One year ago this Sunday, I said "I do" to spending the rest of my life with my best friend. One year ago, I stood before God, my family and my friends and pledged to be there with him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. One year ago, I began a journey with the most amazing man.
I have so many memories from that day. They say that your actual wedding day goes by so quickly and you should treasure every moment that day. I listened when people said that, but I never really realized how true it actually is until it was my day.
I remember getting up that morning around 6:30 a.m. I barely slept any at all because I was so excited. So when the alarm went off that day, I was already wide awake. We rushed to get up and get our hair done and be at the salon no later than 7:30 a.m. I was so nervous, not because of what I was about to do, but because this was it. This was the day we had been planning for since July 4, 2009. I could hardly believe it was happening, and all I could think about was how much I wanted 2:00 to get there so I could walk towards T, waiting for me at the end of the aisle.
We had chosen to not see each other before the ceremony, as this was important to both T and myself. To me, it's always my favorite moment to watch at any wedding: watching the groom see his bride for the first time as she walks towards him down the aisle. I knew as soon as I locked eyes with T, all of my anxiety, my butterflies would go away. I just wanted to see him.
My family did force me to eat something, though, before we walked down the aisle. This was my attempt at force feeding myself. Isn't it attractive. I was so nervous at this point because I knew that just beyond the doors separating the chuch and that room, T's family were taking their pictures. So I couldn't turn around and peek out the door. I am proud to say that I didn't spill any of that sub on my white dress.
Soon it was time. The hour had arrived. I stayed hidden behind the door separating the main hall from the church with my sister and then my father rambling about how we had nuns at our church, pointing out the pictures in front of me on the wall with said nuns. I remember my Dad telling me to breath and tears already starting to form in the corners of my eyes. I held onto his arm like my life depended on it, until it was our turn. I leaned over and whispered to him to not let me trip.
We entered the church, and everyone stood. I remember trying to concentrate so hard on walking and not tripping that I momentarily forgot to smile until I remembered the photographer was taking pictures. I couldn't see T at this point.
Once I laid eyes on T and saw that look in his eyes, that smile, everything else faded away. I couldn't look anywhere else. Sure, I still was clutching onto my father's arm, but this was it. This was the moment I had dreamt of for well over a year.
Once my father lifted up my veil and gave me a kiss before giving my hand to T, I started to lose it. I honestly thought T would be the one crying, but nope. It was me. All I remember from T was that he couldn't stop smiling or looking over at me and kept whispering "you look so beautiful!" I clasped his hand, as we stood up before the church and the ceremony began.
Listening to the readings and songs we had selected, I hardly paid attention. I kept looking over at T. Sure, we had funny moments like when I reached for my Kleenex tucked just so in my dress when we first sat down, it fell on the floor on the altar, and T had to get it for me. But everything else just kind of faded away as well. All I could do was grab onto T's hand and just think "oh wow, we're about to be married."
When it came time for the vows, again, I was the one to cry. T went first, and I don't think I've ever looked so deeply into someone's eyes before as I did his when he was reciting his vows. The expression of "seeing yourself in someone's eyes" really was true at that moment. And of course, that brought the tears. I barely made it through my own vows, my voice shaking, as I held back the tears. As I finished my vows and before the rings, T squeezed my hand and smiled. "Just breathe."
After we said our vows and lit the unity candle, we sat down at the altar, holding each other's hands. T squeezed mine, leaning over and whispering "we're married now!" Ironically thinking what was a private exchange, my father later told T that he saw him whisper that and how happy it made him. We were finally one. A family.
Another surreal moment from that day was when we exited the church, the bridal party following us back into the hall where I had spent the majority of my morning. My niece Erin Lou came running up to T, jumping into his arms exclaiming "you're my real uncle now!" We waited there until everyone was outside to greet us. I truly think this picture embodies how I felt at that moment. It's hard not to see it in my eyes.
I don't think I've smiled as much as I did the rest of that day. It was one of the craziest but best days of my life. Just writing about it right now is bringing that smile back to my face. One year has passed. So much has happened - good and bad. So many changes. And here I am now, married to the man of my dreams, preparing to start our own family in just months.
I love you so much, T. Happy anniversary...every day I wake up with you next to me, every day I am blessed. You are my forever.
(And for your viewing pleasure, and because I am sentimental like that, this is the wedding slideshow we had playing while we danced to our first song - this is our first song, too :-)