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A Good Romance: 10-Year Wedding Anniversary




Today is my 10th wedding anniversary!


Justin and I met in high school and started dating in college. When we were kids, it seemed like we had known each other foreverrrrr before we started dating and had been together foreverrrrr before we got married. (Back then, "forever" meant a few years.) Now we have a six-year-old daughter and homeowners insurance. How'd that happen?

Justin and I have always valued fun, creativity, and authenticity over perfection, and I'm happy to say that, looking back, our party/prep/wedding pictures display those values. Our photos were taken by photojournalists, which means less Photoshop magic and more silly candid shots. Prettiness is inevitable in a crowd of young people in the springtime, but our photographers did truly beautiful work capturing the excitement and raw emotion and true memories of the events.

We started the festivities with a coed bachelor[ette] party in our downtown slum apartment, which also served as the accommodations for guests who had traveled from out of town. It was not fancy, but it sure was fun!

We didn't have much seating, so we got cozy with each other.


We didn't have a stripper jumping out of a cake or anything, but we were easily amused by each other. Our high school friends got to know college friends... very well, in a restricted amount of time and space.


As you can see, this is back when we had to make our own Cards Against Humanity by writing offensive things on the blank Apples to Apples cards.


In lieu of a seedy night out on the town, we had a seedy night in and hogtied one of the bridesmaids in bondage gear. (Cue: "My House" by Flo Rida.)


Justin and I booked a hotel room for ourselves (on that curly cord phone! LULZ) and left our friends to divvy up bed, couch, and floor sleeping space among themselves. We made sure to leave plenty of decadent foods and beverages. The "mini bar" was free and everything.

The next day, we had the main event! We invited family members to contribute in all sorts of creative ways. Nonna (known at that time as Mother of the Groom) made wildflower seed paper wedding favors for the guests.

Oma (known at that time as Mother of the Bride) and my grandmother harvested lilacs, bleeding hearts, and other flowers from their own gardens to combine with florist-bought tulips for the bouquets.
The scent of our bouquets was intoxicating, thanks to the delicate, fragrant garden flowers gathered around the sturdy florist blooms.


We chose a setting that reflected our personal aesthetics: a little industrial, a little organic. It expressed the bloodthirsty, bone-chilling glory of a Michigan spring with rich reds, pinks, and violets glowing against silvery, cool surroundings. We had our wedding outside in the biting wind and our reception inside a candlelit greenhouse that included a butterfly room.

Instead of literal vows, we read each other literary poetry. Justin has an incredibly sexy, deep voice, and he recited to me "Every Day You Play" by Pablo Neruda. You know, the one that ends with the line, "I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees."


It was so steamy that I was glad the wind knocked out the PA system. Grandpa didn't need to hear that.



I work at an unconventional church, and my boss performed the wedding ceremony. The director of music at that time played the cello. Scripts and music pages blew all over the place.


 Long hair, flowy gowns, spangly shawls, and my veil looked great, though.


We gave the wedding guests bubbles to blow at us.


Let them eat cupcakes, we said, to continue the mood of cool, casual decadence. We had self-serve food of all kinds, outside and inside, so that no one got hungry or felt obligated to eat something they didn't like.

The cupcakes were frosting-flower-color-coded by flavor.

We placed different kinds of wine on every table to enhance the fun of mingling.

We had plenty of roaming space, both indoor and outdoor, for sneaking off and not mingling, too.


Our intrepid photographers captured priceless moments with loved ones we have since lost and grieved together.



Our main objective was that our family, wedding party, and all our guests have a wonderful day. We had technical difficulties and made logistical errors. All the details didn't come together as planned. Our centerpieces were last-minute finds from the dollar store. But no one noticed.


We hired an actual diversion to get the party started: Lord of the Yum-Yum, an act by musician Paul Velat. My parents had no idea what was going on.


After that, everyone danced! Old people, babies, wedding crashers, everyone.




Lord of the Yum-Yum even did a breakdance (not caught on camera, unfortunately).


We got good and dirty with a super tacky garter belt toss, drunken outdoor urination, and an absolute knockdown, drag-out brawl between two of the bridesmaids over the bridal bouquet.


We had so much fun with our wedding that we dreamed of having a reprisal of the festivities in 10 years. But you know what? Instead, we're refinancing our house and saving up to travel to the wedding of one of my bridesmaids later this year. For our 10-year anniversary, we're going to send our daughter off on a sleepover at her grandparents' house so we can try out a new barbecue joint and then spend a romantic evening at home by the fire.

Although we adore our friends and a good party, there is no way to recreate the past. Some of the people who created that day with us have departed from our lives or from life altogether. Our lifestyle has evolved with a new life stage. And 10 years in, all we need to have a good time is each other. I call that a good romance.

While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

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