Marty & A.P.

Today’s post is somewhere between a wedding graduate post and a Reclaiming Wife post. Because while Marty (who blogs at Not The Marrying Kind) does talk about their wedding, she also talks about how marriage has been hard, and their love just keeps on growing. Which is a beautiful echo of Drea, the Chicago-ian who’s wedding graduate post helped lead them to their wedding venue, and her story of the love that just keeps growing, even during the hard times. So with that, a wedding full of people grinning their faces off, and truth.

Planning our wedding was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life…and not because we were planning a wedding.  A.P. and I were engaged at the end of August 2009 and married at the end of March 2010.  During that time, I started a new job (my first year in a new career), my brother was in the hospital, my mother had surgery, A.P.’s mother passed away unexpectedly, my sister announced she was moving to India, A.P.’s father had an unexpected heart surgery, A.P. (quietly) turned 30, and then right before the wedding, A.P. lost his job.  That’s seven months of insanity, five of which were spent also planning our wedding.  It seemed that anything and everything that could go wrong and cause us a ton of additional stress did go wrong.

Some people might take all of these terrible things happening as a sign that marriage wasn’t the right path.  By the time A.P. lost his job, I decided that these things just served as proof that we could handle the hard stuff, and that we could handle it together.  I wish I could tell you that I learned to fight the good fight, or that planning a wedding was pure bliss, but we didn’t and it wasn’t.  It was five months of hell.  But I did learn what I can rely on my now husband for, and what I have to do myself.  I learned that while we may not have always gotten what we wanted in our relationship, we usually always got what we needed.  And I also learned that we can weather serious storms, like the death of A.P.’s mother, which has changed him in profound ways I can’t really describe.

Being married is still a bit of a learning experience.  After we married, we had about three weeks of good, happy, stress-free times, before I lost my job due to layoffs.  I was devastated.  The worst part was that I had to continue working at the company for an additional month if I wanted severance and then unemployment.  I was broke after paying for a wedding with A.P., and now I was about to become unemployed.  I went into a deep depression.  And while financially, we would survive (A.P. found another job pretty quickly, which was extremely fortunate), my depression drastically affected our marriage.  We fought all the time, we weren’t talking to each other, and we were both pretty miserable.  I’ve since found a job, but that terrible period we were in hasn’t completely faded yet.  The stress of our new jobs has also affected our marriage.  We are both working every night after work, and usually one day on the weekend.  It’s hard.  We have very little time for each other, but we’re, as I like to say, “in it to win it.”  I wrote about how our learning curve has been pretty steep in our first year of marriage, but that perhaps that’s a good thing.  It gets better every day, but it takes work on both our parts.

Oh and I also learned how to throw a kick*ss wedding.

When I think back on the day as a whole, what stands out to me was how little I cried and how genuinely giddy with excitement and happiness I ended up being.  For weeks before the wedding, I would envision all these moments in our wedding that would make me choke up with tears: my father giving me away, the portion of our ceremony that I wrote about A.P.’s late mother, the readings that A.P. and I picked out for our ceremony, my first dance with him, our first kiss as husband and wife, etc.  I would picture all these moments and I would get so emotional that I just figured I would react the same way on our wedding.  In other words, I’d be a hot mess of emotions and just end up crying a bunch.  Instead, I ended up being so excited and blissfully happy that I just smiled and laughed all night.  We were lucky enough to have our fabulous photographer, Theresa Scarbrough, capture these fantastic moments.  Even now, looking at those photos, I’m amazed at how full of joy the two of us are, particularly since looking back always seems so surreal.

When we first arrived at our venue, the sweet, little vintage bakery, Lovely, located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood (which I found out about through APW), I was so angry with A.P. I thought I would never forgive him.  And then a woman who I’ve known since I was a child came right up to me, and told me I had to get over it because this was an important day and it was going to go by so fast that I had to worry about enjoying every minute of it.  Immediately, I stopped being angry, and just tried to focus on being in the present and enjoying every moment of the evening.

