11 Years Ago... | Our Dating to Wedding Story

Chelsea Lewis' Wedding Story

11 years ago today, I planned and executed my wedding in 4 hours. Yes, you read that right.

When I tell people this, it raises a lot of questions! The biggest being... why? And that question is totally expected and reasonable.

I was not pregnant,  so we'll get that one out of the way right quick. But here's the full story.

Chris and I had been dating for two and a half years. We started dating a mere 4 days after my 18th birthday. That literally is the day we went on our first semi-blind date. I say semi-blind because we did go to school together, we did have mutual friends, and we could put each others faces to names, but nothing more than that. We had never talked, never hung out, never been introduced, never been at gatherings or events together... we were mere acquaintances. After a rough break up I had with my high school boyfriend of about a year or so, I was in no way wanting anything to do with boys. I wanted to enjoy my summer after graduation doing what I wanted. Until the day I got a text from one of my best friends...

"Hey, I have a guy asking if I know anyone that would want to go on a date with him. Can I give him your number?"

"I guess so. Who is it?"

"Chris Lewis."

Now, I should tell you... remember I knew who he was and I thought he was so attractive, but he had a girlfriend through most of his junior and senior year. I knew this because I sat behind her in a math class and I always thought to myself.....she has a really hot boyfriend. But since I definitely wasn't the girl to go after someone else's guy, I kept that to myself.

"Yeah, you can give him my number." Act cool, Chels. It's just a date.

The very next day I was country line dancing with some friends, and got a text from him. He asked what I was doing and if I wanted to go on a date the next day to Wiseguys Comedy Club. Of course I wanted to!

The next day came - June 25, 2004. He picked me up at my parents house in his 1987 red Jeep Cherokee that had to have a tire behind the driver seat because otherwise, it wouldn't stay sitting up. He got out to come to the door to get me and he had a single red rose in his hand. Naturally, my mother was peeking out the window from the other room as I went out to his Jeep and as all moms would be, she was smitten he brought a rose on our first date. What 19 year old boy does that?

We went to Wiseguys and after the show was over he politely mentioned that he didn't really want to take me home yet, because it was only like 9:30 pm. So he asked if I'd like to go on a drive up Butterfield Canyon to see the deer. 

Now, we should talk about Butterfield Canyon. This was known for high school and college aged kids to go up there and do things they shouldn't be doing... I'll let you decide what those things are, but whatever you're thinking... suffice it to say, you're probably right.

I agreed thinking... yeah, I'm sure you want to go look at the deer. But let's be honest, if he wanted to take me up there to make out, I was fine with it. Remember I crushed on him for a while during high school?

I was certainly surprised when he actually DID want to go look at the deer, and not only that, he didn't attempt to make one move on me all night... not even an attempt to hold my hand. I was fine with this because it was an indication to me that he wanted to really date me and not just make out. In fact, it took him nearly 6 months of us dating to even kiss me. My friends and family kept asking if he had yet, and why I wouldn't just give in and do it, but I was firm in my decision that the first kiss is his ball game.

We continued to date for the next 2 and a half years and it was pure bliss and everything I dreamed it should have been!

I tell you all of the dating story, because it shows the significance of June 25, 2004. We both knew that year that we would marry each other. We didn't actually discuss marriage until about a year or so later when Chris began applying for jobs in Law Enforcement. We talked about where we may want to move together and when that might potentially happen, and then the conversation got even more serious when he started getting a long ways through the process with one of the agencies he applied for.

Side note: ironically enough, one of the first ones he applied and tested for is in the city where we now live, and we both really wanted that one to work out, and when it didn't, who knew we would be full circle and still be here down the road!

We talked about how cool it would be to get married on our 3 year anniversary of our first date - June 25, 2007. We began making plans for that to happen, and Chris also began thinking of how and when he might propose to me. Around that same time, he received a letter and offer for one of the agencies he had applied for, contingent on him being sponsored and successfully graduating from the police academy. He accepted and got his first assignment for Wendover, UT to start in mid-December 2006 after he graduated the academy. We both agreed that I would not live in SLC without him and I would not want to send him to Wendover alone knowing that it would be a minimum of 18 months he would have to be there. So, we began making plans for both of us to move to Wendover, with full intention on still getting married about 6 months later sticking with our original plan. 

With moving to Wendover comes the opportunity to live in state owned housing that is provided specifically for officers assigned to that area. It's a very small, high turnover area and they don't anticipate anyone staying there long so they provide a really affordable solution for people to live there. We were all signed up to rent a single wide trailer from the state in Camp Gumbo as soon as we moved after graduation. 

One week before graduation, Chris received a phone call from his soon-to-be Sergeant who said that we would not be allowed to live in the trailer unless we were married. Apparently they had problems in the past with significant others living in the trailers and that was the rule. At the time, I was upset that they knew of our plans for nearly 16 weeks and didn't let us know that until the last minute, but so be it. That weekend - one week before our scheduled move - we drove to Wendover to try to find an apartment to live in, because I was really nervous about jumping to get married over this situation.

After looking at a few apartments there, we realized it was a ridiculous idea. Why would we live in an expensive apartment only to get married 6 months later and then have to move twice? We talked a lot on the hour and a half drive home from Wendover and made the decision that come Monday morning, I would call the courthouse and set up a time to make this official so we could have our place to live.

Monday morning comes, I call in "sick" to work and then call every courthouse from Ogden to Provo - for those reading that are not familiar with Utah, that's like an 80 mile radius around the Salt Lake Valley. All of the court clerks thought I was nuts, and none of them did same day appointments. Why were we in a hurry to make it happen that Monday? Well, because he had ONE day off from the intense final week in the academy with graduation set for Friday and our moving date set for Saturday. Monday was it. We had to do it that day. 

When all the courthouse options were out, I remembered that one of my customers at the bank I worked for... remember the one I already called in sick to?... was a Pastor and had a little wedding chapel in downtown SLC called Two Shall Be One. I swallowed my lie, called back to my work, told them I wasn't actually sick but that I had to get married - they also thought I was nuts - and that I needed the phone number for this wedding chapel. Good thing I had already given two weeks notice and only had a few days left of work anyway so they couldn't fire me for the lie. ;)

I call the wedding chapel, talk to my customer who was a regular and on first name basis with me, and ask if he has time to marry us that day. He responded, "How does 1 pm sound?" I said, "That sounds perfect!" And I sent Chris a text letting him know the time. We called parents, who then called other family members and we ended up having two sets of Chris' grandparents, all of our parents, his brother, two of my aunts and two of my cousins show up to our little ceremony.

When Chris called his mom to let her know, she insisted he had to get a ring for me. He wouldn't be allowed to marry me without a ring. So he hustled on over to her work to buy a ring on her credit account without me knowing. 

We showed up a little early to the chapel to sort out paperwork and our black Pastor, Steven C. White (who joked that his middle name was Can't Be), asked if we would be exchanging rings or had anything special we wanted to include in the vows. We both said no. But at some point... I'm still not sure when he managed to... Chris snuck in that he had a ring for me and wanted to give it to me during the ceremony. I was so surprised! It drowned my size 3.5 finger, but I held on to it and envisioned wearing it once we were able to get it resized. 

The next day we packed up and moved to Wendover, UT and that proved to be the start of the biggest adventure of our lives!

And then, as originally planned we carried out a wedding reception to celebrate with our families on the day we were supposed to get married - June 25, 2007. We celebrate both days now as anniversaries... because they are. December 11, 2006 was the day we were really married. :)