JOY42

Marriage: Year One

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

I know what you're thinking. Didn't you just finish recapping your wedding last week and you're already on about your first anniversary? I know, I know. But to be fair, I've only been recapping our wedding since June since we didn't have a wedding until May. Remember how we had already been married for eight months when we got wedded?

One year of marriage. What do we know, right? I don't subscribe to the idea that young love is superior than everything else. I try not to buy into #couplegoals on social media. But I do think that every relationship can offer an opportunity to learn about yourself and interactions with your significant other, and hopefully an avenue for growth. So even though it was just yesterday that Luke and I celebrated one year of marriage, I have a few thoughts.

If I'm being totally honest, the last year has been pretty easy for us. Over the last year, people have asked me how I'm adjusting to marriage and how I'm finding it living with a man. Most days, it's a cake walk. Luke and I enjoy each other's company. We came into marriage with a solid foundation. We discussed big issues and problem-solving strategies beforehand. Our goals and values align. And we respect one another.

Other times, marriage can be like a mirror showing you the worst parts of yourself. I have a short temper and a long memory and I'm not proud of either. When I snap at Luke or give him the silent treatment because of something he said or how he said something hours earlier, I can see how it hurts him and I can see how ugly those tendencies are.

Our marriage is far from perfect, but it's a choice we make every day and have vowed to make every day forever. (Plus three days!) When I started to reflect on this year, there were four things that stood out to me as the biggest contributors to our good first year.

COMMUNICATION

I don't mean talking things through or communicating calmly and effectively all the time. We (mostly me) are working on that all the time and that takes a lot of practice. Instead, I mean more of the mushy-gushy type of communication that makes you gag unless it's the relationship you're in.

Luke and I say "I love you" dozens of times a day. In text, in person, seriously, tenderly, humorously. We just say it all the time. There isn't a doubt in my mind how he feels about me and I hope there isn't one in his. We constantly compliment each other, thank each other, and build each other up. I try to be respectful when I talk about Luke to my girlfriends and respectful to him when we're with other people. Words matter. How you say them matters. We've made the choice to use them to build the foundation of our relationship and continuously reinforce that same foundation.

GRATITUDE

Months ago, we decided we would end every day with gratitude. Now it's as much a part of our nighttime routine as climbing into bed is! Every night, we ask each other, "What are you grateful for today?" There's no rule about how many things you have to say or how impactful things have to be. We just say what we're grateful for throughout the day. It creates an opportunity to reflect over our day, to maybe catch up on something in the other's day that we didn't yet know about, to look at things in a different light, but most importantly, to vocalise our gratitude for each other. Both of us always start and end with saying we're grateful for the other and even though it's something we do every day, it's not an automated going-through-the-motions kind of gesture. It's true gratitude for our partner and our life together.

SILLINESS

Fun fact: it was nearly impossible for me to type "grateful" every time in that previous paragraph. Why, you're wondering? Because Luke and I always say "grapeful". I'm pretty sure it started with a typo on WhatsApp, but it's an inside joke that's been around so long that I can't even really remember the genesis of it. It's basically like "grateful" isn't a word anymore! And that's just one of the many silly things we do. If I told you all of them, you'd think we were crazy. But what matters is that we have fun together. We're silly together. We have too many inside jokes to count. When people say "home is wherever I'm with you", I feel that. Luke is the only person in my life that I've shown my whole self to. He has seen every side of me and accepts all of me. So I'm my most comfortable, my most at home when I'm with him. Apparently my true self is super silly because that's the tone of most of our time together.

Also, laughing at farts helps.

ALONE TIME

I bet you thought I was going to say that it's important to both of us to still be individuals with individual lives and interests. I mean, that's still true, although a venn diagram of our interests and lives probably overlaps about 99%. What I mean is that we've found a place in our relationship where when we're craving alone time, that still means being together. Like sitting on the couch watching a show or movie together, being in the same room doing different things together, lying in bed reading different books together. We had a house guest for a few days and after the visit, we talked about how we both were craving time alone, together. (That's not to say we don't love having house guests though!) I don't know how we got here, but I hope we never leave. Of course we still have time truly to ourselves, but the overwhelming presence is to be alone together.

Header photo & dancing photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.

Gigha, Scotland

TravelHannah Drake2 Comments

While we were in Scotland, staying at the Balinakill Country House, Luke and I spent an afternoon on the Isle of Gigha. First things first, it's pronounced like "gear". Scottish, am I right? It's the southernmost, and I'll say the most beautiful, of the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland.

Most of the Drakes at the house had already been on the island earlier in the week and recommended it for our Saturday activity, highly recommending the Boathouse Restaurant for a delicious seafood lunch. It didn't take much convincing on their part. A picturesque island and seafood fresh from the ocean? What more could you want?

