Thanks for sticking with me this far! If you haven’t been reading along, please check out the previous chapters, before joining me for the final segment!
Chapter Seventeen: I Do
When I gave him the ultimatum, I really was prepared to up and leave, move back home, and carry on with my life, as much as it would break my heart to do so.
Fortunately for both of us, Genius Nerd Fiancé decided that his relationship with me was important enough to work for, and he spent the next couple of months actively pursuing communication with me.
It wasn’t easy for him, but he determined to do whatever it took to hang on to me, even to the point of having his friend Chevy remind him to call me on a regular basis. Chevy regularly posted notes on his white board, asking “HYTTAT?” which meant, of course, “Have You Talked To Avily Today?” And if he hadn’t, he made it a point to do so.
However, the wedding was still on, and at the end of March, I left America’s Armpit, stopping along the way to participate in Angel’s wedding, and then heading home with just over two months to finalize the plans for my own nuptial ceremony.
Those days passed in a flurry of work and wedding plans. I bought, a little at a time, some of the things I would need to turn my childhood church into a bridal wonderland, but since I couldn’t actually put them in the church until the actual wedding, I needed a place to put them.
So, I stored a bunch of my decorations and other paraphernalia at my brother’s house.
Then one day he sold his house, not remembering that I had my stuff in there, and therefore not bothering to tell me the place was no longer his and people had moved in, officially taking possession of the house and everything in it, including my wedding.
I didn’t realize that the sale was final, so when I stopped by to pick stuff up, I was greeted by a small person who wasn’t allowed to let strangers in the house when her parents weren’t home.
After managing to get a hold of the parents, I was finally able to collect the several hundred dollars’ worth of supplies, which was nice for my brother, because I suspect he would have been annoyed if he’d had to replace it all days before the wedding. We got it all sorted out, though, and the wedding was quickly approaching.
As with many teeny Bible colleges, Fiancé’s college had a formal banquet every spring. I’d become good friends with one of Fiancé’s friends, Fern, and one day as we were talking, the topic of Spring Banquet came up.
“I wish you could come,” Fern said. “I’m going with Chevy, but I don’t want him to think it’s like a date, but if you were here it would be just one big group.”
“That would be a lot of fun, but all my money is going toward this wedding,” I responded. My father financed most of the wedding, but I still had no extra money, after working barely part-time for the months while I was there, and trying to prepare for wedded bliss. Not enough to buy a plane ticket to America’s Armpit, at any rate.
“Well, what if Chevy and some others and I help buy your ticket?” she suggested.
I hated to ask—it seemed like such a selfish thing… but I hadn’t expected to see Fiancé until right before the wedding. It would be so nice to get to see him one more time! And to go to the banquet with him…
It was an offer I couldn’t resist.
Fern and the others pooled their money together and bought my plane ticket for the weekend of the banquet. We didn’t tell Fiancé I was coming, however. It would be more fun to surprise him.
Apparently, the day I flew to see him, Chevy reminded Fiancé, as he always did, to call me and actively communicate. When he called, my mom told him I wasn’t home.
“Where is she?”
“Oh, she went to go see a friend,” my mom replied evasively.
“Who? Where? When will she get back?” he asked.
“Oh, just a friend. She’ll be back later.”
He was therefore a little confused and curious regarding my whereabouts and activities by the time Fern and Chevy convinced him to come along with them to pick up “a friend” from the airport.
The stage was set for the best kind of surprise.
I stepped off the plane, and was welcomed with the delighted shock of my true love as he realized what was going on.
The banquet was beautiful, and the evening full of fun and catching up. The weekend flew past all too quickly. Before I knew it, I was back home, with only weeks left until the wedding.
Fiancé finished the school year and came into town a week before the wedding. Guests from out of town came in, the details were set, and the pieces came together. One of Fiancé’s groomsmen, Dusty, waited until the last minute to buy his plane ticket, and then he couldn’t afford one. A week before the wedding, he announced that he was not going to be able to make it to the wedding.
Fiancé’s cousin and my brother were to be the ushers, so when Dusty backed out, we upgraded the cousin to double duty, ushering and groomsmanning. Time marched on, and the big day arrived.
The day of the wedding, just before the ceremony began, The Roommates gathered in the room where I’d been getting ready for a toast. Then they left me alone with my mother, my sister who was my maid of honor, and my bridesmaids, Angel and Kandi, and I prepared for the biggest moment of my life.
The wedding itself was an evening candlelight service. But even in the evening, it’s still hot in the desert in June, and the air conditioners were on. As the ceremony began, our candle lighters, Pooky and Fiancé’s friend Kitty, scurried out to inform someone that the air conditioners were blowing out the candles.
The most simple, obvious solution, of course, was to turn off the air conditioners.
As the wedding party strolled down the aisle, the room grew toastier, until a sheen of perspiration coated the guests. Worst of all was Fiancé. He stood at the front of the church, under the spotlight, near the candles, looking as if he might pass out as he waited for me.
And then it was my turn. I walked down the aisle to where my beloved waited.
We were married in the church I’d grown up in, officiated by the pastor I’d known for most of my adolescent years. Fiancé’s father gave the charge to us, and then we lit the unity candle. Instead of having a special guest or CD to play a song for us, we sang to each other “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
We exchanged rings, and I looked down in awe at the stunning work of art that Fiancé slipped onto my finger. When we talked about what sort of wedding band to get, I told him that I liked sapphires and “shwoopy things.”
He listened. But instead of getting a new separate band to add to my engagement ring, he’d had my engagement diamond reset in a white gold band, with a shwoop of three sapphires on either side. It was more gorgeous than anything I could have picked out myself.
We said the traditional vows, and then we both repeated our own vows that we had written for each other.
Then the important stuff was finished.
Being the quirky, fun-loving couple that we are, we wanted to have some sort of silly, memorable element to our ceremony, so when the pastor said, “If anyone has any reason that these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,” our bridesmaids and groomsmen all pulled out toy guns, a symbol that they would forever “hold their piece.”
And then it was over. We were married! I was now Mrs. Genius Nerd!
After the reception, just before we got in our shoe-polish-confetti-and-various-other-stuff-festooned car to leave, my mom whispered to me, “You haven’t consummated the wedding yet. You can still back out and have it annulled.”
That was true. I could have. But I didn’t, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Now, over nine years later, we are still living happily ever after.
The End (or is it…?)