There’s a great scene in The Philadelphia Story where Katherine Hepburn gleefully tells a room full of wedding guests, “years ago, you were invited to a wedding in this house and then I did you out of it by eloping to Maryland…which was very bad manners… But I hope to make it up to you by going beautifully through with it now as originally and most beautifully planned.” That sentiment resonates with me in a way. Because 9 years ago today, Jon and I eloped to the West Indies for a gloriously romantic, wildly indulgent, hopelessly ridiculously wonderful wedding in the island paradise of St. Lucia. We don’t regret it for a second — no huge wedding bills, no uncomfortable scenes with drunk guests, no bad salmon or lukewarm coq au vin or hideous bridesmaids dresses or DJs insisting on playing The Chicken Dance. Instead? Bliss, in a place that was so beautiful it didn’t feel quite real.
The first night we were there, I looked out through the open louvered windows of a rustic 19th Century cottage at a huge moon dangling over the Caribbean, leaving a silver filament across the surface of the water. Little tree frogs made big night music. So many fireflies hovered in the palm trees, it looked as if both of the Pitons and all the cascading foliage were strung with Christmas lights. It was a perfect, private place to be in love, to start marriage, so sit under that otherworldly dome of stars and plan a future.
But, it didn’t give us the one chance to do what most people do when they get married: stand up in front of all of their friends and family and make vows they want the entire world to hear, and share.
So, in lieu of inviting all of you to some thrown-together road trip to a Vegas Elvis chapel, I’d like to take a moment to say this. In front of everyone. In front of my friends and family members and every other kindly soul who views my daily glimpses of life here. I’d like to take a moment to say a few new vows to my husband, who after nine years has figured out I’m not quite the girl he married in St. Lucia, but still loves me, anyway:
I, Laurie, take you my Jon. Not because we’re young and everything seems possible, but because we’ve grown up together, and you still make me believe that something wonderful is just around the next corner. I promise to keep loving you even when love seems like it’s trapped in a web spun of troubles. I promise to remember the weird, glowing, spectacular uniqueness inside of you and find every way I can to keep its light bright. And I promise, just like I did 9 years ago when Mrs. Weeks our City of Soufriere civil officiant formally asked us, “will you promise to always remember to have fun together? To always remember to play?” Yes, I will. I will.
I always, always will.
Happy anniversary, Groom.
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