Many years ago, I was having a conversation with someone, idr who, and we were talking about how to choose a wedding date. I was thinking of my favorite month and my favorite number, and without thinking, I blurted out that I wanted to get married on September 11. And then I heard it out loud, and the people I was talking to looked at me weird, and I was like “oh… “ and then I was like “yknow what? Yeah, I do want to get married on September 11” and then I waited until I found somebody who would be ok with that.
And then I met Curtis. And he was totally on board. Tbh, probably a little too on board (too many puns that I will not let him make in public). But we met in late January, and I wasn’t about to have a six-month meet-to-marriage situation (no matter how many other Mormons and psychopaths have beat that. If you read that and are offended, yes, I mean you).
I remember it was October 11, I was at his house, and I think he was job hunting and I was taking a nap or something. I woke up and he was sitting next to me, looking at me all sappy-like, and he said “is there a day sooner than 11 months from now that I can marry you?”
I was absolutely on board with that, but it was a pretty scary time. Both of us were unemployed and we simply couldn’t just be “livin on love” because he was (is) a father, which comes with its own obligations and responsibilities. And while I was sure about him, there were so many other parts of his life that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to adopt into mine.
While there were other factors to consider, that conversation got us thinking that maybe we could elope on one of our anniversaries (like when we met, our first date, or when we became exclusive). I wanted him to have a job beforehand, though, just so there was one less element of uncertainty. He was applying and interviewing like crazy and nothing was coming of it. So we just kept waiting.
The anniversary of the day we matched came and went. No job. The anniversary of our first date came and went. No job. And then – two weeks later – he finally got a job offer! With enough time to plan for a spontaneous elopement on our one year anniversary of becoming exclusive 😊
From there, a bunch of little things had to come together, like getting a marriage license, finding a special place to do it, seeing if we could afford a small getaway, getting time off work, and arranging other details. Everything came together seamlessly – there were zoom appointments for marriage licenses available with plenty of time to get the certificate in the mail, my mom has a timeshare that includes places in Avon (a mountain town two hours away), which had availability for that week and she booked it for us as a little wedding gift. Also, note: the place she booked had four bedrooms, and since I worked from home and Curtis wasn’t coming up until late Wednesday night, a couple of friends and I got to go up and spend the week there. Also, since it fell on a Thursday, and Thursday is Curtis’s night with his daughter, his ex was kind enough to let him switch his night so he could come to the mountains and elope with me 😊 My sister also arranged a small bridal shower party for the few friends that I told, and my best friend even came out from Idaho to have a little bachelorette weekend with me.
After figuring out all the details, Curtis and I were sitting on the couch with Google Maps opened up, looking at all the places in Avon that we could go to elope. In the state of Colorado, you can self officiate at your own wedding, so we could go ANYWHERE. I was looking for some scenic spots that would make for pretty pictures. We were thinking it could be fun to do it on a gondola ride over “Bachelor Gulch” or something. On the map, we saw “Burger King,” so I jokingly said “should we do it at Burger King, because you are my King and I want to have it my way?” And he laughed and said “I could put an onion ring on your finger.” And at that moment, I had never been more certain of anything. We had to get married at Burger King. Nevermind that neither of us really cared all that much for Burger King, it was now a must.
Wednesday came, my friends left, and it was just me by myself in the hotel room all day left to be anxious about getting married. I’ll elaborate more on the details of this anxiety in a later post, perhaps in several years, but the intricacies of being a second wife & stepmom, combined with all the normal reasons for anxiety before a marriage, were definitely compounding. Curtis was aware of all of my reservations, anxieties, and concerns, and was the perfect comforter. He got up to the hotel, held me, assured me that we didn’t have to get married if I wasn’t ready/sure, and made sure I knew that he loved and supported me no matter what.
To be clear: I was and am completely sure of him. There are many things that I wasn’t sure of, things that I’m still not sure of, and things unique to this relationship that will cause me anxiety for many more years, if not decades. But I have never been surer of him. I believed in soul mates before, but the longer I am with him, the more certain I am that he is, without a doubt, my person.
However, the hotel only had shampoo and I wanted conditioner, so I asked him to bring me some when he came up and he brought TWO IN ONE. TWO IN ONE?! NO. So that made me a little less sure.
Thursday came, and it was perfect. We woke up, got dressed, did a “first look” where I totally set up the camera/tripod situation wrong and missed his initial reaction, went to Burger King, signed the papers, went to the post office to mail the marriage certificate back to the clerk’s office to get recorded, went to Wal-Mart to buy a wedding cake (hostess cakes, obv), had our first dance to Fall Out Boy’s “Alone Together” in the parking lot, went to the lake to take pictures with the self timing setting on my camera and a tripod, had dinner at a hibachi place, went hot tubbing, and paid attention to literally nothing else but each other.
Looking back, it was pretty much just a day of running errands, but it didn’t matter what we were doing. We were together, and nothing else mattered. No rushing to meet a schedule, no coordinating with other people who needed to be somewhere at a certain time, no keeping track of anything but each other.
We kept it as our little secret until we had a wedding 6 months later. I wanted to have a huge party, but I also wanted to have an intimate experience. This way, we got to do both – exactly six months apart – and I got my September 11th wedding (and it happened to fall on a Saturday in 2021 and that’s so not a coincidence).
In retrospect, I couldn’t be happier that we phased into our life together. I think I needed that 6 month period of time to come to terms with my life changing. I needed the privacy to adjust to leaving behind a relatively simple life and entering a much more complicated one. I needed time in my bubble with my husband before I was ready to celebrate with the world. And I don’t regret it for a second.