Friday, August 28, 2009

I Married Him Twice - Chapter Three

The final of three chapters.

We knew we wanted a small, family oriented, wedding. But, since my Dad was so sick, we also knew there was no way he could travel to Los Angeles for the ceremony, plus we knew most of my family, understandably, wouldn't leave his side to make the trip here. And, we knew that Beloved’s 50 family members in Los Angeles weren't all going to travel to Ohio. So we did what any stressed out--not really interested in a big wedding blow-out--let’s make this happen so both our families can be there-- kind of couple would do.

We got married twice. Once in Los Angeles and then again the following weekend in Ohio.

Yep, for a girl who didn't think marriage was a priority, and for a guy who had never mentioned it once in six years, it was now hugely important to be married "properly" and that to us meant having all of our family witnessing our vows.

I fancy myself as a no-drama kind of girl despite all the sobbing mentioned in Chapter One and Chapter Two. And I am extremely organized and detailed oriented, so pulling off not one, but two weddings, in two different states, in a short amount of time, sounded like a piece of cake. If that isn’t proof that love is blind, nothing is!

As planning began, Beloved only had one requirement for our dual nuptials-- His two daughters needed to be with us at both. That was the easy part. I wanted the ceremonies "sooner than later" so my father could be with us in Ohio.

Dad was not doing well and had been confined to bed or a wheelchair for months while he endured horrific chemotherapy. When we called to tell him our plans and ask for his blessing he was thrilled about our marriage but thought we were crazy to have two weddings. His advice-- Elope! Nevertheless, we set the dates-- both dates-- each one week apart, for August and September.

There is something to be said about planning small weddings in a short amount of time. You have to just go for it with no second thoughts! For Los Angeles, the hotel for the ceremony and reception, food tasting, music, flowers, cake, license and invitations for 64 guests were all wrapped up in a couple of weekends. For Ohio, it was one trip home to confirm the reception hall, ceremony, which was in my Mom and Dave's back yard, food, cake, music, flowers and invitations for 42 guests. Of course there were about 500 other details to consider but the big stuff was covered.

Then there was the issue of my dress. Let me remind you, I am not a girlie-girl and I was not interested in a “wedding gown". I was thinking more in the lines of a "nice suit" for the ceremonies. But, my Mom thought it was important-- no mandatory, that I at least try on a couple of “real” wedding dresses. She knew I was stressed about the planning and about my Dad’s rapidly declining health and she convinced me that I “owed” it to myself to try on some wedding gowns. You know, because it would make me feel all happy and joyful... “like a real bride”.

So, on my long weekend home in Ohio to plan our 2nd wedding, Mom, my three sisters, and my six young nieces, whisked me off to a bridal shop. Not just any bridal shop either. Oh no, no, no. We went to a bridal shop where the minimum amount of lace on any given gown was at least fifty yards.... Think Maria in "Sound of Music". Think Princess Diana. Think my worst Barbie Bride nightmare. Swear to gawd! Every dress was over the top frilly, especially for a non-girlie, thirty-five year old with a "lace phobia".

They just didn't work on me. Seriously, even the women running the bridal shop were laughing at how ridiculous I looked in the "princess" gowns. But, gosh, Mom and the girls were so happy, and so cute, and so into it all, that eventually, all my little nieces were trying on flower girl gowns and twirling in front of the huge three way mirrors and-- Oh! My! God! I'm embarrassed to say, it happened. I got “bridal fever”. Gawd help me.

No longer did a “nice suit” sound right for such a monumental occasion. All I heard in my pea brain was the old “I’m only doing this once” conversation that a crazy bride gets in her head when she's justifying going over the wedding edge. Suddenly my sensible self was out the window and my "bride self" really, really needed a wedding gown. Gasp! But I drew the line at lace and hoops and veils. I decided to return to Los Angeles and tone it down to a more age appropriate dress that I could wear to both ceremonies.

