Something I've omitted throughout the previous parts were all of the random 'coincidences' of people we knew, times we should have met, and how I was even Branden's first ever crush! I suppose it first starts with our parents. My mom's family lived across the street from Branden's dad's family and my mom and his dad were in the same grade in school and graduated together. Branden's dad's dad was an optometrist and my dad's family always went to him. Branden's mom was best friends with one of my cousins in high school and when this cousin eventually got married and had children, Branden and I both baby sat for her. When we were young, our families attended the same church, but remember, I am 3 years older, so we never were in the same Sunday school class. However, when I showed Branden photos of me when I was a child, he couldn't believe his eyes! His first crush was when he was 5 and it was on one of the older Sunday school girls that he had seen at church...after seeing my photo, he said that it was me! Crazy, I know but this is just how destiny works.
The house I grew up in was on a hill and I used to babysit for the 3 boys that lived in the house at the bottom of the hill. Branden was friends with these boys and one time he came Christmas caroling with them to my house but my family wasn't home. In his band days, I went to one of his concerts but I was leading a youth group at the time and spent the entire time chasing down my hooligan kids and never got to pay attention to the band. The second CD that his band made was with another one of my cousins, at his studio. Branden's parent's held a young adults Bible study at their house every week that my friends went to and would invite me to go to all the time but I never went. The same friends also went to Scandinavian Folk Dancing every week and would beg me to go with them because it was 'so much fun' but goodness...do I really need to say more than Scandinavian Folk Dancing?! Apparently Branden went all the time and my friends knew him before I ever did. It was amazing that I even went to that Christmas party where we first met, and even Branden wasn't invited, he was drug along by a friend too. There are more random and odd close encounters but since I've already taken up 2 paragraphs and I can never remember them all, I'll carry on with my tale.
I'm not a huge fan of having to think back on how wrenching our engagement was. Even now as Branden is making me French toast with a vanilla yogurt and pear topping (he brings me breakfast in bed every day), I know how the story ends and that it's happy but it was a torn 8 months.
After his family and I moved him up to Vancouver, BC in September 2008, I pretty much bawled in the back seat of his parent's truck all the way back to the border (at which point I had to stop so I didn't look like a crazy druggie with puffy red eyes). We saw each other every other weekend when he would finish class on Friday afternoon and drive the 5 hours and a ferry back before having to go back again on Sunday evening. I would get so excited on those Fridays! I would do my hair up all nice, put on a pretty dress, make my makeup perfect and then fling the door open and jump into his arms the moment he drove up! He would stay as long as he could before going to his parent's house for the night. We both were waiting for our wedding night so I always had to let him go every night and dream of the day when we would be married and I never had to let him go.
The Sundays when he would have to go back were dark and heavy. We knew it was coming and it got harder every time. I would kiss him goodbye from my door, both of us in tears, and then I would peek out from my window as I watched him drive away. It may sound a bit over dramatic but I would basically have a breakdown every time he had to go, even though I knew he would call me when he reached the ferry about an hour later and would continue to talk to me until he reached the border. As much as we hated having to be away from each other, it did really solidify our communication skills which we find a huge blessing in our relationship now. We talked for hours on the phone every night from about 10pm, after he was done with his school work. In order to not bug his roommate, he would usually go out to his car, which I tease him about because it was parked across from a children's playground and he probably looked like a creeper.
I did have fun planning the wedding though and managed to figure out what basic design theme I wanted to go with, picked out bridesmaid dresses, and found my wedding dress which thank goodness was well in advance because they sent the wrong one the first time! In March, Branden was getting frustrated with his University and was thinking that he wanted to change the topic of his Master's degree. Someone told him about the University of Edinburgh and that Master's degrees only took 1 year and cost less. When he called me up and told me not to get my hopes up but that he was going to look into a possible change in Universities in September, I basically jumped up and down yelling, "We're moving to Scotland!"
Finally the day came for him to move back and I have never felt so at peace and happy before. It was such a relief! I begged Branden to not start up any job and just to focus on planning the wedding instead, which thankfully he was more than willing to do. He had done event planning before with the band so he actually enjoyed the crazy details and things which stressed me out to no end. He also had to plan all of the paperwork and details about moving to Scotland on top of it, so I was extremely grateful for his hands on involvement of our wedding. Since I didn't' have a passport and needed one for Scotland and we knew we would be moving only just over 2 months after our wedding, we decided that my name needed to change sooner than our wedding date in order for the paperwork to be done in time. So on June 7th, 20 days before our actual wedding, we signed the legal marriage certificate in Branden's parent's kitchen and turned it into the court house. Legally we were married but we did it as low key as possible and didn't count it as the real thing until the wedding day. Thank goodness we did this because all of the paperwork didn't get through to us until the day before we flew out for Scotland!
The day before the wedding was exciting and so much fun! A lot of our friends came and helped us decorate the church and reception location. Our rehearsal went off without a hitch and we eagerly headed to our rehearsal dinner which was all prepared by my incredible cook of a mother-in-law. The food was amazing!!! After stuffing ourselves, Branden and I sat quietly together on the stairs by the table full of food including a chocolate cake which our nephew Hunter, who was only 2 1/2 at the time, was trying to convince us to give him more of. It was a sweet moment as we snuck him bites and my sis took secret photos as he peered tiptoed over the table and begged for more. I will never forget that moment even though what happened next was the beginning of the nightmare...
One of our engagement photos taken by our friend Kim Butler of Fleur de Lis Photography
Have a fabulous weekend and be sure to stop by on Monday for the wedding story! *dun dun dun!!!!
Click to read Part 4
Click to read Part 4