Jordan and I just celebrated our 3 year anniversary on May 28th. We had a small wedding, but I still wanted to share our story with those who couldn’t be there. This is part one of two!
We had 3 months and a small budget to plan our wedding. That may send shivers down the spines of those planning mega weddings this summer, but to us, it was perfect. Looking back on our engagement, I had said that wedding planning is designed to scare people from actually getting married. There was so much pressure! There were so many things to choose and make decisions about, which meant there were so many things for us to disagree on.
“If you don’t want Justin Bieber’s “You Smile, I Smile” to play at our reception, then I don’t know if you’re the one for me.”
Do I sound crazy? Well, maybe I was. I was also 6 months pregnant, but that story is for another day.
My hormonal self could barely function. When asked to decide on flowers, I almost melted down and just had the woman at Lillypots decide for me. Thank goodness, she knew way more about those dainty little things than I did. I even had the bakery woman design and plan the cake for me. It was too overwhelming.
The wedding was going to be at the lake house. It’s so beautiful there, but we still had to come up with a way of decorating it. Those of you who knew me in high school could probably remember my decorating skills. I had a blue (like the crayon) room and had spray painted random bible verses and words with white paint one day with my brother. I was supposed to decorate a wedding? For adults? Good joke.
Tina Marie came to save the day. She’s my cousin and grace and beauty just flow from her imagination. She heard me, she gave me direction and she made it more beautiful than I could have dreamed. All of the daintly and pretty elements of the wedding were all her.
We wanted our wedding to be intimate and sweet. No whispers. No shaking heads. No naysayers. We wanted it to be genuine and open. We wanted content. We knew where to go. My childhood friend, Mark Robinson, was ordained and we asked him to marry us. Mark and his wife, Ali were the first of my friends to get married. They were “married young” and had been there. Mark not only agreed to marry us, but he really challenged us to decide what we wanted our wedding to mean. He asked us tough questions. How much did we want to talk about our yet to be born daughter? What do you want people to walk away with? He made us think. As we worked through it, he helped us sift through traditions and common practices to see what would work for us. He also encouraged us to seek out marriage mentors to help us prepare our hearts for marriage.
His parents, THE Russ and Lynn Robinson agreed to be our marriage mentors. Lynn had been my friend’s mom, my piano teacher and later became a mentor and a dear friend, and Jordan felt comfortable meeting with her and Russ in the months before the wedding. needless to say, we’re big Robinson fans. We read, what I wish I had known before we got married. It was funny but so true! We talked through the light stuff and we faced the brokenness we each brought to the table. It wasn’t premarital counseling. It was a mentorship. They continue to stay in contact with us and we can always go to them if we need wise counsel. They are a gift.
Our hearts were preparing, the invitations were sent, the day was approaching and we began to create.
Button garland, mason jar lanterns, and flower boxes all were made by the hands of those who we asked to stand with us. My dad built an arbor for us to get married under
I even drove out to Indiana where Tiff and Andy helped me make a large batch of cinnamon raspberry jam to put in tiny jars for our wedding favors. Everyone had done so much to help, but there was still work to be done
2 days before the wedding, we had stayed over at the lake house. I was about to leave and went into Jordan’s room to tell him I was leaving. He said, “ok, my stomach hurts really bad.” To which my response was basically, “oh well, love ya, bye.”
I’m just so nurturing like that.
Hours later, my phone rang and it was Jordan’s dad, Dale. He asked me how I was and I casually told him how my day was going. Then he asked if I had spoken to Jordan.
He had that tone in his voice that sounds like he knew something I didn’t know. I hadn’t spoken to Jordan at all, I figured he was just going on about his day. Well, no. He was at the hospital with Lisa (his mom), his appendix was about to burst. He needed surgery, now.
What? I thought he was just being a baby about the whole stomach ache thing, but it was serious. He knew it, too, because he got up and almost fell over in pain. He could barely see or even think, but he drove himself to Lisa’s and called to tell her he was coming and she needed to take him to the hospital.
I don’t really do hospitals. They freak me out. I didn’t even understand what was happening. Is it severe? Is he okay? Very selfishly I thought, “Uhhh, nice timing Jordan. We kind of have a busy day on Sunday and organ rupturing wasn’t in the plan!” Our wedding was in two days, I didn’t know what to do. I just rushed to the hospital and got there shortly before he was wheeled into surgery.
