Building a Home, Building a Family

There is no wedding dress hanging from the doorway. Instead, a gold romper made of velvet shimmers softly in the mid-morning light. I sit at my desk, a cup of tea steeping between my palms. Outside the window, snow coats the fluffy branches of big, old evergreens. 
"Marriage," I speak the word aloud to myself, rolling it around on my tongue and letting it dissolve like a lozenge. My thoughts drift to the closet, where two boxes sit on the top shelf. They are empty of the yellow-gold wedding bands that came in them. On my left ring finger, a thin and dainty ring glints as I type.
Five months ago, I met Nik through mutual friends at a dinner party. The moment he walked into the room, I knew I needed to know him. When I finally spoke to him, he leaned in close to my face and a warm wave of calm washed over me. I would go home and think of him and that feeling of comfort all night. Several days later, we would meet beneath twinkling fairy lights. We were falling madly in love before we even realized that we were.
We've spent nearly every day together since. We've seen seasons pass, we've shed tears, we've learned to drop our defenses and lean on one another as partners and co-parents.
I left for Pennsylvania to spend Thanksgiving with my larger family. I wrote Nik a letter for each day I was away, to read one by one. In the final letter, I asked Nik to marry me. I proposed a summer solstice wedding. When the peonies and hydrangea bloom. I imagined something intimate and private. Perhaps my grandmother could marry us barefoot in her backyard. I looked at lacy, bohemian wedding dresses and engagement rings sparkling with golden stones.
But, when I returned home, something about that dream wasn't sitting right with me. I felt selfish, and like my envisioned wedding wasn't as equal and reciprocal as my relationship with Nik is.
"What if we get married on the winter solstice?" Nik asked me one night in the kitchen, over a pot of cooking coconut rice.
"This month?" I asked, slightly skeptically.
"Yes."
I thought for a moment, biting my bottom lip. "Yes," I said. "Of course."
Nik and I began unfolding plans. We learned that in Colorado we can self-solemnize our marriage; meaning that we do not need a witness or officiant present when we exchange our vows and bands.
In three days, we will drop our girls off at preschool, apply for our marriage license, go on a hike to exchange the vows we've written and the bands we're already wearing (because we're too excited to wait), and complete our paperwork at the clerk and recorder's office to start the new year as husband and wife.
The night of our marriage, my mother will host a big winter solstice party, which I'll wear my golden romper to. There will be good food, drinks, and live music to enjoy. Nik and I will announce our marriage and highlight our journey with photographs and framed stories that we've each written about each another. 
The love I share with Nik is pure and simple, childlike even. Over the past five months, we haven't only fallen in love, but we've built a home and a family.