A few weeks ago Jackson and I celebrated six months of marriage. It may sound small, but for us? It is significant, and important, and exciting. It didn't feel real, at first.
I mean, I was there for the overlapping of his bottom teeth, and the placement of metal braces. I had grown up beside this boy, I met him in fluorescent hallways, fell in love with him in a red-brick high school building. He'd attempt to explain to me the logistics of math, I'd edit papers late into the night. His presence was continual, our growth intertwined. We were young, but still the same.
With the little things, I can never decide what I want. Do I want the blue dress or the pink dress? Does it matter?
But with the big things... the big things don't involve decisions. Their innate.
I want to be a nurse.
I want to spend my life with Jackson.
So when he made it down to one knee after six years?
So there we were, the morning of September second. Him? A navy suit we had picked together, tailored to fit his tall figure. Calm, reserved, patiently waiting for me to arrive.Me? Bright eyed, pink cheeked, out of breath, practically running to make it on time. I'd like to tell you that a lot has changed, but it hasn't. I'd like to tell you that a lot will change, but it probably won't. I know that someday I'll make it to wherever he is on the other side a little late and a little pink cheeked and a little scattered, but I'll come with a heart-bursting and genuine love. And he'll be there, patient as ever, his taxes completed and the seams of his shirt lined, reading a newspaper while he waits for his love to jump back into his careful arms. That's just us. Our dynamic.
My hands stopped trembling as he held them in his. Two years shaped my child-hood best friend into a man, but his eyes still reminded me of the boy I once knew. This was real. What we had talked about since our Junior year of high school was happening. And it was happening today. "We are getting married." we whispered again. And again.
We were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on a Wednesday morning. If I could go back and do it again, I'd get married on a Wednesday, on a Wednesday, on a Wednesday. It felt as though we had the temple and the whole world to ourselves, ready to celebrate with us. The sunshine felt familiar and fitting as we walked out to meet our friends and family. I wore a gown my mother had spent her own money on for me-- it is the most gorgeous thing I will ever own. A sweetheart cut, an ivory underlay with a delicate white-lace overlay. My hair done by a dear friend who has done my hair for years and years. Jackson shaved his beard for the day, and wore a crisp white shirt with a navy blue suit from Banana Republic, tailored to his long, lean body perfectly by a sweet woman in a little shop in Provo. I don't know that I will ever be able to remember in detail every beautiful word that was spoken that September morning in that sacred moment, but I will never forget the way it felt. It felt clean, whole, and powerful, and even those adjectives don't do it justice. How grateful I am for the House of the Lord and the decision Jackson and I made to be married there.
The rest of the morning was a rush of pictures and embraces and just heart-bursting happiness and pure exhaustion.
I'll never forget climbing into the passengers side of that white manual VW Jetta, and having Jackson pull me close and whisper;"Rachael, you're my wife."
Our Luncheon, hosted by Jackson's family, was at the Spaghetti Factory at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City. It was so cool to see the most important people in our life all together in one room. We both come from large families and I am so grateful to Jack's family for feeding every one of them!
Our reception was held at the Manor at the Riverwoods in Provo. Our venue couldn't have been more perfect; the bulb lights and cottagy feel has had me mesmerized since I was a little girl. As you walked in to the first room a lengthy table held a physical collection of our story-- yellowing letters and prom-corsages (did I ever tell you we went to ALL THREE proms!?), treasured pictures and books we had made for one another over the years. After the table, Jack and I stood and greeted our guests. The next room opened up to a bar full of desserts, and round tables that held stacked antique books, my old-camera collection, pictures of us together as teenagers, and scattered baby's breath in mason jars. The wood was oak, and between the table linens and bridesmaid dresses everything was either white, off-white, ivory, or cream. Our cake was simple and beautiful, with fresh flowers scattered across the top. (My mother's touch.) Above the refreshment table, our engagement video played on repeat. You can watch it here!
We hired one of my best friend's father's to DJ the wedding and he did a fabulous job. Around 8:00 he played; "Shut up and Dance", and as that song always does, it worked it's magic and almost immediately had everyone dancing. From my littlest nephew to my Grandmother, the atmosphere really allowed people to let loose, and honestly that was my biggest hope for my wedding. I just wanted it to be a celebration. After the initial song, our DJ slowed it down and Jackson and I shared our first dance as husband and wife. We danced to; "Can't help falling in love" by Ingrid Michaelson. I then shared a dance to "Because you loved me" by Celine Dion" with my father and Jackson's father while Jack danced with his mother and my mother. By the way our dance party proceeded after though, a passerby may have questioned whether not it was a Mormon wedding.. hahaha, people went crazy, and we couldn't have been happier.
As the night died down, my bridesmaids rushed me into the bride's room and helped me change into some lingerie and slip into a navy blue striped shift dress my best friend had bought for me a few days prior. Jack went into a back room and gathered his things as well.
There was this moment we shared that night, that is difficult for me to explain. Our guests had gathered outside of the reception hall ready to let go of red balloons (upon my request), and Jack and I were alone for a moment in the empty ballroom. Our DJ turned on "The way you look tonight" and Jack pulled me close and we whispered things and promised things but mostly we just basked in that moment of silence. It was just us; belonging to one another and brand new and absolutely terrified but also feeling peaceful and happy and overwhelmed and grateful and excited.
We ran through our friends and family so quickly that I don't think our photographer was even able to catch it on camera, but that's okay, because I remember it. I remember looking back at all of these faces that has raised and loved us, and I remember seeing my Mom and my Dad and Ashley and Josh and Michelle and I remember looking up into the sky and watching as red balloons floated away into the air. And I remember feeling like I was in "The Father of the Bride" and I remember the weight of Jackson's hand in mine as we drove away into the night.
Our car found its way that night through a dark canyon to a classy resort up in Park City. I won't say much of the honeymoon, but I will say that he was and still is the best thing I have ever waited for. :)