Megan & Paul’s Wedding That Paul Planned

Sure, I’ll be honest.  I began planning my wedding before I was even out of the womb.  From the dress, to the walk down the aisle with my dad, to the entire town of guests, to my first dance, to the party favors– it was all orchestrated (in my head) like a master card commercial directed by Donna Reed.  But then things changed.

Paul proposed two weeks before Christmas.  Two months later, my father lost his year long battle to cancer.  The timing sucked, and rightfully so, this devastating event left us all exhausted and grieving.  Though I’d looked forward to planning a wedding all of my life, for months following my father’s death it felt difficult and awkward to even attempt to muster excitement about doing so.  Conversely, I also didn’t want to put off my wedding simply because I wasn’t in the “planning mood.”  Paul had seen me through the most difficult year of my life, and I was ready to officially begin our journey together.

So, with the exception of one or two contributions (Okay, okay, four. Four contributions), Paul planned our wedding.

Bear with me while I quickly set the scene for this arrangement:

My (now!) husband and I are, well, VERY different.  He’s a pacific islander (born and raised in Tonga) and fully embodies the spirit of the islander.  “Laid back” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  In contrast, I’m a landlocked Montana girl who would plan my own surprise birthday party if people would let me.  By that I mean I would actually LEAD guests in the birthday song if no one appeared to be making it happen.  In every task we’re presented as a couple, from the significant to the nominal, he prefers to simply let things play out; to “see how it goes,” if you will.  I lean towards a more commandant approach.

Given that information, it came as a surprise to some (hi, Mom!) that I was willing to give up control and hand the reins over to Paul. Sure, I fought back a grand mal seizure when my husband said we didn’t  have a guest list, but it got easier.  No limo?  Who needs it?!  We have a minivan.  No flowers?  No problem, we’re in Hawaii!    No rehearsal?  Okay.  No band or DJ?  I guess that’s fine.  No party favors?  WE DON’T NEED PARTY FAVORS!!! (Deep breath.)

So what did I do to contribute to the day?  I bought two plane tickets to Hawaii (where the majority of my husband’s family lives), invited our closest friends and family, rented a big beach house that I hoped we could fill with anyone willing to come that far, and said a Hail Mary that at the end of the day, Paul and I would end up husband and wife.

Other than that, I really left it up to him.  On the morning of our wedding, I woke up, showered, put on my make up, did my hair, slipped on my dress ($150 bucks, online), grabbed the bouquet my mom put together for me with flowers purchased the day before at a grocery store (contribution #2!) and said, “I’m set.”

(A quick side note:  I LOVED my dress.  But the online experience, albeit convenient, ended up being fairly lame.  I was by myself when it arrived on a dreary November day, and of course I tried it on RIGHT THEN AND THERE, which resulted in my “say yes to the dress” moment happening while standing on my bed, bent over at the waist in an attempt to get a full view in my dresser mirror.)

At noon, a group of friends and family (who filled the beach house, by the way!), all walked down to the beach for some pre-wedding photos, which were snapped by an amateur (but very CHEAP!) photographer that I actually found on the internet about a month before the wedding (contribution #3!).  When we’d gotten enough shots, we walked back to the house, had a beer or two to kill some extra time, and then took off in a caravan of cars to the church.  (Paul and I led the way in our rented mini-van.)

I was fairly quiet on the way to the church as I pondered how this whole thing might come together.  With the exception of my few contributions, I’d put the entire day in the hands of Paul and his very traditional Tongan family.  To add to my brewing anxiety, Paul’s parents had never met my parents.

(Sidenote #2:  The fact that our parents had never met is very strange, I know.  But when “soon to be” in-laws are thousands of miles apart – both literally and culturally speaking – it’s difficult to set up a meeting time.  Now, had I been in charge, they might have met at something called a rehearsal dinner…but I wasn’t in charge, remember?  Needless to say, this added to my already brewing panic.)

Secretly, I wondered and worried if I’d be able to hide any disappointment I thought I was bound to feel by not having things go exactly as I’d always imagined.  Already, I’d lost that special “moment” when the bride sees the groom for the first time by the casual way Paul and I had accidentally run in to each other in the hallway of the beach house just hours earlier.  I’d confessed this concern to my mother the day before; I knew she had also struggled with the potential replacement of “our” traditions with Paul’s family traditions.  Would I regret this later, I asked?  Would I always wish I’d done it my way?  She calmly grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “It will be glorious.  It will be just as it should be.”  She trusted him.  I decided to follow suit.

When I walked into the church (for the second time in my life), I fought back tears as I took in the entire scene.  There were flowers, and traditional Tongan tapa clothes lined the floor like royal rugs.  The “pre-wedding” music (that, in a last ditch effort to garner control, I had thrown onto a CD) was piping through the sound system of the church (contribution #4!).  There were bows on the end of the pews.  The reception area was completely set up and more than 40 of my fiancé’s relatives were there to greet us warmly with welcoming smiles.

