3 Years into the Life I Never Could’ve Imagined

Today is our third anniversary. Three years since we stood outside in the sweltering Georgia heat, hoping to get through the photos and the wedding ceremony before melting away. Three years since officially committing to a different kind of life. But I never really wrote about it. I never really shared the pictures with everyone, at least not online. You see, about a month after the wedding, I was boarding a plane bound for Germany, so the weeks before and after were filled with stress, anxiety, and culture shock. After three years, I’d like to finally share some of the wedding photos and stories with you here. (Thanks to our wedding photographer for all the pictures in this post.)

Ali & Andy wedding

Andy and I spent so long living on different continents that we were unwilling to abide by superstitions such as the one about how it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Plus the wedding was taking place an hour outside of Atlanta, and the logistics of it just didn’t make sense. He stayed at my apartment with me, and he came with me to the hairdresser in the morning and ran across the street for bagels for us to eat. He also helped me stay calm when we realized we left his tuxedo in my apartment and had to drive 20 minutes out of our way to go back for it.

Ali & Andy wedding

Obligatory photo of my maid of honor, Rachel, helping me get dressed.

Ali & Andy wedding

I loved my purple shoes.

Since Andy had already seen me before the wedding, and since it was nearly 100F and insanely humid, we had the photographer take as many pictures as possible before the ceremony. He had Andy wait in the gazebo with his back turned so he wouldn’t see me in my dress until I was right next to him.

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Then the photographer had our wedding party bouncing from one part of the property to another, posing for pictures with the sun glaring down on us. My bride’s maids kept telling him not to get their flip-flops in the photos (they put their nice shoes on when it was time for the ceremony) but he kept getting their feet anyway.

Ali & Andy wedding

From left to right: Amanda, Andrea, Rachel, me, Andy, Jerry. Also, my face has never been so shiny.

Ali & Andy wedding

I should’ve gotten a spray tan. I’m practically blending in with my dress in some of these photos.

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

The fake-eye-rolling-OMG-they’re-kissing-again photo. Though I’m pretty sure Andy and I still gross people out by being too mushy.

It was so hot my friends had to keep wiping sweat off my neck with towels. My face appears to be melting off in almost every picture. All we could do was laugh and try to speed things along.

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

This next photo makes me laugh because the photographer had just finished trying to convince me to sit on the ground. I hadn’t even walked down the aisle yet, and he already wanted me to ruin my dress by getting it dirty and snagged on the cement. I refused and then spent the next few minutes trying not to laugh when, instead, he suggested Andy lean over and pretend he was smelling my head.

Ali & Andy wedding

Again with the odd poses. This time he told us to lean in close and touch our noses together. And again we just tried not to laugh too much while the guy was trying to take serious photos of us.

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

Andy and I with my parents.

Ali & Andy wedding

Andy and I with his parents.

Ali & Andy wedding

Me with my brother and his family. I’m sure the timing of my niece’s purple hair dye was a coincidence, but I loved that it matched my wedding colors. Also, how unfair is it that she was already taller than me at age 12?

Ali & Andy wedding

No, it’s not awkward at all for a short girl to lean over a railing to try to kiss her tall husband.

Ali & Andy wedding

Andy being goofy, as usual, with my flowers. We couldn’t handle all the serious posed photos anymore. This is one of my favorite pictures of him ever.

Finally it was time for the ceremony. Andy’s aunt is a minister, so she married us. And because it was so hot, we got through that ceremony in less than 20 minutes, from the moment my bride’s maids started walking down the aisle until Andy and I walked back down the other direction. The reception was inside, and there was air conditioning and alcohol waiting for us in there.

Ali & Andy wedding

We’re laughing because moments before this picture, Andy had trouble jamming my wedding band onto my finger and I made some joke about my fingers being swollen due to the heat. I later found out the ring had accidentally been made a full size too small. Oops.

Ali & Andy wedding

I didn’t want a traditional guest book. I was about to move across an ocean, and I saw little room in my life for such a bulky, impersonal item. So instead, Andy and I made this box covered in traveled-themed paper and asked people to write us notes on the postcards we provided. I loved that box, and we still have those postcards.

Ali & Andy wedding

As nice as the ceremony was, I was really looking forward to the party. Good food, a few drinks, and hanging out with all the friends and family who had come to the wedding. It was one part wedding celebration, one part good-bye party since it was only a month before I moved to Freiburg.

Ali & Andy wedding

Andy and I with my aunt just a few minutes after the ceremony. I’m standing on top of a vent, letting the air conditioning blow under my dress because it was THAT hot.

Ali & Andy wedding

With my friend Jessica. We’ve known each other since we were 7 years old in New Jersey.

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

CAKE!

Ali & Andy wedding

Ali & Andy wedding

So happy third anniversary to us! It really was a wonderful day, and I love Andy even more today than I did three years ago. Even though I knew I was moving to Germany, I had no idea where my life was really headed. I had no idea how stressful and difficult it would be to try to learn German. I had no idea Andy would switch to contract work, allowing us more flexibility to travel. I had no idea I’d write a book. And even though I’d like to think our lives are settling in nicely, it’s still completely unpredictable. Despite being the type to want a plan, I’m learning to embrace not knowing what’s coming up next or how our lives might evolve. It started with a tweet, so really, how can anything be predictable after that?

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