Remembering Our Wedding Day

Written August 10, 2004.

The Love Story
I was one of those people who happened to have luck with online personals. Almost everyone I had met became a good friend, good acquaintance, or someone to casually date. I had only met one scary person, someone who had never dated who wanted to marry me on the first date. But besides him, I found the others pleasant company.

In the Summer and Fall of 2000, I dated someone I met through the personals whom I was very fond of, but after he found his dream job in Kentucky and had to move immediately, the relationship ended abruptly. I decided not to date anyone for a while and was growing a little skeptical that I would ever find the right person. In November, I got a surprising e-mail in response to a personal ad I had placed on Yahoo! Personals. The surprise was that the message came from a woman named Erika. She told me that she was e-mailing for a friend of hers named Jeff who would never think of responding to personal ads himself. She proceeded to describe a "mountain man" type who was funny, mature, kind, somewhat shy, and intelligent. Although this guy Jeff sounded great, I was hesitant to respond to someone who was responding for someone else, so I ignored the message. About a month later she e-mailed me again and said "I'm sorry to bother you but I really think you should meet my friend Jeff." At that point I decided I had nothing to lose, and figured there might be something to this woman's persistence. I told Erika to give Jeff my e-mail address.

I knew from the beginning of our correspondence, that Jeff was exactly the kind of person Erika had described. He was very sincere and kind, and seemed to care about everything I said, even if it wasn't very important. After about a month of corresponding through e-mails, Jeff sent me tea roses on my Birthday on January 12, 2001. I called him that evening to thank him for the roses, and thought he had the kindest and gentlest voice of anyone I had ever known. After an interesting and funny conversation, we decided to meet that weekend.

Jeff called me on the day we were supposed to meet so that we could decide whether or not we should meet considering there was a snow storm that day (Martin Luther King Day). Despite that it was freezing cold and snowing, we decided to meet anyway, at a mall in Nashua NH. I had seen a picture of Jeff that was slightly old, and pictured him in a hat, so I didn't have a real picture of what he looked like. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to pick him out of the crowd, as I was sure the mall would be crowded as it usually is during snowy weather. When I arrived at the mall, I picked him out instantly -- he was hiding behind a Linux magazine. I went over to him and gave him a big hug. We were both so happy to see each other and hugged for a while. At the mall, we were like old friends -- it felt as if we had known each other for years instead of a month, and we talked about everything. Jeff seemed to see the future a while before I could. I seemed to find every excuse I could think of, he was either too nice, too short, too young, I thought there must be something wrong with him because he loved me so much. After going through some painful relationships, I don't think my heart wanted to see that Jeff was different and that he was the One. But there does come a time when the heart knows, and one day everything just clicked. Jeff taught me what real love is.
Jeff proposed to me on February 14, 2002 and put my engagement ring in a huge box of chocolates. On August 10, 2002, we were married.
The Wedding
Most women remember their wedding day with tears of joy, even if things didn’t quite go as planned. Whenever Jeff and I remember our wedding day we look at each other and say “Thank God that’s over.” How romantic.

From the beginning we knew that it wouldn’t be the wedding of our dreams, we couldn’t afford such an extravagant event. But we knew we had to get this formality out of the way. So we settled on a simple short and sweet ceremony and reception aboard the Casablanca cruise boat in Casco Bay, Portland Maine. Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to spend planning the wedding, we thought we planned it as well as we could. We decided to stay at the Portland Regency, even though it was expensive ($250 per night), it was right in the middle of everything in Downtown Portland, and we thought that would make for a nice 4 day honeymoon also. The night before we left for Portland, we made sure we had everything including enough money for our stay at the hotel (Jeff transferred all the money we needed the day before to his checking account), but I had the sinking feeling we were forgetting something or that something was wrong. Call it woman’s intuition or whatever.

