Finding Your Happily Ever After + Wedding Guest Dresses
Aaron and I were in Chicago this weekend so Aaron could standup in his best friend's wedding. I am always so emotional at weddings, AND this wedding was no exception. Watching two amazingly, lovely people join their lives together is such an amazing privilege to witness. Think about it, my friends...What are the odds that we will find, out of the billions of people on the planet, the ONE person who can give us our Happily Ever After? When two people are lucky enough to find each other in this crazy world, it just gives me MAJOR goosebumps because there was a point in my life (not too long ago) that I thought that this was just not possible. I thought it would be fun to share with you guys today how Aaron and I first found each other, and then keep scrolling to see some links to my top dresses I rounded up for you to wear for the upcoming wedding season!
SO, I had sworn off ALL men after my very rough divorce four years ago. I had been with my ex-husband since high school, a total of 15 years, and I guess I didn't know that I was in such an intensely unhealthy relationship because I had never been in ANY other relationship period. So I let this destructive treatment fester in my life for so long because I was being convinced that I deserved to be treated that way, and by the end I was also convinced that this must be the way that all men treat women. I should have, and obviously eventually, realized that this is NOT the way ANYONE (woman OR man) should be treated! I always had such a wonderful example of marriage and love growing up- MY PARENTS- so I don't know how I got duped for so long. Of course, no marriage is perfect, but my parents always respectfully worked through all of life's curveballs together as a team. AND, as a TEAM my parents raised me to be a strong, confident individual who should stand up for herself. YES, I lost that part of myself for a time, BUT eventually my upbringing and core beliefs won out in the end.
It was the summer after I finally decided that I was going to go out into this world as a strong, independent woman, and that I didn't need a man, that I unexpectedly "met" Aaron. I should explain here that I knew who Aaron was because he is actually my good friend, Brooke's, brother. BUT, since I was always tethered to my previous relationship, I never really thought of Aaron as anything other than "Brooke's little brother", HAH! That was until we all ended up going out for Brooke's 30th birthday, and I got seated next to Aaron at dinner. We literally DID NOT stop talking the entire night. I remember our EASY, non-stop flow of conversation. He opened doors for me, and pushed my chair in behind me. He immediately seemed to respect what I had to offer in our conversations, like I was his equal...AND, I kept thinking Who is this guy?!?! Is he for REAL?!? I immediately got those inexplicable butterflies in my stomach, and that feeling didn't go away for the rest of the weekend after. I kind of brushed it all off (because in my head I was telling myself this was just a too good to be true fluke), BUT our connection must have been so palpable, to not just us, but to everyone else too, that all of my girlfriends who were there that night texted me the next day to say, "SOOOOO, what was up with you and Aaron last night? Ever consider going on a date with him??"
Well here started the nerve-racking internal struggle I went through trying to figure out if this guy actually liked me, and if I actually was ready to date. Mind you, I hadn't gone on a FIRST DATE or FLIRTED with anyone since I was 15 years old!! AND, I didn't really know if I was ready to set sail in the dating pool quite yet. OY! I had no idea how this was supposed to work as an adult. BUT, nevertheless, after many "therapy" sessions with my bestie, I decided to be a woman of the 21st century and take matters into my own hands. First, I had to ask Brooke for her brother's number. Aaron gets SO mad when I tell people this because he always says he would've asked for my number first, but he thought Brooke would tell him to bug off because I was going through so much crap in life, LOL! I literally remember sitting there with bated breath- Would Brooke be mad that I wanted to date her brother, or would she think it's weird?? Luckily, Brooke is such a kick-ass friend, who wanted the best for me, that she thought it was awesome that I wanted to hang out with Aaron!
I think I typed that first text to him about 5,000 different ways, and I had my finger hovering over the send button for about five hours- BUT, after a little liquid encouragement (THANK YOU, WINE), I bit the bullet and sent the text. Why should the guy always be the first to reach out?? I was WAAAAY beyond following social norms at this point in life, and just wanted to get passed this awkward first step. AND, to my surprise Aaron responded right away. I was expecting all of this game play, like so many of my friends had warned me about with guys...they won't call or text you back right away; they leave you hanging so they have the upper hand; don't act too interested in him or you will scare him away-and the rules went on and on and on. WHOA! BUT, Aaron just wasn't like these other guys that my friends kept telling me about- he was different, and that is when I knew this could be THE ONE. I knew he would never act like a player, BUT, instead he would always act like a gentlemen. GUYS, if you are reading this take note- nobody likes a game player, and LADIES you shouldn't put up with that nonsense!
After my first text, we seriously never stopped talking, AND, we haven't stopped talking since! He is still the one every, single morning to say good morning, or how is your day going, to show that he is thinking about me. It's honestly the little things with this man. I am so IN LOVE with him, and I know I always will be...He has this way of just looking at me, like REALLY looking at me with love and appreciation. He still grabs my hand in a parking lot to make sure that I am safe. He still rubs my back and snuggles me in tight to make me feel less anxious when I have a bad day. He ALWAYS makes me his number one priority, and makes me feel safe and secure. He is always challenging me to think about situations in a different way because he is so incredibly brilliant. He just makes loving him SO easy, AND this scared me for the longest time!!! BUT, now four years into our relationship, I realize just how truly blessed I am!
I struggled at the beginning of our relationship with trusting him because of my past, BUT he made it just so DAMN easy to let down my guard. No joke, ladies, I thought I would never let another man into my heart again. I had convinced myself for such a long time that I wasn't deserving of a Happily Ever After. AND, as much as I tried to find a reason to RUN, he gave me a million reasons to STAY! As I said before, obviously no relationship and no person is perfect- all of our Happily Ever Afters are going to look different. BUT, I always know that Aaron will be the perfect one for ME to travel through this crazy journey with, one day a time. I know I will continue to CHOOSE this man every day for the rest of my life-through the good, the bad, and everything in between, because he is my version of Happily Ever After, even on the hardest of days!
Ladies, what if I had let fear control my life, and I just gave up on dating and men altogether? I would never have found love again. My sincere hope for all of you out there who are nervous about the prospect of finding LOVE, is that you are patient and wait for the right man to come along. He is out there, trust me, don't give up! He may not come at the time that you want, OR it might surprise you who you end up connecting with (look how long I had to wait for my Happily Ever After, and he was right under my nose practically my whole life), BUT I am a firm believer in soul mates! Good things comes to those who wait! So, in honor of all of those special couples out there who didn't settle, found each other, and are ready to tie the knot this summer, I have linked some SUPER fun wedding guest dresses for you all! LOVE WILL ALWAYS WIN IN THE END!
- Express Sequin Cap Sleeve Mini Sheath Dress- $68.60 (On Sale!! Exact dress I wore in the pics.)
- Nordstrom Lace Midi Dress ASTR THE LABEL- $89 (Comes in LOTS of other colors.)
- ASOS Scuba Midi Pencil Dress With Frill Sleeve- $64
- Revolve Violet Midi Lovers + Friends- $148 (Comes in blush pink also.)
- Revolve Andy Mini Dress Lovers + Friends- $168
- Revolve X Revolve Camo Dress Elliatt- $136 (Comes in other colors.)
- BCBG Generation One-Shoulder Overlay Mini Dress- $59 (On Sale!!)
- BCBG Generation Faux Wrap Midi Dress- $78 (Comes in other colors. I have black, and LOVE this because it is SUPER comfy. I paired it with a camel colored belt and camel colored wrap ankle heels. SO FUN!)
- Express Puff Shoulder Sheath Dress- $55.93 (On Sale!! Comes in black and also a plaid pattern. Would be nice for a more conservative wedding.)