Monday, October 13, 2014

Goin to the chapel...

 June 8, 2003 Dwayne asked me to marry him. I was floating. I kept waking up and staring at my ring. I watched it glimmer when the sun hit it a certain way. I was ecstatic. We began trying to figure out when we would actually get married. We knew it would not be years away. We were trying so hard to be above reproach and save the gift that sex is, completely, for our wedding night, but it was getting harder. We were in love. We considered a December wedding, because it would be mid-semester, but the more we thought about that, the more we wanted to do it sooner. So we decided to get married August 9. Yes, that meant we were only having about an 8 week engagement. I had no real idea what all it would take to have a wedding, but even then I was far more concerned with being married than I was the ceremony. I knew that was only the beginning.

OH! What helped reinforce my marriage > wedding ceremony notion was that Dwayne and I had already done premarital counseling. We did that in the spring, before we were even engaged, because we knew it would help us decide with greater confidence if we were supposed to be married. That counseling was the single greatest thing we did to prepare ourselves for marriage. This wasn't a single meeting with a pastor, this was an intense time of in depth communication with each other, asking hard questions, thinking about the future and our desires and hopes. Trying to figure out who would have what responsibilities after we got married. Learning to fight fair and how to communicate well. Everyone. EVERYONE that gets married should have marriage counseling like that.

So we picked the date. My parents were willing to pay for the wedding, but from the beginning none of us were on the same page about what we wanted. My dad wanted to give us money for us to elope (although I'm confident that was partially in jest). My mom wanted us to have a gigantic blowout wedding and she would be the wedding planner and ultimately make all the decisions. I wanted something small and simple. I originally wanted an outdoor wedding but that got booted because of the cost of renting chairs and such (and my mom was still thinking big event). Dwayne didn't care about much except the ceremony itself. And that we were getting married.

So we decided to get married at the little country church I grew up in. It had some nostalgia for me, but our old pastor wasn't there anymore and so we asked one of our current pastors at Mosaic, and my old youth pastor Bro. Jody to officiate the ceremony. We decided to have the reception at the church, which meant we couldn't dance because it was a Baptist church, but that was one of many things I gave up on to keep peace. The tension between my mom and I was palpable. Every finite detail was up for argument or debate. I was not really concerned with details, but she was. And I'm grateful I had someone to help steer me, but even when I made a decision, that decision was called into question. So slowly, my wedding became what my  mom was envisioning and dreaming, rather than what I had in mind. My 100 invitations became 300. My location became hers. My dad's budget and how much things cost, were never brought to my attention and I was responsible and absolutely would have helped keep things within budget, but she was making 80% of the decisions and so I had no idea what she was ordering or doing behind the scenes.

We had engagement pictures made:


We went wedding dress shopping. I saw a dress in David's Bridal the first time we went and that was the first dress I tried on and the dress I ended up getting. Wedding dresses are far prettier today than they were then, but I loved the simplicity and fit of my dress. Even that was a compromise though. I wanted a shorter veil and my mom was imagining me like Cinderella with a gigantic train and a long veil and such. The dress I picked had none of those things and the bridal consultant, to try to keep peace, came out with a cathedral-length veil. I didn't like the way it looked with the dress, and then horror of horrors, she said, "Well why don't you wear both?" Good gah.  And so I agreed, even though I wasn't convinced that it looked good. Trying to keep peace.

I had my bridal portraits done. When I went to get my hair done for them, I forgot to bring both veils, and just brought the one I liked. My Mom threw a fit because I didn't bring the long one with me, "You didn't really want to wear that veil at all, did you?!" I honestly forgot. No I didn't love it, but I truly wasn't thinking about it.

Our sweet friends and family hosted wedding showers for us:

My precious friend Mary Catherine hosted a shower for me with some friends from church.

We had an Ivey family reunion in July and my family threw a shower for us at my parent's house

There were a lot of jokes and snarky comments being made, so I got a little threatening with the rolling pin we received. Don't mess with an Ivey. All we ever do is laugh when we're together, so it was all in jest.

My maid-of-honor, Kelsea, hosted my bacherlorette party/lingerie shower. They decorated a clothing line with all the lingerie I got that night. And made me wear a pair of granny panties.

Finally it was time to get married. Dwayne would not tell me where we were going on our honeymoon. I knew he would be paying for it mostly out of his pocket because his family was not able to do much to help financially. But I loved that he was surprising me and that we were going to get to go somewhere.

The night of the rehearsal, everything went soothly. Our sweet friends David and Shelly were going to lead worship for us at our ceremony.  


This was the part that was probably most important to both of us. We really wanted our ceremony to be an act of worship to King Jesus. We wanted Him to be glorified more than what was happening on that day. Jesus was the one who brought us together and who would hold us together. He deserves all the glory and honor.

