Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

I originally posted this over at Aleks Handmade as part of a series she is doing leading up to her own wedding, but as today is Ron and my 12th wedding anniversary, I wanted to share the story with you all here!

Ron and I met in a very {at the time} unconventional way.  On April 20, 1997, we logged on to our then-brand new computers and individually found our way to this crazy thing called a chatroom in the internet!!  Remember, it was 1997!  We were both 3 years out of college and these computers we were using were our first ever personal computers!  I made it through college with an old Brother word processor.  I'm lucky it at least was a step up from a simple electric typewriter!!  Times have changed.  The internet was pretty new and was so incredibly small compared to what it is today.  There was no E-Harmony or other such dating website.  Quite simply, we were each sitting at home, getting on the internet from home in the very early days.  I think we'd each had our computers about a month at the time.

So there we were, Ron sitting in his apartment in Houston, Texas and me at my parents' home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - in Canada.  {That's pronounced "Soo Saint Marie" if you've never heard of it}

Before we knew it, we realized that we had a "thing" and we needed to figure out how to meet.  We did meet in person over the week of July 4, 1997!  Ron flew up to visit me.  I traveled down to Texas a couple times.  We knew that this was a sure thing, so we decided one of us had to make the big move.  Yes, I was living in Canada as I had almost my whole entire life, but I was born in and spent about the first year of my life in Ohio.  Having dual citizenship was finally going to pay off for me!  I moved to Houston in January, 1998.  We were engaged in November 1998.  We will celebrate our 12th anniversary this weekend on April 29th!  We picked a great year to get married - 2000 - it makes it exceptionally easy to remember how many years we've been married!

We were living in Houston and began planning a wedding that would take place back home in Sault Ste. Marie.  I grew up in the Catholic church and it meant a great deal to me at the time to get married in my home church.  We hadn't exactly settled into a church in Houston anyway.  Besides which, I can say that my family is exceptionally close and Ron's, unfortunately, is not.  So it just made sense to have the wedding in Canada.  We chose April 29th for the same reason my parents chose their April 1st wedding date - it was the first Saturday after Easter in our respective years.  

My mother's cousin is a Catholic priest and he was also the pastor of our church back home at the time.  He would officiate.  Despite the distance, we were still required to fulfill all the obligations of any engaged couple seeking to marry in the Catholic church.  We had to meet with my cousin, which meant having to do that on a trip home.  We also had to do an engaged couple's class at our "home" church in Houston.  We also had to take a marriage preparation course.  We had the option of an "engaged encounter" weekend or to do a "small group" type setting that met for a few weeks or so - just us with an older "seasoned" married couple from that church.  They were wonderful people.

The planning of the wedding was a lot easier than it might have been considering the distance between where we were living and where the wedding was taking place.  My mom was absolutely amazing and instrumental in coordinating all the details on the home front so that when we did make a pre-wedding trip up north, we had all our appointments with various vendors all lined up and ready to go.  We pretty much just had to show up.  My mom was a godsend!  Once we nailed down the date with the church, we would discuss our ideas with my parents and then they would make the calls and visits gathering all the information for me.

As for my dress...I can't imagine having to fly with a wedding dress.  Everything, however, had fallen into place at home so perfectly, that even my dress waited for me up there!  You see, on a trip north even before we were engaged, I had spotted a gown in a bridal shop window.  It was perfectly simple.  Perfectly elegant.  Perfectly me.  I was with my mom at the time and we actually wound up going in to the shop and I tried it on.  It was perfect.  In fact, it was such a perfect dress that several months later, my engaged sister would be in a shop with my mom searching for her own gown when she stumbled across this same perfect dress that she just had to have.  Ever so tactfully, my mother steered her towards something different - without sharing the fact that this was to be my wedding gown!  So, back on that day when I first tried this gown on, I made a mental note that whenever I got engaged, I would hunt it down!  Once I was engaged, my mom marched right on down to that bridal shop.  Lo and behold, it was there on the rack and it was purchased then and there!

Ron and I had four attendants on each side.  Four girls from four different places - only one of them from back home.  Four guys from four different places - none of them from back home.  I was dealing with four girls of completely different sizes and shapes, but wanted them all to have the same dress.  This is no easy task unless you're dealing with similarly sized people!  I wound up finding a lovely bridesmaid dress for my girls.  I think it worked beautifully on all of them.  My mom spotted our flower girl's dress in the same shop window one day - it was an absolutely perfect match for my dress.  As for the guys, we found something we liked in a bridal magazine and got the shop to order that for all of them.  Easy peasy!

{Pardon the photos - they were in the pre digital camera days!}
On April 29, 2000, it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Such a blessing because for all we knew, it could have been snowing that day!
My mom did an absolutely amazing job coordinating with the venue {a ballroom in a local hotel}, the DJ, the videographer, the bakery, the florist, and so on.  What could have been a very difficult undertaking was made so much simpler through the amazing efforts of my mom.

As the big day approaches, the nerves are going to creep up, but when that morning hits, watch out!!  Everything was going along beautifully but when that morning hit, I was all nerves.  I was calm as could be the night before, but that  It wasn't bad.  I just had the mental checklist going on in my head. We had an early afternoon wedding followed by a sit-down dinner with all our photos being done during the time in between.  The girls all had their hair appointments and makeup appointments at the salon I always used to go to when I lived there.

Word of advice - when you go to the salon, wear a shirt that buttons up!  You're going to have your hair done and your veil placed.  There's no getting that t-shirt off without cutting it, so wear a button up, even if it's your mom's 'cause you forgot to pack something similar!  Also, everyone needs to take a chill pill between getting home from the salon and the photographer arriving at the house.  There were some tense moments.  I remember my sister cleaning up something as she was all dressed and ready to go...'cause the photographer would be showing up any second.  My biggest regret of that morning is that I had to get myself ready without help from my mom.  There were "issues" with the hair salon where the non-bridal party people went, including my mom.  There were delays and my mom was not home in time to help me into my dress.  And my sister was downstairs cleaning something, so there I was on my own.  Another word of advice - make that time to make sure you have the people around you who you want with you as you're preparing for the biggest day of your life!  Also, make sure to have something to eat - even if it's small.  Get a fruit platter or something to have on hand wherever it is you're going to be pre-wedding.  Don't neglect your body's need for food!
My sister and I leaving the salon.
By this picture, you would never know what a crazy, hectic morning we had just had.  I love this picture!
Recognize that it is probably not going to be easy {or gracefully} entering or exiting the wedding vehicle.  I felt a little like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in this picture!
Do you have any family traditions that you are integrating into your wedding?  My mom was from Scotland.  Rather than having champagne flutes for toasting at our reception, Ron and I used a pewter quaich. We shared this vessel when it came time for the toasts.  It is on display in our little china cabinet at home, having been engraved {pre-wedding} with our names and wedding date.
Ron and I drinking from the quaich at our reception.
The Happy Couple - April 29, 2000.

To Ron - I have been so blessed to be able to share my life with you!  I cannot believe it has been 12 years already.  I thank God for you and for the leader you are for our family.  Praying for many many more years of joy and happiness together!  I love you!!

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