What I'm trying to say is, I love the man.
Last year, J and I were planning a huge wedding to take place on July 17th in Massachusetts. It was going to be in the church I grew up in and all our family and friends were invited. Our guest list was close to 200 people coming from all over the country. The dress I found with my mother was waiting in my closet back home.
On March 12th, we found out that J was deploying and would already be gone before our wedding. I cried hysterically while canceling everything and asking my mother to let people know to throw out their save-the dates. Not only was he deploying a half a year before expected, but all the soldiers were told to "clean up any affairs" they had within the week as they would have no time off after that before shipping out.
J and I decided; we wanted to pull together whatever we could and get married before he left. He spoke to the chaplain on post, who said he would be more than happy to marry us on Friday night. J scheduled us for the Old Post Chapel, built in 1875. It was small and intimate and perfect.
His parents and grandmother said they would drive out for our ceremony and my parents and brothers booked their flights. We wouldn't have the 200 people we had originally planned, but we would have our parents and close family there to help us celebrate.
Somehow, everything magically fell into place. The church was beautiful and the chaplain was fantastic. A photographer I had booked for engagement photos rushed home from a conference in Las Vegas to be our wedding photographer. Josh found a perfect restaurant that allowed us to book a private room for our small reception. Since my wedding dress was still hanging in my closet at home, I searched frantically for my wedding dress. I finally found it- a perfect traveling dress, design circa 1940. The top was cream silk with a draped neckline. A thin belt cinched under the bustline, leading to a fitted tweed skirt. While I was searching for shoes to match, the women in the store could see I was a little frantic and came to my rescue! They brought out everything they could find that might match, and when I mentioned what I was looking for for my veil, they called up a boutique close by to see if they could help!
With my dress draped over my arm and my perfect heels purchased, I stopped in at the shop and found that a girl there could make custom birdcage veils and, after hearing that I was to be married in only a few days, said she would take the project home to make sure it was ready for the wedding! On top of that, a woman I worked with suggested a salon, and when I went in to speak with someone, one stylist said she would love to do it as she had just been practicing 40's inspired styles!
With the two of us running around, J and I didn't even have time to be stressed. I didn't worry about the food, or if people would like the music, or walking down the aisle, or not having time to lose weight or whatever else I'm sure my crazy self would have stressed about given months of time to think on it. Everything just started to come together.
The night before our wedding, his parents and grandmother drove in to town. In the meantime, my parents and brothers had landed and had made their way to our apartment. I gave them big hugs when they walked in and my brothers shook J's hand for the first time. We talked for a few minutes before I heard a knock on the door. I was shocked as I opened it to find my aunt and uncle coming in, laughing and yelling and ready to party. My cousin Kate came up behind them and yelled, "You can't get married without your maid of honor!" They had secretly booked flights to come out to be there for our wedding. I started crying while I hugged them and was so happy that they would be there.
That night we had a quick rehearsal followed by a big dinner at Olive Garden. My uncle cracked jokes with my soon-to-be father in law and J's grandmother got a little feisty with out waiter- I'm not sure how she did it, but he ended up singing and dancing on a chair while she clapped out a beat. My brothers made funny, dry remarks while my mother and J's mother barely break rhythm in conversation. It was fantastic.
The next day was THE day. Our families went out for brunch while I went to the salon and to get my nails done, trying to figure out where I was going to get pictures done with the photographer when she arrived. I still hadn't come up with anything. I got back to the apartment at the same time as my mother arrived with a bouquet of roses. She used her skills to put together my bridal bouquet, attaching the cross necklace my grandmother had given me. While talking to my cousin, I remembered- there is an old, historic home perfectly preserved that is open as a museum. I called and a woman picked up the phone. I told her I was getting married and hoped the museum might let me take a few photos. She said that the museum wasn't open, but for some reason she had decided to get there three hours early; she said that if we wanted to come do photos, she would open it just for us and we would have the place to ourselves!
My mother, cousin and I went before leaving for the church. My father walked me down the aisle as my cousin stood as my maid-of-honor while J stood at the front with his father acting as best man. I couldn't stop smiling and I don't really remember anything else but J, standing there, facing me as we said our vows. I remember thinking that he was so sincere and heartfelt and I stood there, grinning like an idiot. He kissed me and I think there was music, but I didn't even notice at the time. We left the church and stood outside in the afternoon sun, hugging family and taking photos before leaving for the reception.
At the restaurant, which was beautiful, we had some of the best food I have ever had. Our families raved about their filets or seafood, and plates and plates of hors d' oeuvres kept arriving. We toasted with strawberries and champagne and they surprised us with a delicious red velvet cake; my husband's favorite kind.
It wasn't what we were planning on, but I can say now that I have no regrets about any of it. I loved our chapel, our chaplain (who stayed to celebrate at the reception!), our photographer, my dress, his uniform, how intimate it was, everything. Every single thing was perfect because, one year ago, I got to marry the most perfect man for me, the one I wasn't expecting, the one who makes me laugh, the one who makes me realize how much I love him everyday.
Our Wedding Video
P.S. While I was writing this, he sent me these- (he's so good!)