The problem was, our ceremony in Los Angeles was in a much more formal setting then the casual garden wedding planned for Ohio. Finding a wedding dress suitable for both was a challenge. So I did what any sensible, down to earth “bridal fever” crazed woman would do. I bought two wedding dresses! But they were not Disney Princess-ish in any way, shape, or from. I wasn't that crazy. They were nice, simple dresses, in a "wedding gown" sort of way. Ha!

With the dress drama resolved, I again focused on my miserable job, unpacking the new apartment I'd found (no I we not moving in together until we were married), the ticking clock til the weddings, and my Dad’s declining health.

Over the next few months I made multiple trips to Ohio to spend time with Dad and with each trip it was apparent the end was inching closer. We had long talks during our visits and I knew he was happy knowing I was, in his words, “finally settling down”.

Despite my “bridal fever”, I was realistic and knew my father would not be walking down the aisle with me. I was also fairly certain he wouldn’t be able to attend the Ohio ceremony, but I assured him we’d see him just before and just after we said our vows and I’d carry him with me on my heart. I’d be wearing a pin of my father’s both times we married and knew he’d be thinking of us at each precise moment.

I wish I could say this has the happiest ending of all, but it doesn’t. Dad died three days before our first wedding. My eyes sting even typing these words. He had so many things he wanted to live for, all of which involved his ever-growing family, and I know our wedding would have brought him great joy. My siblings and their spouses were all with him when he passed; I was on the phone from California. As I spoke my last words to him, my sister told me his eyes were open and the words were registering when I asked him to watch over us at both of our weddings.

I have little memory of the next three days-- They passed with little sleep and deep sadness. The only comfort found was knowing Dad was no longer suffering-- Something often said at times like that, but still not easing my grief.

My most vivid memory of our first wedding, which was beautiful, was of my mother and brother walking me down the aisle to my waiting Beloved and his two daughters. As important as the day was to me, there were no more tears on my face-- they stayed in my heart. I knew if I started to cry during the ceremony, from joy or sadness, I would not be able to stop.

So there, under the Los Angeles stars, surrounded by loved ones, Beloved held my hand and kissed me at least 20 times—No, he did not wait until the end of the ceremony to kiss his bride, he just kept kissing me, as if to bring me extra joy and extra love when I needed it, and him, the most.

We honeymooned in Santa Fe for a few days before we arrived in Ohio, first to bury my father, then to marry for a second time the following day. By now we'd had ten days to let our sadness sink in and it seemed as if our Ohio family was finally able to exhale and relax a bit.

We walked ourselves down the aisle together following a meandering stream of toddlers. My nine year old niece was my Maid of Honor, my eleven year old nephew was the Best Man and all my youngest nieces and Beloved’s three year old grand daughter were Flower Girls. My five year old nephew carried our rings.

It was a garden ceremony filled with laughter, lots of little people, and an abundance of love-- Truly a family affair. Mom and Dave gave us a spectacular wedding in their garden with a meaningful history to me.

Would I recommend two wedding in seven days? Absolutely, but only if you're surrounded by your loving family and dearest friends.

And yes, I’d do it again. Afterall, I have TWO dresses and lots of wedding planning experience.

Today, August 28th, is my first 16th wedding anniversary.

September 4th is my second 16th wedding anniversary.

I am blessed to have married the same wonderful, loving man-- twice.
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna


  1. Joanna,
    I just cried with you. This is my first visit to your blog. There are love stories here all webbed together. The story of you and your beloved, the story of you and your father, you and your mother, you and your family and your beloved's.

    This is a beautiful story. I am sorry you didn't get the experience to have your Dad walk you down the aisle. Knowing he was there for both weddings, I am sure he was smiling.

    I lost my Mom almost 3 yrs ago. there is something I say from time to time. "I know my mother is with me. But it would just be great if I could have her back 'with skin on', so I could just hug her.

  2. Chapter three was a three hanky chapter! If you don't write a book from this, you're INSANE!!! Without a book, or a screenplay - there can be no movie! You and I (and all your readers) know that we would love this movie!!! No joking....none!

