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Dinosaurs, a Daughter and a Wedding

It will be remembered as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, dinosaur weddings in the history of man. Well, I guess, pre-man because, well, you know, with dinosaurs pre-dating man and all.

More than 400 turned out for the nuptials held in a picturesque mansion, high on a hill, perched above the Mississippi River. Tyrannosaur, triceratops, stegosaurus, velociraptor, brontosaurus, none could turn down an invitation to the social event of the season.

The bride and groom were resplendent in their dress for the occasion. The bride adorned in a beautiful white gown and the groom sporting a smart blue suit.

Selfie photo of bride and father. Bride in gown with jaguar tattoo across her chest. Father wearing a blue tie with dinosaur print.
Darling Daughter and me in the Renwick Mansion tower. You get a peak of the Mississippi River view behind. **

I’m sure, by now, you think I’m pulling your leg, orchestrating some sort of flim flam, perhaps letting my inner Harold Hill loose. But no, I tell you it’s true.

I suppose though, I owe you an explanation.

Darling Daughter’s wedding, a few weeks back, was a great occasion. A great, dinosaur-themed, occasion.

As the story was told to me, Darling Daughter and Fiancé were ruminating on wedding plans when one says, “We’re not going to do a theme are we?” To which, the other, jokingly, said, “We can do a dinosaur theme.”

Photo of bridge groom standing inside mansion hallway.
Darling Daughter and Husband.

Well my friends, one thing led to another and before you know it we got dinosaurs, dinosaurs I say. Dinosaurs right here in River City.

A contest was held to guess the number of dinosaurs in attendance at the wedding and the winning guess was well over 400. They were part of the table decorations, the signages, the menus, they were on men’s ties, 3D printed versions were scattered on fireplace mantels, I had a pair of Chuck’s specially painted for the day, they were everywhere.

In an especially fun touch, Darling Daughter purchased “Bob Ross” scenery-style paintings from thrift stores and painted dinosaurs into the scenes, which were then displayed throughout the mansion.

Why, there was even someone there, Roxie, with a small machine cranking out dinosaur necklaces and tiaras.

And it all worked. It all worked very well. In the end it was a traditional wedding with a little, ok, maybe a lot, of dinosaur added in.

Everyone had a great time. Most importantly, talking with Darling Daughter the next morning she shared with me that it was the perfect wedding.

Bride holding a stuff toy dinosaur and looking at camera.
Some brides toss the bouquet after the wedding. Darling Daughter tossed a dinosaur she made.

You can’t ask for more than that.

One added note, about the mansion, in case you’re curious. The wedding was held at the Renwick Mansion built back in the 1800s by William Renwick, a successful lumber man.

During that era, logs from Wisconsin and other northern areas were shipped down the Mississippi River to Davenport and other Iowa ports where they were hewn into lumber. The business was so big there were many millionaires situated along Iowa’s Mississippi River banks at the time.

If you walk up to the tower at the top of the mansion it has one of the most beautiful views you can get of the river and the entire Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities area.

How Do You Feel?

I’ve received many questions of the sort, “How do you feel about Darling Daughter getting married?”, “What do you think of her Husband?”, etc., etc.

I have a whole basketful of feelings. Any parent watching their child getting married knows the experience.

There is a similar sentiment though, running through the answers to all those questions.


Perhaps with just a tinge of relief mixed in.

Photo of three paintings, two small and one large, with dinosaurs painted into scenes.
Dinos in the Bob Ross painting. Just one of Darling Daughter's creations. **

I’m a single parent. I’m an only child. Darling Daughter is an only child.

My late wife has one brother. He and his wife are great people. They’re Darling Daughter’s Godparents.

They have two daughters, my nieces, Darling Daughter’s cousins. They’re not especially close. That’s entirely due to timing and nothing more than that.

By the time Darling Daughter was born, her cousins were already in grade school. By the time she was starting middle school, they were off to college. They were just at different points in their lives and have never had the opportunity to really know each other. Now, they live about as far apart as you can get and still be in the country, Darling Daughter in California and nieces in Florida.

Photo of bride looking back at camera over her shoulder with long train of gown laid out behind her.
Hard to pick a favorite photo but this one is pretty high on the list. Her dress was beautiful and, literally, sparkled in the sun during the wedding.

That’s the long way of saying she and I are pretty much all we have, and I know I have fewer days in front of me than are in the rear-view mirror.

As a parent, you worry about your kids. I worried what it would be like for her if the end of my days came and she didn’t have someone else in her life. Someone to provide the proverbial shoulder to lean on.

When her mother died, Darling Daughter was just starting her senior year in high school and we made it through that together. We had each other.

It means more than I can express knowing she has that someone in her life, someone I can count on to be there with her, to comfort her and to help guide her when that day inevitably comes for all of us, when that bell tolls.

I’m content.

The Video

Big shoutout and thanks to one of my BFFs, I hope she feels the same about me, Johnna, for shooting wedding video. She went above and beyond. I've taken a little of the footage and made this video. Hopefully YouTube won't ding it for having copyrighted music in it.

If you want to skip through, it starts with clips from the ceremony, my speech begins at 11:10, the father/daughter dance is at 17:00

More Photos from Friends and Family

Thank you to all who shared photos with me, these are just a small few.

Four people standing in front of trolley on downtown street, the trolley driver, groom, bride and father of the bride.
The party continued after the mansion. We rented a trolley to take guests downtown. **
Photo of couple dancing with man wearing a full dinosaur mask over his head.
Many have noted that my wearing a dinosaur mask is a vast improvement in my looks. **
Two small plastic dinosaur head skeletons with sunglasses propped over their eyes.
The whole future too bright thing for most dinosaurs didn't work out well with that meteor crash and everything. But these two guys are playing it cool. **
Father of the bride posing, wearing a blue vest printed with dinosaurs.
Darling Daughter made my wedding vest just before we drove her car back to Iowa from Cali. **
Photo of top of softball bride has given father reading - Padre, Thank you for walking by my side today and always. I love you . Kristin
My gift from Darling Daughter. She painted the side of the softball with a dinosaur scene. **
Wedding couple posing with Bandit, the costume mascot for the baseball team.
Most people have wedding rehearsal dinners. We aren't most people. We rented out suites for the River Bandits game and invited all of our friends who were in town the night before the wedding. **

The Official Photos

Big thanks to Kelly Cadenza who did a great job as the official photographer. You can check her work out at


**I allow use of my photos through Creative Commons License. I'm not looking to make money off this thing. I only ask you provide me with credit for the photo by noting my blog address,, or a link back to this page.


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