Kenny and I had the We Want To Marry Each Other conversation five months into our relationship on a lumpy mattress in Mexico. I remember smiling into the darkness, listening to the ceiling fan click overhead and thinking “Oh! So this is what it feels like when your life changes!”
It was another year and a half before we actually married each other. I wanted to drive around America, Kenny wanted to get his feet under him at his dream job, and we both wanted to give his boys as much time as possible getting to know me. In that year and a half we spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of wedding we wanted and (much more importantly) the kind of marriage we wanted.
Like so many things, we knew what we didn’t want. We didn’t want a wedding that cost an arm and a leg. We didn’t want to send those obligatory invitations where neither the sender nor recipient is particularly sincere, but both are bound by familial and societal obligations. We didn’t want a bridal party or wedding favors or engagement photos or a wedding registry. We love it when other people do those things, but we didn’t want them for ourselves.
So, we simply didn’t do that stuff. Instead, we did things that were meaningful to us and created the wedding experience we wanted.
We got married on The North Shore of Lake Superior, a beautiful, rocky place we’ve both visited many, many times. On our drive up, we stopped at Toby’s, home to our favorite green vinyl booths and The World’s Best Cinnamon Rolls.
We spent the day before our wedding poking around Grand Marais, clamoring over rocks, hiking. We spotted a little bear cub and took it as a good sign. We drank wine and ate Trader Joe’s appetizers with our wedding guests (all five of them) and after they left, we spent an hour scribbling our way through this book.
On our wedding day, we slept in, drank mimosas, and made my favorite breakfast. We found a tiny, hidden beach and dipped our toes in the freezing water. I snuck away and read a few chapters from a favorite childhood book.
Kenny and boys got ready in our room and after all the shoe polishing and tie tying, Kenny gave the each of the boys a polished piece of Labradorite. Devoted Harry Potter fans, Kenny told the boys that the polished stones were similar to a Horcrux: they symbolized his never-ending, immortal love for them.
I got ready in my parents’ condo, doing my hair and makeup pretty much the same way I always do – because if there was ever a day to look like yourself, isn’t it your wedding day? I wore an $85 dress I bought from Asos with sandals from Marshall’s. My sweet grandma sent me an antique handkerchief with blue embroidery that read “With Love from Grandma Arleen.” I wrapped it around my bouquet of beautiful, weird, architectural non-flowers.
At 6 pm, Kenny and I joined our parents and the boys on a rocky outcropping and promised to have ridiculous adventures together until we die. We included the boys in the vows, trying to make them promise they’d never, ever question our rules or requests. (This was met with laughter.) Our lovely friend Meredith photographed our seven-minute ceremony and her boyfriend Bobby married us. I cried and sniffled through most of it but, like the pro she is, Meredith found other things to photograph while my nose was red.
Afterward, we dined at a nice restaurant nearby. We ordered off the menu, laughed and told stories and generally wished we were wearing clothes that were a bit more comfortable so we could eat more.
In lieu of a reception, we’re having extended family over for brunch and next summer, we’ll alienate our neighbors by throwing a big one-year anniversary party in our backyard. There, we’ll indulge in all the thematic centerpieces and custom cocktails and perfectly curated playlists that we didn’t do this year. You know I’ve already got a secret Pinterest board going.
Are you married? What was your wedding like? What did you love about it? What would you change if you could do it again? Tell me all about it in the comments!
P.S. In case you were wondering, I’m not changing my name because a) I’m lazy and b) my name is awesome. We’re not planning to further expand our family; two stepchildren is the right number of children for me 🙂