December 17th was a big day for me. Honestly, I thought I knew how big at the time, but it didn't really sink in until later.
On that freezing (actually far below freezing) Saturday after another tricky semester, I married Sam. We got up early in the morning and I climbed into the car with my mom in my colorful wooly socks and hair in curlers. After a long drive we arrived in Manti, where we met Sam and his family and started all the paperwork needed before we could go through with the act (don't worry, my socks and curlers stayed in the car). A little after 10 o'clock Sam and I were sitting in a quiet room being told the ceremony routine by a smiling elderly gentleman we'd never met, who was going to be marrying us shortly. Our family and close friends quietly filed in and Sam and I sat near the altar squeezing our hands together for dear life. I leaned over and whispered in his ear "I legitimately feel like I'm going to pass out at the altar. I hope it's not awkward." He whispered back, "I'm pretty sure I'm going to pass out too." I laughed hysterically inside, though I wasn't sure why it was so funny. My nerves were wired. Pretty soon we went through the ceremony and leaned across to kiss each other. I'll come back to that kiss later. It was an important one, though again, I didn't realize how important it was at the time.
We stood by the door and talked to everyone briefly as they left. There were lots of sincere hugs, people whispering how beautiful I was, how happy we looked, and many welcomes to the family. My new father-in-law sobbed on my shoulder and thanked me for loving his son, making me feel like I owed him more than I could ever repay (thanks, Dad). We had a quiet moment together after everyone moved out of the room, in which Sam and I both shed light tears and just stood and hugged each other. It was a little unbelievable.
Pretty soon we were ushered to our changing rooms, and my sisters rushed in to fix my hair and makeup before going out to meet everyone (I'd merely tousled the curls in the car before heading inside, and I only wore a little mascara). After a few minutes, I walked shakily to the lobby to meet Sam. His grandma stood there smiling at us while I freaked out over his boutonniere and wondered why she didn't go outside and wait so I could talk to Sam alone. Finally she did, I told Sam I was so stressed I could explode, he told me to calm down, and I finally did enough to give him a gift I'd made for him-- I handkerchief with a quote embroidered into it with our wedding date. It seemed ridiculous and silly, especially since I was shaking so much and felt like screaming for some reason, but he loved it, and I tried to smile as I folded it into his coat pocket. We then turned and headed out the door to our crowd of friends and family. Unfortunately, it was a revolving door, and Sam ran into me when the glass came up short behind him, and I tripped on his shoe. Fortunately, I ended up laughing instead of yelling, which made for great pictures of me smiling instead of turning into Bridezilla and roaring like a lion.
We then proceeded to take pictures with family in the 14-degree chill, the bright sun glaring at us, the photographer trying to give instructions, my 6-month-old niece crying her head off, and my dad disappeared right before we were going to take a parent picture and no one could find him (he was sitting in the warm car with my grandparents eating a donut). Finally, we gave up after a few shots, told everyone we'd see them at the reception, and I raced back inside to change out of my dress. My hands were so cold I was sucking on my fingers in an attempt to bring some life back into them.
The drive back to the apartment with Sam was a little surreal. He kept looking at me and saying "Guess what? We're married!" and I was incredibly happy but weirded out and the quiet voice that'd been in my mind since Sam and I had started talking about marriage resurfaced-- what if what if what if??? I pushed it away. Stupid voice. I made the right choice.
After a nice long nap, we made our way to the reception hall for the family dinner. It was delicious, and though I felt vaguely ridiculous when I was forced to tuck a table cloth into my collar to keep pasta sauce off my dress, I had a good time. Family gave us advice and reminisces. I remember particularly three things that were said: Sam's dad said I was good at finances (if you know me at all, you know I can barely add), my aunt said she noticed Sam and I really talked to each other and laughed together, and my grandma cried as she told everyone how Sam had cared for me with no complaint during my hospitalizations and illness the past semester (I told you it'd been tricky). I was inspired to be better at finances (a few days later I worked out a budget for us-- go me!), to make sure Sam and I never stopped talking or laughing, and to always let Sam care for me (I have the bad habit of hiding it when things go wrong and not letting people help).
The reception was wonderful. I relaxed after the first dance was over (Sam taught me to waltz in the reception kitchen moments before it happened). I didn't get to eat any of the food except for a few bites of cake when we cut it (with only the photographer watching). The endless homemade cookies and Italian soda bar passed me by and I didn't care. I spent the evening dancing with sisters, friends, nieces, everyone. We had an instant photo booth run by two of my old friends (the one thing I refused to compromise on in the budget, something I am incredibly grateful for because everyone loved using it), which was hilarious fun, and I barely saw Sam through the whole thing. I talked to dozens of people and lived on the high of energy. Finally it was time to go, and Sam and I were able to escape to our (secretly decorated) car and drive up to Salt Lake City to the hotel that would be our home for the next couple of days.
