Today’s wedding graduate post is one I’ve been waiting for (more like eyeing my inbox for months and then jumping up and down when it arrived). It comes from longtime reader Beth and is honestly so perfect, that I think I’ll kick it right to her for the rest. But first, can we just take a moment to rub our eyes at the fact that these photos are not taken in front of a Sears portrait studio backdrop? The coastal kid in me did not know that views like these existed.
My husband is a very practical individual. Most of the time it is a wonderful trait and helps us to do things like pay off our house in two years, plan grand adventures, and be spontaneous. Even if Forrest had known a lot about wedding “traditions” or what was expected of us, he’s the type that wouldn’t have really cared at all. It was really easy for him to strip the wedding down to its basic components. For me, it was all a little bit harder. I’d dreamed of my wedding as a little girl and although a lot of the things I’d dreamed of I had already gotten rid of, it was much more difficult for me to think outside the WIC box.
When we decided to get married, we had our wedding plans outlined pretty concretely. We had already picked a destination location and drawn up a budget. Our budget was designed to support our values as a couple. We try to reject the things we’re expected to do in life if they don’t fit our needs and choose only those things that are important to us. We set some clear priorities for the event. We wanted to spend less than $5,000. We wanted to be able to help house family and friends who were traveling. We wanted some awesome pictures of the wedding. We wanted a beautiful day that reflected our values of simplicity and adventure.
I was confident and happy about our plans up until a couple weeks before the wedding. I worried that I had forgotten about something, that I didn’t have enough things, or enough stress. It was really hard for me to grasp that not only was the simplicity of our plans going to be enough but that it would be absolutely perfect. As much as Forrest told me it was going to be okay, I just couldn’t see how I was going to pull it off. I so wanted my wedding to be beautiful and run smoothly and was terrified that it wouldn’t happen that way.
Once we left for Moab, a feeling of “It’ll be fine” took over. I hadn’t had a vacation all year and not only was this our wedding but it was an adventure! The hardest work I did to get ready was bake thirteen pies while drinking wine with my mom and aunt. When I was done, I got to go taste more wine with friends I hadn’t seen in ages. It was lighthearted and happy. I spent the evening drifting in and out of the house talking with everyone who’d come.
Our wedding morning felt a bit like every other Saturday morning we’ve ever had and a bit totally different; I’m not even sure we said “It’s our wedding day” to each other, but we felt it. Getting out of bed, we dressed for normal activities—I dressed for a run while Forrest got ready for a dirt bike ride. We sipped coffee as the sky started to lighten and the house we’d rented started to come alive with our friends and family waking up. It all seemed so normal to give Forrest a kiss and say, “See you in a few hours,” jump in the car, and run a race.
Back at the house, although there was lots to be done, it never felt stressful. As things needed to be done, I did the things I wanted to and handed off the ones I didn’t. A friend unexpectedly took over decorating the dinner table (and did a better job than I ever could have). I made my bouquet with the help of a friend’s daughter. More friends returned from a morning at Arches National Park and took over making lasagnas for dinner. What had seemed like both a lot of moving parts, and at the same time not enough moving parts weeks before, came to fruition like it had been planned by two type-A people with simple leanings…because it had.
By the time I headed upstairs to get ready, I was just ready to get married. I was pampered with hair help and free flowing champagne while I got ready and laughed harder than I had in a long time. My mom arrived just in time to help me into my dress. After our first look, my memories are a happy tumbled haze: I married my partner in a beautiful heartfelt ceremony, ate food prepared by friends at a table decorated by more friends. During our first dance I sang along with my new husband and grinned. I danced with my mom, my aunt, my new sister- and cousin-in-law, and friends. I ate the pie I made and listened to more than one person tell me that their favorite pie was there (with eleven kinds, it wasn’t too hard).
As we drifted down the hall, leaving our guests to enjoy the remainder of their evening, I had not a thought in the world for what had or hadn’t gone right. I was holding my husband’s hand, enjoying that blissful exhaustion that is most commonly experienced after long, tough, hike to a beautiful mountain top followed by a delicious dinner of pizza and beer. That was exactly the feeling we didn’t know we were going for and it was perfect.
The Info—Photographer: Amanda Summerlin (APW Sponsor) / Beth’s Ring: Bario-Neal (APW Sponsor) / Venue: A rental house found via VBRO / Beth’s Dress: The Wedding Bell in Tacoma, WA / Forrest’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse / Forrest’s Tie: Macy’s / Succulents: Sanpedro Cactus via Etsy / Flowers: City Market / Rentals: Chairs, tables, linens, and place settings from American Rental Specialties