Saturday was our I Do BBQ. After months of planning, coordinating, shopping, making, creating, and setting up, it finally arrived.
When we first started planning it, we expected it to be a simple party—an at-home reception to casually celebrate our upcoming marriage. To celebrate with all of our extended friends and family. And to help our immediate families to get the chance to connect before Aruba.
We thought it was about Garrett and I getting married.
But, at about 10am on Saturday morning, as both Garrett’s and my family were all covered in dropped caterpillar poo, frantically setting up the rain-soaked yard, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, it became pretty clear to us that just Garrett and I weren’t getting married. Just like Garrett and I didn’t just raise ourselves. Because nothing in this world happens in a vacuum.
We aren’t just marrying each other. We’re marrying families. We’re marrying lives. And that’s what the day was really about.
I’m not who I am just because of myself. In me exists my mom. And my dad. And my sisters. And all of the years I’ve spent in Aruba. And my uncle Barry who stops by randomly throughout the day. And my cousin Crystal who seems to always be at the center of some new drama. And the house I grew up in that’s always packed with neighbors and friends. And the embarrassing stories my high school friends tell.
As I looked around the I Do BBQ Saturday afternoon, I saw the story of me. The story of my life. 110 times over. Laughing, smiling, reminiscing, creating new memories There were people there who knew me since childhood, since high school, since college, since starting my business, since recent years. All of myself was represented through the most important people in my life. I don’t exist separate from them. In fact, I’m interconnected to all things. Because relationships matter. They’re part of who we are.
So Saturday wasn’t just about the love between me and Garrett. I mean, it was. But it was about more than that. It was about the love in our lives. All of it. The relationships and stories and memories that made us who we are today. The families we’re combining and building together. The communities we’re making. Really, the lives we’re creating. And all that goes with that.
It’s naïve to think that I’m somehow in a black hole separate from everyone else. That my actions don’t affect the rest of the world. That who I am was built in isolation, away from all of the things that happened in my life.
And there’s a kind of beauty in honoring and surrendering to that level connection. Of reliance. Of wholeness with the whole world.
All things affect all things. We all matter more to the world than we could ever know. And we all affect each other’s lives in powerful, surprising, and strange ways.
When I went down to ask for Garrett’s parents’ blessing last year before I proposed in Italy, I was vaguely aware of this. I secretly flew down to see his ex-girlfriend in Philly, had his brother help me coordinate a dinner, and took out his parents and stepparents. Because I recognized that I wasn’t just asking Garrett to marry me; I was asking to join families, to join lives. And that’s something much, much bigger. On some level, I kind of got it.
But Saturday put it front-and-center for me. It made me really realize that Garrett wouldn’t be who he is without his mom. Or his dad. Or his stepparents. Or his siblings. Or his friends. Or his boss. Or coworkers. Or any of the other amazing people at our celebration. Without them, he might not be the person that I fell in love with.
So how could I not be incredibly grateful for all of them? They’re a part of who we’ve been, who we are, and who we will be.
That’s why Garrett and I aren’t just getting married to each other. We’re getting married to lives together. And there’s something profound and beautiful and big about that.
Pause for a moment today and think of all of the people, places, and situations who’ve helped shape you into who you are today. Because every step you take, every word you speak, is a very small tribute to them. We all carry them forward in the lives we choose to lead.
That level of interconnection reminds me that we really are all One. And that we all have infinite inherent value. We all matter so much. Even the tiny, small gestures that we take for granted. Really are changing the world.
Love is something everyone deserves. And, fortunately, it’s all around us.