Tuesday, October 14, 2014

That Time I Got Married

So. I got married.

thepaulhagan sarah kale
No, to the one on the left. I know, right?
I'm supposed to build up to an announcement, but I figure everyone has heard by now. That said, I wanted to gather my thoughts and write the Sarah and Paul Story down for y'all, starting with how we met and running through our elopement.


I've always been a little defective. Not a lot. Not can't-function-in-normal-society defective. More like oh-that's-just-Paul-he's-quirky defective. I've got my theories on why, but the point is that I'm not always great at that whole basic-human-interaction thing. Dependent on the day, I can be awkward, brusque or asocial. I'm working on it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Sarah, who is one of the happiest people you'll ever meet. She's kind, friendly, full of love, and one of the few people I'll admit is smarter than me. She's also driven.

That drive led Sar to pursue meeting me back in 2010. She knew me from Twitter, and she took (true) rumors of my flakiness as a challenge. Our first date was awkward at best, but she didn't give up on me. We went out a number of times over the next couple months, but it never turned into a formal relationship. In fact, she later tried to pawn me off on at least three separate women. We stayed good friends - with an occasional foray into more - for the next three years, but never once referred to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend.

That early stretch in 2010, when Sarah wouldn't let me hide and be awkward in peace, is one of the most important periods in my life. She made me feel like a whole person, and she gave me a standard to which I could hold myself. Three paragraphs ago, when I said I'm working on it, it's been for her. It has been for a while. She makes me want to be better.

thepaulhagan sarah
Sarah and me, the day before she left Waco for San Antonio


When I moved from Texas to Washington in late 2013, I didn't regret much. I upgraded my job, my city and my weather. I only regretted one thing: that I didn't try harder to make it work with Sarah, who had moved to San Antonio shortly before I left Waco. Fortunately, we kept in touch the entire time. Bad day? Text Sar and bitch about it. Good day? Text Sar and celebrate. She did the same.

After the move, my family slowly stopped contacting me. Sometimes I get a text or an email forward, but it's a lot of silence outside of a weekly check-in from my mom. But Sar? I don't think I've gone more than two days since the move without hearing from her. We're texting as I write this. Like right this second. Shit, she won't quit texting. It's distracting. I'd shush her, but I feel like that wouldn't go over well.

It never got old, though. I always wanted to hear out of her, and how her day was going, or what she was up to. I think that's what got the hamster to climb on the wheel. If I miss her so much, and I want to celebrate life with her daily...

dog hamster wheel gif
Inside my head.


Earlier this year, I sent Sarah a text that just read, "Marry me?" She claims that I was kidding (I wasn't) and didn't accept...but didn't say no. So the next day, I tried again. Same result. And again the next day. Over the span of a couple weeks, the conversation got more serious and transitioned into wedding planning. So, whenever someone asks how I got the "yes", I tell them "water on stone."

Neither Sar nor I wanted a huge wedding. I've got a small family that skews towards private and disconnected (see above), while Sar's family is large and outgoing. There was also the locale issue: no matter what, someone's family and friends would have to travel a significant distance. We settled on an elopement quickly, with only her folks knowing our secret.

Because I'm a terrible person, I tossed out King County Courthouse as a potential wedding destination. She countered with Hawaii. One of those sounded more fun.

maui wedding thepaulhagan sarah
She was right.
(And yes, that does mean I proposed by text and tried to get married at the courthouse. She has told people of this fact publicly many, many times already.)

A few weeks later, we were on our way. I covered at work by telling everyone that I was going to Hawaii for my best friend's wedding. It never stopped being funny.


You might think Sar and I didn't think through our decision. What about all those sticking points couples encounter? To combat philosophical differences, we answered a giant list of questions on the flight to Maui, taking turns on who went first. While we do have some opposing viewpoints, there were no deal-breakers. I can still watch the Cowboys on Sunday as long as I don't call her "Dr. Bae."

plane questions
Example: "When will you have kids?"
Her answer: "2 years...?"
My answer: "When the birth control fails."
The day and a half leading up to the wedding was filled with adventures, most notably a vicious sea urchin attack on my left hand. Yes, the one where the ring goes. Sar was Not Amused, though she did express disappointment that she didn't get a photo when the spines were still sticking out. Mercifully, the ring still fit despite some swelling.

sea urchin sting
Fun fact: the spines break off in your skin!
After soaking my hand in vinegar, we still managed to fit in a snorkel session, a final meal as single folks, and watched part of Forrest Gump in our hotel room while getting ready. There's a joke there somewhere, but I can't figure it out without it being insulting to one of us.

We were married on a beach in Maui at sunset. The only attendees were our wedding planner, the photographer, and our wonderful officiant, Kale (kahl-ay). The ceremony itself was short, and Kale stepped away while Sar and I said our vows to each other. I appreciated that part. It meant no one heard me interrupt her vows, nor her laughing at me flubbing mine.

No, really, it looked like that.
After the ceremony and (seemingly endless) photography session, we went back to our hotel room and shot some video. No. No no no. Not like that. Stop that. We prepared the below to answer some of the questions we knew would be incoming the next day.

Quick story: while Sar was filming, I was out on the balcony so I couldn't hear her answers. I decided to flash some nip through the window, which derailed her train of thought and messed up the take. There's footage somewhere of her looking off camera, laughing, then yelling "I HATE YOU!" on our wedding night. Just in case you were wondering what our relationship is like.


That evening and into the next morning, we made calls to immediate family on both sides to let them know about their new in-law. Everyone took it well - some better than others - and was appropriately surprised. But then came breakfast at 'Ami 'Ami, when we unleashing our secret weapon.

A few days earlier, Sarah set up an Instagram account (@MrandMrsHagan) that we both had access to throughout our trip. We took photos and videos leading up to the ceremony so folks didn't miss out on the fun that happened before the Big Reveal.

After we broke the news with that account, we burned through our phones' batteries responding, fav'ing and retweeting the outpouring of support and celebration that came in over the next two hours. If you ask either of us, this was the highlight of the honeymoon. Really. It was so touching to see the overwhelming reaction of our friends and family.

The rest of the honeymoon? I could fill up another blog post beyond the novella above. But instead, Sar was nice enough to put together video that gives you the gist of it.