Looking back years later, I realize how little I knew about what I was doing and how it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
It’s funny how you really can’t know about certain things until you’re already in it. You can read the articles and the blog posts. The countless lists of, “Top 10 Reasons Why He’s The One (And Five Reasons He’s Not),” and listen to all the descriptions of “finding the one” but you’re not going to know… until you know. You’re not going to know which “this is right” feeling is the one you can trust until you know. No one can tell you what that feeling looks like or how it stands out through the “what am I doing????” moments. You just know when you know, and if you don’t know then you don’t know…. It’s so calculated and yet, you can never describe the feeling of knowing that the person you are with right now should be there forever.
Through our marriage we’ve obviously had ups and downs, good times and bad times.
The beginning was full of realizing that being married was a good idea, but that we had no idea how to do it. We didn’t know how to compromise and we didn’t know how to be a team. We fell hard, we fell fast, and we went 5,000 miles an hour. Then all of a sudden, it was just us and our life we just created and we didn’t know what to do with each other. We still felt like winning an argument was how to end an argument and that just because our wedding was small and we didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, we were already marriage experts and would be perfect at everything always because we knew better than to spend a billion dollars on a wedding.
I frequently think back to a post that I wrote after only a few months of marriage and realize now that I knew what it took, but not quite how to execute. We’ve learned so much in our time together. We’ve grown into a real family that works together to make life amazing. We’ve learned how to fight, how to let go, and that sometimes you’re going to bicker… and that’s okay! We’ve learned how to appreciate, not just lust or love, but how to really understand the value of the lives we’ve merged together. It’s not always easy, but it’s not always hard. It’s life! You don’t always love each other, you don’t even always like each other, but you know in your heart, always, that they are worth it.
So now, thinking about our wedding day, even though it was just a few short years ago, all I can say is: You crazy kids have no idea what you’re doing, but you will be so happy you did.
At the beginning of the day, I had my girls.
I’m not used to “having my girls.” It’s funny how a wedding can bring together more than just the couple. You really have to think about the people you value most and then the people you value even more. Who are your friends? Who are your best friends? And then, who is your family? It took me even until after my wedding to truly understand the value of the girls I had in my wedding party. They each played a part in making my day all I could hope for it to be and they’ve all continued to be a standard that I couldn’t do without.
Most of my morning getting ready, trying to live up to the stereo-type that I was going to be the most beautiful I will ever be, I kind of just sat and halfway followed along the conversations between my long time friends, my current family, and the family I was about to gain. I don’t remember what we talked about, I don’t remember what was said. All I remember is freaking out and thinking “I need to eat, but I’m not hungry. I can’t pass out at the alter!!” My sister-in-law, Savannah, hosted us in her candy filled guest room (she is the best host) while my sister-in-law, Kelsie, actually did wind up making me look the most beautiful I’ve ever been. After sitting to get my hair done by my lovely friend, Jessica; my sister, Celia, sat with me as I tried to get some quiet time and snack on as many carrots as I could. My friend, Mary, snapped some photos and my friend, Emily, drove me to the venue and kept me calm as we made our way to the biggest decision I’d ever make.
Throughout the whole day, my mom took my lashing out of nervous emotion like only she could and made me feel like it was okay to freak out. My mother-in-law, as I’d learn she is so good at doing, remained a calming support in all the mayhem happening in my mind.
Why was I freaking out? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I wasn’t afraid of the choice I was making. I think it honestly is just a requirement for the day no matter who you are.
When I finally got to see the venue and see Ian in his handsome get-up, I felt joy. Just pure joy.
We decided to do a first look so we could get the nerves of seeing each other for the first time out of the way and make our first moment together personal and private (and photographed). Seeing him remain so calm helped me to remember to have fun. He was handsome, he was witty, and he was and sweet. These things have remained throughout our time together and it’s how I remember to enjoy everyday.
I cried through the whole ceremony.
The whole thing. I don’t often cry, especially in front of people. But I cried.
We kept it short and sweet. We both wrote vows, we both started out reading them, and we both put them back in our pockets and just spoke from the heart. We were done in about ten minutes beginning to end. The whole things happened so fast and is such a blur in my mind. If we didn’t have a video, I’d probably forget it ever happened.
Honestly, I think my favorite parts, the parts that really stand out, were the quick moments I got to be with just Ian. Especially the moment right after the ceremony as we were walking to take our post ceremony family photos and to get our ordained friend to sign our wedding certificate. We just looked at each other and said, “We did it” and the wave of, “I made it and I finally don’t have to talk in front of people anymore” swept over me like a calming breeze.
I could finally breath, and we were finally married.
We wound up bolting from the reception pretty early to head to our hotel in downtown Atlanta. There was a top floor bar that looked like something out of Mad Men and we went to have a drink in our full on wedding attire (highly recommended. People love it, you get to feel super fancy, and you get free stuff like drinks and $20 from old people). We sat and drank champagne on a couch in the rotating bar that was at the top floor of one of Atlanta’s tall buildings, looked out at the city, and took in the day.
All the love that started the journey has never strayed. If there’s one thing we’ve always known, it’s that we are happier together than apart. Now we have our family of four and we’re continuing to grow. We’ll always be kids and we’ll never fully know what we’re doing, but we’re always learning and always loving.
I love you, Dorkus, with all of my heart and you’re still the coolest boy in school.