What convinced this almost 40-year-old bride to PIVOT (totally in the Ross-from-Friends way) for my wedding to an Army Soldier?
I’ll get to that in a moment.
Quick Romantic Backstory
Location: Oahu, Hawaii.
I had been divorced a year and was nearing 40 when I decided to date again. I remember vividly writing down in my journal: “NO. MILITARY. I don’t want to move or watch them be deployed. I can’t hack it. I’m sure of it.”
Jazz hands to a couple of dates with potential “second chapter of my life” men and, wouldn’t you know it, I broke my own rule. I fell in mad crazy love with a soldier stationed in my hometown.
My daughter from my first marriage made him her instant best friend and my grandmother was charmed by him. He pretty much passed the whole family’s test of: “You are good enough for our Selena.”
The conversation eventually came about that he would be re-assigned to his new duty station and we knew we were marriage material for each other. Man, if you all could have been a fly during that chat.
I know, I know. I’m getting to the coffee, I promise.
Start the Planning. We Got This… Right?
I shared my news with my inner circle, asking them to set aside May 2015 for our wedding. We made the plans, reserved the space, called a caterer and developed a menu, looked for lodging for my soon-to-be-husband’s parents who would fly in to Hawaii.
We soooo nailed it and high-fived each other.
But (there is always a but), the Army called, like they knew we had taunted the universe with our obnoxious confidence.
Training had been assigned to my soon-to-be-husband. Off Island, and when our wedding would be taking place.
I whined and (naively) said, “Tell them you’re getting married.” I’m sure your commander-sargeant-title-of-people-I-don’t-know-yet, will understand and pause all of your training. Seventeen years in service and he had a lot to teach his soon-to-be military spouse.
Are we at the coffee story yet? Almost. Stay with me here.
My soldier and I talked. What do we do? Lots of pieces always move fast when a military marriage is about to take place. We decided the safer option was just to head to the courthouse and make it official and move on with our lives. Move our original date. Tell my mother I’ll follow her courthouse path — the way she did it with my step dad — and that’s that.
I recall thinking how different my first wedding was from my second wedding. The first time, I didn’t have to think that my groom could be called away to duty, regardless of the important milestone in his life that was about to happen. (Mission First, the second time around.) My guest list got lots of heads up on our wedding date so they could attend. So much planning and preparing is so necessary.
The Coffee Story, FINALLY
You know when stars align and all the pieces are where they should be? That’s how this was.
I met up with a good friend of mine for an impromptu Starbucks break during a busy work day. We were sitting outside enjoying the Hawaiian tradewinds and she asked how the wedding plans were coming along. I shared that we just decided we would be doing a courthouse quickie. Nothing fancy. Just another day. *sip*
She looked at me (as I again sipped my delicious afternoon delight of coffee, cream and ice) and said, “No way.” Or maybe something different, but with the same effect.
Her husband was a pastor who had baptized my daughter. She said he could, no, WOULD officiate. Go pick a beach and make it special. We were in Hawaii for goodness sake!
All of it felt right. And another PIVOT in our plan to tie the knot happened.
Of course we found the beach and wonderful support to make the day really nice. The forecast said it was supposed to be filled with rain, but (finally a good but!) the sun came out for our ceremony — ready to party and make sure we had a great time.
About 30 or more family and friends showed up on the shores of Waimanalo to celebrate our nuptials, and several more joined us via Skype. The ocean provided us with our background music as we shared our commitment and love to each other. We were married by a wonderful pastor who I respected and felt so blessed by. My daughter stopped playing in the sand long enough to join us to be part of our vows so she knew she was an important piece of our family.
All of this because I said yes to a cup of coffee and a wonderful friend who saw a different way to make our day special.
Like Ross, Chandler, and Rachel from Friends, my military wedding was like moving an oversized couch up the stairs.
Don’t say no to the coffee! *sip*
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.