Before I knew it, Paul and I (and the couple standing up for us) were decked out in traditional Tongan wedding gear.  I met our ring barer (surprise!) seconds before we walked down the aisle (who was basically the cutest kid EVER).  I met our vocalist (surprise!), whom I later learned had been part of the Hawaiian Opera Theater. (There are no words to describe how good she was.)  Then the music started, and it was show time.

Though it was a bittersweet moment without my father, my stepfather of twenty five years walked me down the aisle – and I was so happy to have him by my side.  While we walked toward the front of the church, I thought to myself, “Holy shit.  Paul pulled it off.  He really did it.  This is it.”  My closest friends and family were surrounding me, the man of my dreams who’d made it all happen was waiting for me at the end of the aisle, and everything was just as it was supposed to have been.  Paul and his family had given me the most wonderful wedding I could have ever imagined.  THIS was the moment that mattered.

After we kissed, Bob Marley piped through the church stereo as guests congratulated us with flower leis.  The reception followed the ceremony and included a full spread of Polynesian food, a cake that was completely made and decorated by my husband’s aunt, and young girls in traditional Tongan attire who danced in our honor.  My quiet husband even stood up to brave a few teary words, which he delivered in both Tongan and English.

The wedding and reception were over by early evening.  Because it all took place in the church, there was no alcohol, so by the end of the day many of us were ready to put up our feet and toss one back.  The sixteen friends and family who were there when the day began joined us for a mai tai at a beach side bar at the hotel where Paul and I were staying for the night.  The Hawaiian trio playing mellow island tunes at the bar offered us a dance while others – friends and strangers alike – looked on.  Turns out I got my first dance, after all.

When our friends decided to head back to the beach house for the evening, I gave each of my girlfriends one of the leis I’d been showered with by Paul’s family immediately following the ceremony.  Turns out I got my party favors, too.

On January 1st, my husband and I will celebrate our one year anniversary.  When people ask me about my wedding day, I tell them that despite being unable to take credit for nearly all of it, there isn’t one thing that I would have changed.

So, thank you to my husband, Paul, for planning our wedding.  It was nothing like I’d pictured it to be all of my life.  It was better.

Photos by: Kim Sinton

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  • Rose in SA

    This is beautiful!

  • Marchelle

    Is it wrong that now I’m kind of in love with Paul too?

  • In contrast, I’m a landlocked Montana girl who would plan my own surprise birthday party if people would let me. By that I mean I would actually LEAD guests in the birthday song if no one appeared to be making it happen.

    Sister, I feel you. Substitute “landlocked Montana girl” for “uptight northeasterner” and you and I, I think, are twins. My husband is much more laid back as well (not quite as easygoing as your islander husband – he’s a New Yorker, for heaven’s sake! – but compared to me he’s very mellow. Of course, compared to me, MOST PEOPLE are mellow. :) I did do a lot of the planning but there were certain things that I just didn’t care about that either he did care about and took the reins on (like, for example, centerpieces), or he helped me understand that it was OK to not care about (like the flowers – we didn’t have any).

    BTW, I LOVE YOUR DRESS. It’s awesome.

    • Ha! Me, too! The husband to be is landlocked, too, but super chill about almost everything. After living together for 6 years, I think it’s actually beginning to rub off on me. Neuroses subsiding…amazing…

    • Kyra

      Amen! My FI is a born and breed Alaskan – things run so much slower up here than my Denver life. It’s nice to have a calm rock in the storm!

  • Meagan

    What a beautiful wedding! Letting go and not being in control ALL THE TIME are issues I struggle with, and it is inspiring to see someone give up that control and end up so happy and fulfilled (also: gorgeous). This gives neurotic, controlling little me hope. Congratulations Megan and Paul!

  • *happy tears*

    this is one hell of a magical graduate post. and those photos? and those flowers? and her dress? stunning.

  • Wow, add me to Meg’s weepy pile. This is so beautiful. Kudos to Paul, and Megan, I can only imagine what it must have felt like to totally give up control, especially to a very laid-back partner (I’m officially submitting for consideration a theory about the name Megan (in all spelling variations) and our *ahem* zeal for planning…).

    • Hehehe.

      Megan- thank you for sharing your wedding with us, here is to putting it on paper!

  • Aine

    damn*t, now I’m crying and I have to go to work!

  • Even reading this, I’m freaking out thinking about what would happen if I just handed over the reins to my hubby-to-be. There’s just no way that I could do that, but that said, I probably could. Thank you for being so inspiring on this cold Wednesday morning. What a way to wake up. <3

    (Also, our "dress moments" were very similar! I tried mine on on a blustery November day when it arrived in the mail ($50 including shipping and handling), except my fiance was there too. I slipped it on over my clothes and said YES!)

