A year ago I wrote my last blog post. Since then, I graduated with my masters degree. I got engaged a couple months after that, and married a few months later. I mostly feel nothing but gratitude and want to share with you some moments of mine and Jared's very special day.
It’s safe to say, like all little girls, I spent a lot of time dreaming about my wedding from a young age. As someone who grew up with divorced parents, I knew that day would look a little different for me. I accepted it though, and was excited to see what the future might hold.
For most of my life, while my dad was alive, I always imagined having both him and my stepdad (Todd) walk me down the aisle. I envisioned this moment so many times in my mind over the years. What it would be like to finally experience my wedding day. With both my dads giving me away, who were both so special to me.
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I would be lying if I wasn't hoping I would meet and marry the man of my dreams while my dad was alive. Somehow. But eventually I accepted the reality of what was. That my dad would likely pass away before every even knowing who would be my husband someday. This made me so sad. I spent a lot of time grieving things that would never happen while my dad was alive. I felt sad that I had "wasted" time with other men and that I had not yet found the "one" before it was "too late". Or what I perceived in those moments as what too late meant.
But as I've written many times, Jared came back into my life less than 2 months before my dad passed away. Not too late, but rather perfectly on time.
At the time of my dad's passing, during the visitation, my godfather, uncle Keith offered to walk me down the aisle when the time came for me to get married. That was the very day that Jared met my whole family after just 3 dates. Even though my life felt so daunting in those moments, I knew Jared would be the way forward. And he was.
A year and a half later, on July 6th, Jared proposed while we were out on his parents' boat on Long Lake in Alpena. We were watching the sunset and drinking wine. The moment was perfect, even though the ring was not ready. Jared asked if I wanted to get married, and I said yes.
At the time he proposed, Jared was in the process of having a ring designed and made for me using the diamond from my grandma Grace's original engagement ring. My grandma Grace gave me her original engagement ring and wedding band set following my grandpa Bill's passing in 2010 for me to hopefully use someday. I didn't truly consider using this set until it came up in conversation during my birthday weekend when Jared took me on a surprise trip to Leland. I told him about it, and he contacted my grandma's jeweler as soon as we got home.
This diamond would then be my "something old", that I would wear on my wedding day. My "something new" was a pair of earrings my mom bought me. My "something borrowed" was a pearl necklace that my dad bought my mom when I was a baby. My "something blue" was the sapphire that Jared and I had put in to my grandma's original engagement ring band.
Jared and I decided to have our wedding at our church, Holy Redeemer. The very place my dad was laid to rest a little over 2 years ago. It was important to me to have my church be a place of celebration and redemption for my family, not just a place of grief and loss. I wanted to celebrate all that God had done in my life since my dad's passing. So we did.
On October 20th, I walked down the aisle to the beautiful music of a string quartet with my uncle Keith and my dad Todd. A moment that was different than I had imagined, but equally special having my uncle step in for my dad.
The ceremony was of course led by Father Kenneth Tanner. Jared and I gave each other communion, said our vows and exchanged rings.
Jared completely changed my life. There are so many times I wish I could go back to the night that we met back in 2012, to remember what I was feeling as a broken young woman trying to figure her life out, but somehow knowing everything I do now. I guess there is beauty in the mysteries of this life. I could never put into words the immeasurable blessings God has brought me through Jared each and every day. Every day I tell him how lucky I am to have him and how much I love him. I wish there were more words than that sometimes. An endless "I love you" will have to do.
The day of the wedding, it hailed and rained. I walked into the church under a blanket of clouds. But as the wedding ended and we walked out of the church, the sun came out. I'd like to believe it was my dad.
Our reception that evening was held at Jared's parents' barn in Metamora.
Another moment I had always envisioned, especially the final weeks leading up to the wedding, is what the daddy daughter dances would be like. What would it be like without my dad?
But sometime last year, before Jared and I were engaged even, my mom had a dream that I did a dance with all of my uncles, my dad's brothers. I believe this was from God, and that's exactly what I would I do.
I always knew what I wanted the song to be though. When I was a little girl my dad would listen to the song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith and tell me that song was how he felt when we weren't together. So I took turns dancing with each of my three uncles to this song. It was beautiful and sad all at once, but it was one of the most special moments of the evening for me.
I danced my second daddy daughter dance with my dad Todd to a Kenny Rogers song, "Through the Years". Another happy and proud moment.
My sister, Marissa, sang mine and Jared's first dance song, a classical version of "Stand by Me". Something about that song has always resonated with me throughout the years. But even more since Jared and I started dating at one of the most vulnerable moments of my life. "If the sky that we look upon should crumble and fall, or the mountains should crumble to the sea. I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear, just as long as you stand, stand by me..."
At the end of the night, but especially the weeks following, I couldn't help but remember and feel grateful for each and every detail, big and small, that made mine and Jared's wedding day so incredibly beautiful and special. Because of the many trials I have faced in my life, that day felt like more than just a wedding; it was the culmination of every life experience I have ever had being turned into something beautiful and redemptive. All of my families were brought together to celebrate all of God's grace and healing in my life. In the words of Hillsong Worship song, "If the stars were made to worship, so will I..."
My heart has never been so full.
Huge thank you to Rachel Ann Photography for all of the gorgeous photos.