Today is my one year wedding anniversary to Trent McDonald, my wonderful husband. I have wanted to write a wedding blog post ever since we got married, but dragged my feet. While our wedding was my absolute aesthetic dream, and while every detail of the wedding turned out pretty much perfectly, I realized that maybe I procrastinated because writing about the wedding planning process does not really excite me. I am so much a big picture person, and a lot of the detail work was graciously taken on by my incredible mother and sister. They helped me to execute the formal, whimsical garden party wedding of my dreams. I hope that the pictures speak to the very hard and loving work they did to make my vision come to life.
Today, I want to talk about my husband, Trent McDonald, who has been a figure in my life since the late summer of 2013, and my story of how we met. I also want to say a few things publicly that I didn't, but probably should have said at our wedding It will be long and poorly written and probably boring to anyone other than me, so stop reading now and just enjoy the pictures if you don’t want to read all of my nostalgic ramblings. I won’t be offended.
When people ask us how we met, we usually tell the story of our very first meeting in late July of that year, in which Trent was my next door neighbor, and I confronted him when someone visiting his house was parked in my designated spot. He said he didn’t know to whom the car belonged, and invited me to come over to his house for drinks. I declined, giving the excuse that I had a test the next morning and needed to study—a response Trent comically characterizes as much colder than was intended.
That truly was the way that we first met, but when I think about how special Trent is to me, and how our relationship began, my mind goes back to the night of Friday, August 30th. That night, Trent and I met again for a second time, when I arrived home from a late night class to find my roommate Amy and our friend Jessica hanging out on Trent’s porch with a number of his friends. We were hosting a small gathering that night, as were they, and since no one had shown up to our party yet, they had decided to merge parties. I remember bonding with Trent and his friends over common interests in music and television.
I was about a week out of a serious relationship that day, in that headspace where you feel like everything is really meaningful and yet nothing makes sense, where you’re trying desperately to feel a sense of normalcy and presence in your life, but pain and regret are ever present, drawing you into the dark parts of your mind. Where you either cannot stop sleeping or cannot bring yourself to sleep. After the party had died down that night, I found myself experiencing the latter, so I decided to sit on my porch swing with my one year old pup, Knives. It was there on the porch that night I feel that I really met Trent, who would become my husband nearly 4 years later.
I wish I had a picture of this conversation, because the set up was a disgusting metaphor of my emotional state at the time. Knives and I sat on the porch swing, and Trent stood on the opposite side of a doggy gate I had set up to keep Knives from going down the stairs onto busy Stimson Avenue. He was heading home from his night out on the town, and stopped by to chat with us. I never let him onto the porch, even when I went to hug him at the end of the conversation I hugged him over the gate.
We talked for a long time on opposite sides of that gate, without an ounce of small talk, as I remember it. He was so smart, but not pretentious. So kind, but so unassuming. He made me feel as safe as he made me feel curious. He made me feel really cool, which was not something I had felt much in the wake of my break up.
During that conversation he referenced my favorite book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, as a book he considered for his undergraduate honors thesis about Metafiction. I hadn’t known too many people who had read this book without my explicit recommendation, so this felt incredibly significant to me.
Like I said, in that headspace I really saw everything as meaningful, and I’m a big fan of “signs” anyway, a concept my apparent soulmate happens to reject vehemently. Nevertheless, I believe that my love for Trent was born during that conversation. I felt a deep, perpetual admiration and care for this human being I had just met. An instant familiarity that made me feel okay in a way I hadn’t felt since moving away from my home town at age 18. I had no explicit intention of pursuing a romantic relationship with him, no desire to put on airs to impress him, just a deep fondness for his company. Part of me thought that he was too cleanly and that we connected too well for him to be straight or single anyway, but all of me knew that I wanted him in my life as much as possible from that point forward, regardless of the details. I didn’t quite realize the uniqueness of these feelings at the time, but looking back, even from that point, I had never felt this way about a human being before.
There is a lot more to the story of our relationship than the events of August 30th 2013, but what I’ve cherished most in our first year of marriage is the same feeling that I cherished during that very first conversation. A true, deep level of admiration, trust, and respect. To this day, our commonalities continue to make me feel safe and understood, and our differences excite me and help me to grow as a person. He makes me feel really capable, smart, and cool, even when my anxiety filled brain frequently tells me the opposite. He loves REM as much as I do, and loves my dogs even more than I do.
This first year of marriage has carried its share of excitements and challenges, and I could fill a book with all the normal "life" things we’ve done and decisions we’ve made together like buying a house and adopting a senior dog and traveling to Europe. But what excites me most is what is both the most normal and abnormal thing, our love. *cue collective gagging*
Wedding Planning Wizardry: Phyllis Warkentin and Jennifer Coccia
Photographer: Andrew Kelly for Christian Oth Studio
Videographers: Peak of the Mountain Films from Asheville, NC
Real Flowers: Beyond the Vine, Omaha, NE
Venue: Magnolia Hotel in Omaha, NE, some photos taken at Joslyn Castle
Gown: Liancarlo, purchased at Carine's Bridal Atelier in Washington DC
Tuxedos: Jos. A Bank
Bridesmaid Dresses: By Alfred Sung at Dessy Group
Invitations: Jolly Edition, Baltimore, MD
Fake Flowers, Cake Topper, and Dog Clothes: Missy McDonald