By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
July 18, 2009 – Day 4…Our Wedding Day!
This is it! Today is the day!
I couldn’t sleep, the excitement kept waking me up. My mind was racing with anticipation, knowing that I would have to wait almost ALL day before I got to get dressed and stand on the beach to take my vows!
We got up and had another wonderful breakfast at the inn, waiting for the girls to arrive and pick us up for some pampering. When they arrived, we were whisked off for spa pedicures and chair massages, each of us wearing our wedding party shirts that Holly had created. Erikka’s tshirt had “Bride 1” on hers, I was “Bride 2,” Holly was “Ring Bearer,” and Michelle was “Flower Girl.” It was awesome! Some of the ladies in the nail place didn’t quite know what to think of our little group – but we had fun and laughed a lot. When we got done there, we went to one of the local seafood restaurants for pre-wedding lunch, where we met Erikka’s parents, who also had custom tshirts that said “Father of the Brides” and “Mother of the Brides.” Lunch was wonderful, I think, but I was too nervous to really eat much. I have no idea WHY I was nervous, because I KNEW this was right and perfect – I guess maybe because we didn’t really have any kind of rehearsal, but rather had just gone over how everything would go with Peggy, the innkeeper and wonderful wedding coordinator. After lunch we were dropped back off at the inn and everyone headed back to their respective hotels to begin getting ready. The girls were going to get ready early and come back to the inn to help us get ready – we planned on being sequestered from each other once we began getting ready, not to see the other until we were on the beach. It seemed like it was going to be tricky to me, but in the end it played out perfectly.
When the process began, Erikka was taken downstairs to spend some time with the hair and makeup people that I hired to take care of her. They spent an hour or so making her beautiful, and then she was put into another room in the inn to have her dress steamed and for her to get into it. Her mom and dad had arrived early; dad was downstairs in the parlor while mom was up helping her get ready. Meanwhile, Holly and Michelle hopped back and forth from Erikka to me, helping us both get ready and taking pictures for us. I waited until the last possible moment to take my bath, do my hair, put a little makeup on, and get dressed. Once I was done, I headed downstairs to wait with my soon-to-be father-in-law. It was only eighty degrees outside, and I was wearing linen pants and shirt – but my nerves got the best of me and I was trying not to break out into a fierce sweat! But before I knew it, it was time. Oh my God, it was TIME!
I was instructed to go with Holly and Michelle down to the beach, and once there, to wait in a particular spot so as not to see Erikka when she arrived. This wasn’t a private beach, so there were families there enjoying the day, swimming, fishing, sunbathing. But we had a spot picked out where no one was, and soon our small wedding party/guests were gathered there with the officiant, Jean, waiting for us to get the party started. Erikka was driven over by her parents, and I still had not seen her and was giddy with anticipation. Soon, I was slipping off my flip flops and being told to shed my sunglasses, and was taking my walk before our guests to the spot where I would turn and wait for Erikka. She, meanwhile, was getting out of the car and walking towards me, too. When I caught sight of her, my breath was taken away – she was absolutely the most beautiful that I had ever seen her. I remember having the biggest, most stupid grin on my face, and bouncing up and down on my toes just waiting for her to get to me. She finally got to me, and we proceeded to take hands, take vows, exchange rings, and read our hand-written vows to each other. I cried through hers; I cried through mine. I made vows to her parents, promising to always take care of her and never leave her. Soon we were sealing it with a kiss, and it was a done deal – we were MARRIED! Most of the families that were on the beach area around us had turned their chairs and listened in on our ceremony, so we received claps and congratulations from them as well. We spent the following hour or so taking photos on the beach, as well as back at the inn, in the beautiful arbor that is behind the house. The reception was inside, with a beautiful cake and champagne toasts by family and friends, and more photos inside of the parlor. We ran upstairs and changed clothes, and had arranged for everyone who had come to have dinner at one of the local restaurants not too far from the inn. Dinner was wonderful, laughing and talking with those who we were honored to have with us for this incredibly special day, and before we knew it, the day was drawing to a close and we were floating and high on the beauty of it all.
July 18, 2009 is a day that is forever etched into my memory. Every detail, every image…I re-live it as often as I can. This day meant everything to me, and the one thing that I would say was missing was my family, my boys. Aside from that, I wouldn’t change a thing. THIS is what equality means. THIS is what true love and happiness looks like, feels like. THIS is the beginning of our married life together, a life that we will always treasure, always protect, always cherish and honor.
Tomorrow we leave for New York! The adventures start NOW!
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