Our Impromptu Snow Day Wedding

One year ago today, I married my charming, intense, and crazy husband.  An impromptu snow day wedding wasn't the original plan.  We got engaged a year prior--almost to the day.  Because we originally had a "real" wedding planned, we had a wedding website.  Here's what we posted under "Our Story" about how we got engaged:

Danny asked Julie to marry him on March 8, 2012 at their home in Glen Allen.  The two had been shopping all evening and had just returned home.  The back yard had recently been reseeded, so Julie took their dog, Olive, out front to go potty.  While she was standing with Olive in the front yard, Danny, who had layered a suit jacket over his existing (shopping) outfit, came out and bent down on one knee, in the mud!  Using his grandmother's beautiful diamond ring, he asked Julie to be his wife.  She said yes, and despite her lack of tears, it was one of her best days yet.

My thoughtful fiancĂ© made every effort to grow grass that year.  The muddy front yard and leashed puppy potty time was an easy trade-off to make in exchange for a lush backyard space--and it looked great, until the Virginia summer heat got a hold of it.  The jacket over top of Danny's clothes made the story pretty funny.  The fact that he used his grandmother's beautiful engagement ring made it even better.  What an honor!  As is the case with so many newly engaged American women, the wedding planning began pretty quickly thereafter--that week, in fact.  First thing, I sent a text message photo of my newly bejeweled ring finger.  After that, it was all a blur...

Cards, wedding magazines and blogs posts, and personal advice began to flood my senses.  I was in wedding overload before I knew it.  Even though we enjoyed the beautiful pictures and inspirational ideas, we were both pretty disinterested in all of the commercialism wrapped up in the wedding planning industry.  We were determined to keep the whole occasion pretty low-key.  We considered an outdoor park space with a lake and pavilion pretty seriously for a while, checked out some local vineyards, and finally decided on a gorgeous, modern community space.  

When we initially visited, the cultural arts center had a large statue out front.  I know the replica of Virginia Beach's Neptune wasn't the only reason I was drawn to the space, but it was a major contributor. 

Oh, Neptune!

It had a covered outdoor sculpture garden.  In line with our low-key plan, the space offered an outdoor setting, with a shade-supplying rain covering.  We were excited to (finally!) find a perfect spot to get married.  Soon we found a fabulous caterer, a work-friend DJ, and music we planned to use during the ceremony.  Pinterest inspired my days; I made pillows for the outdoor bench areas and study hall students helped create paper roses from my favorite book pages.

In December, however, when the school board had already made it quite clear what was in store for the following year for my district (nothing good!), Danny and I began to discuss the possibility of me returning to school for another degree.  Classics had been an interest since high school.  In my undergrad, I took every class I could concerning Classical literature, history, and art.  I took a Latin summer program within the first few months of our relationship.  I even had begun to learn German just in case I needed it for grad school.  It was clear that pursuing Classics would have to be a jump in with both feet type of situation. 

I applied in January.  Danny helped me work on my admittance essays and encouraged me through the process.  We weren't yet married, but we were ready to think like a team.  With the decision for me to quit my (pretty decent paying) job, we developed a budget to follow.  It wasn't until February, when I already had my Greek-goddess-inspired wedding dress and cute white summer sandals and we were scheduled to check in with the caterer, that we considered cancelling the wedding. 

Our priorities had shifted.  Significantly.  When we got engaged, not an ounce of my being considered that I might leave my job.  Now, with the real possibility of returning to university, the wedding became almost an inconvenience.  I no longer wanted to make decisions regarding anything.  The details, which had been so fun for so long, were now tedious and draining.  I truly knew I was over the wedding when I spoke to my mom about the caterer meeting I was scheduled to attend that afternoon.  She recognized my disinterest.  I got off the phone with her and immediately cancelled the appointment.  The Save the Dates had just gone out, so it was tough, but we told our friends and family that the wedding would no longer proceed as originally planned.

The following week, we went to the county complex to obtain a marriage license.  I wasn't terribly surprised that the metal detector workers hit on my handsome soon-to-be husband--just a little surprised that it happened right in front of me.  I felt sick that day, so I wasn't looking too cute, and apparently so out of sorts that it didn't even appear that we were there together.

"Oooh, you're getting a marriage license?  You've gotta bring your girl in then." 
"I did."  (He points at me in glasses and a forrest green work-supplied fleece, no shower, and a messy top-of-the-head bun.) 
"Oh... ok, well, it's upstairs and to the right."  (Glaring at me and my fleece.)
I told my coworkers about getting the marriage license (and the women hitting on Danny right in front of sick me), so when the weather men predicted snow, one friend asked if we might get married on the snow day.  I laughed and told her we might.  The next morning, as forecasted, the snow arrived, the district cancelled school, and Danny and I had the day off together.  We waited until 10 am to call an area officiant; we found an adorable old man and his sweet wife to marry us at 4 that afternoon.  We got dressed up in our planned wedding gear (plus winter boots), called my mom, and headed over.

The house was set up like a bed and breakfast.  The first floor clearly hosted weddings like ours.  It contained a variety of knickknacks and antique pictures, a prominent fireplace, and beautiful wooden floors.  The old woman welcomed us in, while her husband finished getting ready for our ceremony.  While we waited, I changed out of my winter boots and into my summer sandals.  (They were too cute not to wear!)  The old man wore a suit and entered the room holding several booklets of our vows. 

The ceremony was beautiful; the vows were perfect.  Even though we had done months of planning for the originally envisioned wedding ceremony, this one, impromptu, on a snow day, could not have been better.  He pronounced us "man and wife" and we kissed.  Our witness (the officiant's wife) snapped a shot of our first kiss, so she assured me, "You don't have to kiss him again--I got it!"  We laughed.  In only twenty minutes (and for less than $100), we became husband and wife.

Don't worry, he's not angry. That's just how his face looks...

It has been one year since we got married on a Wednesday snow day.  It has been a challenging and rewarding year.  Almost every aspect of life has changed for each of us in that time (click here to read about this part of our journey).  Making the decision to ditch our not-so-extravagant-but-extravagant-compared-to-impromptu-snow-day wedding was initially a struggle, but I am so happy we made that choice.  It's definitely not the right choice for everyone.  Because of this decision, however, we've been more mindful of how we spend our time and money--affording us more time and money in places we actually want to spend it.

If you liked this post, check out Our Low-Key Honeymoon or any of the other Making Mindfulness posts.  Feel free to "like" Making Mindfulness on Facebook, follow @MakeMindfulness on Twitter, or sign up for email updates on the right of the page.  Thanks for visiting!

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