From the outside looking in, Facebook makes it seem like lots of people I know have the perfect marriages and just love “doing life together.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen that phrase thrown about of late. For anyone outside the church world it translates as, “I really like living with you and doing stuff together even though I don’t like you sometimes.” But I know enough to realize that no relationship is perfect, least of all ours, and it’s been a hell of a first year. Everyone says the first year is the hardest and we decided to challenge that notion by taking it to “eleven” and throwing two home remodel projects into the mix. In hindsight, this was idiotic and we should have maybe waited until the second year…put less energy into our house and more energy into each other type of thing. We’re figuring this messy business out as we go along, and hopefully in the process of doing that, will learn each other in different ways and laugh a lot at our mistakes.
One thing that has carried us through this year is the memory of our wedding and the week when friends and family descended on Long Island to be with us as we made this big, scary life decision. Being with my girlfriends, going to the Hamptons, eating Briermere Pies, and soaking up every ounce of summer the North Fork could offer…my heart aches when I think of the happiness it brought to my soul. I get choked up when I look back at the pictures.
More than anything, it was my hope that our friends from out of town would get to see how incredibly beautiful the East End is, so we drove them around the North Fork and then took them down south for a day in the Hamptons. We visited the Montauk Lighthouse and went to Bridgehampton Beach at the end of Ocean Road where the waves were rolling in.
The rehearsal dinner was held at the Soundview Restaurant and the sunset was everything we hoped it would be.
Photo by Solomon Davis
Photo by Ashley Thomas
The morning of, we all drank some coffee, steamed dresses, and put makeup on as I tried not to be sick while brushing my teeth. The house we stayed in was a dream.
All Photos: Kimberly Barnes of Kimberly Barnes Photography
The only time I cried was when Jane brought the flowers. I used to work at a flower shop and have been dreaming of this bouquet for years. Jane is a talented designer who used to own the Greenport florist and is a sweet friend who introduced me to Hugh Prestwood and Nancy Lee Baxter as a teenager when I was really into songwriting. I thought they hung the moon. The bouquets were even more beautiful than I’d hoped and so much love went into making them.
I bought the shells at The Iron Gate in Franklin years ago and had been saving them for my wedding bouquet. The dusty miller came from mom and dad’s yard, the seedum came from Jane’s, and the dahlia’s came from a field down the street…all were lovingly cultivated for the bouquets. A little bit of Tennessee and a little bit of home.
I spent hours putting the place cards together at mom and dad’s dining room table using pieces of sea glass that Rob and I had found on the North Fork, along with shells that came from my great Aunt Jeanne’s collection. It was humbling to say prayers of thankfulness over each name, grateful for these special people in our lives, some of whom were sacrificing a lot to be there with us.
These are some of the most gorgeous women and oldest friends I have on this planet and their beauty took my breath away.
The guys were pretty hot too…
Brecknock Hall was this amazing backdrop, steeped in North Fork history. We could not have found a more perfect place to celebrate. There are so many special moments of magic that I remember, I could go on for days…
And when the wedding was over, there was just us, living our lives from day to unglamorous day with this incredible memory to smile back on. I will always think of it as one of the happiest days ever, being home, surrounded by the people we love most in the world.
And so we press on…working on our marriage, loving our pets, fixing our house, savoring every joyful moment, and going back to the North Fork as often as life allows.