When you start planning a wedding the first thing that comes to your mind is: “I’m not going to be one of those brides who stresses out.” You imaging the process liken to holding hands walking into the sunset with rose petals floating down around you: absolute bliss. Besides you have an entire pintrest board of wedding plans and a hundred desires and dreams from your childhood that seem nearly possible. What could go wrong?
Now, I love planning for things. I am the ultimate planner. I turned into this hybrid woman when I became a mother of 2 under 2 before I was 22. Planning was the only way I could survive and keep the house kept while making homemade meals every night and also being able to shower. I had to be a planner.
So I’ve had years of practice. Now, by the time Andre and I got engaged, we had already begun to plan. We began planning 7 months ago, looking for a venue. This seemed like such a small piece of the wedding day puzzle but every single time we found a place, there were issues.
I joke saying the first 6 months of wedding planning was real, raw marriage prep. And those are the blogs most newly engaged couples don’t write. So I’ll write it.
We ran into huge issues trying to make decisions because we both had junk inside of us that needed to be worked out. Fears, expectations, desires, dreams- all of it came crashing down every time one of us put our cards on the table and made a stand for what we wanted. How could this be happening? It occurred to me 3 months in that I had overlooked a minor detail dreaming of this day for 20 years.- My future groom’s opinion.
Wait, you don’t want EVERYTHING covered in glitter? You actually want a cake and not just thousands of cupcakes? *Mind Blown*
And so I turned into that girl. And back again, many times. I metamorphosed often. Sometimes, many times a day. Back and forth. There have been more tears in this process than joy sometimes because, I have a lot of areas of growth. Perfect. The one time I want to skip happily down the road of unrealistic expectations has turned into a journey of enormous pressure that I know will create a diamond one day.
I’m still mid process here, folks.
That brings us to the contest we lost. After months of getting no where in our plans, we entered to win a $35,000 wedding fully paid. Could this be why we had run into so many walls? Why nothing was moving forward….?
But we lost. Big time. We lost it so hard. We lost by miles. There’s a ton of happy go lucky phrases that I could fit here but in reality, we felt the loss. I felt like the biggest public rejection I’ve ever walked through, ever. And to top it all off, I had many circles of friends who didn’t know we lost until we saw them in person and they all asked if we won… Over and over again.
And CHEERS- I still get asked now.
My personality thrives on accomplishment. It thrives on success and pushing myself but this wasn’t a contest based on the effort put into something we had done. It was based on people’s votes, and we were not chosen.
Even still, we blessed what God was doing and celebrated the couple who won, but the contest had a very important role in our story.
We only entered because of one tiny detail. One small, very small huge detail that made me gasp when I saw it.
If we won we had to get married on a certain date. A date they chose. I don’t even love contests but for this one, we entered simply because of the date. 4 years ago God told me a date. A date that was in connection to my wedding. I had been praying about my husband, ok more like whining because I was alone. Really being prostrate and if I had sackcloth and ashes I would have had them all up on me. But in the middle of my emotional Juvenal breakdown, God told me September 27th. The same date of you had to get married on if you won the contest.
I couldn’t make this story up.
God told me that date so I wrote it down and forgot about it. I dismissed it really because nothing ever came of it. I thought I must had misheard God. September 27th came and went 4 times until I saw the contest. It was in the explanation of the contest rule and I told Andre about what God told me years before and we decided to enter.
When I told Andre, he reminded me a few years back long before I knew him, God gave him a number, the number 27th. We only entered because of that date and before we knew we lost hard, we decided no matter what, that was our date.
So after we lost the epic wedding and after a roller coaster of emotions, our pastors reminded us to Keep the main thing the main thing. Our covenant. Let the ideals of the wedding go and move forward with what we have.
Yeah that was easy… Until more things surface and needs to be addressed. I’m telling you, the pressure and trust in God of this season means I will be one huge sparkling diamond on that day. If we hadn’t decided on September before we lost, we would have moved the wedding to relieve some of this pressure, but instead we remain. We allow what needs to come off to melt away. We are learning how to stay in peace in the process together.
When two lives are coming together and learning to work together, it gets messy. Things come up, tears come out and trust is built. We have learned far more about each other then we would have on a straight road. I would rather a straight road more often if I’m honest, but I am thankful for our foundation as a couple. Wedding planning has not been blissful. It’s been challenging, painful, stressful and full of unknowns. It had not been like movies where there are always smiles and perfectly ironed table linens.
In the middle of enormous challenges, in trying to make choices for the day, God gifts us two beautiful wedding gifts through some amazing friends. We were so humbled and honored. It reminded me, that I am seen, and help dismiss lies of rejection from losing the contest. We were contacted by so many friend in my community and some even offered to give their time for us, for free. (More about those gifts once the entire wedding story is written.)
But the main thing, our connection, it’s stronger than ever. It’s more real than ever. I feel more safe then ever. We are proud of how far we have come and there are certainly parts of me that wish we could have gotten her another way, but we couldn’t. The roots of the season have gone down deep. Something I could have never pinned on my wedding pinterest board.
It’s not a common thing for brides to be to share the True Hollywood Story of the behind the scenes wedding planning. Wedding planning is marriage boot camp in a way. Muscles grow, and immaturity is bound to surface if it’s in you. In the end, you can either learn to work together or choose to hold onto self preservation. It’s amazing to grow a connection, but a few limbs get pruned along the way to make room for new fruit in the next season.
What I’ve learned is that staying close to God’s heart in a place of thankfulness protects me. It keeps me focused on what He is doing and not on what He is not doing. I don’t understand some timing of this season. Goodness, how I would love every detail planned and ready a few months ago, but I know He has been planning the details of this time so long ago and I trust His plans. Everything changes when we stay in a place of thanksgiving for what God is doing. It’s easy to compare our process to someone’s but we don’t know the journey and the root system it took to get them there.
At this point we have a handful of things decided but when it all comes together it will be a miracle. So remember this blog when you see the pictures and the video.
No one walks the same path, but the path may be more bumpy than you would like. Embrace it. Get everything out of the season you are in so you don’t wonder around the mountain.
A Note to brides to be: Stop. Wait. Listen. Ask God for His vision of your wedding. Co-Dream with God and let the details come together in a way that honors your connections with Him and people. Don’t forget your groom’s heart. If he desires something, listen. Love him by listening and be willing to change your ideas. Remember- it’s not about things, or stuff. It’s not even about our dreams- It’s about what God is doing. Keep that the main thing!