The girls jumped into our bed first thing in the morning, and I girlishly proclaimed, “Yay! It’s our wedding day!” although I think the girls were just happy to skip school that Tuesday morning and get into their new outfits. (Priorities!) We rolled around in bed a little more since special days should always begin this way before getting ready for the big moment. My Guy dressed them in their brand new dresses and sparkling shoes, and every adult but me took turns entertaining them while I tried to recall the makeup techniques I learned from YouTube and applied them with a nervous hand. I wanted to look like myself, but I didn’t want to look like I always did, which made it a little tricky, especially for someone with so little training in this department.
The guys left with the girls first, and I drove my best friend and I in the convertible, trailing 30 minutes behind, to the venue in south Austin, 45 minutes away from our home. Because we wanted a simple affair that best reflected our own personalities and values, I decided against a fussy hairdo and went with a simple low ponytail, not that I had a choice. It was all I could manage. However, the result wasn’t half bad when I decided to go with a bridal accessory that I found in the eleventh hour (as in the night before) because the one I ordered from Etsy.com took an unfortunate detour and never arrived (thanks, US Postal Service).
It was no fluke that the wedding was mostly outfitted by items ordered online (including my dress and shoes, the girls’ attire, My Guy’s jacket, and our rings - oh yeah, even the rings); we were pretty adamant in being ourselves for the entire affair, and if Amazon.com ruled our daily life, why should the wedding be any different? Besides, when you have a wedding to plan in less than a month, who has the time to go dress and ring shopping anyway? We went to a jeweler once for our rings and the experience felt so weird to us that neither of us wanted to go back. Thank goodness for Amazon where you could procure everything but livestock. (Don’t quote me on that – I’m not entirely sure that you can’t either.)
The dress, however, came from a U.K. based fashion site that I discovered while trolling the Internet for the perfect attire for the occasion. It took me very many painstaking hours to finally decide - long dress? short dress? bridal? casual? white? ivory? some color? no color? modern? cute? elegant? fun? - and asking My Guy didn’t help.
Me: Hey, what do you think I should wear? What would you like to see me in?
Him: Something skimpy?
Ugh. He can be such a boy sometimes.
When I did find the dress, I was apprehensive about ordering it even though I loved what I saw because it’s always hard to gauge the fit and fabric from a picture, and it would have to cross the Atlantic to get to me. As if ordering sight unseen from a website I never knew existed wasn’t challenging enough (see missing hair accessory above). But I did it anyway because, honestly, I was just so sick of looking at dresses online. The moment I wore it when it arrived, however, I knew this was it. Whew!
In the end, everything worked out. I even got to have my groom stand at the altar to watch me walk down the aisle in my dress for the first time, and while this experience was not new to me, having been married before in a more traditional setting, it was still extraordinary to see My Guy at the chapel, waiting for me.
He looked gorgeous in his jacket, tie and jeans. He’d been in jeans pretty much his whole professional and personal life, and being in anything but would’ve been wrong that day, so there he was, waiting for me, looking exactly like the man I’ve always known. The only man I want to be with for the rest of my life.
The girls walked slowly as instructed down the aisle first, and took their places, one on each side of the chapel, Little Miss with her uncle and Pickle with her aunt. The officiant, who we met minutes before the event, read the vows that we’d redlined and returned to her over email. When prompted for the ring, the girls held a book each (“Harry Potter” and “World War Z” respectively because wizards and zombies, yo!) with a ring on it and carefully walked it over to us. Our little ring bearers then went back to their seats and quietly listened to us exchange our vows the rest of the time, which was all of five minutes.
After we were pronounced man and wife in a ceremony that took about 10 minutes, we rang the 200-year-old bell at the chapel together. And just like that, we were married.
We took more time with pictures than we did for any other part of the wedding, making sure to capture every angle of the beautiful scenery - the hill country vistas, the rugged Texas landscape, the rustic details of the venue, the native plants in the gardens. It was everything I loved about our new state in one small area. The girls, not surprisingly, grew tired of pictures quickly and spent the rest of the time with their aunt and uncle who kept them so well occupied that no one approached us with any issues during the session that ran longer than planned.
When we were done, we drove our starving bellies to Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Oak Hill for some “ gourmet Texan” cuisine, where I pigged out on some pimiento cheese dip and chicken-fried steak. Naturally. It seemed that today was as much a celebration of Texas as it was a celebration of our union, and I was okay with that. It’s all one big love affair after all. Pickle took a short nap on her uncle, but when the food arrived, she opened her eyes, looked around and said, “I didn’t know we were here alweady.”
Post-wedding festivities continued after some down time at home. I hired a sitter who watched the girls while the rest of the wedding party (all four grownups) went to three different places for cocktails and food that evening that started out on Rainey street in downtown Austin. More indulgences, more cured and delectable meats, more craftily prepared cocktails and dishes on small plates, more laughter, more of the same, wonderful things we’ve had in the last few days leading up to the wedding since our best friends arrived.
These are friends who expect nothing from us, and maybe that’s why being around them always gives us a sense of complete ease that one often finds in those who truly know who and what we are, from the very core of our beings, and love us no matter what. Who are genuinely happy for us, who understand and appreciate the complexities of our life with our girls, who have always stood by and continue to stand by us without judgment, and who were there solely to celebrate us as a couple. My Guy and I were acutely aware of just how lucky we were that they were there for us in every way that day, and we were so very grateful.
In the end, there was no long white dress, no veil, no bridal bouquet, no cutesy party favors, no Pinterest-inspired decorations, no guests to wow, no clinking of glasses, no centerpieces, no bubbles, no seating charts, not even a flower girl. It was nothing like the kind of wedding I’d envisioned in my dreams as a little girl.
But I’m not that little girl anymore. Over the years, I’ve learned that not all conventions work for everyone, and for two people who came to where we are today by rather unconventional means, it wouldn’t feel right to stick to a script that really wasn’t meant for us. So we rewrote our story in a way that would best represent us - delicious food, supportive friends, and yes, even jeans - and maybe that’s why it was perfect.
It was not the wedding of my dreams; in fact, it was better.