Danielle & I like to kiss. We do it a lot. What can I say? You should try it. A lot. (When you are married.)
It’s ok to admit it. You want your wedding to be awesome. You want the Best. Wedding. Ever. That’s why you plan. That’s why you read. That’s why you stress out a bit. Because you want everything to be just perfect. You want to plan it, and prep it, and maybe even package it up a bit too much. :)
May I share a little secret with you?
The things that will make your wedding awesome, the things you will remember and look back on and laugh about, are typically not the things you plan. They are not the things you pin on Pinterest. They are the natural organic moments that happen when all of your friends and family come together to watch you begin your marriage.
I was reminded of that this past weekend when Thy & Jonathan were married. I’ll be sharing “fancy” wedding images later but they had so many amazing unplanned moments that I wanted to share those first.
1. That moment when your grandkids spit up during family formals.
3. That moment when Matt Dallas, star of Kyle XY shows up and dances with you at your reception.
4. That moment when your cousins go around with shots and make people stuff cash in your honeymoon fund jar to take one.
Screaming in your face until you do. (Try finding a Pinterest board for that.)
Your wedding probably is not gonna have all these moments. But it will have it’s own crazy antics. The more you try and plan out every detail the more likely you are to end up frustrated somewhere along the way.
If you really want to plan for something here are my suggestions:
Plan and prepare for your marriage.
Plan to love your spouse and to stay committed till death do you part.
Plan to spend that day laughing with and loving those around you.
And plan to look back on the amazing photo AlexM took for you. (Click here to book) ;)
I can honestly say that after 11 years of marriage, my favorite part about the whole deal is getting to spend day after day after day together.
Back in 1998 all I wanted was to be around her every possible moment. I still feel that way and I really can’t believe that Danielle & I get to share our lives with each other.
It’s the best.
A few years ago, I photographed Ashley’s engagement session. 2 weeks later they broke off their engagement. A couple years went by and I was so happy to get another call from Ashley. She was getting married. Again. It was an honor to be there when Blake & her said their vows. I loved hearing her tell the story of the journey that led them to each other. I asked her if she would be bold enough to share it with all of you and she was kind enough to do so.
Here is her story:
“When Alex approached me about writing for his blog on the topic of a broken engagement, I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to share my story and to let other people out there know that broken engagements aren’t as rare or shameful as they might think. Often times, it’s thought that if you are engaged to a person, you’re basically already married to them – that backing out of the engagement could be the worst and most embarrassing thing to do. While it can be somewhat embarrassing (although needlessly, especially to the people who care most about you), it is not necessarily the worst. It may feel like it in the moment, but feelings generally don’t stand the test of time. Decisions do.
I dated a pretty great guy for three-ish of my four college years. He was extremely intelligent, super nice, tall, and a fellow believer. He had an awesome job lined up for after college so I didn’t really need to focus on and stress out about job searching just yet. We thought this is it. The next step is to get married. It’s perfect timing. We’ll graduate, have a couple of months before he starts work so that gives us the perfect opportunity for having a wedding, going on our honeymoon, moving to a new city, and getting settled. All before he starts work and I start looking for my own job. We loved each other’s families and felt like we were already a part of them. We spent holidays with them and other weekends. His family had gotten to know and love me and mine had gotten to know and love him.
Everything was perfect. This is how life is supposed to go, right? You graduate high school, go to college, meet your future spouse, graduate college, get married, buy a house, and start having babies. Boom. Boom. Boom. The circle of life.
Half of our wedding was already planned: deposits paid, engagement pictures taken, dress purchased, and guests notified of the date. We were on course to make this happen.
