Jacob and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary over the weekend. Since I just started blogging last year I’ve never talked about my big day. I gotta say right off the bat; I hated wedding planning. I didn’t dream about walking down the aisle as a kid. Even when my high school boyfriend and I swore we’d get married one day, I thought about the marriage, the house and the kids, not the wedding. When Jacob proposed, I was of course happy and excited to spend the rest of my life with him, but thoughts of the wedding gave me panic attacks.
It all began in June of 2005. I don’t even remember the exact day. How awful is that? Jacob was leaving town for work for a few weeks. He stopped by my office to take me out to lunch before he left for the airport and proposed in the car. We celebrated with root beer floats and cheeseburgers at A&W. Just keepin’ it real.
Our engagement was a year and three months. It was too long and gave me too much time to freak out. Weddings might be fun if you have tons of money and could execute your dream wedding, but we only had $15,000. Every decision bothered me. I kept thinking about how much we were spending on one day when we could buy a new car, go on vacations, or save for our future children. After three months of ignoring the wedding completely, I finally started to plan it, but hated every second of it. I was in tears just about every night. About six months into it, I started to wonder if I even wanted to get married at all.
One night I said, “Let’s just go to Vegas.” Jacob said we could do whatever made me happy. I didn’t really want to elope because I wanted my family there. So we thought about turning it into a vacation. We had already asked our friends to be in the wedding and we felt bad because we knew most of them couldn’t afford a trip but would feel obligated to come. So Jacob paid for the wedding party (ten of us) to go down there. What a guy!
My sister threw me a Steel Magnolias theme bridal shower because it’s one of our favorite movies. Even though it’s not really about a wedding, those parts are the best of the film. She decorated my house in blush and bashful and had a giant can of Aqua Net for everyone. My friend even made an armadillo cake! “Shelby and I agree on one thing — the groom’s cake! It’s awful. It’s in the shape of a giant armadillo. Worst, the cake part is red velvet. People are going to be hacking into this poor animal that looks like it’s bleedin’ to death!”
She also threw me a bachelorette party before we left town. It was pretty tame. We started out at my sister’s casino themed apartment for games, presents and food. Then went to Chopstix, a dueling piano bar. We sang our hearts out. I was called on stage with another bachelorette for a drinking game. They sang the song Roxanne by The Police. Every time they sang “Roxanne,” I had to drink. Every time they sang “red light,” she had to drink. Cut to 2:00 and see why we chugged three beers in less than a minute.
The three days of drinking fun we had leading up to the wedding in Vegas was the best part of the whole experience. It. Was. A. Blast. My sister still says that was her favorite vacation ever.
We crammed into two hotel rooms at The Aladdin (where Elvis and Priscilla got married!) and got hitched at the hotel’s cheesy, ugly chapel. There ended up being 52 guests. Not bad for an out of town wedding. My sister was my maid of honor. My BFF was what we called my “brideshero.” A lot of people, especially Jacob’s conservative family, thought having him on my side was weird and that he should have been on the groom’s side. But he’s my best friend, not Jacob’s, and it would have been wrong to not have him a part of the wedding just because he’s a guy. If it looked weird, I didn’t care and neither did he or Jacob. My oldest childhood friend and my college roommate were bridesmaids. Jacob’s brother was the best man and his cousin and two childhood friends were groomsmen. The ceremony was short with traditional vows and the officiant was actually really funny and sweet. No one complained that the ceremony only took 19 minutes!
We had a reception in a big log cabin at a local park two weeks after the wedding with 160 guests. We ate, drank, danced and had karaoke. We partied until midnight and then all my friends went back to our house to grab some food before hitting the bars. It was actually really nice that we were married two weeks before because we weren’t stressed out or tired and we didn’t need to be alone. We just had a lot of fun with our friends that night.
Ready for something hilarious and totally embarrassing? This picture was taken after my very first Mystic tan. Good think I practiced before the wedding! We tried our rings on to mimic that cheesy wedding pose.
If I had it to do all over again, I would have a shorter engagement, like six months tops, and I would have planned Vegas from the very beginning instead of agonizing over all the details for eight months. I also would have just relaxed. It’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage and ours is rock solid. I love Jacob and my boys more than anything in the world. I can’t believe how stupid I was or why I questioned anything and everything. Wedding planning is stressful. I just saw my sister go through the same thing. It’s just not that big of a deal! It’s one day and your guests don’t care!