26 April 2011

51 Weeks [in which we waste no time]

(You didn't think I was finished, did you? We still haven't reached the 51-week mark! Still a quarter of a year to go!)

After Jared slid the ring onto my finger, we just sat there for a few minutes, too happy to say anything. Then he asked, "So-- when do you want to get married?"

"As soon as possible," I replied.

"Thanksgiving?" he suggested.

"Maybe that's too soon. January?"


We knew our wedding had to be over a college break, since we had quite a few friends and family members at school. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, the first or second weekend in January seemed like a safe bet. We ended up settling on Saturday, January 2, exactly three months from the day Jared proposed.

It never occurred to us to view a three-month engagement as abnormal; both of Jared's brothers had similarly short engagements, and brief engagements are more common in our church than not. We both knew what we wanted. With no good reason to delay, we set out to make it happen soon.

Of course, we weren't doing it on our own. My mom, a organization and decorating genius, took the helm of the reception planning. I had some ideas, but really, she did most of the work! At first I fought to keep my finger in every wedding-related pie. But then I realized that there was no way I could think of every detail, let alone get them done, especially on such a tight schedule. Planning went much more smoothly when I relinquished control to other people (not easy for me to do, but I'm learning) and focused on the few things I could realistically accomplish.

Wedding preparations were stressful, yes, but not as much as they could have been. We both had wonderful families who pitched in to help and were marvellously supportive through the whole thing. And it was fun, despite the snags and worries. (Except for picking out the guys' clothing. Oh my word. What a headache.) Premarital counseling was a bit of a whirlwind; Jared and I felt as if we spent every spare moment reading books and discussing our "homework." But it was good. We definitely learned a lot.

Busy and serious as those three months were, we managed to enjoy ourselves. In fact, the week after our engagement, we went to the Outer Banks with Jared's clan.

One morning, we watched the sun rise, one of the most beautiful moments of the trip.

Our days barreled along, full of florist's appointments, prayers, and nervous breakdowns. Some matters required little discussion, if any: within the first two days of our engagement we had decided that there WOULD be stuffed mushrooms and there would NOT be any alcohol.* Other matters demanded hours of agonizing, whether crucial (guest lists) or trivial (tie colors). Excel spreadsheets became my best friend.

Somehow it all got done, and if not, I guess it wasn't that important. I tried to view the wedding as a big party, a celebration of what God had done in our lives, which relieved the stress and increased my enjoyment of the whole process. Those three months could have put irreversible cracks in several relationships and been an emotional nightmare, but by God's grace, that didn't happen.

Our wedding day approached and our excitement rose. My parents' house was jam-packed with party paraphernalia; I made dozens of meatballs and cranberry bars; Mom filled urns and pitchers with gorgeous flowers. Jared and I drove to the airport to pick up several out-of-town wedding guests, glad for the excuse to be alone for a couple of hours.

On Friday we ran through our rehearsal, which went more or less flawlessly. (Huzzah for detailed plans.) The rehearsal dinner was a delight, from the lasagna and cheesecake to the hilarious slide show of our childhood pictures. I was whisked off to one last celebratory party, this one with a group of close girlfriends-- we talked and laughed long into the night.

Then home I went. It was my last night as a single woman, and I wanted to get some sleep.

*We've no moral objection to alcohol. (As demonstrated by the many bottles of wine, whiskey, and rum in a cupboard somewhere around here . . .) But good booze is awfully expensive, and we also have some family members who'd be bothered by its inclusion. So all in all, not worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised you could sleep at all the night before!