In today's society, social media consumes and constitutes the majority of the average person's lifestyle and grants us the opportunity to "meet" millions of new people. Whether it's "tweeting," "liking," or even "following," most of us have the guilty pleasure of picking up our smartphones and getting our "social stalking" on...We don't have an enchanting eHarmony story, nor the "love at first sight" tale. And no, it wasn't a blind date... Our story can be attributed to the tendency of some good ol' social stalking, and the simplicity of a friend request...
Thank you Mark Zuckerberg
It was a slow day in the office, frequently sneaking some Facebook newsfeed scrolls in between patients... However, this time I noticed a friend request suddenly appeared. This person's name was Marcus Johnson. I noticed we had roughly 40 mutual friends, lessening the likelihood of a random, psychotic-murderer, but not excluding... I subsequently hovered my thumb over this mystery man's profile picture and pressed down. I couldn't resist staring at his baby-blue eyes and gorgeous smile, which now engulfed my entire screen.... I was intrigued, I quickly selected "confirm," unable to ignore the smirk on my face and a sense of excitement in my stomach as I pranced off to my next patient's room.
Just as I was wishing farewell to my last patient, I slid my hand into the pocket of my white coat and habitually lifted out my iPhone. Overwhelmed with curiously, I rapidly punched in my four-digit password, unlocking my screen. And there it was...what I secretly was hoping for...the little red notification box perfectly placed on my Facebook app. This excitement was foreign. Why was I feeling this way? Like a child on Christmas morning or someone who just won the MegaMillions, I wanted to perform my own personal touchdown dance right there in the middle of my office. However, I refrained and gathered myself as I calmly opened the app. It was a very sweet, yet corny introductory message. The typical here's some things about me, why don't you tell me some things about you. I'll forgo the specifics, but let's just say Marcus and I always laugh hysterically at our awkward/teenage initial "Facebook messaging." Eventually phone numbers were exchanged, Facebook messaging was demoted and our new friendship was taken to the next level...texting. Frequent texting led to our first nerve-wrenching phone call and then long, late-night phone conversations guided us to our very first date...
I had been on first dates before, but this date was different. Initially grabbing a few drinks in downtown Cleveland, to walking along the lake at Freshwater Park. Completely lost in conversation; from topics of interests, to life goals/ambition, even discussing the Fireland’s conference rivalries and the good ol' SC Trojans and M'ville Eagles. Before we knew it, it was time for me to head back home. Marcus politely offered to walk me to my car. My mind was racing… So, it was obvious I liked him--- yet did I like him enough for a first-date-kiss? Wait, does he even like me? Oh goodness, what to do...what to do... And then it happened, in midst of saying our goodbyes and stating how much we enjoyed the night, we shared "our first kiss." Granted it may have been approaching midnight, and I still had a long drive ahead, I felt as though I had 153,608,729 shots of Starbuck's espresso in my system. I sang and smiled the whole way home, giddy to see what was to come. Little did I realize that this would be my future fiancé, the man I would spend the rest of my life with.
Time flew since that first night in Cleveland. I found myself becoming more drawn to Marcus, difficult to determine where I ended and he began. Dates continued, family members and friends were met, and before I knew it I was packing my bags (or should I say trucks) and making the move to Cleveland. Eight months after that awkward friend request, Marcus threw a surprise birthday party at my favorite winery, Mon Ami. Completely shocked, my dearest friends and family had traveled all over the state to come and celebrate my birthday! The food and wine were wonderful of course, but making those birthday memories were even better. After exterminating all twenty-five candles, Marcus graciously exclaimed our appreciation to everyone before turning towards me...As he took my hands into his, he stuttered the worlds "Cassidy, you are my best friend..." I started to foresee what was yet to come... I can't precisely tell you word-for-word on what was said, nor do I remember my true reaction. Time stopped, I was in a daze... Looking back, everything was surreal. Packed in a restaurant with friends, family, and strangers, yet Marcus is all I noticed… Somehow I was able to mutter a "Yes!" out of my blissfully, shocked state.
Marc and I are extensions of one another, similar interests and values. My husband is someone I couldn’t live without, someone who makes me a better person and completes me. He is someone I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with the moment I met him. I cannot help looking back at the amazing journey I have already been on since meeting Marcus, which leads me into the not-so-amazing wedding/I Guess I Do moments I endured. Every bride experiences many "hiccups" or full-out breakdowns... It was difficult to narrow it down to five, but I don't want to bore you with ten...Therefore I decided on eight, my Top 8 I Guess I Do Moments.
As mentioned before, Marcus popped the question in March 2014. And as anticipated, winter weather always is accompanied with winter colds. Days prior, we both felt rough (more like squashed by a semi that backed up and ran over us again), yet Marcus insisted that we still make the 2-hour venture home for my birthday weekend. The morning of the proposal, we woke up feeling worse than ever. Over our morning coffee, Marc informed me that he made birthday dinner reservations. However, as the day went on, I felt worse and worse. I informed Marcus that I wasn't up to this "birthday dinner," and that we ultimately should cancel our reservation. Then the persistence arose... In between coughing spells and blowing noses, he stated that he really wanted us to go... we needed to "get out of the house." Being the stubborn person I am, I continued to rebuttal the dinner reservation idea. I had no appetite, blood-shot eyes, and a nose that continued to run like Niagara Falls. And once again, Marcus insisted. So then I persevered, and started the daunting process of "getting ready." I eventually climbed into his Cadillac and was chauffeured to this "surprise supper." I noticed that Marcus seemed a little on edge. Possibly from me voicing my preference to be in pajamas rather than patent-leather pumps or perhaps from him feeling "under the weather" as well.