    • I also bought my dress on the internet and tried it on by myself in my bedroom, standing on the bed and bending over because we don’t have a full length mirror. It was pretty anti-climactic, but on the plus side I didn’t have to go shopping!

      • ddayporter

        haha you guys! I also got my dress in the mail on a cold day in November, and did my jumping around in my bedroom by myself while Zach waited out in the living room.

  • JEM

    This is the first wedding grad post to actually make me tear up. Congrats to you and happy anniversary and thank you so much for sharing. All this is a reminder that I sometimes need to just. let. go.

    • Leona

      My first time crying too! (I’m not heartless, I promise.) How beautiful is this? And Megan, you were gorgeous and that dress was perfect! I hope you’re having another Say Yes to the Dress moment now as we’re all gawking at you. :) Congratulations and happy almost-anniversary.

  • Dianne

    I am completely typing through my tears so please disregard any typos. This was simply the most beautiful wedding graduate story ever and I am filled with joy for you both and awe at your amazing husband. I heart you both!

  • Laura

    Lovely and totally made me tear up.

    FWIW, my parents and my fiance’s parents won’t meet until the weekend of my wedding either. Now that people grow up and move far away from their parents, I think it’s more and more common. I live in one place in the country, finishing grad school, my fiance lives across the country from me, his parents live more than 10 hours from both of us, and my parents live in a completely different side of the country. We’re lucky we were each able to meet the other’s parents, let along have our parents meet each other.

    • Sylvia

      Our parents met at the wedding too – everyone was in the garden of the venue having tea and cake together before the service and they sort of found each other, plonked themselves down on a table together and got on with it! And to think I’d worried about it beforehand… :-)

    • Our parents met just before the wedding, too. My partner is from Spain, where he and I lived for years, so at least I had been able to get to know his parents (and we had visited my family a few times for 2- to 3-week stretches, so he knew mine), but the parents had yet to meet.
      My parents, while planning to have these new people–whose language they didn’t speak–as guests at a major event the first time they met, sent them a letter a month or two before the wedding. They actually didn’t include much info in the way of introducing themselves, but they did say that they were looking forward to meeting them and that they had raised an incredible man, who they were so happy to welcome into their family. His parents responded with a similar letter (email), saying they were looking forward to meeting them, seeing what an American wedding was like, and joining our two families. Lucky they speak English (though J and I are both professional translators, so we COULD have helped them out in that respect)! The letters were a nice way for the parents to not feel quite so nervous (and it turns out that both sets were totally nervous, which surprised us) about meeting. And over the week his parents were in town, the four of them bonded and even laughed and joked and hung out without us while we were on our honeymoon, so by the time my parents got to Barcelona for the reception his parents threw for us there, they felt like they already knew them pretty well and were therefore able to enjoy the reception and the city a bit more.

      So no, it’s not all that uncommon for the parents to not have met until you give them a “good” reason to!

  • Abby C.

    ::sniffle, sniffle:: Got all teary at work reading this. Beautiful.

  • Jen

    Oh man, getting teary before 8 am! A new personal APW record. Congrats, Megan and Paul– this was super wonderful to read.

  • Oof. This was beautiful.

    “Would I regret this later, I asked? Would I always wish I’d done it my way? She calmly grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “It will be glorious. It will be just as it should be.””
    I love this. Exactly exactly exactly. I think that’s what everyone needs to hear: “It will all be just as it should be.”

    Thank you.

    • Rachel

      Agreed! That part made me tear up more than anything. That’s the kind of mom I have, and I believe everyone needs that person by their side at their wedding (and always). It doesn’t have to be your mother, but it’s nice when it is.

    • Katie Mae

      Yeah, that’s where I started crying too. This post is powerful!

  • shorty j

    this is what I’m TALKING about! I too am a control freak who has handed most of the planning over to her dude. (I wanted to elope, and Bry gently said “can we please have a wedding?” so I told him that if he wants it, he has to do at least half the planning, haha.)
    One of the things that’s driving me the craziest about wedding planning is how gendered it is; everyone assumes I’m dragging my partner to the altar and that our wedding planning consists of “I do everything and Bry shows up.” Everyone wants to talk to ME about a lot of the planning crap, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t know and couldn’t care less, and it is SUCH a relief.

    I’m so over people letting their mouths hang open when I tell them that he picked the venue and he’s off dealing with the caterer right now or whatever. It’s WAY more fun having both of us involved in this process, at least for me.

    • KT

      I can’t EXACTLY this enough!! My partner is also very involved in our wedding planning and is excited about getting married. How frustrating it can be when people assume that it’s always the woman pressuring her man to get hitched!

  • Erin

    Holy sh*t, this is my favorite grad post ever. I haven’t ever said that yet. I love that your husband planning the wedding meant that you and your family were welcomed into his family’s traditions in such a beautiful way, and that he demonstrated his love and commitment to you so tenderly by making sure all the right things happened. Happy upcoming anniversary, and best wishes for many more to come!

