Happy Anniversary

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Tomorrow is our 9th wedding anniversary. This past weekend, Brett’s been sick so while he was napping, I noticed our wedding album sitting under the coffee table. I took it out and was flipping through the memories from a cold, icy night in Milwaukee back in 2008, as we were surrounded by our family and closest friends.

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Brett (in black) with his groomsmen enjoy a celebratory drink during the reception.
Our wedding was held in the rooftop party space at a small boutique hotel in downtown. We only invited about 40 people since we were paying for the entire night ourselves. We didn’t want to start our marriage off going into wedding debt.

I made all of the invites, wedding favors for the guests and table centerpieces. A colleague of mine took all of the photos (thanks Erin!) Our ceremony and reception music was all on an iPod playlist. My flowers were silks because I didn’t want to pay for something that was eventually going to die; I wanted something I could keep as well as for all my bridesmaids to have a token of my deep love and friendship for them. My wedding dress was actually a bridesmaid dress, and instead of tuxes, the men all wore traditional Filipino barongs, a gift that Brett gave to his favorite guys. The one thing we splurged on was the food and cake. To this day, some of our guests still comment on how awesome the food was.

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Mickey-themed wedding cake by Simma’s Bakery in Wauwatosa, WI. It actually matched the wedding invites.
It may not have been perfect to some people, like one of my family members was mad that I switched to sneakers after the ceremony. (If anyone truly knows me, they know that I’m most comfortable in a comfy pair of sneaks). We knew that we were never going to please all of our family members or our friends. We just had to please ourselves. It was our day, and it was entirely perfect to us.

In the back of the album, our vows were printed:

Today, I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.

I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort.

I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of my life.

I had honestly forgot our vows, even though, we wrote them together. But, after 9 years, it’s amazing at how true those vows are and that we have been able to live up to them.

I look back at the photos from that special day, and those two people seem like strangers to me in a way. I feel so far removed from that person. It seems like a lifetime ago. Sometimes, I don’t know if we’ll ever laugh like those people were in the photo below. The time that has passed has naturally aged us. We’ve gained (and lost and gained) weight, we’ve developed new wrinkles on our faces, bags under our eyes, and streaks of gray in our hair. Our troubles no longer are about those early days of marriage and if we’ll survive as newlyweds but if our marriage can survive one of the cruelest heartbreaks and losses that two people can ever endure.

This year has thrown at us sorrow and struggle like we could never have imagined. Finding solace in our love has helped us grow stronger. I truly thing we have both lived up to our to those vows that we uttered on that frigid February years ago, if not more, and I wouldn’t want to be on this life’s journey with anyone else but you.

Thanks to Erin Bowers in Milwaukee for the photos and memories of our wedding.

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The Hon. Janine Geske, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court judge and current professor at Marquette University, presided over our ceremony.
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