I can’t tell you how many times Josh and I talked about eloping before we got married.
The temptation to quickly stop with the endless small and large decisions about our wedding was relentless. My fiancé and I were engaged for 1 year and 5 days before our big day arrived. Josh proposed on Christmas Eve in 2017 and for 6 months, we didn’t tell anyone. It gave us the time and the space to decide what season of the 2018 year would be best for us to start our new lives together. So, after careful consideration, we decided to get married on December 29, 2018, the first Saturday after Christmas. I’m a full-time Librarian at a local High School, so I automatically had two weeks off during the Winter season for our honeymoon.
Someone once told me that if my fiancé and I could survive the wedding planning process, then we could persevere through anything. They were right.
Despite the weekly meltdowns, being engaged helped Josh and I prepare for being married, rather than hastily walking into a lifelong commitment via the local courthouse. I won’t lie to you — being engaged is brutally hard. You quickly start to realize how impatient you are and how selfish you can be. Three days before our wedding, Josh and I got scammed by a false airline company who charged us over $1,000.00 in flight fees. We never got that money back. Furthermore, two days before our wedding I forgot that there were over 45 tablecloths that needed to be ironed before the rehearsal dinner and wedding reception, so my Dad and I bravely stayed up all night getting wrinkles out of endless fabric piles. It was exhausting. At that point I was strongly considering cancelling both the wedding and our long awaited honeymoon to Charleston, South Carolina. But Josh helped me stay focused underneath all the pressure, and together we crossed the finish line to our big day.
By the morning of the wedding, I was bouncing off the walls with joy. The planning was behind me, the marriage ahead of me. I wasn’t nervous at all. That is, until the moment I walked down the aisle. Right before the doors opened, the butterflies hit me with full force. “Oh wow, I’m actually getting married?” When my Dad and I started walking towards Josh, the overwhelming presence of God and the love of Christ struck me hard. I’ll never forget our pastor’s opening address to us as we stood at the altar together, hand-in-hand before God and our closest community of family and friends: He said, “Love is a quality of spirit and an attitude of emotions, but a marriage is a life’s work, a spiritual art form. Therefore, this is an occasion of both profound joy and great responsibility, and we who partake in it bind ourselves as witnesses to the labor of love that Josh and Vanya are undertaking here.” I immediately started crying as I experienced the transforming power of God’s eternal love for Josh and I. Here I was and there he was, waiting for me.
Embrace the time and effort it takes to plan a wedding. Don’t skimp out on the planning and don’t miss the opportunity to grow with your fiancé along the way.
Engagement is a season of preparation. When I woke up at 6 am on December 29, 2018, I experienced a depth of peace about the wedding and most importantly towards Josh. Over the course of a year, Josh and I learned to communicate with each other and our respective new families during our engagement. We took the time to learn more about each other and establish our relationship in the Lord. I’m not lying when I say this: Our wedding was almost perfect in every way. We chose to focus our wedding on God’s Labor of Love for humanity, which is the foundation of our love for each other. Ultimately, the process of wedding planning gave Josh and I the confidence we needed in God, our community and each other before vowing to love and serve each other “until death do us part.” We would plan our wedding again in a heartbeat, because we needed to experience those premarital roadblocks before getting married. So to those future brides and grooms out there: Be sure to put in the work with your future spouse and I promise, the rewards will be worth it!