Then, one afternoon, I learned that he was having second thoughts – he wasn’t sure about marrying me. He said it wasn’t necessarily me but that something didn’t feel right with the situation. He had felt troubled since proposing but didn’t want to ruin everything and just thought he would get over it. But something kept nudging him until he finally told me his thoughts. I didn’t want to hear it, believe it, or understand it. I basically just ran away, ran out of the apartment, to my car, called my best friend and cried the whole way home and weeks after. I thought this couldn’t be real. How am I supposed to face ANYBODY (parents included) and tell them what happened? How am I supposed to cancel a wedding? I, honestly, wore my ring for another 2-3 weeks, knowing that his mind wasn’t going to be changed. I didn’t know how to tell people that he had decided not to marry me. That he was choosing another path. And that I was so so ashamed. It felt like a failure on my part.
Breaking an engagement to someone you care deeply about is never easy or happy for either person involved. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced and had to work through. I know that it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make. I really thought there would be no other guy that could measure up to him. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. My whole world was turned upside down with one sentence. I now had no plan, no idea of what to do after college, where to go, what job I was going to work. I was utterly lost and helpless.
But God was good. His plan was so much better than I could have ever imagined.
I have come to realize that neither one of us were really ready to start a marriage. We were not prepared like we thought we were. God still had so much to work to do within both of us before we would be ready to bring someone else into our lives. I am so grateful that he realized that and called off the engagement before our marriage ended in divorce (a whole new kind of pain, worse, and much more complex than canceling a wedding). I am glad he had the courage to do what I couldn’t and to see what I wouldn’t.
God brought me through the fire and made me so much stronger than I was before. I no longer depended on another person but instead depended on Him. I moved to the fourth largest city in America (coming from a town of 11,000), worked three jobs to make ends meet and gain financial independence from my parents. But more importantly, my identity as a woman and daughter of Christ was deepened through these struggles.
I also started dating another man from college. One who would have such great impact on my faith and who would challenge me and push me to be the best I could be independently of him. Who truly loved me through all my faults and misgivings, times of freak outs, and two and half years of being 1,562 miles apart. Blake knew me and loved me and fought to become the best husband, man, and future father a man could be. He has shown undying love by working hard and preparing a life for me.
He made sure that we both understood what marriage really is. What it means to be a husband, what it means to be a wife. How that works together. Are we attracted to each other physically? Immensely. :) Do we know that there will be times that our physical attraction won’t solve the deep issues of combining two different hearts? Most definitely.
We were ready to share our lives, become one, and love and respect each other no matter what. We have committed ourselves to God and to each other. We decided to take a leap into the adventures of marriage. I have to say it’s been a pretty great journey so far, full of laughter and joy.
I couldn’t have asked for better, even though I tried.
All this to say, decisions can still be made during the engagement. Not just about cake flavors, flowers, and colors. This is a time for you to really dig deeper, to talk about the hard topics, and to figure out if this person is really who you want to choose to be by your side no matter what life throws at you.” ~ Ashley
Ashley, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. If any of you have gone through a similar experience, please leave a note in the comments for anyone you think it could help.
Candace & Covy were married a little over a year ago. I asked her to drop some dimes of knowledge on us about what that first year has been like for them. (And, as a bonus, her wedding day gets one more blaze of glory on the blog.)
Q: What do you miss most about the single life?
A: I don’t!
Q: Give us your best cheapo/fun married date idea.
A: Anything outdoors – fishing, working out, beach, picnic, gardening, playing with Rex, etc. There’s something about just the solitude in nature and making your own fun without cell phones, laptops, television interruptions. “Just you and me, enjoying us”
Q: What have you like most about being married?
A: Being a team, having someone else’s support and love to come home to everyday
Q: Whats the hardest part about being married?
A: We both work full time so finding the middle ground on the dreaded chores! (I’m more of a deep clean while Covy is a surface clean.)
Q: What was the biggest thing you were nervous about? How has it turned out?
A: Buying our first home, one that we can start a family in, and that it would feel like “home” to us. It was meant for us, we are such homebodies now!
Q: Do you have any advice for couples about to take the plunge?
A: Enjoy every single second, and let loose! Those memories you will look back on and will smile ear-to-ear. And write notes to each other the day of, exchange, save and open on a special anniversary – it will be so special to look back on how you were feeling, and what you projected.