Our Christmas Wedding, Part 1: Before the Big Day

Our Christmas Wedding Part 1, Just a Girl and Her Blog

It’s almost Christmas!!! Do you know what that means? No, I’m not talking about Santa or presents. I’m not even talking about beautiful home decor or fun craft projects. Clearly Christmas is first and foremost about the birth of Jesus, but the second reason I get so excited for Christmastime is that it means it’s almost my wedding anniversary! Yes, hubby and I tied the knot two days before Christmas waaaaaaay back in 2006, and since I’ve already overloaded you with a ton of Christmas crafts and decorations the past few weeks, I thought I would take a few posts to walk down memory lane and share some of the details of our Christmas wedding. Before I get to the actual wedding day, though, I thought I would start with how we got there…

How We Met

Donnie and I went to a small Christian college with a “ring by spring” reputation– meaning all of the girls and guys coupled up and got engaged by the spring of their senior year. I remember sitting in the welcome assembly the first day I arrived on campus and hearing the dean of students declare, “Look to your left. Look to your right. Your future mate might be in sight!” No pressure, right? 😉 So later that night the girls on my hall and I naturally decided that since it was expected that we would marry those boys who lived on the other side of the quad, we would have nothing to do with them. We deemed ourselves “The 20% Club,” for the 20% of students who left our college unattached. (I’m sure 80% of students being engaged is an exaggeration, but it sounded good to us.) And of course, as usually happens when you declare that you are not going to do something, most of The 20% Club did, in fact, end up marrying boys from our college. Go figure.

But how could I resist when I came across this handsome stud-muffin while at church one Sunday in the spring of my freshman year?

Our Christmas Wedding, Part 1, by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Yes, this is when selfies were taken with an actual camera rather than a cell phone, and no, that was not what he was wearing at church when we met. 😀 }

One of my close friends had known Donnie in high school, and soon after I met him, she told me she thought we should date. “He probably doesn’t even remember who I am!” I told her. But he did, and he asked me out on a date soon after.

Our Christmas Wedding, Part 1, by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Apparently we were also very into Sepia back then…}

Our First Date

On our first date everything that could go wrong, did. We happened to plan it for the same evening that we were supposed to register for classes online, and since you had to be sitting at your computer at the designated time, waiting to fight off the hoards of other students trying to register for the same classes, we ended up getting a late start. We had planned to hike around and play frisbee at a state park that was not far from our college town, but after registering and driving to our destination, it was dark by the time we got there. We walked around for a little while, but it was hard to see much in the dark and frisbee was definitely out, so we headed back to town. We tried to go to Dairy Queen for ice cream. It was closed. So we thought we might hang out in a local park right in the town. Also closed. Poor Donnie. He had planned everything out so perfectly and it just wasn’t working out. Good thing I thought that was kind of cute.

Our Christmas Wedding, Part 1, by Just a Girl and Her Blog

He Pops the Question

Fast-forward to the spring of our senior year. I had gone to visit Donnie at his parents’ house over Easter break to celebrate our three year anniversary of dating, or so I thought. He had planned out a whole day for us, reliving our first date– only this time, everything went right. We went to a park, hiked around {in the daylight}, and had a picnic lunch. We grabbed ice cream at a Dairy Queen that was actually open. Eventually we headed back to his parents’ house. His parents had gone out for the night, and Donnie told me to go get dressed for a nice dinner while he worked on some things downstairs. I came down fully expecting to head off to some restaurant, but I then realized that he had been cooking! {Who can resist a man who cooks?!}

D had put together a fancy salad, chicken parmesan, and even yummy dessert! We ate at a beautifully decorated table that he had set up in the sun room, surrounded by pink balloons. {which I found out later he had set up a few days before I got there and locked the room from the inside so I couldn’t go in!} At one point he got up to do something and was gone for a long time. I mean, a LONG time. {Apparently he was nervously pacing around upstairs trying not to throw up.} When he came back down, he sat down next to me, launched into the sweetest speech you’ve ever heard, and ended up down on one knee asking me to marry him. I said yes, clearly!

Our Christmas Wedding Part 1, Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Yes, during my college years I was having trouble deciding whether I was blonde or brunette. I have since decided on brunette. 🙂 }

We were excited to set a date, but with post-graduation plans up in the air, we weren’t sure when we could make it happen. I knew I would be teaching, so it seemed like our only options would be to get married at Christmas so we could go on our honeymoon during Christmas break, or to wait until the following summer. And I wasn’t waiting until the following summer– Christmas it was! We DIY’ed some save-the-dates and launched into planning.