Typical Saturday night at Mon Ami, packed with people and echoing with loud, live music. The host escorted us to our table. I held tightly on to Marc's hand, fear of losing him in the madness...due to my blazing-burning eyes, I spared wearing my contacts. As we approached our table, I remember seeing a massive gathering of people. Given my sight deficit, I couldn't make out faces, but definitely recognized balloons and boisterous voices. Shortly after dinner and cake, Marcus asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. As I recall the moments from that day, everything is a blur. It could possibly be the surreal state I experienced, or just the Benedryl/Mucinex contraption I concocted...but I definitely regret not taking EVERY moment in. I also regret how horrendous I looked in pictures-- darn flu...
Apparently many women dream of there wedding day? The dress, the hair, the flowers, the colors, etc. Well, I didn't. When it came to what I wanted, I had NO IDEA. Prime example; the dress. Given my indecisiveness, or more like clueless nature, I decided I needed to go dress shopping where the options were limitless. Ultimately, this led my mother(s), bridesmaids, and I to the Reading Bridal District near Cincinnati, OH. Known for having roughly 15 bridal shops and over 9,000 dresses, all within a mile... Given my Type A personality with a slight OCD nature, I arranged appointments at most of the boutiques, one after another. It was an exhausting day to say the least, eventually ending in tears at Bridal and Formal (Kleinfelds of Ohio). Unfortunately, they weren't happy tears associated with holding a glass of champange in the dress. Instead, they were tears shed in my mothers arms as I stood nearly naked in the changing room. After trying on 60+ gowns, the quest was not complete-- I never had the moment in that dress. I was scarred after that day, nightmares of lace, tulle, and utility clamps...forcing myself to take several months away from dress shopping.
Photography + Precipitation
Time was flying, the wedding was soon approaching. I needed to send out Save the Dates. Marcus and I decided to have a beach wedding in the Outer Banks, but also wanted to have an Ohio reception celebration. I needed to relay this information and SOON. I quickly scheduled the date for our engagement pictures. Between our photographer's schedule and my work schedule, we had one weekend that worked, so we took it. The plan was to shoot some photos at a beautiful arboretum and then get a few in a historic downtown setting. The morning was beautiful, sun shining and not a cloud in the sky... I'm sure some birds were singing as well. It was going to be a gorgeous day! I proceeded to get ready and pack all of the outfit combinations for our photoshoot. Moments before arriving to the site, clouds started to appear and occasional raindrops started to fall. By the time we reached our destination, the rain was persistent and my hair had already taken on a whole new level of frizz. After talking to the photographer, we decided to wait it out a bit... Twenty minutes later, things were letting up so we decided to proceed. Eventually the rain did stop, however the damage was done... We were able to finish our pictures as the sun began to shine again. Although my hair was a hot mess, Marcus had no trouble making me laugh about the situation. Fortunately we were able to salvage a few good ones in the process.
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire...
It was decided, the date was 5-5-15. The plan was to wed beachside in the Outer Banks. Intentions of renting a massive mansion along the ocean, and utilizing its "backyard" for our ceremony. Roughly a year before the date, we booked a house located in Corolla, NC. The house was beautiful, plenty of space for our wedding party and parents, not to mention a gorgeous beach layout. Well, check that off the list. The date was confirmed and location was set... well at least I thought.
I'll never forget October 10, 2014. I had just got out of work and was making a last minute Target run for vacation essentials (Marcus and I were flying to Punta Cana the following day.) As I'm getting my cart, my cell phone rings...it's my sister. Upon saying "Hello," she asks me if I'm sitting down. I immediately ask why, and she proceeds to inform me that my "house burnt down." I was confused. What did she mean my house burnt down? I sat in silence. She repeated, "Cassidy, the house burnt down. To the ground!" Then it clicked, THE WEDDING HOUSE BURNT DOWN.
How was I suppose to enjoy a vacation out of the country for a week, knowing that we no longer had a wedding venue? Then, the phone calls began...searching for an available house. There was nothing, most of the homes were already booked for the 2015 season. Great. After a several tears and a prolonged shocked state, my sister called me back. She found a house!! Granted the price-tag wasn't as friendly, I said "book-it" and didn't think twice. Upon arrival to the OBX, the second home was perfect. The layout couldn't have been better for the ceremony and reception. However, out of curiosity, we went in search of the original home. We soon discovered that the original home had limited versatility and literally sat on the water; making a beach ceremony impossible. This instance just confirms how everything truly does happen for a reason! The midst of madness was definitely worth it in the end.
