From the Bride:
How they met:
It all started with Paul one late August weekend in 2011, as he set out to join friends on a float trip on the Niangua River. Paul was dealing with the recent passing of his grandmother, so he was a bit reluctant to go. Once with his friends, he settled in, but much of conversation revolved around his companions trying to convince some girl to join them. If you haven’t already figured this out, that girl was me!
As I headed to the river, I grew a little anxious. I realized I had previously met almost everyone in the group, but I didn’t know any of them very well. Despite this fact, I managed to make small talk when others approached me while we sat in the raft. Paul noticed my quietness and assumed I wasn’t having a good time, so what does he do, but throw me into the cold river as a way of introducing himself! He certainly got my attention. Conversation flowed between the two of us throughout the day, so much so, that we lost track of time and were escorted off the river by the water patrol.
Wow, a trip that neither of us expected to take, but both of us were glad we changed our minds. However, when leaving the campground the next morning, we made no plans to meet again. Curiosity got the best of me once I returned home, so I found a way to contact Paul and encouraged him to attend our mutual friend’s birthday celebration. Soon we began dating, and our love for sushi, animals and thrill rides quickly lead us to become inseparable.
Paul and I became fairly certain in the early months of our relationship that we would marry. Unspoken promises were felt in the support we received from each other, in good times, and even through our worst challenges. Our immediate and constant loyalty proved to be stronger than any words that could have been spoken. Paul and I’s fairly certain status turned to forever committed just 8 months after we began dating. The defining moment of clarity came through absolute chaos that ensued with a motorcycle accident that involved sliding down the street. It happened all so fast – it was just a blur of awful sounds, smells and tumbling following the crash. Yet, after we hit the ground, each became more concerned about each other than what was happening to ourselves. We felt the longest seconds of their lives passing before us. Then I somehow slid into Paul’s arms. A combination of adrenaline and momentum propelled us to our feet. While more dramatic than most of our days together, it was this incident that brought to light how much we cared for one another.
Paul had wanted to propose for years, but we decided to get a house first, had several job transitions, car mishaps and life just seemed to keep happening and being incredibly busy. He finally decided nothing else was going to get in the way-we didn’t want to wait any longer! After almost 6 years, he asked my parents for permission and planned to pop the question in February 2016. However, my sister’s boyfriend surprised everyone with a proposal February 1st. So, despite his best intentions, Paul had to wait a little longer!
Paul soon remembered that I had told him in the past that I wished I could celebrate my half birthday instead of my actual birthday. Since it falls right around Thanksgiving, everyone tends to be so busy, I usually doesn’t get to celebrate it. Paul decided that would be the day!
On May 25th that year, I kept getting texts from my mom while I was at work about needing a ride somewhere. I ended up having a stressful day and working several hours late. I wondered why my mom didn’t ask my sister, who was off work earlier and lived closer, but agreed to head over to my mom’s house to pick her up. As I left for her house, I called Paul to let him know I would be home eventually and expressed being annoyed that I had to go all the way to my parents first. When I got there, I hurried inside and my mom encouraged me to go back out front. Confused and annoyed, I went out to the garage and saw Paul walking Norm, (my horse). My initial thought was that something was wrong with Norm and my mom needed Paul’s help breaking the news, but then I saw a box hanging off of his halter. I apparently wasn’t supposed to make it inside, but Paul wasn’t used to walking Norman. Of course, Norm insisted on stopping for grass several times, delaying their arrival. As I got closer, I knew exactly what was going on! Paul got down on one knee and explained that he and Norm had a question for me and proceeded with the proposal.
I have had Norman for 20 years and Paul knew that Norm was my #1 guy and the most important thing in my life. I had always envisioned riding Norm down the aisle if I got married or including him in the ceremony somehow, but due to the way life played out and how long it took for us to get engaged, it was too late for that to happen.
4-Horse Hitch Wagon:
Since I grew up showing horses (they had been a part of my life since I was 8 years old), I wanted to incorporate them in her wedding day. I didn’t want to stress Norman out with the trailer ride and making him hang out somewhere unfamiliar all day so I had to find a substitute. A lot of people do cinderella carriages, but despite the addition of a blush fairytale skirt to her dress, I’m not a girly girl and wanted something less dainty and more unique. After months of searching, convincing and problem-solving, I found a solution. I was able to get Shires For Hire, LLC to bring a team of 4 draft horses to pull myself and the flower girls in a hitch wagon for the grand entrance to the ceremony. This was by far our favorite part of the day!
Another personal favorite (and guest favorite) was our ceremony music. We struggled with finding the right music for months. We went through lists and quickly decided against traditional songs. The team of shires became our inspiration once they were booked so we knew we needed something dramatic and big. As I thought about my dress, I envisioned a Roman/Spartan warrior type and began to search “songs with war drums”, “battle songs” and “Mad Max music.” After weeks of clicking on a series of related searches, we eventually got away from overly ominous scores and closer to what I wanted. We ended up with a series of what I refer to as “warrior soundtracks” by Hans Zimmer, Two Steps from Hell and several songs from the movie Gladiator. After the guests reaction to the music, I was sort of bummed that we didn’t have a videographer to capture the horses and bridal party procession with the music. Many of our guests have since asked for our song lists and several of them admit that they have started listening to the soundtracks routinely.
We took six dancing lessons, but didn’t tell anyone (not even my Maid of Honor). Paul and I didn’t want anyone to have expectations that we were going to be great; we just wanted to look like we knew what we were doing. Paul and I ended up really enjoying learning something new together outside our comfort zone. We are considering continuing to take lessons in the future if we ever end up with free time!
For some reason almost every time I found something I loved and had to have, I would realize it was on an Australian website (wedding dress, flower girl dresses, decor inspiration, –we even considered getting a pet wallaby this year-no joke!) Every aspect of our wedding sent us on a wild goose chase, trying to find what always proved to be nearly impossible. But we got it done and I couldn’t imagine it being any more perfect!
Jamie & Paul
Earrings: Sara Gabriel
Photography: Rivas Photography
Beverage Catering Service: Embrace the Grape
Rings: Visionary Jewelers
Draft Horse Team: Shires for Hire, LLC
Floral: Hitched Planning + Floral
Chocolate Bag Desserts: McCormick & Schmick’s
Flowergirl Dresses: Tutu Du Monde