Article by Chelsie Mulholland, Navy Spouse
Three months ago, I graduated from college. Only two months ago, I married the most amazing man I’ve ever met. We had the most perfect beach wedding any of us could imagine. We were married on Saturday, June 15th while 90 of our closest friends and family looked on. I hyperventilated from the moment my bridesmaids started corseting me into my Maggie Sottero gown to the moment the preacher proclaimed “I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Mulholland!” I was proud of myself for not crying and less proud about spilling ALL of the bright turquoise sand I tried to pour into a vase during our sand ceremony.
Everything was perfect: we had created a beach-y oasis in the middle of a city four hours from the nearest beach and we were sharing it with people who loved us. I gained another set of parents, three more brothers, and two more grandmothers (and they gained their first daughter, sister, and granddaughter, respectively) while my husband had also gained another set of parents, another brother and three more grandmothers with the added bonus of a grandfather!
My daddy walked me down the aisle and, in true southern fashion, lifted my veil and gave me away. We were married on a dock over a pond in the bright June sunshine under the loving gaze of any higher power that chose to bless us. I carried a conch shell filled with beautiful yellow and hot pink flowers created by the most easy-to-work-with florist. My three beautiful bridesmaids carried similar, although smaller, shells full of flowers. Each girl wore a sparkly starfish necklace I had given her the night before at the rehearsal dinner. Each groomsman wore a flowerless, starfish boutonniere and carried an engraved pocketknife they also received at the rehearsal.
We retreated inside for dinner then partied and danced all night long, stopping only once to cut (and eat) the three-tier turquoise cake sprinkled with candy shells and topped with a one-of-a-kind cake topper: two sparkly, hand-blown blue crabs. The dinner, cake, and hotel venue were the only pieces of the wedding my husband actually saw/tasted before the wedding weekend. Even his tux was a vague idea to him until he saw it Friday!
My best friend and maid-of-honor gave an amazing speech (she should have, she’s a public relations major). We were most proud of my husband’s very nervous, oldest little brother and best man, who also gave an amazing speech after worrying for weeks about whether he’d be able to get through it. We got an extra treat when the only member of my new Navy family who’d been able to make the trip asked to make a speech. He spoke beautifully, welcoming me into the Navy family he’d welcomed his wife into less than a year ago.
The next day, I said good-bye to my parents, my best friends (whom I’ve known more than twice as long as I’ve known my husband), and the only town I’ve ever really called home. We loaded up my brand new hatchback and drove 425 miles to Jacksonville FL. I experienced the fabled “PCS curse” (even though I wasn’t technically PCSing) first hand when I hit a tire that appeared out of the darkness in the middle of the highway in Nowheresville SC. I cracked the bumper of my brand new car and cried so hysterically that my husband had to drive it off the shoulder to a gas station to await the police.
My life as a Navy wife has just started but the adventure has been grand so far.