One of my favorite love stories, and it is a REAL one! I met Jennifer and Don over 30 years ago when we were all in high school. My mom worked at the school, knew them both as well, and the two of us helped nudge them together. They dated for a while, but after graduation Don went into the Navy and Jen headed off to college. They stayed in touch for several years through letters & occasional phone calls. I was able to maintain my friendship with Don over the years, not always seeing him but knowing where he was because he never wandered far from Minnesota. Jen, on the other hand, disappeared. Last hearing she’d moved to the Pacific Northwest, I missed her and thought of her often over the years.
I believe in fate, and two years ago fate decided it was time for me to find her. I stumbled on her Facebook page, was beyond thrilled and contacted her right away! It was as if a day hadn’t gone by. I let her know Don was one of my friends on Facebook as well, especially since I knew they were both single *hint hint*. Talk about igniting a fire… Although she was still out West and he was here in Minnesota, they burned up phone lines and Facebook chat like it was going out of style. Many nights I would see them chatting on Facebook only to find them STILL chatting when I got up in the morning. They were bundles of nerves when they actually SAW each other for the first time, but in the process of catching up on 30+ years there was no doubt that love was there. From the moment she stepped off the plane there was no going back. When he proposed it was no surprise to anyone who knew them, or their story.
I had thought over the years of getting licensed as an Officiant and half-jokingly told them about my desire to join them in marriage. To my amazement they took me up on it and the wheels were set in motion! Everyone was just giddy when we all arrived in Las Vegas and had our first get-together, an intimate gathering of about 16 people, friends and family. There was much laughter as we visited, shared stories and all got to know each other. But in the back of my mind loomed the responsibility for holding it together the next day – how on earth would I keep from crying?!?!
Well, first off I discovered that my inaugural bride is a force to be reckoned with. This was not going to be a stereotypical Vegas wedding but something elegant. She had managed to pack favors, room decorations, bouquet supplies, and a service for 30 in her suitcases!! You name it, she had it. She buzzed around assembling & rearranging furniture like a whirlwind, drawing us all into the building excitement. My daughter managed to capture on film many beautiful moments we all shared during this time and as other guests arrived.
Before we knew it the moment was upon us. They joined me at the “alter” we’d arranged. The bride sparkled, and even “twinkled” since she had tiny white lights woven into her hair! The groom just couldn’t stop grinning. The absolute love and joy radiating from these two was overwhelming, so much so that my fear of starting to cry during the ceremony came back to the surface. She gave me a hug and we got through the ceremony with no glitches, my fear of crying lulled by my feeling of joy that they chose ME to join them together legally. There were a few tears from the guests (a good thing) and they were officially husband & wife, sealed with a kiss – almost 32 years after they met and fell in love.
There was much celebrating afterward with good friends and catered food. Then several of us proceeded to the Vegas Strip for a photo shoot of the happy new couple. Oh, the fun!! Still buzzing with excitement, they hit the casino just as my daughter and I went back to our room to collapse. The following day the entire group (myself included) celebrated the grooms birthday poolside. I don’t think the fun will ever end for two so giddy in love! Their sweetness sometimes makes me fear I’ll get a cavity, but I adore them beyond words!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jen & Don for trusting me to join you together! I love you both and wish much love, joy, smiles, and laughs all the days of your lives.