So, the thing I know now that I wished I’d known while planning was that, it will go by so, so fast.  Since I got married, I’ve had a couple of friends get engaged/married, and I tell them what that friend told me on my wedding day: enjoy every minute because it flies by.  When you’re planning the wedding, and you’re thinking about everything, all those hours seem like they will last forever.  You think back on every wedding you’ve ever been to, and how time seemed to putter along and you think that the six hours you’ve booked your venue for will be this awesome, long night.  That is only true in that it’s awesome.  Long?  Not so much.  It’s hard to describe the surreal quality that time takes on for those hours.  I’m pretty sure that even if I tried, it wouldn’t truly convey how fast it goes by, and how every moment seems amplified by emotion (and in some cases, alcohol).

The point is to savor as much of it as you can.  I can honestly say that by the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so hard, and it shows in my photos, which is all that is really important.  That also means that all the weight loss, and looking perfect, and having everything just so is also unimportant.  The best advice is to ignore everything else as much as possible.  Didn’t get to thank Aunt Kathy in person for coming?  Oh well.  Someone broke glasses and now you’ll have to pay for them?  That’s the cost of having a wedding (a guest at our wedding tipped a whole table of glasses onto the floor).  You were late to your own wedding because your now husband forgot his pants?  Guess what?  It’s YOUR wedding, and people will just have to wait.  The only thing that’s important is each other.

What mattered in the end was that we were happy and having an awesome time surrounded by friends and family who wished us well.What didn’t was everything else. We remember the funny stuff that happened (who made out with who??!!??), the great things people said (We’re so happy to have you join the family!), and all the dancing we did! But I’ve forgotten all the drama. Hopefully, you will too.

What surprised me is how much I ended up being a “bride.”  My blog is called Not The Marrying Kind for a reason.  I never pictured myself married before 30 (even if it was just a year before).  I never pictured myself wearing a white dress.  I never pictured us sending out formal invitations.  I always envisioned getting married later in life, in a black or brightly colored dress, in a surprise wedding.  Turns out, it was perfect the way it was.

I never pictured myself having a wedding, until I realized I’d met someone who I wanted to marry.  Then, it was impossible NOT to picture what my wedding would look like.  I always pictured a rustic, charming venue with lots of antiques, vintage pieces, etc.  The one thing that was strange and that I could not get out of my head was a venue with different sized tables and different types of chairs.  I didn’t think a place like that existed…until I saw this post on A Practical Wedding.  At the time, Lovely did not offer to do weddings, and I thought I would have to dust off my sales skills and go in for the kill.  Turns out, by the time we required their services, Lovely offered to host weddings on their website.  It was the perfect wedding, and all I did was collect the details.

I thrifted our china, vintage postcards from Florida, A.P.’s birthplace (this served as our guest book), and every object that adorned our tables, with the exception of the candle holders, which Lovely provided.  As much as possible, I tried to buy objects that I could later incorporate into our decor.  I also tried to incorporate meaning into as many details as possible.  For instance, I had guests put their signed postcards into a mailbox A.P. made using an antique mailbox door I found on eBay.  The reason for this little mailbox was that my grandmother was the Post Master of this little town she lived in, and she actually had the post office in her house for a while.  So growing up, I got to play in the old post office.  Even our favors, which consisted of homemade cake mix in mason jars with boxes of sparklers, were given because on our first date we made a cake and lit sparklers.  Hopefully those details and that level of love that we put into the celebration of this momentous day in our lives really reflects in Theresa’s photos, which still amaze me.

Oh and because we’re sneaky, we ditched our wedding entirely for a little while and headed over to the el station to take some stunning photos on the train platform.

In the end, it was a beautiful wedding, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was definitely everything I imagined.  All those details that A.P. said I was going overboard with ended up being the source of his oohs and aahs, and all our love felt like it permeated the whole room and everyone and everything in it.  Lately, though, the thing that stands out is the poem, Eternal Song by Rosemonde Gerard, that we had read by a close friend, specifically the lines, “But each day I’ll press your hand more dearly/So you will know how my love grows, sincerely–/Today even more than yesterday and much less than tomorrow.”  Talk about wise words!  If only we knew that when we got married, that the love we felt that day, the impossibly big love that hits you like a ton of bricks, is nothing compared to the love you feel with each passing day.

Photos: Theresa Scarbrough Photography in Chicago

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  • North Star

    “So, the thing I know now that I wished I’d known while planning was that, it will go by so, so fast.”–I had the same experience. Getting to spend time celebrating with our friends & family & being surrounded by so much love & happiness, the day just flew by.

  • Erin

    This is so, so good Marty. Wise words, and healthy reflection. Thanks!

