I’m not very old. I always thought that if I ever did get married, I would be closer to 30 than 20. However, on my wedding day, I’ll be 23 years, 13 days. I always thought people getting married before being 25 were crazy. Maybe we are crazy. We probably are, but not only because of this. We were so focused on staying true to what God had for us, that we had never gone out with anyone else before going out together. Our first kiss will be at our wedding ceremony before our King Jesus and those we love and who love us. If that isn’t crazy in this world, I’m not sure what is.
Up until the day Andrew proposed to me, I felt young- as in I-should-still-be-in-high-school four years after graduating young. I was learning what it would be like to be a family with Andrew, but I still belonged exclusively to the family I’d grown up with and felt on the edge of his family, not outgoing enough to make myself belong and not uninterested enough to ignore them completely. Friends would ask, “Hows it going with Andrew?” A smile on their faces, eyebrows wiggling on their foreheads. “Um, it’s good,” I’d reply earnestly before looking away for another topic.. Help! What was I supposed to say to that? I had no idea, no experience. Eventually I’d babble on about somewhere we’d gone, or the always enthralling-to-every listener, how we were playing frisbee on Saturday, or ask what books they’d been reading (a solid subject with homeschoolers). But when Andrew knelt down and asked those four words, suddenly I grew up, in a way different from the way people grow up after a traumatic event. I stood taller, I was stronger. Someone had chosen me! Not because I thought I needed to be chosen by a man- God has chosen me, and I’m part of the kingdom of my King. What more can I ask? I didn’t need to be chosen again, and Andrew didn’t need me, either. But he’d chosen me anyway. I felt so loved. Our families were so excited for us! Andrew texted or called literally everyone to tell them I’d accepted him, that we were getting married. I got messages from people I rarely talked with saying how excited they were for us- I was so happy. God has blessed us.
Even starting to look into where to hold our wedding didn’t dampen our excitement- at first. Watching pictures from wedding websites and decorations and venues began to detach me from reality. I was looking to resources to help me get ideas, but all they did was give me a million options. I didn’t know where to start! Quickly I realized that adding “wedding” to the description of anything made the price triple, but heck, I’m getting married only once! I did some research (okay, a lot of research- that is one thing I’m good at, though it can quickly become a not-so-good thing when I become overwhelmed by the vast amount of information online), made a list of “necessaries” that is three-plus pages long, Andrew and I decided how much we were willing to spend; an amount ridiculously below the ridiculously high average of $30,000+. When Andrew and I talked about planning the wedding, I came from the few I’d attended and the elaborate glimpses of weddings held in the pictures from wedding sites. Andrew came from the weddings he’d been to and what he thought was expected. I wanted a garden wedding with good weather; Andrew wanted an elaborate ballroom. Andrew made a guest list of 160 people. Mine was under 45. We had no idea what we were doing, but I knew I wanted a dress and we needed a location. Dress shopping was fun, but also not fun. The lowest price range at a bridal shop is about our whole budget. I hate trying things on, I hate showing things off. I was trying on huge, fluffy wedding dresses and having my mom, maid of honor, and future mother-in-law watch and say what they liked. Which was great, and they were nothing but supportive, but still-! They also had visions of what a wedding dress should be. Andrew and I picked out a venue, a beautiful historical mill 45 minutes away. We didn’t bring a check that day, one piece of advice (out of an overwhelming amount of advice too vast to keep track of) that I did follow. It was beautiful, even only sparsely decorated. My parents liked the pictures, and, nearly empty, it seemed huge. It could fit 150, which was more than we wanted. Getting plates and food wouldn’t be an issue- right?