I have been thinking about this anniversary for quite a while. I wanted to write something about it, because writing is how I express myself, and since I spend most of my time by myself, it helps keep me sane, too (I don't care how antisocial you think you are, sometimes you need to talk.) I thought about doing something wise (ha) like "five things I have learned in five years of marriage," but I don't think I could come up with them. It's not to say that I haven't learned five things, but rather I'm not sure I could articulate five things. Or three. Or even two.
I feel kind of weird not offering up some sage post filled with Bible verses and unsolicited advice. I feel like that's what people would expect from a blog post about a "milestone" anniversary. Maybe I'm not doing that because I know too many people that are hurting, whose marriages didn't turn out how they had anticipated, or didn't turn out at all. Maybe because I'm not really sure I have anything helpful to say. Maybe because that's just not my style (the big, flowery pedestal posts, not the being helpful thing.) So instead of my original plan, which was to advise people about something I have to work hard at every day, I thought I'd do something that I'm sort of good at: tell stories. I present to you, the story of my wedding as I remember it. Glean from it what you will.
Once upon a time, I was extremely nervous. Unless you just arrived at this blog for the very first time within the past hour, you may have picked up on the fact that I am a very nervous person. I have an anxiety disorder, as a matter of fact. Panic attacks are a thing for me. And anxiety is often triggered by change. Can you think of a much bigger change than going from living with your parents and brother and having a boyfriend you see several times a week, to leaving your family and the home you've known for 17 years to live in a brand new apartment with a brand new husband? Ha! I started having more frequent panic attacks a few months before the wedding because I knew things would be changing (not because my husband-to-be made me nervous!) Now, I have learned to cope with my anxiety pretty well, and am able to get myself to do what needs to be done, even in the face of panic. But even though I can get through a situation when it's showtime, for lack of a better term, I can have some pretty intense stage fright the night before. I starred in my senior play in high school, despite never having acted before, and did perfectly well on production days and while on stage, but I FREAKED out the night before, and decided I didn't want to do it. I did it anyway, but I was a big ball of panic for the final dress rehearsal. It was the same way with my wedding. I have no recollection of anything that happened at the rehearsal, except that I wore a nice dress and Brandon wore a t-shirt. I do not remember practicing walking down the aisle, but I remember pinching myself (a panic habit) and chewing crushed ice and having to remind myself to breathe. And after the rehearsal, we had the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant I usually enjoy. I did not enjoy it this night. I spent most of the time in the bathroom, having waves and waves of panic attacks. I thought several times, I don't want to do this. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my husband to be, but I did not want to actually experience the wedding day. I was completely willing to fast-forward through it and get right to the marriage part, if time travel was an option. Toward the end of the night, I was able to actually sit at a table at the restaurant and have broken conversations with my friends. But I couldn't eat or think clearly or enjoy myself at all. I'm thankful that I have supportive parents and encouraging friends and a stoic partner who keep me grounded and don't treat me like a freak when I'm struggling like this.
And the next day, I got up, felt pretty serene, went online to watch a video on Youtube, which I had planned to do basically my whole life (before I knew about Youtube, I was going to watch it on VHS.) The musical segment "Somebody's Getting Married" from Muppets Take Manhattan. That was my internal soundtrack for the entire day. I went to the salon with my mom to have my hair and makeup done. It is the only time anyone else has put make-up on me (a professional, anyway) and she shrieked toward the end of our appointment because she realized she had never put any foundation or powder on my face, because I didn't need it. And clear ivory skin is literally the one physical attribute I have going for me, so I am allowed to tell that part of the story without you thinking I am bragging, thank you very much. I felt happy and pretty as we drove to the church and made it inside, and I pulled my pretty princess dress on over my pajama shorts (not even kidding- you do not need fancy undergarments under a wedding dress) and chilled out in the dressing room while my "attendants" (two bridesmaids and a maid of honor) sat with me and ate from the chicken nugget tray my parents had purchased. And we did some pictures in the church lobby (the Christmas decorations were still up!) and then went back into hiding until time for the ceremony to start.
