Chilworth Manor, our hotel and friends' wedding venue. | November, 2016
Chilworth Manor, our hotel and friends’ wedding venue. | November, 2016

The reason we took our trip to the U.K. to begin with was for two people who fell in love.

On a Friday afternoon, Matt and I took a train from London to Southampton. Well, trains. We learned at the London Victoria Station that our train was not going to be running – the RMT (The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers) was on strike. We were informed to take a train to the next station outside of London and switch over there. Shortly after arriving at the next station, we learned that the train we needed wouldn’t arrive for hours. So after a taking a train back into a different station in London, we finally found a Southampton-bound train.

Somehow, after all of this, we got into Southampton earlier than we had originally expected. And there was a Starbucks directly across from the train station. Thank you, universe.

We took a cab to a neighboring village, Chilworth, and settled into our hotel. We met friends we hadn’t seen since we moved and anxiously awaited the arrival of the soon-to-be-wed couple.

There were hugs, tears, laughter, and sheer delight. I sat in the hotel lounge, drink in hand, surrounded by the couple and their family and friends. My thoughts turned to the man who was sitting next to me, eyes gently gazing at the strangers around him, the curl of a slight smile on his lips.

Oh, how I am looking forward to this moment.

When it’s our turn to sit surrounded by family and friends. When I get to look around a room filled with so much love, filled with people who’ve known us through good and bad, people who are filled with so much love, holding the hand of a man I love whose filled with so much love.

I kept patting Matt’s hand and receiving quizzical looks. I wanted to tell him how this feeling in my chest pulsed strong and powerful and like it was going to burst through me. Instead, I kissed his shoulder. This was the time to celebrate two other people and our time would eventually come.

The bride and groom kissed goodbye one last time before he was escorted from the hotel. We sat and chatted with the bride, my ex-coworker turned friend, until the bar closed.

Saturday afternoon was bright and cool and beautiful. We sat in a room bathed in light, with red and white decorations all around. Their ceremony was intimate, with the two reading poems about strength, attentiveness, and unwavering support. They cleared each other’s eyes and cheeks of tears. They smiled encouragingly when the other began to fumble their words. They held each other’s trembling hands.

And then it was over, and everyone was smiling.

We moved back into the lounge to kiss, hug, and congratulate. After drinks, it was on to dinner.

Dinner starter of cantaloupe with a mango dressing. | November, 2016
Dinner starter of cantaloupe with a mango dressing. | November, 2016

I adore that they kept in mind their vegetarian guests and started with a unique, refreshing dish of a cantaloupe rose. Dinner consisted of two options, Salmon or cheese ravioli. I couldn’t have either, so I spoke to one of the servers who was more than happy to accommodate me. They served me the sides that went the Salmon – a large plate of seriously amazing crisp-on-the-outside potatoes and veggies. They checked on me periodically to make sure I had everything I needed and to see if there were any items they could offer. I unfortunately had to turn down dessert and wedding cake, but I was so well taken care of during dinner that I wasn’t bothered in the slightest. Thank you, Chilworth Manor.

After dinner and speeches, we had the option of staying in the dining room for dancing or venturing across the hallway to enjoy a few play-money gambling tables. Within our goodie bags, we received vouchers for some chips if we chose the latter.

Despite how quickly I lost all my chips (Blackjack is not my thing) and that the DJ only knew songs that were preformed before 1990, the night was wonderful.

More than once, that feeling in my chest would crash into me.

Excitement, anticipation, love, happiness, hope, anxiety, pure unadulterated joy.

There are so many moments where I look at the man whose been by my side for nearly four years now, and just think, yeah, you.

The man who has the patience to put up with me when I can’t get my bearings.

The man who understands my solitude when I need it.

The man who understands my extroverted tendencies.

The man who understands that I’m a mess of contradictions bundled in strong opinions.

The man willing to climb proverbial and literal mountains with me.

The creamer to my coffee. The soft to my hard. The whisper to my roar.

The calm, central eye to the chaotic hurricane that I am.

Matt & I in the gardens of Chilworth Manor. | November, 2016
Matt & I in the gardens of Chilworth Manor. | November, 2016

This time next year, we’ll be two months shy of our own wedding. Starting this month with the joining of two wonderful people has filled my head with planning, hopes, dreams, and, honestly, anxiety. Even so, the love of two people brought Matt and I on a trip halfway across the world to experience so many unique things together.

So cheers to Lindsay and David – thank you for the light you’re putting out into the world.


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