Lauren’s Last Wedding Undergrad Post


And now, a post that needs no introduction. It’s Assistant APW Editor Lauren’s last wedding undergraduate post… the last post before she walks down the aisle, and joins us over here, on the other side.

Laurens Last Wedding Undergrad Post | A Practical Wedding

It has come to pass that I only have 31 days until our wedding. So this will be my last undergraduate piece. My last engagement check in. I have the dress, the accessories, the paperwork that says we can get married in the eyes of the catholic church (and soon the state of Washington), a deacon on standby, and rsvp cards trickling in.

And I have a lot of respect for this phase, this crazy time that makes me want to rip my hair out and at the same time makes me so sure that Kamel and I are It. With a capital I.  And I am so incredibly excited for it to be over. But the biggest thing I’ve learned? It’s all about choices, decisions, and clarifying who you are as your own person, and who you are as a team.

For those of you in the early stages of engagement, you have lots of really difficult, and really rewarding things to go through. Make sure to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in mind. And to make you feel less freaked out by what’s to come, to remind you that it mostly always works out in the end, here are the big choices Kamel and I had to make together.

Names, identity, who are we to the world after this?
I read this post by Brenna a few months ago and it occurred to me: Mail. I would be receiving mail and I wouldn’t be Miss Dupuis anymore, I was going to be something else.

I had originally decided to take Kamel’s last name and we both would take my last name as our middle names. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the majority of people would never know that Kamel’s middle name was the same as mine. They would never know that we shared our identity with our namesakes. And no one would see me as Lauren Dupuis Perez. They would see me as Lauren Perez. I would introduce myself as Lauren Perez. And mail, even stupid junk mail, would arrive in my mail box addressed to Lauren Perez. But who is THAT? That is not me. And reading that piece, made it bright and clear. All kinds of warning bells went off, and I chewed on this idea for a while, until I was absolutely certain that changing my name to his last name was not going to work. So, we talked about it. We talked about it pretty much every day for 2 weeks. We talked about making up our own last name, of taking Kamel’s other last name (He’s Mexican, he has several to choose from in there), and of not changing at all. We talked about it in the morning before work and we lied awake in bed at night talking about it. And then we made a choice that felt super right, after much discussion, for both of us. We will hyphenate. He will be part of me and I will be part of him. Families merging to create a new one. Us.

Drama. It will happen. How do you deal with it?
I thought, that by sheer will alone, I could have a completely drama free engagement. No one would have hurt feelings, and everyone would arrive at our wedding with smiles and tears of (only) joy on their cheeks. No one would be upset about name cards or guest lists because I wasn’t upset about name cards or guests lists. The TV talks about bridezillas, and I sure as hell was not going to be one, therefore everyone would play along.

No. That is not how it works. And now, looking back, I think wow, how silly of me to believe that it was even POSSIBLE, let alone achievable all by myself. People will care about things you don’t care about. Bridesmaids may hurt your feelings because they are more concerned with their own lives than yours (aren’t we all, even at the best of times?), extended family may take this opportunity to act crazy and refuse to come to your wedding as some sort of punishment, your parents may scream at you over the phone because of name cards after all, and you may (possibly) spend several lonely nights crying into a pillow because your future husband doesn’t get it.

But you know what? It works out. You realize how each of you needs to address things apart and together. And coming together is a choice. It’s how we made it through, it’s how I know we are strong. When one of you (or both of you) drops the ball or effs it up, you stay solid. You tell them it’s ok, to do better next time, you pick each other up and you dust off each other’s knees.

You pick your battles and keep remembering that the way people treat you is important, and that little details, in the long run, aren’t. After this wedding comes the rest of your life, comes the rest of my life, and what comes through the cloud of drama is an understanding of who is on our team during great times. Because one of my biggest lessons learned: It’s easy for people to be there for someone when they really need you, it’s much harder for people to be there for you when things are going joyously.

Know when to stick to your guns.
Right now we are building our baby family. We are stepping away from our moms and dads and we’re headed into our own space (with our own last names) and our own traditions. Sometimes you have to insist on something, in the face of people who think you’re doing it wrong. We insisted on saying goodbye to each other after the rehearsal dinner and then not seeing each other again until I’m walking down the aisle. People thought this was dumb and complicated. We thought it was festive and important.

