Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Wedding

Jacob and I have been married for a year. *stops for dramatic pause*

This last year was crazy, but the most normal part about it was being a family with Jacob, the baby, and the dogs. We bought a new car, rented a home together, had small parts of the car break, had to punish the fur babies, dealt with stress at work, and dealt with people we wouldn't ordinary deal with if given a choice. But at the end of the day, coming home to each other was like retreating to a calm away from the storm.

I love re-living our wedding day. It wasn't a gigantic, Trump-esque wedding, but it was perfectly us and we got to spend the afternoon surrounded by people who love and care for us. Both Jacob and I hate being the center of attention, so we weren't. My dad kept trying to make me give a speech but I just kept saying, "No. People give speeches about us.

So, one year later, here is what I had to say about our wedding (originally written June 2, 2010, slightly edited May 31, 2011):

Without a doubt I can say that my wedding weekend was the best weekend of my life. Well, really, it would be quite stupid if it was the worst weekend of my life.

It began the Wednesday before when I chose a belly-baring outfit to wear to see my parents for the first time since February. I had sent them limited pictures of myself over the months in preparation for this very moment. The last time they saw me I was Lindsey Lohan’s version of a stick-figure but with better hair, less make-up and the only white powdery substance I had on my feet was baby powder to keep them from sweating uncontrollably.

After I knocked on a few wrong doors, I finally located the apartment/house my parents had rented for as long as my mom will be in town (the day after the wedding, my dad planned to fly back to Tucson to pick up his motorcycle and then ride it back to Montana). My mom came half-running, half-lady-in-the-mall-power-walking down the sidewalk and exclaimed, “Look at my little girl!” as she put her hands on my food and baby packed belly. I’m not sure if she was referring to me or my Bun. My dad just stood in the doorway and couldn’t stop laughing. As I approached him he said, “You finally look pregnant.” Throughout the weekend, my mom liked to comment to him, “Doesn’t our girl look good?!” And he’d reply, “Yes. Much better than in February.”

The following day my aunt and uncle came into town and I met them at the Montana Brewing Company for my in-between-work-and-dinner meal where they quizzed me on work, Jacob, baby, life once baby arrives and whether or not I was hungry.

Afterwards, we all headed to the house Jacob and I moved into at the beginning of May. Louis, of course, clawed everyone to death, and our resident barkanator, Durbin, “spoke” to everyone the entire time.
The chaos was over about 30 minutes later and I went to bed.

On Friday, there were rumors my office would close any time between noon and 2pm, which is code for anywhere between 3 and 5pm. Surprisingly, we got to close at noon. So I went home and caught up on everything recorded on my DVR since we got cable two weeks ago; i.e. Days of Our Lives.

Being the awesome fiancee that he is/was, Jacob got off work at 5pm instead of the usual 9pm. Naturally we did the day-before-the-wedding bickering because we were both stressed and, really, just anxious for the whole thing to be over. We couldn’t wait until Sunday when we’d be husband and wife and life could just continue on as normal. But we didn’t have a whole lot of time for that for it was then time to meet for dinner.

This would be the first time everyone would meet everyone else; thus dinner for 6 turned into dinner for 10 in a private room at The Windmill, the result of my dad’s search for a Wisconsin-esque Friday Night Fish Fry.

It was a very delightful experience even after I ordered a steak and got to hear, repeatedly, “Isn’t it so good that she’s eating?” Finally, I announced to most of the table, “Yes the recovering bulimic is finally eating!” and that was the last I heard of it.

Jacob and I got home at almost 11 that evening to a naughty Louis whose project for while we were gone was to open the peanut butter jar. And succeeded. He dug it out of the feed sack I pack with food and carry to work on Monday and then bring home on Friday. And, no, he didn’t just pry and chew the lid off; he unscrewed it. Apparently, we were at dinner so long he grew opposable thumbs. But this makes him either the smartest dog in the world or the dumbest – there was a can of raisins sitting on the coffee table with a lid that lifts right off. Sadly, his efforts were all for naught as half of the peanut butter was gone making it unreachable with his non-human snout.

After I punished him from in front of the house-plant he hid behind, I got a wild-hair to check the tuxes. When Jacob brought them home the night before, I looked at them from a sleep-induced haze but I thought they looked a little dark. Well, I had ordered dark brown after all. So on Friday, before settling into my pregnancy coma, I decided I’d better actually flip the light on and check these suckers out. Sure enough, they were black. Black jacket, black tuxedo pants, white tuxedo shirts (I ordered flat-front shirts), black shoes and – the piece de la resistance – dark brown ties. Thankfully I didn’t have the capacity to care since it was way too late to do anything about them any way. And I came to find out when I returned them that had I received what I actually ordered, it would have cost $50.00 more per tux. In the end it didn’t matter since we could have been saying our vows naked for all the difference it made to me when we were in the moment.

