It all started in the spring of 2000. I was eighteen. Isaac was stationed in Panama City Florida and when we met, we knew we were God’s perfect match. Yet an entire country separated us. It was in the days of calling cards and HUGE phone bills. Unlimited long distance plans were non existent, and every month we felt the agony of this missing necessity. The distance was excruciating, but our foundation was strong. People always told me, “when you know, you know.” And they were right. Although in this particular case, my mother “knew” almost a year before I did. That summer I flew to Florida to visit and with the sand in our toes and a ring tied in his Bible, I promised to be his. We were young. Babies really. But we had everything that mattered.
God’s prompting. Our parents blessing. And committed love.
Growing up everything I knew was small. Our town was small. Our schools were small. Even our families were fairly small. We weren’t used to extravagant. Luxury was non existent and dreams weren’t exactly something people took seriously. I think that’s just the country way. Families built businesses and homes that were passed on to the next generation. People married who they’d grown up with. And no one, I mean no one really moved away.
So when it came time to plan our wedding, simple was all we knew. I always dreamed of getting married outdoors somewhere gorgeous and breezy. Yet that wasn’t possible. Being engaged to a military man made everything more complicated. We had a two week window, in the middle of January, and that was it. But to be honest, I don’t even remember giving it a second thought. In my mind there was no other choice. We would get married in January, indoors, in our tiny little town. Looking back I’m not sure why we didn’t think of flying to Florida where he was stationed. Getting married on the beach with the warm breeze and sand underfoot. But we just didn’t. Frankly it never even crossed our minds. Like I said, we were used to small town. Small dreams. Small realities. And that was okay. We ended up exchanging vows in a tiny church with stained glass windows in front of most of the town. I walked out of the church blissfully happy with a whole world of possibilities ahead.
Even though I had the man of my dreams, there was always one thing I missed. One thing I never felt.
I never felt stunning.
We were always a family of enough. We always had everything that we needed but we didn’t live extravagantly. So when it came time to buy a wedding dress, normal was all I knew. We bought a lovely gown. Really, it was. But it just wasn’t me. Over the years I always dreamed that one day I would get my dress. And that one day, I would feel stunning. But in all reality, I knew deep down that wouldn’t ever really happen.
OOOOOHHHHH How I underestimate him. I think for the past year he has asked me subtly what my favorite kind of gown was. He would walk in while I was watching Say yes to the dress and ask, do you like that kind? Or that other kind? And honestly, I didn’t know. Every time he asked I would just shrug my shoulders and say, “I haven’t seen it yet.” Which is kinda crazy because in this industry I have seen A TON of gowns. ALL completely drop dead gorgeous in their own right. But none of them me. I had begun to think I would never LOVE a gown. That is, until last June. I walked into Blush Bridal with my soon to be sister in law and there it was. Another Bride was standing in the most amazingly me dress I had ever seen! As soon as I got home I told Isaac all about it, and shortly after that, completely without my knowledge, he ordered it. I work closely with this Bridal Salon and during one of our networking meetings she even made up an excuse to get me in a gown to size me! Seriously, these people were VERY good at surprises! And this was just the beginning. He had also managed to book a trip to Maui, find childcare, pick out a suit, aaannnnddd choose a photographer all without my knowledge. However because of unforeseen situations his secrets leaked out over the past few months… My mommy freak out tendencies forced him to tell me about Maui because I had to “plan” to be away from kiddos. And then when the dress came in, he was advised (by every woman he asked) to tell me so we could get it altered. I was in absolute shock. Both times. I seriously couldn’t believe him. The Maui thing was believable….but the Dress! Are you kidding me? NOT believable. Never in my wildest dreams. Although the shock did wear off fast enough for me to find some freakin’ fabulous Badgley Mischka and accessories to go with it. So thanks ladies for advising him to tell me!
It’s been over two weeks now since our anniversary, and I still can’t believe all that he did. I feel so completely blessed. And I’m still pinching myself. Nothing could ever put into words the way I felt that day. Yes, I felt stunning. And that was amazing. But more than that, I felt treasured. He treasured me.
After ten years and two kids, I still get butterflies when he comes into a room. TONS of them. And there is no greater gift in the world than that.
So thank you babe, for listening to the dreams I never even spoke and making them come true. Thank you Teresa for all of your secret agent ways of figuring out my dress size, and thank you Jasmine & JD for traveling all that way to help us remember this forever. Love you all dearly. xoxo