Happy adoption day to Huckleberry Finn! <3
Almost 11 years ago, Nathanial Root told me on our first date that while he loved photography, he would never become a portrait photographer because photographing people was “too awkward.”
Not even a year later, Brian Adams hired Nate right out of college for some help with his web design, which in turn led to Nate coming along to assist at some of Brian’s weddings, which then led to Nate’s roommate asking him to be his wedding photographer. Got it? Good. :)
It was nine years ago today that Nathanial photographed his first wedding.
Oh, the lessons we learned from this wedding, from needing to bring double the memory cards and batteries he’d budgeted for to the hard lesson of not ever, ever, ever following a member of the bridal party to the reception and navigating yourself. (Of course, this was before our phones could navigate and we owned a GPS!) Nate was so glad I was there to be able to help when he was stressed, and I came along to his next wedding as an assistant, and the next, and the next… :)
I was so thankful Nate had put so many hours in assisting Brian and can’t imagine the mistakes we would have made those first few weddings without seeing how Brian worked first. He was the best mentor we could have asked for, and I know so many things we still do today stem from his example.
While I’ll forever cringe at photos from our first weddings (not the photos, but the editing. Ohhhhh, the editing!), I’m still so proud that Nate, who never ever wanted to photograph people, took a chance and photographed Bethany and Mike’s wedding. I can’t even begin to imagine where our life would be now otherwise!
Bethany and Michael, thank you for taking a chance on my sweet husband. And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! <3
After our wedding, my brand new husband and I took a train back to New York for our honeymoon. Neither of us had been and it was just the most magical. There was nothing like walking around New York City for the first time ever on Christmas Day- Everything was decorated, but the city was practically a ghost town because everything was closed. I was a little sick but didn’t care, and Nathanial was my husband and all was right with the world.
Brian met up with us in Central Park for a few more portraits before we headed back to sunny Florida.
These are all my favorites. <3
There’s a line in Miracle on 34th street where Santa tells Mr. Bedford, “In all my troubles past, and all my troubles yet to come, I’ll never find a better friend.” We never say it enough, but Brian, that’s exactly how we feel about you. Second to getting married, the only thing that mattered to us on our wedding day was having you there! Thank you for your unwavering friendship, and essentially being responsible for not only our wedding day, but our careers. We love you too much. <3
And to wrap up too long a story, here are some of my favorite photos Nathanial grabbed from our honeymoon. <3
And we lived happily ever after. The end! <3
(Continued from our engagement story posted here.)
Our wedding day was perfect.
But before I get to that- It was December 19, 2007 when Brian Adams (our good friend, photographer, mentor, and future wedding officiant) and I were chatting on Google Talk. I don’t remember what time of day it was, but if memory serves me right, Orlando was in the 70’s and I hadn’t been around snow in years. Brian was visiting his mom in Connecticut for Christmas and told me it had just snowed, and I got the craziest idea- Or, maybe Brian suggested it? I honestly don’t remember! But somehow our casual conversation turned from “Hello! Merry Christmas!” to “So you would be totally ok marrying us in the snow next weekend?” in maybe 15 minutes flat.
Basically, it takes us 30 minutes to pick a restaurant for dinner, but 15 minutes to pick a wedding date, state, and location. :)
My favorite day of the year has always been Christmas Eve. *Cue dramatic violin music* On Christmas Day, someone was always crying or fighting or left out (yes, I have middle child syndrome, ok?!), but not on Christmas Eve! Everyone was so happy and excited and on their best behavior. I love that the day purely consisted of spending time together and looking at holiday lights and waiting until the end of the evening to open that one present we scouted out all month. Christmas, on the other hand, could go either way. Soooooo, if we were to get married on my favorite day of the year, we had 5 days to figure something out! Nate was totally on board and before I knew it, plane tickets were bought for December 23rd.
The next three days were crazy- First, we told our Moms the plan and asked them to keep it a secret. Nate made sure the logistics were settled- Like, you know, making sure we can get a same-day marriage liscence in Connecticut and more importantly, that the office would be open on Christmas Eve! We went to the mall and spent a whole $75 on Nathanial’s wedding band, and Mom gave me one of her rings to use.
Brian suggested we have the ceremony in a state park near his Mom’s place that would involve a little bit of a hike in some snow, which meant my wedding gown was a no-go. If you’ve been a blog reader for a while, you know about my Lorie (you can read about her wedding in Africa here!) However badly I felt about our parents not seeing us get married, I felt a hundred times worse not having my best friend there. I thought she’d be furious, but she couldn’t have been more supportive! Lorie helped me track down my wedding ensemble- I wore a simple cream colored sweater and pants. The evening before Nate and I flew out, Lorie and I scoured a very crowded mall for a wedding-appropriate coat. We couldn’t find anything, and then at the last minute (literally- the manager had started pulling down the security gate to close the store), we rushed into White House Black Market and found my perfect wedding coat. Dad had sent me $200 for Christmas, and I think my coat came to $200.11. Their credit card machine was down, but the manager even waived the $0.11 that neither of us had on hand!