  • this is beautiful. just beautiful. what an amazing husband you have. and I’m also a wee bit in love with your mum :)
    this is my favourite wedding grad post yet. I’m all teary eyed at work which may take some explaining if anyone looks this way since I’m supposed to be reading EU reports…

  • tupelohoney

    Wow. The wedding graduates this week have been stunning. These lines…

    ‘She calmly grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “It will be glorious. It will be just as it should be.” She trusted him. I decided to follow suit.’

    …gave me GOOSEBUMPS and they continued while I read the rest of the post. Your wedding sounds so incredibly amazing and beautiful. Congratulations to you and Paul on your marriage and your upcoming 1 year anniversary!

    And the group shot- I love the small child on the left that is airborn!

  • So beautiful – and I am so floored by the loveliness of your calm, rational mother – good for her!

    I am so sorry for your loss, but at the same time I cannot imagine how good it was for your relationship with your clearly awesome husband that he had the chance to do this planning for both of you, for you to learn this about each other. All the best for a very happy anniversary.

  • kyley

    Okay, weeping right now.

  • Gillian

    totally made me tear up. congrats.

  • Liz

    this wedding is the embodiment of everything i’ve been learning about marriage lately. seriously.

    in my type-A, perfectionist way, i want to be able to DO. and then i hit a wall where i just can’t. and i’m finding i can rely on my husband to fill in the gaps. it doesn’t always turn out the way i would have planned, but it always always always reaffirms my trust in his love.


    and, obv, you’re effing gorgeous.

    • JEM

      oh yes with your type-A perfectionist ways, I am too. And I’m still having a hard time letting go. I need more work on this. My fiance is ADHD and so his way of getting things done is much more…creative than mine will ever be so I just have to let it happen and trust that it will turn out ok. Any suggestions/strategies on HOW to do that?

      • Ariel

        Honey, I hear you about being type A and trying to plan a wedding with a fiance who has ADHD. It’s tough.
        When he starts to drive me crazy with his “creative” (nicely put) tendencies, I just close my eyes and take a few breaths, and think about all of the amazing and beautiful things that have come out the way that his mind works. Things that aren’t strictly wedding planning related, but the little every day things that I adore about him. Like the songs that he makes up on the spot, and sings to our cats while he’s washing dishes. Or how his tendency to think about 20 things at once at about 600 mph always enables him to come up with the funniest jokes out of the blue.
        And when I do this, it becomes less about “letting go” of my way of doing things, and more about remembering that we are two very different people, but we really have a lot of fun making our lives together work on a day-to-day basis. Planning this wedding is not only to celebrate that, but really in the long run is just one of the many things that we are going to have to figure out how to do in a (God willing) long life of being together.
        In terms of the ADHD, it has really helped me to learn more about the way that his brain works. I’m in the middle of reading ADHD & Me by Blake E.S. Taylor, and I’d recommend it to anyone who has a loved one with ADHD. Also, there are support groups out there for spouses of people with ADHD. Check it out.
        In terms of wedding planning, what helped us the most is sitting down together and making lists of what was important to each of us. I’m an artist, and the aesthetics of everything are at the top of my list. R doesn’t care about that stuff. Seriously, he didn’t want to have decorations at all because he thought they would detract from everyone’s spiritual contemplation. But he really cares about writing the ceremony. So we divided up the tasks according to our interest. I’m still helping with writing the ceremony, but he’s the one who corresponds with our officiant and takes care of that side of things. I get free reign with the invites, table set up, etc. because I’m really excited about those things, and I just check it with him to make sure he’s cool with the choices that I’m making. (And because I’m type A, I check in with him about his stuff every night at dinner. I try not to nag, but I also make lists about everything. It’s who I am, and he loves me anyway.) With ADHD it’s all about following his interest, because that’s what he’s going to be able to focus on.
        And seriously, look into a support group if you think it will be helpful.

        • Ariel

          This was such a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing Megan. I feel totally refreshed after taking a break in the middle of my day to cry happy tears over it. I wish you and Paul so many blessings together!

        • JEM

          I greatly appreciate the book suggestion, I am always trying to learn more about ADHD and how he works. It is validating to hear that you face some similar challenges.

          Even though we’ve been together for over 6 years, it is still a matter of figuring out strategies and evolving together to make us work best.

  • I love absolutely everything about this post, and this couple. Love it.

  • Yup. I’m crying.

    How beautiful – thank you thank you for sharing!

  • Mallory

    Aw man I was proud of myself for holding in the tears and then I hit that last line… so beautiful.

    Great wedding grad post!

  • Steph

    Just beautiful! What a beautiful day and a fantastic guy! Congrats to you both :)

  • LPC

    Greatest wedding ever. Wait, I know, they are all great. So to be precise, for me, sitting on my sofa in the morning in California, this was the best wedding read ever. I completely felt it all. And the photo of your mom and your now-husband, her looking up at him with so much love, made me tear up. Also, how gorgeous are you two? Can you get married again, just like this, and can I come?

