Monday, April 20, 2015

Engagement // Fantasy vs. Reality

That moment is finally here. You can feel the nerves in the air. Breathing becomes alot heavier and slightly strained.

This is it!

The moment every girl dreams about when the love of her life gets down on one knee (or two as my case may have had it) and asks you to be his wife.


The moment is intense, beautiful, romantic, life transforming, and altogether perfect in all of its imperfections. Your heart swells with a joy like nothing you have ever felt yet as you realize, "This is it. My life is about to start!"

But then what?

Living with my newly engaged and soon to be married friends here in Uganda, I am reminded of all of the work and challenges that actually goes into an engagement period. 

I always dreamed and imagined this magical time to be something out of a movie or fantasy with gorgeous dresses and cake tastings. What I experienced in reality, was definitely out of a movie but more like the hilarious rantings in Bridesmaids (minus the embarrassing white dress in the street get the picture).

Fantasy: You start to see yourself as the new Mrs. (fill in the blank).

Reality: You're not actually married yet.

Once you've made that oh so important decision to be husband and wife, you start to see yourselves as husband and wife. Except your not. That means no marital benefits (you get what I'm saying). And even further than that, we made the decision to honor God and our upcoming marriage by not living together beforehand.

We bought a house together the summer before we were married (which was in February), fixed it up and got it all organized so we would be prepared for the time when we would actually be married. I moved into it and Josh lived around the corner from it.

For almost five months we lived this way and let me tell you, it was the longest five months of my life. I mean I thought February would never come. But it eventually did and honestly, I am so glad we waited because we got to experience all of the new and exciting life that we were embarking on as husband and wife, fully committed to one another.

The next part of your engagement period consists of all the wonderful decisions for the wedding.

Fantasy: You get to do all of this wonderful shopping and creating to organize the wedding you have always dreamed about.

Reality: Everyone has an opinion about what your wedding should look like and pulls you in a thousand different directions.

What I learned from this is if you and your husband truly have a vision and desire for what your wedding should look like, than you need to push forward with your vision (even if the naysayers disagree). It is your wedding for the two of you to love and share together. Be crazy. Be eccentric. Just be you, whatever that looks like, and soon enough the people who love you will come along side of what your are doing. You can't please everyone.

Fantasy: It's going to be a blast developing the fine details of this once in a lifetime day.

Reality: There are more decisions than anyone person actually has the mental capacity for.

Holy cow, the decisions! I never knew just how many crazy decisions a bride needed to make. Now I get why men leave it up to the women to do all the work. (Nice job men, I can really empathize with where your head is at in those moments.)

First you have the dress, which is a super fun decision, but can get incredibly overwhelming. (I'd just like to add though, it's true what they say. When you know, you know.) Then you have colors, flowers, centerpieces, linen textures, food, cake, decor, design, invitations, your registry, photographer, what the font on your cocktail napkins should look like (yes, we even had monogrammed cocktail napkins), and the list just went on and on.

I was truly exhausted when we reached the end of it all and if I am being completely honest, hiring our wedding planner was the absolute best decision I think we ever made. The amazing ladies of Jet Set Wed truly saved my life during this time period and I am eternally gratefully for their service, dedication, and hard work. They're fantastic!

If I'm leveling with ya'll, being engaged was not at all the fantasy I thought it would be. We were consumed by events, planning, shopping, and so many opinions that there was a point were Josh and I almost looked at each other and said, "How about we just elope?"

But it taught us sooo much as well. First and foremost, as important as your beautiful wedding day is, it truly is only one day.

The thing that you should be putting the most time and energy into is the marriage. Set aside time to learn about each other on a deeper level. Goals, desires, expectations, likes, dislikes. I believe that the most beneficial time we shared during our engagement was in our premarital counseling. We learned tons about one another and it really helped prepare us for our future together.

The second big lesson it taught us, was to become a united front.

I know it seems kind of like a weird lesson, but we needed to learn the bond that is created when you become husband and wife. The bible says,

"A man leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one."
Ephesians 5:31

Now the concept of this truth and the application can be very different. We both needed to learn to be one with each other and not everyone else. Because we chose to let it, wedding planning definitely helped us to do that and we started to learn how to be united as one.

The last major lesson we took away from all of this was that life is short.

Wedding planning, although tiresome, goes by in the blink of an eye and before you know it, all of the hullabaloo is over forever. So even in this sometimes difficult season, you need to enjoy every moment for what it is because it will be here and gone before you blink.

My wedding truly was the most gorgeous day of my life. Every incredible detail came together perfectly and I was amazed at the outpouring of love and support of everyone who was there celebrating with us.

But again if I'm being completely honest, the most perfect part of the entire day, was definitely Josh.

What were some of your experiences during your wedding planning? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Amazing Engagement photo cred to Timothy Mullin Media
Gorgeous Wedding photo cred to Michelle Reed Photography
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