This week, Jeff and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. (I know, I can’t believe I’m old enough to be married that long either! 😉 In a fit of nostalgia, I wandered around my house searching for things that we’d had since the beginning. Not things that one of us brought with us – like Jeff’s guitars or my high school mementos. Not things that we got during our newlywed years – like the bottles of liquor that have traveled with us from house to house and have found a cozy place on our bar. But rather the things that we have accumulated together and that have spanned the time of our entire marriage. It was a fun project that I present to you now:
1. Napkin Holder
This was a wedding gift we received from Jeff’s oldest brother and his wife (Scott and Kristen). I love it! I love that she made it. I love that it says “The Melbys” (not Melby’s). I love that it says “Est. 1998” (even when it seemed silly to display it in 1998 when we hadn’t yet established much).
Yes, we still daily use many/most of the dishes (and silverware) that we registered for or received as wedding gifts. Sure, we’re missing a few glasses and bowls, but the ones that have remained are really precious to me. A tangible reminder of our marriage’s fragile yet freakishly strong nature.
The knives we received as a wedding gift (from my mom, I think) still get used daily despite their usual dullness (is that a word?). And they are displayed on our kitchen counter even though we have since purchased some that are a little more modern-looking for our sleek-lookin’ kitchen.
Only a few of our original towels have survived our marriage. But let me tell ya, they are the best towels ever for lasting over 2 decades! All of the ones we’ve purchased since then have either been thrown in the trash or should be (including the ones we bought last summer). But these Monticello-branded pieces of terry cloth heaven have stood the test of time!
5. Sleeping Bags/Blankets
Ok, so the blue one may have sneaked into this picture even though it’s from my pre-married twin bed. But the other two were wedding/shower gifts. Our sleeping bags were received at a co-ed wedding shower hosted by my sister’s-in-law mom, Diane Elmer (may she be resting in sweet, joyful peace). I think they were a gift from Jeff’s parents actually. They’ve been faithfully used on many camping trips, guest sleepovers, and now to snuggle in while watching a movie. The green blanket is pure heaven. It’s velvety soft velor material is divine! (Have I ever used that word before?) It and a blue one just like it were gifts from Jeff’s Uncle Dave and Aunt Karen (may she also be resting in peace). In response to our confetti-filled wedding invitations, many folks thought they’d get us back in their wedding presents (like Laurie Garecht and Carolyn Rasch) but nobody did a finer job than Karen. She took the confetti we had sent in her invite and scattered it throughout the two blankets so that when we unfolded them it flew out everywhere. She totally got us. Months (possibly years) later we were still finding tiny silver and blue hearts all over our newlywed home. I specifically remember a piece that was permanently stuck in our bathtub. Well done, Karen, well done! (And a P.S. sent beyond the grave…the blankets you got us are still my favorite!)
This is our unity candle. Not gonna lie, I considered throwing it out during my “purge everything” stage prior to our big move. Why? I don’t like clutter. There is nothing super aesthetic about it. And Jeff and I will still be united if a piece of wax is added to the dump. But I refrained and I’m glad I did. Like it has for the last decade and a half, it’s found a home on one of our nightstands as a visual reminder of the sacred union between us.
Other items that grace our nightstands include pictures of the two of us. From left: my senior prom (1996), at our friends, Kate & Harley’s, wedding (1996), my senior homecoming (1995), my cousin, Misty’s, wedding (1998 – 6 days after we were married). I LOVE these and the long history that they represent as evidenced by their water stains and faded coloring.
8. Wedding Rings
Though neither of us wear our original wedding bands, we still possess them and feel so attached to them. These days, I’m donning a ring Jeff surprised me with on our 20th anniversary, and he’s sporting a rubber band that allows him to safely workout while still proclaiming to the world that he’s taken. 😉
9. Wedding Dress
This is sorta a gimme, but still should be documented. My wedding dress (made by Cindy Martz, my bridesmaid Leah’s mom) and my veil (made by Pat Herdt, my friend Mindy’s mom) hang in my closet next to one of my bridesmaid dresses (that I wore in Misty’s wedding one week after my own). I’ve been meaning to get these two dresses cleaned and stored properly for years, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe for my 21st anniversary. But, probably not.
10. The Book
Our wedding album is affectionately known as The Book. To say the least, it’s a labor of love created by my sis-in-law, Kristen. She spent roughly 2-3 hours per page and 3ish months total on this book. The result? I still tear up every time I look at it or even think about it. It’s one of the most precious things I own. I absolutely adore it and her for doing it! Her scrapbooking skills so perfectly captured our wedding day and those that celebrated with us. September 6, 1998 was a day to remember and Kristen certainly helped us to do that with this beautiful gift!