No one had input on how the wedding service will go besides us. This will be our time, our commitment, and we’ve included loved ones into that, but the words we’ve chosen, the people we want close to us during that time, the songs being sung, are all true representations of who we are as a family. We spent a lot of time thinking about and organizing that 40 minutes of our lives, thinking about what we want to say to each other and to our friends and family who have come to witness it. All of that was a choice. It could have gone 100 different ways, and only you will know which way is right for you.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, engagement is a phase in life, it’s like Senior Year, or the year you got boobs. It can be defining, it can be trying, it can even get you laid (like boobs), but it is also one step out of many. Wedding planning is not the end all be all and I think that’s the most important choice to make. Remember it, make the choice to remember it when you feel swallowed up by the world, when you feel like the wedding is a giant wave about to drown you. This is only one part of my life, an important part, but one of many, and I choose to respect it, and use it for all its worth, and then move on.

Photo by: Allison Andres Photography

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  • aine

    Wow, I’m getting married in slightly less than two months now, and in that same crazy phase. Now it’s really hitting, because I have apparently been telling myself its not crunch time till YOU get married because the panic is starting to set in.

    Good luck and Congratulations!

  • Stephasaurus

    We’re still a year and a half away, and I found this post very helpful and insightful. :)

  • Karen

    Lauren, you sound so…together! I’m very impressed, and as we enter our own phase of the phase (sending out invitations this week; bought Brian’s suit last night), I really appreciate your thoughtful take on all this. Thank you!

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      It was quite the road to get to even the idea of “together.” But mostly, we’re still trying to manage our stress levels and keep it on the sane. :)

  • http://www.queerskiesahead.com BirdRoughsIt

    I love this. Thanks, Lauren – and good luck in your last 31 days! I wish you had had 31 days left before I got married (though I probably would have read this and said, “of course WE won’t have drama…” haha, how silly we can be. But seriously, thanks.).

  • Gillian

    “It’s easy for people to be there for someone when they really need you, it’s much harder for people to be there for you when things are going joyously.”

    I’d never actually articulated this in my mind or out loud before, but YES! Wise words.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      And kind of a great reminder about how to be a great, supportive friend – be there for both the good and the bad.

  • Manya

    Lauren, you’re my wedding sister, baby! July 16th! Go! Go! Go!!!

    And I’m right where you are…

    I started this journey eight months ago, determined not be be any kind of Bridezilla.

    I was cool, calm, collected. I loved Doing it Myself, and Doing it Together. A wedding plays right to my loves and strengths. I thoroughly enjoyed doing all of the design and selecting each special thing. Planning our wedding has brought me Important Insights: a new attitude about my body, a realization that B. and I are much loved by our community (and an actual delineation of who is part of that community), and the surprising gift of our respective children’s general excitement about the whole thing. It was important for me to realize that no combo of colors or details could sufficiently capture how special B. is to me, or how amazing it is to find your soul mate. No combo of readings can sum up all we are to each other, and all the dreams we have for our life together. That was a relief!

    I have only FREAKED the F*CK out a couple of times (both of them last week, achem…). I’m trying to reign that shit in, so as not to ruin this last special time. I realized that at least 50% of the freak out was due to B. being out of town. He’s my Zen Rock, and as soon as he came home, my anxiety retreated. He will do everything humanly possible to make sure I’m not disappointed on The Day.

    The wedding has helped train us to talk openly and honestly about money, and about fear. We both made big compromises. We both got excited when the whole idea of vintage airplanes came onto the scene. The wedding we have planned is filled with inside jokes and secret code that only the two of us know, but I think everyone will somehow feel in the air.

    It is really starting to heat up now… my step sons are arriving on Friday, then Mom and Dad come in… a Hen party, a road trip…. and WHAMMO, it’s going to be here! In the meantime I have a trip to Europe, a lot of work to finish up and an expanded family to love on.

    Only the Universe knows the wedding we will actually have… But I think the wedding we planned together has made us love each other even more.

    So Lauren, honey: Cheers and Congrats! I want to send you a cute thing we made about July 16th in History–you got an email?

