Love and Marriage

Cheap Dress, Cheap Rings, and the Mispronunciation of My Name

While living in Florida during my younger and much cuter years, I met my future husband in the fifth grade and immediately thought he was dorky. He waved his hands to classical music after lunch, wore turtlenecks almost every day, and kept his hair swooped to the side. However, by the sixth grade, cupid hit me with his arrow and Daniel’s solid colored turtlenecks and dorky personality made him the boy of my dreams. Unfortunately, we never had the chance to become high school or college sweethearts because after my eighth grade year, my family and I moved to Southern Illinois in order to be closer to family. Although despite the miles between us, we still kept in touch occasionally by chatting on Yahoo Messenger (old school) or sending the occasional letter (seriously old school). But as years passed, I always thought he was cute. I always thought he was sweet. And I always knew he would make an amazing husband to a very lucky lady; I just never thought in my wildest dreams the lucky lady would be me.

And so it is fourteen years ago today, after only six short months of long distance dating and only one quick month of being engaged, I said “I do” to my once upon a time 6th grade boyfriend who stole my heart while standing on the sandy shores of the U.S. Virgin Islands. To most people the day could be described as anything but a fairy tale. But to me? It couldn’t have been more perfect.  My life as Mrs. Kearns started at 10am on August 17, 2006 when I walked on to Sugar Beach holding flowers that were not the bright colored tulips I had ordered, while wearing a dress worth only $100 from White House Black Market and an engagement ring that cost less than $300. My hair was anything but fancy as I had fixed it the same way I would for church, a casual date, or a shopping trip to the mall. Nonetheless, I felt beautiful…even special…because of the one who was standing beside me.


Speaking of the one who stood beside me, Daniel couldn’t have looked more handsome as he wore a blue button down shirt and khaki pants that I found on sale at Express. Inside his left pant pocket were our wedding bands, each worth only $100. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together at the time, and how could we? I was fresh out of college with a low paying degree in social work and on the job hunt, while he was still attending engineering courses at the University of Florida. However, money didn’t matter, the clothes didn’t matter, and the cost of our rings? They didn’t matter, and still to this day do not matter. We have thought about upgrading them, but I just can’t. They remind me of where we camefrom and how far we have come; not just financially but also how much we have grown as a couple.


It regards to the wedding, it wasn’t large with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends to entertain. It wasn’t even a small with just parents, grandparents and siblings. Instead, by choice, our guest list consisted of only the photographer, his assistant, and the minister whom we had only met minutes before. When planning (if you want to call it that) our wedding, I often wondered if I would regret not having anyone else attend, and since that day, many people have often asked me the same question. My answer? Our answer? Nope. Never once have we regretted it being just the two of us


Every wedding has that one funny or awkward moment though, right? Well, I most assuredly had mine. I will never forget the exact moment when during the exchange of our vows, with my hair blowing in the wind and constantly landing unattractively inside my mouth, I pronounced my name wrong. Yep! On purpose too! You see, I am not one to think about the need to correct others when they pronounce my name incorrectly because all of my life, people always have, even my Grandma. However, once the ceremony began and the camera started rolling, I instantly realized how important it was to correct others. This moment came when I heard her pronounce my name wrong once more as she asked me to repeat, “I, Elisha (EEE–LEASH-A), take you Daniel…” I instantly started to panic! With only about 2.5 seconds to decide if I should use her pronunciation (EEE-LEASH-A) or the correct one (E (as in egg)-LISH (rhymes with dish) A, I frantically chose hers as I didn’t want to embarrass or make her feel uncomfortable or awkward for not saying my name properly throughout the course of our time together thus far…what was I thinking?!


(This is me laughing after I pronounced my name wrong…)

Friends, as you can see, nothing about our wedding day could be described or thought of as a fairy tale. You won’t find it published and sitting next to stories like Cinderella, Snow White, or The Little Mermaid. However, despite the wrong flowers, frizzy hair, cheap rings, short guest list, and the miss pronunciation of my name, it ended up being everything I could have ever wanted. It was a fairytale. At least to me. Because at 10am on August 17th, 2006, in front of three complete strangers, I married the one whom my soul had known since the 6th grade would be the one.

It’s been over the course of our marriage that much like our wedding day, nothing has been “fairy tale material.”  And nothing has gone according to plan. But you know what? Life isn’t always going to be perfect. It’s not always going to look like the stories you read in magazines, books or see on television. And for me, that’s okay. I can honestly say that just like I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing about my wedding day, I also wouldn’t go back and change a single second of the amazing life we have already shared together; including our long road of infertility. Without that long hard road, we also wouldn’t have met, nor fostered and adopted our sweet Mikayla. When I look at her, I know that God has great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and I look forward to watching them continue to unfold while holding the hand of my once dorky, turtle neck wearing, classical music composing hunka-burnin-love.

Here are a few extra pictures




The View from our Balcony

Here is the view from our balcony.  It is one of five pictures that we have from the trip because I accidentally dropped our only camera (which was new) on the rocks within the first hour of arriving. We did purchase a lot of disposable cameras in order to capture the memories, but the x-ray machines at the airport ruined them on the flight home. (I know, right?)

I would love to connect with you on a personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on.Then come find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!

8 thoughts on “Cheap Dress, Cheap Rings, and the Mispronunciation of My Name”

  1. I loved reading this story! The pictures are beautiful as is your marriage. I could almost say the same here about all of this. My dress was from Dillards, he wore stuff he already had, our rings are from James Avery at $75 each. haha We still wear those rings to this day. My husband has mentioned getting me something else but I just don’t see a reason to do that. We didn’t have a penny to our names and planned the wedding in about two weeks! Prayers you two spend many more years together 🙂

  2. Your wedding sounds amazing! It sounds (almost) exactly like what we wanted (different location, but same no-fuss, quick, simple wedding)…. but I was too concerned about other peoples’ feelings, so we ended up getting married fully ONE YEAR after we knew we wanted to get married, and I have always regretted it. (I have since learned to care at least a little less about what other people think! And am learning to be grateful for that part of our story despite the painful memories.) I’m so glad you’re glad you got married when and where and how you did. One of my favorite sayings is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” And they sure do. We can never out-give the Giver.

  3. I loved reading your story! It’s beautiful! Wishing you many more fun years together!

  4. I love your story, sooo sweet you two are elementary school sweethearts 💕! We were very similar, I don’t even remember where I got my dress but it was around $30, I wanted it to be casual enough I could wear it again without it being weird, wore it to dinner on our 1 year anniversary and I still have it today, almost 15 years later 😄! And in case you want another laugh … my funny vows story is the person who officiated (got married at San Diego courthouse, they have a beautiful park they marry people outside at) had a really strong accent so when she said to repeat “I give you this ring as a symbol…” l heard “I give you this ring assemble” we have a video of me saying assemble?? all drawn out as a question, hahaha I think we laughed, good times! Our 15 year anniversary is next month, can’t wait! 🥰

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