    Also, I love your dress. And the post office theme.

    Also, while it probably WASN’T funny at the time, I really giggled that your husband forgot his pants. CLASSIC.

    • ElfPuddle

      My dad was late to their wedding because he was polishing his one shoe. (The other foot was in a cast). Pants is a lot funnier. You will get such mileage out of this story!

    • N

      My dad forgot his pants at his wedding too! His brother had to go fetch them. My parents definitely still tell this story, so Elfpuddle is right that you will get good story-mileage out of his forgetfulness!

  • I’m at bit speechless at the end of this post. The emotional life events leading up to the wedding, the wisdom about how life can continue to throw curve balls early in the marriage and what kind of toll that takes, the details which were so meaningful, the huge smiles, etc. all lead to an amazing graduate post. Thank you Marty for writing this. Reading about how fast it all went by and how much love the two of you have was a great start to my morning.

  • Kathleen

    Marty, congratulations! It sounds like you guys are handling a lot of tough stuff very well. I’m so sorry for the loss of A.P.’s mom.

    Even though this post wasn’t about the length of your engagement, I was very excited to see it on APW this morning. I just got engaged (!!!) and we’re thinking of getting married in October. Everyone I know has had a pretty long engagement, and I was looking for shorter ones on APW, and here you are! With your beautiful, joyful looking wedding!

    I’ll be graduating from my master’s program next month, and I don’t know where I’ll be going yet, but to find a job I probably can’t stay in the same city, which means we’ll be moving and he has to find a new job as well. It’s encouraging to hear that someone had to deal with even more during the engagement period and made it through with flying colors. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • “Some people might take all of these terrible things happening as a sign that marriage wasn’t the right path. By the time A.P. lost his job, I decided that these things just served as proof that we could handle the hard stuff, and that we could handle it together.”

    This hit home.

    We’re currently planning a second wedding, having canceled the first after the invitations went out because my mom is too ill to travel. We have had so much bad stuff thrown at us during our engagement: co-parenting nightmares with my ex, my mom’s illness, job stress, moves. We’re not a picture-perfect couple, but the one thing I have learned through all of this is that I am not alone. We don’t have a choice but to experience bad or scary events in our lives — and sometimes they all seem to happen at once. I feel eternally grateful that my fiance is here, and we are helping each other get through this. Sometimes we’re better at it than others, but there is never a question that we’re in it together. And for that, I am willing, even happy, to plan another wedding to this man.

    • Class of 1980

      You ARE TOO a picture perfect couple!

      • I submit that there is no such thing. Everyone is annoying or gross or rude at some point or another.

        • Class of 1980

          I say define “picture perfect”.

          It sounds like something with narrow parameters. My point is that you are perfectly imperfect and don’t need to conform to some ideal.

          Therefore, I pronounce you Picture Perfect! ;)

  • Midwest Lantern

    I love that green sash! Very nice post.

  • I feel you on many fronts here, particularly the unemployment stress. I was unemployed for several months after we got engaged, and it was hard and very depressing. But I had also been unemployed once before when I was single. In my case it was definitely preferable not to have to go it alone, and even though it was the same amount of time, it ended up being a lot less traumatic over the long haul the second time around. Unemployment was the proving ground for our relationship.

  • I love the second photo with the note “Just remember . . . I Do!” That’s the best advice of all!!

  • Thank you all for the kind words! You can always view more photos of our big day on my blog

    I definitely learned a lot in that first year of marriage, and it’s always nice to hear how other people can relate, experienced the same things, etc.

    I want to respond to each and every comment, but I’m on vacation (ahhh!). I promise I’ll check back later!

  • Class of 1980


    Going by the photos on your blog, your wedding was beautiful. I especially loved your reception tables.

  • Amy*

    I was also very teary eyed leading up to the wedding but dry as a bone on the day off. I was just too happy to cry! I also loved that you pointed out that while marriage has been hard, it’s getting better. Amen!*

  • Kristen

    also, that last picture? amazing.

  • a reader

    “I never pictured myself having a wedding, until I realized I’d met someone who I wanted to marry. Then, it was impossible NOT to picture what my wedding would look like.”

    True dat. That’s why I lurk around here, imagining what my wedding might look like!

  • ka

    “And then a woman who I’ve known since I was a child came right up to me, and told me I had to get over it because this was an important day and it was going to go by so fast that I had to worry about enjoying every minute of it.”

