My nontraditional weddings. Plural.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dear Mallory,

Update: I am no longer itchy and, therefore, a bit wiser. As of yesterday it was confirmed I am allergic to dogs. What the what?! I nearly cried. My two sweet little pit babies are making my hands balloon to epic proportions? How ironic.

Okay. You danced to the Spice Girls. At your wedding. You sneaky little introvert! That's so hilarious. Even more hilarious is you quieted the Backstreet Boys with the Spice Girls. Best response ever to an assault on the ears ever [I'm an 'NSync fan. Sorry, Jon!]. Are you sure that entire situation wasn't rehearsed? The stars just aligned and gave you the perfect moment to counter your new husband's serenade? Well, if you two aren't just a match made in heaven...

But seriously, that wasn't planned...?

Also, I said it on Instagram, and I'll say it again, Hot mom alert! I'm not the biggest fan of dressing up [shocking, I know. I just like to wear whatever makes me comfortable, which means I will always prefer sweatpants over high heels], but I love when you get to dress up and you own it. You know? Like, Tyra Banks is whispering in your ear, Fierce! SO fierce! as you strut your way into the restaurant with your hottie husband on your arm. It looks like you had that kind of evening. Also, you made me crave a good steak. What is that about? My vegetarian palate is in need of some bloody protein is what.

[Readers! Psst! You can follow me on Instagram at freeasabear.]

So yeah. That guy up there? I eloped with him. How lucky am I? [You don't have to answer that.] So far, the first way we're going to celebrate our anniversary is spend the entire day together. Since we eloped, our anniversary has been nothing more than deployments and moves and questions of, "You're home? Oh! ...Do we do something special? Want to eat something from a restaurant with food?" So this year we're changing things up and celebrating properly, with intent. We may go to the zoo or an aquarium, followed by a trip to our favorite Seattle eatery. I promise I will share photos and stories. Maybe I'll describe my meal, too, and you can drool all over your keyboard. Maybe.

But what started it all? What brought us to this place of a 5 year anniversary? Good question! I'll tell you: The Military. I don't know how to explain it without going into a really long tangent, so here are some things you need to know:

(1) In June of 2008 I returned to the States after spending a semester in Australia.
(2) I moved in with his cousin in LA for the summer in an effort to be closer to Aaron.
(3) At the end of that summer, I moved back to MI to finish my degree.
(4) Aaron and I started dating in April of 2006. He left for Basic Training December 2006. It was the summer of 2008 and that was the first time since he joined the Air Force that I was even remotely close to him.
(5) He was due to deploy that Fall. [Our expectations were very low. Aaron had been tasked to 8 different deployments before that. All of them were cancelled. Some mere days before he was due to fly to Iraq/Afghanistan/UAE/Qatar/etc.]

Okay. So you got all of that, right? With the deployment looming and my final semester in my sights, we decided to go ahead and elope because we honestly didn't know when we would get married. [For you readers out there: Most couples in the military can attest to the difficulty of planning a wedding--just picking a date, let alone finding a dress, a caterer, a DJ, blah blah blah--when there's a war and 2000 miles separating you and the seemingly small task of Leave and college on top of the normal wedding planning pressures.] I decided I wanted the elopement to be a secret. In my convoluted mind, I thought family wouldn't come to our big wedding reception in Michigan if they knew we had eloped and they hadn't been invited. It was one of those sensitive-soul-situations. We invited our parents. My mom flew out and helped me find my wedding dress at United Colors of Benetton. Aaron's cousin acted as the very unofficial wedding photographer. We invited a few of Aaron's Air Force buddies who we knew--without a doubt--wouldn't be able to attend any additional celebration that might take place back in Michigan. And then, July 23rd, the day after, we went back to work. It was strange, but I really did love how the elopement unfolded. It was all so...fluttery. At least, that's the perfect way to describe how I felt that day. It was secretive [which is always exciting] and nontraditional and quick and sweet and I was filled with butterflies.

Long tangent not done, apparently...

October 30, 2009.

And while we don't celebrate October 30th, the day we had our big wedding reception back in Michigan [2009], I do always holler something about "FOUR YEARS AGO THERE WAS A ROARING THUNDERSTORM AND WE WERE IN A BIG BARN AND I HAD FORGOTTEN THE CAKE CUTTING KNIFE! REMEMBER THAT, BEAR?!" In an effort to make this short and sweet so I can hear more about your wedding [you planned it from afar?! How did that work out? Where did you find your dress? I love that you had sunflowers, by the way. What is your wedding song? [it's actually weird to me that I don't know what your wedding song is, is that weird [there are too many parentheses up in here]]], I would have to say my favorite part of our wedding reception was the blessing my dad led. I desperately wanted a personalized ceremony. The one conducted by the judge felt so sterile and unemotional. So I asked my dad to lead a blessing. He adapted an Irish blessing, asked our guests to raise their hands, and read it nearly unwaveringly. It was, just like our elopement, nontraditional and completely us. And we were both in tears [the memory always makes me melt a little].

If you could give a bride-to-be wedding planning advice, what would it be? Mine would be: Don't leave your beautiful suede purple wedding day pumps on the floor of your closet with the door open, making it very easy for your new puppy to turn them into a chew toy. True story. Where would you like to go on your 5 year anniversary trip? What other things are you burning to tell me?!


PS: I think this conversation is going to continue longer than we expect. As a college friend once said: WEDDINGS! GRRR! [That's a good thing.]


  1. I'm okay with weddings + marriages extending forever. ;) Or until we exhaust the subject. I loved hearing about your elopement!

    xo, Mallory

  2. Amy, I think HE is the lucky one! You are so beautiful!

    Spice Girls ROCK


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