Call me "Crafting Cassidy." Pinterest pinning had become an obsession and my entire home now held the majority of Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabrics, and Michael's combined. I honestly think wedding planning was easier prior to Pinterest. Now, there are so many expectations and precedents that exist, and I wanted them ALL. My now husband and family will confirm my craziness. Sad but true, every craft store knew me by name. I would craft several hours everyday, into the wee hours of the night. For months it's all I did. From chalk board signs to hand sewing fabric flowers for bouquets. I was all about it. A day was a good day without a hot-glue-gun burn. Unfortunately it created much frustration and a cluttered home and ultimately requiring MULTIPLE cars to haul everything down to North Carolina. Looking back, I definitely would have tuned-down the Pinteresting. It's about the day and the moments you share, not about overthinking every single detail.
If we didn't have enough rain with the engagement photo-session; there was plenty more upon arriving to the OBX. The wedding was planned on a Tuesday, yes... a Tuesday (5-5-15). We arrived the Saturday before. We were greeted with temperatures in the 50's and winds up to 30mph. Perfect for a beach wedding! Right? Apparently the weather was repercussions from a current hurricane. Also, do our delight, tropical storm warnings were rumors for later in the week. Of course I didn't have an alternative plan for the ceremony. The whole reason we were going to the OBX was to get married on the beach. I distinctly recall walking down the pier, hand-in-hand with my husband-to-be. Once we reached the sand, tears began to stream. The violent waves and gray sky were not promising. I jokingly stated, "Hope it's not like this on Tuesday!" Given the howling winds though, Marc couldn't even understand what I was saying. As the days went on, the weather dramatically improved. By Monday it was in the upper 80s with SUNSHINE! Fortunately the sunshine persisted through Tuesday and the rain held off. However the wind returned, there were only a few moments that I thought my veil was going to get blown off and take my head with it... Fortunately the weather held throughout the night and for the next couple days. The day before departure, we experienced the "Tropical Storm," but who cares... the wedding was over! Whew!
Gossip, Lies, and Eviction
Upon arriving to our gorgeous mansion, we inspected everything and made sure it was all in tip-top shape! However, the discovery was made that the hot-tub wasn't working! My immediate reaction was to call the reality company. You pay a pretty penny for a home, you have certain expectations that should be met, right? Shortly after my initial phone call, the pool company arrived. Apparently, the electric panel was "fried" and it was going to take a day to get a new one. Little did I realize this was the least of my worries... The wedding preparations continued. Decorations were being assembles and lights were being hung, it was obvious that there was an intended event. The following day, Marcus called the main office to inquire the hot tub's status. At that time, he was asked if we were having an upcoming event at the house and bring to our attention that we didn't have an "event permit." Defense mode sat in and Marc LIED! Upon hanging up, we immediately re-read our contract. Sure enough, ALL events had to be approved and permitted with a $2000 fee in advance. Whoops, missed that one. Further discovering that immediate eviction would pursue if we continued with our intended wedding. Well, we were in quite the predicament. The pool boy told on us and Marcus just flat out lied. Impending eviction was expected. There was only one option; honesty. Marcus, his groomsmen, and father all made a trip over to the main office... Those thirty minutes were the longest of my life, trying to figure out where I would have my wedding the following day. Long story short, Marcus returned with wonderful news! They approved our event and Operation Wedding was back on! ...silly pool boy.
Vacation, Vomiting, and Vows
I had always heard that the Outer Banks was beautiful. Marcus and I also wanted to have a little get-a-way for our family and close friends for our "special day." So why not get married there? It was way more affordable than doing a true out-of-country destination wedding, hoping it would serve as a vacation for our guests as well! Therefore, the beginning May several friends and family members joined us for week of relaxation and a wedding. It was a week full of celebration as well. Once we had the approval to continue with our wedding intentions, we started to prepare for our "rehearsal dinner." While in our bathing suits and cover-ups we ran through the ceremony a few times on the beach, which then led to a huge family style dinner in our gorgeous beachside abode. After dinner was when the real celebration began... Whether it was celebration for the next day or just straight-up vacation mode; the music was up, dance party madness, and drinks were flowing. I'll spare the exact details, but it was a late night for the wedding party. The morning came, it was wedding day! From my knowledge, multiple members of the wedding party were "under the weather." I even called in prescription antiemetics, hoping to get them through. Despite one groomsmen literally waking up at 5:00pm (ceremony at 5:15), fortunately everyone was accounted for. Overall I would say it was a successful wedding week... and then I had to prepare for the Ohio reception...
Overall, every memory and mishap was worth it! Not only did I gain a husband; but also a best friend, arm-candy, and forever date. Without a doubt, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Everything does happen for a reason and ultimately eternal happiness is key. The opportunity to profess your love and exchange vows with your soulmate is what matters. Life is not perfect, it's the flaws that makes things interesting. So I say, bring on the imperfections-- it gives us something to laugh about down the road. And I'm talking about the cheek-numbing, ab-hurting, mascara-streaks-down-your-face laughing. Life is short, enjoy every moment.
Photographer: CL Creations by Courtney Lynn Photography