My husband and I were in a four-year-long-distance relationship before we got married. We were only able to spend two weeks together before the wedding, so essentially all of the planning was done long distance, by me.
Apart from the fact that I was living in Vermont while my fiancé was in Texas, our wedding was going to be in Colorado. I had to do the bulk of the planning over winter break when my fiancé and I were both in Colorado.
I didn’t want it to be just my wedding. I know the stereotype is a crazy bride obsessing over the smallest details and a groom who could care less about the big day, but I didn’t want to throw a party for myself, I wanted my wedding to be about me and my groom.
The problem was that my groom happened to be studying Mechanical Engineering and was incredibly busy during the months leading up to our wedding. He wanted to share his input, but the wedding day was not his top priority.
He chimed in on a color scheme and approved my ideas, but I didn’t get to involve him as much as I wanted to.
[bctt tweet=”I didn’t want to throw a party for myself, I wanted my wedding to be about me and my groom.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Here are five lessons that I learned while planning a wedding long-distance:
1. Planning a wedding is harder than you’d think.
When I got engaged, I was ecstatic and unconcerned. We were engaged for almost two years, so I knew I would have plenty of time to plan. Plus, I wasn’t the bridezilla type, so everything would be a piece of cake.
Boy, was I wrong.
2. Friends and family don’t quite get it.
I had amazing friends who tried their best to keep me sane through the wedding planning. However, I could tell that by the end of my engagement I was starting to bore them. All I could talk about was whether we wanted chocolate or vanilla frosting on our donuts. I could tell they were trying to be interested but, let’s face it, they’d heard it all before.
My mother-in-law lectured me a couple times about how terrible her detail-obsessed friend’s wedding was. She was trying to help and trying to keep me from getting stressed, but I hated hearing that I couldn’t pay attention to details that were important to me.
3. Weddings are expensive.
That’s an understatement. Since we were getting married immediately out of college, we had no money. Our wedding had to be under an incredibly tight budget, and every big cost felt like a waste. I wanted to have a beautiful, dream wedding but I also wanted to be able to afford food as a married woman.
My groom understood that I wanted things to be nice, but he had to help me through conversations like:
“We really can’t afford $200 rings, how about we start with silver rings and get better rings later?”
4. No matter how much you try, there will always be something left for last minute.
I found a dream dress at a little shop in Vermont and bought it, though it was the only dress left in the store and two sizes too big. We couldn’t afford to get it professionally altered, so my mom offered to hem the skirt and add some beading to the back of the dress to keep the straps from falling off.
[bctt tweet=”I could have walked down the aisle of my parents’ backyard wearing jeans and a t-shirt with only 10 guests, and it would have still been the best day of my life.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Despite our best efforts, these changes didn’t happen until three days before the wedding. In the end, the dress was still too big. But, hey, it really wasn’t a big deal.
5. In the end, the wedding day was about getting married to my best friend, but the planning wasn’t useless.
I could have walked down the aisle of my parents’ backyard wearing jeans and a t-shirt with only 10 guests and no food for the reception, and it would have still been the best day of my life.
That being said, I loved the details that made our wedding feel personal and important. I noticed that our paper plates were the right color and that the lights strung across the ceiling were diagonal instead of horizontal. Plus, it was important for my husband to notice the details and to see the ways that I combined both our shared interests into a day that was beautiful and fun and more so, one that represented us.
Planning our wedding wasn’t easy, and it didn’t end up being perfect. But it was the perfect conclusion to four years apart: a symbolic mix of the things that make us both unique.