* Mollie, School Psychologist & Oren, Airport Operations Officer *
Your plan was to be married in June. Summer. Wedding season. Obviously, it would be June. You’ll set a date in June, and then when that date is about nine months away, you’ll have to change it (long story, still working on making peace with it). At first, you’ll think that this change of date drama is a giant fiasco. You will feel like all your planning was just a waste of time and the whole vibe of the wedding is thrown off and you can’t possibly get married at a time when there are not wildflowers in full bloom. Wildflowers are in your vision! And on your Pinterest board! They have to be a part of your wedding! (Reality check: Pinterest is not real life. Also, wildflowers can be grown in greenhouses year-round. Science is amazing.)
You may behave a little bit irrationally at this whole date change business. At any other time in your life, you wouldn’t give a shit about March vs. June, but when you’re planning a party for 115 people, based on a vision that you’ve been perfecting for years that includes wildflowers, waterslides, and warm days, even you might display a little bit of irrationality. You will worry that everyone will be cold. Your now-husband will assure you that they all own jackets. You will worry that no one will be able to get the time off. Your now-husband will remind you (with a little bit of attitude) that not everyone has the luxury of working for a school and being on vacation Memorial Day through Labor Day. You will whine that all the planning has been wasted. Your now-husband will be logical and explain that all that’s changing is the date, all the other plans—of which there really aren’t even that many at this point—can stay exactly the same.
You will be disappointed. You will insist that because your vision of your wedding didn’t initially involve gorgeous snow-capped peaks, spring skiing conditions, or a fantastic Easter brunch complete with pancakes, lattes, and an egg hunt, that surely no one else’s does either. (Reality check: Every other person on the face of the earth has the same vision for your wedding, and it’s much simpler than yours: You, happy. That’s it.)
You’ll be annoyed with tweaking plans at first, but the planning that happens after the date changes will be the most important. You and the groom will learn a lot about each other through this process of re-planning. The hours you spend together making lists, poring over spreadsheets, debating details, and compromising on wants vs. needs as you try to stay within your budget will be extremely valuable practice, because you will use all those skills again when you decide to purchase a home a few months into your marriage. For a while, you will think that you can excessively plan your way back into control and have a wedding that looks like June in March. Because damn it, it’s still your wedding! And it will look like “your vision,” because you have been so organized and planned so carefully that the plan is flawless and so obviously, everything will go perfectly.
And then the universe will remind you that you aren’t really in control. You’ll have trouble getting to the wedding. This is to be expected. They don’t call the place that you live the Last Frontier for no reason. It’s March—not June—so it will be thirty below the morning you leave, the plane will have cold-related mechanical issues, and you’ll be delayed. You’ll miss your connecting flight and lose a whole day that you had dedicated to last-minute prep in Colorado. You will make the best of it, write handwritten notes to each of your guests at the gate, play air hockey on the iPad, and get an airport manicure. And then at thirty thousand feet, after having not slept for nearly twenty-four hours and with your future husband snoring in your ear, you’ll realize that you can’t plan it all. (Reality check: You won’t need to. Your friends and family are incredible, they want to help—let them help.)
You will make it a whole day late, and go to get your marriage license. It will be the brand-new clerk’s first marriage license and the computer system will crash—twice—while she’s trying to get your documentation ready. You and future husband will giggle in the back of the courthouse for forty minutes playing tic-tac-toe and asking each other, “Do you think this is a bad sign?” while they try to fix it, lose all your information, start totally over, finally finish, forget to charge you, and then remember, and—eventually—get you legal. (Reality check: Don’t read too much into the technical difficulties, but I’d definitely interpret the giggling and playing tic-tac-toe during a kind of stressful time as the opposite of a bad sign.)
After that, the experience mostly blurs together into three days full of love and hugs and laughter and tears and beer and dessert and nobody will give a second thought to the date. Not even you. Months later, everything about the wedding will feel a million times better than you could have ever planned. You’ll be surprised about the things you remember most fondly… The ease of conversation and continuous laughter as your families meld together on the deck on Thursday night. The way that Friday’s events take you so smoothly from unmarried and surrounded by women you love eating all your favorite childhood foods, to about-to-be-married, drinking local beer in a (perfect! but never before seen) tap room with your almost-husband and family and friends—old and new. You’ll be surprised that you’re too nauseous to eat Saturday morning, but husband-to-be eases your anxiety with fart jokes and convinces you to eat a few bites of oatmeal. You’ll be amazed at how soothing it is to sit and let someone do your hair and makeup, and you’ll be comforted by the presence of your mom and sister as they continuously fill your champagne glass.
The things you don’t plan, the ones you could have never planned, will be some of your favorites. The best tequila shot you’ve ever had—and the last shot you take with your fiancé—at the bar immediately before the ceremony. The kids parading around with the officiant too early, but in a surprisingly organized fashion. The groomsmen really taking your very vague directions of, “Do whatever you want, just get down the aisle,” to heart. Your dad, making you laugh before you head into the ceremony. Your brother, barefoot and playing accordion while you walk too quickly toward your guests. The fullness in your heart each time you look up and see the gorgeous buntings (made from your grandmother’s sewing scraps—cut by you, designed by your sister, and sewn by your aunt), draped around the room. Putting the rings on the wrong hands and the amount of laughter that takes place during the short ceremony. Watching your best friend struggle to make it through his vows, and your lack of tears because all you can feel is a totally indescribable, overwhelming joy. Your siblings, both fighting back tears, as they surprise you by singing you and your husband—married now—out of the pavilion.
A herd of deer meandering past the windows during dinner. The choreographed “first dance,” which only kind of went the way you practiced at home in the kitchen, and ended in a dance party with guests out on the floor with you. The open mic toasts from your families, friends, and your favorite kids on the planet. The feeling of all your guests around you dancing and singing “Sweet Caroline”: “Reaching out, touching me, touching yooouuuuuu.” Your husband, who swore up and down he would not approach the microphone all night, skipping right up there to announce to all your guests that the ice cream was now being scooped. (Reality check: Your husband can be motivated to do just about anything if there’s ice cream involved. Do not forget this.)
As you’re planning, you will say over and over that you just want it all to “feel like you.” And it will, simply because it’s your wedding. Don’t worry about “the people.” They’re your people. They get you. Their simple vision, though it might be hard to know it during planning, should be your vision: You, happy. To make that happen, stick to what you know and love, let go of things you can’t control, trust in other people’s talent, and surround yourself with people who make you happy. (Reality check: Good advice for weddings is probably good advice for life.)
The Info—Photographer: Meredith Moran of Yellow Paddle Photography / Location: Nathrop, Colorado / Venue: Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort / Mollie’s Gown: Modern Trousseau from Anna Be Bridal / Mollie’s Veil: Sara Gabriel / Mollie’s Cardigan: Boden / Mollie’s Boots: Old Gringo / Oren’s Suit, Shirt, & Shoes: Macy’s / Bowties: The Tie Bar / Desserts: Kalamatapit Catering / Band: Grant Sabin and the Full Moon