I’ve been trying to figure out where to start with this whole story, nine years with someone leads to a lot of options...but I figure I’ll leave the majority of that time out and start with the engagement. I have a feeling this will still end up quite the novel.
Christmas morning came and went in it’s typical fashion. Brian, my parents, and I had a lovely calm morning followed by the beautiful chaos of nieces and nephews showing up and ripping open gifts in record time. We had a large group coming for dinner but Brian, my brother, and two of my nieces wanted to surf and it was a beautiful day so I agreed to go, but only for a little while. We ended up at Rincon State Beach, just south of Santa Barbara. It was a perfect day and the waves were amazing.
|Brian heading out into the water with my nieces and brother in the background|
The next morning (Tuesday the 27th) Brian confirmed he had the whole week off and asked if he could take me to Santa Barbara the next day for lunch to celebrate our engagement, I rarely give up an opportunity to be spoiled so I of course agreed and sent him off to surf for the day. My mom and sister-in-law had spent about an hour in the morning shopping with my nieces and the rest of the day was spent with my dad in the hospital trying to determine if a broken leg had led to a blood clot. It was an emotional day as we all were afraid of the worst case scenario but tests showed negative for a blood clot and they came home that evening. My mom was a little more emotional than usual that night, but I thought little of it, simply glad my dad was going to be ok. Brian got home late from surfing...just in time to watch me eat nearly everything off the menu from the Alamo (not your typical pre-wedding meal).
Wednesday morning I got up early with Brian and spent a little time with my parents before they had to go back into Reseda for an MRI on my dad’s leg. Brian was eager to get to Santa Barbara early, which really just indicated to me that he wanted to get some good surfing in. I wasn’t in as big of a rush. My parents left and Brian informed me that my parents had gotten us a room in Santa Barbara for the night to celebrate the engagement. He told me he thought it was meant to be a surprise but that he thought I might want to pack. I got ready and called my parents to thank them, in all honesty I was a little sad that we weren’t going to be spending precious last moments with family (my brother and his family are being re-stationed to South Carolina and he is likely to end up overseas again soon) but I was really touched and knew that we should take the opportunity to celebrate in such a beautiful place while we could. I put on a very small amount of make-up knowing we would probably spend the day on the beach. I went to get dressed and saw that Brian was dressed quite nicely, “to fit in with the SB dudes,” and followed suit dressing in whatever semi-decent outfit I could get on this growing body. I figured we were going to a nice lunch.
We get on the road at about 9:45am (for lunch?!?!) and it’s a beautiful day, about 75 degrees and clear blue sky. Brian asks me if I’ve ever been to the Santa Barbara courthouse and I tell him I think I have for a field trip at some point and that I know it’s beautiful, my exact words were “people...like...PLAN to have their weddings there it’s so pretty.” He said he wanted to go there and check it out...and what if we got our marriage license while we were in Santa Barbara since we had gotten engaged there? (Side note...this blew me away) I’ve looked into a lot of different things when it comes to getting married and I’ve got to be honest...I didn’t know if this was the best idea, seemed a little bit dangerous and possibly difficult but Brian said he had looked into it. Apparently we would have to get married in California within 90 days of having the license issued and so without question (at the thought of an actual deadline) I said “let’s do it.” He told me we kinda had to hurry because the courthouse closed at 12, and this was why had had been rushing me all morning.
You’d think that I would have been questioning some of these things, but honestly it didn’t even cross my mind to question anything. Every new little surprise (engagement, days off, lunch in SB, hotel room, courthouse...) was better than the last and I was just reveling in how incredible everything seemed.
We arrived at the courthouse around 10:45. This isn’t your average courthouse, it’s a historic landmark with incredible architecture and an 80ft clock tower with 360 degree views of Santa Barbara. As we walked up the street I suggested that we go to the top of the clock tower after getting our license to take some pictures. The application process was standard. Long line, angry government worker uninterested in our happiness, ridiculous paperwork, and money, I was too happy to care though. With a few signatures Brian Barnett would now finally have to set a date...and it would, without a doubt, be before our son was born. It made some sense why we were dressed nice now and I couldn’t wait for our day of celebrating to begin. On the way out of the Hall of Records I was just so happy...again, I didn’t think it could get much better.
We searched around for a bathroom for me and my shrinking bladder and Brian had to make a few phone calls “for work.” I was eager to get to the top of the clock tower since Brian had told me the courthouse closed at noon, so while he was trying to stall and pretend like he didn’t know how to get there I was being a brat and rushing him. We went to the elevator and got on with a number of other people including a woman who appeared to be a minister, she had a robe on her arm, not such an unusual sight for a courthouse. We ascended and I was blissfully unaware of what was waiting for me up top. The elevator lets out below the viewing level and as the doors opened I saw my nephew and step-niece standing at the doors. In my head this just seemed like a very crazy coincidence. Karla was in town visiting and so was their grandmother and Santa Barbara is a regular trip for all of them...neither of them quite knew how to react though. Looking back now it was comical. Neither would talk to me, Gregory was literally trying to be invisible and blend in with the wall, I was not really thinking much of it and within a few seconds Brian stepped in and said “let’s see who else is up there.” I had no idea what was going on or what was about to happen.
We walked up the steps and onto the landing and there stood my parents and brothers and their families. Words can’t describe the thoughts and feelings I had, my mom yelled “it’s a wedding!” and Brian introduced me to the minister very briefly before I could understand and I began to cry tears of such joy...I’m not sure such a feeling has ever been felt by anyone before. When I looked over to see my old dear friend, and ridiculously talented photographer, Adam, I knew this was for real and I believe the pictures are the only way to explain how I felt in that moment. I’m hoping Adam caught a few decent ones though...it’s hard to look too great when experiencing that kind of emotion.
|Meeting our minister|
|The view from our ceremony|
|Just after becoming Mr. & Mrs. Barnett|
It’s a beautiful kind of heartache, the feeling you get when the world becomes so perfect. When people work together to make something more than you could dream of. When the man of your dreams goes against all odds (as I’m sure there were plenty of bets out there) and does something so spectacular and amazing and right.
We returned to the tower and Brian had changed into a new suit that remarkably matched perfect with the dress my mom and sister had chosen for me. My brothers walked me up the stairs from the elevator and my dad ditched his crutches to walk me across the landing to my future. We stood looking out over the coast of Santa Barbara to the South and our minister performed a beautiful ceremony. While I’m not sure exactly what all she said, I remember every second of our vows and the look in my new husband’s eyes. I had waited a long time for that, and it was worth every second.
The rest of the day was exquisite. We had a lunchtime reception at Elements in Santa Barbara and took pictures on a bluff above the ocean at sunset. Our wedding pictures, by Adam Kent Photography, are bound to be amazing and I’ll be sure to share when I can. We had an incredible evening, just the two of us at dinner and in a beautiful upgraded executive suite at the Fess Parker Doubletree. We then returned the next day to pack and pour over all of the details again with family.
I’m not sure how to explain how I feel about the man who I am now married to. He is simply incredible and true to his word. He is reliable and thorough...and just so amazing and thoughtful to have given me such an unbelievable experience. I’m not sure he’ll ever understand what it all meant to me.
Without a doubt there were many who we wished could be there on the day we finally got married but with life changes I knew that there was no big wedding in our future and I would have been elated with a much less ornate courthouse ceremony and a judge as our witness. He gave me something I thought was no longer possible.
|Newly Wed...and still in shock|
So much love,
Katie Anne-Berardinelli Barnett
We look forward to sharing our professional photos with everyone, until then check out adamkentphotography.com or add Adam Kent on Facebook!