Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, Amelia Edelman, Senior Editorial Director of Parents, shares her story.
When I met Grant, I was a single mom to 2-year-old Silas. I was working full-time and had recently moved to Nashville after being priced out of my beloved NYC, where I was born. I was renting out a room in my Nashville house to a (very sweet!) girl from Craigslist in order to make ends meet. Things were pretty chaotic. I was not looking for a relationship. But I decided to go on Tinder, and only Tinder, in hopes of going on some dates, having some fun, and forcing myself to find time to do something, anything, that was not work or parenting.
I dated around for a few months and while everyone I met was lovely and respectful (mentioning your baby in your Tinder profile works wonders to weed out the weirdos), there was no one I connected with like Grant. He was a touring musician who had spent the better part of a decade on a bus. He was from the South and had become his open-minded, progressive, activist self through serious soul-searching and breaks from tradition—not by default, like my sheltered New York liberal self had.
We texted for weeks before his band was back in town and we were able to meet. During our first coffee date, there was no small talk; we skipped straight to swapping sagas of childhood traumas, strange families, and overarching worldviews. It wasn’t long before I found myself on the phone with my brother, asking myself aloud, “I think I just met my…other soulmate??”
But the problem was, I already had a soulmate. My 2-year-old son, Silas, was my everything. He and I were a duo, us against the world, and I couldn’t imagine adding someone else into the mix. Plus, Silas had been through the wringer when his biological dad left and quickly got married—I was determined not to rush another adult into his life. I told Grant right off the bat that he wouldn’t be meeting my son anytime soon.
So, Grant was permitted to come over at 10 p.m. after Silas was long asleep to join me for one whiskey on my porch swing, and then head home. What I loved about Grant was that he managed to show so much interest in my son, asking me questions about his preschool and how potty-training was going, all without ever making me feel remotely pressured to introduce the two of them. I felt like I could go at my own pace, and on a timeline that was entirely catered around Silas. Even when Grant started sleeping over on occasion, he would stay downstairs and set a super-early alarm, so Silas would never have to stumble across some guy.
Eventually, I decided it was time for them to meet. But, I still felt like our house was Silas’s space (well, his and mine and our 22-year-old tenant’s!) and I didn’t want to make a big deal of a post-sleepover introduction or anything. At the time, Grant was training for an ultramarathon and running many miles a day around Nashville. We decided that his run should finally take him past my house, so he and Silas could meet “by accident” in the lowest-pressure setting.
Silas and I were playing in our front yard when a very sweaty Grant began approaching, already on mile eight or so. I waved at him and said, “Oh look Silas, this is my friend Grant!” Silas, of course, was nothing less than delighted to have another adult to show his dinosaur toys. Grant immediately got into the sandbox and started playing. And after that day, every time Silas and I would pass a runner on the street, Silas would shout, “GRANT! IS THAT GRANT??” The rest, as they say, is history.
When Grant proposed three years later, it was on Mother’s Day. We were all three of us cuddled on the couch when Grant got down on one knee, pulled out a ring, and asked me to marry him. Genuinely surprised, I turned to Silas. “What should I say?!” I asked my 5-year-old, absurdly. Silas gave us the biggest grin and just kept nodding yes.
We decided to elope, and while we initially assumed we'd go to the courthouse, they were fully booked for months because of COVID limitations. Grant was touring with his band at the time, so we only had a couple of days between tour legs. That's when a friend of mine who’s a local children's librarian hooked us up: We booked the courtyard of the historic public library building in downtown Nashville for our tiny wedding, for $50.
It was just the three of us, our photographer, and our delightful officiant (whom we got through the courthouse). I ordered a white sequined minidress on the internet, and when I asked Silas what he wanted to wear, he insisted on also having his own sequined wedding dress. He paired it with skeleton pajamas and black velvet Converse high tops that used to be mine in the '90s. Because he's an icon.
After the ceremony, we texted all our Nashville pals to come over for an incredibly disorganized but absolutely wonderful backyard bonfire party. One friend made a cake and another brought sparklers. Two friends had even broken into our house and stealth-cleaned the kitchen while we were getting married! Kids and dogs ran around in the backyard in the dark and wreaked havoc.
Someday maybe we’ll plan ahead and throw a “real” party—the only thing I truly missed on our wedding day was my siblings, who all live out of town—but this one, this year, was pretty perfect for us. And while marriage has never been a major goal or meant a ton to me (or to Grant, for that matter), I know it meant a lot to Silas to unify our family in that way. Weeks before the wedding, he had started asking excitedly whether his “Granty” was also his stepdad yet.
Late at night, after our yard party guests left, Silas and I collapsed on the couch and Grant started cleaning up while dancing ridiculously to the music that was still playing on the speakers. Silas couldn’t stop giggling as we marveled at Grant’s preposterous dance moves.
“Who even IS that, Silas?” I laughed. I thought Silas might respond that it was, at long last, his stepdad. Instead, Silas shouted, “That’s my Dancing Dad!” Even better.