24 years ago Eddie and I met when my brother brought him into our family. Eddie was down on his luck after having recently lost his mother. My parents welcomed him into our family home. He was 21 at the time. I was 22 and had just moved back "home" while I was between apartment leases. Our rooms were directly across the hall from one another but our schedules rarely meshed so we didn't see each other often. When we did though we got along wonderfully. We could be ourselves; say whatever was on our minds; be goofy; and spend time with each other without trying to be someone that we weren't. Over time we got to be really good friends despite our rare opportunities to hang out together. He had a long time girlfriend and I was engaged to a man who was away serving in the military. Nothing inappropriate ever happened. Eddie became an extension of my family.
In 1989, he joined the Navy and received orders to the same ship my then husband was stationed aboard. Eddie spent a little time with us that summer but later in the fall my exhusband and I were stationed elsewhere. My parents stayed in touch with Eddie until their retirement in 1999. I'm sorry to say that I didn't do such a great job of keeping in touch: babies, marriage, school, etc kept me busy. During that time Eddie married, as well.
Fast forward 21 years - I was going through a divorce and Eddie was separating from his wife when my brother mentioned that he had caught up with Eddie . . . who lived three states away. Eddie and I started emailing which led to the occasional phone call then ultimately to him driving down for a visit. Seeing him once was enough for me to know that he was the man that I wished 23 years earlier that we had pushed for more. Our connection was immediate - even before we saw each other in person. It was as though time didn't exist. We immediately slipped back into our old, familiar and comfortable relationship . . . but the oddest thing was that we each got butterflies when we emailed, spoke or saw each other.
About six months into our renewed relationship, I told him that no way I was going to fall in love with him. His response was that I would have to stop being "me" in order for him to stop loving me. He already loved me! I was touched but not sold. That took a few more months . . . due to changes in my life I ended up moving to live closer to Eddie. For a year we were together as best friends, confidants and companions. We were not only IN love with one another we also truly loved and appreciated one another. In May he gave me a beautiful sapphire and diamond "promise ring" because even though we knew we would be together forever - neither of us were ready to get married.
The rest is history. In November we moved into a beautiful condo in downtown Memphis and on Christmas Eve - in front of ALL of my family and in the middle of our "dirty Santa" gift game - he gave a beautiful speech about how my family saved his life 24 years ago and by doing that they brought me into his life. He said I am his best friend and that he loved me with all of his heart. THEN he got down on one knee and proposed using a ring he had made using my sapphire and a pair of diamond earrings he bought me last Valentines day.
The idea for the ring was mine but I didn't know it was coming. I wanted a ring that had sentimental value. He wanted to buy a new diamond. I don't wear a lot of jewlery so combining the two would be perfect. The ring is amazing! I love it but I love him more!
Eddie and I in Memphis a year ago:
My engagement ring. The sapphire is from my "promise ring" and the diamonds on either side are from a pair of earrings that Eddie bought me for Valentines day last year.
This is what my wedding ring wrap with look like with my e-ring. Stunning! Ed did great!
Photos from Eddies proposal . . . he'll probably have a fit that I'm posting these (he's a little vain) but I'm happy and couldn't be more thrilled!
This year has been a terribly trying year for Eddie and I. Earlier this year my father became very ill and we thought we would lose him. His recovery has been slow but steady. Many prayers are being said that he continues to be well and will be able to walk with my mom (actually my stepmother who raised me from 19 months on) and I down the aisle next July. In June, my biological mother found out that her cancer was back and incurable. She went home on hospice. I was able to fly down to see her in July and she passed away just two weeks later. She didn't raise me and we didn't have a mother - daughter type relationship but there was some strange security knowing that she lurked around somewhere . . . and that I could count on seeing her every year or so.
Anyway as my parents have taught me - life goes on and so shall too the wedding. Because of all of the excitement this year in our family we had to postpone our wedding date. When considering dates we sat down with my parents (Eddie's parents are both deceased) and in the end we decided to select July 20th next year. We chose that date because on July 19th they will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Eddie and I couldn't be happier to share such a remarkable weekend with them. Their parish priest (my former parish priest and long time friend) will travel here to Memphis to participate in the wedding and to bless them at the end of the Nuptial Mass.
Eddie and I have met all of the requirements to marry in the Catholic church with the help of one of our parish priest Father Eduardo. We were both previously married - so we had to go through the annulment process. As of a few months ago - we got the go ahead to marry in the Church. This is very important to us. Through the process we got to know, love and become friends with Fr. Eduardo. Sadly this past weekend we had to say goodbye to him. He was reassigned to a parish in Miami. Fortunately he will still marry us - we will just have to fly him back to Memphis to do it.
We will be married at St. Peter Catholic Church in Memphis. This is an absolutely gorgeous church and the congregation is wonderful. Simply walking into the church feels like a big, warm hug.
Our reception will be at the Madison Hotel downtown. I love this venue. It's a boutique hotel with just over 100 rooms and an intimate ballroom for 150 (or less). We chose this venue because it is unique, it's in the heart of downtown and it isn't a big box, national brand . . . oh and it is within our budget (with a small stretch, of course).
Originally I wanted to add a little different spin to our wedding. Because we are "sharing" a wedding/anniversary weekend with my parents I wanted to have a 60's retro spin on our traditional wedding. Unfortunately the gown that I wanted is being phased out and can't be bought in my size - so I opted for a different but similar gown that with alterations will give me the look that I want.
Because all of my grandparents have passed away; FI's parents and grandparents are no longer with us; and my mother passed this year - I had the idea of having a brooch bouquet of various pins that have been passed down to us. I didn't stop there though. I asked various friends and family to either give or loan me brooches to add to my bouquet. In the end, I had about 200 various brooches, pins and earrings. Of course, not all would fit in my bouquet - so I used approximately 85 to my bouquet; used 25 for the small bouquet that my mom (see the other pages in my bio about my "mom" who is actually my stepmother) will carry; some will be used along with fresh flowers for my bridesmaid bouquets; and some will be used to secure and embellish pew sashes at the church.
My bouquet is still a project in progress but here are some preliminary photos.
I still have to add the feathers into the bouquet and the feather boa/halo around the base then wrap the handle.
Here is the small bouquet that I made for my mom - it looks bigger than it really is. It's actually just over the size of a fist.
This is a crucifix that my mom's mother had in her belongings when she passed. It came off of one of her old rosarys. I pinned it on the handle of her bouquet.
Centerpieces - I'm still confused and unsure of what we will do for centerpieces. But I knew that we wanted to integrate mercury glass into them some way - simply because it's vintage and seems to suit the old, jazzy hotel vibe of the Madison. We are watching our pennies and budget very closely because we would rather the majority of our money go towards the food, drink and party to follow the wedding - that is the part that most remember and enjoy anyway.
That said - one of our dear friends at church who is also a chef gave us a case of 48 hi ball glasses that were simple and kind of a smokey color. After looking online and on Pinterest - we got the idea of DIYing some mercury glass votive holders. FI didn't like the bright, shiny mercury glass DIY look because he said they didn't look "old enough" and looked more like a modern, new attempt to look old. So in our infinite wisdom we opted to use the bright chrome spray paint rather than the looking glass paint.
We tried a couple of different ways to get the look we want and in the end we really like the look. They look aged and I hope they don't look too DIY.
We spray painted the interior or the glasses; waited a minute; then sprayed the inside with half vinegar and half water. Some we used papertowels to wipe off the water droplets and some we just let bubble the way they were then buffed after the paint had dried. Here is the result.