  • Oh my gosh. Add me to the list of weeping women. This was absolutely beautiful.

  • Vee

    This is one of my favorite grad posts ever. I typically am not as moved by grad posts now that I’m already married (just got married six months ago and currently I’m in that totally-over-weddings phase), but this one absolutely had my tears flowing. What a beautiful wedding. The family contributions are so heartwarming, and you can just see the happiness seeping out of everyone in these beautiful pictures.

    Also, loved this line from Megan’s mom: “It will be glorious. It will be just as it should be.” I think that’s just about where the tears started.

    A lifetime of happiness to Megan and Paul.

  • KT

    I also ready Maggie, Heather and APW regularly and am trying to work on accomplishing some of my life list goals. One of mine was to plan a beautiful wedding, which I am working on now (May 7, 2011!!). It’s been hard for me to give up some of those dreams I had about what the finished product would look like in order to accommodate my partner and our families. Thanks for the “it will be just as it should be” because I sometimes get caught up in worry about whether I will have regrets about not having some of the elements I’ve always wanted (like a dance party). I think hearing the experiences of wedding grads who also didn’t necessarily have the wedding they thought they would is helping calm those fears. Congratulations on a beautiful day. Happy anniversary!!

    • I have marry my best friend on my life list. ;)

  • JT

    This is when I started to cry:

    Would I regret this later, I asked? Would I always wish I’d done it my way? She calmly grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “It will be glorious. It will be just as it should be.” She trusted him. I decided to follow suit.

    And… I’m still sniffling. This is absolutely the wedding post I needed to read. I’ve handed off the planning of my wedding (and let me tell you, my sister could not be more excited that she gets to plan another wedding!), and sometimes I worry that I’m missing out by not being more involved in the details. But if I were planning, I would be obsessing over every little thing and I think I’d completely miss out on the excitement and joy of getting ready to get married. Your post has renewed my confidence in my decision- everything will turn out just as it’s meant to be, with or without my involvement or obsessing.

    Your wedding was beautiful! And I love that last picture.

  • Just as everyone else is saying, your wedding is stunning. Just beautiful, really.

    I love that you were able to give control over to your husband. I think of all the times that I try to do that and end up failing because he just.isn’ You’re story definitely shows that (the proverbial) he, can, in fact, do it right. So, thank you.

  • Oh my goodness, that is fantastic! I love how your teammate stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park when you were on the DL. Congratulations!

    • Amandover

      Ha! Sports metaphors on a wedding blog. Well done.

  • hoppy bunny

    I think there is something so romantic about guys doing stuff for their ladies in a way that is so completely different from how the lady would do it. It’s such a good reminder to never stop learning, and to never stop seeing the world with fresh eyes, and when those reminders come from genuine actions made by the person you love… it just makes me swoon and feel grateful.

    Such a rad wedding. Congrats to you both :)

  • I started crying at the part where your mom says “It will be glorious…”

    I had a very similar experience, wedding thousands of miles away that I didn’t, families who didn’t meet until they were picked up from the airport, different cultural traditions, and online dress shopping… by my self. You wrote the post I was thinking of writing, and I don’t think I could ever do it as well as you. So thank you.

    What a beautiful wedding, and how beautiful you looked! Congratulations!

    • Wedding thousand of miles away that I didn’t plan! oops

  • Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

  • I am tearing up, on the train no less. Thank you.

  • Heather L

    Your wedding is absolutely lovely! Congrats!

    My fiance is doing most of the planning as well, though there’s significantly more of a split in ours and it’s for different reasons. He lives in the Northeast, where we are marrying, and I’ve relocated myself to Texas. So he’s doing a lot of the hands on stuff. And while I trust him, I’m extremely type A and uptight. So if he’s taking longer than I think he should to work on something (right now that’s the venue) I get super fidgety and start nagging him.

  • Your dress is incredible. And it was fabulous to hear about your journey of letting go of preconceived ideas and embracing your “glorious-just-as-it-should-be” wedding that your husband planned.

  • Amazingly inspirational post–not just for wedding planning, but for life.

    Happy Anniversary!

  • Dude. I like wedding graduate posts, I do. But for whatever reason, this one really . . . well, it stands out. It hits me in a way that many wedding graduate posts don’t, even though we had very, very different weddings.

    This is why I don’t give two hoots about what photos are up on pretty sites . . . it’s the words that make it really ring true.

  • This is so amazing! I would love to hand over planning control someday… although I’m still not sure my Type A personality would be able to stay out of it!

  • Jen M


    Isn’t it wonderful how a good man will step up and totally blow you away when they’re given the opportunity? Such a beautiful wedding. Congratulations :)

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    Great post Megan, thanks so much for putting it all out there for us. I love the idea that things can be totally different than you expected, but still perfect.