  3. Wow. Brilliantly written and so very emotional from the up and the downs this was certainly a roller coaster ride that must have been very painful to write, yet happy because of how you reflect on it now. Really such a well done post, I have to agree with PJ smell Lifetime movie of the week !! Thank you for sharing that with us as your father looks proudly down upon you smiling. Sending you anniversary honks and blessing honks from the 59th street bridge in NYC !

  4. I am sitting here crying uncontrollably and trying to type at the same time.

    Beautiful and sad at the same have the wonderful gift of storytelling. ;)

  5. So wonderfully beautiful and moving. You write so well.

  6. I was nodding and smiling - my wedding was also planned and executed quickly. I also did not actually live with the hubs till after the wedding. I too did not need a gown until my mom made me try one on (or an diamond, but that's another story).

    I recognized this story and I was enjoying reliving it.

    But then it took a heartbreaking turn...

    A truly truly beautiful story, and so beautifully told.

    The pics are gorgeous, too! Thanks for sharing them! And happy anniversary week!

  7. I love both your wedding gowns, I was hoping there would be pics.
    I am so sorry that your Dad could not walk you down the aisle, and I ca not even imagine how it must have felt to have a wedding after 3 days of his death. But yes, he was no longer suffering, and he was happy for you.
    Happy Anniversary and may you have many more together.

  8. If you haven't already given a copy of this story to your Mom, you really need to do that. I'm sure it would mean the world to her.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. The photos of both weddings are beautiful.

  9. What a beautiful story.

    When I first read that you were going to write how you married twice, I thought it is was going to be about marrying young, divorcing and matter him again years later.

    I loved this story, but I am so sorry that your father died right before the ceremonies.

    You are an amazing woman. I know how organized you have to organize a wedding and may have thrown that out the window days before.

    You looked beautiful in each of the dresses.

  10. You looked awesome BOTH times. What a truly unique concept and so thoughtful and caring that you did that for the sake of family. I applaud you. The lost of a parent is difficult enough, but to have to endure that sadness at such a special time must have been so difficult. Thank you so much for sharing your touching story.

  11. Oh how lovely! It sounds like Beloved was really there for you when you needed him the most...nice to hear!
    My mum's dad died on Christmas day and although we all try to laugh a little harder, there are usually tears in our eyes. But like you, we had to take comfort in knowing that he was no longer suffering.
    Beautifully written Joanna x

  12. Such a warm story. You are a great couple, thanks for the inspiration.

  13. I really LOVED these storys! I too, cried as I read about your father and about all the love in your family and of course your 2 weddings. Just great posts that I enjoyed and in spite of the tears made me smile too.

    I am sorry about your dad but I am happy and thankful that you had such a relationship with your dad to begin with. Since I have never had that kind of relationship with my own dad, I see the value in that relationship. I truely believe he was present at both of your special days and continues to see what a wonderful person you are.

    I am happy that you found the love of your life and that you were able to share it 2 times with those you love. Happy Anniversary!

  14. Oooh. Forgot to say, Happy Anniversary!

  15. that was beautiful...the care to make sure everyone was included...the passing of your father caught me hard...congratulations on your anniversary! both of them....mayyou have many more years to come!

  16. Not the twice-married story I was expecting either. My husband & I re-newed our wedding vows last year for our 20th (21st was yesterday as a matter of fact), so I was thinking along those lines. But I'll echo others sentiments, needs to be made into a movie.

  17. Your dad was so happy to know you were happy. You are an amazing woman!
    Happy Anniversaries!!!!!

  18. Oh Joanna, I'm crying too. What a touching story. I hope you do write a book about this...

  19. You can do almost anything when you have loving supportive people around you!

  20. Oh I looked forward to Chapter 3.... I kept checking my Blogs I Follow for the conclusion..... what a beautiful story in 3 chapters with 2 weddings and the funeral of your beloved Dad. What a hectic time it was indeed for you and your family. Happy anniversarys!! Both dresses are gorgeous as are you and Beloved.

  21. I rarely laugh and cry and sigh at the same time, but your beautiful post brought all those emotions out in me.

    And for someone with a "lace phobia" you sure did make one hell of a stunning bride. I mean, brides.

    Happy Anniversary to you and Beloved.