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      YAY!!! wedding sister!! And I do – lauren at apracticalwedding dot com ;)

    • Amanda

      “But I think the wedding we planned together has made us love each other even more.”

      Yes to this statement! So perfectly articulated.

  • carrie

    “I thought, that by sheer will alone, I could have a completely drama free engagement. No one would have hurt feelings, and everyone would arrive at our wedding with smiles and tears of (only) joy on their cheeks.”

    SO DID I. What a load of shit, huh? I’m getting married on the 17th, so I am right there with you. Although I am floored at the eloquence and poise of your post. I am literally in the middle of batshit crazy right now (coupled with some health problems with my doggie baby, which is exacerbating everything) and I think I might print out this post and carry it around with me to remind me of how things really ARE, underneath all the crazy.

    I will be thinking of you guys on Saturday night, as I’m trying to tame my nerves for David’s and my wedding the next day. And sending you lots of love. Thanks for all the insight, and can’t wait to hear about it on the other side!

    • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

      I thought this as well. I tried to anticipate everything that would cause drama and take care of it beforehand. So didn’t work. The things I thought people would get upset about, no one batted an eye, the stuff I thought for sure no one would care about, some people got really upset by.

    • clampers

      What a load of shit indeed!

      Ha, I laughed at your comment. Took the words right out of my mouth. :)

      • suzanna

        Totally! Such a good reminder that (ahem) we can’t control everything.

        • carrie

          This literally makes me laugh out loud now. So very true!

    • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

      TOTAL load of shit! I thought the same thing…I read all the posts on here about drama and thought to myself…not my family, not my fiance’s family…no way! Major reality check in February and since…counting down to August 20, but the drama is manageable at present. Money stress is topping the charts at the moment. Funny how for years you dream of your wedding day and as we get closer we just want it to be over! Hahaha Not that I don’t still look forward to it, but I am more stoked to be married and on our honeymoon.

      • carrie

        A. MEN. Honeymoon can’t get here fast enough. But then I feel guilty for wishing time away.

        It’s all part of the process, or so I’m told…we’ll all make it through and be so glad we did it and so glad it’s OVER. I also can’t wait to be a normal person again and not have every other person say, “the wedding is coming up sooooooooon….”

        • http://www.craigathenawedding.blogspot.com athena

          Oh, Carrie, we are completely on the same page! Craig and I did a huge amount of our planning early, so now the work is kind of trickling in, but every single day people ask me if I am stressed, or if things are crazy or if I am getting excited. And honestly, I am just wanting to talk about SOMETHING ELSE! (Cue maniacal laughter).

          I guess I am just eager to be done with the waiting and talking- although sometimes when I think about the wedding day, I already feel exhausted!

  • Steph

    Oh I wish I had waited to 31 days to freak. I’m six months out, and I already had huge freaking out moments – for the engagement party. I’m a high strung person in general, so this much pressure can really get to me.

    But congratulations!!! 31 days!! Hooray!!

  • http://smittenimmigrant.wordpress.com Pluis

    Enjoy the count down, Lauren. It sounds like you have things figured out, down to the last (oh so important) hyphen.

    I’m still holding on to (the illusion of) a drama free engagement. So far, so good, but I still have five months to go.

    Hopefully, July 16th will bring you all you hope for and more.

  • Steph

    so showing this post to my future SIL (who is also my oldest childhood friend who is marrying my BIL, yay for crazy twists and turns)

  • Steph

    Ooooh and also to my oldest college friend who is also getting married next year :)

    and PS CONGRATS on your fast approaching big day!!! :)

  • Salwa

    Thank You!!! I am 23 days out and having panic attacks at least twice a day. Every spare minute (including lunch hours) are spent doing wedding stuff and it is hurting my brain. My mantra has always been while people may tell you it is your day, and you can do what you want, in actually THEY ARE LYING TO YOU!!!

    Don’t believe it when they tell you otherwise. Best of luck to you and Kamel.

    • http://fianceesarehumanstoo.tumblr.com/ fianceesarehumanstoo

      So true…my mum tells me all the time that “It’s your choice to make Anna…” but it I know that’s not what she really means…
      Hope you find some wedding zen somewhere in there!

