Nikki & Spencer: Life After "I Do."
When I was a little girl growing up in Bird City, Kansas, I was always mesmerized by the large, stained glass windows of my church. I wanted these same windows surrounding me when I married Spencer on June 3, 2011.
A week before the wedding, Spencer and I arrived in town to assist my mom with some last minute preparations. She was already so stressed! Of course, I had some pre-wedding jitters myself. Two days before the big day,I tried on my dress only to find out it was too large! Again and again, it was mom to the rescue.
However, my actual wedding day proved to be absolutely GREAT.
I had my sister as my maid of honor and two bridesmaids – a best friend from high school and my other best friend, Emily, from Starbright World. Spencer had his brother as a groomsman and his best friend Kristin (yup, a girl!) as he best "wo"man.
As I walked down the aisleandsaw Spencer for the first time, all I thought about was how handsome he looked in his tuxedo.
When he saw me, his eyes just lit up. You could read it all over his face - he was so happy.
It was such a perfect moment.
The actual wedding ceremony seemed to pass by so quickly. Maybe it was because we couldn’t stop taking in all the faces of our loved ones in the audience. We were surrounded by people we hadn't seen in a long time and guests from out of state.It was a pleasant surprise for the both of us to see Starbright World hosts Rasa and Lauren there as well as two of Spencer’s brothers who we thought wouldn’t be able to make it.
All the while, I looked forward to the part of the ceremony when Spencer and I would exchange vows. We had written our own – which pretty much left the church full sniffles and not a single dry eye.
Spencer said to me:
"Nikki, because of you I learned to live again. You brought me out of my self-imposed darkness and brought me into the light. And as I stood there startled and blind in the brightness, you continued to hold my hand as I again found my sight. My footing was, and continues to be, unsure and I stumbled. Your strength kept me upright and continues to do so today. I marvel at your compassion and beauty, both inside and out. I look forward to our lives together. Our love is so strong that even the hand of death will only part us for a moment, until our spirits can again join each other on the other side. I take these vows before God to be faithful, supportive and to cherish you unwaveringly. I vow from this day forward to stand beside you through the good times and the bad. I vow to be your strength when you are weak and your rock when you are unstable. I vow to constantly strive to be the husband and protector you deserve me to be. You hold my heart now and for all eternity. In Christ, may we be together as one."
The reception that followed was also great. We had pork sandwiches with different salads and cherry punch. A deejay played "My Best Friend" by Tim McGraw for our first song. When it was time to cut our wedding cake, Spencer tried to smash a piece in my face but I pulled back and he got a little on my dress - but it’s OK, I’ll forgive him this time. The celebration ended a little early due to the weather, but Spencer and I were so tired at that point and were glad to call it a night.
If it wasn’t for Starbright World, Spencer and I would have never met. The staff and members of Starbright World and Starlight have played such a big role in our lives and they are very close and special to us. It was such an honor to have Rasa and Lauren and Emily there with us on our big day. They have helped us through so much in our lives. They are family.
Married life has been great – though not without its share of struggles! First, let me say that Spencer and I couldn’t be happier. It’s such a great feeling to know you’re going to spend the rest of your life with your love and your best friend. We are currently living in Layton, Utah, (25 miles north of Salt Lake City) in a basement apartment, which is perfect for us for now. However, our first month together was a true test of strength and devotion. Spencer’s father passed away from stage four malignant melanoma just a week after we were married. After a long year of battling cancer, we all knew it was coming. He hadn’t been able to attend the wedding. It has been very hard for Spencer; he was very close to his dad.
Shortly after our move to Utah, Spencer was admitted to the hospital for a lung infection. Then it was back to the hospital again after his father’s funeral. After he was discharged, he did better for a week or so and then fell sick again with some stomach issues. We’ve been trying to get him healthy again ever since.
Through it all, we’re just trying to enjoy our time as husband and wife.
As for our future, I have two more years of school. I am majoring in Human Development and Family Studies to be a child life specialist. In order to land an internship, Spencer and I may have to move soon to another place in Utah. We definitely want kids after I am done with school and we would love to be homeowners if we can. Spencer is looking to go back to college (he’s completed one semester so far) possibly in spring or next summer. He has shown an interest in real estate – he’s a huge Home and Garden TV junkie – but will take a bunch of general ed classes to see where he fits in best.
When Spencer and I first shared our story on Starlight's website a few years ago, we were both overjoyed and overwhelmed by the incredible amount of support we received. It’s hard sometimes to accept so much support and feel like you’re giving back so little. Yet, we are overly grateful and blessed with everyone’s kind words and encouragement.
Starlight and its supporters hold a special place in our hearts and always will.
Read more about Nikki and Spencer's early days here.