In the middle of the excitement and planning, things financially took a turn we weren’t expecting. A few weeks after returning to Maryland, I was "let go" from my job. I had never been fired from a job in my life. After being up front with them about leaving, helping to find a new marketing director and beginning to train her, they realized they didn't really need me any longer. Apparently giving too much notice isn't a good thing. :-) As devastated as I was at the time, looking back now I know that even that situation worked out for the best. I needed that time to prepare and pack!
As I began planning the wedding, I have to admit I felt rather clueless. Chris’ suggestion that we elope was getting more and more tempting, but I kept moving forward. I know most little girls dream about their wedding day, but honestly, my dreams growing up were more about being a wife and a mom. Not that you can't think about all three of those things at the same time, I just never did. I think even that was a God thing. I mean, you can't exactly be real picky about your wedding day with only 45 days to prepare one! That has its pros and cons. One of the pros was I was completely open to anything anyone wanted to do for me. The cons, well, as mentioned earlier I was pretty clueless.
One thing we had been praying about was an inexpensive place for a reception on very short notice. I decided to look into having it where I had been working. (well that is until my untimely departure) It was operated by a different organization and I wasn’t sure if they would go for it or even how expensive it would be. Prayerfully I asked and they agreed! The cost?$50! It was already beautiful, so we wouldn’t even have to do much to it.
For the next month as a need came to mind, almost immediately someone offered to do it. Most would not accept payment, because they wanted to do it as a gift. Chris’ mom took care of so many details for us before the wedding and my amazing mother, who was still very weak from battling cancer, insisted on doing the food. A few of my aunts and some friends of our family stepped up and helped that day and it all came together. Several people even asked who we hired as a caterer. The cake was done for us also as a gift by a very special friend and it was beautiful!
So, on February 19, 2000, we were married. My nieces and nephews were my bridal party, the bride's side of the church spilled over onto the groom's as they were a bit outnumbered, about 150 to 4. And the sermon went on and on and on and on.....which is so funny (now) for a number of reasons. But mostly because any wedding Chris has performed, the entire ceremony is wrapped up in close to 15 minutes. The sermon alone at ours was longer than that! Eleven years later I would like to formally thank all those who stayed awake attended the ceremony.
(One regret I have about our day (besides the extra long sermon) is that in my limited thinking, I didn't even entertain the possibility of Chris' extended family being able to make it. Knowing them as I do now, I wish we would have given them the opportunity. I think they would have moved heaven and earth to be there.)
There are many things I'm thankful we included that day. The music is at the top of the list, the words of each song we chose had special meaning to us. I'm also thankful for the pictures. I wanted to make sure we had many different ones with our families. That's something I would have wanted no matter what. The fact I was moving so far away made it even more important. After all, who knew when I would see them again?