Wednesday, December 26, 2012

it all started with a pair of water shoes: part one.


so...remember a couple weeks ago when Ryan surprised me with a visit? it truly was a surprise to me, but let me just say, it was only the start of the surprises. so let me back up to earlier that day: it was a typical Monday yet with the holiday in full swing, i needed to get moving out of my PJs, get orders out the door and my own Christmas shopping list to tackle. so just as i was getting ready for the day, my phone rang - it was Ryan. he was called in for a job interview in Savannah, so he was wondering if we could either meet up in Savannah or if it was okay if he visited with my family overnight. already knowing the answer, i ran the request past Mom who practically ran to get the guest room ready before completing a yes for an answer.

Ryan arrived at the house close to 2:30 that afternoon. he visited us for a little while then asked if it was okay to take me out for coffee or an early dinner. since he only had the short visit, he wanted to be able to take me out on a date. being in a long distant relationship causes you to savor every single second you have with each other, no joke.

so we headed downtown, an area lined with adorable local shops and restaurants. since neither of us were hungry yet, we parked the car and walked to one of my favorite coffee shops. i ordered an apple cider and we continued to make our way down to the waterfront.

seriously, at this point, i was elated to be able to just walk hand in hand with Ryan. the weather was cool and crisp with a light breeze and warm sun on our skin. as we gazed over the Beaufort river, i hugged Ryan and told him that i felt like i was dreaming since we didn't know if we were even able to see each other until the new year. he hugged me back and said that he felt the same.

the breeze started to pick up and Ryan said that he wanted to run back to the car and grab his jacket. we walked back to his car, where he popped open the trunk. he stepped back and said, oh, wait a sec - i have something to give you. i started walking towards one of the swing benches that lines the waterfront, and he motioned for us to get back into the car as he carried along a large, awkwardly wrapped gift (Ryan is known for his signature gift wrapping - but it's the best because i always know which gifts are from Ryan, especially when they are practically covered up in scotch tape). i laughed and said, okaaaaay as i got into the car.

he set the box on my lap. so this is NOT your Christmas gift, okay? he said to me. it's just something small i wanted to give to you now, but your Christmas gift is coming - but this isn't it.


i started unwrapping the bright red Christmas paper and pulled back the lid of the cardboard box. beneath layered of red and green tissue paper, i pulled out a paper of black and yellow water shoes. i immediately slipped them onto my feet, lifting my feet up to the dashboard of the car to take a good look at them (i have short legs if you didn't figure that out already, people). oh, my goodness, Ryan - i love them! they are perfect! i gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and said, they are perfect but too bad we aren't going to any beaches anytime soon.

do you really like them? Ryan asked. do they fit alright? i found them the other day and totally thought of you so i thought you might like them. 

i took the water shoes off and placed them back in the box. i remember thinking how funny Ryan's timing was in giving me the shoes. we always have talked about snorkeling  - it's something that i have never done but i have always loved aquatic life and so does Ryan, so we dreamed about doing it together one day.

Ryan picked up one of the shoes and pulled out the crumbled up brown papers that formed the shape of the left shoe. hey, is there one of these in that other shoe? he asked me.

i pulled the other shoe out of the box and pulled out a folded up piece of paper. i immediately thought i was the receipt and handed it him, is this yours? now that i think back to it, there was a twinkle in his eyes that i had missed. he had the goofiest of grins and waited for me to unfold that paper.

first i caught the Orbitz logo. nothing registered until my eyes drifted their way down to the middle of the page. Ryan's full name. my full name. departure time. arrival time.

and then my heart stopped and it all clicked. Maui, Hawaii. 


the Maui guidebook we ended up using all week long

Ryan and i have always wanted a small intimate wedding. the largest wedding he and i have ever envisioned included our family members and the two of us. to be honest, we mentioned this to our closest of friends - and then only mentioned to our immediate family our dream of possibly eloping to a secluded beach. though our family was very supportive and Ryan and i continued to dream of the possibilities over the past two years we were engaged, we never felt the timing was right and therefore, never took the leap.

yet here i was, holding our dream in my hands and the next thing i knew, in utter shock, as the emotional girl that i am, bawling my eyes out. is this real? am i dreaming? i remember blubbering in between my tears.

it felt like the day Ryan proposed to me all over again. the rush of emotions. the beauty of unbelief and sheer joy. the eruption of every bit of happiness exploding in that car between me and Ryan. we hugged. we kissed - each other and the water shoes probably. we laughed and cried.

i asked Ryan to pinch me. i needed to know this was not a dream. ouch.

