My Non-traditional, Superhero, Blended Family Wedding

There was nothing traditional about mine and Nick’s courtship so I knew I wouldn’t want a traditional wedding when the time came. We met at a costume dance. He was a zombie and I was Taylor Swift. He had blood all over him and bites out of his flesh. I had an ugly wig and pajamas on. He moved in with us after only five months. I hadn’t lived with anyone else since my divorce 10 years ago but I just knew it was right. He has three children ages 22, 19 and 18. I have two children ages 15 and 12.

The Ringmy ring final

We had talked about getting engaged and what type of ring I wanted quite a bit. My brother and sister-in-law make and sell jewelry (Bridewell Art) so we discussed ideas with them. I decided I wanted a non-traditional stone in the center so my brother custom made an aqua marine stone, the birthstone for March. That is Nick’s birthstone and the month Nick and I met.  It makes the ring even more special. He proposed on March 3, 2014, our one year anniversary date.

The Date

Nick’s daughter was leaving for the Coast Guard boot camp just a few days after we were engaged. We were told she would have five days leave before she headed to her assignment. Nick’s son Joel would be leaving for the National Guard in late July. So we decided we would get married during Jordan’s leave on Sunday, May 4, 2014 so all the kids could be at the wedding.  That meant I had eight weeks to plan a wedding.

We  decided it would be just immediate family and a couple very close friends in Nick’s parents’ backyard.  We wanted a very fun and laid back atmosphere. We started creating this atmosphere by picking a fun theme – superheroes.

The Invitation

Our superhero theme was introduced in the invitations. We wanted to include the kids as much as possible so we put my children’s names where the brides’ parents names are usually listed and his children’s names where the grooms parents are usually listed.


Superman Wedding Invitation

The Attire

I asked Andi and Jordan, our two daughters, to be my maids of honor. I told the girls to pick dresses that fit their style and that they would wear again. I wasn’t worried about matching. I didn’t want a traditional wedding gown so after trying on about 50 dresses, I found one that but made me smile with no ifs or buts. I found this awesome vendor on Etsy who custom made my shoes for only $35, including shipping. I didn’t tell anyone about the shoes since I wanted it to be a surprise, even for Nick.shoe 2

the girls

Andi, the bride, Jordan






Women's Superman Shoes

Women’s Superman Shoes









The guys went even more casual. Nick and our three best men – our sons Josh, Joel and Joey – went with khaki pants and button down shirts.




groom and best men

The groom and the best men (Josh, Joey, Joel)

To stick with the theme, I had to throw a few surprises into the wardrobe and get a few awesome photos. I bought each of the guys their favorite superhero T-shirt, Jordan a Wonder Woman bracelet and Andi Cat Woman ears. This made for a fun photo shoot.

Best Men and Groom

Superhero Wedding Wardrobe

goof balls

Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and Cat Woman save the bride!


The Jewelry

My brother and sister-in-law, with Bridewell Art, made Andi and Jordan’s jewelry for the wedding. It is gorgeous and meant a lot more to us than a piece from a store.

girls earrings


Two days before the wedding, my mother gave me a beautiful necklace that my father had given her when I was born. I wore that as my something old. My best friend Jessica let me borrow a silver bracelet. My dress was new and my engagement ring was my something blue.

The Ceremony

Since we weren’t having friends in the wedding party, we decided to ask my best friend, who Nick is also good friends with, to oversee the wedding. Jessica was able to get certified online for only $32. This made the ceremony so much more personal.

We had very simple bouquets made from Fort Thomas Florist, a local florist. She wrapped them in Superman ribbon that I purchased from SweetRibbonAddiction on etsy.

wedding  2

maids of honor Maids of Honor

wedding party

Best Friend Officiates the Wedding


















Writing our own vows also made the ceremony much more personal and sweet. Nick is an amazing poet (read his poetry here), which was shown in his vows. I promised to inspire him, love him and to never disrespect the Beatles. Anyone who knows Nick, knows that the Beatles part is very important.

Reading Our Own Vows

Reading Our Own Vows

Jessica also helped us with a very special part of the ceremony. We wanted to symbolize the unification of our two families in a special way. Nick and I purchased a small birch tree, which symbolizes new beginnings, and placed it on the table during the ceremony. We had little ornaments made with our names and our children’s names. On one branch hung the ornaments for Nick, Josh, Jordan and Joel. On another branch hung ornaments for me, Andi and Joey. After we recited the vowels Nick and I wrote, we recognized our blended family. Each one of us removed our ornaments from the separate branches and then hung them all on one branch together showing the start of our new family tree. We are planting the tree in our backyard and watch our family grow.

