Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Our Wedding: Three Things I Loved

As of Saturday, we have been married a whopping 8 months! Woohoo! It's really been the best. Being married to Lewis, not just being married, has been the best. It's infinitely better than dating and 10000x better than being engaged! I highly recommend marriage.

Now that we're a little ways out, I feel like I have enough distance from the wedding to be able to comment on the things I loved about it, things I would have changed, things I was super annoyed by, and things I've already forgotten about & therefore could've done without.

So, here are three things that I loved about our wedding....

1. Having a short engagement

As I mentioned, trying to choose a wedding day was so stressful. In between graduation and studying for the bar exam and deciding to move across the country -- we felt so stuck! Thankfully, it worked out beautifully and the church & reception site were both available on May 23... my parent's anniversary! It was a wonderful coincidence.

However, May was only 6 months away from our December engagement! Could we do it? The wedding world would have you believe that getting married in anything short of a year is insane. But they are wrong and I LOVED having a short engagement! There were absolutely no downsides for us. To give our guests enough notice, we skipped save-the-dates and sent our invitations at the end of January. Instead of searching for months on the perfect [whatever], I just had to choose from whatever was available - fewer options = less stress. This included my dress (online!) and choosing vendors (I chose our florist literally a month before the wedding. It was fine.)  As well, even though this may come as a surprise, I think we spent less money than we could have spent had we had a longer engagement. With less time to plan, we had to choose fewer or simpler "add-ons" like favors, a photo booth, videographer, planned activities for guests, etc.

But the biggest reasons I loved our short engagement were spiritual and emotional ones. I didn't want to be engaged for longer than we had to be because I really just wanted to be married to Lewis (not engaged to Lewis!). Engagement is a transition time and a period of preparation. And, since we cared way more about preparing for marriage rather than planning a wedding, we tried to ramp our prayer life and sacramental life during that time. It was an intense few months of prayer, discernment, and preparation - is this really the person I want to spend my life with? (Resounding yes.) A shorter engagement helped to keep the end in sight.

(Also, we waited to have sex until we were married and were straight up tired of waiting. Ha! Less time to wait meant less temptation.)

2. The way we spent our budget

Before we started wedding planning at all, Lewis and I sat down and chose the "top 3 most important aspects of our wedding." For us, those three things were: food, drinks, photos. We prioritized those three things more than anything else, so when it came time to choose a caterer and photographer, we weren't shocked or nervous by the cost. We just hired who we really wanted! It took so much pressure off of us to know that even if we spent a lot of the budget on those things, it would be okay.

Conversely, some things were way less important to us, like my dress & his suit, getting my hair and makeup done, and decor. Although we didn't necessary go "cheap," we really wanted to keep these other costs to a minimum. My dress was from BHLDN (it's this one) and was less than $1000. With alterations, it ended up being around $1200. We bought Lewis's suit from J.Crew for just over $400, knowing he'd wear it again (and he has!). I did my own make-up, and Corey did my hair. Decor was so, so minimal - a few tablecloths and candles from this site - though it helped that our church and reception venue was already beautiful.

Of course, you can't control some costs. Our flowers (which were not a priority even though I LOVE flowers) were about $1000 :( They were so expensive! Every florist ended up quoting me about the same cost though - so I just chose the one I liked the best. I really considered making the bridesmaids' bouquets myself, but my mom convinced me not to. "Paige, you will be so stressed and done with planning the day before your wedding. You're paying for convenience as much as you are for the arrangements themselves," she told me, and she was totally right. It was such a smart move! When I arrived at the church, all the bouquets were there waiting for me. It was so, so nice to have someone else do them, and they were so much more beautiful than I ever could have done.

Overall, choosing our Top Three Things was so good for us and I was really happy about the things we splurged on (and the things we didn't!).
3. That we never left each other's side

Before our wedding, I heard so many stories of spouses who spent their wedding day or reception mostly apart - and that just made me sad! I wanted to spend the day most of all with Lewis! This motivated our wanting an early afternoon wedding - so we could spend almost the whole day together. And before the reception, we both made a promise to always be within arms' reach of each other. Even if we were talking to different friends, I could reach back and feel his sleeve and know he was close.

Because of our little agreement, we could really experience the whole day together - it was beautiful. Finally, it was important to us that we both got some face time with each guest (and this was much easier when we were already together!).

If you're married, I'd love to hear things you are so glad you did. And if you're not, do you already have some priorities for your wedding day? :)

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