Come sit down, deary, and hear a love story full of mishaps and matrimony.
It starts a little over nine years ago, when Dan and I started talking on AIM, became MySpace friends, and eventually more than that. We had at least two classes together junior year that I can remember–English and College Chemistry, the latter of which still makes friends giggle because chemistry. For our first date, Dan took me to see Stephen King’s The Mist, an adaptation that neither of us enjoyed, which was a shame because I adore the short story and had been reading it in my spare time not long before. We were actually supposed to go out the night before, but it was late, it was dark, and it was December in the middle of nowhere, so Dan wasn’t able to find my house. The next day was much luckier, it turned out.
We went to college together, moved into our first apartment (along with Dan’s future best man) our junior year of college, and now here we are. He was my first serious boyfriend, and in all that time I didn’t need to bother with another.
A little over two years ago, we went to Boston Comic Con for the first time, and the whole time leading up to it Dan kept telling me about these really good tacos that he’d had in Boston and how we should go. Silly me, I agreed to it before we even got to BCC, so by the end of the afternoon at the con, I was feeling gross in the early August heat–but I let him drag me around because a. I love tacos and b. he swore they would be worth it. He got us a water taxi, which was also very cool and a good bit of relief from the heat, and I felt a little better, until we got off the dock and back into the summer heat. Then the sneaky bugger begged me to make a pit stop in some park “over there” because it “looked cool.” Please imagine me, dragging my feet around oceanside Boston because Dan wants to go sit in a park for the view, and he couldn’t even figure out where the park entrance was. I just wanted tacos! And home!
Now imagine Dan as we’re finally in the park, walking toward a bench, when a wedding party walks by us and the first thing out of my mouth is, “Ew, a wedding.” Not because I meant it, mind you, but because I’m an asshole.
Well, we got to the bench, I finally got to sit down, and it began: Dan started saying sweet things (sweeter than usual, I mean) with his hand in his pocket (which I promise wasn’t inappropriate), and in what felt like two seconds he was kneeling, and asking me to marry him. My response?
Because I am a woman of many kind words.
From there, it was about two years of surprisingly simple planning. We always hear horror stories about wedding planning disasters and day-of dilemmas. Well, I only dealt with one of the two. The planning itself went smoothly, from finding my dress two months after our engagement to finding a venue we could easily afford to rent for two days (a prep day and an event day). I even found two bridesmaids dresses at the mall during prom season that were less than $100 combined and were damn near the same fabric despite being from different stores. My attitude through most of the planning was very, “Whatever,” because nothing seemed worth stressing out over, and most things came easily as a result.
And then the wedding day came. Strike that–the day before the wedding came. I had taken the day off from work to help prep our venue, a little pond-side cabin rented from our college alma mater, and on my way there I received a text from Dan: “There’s someone here with Connecticut license plates and I don’t recognize them but they seem to know me.” I didn’t even respond since I couldn’t be of much help while I was in the car on my way there. (My mom was driving, don’t worry. Don’t text and drive!)
As we pulled into the parking lot, Dan came over to meet us, and I have this memory of him starting with, “Don’t freak out,” though I don’t guarantee he did, before telling me that we’d been double booked. My wedding venue had been double booked. I looked around, put up my hands, and said, “I’m just gonna sit in the car for a minute.” And that’s exactly what I did. Even then I managed not to yell or anything, as tempting as it was, because while it would have made me feel better, that’s about all it would have accomplished.
When I finally got out of the car, Dan told me it was just that day that had been double booked. That was fine; we could find a work around for the prep day. The other group was only having a rehearsal dinner anyway. Dan went to the booking office to figure out what the hell had happened, and I went to Walmart to escape for a while and look for a cheap garter. (Fun fact: I found none and ended up just going without.) Walking around Walmart, I was texting a friend, telling her it was just the one day, it was fine, but what the hell? Because someone had made a pretty serious mistake.
As I was walking around Dan called from the campus office and while he started with, “Everything’s fine,” he went on to tell me that our actual wedding date had also been double booked. Honestly, how was I still not screaming at this point? He told me that the office had found the other group (a birthday party) a different venue for the next day, and that our wedding was fine. It was all going to be fine.
I self medicated with Taco Bell.
The next morning, I woke up at my parents’ house with my maid of honor, only bridesmaid, and my parents, though my dad left early to start setting up to cook with Dan. We did a little getting ready, my mom got gussied up, and the four of us ladies piled into my tiny car. There were no real disasters on the drive, until about fifteen minutes from the venue. Something in the universe made my mom look into the rearview mirror at the girls and ask, “You grabbed your dresses, right?” We got one affirmative and one, “Shit.”
Can we please just take a moment to appreciate the fact that I still didn’t murder anyone?
My mom called in reinforcements (her best friend) to try and pick up the dress on her way, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Our officiant had another ceremony to cover after ours, so the dress just didn’t make it in time. My bridesmaid walked down the aisle in a black shirt and black shorts, plus the gray sweater that I had gotten her and my maid of honor as gifts. Thankfully, she didn’t look too out of place, and the dress did arrive in time for photos.
The rest of the ceremony was relatively smooth. Apparently there was a mass of birds above our heads, but I was a little too busy staring into Dan’s beautiful face to realize it. We did a handfasting ceremony, which was nice because it not only took the pressure off of us both to write our own vows, but it also provided us with a beautiful, if messy, set of knotted cords to hang in our house.
Everything after the ceremony is a blur of photos, a quick bite to eat, a bouquet toss, and then everyone leaving. To be honest, I hated most of the experience. I’m ecstatic to be married to Dan now, but I don’t much recommend a wedding to people. It felt like more money and more hassle than was necessary, and thankfully I don’t plan to do it again any time in the future.