In February 2017 Sean and I began the marriage application process at Corcoran state prison. What we assumed would be a fairly straightforward process turned out to be a complicated ordeal with the marriage coordinator not doing her job correctly as well as withholding our paperwork and money orders in order to purposely delay the marriage process. We found out that this is routine at Corcoran among any couple getting married. Because Corcoran only conducts marriage ceremonies the first two weekends of the month, we had started out with the date June 3 in mind, but we weren’t given our date until the beginning of July. We had no idea it would be such a huge battle just to get something that on the outside would be a fairly simple and enjoyable task. It literally took about 6 months from start to finish, but in the end it was entirely worth the trouble.
We were given the date August 12, 2017. It wasn’t the date we had originally hoped for but this is what I found online: The number 12 is a combination of the numbers 1, which means, “Stay positive,” and 2, which means, “Keep the faith.” Together, 12 is a strong message to stay positive, optimistic, and filled with faith . . . because your positive thoughts and faith will create a positive outcome. The number 12 can be found 187 places in God’s word and is considered to be a perfect number. We felt like it was meant to be, another important part of our incredible journey.
I did not have a wedding dress, the prison does not allow an all-white outfit; even on your wedding day. I wore visit-approved clothes I had bought at affordable prices because we are practical people. I did my own hair and makeup, we had no flowers, no music; it was not the image most people have in their mind when they think of a wedding. But none of that matters to us. What matters to us is our love, and the ability to finally become husband and wife. We are grateful for something as simple as that because we have seen others denied this right and it is something we do not take for granted. And we have learned that if we are going to survive this, it’s about what you do have, rather than what you don’t.
Our marriage ceremony was on August 12, 2017. It was more beautiful and meaningful than we had anticipated, we have seen them done many times before but it felt like ours was extra special. We were able to have a few friends from the inside attend as “guests” just for the ceremony. We each read our own vows we had written. The minister read our favorite Bible verse: “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 COR 13:13 It was really an incredible day, one we will never forget. We are grateful for this step in our life together. I am honored to be his wife and every day Sean tells me that he is the luckiest man to be my husband.
There is no perfect marriage, just two people who refuse to give up on each other
“And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 COR 13:13
**wedding photo edits credit: Amanda Russell**