“Growing up I asked my mom how she knew my dad was the one she was going to marry and she always said, ‘when you know, you know.’
I was in 7th grade when I met Micah. For years our lockers would be next to each other (because our last names are similar: Bartel and Bartlett), we would wave hello in the hall and participate in the fall musical together. We were not in the same friend groups, but friendly. It wasn’t until our senior year of high school when we chose each other to be show choir partners that I developed a big crush on him. He wasn’t the skater kid I passed in the halls in middle school anymore, he was a talented, funny, best friend that danced and sang with me both in class and out of class.
We started dating towards the end of our senior year and all the way through college. After I graduated from college I married him as soon as I could. We were 21 and 22. Which sounds young to most, but when you know, you know!
On our wedding day, Micah gave me a letter after our first look. He had written it 4 years prior, and said he had been waiting to give it to me on our wedding day. I opened the letter and immediately started crying; the date at the top was August 10th, 2013. The same Saturday as our wedding day, four years earlier. The letter explained to me how sure he was that we were going to get married one day. Are you kidding me? He didn’t remember the letter word for word, but he had written this just months after we started dating. The end of the letter said, ‘Here’s to you, my beautiful future bride.’ The wedding hadn’t even started yet and I was already feeling way too much at once. He cried after reading it too. We were both in awe of the timing of it all.
We were so excited to get married. We still are. I truly married my best friend. I think I was so excited to get married because I knew he was my forever person. It wouldn’t be us if we didn’t show our emotions and how excited we were outwardly. I was basically jumping up and down the whole ceremony.
The ceremony went by like a crazy blur, just like everyone says it does. Standing up there with my best friend in front of all of our friends and family was such a cool feeling. Despite the crowd of 160, we were both in our own world up on the altar. When we watched the video of our ceremony we felt like we were staring at two little kids who were constantly being told they can have candy for dinner; it was the best thing that could have ever happened to us.
At the end of the ceremony, we took a brief moment to pause and just look at everyone in the crowd. Everyone who had been a part of our life at some point up until now was cheering for us. That was awesome. The best advice we were given, and that we would give to anyone else, is to take as much time as you want during the ceremony to pause and take it all in. It’s your day and you only get to do this once. Might as well make it last! The rest of the day was just one huge party. We laughed, cried, ate, drank, danced, and no one had anything but a smile on their face as far as we could see. We both just felt so loved by each other and by everyone else around us. It truly was our favorite day ever.
Most people think wedding planning is hard and stressful. And although there are many times where the stress is high, I think people miss out on a lot of the fun that can be had planning a wedding because they are so caught up in the infamous dark cloud that is wedding planning. Turns out, it’s so much fun! Micah and I are both creatives, I am a hand letterer and artist and Micah is a motion designer and videographer so we got to create so many unique pieces for our wedding and work together on a project too. I created the invitations and the signs for the wedding and he edited our wedding video and animated our love story as a surprise to me at our rehearsal dinner. We make a great team.
To us, our wedding was a reflection of our own personalities and style and we both had a ton of opinions on how it should look and feel. Men often get the short end of the straw when it comes to wedding planning and don’t often give themselves enough credit. Micah loved it. I would even go as far as saying he was more into it than I was a lot of the time. It really helped us both to stay motivated.
The moment we both knew we were going to marry each other was a huge mix of emotions. You feel certain, but at the same time you wonder if this is ‘it’ because you have never experienced ‘it’ before. A lot of people these days seem to put their partner through every test before they make the commitment to marriage; living together, building a routine around them and figuring out all of their little quirks and habits (the good, the bad and the annoying). To many (and maybe even most of our generation), that sounds like the most logical thing to do. After all, you’re going to spend the rest of your life together, so shouldn’t you at least give it a little test drive? Micah and I had dated for over 4 years before we got married; we went through a lot of life changes together like graduating high school, going through (and dropping out of) college, and figuring out how to survive in the adult world (if you have the answer, let us know). We practically grew up together. I think for us, things would just click into place. Everything just felt right. To some people that might sound like a pretty big gamble. There is a lot of room for unknowns and surprises down the road. But to us, that seems like the best part of it all: the unknown. When we decided to get married, the only certainties were that we loved each other and each of us loved Jesus. The rest felt like a big adventure.
Building our lives from the bottom up together is a huge part of what made us (and makes us) so excited to be together and to have gotten married so young. We had (and have) a ton of questions about marriage, but I think part of what makes marriage so beautiful is that we get to answer those questions together.”
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