It All Came Together

Paul Morrone |

For the past several months, you have all read about the trials and tribulations of wedding planning in the Morrone household.  Over the course of our nearly year-long engagement, discussions about the wedding had become the norm both at home between Jill and I, as well as with our families and friends. It was more consuming than I would have ever imagined, and I was only the groom (poor Jill!). To this day I cannot fathom how much time and effort went into planning an event that lasted all of 7 hours. To everyone’s credit, however, it went off without a hitch. Now that the dust has settled, I’m happy to report that Jill and I are happily married and have nothing but spectacular memories of our wedding weekend to cherish for the rest of our lives.

Back to the big day for a minute – we decided to take an untraditional (but increasingly common) approach to the wedding by doing what is referred to as a ‘First Look.’ The first look allows the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony to take pictures together, along with family and the bridal party so that they can take part in cocktail hour and try to connect with guests before the reception begins. We did our first look at Hartford City Hall which is a beautiful marble building with massive staircases and an atrium that lets the sunlight in to make for some spectacular pictures. I was positioned on the staircase with my back facing down the stairs. The photographer told me not to turn around, and I soon heard Jill walking up the stairs behind me. It was just the two of us, our family and bridal party waited in a separate room so we could savor the moment alone. Those of you that know me well know that I don’t often get nervous or find myself at a loss for words; I guess we can call this an extenuating circumstance. Once she made her way up the stairs (which seemed like an eternity) to where I was standing, she hugged me and I turned around to see her in her dress. I was stunned; and for the first time since I had met Jill she saw me shed a tear (just one, I swear!).

My head continued to spin as our half-hour ceremony and hour-and-a-half cocktail hour flew by in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t until about the time when we were served our salads during the reception that things began to sink in and I remembered the advice that so many people had given me over the past year: “Just enjoy it, try to take a step back and take it all in because it will be over before you know it.” I’d heard it over and over, and thankfully so, as I probably would have put my head down, shoveled down my salad and got back up to continue making rounds and with all of our family and friends that had showed up to support our marriage.  With those words resonating in my head, I put down my fork and leaned back in my chair and just started to look around. Jill followed my lead and we just sat there for a minute, in silence, taking in the moment. The whole day had been a whirlwind, all eyes on us, and we finally had a brief moment of solace that would be over all too quickly. It was a special moment, one of many that day. What followed was a several hour blur of talking, eating, drinking, dancing and singing until the end of the night. As the lights came on, the dance floor was still packed and our guests chanted “one more song!” after what we thought was the last song of the night. The band embraced it and gave us one last treat: Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin on a Prayer’

Looking back on it all, I think the most profound aspect of getting married (aside from, you know, the marriage part) was the love and support we felt from our entire network of family and friends.  Over the past year it has been extremely eye-opening to recognize the many longstanding relationships and newly forged friendships that we are so fortunate to have, both individually and now as a married couple. I’m blessed to have a wonderful new family of in-laws that have been my advocate from day one and I think I can speak for Jill in saying that she has been warmly welcomed into my family with open arms. In the end, I can only simply provide a humble ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped make the beginning of our marriage so special.