John and I had no family here in Florida when we got married, and few friends, so we did everything for the wedding ourselves. EVERYTHING. I'm talking, John was cooking the food the morning of. We like to joke that we're glad we got married before we had any taste, because it was SO much cheaper that way, ha. We were broke community college kids, so fortunately my father told us he'd pay. Still, we were determined to spend as little of his money as possible, so after crunching the numbers 'til they squeaked, we told Dad we thought we could do it for $2,000. Dad sent us a check, and we got to work, planning the whole thing in just under three months.
Every night after work and school we'd convene at my apartment and make decorations, plan the menu, write invitations, schedule the hall and DJ, you know, all the things. We also went to pre-marital counseling. It was a hectic but blissful time, because honestly, we didn't care so much about the wedding - we just wanted to be married. So we giggled our way through practicing our first dance and hot-gluing fake roses to the centerpieces and going to the mall to buy my first real lipstick. I even showed John the thrift-store wedding dress I'd bought on a whim - a lace-covered poof straight out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding - and he didn't run away screaming.
When I liked a veil in the mall that we couldn't afford, John snuck out to a local sewing shop, charmed his way into a pack of grandmothers, and got them to teach him how to make one himself. Which he did. He made my veil, you guys. I think it's the only thing I've kept, other than a few photos.
On the day of, John was bleary-eyed from prepping food all night, my hair looked goofy, not many people showed up, and during the reception the DJ started playing The Electric Slide.
Even better, nobody danced because 80% of the attendees were Baptist.
Ironically, Dr. Cox here is doing the only approved Baptist Dance: the head bob.
(Although that shoulder shimmy is HIGHLY SUSPECT.)
Still, you know what? When it was all over, John and I got to start our life together. Life, singular. Just us, climbing into that tacky lit-up limo, ready to tackle crappy days, career changes, and deciding what to eat for dinner, together.
Obviously I'd change a lot about our wedding now, but I have no regrets. It was our first DIY project, our first time working side-by-side - which obviously got us hooked. I'm glad we didn't put it all on credit cards and start our marriage saddled with debt. I'm glad neither of us cared too much when things went wrong, or had those Hollywood expectations for our "Big Day." It was a day. A wonderful, beginning-of-something-beautiful day, but still just a day.
A day twenty years ago this month.
John and I are going to spend our 20th anniversary in the car, driving to Atlanta for Dragon Con. We hope to have the big house renovation done before we go, so we'll be busting our butts 'til then to get everything finished. No big vacation, no fancy dinner, no party - because that's not us. It's not about the milestones, it's about the day-to-day. So I get to spend that day with just John, probably listening to an audio book, sharing snacks from the car cooler, talking, laughing, arguing, and being together.
And that's perfect.
Not because our marriage is perfect, not because every day is a Hallmark movie. We get grumpy and on each other's nerves, we snap, we get sarcastic, we make pointed remarks about whose turn it was to answer e-mail. But underneath it all, good and bad, is the rock solid knowledge that we're in this together, one team, forever and always.
Thanks for the ride, John, sweetie. Here's to a million miles more.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
I went digging through a box of old photos to scan these in, just for you guys. Enjoy.
Check out all those strings of pearls on the back. Aw yeah.
I friggin' loved this thing, though I had to wear two sets of Spanx to fit into it.
Only $100 from Goodwill!
We made the flower baskets & spray-painted them silver, because our colors were burgundy and silver. I have no explanation for this color choice, other than the fact I owned a burgundy leotard (remember the ones that snapped at the crotch?) that I really liked at the time.
Oh, but I should mention my mom made my bouquet that looks like a soccer ball, if only so I can spread the blame around a little, haha. (Love you, Mom!)
So happy we were on the home stretch. This was before the dreaded Electric Slide incident.
And my favorite wedding photo of all:
That's my grandfather. He... didn't smile much.
Bonus - and hopefully a redemption for my dignity after that wedding day hairdo - here I am in my natural state a few days prior:
I'm pretty sure John married me for my hair, frizz and all. You can see the wedding flowers in the background, but also please note the Star Trek book beside me on the counter. John knew what he was getting into.
And finally, sexy John during our honeymoon in DC:
Mrowr. Ffft fffft!
(We don't talk about the earring. Shhhhh.)
(We don't talk about the earring. Shhhhh.)