03 Mar MY SPECIAL LITTLE MICRO-WEDDING
Confession: I’ve never wanted to have a big wedding. I wasn’t the little girl that ever pretended to be a bride, and I’ve never been one to obsess over my wedding day. If I’m being completely honest, the idea of having hundreds of people watch me as I prepare to take the most important vow of my life, sounded, well… terrifying. People don’t usually believe me, when I say that I loathe being the center of attention, because it’s seemingly contradictory to my extroverted personality, but situations like that generally create an anxiety in me that can feel overwhelming, and sometimes manifests as uncontrollable crying and shakiness.
So admittedly, I was able to hide behind COVID-19 restrictions to create a wedding environment that didn’t make me want to run for the hills. Now don’t get me wrong, a larger part of this decision was the safety of our family and friends, and we could definitely feel the absence of some of our closest friends and family, but my husband and I knew two things for certain:
- We didn’t want to wait to get married
- We wanted the day we took our vows to be about us and nobody else.
So we planned our micro-wedding in 32 days. From our New Year’s Eve engagement to our 2/1/21 wedding day, we obtained our license, chose what we’d wear, picked a venue with the help of my sisters, and completed our 2nd round of premarital counseling.
Whew, let me tell you something… that was a long and hectic 32 days. My respect to every bride that has planned a big shindig, especially the ones who managed to successfully carry out this immense task in the midst of a global pandemic. I’d like to think I have what it takes to do that too, but after my 32 day extravaganza, I’m confident that event planning isn’t in my future! Nonetheless, I got it done, and there plenty of sweet moments that I will cherish all my life.
Finding My Look:
I had no clue what I wanted to wear, the only thing I knew is that I didn’t want it to be a traditional bridal look. I did a deep Pinterest search to spark ideas, and talked to friends about my desires in hopes they would be able to point me in the right direction. Almost immediately, I received email links of non-traditional dress options that my friends thought would look good on me. Since the pandemic canceled any opportunities for me to gather with my mom, sisters and friends to find the perfect dress, this served as my COVID-19 version of a dress fitting. Eventually, I landed on a suit style that my close friend Sarah sent me, and immediately I knew that was the look I wanted. Not too long after that, I found my actual wedding dress on David’s Bridal’s website, for only $99! My Badgley Mischka shoes and earrings were found by my bestie LaSandra, and the rest of my girls helped me finalize the look with my birdcage veil, hair style, and makeup.
I was blessed with a rare breed of man that welcomes deep conversations and is pretty skilled at expressing his feelings. Since the beginning of our relationship, we’ve always done couples devotionals, read books and watched sermons/lectures on the keys to healthy and biblical relationships. So the premarital counseling was another opportunity for us to discuss our relationship and the future we wanted to build together. When one of our sessions got canceled unexpectedly, he took to google and found some online discussion questions for us to talk through. Although, this wasn’t surprising, because as I mentioned earlier, he’s a man that enjoys these conversations, it was a reassuring reminder of his commitment to getting this marriage thing right.
So obviously 32 days isn’t much time for planning a bachelorette party or a bridal shower, plus…COVID. Understanding the position that I was putting all of my people in, I honestly wasn’t expecting anything. But somehow… I got the benefits of both, and I couldn’t be more grateful!
My sisters, also known as my first best friends, kidnapped me for a weekend of relaxation and quality-time at a hotel spa about 1 hour from my home. We ordered room service, watched movies, got dolled up for a fancy dinner, talked and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. It was absolutely everything, and couldn’t have been more perfect, even if I had planned it myself.
Then, the following week, my girls Abeni and Sarah, whisked me away for a day full of fun in Raleigh. Starting with picking me up in the “bride mobile,” Sarah’s car which they had decorated with a bunch of bridal swag. Then we got pedicures, enjoyed a bomb mimosa-filled brunch (my favorite meal of the day) and enjoyed a bit of fun with a private lane at a bowling alley. I got my makeup done and proudly wore the fake bridal veil and sash that they provided to me.
For the entire week leading up to my wedding, I got package after package of gifts from my girls: monogram cups, t-shirts, bags, books, gift cards, and the sweetest words of encouragement. Again, none of it was expected, but all of it brought me so much joy.
If you’d asked me before I got married, if I needed a bachelorette party or bridal shower, I would’ve emphatically told you “no,” but now I can’t imagine having gone through this process without those very special celebrations.
Our Wedding Day
Every bit of the “hassle” that occurred in my 32 days of planning was absolutely worth it. My day was everything I needed it to be and more. It started with a very early morning wake up, so that I could get to the hotel where my family was staying. My middle sister did my hair. I knew I wanted curls, but had no time to get to my stylist and since I have no hair styling capabilities, I knew I could trust her with my locs. While I was sitting under the dryer, I received a video from my besties and their husbands with well wishes and blessings for my day. That started the first of many tears that I cried that day. After I pulled myself together from watching the video, my oldest sister did my nails and she ensured that I had everything I needed: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Something new: My jewelry
Something borrowed: My pearl mask
Something blue: My florist had tied a blue silk ribbon on my bouquet
As we walked through the list, we realized that the only thing I didn’t have was something old. Right in that moment, my mother came out and told me that she’d brought with her the first wedding ring my father had given her when they got married. She brought it for me to wear for my special day.
It. Was. Perfect.
I slipped it onto the ring finger of my right hand and I was ready. My sisters and mother helped me get dressed after my makeup was finished, and then I headed to meet my soon-to-be husband for our first look and appointment with the photographer.
On February 1, 2021 it was freezing. I believe the high that day was around 34 degrees, and our session was held outside in downtown Raleigh. Well, we thugged it out as best as we could! As a result, we didn’t have a lot of pictures where we’re actually smiling, but I still love almost every single image that was taken. After about 30 minutes, we’d had all we could take and cut our session, which was scheduled to be 90 minutes, short.
After we were done with pictures, our next stop was to our ceremony. My sisters reserved the private room at Maggiano’s for our 10 person party, and while I initially just wanted to do it in my living room, in hindsight I’m grateful we went that route. Our actual ceremony, which was about 12 minutes long, was officiated by my spiritual mother, Elder Boyd, and included a poem recited by Mommy. It was recorded with an iPhone by my nephew and concluded with a toast from everyone in the room. The food was plentiful and delicious, and the wait staff did everything they could to make the day special for us. Including chasing Elder Boyd down in the parking lot, when we almost let her leave without signing our marriage license. I got to dance with my father, as he played a special song for me through the restaurant speakers, and we took pictures before everyone parted ways to head back home. After all, we got married on a Monday and everyone, including me and the groom, had to work the next day. A month’s worth of effort went into making that day happen, and still the most important and wonderful day of my life, to date, was over by 4PM.
We are planning to have a larger celebration once we feel it’s safer with the pandemic, but I have absolutely zero regrets. We got what we wanted:
- We got married
- We made it about us and nobody else