In a blatant buck of tradition, That night Jacob and I - *gasp!* - slept in the same house, in the same room, in the same bed. I think we threw tradition out the window about a year ago when we moved in together. And then 6 months ago when we made a baby.

Although we went to bed at 11, I was up at 4am. And although our wedding was extremely simple, my brain chose this moment to go through every scenario in which our wedding could be fucked up. So I let this happen until about 8am and then got up and started to get ready.

At 10am I headed over to my mom’s apartment thing and got ready for what felt like prom. Only, this time, I was the girl in trouble.

The wedding was at 2pm, so our caravan containing my parents and aunt and uncle in one car and my brother and me in another took off for Red Lodge at around noon, a good hour’s drive from Billings. About a mile into the trip, my dad pulled up beside us; he had to turn back because my aunt forgot her medication. About 10 miles into the trip my brother had to pull over because I had to pee and was hungry.

The forecast for the day had predicted a 100% chance of rain and even a possibility of snow for where we were headed. It sprinkled a little on the way up but by the time the ceremony had started, the sky was blue and the sun was out. I had feared I would regret my strapless gown but, rain or shine, like that would ever happen.

Ignoring yet another tradition, we pulled into the chapel just as Jacob was getting out of his car. We hugged and kissed and then I told him to go away so I could get my dress out of the car.

I will not lie, it was a struggle to get my dress on and zipped. Two of my bridesmaids had to muscle the zipper up and another had to buckle my shoes.

We took a few pictures up until the moment right before the wedding when my mom’s camera broke. Then we headed up to where I would walk down the aisle (well, across the bridge, up the lawn and into the Chapel which was about 3 feet long). Just as my best girls were telling me about the trouble they got into the night before in Red Lodge – bloop! – the broach on my dress nestled nicely between my bazoombas fell off. Of course this was right as the music started and the bridesmaids were to start walking.

Rachael took off across the bridge while Liz tried to tie the brooch back on me using the super-sturdy string it came on, and Jessica ran to get a safety pin she thought she may have seen somewhere.

Coming back in the – ta da! – nick of time, Jessica re-attached the broach just as it was her turn to walk. Actually, she just sort of hung the broach in place, a miracle it didn’t fall off since it did shortly after Jacob and I were in the car on the way to the reception.

My father stood waiting, pacing, killing the grass around the front door. He had been instructed on how to lead me down the aisle and give me away so I just followed his lead. As Jessica entered the chapel, Dad grabbed my arm, stared straight ahead and then burst into tears. Naturally, I did too. In an unspoken understanding, neither Dad nor I had ever pictured me in this scenario; at least not until Dad was in a wheelchair or something. And even though it was, it still probably didn’t feel real to either of us.

As Jessica finished her walk, my dad and I started toward the Chapel. Ever the gentleman, he led me through the grass to the bridge. And then stepped on my dress. And then stepped on my dress again. And then again. Finally he got a hold of himself and his giant clown feet and we arrived in the Chapel.

No one was there except Jacob and I. Ok, there were about 30 people, but they all disappeared as soon as I saw Jacob. He had tears at the rims of his eyes and was smiling his huge smile that I’ve known since I was 6. I never had “cold feet” before the wedding, but if I had, they were erased in that moment. We locked eyes and never….uh…unlocked.

Well, ok, I did glance at my bridesmaids, all looking fantastic in their dresses, and remarking silently to myself that I had done an excellent job in selecting my flowers.

And, ok, as much as I didn’t want to, I looked at the groomsman and determined they didn’t look like complete idiots in their mismatched tuxes, mainly thanks to the purple flowers I had chosen. *pats self on back* Although my brother did look like Frankenstein’s Secret Service Agent thanks to the 10-sizes-too-big jacket he was given.

I was aware of very little throughout the ceremony. It felt like we stood facing each other while my song played an awkwardly long time. My father even began to sway to the music. And being a large group of non-practicing religions, we screwed up The Lord’s Prayer pretty nicely.

Jacob and I gripped hands like we were Jack and Rose from Titanic. We heartily said, “I do,” when the time came and duly repeated after the Minister when exchanging our rings. Jacob and I commented later that we didn’t have to think about repeating after her, it seemed as though we had known it all along and had it memorized like the Pledge of Allegiance.

I just stood there, looking at Jacob, and not really believing it was real. All of my 22 years envisioning, daydreaming and planning my wedding all blew away and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening; to someone I had known since my wedding obsession began, no less. I just kept thinking we were getting 6th-grade-married.

Finally the Minister announced we were husband and wife, then winked and nodded at Jacob. Not one for subtle cues he asked, “So can I kiss her?” She said yes and then we mashed faces. No, no tongue. We strutted out of the chapel after we were announced as Mr. and Mrs. to the song Jacob had picked: “Do A Ditty.” We continued walking to the bridge until we realized we weren’t actually the only one’s there. And as we hugged everyone as they congratulated us, everyone was in tears; Jacob and I were truly surrounded by love.
We took pictures until 3pm and then made it legal on paper before heading off to the Red Lodge Pizza Company for our version of a reception.

