Throwbacks: my wedding.

I actually never thought I’d write a throwback post on my wedding, but after coming across a picture from my wedding, I felt compelled to write about it…and share that picture here.


I got married on October 21, 2006 in Poipu Beach, Kauai.

(As I have said many times, I loved the location and premise behind my wedding, but doing it again, I definitely would have some family there…and on a different island, of course.)

It was a Saturday, and we had arrived two days prior, to adjust to the time difference (6 hours) and enjoy the island. It was the farthest distance I have ever traveled (still is), and one of only two times Pete and I had traveled anywhere together (Bahamas was the other place, two years prior). Looking back on our wedding/honeymoon now, it was lonely. We didn’t do a heck of a lot. We ventured out to some of the island, but we didn’t do much. We didn’t even drink much (blasphemy!!! He didn’t drink much then, and I would feel weird drinking by myself back then, so we just didn’t drink much while we were there, except for some mai tai’s with fresh pineapple). We definitely didn’t have much sex, either (not even on our wedding night…TMI? That’s ok). It honestly – thinking back-  felt lonely. And a bit boring. I say this now, because it’s hard not to compare then to now, and how much more right and fun and memorable it would be…with M.

That Saturday morning, I decided to get my hair done, rather than do it myself (I remember feeling like I shouldn’t spend extra money on my hair, since we were already paying for some professional pictures and the minister…though both were actually cheap, less than $500!). I was nervous to go to the salon by myself. I remember not talking very much to the hairdresser. I was quieter then. I hated going places alone or doing things by myself. This was one of those times.

I came back to the hotel, and Pete was getting ready. He seemed nervous. I was nervous. I did my makeup. I took out my dress (a J.Crew white strapless dress) and put it on. I walked out and can’t honestly remember what Pete’s reaction was. I think we were both just nervous and not very talkative. We went outside and took some pictures outside (randomly, Pete had a childhood friend that lived on Maui, so he flew over for the day and was our witness. It was the first time I’d ever met him.). I picked a flower and put it in my hair.

We drove to meet the minister at a nearby beach. This is when I started really getting nervous. We met him – odd guy, nice, but odd – and signed the marriage license and he took us to a secluded nook, a little sandy area where sea turtles swam through the water and we were away from anyone else. This is where we said our vows – canned vows, that is, from the minister (I’d never go this route again…while the vows were fine, they weren’t my words. The one cookie cutter thing in our wedding that day). It was very brief, 10 minutes or less.

We kissed, lightly. Took some pictures, and then took more pictures around the beach and in the grassy areas. I hated having my picture taken. I hated being the center of attention (I still sort of do hate that part). And looking at the picture I found today showed that…fake, forced smile. You can tell I felt uncomfortable. Not loving the picture taking session.

And beyond that, if you look at the picture here…it doesn’t even look like me. In any way. I don’t look happy. My eyes aren’t shining. I don’t even look particularly happy. It almost feels like a foreboding…of the end of my marriage. In a weird way.

I want to keep this picture…just to remind myself of how far I’ve come, in so many ways. The me I am now is the me I always want to be. Living an amplified life.


45 thoughts on “Throwbacks: my wedding.

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t have sex on my wedding night, either. And I’m pretty sure CBG told me the same thing about HIS wedding night….I wonder how many divorced people did NOT have sex on their actual wedding nights? Would be an interesting poll. I’m taking it to Twitter!!!

    1. I wonder about this theory too…I know so often, so many are just dead tired at the end of the night of their wedding night, but at the same time, for me, we just simply went to bed. Not in a dead tired way (I mean really, our wedding wasn’t go-go-go, clearly!), so that feels telling. I guess it’s different for everyone though, too.

  2. Wow, it’s probably just because it is upon reflection (or maybe not) but I get the sense that you weren’t ready even then. Like it all just seems not quite right, not quite you. Makes me kind of sad in a way. But I am so happy to know that you have changed so much. You have found self-confidence. Hello traveling for work solo. You’ve definitely matured and grown so much. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thank you Heather! Ya know, I don’t even think I was self-aware enough to know if I was unhappy or not. Or what happiness really even felt like. It was more ‘going through the motions’ – this is what you do, in a way. I mean, I don’t doubt that I loved him or that he loved me, it was just a different love, an immature one that never quite grew. I have learned so much from it though. Clearly.

