Thursday, October 15, 2009

As Long As You Are There...


After our engagement in March, Mike and I began planning a wedding for later that fall. We picked out October 15 as the date for a variety of reasons including that it gave us enough time to plan. At the same time, it wasn't too far away, and it didn't clash with any holidays or birthdays. Personally, I liked it because I like the number 15. I have an odd obsession towards numbers, which I will go into at a later time, but the 15th sounded like a nice, solid number. Anyhow, the date was picked, and the preparations began.

Although Mike left most of the planning to me, he never was too far away. He was always willing to share his thoughts and his opinions on things. Our wedding would be fairly intimate, with just family and a few close friends. Our wedding party would consist of just me, the maid of honor, Mike, and his brother as the best man.

Through each stage of the planning, whenever I asked him what he thought of something, Mike would always give me an honest answer, and then would finish his comments with "but really, as long as you are there, it will be perfect".

As long as you are there.

I bought the dress, I printed our invitations and sent them out. His mother (a florist), offered to do my flowers for me. His aunt (a very talented seamstress) altered the gown for me when it arrived. Family and friends pitched in to help us keep the cost of the wedding as low as possible, while still making it the wedding of our dreams. We planned to have the wedding in the local Presbyterian church that his parents were attending at the time. Months and months before the wedding, all the details were complete. If I remember right, by about July, all our plans were in place, and we only had to wait for the day to arrive.

September 24, 2005
Three weeks before the wedding, Hurricane Rita landed.

This might not mean that much to you, but living in Southeast Texas, it meant our worlds were about to change. Mike and I evacuated for the storm, although his parents decided to stay behind. When the storm hit, it changed everything. The church where we planned to have the wedding had serious water damage, and wouldn't be ready before the wedding date. His parents had a tree come through the roof of their house. Our town was without power and water.

Mike and I drove back into town two days after the storm had landed, and we couldn't believe our eyes. Everything had changed. Someday, I will tell you the story of our evacuation and the aftermath of the storm, but that is another story.

On the drive back, Mike and I talked about what to do now. We couldn't have the wedding the way it was originally planned, that much was for sure. We didn't want to change the date, because we were leaving for a honeymoon cruise the day after the wedding, and we wanted to be married when we took our honeymoon (silly us!). His uncle told us that we could use their church if we wanted to, so we considered just moving the site of the wedding. However, the town was still without water and power, and they were predicting that it could take up to a month to get it restored. People, I don't know if you know this or not, but Southeast Texas in October can get HOT, and that was one of the hotter years that I have lived here. I had no intentions of putting on a heavy wedding dress in a church with no power. It would have been miserable. My sister was planning on coming in for the wedding, and she was about 7 months pregnant. I wasn't going to ask her to go through that.

But most of all, his sweet mother, who was perhaps even more concerned with what we were going to do now than we were, had just had a tree come through their roof, and they were dealing with insurance, and repairs, and no power, and no water.

And suddenly, I realized something. It just didn't matter that much to me, the wedding, that is. I remembered back to what Mike had said so many times during our planning process, "As long as you are there, it will be perfect". I stopped for a minute, shocked to realize that I didn't care if I wore the dress, I didn't care if I walked down the aisle, I didn't care if there was music playing, and Mike was in a tux. I wanted to be married to my love, the rest was just trappings. Truly, as long as he was there, it would be perfect.

So in the car that day, driving home from evacuation, I turned to Mike and asked if he would mind if we just had the Justice of the Peace marry us in his parents' living room. At first, I don't think he was all too sure if I would be really okay with that, but after I explained to him what I felt, he was all for it. I didn't need a church, I didn't need a preacher, I didn't need a dress. I needed Mike, and I needed to be his wife.

So as quickly as they had been made, the wedding plans were scrapped. We called his parents and made arrangements for the Justice of the Peace (who was a family friend, so that made it easier).

And on October 15, 2005, I stood next to the man I love, in the living room of his parents house, with his parents there, his brother and his girlfriend (now his wife) as our witnesses, and we said our vows. It was, without a doubt, the best day of my life.

I cannot stress this enough, my friends. The day was perfect. Absolutely, without a doubt, perfect. To this day, I have no regrets about not wearing the dress, no regrets about not being in a church, no regrets about anything.

I was there, Mike was there, and it was perfect.

I said it then, and I still say it now, our wedding day was absolutely nothing at all like we planned, but it was absolutely everything I always dreamed it would be.

Happy Anniversary, my love.


  1. I can still practically taste the gumbo that was supposed to be for our rehearsal dinner that we cooked up for the neighborhood on coleman stoves after the storm. ;)

    Thanks for four wonderful years of marriage. I LOVE YOU!

  2. Happy belated anniversary! I was AFK all day yesterday, otherwise this wish would have been on time.

    What an incredible story. Its all true, the only thing that matters is that you were both there and that both of you were happy with the way it all turned out.

    Congrats on 4 fantastic years of marriage!