I’ll concede it sounds rather My Big Redneck Wedding on CMT. But the small, local pizza joint has an old-fashioned back room that they rent for just such occasions. With hard-wood floors, giant chandeliers and old photographs, it was the perfect, relaxed setting for us celebrate that we had just gotten married. It was very us. Jacob and I were able to have lengthy mingles with each one of our guests and everyone got to know each other, becoming fast friends on Facebook (*cough* Derek and Daryl).
We had fantastic hors d’oevres (sorry vegetarians) and cupcakes expertly crafted by Jacob’s mom; giant, life-force cupcakes not to be outdone by the wonderful cake she made just for us.

And since we had bucked Jacob’s mother’s requests for tradition all along the way, we conceded when she wanted a picture of us cutting our cake. We didn’t actually cut the cake, just held a knife in place while people snapped pictures. About 10 seconds into it, Jacob and I agreed we felt ridiculous so we then took a bow and continued our mingling.

That evening we drove home without the stereo on and simple talked. We reminisced about a year ago I had just arrived in Montana and now we’re married and preparing for our Bun to come out of the oven. We talked about the weirdness that is our families, and talked shit about those who blatantly ignored our invitations. But we both agreed it was exactly, to the letter, how both of us wanted our wedding day to go down. Had it been any bigger or longer we probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as we did. And everyone we loved and cared for was surrounding us the entire day (Cuz, I knew you were there in spirit).

And then we stopped because I had to pee.

It couldn’t have been more perfect. And, for the final time, we bucked tradition and just went home for the evening.

My dad said it was the best wedding he’d ever been to.

For our first anniversary, my goal was to print and frame all of the pictures that I liked. Well, until that happens, here are my favorite shots (choosing was incredibly difficult):

 My men, waiting and watching for their ladies.
After everyone had walked down and now they're just waiting for me.

 It's an indescribably feeling to have your father walk you down the aisle. I hope everyone gets to experience it.
 Naturally, our noses entered the Chapel five minutes before we did.

This is my all-time favorite picture from the entire day. The way he's looking at me brings me to tears, and I love how all of my girls are gazing at him.

 Saying "I do." We felt like two children getting married; and we looked like them too.

 I love how in most all of the ceremony pictures, we generally have the same expression on our face.

 When the Minister told me she did a special ceremony with the mothers in blessing our wedding rings, I didn't hesitate. It was a surprise, though, so when she called up our mothers, Mom was afraid she'd be asked to sing or something.

Smack in the middle of the ceremony, Jacob wanted - and leaned in - to kiss me. When the ceremony was over, the Minister winked at him. But he's not one for subtle cues so he asked, "Can I kiss her?" And then he did.

We got to this point and figured we should probably stop. We had no idea what we were doing.

What was fantastic about the Chapel was that we were able to hang around the beautiful grounds and take pictures for about an hour after the ceremony. And the Pastor served as the resident group photographer, even snapping some with my friend Derek's BlackBerry.

 My good friends, April and Daryl, whom I had never met in person until my wedding day. It's a semi-complicated story that involves his coworker, annuities, the wealth management firm I worked for briefly before the owner when to rehab, Des Moines, Scottsdale, a lot of downtime working for the government, and a shared gravitational pull to work in the insurance industry.

My BFF Derek who came all the way from Florida to attend our wedding. He even got a shout-out during the ceremony from the Minister. He was later adopted by my parents.

 'Tis legal! <3

My new, crazy, bursting-with-love family.

 (Yes, Mom, I will make sure to get this framed for you)

With all of our wonderful wedding guests!!

 Our reception, which was actually just cocktail-few-hours with amazing hors d'oeuvres and the most amazing cupcakes you've ever tasted.

 The wedding cake for just Jacob and I. Admittedly, Jacob ate all of it by himself. Since I was pregnant and had zero tolerance for sweets, it just didn't work.

The centerpieces thanks to Jacob's mom and Eagle's Nest Floral and Gifts. Everything came together so beautifully and perfectly.

 Fake-cutting our cake. I accidentally bumped my finger against the cake and freaked out. Then I thought, "It's my cake!"
Erica, Jacob and I. I made a special request for this picture to be taken. And after spending the last week or so documenting our story, I noticed she is a common link. I suggested to Jacob that she might have been the one who brought us together. Regardless, I hope she is always somewhere in our lives.

From there, our lives settled down some until it got REAL FREAKIN' CRAZY with the birth of Zoey. After you get married, people love to ask, "How is married life?!" I've discussed it with friends who were married before me and we've all come to the conclusion that it isn't much different. It feels safe, comfortable. And it also means showering less, eating more, wearing make-up sporadically, and shaving only on anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.

I guess I don't find marriage that difficult because I know that no matter what I want to be with Jacob.