So, here’s the thing: I don’t have my pictures back yet from my wedding, and I’m kind of waiting for some nicer ones to post, but at this point, the wedding is fading like a lovely distant memory, and I need to write this before I fondly remember unicorns and doves and llamas being a part of it (though I still might do that) because that sounds magical and in my future brain, totally possible. If you didn’t get a chance to read my I’m getting married during a pandemic post, go check it out! It’s a real hoot and a downer, but it ends on a happy note: marriage to my best friend which I am *proud* to say we are making it last already. I’m only directing you there so you can have a history on me and Batman before I walk you through the magical day (that sadly did not include unicorns and doves and llamas) but was still the picture-perfect fantasy event that child-Caitlin always imagined.
First, let me start off by saying it was supposed to thunderstorm. I know, because the second the 10-day forecast became available, it became my new heroin. But around five days out, I relinquished that stress and worry to my poor Maid of Honor who took on the role like a champ, smiling and saying not to worry about it every time I asked for an update. The amazing thing? It was a beautiful day.
And I mean beautiful. It was cool, which, in Florida, is a Godsend, and although we did the rehearsal the day before under the nearby pole barn (second option for the ceremony site) because it was torrentially down pouring, we were still able to revert to the original plan for the actual day—in front of the tree.
I shouldn’t take all the credit, but I will. People loved the flowers. We received so many compliments on just how gorgeous the displays and bouquets were, and even though I didn’t technically do anything to arrange them, I gave the original inspiration and color scheme, and therefore, all the credit goes to me. (This is what I’m telling myself. All the REAL credit goes to A Fantasy in Flowers who did an amazing job. Seriously, if you’re in the Jacksonville area and finally subdued your life-partner, I’d hands down recommend this company for all your floral needs.)
Besides the flowers, the food was on point. This is what I’ve been told and if I recall correctly, everything was yummy. I was solidly distracted by everything—everyone and making sure they were having a good time—but I tried a brie-apple tart thing with strawberry sauce and I remember thinking, yeah, we picked the right caterer. I heard (remember in the contract?) there was a carving station for our prime rib, but I never saw it because I was at our sweetheart table, admiring the charger and plate combination I’d selected and wondering if everyone noticed how well the gold trimming complimented the hanging votives.
Everything—like I was told, like I knew would happen—flashed by. It was the beginning of the day with mimosas and struggling to pop the champagne bottle, and somehow, I was in this beautiful dress that kept falling because I’d lost too much weight, which, in my chubby-existence, I never thought could be a real thing. And then I was taking pictures with Batman around the venue, like I’d researched a thousand times before. Then my guests were arriving and I saw my stepdad (who made the journey just for the ceremony, and then had to drive three hours home for work in the morning), and then my dad was coming to get me, and the music started playing…
After everything, all the work and planning and crying—so, so much crying—it was worth it. It came together beautifully. Batman looked snazzy and sexy and like James Bond (his inspiration besides Batman) and I’d like to think it was one of my better fashion days. Although, knowing what I know now, for my second marriage, I will not be wearing a lace dress. Lace and pavement, as I’ve discovered, do not mix well, especially when elements like twigs and leaves and acorns want to jump in the mix. I do recall part of the day helping my photographers pick nature out of my veil, which kept me from displaying the full train of my dress. Which sucked, because it was gorgeous.
Other than a few tiny screwups, I’d say it was a success. There were going to be screwups regardless (I’ve hands-down attended a thousand weddings and nothing ever goes perfectly. It’s called reality.) but having a wedding during a pandemic is such a feat by itself, that the issues were like gnats; I just didn’t give a shit about them.
There are, of course, a billion details that even I don’t remember, and I could go way more in depth, but I’ve already used up some of your time based on your reading speed/skippage, so I’ll end it here. Again, I wish I had some truly flattering photos of us/the event from our photographer, and not to say these aren’t, but they’re not professional (borrowed from family and friends) since I only picked up my phone to check the weather and make sure the universe wasn’t fucking with me. It wasn’t.
I’ll try to have a honeymoon post up soon. But, it is the holidays, and I’m the only one holding myself accountable, so we’ll see.
~ Lady Caitlin signing off
P.S. Also, my bouquet weighed eight pounds. Just remembered.
I wasn’t sure how I should write this, or if I should write it at all, but after the hundredth time thinking it was better to keep everything bottled up, I figured I might as well confess now. It’s better than carrying around a lifetime of bitterness that will no doubt be flung in Batman’s face. Not his fault, but I can’t blame the dog. That would be unfair.
