As we dove into the details of Puerto Rico's marriage requirements, we were able to deduce that, with the amount of time we were going to be there and all the extraordinary things we wanted to do, we just were not going to mess with it. That being said, you need to know that the process of receiving a legally-recognized marriage certificate in PR is not hard, but it does require time. And we didn't have (or weren't willing to dedicate) the time needed to accomplish that.
So, that left us with one other option: get married here at home before hopping on the plane! When we first discussed the details around our legal ceremony, we were a little bit apprehensive about how it would all work - the dominant concern being to not hurt anyone's feelings. It was very important to keep it so sweet but so intimate and private; we would have loved to bring every member of our extended families and our close friends with us to Puerto Rico, but the thought of an event that size gave us both hives. So we were fearful of creating feelings of exclusion yet again while simply trying to do something that made our lives easier - and ultimately accomplished what we were so excited to do: be married to each other!
When we started tossing bits and pieces of ideas out, we quickly realized they began falling perfectly into place with minimal effort on our part. The pastor we have both known our entire lives was available to perform the ceremony; Jeremy's brother Jesse, who originally was not going to be able to make it to Puerto Rico, was able to stand by his side; Gilly, my BFFFFFF, miraculously didn't have prior travel plans and was there to sign her name as a witness to my next chapter; and my sweet Eric who was so good at keeping the secret and was incredibly helpful to me that day.
And that was going to be it. Just the 6 of us. And we were at peace with how it all came together and so excited for our tiny ceremony.
And then perhaps one of the most what-turned-out-to-be-fantastic twists in all our plotting happened. We hadn't told anyone about our ceremony plans. No one. We just did not want it to become a THING. Until...Jeremy's stepmom, Sandy, found herself in the hospital with congestive heart failure a few days before our "little" big day. After lots of tears and little sleep, Jerry, Jeremy's dad, took Jeremy to lunch the Friday before the secret ceremony and regretfully said they were not going to be able to join us in Puerto Rico. They were heartbroken. They had both prayed and waited for the day they would watch Jeremy become the husband they knew he could be. So with a bit of a sly grin, Jeremy told his dad that they would still be able to see him get married...
The very next day, on an uncharacteristically warm spring Saturday, just days before we ran away to Puerto Rico, we stood on the edge of the expansive canyon behind Canyon Crest. The breeze was just enough to toss my hair around and dry a few eyes. With the exception of Pastor Brian's mild anxiety about dropping the rings into the abyss of the canyon while we were standing on the grated lookout, everything was as sweet and brief as we had hoped! A man I had prayed for said the most meaningful words to ME. And I was given the opportunity to say them back to him. And we got to do that surrounded by some of the most special people God put in our lives.