When I was little and sleeping at my grandparents’ house on December 31, my parents would always say the same corny line: “See you next year.”
It always struck me because it was only a day. And yet it really was a new year. It felt like so much could change in just one night somehow.
That’s how I feel about this post. This is the last time I’ll write to you before I leave for Aruba—in just 48 hours. The next time I talk to you, I’ll be ceremoniously married, coming off a 12-day trip to Aruba and 3-day wedding celebration, and I’ll have just had my 30th birthday.
It’s only two weeks. And yet somehow everything changes. So I better make this a good one.
For all I talked about and counted down the days until Aruba came, it’s weird to feel it so close. I had my last appointment before we leave with my therapist last night—someone I started working with not too long after our engagement. And it was bizarre and surreal for both of us to realize something we’ve talked about for so long in concept is actually happening in reality.
Going to Aruba is a always a little bit like going home. Not just to the place, but to myself.
I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but my grandparents were actually ambassadors to Aruba—though it’s mostly a nominal title. They started going in the 70s. And being there brings me closer to them.
It only occurred to me yesterday, in therapy, that the second day of our three-day extravaganza is the anniversary of my grandmother’s—my Bubbie’s—passing. Eleven years ago this year.
If anyone would have wanted to be at this wedding, it’d be her. Hell, it probably would have been a bit more extravagant if she were involved. But I like to think she’d be proud of the simplicity, elegance, and classiness of the whole event.
Most of it, people will never realize. And that’s okay. That’s not why I created it. Like spending over 10 hours making playlists. And choosing a site that was previously the first hospital in Aruba as our venue. And wearing custom-made rings made of meterorite, palladium, gold for the deep symbolism they represent to us.
It’s art. Art of who we are. Something borrowed from my Bubbie. Something old from Garrett’s pap. Blue shoes, blue color scheme, blue ocean and sky. New clothes, new family, new memories. We’re tapping into something old in ancient in our love and marriage, honoring those who modeled before us. And we’re borrowing our love of this sacred place from my family. To create an experience that invites our family into our intimate relationship.
My therapist asked me why our reception is what it is—no DJ or band or dancing (except for possibly at the after party). An elegant dinner in a stunning secret garden. Three courses. Elevated but accessible. With each wine personally taste-tested and paired by us. Incorporating native Caribbean and Dutch flavors with modern twists.
And, ending, with mocha crème brulee. A nod to something Garrett said to me once. Jokingly referring to the famous line from the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding.
I was strangely craving ice cream, and said I’d go to the grocery store. And he said, “You’re going to eat grocery store ice cream? No, no. I’ll just make you a dark chocolate semifreddo. “
When I protested, he said, “Stop judging yourself for thinking you’re high-maintenance or snobby. You’re never going to be Jell-O no matter how hard you try. You’ve always been crème brulee. Accept it. It’s why I love you.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our relationship, it’s simply that. How to accept myself without judgment. How to stop pretending or trying to be someone I’m not.
So I simply told my therapist that our reception is what it is because this is who we are. We love food. We love supporting culinary art. We love getting to watch people talk and really connect. We love deep, intimate moments where people feel wowed, surprised, and loved.
This reception—and entire wedding—is about self-acceptance. Accepting who we are without judgment. And sharing that with our closest friends and family.
That’s art to us.
It’s not easy to put love into words. Even as someone who writes every day. It’s not easy at all. But I hope through our intentional gestures. Ones that people may not even notice. They can feel and share in a little something that I get to experience every day.
Garrett isn’t what I wanted. Or expected. He’s not at all like the person I imagined myself with. I’ve always been a runner. Someone flying forward in life. Ambitious and passionate and dynamic. Always looking for someone to keep up with me. And push me forward. And intellectual spar with me. And dare me to evolve.
And Garrett’s none of those things. Not by a long-shot. He’s patient and grounded and gentle. He’s resistant to even the smallest pushes forward that I give him. He’s content and happy in each moment. And he could never keep up with me in any way.
But he doesn’t have to keep up with me. Because he makes me want to slow down. He makes me want to be still. And patient with myself. And see the beauty in every single moment. Even the ones that are quiet and subtle.
He makes me see how beautiful and perfect I am. And that I can accept everything about myself. Even being ‘crème brulee.’
I wouldn’t be writing this post or running this business or even planning this wedding if it weren’t for Garrett. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for him.
Our joke is that he would never evolve or change or grow if it weren’t for me. But I wouldn’t survive daily life if it weren’t for him.
I smile even just writing that. Because it’s hard to imagine a person more perfect for me than Garrett. It’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t some Divine plan bringing us together. It’s hard to imagine that my Bubbie didn’t sneakily influence us to make our wedding exactly when it is—making herself literally the center of attention (in the middle day of our events).
Life happens with such beauty and perfection. And that’s the art I want to create with this wedding.
That love is everywhere. That our Souls are leading us. That art is sharing yourself with the world. And that life is beautiful, astonishing, and perfect.
I’m leaving for Aruba in two days. Wish me luck.
And see you ‘next year.’