  3. I got cut off, I am sorry, feel free to delete that one. I think they are beautiful words because they are truth, they are real. There is no ‘faking’ in these words. I do think it is a beautiful picture. This is the picture of someone who trusts that hope still exists. This is a person beginning a journey. This is a person who will come to know that she is more important than to not expect the fullness of Grace.

    1. Thanks so much, I really appreciate that. It was the beginning of a journey, one I didn’t know would come to this point, but that’s what life is all about, right?

  4. Wow. A lot of these details I’d never heard from you before. It almost feels like I’m reading someone else’s story of their wedding day, not yours. I feel so detached from that day, and sense that even you feel/felt detached in a weird way. It’s kind of eerie, the picture, but also these words in your post.

    You are so much more full of life and energy and YOU now. It’s almost like I didn’t even know the “you” from before…if that makes ANY sense coming from your sister.

    1. I know, it struck me that I never really talked about details of our wedding/honeymoon with you or anyone else much, for that matter. Weird. I don’t know why either. I feel detached from that day too, and now, can’t imagine not sharing at least a piece of that with you. And I look at me then, and I don’t recognize her either.

    1. Hehe, J.Crew DOES make good dresses, I admit 😉 We DO have so much more in common, common views on so much that is really important, too.

  5. WOW. I don’t even know what to say. You know, you throw out these posts sometimes that just blow me away. This person in this picture-totally not you. Just wow. I know I had so many of these moment in my wedding too. I have a picture that just, says the same thing. I think you should hold onto it though. So important to see how far you have come.

    1. Aw, thank you friend. Sometimes these posts come at the most random time and blurting it all out feels good to do, ya know? It wasn’t me in that picture…and I am sure it wasn’t you in that picture either…crazy, isn’t it? Not even that long ago. And I do plan to keep the picture. Definitely.

  6. it is SO WEIRD for me to look at pictures from my wedding. i look happy enough, but it’s a weird kind of happy. i blogged once about the weirdest picture of all from the wedding – the one where i am slow-dancing with the man, who was one of my groomsmen – but they’re all just so weird.

    as my relationship with my ex deteriorates, it gets weirder, too.

  7. i think sometimes we need to look back at those pictures and see how far we’ve GROWN, ya know? Like jess said, you are so FULL of life now. That is precious!

  8. I look back at my pictures from my wedding and see similar issues with myself. We, however, had the did the big “to-do” wedding with all the tradition, guests and money spent. It was what I thought I wanted, because I had missed out on a lot of other traditions that most young girls get through growing up … turns out, the entire day felt fake to me. I felt like I was on display … and I had doubts about my STBX going in that I chalked up to regular pre-wedding jitters and nerves about the size of the wedding, the money spent etc. when in fact, it was my gut telling me to RUN!!

    I don’t regret my wedding though. I’ll have to put together a new blog soon about what I learned from my big fancy dream wedding ceremony for my marriage that was nothing but a big fat nightmare.

  9. I don’t ever really look at my wedding photos from my 1st wedding. But from what I can remember it wasn’t a day full of love like it was when I married Jay. I wish I knew then what I know now but I guess sometimes we have to go through these experiences to learn who we are and what we want in life. It only makes us BETTER.

    1. AMEN!!! SO true, Heather. Going through it the first time makes us learn who we are and what we want in life. Ultimately a better, fuller life! Absolutely agree.

  10. That dress, in navy blue, is the dress the bridesmaids at my wedding wore.

    As for the picture, it is nice. But it is the past. I guess keeping it as a reminder of how you want things to be different the next time around is ok. But, once you get married again, hell, even engaged, do yourself a favor, and get rid of it.

    As for me, I got rid of anything.

  11. Thanks for sharing this. I didn’t realize you had such a private wedding. Interesting! It doesn’t seem very “you” since you are so close to your fam!

    1. I am glad to share it! And that’s a good point, it was a private wedding, but not quite ‘me’ since I am very close to my family. The only reason I would do it very VERY VERY small the next time (a few family members, MAX), is because I still truly believe that vows are such a private thing, that I don’t want to speak them in front of hundreds of people. JUST my soon-to-be-husband and a few close family members. That feels much more appropriate…for me, anyway.

  12. wow it makes me want to take your picture! I love getting people to their natural place where they forget about the camera. You looked beautiful though. Strange to remember. Your post made me remember mine. Maybe I’ll write about it some day. Thank you Jolene for all your encouragement and support.