  22. What a wonderful job of bringing all the emotions, both highs and lows, to your readers. The sense of love and family came through in its fullness. Happy Anniversary!

  23. Beautiful story, beartifully told!
    Happy Anniversary!

  24. What a beautiful and touching story. I'm so glad you shared it.

    Happy Anniversaries to you and your Beloved!

  25. Happy Anniversary, Joanna, and what a lovely way to commemorate (them) with these touching stories (tears in my eyes). Thanks for sharing. You know it took a year to plan my one small wedding of 50 people. That is an amazing feat, coupled with your dad's illness.

  26. I always judge a story by whether or not it makes me cry, and this one is an absolutely beautiful story! Thanks for sharing that, Joanna!

    Happy anniversary, and many, many condolences on the loss of your father!

  27. That is soo sweet. :) Thanks for sharing that with all of us. :)

  28. I've enjoyed the stories of your weddings! What a gorgeous couple!

  29. I can only imagine the mix of emotions you were going through - to be experiencing the two polar opposites of what life brings our way.

    I think it was a lovely idea to do the two weddings and you look beautiful, in fact you look like a lovely couple.

    Happy Anniversary, both for today and for the 4th. :)

  30. What a lovely story - so glad Friday finally arrived. I was so afraid you had one of those married - divorced - remarried stories. Love this so much more!!! I understand about still missing your dad -- I lost my dad just five months after I lost my first husband and even eight years later I still burble about both of them from time to time.

    What beautiful cherished memories of both weddings.

  31. happy first anniversary to you and your hubby!! what a sweet story; I enjoyed all the chapters of it


  32. I had the blessing of hearing you tell it yesterday and I was so very touched. Even reading it today, I found that I felt every emotion that must've been felt in preparation for both of those wonderful days. I can only hope that Boo and I have a ceremony as precious and memorable as yours was.

    I loved that the most important people to the both of you were there and participating in the ceremony.

    Happy Anniversary to you both. May you have two whole weeks of celebrating!

  33. How uniquely wonderful--I'm sorry about your dad, but still a happy ending! And BOTH pictures are fairy-tale perfect;)

  34. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. This Ozarks farm chick was married in Missouri ice storm. What a story to share with your grandchildren someday. Hitchin' up with Gramps twice and all. I really enjoyed my walk through your blog. Ya'll have a wonderfully blessed week-end!!!

  35. Happy Anniversary! what a beautiful love story thank you for sharing that with us. You are truly blessed!

  36. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. You write so beautifully. You and I were married the same year, only 5 months apart and I was 37. We both apparently waited it out until we found the right one! BTW, my beloved has 2 daughters as well.

  37. BTW...your beloved looks like the actor on "The Nanny". Very nice! ;-)

  38. I hope none of my co-workings can hear my sniffling....Two love stories for the price of one: you and your dad, you and your beloved.

    I'm so glad you included pictures.

    Thanks for sharing.

  39. What an amazing story, Joanna!

    And when you said you got married twice to the same man, I thought you divorced and got married to him again! This was a neat surprise!

  40. Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary and you looked absolutely gorgeous in the wedding gowns. That was a neat story. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Yours is such a beautifully sad but wonderful love story. I cannot imagine the emotion of losing your Dad days before your weddings. You had to by numb. Thank you for sharing this piece of your heart with us.

  42. You sharing and writing make this a great blog. I went back to the post about the Ohio home.

    Also, I agree with your other readers about emotions in this story.

    I must say though, I completely understand your Dad's advice - elope.

    I'll probably never understand the bridal fever. Weddings are special, but it's not the lace or center pieces. It's sharing love with each other and family.

  43. Joanna, I am so glad that I found your blog and did not miss any of this. It is so beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. I am so sorry about the loss of your Dad and can understand your pain as I have recently lost mine. You both look beautiful in your pictures. I can tell you have one beautiful heart and thankyou for sharing this with all of us. There has to be a book or a movie...because this was a Hallmark moment for me. I have to go dry my tears. Happy anniversary my dear.

