Marriage, to me, has never been about a piece of paper. It has never been about legally connecting two souls together, it has never been about taxes, it has never been about anything other than love. Stephen and I didn’t have a formal proposal, it was more of a mutual decision. One night, as we laid in bed, we discussed our plans for the future, and we both knew that marriage was something that we both wanted. We never really wanted a wedding, we just wanted something small where the day would truly be about us and our love for each other, so on March 11th, 2016, we went to the courthouse and got married.
The day was perfect. Our appointment to get married was in the afternoon, so we had the whole morning to do whatever we wanted. We spent most of the morning doing laundry and other chores, and the rest of it relaxing. It only took me about a hour to get ready, and off we went. I wasn’t nervous heading to the courthouse, in fact, I was excited. Stephen and I had already been together for six and a half years, and we had lived together for about three, so it already felt like we were married. Along with being excited, I was also in disbelief that we were actually doing this. We had been talking about marriage for quite some time, and the fact that we were going to be married within the hour was a feeling that is indescribable. When we arrived at the courthouse, there was a staircase that lead to the area where we would say our vows. While we were walking up, another couple was walking down with their friends and family, and the bride asked if we were getting married. After I said yes, she grabbed my hand, and said congratulations. I, of course, said congratulations back, and as odd as this may sound, it was probably one of my favorite moments of that day. Even though she was a complete stranger, I found it to be an incredibly powerful moment between two people who didn’t know each other. Plus, you could see the genuine joy that was radiating off of her, and I felt so happy for her. Seeing her in that moment also was a reassurance for what Stephen and I were about to do. Once we made it to the top, we had to pay for ceremony and then we just waited for the Justice of the Peace to come and get us. We sat in a waiting room, talking and giggling and looking at Facebook, waiting patiently for the man who was about to change our lives.
When he finally came and got us, I was surprised by his demeanor. I thought that he wouldn’t really care that much about Stephen and I because I am sure he does dozens of marriages a month, however, he was incredibly happy for us and was asking us a bunch of questions about our relationship. He always had an authentic smile on his face, and he really gave off a peaceful vibe. After a couple of minutes of pleasantries, it was time to get married. So there we stood, and while Stephen and I held hands, we said our vows. I thought that once we were pronounced husband and wife it wouldn’t feel different, but it was a lot more powerful than I had anticipated. I felt a rush of emotion rush through my body, and although I didn’t cry, I was just overwhelmed with happiness. This man, who I love with every ounce of my being, was my husband and I was his wife. We were partners in life, and it was a beautiful feeling. Our first kiss was magical, and it felt like the official seal of our marriage.
After the ceremony was over, we spoke to our parents to let them know that we were officially married. Our parents were happy for us that we were finally married, however, they were all disappointed that they weren’t there to see it. I think that Stephens parents were especially disappointed because they were actually coming down to Dallas the following day, but as much as we love our family, we wanted this day to be just for us. It was so special, and we really wanted to enjoy our first day as husband and wife with just each other.
The rest of the day was pretty laid back. We went back home after the ceremony and hung out for a little over a hour, then we went out to dinner. After dinner we went back home and spent time together. To others, how Stephen and I got married probably sounds boring, but to us, it was perfect. We were given the opportunity to really just appreciate each other, and there is not any part of me that wishes that we did things differently.
The next day, Stephens parents, my new in-laws, came down to visit. That was also the day that our marriage really hit me. We went to a mall to do some shopping, and I wanted to get an iced tea from Teavana. There was a coupon on my phone, which Stephen had, and that was the first time that I actually acknowledged Stephen as my husband. All is said was: “oh whoops, my boyfriend, I mean my husband, has my phone with the coupon.” Let me tell you something about that. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it felt fucking crazy saying that. I don’t really know how to describe it, but at first it didn’t feel natural to call him my husband. I don’t know if that’s bad or not, but it was just something that I had to get used to.
After a couple of months, being married was our new norm. Saying that Stephen was my husband did become natural, and life kind of fell back to what it always was. Then, one day, my mom expressed to me that she really wanted to have a reception for Stephen and I. At first, Stephen and I were slightly reluctant. We loved our wedding day and we felt like we didn’t need anything more, but after thinking about it we thought that it would be special to celebrate our marriage with the people that we love. Also, I am my parents only daughter and Stephen is his parents only son, so we thought that we owed it to our parents to do something. After Stephen and I agreed to have a reception, my mom took off full blast on planning it. The reception was in northern Illinois, and I was in Dallas, so I didn’t see anything until the day of our reception. My mom would consult with me about the decisions that she was making, but even if she didn’t I knew what my mom was capable of and I knew that it was going to be gorgeous. And boy, I was not wrong.
We held the reception at a local winery in December, so it was breathtaking. The winery had decorated for Christmas, so along with the decorations that the winery provided as well as the decorations that my mom had purchased it was mind-blowing gorgeous. The night was perfect, with the exception of the major snow storm that prevented some relatives from being able to attend. That night we ate food, we conversed with everyone that we don’t get to see that often, and we had the time of our lives. By then end of the night, we were exhausted. Stephen and I decided that we were going to stay with our friends that night because that was the only night that we were going to be able to see them, so we had a long drive back to their place. Once we arrived, I realized that I was starving. I, unlike Stephen, hadn’t eaten much of anything that night. So as I ate left overs from the reception, Stephen and I went through the cards that we had received. After making our list of thank you cards that we were going to need to send out, we passed out. I slept so hard that night, but boy, it was the end of a perfect day.
I still do not regret getting married the way that we did. And even though our parents weren’t exactly thrilled with our choice to get married with just the two of us there, we were still able to celebrate with our friends and family. A wedding is not a marriage, so it won’t make a difference what kind of wedding you have as long as the love that you and your partner share is strong.