    When we were in planning-phase, Husband and I were trying to decide how much $$ to spend on our honeymoon. I was torn, the idea of a glamorous, exotic honeymoon was really appealing, but I could still see the better uses for the money – saving for a house, a few extra trips to see the nieces and nephews, fall back money in case one of loses their job. I asked my mom if she thought I’d be disappointed with a more budget honeymoon, if I’d wish we’d done something classy.

    My mom in her brilliance told me that she and my dad now spend more money on one night in a nice hotel than they did on their entire honeymoon. She has no regrets, no misgivings. She said “It doesn’t matter if it’s fancy or expensive or cheap or trashy. It will be special because it’s *your honeymoon*. You’ll remember it fondly because you were there together and you were newlyweds, not because it’s posh.”

    She was totally right.

    • m

      I loved reading this comment from your mom….. I am at the exact fork in the honeymoon-choosing road… will definitely take it to heart when deciding.

    • Sometimes moms say the best damn stuff.

  • Faith

    This one made me tear up. I love how you were so incredibly trusting of your man…even when it was completely against your nature to relinquish control.

    What a beautiful picture of what can happen when we simply let go, when we trust to absolutely to the one we’re letting go to.

    Thanks for this, I needed the reminder to trust when I don’t think I can.

    Happy almost one year!

  • Another post that has me crying again, Damn you APW!!!!!

    “She calmly grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “It will be glorious. It will be just as it should be.” She trusted him. I decided to follow suit.”

    and then, this:
    “Holy shit. Paul pulled it off. He really did it. This is it.”

    Megan, as a fellow control freak, I bow down to you as an inspiration on the wisdom and power of letting go!

    What a wonderful, touching, beautiful, heartfelt, meaningful, incredible wedding you had!

  • This is a really, really good one.

  • Marina

    I never even read graduate posts these days, and, um. I am totally teary. This is amazing. Congratulations.

  • Erika

    I am speechless. Which makes it hard to comment. I love that this is a story about trust. I love everything about it.

  • Goose-bumps.

  • Jan

    Holy cow! I’ve known Megan since she was a little girl. My daughter & boyfriend were at the wedding! I know all the details about the wedding, I’ve seen the pictures & I’m STILL a weeping mess! Megan, you have a real gift! Keep writing.

  • Chantelle

    Thank you, as someone who obsesses over every detail and plans the fun out of things, your courage in letting go, and seeing how wonderful things can be (even when they are out of your hands) is a great lesson.
    And, stunning dress, can I ask where you scored that beauty?

  • Sara

    Megan, here’s to you for checking off a life list item – getting your wedding on paper – in such a truly inspired way! Cheers! Plus, just look how many people you have touched by doing something you wanted to do? (me included! such an incredible grad post! fortunately nodding emphatically while tearing up helps shake them off your face!)

    I also wanted to echo the comment that your wedding seems to say so so much about marriage itself, beyond the wedding, and you and Paul must’ve had quite a good first year of that, no? Happy Anniversary, and best wishes for so many more!

  • I love everything about this! So incredibly beautiful and moving and…just, wow.

  • april

    “It will be glorious”….

    And indeed it looks and sounds like it most certainly was! What an awesome story of letting go and trusting the process. Your darling husband did a wonderful job – just gorgeous… Congrats and Happy Happy on your upcoming anniversary.

  • Holy cow everyone, thanks so much for the awesome comments. I was nervous about submitting but now I’m like, SUUUUUUPER glad I did. :) Thanks for showing the love!

    Chantelle – Dillards online! Doesn’t look like it’s still there but there are quite a few like it. Check it out here:

    • Chantelle

      Thank you!

  • This made me cry.

    I, too, lost my father, though several years ago, and there are definitely days planning our wedding when I think, I can’t do this. I can’t plan this celebration that he is not going to attend. Then I usually get over it, but I have found the whole process to be bittersweet.

    I worry sometimes that on the day I will get caught up in grief. So it’s wonderful to see just how overwhelmingly joyous your wedding was … And now I’m crying again.


  • Reading about Megan and Paul’s wedding made me so happy. Obviously they’re a very loving couple who overcame some major obstacles to have a beautiful, fun wedding day full of love and family and friends. It’s a great way to say that even though things might not work out the way you think they will, just being with people who love and support you can make all the difference.


    I love this. A girl I know had her heart set on a beach wedding about an hour from home but some really messed up stuff went down with the property rental and she lost the venue. After vendors had already been paid and planning was well underway. She was heartbroken and so done with planning and her husband took over and found a spot and planned their destination wedding. It was so sweet!

  • Cristina

    This is my favorite wedding graduate post ever. Happy early anniversary! You sound like you are incredibly blessed to have each other, and I wish you many more years of happiness.

  • Meg, if this one hadn’t dissolved you into a puddle of tears, I would’ve wanted to know if you were feeling alright.

