I met my husband in the summer of 1999. I was eighteen. He was twenty-eight. We met at the grocery store. I worked as a cashier. He worked in the produce department. We started talking in July, fell in love in August and were going steady by September. We were engaged in October a year later. After seven years together and six years of being engaged, we decided to actually start planning our wedding. The reason we had waited so long was I was still in college when we got engaged and I didn’t want to get married until after I graduated. And we were both strapped for cash. He knew I didn’t want some courthouse or drive thru Vegas wedding. Drive thru is something you do at McDonald’s, not when you get married. We also had some things we needed to work on and work out.
I had always planned on having a church wedding. But my family is small and a lot of my friends were scattered throughout the country. Now my fiancé’s family is quite large and all lived around the area. He didn’t want all his family on one side and no one on mine. Also when his whole family gets together it’s the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s all over again. So we decided eloping would work well for us. And it was cheaper.
We didn’t want a traditional wedding. We thought about getting married on a beach in Hawaii, Cancun or Jamaica. However, that would involve getting a marriage license down there and there was the waiting period to consider. We also thought about park resorts and bed and breakfast places in Tennessee. Finally, we decided it would just be easier if we got married in the state we were living in. We had planned on looking into a wedding at one of the park resorts until my fiancé suggested the idea of a horseback wedding. He knew how much I loved horses and I jumped at the idea.
We found around three places that offered weddings on horseback. One place was going to charge $300 per horse. Another place would have two people holding the horses during the wedding. We actually came across Heartland Country Resort by accident. It was a combination bed and breakfast and horse ranch. Their prices were not outrageous and they were only located an hour from where we lived. We could get married on horseback and stay at the same place. The suites resembled log cabins and the place was very romantic and secluded. They also had a hot tub, but unfortunately it wasn’t working. We talked to the people and set up a wedding for the month of December. I didn’t really want a December wedding since my birthday and Christmas were both in December. But after waiting seven years, I wasn’t about to object.
Since we had decided to go with the whole Western theme, I didn’t have to get a wedding dress. It worked out well since the average bride is 5’8” or 5’9” and I am only 5’2”. I wasn’t going to pay $500 for a dress just to have half of it cut off. We both had jeans already and my fiancé had cowboy boots. We went to a Western store and found matching white shirts with black fringe on the clearance rack. I got a white hat and he liked a tan one. I also got a pair of white boots at Wal-mart. When you add everything up, the only thing that cost us were the hats.
We went up the day before the wedding and went on a horseback ride. Our horses were a pair of brown and white ones and their names were Chief and Suzi. Chief was a grumbler and Suzi thought she was the leader of the pack. There were also two pygmy goats, chickens, a couple calves and two golden Retrievers named Jake and Macy. They adopted us as soon as we walked in the door.
We were given a key to the Recreational Barn. We could go over there anytime we wanted and play games, watch movies and play with the dogs. We were the only two people there the first night.
We stayed in the Wildflower Suite, which had a full kitchen. Eggs and bacon were provided for breakfast. You could either make your own supper or have them cook it and bring it to your cabin. We opted to cook our own the first night. There was also a Jacuzzi that could easily sit two people possibly even three.
Being a December bride, I was concerned about the weather. It rained the first night, but by the time morning came you couldn’t even tell it had rained. It was unseasonably warm at 57 degrees on our wedding day so everything worked out perfectly. We got married outside at 4:30pm since we liked the idea of a sunset wedding. The mayor married us. We wanted him to be on a horse also, but he refused. The ceremony was short and sweet just the way we wanted. Both Chief and Suzi behaved very well. I really wanted pictures and every place we had looked at before charged an arm and a leg for a photographer. We had brought our own camera and one of our witnesses was nice enough to take pictures for us. My husband gave me a ring that used to belong to his grandmother as my wedding ring. It just so happened she and I had the same birthday and he loved her for as long as he knew her. We had pizza as our wedding supper.
We were married on December 13th. There really was no special meaning behind it. It just happened to be one of the days my husband had off from work and he liked the idea of having one of our anniversaries land on Friday the 13th. A lot of people may think having a wedding on horseback is weird or strange, but I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding.
I feel pretty lucky. My first kiss, my first boyfriend and my first experience making love were all with the man who is my husband. Not a lot of people can say that.