Kyle and I are going to end up having an engagement exactly one week shy of one year. He proposed on August 14, 2009 and we will be married on August 7, 2010. While both of us are ready to be married to each other today, I can also see the benefits that this long engagement has for us as a couple.
Every couple is different. I know people who have had short engagements and they wouldn’t have done it any other way. In fact, I even know of two couples right now, one who will have exactly two months and another who will have two months and eleven days between their engagement dates and their wedding dates. In a way, I’m slightly jealous of them. According to that timeline, Kyle and I would already be married. How wonderful that would feel!
However, rather than envy others’ short engagements, I’m going to focus on why this longer engagement is a good thing for us, personally.
1) Time for saving money. Kyle and I are paying for the majority of the wedding ourselves. If we were to get married next month, there is no way we could have enough cash to pay for even the most modest event. We were able to set up a joint checking and savings account so we can both deposit money into it, and we plan to pay our vendors from that stash. The last thing we want to do is go into debt to pay for a wedding.
2) Time for guests to plan. We have some friends who live in Colorado, but other than that, all or our guests will be traveling from out of state. Most of our family members live over 1,000 miles away. Having a year to plan gives people time to make travel arrangements and schedule vacation time. I agree with the statement that the people who really want to be there will make it work, regardless of how much time they have to plan. However, this is a once in a lifetime event so I would like for as many of my family members to attend and if that will be better accomplished by giving them more notice, then I’m glad we can do that.
3) Time of year. Winter in Colorado is incredible for skiing and other snow sports. But most people who live here say they came for the winters and stayed for the summers. Spring (which lasts through June) can have unpredictable weather and fall was either too close or too far away from our engagement date. Summer in Summit County is gorgeous. The sun is strong and warm, humidity is low, temperatures never get too high, the wildflowers are beautiful, and if there is rain it usually passes through quickly. We wanted to showcase this beautiful place we live during its most stunning season. Ideally, we would have chosen July, but that month was booked up, so we went with the beginning of August.
4) Time to book vendors. This is a very unique community, being that it is a resort town. The choices for vendors are pretty limited. The choices for affordable vendors are even more limited. So, in order to make something work at a price we can manage, we needed to build in time to negotiate pricing and come up with creative, low-cost solutions.
5) Time to get in shape. This reason comes from a completely vain part of me. Plain and simple, I want to lose weight. One needs time to accomplish that feat. Seamstresses need time to alter a dress if I happen to buy one and then alter my body through exercise and proper nutrition. Speaking of that, I better get back on track with my routine!
6) Time to plan the wedding. Kyle and I are busy people. I work a second job when possible. Taking care of our new puppy seems to eat up our evenings (in a good way), and it feels like often my work hours extend beyond 5:00 p.m., meaning my evenings start later to begin with. Since we don’t have a computer at home, most wedding-related research or planning has to be done at the office. Usually, the last thing I feel like doing after working a full day is staying longer to make wedding decisions. The truth is, I’m not one of those brides who has had her whole wedding planned out since she was five. I haven’t been involved in the planning process of many weddings, so I feel a bit clueless about all the choices to be made. Mix in the fact that I’m notoriously indecisive, and you can see why I might need more time to plan than other brides would. I have heard that short engagements are best for indecisive people because the couple is forced to make decisions quickly and there isn’t time for being wishy-washy. I can see that point. I also know that I get overwhelmed pretty easily and I’d prefer to enjoy the decision-making process, rather than be cornered into making selections.
7) Time to plan for marriage. Yes, some of those important discussions obviously took place before we were engaged. After all, how does a couple know they want to get married if they never talk about what their future together would look like? However, Kyle always seemed protective of the engagement period. He didn’t want us to get wrapped up into planning the details of our wedding or our future until we were engaged. He wanted to save that for when the ring was on my finger and we could make concrete plans together. As a result, our conversations were more vague prior to getting engaged. Now that we are engaged, there is a freedom to talk openly and more definitively about our marriage. Instead of sharing non-specific information about some idealized or imaginary marriage that each of us might dream of on our own, we have personal conversations about what each of us will contribute to our very real forthcoming marriage. Conversations begin with “when we are married…” rather than “if we were to get married…”. I notice how that difference shapes our conversations to be much more intentional and specific. To me, that process is more important than planning the details of the reception. This is ultimately about a marriage, not just a wedding.
Some days I just want to go and elope. Other days, I’m incredibly excited when I think about all of our family and friends coming together to celebrate with us. Some days I look at those silly wedding checklists and worry that a year is not enough time because I’m so “behind schedule.” Then, I remember that we really have plenty of time and those checklists are just a guideline. I know that regardless of how much time it takes us to plan it, our wedding day will be incredibly special, and I am looking forward to being married to the love of my life.