One thing that always stands out to me about weddings is how so many of them are perfect reflections of the bride’s personality. Today’s Real Wedding brilliantly reflects the personalities of both the bride and groom: fun!
At first, however, Danielle wasn’t so sure her wedding day was going to be an experience she would remember as “fun.”
The wedding was soon to start, and Dustin was completely dressed and ready. Danielle was also ready except for putting on her gown. Then Dustin’s sister came into the dressing room with a strange, worried look on her face.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh no, D bailed!’ ” Danielle says.
It turned out that their marriage license had expired! In their attempt to make sure everything was done in time, Danielle and Dustin had jumped the gun and gotten their marriage license right away — and now the pastor was saying he could not marry them with an expired license.
From there, everything went into total panic mode.
“This was a Saturday, so nobody would be open,” Danielle says. “We had people buzzing around on their cell phones trying to figure something out. This is when I truly found a genuine love for small-town living. Someone knew somebody who worked at the courthouse in the next town over, so they called her and she left her child’s ball game to meet D and I at the courthouse. So we scurried off to the town thirty minutes away — D in his full wedding attire!”
Their new friend unlocked the courthouse, and the trio went inside to find and sign the new license. They then went back to the wedding site where somebody who knew the judge took the license to the judge’s house to have him sign it and then brought it back.
“Crazy!” Danielle says. “But memorable, and oh, such a fun memory to look back on!”
As if the pre-wedding frenzy wasn’t enough, the whole bottom half of Danielle’s bouquet fell off while she was walking down the aisle. She just kept on walking. She also learned never to use live fish in the flower-vase table decor. Danielle says, “It sounds fun, but when they’re belly up while your guests are standing around eating . . . not so cool anymore.”
In spite of the mishaps, Danielle’s wedding was not short on sweet moments. Growing up, she’d always loved to wake to the sound of her dad playing the guitar and singing. Some of her favorite memories involve sitting in the living room listening to her family sing and play. At the wedding, when she and her dad reached the end of the aisle and the pastor asked, “Who gives this bride?” Danielle’s dad sang a song he had written titled “Her Mother and I.”
“There weren’t many dry eyes left,” Danielle says. “Then he pulled out a note, and when I found out it was from my brother, let’s just say the dry eyes that were left seriously decreased!” Danielle’s brother is in the National Guard Reserves and was out of state for training. “My little brother means so very much to me,” Danielle says. “It touched my heart that he took the time to write something so sweet and special so I could still feel a little of him there on our big day.”
The wedding theme was “love like crazy.”
“D and I were both known for being a bit ‘crazy,’ ” Danielle says. “He loved being the center of attention, and I had my own quirky personality and loved a good laugh. Neither of us were looking for love, per se, when we met, but we knew immediately that we liked each other’s company and soon became best friends. Everybody told us we were too alike to last and too crazy for getting married so soon.”
Danielle’s wedding theme was inspired mostly from Michael Buble’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy,” where an old man is asked how his marriage has lasted so long. He responds:
Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don’t outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy
“We wanted our wedding day to be a celebration of our love and the first step of our forever,” Danielle says. “It was a more casual environment, and we used small standing tables versus the large kind you sit down at. Our music was fun; we used songs that were meaningful to us as a couple.”
Danielle’s wedding colors were white, vibrant orange, and turquoise. She says her mom is her superhero: in the three short months of the engagement, Danielle’s mom did almost all of the planning and decor. She took care of all of the flower arrangements and bouquets while Dustin made a beautiful arch from tree limbs. As a team, friends and family wrapped the trees in white lights.
“Watching the guys use fishing poles to cast into the trees and hang all our white paper lanterns was an absolute hoot,” Danielle says.
The wedding location was the front yard of one of Dustin’s family friends. The yard had big trees, which Danielle adores. The first time she saw the yard, she knew it was where she wanted to marry Dustin.
“We wanted outdoors, rain or shine,” Danielle says, “so boy, am I glad God decided for it to be sunny!”
Photos courtesy of Leslie Harris Photography.