This past Sunday, was my wedding day. It was amazing. It was without a doubt the most amazing day of my entire life. I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, J—you have FOUR kids—you should probably say the day that each one of them were born should supercede something that comes way after that.”
Let me tell you something. Sharing that special day WITH my four children sitting there and watching it—is what made that day so damn special. Now, I know some of you were there, some of you saw the ceremony, some of you just made it to the reception, and some of you made it the whole way through. Some of you just saw the pictures on facebook (and since I posted so many, what possibly could you have missed, right? What you DIDN’T see, however, is what happened immediately following the ceremony.
We were married in a movie theater. Immediately before and immediately after the reception, the wedding party stayed in the “Green Room.” This room is where the ladies got their make-up touched up, their hair made perfect, and where the family waited in anticipation for the excitement to begin. This is our LIVES, you know?
So, we do the procession (very untraditionally, I might add), Brandey walks past the row of leather VIP seats holding the Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Flower Girls, and Ring Bearer—she slaps a high-five with each one, walks down the stairs with her dad—we shake hands—he wishes us well and reminds me to take care of her—then we walk front and center. I glance out into the crowd, spot a couple friends, try my hardest to avoid eye contact with my little girls (didn’t want any tears), and then the ceremony began.
This officiant was efficient. That’s about all I can say. Someone said from the start of the procession until Brandey and I were pronounced Husband and Wife only lasted nine minutes! The setting we were in allowed us to have a gigantic screen behind us where, instead of a “movie” playing, there was the beach. Throughout the ceremony, waves bounced around, with the gentle sound of the ocean waters cascading onto the rocks. When Brandey and I were pronounced Husband and Wife the ocean waters disappeared, and fireworks lit up the screen, booming through the loudspeakers. I’m not sure what it looked like from a movie theater seat…But it felt pretty amazing.
I married my best friend you guys. She calls me corny every time I really try to tell her how I feel, but—OK, you know that part in Jerry Maguire, where she tells Tom Cruise “You complete me?” I was trying to convey that kind of story for her the other night, and instead of her being ummm, gracious—she called me corny. But, in my defense—I really do feel as if she completes a part of me. I know my car would still run without the seats in it—but the seats kind of complete the whole driving experience. You feel me?
Anyways, for the guests coming to the venue, they were greeted by the Marquee outside welcoming them to “A Wedding,” starring Brandey and Jeremy Bailey. There was the red carpet, movie posters, stars on the sidewalk with the whole wedding party’s names on them. Directly inside the entrance to the left, they were greeted by Marilyn Monroe and James Dean offering to take a picture with them. I think we got the whole “theme wedding” down to an exact science with this one.
So, as we leave the theater and head back into the Green Room, the other guests go into the Reception Area. Brandey and I walk over to the long wooden table flanked by an old popcorn machine and a couch, and out of nowhere comes Ashleigh. For those of you just reading this blog because I got married, and you want to see what I have to say about being married—Let me tell you who Ashleigh is to me. She is my first child. She is a gift. I cannot describe the amount of love I have for this little girl if you gave me 24 hours and a pad of paper and a pen, and you forced me to write for the whole 24 hours. So, Ashleigh glances up at me, smiles, rushes past me, and hugs Brandey in a way I cannot describe in words. I recall seeing Ashleigh’s head and shoulders shaking, and Brandey lean down and say something to her. Then I catch a glimpse at Brandey’s face and see tears streaming down it (luckily, the make-up lady was still there).
This whole wedding was not for me. This whole wedding was not for Brandey. This whole wedding was for our family. For those of you that were invited, and actually came—we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This day had been a long time coming for Ashleigh. It had been a long time coming for Taralynn, too. Brandey and I have been together for four years! We have two children (Ella and Audrey) together and now, it seems, we have four children together.
I lean down to give Ashleigh a hug, and she doesn’t let go of Brandey but rather turns her face so I can see the tears falling down her delicate, freckled cheeks. She says “I’m so happy, daddy. I’m so happy…”
I tried my HARDEST to fight back the tears and did a fairly good job of just letting them swell up in my eyes. You see, somehow I knew this was going to happen. She told me one day last week that she had cried herself to sleep the night before. When I asked her why, she replied “Because Brandey’s going to be my mom. Well, technically step-mom, but it’s the same thing.”
Taralynn joined us in our big family hug, as the grandparents handed us our two babies, and it was an absolutely amazing feeling. I wish you could have felt how I felt right then.
