You remember that awkward feeling you got when you were about to graduate from college, had NO idea what your next move was going to be and someone would ask you “so what are your plans after graduation?”
Yea…it’s sorta like that.
Of course we KNOW a wedding is coming, but that doesn’t stop Ethan and I from cuing the crickets when someone asks us “so have you guys set a date yet?”
The truth is…yes, we have a date in mind. We’ve also narrowed down our venue choices and have even put a few of our favorite vendors on alert. However comma, there is another truth that we (read “I”) have had to accept over this past month:
We’re not the only ones who have a say so in when we will get married.
Every bride and groom has their challenges when it comes to planning their wedding. For some it may be redoing the bridal party because one bridesmaid dropped out. For others, it may be dealing with a venue that cancels the event at the last minute. For us…it’s…NONE OF THE ABOVE.
As a newly engaged woman, the first thing I wanted to do, after I’d taken some time to wrap my brain around the fact that I had a fiance’, was start planning. I didn’t want to just go dress shopping, I wanted to focus on getting the two big V’s out of the way: Vendors and Venue. But Ethan…we’ll Ethan is many things. He’s a son, a brother, a soon-to-be married man…and an American Airman.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER proud of him for serving our country and protecting our freedom, but honey let me tell you: planning a wedding around the military is one tricky thing to do! Not only is it tough to set a date, but it’s darn near impossible to hire vendors and don’t even THINK ABOUT booking a venue! You never know when things can change and to be perfectly honest, it’s the biggest struggle for me. Seriously…it’s just downright stressful.
So how am I keeping myself keep calm? Well..some days I don’t. Somedays, I just want to throw all my plans out the window and just elope. But once I come back to reality, I remind myself that although neither one of us grew up dreaming about the details of our wedding, we both have desires and deserve to have the wedding of our dreams. So, I take a step back, take a breather and remind myself to follow these tips:
3. KEEP THE COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN
As a wedding photographer, I understand how important it is to book your vendors and venue early. I’ve already been requested to shoot weddings in 2016! But how can you book your venue and photographer if you have no solid date because your fiance’ is up for a deployment and you’re not sure when they’re leaving?
But what you can do is keep those communication lines open. For Ethan and I, it was a no brainer as to who we wanted to shoot our wedding. However, going through the booking process is tough because we haven’t narrowed down the date. And with her being such a popular photographer who is very high in demand, we know we run the risk of losing out on her all together because she may end up not being available for our date. If you have a particular photographer you want to capture your special day or a venue you’ve had your heart set on being married at, let them know what’s going on as early as possible in your process. A lot of times, we have policies set in place to deal with these kind of situations, especially vendors in a military community. Let them know you’re really interested in booking, however due to current circumstances, you’ll have to hold off. Streamlining information and keeping the communication lines open, opens the door for us to help you in ways you never thought possible. Some venues will place a “soft-hold” on your projected date for a certain period of time, while some may keep an open file for you. While I, as a photographer, may not be able to hold a date for you, I can certainly work closely with you to ensure I do everything in my power to help make your vendor search as easy as possible.
2. HAVE A PLAN B, C, D & E
Ok. So remember when I said we have a date in mind? Well, we also have 3 other dates in mind as well just in case the primary one doesn’t work out. Yea…we’re the kind that likes to be a little bit over-prepared than under-prepared. It makes it a little difficult to order save-the-date cards, but hey…it’s just the way our cookie has crumbled.
Having backup plans helps to relieve a lot of my anxiety because I know if one date falls through because he ends up a deploying, we can easily move full steam ahead with our next projected date. However, sometimes…thinking things through too much can cause you to over think a situation and if your future spouse is anything like Ethan, it’ll drive them up the wall.
Yes, it’s important to be prepared, but try not to over analyze during this process. This is supposed to be a fun and exciting time in your journey as a couple, but if you’re too busy over thinking and making sure your contingency plans have contingency plans, then you’re going to miss out on the process.
Which leads me to my final tip…and the one I have the HARDEST time abiding by.
1. DO NOT STRESS.
THIS one is SOOOOOOO much easier said than done. Seriously…I’m becoming stressed just thinking about not being stressed.
When you marry a service member, you’re marrying into a culture that will always keep you on your toes. One minute your spouse is at home and the next day, they’re heading out of the country on a 6 or 12-month deployment. But you know what?
You can’t change it.
No matter how much I wish with all my might that Ethan never deploys again in life, the truth is, there is absolutely NOTHING I can do to change the fact that he will.
During this wedding process, there will be things that get you down and not go according to plan, but like the Bible asks, “what good will worrying do?”
Whether your wedding date has to change at the last minute because of a last-minute deployment or you have to switch venues because yours accidentally double-booked, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. Sometimes God will take away the very thing we think we want to bless us with something greater and bigger…something that we actually need. There may be moments where you can’t speak and there will be times where you will want to cry and scream. But always remember to see the bigger picture. THE REASON WHY YOU’RE GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS. So what if we don’t have a date right now? Who cares if haven’t solidified our venue? At the end of the day, it’s about me and him. I’m marrying my best friend…God’s greatest gift to me so far in this little life of mine. And that…well that trumps any issue I may want to stress about.
So when exactly WILL we get married?
Well..I honestly can’t tell you.
But what I can tell you is…I’m going to enjoy every minute of this ride. 🙂
One thing I’ve learned about military is that the key to success is flexibility…being okay with last minute changes and adapting quickly. Now, while those are good qualities to have during the overall wedding progress, there are some decisions that can take a toll on.