“Donald Trump is watching.”
I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard.
Donald Trump? Really?!?
That was the last thing I had expected to hear at my wedding.
Then again, my wedding was anything other than expected. Or traditional. Or believable.
Probably because I let Jesus plan it.
I used to dream about having a classy & fabulous David Tutera wedding. I loved how he focused on the intimate details that truly defined couples. No matter how many episodes of “My Fair Wedding” I watched, witnessing David turn each bride’s personal fairytale into a reality never got old.
He orchestrated elaborate ceremonies in the ritziest of venues; many of the ceremony locations would be unavailable to a commoner…like me.
But with THE David Tutera, and his money and his connections and his money, ANYTHING was possible.
I wanted a David Tutera wedding!
But first, I needed to meet and fall in love with the man God wanted me to marry.
This is not a cliché story about how I prayed for “THE ONE” and God answered my prayer (though that did happen, and life couldn’t be more amazing). We all see Facebook posts of “meant-to-bes” and “soulmates” and “third-times-a-charmers” everyday, and half the time, the couple ends up divorced within 10 years….often for the second or seventh time.
I’ll spare you the opportunity to make bets on the longevity of our honeymoon stage…
But when I fell in love with Eddie, something I never considered would happen happened: I no longer had the desire to plan a “wedding” at all.
Even a David Tutera wedding seemed pointless and, forgive me, silly. Our story was so amazing, so unfathomable & whimsical, that the thought of having a “wedding” just like everybody else in the world actually disturbed me.
After meeting online (I gave him a chance despite the fact that his account had been hacked & altered to say some creepy stuff that got him exiled from eHarmony – stuff only God could’ve led me to overlook) & dating for less than 2 months, Eddie moved from Georgia to Kentucky simply because he wanted to MARRY ME. My dark-haired, blue-eyed, 6’5″ walking checklist of an athletic fantasy man who loved Jesus AND fun pursued me in a humbling, unmatchable way that I never could’ve imagined or deserved. I was living every single girl’s dream!
And to top it all off, we hadn’t even kissed yet!
WE were literally a miracle. A living example of God’s love and awesomeness. Everywhere I went, I shared my excitement about how God just up and blessed me immeasurably with a perfect love, and in the strangest way!
AND WE HADN’T EVEN KISSED YET!!!!!
How in the world could we represent how thankful we were, & celebrate the unexpected, unconventional, unprecedented “US” by doing the expected, conventional, traditional wedding thing?
This is not a story about “US.”
This is the story of how, on December 31st, 2015, Jesus planned our wedding – one that even David Tutera will never come close to topping.
It was broadcasted to everyone in the world.
And even Donald Trump was watching…
At least, that’s what Phil told us.
Phil was the man that filmed our wedding. But before I get ahead of myself…
Where in the world could we get married on New Year’s Eve…at midnight?
Eddie and I could sense the stress our families were under after our short-notice wedding announcement. My Mom was in a passive panic the day before Christmas trying to find lodging somewhere… ANYWHERE… that would accommodate 30+ people AND pets on New Year’s Eve. Every pet-friendly facility between Brownsville and Georgia had booked up months before we had ever even met, let alone took the notion to get married on New Year’s Eve.
Eddie’s family was physically out of the loop on most of the relationship progression & wedding plans. Since I’d only met his parents one time, and only had the chance to communicate with his sisters via Social Media, the whole idea of their baby boy & brother moving off to marry some Bachelor Season 19 contestant from the south was overwhelming, confusing, and even forlorn to them, despite the fact that they supported Eddie’s decision and were happy that he had FINALLY found a wife.
We had one whole week to iron out the details.
What type of cake do you want?
What do you mean you don’t want a cake?
You have to have a cake, Kara!
You don’t care?
What about napkins? And flowers?
You mean you don’t want flowers either??
Not even a bouquet?
What will the colors be?
Come on now! There HAS TO BE a theme!
How long will the reception last?
What??? You don’t want a reception?
It’s a WEDDING for crying out loud!
What do you expect people do after you say “I do?”
Eddie – You mean you’re just going to bolt after you FINALLY kiss???
This is ridiculous.
You have to put at least SOME thought into this!
It’s THE BIGGEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!
IT’S YOUR WEDDING!
I couldn’t handle it, even if I’d wanted to.
The “wedding” was officially OFF.
I wanted others – the world – to marvel at our limitless God just as we did.
To not just HEAR about His power.
But to SEE Him work wonders!
Not us or our $…
So…we made the decision to elope.
Secretly – in the sense that we weren’t going to tell anyone where we were going.
Not even our parents…
“I now pronounce you Mr. & Mrs. Eddie Anderson. You may kiss your bride…”
On December 28th, Eddie and I were officially married by our pastor (Carson Howard). The official ceremony was witnessed only by Carson’s wife, my baby sister & her husband.
Eddie leaned down and kissed me, but not on the lips! Not yet! He planted one on my cheek.
Three more days til we REALLY get married.
THEN – at midnight, somewhere in New York City – we will REALLY kiss for the very first time.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I would “feel married” without saying our written vows (which we had yet to even write), let alone without kissing! I expected the official ceremony to be a box checked on the marriage “to do list.” Something that HAD to be done.
And it did have to be done.
It was then that I overwhelmingly realized that without God’s blessing on a marriage, a wedding is just a wedding.
If it’s not His, it’s not real.
And everything else – the flowers, the fellowship, the dancing…
It meant nothing.
