I want to start by saying that the last 16 months have been the most fun, exciting, stressful, creative, exhausting yet invigorating months of my life...I'm sure most of you can relate! : )
Thank you all for the opportunity to vent, share and laugh here on BDW...I have truly been (and continue to be) inspired.
This is our story...
Janelle & Todd
Riviera Maya, Mexico
HOW WE MET
It was the first weekend of October, 2008 and I was helping a friend with her wedding. A couple of weeks prior she "planted a seed"...that maybe her cousin (Todd) and I might hit it off. He loved to travel, was a foodie, an avid reader...more of an intellectual than a jock (which suited me just fine). She and Todd weren't overly close (at the time)...there is a 13 year age difference between them...in fact, she wasn't sure if he was in a relationship or not at that point!
Anyway, it was my job to hang out at her house and wait for their guests to arrive from the church the night of the rehearsal dinner. The doorbell rings, this incredibly stunning man walks in, introduces himself as "Todd" and honestly, I saw stars. It was hard for me to make eye contact with him the whole night, I was so excited. We chatted a bit the next day at the wedding ceremony and reception...and I spent most of the next morning (gift opening) at the kitchen sink with his mother, washing dishes!
Let's just say I took the bull by the horns...I was not prepared to let this one get away!!! I got his work e-mail address (the only one my cousin had) and spent an hour composing a four sentence e-mail that basically said he was the one person at the wedding that I wished I had been able to spend more time with. I hit "send" and waited...all of 15 minutes!!! He replied that he was, at that moment, sitting at his desk, trying to get the nerve to call up his cousin (my friend) for my contact info. The rest is history...I think we just always knew that we would be together forever. It is easy to be with him, to share a space and travel the world together...in my dreams I could not have imagined having a relationship with a man as honest, open and loving...there was no question we would be married.
But...we are both very private and practical and never really saw ourselves having a big wedding. Neither of us had been married before but he did have a teenage daughter from a previous relationship. We moved in together after about 18 months of dating and that's when our parents started saying things like "there's money set aside for a wedding" and "we just want to see you married!" So, on our second trip to the Riviera Maya in January, 2011 (@ Dreams Tulum), we decided what we wanted was a destination wedding...to ask friends and family (none of whom had been to Mexico before) to step outside of their comfort zone and travel with us back to the Riviera Maya for our "Fiesta in the Palapa"!
Engagement Photo/Third Anniversary
I've never really been a big fan of rings, especially with my job in healthcare...and working in inner-city high risk homes I want to keep my jewelry to a minimum. I love full bezel diamonds, I wanted a band a bit wider than normal and after an exhaustive search, I found a photo of a Birks ring online that I loved. However, Birks no longer makes the ring, so we took the photo to a local goldsmith and he recreated it beautifully! Unfortunately, I still don't feel comfortable wearing it to work most days, so I'm looking for a really simple band of some sort. Todd also had his ring done by the same goldsmith.
My great friend (Todd's cousin) hosted my bridal shower and planned the most creative Mexican-themed food and activities...it was a blast! Instead of a guest book, she had everyone sign a sombrero (that she told me later she picked up at Value Village and just glued some pretty flowers and trim on). She asked a local woman (originally from Mexico) who sells salsa and fresh tortillas at the farmer's market to do a tortilla-making demonstration for us. Then, we filled those delicious fresh tortillas and had homemade chicken tortilla lime soup, dressing everything up with the toppings provided. Our friend from the farmer's market who creates amazing cakes baked a fab Mexican vanilla cake and Mexican wedding cookies.