The short version: Victor invited our closest friends and family over to our house for a surprise birthday party for me. The real surprise was that they were actually attending our wedding!
The long version: Growing up, I never pictured myself getting married and having a big wedding. I hate being the center of attention for anything so the thought of walking down an aisle with all eyes on me made me cringe. I always thought I would grow up to be a career focused woman, living on my own with a cute puppy companion, a decision I was completely happy with. My mom has been divorced twice, my older brother has been divorced, and most of my friends growing up also had divorced parents or had parents who seemed really unhappy. So you see, I didn't exactly have the most positive viewpoint on marriage.
I'd had a couple serious type relationships before Victor and my views on marriage still hadn't changed. It was a totally different story though when Victor and I got together. It definitely was not love at first sight. I had known him for about two years before we even started dating and never once thought "I'm going to date that guy" much less think "I'm going to marry that guy". We started getting to know each other as friends then became a couple and within a few months, I really was thinking "I'm going to marry this guy one day". I guess what they say is true - "When you know, you know." I knew he was the one because I really could not picture my life without him in it. Sounds cliche but it's true.
After about 4 years of dating, Victor proposed to me last May on a weekend getaway trip to Surfside Beach for my 24th birthday. After getting engaged, we weren't in a rush to plan a wedding and get married as soon as possible. I'm the girl who never even thought she would get married so being engaged was still a shock to me and I wanted to savor it for as long as I could. Months passed and people kept asking "So when's the big day?" and my answer would always be "Not sure but hopefully soon!". It was getting close to a year since getting engaged and I started to become a little antsy on finally sealing the deal. I liked being engaged but I didn't want to end up being that couple that stays engaged for 5 years! We started thinking about possible wedding locations and bouncing ideas back and forth but it all became so stressful! Wedding planning is no joke and costs so much money which we don't have.
On Wednesday April 30, 2014, Victor surprised me by not going to work and taking us to the courthouse to get our marriage license instead. I was over the moon! This meant we were going to get married really soon. In my mind I thought we would end up eloping which I had no issues with. It would be waaay cheaper, less stressful, and it would be more about us and less about everyone else and the little details of weddings that didn't really matter. I mean who cares about floral arrangements and save-the-dates anyways? I mentioned I was unconventional right? Anyways, the lady issuing our license asked when we planned to get married. Victor seemed unprepared for the simple question and blurted out "This Saturday" I looked at him with big shocked eyes that said "Exsqueeze me?" I was shocked and ecstatic.
I was full of questions the second we left the courthouse. It turns out, he had secretly invited all of our closest family and friends, even my best friend from middle school who he has never met, to our house Saturday night for what they thought would be a surprise birthday party for me. Even my brother who lives in California flew in. My birthday was on Monday May 5th so the timing was perfect. His plan was perfect. I'm surprised I didn't think of it myself. No one knew they were attending our wedding so no one was freaking out about last minute wedding preparations or worrying about buying a wedding gift, and it hardly cost us any money! However, I did go into panic mode about what I was going to wear. I didn't want to get married in just any ole dress hanging in my closest! I ended up finding a really cute dress at a small boutique close to home. I just happened to walk by the window, saw it, tried it on, and bought 15 minutes later. It had just the right amount of formal but casual look to it. I'll post a better picture of it another time.
So Saturday comes around and everyone's waiting at our house to surprise me while Victor picks me up from work. YES, I went to work on my wedding day. I couldn't spoil the surprise! We get there and everyone yells "SURPRISE!" I look shocked because everyone I love is there and I start crying like the big softy that I am. I was just so overwhelmingly happy that everyone could be there to share our marriage, unbeknownst to them. I was also so happy that Victor knew exactly who I would've invited to our wedding. It showed just how well he knew me and confirmed that I had chosen the right one. Sadly not everyone could come, but that's what happens when you have other plans up your sleeve.
The party goes on for about an hour until Victor tells everyone to gather in the backyard. He had found an ordained minister online and he had just arrived. I'm so freaking nervous at this point because no one knows yet what's about to happen except me, Victor, and two friends who drove from out of town. We had to get them to come somehow but swore them to secrecy! So the minister comes around to the backyard with a microphone, small amp, his script, and a small light to see. By this time it's completely dark outside. Some people thought the guy was going to sing for us or that Victor was going to say some really sweet things to me. The man asks us to come forward. I whisper to Victor "OMG I'm so nervous, should we make an announcement?" but he just shooshes me. The man then goes on to say we are gathered here today to witness our marriage and just goes right into the whole shebang. By then everyone's realizing what's happening and I hear gasps and "OMG!" and some sniffling from tears. It was such an exhilarating moment. I was smiling and crying tears of joy the entire time. We celebrated the rest of the night.
Unfortunately, we did not have a professional photographer to capture it all, but I don't regret a single thing and I have the memories to last a lifetime. This was the best picture from that night thanks to one of my good friends from college. We do plan on taking proper pictures though to remember our first year of marriage. I'm planning on October which will mark our 5 year anniversary together.
We plan on taking a real honeymoon in the future but for the rest of the weekend we went back to Surfside Beach and stayed in the exact same little beach front hotel from the year before where Victor proposed to me. This time we got the honeymoon suite :) Oh and we also took Maggie with us. The hotel was dog friendly so we had to take our fur baby with us!
This was the first time Maggie had been to the beach and you can tell from her face how much she hated the water! Victor had to carry her because she kept freaking out.
I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out and I'm looking forward to what the future holds for us.