Our first ceremony was as sparse as one could have gotten. Brother Carson had never even ministered a wedding before! We were his first!
But despite investing nothing monetary (intentionally), and despite the absence of our families and friends…
I very much so felt married.
We WERE married…
Because Jesus said so!
We could’ve kissed right then.
We could’ve said “Forget this plan to elope – we did it. Let’s just tell everyone we got married and be done with it!”
But I couldn’t do it… WE couldn’t!
God had given us His blessing on Dec. 28th.
But on Dec. 31st, we wanted to bless Him in the most thankful & submissive way we felt was possible.
“This is YOUR wedding, Jesus! Use it to show yourself!
And what better place and time?
Than when the ball drops in New York City on New Year’s Eve?
“You need to g-g-get m-married at, at midnight? As in, uh, an hour and a half from now?”
John – the front desk man at the Conrad Hotel – was feeling pretty dumbfounded at 10:30pm on New Year’s Eve.
“Yes. Ya see…Our plan fell through…”
Here we stood – in the lobby of not just any NYC 5-star hotel, but the one credited with the BEST rooftop view in the city. Eddie was looking all sexy in his Black Tux, and I already had on my white BCBG dress (that only cost $70, by the way). So, it was quite obvious that we were getting a bit desperate. We didn’t know what Jesus was up to, but for whatever reason, He gave us no apparent direction…
Sometimes, Jesus is everything BUT apparent, until the very end!
“We had a rooftop lined up, but it closes in 30 minutes. There is a game room at that condo, but who wants to get married in a game room?! I just don’t think that’s how The Lord wants to do this…”
We were pretty much too intimidated to bring up “The Conrad Hotel rooftop,” beings we had already witnessed several Armani-suit-wearing men get shot down. Even when they offered to pay more to reserve a spot.
The rooftop tickets had sold out.
And even if there had been tickets left, we certainly couldn’t have afforded them.
There was simply no room for the likes of us on that roof…
So it seemed.
“If there’s ANYTHING you could do, you’d save our wedding. Maybe there’s a nice room, even our hotel room… It has a pretty nice view! That could work?
But we are running out of time!
We HAVE to kiss for the first time at midnight after we say our vows! We just HAVE to!”
John believed us.
And he wanted to make it happen – so much that he flagged down the head of security at the Conrad Hotel; shared with him our predicament, our story, our faith; and requested that we be allowed on THE ROOF.
Excitedly, John returned & gave us our instructions.
“At 11:40, meet me at those elevators over there. There will be a line, but I want you two to go to the front of it. Just tell them you’re with John, okay? And that you’re getting married at midnight on the roof, so you have to go up first to prepare!”
We stood in absolute disbelief.
There was no way this was happening!
John didn’t mention buying a ticket.
But those tickets cost hundreds of dollars!
Those tickets were sold out!
Many rich men had already reserved their spot.
But WE were going to be escorted up BEFORE them all?
There was only one thing left that needed to be addressed for this perfect plan to work…
“So, John…have you ever officiated a wedding?”
(^ our wedding)
The hand of our Almighty God upon us was so obvious, and Awesome! It was one of those situations that people wouldn’t believe (that I wouldn’t believe) had it not been conducted AND witnessed by people who had no clue who we were.
Just a few key details of our Contad Hotel Rooftop Wedding:
We livestreamed our wedding so that EVERYONE could share in The Joy Jesus had given us.
The Conrad Hotel Staff cleared the way for us to go up before everyone else – even though they had all paid 100s of dollars!
God’s hand parts waters!
John – the front desk guy who married us – admitted that he had been considering becoming an ordained minister. He was a blessing! And we pray God blessed him through the experience.
On the roof with us was a newlywed couple, and an absolutely PRECIOUS Birthday Girl. The Birthday Girl thanked us for what she said was “the best birthday gift she could’ve gotten – to see true love unite in such a breathtaking way.” She was a blessing! And I want that picture!!!
The spot we got married in was literally considered the BEST view in NYC. The Statue of Liberty stood tall and mighty in the background, and fireworks celebrated with us at midnight.
Unreal! What a blessing!
And NONE of it costed a single penny.
That’s Jesus! In His element! When He is given control… ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
There was Phil.
Phil, the cameraman, was on the rooftop alone. And he happily agreed to film our wedding…Such a blessing!
But out of the blue, before we shared our midnight first kiss, Phil matter-of-factly notes (9:37 mark in video):
“Donald Trump is watching…”
What does this mean?
Absolutely nothing. – as so was Eddie’s former baseball players in Georgia, his adorable nephews, my super-supportive co-workers, our families, acquaintances we hadn’t seen in years and hundreds of people we didn’t even know. Many had on PJs and watched from their couch!
I didn’t get to dance with my Daddy after we said “I Do,” but the wedding did draw a tear from his eye according to Mom (which I’m sure making me bawl would’ve been his love-induced goal at the reception).
Donald Trump may or not have been watching…like many others in the world.
But Jesus – HE was THERE.
HE planned it all!
HE made the impossible a reality.
Jesus gave us a Fairytale in the concrete jungle…where dreams are made.
And He did it without a single cent.
On Faith Alone
David Tutera could never do that.
Donald Trump could never do that.
The Devil could never do that…
As good as they all are at what they do, when Jesus plans a wedding, no one can match it.
No one can predict it.
No one can make it better.
And no one can stop it…
All they can do… is watch.