A lot of people recently have asked questions about our wedding and how we're going about doing this whole justice of the peace thing, how the engagement has worked out, and about our plans for a traditional ceremony and reception in the future.
So here, spelled out, are our wedding plans:
Last year, my soon to be husband and I began seriously talking marriage. We knew it was something we both wanted for our future together, and with him going into the Army we knew we wanted to be married before he left for basic training. While it might be unconventional and take away from the surprise of the "will you marry me" surprise (Are people actually legitimately surprised when their partner proposes? I mean, yes you can/should be surprised by the style/timing of the proposal, but I feel like if you're at the stage for proposing you should have already had lengthy convos about getting married and your future together. So the fact that they are proposing shouldn't be that much of a surprise, right?) we wanted to make sure that we talked and planned things out, discussed how we would raise our family, and make sure that we were on the same page about lots of things. Plus, we wanted to make sure God was at the center of our marriage so we took the time to pray and make room for Him in our lives.
Because of him joining the Army, and the fact that we knew we wanted to be married before he left for basic, we had some things to work around. We knew that with him being in school and me being a first-year teacher and having so many student loans to pay back, we could not save up for a big traditional ceremony and reception before he left. We started talking to other Military couples and reading about how they handled the Army/marriage situation, and we learned that it's actually very common for couples to be married with a justice of the peace before the husband leaves for basic training and then later in the follow year, when he has a chance for leave, to have the big, traditional ceremony and reception with all of their friends and family. After doing a lot of talking with each other and our parents, we determined that this would be the best plan for us.
Even though we have been planning out this wedding situation for almost 8 months, he has not technically proposed yet. We've purchased the rings, but he is waiting for a very specific moment/date to officially pop the question (I still don't know what this date is, but apparently it has some kind of significance to us. I like the surprise of it, and I can't wait to tell everyone the story of how it finally happened!) We consider ourselves to be engaged, and refer to each other as "fiance" when talking to other people, he just hasn't put a ring on it yet ;)
On November 11, 2011, he and I will be married by a justice of the peace at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse with just our parents, maid of honor, and best man in attendance. We want it to be a very intimate ceremony, and that is why we have chosen only a very select few people to be there.
Next year around Christmas, he will be on leave from Army training and will be able to come home to Northeast Ohio. At that time, tentatively on December 29, 2012, we will be holding a traditional ceremony with the full wedding party as well as a large reception. At this time, we will be celebrating our love and marriage with a vow renewal (the traditional ceremony) and reception with all of our friends and family. We are so thankful that even though we won't have all of our friends and family at the justice of the peace ceremony, they will be able to join us for a true celebration the following year!
No, it's not necessarily traditional. No, it's not necessarily the way either of us imagined.
But it works for our circumstances, and it will allow us to be together during times that non-married soldiers would have to spend apart from their loved one while saving up for the traditional ceremony and reception we've always dreamed of.
We both hope that people aren't offended or upset that they won't be a part of our justice of the peace wedding, and that our friends and family will be understanding of our circumstances. We can't wait to celebrate with all of you who have been such an important and supportive part of our lives and relationship together!