ELLIE + NICK
Nick and I first met in high school where he was doing a foreign exchange program from Australia. I hate telling people that because they think this is some high school sweetheart story, but we actually reconnected years later in New York. When we first met, I was shocked at his blue and red hair and eyebrow piercings. Remember, this was high school.
Years later, he looked me up on Facebook because he was planning to move to New York. The multicolor hair and the piercings were gone. We started talking all the time and then I went to visit him in Australia. I'm spur of the moment like that. He had an amazing itinerary planned for my time there, but I’ll never forget the first night. He cooked us dinner, but since he’s actually a gourmet chef, it pretty much sealed the deal.
Four months later he moved to New York for good. He planned to crash at my place for a week, with the intentions of finding a spot of his own. But we lived together so well, we just clicked and there was no need for another apartment. A few months later, after a late night out for my birthday, we were in a cab heading up the West Side Highway and I told him I loved him. Even better, he said it back. It was a very New York moment.
We have a green card marriage, but not like in the movies. Ours is legit. Basically, Nick had been here for a year on a visa but it was running out and although we thought his work was sponsoring him it just wasn't coming together fast enough. He mentioned this to me one day while we were walking our dog (future ring bearer), and I went silent. In my head I just always thought that his visa situation was going to sort itself out, and I had been too busy enjoying our time together to really give it much thought. Anyway, when I eventually came out of my stupor a few days later, I realized there was no way in hell I was living my life without this man, and I wasn't going to let him go. So I told him I thought we should get married. We spent the next few weeks talking through all of the major things that most people have a few years to discuss. Once we had said about all we could say, we called our parents, and with their blessing, went to City Hall to be married. We had our "real wedding" with family and friends in Virginia a few months later.
I have never really been a wedding person, and in fact probably would have been okay with never "making it official" if it weren't for my lovely parents, and of course, the US government. I tried on white dresses and they didn't feel like me at all, but then I found this blush colored dress on clearance on Calypso St.Barth’s website and ordered it on the spot. When it arrived, I was over the moon! It had a little leather detailing and an open back. Nothing better than feeling like a badass on your wedding day.
For our wedding party, we rented a 19th century house on the James River in Virginia, about an hour and a half from my parents home in Richmond. The family and some of the bridal party stayed there the week before and between dips in the river, and long overdue catch-ups, we slowly started putting the pieces together for the wedding. The ceremony was super intimate and took place under two large oak trees in the front of the house and about sixty of our closest friends and family.
The morning of our wedding, my family kept buzzing around asking what they should be doing. I just kept saying, “relax, we’ll get it done.” But, ultimately one of my bridesmaids and a friend who happens to be a wedding planner stepped in and pulled it together. Bambi, the ring bearer, refused to walk down the aisle, so I had to carry him like a bouquet. (I even passed him off to my sister when I was saying my vows). Nick and I chose to walk together, I didn't really think it was fair that one person got to "give me away." My Dad was performing the service, so he was waiting for us at the end of the aisle, which was really sweet. We had a violin and cello playing classical music in the background.
I had big plans to set up a long table on the ledge of this property overlooking the river for our reception dinner, but it started to sprinkle halfway through the ceremony and we all got up and finished the service in the stairwell and foyer. It was unexpected, but so sweet. We held the reception dinner under the giant screened porch. We were in rural Virginia so of course we had BBQ. Nick wanted to get really involved in the cooking, but I told them him to let them do what they do best. The food was such a highlight, so much more flavorful than a typical salmon/steak dinner. Nick and I left the reception kinda early and headed to our hotel by boat, but we heard a lot of wild stories the next morning.