SARA + GUNNAR
I met Gunnar in the back row of communications class in college. I was running late and sat down next to him. He was wearing round, wire-rimmed glasses, and looked very smart. He was my best friend first. We were friends in college for three years before we started dating. He's incredibly caring and selfless. I'd never experienced love like this before. After a long distance Skype affair I flew into London to visit him and was leaving the next day. Our first date was at a Turkish restaurant called The Premises. After dinner, we walked across the Tower Bridge and I told Gunnar that I loved him for the first time. We said it many times before this, but only over the phone. This time we were face to face, shaking, laughing, crying - overjoyed to be in one another's arms, at last. It was a thirty hour whirlwind love affair.
After I left London, Gunnar came to DC for a long weekend and we continued to talk about marriage from time to time, but it wasn't anything we anticipated happening in the near future. Following this trip, he moved to DC so we could be together. He proposed three days after landing in the US. We were in Minnesota visiting his parents and after dinner one night he said, "I have something in my pocket." I asked him if it was a dick in a box. He laughingly said no and proceeded to tell me the story of the ring, which he bought in Mexico when he was 13 on a mission trip, for his future wife. It fit like a glove. Tension set, process cut, cubic zirconia in brushed silver. It is one of my most cherished gifts of all time.
I was super excited to have a wedding. In the beginning, it was easy and everything fell into place. Gunnar and I did all of the planning, which I loved doing together. Towards the end, we were both so exhausted, we contemplated eloping. I'm happy we didn't because our wedding was the best day of my life! We were married at St. Luke's Church in Smithfield, VA and our reception was at a lovely little country club in Williamsburg, VA. Neither of us are from Virginia but my dad was living in Williamsburg at the time. I had dreams of getting married in an old Anglican church outside of Oxford in the UK. Gunnar found St. Luke's church and it was almost an exact replica of the church in Oxford. I was elated.
On the day of our wedding it was 98 degrees with 100% humidity. It was insanely hot! My father walked me down the aisle, which was very special. Yann Tiersen's "Light & Day" played on a five hundred year old organ as I walked down the aisle. I don't remember my feet touching the ground. About ninety people attended our wedding, which was at three pm. Walking into our reception, which was right after, I noticed several members of our wedding party had begun to strip down to their undershirts and taken their shoes and socks off (remember, it was 98 degrees in Virginia in July). In addition, some of them were smoking and slamming drinks. At first I thought, "OH!" Then I figured, "Eh, they're having fun!" So I joined in!
That morning I reflected on the day ahead. I remember feeling supremely full of peace. I couldn't eat I was too excited. Later, we feasted on mini crab cakes, salmon cakes, veggies, and other apps. We also had an assortment of incredible desserts my insanely talented aunt curated. Some of my dad's friends made beer for our wedding and printed labels with our photos on it. One was named "The Premises," after our first date. There was dancing and pool diving, and the cops came. It was super classy. Gunnar and I left at eleven. Others made their way to the only open establishment, Hooters, to continue their celebration. Oh, the stories we heard later. It was magical and I wouldn't have changed a damn thing. In fact, I would do it all over again tomorrow!