Ah, here we are – September 24, 2011, the day of the wedding. Luckily it had stopped raining, but the sky was grey and low – perfect for those pensive looks out the window and contemplations about the future! (I know, I’m so cheesy I can’t help it sometimes).
Morgan ran to the mall to buy some rain boots for us, and I stayed in our room at the Biltmore to write some last minute vows. The world had a calmness to it, as if it had stopped on its axis and started to move in reverse. Our families and some close all-star friends were out at the farm helping to set the tables and get everything in place.
As I got ready in my room with my mom and sisters, I got a knock on the door – a special delivery from Morgan via my friend Alyssa. I opened it up, and it was a beautiful blue bracelet with lots of sparkles from one of my favorite stores. The magic was just beginning!
We had booked a school bus to haul our guests from the hotel and the wedding and Morgan hopped on! She traveled with our family and friends to the farm while I drove with my mom and sisters in my mom’s car. Traditions? What traditions? We were all about creating new ones that day.
Morgan arrived first and was waiting in the little garden shop with our families when I first saw her. She was so beautiful, wearing this adorable pink dress from Nordstrom, navy tights to match her BHLDN blue belt, tan Frye slippers and a gorgeous necklace our friend Agata made her with pieces from Morgan’s hot air balloon and some semi-precious beads, including one singular silver pearl. Her sister had done her hair and makeup, and looked at me for the first time on our wedding day with a huge, excited smile. I was decked out in new dark blue Lucky jeans, a white button-down shirt from J Crew, a vest I had picked up at a thrift store a few years ago, a chambray jacket also from J Crew, white Cole Haan suede wingtips and a fluorescent orange belt to top it off. I had my old, my new, and my blue – but what was borrowed? At the last minute I asked my mom for $20 and kept it in my back pocket the whole night.
We walked with our families down the aisle in threes, led by our flower girl, Louise (the daughter of our good friends Shawn and Jill), followed by my cousin and ring-bearer Nick and my two sisters, then Morgans two brothers and sister. I walked down with my mom and dad on each arm, and Morgan followed with her two parents. Although my parents are divorced, I felt it was important to have them both at my side.
As I approached the altar, the beautiful music being played by my friends Maia and Baptiste came within earshot. They were playing “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star on the autoharp and guitar (I had asked them to play something but I didn’t know what). As soon as I heard that, my eyes started to tear up. “Don’t cry yet! It’s too early to cry!” I urged myself as I watched my beautiful bride walk down the aisle to the music of my heart.
Hand in hand, Morgan and I floated on some kind of cloud as we stood in front of 130 of our closest and dearest family and friends. Alyn’s words were amazing – part of the ceremony can be experienced here, as caught on my dad’s flip phone – and we held back tears as we looked into each others eyes and sent secret brain messages to each other “We are so lucky!” I could hear her think! I wonder if she could hear my thinking about the delicious dinner we were about to eat. Hmm. Anyway, Alyn shared her wisdom about creating “a cozy spot” – that middle space of shared sanctuary in a venn diagram of individualism where she urged us to never lose sight of ourselves as independents, but never stray too far from that cozy spot where we become more than individuals. She quoted the United Nations when they declared that “Marriage is a human right” and stirred up our inner activists as she quoted Sir William Robert Ferdinand Mount when he said “Marriage is a subversive act against authority.” At some parts of the reception I had forgotten that what we were doing was even illegal in some states, but quotes like that brought me back to the reality – and importance – of what we were doing.
We had requested that we pass around our rings to everyone in attendance so that they may send good love vibes to us, and as they were being passed around, she gave us a pop quiz! She asked us our mothers’ maiden names, the names of our junior high schools (which I don’t think Morgan or I had ever talked about with each other, because really – who likes to remember middle school?) and lastly, she asked Morgan “If Arley were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one font she would bring?” Morgan quickly (she’s so good!) responded, “Any font that Jeremy Mickel makes!” It was a smart move, since Jeremy was not only in attendance, but as our wedding gift, he named a font after me! Alyn then turned to me and asked what one kitchen appliance Morgan would bring if she were stranded on a desert island. Being an avid pie baker, I knew it would be her beloved and well-used Kitchenaid mixer, but for some reason I blurted out, “The nut crusher!” I want to state, for the record, that neither Morgan nor I are man-haters.
As soon as I heard Alyn say the magic words, “I now pronounce you MARRIED!” I jumped into Morgan’s arms. We kissed, and then hugged for a very very very long time. I was sobbing with happiness, unable to do anything but feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have met my best friend and the woman of my dreams. As we walked back down the aisle as a married couple for the first time, we were showered with love from all directions. We ran over to an empty plot of land to spend the first few moments of wedded bliss together as we danced to “All You Need is Love” that our friend Julia was playing over the PA and hugged and just gleamed with happiness. The owner of the farm later told me that I did something that the horses would do every time they would enter that same place – kinda do a little half-jig “I’m so happy!” kick in the air – and also explained that that particular part of the farm was a very blessed area. Later that night, a freak accident-turned heroic spectacle gave me further reason to believe that that grassy knoll was a truly special place!
From that point on, the night was really a blur. I know it’s a cliche, but it really was. I remember getting up on stage and performing two songs – the first was a cover of “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes that was made possible by my good friends Dave on the guitar, Ben on bass, Seth on drums, and three lovely ladies on backup vocals: my sister Ariel, and friends Maia and Lily. I played guitar and sang to my honey! The second song was a song I wrote for Morgan a few years ago called Balloon Heart. Below is a snippet of the last half of the song!