Last night, I found it hard to go to sleep. So I started reminiscing about life. I don’t know what got me started, but I started thinking about the past November through January. And as I lay there, supposedly trying to sleep, I couldn’t help but literally laughing out loud about the past. I’m sure some of you know, and I have briefly referred to in the past, how Rob and I got engaged on November 6 and got married on January 2. It was quite the speedy turn around. But last night I was remembering in detail all the frustrations and obstacles that came up along the way, and in hindsight, it’s a really funny story. Let’s start at the beginning. Rob proposed the night before my 21st birthday. As my dad likes to say, “You gave up your freedom before you even had it!” We were planning to get married on May 15th. We were planning on Rob getting Fort Campbell as his next base, and we were planning on buying a house in Nashville so that I could continue going to my college and he could go to work at Fort Campbell. We had everything worked out perfectly. Except for the fact that I only had six months to plan a wedding, and David Tutella’s wedding book suggests having a good nine months to a year to plan! I was behind and had to hit the ground running.
So the day after we got engaged, I was just so anxious that I started looking for dresses that afternoon! And not only did I look for dresses that afternoon…but I looked at 10 different stores and tried on over 30 different dresses within the next 5 days. I was worn out with dress shopping, and I didn’t even have a venue yet (we will get to that part of the story in a minute). Finally, I found this wonderful dress at a really high end boutique where pretty much everything was out of my price range…except for this one dress. It had been a sample dress, and it was the last one left. It was on clearance for 60% off of its original price, and I snagged it for an amazingly low price. So, exactly one week after the day I got engaged, I had my wedding gown.
Now came the time to look at venues. I had started looking at a tea house that was located just a couple of miles from my home. It was beautiful. We had gone there and looked at everything, talked with the people, gotten a rough estimate of the price, and it all just seemed perfect. So, I was ready to put down my deposit right after the engagement. I kid you not, weeks passed and I could not get these people to call me back. She said she would have dessert menus to me on a certain day, and never did. She said she would call me at certain times, and never did. And every time I called for her, she was busy. So then, when I complained to the manager (which was the wedding planner’s mother) she never apologized to me for being left hanging on a wire for weeks, instead she said that her daughter would get back to me when she had time. Not only that, but she acted like I was the one causing the inconvenience. I don’t know if they had forgotten the meaning of customer service, but I respectfully told them they would not be hearing from me anymore.
I was devastated. This was the place that seemed so perfect. And now, with only five and a half months left to plan, I had to find an alternate venue. So I started calling place after place after place. My mom, my sister, and I put our heads together to try to think of every place imaginable. I will never forget the Wednesday night that I called a venue to get pricing information. They asked me what my budget was, and when I told them, they said, “Good luck having a wedding in Nashville for that. Most people spend about $20,000.” TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS?! I started bawling. I didn’t have near that kind of money, but I wanted this to be the day I had always dreamed of. I didn’t know what to do.
That same night, I called a place called the Hermitage Hotel. I was sure they would be out of my price range, being that they were a beautiful historical hotel, the only 5 star 3 diamond hotel in the South. However, the wedding planner was so nice. I told her my budget, and while she said it might be hard, we could manage it. She invited me to come down and look at the place and talk to her. I went as soon as I could, and I fell in love.
Three weeks after the engagement, and two days after I found my new wedding venue that had penciled me in for May 15, Rob found out that he was being stationed in Korea. KOREA! This might have been worse news than the $20,000 wedding. We had a lot of discussing and praying to do over that Thanksgiving break (as he found out 2 days before Thanksgiving). He also found out right when all of the chaos was going on between the North and the South. I was at my wits end. We knew he would have to leave in March. And we knew that no matter what, from this point forward the plans that we make with him being in the army are never going to go the way we plan. So we knew that he would definitely be in America until March. And we knew that he was going to Korea. And we didn’t know what would happen after that, or where he would go after that. So we didn’t know if waiting another year to get married would be the smartest thing. So we decided to go with what we knew.
On November 29, we set the day in stone. January 2, 2011. There was an opening at the Hermitage Hotel for that day, and he would already be in Nashville on Christmas break. It was perfect, except for the fact that I had exactly 33 days to plan a wedding…oh, and exam week was coming up…oh, and I had to have an unexpected surgery 23 days before my wedding.
The month flew by. On November 30, my mom and I did 12 hours straight of shopping, getting together and sending invitations, finding bridesmaids dresses, ordering suits for the men, picking out flowers, and taking my dress to get altered (just to name a few). I remember as we were buying the invitations at 8 o’clock at night, the woman at Michael’s almost didn’t let me use three coupons on three different boxes of invitations. I said, “Listen. I just found out that I have to move to South Korea and now I have to plan a wedding in a month.” I continued on with my sob story for another minute or two until she finally let me have 40% off all of my invitations instead of just one box of them. Not only were we going to plan this wedding in a month, but we were going to save as much money as possible.
The night before the wedding, I started feeling so sick. I had a fever and was aching all over and had the worst sore throat I had ever had. I went to my bachelorette party, and as I was walking back to my car, found that I had been towed. Yes, towed. On my wedding’s eve. After every other thing that had happened…now and $80 tow charge at midnight the night before my wedding. Not to mention I was sick, had a fever, and I had such a sore throat I just wanted to have my whole neck removed.
It had been a rough month. Emotions were high. Times were intense. I had more than one emotional breakdown. I had nightmares every night of being late to my own wedding or something going terribly wrong. But in the end, I wish that the whole thing was filmed. Looking back, it was one of the most fun times of my life. I wish I could do it all again.
And then, when that Sunday morning finally came, I just took it all in. It went by so fast. I remember that I didn’t want to cry as my daddy walked me down the aisle…and I cried like a baby at 2 pm on January 2. It was everything I could have every asked for. It didn’t go the way I ever would have planned…and that’s what made it perfect.
That’s the funny thing about plans. It’s like that saying that says make your plans in pencil and give God the eraser. I think that God showed me through my wedding what life is like. At times, it’s hectic. It’s crazy. It is overwhelming. And that’s what we have God for. And in the end, it’s so worth it. The harder it is, the deeper an impact it makes on your life. And looking back on it, it’s something that makes your story unique and a memory to cherish forever. Embrace it.
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