EMILY + BRANDON
Brandon dated an old friend of mine for a weekend; they couldn’t stand each other but we stayed friends for about five years. I can’t really pinpoint when we finally got together, but years down the road it just evolved and he flew out to Atlanta to visit me. I remember him being a more subtle presence than I imagined. He is super tall and very handsome with lots of tattoos, but the vibe I got from him was so soothing and calm, and not what I expected. But I loved it the same. We are both lifelong die hard Braves fans so of course our first date had to be a Braves game. And they won. Which is a good thing because I may have taken it as a bad omen if they hadn’t.
I never knew I needed balance until he came into my life. I realized it didn’t make me weak to be the best version of myself with someone else. Before him, I was so wrapped up in the belief that I needed to be fiercely independent. I think once I accepted that it was a good thing to fall somewhere in the middle, I knew he was it for me. No one else ever gave me that "ah-ha" moment.
We had talked about marriage for a long while before he proposed. He knew I wanted to pass the bar and get my career in place first. He had talked all my friends into baiting me that he was proposing on this beach trip he had planned. Instead he proposed two weeks earlier on a trip to the mountains. Totally got me, all of them. I was in sweats and all sweaty playing checkers.
Brandon is from Hilo on the Big Island in Hawaii. It rains every single day there so we got married about an hour away on the other side of the island where it hardly ever rains. The Big Island is a very magical place. Volcanos, black, white and green sand beaches, lava fields, rain forest, and snowy mountains — all on an island you can get across in a couple of hours. He also has a huge family there so it was a no-brainer. We had about ninety guests. Everyone who came from the mainland said it was the most amazing place they had ever been.
Both of my parents walked me down the aisle, and there was a local guitarist playing Hawaiian music. I was so tunnel-visioned in on Brandon that I do not even remember the music. We didn’t write our own vows, but our family friend was our officiate and every single bridesmaid was in tears so I would say she did a fine job on her own.
For dinner, we ate Huli Huli chicken, sushi, and Poke — all Hawaiian fare. When in Rome. Afterwards, there was so much dancing. We had lots of kids and they loved dancing with all of us. It was so fun. My friend’s daughter danced with the whole wedding party all night and said it was the best day of her life.
After the party ended we all went to our rooms, grabbed all the half-empty bottles we had from partying all week and headed to the pool and beach area. The last ten or so pictures friends took were just various people passed out by the pool or on the beach. But no worries, we all made it safely to bed.
Having all of our friends meet was probably the best part of our wedding. His friends live on the West Coast and mine on the East. It was the first time we were all in the same place and everyone left best friends. We knew a lot of people were coming a long way and we wanted them to make it about them too. The whole week was really just made of magic. There is no other way to describe it.