(For those who don’t know, Batman is my fiancé. No, I’m not marrying a man who thinks he’s Batman or secretly dresses in black latex with a rodent compulsion. None of that. I’m marrying a man who very much wishes he was Batman, and to some people, may be on the wrong side between obsession and fandom. Whatever. He’s not foaming over the Joker or the Penguin or even Hannibal Lector, so I’m not worried.)
Now, when I say confess, I mean honestly confess.
I won’t say this. Not to your face, and not in a text or an email or even on the phone. I won’t say it because I can’t say it, because if I do, you’ll see the part of me I’m trying to hide. The busted-up, gory, pummeled-to-shreds mass currently sitting in my chest that keeps beating through every disappointment. And I get it. Life is full of them. I’ve had plenty, like watching all our friends get married over the last decade and wondering when I’d get my turn. If I’d get my turn. Don’t get me wrong—I’m truly blessed to have had the time with Batman that I have, regardless of our title, but when you want something that doesn’t happen in the first two years, five years, ten years…disappointment inevitably hits. Batman and I have worked through this, and we’re fine now, but to understand how heartbroken I am, you need to know the history:
Batman and I met in the spring of 2007, when we were finishing our junior year at Florida State University. We attended a mutual friend’s birthday party and sat across from each other which ended up being the best thing to happen to him. There was a lot of movie-bashing which turned into flirting, and even after we stood up to leave, and he discovered I’m closer in height to a hobbit, he still asked for my number. (Which he later confessed was almost a deal-breaker. Batman is close to 6’0 and I’m 5’1.)
After proving his affection by attempting to steal a chair (long story), the relationship was established, and only strengthened in the coming months by both of us participating in a heist over a condom shaped piece of art (another long story). Even after being separated by my six-week study abroad program in Amsterdam, we were still completely into each other.
Then we broke up.
Actually, he broke up with me. Batman will say it never happened, but it did, and I know because I moved back in with my mother over it, and no one ever forgets moving back in with their mother. The break up didn’t last long—a couple months—because someone realized he couldn’t live without someone else, and that someone decided it was worth giving the first someone a second chance. (Also, I needed to get out of my mother’s house.)
So, we moved in together. It was a tiny apartment with one bathroom and no laundry machines in the unit. That didn’t matter because it was ours and we could do whatever we wanted. Then we realized having only one bathroom is terrible for me, because he has longer legs, and beats me to the latrine when we both need to use it. Lesson learned. Also, our tiny apartment was on the second floor, which we didn’t take into consideration after learning there’d be communal laundry facilities. Second lesson learned. Batman and I spent five years in our first apartment racing each other to the bathroom and hauling our clothes up and down the stairs every two weeks. But we were happy.
When we outgrew our first place in 2014, we moved into our second—a slightly bigger unit with two bathrooms and laundry machines. We were in heaven. But after a year, an opportunity to move to Jacksonville became available, and with nothing tying us down, we left. Batman and I have been renting the same house since 2015, and the same year, we added the newest addition to our family—our German Shorthair Pointer named Appa (before it was popular to like Avatar. In fact, our vet asked if the name was Latin, to which I replied no, he’s named after a cartoon flying bison, to which I then received a very odd look.)
Fast forward to 2018. This is when I get really honest.
2018 was crappy. Not in every-way, but in the me and Batman way because I’d given a marriage proposal deadline (I actually did it a few times during our relationship, but never held him to it) and this deadline passed as well. I was heartbroken. I was beyond heartbroken, and still not to a point—after 10 years—that I could articulate this without losing him. And I didn’t want to lose Batman. Marriage or not, we were going to be together because he’s the love of my life.
After spending around a decade going to nearly a wedding a year—sometimes two—and celebrating all our friends and family on both sides, 2018 came to the end of pretty much everyone we knew getting married. It was literally only us left. And at that point, I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t happen. Marriage just wasn’t in the cards for me, which hurt because every wedding I went to, I told myself my turn was coming. It was coming. But I still didn’t have a proposal.
2018 had me believing it would not happen. It would not happen. I wouldn’t get the wedding I’d been waiting for, wanting, and…kind of deserving. But I had Batman, and it was fine. Until I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Innocuous comments from friends would have me bursting into tears when a year or two earlier I’d shrug it off, although I’d be hurting secretly on the inside. I couldn’t keep my feelings on what was happening—or what wasn’t happening—in anymore, and finally, I broke down to Batman.
