Driving home in two vehicles from visiting my parents this week, I looked at a passing car — a very familiar passing car — and thought, That’s my husband.
I have a husband.
I wouldn’t say it was the first time I’d paused to consider that, but it was still one of those existential lightning-bolt moments. I realized Spencer and I got married, of course, but it’s only been two weeks. Little experiences — like changing my name at work — keep bringing it back to me, taking me back to that one gorgeous day.
It’s a great one to remember.
Our wedding day, November 10, was definitely one the happiest — perhaps the happiest — of my life. In the weeks and days leading up to the main event, I worried I’d be too “in my own head” to really enjoy the moment. I was so fixated on making sure my sister’s September wedding was perfect that I didn’t actually process my little sister was tying the knot until I walked down the aisle at her ceremony.
I didn’t want to do that, I knew. I wanted to be emotionally present. But there were lists to check, bills to pay, vendors to contact, guests to coordinate . . . I turned into a machine during that final push, honestly. I didn’t think or feel; I just did. A spreadsheet marked “THINGS TO DO” taunted me as I updated it every single morning.
It was daunting, honestly. And though I never quite approached a full-blown wedding freak-out, there were some tense moments. I never got cold feet, but I did feel overwhelmed by my two full-time jobs: the newspaper and the wedding. The stress got intense sometimes . . . particularly for a type-A worrier like me.
But by that Sunday, it had melted away. Dissolved. Evaporated. Disappeared.
One of my happiest moments the day of the wedding was actually after the salon, where my hair had been pulled into a side twist by a longtime friend. I was alone, driving myself from my parents’ house back to our apartment. I hadn’t been “home” in days. My brother-in-law was there, waiting to take me to the venue.
It was warm. The sun was miraculously shining. I was in my own car, manning my own vehicle — and though cheesy, it felt like I was truly directing my own fate. It was a moment of calm in an otherwise whirlwind of a day, and I will always treasure that quiet 20 minutes playing Ingrid Michaelson as loud as it would go with the windows cracked (can’t mess up the hair!), just singing and breathing.
I was getting married.
As I searched for the perfect red lipstick (L’Oreal Infallible in Garnet, by the way) at a drugstore earlier in the week, I struck up a conversation with a kind cashier. When I told her why I needed such a specific and long-lasting color, she leaned back and fixed me with a dazzling smile.
“Lady, you’re getting married!” she squealed, this woman with a face as open as the moon. “That must be a great feeling. Someone wants to marry you!”
It really was.
After a morning of getting ready in our respective suites (hours that truly flew by), it was suddenly time for the Big Reveal. Spencer and I did a “first look” with our photographers, choosing to see each other for the first time in a private moment before the ceremony. It was one of the best decisions we made. Though I was actually pretty calm that morning, seeing my guy before 140 guests did immediately soothed any frazzled nerves.
And I didn’t even cry!
To get to our portrait location before the ceremony, we rode in a golf cart manned by our event-coordinator-turned-awesome-friend Jen — which felt a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! We waved to golfers on the course at Swan Point, our venue, and thanked them for their well wishes.
As we flew along the path with the wind threatening to whip up my fluffy dress, we laughed and laughed. I felt invincible. There was nothing I could not love about that moment.
The ceremony itself was perfect. The sky was crystal blue. I seemed to float out on my father’s arm, amazed that everything was happening so quickly, and barely registered the faces of friends and family around us. Spencer stood at the end of the aisle with a look of utter contentment on his face, and I had a flashback to the pair of us sitting at Panera years ago. The wind had whipped our hair then, too.
If I’d had to pinpoint something about which I was anxious before the ceremony, I probably would have said standing before a group to utter words precious, personal and dear. Despite the fact that I live a somewhat public life, I still consider myself a private person — and honestly, making declarations of public love made me feel a little queasy.
But at the right time, the right moment, I didn’t even think about that. So swept up in the moment with my hands clutching Spencer’s, I repeated the words and I felt them to the tips of my cherry-red toes. I could have shouted them. And I’ve only had tunnel vision a few times in my life . . . but this was one of them. It felt like minutes, but our officiant assured us the ceremony was, in fact, a half hour.
Fastest half hour of my life.
Our reception was everything I’d hoped it would be and more: exciting, lively, energetic, fun. Before the wedding, many people reminded me to keep looking around to soak up the sensation of having so many people I love together in one room — and they were absolutely right. Spence and I ate dinner quickly so we could start to dance and circulate, and I’m proud to say we spoke to nearly everyone in the room. (We did miss a few folks, and I feel terrible about that!)
And the dancing. The dancing. If you’d told me I would spend most of my wedding reception kicking up my heels on a wooden floor, grooving to everything from “YMCA” to “MMMBop” to “The Chicken Polka” (which took the place of a traditional father/daughter dance), I definitely would have pictured myself cowering in a corner somewhere instead.
But our wedding . . . well, it did something to me. Made me stronger. Bolder. More confident. Super happy. I didn’t care if I looked silly or robotic or weird rocking one of the three dance moves I know and can successfully(-ish) execute; I was seriously just having the time of my life.
I was in a bubble. A very, very sparkly bubble.
Color my husband impressed, friends, because we’d talked for months about how I “wasn’t going to be dancing that much,” and he would basically have to live with it. Me? Not a dancer.
But I was that night . . . we all were.
. . . So was it everything we dreamed of?
Surrounded by friends and family from near and far, some from Florida and North Carolina and New York and even one special guest from Sweden, I’ve never felt so happy, loved and content. I looked at the dance floor at one point, so happy and shocked to see my coworkers breaking it down with Spencer’s friends alongside our families and our parents’ friends, and it was just such an awesome feeling. A feeling I will hold close forever.
That very evening some friends had to get back on the road, returning to their corners of the universe apart from ours. We gave them hugs. We thanked them for coming. We wanted to wrap ourselves up in their good wishes for as long as possible, but most of our guests were on planes or in cars by the following evening.
We were all together for one day — one perfect, crystallized moment in time. For the only time.
That’s why photography is so important . . . but that’s another post.
Spencer and I spent the whole day in a deliriously happy cloud, marveling at our good fortune to have the warmest, prettiest day in November for our wedding day . . . but more than that, just so happy to pledge our lives to each other. It’s been a journey — one y’all have taken with me! — but it was more than worth the planning, time, energy and . . . well, the money.
You can’t put a price on that kind of happiness.
I won’t even try.
I’ll be share the details — and decor! — in future posts, but just wanted to focus on the memories today. (This article on that very subject is a great read.)
All photos by Birds of a Feather Photography