The Magic We Never Could Have Planned

In many ways, it’s been a challenging season to be in love or to celebrate the anticipation of our marriage amid so much uncertainty, isolation, and raw pain experienced by our neighbors and world. After all, how does one lean into giddiness when others are wrestling joblessness and fear and literal life and death? And how does one confess sadness over canceled events when others are fighting for equality in the most basic aspects of life?

And so, over the past three months, we’ve attempted to quietly navigate our disappointment at the cancelation of our wedding, our honeymoon, and all the smaller gatherings with our closest friends that were planned in anticipation of our marriage. Some days we felt very clear-headed and well-adjusted in our understanding that this isn’t that big of a deal. Life goes on. Weddings aren’t important; marriages are. Other days, we felt very sorry for ourselves, I cried over small details, and we ditched our wedding diets in favor of the immediate happiness only living next door to a Domino’s Pizza can bring.

What I’m saying is it’s been a weird time, and we’ve tried to be somewhat private about the experience, both to keep things in healthy perspective and out of respect for others facing actual challenge and ongoing hardship. But, I hope you all will indulge us—at least for today—as we share a bit of our joy with you.

On Saturday, June 13, in a small and intimate ceremony with only our closest family and God as our witnesses, we committed to a lifetime of facing the unknowns, together.

We didn’t want to wait until the world was “normal” again. We didn’t want to wait until the virus was “gone.” We didn’t want to wait for the “perfect” day. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we aren’t getting married just for the “better” days. On all of our “worse” days this year, Alex has been the best kind of partner and rock that I didn’t even know to wish for. We have supported one another, we have comforted one another, and we have challenged each other to evaluate our thoughts, our hearts, and our motives in the face of the challenges and injustices of the world around us. In some ways, being engaged in 2020 was like completing the Ironman of premarital counseling.

Yes, it’s been a weird year. But, if you don’t mind me saying, it’s also been the most magical year of my life: Our friends and family have gracefully and sacrificially shown up for us, disappointment after disappointment, to shower us in love and encouragement. We got a dog—the literal best dog even though she doesn’t like to swim. Our cat didn’t abandon us even though we got said dog. We still each have our jobs and have been able to remain healthy. We are trying to learn how to be better neighbors and friends while also unlearning and wrestling with so many of the ugly pieces of our hearts that we haven’t always had the courage to name and face. And all of it, together.

We got married, in the middle of a pandemic, y’all.

It’s not the way we planned, but in my experience, life never is. My hair was kind of flat, my skin was very shiny, I forgot to give everyone their corsages and boutonnieres, and we couldn’t find the nine bottles of club soda we bought for the bar, but we had the most magical, perfect, wonderful wedding day I never could have planned.

Thank you all for your grace and support as we navigated (and continue to navigate) this season. I am so overdue on responding to so many text messages, emails, and notes. Please know that my inability to keep up with appropriate timeliness in communication is no reflection of our immense gratitude and the ways your encouragement kept us going. And, of course, we cannot thank our families enough for making June 13 a reality—especially my parents who completely remodeled their home.

We still hope to have a celebration in August for those who are able to safely and comfortably attend with COVID-19 considerations and guidelines, and we’ll be in touch with more information soon. But for now, we are taking a week off from planning anything besides dinner.

With great love and gratitude,

The Campbells

Photo by Hunter Allen

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Michelle Junot is a writer, designer and copy editor in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the author of Notes From My Phone* as well as and the floor was always lava.

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