After a long blog hiatus, I've decided it's time to come back. I have many things that I'm excited to post about, starting with our wedding! I've written out a "recap" with a few (small) photos for today. I will be posting many more photos in the days to come...
July 7, 2012 has been permanently engraved onto my heart. The day that my love and I made a covenant before God and our families. The day that dreams came true.
While my wedding day was not "the best day of my life", it will forever be one of my most treasured memories. As weeks and months have passed, I've found that the beautiful and perfect moments from that day have become clear and focused at the forefront of my memories, while those stressful, less-than-perfect moments have become blurs in the background.
We had a number of "stressful, less-than-perfect" moments on our big day, but who doesn't, right?
Looking back, we achieved exactly what we set out to accomplish: we joined our lives in the name of God and surrounded by family. The beautiful setting, delicious food, and fabulous party were just the icing on the cake.
The day started with a moment I'll never forget. I gleefully woke up and got a big hug from mom and enjoyed everyone's excitement over it finally being "the day"! Those things were delightful, but expected. But as I stood in the doorway of my family's hotel room trying to figure out what to do first, my handsome groom suddenly appeared from behind and gave me a huge "wedding day hug".
It caught me entirely off guard and washed away all the nerves that had begun building in my stomach. (He and his family were staying in the same hotel just down the hall and we had always planned to see each other the morning of the wedding, just not once we started getting ready.)
The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. I remember getting lots done in a short amount of time and then enjoying a quick soak in the bathtub while trying to ignore the chaos right outside the bathroom door.
I headed to the beauty salon pretty early for some forced relaxation as I laid back and let someone work on my nails while someone else began curling my hair. After a few hours my mom and my sister arrived to the salon with my dress and the countdown began.
We experienced several of those "stressful, less-than-perfect" moments at the beauty salon, but I'll just let those continue slipping into the dark, deep crevices of my memories. :)
I'll never forget seeing my mom and sister come up the stairs of the salon, hair freshly done and dresses on. They both looked breathtakingly beautiful.
Once we were back at the hotel, with less than an hour to go, the "real" nerves set in. I remember walking up and down the hall of our hotel room in a frenzy and having water bottles thrust at me. My dad finally took me downstairs to wait just outside of the room where the wedding would take place.
I will never forget those moments with my daddy. As we listened to the ring bearer and flower girls make their way down the aisle, my dad said all the right things to keep me calm, excited, and confident.
Finally, the big moment arrived. We got our cue and began the walk down the aisle.
For months I had been telling myself to remember to look at the groom as soon as we entered. I was desperate not to miss the look on his face when he first saw me. And it was a look I will never, ever forget. In that moment I knew, once again, that this was truly the man for me. A man that loves me and cherishes me, much more than I deserve.
After being given away by our parents, the ceremony began. We are extremely blessed that our pastor is my husband's uncle and a very special person in our lives. Having him marry us was a dream come true. The personal touches he brought to our ceremony were cherished and special.
Reciting our vows was one of the best moments of my life. It was a moment that I wished would never end. Our vows (and entire ceremony) were in Spanish, but I've translated them to English...
His vows to me:
Laura, on this special day for us I want to tell you how important you are to me.
From the first time I met you, you found a place deep in my heart.
As we began getting to know each other more, I began to realize that you were the one for me.
And from today on, you're going to be my wife - the most important person in my life.
I hope that our future is blessed by God and that we always follow His path.
Thank you for being mi preciosa. I love you.
Laura, today I receive you as my wife. Before God and our families, I promise to be at your side from today on, to support you, to respect you, and to love you, in the good and in the bad, in richness and in poorness, in health and in sickness, and to be faithful to you forever, according to the holy ordinance of God. I love you.
My vows to him:
Mauricio, when I was thinking about what to say to you today, the most important day of my life, my mind filled with many wonderful memories.
I remember the first day we met. You were laughing at something and I felt that I would give anything to hear you laugh again.
I remember the times that we stayed up all night talking on the phone. And when we used up all of our phone credit because we fell asleep without hanging up.
I remember our first kiss. In the least expected place, but it was a perfect and unforgettable moment.
Today I remember a wonderful past that allows me to dream of an even better future, with you at my side and the Lord uniting us and guiding us.
You are the great love of my life. My first love and my last love. Thank you for filling my life with happiness, love, and many more laughs.
Mauricio, today I receive you as my husband. Before God and our families, I promise to be at your side from today on, to support you, to respect you, and to love you, in the good and in the bad, in richness and in poorness, in health and in sickness, and to be faithful to you forever, according to the holy ordinance of God. I love you.
After the vows, our uncle asked us to kneel and he prayed for us. This was one of the most important parts of the wedding and very special to us. And with that, we kissed, received congratulations, and rushed off to get photos taken.
The rest of the night was a joyous celebration with our family and friends. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, danced until our feet ached, and basked in the joy of being surrounded by family that loves us.
Despite the (numerous) hiccups, it was a magical night that I will never forget. The candlelight gently illuminated the tables and conversation, just as I had dreamed. The crystals hanging above our heads bounced shimmery lighting throughout the room, just as I had hoped. And the entire room seemed to softly glow and sparkle, just as I had imagined. Laughter and dance music filled the air and people filled the dance floor.
Of the many comments I've received about our wedding, one sticks out to me. I confided in a cousin about some of my disappointments and concerns and asked for her take on it, as a guest. She told me that the wedding was beautiful and perfect and that there was only one thing wrong with it - it had to end. She told me that the only thing she would have changed would have been to be able to stay longer and keep celebrating and dancing and laughing.
The wedding is over. Gifts have been opened, thank-you notes sent, and new weddings are being planned and taking place. But our marriage is just beginning. And THAT is the true dream come true. :)
More photos to come soon...
Friday, April 13, 2012
Hi all! It's been awhile! I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Easter! (In Bolivia we celebrate the whole week - "Holy Week").
We've officially started handing out wedding invitations so I thought I'd share some photos on the blog! I did these 100% on my own and couldn't be happier with that decision. Aside from saving some money, it feels great knowing that my hands touched each and everyone one of the invitations and they were assembled with great care and love.
Aside from invites, I've been working on my 'wedding oufit' - jewelry, tiara, etc. I can't say much about that here, though, because Mauricio does look at my blog from time to time! :)
The biggest thing on my list is decorations. That's another thing I decided to take on myself rather than hiring out. I've got some pretty high expectations so it's turning out to be a big job! I ended up moving it to the very bottom of the list so I can get give it my sole attention once everything else is complete.
I've managed to avoid looking at/thinking about immigration stuff. I've stopped scouring the internet for stories, advice, etc. and have just checked our status on the government website a few times a month. No changes yet. On the list of recently approved petitions are many November/December/January applications. We're a mid-December application, so hopefully our time is coming soon!
In closing, the verse we put on our wedding invitations. Significant not only due to its relevance to our situation (my living in a foreign country!), but also because my parents used it at their wedding :)
Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live.
Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.