June 20, 2019. I’d like to be like a cliché woman here and say it was the best day of my life, but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing but it wasn’t the best. Here’s why. On January 14, 2018 Shaun proposed to me. I was on such a natural high I never thought I would come down. We ate take-out or went out to eat for over a week after that because I couldn’t figure out how to use my hands or get my brain to think about anything but the fact that we were engaged. We went out to eat after he proposed and I looked over at Shaun and said, “This is the best day of my entire life”. And he responded, “It’s definitely a great one, but it’s not the best”. Honestly, I was puzzled and kind of offended. What has topped this?! But he went on to explain, “Our first date was the best day of my life…” Were the lamb chops really that great?! “…because without that day we wouldn’t have this one.” So, that forever changed the way I thought about the best day of my life. That being said, it wasn’t the best but it was perfect. Here’s how it unfolded.
Shaun and I had our entire wedding planned and paid for by last summer, almost a year in advance. It’s very easy to do when you make a plan, execute it, and you only have 2 guests and they’re you. 😂 We were certain we wanted to elope, almost immediately. I wrote a whole post about that here. We were definitely treated differently for the decision we made but it was our decision and we were confident. Leading up to the wedding we would talk to our parents about our big day and about our dance lessons we were taking and we could hear the excitement in their voices knowing how happy we were but also the underlying sadness.
So two weeks before the big day I posed a question to Shaun that I thought would for sure get me in a lot of trouble. I asked him how he felt about inviting our parents. He looked at me like I was crazy and then we decided to call them up and tell them we were going to fly them out to see us get married. They were elated. (My mom secretly already had a ticket to watch us get married from the bushes but I had to re-book it because she only had herself in New York for 4 hours. 😂)
Shaun and I flew into New York on the morning of Tuesday June 18th, checked in at The Empire hotel, and headed to City Hall to get our marriage license. In New York you must have your marriage license 24 hours before the ceremony but just to be safe we went two days before. I highly recommend this because you never know what can happen. For a traditional wedding you usually get it more in advance than that but if you’re traveling to elope and you don’t have a back-up plan just make sure you know the state laws where you are. After we were done with all of our paperwork and the necessary stuff we went to see Pretty Woman on Broadway, which is something I’ve been looking forward to since they announced the premiere of the show.
The next morning I went to Blo Blow Dry Bar to get a blowout. I did my own hair on my wedding day but I wanted to have a good blowout as a base. Shaun and I walked around the city and explored until we had to meet up with our officiant to go over the ceremony details. We were supposed to have a helicopter tour but the rain and fog was so bad it got canceled. We just hung out for awhile before we headed off to Carbone for a late dinner. The waiter gave us Jordan almonds and explained to us that in Italian culture five Jordan almonds signify five wishes for the bride and groom: health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity. We split them on the way home after midnight so it would officially be our wedding day.
June 20, 2019 we woke up around 6am because our parents flights were due to be in. My dad and Shaun’s parents were coming from Michigan so they were on the same flight, while my mom and stepdad were on a flight from Charlotte. Shaun’s dad ended up calling me to let me know they were extremely delayed due to the weather but my mom and stepdad arrived on time so we brought them with us to run a few errands. We had gone to pick up Shaun’s tux the day before and they had sent the wrong size to the store so we had to re-order it and have it overnighted. We had called all morning to see if it was ready yet and the woman kept telling us that it wouldn’t be until sometime in the afternoon. But our wedding was in the afternoon. So we showed my mom and stepdad the 9/11 memorial and the Freedom Tower, and headed off to JoS. A. Bank because one way or another we were leaving with a tux. 😂
When we arrived we literally saw the FedEx guy walking in and I was like omg! do you have a tux that was overnighted?! When he said yes I almost broke down in tears. We grabbed Shaun’s tux and headed back to the hotel to meet Shaun’s parents. We got everyone checked into their rooms, and headed out to grab lunch and explore some more. Before we knew it it was time to get ready. Like, we were running extremely late. If you know me you won’t be surprised by this because I’m late to everything so it’s only fitting I’m late to my own wedding.
Shaun, my dad, and his parents left the hotel after getting ready and went to meet the officiant. My mom and I took a separate cab and walked to the meeting spot in Central Park. The rain had temporarily let up while I was walking down the steps. But as soon as I got underneath the covering it started to downpour. It rained like I’d never seen before. People were rushing underneath to take cover and silently listening to us say our vows. There were over 200 strangers watching us get married in this beautiful, intimate moment, and when we were done saying our vows there was a huge crash of thunder that I could feel in my bones.
We signed our marriage certificate, took photos, and then headed off to get pizza at our favorite spot: John’s of Bleecker! After dinner we had a limo pick us up and take us back to the hotel. We dropped our parents off at the door and told the driver to take us around the block since we still had it for a bit longer. I had just heard from too many people that the day flies by and they don’t get to soak it all in, and I wanted that moment. So we rolled the windows down in the back of the limo and I had my arm out the window feeling the humid breeze as we drove around, and I cried.
It’s a very surreal moment once you realize one chapter of your life has ended and a new one has begun. People said it wouldn’t feel different to be married and I worried that it wouldn’t because we’ve lived together for so long and we’ve accomplished so much as a couple. But it does feel different, in the best way possible. And it really took that moment of driving around and being in the moment of the day with Shaun to really let that sink in. I was so glad we did that.
But I didn’t want the night to be over so my dad and stepdad went to bed and we took my mom and Shaun’s parents to a bar nearby and had a few drinks and then walked around Times Square until about 2am. We had a blast exploring and showing them the city we love.
It was a great day. We were sweaty, our feet were sore, and our day looked a lot different than most people’s day, but it was ours. And it was perfect.