May 21, 2021
Dear Darkened Rose,
After a myriad of readjusted expectations, Caleb and I finally got married. On your birthday, nonetheless.
Planning a wedding made me an angry person. I recognized that I almost made my way to sith-hood before noticing that I had been hanging out on the dark side of the force for a wee bit too long. I’m glad the wedding finally happened when it did. Initially, my fears kept me in a constant state of anxiety, which then turned into disheartenment, which then turned into grief, which then turned into anger.
Being an individual who has a mind with a huge tendency to route itself into cognitive distortions, catastrophizing wedding plans was likely inevitable. When multiple, legitimate catastrophes happened one after the other, I think my brain just kind of sat still for a second and handed everything over to the ridiculous reality of it all. The oddest part was that most of our issues were not COVID related, but rather weather and natural disaster seemed to be the cause of us having to readjust most of our plans.
Here is how I remember it—
Several years ago, I forced Caleb into letting me pick a goal date for our wedding. The date 10/10/2020 sounded cool, so that was the plan. I would be a ripe age of 30 and a year into being a college graduate.
Plan A: For quite some time, the idea was this—a small wedding ceremony in Yosemite with 50ish of our closest, nature-loving family and friends on 10/10/2020. For over a year and a half (even before being engaged), we had permits and reservations in place for a Sunrise ceremony at Glacier Point. That was to be followed by daytime exploring of the park, and a casual hangout at our cabins that night with dinner and drinks.
Our reception would be a handful of months later, where we would get a much larger group of people together for a really colorless, but enjoyable hangout. We would be sharing big pots of gumbo, stories, laughs, dances, whiskey, champagne, cookies, and cake. A simple get together that we aimed to have squared away by February. With me thinking that it would be cool to celebrate this casual reception shindig on your birthday—we booking a place to host people on 2/27/2021.
Plan B: We then made COVID adjustments in early 2020. We decided to go with a reduced capacity for cabins and have a headcount of closer to 35ish people. We also had a caterer set up who was helping us out with individualized dishes for the night after the wedding. Everything still seemed to be locked in place.
I was to wake up at around 4am to get makeup and hair done by this chick who would drive out to meet us (mind you, she was the ONLY vendor who did not refund us our deposit, cue: middle fingers). Just thinking about that morning and how it was going to feel was becoming so palpably comforting. My nerves were starting to surface in the month before, but I still just felt so excited and ready. That is, until wildfires showed up about three weeks before our big day and were projected to be hanging around for awhile.
Glacier Point views were opaque from the smoke and ash was covering a lot of the park (and turns out, it remained this way through the date of 10/10/2020). When Yosemite closed their gates indefinitely due to the fires some two weeks before the big day, we decided to completely call off Plan B. I was gut wrenched and felt so deeply apologetic to everyone who already had flights booked. I had this huge wave of gross emotions, with the oddly prominent ones being embarrassment and shame. It felt as if this was something I should have been able to control.
I convinced myself that people would view me through a lens of both pity and annoyance. My brain was almost assured that I had to be at fault for something. Did I dream too big? Were Earth and Society in cahoots to punish me for not inviting more of our family and friends? Did you have a hand in this and were you trying to force me to go with Plan Z so that we were stuck with awkwardly celebrating on your birthday?
Plan C (lasted only a few days): Maybe just a pure elopement in a state that we are both familiar and comfortable with like Colorado. Maybe with Bongo and a photographer and maybe Daddy and Janie. Maybe flowers. Maybe cake. Maybe nothing...because I was exhausted.
Instead, on a whim we decided just to enjoy making a road trip out there with Bongo. We still took pictures in the mountains with Katie Tucker (now Sedlak) as our photographer. An unexpected snow storm blew in on our way to take pictures, and while it messed with our drive out to the intended locations—it ended up making for some awesome shots with the snow falling around us. If you zoom in on my arms in most of the photos you can see my skin was a hint of blue with goosebumps everywhere.
I think we did well to cherish each others company while we forced ourselves out of the muck of stress. Although we knew we had to eventually start all over again with planning this thing, I’m glad we decided to just let go for a little bit.
Plan Z: I ultimately caved to the pressure of having a typical wedding setup (lammmmeee). We repurposed the reception idea into being a full-blown wedding. We hired a coordinator to try to piece things together with very little time (from mid-November to February 27th). To our caterer, bartender, baker, florist, HMUA, DJ, event rentals company, and to the waiting staff—I am grateful to each and every one of them for working with us so last minute!
While yet another winter storm put us on edge the weeks before (as well as caused some shipping issues on a handful of awesome detail pieces), everything still came together more beautifully than I could have imagined. I think we nailed it!
But I am so damn grateful that the planning is finally over!!!
Considering that took so much of our energy and attention, we recently made the decision that we are opting out of doing a honeymoon this year. We talked about traveling to the French Polynesian Islands, or Bali, or Costa Rica. Then, we figured we might just settle with Kuaui due to the persistent state of COVID restrictions and being apprehensive about the difficulties of traveling outside of the country right now.
On the Kuaui idea, we had booked lodging for August, but just thinking about having to spend more time planning other details made Caleb and I just decide to table the honeymoon stuff for now. We canceled the booking and scratched yet another idea. We realized that likelihood that it could be disappointing to travel to a tropical area that is not in it’s most prime state right now. We decided to focus fully on what we know best—another trip to the mountains. We are going to make the most out of the idea of relaxing on our “Reesa” Family Vacation in Utah this summer. I really look forward to that reprieve.
Our brains need a damn break.
I will not go as far as to tout some bullshit cliche such as, “if something could go wrong, it did.” Because, of course, a handful of good things went right within these many months of confusion and steadily depleted motivation. Notably, I now have a husband. So that’s cool. Also worth noting, Janie and Sarah put together a 2-part bachelorette party hang out, and I will always cherish those memories.
Well, I will be writing a couple more letters in the next few days to share wedding photos and whatnot. You’ll hear from me again very soon.
I love you. I miss you.
Enclosed are cool things.
The Song: Rise by Eddie Vedder