Gettin’ hitched, elopement-style. Or, the one where I gush disgustingly about my wedding.

So I’m not usually a gushy, sentimental person, but hey, I got married four days ago, so I’m totally going to gush about that. Bear with me.

Todd and I pseudo-eloped this past Friday, July 27th. (The makings of this decision are explained here.) By pseudo-eloped I mean that we ditched the wedding plans we had been making, called a wedding chapel in Niagara Falls (because if we were eloping, we wanted to do it in the kitschy elopement capital of the Northeast, and also, waterfalls are nice), called our closest family and friends and told them that we were getting married in three weeks and it would be super if they could be there. (No, Grandma, I am not pregnant.) It turned out pretty spectacular. Here’s the rundown:

We had sixteen people in all, not including the two of us, and had a short ceremony in the Great Lakes Garden. (It’s what it sounds like–a garden in the shape of the Great Lakes. We were married in Lake Huron, in case you were wondering.) It was officiated by a former weather man from Buffalo (awesome!) who was also about a foot and a half shorter than us (I’m 6’0″ and Todd’s like 6’3″ or 4″), which means that it kind of looks in the pictures like we got married by a gnome (even more awesome!). We had never met the man before, but he said some beautiful things (I think–I wasn’t really paying attention because the inside of my head was going OH MY GOD YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED RIGHT NOW, but in a good way). We had no idea what the officiant was going to say before he said it, so we were very pleased when it was actually pretty good and lasted more than 90 seconds and seemed to have some feeling behind it. We wrote our own vows to personalize the ceremony a bit, since I’m sure the guy re-uses that thing like the water cycle. (Haha! Get it? Cause he’s a weather man! I know I’m not funny.)

Todd’s niece Sierra was our flower girl, my best friend Sara stood behind me and held the vows and rings because neither Todd nor I can be trusted to keep up with these things, and Todd’s sister Roxanne made pouches of birdseed to throw after the wedding, which proceeded to lodge themselves in my boots and the inside of Todd’s shirt for the rest of the day. But it was fun and totally worth it, and everyone seemed to enjoy throwing things at us.

I was apparently shaking during the ceremony, and Todd, who is not a particularly visually emotive person, was smiling ear-to-ear through the whole thing and mouthed “I love you” at me several times because he thought I was freaking out, probably because of the shaking. (I wasn’t, I was just excited. And hadn’t eaten anything that day, which probably didn’t help.) I could see Todd’s mom getting all teary-eyed and could hear my best friend/maid of honor sobbing–sobbing!–behind me, and near the end, since I was already tearing up and am a major sympathetic crier, I started to cry like a baby, which I’m sure made for some less-than-attractive pictures that will never see the light of the internet, but whatever.  It was wonderful.

Afterwards, when we were taking pictures by the falls, neither of us cared that we were surrounded by staring tourists and probably ended up in some people’s vacation photos, which would normally make us feel extremely awkward. After the photos (during which the photographer lady amusingly kept getting Todd’s name wrong–I believe she mostly called him Scott, which he just went with), we went back to the hotel for cake and champagne (and beer,) and some lovely toasts were made, during which my mom and Todd’s mom and Sara started tearing up again, so of course I did, too. I was trying to get a hold of myself, but I cry at the drop of a hat (I’ve been known to cry at commercials–I’m not kidding), so that was pretty hopeless. Later, we went to a nice restaurant for dinner, and on the walk back to the hotel, for some reason unrelated to our nuptials, the Canadians were doing a fireworks show over the falls. So we pretended like they were for us, naturally.

The next day, we all hiked around Goat Island and saw the falls and rode the Maid of the Mist and had piles and piles of buffalo wings at Anchor Bar, the alleged birthplace of buffalo wings. (Fact: they’re named for Buffalo the city, not buffalo the animal. You learn something new every day.) Also, the night before the wedding, there was karaoke at the hotel bar, so you better believe Sara and I, both of us karaoke divas, performed glowing renditions of George Micheal’s “Faith” and, of course, “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. (We actually have choreographed dance moves to “Faith.” I’m serious.)

The whole weekend was extraordinary. I admit, I had my misgivings about organizing the whole thing over the phone through a wedding chapel because that could have been a disaster, and I was afraid everyone was going to think it was lame. But it went off without a hitch, and if anyone thought it was lame, they didn’t care or at least didn’t say anything. I thought I’d be sad about some of the traditional wedding things that I wouldn’t get to participate in, such as the first dance, the father/daughter dance, and presents, oh, the presents. But amazingly, when it came down to it, I didn’t miss them. I do want my father/daughter dance, but we may have a belated reception/party in Birmingham at some point, and maybe I’ll get my dance then. And we will continue to accept presents until people stop sending them, in case you were wondering.

So, long story short, it was fun, simple, and above all, it was real. All in all, a pretty damn good weekend.

Credit for these photos either goes to my friends Sara Mulholland and Phil D’Antoni, my mom, or me. More photos to come later after I get them from the photographer and stage a massive family-and-friends photo exchange.

Thanks to everyone for all the love. Todd and I are extremely happy. I mean, it’s only been four days. But so far, so good.

End of gushing.


3 thoughts on “Gettin’ hitched, elopement-style. Or, the one where I gush disgustingly about my wedding.

  1. Pingback: Holy sh*t, I am married. « Claire Burgess Writes Stories

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