Ryan suggested that we forget our early dinner and run back home to my family and repeat the surprise to them. i agreed, making sure to rub the stream of eyeliner and make-up from my cheeks, putting the shoes and the Orbitz page back into the box. though we had to wait till my dad arrived from work about a long hour and half long later, Ryan and i reenacted our surprise to them, asking mom oh, wait. what is the folded piece of paper in that shoe? and just like Ryan and i did in the car, we all laughed and cried and hugged each other (and the water shoes) all over again.

so it was no lie that Ryan was here for two very short days. in those two days, we celebrated with my family amidst only having a few days to get everything together for our flight the following Sunday morning. i already had my entire wedding ensemble, stored neatly and carefully in the back of my closet, so i packed that as well as everything i needed for the honeymoon that would follow the wedding ceremony.

and another part of the surprise, Ryan had always told me that he never wanted me to be one of those brides who had to deal with stress and drama on her wedding day. so...he had already been in touch with a wedding coordinator in Maui (he had been talking with her for quite some time now), who was taking care of all the details for us, including the photographer, bouquet, location, who would marry us, etc. all i basically needed to do was decide on what bouquet i wanted, write my wedding vows, and "show up and look beautiful!" it sounded good to me!

 dad, ryan and i being silly with our serious faces. dad said this was him pretending to marry us.

after a tearful yet excited good-bye to my family, Ryan and i traveled to Georgia to continue in our wedding preparations. we sent off our Christmas cards turned wedding announcements, picked up our wedding bands, shopped for Ryan's wedding ensemble, painfully canceled a Christmas party for my small group girls, writing our personal wedding vows, wrapped up work and closed up shop for the month, and tried to tie up as many loose ends as possible without giving away our secret!


seriously keeping this whole thing a secret was one of the hardest parts of eloping! i had to keep texting and talking to friends as if i were still in town. i had to be careful to post anything on my blog, twitter or facebook to make people think that i was skipping town. i even made plans with one of my girlfriends to see her next week! eeeek! but i knew that all of this secrecy would pay off since i was freaking getting married!


on Sunday, December 16th, we started to make the long trek from Atlanta, GA to Maui, Hawaii. i didn't think that i could be happier than when we stepped onto that plane with my best friend, especially since i knew that the next time we stepped foot in Atlanta's airport, we would be husband and wife.

to be continued...

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

p.s. are you... Joni Warren (#50)  - Jototes Bag giveaway winner AND Patricia (#33) Sunglasses Shop giveaway winner?! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize! congrats to Joni and Patricia and thank you to Jototes and Sunglasses Shop for two fabulous giveaways! you all rock!

53 comments:

  1. awesome. Cannot wait for part 2.

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  2. this completely WARMS my heart... I couldn't be happier for the two of you!!!!! :)

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  3. Yay, I love this story, and it will just get better!:)

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  4. Love this!! This is so close to home for me since this is kinda how we did it. Can't wait to read more.

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  5. OMIGOSH! I cannot wait. post the next part soon, please!

    I seriously love this so much.
    You guys are just so dang cute.

    xoxo,
    Rachel Nicole

    http://rachyracheshobbycorner.blogspot.com/
    http://circlescarvesandredlipstick.blogspot.com/

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  6. Wonderful! I'm honestly starting to weigh the elopement option in my head ... :)

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  7. seriously girl, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for part 2. this is the most romantic thing i've ever heard! so happy for you!

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  8. Holy smokes, sitting here bawling my eyes out from the first sentence! Please continue this story soon Illy! So happy for you :)

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  9. i am so happy for you, Ilene! this type of wedding-- nothing beats it. it is all about just the two of you and how much you are in love:)...congrats from the bottom of my heart!!

    xx

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  10. What a perfect surprise! You have such a cute HUSBAND!

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  11. This is too sweet!! Thank you for sharing with us :)

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  12. I'm SO happy to read this - I know you are just giddy with happiness. I cannot wait to read part 2! If you're in Atlanta for awhile, let me know! We are traveling now but will be back next week. :-)

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  13. Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is so incredibly sweet!!!

