Willow Writer Jenna introduces her bridal party!

September 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm (Willow Writers) (, , , , , , , )

Meet my Bridal Party

matthewMatthew Schmidt- Matthew is Christopher’s twin brother and the best man in our wedding.  Like Christopher, he went to college to become an engineer and recently has acquired his professional engineering license. Both Chris and Matt work for their father’s company, but Matt works at the office in Mars, Pa. while Chris works at the office in Etna. Chris and Matt are fraternal twins, but they do look very similar. When they were younger they used to switch shirts at family gatherings as a joke, and they used to ride dirt bikes and play roller hockey with their cousin Wesley. At Deer Lakes High school, Matt and Chris played basketball and volleyball. Matt is good with computers and enjoys playing computer games. He also enjoys going down to the river on their parents’ boat and taking the jets skis out for a spin. During the summers when they were younger, they would go up to Allegheny National Forest to camp and ride the jet skis on the Kinzua Reservoir. Some of Chris’s favorite memories consist of riding the jet skis with his brother and racing their Uncle Bill to see whose jet ski was faster.  Just like Chris, Matt also enjoys thrilling activities like racing on jet skis and riding super high roller coasters. They both rode the sky coaster at Kennywood, which is the ride where they pull you up over the lake on a bungee cord and then you have to release the cord that sends you spiraling toward the earth.  Despite his fearlessness when it comes to dangerous activities, Matt is really quiet and shy.  I always tease him about coming out of his comfort zone and on the game nights when he comes over, I try to pick a goofy game instead of one that needs strategy. He lost horribly at the game called Quelf because he kept taking the penalties instead of acting out what was on his card. Hopefully in the future I will be able to get my brother-in-law to loosen up, have fun, and not care what anyone else thinks.

jodieJodie Doerfler-  Jodie, my matron of honor, is married to my cousin Pierre Doerfler. They have three beautiful children: Pierre Jr. (8), Anthony (6), and Nicholas (3). Jodie is a wonderful mom and a very caring down to earth person. She is very thoughtful and always offers to help in any situation even after you tell her that she doesn’t have to. My favorite memories with Jodie include going down to the South Side and Station Square. She always knows how to make me laugh when we are having a girl’s night out. On the spur of the moment we decided to go out, have a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and then afterwards find a bar to have a couple drinks after dinner. What we didn’t realize was that it was St. Patrick’s Day! As we drove down East Carson Street toward the Cheesecake Factory people were everywhere. It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon and it looked like a scene you would see at one in the morning! Intoxicated party goers filled the sidewalks and were stumbling into the street. It took us forever to get to the Cheesecake Factory because we were trying to avoid hitting people. While stopped at a red light, a bar stool came flying out of a bar along with two people who were punching each other and wrestling on the sidewalk. We were relieved when the light finally changed. We looked over at each other and chuckled. What the heck were we doing down here? Thankfully, the Cheesecake Factory was not crowded and we spent our evening there eating a wonderful dinner and talking for hours. I don’t think we will be hitting the St. Patrick’s Day scene again anytime soon. Whether it’s going out for birthdays, Halloween, or celebrating my new job with shots out of a backpack, we always have a fun time. Jodie is like a sister to me and I always tell my cousin Pierre that marrying Jodie was the best decision he has ever made.  I am blessed to have Jodie as my cousin and the matron of honor in my wedding.

regisRegis Faas- Regis is my wonderful younger brother and I love him with all of my heart. He is not even two years younger than I am (twenty-one months to be exact) so we did a lot together when we were kids. Regis grew faster than I did so when our mom would take us places people thought we were twins. We have the typical sibling relationship; he is my best friend and worst enemy at times, but I couldn’t ask for a better brother. Regis is very funny and he makes me laugh almost every day. He has perfected an array of accents which can have me laughing for hours. When we were younger, Regis read this book called Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in the car on the way home from our grandmother’s house. For each character he changed his voice to a different accent. My dad was laughing so hard that tears were coming out of his eyes and he was having a hard time paying attention to the road. It was like having a play going on in the backseat; Regis was so entertaining and hilarious. He could make an animated movie all by himself. Unfortunately, the next week when he had to read the book in class, the teacher did not find the change of characters very funny.  Apparently she does not have a sense of humor because I don’t know how she couldn’t laugh.  Obviously my mom disregarded the note she sent home. Regis loves joking around and he gets the biggest smile on his face when he does get other people to chuckle. My brother is also a big sports fan and knows everything about any kind of sport. He amazes me with his vast knowledge of different players and team statistics. Regis played volleyball for four years at Penn Hills High School and he was really good at it.  He is good at drawing, as well. If we play on a team for Pictionary we dominate the competition. Lucky for Chris and Ashley, we are normally on opposite sides. My brother really makes family game night a blast.  I love having him over my house. I don’t know what I would do without my brother.  He makes me smile when I am sad and I know that he will always be there for me.

ashleyAshley Belohlavek- I met Ashley when she started dating my brother Regis. My whole family loved her immediately. Ashley is one of the sweetest people I know. Right now she is attending her second year at Carlow College to get her degree in special education. She loves children and is a very compassionate person. My brother and I have become closer since he started dating Ashley because we do a lot of activities together. We go out on double dates and we try to have game night twice a month. We had so much fun last year when we went on vacation to my Aunt Bonnie’s in Florida. Aunt Bon teased that the loser of the game had to eat a ghost chili pepper. Chris lost the game and ate the pepper. When Regis saw how much pain Chris was in, he decided to eat one too. Ashley and I laughed like crazy as we watched them hop around the kitchen with their mouths on fire. The best part of the situation was when they drank milk to stop the burning. They didn’t realize that the milk had gone bad until they had already drunk a couple of glasses. Ashley and I had never laughed so hard in our lives. I am so happy that my brother has found a person as wonderful as Ashley and I would be honored to call her my sister-in-law someday (fingers crossed).



