I realize I’ve shared so much about Mister – our courtship (1, 2 + 3), our efforts to simplify and most recently our first getaway to intentionally dream and focus on our marriage – and haven’t shared anything about our wedding.
Not that it wasn’t lovely and beautiful and fulfilling in many ways, but I am kind of a “funny” bride…
Funny because I am an introvert and can also be incredibly particular. I’m also not a fan of super traditional things just because it’s traditional or because someone says I should do it that way. Or if it does not have meaning that will carry on for a long time, long after the day’s festivities are over, then it seems wasteful and I don’t really want it.
So, we hired a dear friend to be our wedding coordinator and she handled it (and me) especially well. Thanks to her ability to listen to us, her willingness to learn about us as a couple and her skill at making things happen – we had a beautiful, simple, wonderful day.
And while there are many things that go into a wedding – and she handled them superbly – there are three supermoments from our wedding day that play back to me regularly.
I bought my wedding dress three years ago.
Before I moved away from Wisconsin. Before I knew exactly where in Texas we would land. Before I knew Mister existed.
I’d been a few months out of a separation and divorce that took 22 months when I agreed to host a small group of women working through some things at a soul care retreat. I had been through one and knew that I could help women work through hard, desperate things even if I had not been through them myself.
I was looking forward to the “day of silence” – which is usually on the second day and starts just after breakfast and ends just before dinner on the same day. It is a very intentional time set aside for participants to get alone with God however they best do this (napping, coloring, walking, kayaking, swimming, reading, journaling, etc.) in order to hear from Him.
Since I’d had some experience with it, I got it in my head that I would help God tell me what I needed to hear.
I mean, my life was a mess and I needed to clean it up.
So I went straight to the dock and sat with blanket, Bible and journal digging into the Old Testament and scriptures on the law.
It is what I felt I deserved. God hates divorce and therefore He was upset with me and I needed to be under strict rule to fix my life and get back on track.
Within the hour of trying to hear from God while telling God what to say, I got frustrated and went and did other things. I painted a word on a rock and then another one, went around watching to see what other people might be doing (even though I couldn’t talk to them), I got in a little canoe – which lasted all of 8 minutes – and when I still couldn’t hear, I decided to get further away from everyone else and go for a walk.
Not even 50 feet into my walk, I heard – clear as day – “you will marry again”.
Yep, black girl walking in the woods – I jumped.
Then laughed at myself for jumping.
And then in disbelief, sure that God couldn’t be saying that to me (the recently divorced sinner) shook it off and kept on walking. I didn’t share with anyone in the groups during the weekend – partly because I was there to listen to the women in my group, but mostly because I didn’t believe it.
I didn’t deserve the blessing of marriage again.
The retreat ended the following day and I had time to kill before picking up my son from wherever he’d gone so that I could go retreating. I ended up in the tiny village of the city where we lived and moseying in and out of shops closer to the time that I got to see him again.
I went into the Ace Hardware to find it’d been purchased by women and turned into a vintage women’s boutique. It had the smell good soaps and lotions, with colorful duct tapes and all the signage about being a woman in a man’s world, coffee and platitudes about exercising. I was enjoying myself when I turned the corner and saw this dress on a dress form.
I took it into the dressing room, tried it on and wept. Quietly – I wasn’t trying to get kicked out or anything.
I wept because it fit me perfectly and because I thought I looked stunning in it and mostly because I was overwhelmed thinking about what I’d heard and tried to block out the day before.
I bought the dress knowing that I’d be moving to Texas in a few short months.
When Mister proposed and wedding planning began, I never tried on another dress.
I did get a little insecure about it when it got closer because when I would try it on from time to time leading up to the big day, I didn’t get the very same feeling I got the very first time I’d tried it on back in 2015.
But on my wedding day, I was in disbelief.
I welled up.
Spun around in circles looking at myself in that dress so many times…
I was so moved by how I felt I looked and especially that I was standing there in a promise from God.
I am so very grateful our photographer caught this moment.
I am even more grateful to God for planning and preparing it all along.
And when he saw me for the “first look” in this dress I’d told him about, his response was beautiful, amazing and powerful. Time slowed and let us soak in the blessing and gift of God’s promise and we received it.
I love this dress.
It was handpicked for me. Truly a non-fussy bride, who knows what she likes by what she doesn’t like. One who wants decisions to be few and simple. God chose this dress as a reflection of the woman I’m becoming and I am so grateful that Mister is the one who got to see me in it.
We got married at the most loveliest place.
The drive, not my favorite, the place – the best of both of us.
