Anywhere is paradise when you're with the one you love. Well, almost anywhere. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have always prided themselves on living a modest existence, even before they had the first of their 19 children. After their small, simple wedding 30 years ago—think folding chairs and crepe paper—the 19 Kids and Counting stars embarked on a "budget" honeymoon at two state parks near their house in Arkansas.
In a blog post about the trip on the Duggar family's official website, Michelle explained their decision to stay close to home—which came with a comedy of errors, beginning with the first stop on their adventure, a cabin at Lake Fort Smith.
"When we arrived at our first destination, we couldn't believe the difference between the photo on the brochure and the reality," she blogged. "We chuckle about this now, but I did not go and look at the places ahead of time. I just looked at the brochures and I thought, 'Okay, it's a state park and what we see is what we're going to get.'"
She was wrong. "The picture showed a lovely cabin right beside a beautiful flowing river," she recalled, "but when we got there, the cabin was really rundown with awful orange curtains—and cobwebs everywhere! On top of that, the river was completely dried up; there was no water at all."
Disappointed, she and Jim Bob abandoned ship and stayed in a hotel in Fort Smith, Ark., instead. "We didn't get the setting we were anticipating for our first night together, but it was still sweet," she wrote.
The next stop, Mount Nebo, Ark., was as scenic as advertised—but after a few nights there, the couple's car started acting up. In an effort to cut their losses, they headed back to their new home, a small fixer-upper. "We spent the rest of our honeymoon fixing up our little house, which definitely needed a lot of work!" she blogged.
"Before our wedding," she explained, "we had ripped out all of the cupboard doors in the kitchen and sanded them down, but we didn't have time to finish them before we got married. So when we got back after our honeymoon, there were no doors on our kitchen cabinets and the place needed a lot of work, but that was okay," she continued. "We were living on love and it was so exciting."
Three decades later, the two are still smitten with each other. In fact, they're celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary today, July 21. Their daughter Jill Dillard (nee Duggar)—newly married herself to Derick Dillard—acknowledged the milestone on Twitter, with a recent photo of her reality star parents.
"Happy 30th Anniversary to the best parent ever!" she wrote. "We love you! Derick and I share the joy as we celebrate our first 30 days together and look forward to our next 30+ years!"