20 Years and Counting (#NotinNapa)

Photo by Laurie Kilgore/Formafoto

Today is our 20 year wedding anniversary. I know, it’s totally weird. Getting married at 12 was probably not a great idea but we made it! 😉 I kid, I kid but we were one of the first of our college friends to get married which basically means we had absolutely no clue what we were doing besides letting our mothers completely plan our weddings. The one thing we did right was get married on a Friday night which we did for two reasons.

  1. Many fees were half-priced if we chose Friday. The reception rental was the biggie so it took a half a second to choose Friday over Saturday. We were helping foot the bill for our wedding so we cut corners where we could.
  2. The other reason, or the real reason, was because it was the only safe way to plan a wedding in the fall in Nebraska.

When you live in Nebraska, fall Saturdays are for football games, not weddings. Kipp and I love fall and we love our Husker football so it was a no-brainer. We both attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the 90’s when the Huskers were a powerhouse football team. Let me tell you, it was a glorious time to be in Lincoln.

We got engaged in December of 1995 but we wanted to wait until Kipp was closer to graduation before we got married so that put us into 1997. We loved the fall but, truth be told, we knew that if we tried to plan a Saturday wedding without knowing the football schedule yet, we would most likely have a wedding reception that included lots of televisions or a very thin crowd in attendance. It’s just the way it was back then. So we opted for the Friday night to be safe and then when the ’97 schedule was released, the Homecoming game was scheduled for the day after our wedding. It worked out perfect.

We decided that we wanted to go to the football game the day with our friends and that the opening of wedding gifts could wait until Sunday. It was a great weekend and would do it all over again except that we would watch the game from a beach in Mexico with our closest friends and family. I kid, sort of.

Being that we were one of the first of both of our groups of friends, we felt the need to invite everyone from our fraternity and sorority as well as my husband’s volleyball team and my co-workers. Remember back when cell phones didn’t exist and there were always disposable cameras left on every table for the guests to take memorable photos for the bride and groom to look back on year after year? Yeah, those photos were the equivalent of 99% of your teenagers Snapchat photos today. We’re talking foreheads and half-faces, most blurry as sh*t, with a cleavage shot or two thrown in for the grandkids someday. There may or may not have been a male crotch shot tossed in to make us really realize (a little too late) that we really should have thought a lot longer about that destination wedding idea.

So here we are, 20 years later, wondering how in the hell we got here and where our wedding video actually is. I don’t even remember if I’ve watched it honestly. Isn’t that horrible?! But wedding videos then were NOT the wedding videos of today. We may as well have hired Cousin Eddie to strap a camera to his shoulder and provided him with the two beer can hard hat to keep the creative juices flowing. I think we would have liked that video more, actually.

To honor this monumental feat of marriage, we almost, ALMOST, booked a trip to Napa (I KNOW!) to celebrate our 20th year of not killing each other over stupid stuff like money and making the bed but I’m not much of a drinker these days so it just didn’t have the same appeal as it did a year ago. So we let that idea fade away and we sort of put the plans on hold, not really knowing what to do. Around August we tossed around a couple of ideas of doing a four day weekend to Mexico or Chicago for a concert (you guess who came up with which idea) and we settled on neither. Life happens and then you have yet another oh, sh*t moment when your 20 year anniversary has snuck up on you and we have zero point zero plans. BUT we are parents of three children and we scrappy when our backs are against the wall. Plans have been made and we are sticking close to home. Yay! Yay…yeah.

We are traveling to the state of Missouri across the river and through the woods  to hike around Smithville Lake, eat lunch in downtown Liberty, and partake in the “Fall into Relaxation” package offered at The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs which includes an overnight stay in a suite, 2 hydrotherapy baths, 2 Grotto passes and 2 ghost tour passes. Honestly, that may make the whole damn trip.  I may IG Live it because what could be more exciting on your Tuesday night than watching a old married couple cuss each other out when the lights go out.

Clearly, if you asked me on my wedding day what my 20 year anniversary celebration would look like, I would bet my 25 year old self would have said in Mexico on a beach. And I would tell her that sometimes Mexico isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be as she had yet to be out of the country and when she did, she got Montezuma’s revenge on her honeymoon along with her husband. So screw that international beach vacation. We don’t always celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary but when we do, we celebrate what’s most important–being with my best friend. Even if that means in Missouri. With ghosts.

Follow along on my Instagram Stories for glimpses of our blissful day together.  My IG account is @Hallie_Sawyer.


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