Mom drove us to the airport and after a teary goodbye, we were off to get married! Landed in New York, took a train to Hamden, and spent the last 30 minutes of daylight driving around with Brian to find a specific wedding location. We were driving around the edge of a park when I saw the cutest little bridge in the distance and said, “That’s it!” Brian laughed because that was the exact spot he was going to suggest. :)
Then it was our wedding day! We woke up together and had breakfast and mimosas with Brian’s family. I did my own hair and makeup in the same room as Nate while he shaved, I put on my sweater and we had a little impromptu first look in the hallway; it was my favorite because it wasn’t planned at all! Brian happened to be in the hallway with his camera. :)
We got our marriage license and drove to Sleeping Giant State Park. Nathanial had never looked so handsome. <3
I was acceptable. :)
The biggest item on my list I never had time to do? Find my wedding shoes! These were my “something borrowed” from Lorie, which she since let me keep and now they’re the most special things I own. <3
We walked out to our little snowy bridge, Brian set up a tripod, and we started our ceremony. I asked my Mom to “give me away” over the phone. She was so sweet- I didn’t know until after our ceremony that in the midst of saying her speech, she was so focused and emotional that she accidentally locked herself out of the house! :)
We had the most fun ceremony ever- I cannot recommend enough having someone you love (and who loves you!) officiate your wedding. :) We had nothing scripted, but Brian had letters from a couple friends and family members to read. Between the three of us we’d seen just a few weddings, so we kinda knew the jist- Vows, rings, kiss, etc.
Brian stepped back and let us privately exchange our vows. <3
My favorite photo of us, ever. Brian, I can never thank you enough.
Final (and much less interesting) chapter coming soon. <3
We’d been together for two years when on Christmas morning, Nate got on one knee and asked me to be his wife. We were BABIES! I mean, look at us! <3
And look at MY HUCK! :)
While I might not remember every sweet thing Nathanial said in his proposal, I’ll never forget how shaky his voice was when he asked me to be his wife. Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas is Coming” was playing in the background, Huck at our feet, and the Christmas tree lights made my ring extra sparkly. :) In a time when proposals have become such a production, it was extra special that Nate knew exactly what I needed- something sweet, genuine, and most importantly, private. (*Cough*FORESHADOWING*Cough.*)
We spent our engagement day seeing family to share the news, calling friends, and staring at the most beautiful engagement ring. We were sitting on the couch when Nate first asked the question- Reality and budgets aside, what kind of wedding would we want? We never went ring shopping and I wasn’t prodding him to get on one knee- The proposal had caught me completely by surprise, so I certainly hadn’t dreamt of our wedding. Being his wife, of course, but a bride? Never.
Only a few hours engaged and we both decided if we could have it our way, we’d elope. We knew that wasn’t gonna happen with our families, especially because we were the first kid on each side to get married. We immediately joked that the perfect scenerio would be a private ceremony on an island or something with our families on a boat watching from afar- We could have the private ceremony we both wanted, but they could also sort of still be there. The next year brought a plethora of off-the-wall wedding plans, from throwing a surprise wedding to a Christmas in July themed country club wedding. (Because nothing says Christmas like your guests sweating at an outdoor July Floridian ceremony while sipping hot cocoa!)
After a year or so of being engaged and flip flopping around what we wanted to do, we finally mailed adorable save-the-date cds with our favorite songs and a loose plan for our guests: We were going to marry in the morning but we’d love to celebrate with them at our evening reception. My wedding dress was purchased, Casa Feliz booked for the party. December 16th was good to go, all we needed to book was our ceremony venue!
We finally decided on having our private ceremony at The Tampa Theatre, a theatre built in 1926 for silent movies. This place is gorgeous, and my only elopement regret was not being able to use this stunning venue.
Then the not fun part happened: Life. Family drama, my parents’ messy divorce, more family drama, and an increasingly large reception bill we were mostly footing ourselves- A party we were throwing just to make everyone else happy. But it seemed the more we tried making everyone else happy, the more push back we got. No one was happy, especially us. I was crying myself to sleep all the time. Friends asking about how wedding plans were coming along made me physically nauseous.
We kept finding ourselves saying things like, “If we could do it all over again…” and, “I wish we’d just eloped.” I was only a few months out from our wedding day and dreading every second of it. It wasn’t until Nate and I were up late working on our wedding invitations that I completely lost it- It took a 2am breakdown for us to realize this isn’t working. This isn’t us. Something had to change.
And so, instead of sending out wedding invitations, we sent out handwritten “Sorry- We’re actually eloping” notes. I think I said it best in a note to my aunt, “You know when you’re on the freeway and there’s a bad accident up ahead and you take the first exit to avoid the mess? That accident is our wedding and we’re eloping to avoid the mess.” Most everyone we told was incredibly supportive and understanding. My mom knew how upset I was and completely saw it coming, others, not so much. I had to come to peace with the fact that no matter what we did, someone was going to be hurt. But we could take control of the situation and make *ourselves* happy. You know, because it’s our wedding and all that I cared about was becoming Nathanial’s wife.
We decided to take the holidays easy and elope on Leap Day, which was our 4 year dating anniversary. We’d have Brian Adams, our best friend and wedding photographer, marry us as well. That was all fine and dandy until December 19th, when Brian was visiting his Mom in Connecticut for the holidays. When he told me it had just snowed, I got the craziest idea… :)
Wedding day story tomorrow, kids! <3