  44. Your story is warm and pulls at the heart strings. Happy anniversary!

  45. Happy Anniversary my friend!!! I wish you and your beloved many more blessed and golden moments. This truly was a beautiful love story of how you married him twice. I hope your day and evening will be filled with laughter and joy.

    My heart cried with the sadness of your dad's passing.
    It will be a year Sept 5th on the passing of my dad. I miss him so, even though I can't hear his voice anymore I know he is watching over me. Last night I asked for his help today and once again he came through for me, buying me a little more time for the surgery that lies ahead.

    Sounds like you are one lucky girl to have the hearts of two wonderful men....

    Enjoy your weekend and many hugs!! xoxo

  46. Happy anniversary! I am sure that you did your dad proud!(Tearful)

  47. Thanks for dropping in, hope you enjoyed your visit. Ya'll come back and have a super week-end!!!

  48. Joanne....this is a warm and wonderful story. What makes it even more special is that it comes from your heart. Thank you for sharing this special time in your life with us. You have a special talent for writing.

  49. I seem to have a speck of dust in my eye. Let me grab a hanky, then I'll sit down and tell you how great I thought this was... deal? :)

  50. Oh, all these comments are fabulous. So's your story. Snarky Sister, both your gowns are lovely. This story is the bomb.

    Really. Lookit, 51 of us think that. Must be true!

    Happy Anniversary, Honny!

  51. Wow, what an amazing story to have, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

  52. Wonderful and bittersweet.

    I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.

  53. Wow! My heart breaks for you because your dad passed away before your Ohio wedding. But, you are obviously well loved by many!

    You are such a beautiful bride! I've always wanted to see pictures of you. You're such a show-off! You couldn't have been more beautiful if you tried! ;)

    Hugs and love,

  54. Oh yeah, Happy Anniversaries! Do you get two gifts? I sure hope so!

    More hugs!!

  55. What a lovely story.

    I'm so sorry that your dad wasn't there to walk you down the aisle.

  56. Oh, Joanna..I'm still crying! I know your Dad was watching you at both ceremonies!

    I absolutely love the way you and your honey are looking at each other in your first wedding pic! You can see the love! It pops out at you!! You're beautiful in both;-)

  57. Just wiping away the tears here... What a tale of love and hope and sadness...

    Enjoy both your wedding anniversaries!

  58. Oh, man, Joanna. You got me again. What a terrific/sad/wonderful story. I love the pictures. Les and I are headed for our 16th (first and second date) anniversaries. We didn't wait as long as you did... for anything. I proposed within 9 months and we were married about 10 months after that. Our wedding was for everyone else, really. We had a couple of moments, good ones, but the rest was for the crowd. I committed to her for life within a few short weeks of our first meet. You'd think such a fiery beginning would have a burn-out somewhere. Not the case at all. Just as passionate as ever.

    So glad to read about your union with Beloved. Thank you for sharing this.



  59. I just finished reading all three segments...the last one with tears in my eyes....and I just have to say, you are one lucky and loved woman !!

  60. oops...pushed publish too fast....

    and I just wanted to add that your dad was there with spirit without question...he watched the whole thing and is still smiling about it today !

  61. I think I'm gonna call you Elizabeth Taylor from now on.... :))) Who else marries the same guy twice??!?!

  62. Joanna, I'm so sorry to get to this post so late, I'm having problems with my "follower".
    What an unusual wedding(s). I'm so sorry that you dad didn't make it to see you get married.
    I didn't wear a dress, and I always kind of regretted it. I think you made beautiful choices. xo

  63. What a wonderful story. I'm so sorry about your Dad though. I feel that sting every time I realize that my own Dad never got to meet any of his grandchildren.

    Your dresses, your weddings and the bride... beautiful!

  64. Oh my gosh. What a story. (((Hugs)))

  65. I am a sobbing mess. That is a beautiful, perfectly told story.

  66. Absolutely lovely and touching. And such beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing!


  67. I married mine twice too...except we took a three year hiatus between marriages with a legal divorce! We only celebrate the first marriage now as it is just too confusing.

  68. A wonderful happy/sad/poignant wedding story that isn't just about love between the two of you but also about family love. So well told.


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