I won't give you details of course, but all the people that told me everything would be awkward was wrong. Sam later told me the kiss I gave him right after we got into the room and stood looking at each other, before we'd even taken our shoes off, was his favorite kiss of our relationship. It was just a peaceful time. There was nothing awkward about any of it, it was just happiness.
Anyway, the honeymoon sharply ended two days later while we were still at the hotel and my stomach began to implode (remember the aforementioned illness?). It was a bitter shock back to reality. We had a few nice days before Christmas, then we headed down to California, where my parents live, for another reception. Three days before we left, however, Sam told me he decided we were getting a kitten, and we raced up to the Utah Humane Society right before it closed to pick one out. We decided on an adorable polydactyl tabby. That night we almost went to the ER because I was sick again, but the cat (oddly enough) helped me get through it. Sam told me the next day that was a big reason why he felt we needed to get a cat right away-- he didn't want me to be alone in the night while I was sick and in pain and he was too tired to stay awake with me. It meant a lot to me. A great lot.
After returning from California, school started up again, and life started to settle down. I still hadn't really gotten the concrete answer to my question (is this the right choice for me?) like Sam had (a few weeks after we started dating-- yes, it was that fast). We had met suddenly and become the closest of friends in a whirlwind. Before I knew what was happening, we were dating, and pretty soon after that we started talking about marriage. I knew he was a good choice-- he cared for me no matter what time of day (or, realistically, night), he didn't question my slightly shady previous boyfriends, and he was a straight arrow, perfect husband material and an excellent prospective father-- but I was still worried. Many of my friends were confused by my choice. But he continued to prove himself to me (though he didn't know he was doing it). I figured I was just being stubborn and since I knew he was so right for me, and he loved me so much (don't worry, I was crazy in love with him too), I still thought about that tiny nagging voice-- what if what if what if?
After we'd been married a few weeks and I was lying in his arms one quiet evening while the cat purred at the foot of our bed, we were playing a cheesey romantic truth or dare card game we'd recieved as a wedding present. Sam picked truth for one and he got this question: "Where was our most romantic kiss? Tell me all about it." It was then that he told me about the kiss in the hotel. He then asked me what I thought mine was. I immediately thought of the kiss that had happened right after we'd conceded to marry each other in the ceremony. I told him that was it.
"Well...this is cheesey, but it's because, right when we kissed, I could feel all the energy of your love in it, and I could feel all of my love for you pouring into it. It was almost electrifying."
Tears started to come. Why now?
"Why are you crying?" Poor boys. They must wonder of this of their girls frequently.
"Because I just realized I have my answer." More crying. I'm such a sap sometimes.
But it was just that-- when I thought of that kiss, I realized that that is what mattered. I knew without a doubt that Sam loved me, and I knew that I had a love for him that filled me with electricity when I really though about it. And when there is love, sometimes everything else follows. The laughter, the respect, the patience, everything.
Sam realized it too at that moment. "Will you remember what you just told me for when you get impatient with me?"
I plan to.
In case any of you are eager to know the details of the wedding and reception, here they are. The planning of the wedding in no way went off without a hitch, especially finding a cake maker who would do what I wanted, but I'm so happy with the way everything turned out. And it was fun to use local people who were pretty cheap, and who did exactly what I wanted and exceeded my expectations. Thanks guys! My family's contribution was $3,500, which covered pretty much everything except for certain things (like the dinner), and I'm not sure about the contribution of Sam's family.
Decorations: bunting handmade from old books, maps, and music, by me and my friend Mel, and two of my other good friends (Autumn and Madison), plus Sam. Jars borrowed from parents and grandparents. Books were rescued from the trash bin of the friends-of-the-library bookstore my mom volunteers with. Dried lavender was purchased at Tai-Pan trading.
Family dinner: catered by Gloria's Little Italy
Boutonnieres and bridesmaids' bouquets: Dried lavender from Tai-Pan, ribbon from craft stores. Put together by me.
Bridal bouquet: Flower Basket Boutique
Photobooth: Prints Charming
Photographer: Nue Light Photography
Dress: custom made by Design Your Wedding Dress Online.
Italian soda bar: Griffin Catering
Reception venue: Southworth Hall
Sam's suit: Tailor for Less
Music: I made the playlist and entrusted the playing of it to my new sister Caity
Hair and makeup: group effort by my sisters Adrien, Caity, and Abby
Cookies: half were brought in from Sam's parents' old bakery in New Jersey, Cait & Abby's, and the rest were made by family and friends.
Invitations: Color Quick Printing, though I wanted to do them myself, I was just forced to reduce my personal workload.