I looked at my reflection in the mirror and smiled. Mentally noting every little detail, my favorite black sweater that I overwear, my hair curled in the “Carmen San Diego” style that Mr. H loves, and the butterflies that seemed to be taking flying lessons in my stomach. You see, I was about to get engaged.
How exactly does one sleep the night before their wedding? I specifically woke up early Thursday and did as many exhausting things in order to ensure a good nights sleep, and yet at 1AM I was smiling in bed to myself envisioning Mr. H in his dress blues with a ring on his left hand.
To say 5AM came quickly is an understatement. But to have the ability to sit and have coffee with my father as the first thing I did on my wedding day was exactly what I had always dreamed of and definitely worth the early wake-up.
I wish I could say that I delicately trotted up the stairs to go and fix my hair and makeup, but the reality was I sounded like a herd of cattle as I raced back and forth between my parents bedroom and my childhood bedroom trying to finish getting ready in time.
I swiped on my red lipstick and tried not to drool as it dried. Maybelline 24 Hour wear… I swear by it. And my mom zipped me up into my dress. Thank goodness it fit because the whole “I’ll only eat air the week of my wedding” hadn’t really gone to plan. Chickfila, I’m looking at you!
I threw everything I owned into my suitcase and thundered down the stairs and then stopped.
This is my wedding day.
This is the moment Mr. H will see me in my wedding dress.
My heart started pounding.
Would he love the dress? What will he think of my hair?
I nervously went to the door where my parents were outside waiting with cameras and looked for Mr. H.
You know the scene from Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy emerges from the mist? When the music soars and it’s singlehandedly the most romantic moment in cinematic history?
That was this moment.
With the mist still faintly whisping in the air, Mr. H walked towards me down the driveway. My breathe caught as I saw him. The man I would spend the rest of my life with looked glorious. I tried to delicately walk towards him, but due to an unforeseen problem of panty hose making my feet to small for my shoes, it was more like a snail shuffling along. But the moment was perfect. My darling man even got misty eyed. Say it with me, “every girl wants a man to cry when they see her on their wedding day”. Every dream was coming true.
We kissed and I showed him the bracelet my mom gave me to wear. One that my grandma had worn on her wedding day, my mother on her wedding day and now it was my turn. I gleefully stuttered over my words as I pointed out the blue earrings my mom had also given to me to wear. Every part of the saying, “something old (my wedding dress), something new (the coat Mr. H had bought me) something borrowed (the bracelet) and something blue (my earrings) and a sixpence in your shoe (thank you Jamie for sending me a sixpence for my shoe) was fulfilled.
We bundled up, loaded up the car and set out for Pittsboro.
We got the marriage license and then had just enough time to take some pictures before the rest of the family met up with us for the ceremony.
Let me paint the picture for you. Pittsboro has this beautifull historic courthouse right in the middle of town with a roundabout around it. You want to feel like a celebrity on your wedding day? Marry a military guy in the South and trot around in the middle of town in a wedding dress during morning rush hour. The honks, waves, people coming out on balconies and cheering for us… it truly felt like a dream. The town was dazzling with it’s Christmas decorations and little shops glistening with twinkle lights. My father, who really should be a wedding photographer, graciously took hundreds of pictures of us twirling, kissing, and glowing. Mr. H and I felt like we were walking on cloud 9.
Then it was off to the Magistrates Office.
Now the lady on the phone assured me that it was a government building down the road, but that there was a detention center on the property. No big deal. It’s not like I’m getting married in a jail.
I did in fact get married in a jail.
I am crying laughing imagining your face as you read this.
When I say I’m not a detailed person, I really mean it.
My mom tried to assure me that it was okay and informed me that it used to be a landfill. Ah, so I’m getting married in a jail on top of a landfill.
I looked at my dad and asked him how bad it was on a scale of 1-hysterically crying. He said it would be a 9 for me.
How do you know you’re getting married for the right reasons? When the thought of getting married in a jail, with my mom perhaps singing “Les Miserables’, Look Down” song in the parking lot is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard.
We pulled up to the “Detention Center” and I lost it. I started crying laughing at the irony that Miss Sparkles and Rainbows is getting married in a jail. And beyond that, I didn’t even care. I was so gleeful to get married to Mr. H that who the heck cares where we get married.