      • Geepuff

        “Oh, I don’t really care honey, it’s totally your call,” is mom code for, “you best have your mind reading cap on, or else!”

        …sometimes, but then again, sometimes they really don’t care, but it’s up to you to figure that out. arg!

        • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

          Oh my god this is SO TRUE and I didn’t even address it. You rule for bringing this up. It’s an absolute lie that people say just to make themselves feel like they are doing all they can to make it your day. But, people are self centered, even at the best of times. And I mean that in the most honest, non-judgmental way. It’s human nature, and difficult to over come.

          • carrie

            And something that is not talked about enough. It seems we are taught that everyone will flip a switch and make it about you for that day, or shower, or party, or whatever. But at the end of the day people are self-centered and we would be wise to remember that. I don’t say that meanly, it’s just the truth, as you said as well.

          • Geepuff

            I think it’s been mentioned in some earlier posts that you can’t expect people to change their personalities for your wedding. People are who they are, you just have to try and hope that they’ll be the best possible version of that when the day rolls around.

            I’ve started saying to my self when someone really pisses me off as regards wedding shenanigans, “Well, see now this is why i’m marrying the fella and not so-and-so.” Not saying it always works, but it doesn’t always not work, so…

        • N

          Yes! I experienced this too. I told my parents about all plans and didn’t get really any push back from them at the time on anything–they had from the beginning said that wedding decisions were ours to make, so I went ahead, and then two weeks before the wedding all the sudden found out that several of my choices my mom totally hated and was upset about. Now that I could do nothing about them. Eek. I was pretty blindsided by this, so I would caution all future brides to be like, “Really? You’re sure this is okay with you?” about any decision that could be potentially meaningful to the parents. The fact is that this is a heightened-emotions event for them too. So normal-life rules do not always apply. Just because they wouldn’t normally give a d*mn about X, doesn’t mean that they don’t within the context of the wedding. I learned this lesson the hard way.

          Not that you shouldn’t go with your own gut and do what’s right for you and your partner, but its good at least to know the score.

          • suzanna

            N, exactly! This is totally what I’m scared of. Unless you’re an event planner, most people have no idea what it takes to pull off a big to-do. They won’t think about things (because they have their own lives) until the last minute, when it’s too late to do anything about it. Ah well. I love that I have APW and all you wise ladies to at least mentally prepare me.

    • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

      Oh my lord, I love all you ladies. I’m just getting ready to ramp up into the batshit crazy last couple of months, and GAH. So far… just GAH.

  • Geepuff

    Wow. Thank you for this! I was trying to explain to my sisters (and maids of honor) last night what was stressing me out about wedding planning, and I just couldn’t articulate it. You absolutely nailed it lady, and made me feel totally un-crazy. Thanks for that, feeling un-crazy is quite nice.

    Also, I’m adding this little gem to my collection of APW mantras/wisdom, “People will care about things you don’t care about.” Man, I had NO idea. I thought all people were going to care about was whether or not there was going to be enough booze and food, but apparently my mom had to talk her sister off the ledge when she found out we wouldn’t be using interior envelopes. Sheesh. Seriously?

    • Anonymom

      Interior envelopes?? Isn’t that what the interwebs and emailed invites is for?? Of course, ‘in my day’ there was all that other stuff and I had to get my head round the lack of any envelopes but it lasted about 20 seconds when a postal strike came down the pipe up here in the Great White North! I think there will be enough food and booze and if there isn’t, there is always take-out, right?

      • KT

        Can I just say that I, too, had several “inner envelope discussions” that blew my mind? Who knew that people cared so much about something so seemingly insignificant? That was one battle I gave in to, but it mystified me that it could be such a big deal. We’ve run into a number of those little detail items- things that M. and I certainly don’t care much about (hello, the most important thing here is that we are getting married and want to celebrate with our nearest and dearest!) that seem to be of the utmost importance to some of our family.

        As much as weddings are a celebration of your love and commitment to each other, it’s more a display of your love and commitment to yours and each other’s families through the absolute insanity that is planning a large scale event. And your commitment to breathing deeply and remaining calm when you want to do nothing more than throw your hands up and run away when the little things threaten to drive you over the edge.

