Here Comes the Bride: A Wedding Day Series {Haley’s Story}

“Well, I was nineteen and you were twenty-one, the year we got engaged. Everyone said we were much too young, but we did it anyways…” — Dancing in the Minefields, Andrew Peterson

I didn’t grow up planning my wedding. I played bride when I was a little girl, but other than wanting to get married in my grandparent’s backyard, I don’t recall giving it a lot of thought. As I got older, I was jaded by things my family and parents had gone through, and things I went through with my ex. Love was hard and it hurt so much. Why would I subject myself to a commitment that required me to be vulnerable to a person who is supposedly going to love hurt me forever? The fairy tales, the dresses, the fun of a wedding sounded great, but marriage sounded terrible. No thanks!

Then I met Brandon.

No automatic alt text available.You can roll your eyes and call me a cliché; that’s how I felt too. Brandon and I met at church when we were very young; he was 15 and I was 18. We had a thing shortly after we met, but it didn’t work out. Then in 2013 we reconnected out of the blue. Brandon had been going through some stuff as his best friend had just passed away and I was going through a crazy break up. Between the whirlwind of drama around us, we found sanctuary in each other. We never meant to fall in love and we never meant to be anything more than friends. I didn’t plan to talk to him anymore after the night he reached out to talk about what he was going through. He was so young and I was so old; we were in different walks of life, different places. We were different people.

But we did. What God has brought together, let no man separate. I knew a short 213 days after we reconnected that I was going to marry this man. Color me shocked when he felt the same way. We started house hunting, we started making plans, we got pregnant, and we got a ring. Yes, those are weirdly out of order, but I’ve got to tell you how we got to the wedding day. 

Here’s how the planning for my wedding went: I created a Pinterest board and shared it with my momma, and my family made all my ideas come true, and I threw up all. the. time. (Because, don’t forget, I was pregnant.)

My family is amazing and my wedding day wouldn’t have been a success without Image may contain: 2 peoplethem. Our wedding day came on an overcast Sunday. On Saturday, my best friend and Maid of Honor stayed with me overnight at my parent’s house. Everyone except my dad was already at the venue Sunday morning when I woke up. Outside my bedroom door was a gorgeous book of “letters to the bride” that Tiffani had put together; these were letters from all the amazing women in my life. So, non-emotional me started the morning wallowing in tears. 

When it was finally time to leave, I went to say bye to my dad who I found crying — I get emotional thinking about it. My wedding day was so hard for him and I felt so helpless in consoling him. I’m not a hugger or very good at emotional things, but I just held him that morning until he was ready (as much as he could be) to let me go. I had planned a slideshow during our dance as a surprise and by the grace of God, we forgot it…looking back, there’s no way he could have handled it. It was years later before Mom gave it to him. 

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My paternal grandmother, a very special lady was unable to be at my wedding day. She was battling Alzheimer’s and it wasn’t feasible for her to travel three hours. She passed away a little over a month later. However, my Grandpa gave us her wedding dress and my Mammaw made my bouquet holder from it, so I could carry her with me that day. 

The rest of us ladies got ready together. There were probably 12 of us in the room together at any given time; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My bridal party consisted of my five closest friends and my two younger cousins as the flower girls. I was so happy to have each of them by my side to share in this day, including my Momma and my aunt. It’s a day that many of them were as shocked to see as me, but so very thankful that I had found Brandon.

Getting my dress on was a major ordeal, especially since a certain set of assets no longer fit (because…pregnant).

The end result was worth it.

Brandon’s uncle preached our ceremony and all of our closest friends and family were there. It rained that afternoon but the sun peaked out to dry everything up in time for our trek down the aisle. 

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We spotted each other.

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Our unity activity was painting a pink heart on a canvas that now hangs in our little girl’s bedroom. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my veil fell out.

This fall will be four years.

Four really tough, amazing, wonderful years since we said I do. If someone had told me that I would marry him the first day that I met him, I would have laughed. I thank God every day for second chances, for giving me Brandon, loaning me one of best and most beautiful creations that He has ever made. When you find someone who loves you exactly as you are, but still inspires you to be a better person, you have found your Brandon. My worst days with him would have been some of my best days before him. Marriage is hard, so hard, but when you have entrusted your heart, your future, your husband in the hands of the Lord, it will be beautiful. 

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If I could go back and do it again, I would. Every day of my life I’d run back to you. I’d walk down the aisle, I’d wear your ring, I’d carry your child. On my worst days when I cried, when my heart was broken, when I screamed at God and asked him “Why me?,”  I would come back to you. I will always come back here. You will always be my home.

For more of our wedding day series, read Ashley’s story.

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