    1. Livvy, I’d love it if you took my picture! I love those unassuming pictures where you aren’t looking and posing for a picture. this was SO posed and awkward, and ugly, really. Not natural, not me. And as for support..anytime. ((hugs))

  13. Wow, that does sound lonely! What a sad experience. To me, it seems to go against the whole purpose of a wedding, which is to declare your love and say your vows in front of friends and family. It’s a social event. I’ve read that having community support is a big factor in whether couples stay together. It sounds like you didn’t have that, at least not at the wedding.

    And although you look lovely in that picture, you really don’t look happy at all.

    To answer mommasunshine’s poll question, my ex and I did have sex on our wedding day. It was actually in the afternoon, right after we checked into the hotel. While my bride changed, I watched Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton on TV, and Angelina Jolie was on it. So now Angelina Jolie always reminds me of my wedding day. Weird.

    1. See…I completely disagree with that statement! For me, that’s exactly the OPPOSITE of what I believe in…I feel like my vows are the most private and personal words and I don’t want a zillion people listening in on such a special, private moment. That’s why I got married so secluded before and would do something relatively similar again. Agree to disagree? 😉

  14. I love this, Jobo. The picture is very telling, isn’t it? You look so… hesitant and unsure. You are a million times different than you were then. Even in the last 6 months!

    So happy to see the stark differences here and happier to know that M fits you better.

    My wedding was a destination wedding as well. We eloped to Lake Tahoe and got married in the snow. We wrote our own vows and each cried during them. We had AMAZING sex after the wedding…. we called it guilt-free sex because we’d both been raised Catholic, ya know ;). We then picked up a bottle of champagne and went for a drive around the lake taking it all in. We were blissfully happy. I don’t regret marrying that man at all. I just, unfortunately, learned more later and there were too many unresolvable mistakes. Oh well. Live, love and learn.

    1. Hesitant and unsure. EXACTLY. I am a million times different now than then, you are right. Even 6 months ago. Yes! Wow. Stark difference indeed. As for you, I am glad you don’t regret your past marriage either. Live, love and learn is right!

  15. It’s really funny how much a picture says. You mention not looking happy/faking a smile/no light in your eyes. I noticed that with some of Tim’s old pictures versus some with me. Completely different person. It was obvious. I don’t want to take all of the credit for that, but being with the “right” person really does seem to make a difference.

    As difficult as it was for you then…without that hardship, you wouldn’t be where you are now. And I know you love where you are…now. 🙂

    1. It really is such a difference!! And for you, of course you were a HUGE part of why he’s happy now, vs then! Absolutely. And yes, as difficult as it was then, I wouldn’t trade it for the world and what I have learned!

  16. So not TMI! I heard that a lot of marriages are not consummated on the wedding night. Mine wasn’t. Not because we were tired. But because my now ex-husband decided he’d rather go to the 2 after parties that people were having in the hotel we were at because he didn’t want to miss them. So I went to bed and he partied until 5 in the morning. That was my first clue….

  17. Alright…before i got to the end where you said you weren’t even smiling and happiness wasn’t in your eyes…reading your post…I was thinking, “Would it be inappropriate to say that there wasn’t an ounce of happiness or enthusiasm in this post?” Then YOU said it…you’re right, Jo….that picture looks like you…but doesn’t really LOOK like you. Your smile is ENTIRELY different now. It’s almost as if this wasn’t a happy memory…thought it may have been back then. You know what I mean? When you’re so unhappy that you have to think back on memories that were happy to you at least then….and you go back to that same memory when you’re truly happy and you realize…wow…that happy memory then doesn’t even TOUCH my happy memories now?

    From the sounds of it, looks of it, everything…girl, you have SO much to look forward to.

    Despite the fact that you can see that in your photo…Jo, you’re truly beautiful. Forced smile and all. 😉

    1. Ha, right, there wasn’t any enthusiasm, you’re right. I honestly struggled with the details of that day and caputuring it all. Yet I could write a whole post on how much I loved Kauai 😉 As for the here and now, you’re right, I really do. So much to look forward to! And thank you dear, you are beautiful too!! XOXO

  18. You look beautiful, and the setting was gorgeous! But, you’re right that your smile isn’t that big and your eyes don’t have that sparkle in them. I do think that some professional photographers don’t know how to create a relaxed shot, and people can tense up around professionals. But, I don’t think that your beaming smile and eyes will be missing from the set of photos at your next wedding :-D!

    1. Aww, thank you CG. The setting was gorgeous and you are right, it’s all in the right photographer, too. But I can guarantee that the majority, if not all, of the pictures we took look completely different than me now. For so many reasons. And yes…the next time? It’ll be so different! So much happier!

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