        Planning a wedding might be considered the crucible in which a marriage of families is created. It’s a lot of work, requires loads of cooperation and compromise, sometimes creates tears and hysterical fits, but in the end, brings a new family into existence that is truly beautiful. And hey- at least it turns out to have fun and festive results! With cake! :)

        Thanks for your post- it definitely helps to know we’re not alone out there!!!! Best wishes next month!

    • CeeGee

      What on earth is an interior envelope?? Further anxiety pending!

      • Kat

        So apparently some people believe that you must protect the sacred wedding invite with another envelope that has not been sullied by the addressing, mail man handling and stamping on the exterior envelope. Think of it as a wedding invitation condom so that the icky diseased outer envelope doesn’t infect the pristine uninfected invitation. (Please read loads of sarcasm into the sacred wedding invite part.) I don’t see the point on spending money on an envelope that has no reason to be there … at all.

  • http://mightycourage.blogspot.com Nicole

    Best wishes Lauren. This is a beautiful post and I’m so glad it’s here.

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      Thanks Nicole. :)

  • http://onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    I remember feeling constantly excited almost every day once the 1 month mark hit. So many things to do during that last month and suddenly the big day is finally there. Your post is filled with such wisdom and I wish you the best of luck (not that you really need it). ;)

  • http://fianceesarehumanstoo.tumblr.com/ fianceesarehumanstoo

    This is so good. So true how wedding planning comes in stages…there’s the start when you get all the big things done, and you feel like it’s all going to be easy. Then there’s the lull in the middle and you don’t know what you are supposed to be planning…then it hits, the ohmywordwehavesomuchtodo stage. And I think all the things Lauren said are such good headings to remember throughout it all..

    But, also, I literally froze the other day when I realised we were 9 weeks away. I think it’s because that even though being engaged can be pretty stressful, it’s what I’ve become used to…being married is big and unknown and a bit scary!

    And err…on that cheery note…Have a happy wedding day Lauren and Kamel! Can’t wait for the grad post…

  • Katie

    Hooray for sanity!!! (And, um, boobs. Duh.) I love your perspective, Lauren.

    It’s also such good timing, I almost melted into a sappy little love puddle at my desk. Our wedding day is one year from today!! Woohoo! :) We put down our deposit on the old city library this morning and celebrated with biscuits and gravy at a cafe across the street. If only every day of our planning from here on out could be as rockin’ as this morning… But I’m not going to expect myself to be perfectly centered at all times just because it’s The Most Important Day of Our Lives(TM). If I didn’t let my crazyface show every now and then, poor fiance would have no idea what he’s in for. FOR LIFE. :)

    • carrie

      But when he tells you it will be all be okay when you have the worst crazyface? That’s what makes it all worth it. :-)

  • http://whitneyarlene.com/blog whitney

    I’ve really enjoyed all your posts Lauren but this might be my favorite. Thank you!

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    yay Lauren! what a great post. I love the boob-engagement connection. also I thought the exact same thing, that I could just do it without drama because I said so. I was so surprised when people cared about things I didn’t care about..! definitely good advice, all of it – you are a smartypants.

    enjoy these last few weeks!!

  • MamaMelli

    I friggin’ LOVE THIS! I am bookmarking it immediately to send to each of my friends and family once they get engaged (but after a few weeks, so I don’t scare them, naturally).

    And that part about not seeing each other after the rehearsal? Some of our friends and family helped us set up the reception hall after the rehearsal dinner, then my husband and I drove away in separate cars travelling in the same direction for 15 miles. When my exit came on the highway, Dan HONK-HONK-HONK-HOOOOOONKED his horn at me, not to see (or, apparently, speak, though that was other people’s doing) one another until my dad was by my side walking me down the aisle. You want to hear a honking horn talk? Do that. You’re going to magically hear exclamations like, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH TODAY I’M HAVING A HARD TIME IMAGINING HOW MUCH I’LL LOVE YOU TOMORROW!” and “I’LL MISS YOU TILL THEN!” and maybe even a little bit of “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!” It was the most romantic horn-honking I’ve ever heard and probably will ever hear.

    GOOD LUCK, LAUREN! Thanks for all your insight during this process and for really *getting* this whole wedding thing in a way few brides-to-be can manage (I know I sure didn’t!). You are awesome, and Kamel sounds awesome, and I wish you the very best!

