Mental Pictures

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It’s been just over a month since my wife and I stepped onto the altar in Chicago, Illinois for a day that we’ll remember forever. Well, at least I hope we can remember all of the amazing details forever.

I proposed to Charlotte on February 17, 2013 amidst a slew of cacti on the top of a mountain in Golden, CO. We wanted to wait until fall so we could celebrate the cool weather, changing leaves, and great seasonal beer. Since we didn’t want to throw together a wedding in just a few months, we decided to push the event until the fall of 2014.

At that point in time, it seemed like the date would never come, but as with all eagerly anticipated events, it did indeed come. And, then it flew by.

September 13, 2014 started with a 4-mile run with a close friend. I’m not sure whether it was the anticipation of the events later that day or the cool weather at sea level that allowed me to run farther and faster than I had in months, but I was grateful for the time on the road. It provided a much-needed mental break from the action-packed schedule of the weekend.

Before long, it was time to get suited up and ready to go.

In the back room of the church waiting for the ceremony to start, I couldn’t sit down. I just kept pacing back and forth. Several times people asked if I was nervous. I truthfully said no. I wasn’t nervous. The word “nervous” implies apprehension. I was more eager and excited.

Standing on an altar surrounded by all of our closest friends and watching my wife walk down the aisle is something I’ll never forget. It’s one of those moments you try to create a mental picture of so you can visualize it forever. The rest of the evening proved to be more amazing than either Charlotte or I could ever imagine, filled with dancing (including Irish Dancing), singing, and a classic game of Thunderstruck.

At one point in the night, our close friend Paul came up to chat. He told me something that truly resonated with the moment, “Enjoy tonight. Everyone is here for you two. It’s the biggest party you’re ever going to throw.”

He’s right; it was a party and a great one at that.

I recently read an article that emphasized the benefit of buying experiences over things. Both the anticipation of an experience and the memory afterward led to a greater level of happiness than any material possession you could ever buy. One particular experience from that weekend confirmed this for me. As the ceremony finished and Charlotte and I turned away from the altar to look out on the crowd, the room was filled with applause, cheers, and smiles. It was a moment that we had both been anticipating for well over a year.

The only trouble with experiences is that they come and go.

As quickly as the event came, it ended, and we headed back to normal life. Still, looking back, we have the memory of that wonderful day and the mental pictures that we try desperately to hold onto. That’s enough for me. The memories and mental snapshots of that day will exceed anything I could ever buy.

Photo Credit: Alix Mozota

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