When Justin and I decided we wanted to elope and have a private ceremony, the next thing we knew was that we wanted someone special to marry us. Someone who really knew us and wasn’t just reading from a script or dropping our names into a template. Enter my little brother, Josh. He was the perfect man for the job, with one exception — he’s no minister.
Then began the discussion of online ordination. You know, “by the power vested in me by the power of the internet, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” This is indeed a thing in many states — but according to the almighty internet, the Davidson County Clerk AND the Williamson County Clerk, Tennessee is one of three states that don’t recognize it. (Disclaimer — I know many friends and acquaintances who have gone this route and have a marriage certificate, so I think once you get that piece of paper, all bets are off. You’re good. Never fret).
But if you know me, you know I’m a rule follower. So, how to solve this quandary? Solution: how about we get all that pesky paperwork out of the way a month in advance so we can just relax and enjoy the wedding day? Read: courthouse wedding!
I did some research and learned that Davidson County does courthouse weddings one day a week for 1.5 hours or so. You call Monday morning at 8:30 to make an appointment for later that week, and they go fast. With looming work travel and a move in our near future, we knew we had to get it done in February (actual wedding to happen March 19). So I called February 8 and we had an appointment February 10. We both put in for vacation that day and counted down the minutes.
I don’t really know what we expected, but I think we thought we’d sign some paperwork and we’d be married. Still, we were excited. However, when we got there it became obvious real quick that we would go in this private area of the Clerk’s office and exchange vows, rings, say I Do’s — the whole bit! It took us by surprise.
Our County Clerk, Brenda Wynn, is about the sweetest lady in the world. When we unexpectedly got emotional, she cried right along with us. If Josh Wade wasn’t already booked, I would have invited her out to Leiper’s Fork a few weeks later. ;)
We left the courthouse and headed straight for brunch, naturally. Biscuit Love has been on our radar for a while but it’s always sooo crowded. Guess what — at 10:30 on a Wednesday, you can walk right in. We ordered, and as she swiped Justin’s card she said “did y’all just come from a wedding or something?” (I was still holding my bouquet). I said “yeah, ours.” She said, “NO WAY,” and took his card back — “I’m comping your breakfast.” Errrr, sorry we just ordered the left side of the menu.
As we were finishing brunch, the manager came over and congratulated us and dropped off a bag of goodies — coffee mugs, t-shirts, a cookbook, etc. So, so kind.
We left brunch and drove by our soon-to-be new home that we would live in as a finally married couple. (We were so ready for it to be done!) Then, we went home (to our former apartment) and took a nap. It was pretty much the perfect courthouse wedding day.
So many thanks to my beautiful, most kind-hearted and selfless friend Lindsey for taking these photos at the courthouse and for making my beautiful bouquet. She offered the day before, so I scrambled and found something suitable to wear — and I’m so glad I did. We will treasure these and treasure the very non-traditional, but very Justin and Jenn, way that we did our entire wedding process. We did what we wanted to do — we made it special and we made it about us. It’s how every wedding should be — not like ours — but however it is that makes the two of you happy and is a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. For nobody else and for no other reason than to celebrate your love. And we sure have a lot of it to celebrate.
People asked “did it make it less special since you actually got married in February?” Heck no — did you see the photos from that wedding in the woods? It was amazing! I got to pledge my love to this man twice. I’d do two weddings a month for every month if I could.