January 4, 2014: How to Plan a Wedding in Fifteen Days

Garrett thinks it's funny that I close my eyes when I kiss him. I never thought this was odd. But then again, with eyes closed, how would one know the normal technique? Now that we're married, I will try it his way. Eyes wide opened in married life.

Yep, we are married. Tied the knot. Husband and wife. The ceremony has been performed and the cake eaten. Guests were warmly welcomed and the reception hall filled with wedding cheer until close. Garrett and I found ourselves home at the end of the night, reflecting as a married couple.

Our marriage ceremony and celebration really were heartfelt and beautiful. We couldn't have asked for more. That being said, it really has been a whirlwind the last fifteen days as I quickly planned a wedding. The goal was family, friends, and simplicity. Mission accomplished.

It all started with a surprise engagement ring from Garrett in early December. We discussed getting married in a quiet ceremony on the Vail mountains sometime after the first of the year. Just the two of us. But then my boys put in their two cents. They wanted to be there. Our Colorado mountain idea was shut down.

Plan B: A wedding in Omaha. With Garrett's kids in town over the holidays, our timeline was now narrowed to the first week in January. Knowing no wedding can occur without a judge, that was the next call.

It was important to us that we know the judge presiding over the ceremony. Judge Pat Lamberty is a friend of mine whom I wanted at our wedding. Ironically, she was the judge who presided over my divorce. I call this karma. For the record, our friendship came later.

Pat is now retired with a busy travel schedule. Friday night, January 3rd, was our only window in the near future that would both have Garrett's kids and Pat in Omaha. With that, the date was set.

The next challenge was where to have the ceremony. Pat wouldn't be in town until after 6:00 p.m. Public places best suited for weddings were closed by five. That left outdoor or restaurant-type settings. I couldn't come up with any option that felt right. So I did nothing for a week. I just kept reminding myself that I was resourceful and a great idea would come to me. Procrastination is typically not very timely.

Two weeks before our nuptials, the only known details were that Garrett and I were getting married, our kids would be there, and that Pat would preside. The clock was ticking and I knew it was decision time. My belief was that the right idea would come from nowhere. And that is exactly what happened.

It happened on a run with my girlfriends, Tam and Kristi.The eureka moment. In hindsight, this is no surprise. The best ideas come on runs. And from my running friends.

Kristi: "Have you decided where you're getting married?"

Me: "No. I wish I knew someone who lives in the Old Market. All we need is a fireplace and five minutes."

Tam: "Why don't you get married at my house?"

And there you have it. A gracious friend and a plan was hatched.

Shortly thereafter, the reception hall came as an aha moment. After attending a Bar Mitzvah, the perfect venue came into my mind. The Regency Lake and Tennis Club was just down the street from Tam's. A phone call from the Temple Israel parking lot secured the club for the 3rd. I was on a roll.

Guest invites went out sporadically via social media, e-mails, and texts during these last two weeks. The caterer thought I was crazy when I told him I didn't have colors or any idea on the number of people attending. The alcohol order was kept easy with the only requirement that we wouldn't run out.

A shower was organized with a week's notice and it was glorious! Roxanne and Patty know how to put on a party and sure make a future bride feel special. I quickly learned within these fifteen days that being the bride is still fun at age forty-six.

The dress? No problem. We took the kids shopping to the outlet stores on the Monday before the wedding. If I didn't find anything that jumped out at me, I surmised, I would dig something out of my vast inventory at home. I was fine going with a previously purchased dress, so no pressure.

I did buy three dresses on Monday and ultimately wore the $24 number I found off the Dress Barn sale rack. The classic and expensive Michael Kors leopard dress was pretty as well, but I decided to save it for Garrett and my next date night.

"Say Yes to the Dress" would not deem me a good candidate. I am not much of a bride-zilla. Whether this is a blessing or a curse is up for debate. I would gather that the caterer would have an opinion different from the sales associate at Dress Barn.

A quick text got me in to my hairdresser and friend, Amy, just hours before the wedding. She gave me a piece of mind in her words to keep the focus on Garrett, our faith, and our love. Her reassurances helped me stay calm for the storm, but excited for our vows.

My friend, Orna, and her tribe of organized helpers kept me out of the final reception details. This resulted in a gorgeously decorated reception hall and a happy caterer. This also afforded me my hairdressing down time as well as some needed shopping time with Garrett's daughter, Lily.

Lily was worried that the clothes she packed for the occasion weren't dressy enough. Listening to my boys weigh the worth of buying last-minute colorful bow ties probably pushed her to this conclusion.

With two hours to spare prior to the 6:30 nuptials, Lily and I made a run for Von Maur. Neither of us really like shopping, but we do know what we want and don't want. After surveying the Juniors section, Lily found the perfect skirt. The shoe sale room at Von Maur was suffocating and chaotic. Forever 21 was equally as scary, but with diligence, we scored a cute pair of ankle boots and a black flowing sweater.

In retrospect, spending this time with Lily was a great choice and will be a fun memory. The random moments are always the best. And the two of us shop well under pressure. Garrett took care of the boys; taking them to eat at Arby's and buying ties at Gordman's. We all ended up back at the house with fifteen minutes to spare as we threw on our dress clothes and made last minute adjustments.

Then the seven of us packed in my car. The drive to the ceremony entailed lively discussions on music choices with jokes abound between the kids. Perfect. No stress. All smiles.

The ceremony was peaceful and wonderful. We were surrounded by our close family and friends at Tam & Phil's beautifulyl decorated home. Champagne was on ice with music filling the air. But most importantly, my Prince Charming held my hand while reciting vows that ensured we were bound together forever. All while our kids looked on with a flurry of snapping pictures on their many iPhones. I believe Garrett and I were likely "trending" in the under-21 world during this fifteen minute ceremony.

Our friends, Rich and Brian, sang a touching rendition of Iz's "Somewhere over the Rainbow". I recruited our new friends to sing just over a week before the ceremony via a text request. Rich replied by asking if I wanted to hear them first. Nope. I knew they would be perfect. And they were.

Garrett and I were overwhelmed with the support of our friends and family on our special day. Notes and messages of good wishes poured in and continued through the weekend. Friends came in mass to the reception hall. And we welcomed them with open arms. We were showered with hugs and kind words from so many people who have played a part in our lives.

I have always seen a person's life as an individual story book. Having a wonderful life event like this is a great reminder of the number of people who fill our story in so many different ways. Hearing from and seeing these people, each who have each touched our hearts, was humbling.

The first lesson learned was that a wedding can be planned in fifteen days and come off without a hitch. We had all the the happiness and intimacy of a wedding that was planned diligently for months in advance. But the bigger lesson was that it takes the love and support of friends and family to make this happen.

The marriage is between Garrett and I, but the people who surround us are our supporting cast. Prayers and encouragement propel us into our next chapter. Thanks to all who shared with us your support and love.

Happily ever after begins today. With open-eyed kisses and reminders that there are no such things as coincidences, Garrett and I will continue to savor and nurture the blessings we have been given. Together.

The day after...warm reminder of the wedding day before


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