I remember waiting outside the chapel with my dad, who was sick that day, and I remember my entrance music cut off a little early because everyone was waiting at the altar area for entirely too long. We played orchestral music from the Lord of the Rings soundtracks as our guests were being seated, and the grandparents and parents were seated to a popular piece by Yo-Yo Ma (which some relatives swore later was actually Ave Maria, but I assure you it was not. I knew it as "the song from that credit card commercial, and also the one episode of 'The West Wing.'") And then, for my turn to walk down the aisle, we played a piano arrangement of "Your Song" by Elton John, which was from the second volume of the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (one of my favorite musicals, and that was the only good song on the second CD.) Upon arriving at the end of the aisle, I turned to my dad and gave him a fist bump, because he was sick but also because my family is not made up of "huggy people" (not everyone is!) And everyone laughed, which was good. And a pastor friend of ours, who used to work with my mom and has known me since I was very small, prayed for us, and then we had the ceremony. And once again, our lack of musical preparation made an appearance, because we had to cut the communion song short ("Divine Romance" by Phil Wickham, in case you were wondering.) And some more words were said, and we kissed, and then we got to stop standing in front of everyone. We left the chapel to the music from the throne room scene at the end of Star Wars, because we are nerds.
After the ceremony, we were not allowed to go eat, which I was very ready to do (I knew that eating before the ceremony would be a mistake, so I just looked at the chicken nugget tray instead of partaking in it.) We had to take pictures. My family is made up of several people (including longtime family friends.) My husband's family is made up of many, many more people. For our "formal" portraits with family, attendants, officiants, and everyone else who might have been in the building, not a single shot is perfect because not only was the photographer taking pictures, but so was everyone else who happened to have a camera. The photographer had to ask several times for people to stop, you know, talking to us while she was trying to work, but I'm not so sure anyone heard. Or cared. Everyone was happy and excited and wanted to use their cameras, after all. Then Brandon and I had to take a few more pictures by ourselves, and we were allowed to go eat. Yay!
Weddings are all right, but receptions are my favorite part. We did not have any dancing at our reception, because that is not Brandon's thing, so it worked well for us to just have the reception at the fellowship hall at church, where music was allowed, but dancing was not. I don't care about receptions because of the party atmosphere, I care because of the food. I love reception food. I could never have a full meal served at my wedding because then there would be no place for tiny sandwiches or itsy bitsy meatballs on sticks. And I totally admit to judging the weddings of family and friends based on whether or not they have tiny sandwiches and other petite foods. By the time we got down there, all the meatballs were gone, but there was some other stuff left- including pinwheels (tiny circular sandwiches), which I considered the star of the show. The cake was just an expensive, edible centerpiece. Everyone clapped and was happy when we arrived, and we then spent the next hour and something walking around saying hi to everyone. Still no eating! We passed by the food, and thought about the food, but we had people to see. Everyone wanted to get home.
Why did everyone want to get home, you ask? Was it because we were silly enough to have our wedding on January 2, and everyone was cold and wanted to return to their warm, cozy homes? No. It is because well after we chose our wedding date, the National College Athletic Association announced that the University of Kentucky would be playing the University of Louisville in basketball that day. If you don't understand what a big deal that is where I live, I am not going to take the time to explain it. I will just say that two years ago, when Louisville played the good team in the final four, all eyes of the national news networks were on us. And they were not disappointed. Two elderly men got in a fistfight at a barbershop, and that made its way to the CNN homepage. Couches were burned in the streets. We are interesting when it comes to college sports. It's inescapable. So much so that several good friends (ahem) who had RSVP'd to our wedding were suspiciously absent during the ceremony- and more were missing from the reception. I know what they were up to because a.) I'm not stupid, and b.) after the reception, while Brandon was listening to the end of the game, I was on facebook reading the status updates from said friends who were quite obviously watching the game.
So many nice and lovely people came to our wedding though, and I really enjoyed talking to them all at the reception. Our photographer had to leave by a certain time, so she took our rings and did some pretty shots around the room while we visited with folks. In the last 30 minutes that we had the room, we finally were able to sit at the beautifully appointed head table that had been prepared for the wedding party, which basically went untouched until it was time to break it down. We scarfed down some food (I think that was post cake-cutting!) and took home some leftovers for dinner. And speaking of cake-cutting, we didn't practice that either, so when we actually got up there, we really didn't know what to do- except I knew that the knife had to make its way into the cake, so I kind of took over. We didn't botch it too badly, I guess.