    Megan & Paul – congratulations on almost 1 year. Your wedding was absolutely beautiful and it made me weepy, even though I don’t know either of you. :)

  • Murdock

    Yep tears….at work….in my cubicle. Much love to you, Megan, and Paul – this is what its all about. “Together – you can do anything!!” even if that means letting your partner lead the dance…

  • Carreg

    This was such a lovely post to read. It looks so wonderfully informal. Flipflops… I hope my wedding ends up something like that. I mean, not exactly like that, obviously, not in Hawaii, etc. But you all look so happy and relaxed. I’m so nervous mine will end up all stiff and formal. I love your dress — it looks comfortable and danceable in and it looks good!

    The cloths you and your husband were wearing around your middles are beautiful — could you tell us more about them? I’d love to hear more about the traditional Tongan dancing as well, but describing dances never works.

    • @CARREG,
      Thanks for reading! The wraps are traditional Tongan lava lavas. Paul’s mom put them together for us…aren’t they cool? The traditional dancing was great too. That girl who danced (who is basically, like, the cutest girl EVER) was so sweet…she has sticky stuff on her arms and people come up and stick money to her (sounds strange, but so perfect!). I actually joined in and gave her a twenty, but then when she was done they gathered up all the money and gave it to us! Paul’s family was so amazing and generous. It was the best day and I’m so honored to have been able to share it with everyone! Thanks for reading!!!

  • Brandy

    Wonderful post Megan and I’m going to sit on the *I love Paul* couch too, so move over ladies. It sounds like it was a perfect day!

  • AKP

    This is a wonderful reminder of what a marriage is really about – it’s about having someone who picks up all your pieces when you can’t, and puts them back together just the way you never knew you wanted.

    • Someone needs to needlepoint that on a pillow.

      • AKP

        Haha if only I were so crafty.

  • Katie

    Megs, I will always be so sorry to have missed this day — but SO grateful for your recounting of it!!! I had no idea Paul did so much (although it doesn’t surprise me in the least). Thank you for letting all of us be a part of it (even those of us who were invited but too broke to go, wah waaaaaaah). One love!

  • Oh gosh, this post made me say out loud, “YOU GUYS, I LOVE LOVE!!!” (Not sure who the “you guys” I was addressing were, since I’m by myself at home… maybe the entire APW community at large?)

    Megan, thank you so much for sharing your wedding for us. The trust and love that shines through your words and pictures truly takes my breath away!

    • JEM

      I totally know what you mean about loving love! :)

  • Jill

    Jim wouldn’t need his red pen for this entry…perfect, Meggie…perfect.

  • Dana

    Love this! Love Paul! Amazing!

  • Oh my, that made my eyes well up as well. Congratulations!

  • I think I may have just fallen in love with Paul a little. Thanks for sharing, this story really made my day!

  • What a gorgeous lesson in trust! I have the worst time letting go and trusting others to get things done.

    I have been fairly nervous about meeting my fiance’s family, which will likely happen at the wedding. The last time I saw any of them was 23 years ago, and even though we have been together for years, our parents have never met. It’s nice to know that it could still work out just fine.

  • Lauren

    I love this verra verra much Megs. So honored to call you guys friends. Well done on all counts.

  • Oh gosh, the tears! It’s 9.30 in the morning here! What an inspiring, thoughtful and positive way to start my day – thankyou so much Megan.

  • Carrie M

    Whooo boy, that was a great wedding graduate post! I cried a bit when I read that last line. I would say this should be recommended reading for all type A engaged ladies!

  • This place is getting to be like the Oprah Show–tears all the time! Argh! APW and you brilliant women, how you speak to MY SOUL!

    Megan, your knack for writing is second best only to your hubby’s knack for wedding planning. Oh, and your ability to just let go. Thanks for being such a wonderful, honest role model. Congratulations on your anniversary, and a gazillion more to come with that amazing hubby of yours!

  • Englyn

    Awwwww *sniffle*
    I almost never get teary, but the last line…

    When it comes down to it, this is what all our mad planning is about. THIS – this joy, this sense of family – is what we are looking for, but know we can’t force it to happen on cue, can’t put it on a to-do list, can’t build it from the craft store, can’t order it online, can’t find a vendor for it, can’t invite it. So we run around worrying about stationery and centrepieces in the hope that if we build a bright nest, it will come!

  • Ash

    This is so beautiful! Every bit!

  • Nicolae White

    Can I marry you both? Great piece Megan… you wrote from the heart, and you wrote from experience—job well done! -Nicolae

  • So, so heartwarming.

  • Laura

    This really was such an excellent post – both in form and content – win! Congratulations Megan and Paul! What a beautiful wedding and Megan, great, great job staying focused on the good stuff and helping to create a beautiful experience. Cheers!

  • Jerry

    So wonderful!

