The original schedule for our wedding day gave us enough spare time that David and I would have a good 30+ minutes alone together after pictures and before the ceremony to just connect, breathe, and exchange gifts plus an additional 30+ minutes after that to be apart (with our wedding party) before I walked down the aisle. Yeah, not so much. After we finished the family photos, everyone was all around milling about that we couldn't have gotten away to be alone if we tried. Add that to the fact that the time had completely run away from us, and David and I moved on to a new plan. We still wanted to exchange gifts before the ceremony, so we chose an empty corner in a very crowded room (crowded with our wedding party, family, etc.), and went ahead and had our moment.
A note to brides: if you want to have a special gift-exchange moment with your grooms, make sure you communicate that to him beforehand. Let's be honest, most guys just aren't wired to be as thoughtful a many of us are, so expecting such thoughtfulness often leads to a letdown.
I had told David I would like to exchange gifts at the wedding, so he got me a gift, but I forgot to mention a card. You see, I spent a few evenings leading up to the wedding composing the perfect note to present to my (soon to be) husband. I chronicled our memories together, inside jokes, reasons I loved him, and all the things I was looking forward to in our marriage. I poured my heart out in that letter, and I hoped to get something like that in return. You see, David can write a mean love letter. I spent half of our first summer together living in Italy, and David wrote me many a letter that brought me to tears. They were so full of love, beautiful language, and poetry. Since David spent a few days before the wedding out of town, I imagined that he would scribble a similar note for the wedding while missing me in his hotel room. The problem is, my daydreams didn't quite match his own rationale. So, while I was getting ready on our wedding day, David and I talked over the phone about when and how we should exchange gifts. I asked if he had written a note, and he said no. In order to "save the day", I had an extra thank you note that I had made sent over to him, and asked him to go ahead and write a letter.
When I opened the letter, it said:
This token is a small thing, but a promise of so much more to come. Picnics and Adventures, wherever life takes us. You are a blessing from the Lord.
Yes, it's sweet - beautiful, even. Actually, I'm tearing up just reading it right now. But honestly, on our wedding day, it was kind of a letdown. You see, I had concocted this grand idea in my head of an epic love letter given to be from my groom, but I had not shared my expectations with said groom. Lesson learned. The poor guy's not a mind reader - if you ladies want something specific from your man on your wedding day, let the guy know!
Anyway, back to the gift-giving. I opened my gift (a picnic basket/bag - which we still need to use... must get on that), we shared a kiss, and moved on to David's gift from me.
I got David a box full of bottles of Moxie soda. The very first time David and I talked before we dated included a conversation about Moxie. David loves the stuff, and I had (still) never tried it. It's impossibly difficult to find, so I was pretty excited about giving him his gift.
He seemed pretty excited too. :)
Unfortunately, we later discovered that this Moxie was not the original elixir, but a new recipe made with high fructose corn syrup (vs. cane sugar). Who does that!? This soda is clearly not made in bulk, and it's packaged in old bottles and marketed as the original soda. Why it's recipe has been cheapened and modernized is beyond me. Anyway, David doesn't like this new Moxie nearly as much, but it's the thought that counts, right?
We kissed again, and it was just about time to get married!
* all images by Sarah Shreves Photography.
PS: these are some of the only photos I have of myself sitting while wearing my dress. If you're worried about sitting in a trumpet/mermaid gown, have no fear - it was awkward at first, but worked in the end. Plus, I think it looks really great in these photos.