanted to include him on her special day, in a subtle way.  He was known for wearing this red baseball cap with white polka dots.  Really?  Oh yes!  When I picture the man, that’s exactly how I see him, and that’s how he was always described by others.  The bride and bridesmaid, one of Mary Beth’s sisters, incorporated a red ribbon with white polka dots at the base of their bouquets.  The sweetness didn’t stop there.  Mikey’s dad, walked Mary Beth down the isle, and Mikey walked Mary Beth’s mom down the isle.  That’s true family unity from the beginning.  Told you, too sweet!  Again, perfect!


Front Row: Mary Beth (now Olczak) Stacey, Marla, Elizabeth, Karen   Back row: Joel, Mikey, Casey, Jim Olczak 8/1/15

Favors were not offered, at least not in the traditional sense.  Since Mikey’s a woodworker by trait, he made cutting boards for each table.  Yes!  His hand-crafted wooden cutting boards were the vehicle to serve the fresh fruit, cheese and crackers for each table.  Then, at the end of the night, designated guests were given the custom Red Barn Woodworking pieces to take home.  What a great idea!  Mikey also made the card box and personalized it.  Now that’s a way to add details and a special touch.

Mikey and Mary Beth’s reception was very different from ones I’m accustomed to.  One big aspect of a typical Western Pennsylvanian wedding is the cookie table!  Oh, yes, this is truly a thing, and a big thing.  Weddings in this area are judged by the cookie table.  Mikey and Mary Beth did not disappoint!  However, aside from the cookie display, and their first dance, they didn’t keep with wedding tradition.  There was no polka music or polka dancing, no bridal dance, no formal cutting of the cake, no formal introduction of the bridal party.  Although, keep in mind, the bridal party consisted of our loving couple, and the bridesmaid and the best man.  Both respected siblings, and both individuals where known by all of the attendees.


Mikey & Me … had to have a cousin picture! Congrats Mikey & Mary Beth 8/1/15

Did I miss all these standard aspects to a typical wedding?  Not at all!  I loved how the evening unfolded!  I simply loved it!  There was no pressure, no expectations, no stress, from the guests or our newlyweds.  Like I mentioned, perfect!  The love and simple attitude from Mikey and Mary Beth spilled out over onto everyone.  Now that’s a real power couple!

To be honest, the reception was more like a huge family reunion.  Everywhere I looked, I was related to someone in one way or another.  This wedding, combined the large families of the area, the Olczak’s, the Piper’s, the Planinsek’s and the Butina’s, into one big party.  I’ve always been friends with the Butina’s.  My best friend in elementary school was a Butina, and so I was an adopted Butina, like many of my cousins.  Naturally, I’m related to the Piper’s and the Olczak’s.  The Olczak’s are related to the Planinsek’s, and now were all related to the Butina’s.   One big ridger family!

On a side note, a ridger is a person who lives on the ridge.  What’s a ridge?  The top of a hill or elevated area in a rural area.  A ridger is slang around Latrobe and Ligonier.

We danced the night away to the band, Life of Brian, friends of the happy couple.  They rocked the night away, and got everyone up and moving!  That was the first time I’ve heard them, and I was impressed!  They’re really, really good and made the evening even more enjoyable

Chef Mark’s Palete catered to the party.  Talk about eating like kings!  Chef Mark was on hand to carve the smoked roast beef, as well as serve the multi-layered wedding cake, not courtesy of Chef Mark.  His staff was very attentive to the guests and kept things moving smoothly.


Life of Brian… a great band!

It was great mingling among everyone and catching up.  Knowing Mikey and Mary Beth, I would have expected nothing less.

I had a great time and I wish them all the happiness in the world!  Mikey and Mary Beth are perfect examples of what happens when two people are raised with morally strong families, and are just all around good people.

Congratulations Mikey and Mary Beth!  I look forward to witnessing your unity over the years.  I know it will be full of happiness and fun.  You guys are a great couple!  Cheers!


posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination and have No Comments

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Seminary

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.  ~Aristotle

Davey, Sheri & me at their Wedding in Minnesota. Great time! Perfect couple! 4/12/14

This past weekend was a celebration of the highest degree.  Before God, my good friend Davey married his soul mate, Sheri.

The wedding took place in St. Paul, Minnesota (in the vicinity) near the couples residence and Sheri’s family.  They got married in the historic Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel.  The reception was at the Historic Concord Exchange Building.  What a lovely wedding and a perfect venue!

Ava & Aunt Sheri during the wedding… what a precious pic! 4/12/14

Let me step back a few years, and then a few more, and yet a couple more years, to answer the age old question, ‘How do you know Dave?’  Personally, I love telling the story, I think it’s fun and really unique.

Once upon a time there was a little quiet boy named Davey and a young hyperactive girl, named Heather, who attended parochial schools, he St. Bruno’s and I Sacred Heart.  While making our mark on fifth grade, our teachers, who happened to be friends, wanted to get their students together to socialize.  My class only consisted of ten and I believe his the same.

