Leap Day

I've had writer's block for the past two weeks and I've been sitting on an update that's only 75% complete for two weeks, but I can honestly say I've been incredibly distracted. Here's why - Hailie & I eloped on 2.29.16 - Leap Day

It started at the beginning of February. We were driving home from getting groceries when we started talking finally locking down a wedding date. We had been stuck in a loop of going through a never ending supply of random dates, funny dates, existing anniversary dates, and we never could settle on one that would accommodate what we wanted out of our ceremony. We had at one point tossed around the idea of simply going to the courthouse and filing the paperwork without any real ceremony. And then we realized the end of the month was Leap Day. Leap Year is fun because, with as hectic as our lives can be, it allows us flexibility of when we can celebrate our normal anniversary (or extend it to two days), but it also gives us something to look forward to every 4 years and gives us cause to celebrate even more than we normally would. 

This year, 2/29 fell on a Monday, which has been our shared day off on our new schedule. I'm still building clientele' and Hailie doesn't have any time off available from work, so neither one of us can really take much time off, but that works for us. With that said, it was still a Monday, it was still fairly short notice, what could we do about friends with strict work obligations and family from out of town? We knew right away that we wouldn't be able to accommodate everybody, but then it clicked. We aren't getting married for other people, we're getting married to each other and for each other. The day is a day for celebration, and it will all work out. Once we stopped worrying about how we could accommodate everyone, plans started falling into place. We can have breakfast and hang out with anyone who can make it, elope in the middle of a work day almost an hour out of town, and then throw a party to see everyone who couldn't make it in the morning, and build an awesome day of it. If we had at one point decided that excluding everyone and going to the courthouse (excluding everyone) was acceptable, 4 weeks notice was plenty of time to get something fun organized, and be able to see everybody. 

Then I saw Hailie's smile and realized this was the right date. So we went with it. We arrive home and unload all of the groceries and start organizing a Facebook event. I texted my brother and ask him if he can marry me, to which he responds "I'd be honored." Alright, this is happening.

We had next to nothing in our budget because at this point we had given ourselves no time to put aside additional money in preparation, so how were we to make this work? Prioritization. We have both been married once before and remembered the things we loved and hated about our weddings. First and foremost, wedding dresses are expensive and it doesn't make any reasonable sense to spend thousands of dollars on a dress you will wear once. There are adorable vintage finds you can come across if you take the time to look. We were able to get Hailie's complete outfit for under $100. My closet came prepared, so our wardrobe selection was set.

Next big expense, the venue. If it's going to be an intimate setting, we should make it an intimate location. Swan Falls Dam. This location was important to Hailie and I because it was our escape from reality in the early days of our dating. We would drive out in the middle of the night to watch movies using my car's DVD player, and then lie in the middle of the road to look at the stars without distractions of city lights and count satellites as they floated past. It truly meant a lot to us, and I remembered this place that had a really gorgeous view into the canyon, plus the only cost would be the gas to get out there. Hailie mentioned that Idaho Power did tours, so I reached out to them and set up a private tour set up to look at both the new and old facility. No expense, far more meaningful to us, and something fun to do after that might make for some cute pictures.

So far we're doing okay in regards to cost, but there are two more things that wildly important for a wedding. Cake and a photographer. 

One image that has been burned in my mind, are the ground level cabinets in the kitchen I grew up in as a toddler. These cabinets were filled with molded cake pans, as well as a number of pans hanging all along the wall right below the ceiling in the kitchen. My mom baked cakes all throughout my growing up, and I have always been comfortable in the kitchen because of the way that my mom raised me in the kitchen. I was the kid that got stoked about getting an EasyBake oven for Christmas because that's exactly what I asked Santa for. After an evening of arguing about what we want for our cake, we agreed that each of us should get to have our own cake that is uniquely what we want. Hailie went with an Almond Creme w/ Almond Buttercream frosting cake, and I make a Chocolate Bourbon w/ Whipped Espresso Mascarpone Frosting cake. Did I mention that I think cakes from a box are a travesty? It's a good thing I was up for a challenge.

So the last thing  to deal with was finding a photographer. Hailie and I made everything work up to this point with minimal out of pocket, but this is where it counted the most. We had both hated the pictures that came from our first weddings because they were so stale and uninspired.  We wanted to find someone who would truly make magical memories. I talked to my friend Caroline, who had been getting some amazing pictures taken of her and Lily (her dog) by a friend Janine. Janine had been looking for an opportunity to do her first wedding and I remembered how excited I was to have friends that gave me an opportunity to do something I wanted to do, so we decided that we wanted to be the couple that she got excited for. 

At this point, it's 2/21 and we are just meeting with Janine to tell her the plan we have set up. We meet for coffee and we go over breakfast, the drive out there, the ceremony, the location and what can be found. I wanted her to come along and take pictures of everyone just celebrating the day and the time together. She had great ideas too that we hadn't thought of.

Janine had pointed out that our day was "very Idaho," and I have to agree. I've lived all over the country, and the reason I love Boise is because I live and work in the middle of a city that is thriving. I enjoy all of the benefits that I could want in any city with a great sense of community and a strong art culture, but if I ever need to escape, all I need to do is drive an hour in any direction and there is tons of cool shit to do.

So we had the plans, now I just needed everything to fall into place. Sunday came and we had everyone over for a family get together. My cousin made it up from Provo, One of our best friends surprised us by coming in from Seattle without informing us, Hailie's parents made it up from Wyoming, and almost everyone in town was able to make it. It was a day of celebration regardless of who was able to have steak and eggs with us for breakfast, or if they spent 2 hours in their car driving for a tour of a small operation dam, or if they ate a piece of cake or if they ate a piece of each cake because rumor has it, I don't suck at baking. And at the end of the night when we were drinking beers, taking shots of Bulleit 10 year, and playing games in my living room we all had just as much fun celebrating and seeing each other as we had at any other point in the day. Sure, it might have been a Monday, but because everyone was able to make it work in some small part of their total day, Hailie and I had the ability to celebrate from 6 am to midnight. It was hands down the greatest wedding experience I could have ever hoped for, and at the end of it, I get to call my best friend my wife.

And the day begins.....

In case you were concerned, the steak and eggs at Wild Root are without question the single finest way to start your morning. Period. I feel bad for surprising them with so many extra faces during breakfast, but the owners and staff are some of the friendliest people and always had a smile while they served beautiful plates of breakfast.

Hailie got this necklace from Oh Plesiosaur  earlier this month and had been waiting weeks to wear it for the wedding.

This was our wedding cow.

The most fortunate thing about the day that was out of our control, is that even though the weather had been terrible just days prior, and it was crappy immediately after, 2/29/16 had the most enjoyable spring weather with a perfect breeze. It was brighter than my sensitive eyes could handle, but we couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day.

 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix
 Photo:  Janine Pinnix

Leap Year happens every four years, but I think we set a pretty good standard for how we will celebrate our first anniversary.

Chris BentleyComment