If you didn’t know, Mister really, really likes nature. And Stonebridge Wedding Venue is 40 acres of beautiful countryside with circus history and one of the top ten tallest live oak trees in all of Texas. And for me, the amenities of the bridal cottage and lovely decor in Tuxedo Hall (where we dined) seemed as if I’d picked them for myself.
A February wedding in Texas could go all four ways – (rain, sun, snow, ice) all in one day – so we were sure we’d be willing to wed if it was 45 degrees or warmer.
Apparently somebody else needed it to remain around 52 degrees that day, so we had a bit of a chilly ceremony.
But here’s what I so loved about our little ceremony…
We got married in this area surrounded by trees wounded and lit into a knot (it was called The Braided Knot) and we were only the second couple to hold our ceremony in that place.
It was so intimate that we did not need or use any projection equipment for people to hear.
Oh, if it’d only been a little warmer.
Even more precious than the place we chose to wed, was the part of our ceremony where Mister turned to my son to share some words with him:
I appreciate teaming with you to help take care of your Mom, but now you can confidently hand that baton to me.
And I did the same to his children…
I’m saying these words to your dad, but know that the promises I make to him are to overflow to the two of you.
It was precious and meant the world to both of us to let our children know that this was an addition, not a subtraction.
Oh, and Mister gave me his coat so we froze together. But, so gentlemanly…
Y’all. I remember being cold. And I remember hearing words about God and love and saying promises and sharing my heart. I recall beautiful singing and I know that there were people there, but what I most remember about this part of our wedding day was how peaceful I was standing before him.
Aware and believing that challenges would come our way but completely sure that he was the one set aside by God; the one I would be experiencing new, big, incredible things with as his wife.
As I stood alone in the Bridal Cottage waiting for the clock to strike 4:30p, I sang and worshipped and teared up a little. Never once wondering if this was what I was supposed to, with this person. Never once concerned as to whether or not he would be waiting for me or change his mind.
I was giddy.
We had fought the temptation to act in married ways that are to be saved for marriage. We had talked about any and everything – multiple times. We had prayed and asked for guidance and wisdom, input and support.
Our ceremony was the manifestation of doing it “God’s way” for me.
It was an amazing experience.
As if it couldn’t be topped, we had another super moment.
A QUIET MOMENT – JUST THE TWO OF US
He just loves me.
Which I no longer say is so difficult to do, because he does it so well.
And I should have known it would be the case since he had demonstrated his love for me appropriately, respectfully and consistently from the day we matched on that dating site.
You see, I’ve been badly hurt by boyfriends, partners, husbands and I knew that I was attracting brokenness in many of those relationships, inviting co-dependency and un-health.
It took me years to figure out how to be better at just being by myself.
Which as an introvert, I know I can take to extremes at times. Nonetheless, I knew that it was better to go way to the other side and be alone and letting Jesus court my hurt heart than to keep on doing the same old things.
So years ago, I bought this small sterling silver ring that I wore on my wedding finger. Even when I wasn’t married. Sometimes even when I was.
And that ring signified my marriage to Jesus. The priority of that relationship.
I didn’t always do it well or right (don’t believe the person that’s trying to convince you they’ve got it all figured out) but I was really trying. It wasn’t the ring that made me want to be better, attract better, listen better, respond better…it was my relationship with God.
I read more studies, more Truth.
I said no to things I would normally salivate to say yes to, to even try.
Wearing that ring became so normal for me that I looked up one day and realized that I was acting like a content, happily married woman before I’d even met the man who would make that label true.
Mister asked me about the ring and what it meant to me.
He also asked to keep it so that he could size out my engagement ring (I’ll have to post about the supermoments from the proposal because it was amazing too) and I forgot all about it.
Until we got married, kissed as hubby and wifey and strolled down the aisle and hopped on the golf cart to get photos taken.
Now mind you. I’m freezing and while I want beautiful photos, I’m done. I just want to be married at home with new husband.
And while the photographer was setting up one of our last shots before the reception. He turned to me and pulled out that stirling silver ring and placed it on my right hand with a gleam in his eye.
One of the most romantic moments I’ve ever been a part of. For real.
It was so delicate and sensitive and protective and loving – I pray it remains clear in my head for the rest of my life.
There were hundreds of very special meaningful moments leading up to our wedding and on our wedding day and even after we got married. So very many.
These are super moments.
Ones that I share to let you in on my view of the day. What was most important to me and what I long for others to think of when they interact with us – that our love is far deeper than what we looked like on this one day. Our love story is written by God and it is our honor to walk it out.