Today is Valentine’s Day and, while I have always celebrated this day – whether single or in a couple – today is my first Valentine’s Day as a married woman, and I’m feeling all kinds of giddy, girly, and sentimental about it.
Andy proposed on November 14, the day after my birthday, and, in true Andy style, he went out of his way to make sure I got the ring of my dreams – and I absolutely adore it!
In a newly engaged daze, I bought a stack of bridal magazines and dove into wedding planning. Some women have their wedding mapped out since adolescence – I am not one of those women. At 34, whenever I pictured my wedding, I had a vague notion that I would have a pretty dress, a yummy cake, and a party. I quickly found out there was much more to planning than just choosing a pretty dress and a yummy cake. It wasn’t long before I was completely overwhelmed and hip-deep in spreadsheets and planning boards.
About ten days after our proposal, I had a string of wedding dress appointments – each with an entourage of friends and family to give me opinions and support, and to keep me in check when my choices started sliding a bit wild (aka sparkly or poofy). These appointments were a crazy amount of fun! I had an absolute blast and, ultimately, we found the perfect dress.
Dream ring on my finger and dream dress ordered, my dream man and I continued planning a wedding that was rapidly getting out of hand. He and I both have large families and, even scaled down to the minimum, we could not comfortably get the guest list under 200. Likewise, we could not get the budget down to a manageable number no matter how we tried to cut things back. It didn’t help that I had spent double the planned budget on my gorgeous, new wedding dress. Weddings are just expensive and it is way too easy to slip out of budget.
He and I finally sat down around mid-December to discuss our priorities and realized that neither of us wanted a big wedding! We were both trying to make this large wedding happen in order to make the other happy! Our discussion also brought to light that Andy was really hoping for a smaller wedding (elopement) and a fun honeymoon. I was instantly on board and we started sending out notices and flipping our plans immediately.
My dad works off shore (currently in Dubai) and he was going to be in town around Christmas – and so we thought, why not have the wedding while he was in town?! Granted, it only gave us about two weeks to plan, but since we had decided to significantly simplify things, we were confident we could pull it off. It had to be easier than the wedding we just stopped planning, right?
For the ceremony, we decided to invite only parents and siblings – bringing our ceremony guest list count under 30 – way less than the original 200. I was unable to return my dress (which I was secretly thrilled about), so I was dressed out for our tiny wedding. My cousin agreed to officiate at his adorable church in Sabine Pass (which was already decorated for Christmas) – and so we were set!
We decided to have three small, casual receptions instead of one large one. That way we would be able to visit with everyone in attendance at each reception, be able to include everyone, and still be able to budget to keep cost down while having an enjoyable time.
We got married on December 30. The ceremony went perfectly and, yes, I cried during my vows. The first reception was immediately following the ceremony, in Sabine Pass, and consisted of my side of the family and everyone that attended the ceremony. My dad and cousin spent the entire night before the wedding cooking brisket and BBQ, my mom ordered a huge cake from Raos, and several guests brought desserts and sides. Andy and his brother surprised me by decorating my uncle’s party room with balloons and decorations – it was beautiful! We visited, danced, ate delicious food, drank champagne, and had a blast!
Our second reception was a week later at Andy’s uncles house and consisted primarily of his side of the family and our friends that couldn’t make it to the first reception. We grilled hamburgers, made smores, played pool and washers, and chased kids around the large yard. My mom brought another huge, delicious cake, Andy’s mom made several yummy desserts and sides, and we all ate, laughed, and visited into the evening – it was a perfect day!
Our third reception was a small gathering in Austin and consisted of our Austin friends and family. Being blessed with amazing friends, we just showed up for this reception – wine in hand. We spent the day visiting, laughing, drinking too much wine (well, I did – Andy doesn’t drink), eating delicious food and cake, and having a wonderful day. Honestly, between our ceremony and our three fantastic receptions, we could not have planned a large wedding that would have compared – we know this for a fact since we tried!
Winding down our first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple, we feel so blessed. Our wedding was a fabulous, happy, whirlwind that I wouldn’t change for the wide world. And, to top off the joy, we booked our ten-day honeymoon to Ireland over breakfast this morning! Just another dream of mine that my sweet husband is making a reality.
Happy Valentine’s Day!