We met at church. I was back on furlough from teaching art in Albania, and I returned to my home church, and when it was time to meet and greet the people sitting nearby, the man in front of me turned around and I found myself forgetting my words because I was distracted by his blue eyes. When I was getting ready to leave, he asked if we could meet up for coffee that week, and I meant to say no because I was getting ready to leave the country again in a few weeks and knew this was not the time to start anything, but I accidentally said yes. On our first date, I grilled him with questions on everything from theology to politics and social justice, determined to find a red flag. My plan failed, and within a couple weeks we were making arrangements for him to fly to Albania for a visit. After several months and two visits in Albania from him, I returned to the States. After such a long time on different sides of the ocean, it was a delight to be able to spend so much time in each other’s company. We knew we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives, and he proposed in September!
We set our December 20 wedding date, which didn’t leave us with much time for planning, but with his mother being a fantastic caterer and his cousin an accomplished wedding planner, we had all the big decisions made in no time. I had to get my dress off the rack, and lucked out with the very first one I tried on – it fit perfectly, and was both flattering and comfortable – that last qualification was the most important one, so I was thrilled to find a dress so quickly that also looked so good!
There were so many people who came together to make our wedding so beautiful. My best friend and matron of honor did the artwork for our invitations, and my other maid of honor flew in from Albania just for a few days, using up most of her Christmas break from teaching to be here for us. The wood stands on the tables came from a tree from my family’s farm in Frankfort, and some of the greenery in the arrangements came from the evergreens in Jaron’s yard. A friend of mine wove the shawls by hand that my bridesmaids and I wore. It was a beautiful day, but made more beautiful by knowing all the love that went into making even some of the simplest details.