March 17, 2011

The Big Wedding Tell-All

It's been a long time since I talked about anything wedding related here around the ol' blog, and there is quite a lot to talk about. I've kind of been procrastinating because I didn't want to write about it until all the little details got worked out, but at this point I'm starting to wonder whether that will ever happen... there are so many balls up in the air right now and at some point they're all going to drop -- probably all at the same time. And I am not a juggler.
The other reason that I've been putting off writing about all of our plans is because they are slightly... untraditional. Life (and the Army) have thrown us a few curveballs as of late, and we are having to adjust and make the best out of things. While the "plan B" that we have come up with isn't quite what I always wanted, I'm pretty darn determined to make it work and to make it wonderful. Dan has been amazing and even though it's not exactly his first choice either, he knows that this is really important to me. 
We've gotten some conflicting opinions from those closest to us about the way we've decided to do things: most people have been incredibly supportive and understanding, but a very few have been slightly... less than that. Ahem. Because of this, the idea of writing to the world about our plans has made me a little nervous. It's hard to explain in a blog post all the thoughts and emotions that have gone into such a big decision. I am, however, constantly amazed by the things I read and the support I see out there in the blogging world, so I'm taking a little leap of faith and crossing my fingers that some of that support might find its way over here. So without further ado...

Dan and I are getting married twice. 

Yep, go ahead and let that sink in for a second. It's not normal, it's weird, it's ambitious, it's too much, it's pretentious, it's asking a lot, it's downright crazy. Trust me, I've heard it all. But what it comes down to? It's what works, and it's what we both need and want to do.
I was a little bit upset when I realized that my dream wedding (the gorgeous dress, the friends and family, the delicious food, the wonderful pictures, the singular ceremony) was not exactly going to be possible when Dan's deployment was added to the picture. To be fair, actually, it would have been possible, but we were faced with a few options: wait and have the wedding after he came home, try to cram planning into a few months and have it right before he left, or make some sort of compromise. The first two options came with their own sets of risks and challenges attached, and when it came down to it, I knew that two things were true. First, I knew that I did not want him to leave, however long he could be gone, without getting married. Neither of us wanted that. Second, I knew that I did not want to try to pull off the dream wedding in such a short time span. This was a little more selfish, but I could just picture it -- things wouldn't be perfect, we would have to make concessions because of time, and I would look back on the wedding as "nice, but if we had only had time to...."
So we made a compromise. We would get married before he left, officially. We'd have a tiny little ceremony with our immediate families and we'd make it legal. Then, when he came home, we'd have the "normal" wedding. The big one, with both of our (rather large) families and all our friends and the gorgeous dress and professional photography and massive amounts of food and amazing honeymoon. Call me selfish, but the little girl inside me who has been dreaming of that day for oh, about 23 years now was just not willing to give that up. And don't get me wrong -- even the big wedding is not going to be a massive, lavish, bank-breaking event. In the end, to get around the little minor detail of us already being legally married, it will probably be kind of like a renewal of vows. But it will be a day that we get to spend celebrating with everyone, and that's what counts.
But for now, the "big wedding" is kind of on the backburner (can you tell how I'll be keeping busy while Dan is overseas?) and planning for the "little wedding" is in full swing, because it is now (gulp) a month away. We are getting married April 16th, at a cute little neighborhood "pavilion" (which sounds so much better than clubhouse). It's an afternoon-type affair, with a short ceremony, some yummy hors d'oeurves, and our close families. My motto is "we're not doing anything twice," and with a few obvious exceptions we've been able to stick to that. The cocktail hour, dinner, professional flowers and photography, dress, wedding cake, dancing, and tropical (my fingers are crossed) honeymoon will be saved for the big wedding. We're keeping this one tiny (and affordable -- as it is coming from our pockets) by doing our own flowers, drinks, photography, and decorations. My dress is cute but casual. 
In the end, my concern is that I don't want to be accused of trying to benefit from having two weddings -- my goal was never to milk this for all it's worth or to act spoiled or entitled. This is simply a plan that seems to work the best for us, allowing us to be married when Dan heads out but also for us to have wonderful memories with our favorite people from both events. 
I am so thankful that I have a fiance and a family who have supported this crazy-wonderful idea and helped so much already. It is ridiculous to realize that in a month, I will be married, but I know that I couldn't be making a better decision -- I am marrying my best friend and the one person who can always make me smile. I'm just lucky enough to get to do it twice!


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