As all the guests were being filtered into the Reception Area, and the new Bailey Family was trying to wipe away our tears, we prepared mentally for the rest of the evening. The Reception Area was full of family and friends sitting at huge tables draped in purple over black and white table cloths. The movie tickets and movie reels centered on the tables with the popcorn boxes topped it off. Our cake was formed to look like movie reels, as well. In keeping with the movie theme, we decided to have a fairly easy menu, as well. We served sliders (bride’s favorite), corndog nuggets, soft pretzels, beanie-weenies (groom’s favorite), chips, fruit, and a chocolate fondue. The children were introduced first, one by one and then the Bride and Groom were introduced.
I forgot how embarassed I get in front of large groups of people. The D.J. cut the music, handed me the microphone, so I could say a few words. I stammered out a “thanks for coming,” and not much else. Sorry, I’m not really good at that. I’d rather write my words down and have you read them. So…For those that came, I wanted you to realize why we wanted you there to witness our joining together as Husband and Wife. Some of you that were invited were invited because, well, you’re family. It only seemed fair, you’ve been a part of us for so long now, you might as well be there for this too. For you older relatives, we realize we’re your “babies.” You finally got to see us grow up, and become a husband…and a wife. It was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? For our younger relatives, we wanted you there for a totally different reason. We want you to realize that you can find someone you’re compatible with. You can find someone you love—and who loves you back. And you can make a promise to that person, and they in return—to love you, honor your relationship, and no matter what, be there for you. There is nothing wrong with taking it to that next level with somebody—as long as you both know what you want in life, what to expect from each other, and you are both willing to work at your life.
I invited some friends of mine from high school, some friends of mine from my old job,and some friends of mine from my current job—and they couldn’t make it. I truly wish you were there, because I feel as if I needed you to see who I am today. I wanted you to meet my bride and (or) my children. I wanted you to share in the most special day of my entire life.
I feel as if maybe I should have invited other people instead, who I thought maybe wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much—but that they’d probably come. I felt pretty awkward at the end of the night handing out our party bus passes, and one by one, my friends told me they couldn’t come. I guess I should be glad they came, at least, right? I mean, most of them knew there’d be a party bus after the reception. I just felt like, I don’t know—most of their excuses were kind of…Let me just say this—Back when I started at the Post Office I worked from 7am to 3:30pm. Do you know what I did from 10:30pm to 6am though? I night-stocked at Hen House. Yep—TWO full-time jobs. Why? Because I had a baby on the way (Do you remember Ashleigh from earlier in the story)? After I quit the Post Office, and I had eased myself back into the workforce, you know what I did? I worked at Chili’s part-time, and at AT & T full-time. I have FOUR children (TWO of which are under the age of 2 years old)! I can almost guarantee you that unless you are working 2 full-time jobs that you probably get a lot more sleep than I do. So, for an evening you’ve known about for (most of who I’m talking about) months now—you can’t stay out past 8pm? Because you have school or work in the morning? Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to comprehend that?
Some of you may have been questioning my title to this blog, and hopefully you’re starting to understand. Brandey and I had around 130 people RSVP to this pretty damn amazing wedding, but only about 90 showed up. In fact, within the last couple weeks we even got a bigger party bus, so we could include all of our friends in it. It was disheartening, to say the least, that when Brandey and I said our vows to each other, made our grand introduction, clumsily had our first dance, which led to our FAMILY DANCE to Dynamite by Taio Cruz—that so many of our friends didn’t bother to show up, or even give a heads up that they couldn’t be there.
This was a huge day in my life. It was a huge day in my family’s lives, and it was OUR parade! Unfortunately,it felt as if we had forgot our umbrella and it rained a little bit (figuratively speaking, that is). At the end of the day, we had a beautiful wedding! Everything went smoothly, my dad even put on a suit, and we got married. My kids gained a sense of a real family and that means the absolute world to me, and to us. I gained 2 brothers and one more sister, another set of parents, and an amazing new Grandmother. For those I did not (or could not because of space limitations) invite—I’m sorry you missed it.
For those of you that came for even five minutes to the wedding, or to the reception, for those of you that got us a gift(s), and for those of you that just looked at all the pictures and felt like you were there and left us a “congratulations” on our page—we are truly happy you took time out of your lives to spend some time in ours. Thank you for being there!