  • Somehow I missed this yesterday but I am so warm fuzzy over it. What a fantastic reminder to my over-anxious personality! (Also, Montana in the hizz-ouse!)


  • redfrizzz

    my partner and I are so different, like you and your adorable husband. I needed to read this post and to see your pictures and see how beautiful and meaningful it can be to give that control to another and swim in the trust.

  • ka

    Wow. I cried. And not in my usual sappy wedding grad, oh it’s so beautiful and heartwarming and loving love ( :-) Sharon ) sort of way. In the way I usually do after a really good movie/book. The kind that you get soo invested in, because you feel like you’ve known the characters forever and want the world for them. The kind where things are really hard, but then there are rays of light, and then wonderful things happen, and then The End.

    And thanks for the lessons to us planners that it will be OK if you let go. What I really got was that as much as I read this and think (because I’m one of those martyr control freaks who can get stuck in thinking she to do everything), “I want a Paul! Oh how great to stop planning because I don’t really want to, I just feel compelled to…,” I realized the tremendous leap of faith involved in actually letting go like that. Bravo to you for doing just that! It’s such an inspiration. :)

  • Claire

    I know exactly how you feel, Meg! I teared up reading this post. What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing.

  • Class of 1980

    Paul is a keeper. No doubt about it. Beautiful wedding.

  • Jessica

    Pardon me while I cry my frickin’ eyes out, this was that beautiful!

  • Cassie

    Ahh I love her dress. Does anyone know where it is from?

    • Cass, I got it online at (for 150 bucks!). I just looked and the don’t have that exact one bud they still have a few like it. The brand name is Adrianna Papelle…search womens/special occasions/wedding dresses…the run true to size. Hope this helps, and thanks for reading!

  • Private for Now

    Freaking AWESOME!

  • Debbie

    Megan, What a unique story of a beautiful wedding for a great couple!

  • Erica Richardson (Your favorite second Cousin)

    Hi its erica , you are soooo pretty!
    I cant wait to see you again!your the awesomest 2nd cousin ive ever had!!
    you are so pretty,nice,awesome and cool!!!
    i totally look up to you!!


    you are super duper cool and awesome !!! Your the best man in the history of men!!!!!!!!!
    I cant stand the wait to see you again!


  • amy

    Add me to the list of criers…I love this one.

  • Alexandra

    Brilliant! Love this. So many congratulations to the couple.

    (and condolences on the loss of her father.)

  • I love that getting your wedding on paper is on your life list – it’s on mine too. I’ve never cried over a graduate post, but I was pretty close to losing it on this one. What a lovely story and lesson in trust. Congratulations!

  • Malia

    Such a beautiful post. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of months now and reading this entry brought me to tears. As a Tongan, it was beautiful to see the tradition of this interracial couple and the smiling faces of the party. I applaud and admire the work of Paul and the strong connection between the two of you. This is the perfect guideline for me as I take my step with my significant other (who also isn’t Tongan) and introduce him to a strong culture and begin our story.

  • OMG, Malia! Thanks for writing….I haven’t checked back on this thing for a few weeks and I’m so excited to tell Paul! I am literally IN LOVE with my husband’s culture. For our one year anniversary he got me a book called BECOMING TONGAN and another book that was an English-Tongan dictionary. PRICELESS.
    Ofa atu!

  • Christine

    What a beautiful story. It is good to see not having complete control turning out so well. Gives me hope, since I just gave control away (some).

    My fiancee and I have not introduced our parents yet; they will probably meet the day before the wedding. Of course, my mother lives in Florida and we are in Oregon, so we just haven’t really had the chance. I figure, since my mother has met him and his has met me, we are doing pretty good. The will meet each other in Vegas this November.

  • louise


    Your story is beautiful, and moved me to tears! truly! Your guy is heaven sent – and now I’ve started reading your blog too, and am so happy to find your about to become a mum!! yay you!!!!! (and Paul)

    i have a totally shallow question to ask though – where did you get your dress!!! I love it!!!!!!

    Louise :)


    • Louise –

      I got my dress at dillards online…not sure if that one is still there or not but the brand was Adrianna Papell…less than $200 bucks though, so a pretty good deal in all!

      Love that we’re connecting from Australia! Yeah!

    • KR

      Hey! Mind sharing a link to the blog?? I’d love to read more but can’t seem to find it!! Thanks a mil.

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  • Congratulations, sad start with your Dad passing and you kept such a positive outlook, by just surrendering and going with the Tongan flow. It was a good reminder or me, to let go and not be in control. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kelly

    So, the part where your mother grabs you and tells you it’s all going to be as it should be… SOB. Amazing, thanks for sharing. <3

  • Given the context of sickness in this post, and brides who are battling life threatening illness while getting ready to just be at your wedding, let alone think about planning any of it, I thought this was a bit insensitive. “I fought back a grand mal seizure when my husband said we didn’t have a guest list” :(