Our Christmas Wedding Part 1, Just a Girl and Her Blog

Donnie and I both got jobs in Virginia and were getting married in Pittsburgh, so most of our planning had to be done long-distance, with an incredible amount of help from our moms. (Thanks, moms!) Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a red and white Christmas wedding (I’m more of a pink in early summer kind of girl), but we did. And if you want to see it, you’re going to have to come back because the story will continue next time… 😀

See Part 2 and Part 3!

Delightful Sign Off

38 Comments

  1. Emily @ My Love for Words says:

    Very sweet! I love these personal posts. Congratulations on your anniversary and 7 years of marriage!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! Hope you and the family are doing well! Have a Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Kim {Pinspired Home} says:

    Oh, Abby! What a trip down memory lane!
    Boy do I remember the 20% club… And the Dean’s Breakfast, where they paired us up at the bottom of the princess stairs – remember that? Nancy Paxton sure made an impression on us that year!
    You and Donnie are such a cute couple. I’m excited to see the rest of the series. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ahhh!! I almost forgot about the Dean’s Breakfast– how could I forget THAT!? Oh, the memories! Well, the 20% Club was good while it lasted…even if a bunch of us broke the cardinal rule! 😉 Hope you guys have a Merry Christmas!!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Kim {Pinspired Home} says:

        Yup… We both broke the 20% rule, didn’t we?
        Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. What a sweet story Abby!! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait for the rest 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Denise! It’s fun to look back and remember how everything played out! Part 2 is coming soon! Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  4. I love reading your story! I have a Christmastime anniversary, too 🙂 Here’s to being part of the “80% Club”!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay for Christmas anniversaries! And Happy Anniversary to you guys! As much as I resisted it, I’m so thankful to be part of the 80%! Hope you all are doing well. Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Bethany the ngnrdgrl says:

    Awwww! What a sweet story. I loved that he recreated your first date, but the right way. Cheers to you and your hubby for your anniversary!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      He is a pretty romantic guy! 😀 I’m excited to hear more details about your upcoming big day! I always tell hubby we need to have another wedding since Pinterest wasn’t around for the first one, lol. Hope all of your planning is going well! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. You make such a cute couple! I’m a wedding junkie, so I’ll be waiting to see pics of the big day. Happy Anniversary! Dee 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aww, thank you, Dee! I’ll be back with part 2 soon! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Suzanne J Dean says:

    Very sweet & beautiful story Abby…thanks for sharing with us! I met my husband while I was in a self-proposed “1 year dating abstinence” LOL and refused to date him for months. Well 7 mos later we were engaged and next year we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, send our daughter off to college & watch our son turn 16. Some things are just meant to be I say and wishing you lots more years of love & joy together. Merry Christmas to you & yours!
    hugz,
    Suzanne

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Isn’t that always how it happens?! When you least expect it, expect it! 😉 Congrats on 20 years! That is incredible! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Thanks for sharing your story – I really enjoyed it! Just to show that not EVERYONE who determines not to still gets engaged by senior year, I did to wait because God seemed to have plans for me to live abroad. Turns out that was right, I’ve lived in South Korea for the past 8 years, still single, and happier with Jesus Christ in my life than ever. However, I’m really happy for how things worked out for you and convinced that no matter how the story goes, the One who’s writing it truly knows best for each of us. God bless!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      What an awesome opportunity! I’m sure South Korea has been amazing! Thank you so much for checking out my blog, Mariah– it was great to hear from you! Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  9. What a sweet story (and adorable photos)! My husband and I are also teachers with the same scheduling dilemma … so our 4 year anniversary is two days AFTER Christmas. 🙂 I look forward to reading the next installment! Happy early anniversary to you two!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay for Christmas weddings! They really are so much fun, right?! Happy almost-Anniversary to you and your hubby! Enjoy it!!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Hi Abby,

    I’m not gonna lie, the whole concept of being engaged by the end of college seems wickedly daunting. How do you possibly concentrate on studies when the pressure of landing in that 80% (presumsbly) looms over you? One word: scary! Regardless, you are very lucky to have each other! I know how that feels. I wish you a very happy anniversary and a very Merry Christmas!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! Yes, all colleges have their little quirks, and ours certainly had many. Along with everyone running around getting engaged, we also were not allowed to walk on the grass, had VERY limited boy/girl visitation hours in the dorms, and everyone had to live on campus all 4 years (there were a few ways around this one). And even with all that I still loved it! 😀 Hope you’re having a wonderful week, and have a very Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Samantha @ Five Heart Home says:

