Kelsie Eloped! And It Was Adorable.

Trash the Dress private online support group member Kelsie recently eloped. The ceremony at Joshua Tree was officiated by her mom and Kelsie’s son walked her down the aisle. Get your Pinterest button ready because this wedding is one to inspire you the next time you say “I do.”

Besides the obvious reasons to love these photos, I think this is a great example of how to have a beautiful, affordable second wedding. A lot of second-time brides feel that by eloping you are sacrificing the whole wedding day experience. But that clearly didn’t happen here.  Destination eloping with immediate family members is a perfect options for those who still want to wear a gown and get glam, except you don’t have to worry about venues, seating, favors and that whole mess. Eloping is truly about the couple and what they want, as opposed to big budget weddings that typically cater to the guests.

Congrats to Kelsie and her happily ever after!

Photography by Samantha Smith Arroyo.

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My Post-Divorce Fairy Tale Wedding: This Dress Will Be Preserved

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Makeup before tears!

I’m officially married- to the right man! It took five years post-divorce in my twenties (so be patient, ladies!) but it happened!  Though not everything went as anticipated (I credit the Monster Moon with wrecking havoc on little details leading up to the wedding and then raining out my apple orchard-planned ceremony), I was surprisingly calm and went with the flow of events. I even surprised myself by shedding tears, as I experienced quite the opposite of emotions compared to my first wedding.

It was actually during the ceremony to my ex-husband that I realized he wasn’t my soulmate.  Divine timing, right?  Walking down the aisle, I cared more about what people thought of my dress than what was actually happening. And as I said my vows, I felt, well, kinda nothing. I wasn’t bursting with love or emotions. It really bothered me that I didn’t feel anything. You’re supposed to cry when you get married, right? I worried because I didn’t have that magical feeling you see brides portray in the movies. It turns out that was for good reason.

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But alas, I cried this past Sunday on my wedding day to my new (100 percent upgraded, baby!) husband, Frank. It happened during our “First Look” pictures. We decided to see each other in private before the ceremony at the hotel’s gazebo, but I ran late getting ready and it was rainy, so I ended up making my big reveal under an awning outside the front lobby as our bridal party looked on.  As I walked towards Frank, who had his back to me, I was suddenly flooded with nervous excitement and started crying as soon as he turned around. I tried to contain myself in an effort to save my makeup but it didn’t work. This is ironic because as my makeup artist, Alexa Prisco aka The Glam Fairy was working, she asked me if I was a cryer, since I assume that would change the type of product she would apply. Of course I said I don’t cry!

But I’m glad I did. It’s the feeling I yearned for the first time I got married and missed throughout that entire marriage.

It’s funny- I was talking to my best friend/ Maid of Honor and fellow twenty-something divorcee, Roe, during the reception and she told me she didn’t cry when she married her first husband either. Perhaps dry eyes are a sign of impending divorce?

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Frank and I walked down the aisle together. Our wedding symbolized each of us overcoming our past and building a much-deserved happy life together, so it was only fitting. Despite a limited budget, we were able to pull together a beautiful event and celebrate with family and close friends.  We’re both dedicated for long haul and that’s exactly how we began our marriage: together.

It’s safe to say this dress will be preserved.

I’m Getting Married Again! Here’s How I Know I’m Not Making a Mistake This Time

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I’m getting married next week! It’s surreal. When you get divorced in your twenties, you can’t help but wonder when you’re going to fall in love again and get re-married. I surely had those thoughts when I left my ex-husband in 2009. And here I am, living the moments I anticipated.  A few people have asked me if I feel different this time around.

I do.

While planning my first wedding, I became obsessed with the details. I was so into the event that I lost sight of the relationship. I knew things weren’t good but I blamed it on wedding-related stress and figured once we were married, things would change.

Of course, they didn’t and six months into the marriage my diamond went from my finger to the jewelry box. We decided to “separate” but were still living together in a small condo. Awkward! Eventually, we patched things up and were so committed to making our marriage work that for our one-year anniversary, I suggested we get matching “XO” tattoos. What better way to initiate my husband into tattooed society then to get tattoos on our opposite wrists-in his handwriting- so we could hold hands and show the world we were a pair?

Barf.

I seriously stressed out over my “XO” tattoo while planning my second wedding. I don’t want it seen in pictures. I don’t want any presence of my ex-husband while I’m posing for pictures with my new one! I don’t need a flashing reminder that I ruined my bridal experience by getting married to the wrong person. It’s a nagging memento that I have to live with since I don’t want to suffer through the laser removal process and have decided not to cover it up with a larger piece on that area of my body. So I bought a ton of bracelets. I’m on the fence about wearing them because I feel a bit like Madonna circa 1980, so we’ll see how I feel that morning.

