Every July my husband and I get to celebrate two special dates. Those two special date are our two wedding anniversaries. Both of them are ours to each other, and both of them happened in the same year.
Why do we have two dates? Well, let me tell you a bit of our story. :)
Stephen and I became "officially " engaged in 2009 shortly before my husband joined the United States Marine Corps (Can I hear a "'Oorah"?)
He was shipped off to Boot Camp... then MCT training.... then MOS school...
Basically, I only got to see him here and there for the next several months.
During that time, Wedding planning consisted of choosing the bridal party, me and my bridesmaids getting our dresses, putting together some decor ideas, and then... waiting. Not much else planning-wise I could do. I looked at a few venues, but if you can't book any, you don't want to get your heart set on them.
In the Marine Corps, you get assigned your first duty station when you finish your MOS school. June 2010 was the month that Stephen was set to finish training and be given the location of what would be "our" new home. Or so I thought...
Near the end of the month, Stephen messaged me. I don't remember the exact wording, but he was definitely hesitant. He finally told me that he had got his assignment:
According to Stephen, it was only a half second later that I was sending him the applications for on-base housing via Facebook. (Apparently, I can search the internet very fast.)
It would be easy! But wait a minute... when would we get married?
He would be graduating from his MOS July 1st. He was given a date near the end of July, (I think it was the 29) to report for duty at his new base in Japan.
My opinion was: "We can do this! Let's get married now!"
I immediately went to my mom and we went gung-ho on making this wedding happen.
I wanted an outdoor wedding, ceremony.
I wanted it to have a garden or garden like feel.
I wanted the reception to be at the same place.
It also had to hold almost 250 people.... we knew a LOT of people.
But not outrageously priced of course. ;)
And, most importantly, it also had to be available in July with only a few week's notice
Our internet searching found us a nice looking place that included everything we needed. Hearts Home Farm in Hemet, CA. Driving past it, you wouldn't know it was there. It's a little bed and breakfast hidden in a valley on the side of the road. It looked lovely. Now, to see if they were available.
To make it work out timing wise to actually plan a wedding and have people be able to attend, we needed to pick the farthest date out... that still allowed Stephen to get to Japan on time.
A funny side note, some of you may remember old Facebook quizzes. Things like "How many kids are you going to have, how long are you going to live, ect." Well, sometime while Stephen and I were dating, we had taken one of those quizzes, and both of us got the same answer: July 25.
So I thought, why not? I'll take it as a sign from God. :)
My mom called Hearts Home and asked if it was available the weekend of July 24 or 25. 24th, nope, 25th, yes.
Meanwhile, while mom and myself were happy wedding planning, Stephen was on the other side of the country finding out if he could actually attend this wedding himself.
On the day of his graduation, July 1st, he went to get his orders (military paperwork with the details of where to go and what to do). The military travel officials had so kindly booked his flight with plenty of time to get to his new duty station... which would have him departing from the location of his MOS school in Virginia and flying to Japan on...
We can see that there is a small conflict here that needed to be fixed for this story to have a happy continuation.
As soon as Stephen found out the date, his heart sank, and his face dropped.
The Marine in the travel department handling his papers asked what was wrong. Stephen told her "I can't do this date... my wedding is on the 25th."
She looked like she was holding back her own tears and shock. She told him to go pack. She would try to find a way to make this work.
Stephen went and packed. Later he received a phone call saying his itinerary and orders were ready.
He went to go pick them up. He was now set to leave that very evening.
He thanked his kind fellow Marine profusely.
Later that day, we were finally in each other's arms again.
On the morning of July 6th, 2010, we drove to the Riverside County Clerk's office to get officially married. The only people in attendance were our sets of parents, my youngest brother who was only 9 months old at the time, and his younger sister.
We dressed casually. He says I dressed maybe a little too casually. I was wearing a cute turquoise blue sundress, complete with black leggings. yes, black leggings. Why black leggings? Because we got married on the one morning in July in Southern California where it was very cold.
He's never going to let me live that one down. ;)
We had a short but sweet civil service with county officiant. Then we made sure to walk out of their with several official copies of our license for all the paperwork ahead.
We went out to Olive Garden with our families for a celebratory lunch, then straight to various government departments to start the extensive amount of paperwork required not only to marry into the military, but also to get our passports and other documents needed for going out of the country.
His "bachelor" party and my bridal shower were a few days later, then wows were off on our honeymoon. As soon as we got back from that awesome week, it was a straight dive back into more paperwork, packing, and of course, finishing wedding planning.
July 25, arrived. And it was proof that you can plan an awesome wedding in less than 30 days.
The day was basically perfect and everything we had wanted.
Unfortunately Stephen's own brother, who was supposed to be his best man, and one of my best friends who was supposed to be my maid of honor couldn't make it on such a short notice, and one of my brothers came down sick and wasn't feeling well all day. Besides that, everything fell into place, and most of the people we invited were able to come.
We even had a bounce house for all the kiddies, and we got to play in it too. :)
The very next morning, we woke up, packed, and drove to the airport where I kissed him goodbye and sent him off to Japan. It felt weird sending my husband away the day after my wedding, and coming home and watching movies and eating leftover wedding cake with my family. But, oh well, I was sure it would just be a few weeks or so and he would have all the paperwork completed and we would be living together as a husband and wife should be....
But, the military said Nope, and we didn't get to live together until the time of our 2 year anniversary.
Yes, you read that right. Two years.
What went on during that whole time is a whole other story. ;)
This past month of July marked 6 years of us being a happily married couple.
The years have had their ups and downs. We have fully lived through the sickness and health, richer or poorer, and good times and bad.
We still love each other, and we trust God. He has blessed us with so much. We have two beautiful children here with us, two babies we will meet one day in heaven, and another precious bundle of joy due to arrive this Christmas. :)
So, people ask us all the time, which anniversary do we celebrate? July 6th, or July 25?
"Why not both?"
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