I hated being so far away from Justin. Even when he was at school, we’d seen each other at least once during the weekend. During our engagement, he came back to Missouri once, for Thanksgiving.
Before he left, he bought me a webcam, and we began skyping. My first glimpse of Michigan was the parking lot of his apartment building as he held up his webcam to the window. It was snowing that night, I remember.
The first day of work, Justin wrecked his Jeep, sliding on the ice around what we later discovered to be one of the most dangerous corners in the area. It wasn’t a terrible wreck, though the ditch had a culvert in it that tore of the underside of the Jeep and ended up totaling it. But it rattled us both, especially me, since I got a phone call at 5:30 am and he began it with the words, “I’m OK, but…”
For Christmas, I sent him a miniature Christmas tree and ornaments, because he’d decided not to get a tree for himself. I couldn’t stand the idea of Justin not having a tree for Christmas. 🙂
Once Christmas was past, my mom and I buckled down to wedding plans. My dress was probably the most nerve-wracking bit, though we got it out of the way early. I’d found one a few months earlier that I loved–short sleeves, a super simple cut with no sparkles or glitz whatsoever. It was very me–and we also happened to spending several days tracking down the very last one in my size that existed.
Once that was done with, most of the wedding plans went smoothly. It was supposed to be simple, really–just lots of fresh flowers in baskets, a cake-and-finger-foods reception, and siblings as attendants. I made the invitations and my mom, a talented basket maker, spent hours learning a difficult new weave for the basket rims.
We ended up hiring someone to make the bridesmaids’ gowns. It was a bit of a hassle with fittings, but much less stress than trying to find gowns that we all liked.
The easiest part of the wedding was the church. I’d always wanted an outdoor wedding, but getting married outside in March–in Missouri, no less–just wasn’t feasible. In March the weather in Missouri can go from a beautiful 70 degrees to snowing in about two hours. 🙂 So, we opted for an indoor wedding, which would have been difficult (I’m not a big fan of most church sanctuary layouts or decor) had my family not a year or so earlier visited a church not far from our house that I’d though was quite pretty. In fact, when we visited it, I told my mom, “This is the only church I’ve ever seen that I could be married in.”
Neither of our families were attending churches at that time either, so for a pastor, Justin & I contacted a friend of a friend, who had officiated over another friend’s wedding. Even though we were only able to meet with him a couple of times, we felt immediately comfortable around him and agreed on every thought or piece of advice he offered on marriage.
Olivia’s cancer was in remission at this point, and the next biggest issue was keeping her immunity up so she could still come to the wedding. It added a bit of stress to planning, but she stayed strong and healthy. Even though I knew she wouldn’t be able to stand up front with us, I made her an honorary bridesmaid, and my mom made a cute little basket full of flowers for her to hold.
And with all that, it came down to the week of the wedding…