My feelings on marriage this time around, however, are certain.  I know I’m marrying the right man: someone who will take care of me in good times and bad, who supports my dreams and goals and is motivated in his own life, and someone who can’t wait to start a family with me and met all the requirements on my dating checklist. This time, I’m not taking on the last name of a man who I have to write his own vows for, or who I have to con into wanting kids, beg to help me take care of my dogs, or leave on a honeymoon with knowing he just quit his job and his car broke down. Been there, done that, blowing misery to the wind.

Sometimes I need to remember that this is my fiancé’s first wedding, though.  I hate public attention, so walking down the aisle is enough to give me anxiety. I have refused doing a formal bridal party introduction or customary first dance. I think they’re stupid. I hate dancing. It makes me motion sick. Seriously. All that rocking back and forth and getting nowhere: What’s the point?

For his grandparents, my fiancé told me. They want to see him dance with his bride. Ah, way to put the pressure on me!

Compromise, I know. It’s the key to a successful relationship.  It’s his first marriage. He shouldn’t be robbed of experiences important to him just because I’m jaded on the whole thing. But I also don’t want to be dreading something on what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life.

This time around, the wedding isn’t just about me putting on an event that leaves people talking for days. It’s about my fiancé and I showing that we overcame all the obstacles in our life and made this day happen on our own, as a team. And to celebrate that with our loved ones. It’s for us to show each other that we’re in this together. We’re here for each other. And when I feel like our world gets too crazy with wedding and house-realted things, I make sure to reel us back in and focus on our relationship and the whole reason all of this is happening: because we love each other and want to grow together. Not because one of us is pressing the other to move forward, like in my past.

This time, I’m not trying on my wedding dress, looking into the mirror and telling myself, “This won’t be my only marriage.”

That’s how I know things will be OK this time.

Marriage After Divorce in your 20s: Second Time Bride Problems

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Striking a pose on my wedding night. No idea divorce in my twenties was in sight.

It hasn’t been easy for me being a wedding obsessed divorcée. I’m passionate about every little detail. The cake. The dress. The favors. Bridesmaid attire. I’ll even judge a bride and groom based on the table seating. Numbers instead of creative names equals major creativity points lost.

I put my heart and soul into planning my first wedding (which you will read about in my book, Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s) and have nothing to show for it, which is utterly disappointing. It’s not like you can whip out pictures of you and your ex-husband and swap stories with your newly engaged girlfriends/ co-workers, etc. when you’re divorced.  And you especially can’t do it when you attend weddings with your post-divorce boyfriend.  There were so many times my current fiancé, Frank, and I attended the weddings of friends and family and he raved that the cocktail hour was amazing and I wanted to say that nothing compared to the smorgasboard of food at my first wedding, which he would have loved. I just had to bite my lip and agree.

I’m getting remarried in a few weeks (omg!) and had to endure a whole new set of challenges along the way. Some second-time brides choose to go the simple knot-tying route by eloping or having a quickie courthouse ceremony. I’m clearly not one of those divorcee-turned-bride-again women. Call me superficial, but I refuse to rob myself of the wedding experience just because I happen to have divorced in my twenties and my fiancé and I are planning our Big Day on small budget. I deserve to wear a beautiful white dress and hire a top-notch beauty squad to glam me up and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I want pictures that I can actually hang up for more than a year and darn it, they are going to be the most stunning photos my efforts can achieve!

But how do you plan your dream wedding when you already had it- to the wrong man? It’s quite a task!  I have a very specific vintage-inspired style that did not change along with my last name. I still love cupcakes and want to feature photos of my dogs as the table names, but been there, done that. On my first wedding day, I almost cried when I saw how amazing Alexa Prisco/ The Glam Fairy did my makeup. But I have it in my head that if I do my makeup for my upcoming wedding the same way, it’s a jinx.

Since Frank and I just bought a house, the wedding naturally fell into the background these past few months. I didn’t realize until last week that I had no idea how I should do my makeup this time. I put it in my head that I should do a whole new natural look with clean eyes, winged liner and a bright lip – one that I like on some other brides but that is really not me. I pinned a million pictures of this look that I was trying to make the new me. Frantically, I booked a trial with Alexa. A few days later, I canceled it.

I need to represent the bride I am today. I’m stronger, smarter and doing it for the right reasons this time. I’m not betting on chance that things will change after the wedding. I know all that’s waiting ahead- the future I want is waiting for me to catch up with it. But I’m also a little bit of the girl I was before and that is perfectly fine. I decided that I can’t change everything about myself just because I am determined to have a completely fresh wedding experience.

I’m as glamorous as ever, so I will be moving forward with the ultra smokey eyes as I did for my first wedding. I’m even going to present Alexa with the same exact magazine photo I brought her last time to replicate. And I’ve decided that it’s OK. Because who is really going to remember such a tiny detail from like six years ago, besides other wedding obsessed people like myself?

If I’ve learned anything from my divorce it’s that there’s a greater plan out there for us then we know. They say, “life happens when you’re busy making other plans” and it’s true. I’m letting go of fears that something I do planning the wedding might impact my new marriage and I’m going to enjoy the process of being a bride again. I am going to have my cake and eat it, too-one year later from my freezer with my husband.