It’s unbelievable to me that this is almost certainly the last blog post I will write before I become a married man. On Saturday, July 22, Elizabeth and I will finish our 2 long years of engagement in Estes Park, Colorado. I don’t know if I’ve even had time to unpack my thoughts and feelings about the upcoming wedding since I’m so busy all the time, so maybe this blog post will help.
First thing’s first: I’m extremely excited to get to marry my best friend. That’s the easiest part of the process. From the moment I got down on one knee in Grand Teton National Park, it’s never been a question to me whether I’ve made the right decision. Even now, as I write this, I’m most looking forward to beginning the rest of my life next weekend.
That doesn’t mean that the planning process has always been easy, or it’s always been smooth. Tears have been shed. Laughter has occurred. But all the while, we’ve moved closer to the endgoal of putting together an awesome day in front of all of our family and friends.
The wedding venue is the Della Terra Mountain Chateau, located a literal stone’s throw from the Fall River Visitor’s Center just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. Della Terra is located on the side of a mountain, tucked within the trees, and manages to provide a quieter set of scenery than Estes Park is known for (caveat: we’ve only visited during the offseason. I’ve heard that things get pretty bananas in the summer).
Our wedding ceremony will be outside, framed by a big old mountain in the background, at about 4:00 in the afternoon. After that, the reception will be just a couple hundred yards away inside the Chateau itself. Elizabeth’s cousin Michael will be conducting the ceremony; my half of our insanely large wedding party will include my best man James, family members Kyle, Winston, and Riley, college friends Jason, Sam, and Bradley, and high school friends Dervin and Angelo. The guest count originally sparked fear in my mind as it hypothetically ballooned into the 180s; it has ended up settling around the still-high, but much more reasonable 130 level.
Elizabeth and I will be beginning the wedding process for realsies in just a few days when we pick up our rental car after my workday on Tuesday. Early Wednesday, with all of our bags and wedding crafts that we can fit in tow, we’ll drive from Norman up to Boulder and stay there for the night. This may or may not involve having to pick up an aspen tree for the wedding ceremony; that much is unclear to me at the moment. On Thursday morning, we’ll drive the rest of the way from Boulder to Estes in time for our marriage license appointment, then spend most of the day passing our welcome bags as our guests arrive from various places. The rehearsal is Friday morning at Della Terra. Afterwards, all guests are invited into RMNP for a hike at the Bear Lake area (I think Elizabeth and I will be heading to Emerald Lake) in the mid-afternoon. The rehearsal dinner is at a bar in downtown Estes called The Barrel, catered by Ed’s, the best Mexican restaurant in town. Then, on Saturday, it all goes down at Della Terra. We have a thank you brunch scheduled at The Ridgeline Hotel on Sunday morning. By the end of that, I’m sure a long 5 days of work will have taken their toll and I’ll just want to go get some sleep.
But there’s no rest for the weary. Because on Monday, Elizabeth and I head to the Denver Airport to begin one of our greatest adventures in life: a weeklong honeymoon in Iceland.
Over the course of that week, we have a litany of super fun activities planned – visiting remote mountains, snorkeling between tectonic plates, seeing the biggest waterfalls we’ve seen together, hiking and ice climbing on glaciers, ice cave tours, geothermal spa visits. Heck, a volcano is currently erupting in Iceland, and it’s right on the way to and from the airport we fly into/out of. So maybe we’ll get to see an active volcano.
If all of that sounds like it’s a lot more adventurous and a lot less relaxing and glamorous than a typical Caribbean honeymoon, that’s by design. The two of us agreed that we couldn’t possibly just sit around for a week doing nothing – we’d die of boredom, right? So far, I have no regrets about our upcoming trip, although in the throes of wedding planning I’m starting to understand why a week of doing nothing on a beach appeals to so many newlyweds.
From a blogging perspective, I have been trying to decide how to handle this. It’s a wedding and a honeymoon, for goodness sake, so I have no desire to do anything that will take me out of the moment. Nor do I really have a desire to do another year-and-a-half-long blog series like my Glacier series is currently projecting out to (hopefully I’ll get through Waterton Lakes sometime in the next several months though!). So I think my plan is to bring my laptop with me at least to Colorado and try to just write a 15-minute summary of each day the next morning. 15 minutes of hard writing for me is 400 words – this should give me enough time to summarize the major events of the weekend, how I feel, and give me something to chuckle upon in the future when I read it. For Iceland, my plan is NOT to do another exhaustive blog series. Instead, I’ll take some pictures while I’m there and upload them into one or two sightseeing posts, and then save maybe half a dozen posts for the most epic things I do. Let’s see how closely I can stick to that.
We’re in the home stretch of this wedding journey. Here’s to my fiancee and soon-to-be-wife, and to everyone who got us here.