As our families might tell you, our wedding day, August 11th, was a long time coming. After dating for eight and a half years (surviving two years long distance, five moves between three cities, and buying a house together), the question wasn’t if Chris and I were going to get married, but when.
After finding out we were joyously expecting (!), our growing family gave us the nudge we needed to set a date and start planning. We both knew we wanted a small, intimate ceremony with our immediate family. Sharing our day with our closest loved ones felt the most special to us.
With a wedding date set for little more than two months away, we threw ourselves into planning mode and managed to have a majority of the details solidified within a week. Growing up, I had dreams of an outdoor wedding. So, we crossed our fingers against the rain and chose a local arboretum for our ceremony, hoping to enjoy the garden in full bloom.
I thought my wedding dress would prove to be the most difficult, knowing that I had to buy a style off the rack (due to the short deadline) that would also accommodate a baby bump. Moreover, I am notoriously “particular” (as my mother would say). When my sister was married a couple years earlier, we joked how I would have to try on every dress in the city before I would find one.
Yet, despite the restrictions (or perhaps because of them), the second dress I tried on was “the one.”
Although we were working on a short timeline, the ease at which everything came together made it feel as if this was the way it was supposed to be.
Unfortunately, the groom came down with the flu a few days before our wedding day. I kept myself quarantined, making frequent trips to the drug store hoping for some miracle medicine that would quickly cure him. Despite our best efforts, Chris still woke up with a fever on our wedding day. We half-joked that we would have a “first hug” instead of a “first kiss.”
While we had crossed our fingers against rain, we had forgotten to cross them against the flu as well. But, after all, we are committing in sickness and in health, right?
Even so, once the day got started, the whirlwind of getting ready and setting everything up captured our attention and left little room for worrying.
Although I expected to feel nervous about getting married, when the moment was in front of me I found I was pretty calm. After spending so many years together, our life together was already comforting and familiar.
We blocked off a couple hours before the ceremony for photographs, starting with a “first look” in the fern garden. The day may have been hot and humid, but the light was perfect (scattered gently through a Canadian wildfire haze that dappled the ground with occasional pockets of sunlight, before breaking against a clear sky). The time flew by as we wandered the grounds, laughing with our photographer (illness forgotten), and enjoying the last few moments before becoming husband and wife. We picked up a few “friends” along the way, as the tulle on my dress proved to be excellent material for capturing insects of all shapes and sizes.
After taking a few minutes to freshen up (and for my mother to guide the bug friends out from under the layers of tulle), it was time for the big event.
A month earlier, Chris and I made the decision to write our own ceremony, personalizing the details and readings on our relationship together. Instead of the traditional exchange of rings, we chose to “tie the knot,” to signify our two separate lives becoming one. The ceremony ended with our exchange of personal vows. It was short, sweet, and sentimental.
With Ella Fitzgerald’s At Last to send us off—after eight years together it was about time—we were official.
We ended the evening in a private room at a local restuarant, enjoying the several courses of food and family in equal measure.
Our wedding day may have been untraditional in many ways, but it was perfect for us.