    • Erin

      AWWWWWWW… Romantic horn honking is my favorite thing today :)

  • Eped

    I love this: It’s easy for people to be there for someone when they really need you, it’s much harder for people to be there for you when things are going joyously.” Very well put and true.

    Congrats Lauren! Thank you for sharing this journey with us in such an articulate, wise way. Can’t wait to hear from you on the other side.

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  • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

    31 days away?! So exciting!!

    And I love how you broke down the things you run up against in the engagement process. Yep, yep, yep. Some really good advice here.

  • clampers

    “The TV talks about bridezillas, and I sure as hell was not going to be one, therefore everyone would play along.”

    You are speaking my language here, sister. I feel like I’ve been fairly cool about this whole thing but all of a sudden the future mom-in-law is rearing her ugly head for the first time since I’ve known her. Even my partner is horrified about her behavior. Trying to brush it off and remember all that “conscious bride” stuff, but it’s hard.

  • http://amusinglist.wordpress.com C

    Wow, Lauren. I’m kind of in shock right now. This post is the truest thing I have ever read on this website. Just so full of truth, it really hit home for me. You put the trials and tribulations of being engaged, which are so hard to explain usually, so succinctly. (like GeePuff said above).

    I have so much respect for you as a person and for you and kamel as a couple. Rock on, guys.

  • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

    Just wanted to wish you good luck, sister.

    So…..

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  • http://www.cuteanddelicious.com miss alix

    something about this post resonated with me so deeply. reading it was like transporting back to just before getting married. perhaps it was the bit about the middle name. wishing you so much happiness in your upcoming wedding.

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  • Kristen

    Wishing you both so much happiness. xo

  • SpaceElephant

    I am also a 7/16 bride. We are at that scary place where the to-do list keeps getting LONGER instead of shorter. That’s not supposed to happen! Thank goodness for this post and the post over at Los Angeles Love today. You people are keeping me sane.

  • Cass

    “You realize how each of you needs to address things apart and together. And coming together is a choice.”
    Exactly. This resonates so much with me. Making the choice every day to come together to address things is how marriage works.

    The sentiment seems oddly familiar. Lauren, have you read John Gottman’s work?
    (Oddly enough, my church’s Engaged Encounter also preaches this way to make marriage work.)

  • M

    Yay, bed bath and beyond told me yesterday that we are 38 days away from our wedding and this post was definitely helpful right now!

  • Marina

    Wow. It’s TOTALLY like the year I got boobs. People started treating me differently for no reason that I could understand… People got really upset over things they’d never cared about before… I had to accept that I was kind of different now even though I felt the same way inside… I spent some time crying over things I would usually shrug off… Best analogy ever.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Hurrah!! Applause!!!

    Sheer brilliance, lady. I didn’t think you were supposed to “get” all that until at least a week after your wedding. Way to be ahead of the curve. And eloquent. And so right.

    And this almost made me cry at work: When one of you (or both of you) drops the ball or effs it up, you stay solid. You tell them it’s ok, to do better next time, you pick each other up and you dust off each other’s knees.

    Marriage in a nutshell (plus the good stuff). Engagement and planning a wedding is great practice for it. Good stuff. Thank you again.

  • Shawn

    Thanks for this post. I am one of the pre-engaged and I’ve gone back and forth about whether a Catholic ceremony would be right for us when the time came. I liked what you wrote about really owning the ceremony and making that your time with what was meaningful to you. I guess I’m wondering what kinds of Church rules and restrictions you found were necessary to comply with and how that worked out with shaping the ceremony you wanted. If you’ve already posted about this, maybe you can point me in the right direction because it would be really helpful to me!

    • http://betterinrealife.com Lauren

      We jumped through all of the hoops that were necessary for having the church deem us “fit to wed.” We found a church in San Francisco that was awesome, and we met with someone there about 3 or 4 times and then also did a 4 week group (with other couples) Marriage prep. We even got a certificate! And that experience was incredible. I highly recommend.

