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.)
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.
Obligatory photo of my maid of honor, Rachel, helping me get dressed.
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.
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.
From left to right: Amanda, Andrea, Rachel, me, Andy, Jerry. Also, my face has never been so shiny.
I should’ve gotten a spray tan. I’m practically blending in with my dress in some of these photos.
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.
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.
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.
Andy and I with my parents.
Andy and I with his parents.
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?
No, it’s not awkward at all for a short girl to lean over a railing to try to kiss her tall husband.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With my friend Jessica. We’ve known each other since we were 7 years old in New Jersey.
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 become a full time blogger. 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?
You might also enjoy:
- On Living a Non-Traditional Life
- The Struggle of Wanting Conflicting Things
- How I Make Money Online and Travel Up to 4 Months a Year
- A Look Back at 10 Years of Travel Blogging
June 5, 2014 @ 10:05 AM
Alles Gute zum Hochzeitstag!
Tolle Bilder, interessante Berichte – toller Blog.
PS. Es ist immer schwieriger, wenn man in ein anderes Land für eine längere Zeit zum Leben geht. Da fallen die Unterschiede mehr auf auf. Selbst, wenn man als “digital nomad” über Monate in einem Land lebt, ist das nicht das Selbe. Kopf hoch, das wird schon – auch mit der Sprache. 😉
June 5, 2014 @ 8:15 PM
Vielen Dank! I had to get my husband to help me translate, but thank you for the kind words Berni!
June 5, 2014 @ 10:25 AM
Congratulations to the pair of you.
June 5, 2014 @ 8:15 PM
June 5, 2014 @ 10:29 AM
Congrats you two!
June 5, 2014 @ 8:15 PM
June 5, 2014 @ 10:47 AM
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! What a beautiful wedding and story. I love the post card idea. You two look so happy.
We had a similar issue with my ring and in our wedding video I’m mouthing to Shawn, “just shove it on” because it was stuck at my knuckle.
June 5, 2014 @ 8:16 PM
Thanks Carmel! That’s hilarious about your ring too!
June 5, 2014 @ 11:00 AM
I loooovvve the photo of you laughing while you guys are dancing.
June 5, 2014 @ 8:17 PM
Thanks Gigi! That’s one of my favorites too.
June 5, 2014 @ 1:41 PM
Congrats!!! The pics are gorgeous!
June 5, 2014 @ 8:17 PM
June 5, 2014 @ 1:52 PM
You guys are so cute. Love the photographs; and your dress is just stunning!!! Hope you guys are doing well 🙂
June 5, 2014 @ 8:18 PM
Thanks Teresa! We’re doing fine. I hope you’re doing well in Rotterdam!
June 5, 2014 @ 4:15 PM
Congratulations many times over! You and everything about the day look so beautiful! Thank you for sharing (finally)!
June 5, 2014 @ 8:18 PM
Thanks Val! Sorry it took me so long!
June 5, 2014 @ 4:42 PM
June 5, 2014 @ 8:18 PM
June 5, 2014 @ 5:39 PM
Hard to beiieve it’s been three years already! Happy anniversary, and many, many more.
June 5, 2014 @ 8:18 PM
I know, right? Thanks Barbara!
June 5, 2014 @ 7:40 PM
Congratulations to you both! And once again your writing is so great it makes me feel like I was right there sweating alongside you!! 🙂
June 5, 2014 @ 8:19 PM
Thank you Gia, you are so sweet! I hope you’re doing great!
June 5, 2014 @ 10:46 PM
Oh Ali! How pretty! I still remember when we used to skype about him and how you hadn’t met, feels like so long ago!! I miss you and glad to see your doing well!! Congrats on 3 years! :)))
June 6, 2014 @ 3:53 PM
Thanks Lindsay! Yep, I remember that too, fun! I hope we cross paths again one of these days!
Henry | @fotoeins
June 5, 2014 @ 11:59 PM
Congratulations, you two! To many “viele Jahre” to come! 🙂
June 6, 2014 @ 3:53 PM
Thank you Henry!
June 10, 2014 @ 11:58 AM
Happy Anniversary to both of you 🙂 May your union be long and your joy be overflowing well into your later years.
I really love your openness here and your honesty as well in being frank with us all about your life and your hopes and fears, not to forget sharing your wedding pictures with us all as well.
One important overarching theme I see here throughout your post is that you were always, well almost always living in the present rather than living on past accomplishments or dwelling on future hopes – two things that I will put my hand up and say that I am guilty of. You just went with it and put your best foot forward and just let life unravel itself and as many people would say, let the Universe guide you. That’s both brave and wise. I read somewhere on an inspiration blog recently that being out of your comfort zone is the safest place to be a lot of the times when it comes to dealing with the unknowns in our lives. So maximum respect for taking life on as we like to sometimes say here in Australia.