I was so afraid. It smelled like bad news in there. The colors were pale and all of the fluorescent celieng lights had palm tree leaves and blue skies on them. It felt like they were implying, “these are your last days, pretend you’re in paradise.” Heebee Jeebeez.
I’m supposed to marry him on Sunday, and today, you’re going to cut his body open? Can I say no? I’d like to just say no to this. We nervously waited for him to be out and meanwhile, we rolled the silverware for the wedding and tied each one with string. We were carrying on. Almost sending the hint that this wedding was happening, and soon.
When he got out of surgery, it wasn’t pretty, but he was ok. We got him into his recovery room and the mood lightened a little. Well, it lightened for me. He was alive. It was all going to be alright. I told the nurses to have him discharged in time or I was holding the wedding at the hospital, but they assured me that they were going to try their best. I prayed and slept by his side that night.
It almost sounds chivalrous of me, but I was pampered. They felt bad for the pregnant bride-to-be curled up on a hospital chair, so they wheeled in this giant recliner and warm blankets for me. I even got some sherbert. We watched a documentary about polar bears and I fell asleep. Jordan woke me to ask if I could go to the store and get him a toothbrush and toothpaste, I know it seems simple enough to want the small comfort of home, but I said no, and went back to sleep. I’m pretty sure the polar bear documentary was still on. By morning, he was doing barely well enough to be released that afternoon. He’d make it to the rehearsal dinner.
We had a pot luck for the rehearsal dinner. I wanted a pot luck wedding but everyone said it was against the rules, so this was my compromise. It was a bit chilly and grim that day, but everyone came and were such troopers. When we arrived there, our family friend Bob had done some decorating on our Arbor. (is this funny yet Jordan?) He didn’t think it was funny at the time. We cleared it before Jordan got there.
We were pulling together last minute details. Deanna, my sisiter, and I drove around on the golf cart to pick up wild flowers from the woods on the side of the roads nearby, the guys all moved the arbor into place, Jordan came straight from the hospital and we started rehearsing. It was just like rehearsing for a play. Ok Darla, your character has feet that aren’t swollen and is having a good hair day and didn’t just get her nails done by an overly aggressive finger-hating, cuticle-crushing manicurist. Jordan, your character isn’t on pain meds and isn’t ready to pass out. Also, you guys are playing two totally normal people at a beautiful wedding and you don’t just want to go take a nap.
We were poor choices for the roles but we did our best. After the rehearsal, I was feeling too many feelings and I just wanted to medicate with ice cream and Justin Beiber and so my mentor, Lynn, saved the day and bought me his documentary so I could be happy. She is such a good friend, and she used her wisdom and discernment well that night. Her and Russ also brought cupcakes to the potluck. Do you get why we love them?
I retired to finish crafty things for the wedding with my friend girls and the guys set out to the woods to finish decorating. I wasn’t allowed to see anything they were doing and the suspense was driving me crazy! Andy and Clementine were busy setting up all of the music and transitions for the ceremony. The clock was winding down. It was time for one more sleepless night as Darla Digangi. My life would change forever in the morning. I was so glad to have Heika and Tiffany there. They laughed at all my nervous jokes and helped me relax. Tiff was there when Jordan and I met. She saw me fall for him. Heika had been with me through the dark and scary months before as I wrestled with the right path to choose. Their presence was reassuring. Yes, this was crazy, but crazy in a good way.
In the morning, Deanna took me out to get my hair done by Leticia, (who later was a regular at the coffee shop I worked at). Then we went to Potbelly’s for lunch. We looked a little silly, and we were. We had some time to kill and this is when I should have been thinking of all of my friends and family slaving away at the lake to make my wedding perfect, I should have brought them a bagel or something, but I didn’t. My mind was running a million miles a minute and I left them to starve. I feel pretty bad about that.
Jordan and the guys were hanging out in Hebron, causing a ruckus and having a good time. They were amazing. They helped Jordan relax and forget the crazy pain he was still in. They made a last minute trip to get Matt the right pants and made it to the wedding just before go time.
The girls and I were getting ready at the lake house that morning. There was a buzz of urgency, excitement and anticipation. I talk a lot and make jokes when I’m nervous.
I was getting dressed and trying not to sweat off all of my makeup and then, it began to drizzle. Lisa came into the room and told me about the weather.
“What do you want to do? Wait it out, or take your chances?”