      Here’s the truth that no one really mentions about the catholic ceremony. The Deacon or Priest is there to bless you, but we are the ones who actually run the service. We help each other go through the rite of Marriage, not the priest. So, if you get a Deacon or Priest who is open to suggestion you can pretty much shape your service any way you want as long as it respects the basic church ideology. Like – We’re having a reading from literature, and a reading in spanish. We aren’t doing a call and response, instead we’re just singing a nice hymn. We are also having a thoughtful, non religious, meditation song being sung after our vows. We’ve written our own vows and have decided how we’ll go about reciting them.

      With a wedding, the bride and groom truly have the ultimate power and say in how they want their service to go – and that’s how the catholic church technically views things as well. It’s all about having a partnership with the priest/deacon and working together on it.

      • Shawn

        Thanks so much, Lauren! This was really helpful and gives me hope it could work for us. I wish you all the best!

      • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

        Wow, this really sounds like it was worth all the hoops. I’m somewhat jealous and completely thrilled that you’re getting the Catholic ceremony AND exactly what you want. So glad you found an awesome church!

  • Another Alice

    Oh man, we’re 24 days out! I am looking forward to people at work no longer asking me about it *daily* – HARD. My to-do list also is getting longer rather than shorter. Strangely, we haven’t had any in-law drama, and it’s been a struggle to not sit waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    I also had a lot of last minute name soul-searching. We had been talking about blending since before getting engaged, but when it actually came down to it (which was when we got our marriage license last week), it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I had a HUGE freakout the night before, and we spent the whole BART ride discussing ramifications. As soon as it was done, though, and we went with the blend, I felt better. Not 100% awesome and happy, but calm, and cognizant of the fact that there is no easy answer for many people. You can’t have no one change their name, and have everyone, including kids, have the same name. It just ain’t possible. The best we can do is look at the options and follow our hearts. I’m so glad you were able to find a happy compromise that worked for *you and Kamel*.

  • Kaylie

    I LOVE THIS! 23 days out and I am feeling the same way Lauren!!! Soo ready to be on the other side!

  • msditz

    You have me beat by a week, Lauren! July 23rd bride over here, and man is it getting close. I am loving your comparison of being engaged to senior year. Didn’t senior year just feel like ZOMG THE MOST IMPORTANT TIME OF OUR LIFE WE WILL REMEMBER AND CHERISH THIS FOREVER. And then it kinda was but kinda…wasn’t? Graduating is always hugely important, but other things keep happening to you that are also important. And all of the things that were so massive in that one year are funny little memories. And life goes on. And after senior year the most important thing that remains is that you have graduated. And after you are engaged the most important thing that remains is that you are married! SO GO GET MARRIED! YAY!

  • http://thissaturnreturns.blogspot.com laurabalaurah

    I’m a huge fan of your honesty, Lauren! What a challenging, important, heart-stretching, frustrating time my engagement was. I felt like the morning after I got married I wanted to burn some incense and exorcise the engagement demons. The most frustrating part was the expectation that I should be happy and even-tempered, and that if I was stressed out, I was probably stressed about monogrammed napkins. You do a great job of mentioning all of those stress-worthy elements each at play.

    Anyway, congrats on the continued birthing of your baby family! We will be thinking lovely thoughts for you. As awful (yes- mostly awful) as my engagement was, the wedding day was so incredible. I wish the same for you!

    • http://betterinrealife.com Lauren

      Birthing is RIGHT. I love that.

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Best Wishes Lauren! Also this post was super sweet and funny. I can’t wait to see you on the other side!

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

    I’m late to the party on this, but have to say, lady, you have like a PhD in wedding psychology. SO SMART.

    And how bad-ass are you guys for hyphenating together!?!? JEALOUS. Hyphenating our names would be giggle inducing. Yeah…no.

  • KC

    Thanks Lauren for this fantastic post. I’m newly engaged and just starting out in the planning process and reading your post put things in perspective and helped me figure out what’s the most important in the whole planning process. Best wishes to you!

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  • Ginny

    My wedding is months away and I sometimes feel like it the wedding is a wave trying to swallow me whole! Way to go, Lauren. Way to go for keeping your head on and realizing that the wedding is an important part of your lives together, but not the beginning or end of said lives!
    P.S. Seems like everyone is getting married on my birthday, July 16! CONGRATS to all!