Speaking of being out of your comfort zone – the two of your are real troopers for getting married in 100 degrees (fahrenheit) heat. That’s 38 on our scale here in Australia or as I like to plainly call it for what it is – damn hot. You could have rescheduled or done it later on in the day but instead you went ahead as planned. I really respect both of you for that. When it gets that hot and gets really humid with humidity around 70 percent, it gets really uncomfortable and sticky in my part of the world. I really hate that when it happens. But at least you had alcohol. It might just be me but if it’s really hot, I can drink one ordinary bottle of full strength beer and the feelings of heat and stickiness go away completely. I think that could be the point in the proceedings where I exchange contact lenses for beer goggles but I digress 🙂
One thing I wanted to mention is that I really loved all of the pictures. The wedding photographer, strange as his instructions were did quite a decent job and the picture of the brides maids in the flip flops actually works for me. It kind of has a grounded in reality feel to it. The last thing you would want them to be in would be high heels on such a hot day and on top of that have to contend with blisters. That would be ouch central.
So again, a big congrats to both of you for your three year anniversary. May they be many, many more to celebrate in the future. I was going to ask what you both had planned going forward but I think I know the answer already. Watch this space! 🙂
June 10, 2014 @ 12:12 PM
Thank you so much, Matthew! As always, your words are so kind and make me smile!
I certainly *try* to live in the present and not dwell on the past or worry about the future, but I don’t always succeed. But I will keep trying.
I get your point that we could’ve rescheduled, but I don’t think that would’ve been a realistic option, what with weddings being planned ahead of time and locked in. And the southeastern US is damn hot from May through September, so I don’t think there was any way of getting around that! I originally didn’t want even the ceremony outside because of the heat, but this was the best venue in most other ways, so we just dealt with it. And it was a pretty setting.
The photographer did do a good job with the pictures, and I agree with you about the flip-flops, it is funny and down to earth. There’s another picture of me and Andy and our wedding party behind us on the stairs, and not only do you see my friend Andrea’s flip-flops, but Andy is holding a bottle of water. Not classically formal, but still captures the memories of that hot day. The bride’s maids did wear dress shoes for the ceremony but that’s it. I ditched my shoes as soon as we got inside too.
Thanks again for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment. (And by the way, your comment came in just as Andy was switching my site’s hosting, so I lost it and had to re-add it myself from my notification email, so that’s why the date is showing up differently, sorry about that.)
June 10, 2014 @ 11:59 AM
Beautiful photos and happy anniversary you two. Your love is evident whenever we are around you. Here’s to many more!
June 10, 2014 @ 12:13 PM
Thank you Kim! That’s so sweet to hear!
Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren
June 12, 2014 @ 9:10 AM
Happy Anniversary! Your dress was absolutely gorgeous and you looked beautiful, even with the shiny face! Also, I love the postcard idea. Thanks for sharing your special day with us.
Happy travels 🙂
June 12, 2014 @ 5:28 PM
Love & Dating On the Road | The Ramble
June 16, 2014 @ 8:52 AM
[…] Ali, who married a man she met on Twitter and moved to Germany to be with […]
June 23, 2014 @ 8:46 PM
Though I don’t know you well, Ali, I was privileged to be invited to your wedding (your dad and I are cousins) and unfortunately for me, my husband and I were unable to attend. Now I feel as though I shared your day a little….your photos are wonderful and I so enjoyed your comments and dialogues. It was a beautiful wedding and I wish you a beautiful life in your marriage and your travels. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.
June 23, 2014 @ 10:23 PM
Thanks Marylou, that’s so sweet! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for reading along!
July 10, 2014 @ 4:18 PM
I have a question about Visas. Do you have a German long-term visa to stay beyond the 90 day limit for Americans. If so, was it a long process to receive the visa? My husband and I were looking at having Spain be our ‘home base’ as we travel around and the process seems daunting with all the documents, visiting the US consulate (twice)…can you give me a quick summary on your experience and challenges.
July 10, 2014 @ 10:41 PM
Hi Patty! I’m not sure I’ll be much help, but I’ll try. My husband was already working in Germany when I moved here, so he had a work visa. Since we were married, I just had to go to the foreigner’s office here in Freiburg and show them our marriage certificate and some of his documents. So it’s not the same situation. If you and your husband want to go to Europe (well, the Schengen zone: http://travel-made-simple.com/understanding-schengen-zone/) to travel for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to have a valid reason to stay. If neither of you plans on working, you could try applying for student visas and sign up for a Spanish class. If you want to travel around Europe, not just Spain, you would have to spend 90 out of every 180 days in non Schengen countries. I’d really recommend checking out this blog: http://wagonersabroad.com/ They are a family who spent 2 years living in Spain on a visa that didn’t allow them to work, so they’d be able to help you out a lot with how to do something similar. Good luck, and happy travels! Feel free to email me if there’s anything else I can help with!
June 6, 2019 @ 2:33 PM
Super special happy 3rd anniversary wishes from me to and huge thanks for posting about your wedding day (sounds like ‘hot and steamy’ would be an understatement … LOL) including fabulous photos. They are all great but the one that resonates with me most, the one I fell in love with, the one that tells the WHOLE story is the romantic photo of you and Andy dancing. Oh wow!!! BTW, your cake and flowers were superb. Once again, thanks for sharing and being so honest. Love “following” you because you are so authentic.
Best wishes to you both always. ??
June 10, 2019 @ 3:28 PM
Thank you Christine! I love that photo of us dancing too. Thanks for following along with my blog, I really appreciate it!!