The last few things I remember about the day were lots of hugs from family, the last ones to leave, and throwing on my old leather jacket (what passed for a winter coat at the time) over my princess dress, and venturing out into the main lobby of the church just as people were beginning to arrive for Saturday night services. And someone stopped us to say congratulations and tell me I looked pretty, even though I felt the tiniest bit dumb wearing that jacket over my dress. A more coordinated and financially blessed bride would have probably rented some kind of pretty winter cloak, or something. I don't know.
And I squeezed my big dress into my new husband's comparatively tiny '96 Corrolla, and off we went into the sunset. And on to Disney World the next day.
I hope you've enjoyed my rambling reminiscence. The wedding was fun. If you're reading this, we're probably friends now, and I wish you could have been there. I owe you some tiny sandwiches sometime. : )
Please indulge me for a few moments longer as I share some of the pictures from the most important day of my life so far.
When I had my trial run for my hair, the stylist asked if I wanted glitter hairspray. What a stupid question. We need glitter hairspray every day.
This was the second dress that I tried on, and the first dress that I tried on that wasn't a cheap tulle concoction from a skeevy prom shop.
My handsome husband. He looks so young! And this was one of the last pictures ever taken of him willingly.
My lovely in-laws. From left to right: Stephen, hubs, Mark, Denise, Anthony, and Jonathan. All of the boys are about three feet taller now. Well, Jonathan is taller than Denise, but Stephen is probably taller than Anthony, and I think Jonathan will be the tallest of all. Seven feet, minimum.
I don't remember posing for this, but I don't remember being weirded out about the photographer lying on the floor, taking pictures of my feet, either. It was all a blur.
From left to right: my maid of honor and best friend since 8th grade-ish, Kelli; my sister from another mister, Jess; and my cousin Melissa, with whom I grew up. I'm now going to tell you that she's a doctor, because it was a very hot topic when she got her PhD, and I enjoy teasing her about it from time to time.
My beautiful momma, hiding very well the fact that she is trying not to cry. I picked out her outfit. And her hairstyle.
Fist bump. And the crowd went wild.
I like this picture because it is candid and I look very happy.
We are not much for PDA, but I really like this picture.
I think I was instructed to look at him with a lot of love. I was trying not to laugh. In a good way.
One of two times my husband has worn a suit. He will be buried in basketball shorts and a high school gym t-shirt.
I love this one even though I sometimes think the shadows make it look like I have hairy arms.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is one of my favorite wedding photos. I didn't even ask for it. Kelly, our photographer, just borrowed our rings and went about her business without our knowledge.
This one is very plain and kind of stark, but I do want to point out that we had a snow-themed wedding. The bows on the pews were made of sparkly Christmas ribbon and hand-made by my dad. I wore a snowflake necklace and earrings from my grandmother,and she didn't know that I had purchased very similar looking snowflake necklaces for my bridesmaids in after-Christmas clearance the year before (we had a 2.5 year engagement!) And I found these embossed paper snowflake boxes online somewhere, and stayed up several nights putting them together and filling them each with three Hershey's kisses.
This is another one of my favorites, and I have a printed copy in a snowflake frame somewhere in my house. Please don't ask me to find it. It would take a while.
Brandon had no preference about the cake. We thought about getting dad to make it, because he has made a wedding cake before, but it was stressful and we decided it would be better to have a stranger do it, so they could stress about it. I just had a vision of a simple cake with polka dots of icing. The baker asked lots of questions about other stuff, but I just wanted dots. And I love how it turned out. Oh, and it was sturdy enough to support the rather heavy Precious Moments figurine on top.
The cake table.
This one looked neat. Those flowers were at the head table we didn't sit at.
Groom's cake, obviously. "What do you want it to look like?" "Chocolate." The baker had UK and U of L designs in a binder in her shop. We made the right choice.
If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see that the vase has a silhouette of Cinderella and Prince Charming.
The serving pieces and toasting flutes had Cinderella's carriage carved in them. I have no idea why we *needed* the toasting flutes, since I was pretty sure we weren't going to have a toast (and no one in my family drinks anything stronger than Mt. Dew) but there they are. And now they're in my china cabinet.
And they lived happily ever after. Or they're working on it, anyway. : )