    This story is TOO CUTE, Abby…I can’t wait to read the sequel next week! Thanks for sharing with all of us, and thanks for linking up to Moonlight & Mason Jars! I hope you have a *wonderful* Christmas with your sweet family!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank YOU for hosting such a fun party! I hope you’re enjoying some time with your sweet family this week! Merry Christmas, Samantha!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Holly @ Coconutheadsurvivalguide says:

    Hi Abby – This is the cutest, sweetest story. What an amazing time of year to get married and celebrate the birth of Jesus and your new lives together. Enjoy and celebrate #7 and blessings to your family for a very Merry Christmas. Hugs, Holly

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Holly! It was a fun day! Hope you have a Merry Christmas as well!!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Pingback: Our Christmas Wedding, Part 2: Saying “I Do” | Just a Girl and Her Blog
  14. Laura@JourneyChic says:

    Oh my, aren’t you guys just the cutest! My liberal arts college was more of a “hook-up” school and I can’t even imagine marrying the guy I dated back then! Oh the horror! (although I think he’s cleaned up his act and is a lawyer now). I read Part 2 already and you were such a gorgeous bride!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Laura! It is funny how different colleges have different mentalities! It all works itself out though! Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      ~Abby =)

  15. JaneEllen says:

    You two are so perfect for each other and so in love, you look so happy. Love seeing your photos, enjoyed seeing your wedding. How come you two have dark hair and your boys are blonde? lol Makes tears come to my eyes to see you so young and happy. Yeah I know I’m silly. Glad you had good weather for your wedding.
    Happy Anniversary. Things always work out.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and yours.
    Your hubs is a super cutie, lucky guy and gal

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Awww…thank you so much, JaneEllen! I agree– he is a cutie! 😀 Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

      ~Abby =)

  16. JaneEllen says:

    Happy Anniversary.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, JaneEllen!! Merry Christmas!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Pingback: Our Christmas Wedding, Part 3: Celebrating! | Just a Girl and Her Blog
  18. It was so nice to meet you at Haven! You are so sweet! I also had a Christmas wedding (Dec. 26). It gets kind of crazy celebrating anniversaries at such a busy time of year, but the magic of a Christmas wedding can’t be beat! We are in our 15th year of marriage!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Candace! I so enjoyed meeting you! I hear ya– our anniversary almost gets skipped every year (and if the Steelers happen to be playing that day, forget it! ;), but a Christmas wedding was fun and we always manage to squeeze in a little celebration somewhere. Congrats on 15 years! So awesome! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Kathy of the HavinsNest says:

    I have only recently discovered your blog. I was immediately hooked but when I saw Christmas Wedding posts I was enthralled. I love Christmas and I love weddings.

    My husband and I got married two days before Christmas in 1977. My brother’s dubbed December 23 Christmas Adam in the 1960s and we still call it that.

    We have 4 generations of family sharing Christmas Adam as their wedding date. My mother in law’s grandparents started the trend in 1900, my in-laws followed along in 1950, and our niece married her beloved in 2000 – 100 years to the day after her great-great grandparents started what I call the 12/23 Club.

    Your wedding and reception were beautiful. As was the way it was in Arlington Texas in 1977, ours a much simpler wedding and church reception (think cake and mints) but the memory of it still makes me smile. My husband says that when he saw my dad and me coming down the aisle of our church I was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. He says I still am…obviously his eyes are going bad in his old age.

    Our children did not wish to carry on family tradition but our son had his own Christmas Wedding by getting married about 4 weeks ago on December 21.

    Thank you for your blog. I’m enjoying it very much.

  20. This is so cute! I was born on January 2nd (in my opinion, the only day worse to be born on would be December 26th), and I decided that I would NEVER get married anywhere NEAR my birthday! I had whimsical dreams of getting married in October as the leaves were changing color. Well, my now-husband Jon and I both ended up being December grads, something I’d never anticipated. We could either get married during Christmas break after we graduated, or we could wait for October simply for the sake of waiting. Christmas break it was, just like you! And here’s the hilarious part: since we didn’t care which day we actually got married, we took a vote from traveling relatives. The date that worked best for everyone? January 3rd. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I never thought I’d be a Christmas bride either, but that’s the way it worked out! Our son’s birthday is actually January 2nd too, so we have a TON going on at this time of year. Just more reasons to celebrate I guess! 🙂 Merry Christmas, Julie!

      ~Abby =)

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