This week was Mike’s and my four-year wedding anniversary. Our wedding was a lot like us – eclectic and quirky. It was on a goat farm under a giant oak next to a babbling creek. A thousand paper cranes bore witness, along with about fifty of our most cherished family and friends. There was a belt of active thunderstorms all day long (we got rain on our wedding day – excellent luck, I hear), but a donut hole of blue skies kept our ceremony dry — or as dry as a muggy, mid-July night in Georgia can possibly be. One of my favorite wedding photos is of Mike and me from behind, his hand at the small of my back, while sweat pearls on my shoulders and beads on my spine. It’s not glamorous, by any means. But it’s real. Like our love.
We put the wedding together in a few, quick weeks. You heard right — weeks, not months. SIX Weeks to be exact. Mike proposed on Memorial Day (to my dog, by the way) and we didn’t want to wait until the following summer, so we crossed our fingers and made it happen. Apparently we thrive in chaos. I guess it was our trial run for raising twin boys. If we could pull off venue and invitations, dress and catering, cake and honeymoon — the whole nine yards — in a month-and-a-half, we could handle anything.
So yes, Mike proposed to my dachshund. I guess he knows how much I love the little wiener (No, that’s not an Asian joke!). And no, he didn’t EXACTLY propose to her, but somehow in my misguided and vodka-fogged, post-Memorial Day party brain, I thought he was talking to her when he dropped on one knee beside me on the love seat. I thought he was going to give her a little pet, rub her tight, freckled belly, and show her some love. I very nearly missed the question, the question I’d been anticipating for a while. (We’d been dating quite exclusively and seriously for four years, after all.) Sometimes I’m a dumbass.
Anyways, once all that got cleared up and I said yes, the game clock began. We knew we had virtually no time, but we also knew we wanted all of our choices to mean something. (Sounds ironic, coming from a woman who thought her future husband chose her dog, but still…) I knew I wanted cranes: 1000 origami cranes, to be exact. As a nod to Mike’s Asian heritage. 1000 origami cranes threaded with fishing line for the illusion of flight, and strung here, there and yonder-where. And I wanted a post-Edwardian era gown — the time period of Downton Abbey’s glory; the time period of Agatha Christie’s country house mysteries; the time period of my beloved grandmother’s youth. Those were my two wishes. The rest could fall as it may.
The dress came easy. I found it online. When it came, it fit perfectly. The only dress I ever tried on. I felt delicious and decadent — like Lady Mary or Clarissa Dalloway. So the dress came easy. The cranes… eh, not so much. Anything mathematical is not my forte. And origami, whether it actually is or is not, felt mathematical to me – all those congruent right triangles and bisected angles. I just couldn’t seem to grasp it. That is until my seven-year-old nephew Jackson taught us how to make them over a veeeeerrrryyy long weekend in Scottsdale. Jackson is an origami wizard. He can craft the Taj Mahal, if given ten minutes and a tissue. I swear it. He tutored us patiently and precisely, and with a lot of help and some martini time outs (for me, not him), I finally mastered it. Which meant we only had approximately 999 more to go before game time.
Now the goat farm was, quite simply, destiny. For some odd and glorious reason, goats have played a pivotal role in Mike’s and my courtship, from the goat raffle (yes, you read right) I was running when I met him that first football season (we’re weird ‘round these parts) to the charming and bizarre Goats on the Roof general store we visited one Spring Break, we sort of have a weird and wonderful connection with bearded billies. Combine that with the fact that Bethany’s best friend’s family has a goat farm and BAM! Goat farm, it was — complete with tire swing.
The rest feels like a blur. A big, glorious purple and gold blur– Mike’s college colors and our chosen palette. The ring bearer’s “pillow” was a prized football. We used books and borrowed vases for centerpieces. I found the perfect shoes – which were plain and simple pumps, laced up and layered in all sorts of awesomeness via Etsy. Family from near and far arrived to help steam dresses, arrange flowers, decorate the venue, cook Korean BBQ, and participate in the ceremony. One niece played the violin; another read e.e. cummings. My nephews lit the lanterns; Mike’s carried the rings. My brother-in-law, a film editor in Hollywood, shot the video. Everything, I mean everything, just folded together into a masterpiece. Like our 1000 cranes, we layered, creased, pressed and adjusted until, “Voila!” — dream nuptials in a nanosecond.
My girls were my bridesmaids, and while I don’t necessarily recommend the turbulent and tumultuous past required to use your very own daughters in your bridal party, I must say… I must explain… well… when I try to voice what it felt like — having them stand there at the altar with me, supporting and loving me, supporting and loving Mike; opening their arms and hearts and lives to allow him to join our intimate little clan of incandescence and joy… words fail me. I’m at a loss. Let’s just say, it was THE special ingredient, THE added love element that made the wedding as absolutely perfect as perfect can be.
There are so many other tiny tidbits I could share, including my grandmother’s posthumous contribution, our extended Peters metaphor, hangover knavery, and inadvertent F bombs, but I think I should quit while I’m ahead. Let’s just say that this week as Mike and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, I was reminded of how unbelievably blessed we truly are. Our wedding was perfect because of our families. Correction… Family. Our nuclear and extended crews melded into a giant conglomeration of love and crazy and talent — and helped us pull off the impossible: a wedding in six weeks. And on that sublime and sultry July night four years ago, we were folded, pressed, and pleated into a multilayered, multifaceted masterpiece of a fine, new family.