My wedding anniversary is on June 28th. This year will be our fifth year together. We started dating in high school which makes it almost 12 years total. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m excited for what the future holds for us. This is the story of our wedding.
We got engaged around the time I started my first real job. I had a great plan of how I was going to visit her at college and propose. If you’ve read about my first real job, you know what led to the opportunity. The week leading up to the weekend I was going to visit is when the floods hit. I had ordered the ring so it would come in just a few days before I left, and the delivery date was the first day of flooding.
I used my tracking number to find out which warehouse in the area it was in, but unfortunately, it was on a truck when I got there and they had no way of quickly knowing which one. I cancelled my visit since we were still cleaning things up when the weekend came. I finally got down to see her a month later, the weekend right before I had started my new job.
Since I didn’t have to work on Friday, I went down Thursday night. When I got there, she had just gotten out of one of her choral rehearsals and had a short amount of time before her fraternity meeting to say “Hi” before I went to wait for her at her apartment. Instead, I gave her a hug, turned on my camera, handed it to her “little sister,” and proposed in the music department locker area. It was the most romantic thing anybody could have asked for.
Her actual little sister showed up a few minutes later, as well as some other friends. Some of them were mad that I didn’t wait before proposing, but I told them I did. I waited a month due to the flooding. I don’t know if their meeting was cancelled due to the proposal or if they had already planned on a non-business meeting, but I was invited in and it was basically just a dance party instead.
Leading Up to The Ceremony
The weekend before the wedding, we moved from our apartment into a house with my soon to be sister-in-law and her two children to get them out of a bad situation. It was so last minute that we didn’t actually get a chance to see the house ahead of time, just a couple pictures. All I know was that I left for my bachelor party on Friday, and came back to a different address. My groomsmen got to get a tour of my new home at the same time I did.
The rehearsal went well, and apparently everyone paid attention enough because as far as I recall the ceremony went well. The rehearsal dinner was awkward, though. We only did it because it’s part of tradition. I just sat there the whole time, not saying anything. I think I was supposed to make a toast or something but I didn’t.
After dinner, all the groomsmen went to my brothers, which at the time was right across the street from the church where we had our ceremony. We had a small ironing party to make sure our suits looked nice, then we all went to bed. I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk around the block at midnight. I don’t remember if it was my Best Man, my brother, or both who went with me. I just know I needed to get some air and clear my head.
In the morning I woke up about an hour before everyone else and got ready. While we were all getting ready I found out my shirt needed cufflinks and I didn’t have any with me. I had put it on to make sure it fit my torso and the sleeves were long enough, but I didn’t try buttoning the cuffs to notice there weren’t any. Luckily my Best Man happened to have an extra pair. He didn’t know why he had them because he also had his own, but I took them. The only other confusion we had getting ready was figuring out how to fold our pockets squares. We figured something out.
I was a hot mess during the ceremony. As soon as I saw my wife coming down the aisle I started crying. I knew I was going to. I was overcome with joy, knowing we were finally getting married. I didn’t have a handkerchief so I used my Best Man’s jacket sleeve to wipe my eyes.
I also cried during most of the ceremony because the priest kept mentioning loved ones who couldn’t be there. The first time he said it, I realized I had forgotten my urn necklace which has my sister’s ashes in it outside in my truck. Each time he mentioned it again it reminded me that I didn’t have her there. Everyone thought I was crying because I was getting married, but most of it was knowing I had gotten so close to having all my sister’s there and forgotten one in the parking lot. I had my Best Man run out and get it as soon as the ceremony ended, and my sisters told me later they had theirs tied to their bouquets.
I don’t remember much else about the ceremony. I don’t even remember us saying vows. I just remember one of the times we stood up, we put our rings on and were announced as being married.
After the ceremony there were a couple pictures in the church then we took a limo to our reception area a couple towns away while enjoying some Amaretto. We got to the reception site and took some more pictures. It was really fun because we had lots of goofy ones, and for most of the serious ones, we took an extra with one of the groomsmen photo-bombing it.
When we were taking pictures with the groomsmen we were making jokes about my Best Man who at the time had only four fingers on his left hand. We kept doing pictures with our pinkies out. My nephew, who I think would’ve been about 6 at the time caught on and kept saying “pinkies out” and putting his pinky up during most of the pictures after that. There was a full group picture which has just him doing it, then the next a couple others joined him, then the next we were all doing it.
During the actual reception, I think I may have eaten food, but I don’t remember it. I do know every time I would get a drink I’d set it down at my seat and it would be gone when I came back to it. Luckily it was an open bar so I wasn’t spending extra on it. One thing I really wish I could remember was my Best Man’s speech. I remember it happening, and I can picture him in my head, standing next to me with a microphone, but I don’t remember what he said.
Since my wife is Slovak, –I think only three generations since her family emigrated– there few some fun traditions, which may have all been one thing or separate things.
One was the bonnet ceremony, where my wife wore a bonnet and her mom went through the ceremony of removing it from her. It was the same bonnet that has been in her family since before they emigrated. Her mom and aunts all wore it at their weddings.
The second one I’m not sure what it was called but I feel like I could have done better. Everyone got in a circle around my wife and I needed to break through to get to her. I think if I hadn’t listened to my father-in-law it would have been more fun. He said to find someone and get them on their sides under their ribs to get through quickly. I did, so the whole thing lasted about 5 seconds.
The last thing was the bridal dance. The Best Man and Matron of Honor held trays of shots, and everyone got a chance to dance with the bride after taking a shot. Some people danced a couple times.
We also did the traditional throwing of the bouquet and garter. We did it a little differently though. We had all the guys on one side of the room and all the girls on the other side. Then we threw at the same time. But at the last second, we switched directions so the garter went to the girls and the bouquet went to the guys.
My wife’s cousin caught the garter and her boyfriend caught the bouquet. Then she had to put it on his leg. Although it was funny seeing people confused when we threw the opposite direction, I think it’s always funnier to see how embarrassing it is for a guy when he has to put the garter on someone he doesn’t know. I’ve only done it once, but it was super awkward because everyone told me it was good luck for the couple if I got it higher up her leg. I think I got just above the knee before I had to stop. My wife’s cousin spent the rest of the reception with the garter on her head like a headband, apparently not knowing where it had been all day before being thrown.