a divine conspiracy (the story of us: part 7)

Our engagement began at the end of May and lasted until the middle of September. While there was no specific reason to rush marriage, we both felt that it was time to start our lives together, and knowing that life and work would eventually take over, we decided a wedding before November would be best.

This meant my husband would work two jobs and attend classes over the summer. I would work one job and plan a wedding. I also had surgery eight days before our wedding. Let's just say we are overachievers when it comes to doing as much as possible in a short period of time.

Growing up, my father joked that I should elope when that day came. And I considered it. Of course, my idea of eloping was going to Mexico or Florida. His idea of eloping was the court house and then a large party afterwards. We agreed on a small intimate wedding instead.

My husband let me have free reign over the wedding. He had two requests: 1) the invitations read Justin "The Dark" Knight and 2) a Batman grooms cake. I allowed the Batman grooms cake.

Planning a wedding is not easy. I had heard enough stories from others about what all it entails, and searching wedding websites didn't help matters either. My parents lived over 400 miles away as well, so I took to google and hoped to find an intimate location within my price range.

There were several locations within my price range, yes, but most were not places I wanted for my wedding. I'm picky, and I knew I wanted to be married outdoors and that I wanted the wedding to be personal. I wanted the chance to create, but I also wanted someone else to handle all the wedding day details.

Enter Sandy. I stumbled upon her site through google. After visiting the site numerous times and clicking through the pictures, I asked my mother-in-law to go with me. And I almost immediately fell in love.

The gardens were perfect. Sandy would handle everything. And I do mean everything: the cake, the catering, the flowers, the photography, etc. And the price was just right. Plus I had never seen anyone married in her garden before, and she had an opening for a Saturday evening when there was not a University of Oklahoma football game. (Living in Oklahoma, weddings are often planned around college football. It's just the truth.)

I printed out pictures of bouquets I wanted and also printed out pictures of the cakes I loved. I picked out the menu as well, and Sandy made all of my dreams turn into realities.

Two months before the wedding, my mother flew into town, and we began the search for a wedding dress. I had fallen in love with several dresses on-line and then immediately fell out of love with them once I saw them in person. The first dress I tried on was "the one." It needed no alterations, and I also could wear it without a veil. The lack of a veil horrified the attendant, but it was my wedding day after all.

Things were moving along well. I was excited and ready for our wedding day. We had wonderful engagement pictures taken. I made our invitations and designed bottle labels. And I worked - a lot.

But in the middle of August, things changed.

I'd been sick for a while. Quite possibly years. Pain and nausea. The inability to eat certain foods. I went to Urgent Care on a Friday afternoon, and on Monday morning, I was told to go to the Emergency Room. I had passed a gallstone through my pancreas (without knowing) over the weekend.

It was an exhausting day of IVs and ultrasounds and painkillers. The final assumption was that I needed to have my gallbladder removed, and while I wanted it done that day, it was no longer an emergency so I went home and called my doctor.

I was in mandatory training in the midst of all this, and the trip to the Emergency Room occurred a month before the wedding. The doctor said I needed surgery to remove my gallbladder, and I was provided two dates for the surgery. One was during my final week of training; the other was eight days before our wedding. I chose the date eight days before our wedding.

Not yet married, and we were walking through a period of "in sickness and in health." My husband sat in the waiting room and then cared for me at home. When he had to work, his sister or my mother-in-law spent time with me, watching television and fetching food from Jason's Deli. I was back at work the next Monday, still sore and a little nauseous, and determined to be perfectly healthy before the wedding on Saturday and our mini-honeymoon.

(title from "god gave me you" by dave barnes)

This post is part of a series. It is a snapshot of how I met (and married) my husband. To read the entire series, click here.

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