    There’s no doubt I’ll be drawing on this when the day comes. I too would find it very easy to get angry over forgotten pants. :)

  • TJ

    “I never pictured myself married before 30 (even if it was just a year before). I never pictured myself wearing a white dress. I never pictured us sending out formal invitations. I always envisioned getting married later in life, in a black or brightly colored dress, in a surprise wedding. Turns out, it was perfect the way it was.”

    This. Over and over, this. Thank you for sharing your beautiful day, Marty!

  • You both look so happy in the pictures, Marty! It’s a small detail, but my favorite picture was the chalk drawing of the bride and groom cupcakes. Something about a mustachioed baked good just makes me giggle. Congratulations!

  • I needed to read this today. Our wedding is less than three months away and I feel like my family is imploding. Major drama between my mom, her mother in law, and a cousin. My grandpa just turned 85, and the fact that he won’t be able to make the wedding is really making me realize that he won’t be around forever. My stepsister was just diagnosed with MS. My dad had to put his dog to sleep last week.

    So I can SO relate to the feeling that the universe is f*cking with you. I always thought bridal stress was such a cliche, but I’m realizing that for many, the stress isn’t about the flowers or the dress or the weight, or anything else. It’s about gathering everyone you love, and facing all of their “stuff”, and realizing that at the end of the day it’s just about the two of you. Your baby family, or as my parents like to call it, the inner circle.

    I’m thrilled to hear that you didn’t cry all day. I just imagine myself as an uncontrollable heap of tears, and that is not how I want to spend the biggest party I’ll ever throw. Your post has given me hope that I’ll be beautiful and smiley, just like you. So thanks for the kickass post.

  • Lara

    Wow! Thank you so much. I hoped/knew that one day I would get married, but unlike many I never “pictured” what my wedding would look like. I always figured that you couldn’t do that until you met the person you were going to marry–it’s a joining of 2 after all–not just the dream of 1.

    I met my FH just over a year and 1/2 ago. Your story reminds me of mine in may ways….His father passed suddenly before our 3rd date, FH lost his job a few months later, found a new job while I was in mid-chaos at work. He was diagnosed with Diabetes just before Christmas, Now we are planning the wedding, just bought a much needed new car for me (now I get to drive in traffic without overheating!) am working on the sale of my home, moving in with him and a job transfer and emotionally handling a couple of health scares and close family medical issues. And through it all we just bond tighter. I feel like it’s the Universe’s way of saying “see look what you can make it through” and starting us out on a happy and HEALTHY path to a new life together.

    Congrats to you and thank you for the reminder to really enjoy the day. I have no doubt that it will fly by!

  • Thank you all for your kind, kind words. I wish I could have responded to each and every one of them, but once again, I am without words (and I’m on vacation!). It’s pretty amazing to share so much of yourself and then read such supportive, funny, and insightful comments. You remind me again why I finally bit the bullet and submitted this post. : O )

    I’m wiped tonight, but am going to try to respond to some more comments tomorrow.

  • Moz

    This is a great grad post. I am so sorry for the losses you guys have experienced and hope that things ease up soon.

    Congrats on your marriage.

  • yey, we took wedding photos in the metro station – great minds :)

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  • Erin

    This is a great post, thank you for sharing Marty.
    (and can we also find out where your dress is from? It’s beautiful, and you are gorgeous!)

    • Hi there! My best friend from high school has an amazingly talented mother who knows how to sew up a storm. She made it for me! It was based on the J. Crew Daphne dress, but with a few changes.

  • Jessica

    My fiance had questionable employment for the majority of our engagment- we’ve been engaged for 15 months so far, he was unemployed for over half of that time. It was so hard to plan the majority of our wedding while he was depressed and stressed about finding a job, and I was stressed about work and making ends meet. Now that we’re five months out and he’s employed again (for the long haul this time!) it’s kind of heady to look back at what we’ve come through. At the time it obviously wasn’t much fun, but we’re so much closer now than we were even when we got engaged. I loved reading that we weren’t the only ones who had that particular stress during our engagement!* Good luck with everything, you look so happy!

    *obviously, I know we’re not the only ones, especially with this recession, but it seemed like every. single. couple. we. knew. that were getting married had it so much easier.

  • Alexandra

    Congrats! Great post. :D
    Love the el photos!

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