Our Family Merging to One Branch of the Tree

Our Family Merging to One Branch of the Tree


Signifying Our Blended Family



Other Special Touches

Nick’s nephew Nicholas passed away last August at 30-years-old. After his death, the family started something called Pennies for Pickle based on Nicholas’ nickname Pickle and the thought that our loved ones who have passed leave pennies in our path to say hello. We had the florist fill a vase with pennies and red Gerber Daisies, which is one of my favorite flowers.

Penny Vase to Remember a Loved One

Penny Vase to Remember a Loved One


Instead of having a guest sign in book, we decided to ask people to sign the corks from the wine bottles and then save the corks in a wine cork cage. This is something that will always be on display and not packed away in the basement.


wine corks

Guests Signing Wine Corks Instead of a Guest Book













The Reception 

Nick and I wanted to keep it simple and fun so we opted for a wine and dessert reception. My new brother-in-law Eric made magnificent cheesecake and we had cupcakes and cookies from Affordable Wedding Creations in Covington, Kentucky. We did carry the superhero theme over into the cupcakes.


Raspberry Cheesecake


Wedding Superhero Cupcakes

superman cupcakes


















The kids really enjoyed the dessert bar.

josey cupcake



It was the perfect wedding for us. We were able to show our personality without overdoing the superhero theme. We made it personal by having the wedding and reception in Nick’s parents backyard with a small guest list and getting married by my best friend. We were able to recognize a loved one we lost over the last year and find the perfect way to recognize our blended family. We weren’t stressed over the expenses or logistics. It was the fun, laid back setting with lots of personal touches that we asked for.

Nick & Gina


The Groom and Daughter

The Groom and Daughter

mother of the bride

Mother and Bride


Friends with the Bride

the cake stegner obys 2 boysstegner boys GIRLS


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The Best of 2013

The end of a year is a time for many to reflect on the last 12 months. It’s a time to be thankful, a time to look at what you would do differently, a time to reflect on relationships and a time to look at your accomplishments. It’s also a time to plan for the new year. It’s a time to set goals and make resolutions.

My regular readers know that I’m a glass half full kind of gal. We might be given a bad hand from time to time but what we do with that is really what’s important. So today, I am thinking of mine and my family’s accomplishments in 2013 and all the things we have to be grateful for. So many wonderful things have happened in 2013… too many to list in fact but I will give you a few highlights.

1. March 3, 2013 was probably the most important day of 2013 for me. It was the day I met Nick, the man I will spend the rest of my life with.

2. I am grateful for where Histiocytosis, the rare disease my son has been inflicted with, has led my family. I know it might sound crazy but hear me out… I was a person filled with worry and anxiety prior to Joey’s diagnosis. Histio put life in perspective for me. There is no more stressing out about the small stuff… shoot, I barely worry about the big stuff. I know that life will work out. It always does. I now live anxiety-free and it’s awesome. Of course I wish he didn’t have Histio but we are dealing with it.

My Histio Family

My Histio Family

Joey has chosen to be an advocate for the Histio Foundation and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He knows he is one of the lucky kids with Histio (no chemo, no organ transplants and he’s going to survive) so he wants to fight for those kids who can’t. My family (cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews) and friends have come together to support Joey in his fight. We have virtually met hundreds of people going though Histio and physically met dozens. We have developed an amazing support group and built incredible friendships.

3. My new family, Nick’s family, dealt with something extremely difficult this year – the loss of Nicholas to an accidental heroin overdose. This would rip most families apart but we didn’t let it. Although we deal with the daily pain of this loss, we have come together to fight the heroin epidemic through NKY Hates Heroin. We have been part of the solution and supported each other during the grieving process.

nick specht

4. I am grateful to watch mine and Nick’s five children grow into wonderful young adults. Joey started middle school and Andi started high school. They have both done amazing with the new challenge. Joel joined the National Guard. Jordan graduated this year and committed to going into the Coast Guard in the spring. Josh finished his junior year of college and created a plan for himself. I’m very proud of all five kids.

holt stegner

5. We have had a lot of new life in our family. Nick’s niece brought our newest family member into the world just last week – Keegan. Nick’s nephew and his wife also had a child this year. Two of my cousins announced their pregnancies and are due in late spring. Three of my cousins had beautiful baby girls this year. I love being surrounded by all the babies, playing with them, feeding them and then giving them back when I’ve had my fill.

first cousins

First Cousins (minus five)

cousins xmas

Second Cousins (minus six… 2 on the way)

This year has definitely thrown some challenges at us but we our strong and have made the best of each situation. 2013 has also brought some pretty wonderful things and people in our lives. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for the Holt/Stegner family. Bring it on!

What is your best of in 2013? What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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