We just hung up most of the pictures in our house. Our wedding pictures have a prime spot in our living room so they can get lots of attention. And maybe it’s seeing those pictures that has made me reminisce, but I’ve been thinking about my wedding day a lot and wanted to write about it with the hindsight three and a half years has given me.
I was 21 and he was 23. He had proposed to me on New Year’s Eve and we couldn’t get married until August because of his school. He was still finishing up his degree in mechanical engineering at Auburn University. (WAR EAGLE!!) He had to get through the spring and fall semester and he was going to be doing a summer semester too. The poor man was so busy–during those months of being engaged, he barely had time to call me and talk to me, much less be a huge part of the planning. I was working seven hours a day, taking pictures for my sister and her friends because they were all graduating high school that year AND planning a wedding. My parent’s were planning a wedding for me and a graduation ceremony for my sister; life was upside down those months!
But finally the day came, August 6, 2011. The day before we were at the church, setting up decorations and the reception area. We had the rehearsal and then the rehearsal dinner at my in-law’s house. We danced funny dances and drank lots of Mike’s hard lemonades. I was so in love and so happy and slightly scared of all the changes.
I went home and stayed up all night with my sisters watching the Phineas and Ferb movie on the Disney channel. Phineas and Ferb was our tv show, and the movie was premiering that night–it didn’t matter if I was getting married the next day! (Priorities, amiright?)
That morning, me, my mom and my sisters all got to the church an hour later than we planned too. I had wet hair still from my shower and was in my pajamas; we pulled up to the church and there was the husband, just arriving himself. He was in his pajamas as well! We gave each other big hugs and whispered quietly, “We’re actually getting married today! It’s happening!”
All of us girls got set up in the bridal room at the church, I curled my hair and my sister did my hair for me. Eventually all my bridesmaids started showing up and we all got ready together. My friends did my make-up for me and we laughed and sighed and exclaimed how crazy it was that this was actually happening.
The photographer showed up and my husband got to see me in my dress for the first time, we took pictures and our wedding party was so fun and goofy. And then next thing I know, I’m waiting in the bridal room and we only have a few moments until I walk down the aisle.
My dad walked my mom down the aisle to her seat then came back for me. We’re waiting, my arm through his, my heart pounding.
“Are you ready?” I hear him ask.
“Yeah,” I sighed, “I am.”
I look up at him and his eyes are misty–I’d never seen my dad cry until that moment and tears immediately fill my eyes as I realize what getting married actually means. It means I move an hour away from some of the most important people in my life, it means changing my name, it means changing my life, it means being incredibly happy and growing up and moving on. But it’s also a little sad leaving my old life behind.
“You can’t cry sweetie,” he says, “You can’t mess up your make-up!”
To which we decided that we just couldn’t look at each other until we’d made it down the aisle.
I’m in front of the doors, my dress is being straightened by my friend before the doors open. I see another childhood friend walk into the church right as I’m about to walk down the aisle and I jump up and down when I see him, “I’m getting married!!” I whisper excitedly!
Those doors open, I see my husband’s face and the faces of so many people who care about me and who have made up the fabric of my life. The sound of my breathing as dad fights me to walk slowly down the aisle instead of sprinting as I so desperately wanted to! I can’t stop smiling. I’d seen so many weddings, dreamed of being that girl dressed in white…and now it was my turn.
The husband looks wide-eyed, happy and terrified all rolled into one. I’m so scared he’s going to faint. I keep mouthing, “Are you alright?” to him the entire ceremony.
I feel my dad kiss my forehead as he goes to sit down; I’m stepping on the hem of my gown as I walk up the stairs and for a moment, picture myself falling down in front of everyone. But then I’m up there on that stage, holding my husband’s hands, hearing those words. There’s a moment when we are looking into each other’s eyes that I have an out of body experience. I was the bride this time, I wasn’t watching someone else getting married…it was actually me.
He put the ring on my finger, he pledged his life and his love to me before God and our friends. My heart is in my throat and I feel myself beaming as I pledge my life and love to him. And then, in what feels like moments, I’m his wife. We walk back down the aisle together to the original Pride and Prejudice soundtrack and I can’t imagine feeling any happier.
We had our first dance together and he dipped me at the end making everyone swoon with happiness. I danced with my dad while the husband danced with his mom. Dad and I cried together one last time before the day was over, sharing a handkerchief someone so graciously gave to us during our dance together.
The rest of the day was a blur of faces, cake, champagne, hugs and pictures. My face hurt from smiling but I was so happy.
We left the church, our car covered in whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and car paint.
It was a day that I will never forget. Although with time, a lot of the details have lost their potency. But there are so many moments from that day that are seared into my memory and I’m sure they will stay there for the rest of my life.
Marriage hasn’t been easy. Especially in that first year; I was so young and had so much growing up to do but that’s the beauty of marriage…it’s not supposed to be perfect. You can’t expect someone else to make you happy in life. If you can’t be happy with yourself, how is someone else supposed to make you happy? I certainly haven’t arrived, but I’ve learned so much from being married to this awesome guy. He’s the exact opposite of me in some ways, but my complete match in others; I am incredibly lucky to have a man like him. He has loved me well over the years and I’m excited to see where this crazy journey takes us.
Okay, I’ll stop being swoony!