All you need is love. Just love. (and coffee)
To have and to hold. I’ve thought a lot about those words since saying them myself. Watching one of my oldest friends say them to the man of her dreams, however, was when they really hit home. Before I go into what those words mean to me and what I witnessed that day, I’d like to share with you how I met my beautiful friend Nicole (AKA Nikki).
Nikki and I met second semester, freshman year, at Arizona State University in a creative writing class. We were paired up in groups and Nikki and I got to know one another as we both wrote about things meaningful to us from our childhood. That was the beginning of our 21 (gasp) year friendship. This blog post, which has taken me far too long to complete, couldn’t be more fitting given how we met.
Nikki and I are both from the Midwest and while she left Arizona long before I did, we kept in touch. I would see her when I visited friends in Chicago and my sister and brother-in-law, who at the time were living in Evanston. This was long before Facebook, I think we had Myspace (again gasp), so the fact that we managed to keep in touch all those years is testament to our friendship. When I got the opportunity to move to Chicago for work our relationship grew even closer.
Nikki and I have gone through so much of this life together. I can’t tell you how many memories I have of this darling woman, how many tears we’ve shed over break ups, heart aches, family matters, work stress and all the other things one goes through during their 20’s and into their 30’s. My Facebook photos are flooded with pictures of our wild nights tearing up the city as single women on the prowl. Although she often got stuck in “the black hole”, the word many of my friends used to describe my first apartment in the city on Clark & Fullerton. I’ve always been a homebody and love to entertain. Why go out if we’re having so much fun at my place, right?
When it came time for my own engagement my life would take me on a turn that separated the two of us for a while. I’m so grateful for that, however, because I don’t think our friendship and my relationship with her husband would be as strong as it is today if that hadn’t happened. Its so cliche and everyone I think loathes the statement ‘everything happens for a reason’, but it really is true. It takes time before you can look back and reflect on why things happen in life.
Nikki and Dan had an entirely different chapter before I moved back to Chicago and was introduced to him. I’m a very intuitive person and I will tell you that I knew Dan was “Nikki’s person” the moment I met him. I loved him, his energy, his love and support of Nikki, for Nikki and everything about Nikki was so obvious in my eyes. They just “got’ one another and had a solid friendship, which is so important in a marriage. They have a lot of similar interests like golf, a passion for real estate, dining out (Nikki is a total foodie) and a shared love for their fur baby Wilson.
Soon after they got engaged it was time for them to move to Milwaukee. Ironically this became a theme, as many friends of mine left Chicago around a year after I moved back. Dan was given a major promotion (kudos to Dan) and before I knew it she was gone. I knew it was the right move for them, as our lives change so much after marriage. You kind of have to say good-bye to your single life. So off they went to start their new life together.
Dan and Nikki, in Nikki’s words: ‘weren’t super excited about any of the venues they saw in Chicago, nothing felt unique. We had just moved to Milwaukee and toured the Milwaukee Art Museum and were blown away with its beauty. They literally had one day left in the summer due to a cancellation from Northwestern Mutual that had the date saved for almost a year and forfeited their final deposit (yikes), so we felt like it was meant to be’. I say, AMEN to that!
This by far goes down as one of my favorite weddings to date. Everything was exquisite and perfectly executed. This museum absolutely takes your breath away and seeing the space at night was a special treat. If there is one thing Nikki knows how to do well that’s dance and I literally could not walk for days following this wedding. Maggie Speaks Band, from Chicago, did not disappoint, nor did the endless cocktails. I think I can speak for most people in that none of us wanted the night to end.
Much of the planning, well let’s be honest, pretty much ALL of the planning was done by this beautiful woman below, Nikki’s mom. Not only did she have one wedding to plan, but she had TWO, right after one another. You heard me right, Nikki’s sister, Lindsay, was married in Chicago just weeks before Nikki’s wedding in Milwaukee. Nikki & Dan had their date picked out first, but it worked out well and was a summer their family will never forget. I still can’t believe she pulled both of these off. Its a lot of work, but she did it. I love this moment I captured between Nikki and her mom. It captures their relationship perfectly.
As Nikki and Dan approach their one year anniversary I would like to remind them of the vows they shared with one another and what I witnessed that day, which was pure, genuine love. To have and to hold means (to me) to honor your commitment to one another and to your marriage, no matter what life throws at you. It means to hold one another above all else and to always have each other’s back. You quickly realize that life isn’t “just about you” anymore the minute you say “I do” and no one tells you the first few years of marriage can actually be the hardest. Never stop dating one another, never stop working on your “love”, showing your “love” and reminding each other exactly why you chose each other. Never stop being best friends, having sex (LOTS OF IT) and having fun on this journey called life. I love you guys. Cheers to many more years with the two of you!