This wedding will always be special to me because it was part of a giveaway that I did with a few other badass PNW wedding vendors. Rather than more words from me, though, here's Matt's sweet submission to the giveaway contest (he hadn't even proposed yet!):
"Blame it on loving the movie Braveheart, or blame it on writing that term paper on Lydia from Pride and Prejudice in high school, or, most likely, blame it on watching Jim and Pam at Niagara Falls in The Office, because I feel there is something special about forgoing the formalities and getting married on your own terms.
Being a twenty-nine year old male, I have not had my wedding planned out in my mind since I was six. For almost half my life I was convinced that girls really did have koodies. Then I started dating where the topic may have been brought up here and there but always in the future tense. Distant future tense. In college, if you had asked me, I would have said I wanted a huge wedding with five hundred people. It wasn’t because I wanted to share the sacrament of marriage with that many people, rather, it was because I wanted an excuse for a five hundred person party. It wasn’t until finding Jani that the idea of marriage went from, “Yeah, maybe … if it works out,” to, “I really want to spend the rest of my life with this girl.”
Jani and I met August 5th, 2011. I was visiting one of my best friends in Phoenix, Arizona, and we decided, at 11AM on a Saturday, that we wanted to start off our day of shenanigans with margaritas at the very authentic Mexican restaurant, Red Robin. Being 11AM, it is safe to say that we had the bar to ourselves. My friend and I stayed there for a couple hours, mostly at my request, as I grew up the nerve to leave my number for the cute bartender, Jani. After a Cadillac margarita (with a floater that was closer to a couple shots rather than a float), we closed out and all I could muster was leaving my number on the receipt. I will be the first to admit that this was a bit lame because a girl like her deserves much better effort than leaving a number on the receipt. However, by the grace of God, a few hours later, I got a text from this 480 number. This text led to a conversation which led to drinks out the next night and a great “bar-make-out” sitting on barstools (I know, how gross for everyone else). Unfortunately, I was leaving the following day and the prospect of seeing her again was unlikely.
Fate had other plans. Over the next months, we kept in touch. It was text messages, video chats, and phone calls lasting hours, yes, 3 hours or more sometimes. It was like I was thrown back into 6th grade talking on the house phone late hoping my parents wouldn’t get on the line. We were giddy. She came out to visit me in Seattle twice over the next year as we continued talking on a semi-regular basis. However, over time, we both started dating other people and the calls became less frequent. She moved to Denver for a job at corporate as I got deeper and deeper into grad school. By the time summer 2014 came around, it had been months since we last spoke. I came to Denver for the summer for grad school and didn’t even know if I should reach out. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, just a friend to play tour guide for me. I debated calling her since it had been so long but finally got the courage to call her up. To my surprise, she jumped at the occasion. We hung out most weekends and I thought I was located securely in “friend-zone” territory. As my time in Denver was coming to an end, it became apparent that we were becoming more than just friends. There are only so many times we could lay on the roof of the car looking up at the stars Dawson’s Creek style before we realized that this was more."