I told him everything. How I felt, how I’d been feeling, and how I knew we were never getting married—but I still loved him. This all came as semi-news to him, because again, I never articulated these feelings. He suspected, but didn’t know the depth of my pain. We talked and talked and our relationship, after ten years, grew even stronger. We decided to look at rings together.
In January 2019, we selected a ring I liked and could afford and bought it same day. I wasn’t sure how the proposal would go since I knew about it, but I was still happy we had a ring. I think once Batman realized how close I was to just not wanting to get married anymore—because I reached that point too, several times—it became his mission to make it happen. He called my dad the same week to ask for permission to propose, and then told me he was going to do it the next day. The next day at work was terrible, and I came home crying even though I knew what was going to happen.
It was nothing like I’d hoped for, or expected. There was no movie moment wonderment because I think we were beyond that point. Maybe our proposal to each other occurred in all our happy moments over the years, when we didn’t realize at the time that we were choosing each other. Maybe a few words and a quick drop to the knee in our bedroom on a Friday night wasn’t our true proposal, but the solidification of the accumulation of years spent loving one another.
It wasn’t the picture-perfect proposal I’d envisioned, and definitely not the story to tell people like several of my friends had (poor Batman had the bar set really high for some of those proposals) but it happened. I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t; I convinced myself Batman and I would be partners and lovers through life, and that’s all. But it happened.
We made our announcement in early 2019, when we were closing in on almost twelve years. Since this was such a long time coming and we wanted to have the best wedding ever, we decided on a long engagement, giving ourselves plenty of time to save the money and plan everything. We decided on a November 2020 wedding. Too excited, and probably because I’d been secretly planning my possibly-never-happening-wedding all along, we sent our save the dates out a year ahead of time. We wanted people to have plenty of notice and plenty of time to plan, because we were throwing one hell of a party, and wanted everyone we loved and who supported us over the years to come.
Then Covid happened.
Like many of us, I was in complete shock. Of course, safety concerns were high, but my heart broke for all the brides who had to cancel or postpone. How could they deal with that? How completely, completely horrible. I told myself how lucky I was to be getting married in November and not March, April, May, or even the summer months. Thank God Batman and I chose a later date in the year, because that meant Covid wouldn’t really affect us. It’d be gone way before then, and we’d still have the wedding we’d been dreaming of/waiting for, and been planning for nearly a year and half.
Around June we realized that wasn’t going to happen. We spent a very shitty day crying and wondering if we should cancel the whole thing. Cancel it. Cancel the thing I thought I’d never get, the thing I’d wanted for years, and that was finally gifted. We couldn’t cancel. Besides all the money we would lose, I couldn’t give up on the idea that after believing for so long that I wouldn’t have my moment, and then believing I would, that it wasn’t going to happen. Again. My mind and my heart just couldn’t take another brutal stab. We were going through with the wedding, Covid or not.
Batman and I made this decision fully aware of the possibility that many people wouldn’t come. We were right. While we did receive some positive responses, we also received more “no’s” then I expected, and from people I didn’t expect them from. People I knew would be there…except they won’t. I understand the gravity of the situation. I do. There is definitely a danger factor, but you could walk outside and get hit by a car. It’s just life. No one knows what’s coming, and you just have to do the best with what you’ve got. That’s what Batman and I are doing.
The last six months have been bittersweet. Expecting it to be the most exciting time, I was faced with heavy conversations from many friends who wouldn’t make it, friends who were there at the beginning of our relationship, and some who joined in the middle, all who watched our love grow. Then, some family reached out to say the same, that they wouldn’t make it either, all due to Covid. Like previous years, my heart was silently breaking. My dream wedding wouldn’t happen, because everyone I love wouldn’t be there. But, I put on a brave face and just kept going. What can you do? You keep moving forward while focusing on the positives. And there are always positives.
This isn’t a sad story; it’s just an honest one. Yes, I’m still heartbroken that of all the years to celebrate our thirteen-year relationship, we picked 2020. Yes, I’m heartbroken that some of my family and several of my closest friends who have been there since the beginning won’t be with me on my special day to celebrate.
But I’m having my day. For so long I believed it wouldn’t; I knew I wouldn’t – but it’s happening. It’s finally happening.
Trent and I are getting married a week from Saturday. We met at twenty-one years old, and now we’re creaky and in our mid-thirties. But we’re here. We’ve made it. Despite everything we’ve been through and all of the heartache over the years, especially the brutal disappointment in the last six months, we finally made it.
To the boy who sat across from me all those years ago –
I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to be your wife.