Six years ago, Mike and I were dancing under a full moon in my parents' backyard with everyone we loved best from every era of our lives making merry around us.
Our wedding was DIY before the days of Pinterest. (And let's all say a little prayer of thanks for that. I would have gone crazy.) Neither of us wanted a big wedding or a church wedding or an expensive wedding, so we created our wedding.
We got married in my parents' backyard. I suggested it, joking, on the phone one night to my mom and she scoffed, "Oh, what? You're gonna walk out the backdoor with your dad, the thing slamming shut behind you?" And just like that, it was the ONLY place I wanted to get married. You can't see the slammer in this picture below --- the sun has washed it out; it's the white rectangle in front of my sister, the maid of honor. This is Dad walking me down the "aisle," which was just the walkway to the gazebo (all built by Dad, though not especially for the occasion). The guy with his back to us is a friend of Mike's from high school who got ordained specifically for us and then sat through lengthy theological conversations with Mike's mom to make her comfortable with our choice. (We don't go to church, so we wanted someone who knew us, loved us and would continue to be a part of our lives to marry us.) I'm looking at Mike in this picture, though you can't see him from this perspective.)
We sat the parents and grandparents on the gazebo and everyone else just sort of stood around us under the maples trees I grew up playing under. The bouquets were done professionally, but the other flowers were just daisies I bought in bulk and clustered in globe vases or mason jars. We didn't write our own vows, but just said the simple words that have been used for centuries. Mike's mom gave us a blessing.
My sister did my hair and my dress was a vintage party gown I found for $135. My childhood babysitter did some minor alterations for me. My high school art teacher did the photos (which are not these. I can't find the official disc. These are from Mike's mom). Mike and I created a playlist and a friend volunteered to play DJ. A cousin did side dishes and my dad's buddy who does hog roasts grilled pork tenderloin and chicken breasts for us -- for a case of beer.
We rented a tent, in case it rained, decorated it with twinkle lights and some big paper globes, and set all the tables in there. All the beer came from Mike's friend, our DJ, who works at Budweiser. We bought a few bottles of liquor with specific guests in mind and wine for the toasts. The cake was done professionally, but the only topper was a C I found at Target and some extra daisies. My nephew swiped a handful of frosting off the back of it before the wedding.
This picture below pretty much sums up our wedding: The cake cutting with a beer can on the table. I'm wearing a sweater that thankfully matches my dress because the weather, though clear, ended up cold for June.
During toasts, everyone gathered in a semicircle. Our families were there. Our friends from high school and college. From DC and Virginia. From Florida. Everyone we liked best in the world was there and in good spirits, being happy and silly. Mike's friends ran a race across the neighboring field. Later, there was a dance off. My sister and I karaoked with our aunt and cousin. My dad changed into a sweatshirt and trucker cap (not ironic, he was a trucker) before our father-daughter dance. It was chilly, so we lit fires and Mike's dad, who does historic reenactment, contributed lanterns that looked like fairylights.
I refused to throw my bouquet. I always hated that tradition and anyway, there weren't that many single women there. Instead, I gave it away to my grandma and grandpa Copsey. They live right next door to my parents and have been married more than 60 years. It gave me an opportunity to say thank you for all they have done for me. I wish this picture were better.
Pretty much every anniversary since then has been a bit weird. I was pregnant on our first anniversary -- and Mike invited one of our best friends to come visit, forgetting the date was important. I didn't care. The friend in question was part of the group we always were with in school and remains one of the funniest, nicest people I've ever met. Our second anniversary, we went to Key West and spent an entire afternoon drinking with random people at the pool, watching the Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps (google it) practice for their performance in the Pride Week parade. We went to New Orleans for our third anniversary, but I was pregnant with Beastie and spent most of the weekend bemoaning the stench of the city. On our fourth anniversary, Beastie was a baby and I still was nursing, so we just rented a Mustang convertible and went cruising around Palm Beach for the day. We had big plans for a stay at a fancy hotel an hour north of us to celebrate our fifth anniversary, but the lice infestation scratched those plans. (Pun intended.) And today, we spent eight hours driving home and then did chores to put the house to rights and get ready for the regular routine for school and work.
Our anniversaries -- like our life -- are not always ideal. But they are perfect because we are together. Sappy, but true and very like our wedding, which was the best party either of us have ever had.