Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wedding Priorities First Pass

I've been trying to write a blog post about my brother's Eagle Ceremony since it happened. Five days have passed since I started writing, and I remain unsatisfied, so I'm going to back-burner it and try an easier post. In the meantime-- big public congrats to my brother!

K and I have spent some time over the past eighteen months working out what our priorities are for this "wedding" thing.  The first two, which are big ones, were easy to find.

  1. No more debt.
    We both took on some debt while going to school.  I got a pretty decent co-op and some help from my family, so, with a combination of luck and hard work, I have almost paid mine off.  K will come out of school with a heftier chunk of debt than I will, but we both believe that with careful budgeting, we can triumph over the College Debt Monster.  Assuming we can both find work, we have an aggressive timeline to accomplish this: we want to buy a house.  As a result, we have zero interest in a big, expensive, traditional wedding (average cost: $27,000, from what I read).  We'll have a wedding that we can afford with money we save over the next year or so.

    If this means that we end up eloping, because nothing else will work on the budget, then we'll elope (no later than December 31, 2013, because we're both heartily sick of the word "fiancé"*).  In that event, we'll have a big party on our five-year anniversary or something like that.
  2. Family = A+ important.
    I like to talk about how we both have huge, awesome families: people related to us who have supported us our whole lives. I do this because we both consider our families a central part our lives.  Our families have taught us important lessons throughout our lives.  Some of them are standard lessons about love, graciousness, and supporting one another through times of pain, but I've learned more from my family. For example, I learned a lesson about critical thinking, careful speaking and assumption-making from my family when my carelessness in a role-playing session led my character to wander beneath the foot of a giant.  I learned about how things don't always go as planned when, at a play I had put together, my brother "borrowed" the microphone. ("My dad smokes big, long cigars, drinks lots of beer, and is the King of Hollering!" he announced.)  I learned about working together with people you don't like to achieve goals (because if I didn't work with my brother, we were never going to catch all the Pokémon and, more importantly to me at the time, I wasn't going to be allowed to play at all).

    I can't imagine not trying to include all of these people who have made such an impression on our lives as K and I begin to build our own family.  So, when we first started seriously trying to think about planning a wedding, we made a list of our parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.  I organized it nicely in a spreadsheet for our future reference and ran a quick tally.  Between us, we have about 80 family members who visit on holidays (or call if they're too far)-- just the people who have played important roles in our lives.

    I looked at him.  "I like the idea of a small wedding," I said.

    He looked back at me.  "It's just not going to happen, is it?"

    No, it won't, but that's OK, because we are blessed to have so many people to (potentially) surround and support us.
So, having sorted out the big things, we've been talking about the smaller things.  We want a short ceremony and a kid-friendly venue; we don't want a sit-down dinner** or a church involved. We'd prefer somewhere with contiguous indoor/outdoor space, so that we can go outside if the weather's nice and stay dry if it's not.  We have at least a loose idea of the people we want on Team Wedding.  K doesn't want a tux, I don't want a veil, high heels, or a train.  If people are going to make the trip out to see/help/witness/support us as we're getting married, we want to make sure we have time to actually see them-- definitely more than an average of four minutes per person, which is what you get when you divide a five-hour reception over eighty people (yikes!).

We're still trying to figure out some of the less philosophical big things. For example, we haven't found a venue yet, and it's hard to plan a lot of the other stuff if you don't have a venue sorted out.  Still, I have high hopes: we have over a year left and options, and we agree about the big things.  Now, it's just a matter of legwork.

Quick note of disclaimer for wedding-related posts: I would love to invite positively the entire world to my wedding. Sadly, we do not have infinity money, and K would probably be overwhelmed if the entire world showed up. So, if you don't make the guest list (if we even have a guest list) it is not because we don't love you.
*To avoid the F-word, I call K "boyfriend", "husband", and "partner" pretty interchangeably, but I hate that I'm quasi-misusing the terms only slightly less than I hate the word "fiancé".
**Having been to events where we found ourselves glued to a table for a meal, we hate missing people we want to talk to while spending lots of time with very few people. We also don't want to design seating charts or cope with table numbers, so it seems win/win to us.

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