By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
July 15, 2009 – Day 1:
Our trip is finally upon us!
It was a VERY EARLY morning. Up at 4:30 AM, out the door at 5:15 AM. Things have gone very smoothly, part of how I know that this is so right! Everything just seems to be falling into place. The planning itself was relatively easy and pain-free, and we were able to pay on things in small chunks over the last six months (so it didn’t hurt our pockets so much). We started packing the day before yesterday, so by bedtime last night, we were pretty much ready to go. Words cannot begin to describe the excitement that we have been experiencing these past couple of weeks, knowing that our wedding was finally almost here. We have gotten so much love and support from friends, and some family, that I am constantly amazed. For the longest time I have just grown to expect no support and for people to be ugly and hateful, but that has changed a lot. People that don’t even know us say how happy we look, or that we just look like we belong together.
I wrote my vows to Erikka the other day, and EVERY time I look back over them I get choked up. It is amazing to me still, after this year that we have been together, how much I love and adore her more and more every day, and how much I love our life together with Noah.
It has been a long travel day so far. We left Dallas around 7 AM on a plane to Washington, D.C. From there, after a two-hour layover, we hopped on a puddle jumper for a one hour flight to Providence, Rhode Island. It is so beautiful there! It was about eighty degrees today – twenty degrees LOWER than at home! We are now sitting at the Amtrak station in Providence, waiting for our train that will take us into Connecticut. Once we get there, the innkeepers will pick us up and travel for today will be over. We can spend the evening relaxing and hopefully take a walk on the beach nearby. It gets down into the 60s at night, so hopefully it won’t be too cool by the water for us southern girls. We need to steam our clothes for the wedding, but everything else is pretty much done. This is wonderful because we can enjoy our trip and each other instead of stressing out about the wedding!
July 16, 2009 – Day 2:
The train ride yesterday was breathtaking! I am completely sold on traveling by train. We were on the train for about an hour and a half, and it took us from Providence, Rhode Island to Old Saybrook, Connecticut; we were oceanside for a good deal of the ride – simply beautiful! Everything was so green and plush, unlike dry and dead in Texas. It was about eighty degrees when we arrived, which was absolutely perfect (something I found myself saying for the majority of our trip). I couldn’t have asked for a better travel experience with my girl; we had fun, despite being up so early, and we smiled and laughed a lot. When we arrived at Old Saybrook, we were picked up by our wonderful innkeeper, Peggy. She was as nice and sweet in person as she had been over the phone all of these months, greeting us both with a huge hug! She drove us into Westbrook, about five miles from the train station, and then over to the beach spot where our wedding will take place. When we finally got to the inn, we met the brides who got married the day before – Cindy and Cynthia. They are incredibly nice, and we had no idea when we met them that they would become forever friends! We got our stuff up to our room and went searching for dinner on foot, ending up at Bill’s Seafood a few blocks away. The seafood was authentic and yummy, and it was nice to sit and chill out with a beer and relax together.
This morning we slept in, and went down to breakfast, where the ladies of the inn gave us a feast of divine homemade breakfast choices. We had breakfast with the other brides, our new friends, before we got dressed and ready to go get our marriage license. We were giddy with excitement to take this huge step! The town clerk is two doors down from the inn, so it took all of five minutes to get there. Everyone there was SO nice, and seemed genuinely happy for us – I felt like I was in Bizarro world, and a world away from the conservative South in which we live. We filled out the application and turned it in, and then they asked us for our driver’s licenses – but Erikka did not have hers. So we came back to the inn, thinking it was just in her pants from yesterday; on inspection of the pants, though, I did not find it. Oh dear did she flip out, going into an almost instant panic attack! She was crying and hyperventilating, and we’re both frantically searching, worried that we wouldn’t be able to get our license today if she had lost her ID. But I went back to the pants and stuck my hands deep into the pockets again, and there it was! Disaster averted, we went back to the town clerk, showed our IDs, paid the fee, and soon we were swearing under oath, taking pictures, and on our way with our marriage license!!! Our official, legal, legitimate marriage license! It was one of the most exciting days of our lives!
We came back to the inn for a bit, and then jumped the Shoreline Shuttle to the outlets for lunch and a little shopping to get thank-you gifts for Erikka’s parents. A short ride back this afternoon and then we were on our way to dinner. We checked out a nice restaurant a few blocks away and decided to have our dinner there on Saturday after the wedding and reception. We made a reservation and they are doing a nice menu for us – did I mention that everyone here has been SO nice?? It’s weird to be in a place where we, for the most part, are accepted and people are so friendly to us. We went down to the beach after dinner hoping for a pretty sunset, but it was overcast so we decided to come back and try again tomorrow.
In the morning we are going to the beach after breakfast…I’m hoping it will be sunny for us. Erikka has something planned for us at 1 PM, so it will be fun to find out what her surprise is! Her parents fly into Hartford around noon, and Holly & Michelle fly in sometime mid-afternoon into Providence. All of them rented cars and will drive to their respective hotels, and then we’re all meeting at the inn for dinner and a movie tomorrow evening – Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut! We are so looking forward to them all arriving and being here to share our special day with us! It has meant so much that they paid so much money to be here and show their love and support.