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Ceremony Selfie

{Selfie our bestie + officiant Josh took at the end of our ceremony}

One month ago today, I married Tony, my best friend and the love of my life. And while it has only been 4 weeks, I already know it was the best decision of my life. Here are a few of the other things I have learned in the past 31 days:

The romance is stronger than before. I used to think there was no way to recapture that “lighting in a bottle” feeling from when you first start dating, like you’ve been drugged, you’re so in love. But this newlywed phase feels like that all over again. There is a giddiness to it, that intoxicating feeling of embarking on a new adventure… The relationship itself isn’t new, but the marriage is.

We still feel like we are “playing house.” I look for any excuse I can to say the word “husband” (annoying everyone), and it always makes me giggle. The other day, without thinking, I told Tony he was the best boyfriend in the world. I had to record an audition on tape last week, and kept slating my name as “Annie Baria,” forgetting that my name is now Annie Cavalero.

“Happily ever after” doesn’t mean we’re living in a Disney movie and everything is perfect and birds are always singing and I talk to my animal friends. (Well, the latter is true, but in real life they don’t talk back. Unless I’ve had a lot of wine.) We still have to compromise. Tony was ready to have kids yesterday, and I’m not there yet. We were out to dinner with Tony’s coworkers this weekend, and I thought one of them asked me “Do you want crostini?” And I exclaimed, overjoyed, “I would love a few!” As soon as I saw the look of thrilled, beaming surprise in Tony’s face, I knew I’d misunderstood the question. She had asked me “Do you want children?” No thank you, not right now, but I would love some bread piled with meat and cheese, thanks. We’re compromising on everything from how much crostini to order to when to have kids, and we don’t always see eye to eye, but I at least know we are in it together and will figure it out because we have to. We’re married now.

I still get caught staring at my ring… Only now there are two to stare at. And my new favorite thing is to stare at Tony’s hand with his wedding ring after he’s fallen asleep. Husband.

The “bridal blues” are REAL. I am so sad it’s over. I looked forward to it all my life, and now it is done. I’ve joked in the past about my plan to sit at home in my wedding dress, eating a tube of cookie dough and crying when the wedding was over… Two of my married friends have confessed they’ve actually done that. On more than one occasion. And as soon as I pick up my dress from the cleaners, I’m sure I’ll be joining that club, too.

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{Cupcakes that showed up at our hotel room after Tony left for work this morning. Good thing he wrote “husband,” or I might have accidentally thought he was still my boyfriend again.}

Nothing feels different. Tony is the exact same person that he was before. Which is a good thing, because he – and the relationship we had before he proposed – is exactly what I signed up for, and wanted to commit the rest of my life to.

Everything feels different. Tony never played games and was always very steadfast and clear about where we stood and how much he loved me; and yet somehow, our relationship feels even more solid. By the end of the wedding planning journey, I wasn’t really joking anymore when I would tell people “We should have eloped.” But, I took that all back on our wedding day. There was something so deep and powerful about standing in front of our family and best friends, reading the vows we wrote to each other and promising to share a life from that day forward. Marriage is much more than a piece of paper; our relationship changed that day. And even though I’m still getting used to my new name, and the word “husband” is still bright and shiny, it feels second nature to think in terms of “we” instead of “I.”

It’s not a fairy tale though, and neither of us is perfect. The relationship still takes work, and we still make mistakes. At dinner with friends this weekend, I quietly snapped at Tony to “stop doing bits and just act like my husband.” I regretted it immediately as soon as I saw the hurt in his eyes. He said “I am your husband,” and of course he was right – I knew he was a bit-machine when I married him, when I met him. Treating the world like his stage is part of who he is, and one of the many reasons why I love him. Sure, sometimes it’s like having dinner with Jim Carrey and I turn into a monster… But he makes me laugh harder than anybody, and I know those same impressions and silly voices and faces are going to make him a really, really, really fun dad one day.

We are still learning new things about each other. The other day, Tony said he thought we should take classes to learn a new language and then save up to go to that country. I didn’t know he was interested in learning a new language! How cool and worldly of him! (If you’re interested in my response, I said “Or we could just go to Italy now because I already know all the words I need to: PASTA.” Because I am an American slob.)

We still fight. On our honeymoon, we got in a massive fight over the last of the burger sauce that ended with me in tears. Burger sauce. An hour later, we were crying from laughing so hard about the ridiculousness of it. And there is something that feels safer about fighting now that we’re married; neither one of us can leave, so we look for a reason to laugh again a lot faster.

I look at old couples differently. I always thought they were cute before, still in love after so many years, but now I get emotional when I notice them. I see Tony and myself in them, and feel really lucky, because I remember that while I don’t have a wedding to look forward to anymore, I have a person to look forward to growing old with.

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{Me + Tony at the end of our wedding. He had changed into sweats, and I had pinned my hair sweaty hair up from dancing so hard. We went upstairs to look down on all our favorite people in the world dancing in our favorite place in the world. We had a moment just to ourselves to dance together and take in the best day of our lives. It was the happiest I have ever been.}


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