Not Your Average Engagement

It’s a spessartine garnet in white gold.
Chris and I picked it out and had it made.

I am an engaged woman. Engaged in my job, engaged in life and engaged to my best friend.

Chris proposed on Valentine’s Day this year, two months after the ring was ready. He asked before handing me my morning coffee. He said, “Will you be my Valentine for the rest of my life?” I said of course.

It’s important to note that neither of us likes Valentine’s Day. I’m fairly certain he picked that day because it would be easy to remember. It also makes that day a little more special for both of us.

Just hours after the proposal, people started asking if we’d set a date. I felt pressured, like it was something that was required RIGHTNOW. So we thought we could get married in the fall in Tennessee, on his friend’s property, with everyone staying in tents and us walking down the aisle in a barn. October 2016. But that plan wasn’t meant to be. The property owners weren’t keen on the idea.

Back to square one. And back to no plans. It’s June now, and we have not set a date. I asked to be engaged before I turned 40, and Chris obliged. But that big birthday is a month away, so a pre-40 wedding is not in the cards.

I’m so tired of spam email because I gave David’s Bridal my email address. Just because I’m going to be a bride doesn’t mean I’m going to be that bride. I want the beautiful white dress. And that’s about where my demands end.

I don’t want a fancy ceremony or a church wedding; Chris and I aren’t religious. I have no interest in a cookie cutter reception, with all photo-op activities scheduled for certain times. No grand entrance. No dancing with parents, no cake cutting, and certainly no garter toss. I don’t even want a bouquet, at least not one with dead flowers.

We don’t care about photography. I hate being in photos and Chris just doesn’t care. One less expense. Though many friends and family are fighting us on this one.

All we want, and we both agree on this, is a big party with lots of friends and family. No pressure, all fun.

I don’t even care what Chris wears.

Wait. I do care a little – no flip-flops. Ew. But he doesn’t wear those anyway, so I’m good.

Why can’t we just invite everyone to a garden party, with games galore? Bocce, horseshoes, ladder ball, giant Jenga, etc. No one focusing on the bride and groom, just a lot of people having a great time.

And who needs cake? Okay, I love cake, but that whole tradition of freezing the top layer and saving it for your first anniversary? Gross. No freezer-burnt cake for me.

Yes, we have ideas. But we’re not so focused on it that we forget where we are now.

A wedding is just one day, one we want to enjoy with the people (and maybe the dogs) we love. It won’t define our relationship. How we spend the rest of our life together will.

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6 Responses to Not Your Average Engagement

  1. Marika C says:

    Marika Here … the best wedding I have ever been was easily the simpliest. She had it in the back yard, she and the groom dressed up, she wanted a beautiful dress to, but the the rest of us were casual. There was music and a place to dance in the yard, they provided everything we needed to cook out, an the rest of us brought a dish to pass … we ate on picnic tables and it was the most fabulous day ever … because it was just us being and celebrating two people we love. It was probably 15 years ago and I can remember it like yesterday

  2. Lisa Haiss says:

    That's perfect, Marika! I've been thinking about a potluck sort of thing, but Chris is concerned that we'll end up with too much food, and he hates wasting food.

  3. Lara says:

    Marika!!! Hi!!!

    Lisa, I married Matt in our backyard. He and my uncle built a bridge to go over the deep end of our pool and we stood on it to say our vows. We invited only our closest friends and family. I assembled a series of iTunes playlists (ceremony tracks, first dance tracks, then reception tracks) and used a Block Rocker (portable speaker perfect for block parties and other outdoor events, ordered it on Amazon, you can borrow if you like) with a microphone to make sure all announcements were heard. I wore a dress from the thrift store, it was a big fluffy wedding gown but I dyed it peach since this was my second go-around, and I dyed Harper's fluffy dress to match. My best friend and I had crafting parties where we made all the decorations, and we served alcohol, lemonade, iced tea, and snacks (lots of fresh fruit, cheese cubes, crackers, appetizers, finger food). The flowers for my bouquet and the decor were picked up from Publix that morning and assembled by my mom and I. It was a very simple affair but filled with love and joy, and I will never forget it. I do find photographs to be important, and I understand why your loved ones are pushing for them. If you relent to appease them or for your own reasons I would be thrilled to photograph your wedding as a gift to you. I hired a friend to do mine and having those pictures to look at brings back little moments I may have forgotten otherwise, and provides an easy way to share the experience when I want to.
    If you're worried your yard is too small, there are tons of really inexpensive beautiful venues here in town, Sawgrass lake is one of my favorites, they have a "classroom" in the woods with rain cover/shade and aisle seating that suggests a simple ceremony, and covered picnic areas or open grassy hills for a fun reception. Any outdoor occasion should consider the weather especially the heat (though renting or borrowing a few big fans can make a huge difference) but if you have complete freedom of choice when it comes to date and experience, you can really get away with whatever your heart desires. Also, when I was planning my wedding, I also originally wanted to be wed in Tennessee. My aunt and uncle have a cabin in Lynchburg and a huge property with plenty of room for camping. We'd have needed to rent portable commodes for our guests but the space and electricity was there. In the end, though, too many of our vip guests couldn't travel so we stuck to our hometown.

  4. Marika C says:

    Hey Lara!

    Lisa no worries on the leftovers … ge some disposable tupperware and send people home with it .. or have them bring their own …

    I have been to big weddings and I have been to small, this is the one I remember…. Lara is right on the block rocker. If you are considering a backyard wedding, don't hesitate – they are the best!

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about a justice of the peace wedding. Something simple with family and then a big party at a beach, lake or park. As for pictures you know family will want some, so hire a friend and give them a list of wants and do not want. It's your day have fun with it! Just remember that not every battle is worth winning, concede on some but with your spin on it.

  6. Lisa Haiss says:

    Lara, thank you so much! That's a wonderful gift! You take such great photos, and I love the photos you've taken of me in the past. We haven't decided whether we'll get married here or in Michigan. If it's here, we'll probably go for a winter wedding. In Michigan, it'll be fall. It seems like Michigan is a better option because I have a big family and they're almost all there. Chris has a much smaller family.

    My yard is definitely too small for a wedding, and its H shape is horrible.

    Marika, Tupperware is a great idea. Ooh, and we could have little to-go bags for the containers. Hmm.

    As for a justice of the peace, the only issue with that is my mom really, really wants to be there for the wedding part, and I would like my sister to be there as well. That could still be arranged, though.

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