We had our rehearsal dinner at US Pizza. It was cheap and we could feed a lot of people. Dwayne's parents did help out with that too. I don't remember if something happened at the end of the rehearsal, on the way to the restaurant, or if we were already at the restaurant, but my mom lit into me about something. It was so obvious she didn't want me to get married, she didn't approve of Dwayne. My heart was broken because during a time where my family should be excited for me, there was so much anger and fighting. I came into the restaurant sobbing and went straight to the bathroom. My sweet friend Alicia (who was one of my bridesmaids) came in and hugged tight to me and told me it was going to be okay. At the end of the next day, I would be married to Dwayne. So I cleaned up and went to the dinner.

Mom had told me not to print our wedding programs until after the rehearsal in case something changed. Honestly I don't know why I listened to her. So after a long day of rehearsal and dinner and I was already emotional and stressed, I came home and needed to print out 300 plus wedding programs. My other two bridesmaids Kelsea and Ashley, came over to help me. At some point while they were there, my mom and I got into one of the worst fights we have ever had. She went off on me about many different things. I don't even remember. I just remember my anger stemming from the fact that it was the night before my freaking wedding and suddenly she was airing all her grievances.We were literally screaming at each other. Why not before now? Why break my heart and crush me the night before one of the most important days in my life? And I was embarrassed because my friends were there. And my dad came in and somewhat sided with mom, but he also defended my case. He didn't really know what to do to help us. So finally I just gave up and said I was going to bed.

The day of my wedding I woke up with puffy, saggy, bloodshot eyes. I wanted to be excited that I was getting married but I was grieving over my fall out with my mom. I was up before 8 because the wedding was at 2 and we were going to the church to get our hair done and take pictures. I think I only got about 5 hours of sleep the night before. I think we still had some programs to print and I used the copier at the church to do it. So ridiculous.

All of our wedding party began to arrive and we got dressed and took our before pictures. We did all of our pictures indoors and I'm super sad I don't have more creative wedding pictures that reflect my personality, but it is what it is.

We all went to hide in the bathroom at the back of the church until it was time for the ceremony to start. I was nervous and so excited. I hadn't seen Dwayne at all. I couldn't wait to see him. Finally the music started and Daddy came back to get me.

We had a slide show to this song at our wedding. I think this accurately describes so much of us.


As soon as the music started and the doors opened, I saw Dwayne. He immediately started crying and then I was doing my very best to hold it together. Daddy was crying right before we walked out and I know that is the face that is reflected in this picture. He was having to let go of his baby girl.

Oh my flowers. That isn't what I said I wanted. I liked them, but they were heavy. I was supposed to have stems wrapped in ribbon, which would have been a smaller bouquet, which would have been less expensive. One of the many things in the wedding that wasn't what I wanted to do.

So back to the wedding. I was walking down the aisle in a candlelit ceremony looking at my soon to be husband. As we reached the front and daddy gave me over, my heart leapt. Now it was our time.

As the ceremony started, suddenly I had this realization: Does Kelsea have the wedding ring? I had showed her the ring and left it inside it's box in the room where we originally got ready. I whispered, "Do you have the ring?" Her eyes got as big as saucers. I knew she didn't. So then I started trying to silently communicate with Shelly where the ring was. She did slide out of the ceremony to get it, but I was formulating a plan in my mind to use my engagement ring somehow when that time came. Then, just as we were about to exchange rings, Kelsea pressed Dwayne's ring in my hands. Phew!

Every word of our vows was said with great conviction and determination. This was it for us. We celebrated the Lord's supper together and lit a unity candle. And then came the time we had been looking forward to for months: the kiss. As Bro. Jody pronounced us husband and wife, Dwayne leaned in to kiss me and fireworks went off. It had absolutely been worth the wait. And there was so much more to come.

We're just a little bit in love

This was a fake post wedding kiss. But it's still a good one.

The whole wedding party

We went to our reception and cut cake and drank punch and talked, and I didn't even get to eat a bite of the food from the buffet and then we decided to go ahead and leave so the photographer wouldn't charge Mom and Dad too much money. Yes, these are the things I was worried about at my own wedding. I didn't want any reason for anymore fall out.

I did love our wedding cake. Italian creme with raspberry filling.

And we surprised Dwayne with a Taylor guitar groom's cake. He was so excited.

The outside of the car wasn't too bad, but as soon as we sat down inside, we got hit with a brick of awful smell. My brother and his friends had placed, not one but TWO stink bombs in our car. Stink. Bombs. In the car we had to drive to our honeymoon destination. And can I just say that the smell never fully went away in that car.

 We left behind all the junk and were two crazy love birds who had just gotten married. We spent our first night at the Embassy Suites hotel in Little Rock. And I'm being transparent, but I'm not sharing those details. It was a precious night though and I will never regret waiting. Ever. Neither of us have.

Then Dwayne took me to Memphis. We bought a bottle of Febreeze and tried to get the smell to go away, but bless. All we could afford were three nights in Memphis, but it was awesome.

My handsome husband!

We ate at the Pier our first night there. So good!

This was at an Italian restaurant that we ate at that was delicious.

Dwayne's favorite dessert: cheese cake.

We came back from our honeymoon to our tiny 1 bedroom apartment in Little Rock. But it was our home and we were so excited to start real life together. Little did we know how fast and furious that  real life would be.

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