Happily Ever Hunsdon: A Wedding Story

Hunsdon 5 (1)
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.
Hunsdon 9
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.
Hunsdon 7
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.
Hunsdon 4
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.

Don’t miss our upcoming Saratoga Living 2017 Winter Issue featuring a Special Wedding Section.

As the bridal party lined up and made their way down the aisle, my body was shaking uncontrollably. My knees were weak, almost as though a slight breeze could knock me over. My hands were trembling and shivers ran up and down my spine.

There had been many occasions in my life that had proceeded this that could’ve caused this nervous, boarder-line hypothermic behavior; however, usually I’m a solid oak, unwavering and unaffected by every situation. That perfect streak ended at marriage.

It wasn’t because I felt I was making a poor decision or that for some reason I had the urge to turn and run; in fact, it was exactly the opposite. It was because I knew that the amazing man standing at the end of that path was everything I’d ever dreamed of and more. The perfect piece in my personal puzzle. Happiness was literally causing my body to quake.

My dad took my arm and said, “It’s just a few steps, darling. Only a few more steps to your future.”

The instrumental version of “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera began to play and it was our cue to make our way into the room. I was still a flood of twitches until we turned the corner and I saw my husband-to-be standing under the white archway, illuminated by twinkle lights. A complete sense of calmness filled my body and it was the encyclopedia definition of an utterly perfect moment, just like magic.

Once upon a time, there was a journalist who was interviewing a elderly woman for a story. She  met the woman at her residence—a senior living apartment complex— and began scribbling short hand within the pages of her moleskin notebook when suddenly there was a knock on the door.

The women rolled over in her wheelchair and when she answered the door, there stood the maintenance supervisor. He was letting her know that he was changing the light bulb outside of her room. The maintenance supervisor was the most handsome man that the journalist had ever seen, but when the door shut she figured that she’d never see him again.

A mere fifteen minutes later, however, there was another knock. The journalist answered the door and the maintenance supervisor was smiling back her.

An enchanted moment.

Shortly after, we met for coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Before we knew it we’d been sitting there talking for five hours and it seemed as though only minutes passed.

As a writer I’ve spent my life seeking the sage advice of those who have lifted the pen before me. Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion… the list could go on and on.

It seemed only fitting that we would write our own vows, which unfortunately for me meant that the pressure was on. Writing is my niche so everyone was expecting something magnificent and, to be honest, I didn’t quite know where to commence.

So I left the beginning in the hands of Mark Twain:  “In order to experience the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”

With his assistance I was able to construct the rest in my own words. Steamboat captains are notorious for being helpful in times of crisis.

The decision to construct our own vows set the tone for the entire wedding, which as it turns out was exactly what we wanted; outside the box but still withholding the most basic nuptial traditions.

Planning a wedding was not an easy task. There are so many factors that you have to consider: the theme, the dress, the seating chart, the venue, the food, the decorations, the DJ, the cake…it’s enough to make your head spin.

The theme we decided on— rather quickly and without any arguing— was country chic, completely our style. Burlap, lace, tea candles with a mint green, cream and navy blue color scheme.

For us, it was important for the ceremony and the reception to be personalized. My husband’s mom was our officiant and it truly made our day so much more special. We did the decorating ourselves, with a little help from etsy.com of course.

Then we found the venue—The Holiday Inn in Lake George. It was rustic and had a breathtaking view of the lake. Luckily the food was taken care of with this location so that was one less detail that we had to fret about. They even had gluten-free options, which was essential for me as I have celiac disease.

This made selecting a cake a tad difficult; that is, until we stumbled on Mrs. London’s Cafe in Saratoga. They constructed a Chocolate Nebula Cake—sinful layers of milk and dark chocolate mouse over a flourless chocolate cake all covered in a smooth chocolate glaze and white chocolate swirl. The writing was in shimmering golden specs and flakes.

It was then time to “Say Yes to the Dress.”

I’ve never been a orthodox girl. I always thought that searching for the perfect dress, especially at the prices these days would be nothing but painful and tulle-filled. Being shorter than the average female at the staggering height of 5’ 3”, I assumed that those dresses would swallow me whole and I would be transformed into a walking bridal creampuff—If I tripped down the aisle, I’d just roll the rest of the way. My mother of course insisted on not missing out on this moment with me and so we made an appointment at Something Bleu Bridal in Saratoga Springs. I tried on a handful of dresses. Some were the princess, fairy tale look—and yes, they do make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Disney movie. Others were simple and classic cuts. And then there was one, the dress that seemed to be made for me. So much so that as soon as I put it on, I just knew, ‘This is it!”

We still wanted the ceremony to incorporate some element to separate us from the usual “I do’s.” Since one of our favorite movies is Braveheart—Mel Gibson plays revolution leader William Wallace who charges his fellow Scotsmen against the brutal rule of the English, we incorporated an aspect of his wedding to the love of his life: the hand binding ritual. My husband held a strip of lace and I held a strip of flannel from his favorite shirt and then we wrapped our hands together, representing a life-long bondage.

After making our grand entrance into the reception, our song started to play. Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” filled the air and we danced as though we were the only two in the room.

He was the best decision I’d ever made.

And so we lived #HappilyEverHunsdon.

Hunsdon 6
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.
Hunsdon 3
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.
Hunsdon 10
Photo by Sarah McCann Photography.