wesWesley Van Horn- Wesley is Christopher’s cousin and they did a lot of activities together as they were growing up. Chris, Matt, and Wes played roller hockey and rode dirt bikes together when they were young. Their first roller hockey team was called the Blue Blades and they played down at the old Ches-A-Rena that used to be in Cheswick. They are really close because out of all of Christopher’s other cousins, Wes is the same age as him. One of Chris’s fondest memories with Wes was when they were seven. They were digging in the back yard of Aunt Margie and Uncle Doug’s (Wes’s parents’) house for rocks, and then they sold the rocks to other members of the family. Chris would often sleep over Wes’s house and they would always play Monopoly or Risk. When Chris was a senior in high school, Aunt Margie and Uncle Doug’s house caught on fire. Chris helped his aunt, uncle, and cousins with the cleanup and some of the repairs. Wes returned the favor when Chris and I bought our house. Wesley paints professionally so he was a really big help to Chris and I. Our front entry way is over two stories tall so we could not have painted it without him. Wesley is really good with a paint brush and he is extremely fast at it, too. He helped us finish so many rooms in our house which I will always be eternally grateful for.

jenJennifer Grayson-  I met Jennifer at California University of Pennsylvania while I was working on my bachelor’s degree in Geology.  Jennifer was in most of my classes because she was working on the same degree.  We became closer friends in our Mineralogy class the third year of college.  Our professor assigned us a mineral identification lab every week in which you had to identify five minerals that she randomly picked. Every week, Jennifer and I, plus our other friend Courtney would be huddled in the lab trying to test the minerals to figure out what they were. Professor Lohr would often pick at least two white minerals, one of which had the possibility of being Halite, also known as salt. This always resulted in us daring each other to lick them so that we could figure it out faster without running other tests. Somehow Courtney always ended up taking that dare while Jennifer and I gagged. We became even closer friends during our field camp course when we traveled to North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado to study the geology in those places.  We shared hotel rooms and camp sites for two and a half weeks while Dr. Fredrick dragged us through a rigorous cycle of hiking that we both swear almost killed us. Since we didn’t know the other students on the trip that well, we looked out for each other and acted like sisters.  Our group was calling us Jen2  by the time the trip was over. Even though Jen lives out by Penn State, we still keep in touch. She is my best friend from college and college friends are for life.

scottScott Orkis- Scott is one of Christopher’s best friends that he met in kindergarten at Deer Lakes Elementary school. Scott went to Allegheny College in Meadville where he acquired a Bachelor of Science and met his wife Elizabeth. They have two lovely daughters: Madison and Emma, and he is currently working for Peoples Natural Gas. Scott is a certified scuba diver and with the help of his dad, Chris and other members of his family also became certified. Even though Chris’s friends went to different colleges they still kept in touch. Scott’s grandmother owns a cabin in Allegheny National Forest and Scott would invite all his friends so they could hang out for the weekend. Every year, mostly during the summer, everyone would meet up at the camp for a long weekend, and Scott began calling the outings Wilder-Dudes. At camp the guys would swim in the creek, play horse shoes, and drink beer. Scott is Christopher’s oldest friend and Chris knows that Scott’s friendship is one that will last a lifetime.

amberAmber Doerfler- Amber is my only female cousin on my mom’s side of the family and I have known her all my life. Amber went to La Roche College where she earned her degree in marketing and is now working for Frito-Lay. She is only a year and eight months older than me and we used to play together all the time on holidays and at family get-togethers. Every holiday we had to put on some kind of show to entertain the family. We would sing, dance, or put on a play. I remember how we use to play pizza shop in our grandmother’s basement with an old rotary telephone.  Amber would answer the phone and take the orders while I made the pizzas out of different colored Tupperware lids, and my brother would pretend to deliver them. Amber is very outgoing and has a great fashion sense. She is always wearing the cutest clothes, jewelry, and shoes.  Her Coach purses are her favorite and she has so many in her closet. She enjoys fine wines and is always the life of the party.




joeJoseph Switalski- Joe is Christopher’s other best friend. He also met Joe at Deer Lakes Elementary school. Joe went to Westminster College and got his degree in History. He loves baseball and played for Westminster College’s baseball team. Joe married his high school sweet heart Sarah O’Neill and just recently she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl: Cara. One time while helping Joe and Sarah move, Chris killed one of Sarah’s plants. Chris was helping move Joe from his first apartment in Squirrel Hill to a new apartment in Shadyside. Sarah had several plants that she was very fond of and one was accidentally left in Chris’s car. The temperature that day was over 90 degrees which ended up frying the plant in the enclosed vehicle. Sarah teases Chris that she will never forgive him for the death of her beloved plant.  The plant didn’t matter that much to Joe; animals are more of an interest. Going hunting is another one of Joe’s hobbies, but Chris has never joined him on a hunting trip. Chris did play basketball against Joe in grade school, and he always loves to tease Joe about the 6th grade championship game. Chris’s team dominated the game by winning 42 to 2. Chris is very competitive and loves to win so of course he will never let Joe live this down.


Christopher and I are so blessed to have so many wonderful people to share our special day with us. The family and friends in our bridal party are very important to us and each one has touched our lives in an extraordinary way. We couldn’t ask for anyone better to stand witness to the love that we have for each other: a love that is endless and will last for all the years to come.


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