We slept in on Saturday and had breakfast at the house with Luke's parents before setting off toward the ferry. It wasn't a long drive, but it was definitely a gorgeous one. We were a bit early for the ferry and it was starting to rain, so we ducked inside the shop for a cup of tea. I think it was around £5 each for a round trip and with the island being so small, we decided to leave the car on the mainland. It started drizzling as we began our journey, but from across the ocean, you could see that the clouds were broken over the island and the sunlight was pouring down. After the short journey, we were in a completely different weather system, staring out at the rain on the other side of the channel. It still boggles my mind how different they were with how close together they are.

Our main goal was to have lunch at the restaurant, so we decided to stop in first to make a reservation for an hour or so later. Unfortunately, when we got there, they said they were fully booked for the rest of the afternoon and couldn't accommodate us. That really cramped my style, to be honest. I was so disappointed that this place had been talked up so much and we weren't going to be able to eat there.

We decided instead to just start exploring. We turned up the main road to go toward the north shore of the isle, immediately passing a field housing dozens of cows, most of whom were right near the fence we were walking by. Watching the cows somehow managed to lift my crushed spirits and we continued on. After walking probably the length of a football field, we decided to go back to rent bikes at the corner shop we had passed.

Now on wheels, we were ready to actually explore. We rode up the main road passing all the farms that dot the hills of the island. We saw lots of cows, sheep, horses, and even made friends with a dog on the road.

It was easily one of the most beautiful bike rides I've ever taken, but it was kind of hard work. At one point, I had to hop off and walk my bike up a really steep hill as Luke cruised by me. We had the perfect weather too. It wasn't too hot (which we loved as a break in the middle of the hottest English summer on record), it wasn't raining, and the fresh sea air filled our lungs as we rode.

We really had no idea where we were or where we were going, but the isle is small enough that there's only one road from end to end. The man at the shop had told us it was 5 miles to the north end and only 2 to the south, but those 5 miles seemed quite long. When we got to a good vantage point and had been riding for quite some time, we decided to turn back to drive to Skipness for lunch, since Luke's brother had recommended a different seafood restaurant nearby.

We rode back without stopping as much and were pleased to see the dog from earlier back at the shop where we rented our bikes. (By the way, they were only £10 each for the afternoon.) We walked back toward the ferry and arrived just in time to catch it to go back. We were both getting pretty hungry and were a bit surprised to discover Skipness was 40 minutes away.

Unfortunately when we got there, we discovered that the Skipness Seafood Cabin is CLOSED ON SATURDAYS! Seriously! At this point, I was full-on hangry and all we had to eat were wine gums left over from our road trip.

We were able to eat at the Skipness Seafood Cabin the next day with Luke's parents before we started our journey home. Luke and I split the seafood platter and it was so good! It was in such a cool spot too and had beautiful views of the Isle of Arran.

Hindsight is of course 20/20, but I wish we had done some research before leaving the island. If we had looked up the restaurant before we left, we would have known it was closed. We could have stayed on the island and ridden toward the south, which had more restaurants and shops. And next time, I'm going to make sure I pack some snacks in our Muzmm backpack when we're out exploring because even though it looks picture perfect, it was kind of a disaster of a day. (By the way, you can use the code HANNAH10 to get 10% off your order at Muzmm and they've got a ton of cute styles.)

I would love to go back to Gigha someday and do it right next time! There's so much on the island that we didn't even realise. But despite all of our lunch and seafood troubles, it really was a great day and a memory I'll always cherish.

PIN FOR LATER!

Our Wedding Portraits

MarriageHannah DrakeComment

Well, my friends, it's the end of an era. It's the l a s t wedding recap post, only four months after our wedding. (I made an early decision that instead of bombarding you with recap posts, I'd space them between other content.) Since I've already blogged about the vendors (part one & part two), the details, getting ready, our ceremony, and our reception, I figured I'd wrap up by showing off the beautiful portraits captured by Brianne Haagenson, most of which I haven't previously posted on the blog.

Our ceremony started at 15:00, but we did a our first look at 13:00, which gave us plenty of time to do photos before the wedding. We got many of the portraits and all of the wedding party photos done before the wedding even started! The forecast all day said it would start raining right at 13:00, but it never did! We had literally picture-perfect overcast skies all afternoon, which provided even lighting for the photos. Hallejuah!

Our first look was in the beautiful courtyard at the venue, so we started with our photos there. There were so many reasons we loved the venue, but much of it was because of how beautiful it was on its own. We both loved the exposed brick and natural wood and it provided the most picturesque background for photos. I said this in my post about the venue itself, but so many of our friends got new profile photos after our wedding because the background was perfect for their next Instagram shot!

The venue is next to a field owned by someone else, but the owners have no problem with the happy couples using it for photos. After we finished our individual portraits, we grabbed the wedding party, who had been going over where to stand during the ceremony, and headed out to the grass.