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  14. !!!!! can't wait to hear the rest. i always say i want to elope, i think it sounds like perfection. ah!!

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  15. YOU ELOPED! Love it so much. Mazel, mazel, mazel!

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  16. So so sooooo happy for you guys! Such a fun story too - can't wait to hear the rest!

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  17. I am SO BEYOND excited for you!!
    Congratulations and blessings on the beginnings of a new journey for you both. (:

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  18. Congratulations!! I can't wait to read the rest of your sweet love story! :)

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  19. This is a great story and I can't wait to hear the rest of it! Can you believe you're married?! Congratulations!

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  20. freaking. love. this. AHHH, love love love love LOVE!

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  21. Wonderful story. Congratulations. Soo perfect. My wedding was so small and intimate too. 22ppl including us, and I would've not had it any other way. Can't wait for the part 2.

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  22. What a precious surprise! Ryan sounds like the perfect man for you. Thank you for sharing your sweet story. :)
    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

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  23. This is so cute!! Cant wait to read the rest!

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  24. ahhhhhhhhhh i love this story sooo much already!!!!!!! :)

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  25. Oh my word, this is exciting and I am truly happy for you! xxx

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  26. yayyyy a happy story! can't wait for part two!

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  27. Awesome, happy story - I can't wait for the wedding post now!!!!

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  28. oh my oh my I cannot wait for the second installment! I feel like I am reading a romantic novel!!! congratulations!

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  29. To be continued!!!??? Sweet! Cannot wait!

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  30. Love this Ilene. So romantic. I wish I would have been able to do this :-). You should send this in to a magazine for publication when you are through! Really!!!

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  31. gah!!! This is the sweetest things ever!! You two are so totally adorable together!!! You got yourself a keeper Ilene!! :)

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  32. aahhh, I love it!! can't wait to rad the rest and see more pictures!! you are so lucky and I hope you will be happy together forever ;)

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  33. My favorite part is the Christmas cards turned announcements, when I started seeing people talk about them on Facebook I just thought it was the cutest THING!

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  34. Holy cow! That is like from a movie...congrats!!!! Super awesome!

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  35. shut up! what a story! i cant read for the rest :) congrats girl!

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  36. Eeeeeek! I love this! Post Part 2, like, now. ;)

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  37. Ryan just got major points in my book. Major. This is crazy!

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  38. Congrats!! How exciting! Loved reading this!

    P.s my husband and I eloped too :)

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  39. Omg best husband ever?! This is amazing!

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  40. I cried. I cried i cried i cried. OHHH RYAN and ILENE CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm so so so soooooo happy, excited, and all around ENTHUSED that you two are now married! Been a long time coming and you guys deserve it! Love you both and BLESSINGS on your new life TOGETHER. AH, together; what a wonderful word! Love you guys.
    Liz

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  41. When Ashley told us the story in Sunday school on Sunday, I just sat there with tears in my eyes and say "aww, that is the sweetest thing ever" like eight times. Seriously. Y'all are awesome. Can't wait for part 2!!!

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  42. AACCKK!!! That is the cutest, most romantic thing I think I have ever read. You guys are precious, And I wish you all the best!

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  43. Ok, girl, part two better come quickly. I'm dying to know the rest! So, did you already have another wedding planned or were you waiting to plan your wedding? Was it just the two of you?

    SO fun! Congratulations again, you sweet newlyweds!

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  44. Wow, wow, wow! What a GREAT story! Congratulations to you both. This sounds like the perfect wedding scenario!

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  45. Love that you're together now!! Hugs, hugs, hugs. Thanks for sharing your story with us. God is good!

    -Your Sis RA 4ever ;-)

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  46. OMGGGGG!!! You are married!!!!! I can't believe it! I am SO happy for you and I see so much joy in these photos. You finally get to be together! Wishing you a beautiful first year together!
    Much love,
    Anna

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  47. finally! i have been waiting for the moment to have some free time to catch up on your story! I am so so so happy for you and Ryan! Like I had mentioned in my tweet to you that is the best way to get married! I really do hope mine will choose to do the same. I have already put the bug in their ears : ).

    Anyhoo, thank you for sharing your surprise with us all! May God pour his many blessings over your new life together! Congrats!

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