It gets old fast, that question. Especially when the answer is, “Ummm… not yet…”
When we first got engaged, I wanted a long engagement. We’d only been together for a year and a half, and were still very much in the “honeymoon phase” that I’d been assured would wear off eventually. We hadn’t moved in together yet–a step I was looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. (As an introvert, I crave personal space and alone time, and M had not yet seen the cranky monster I turn into when I’m tired and feeling smothered!)
So when we got engaged, we decided to take a year for ourselves. We wanted to let ourselves adjust to sharing a home and let go of any facades or illusions about each other: face the good, the bad, and the ugly. I didn’t want to be blinded by the glitz of wedding planning. I didn’t want to be distracted or stressed. I just wanted to celebrate our commitment to each other quietly and focus on building a strong foundation for the future.
Still, the question came up over and over again, “Have you guys set a date yet?” and I would quip, “No, but we set a year! 2017.” People seemed to think it was strange. “You’re not really engaged until you have a ring and a date!” I heard on more than one occasion. Really? We have our whole lives to be married. Why rush? If there’s one time in your life you’re going to buck traditions and do things your way, shouldn’t it be how and when you commit your life to another person?
The good thing about the persistent questions is that it has given me a chance to talk to others about their own weddings. The women and men I know have had such a variety of experiences, from upscale and traditional to casual to small courthouse marriages. All of them felt pressured in some ways to conform to what their parents, their friends, and society expected. All of them had to compromise some aspect of their visions, but all found ways to create a special celebration that was meaningful to them. I’ve learned so much from their stories!
So, why bring this up now?
Well, I’m back onboard the wedding planning train… We’re looking at venues, talking to caterers, and updating our guest lists… and I’m battling against my inner bridezilla! Within the next few weeks, M and I will finally have an answer to that pesky question!
Now because I’m obsessed with making lists, here are my wedding planning goals:
- Stick to the budget! Many aspects of weddings can be discarded or customized to fit a tight budget. Every time I’m tempted to go for the expensive venue or pricy dress, I remind myself that I’m also trying to save for a house.
- Consider the guests’ comfort. Considering dates, times, transportation and parking. that are convenient are worth an added expense, as is making sure people are well fed and having a good time.
- Don’t let well-meaning friends (or family members) steamroll me into including something I don’t want. Fondue pots on every table? Yes, it’s a cute idea, but please save it for your own wedding!
- Be patient and respectful of everyone’s opinions. This has already been a challenge for me… I’ve had more frequent and more ridiculous arguments with my mom and my sister in the past few days than ever before! I’m trying to keep things in perspective because a wedding is just one day, but family is in your life forever.
- Remember what the big day is about. M and I don’t need to have a wedding, but we want the people we care about to celebrate with us. Whether it’s in a church, on the beach, or in someone’s back yard, the important thing is celebrating our love and the wonderful community of friends that support us.
So, that’s it! Is there anything important I’ve left out? Any wedding advice or caveats you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