So I did actually wear a dress I bought in China on the day that Matt and I got married.
Green is more my color than pink.
It was January 7th. We had four guests: my parents, Dale and Katy, and Matt’s parents, Deb and Steve. My parents brought their new puppy, Manny, who was eight weeks old and still learning what he could and could not do. Steve made us cordon bleu for dinner. I did not wear any makeup because I’d already started and stopped crying at least three times before we’d even arrived at our venue- which was Deb and Steve’s kitchen.
When the news of our move to Argentina became official (and of course, before our sad June 18th news that we would no longer be moving to Rosario), Matt and I began having serious conversations about getting married before our set date of June 15th. The Argentine resident visa process is a complicated one that requires, among other things, documents translated by an Argentine-approved translator and stamped with an international apostille. Much of the process was time-dependent, like the translation and submission of our police records, and much of it was just plain nebulous, despite Matt’s tedious internet research and phone calls to the Argentine embassy. His company has a lawyer on retainer in Rosario, and even Javier had a difficult time tracking down The One List of things we needed to do for resident visas. So we figured we’d better start early and plan for setbacks rather than wait for June 15th and hope that everything would work out on the first try.
We picked up our marriage license right after Christmas and worked with our officiant, Deb, to plan the evening. She asked us to write essays that would answer the prompt “Why I Want to Marry You” and suggested that we save our vows for our June celebration. That essay is the best piece of writing I have ever done, and the memory of exchanging readings with Matt-which we did in private, before the evening ceremony- is the most precious to me of our wedding experience. Maybe in five or ten or twenty years, Matt and I will write “Why I Want to Stay Married to You” essays, which we will read to each other and then punctuate with a high-five.
I was never nervous to marry Matt, but I was all jitters as we drove over to the Ost-Olsens’. I had known, in my very bones and well before we’d ever talked about it, that Matt and I would get married, and the realization that it was actually, really, truly happening made me buzz and hum with crazy fidgety energy.
After some chit-chat and microbrews with our parents, Deb quietly placed the marriage license on the kitchen table. Matt and I looked at each other with instantaneous tears in our eyes (shortly thereafter, I had them all over my face, too). She had prepared a short message, she told us, and afterwards Matt and I would exchange I dos. So we all stood. Matt pulled me in close. Deb started to speak. Four words in, Manny ran into the dining room and peed on the carpet.
A few minutes and some giggling and scolding later, Deb started the ceremony again. Another few minutes, many hugs, more tears, and a signature or two later, we were officially, legally hitched. I felt- feel- so deeply rooted, so connected to Matt, so connected to our families, so secure in my own happiness. It is a feeling, a moment, that I wish for anybody and everybody in every kind of love.
All of this we revealed at our Big Wedding, on June 15th. There were a few in the crowd we had told directly and many more who had heard from other people (because really, news that good should travel), but we wanted to announce it so that everyone would hear it at least once from us. Sidebar: there is no good way, if you are a woman of child-bearing age, to announce that you Have News without everyone thinking that you are With Child- which is what happened at the Big Wedding until I dispelled the rumor by swilling the rest of my wine.
Matt joked that night that it was sort of ironic and definitely unnecessary for us to get married in his parents’ kitchen- and now, as we all know, it was really unnecessary- but I am so glad we did. Stripping away the trappings and details of the wedding event let us quietly focus on the commitment we were making to each other, our only witnesses the people who have shown us most clearly what commitment is. And it was a perfect complement to our June wedding: while it’s true that our guests did not see our legal union, they watched us exchange the vows we wrote together, and there was plenty of love in that room.
The best unintended consequence about this multi-month wedding process is that I get to write more wedding-related posts! I have to say, it’s a lot more fun to write about happy life events than disappointing ones. Duh.