A Decade Stronger

The blushing brides from the pages of the very first Mobile Bay Bride some 10 years ago circle back today as moms and seasoned spouses to share some advice for the brides-to-be.

There’s much to be learned, gained and changed in a decade’s worth of marriage. Take it from three Mobile women who walked down the aisle 10 years ago. They were among the first to showcase their weddings in MBB. Now, Jessica Delaney, Nancy Wood and Kelley Ogburn share their insights, advice and memories of their weddings and the days beyond.


Jessica and Scott Delaney

Wedding Jitters

Looking back at their weddings, each woman admits to stressing about everything when they should have stressed about nothing. Nancy reminds brides, “Your dress can tear in half and it can be the rainiest day ever and your florist can get sick and you might just have grass to carry down the aisle … it won’t matter. As long as you love who you’re marrying. The important part is to be married, it’s not to have the perfect wedding.”

Jessica immediately agrees, adding, “The main thing I think I stressed about were just the logistics. You want everything to go so well, so smoothly. But it goes wonderfully, it goes smoothly. All the little things are going to get fixed and you probably won’t even know about it.”

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She also remembers that the months leading up to her wedding were just as exciting as the nuptials themselves. Parties, showers and dinners among their closest family and friends made the entire year-long engagement a part of her wedding memory. “I did a whole lot of my wedding stuff with my mom and my sister and my mother-in-law and my sisters-in-law, and it was just … I think, looking back on it, that time was just as special as the actual wedding itself, ” Jessica shares.

Very few brides remember their receptions as anything more than a blink and a blur. However, Nancy had been advised about the lapse in memory that follows the big day, so she was careful to soak in every moment, now remembering her day like a “play-by-play video.” (Take note, brides-to-be!)


Nancy and Staples Wood

Happily Ever After

While the women reminisce happily about their wedding days, they all easily agree: The wedding was beautiful; the marriage is better by far.

A decade’s worth of marriage is bound to include its fair share of sacrifices and rewards. Nancy learned that sometimes, despite her best efforts, life cannot be perfectly planned. After their “I dos, ” Nancy’s husband, Staples, revealed he felt a calling to join the U.S. Army. Being a military wife opened her up to a new philosophy, one that was at odds with her pre-marriage self who was obsessed with preparing and scheduling. “Everything is going to be OK, ” she shares. “As life gets more complicated, so does your marriage. But even when things don’t go exactly according to your plan, there’s a greater plan and things work out.”

However, it’s not so serious all the time in the Wood household. The Woods’ decision-making practice boils down to one thing: Rock, Paper, Scissors. Best two out of three. Nancy also disagrees with the adage, “Don’t go to bed angry.” She explains, “I think sometimes it’s fine to agree to disagree and take a nap! Or wake up the next morning and start a discussion again. I think it’s OK to put discussions on hold.”

Meanwhile, Kelley learned early on to take control of certain responsibilities. “I had to give up popcorn or cereal passing for dinner!” she jokes. Though she lost her staple suppers, marriage has also had a hand in changing her sense of self through the years. “I know that marriage has taught me to accept my own imperfections. To allow myself to be loved by another imperfect soul, whom I love fully — imperfections and all!”

And further than that, it’s helping your spouse become the best version of themself. “I’m definitely a lot more confident, ” Jessica says. “I think that I can do a lot more. I’ll ask Scott to do something for me and he’ll say no, I can do it myself. I’ll tell him, ‘You gotta do this, I can’t do that.’ And he’ll be like, ‘No, you can do that.’ He’s very encouraging, positive and motivating.”

Kelley adds, “Love is more than passion — it is compassion. It is believing in one another. It is hard and it is beautiful — all at the same time. It’s saying the hard truths and knowing when to be quiet and listen. It’s learning how to pull out the best of your spouse so that they can shine. And laughter and joy sprinkled in all of it.”


Kelley and Paterson Ogburn

The Best Is Yet To Come

The love in these wives’ hearts is undeniable. Each woman exudes happiness over the course of our discussions while looking back at the lives they’ve led with their partners. As they look forward, they have learned that they can’t predict what’s to come in another 10 years, but they are certain of one thing: they will be surrounded by their family and even stronger together than they are today.

With the last 10 years ringing in her heart, Nancy promises this: “The love only gets better.”

Wedding photos by Michael Hanson and Jeff Tesney • Portraits by Elizabeth Gelineau

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