Destination Wedding (With No Guests)

January 14, 2017

I’ve been single since 1999, 17 years have passed since my divorce and the end of my marriage. I’d been in/out of relationships, navigating borders to stay safe from being disappointed and betrayed again but mostly just living life, not fixated on finding a soulmate. I just let my independent nature guide me. So why after all that time did it make sense to reenter into foreign territory and embark on a scary border-crossing full of questions. Josh is what happened…. lightning does strike and blind squirrels do find nuts! Surprises, human connections, divine interventions are all around us, it’s just a matter of being open and receptive to the meteors that enter your life and crash into our quirky little spaces.

This Dec. 29th I found myself standing on a slab of rock beneath Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest staring into hazel/brown eyes, my hands engulfed by my soon to be husband. Reverend Susie began addressing Josh and me. Welcome! We are gathered here in the presence of God to celebrate the joining of this man and this woman in the unity of marriage. Laura and Josh, today you form a partnership. May the promises you make this day lead to a lifetime of love and happiness. The falls cascaded down as words and vows encapsulated in a moment where I found myself not just smiling but grinning. Josh grinned back. Susie continued and tourists skirted around us to gawk at the falls, the photographer moved stealthily, soft clicks recording our ceremony. It was just the two of us, Reverend Susie, Amanda the photographer and a few strangers who tried not to interrupt a wedding ceremony. It was perfect.

Our goal: to focus on the relationship, not a big fat wedding that costs a bazillion dollars, that we could otherwise spend on several vacations. We’d rather celebrate booking a companion flight into the future. There was no white dress, no tuxedo, no cake, no flowers, no congregation, no reception, no DJ and no chicken dance. There was simplicity, a commitment to each other for adventures or misadventures and to love and grow with one another. It felt right, to be outside, to be with nature and God’s universe surrounding us. We toasted the union after with craft beers at Sanctuary Brewing (a symbolic name for the day) in nearby Hendersonville, followed by an intimate Italian dinner at Marco’s Trattoria in Brevard.

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Bonus, the honeymoon was built in. We bookended the wedding week in North Carolina mountain biking blue ridge single track and exploring the Asheville area, chocked full of amazing culinary and craft beer choices. Asheville is officially another Beer City, like Grand Rapids just a little more eclectic and edgy. Consider the names of the breweries we visited: Wicked Weed Funkatorium (a specialist in sours), Burial Brewing, Hi-Wire, Boojum Brewing and Greenman Brewing. And, we stumbled onto Beer Vegas at Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada’s east coast locations. Both are huge brewing facilities and taprooms, the opposite of micro. Love was in the air, I fell in love with the Barrel-Aged Big Foot at Sierra Nevada and then fell hard again with Old Chub Scotch Ale and the Ten-Fidy Imperial Stout at Oskar Blues. We returned again to Oskar Blues for a New Years Eve Hootenanny with three local bands, the opener called The Pretty Little Goats. Yup, bluegrass and they all wore gray and red flannel pajamas on stage. With plenty of New Year’s Eve fuel in our bellies, we took advantage of the free shuttle to and from Brevard and snuck a NYE kiss on the way back to our Airbnb apartment.



Now, it’s January 2017, I’m learning to say husband, not boyfriend and I am wearing a ring that I constantly fiddle with. That particular finger has been naked for an exceptionally long time. It’s a good daily reminder that change presents itself usually when you’re not paying attention. I’ve discovered, people surprise you, and you find new space in your own soul for love, fun, truth and peace.

The adventures of Holmes & Watson have officially begun!



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  1. Ange

    I love this story and imagining the sound of the falls as you were married. Congrats, I can tell you will have a ball together!

  2. Becky Holmes0

    Fun reading.
    Love, Mom


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