Over the past five weeks, I have married my husband under the stars and in the sun, on the beach and in the mountains, dressed up and dressed down, for better or for worse and all that comes in between.
Yep. Since January 5, 2014, Roberto and I have said “We do” 37 times. 328 to go.
Looking back over our first 37 weddings, as we prepare to publicly “invite the world” to share in the celebration, I realize that the “Why?” of The One Year Wedding has already shifted — for both of us — and that it’s a good thing.
When Roberto and I spontaneously started our 365 weddings, we were feeling gleeful and impulsive. We grabbed at the idea of ditching our March 8th ceremony for a marriage-xperiment like forbidden fruit and giggled like teenagers through our first wedding.
Sure, we said forever, but all we were really thinking was: I want you right now!
It wasn’t until our third wedding that I truly felt it was my wedding day. Maybe it’s because our third wedding was the first with witnesses/guests/officiants, the first with rings, and also the first to have a “plan” (albeit a haphazard one). Or maybe it’s because we had three days to walk together as promised partners and shed some of the fleeting teenage glee of our first two ceremonies.
But, on the third day we said forever, and I felt the word — like a current — course through my body and come out my mouth.
We were married on the beach by Mario and Neicy — new friends we met passing through town — and joined by strangers/spontaneous witnesses Gail and Robby, who just happened to be in the right (or wrong) place at the right time. Neicy opened the ceremony with an improvised message on love, then Mario led us as we exchanged rings and offered each other our third set of vows. It was simple, sloppy, and stress-free. The wedding we never knew we wanted.
Our “reception” was the best part: an Italian dinner with Mario and Neicy who were also celebrating their 12 year anniversary. They gifted us with 12 years of wisdom on living your “I do” every day. “Never let the sun go down on your anger,” they told us in time tested wedding tradition. (And their advice became our vows for Wedding #4.) Then Mario surprised us all by sliding Neicy’s wedding band across the table — he had replaced a few missing diamonds as an anniversary gift — and the two renewed their own vows right there and then.
It was in that moment that our “Why?” for The One Year Wedding began to grow beyond the two of us: by going from One Day to One Year we found the freedom and opportunity to celebrate our partnership with everyone we love, including the members of our “family” we have yet to even meet. Like Mario and Neicy. And Gail and Robby. People we didn’t know we loved yet.
In the weeks following those first few weddings, the “Why?” keeps growing. From the alleyway “for richer or poorer” wedding after we spent our last 17 pesos for a week to the BBQ wedding when we nervously broke the news to Roberto’s family to the post-fight wedding(s) with our tails between our legs — what was an impulsive leap of love has evolved into an intentional practice that makes us better to each other and those around us. (I can count a handful of times those “sundown” vows from Wedding #4 have made all the difference.)
On Sunday night (our 36th wedding) we were married by Brian, an off-duty priest, with a small group of new friends and witnesses — Jess, Martha, Bob, and Luanne — more people we didn’t know we loved yet. I proposed in front of the San Cris cathedral and Brian led us in a two minute ceremony, which he concluded by saying:
A marriage is more than two people — it is a promise you make to each other and your greater global family. So, will all of you present today promise to support Rachael and Roberto, as you can, in their partnership?
Today, we would like to extend this invitation to you — our great, big, global family. Will you marry us? Will you be a part of our “We do” as we learn what it means to practice love intentionally, one wedding at a time?
For the rest of 2014, we will be sharing our 365 weddings — and what they reveal to us — with all of you. (Yes, a virtual wedding is in the works!) You can visit this blog for updates, re-caps, and our growing wedding album — or pay us a visit in Chiapas, Mexico and marry us in person! Gift us with your love story or favorite recipe for long lasting partnership in the comments/guestbook below. For more on our growing “Why?” don’t miss our “Why Are You Doing This?” Q&A video.