For my birthday on October 26 of 2007, Harland and I went out to a nice restaurant, which meant we had to dress up. Which meant I had to go shopping. I wanted the perfect outfit, and after 3 hours of shopping, I had exhausted the patience of my love-to-shop friend Lori, but I had a skirt, pretty sweater, and heels. The big evening arrived, and Harland looked dapper in his coat and tie. We were seated in a corner of the restaurant by ourselves, which was good because it was quieter there. We had a nice dinner, talked, laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company as usual. We had been dating for about 9 months, and were very much in love.
When dinner was over, Harland reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a ring box and proposed. In between laughing and crying, I somehow got the word YES out. I don’t recall what we talked about after that, but when we left the restaurant we were walking on a cloud. I felt like I must be the most blessed and happiest woman in the world. As we walked by a high board fence behind the restaurant, several voices from behind the fence yelled out, “Congratulations!” The wait staff had noticed Harland giving me the ring, and were the first to wish us well.
In the next few weeks, we started planning the wedding. We wanted to keep it as small and uncomplicated as possible. We set a date of July 26. My birthday is October 26, Harland’s is June 26, so setting our wedding on the 26th seemed a good way to remember the date. We had our engagement pictures taken by a good friend of Harland’s.
The months passed, and we got all the big stuff done: bridesmaids dresses, maid of honor, best man and groomsman chosen, cake, food, church organist and cantor. Harland planned our honeymoon and made all the arrangements. We went on an engaged encounter weekend. One day on a whim, I walked into a bridal shop just intending to look. I tried on 3 dresses, and loved the 3rd so much, I bought it then and there, and it all only took about an hour.
In February 2008 I quit my job, moved to Kansas into a empty house just up the road from Harland, and our long distance dating was at an end. We were so relieved. For almost a year, we had taken turns each weekend doing the six hour round-trip drive, and we now we were a scant one mile from each other. It was so nice to see each other every day. The owner of the house was a good friend and neighbor of Harland, and she refused any rent payment from me which was very sweet of her.
We printed and sent out the invitations, made the wedding programs, and I made my wedding veil and bouquet. The months continued to fly by, and soon it was the week of the wedding. The jitters set in, and I felt ill. We finished up last minute details: buying food for the rehearsal dinner, and flowers for the church. And by the day before our wedding, my jitters were gone. My family had come in early from out of state for the wedding rehearsal. At the rehearsal dinner, a good friend of Harland’s grilled chicken and salmon for the wedding party and small group of family and friends. The next day we were to be married, and I couldn’t wait to be Harland’s wife.
-To Be Continued