On Saturday, June 11th, we pulled off the most special day of our lives, not just a wedding but a surprise wedding. Our closest friends and family gathered at Spill the Wine Restaurant in Minneapolis under the guise they were attending our engagement party. Little did they know, we hadn’t planned an engagement party. We had planned a wedding. The surprise was one of the most special moments of our lives. For months, I’ve gone back and forth on this surprise wedding decision. What will happen? Will people show up? Will people think this idea is great or just plain crazy? How will they react? And in the moment of the surprise, when we walked hand in hand into a room full of our best friends and family, the reaction was more phenomenal than I could have dreamed. There were cheers and smiles, tears and joyful exclamations. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I saw the joy and excitement in the eyes of our family and friends. They, like us, were just so happy to be in the moment and to celebrate our love for one another.
The wedding began, and every moment of it was magical. We were married by a dear friend of the family who made our ceremony truly unforgettable with his words and advice, presence in the moment and excitement for our future. Our ceremony was filled with family and friends. Both sets of our parents presented their “advice for marriage”, our Best Man and Maid of Honor joined us in sealing our vows with a wine ceremony, and we stood surrounded by our friends and family as we exchanged rings and vows we’d written ourselves. More tears flowed as I shook with joy and excitement to begin the rest of my life with the most amazing man in the world.
When the ceremony ended, the special moments continued. For hours, we both circulated the room giving hugs and kisses, sharing tears and joy, drinking great wine and sharing our happiness with our friends and families. Every moment was joyous, every minute was amazing, every smile and tear was surreal and beautiful.
At one point in the evening, one of my closest family members grabbed me and held me tight saying, “It’s so good to finally see you happy. You deserve this!” And with tears streaming down my face, I calmly said, “I know.” I have gone through trials and tribulations on the road to this day, but every valley I climbed out of led me here to this moment – the moment where I stand in front of my dear friends and family to begin my life with a man who loves me, who I love, and who shares my vision for the future.
Some have questioned our decision to have a surprise wedding, and to those I offer the mantra I’ve lived by these past few months, “It’s not a wedding, it’s a marriage.” That is the answer to any question about why we did it this way. It isn’t a criticism or negative reaction to those who have a traditional wedding, it’s simply a commentary on what we wanted and needed. We didn’t want the distraction of registries and showers, bachelor parties and bridesmaids dresses, rehearsal dinners and concerns over countless vendors and budget. We wanted time for the two of us to focus on beginning our marriage without distraction, with total laser focus on our relationship and our commitment to one another. And by removing the “wedding” issues, we removed the stress of planning and were able to focus on our marriage. It wasn’t a wedding, it was the start of a marriage. And what a start it was!
Thank you to all who were present and to those who have sent positive thoughts online and in person to celebrate our nuptials! My husband and I are happy and in love, as we’ve always been. We’re loving calling each other “husband” and “wife” and now that we’re back in Chicago after our dream honeymoon in New Orleans, we’re enjoying our life as newlyweds.