The rest of our engagement was a whirlwind of activity! Dress shopping, cake tasting, list making, day dreaming, and even a few visits with my beloved. I learned during this time that attempting to please everyone in every area of wedding planning is completely impossible. But boy, did I try! My parents were truly amazing through the whole ordeal. For every decision, there was first my opinion to weigh. Then someone (other than my parents) would object to some piece (or all) of it. Then came the negotiating. Many times I would ask my parents “what do you think? How should we do this?” I can not recall any response that didn’t boil down to “it’s your wedding… we just want you to be happy with it.” They were amazing. And so extremely patient.
I do remember one time that there was a particularly stressful decision on the table. It was one of those “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” kind of things. I agonized over the options, knowing that someone would be unhappy no matter what. It was at this point that my dad said, “how about I just give you all this money that we’re spending on the wedding, and you and Nathan can elope.” I think he was kidding. 😉
When I met Nathan’s family for the first time, we had already been engaged for over 4 months! (For those who are not familiar with our family, Nathan’s parents moved to Mexico to be missionaries when Nathan was 8. They live in the Southern state of Chiapas, which is a looooong ways South of the border. So coming to the U.S. is a huge event that does not happen often.) They were traveling all over the U.S. and planned a stop in Colorado to meet my family! The only trouble was that I was leaving *early* the morning after they arrived to drive to Dallas with my sister Kimberly. Which means that after they pulled in at midnight, we sat up and talked until 2 and then I said “sorry, I have a 12 hr drive tomorrow. I have to get some sleep!” Bummer.
I was able to see Nathan 3 times during our engagement. The longest was for his family reunion in California! He paid for my flight, and I think I bit my nails all the way there. Actually I’ve never bit my nails. But if I did, I would have been on that flight. I was so nervous to be meeting all of the aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins, and actually be spending a bunch of time with Nathan’s immediate family! It didn’t take long for that nervousness to be replaced by excitement. And maybe a little bit of intimidation. Nathan’s family is so much fun! It was a big reunion, with family from all over 2 countries.
This reunion was just 3 weeks before our wedding. I felt slightly insane being that close to the wedding date (SO much left to do!) and leaving the state for the week. But it was totally worth it. I fell in love with Nathan’s family that week. Had some great talks with his aunts and grandma, got to know the siblings a bit, and of course enjoyed getting so much face time with Nathan!
When it was time to go home, I said goodbye to Nathan one last time. So relieved that the next time I saw him, it would be for our wedding and we wouldn’t have to keep doing this long-distance relationship!
Is this a good spot to talk about long-distance relationships? Allow me to tell you one major issue that I discovered with ours. Of course, I did not realize it was an issue until well after we were married. We never learned to fight! I’m not a good fighter, anyway. I tend to avoid conflict like the plague. I’m not sure why, it’s just how I’m wired. Maybe that’s okay some of the time! But when you’re married, or even about to get married, you have to learn how to DEAL with conflict. Not just breeze over it. However, if your relationship is long-distance, it’s MUCH easier to just brush it under the rug. So that’s what I did! When we came across a topic that we did not agree on, it was simple to just say goodbye and hang up the phone instead of actually getting into the issue and working through it. Obviously, this became an issue after we were married and I couldn’t just hang up. But that’s another post for another day.
Sep 1st, all of the wedding fun began! My girlfriends began arriving from all over the place, and we all had too much fun to bother with things like sleep. 😉 There were nails to paint, dresses to pick up, hairs to curl, rental items to check out, parties to be had… it was a fun time! Remember, I was still living at home all this time, so it was my parent’s house that was overflowing with girls and hair products! Once again, they were fantastic. So very patient and tolerant of the late night giggle-fests, even cooking one amazing meal after another for us!
Nathan left his job at ETMC, packed up his few belongings, and drove to Colorado. 10 days before the wedding. The next thing we knew, it was rehearsal day. We set up and decorated, and things started to feel very real. My parents did this huge amazing BBQ for our entire wedding party and all of the out-of-town guests. It was definitely the party before the party! As I sit here remembering those wonderfully busy days, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude once again.
For my friends, who worked tirelessly to help set up and tear down. For my photographer and friend, who insisted on putting me and my sister Kimberly at a Bed and Breakfast the night before the wedding (she was sure I wouldn’t get any sleep with 8 girls camped out on my floor). For the sweet ladies in our church, who helped make so much food and drinks. For my precious grandpa/pastor, who patiently walked through the rehearsal with us more than once… and kept us laughing the whole time. But most especially for my parents. They went above and beyond when it came to our wedding. They invested many hours of cooking, cleaning, setting up, and calming my nerves.
I drifted to sleep that night feeling so blessed. This was my last night as an unmarried woman! I knew that tomorrow would be wonderful, I just had no idea HOW wonderful.