We got to the hotel, I paid for my mother’s stay at the same hotel with cash, so she was all set. We went to pay for our room, and Jeff’s debit/credit card got declined. Since I had spent all my money on my mother’s two day stay at the hotel, I couldn’t help out at that point. Jeff called his bank to ask what the problem was, since he made the transfer the previous night. According to the credit union, the problem would be cleared up later in the day. So we waited. We decided to spend some time in Portland with my mother, having lunch and exploring the downtown area. Luckily the hotel was nice enough to hold our room until 7pm. We went down to the front desk at 7pm, and just as we get there the person at the desk said, “Its all been taken care of.” By that, we assumed, Jeff’s card had gone through. Jeff asked if that was the case and we were told it was declined again but that our entire stay at the hotel was completely paid for. Jeff and I looked at each other confused and almost in unison we replied, “BY WHO????” We didn’t know anyone in either of our families who could afford it. The person at the desk replied, “David Berg.” Uncle David was my deceased Aunt’s first love, and our Justice of the Peace for our wedding. Somehow, by some stroke of luck, he happened to call the hotel and take care of our bill at exactly the same time we needed it paid, or we would have had to go back to New Hampshire. It was his wedding gift to us. We couldn’t believe what a wonderful gift we had just been given. When I asked him later why he gave us such an expensive gift he said, “Well, I paid for your sister’s DJ for her wedding, but you already had one.” To him it was a simple gesture, but it meant more than anything anyone had ever done for us at that moment. Whenever I think about it, my eyes still fill up with tears.

On the day of the wedding, nothing seemed to go right. Jeff’s boss Erika, my Maid of Honor (who really did nothing to deserve that position except introduce me to Jeff two years before) called bright and early that morning to tell me she needed an appointment to get her hair done and needed me to make the appointment for her at the place I was getting my hair done. I had given her the number to call them a month before but she never called. Those who know how Erika’s business is run know that this is typical of her to procrastinate. So I called the salon and actually managed to get an appointment for her. An hour later the salon called to tell me that the hair dresser who was supposed to do Erika’s hair is out sick and that only one of us could have an appointment. Considering it was my wedding day, I decided to keep my appointment. Jeff kindly informed Erika of this, and got yelled at and hung up on. At that point I didn’t even know if my own Maid of Honor was coming to my wedding – up until she arrived (late) I had no idea. Luckily, my friend Lisa who I should have made my Maid of Honor, stepped into the role just when I needed someone to help. Lisa helped my sister, my mother and Jeff’s mom do some last minute preparations on the boat. When everyone else was a nervous wreck, she was the only one thinking straight so she was a HUGE help. When Erika finally did arrive, she would not speak to me throughout the entire wedding, and refused to smile for pictures. Luckily we had an excellent photographer who had the ability to make people look happy when they actually weren’t.

The most exciting part of the evening was my Grandmother’s rumor. Even at a wedding she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. She made sure to tell the guests, every chance she got, that the reason why Uncle David paid for the hotel stay was because the hotel called the police on us after Jeff’s credit card got declined for the second time, and he had answered the phone (he is a detective for a police department in Maine). I think the reason why she decided to make up the rumor was because she knew that my REAL Uncle would never have helped us out like my Uncle David did, and my Uncle Kenny (my “real” uncle) is everything to her so she had to make herself feel better by making my real uncle look better. This is the same woman who still refers to the time my Uncle spent in jail for 8 years as “when he was in college” (apparently he majored in Cocaine and minored in Heroin). Denial is not just a river in Egypt. The sad part is I actually believed the rumor for a while that evening, which made me very upset. Then my Uncle David assured me that it was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard and asked me why I still listened to my Grandmother. Good question. I think that was the last time I did believe her.

In retrospect, I wish we had gone with Jeff’s idea of playing Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” at the reception and thrown my Grandmother overboard. And part of me wishes we had eloped. Neither of our families talk to each other, and even though that can make holidays difficult, I can understand why and its probably for the best.

I’ve only been married to Jeff for two years, but it feels like eternity. That’s not a bad thing. But in the past two years our patience, our beliefs, and our bond have been tested many times. We’ve stayed together through a few deaths in our families, unemployment, financial strain, fights, etc. And after all is said and done, we still love each other. When we can manage to look past all the difficulties, we still look at each other like we did the day we met. I hope we can hang on to that for quite a while. I asked him the other day if he thought we would be together for another two years. He said with a smile, “Probably not.”

Happy Anniversary.

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