After some jokes about this being the perfect location for the ‘ol ball and chain and it being a good thing that there’s police around in case Mr. H gets cold feet, we trotted into the Magistrates Office. We were so blessed to have Mr. H’s parents be able to fly in and also have my family plus my Pappa be able to be there too. Because of Covid we were only allowed to have our two witnesses in with us so we Facetimed the rest of the group so that they could watch.
As I held Mr. H’s hands and looked into his crystal blue eyes, everything was right. I always wondered how a bride and groom could look into each others eyes for so long, but I just got lost in those baby blues as we said our vows. I cried. Something I surprisingly didn’t think I would do. He slipped my grandmother’s wedding band (which was handed down to my mom who then handed it down to me) on me and I put his father’s wedding band on him. And then it was done. We were married. Husband and Wife.
Let the celebration begin.
I didn’t know what being married would feel like. Is it like a lightening bolt that hits you and suddenly you feel different? Yes. Yes. Yes. It felt/feels different and new and perfect. We floated, I mean drove, back to the historic courthouse with our families for some family pictures.
And then out of nowhere a man dressed in 1700’s garb pops out from the Courthouse.
I am smiling so big as I type this. The whole day was just filled with so many fun little God moments and this was by and large one of the best ones. We of course asked if we could take pictures with him and he was gracious enough to agree. After we got a few pictures with him he looked at us and said, “do you want to go up to the balcony?” Que me dying, fainting and squealing. I have always wanted to be like the Royals in England who, after getting married go out to the balcony at Buckingham Palace and wave. But, I’m not a princess unfortunately, so that would never happen.
That is, until I got married in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
We walked out onto the balcony like a royal couple and as cars honked and people cheered we waved.
Then my Pappa walked up and yelled at Danny, “You gotta salute young man. You gotta solute the flag”. And what Pappa wants, Pappa gets.
Lunch reservations at S&T’s was at 12:30PM so we floated down from the balcony and bustled into the cutest soda shop you’ve ever seen in your LIFE. I said Hallmark movie set before and I’ll say it again… it was unreal. The whole place was decorated for Christmas with old Christmas music playing. We laughed, ate more than we should and the famous Banana Split became our “wedding cake”.
As the day winded down and Danny and I prepared to go to our glamorous honeymoon hotel, we wanted to do one final thing. Pictures at the pond on my Pappa’s farm. Unbeknownst to me, my dad grabbed the first fishing pole he ever bought me and we headed down to the dock.
I might have said something along the lines of, “first person to catch a fish buys dinner” and while that’s not a good deal at all, Mr. H heard “first person to catch a fish” and proceeded to entirely forget we were there to take pictures. Haha!
With some sentimental photos that I’ll cherish forever and my dress getting tighter and tighter (note to self: inhaling 4 scoops of ice-cream makes for a tight dress) we departed for our honeymoon. We’ll have a big and nauseatingly glamorous honeymoon this Fall when the world opens up again, but this was perfect for us.
And while the rest of the day will forever remain privately treasured in Mr. H’s and I’s hearts… I did want to share one thing. Since I was 13 I’ve had a little journal that I’ve written in. I called it my “Dear Future Husband” journal. Filled with prayers for this mystery man, life updates and a lot of “what did my hair look like on our wedding day”. It spanned almost 15 years of my life and the night before our wedding I wrote one final entry. While all of the other entires had been addressed to my “future husband”, I could finally write, “Dear Mr. H, It is you! It has always been you”. And in the cover of it where I wrote “Christena Rose Brooks and __________” so many years ago, I could finally write his name in it. In sharpie… because this is forever okay? Haha! It was the richest blessing, the most sacred gift and reading it together will always and forever be the most special moment of my life.
The weather was glorious, the dress was magical, the day was impeccable. Having my favorite people be there was everything to me and having a wedding that was just about the two of us and nothing else was everything I ever dreamed of and so much more. I still feel like I’m floating on Cloud 9 and find myself staring at my wedding ring throughout the day. We finally get to live together and waking up to a note in my coffee cup that said, “Good morning wife” was the cherry on top.
Mr. H did propose before the wedding so I’ll definitely need to write about the perfectness of that day and of course once the engagement ring gets finished (he waited to get it set until we could do it together so that we could make sure the setting went perfectly with my wedding band) I’ll be dying to post pictures of that, but until then I think my hands have completely gone numb from typing and I want to go float around my apartment and sign lots of letters as Mrs. H. Hehe!
P.S. A wedding of some sort in the Fall is still on the books… what could be more perfect than one magical wedding? Two!