Our teachers arranged for an exchange of addresses between the students to begin our written correspondences.  Yes, something that is nearly extinct, we had pen pals.  Guess who was mine?  Yep!  Davey!  I’m not sure how I ended up with him, I believe it was literally a named pulled out of a hat.  Either way, Davey became my pen pal and unbeknownst to me at the time, a life long friend.
Russ (Sheri's brother), me Deb (Sheri's sister) & her husband Rick.  Great family! 4/12/14

Russ (Sheri’s brother), me Deb (Sheri’s sister) & her husband Rick. Great family! 4/12/14

We wrote each other occasionally.  I sent him little GI Joe figures and we exchanged friendship bracelets.  We even talked on the phone a few times (he mostly talked about his cat when he actually talk, or when I gave him the chance to say anything).

We kept in touch throughout the year and I believe into sixth grade.  Then, alas, I moved on into the seventh grade, which was my junior high at Greater Latrobe High School.  He continued on with parochial school until twelfth grade.  Our communication fizzled out, that is until graduation, when we met up again at the mall.  Believe it or not, we worked together at a clothing store called Aeropostale in Westmoreland Mall.  Did we remember each other?  You bet we did!  We’ve remained friends ever since.  That was about nineteen years ago, plus the time we’ve known each other during our limited childhood interaction.


Garrett (Sheri’s nephew & Debs son), Taylor (Sheri’s niece & Debs daughter), me & Becca Schneider. What a great bunch! 4/12/14

Now fast forward from post high school days to a few years ago.  Davey had been corresponding with this chick and he decided to move to Minnesota with her.  What?  Who is this person?

Before departing and trekking nearly nine hundred miles over five to six states, Davey wanted me to meet this mystery lady before starting his new life.  Did I think it was a good idea?  Sure, taking on a new adventure can be fun and a good change of pace.  But naturally, I wanted see who stole Davey’s heart and hopefully give her the thumbs up too.


Davey being scolded by priest – not really. Before he took his new bride in the Historic Fort Snelling Chapel, Minnesota. 4/12/14

I met the two in Greensburg and instantly loved Sheri!  From idle chit chat, I found out that she is one of eight kids in her family.  Yes!  No joke!  And she was raised on a dairy farm.  The more I learned about this new figure in Davey’s life, the more I realized how good she was for him.  It probably didn’t hurt that we also had a lot in common and we clicked instantly.  Davey always felt like a brother to me and now I was gaining another sister.

At heart, Sheri is an old fashioned soul.  I mean that in the most respectful and complementary way.  She has a very tasteful flare for antiques and classic style, everything from her attire and embellishments, to her home decor, even to the way she holds herself.  More importantly Sheri has a good heart and is sincere and kind and family oriented, obviously moral attributes instilled in her from her upbringing.  She is a timeless classic, one I hope Davey treasures forever.  Gals like that are hard to come by.



Davey & Sheri getting pics. 4/12/14

Now onto present day.  The wedding weekend.  My part of the celebration started on Thursday, when I flew in early to be greeted by Davey, his dad and his friend Bryant.  We had the privilege of hanging out at the couple’s house and getting a personal tour of the newly acquired establishment.  They have a great place!

During my visit I also had the honor of meeting one of Sheri’s sisters, Sarah.  Just like Sheri, I clicked with Sarah.

Friday consisted of manicures and pedicures with all the ladies.  That’s when it happened.  That’s when I really got to know the Kerfeld women and instantly LOVED them!  Throughout all the wedding activities, they treated me like another sister, one of the family.  I met Debbie, another sister, Taylor a niece and beautiful little Ava, another niece, among the assortment of friends and family.


Little Ava took a great shot of her mom, Sarah (Sheri’s sister) during the wedding with my phone. Thanks little lady! Great shot! 4/12/14

On a side note, I would need to dedicate an entire blog entry to just outlining the names of the Kerfeld clan, plus I would need a GPS to navigate through the family and not get lost among cousins, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers.  That’s why I’ll stick to naming just a few.

Saturday was exactly what you expected, pictures, party bus, pictures, ceremony, pictures, party bus, pictures and reception.  I bonded with her family more throughout the day, especially on the dance floor.  In fact, I was even graced to sit by Sheri’s youngest brother, Russ, who was in the wedding and happened to be the youngest of the eight.  What a benevolent spirited person just like the rest of the very large family!

Taylor showing her excitement for getting out of those heels! 4/12/14

After a night of dancing and celebrating I found myself welcomed into another family.  My Minnesota family or how they say it, Minnesot – eh.

Being in the wedding and wrapped up with all things matrimony, I didn’t do much site seeing.  I did however manage to sneak out to explore a couple floors of the Mall of America, stopping to pick up an Easter gift for Kyle from a brain teaser store.  More importantly, as planned the moment I made my airline reservations, I attended St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis for Palm Sunday mass.  (big fan of the Golden Girls!)

Russ posing for little Ava to take the picture! 4/12/14

On another side note, there is a real life place called St. Olaf.  Anyone who watched the Golden Girls knows, Rose Nylund was from St. Olaf and often told stories of her hometown.

On another side side note, Davey knew my infatuation with the Golden Girls and St. Olaf.  When he moved out to Minnesota, he and Sheri bought me rosary beads from St. Olaf Catholic Church.  Totally made my day!

Davey and Sheri, I am so very happy for you both.  May God bless you guys in everything you do.  I look forward to getting to know you two as a married couple.


Congratulations Sheri and Davey!
posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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