We chose this photo as the cover of our wedding album.

My dear friend Tia has been such an amazing support for me in my time abroad and through the distance, it feels like we're closer than ever. She was a great friend for years before I moved and has been instrumental in my faith as a small group leader and a sister in Christ. We originally asked her to do a reading at our wedding, but then decided we wanted her to marry us. I FaceTimed with her one day and we spent about 55 minutes of the hour catching up and probably talking about Game of Thrones, but we both had intended to talk about the wedding on that call. She started to talk about the reading, but I interrupted her saying, "So we've decided we don't want you to do a reading." Her face immediately fell and she very graciously said, "Oh...okay..." I quickly exclaimed, "Because we want you to marry us!" She burst into tears, which was exactly what I was hoping. I know it was cruel, but truth be told, it was a very memorable moment for me. Ha! She did such a fantastic job and worked very hard to ensure our ceremony was beautiful, memorable, and exactly what we wanted.

I'm confident this will be forever my favourite photo of me and my mom.

My older sister Rachel served as my Matron of Honour. She did a wonderful job, offering me support and help throughout the planning, lending me her phone so I could do a meditation just before the ceremony, praying for our day and blessing my marriage, and giving a beautiful toast after dinner.

My sister Cady has been my babysitter, my mother-figure, my protector, my refuge, my Chipotle hook-up, my sister, and most importantly my friend. Because of our age difference, our relationship has taken many forms and I've treasured it all, but I'm most proud of our constant friendship.

If I'm being honest, there was a while I didn't think Sam would be a bridesmaid at my wedding. She's seven years younger and it used to be obvious. But over the last few years, she has matured beyond her years and become a wonderful friend. I don't think she even understands how much I lean on her and look up to her.

My childhood friend Julie has been through it all with me. We've known each other since elementary school and even though she was two years behind me in school, I'm the one who looks up to her. She an inspiration in all areas of life and it's safe to say when I grow up, I want to be Julie. 

Luke's twin sister Emily served as his Best Man. (She requested that still be her title at the wedding.) Despite tremendous nerves, she gave a lovely toast about my husband, where I learned what he thought of himself in school and even some knew facts about him! We were both so honoured she accepted Luke's request to stand up there with him and word on the street is she can hang with the guys. I'm so excited to have a new sister, and especially one on the same continent!

It's not my place to speak to Luke's relationship with his sister and these three guys, but the four of them have all been so warm and welcoming to me. They've been supportive and encouraging of our relationship and I have seen them all be incredible friends to my husband.

During the cocktail party, Brianne pulled us to finish our portraits since it wasn't looking good for golden hour photos. We took a few shots in the parking lot. (Yeah, seriously, this is the parking lot!) And also took advantage of the tree-lined winding road to the venue.

We picked this photo in black and white for our thank you cards. It went perfectly with rose gold foil lettering.

We did our family photos during the cocktail party in the courtyard. Even though there were cocktails and canapes going around, everyone was great and we were able to get them done quickly so we could get to the party. We're so grateful to our parents who helped make our special day happen and to our siblings for their love and support. It was a seamless merging of the two families and we couldn't be happier!

After we cut the cake, Brianne pulled us aside again to tell us that the clouds had broken and we were blessed with golden hour. I'm so happy we were able to get these shots because they're some of my favourite. Not only is the lighting a dream, but I love that they're more casual with Luke just in his waistcoat and my dress bustled in most of them.

I'm saving the best for last. It was the last of our portraits and it is undoubtedly our favourite photo from the wedding. This is the one we're going to have printed on a HUGE canvas. We just haven't gotten around to it yet.

CHECK OUT MORE POSTS ABOUT OUR WEDDING:

Bridesmaids' Dresses: Weddington Way (US)
Cake: Amerton Cakes (UK)
Cuff Links: Tesoro Jewelry (US)
DJ: Benny Smyth (UK)
My Dress: Allure Bridals via The Bridal Connection (CO)
Engagement Ring: ROX (UK)
Florist: Penny Johnson Flowers (UK)
Hair + Make Up: Sam Larson Hair (CO)
Paper Flowers: Lia Griffith (US)
Photo Booth: Peter Horrox (UK)
Photographer: Brianne Haagenson Photography (CO)
Ring Box: Amonie (AUS)
Robes: David's Bridal (US + UK)
My Shoes: Hobes (AUS)
Stationary: Minted (US)
Luke's Suit: Next (UK)
Venue (Catering & Alcohol): Shustoke Barn (UK)
Vow Books: Elmo Paperstories (UK)
My Wedding Band: Ernest Jones (UK)
Luke's Wedding Band: LuxuriaJewelers (US)

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All photos in this post, including the header photo by Brianne Haagenson Photography.