There are some stories you don’t want to ever forgot.
Then there are stories that you couldn’t forget, even if you wanted to. This is one of those stories.
This is the fantastical story of how Zak and I got married.
Zak and I dated for 3 years before getting engaged (more to come on that at a later time). We knew that we wanted a small, private wedding – as cost effective and simple as possible, without sacrificing any of sentimental meaning that our hearts desired. For months, we dreamed and dreamed of what the day would look like. Finally, Zak proposed the idea of ordering a greenhouse kit – we could get married in it and it would benefit us later on the farm. [*I’m pretty sure this was Bek’s idea, but happy to take credit.] WHAT A DREAM!
We planned a small ceremony in our beautiful greenhouse with our boys and parents in attendance, then a trip to Iceland afterwards to celebrate (I hate the word “honeymoon”). Zak had written a script for the ceremony, we each had written our own vows, and Zak’s dad was going to officiate the ceremony. Less than a week away from our big day, we finished building our greenhouse. It was almost midnight when we turned on the lights, illuminating the most beautiful little greenhouse – something of a dream.
Fast forward less than 24 hours: I pulled in our drive after school pickup as a storm was rolling in. I noticed a gust of wind and saw a piece of the greenhouse dislodge and go airborne. The boys and I frantically ran to try and save it. I stood inside the greenhouse, holding the doors shut as the relentless wind folded the entire greenhouse in half. To this day, we are still traumatized by wind storms. [*If I close my eyes, I can replay this day. I was at work when Bekah called me, crying hysterically. I could hardly understand what she was trying to tell me. “It’s gone. It’s all gone.” As I drove home, I tried to imagine what I would find upon my return. Maybe she’s exaggerating? Maybe, with a few days work, we can repair it? When I got home and saw the pile of rubble that was, just the night before, a beautiful sanctuary for our wedding, I learned a valuable lesson – trust and believe those you love.]
Shortly after we collected the tattered debris of the greenhouse, we got a call that Zak’s dad (our wedding officiant) was in the hospital. So, to recap: just 4 days before our scheduled wedding day, we lost our venue AND our officiant. We gathered up the bits of our heart and moved forward with a new plan. [*Pause! I feel like this paints us as some overly optimistic, positive people. Sure, we would love to be able to roll with the punches – but we aren’t those type of people. What Bek failed to mention is the deep sorrow and depression that this fallout brought with it. Superstitious or not, I would imagine that if anyone had such calamity just days before their wedding, they would start to question if this was God/karma/life/[insert spiritual power here] attempting to prevent the marriage. With literally only a few days before our flights were booked to Iceland, we were up against a wall, forced to not only pull ourselves off the ground and keep moving, but also overcome the innate fears that maybe the universe was destroying our plans for a reason. It was dark days – lots of crying and questions, very little comfort and answers.]
Our new plan was to move forward with our trip to Iceland and to marry there. We would spend our first three days scoping out a location, then we would fly our photographer up to join us for the last portion of our trip. We signed our marriage certificate with Zak’s parents and, armed with our vows, we set off on our adventure to Iceland. Three magical days went by as we traveled the magical countryside of Iceland – staying at beautiful farm B&B’s, soaking in natural hot springs surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and finally had the feeling that we were going to have a beautiful wedding after all.
The day before our photographer was scheduled to arrive in Iceland, we checked into an Airbnb, connected to WiFi, and got another blow: our photographer was at the airport getting ready to board her flight, but was being told that her flight was cancelled. We scrambled to figure out what was happening, only to find that our airline had gone bankrupt that very day! Not only could our photographer not make it to Iceland, but we had no flight home now – we were stranded! The next 24 hours are a blur as we desperately tried to figure out what to do next and how to get home. [*Insert aforementioned depression, crying and questioning here, as well.]
As life goes, the stars aligned and things ended up working out better than we could have imagined. We ended up connecting with a lovely local, who just happened to be a photographer. He and his wife opened their beautiful home to us and helped us piece together yet another revised plan for our wedding and secure a rescue flight home. We ended up exchanging vows on a cold, windy day outside a beautiful little chapel on a secluded coast of Iceland. It was nothing like what we envisioned – it was so much better.
[*Rightly so, nobody picks this story. Nobody wants their wedding day to be destroyed time and time again. But from the other side of it, I have to say – the life lessons are priceless. Nothing says ‘I do’ more than choosing to pick up the pieces of failure (sometimes literally) and keep moving forward – time and time again. Starting our marriage with such intense calamity and disappointment, we learned how to fight, together, for what we want. Oftentimes, life is not what you expect (world in 2020), but having a partner that has proven that they will stick by your side through the thick of it – that’s what marriage is about, right? That’s love. So while I would not recommend you attempt to recreate any of this story, I am glad that it is our story – I wouldn’t have it any other way.]