Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The wedding re-cap

Alli and I arrived in Ohio around 3:30am Wednesday morning. A friend of mine had just rented a house but had only moved into the downstairs, leaving the second floor for us to use as command central for all things wedding. Alli fluffed her dress in one bedroom (so I wouldn't see it), I used another room to lay out the wedding party gift basket makings (including the pipes I had N8 make for the guys), and we found another bedroom to crash from our nine hour drive.

I've never been able to sleep in, so being wide awake at 7am was not a surprise, but it did make for a long day. I started working on assembling the wooden signs from the car, and then drove to pick up the vest and tux I'd rented. Alli had no idea I'd rented a tux, so taking advantage of the fact she was still sleeping was key. I got back to the house, hid the tux, and tried to gently wake up my future bride. A shower for each of us, a quiet breakfast together, another half hour drive to the wedding site, and work was in full swing.

We'd been planning this thing from nine hours away, so just being at the wedding site was almost overwhelming. We took a few minutes to walk around, hand-in-hand, and talk. We were very happy as a couple and both certain God was going to bless our lives together, but being so close to joining ourselves as one was causing anticipation, and even fear, to get all rolled up in that happiness. One more prayer, our foreheads together and hands held, and we were good to go.

We spent all day Wednesday picking up supplies, organizing family help, calling all the vendors, and sending the last few checks. Thursday, the 4th, I met two of my oldest friends (both artists) at the wedding site where we spent the next four hours cutting down trees, stripping branches, tying natural ropes and grapevines, and building the most awesome arch anyone has ever seen. It was such a blast to spend that time with my friends, and better than any wild night on the town. Alli and I watched the fireworks that night in her hometown park, and then drove to some friends to drink a few beers and catch up.

Friday morning we checked Alli into the Inn where I had rented the grand suite for my future bride and her friends to spend the night before the wedding. After more work at the site to set up signs, x-mas lights, tables, decorations, the food barn, and a bunch of other stuff, we met the photographer and her husband to review what she/they were going to do and where it was all going to go down. The whole nine hour thing had stopped us from doing that previously, so we were very thankful she'd made her own long drive a day early to make sure we would have what we wanted. A few hours later, the wedding party arrived and we went through a flawless rehearsal followed by a fun rehearsal dinner put on by my Mom. That night I drove around the guy who was making the pulled pork as he got supplies and started the rubbing & cooking. I got to bed around 2am, my last night alone.

Saturday morning, wedding day, I was at the wedding site by 6:30am. I started by setting up the tables and chairs the exact way the future missus wanted. (On a side note I'll only mention once, this was just one thing on a long list of stuff I had to fix/repair that her Mom and other family had done that was NOT how Alli wanted it. Grrr.....) For the next seven hours I sweated my arse off getting everything ready. Realizing my bride was going to be there in a half hour, I jumped in the shower and then got dressed.

Around 2:30pm, Alli and I enjoyed our, "First Look" (a new spin on seeing the bride), and I blubbered like a baby. The joy just washed over me. The two of us had our hour-long photo session in 90+ degree heat and high humidity, and then another hour with the wedding party. At 5pm we all went into her uncle's log house to await the start of the wedding music.

Well... the high heat and humidity caused an intense storm to dump monumental amounts of rain for the next hour, that's right, when the outside wedding was supposed to be happening. After moving the drenched attendees into a big barn/garage and feeding them cookies to calm them down, I took Alli aside and asked if she wanted to get married by the pond or succumb to the rain and use the barn. With a heart-wrenching look in her eyes, she told me she wanted to get married where she had been dreaming of for so long, by the pond. I squeezed her hands, kissed her on the forehead, and told her we would wait.

When the buckets of rain settled to a moderate drizzle, I had my guys shuttle everyone back down the hill to the pond and straw bales, and we started the processional. As luck would have it, the rain had fried the sound system, so with lightning speed, our friend swapped out spare speakers in his $4000 Bose system just in time to have Alli walk down to music. We started the wedding in the rain, and then right as we were reading our vows (which we wrote ourselves),  the sun shown down on us as if directly from God's own smile.

There is much more to be said and stories to be told, but the whole thing was beautiful beyond measure, the most so being my bride. Our photographer has set up a page for our photos which can be found on our Wedding photography page at once she gets the pics up. She wrote about the day in a sneak-peak if you care to check it out.

Many, many, many thanks for all the prayers and support from all of you. The wedding was everything we'd dreamed of and more, and your prayers and support were a big part of that. Despite the rain, the whole thing was amazing. And now I get to spend the rest of my life with a beautiful woman I am fully convinced God carved out just for me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Forty five checkmarked

Remember the license plate game when you were a kid? You go on a long road trip with the family and see how many different states you can find by their license plates... I always had fun with that. Alli and I love playing that game whenever we can. Often that happens just driving through our touristy town that on any given day can boast license plates from all over the country.

Driving to Ohio for the wedding, on a holiday week no less, was perfect fodder for the license plate game. And it turned out exactly as we expected with forty five different states checkmarked off the list... easily the best results we've ever experienced. The funniest part is that we had ten states before we even left town.

(For those hoping to see some wedding follow-up, I'll put up a post --with pics-- sometime this week.)

Monday, July 01, 2013

In five days...

... I will be getting married. I'll blame that for not following through on my two-post-a-week plan. Sounds like a good excuse, right?

So yeah, getting married this weekend. I can't begin to tell you how this feels like a beautiful conclusion to a crazy last five years. I am so happy to be marrying this woman that God has clearly designed specifically for me, and it's a refreshing thing to hear so many people tell me how happy I look and sound.

A short nine hour drive, a few days of prep, and then the wedding. I'm so looking forward to it. :)