On April 2, 2009 my husband (then boyfriend), Whit, surprised me with a picnic in the park. It had been flooding all day and the sun came out just long enough for us to have our picnic under the gazebo at the park. I remember everything was so wet that even the towels we brought to lay on the benches of the tables became saturated. Whit had prepared this great little lunch, but I noticed he wasn’t eating anything and seemed really nervous. About this time, he pulls out the ring and asked, “Will you be my wife?”. After finishing our lunch we headed to “tell” our parents. I say “tell” them, but they all knew already, but it was still exciting to actually be able to say, “We are getting married.” We had been discussing getting married for a while and even looked at rings, but I decided to let him pick out the ring he wanted to give me as a sign of his love for me. I am so glad I did because he picked a ring that is absolutely gorgeous and so me. We planned a May wedding to allow me to graduate from college, but I have to say if I had to do over, I would not have planned my wedding the week after I graduated. Two major steps in life within seven days was a little much to take in. I remember feeling overwhelmed with trying to plan and finish school. One night my mom found me crying over planning a date for a wedding shower. I had let things get to me, but my mom with her wise and gentle words reminded me to breathe. She said, “I didn’t have to work around everyone else all the time, it was okay to say what I needed or wanted, and that everyone just wanted to celebrate me and Whit; to make us feel loved and happy.” Thank God for moms who always seem to know the right words to say.
With twelve months until the wedding date and trying to finish school, there wasn’t much time to lose. My mom and I began doing our homework and scheduling meetings with wedding vendors to determine which ones we wanted to use. We interviewed at least three companies from each wedding vendor category before we made our decisions. While we were making progress in the wedding planning, I wasn’t as expedient as I should have been in booking my date with all my wedding vendors. Twelve months seems like a long time and it really is a great length to an engagement in my opinion, but I had so many other things weighing in that time caught up quickly. While I was still able to get the majority of the wedding vendors and venue I wanted for our special day, I was not able to secure one of the wedding vendors I really wanted. So, book your vendors early when at all possible to ensure you get who and what you really want.
It is also important to take it slow and enjoy every part of planning your wedding. I loved going to meet the different vendors and was open to their opinions. I wasn’t stuck on having everything just one certain way, but I did choose certain things which were important to me and I wanted done a particular way. It’s okay to be picky as long as you can also be understanding if those things need to be altered due to logistics in the design or budget doesn’t allow for it. My florist, Mrs. Shelia Kirksey with Rose Bud Flowers and Gifts (www.rosebudflowers.com), was an amazing help when it came to fleshing out my vision for my wedding. Sheila would throw out options and we would work through them to really find what it was I wanted. She even went the extra mile and told us to just show up and she would take care of everything else. Wow, we were blessed to have some great wedding vendors.
It is important to take things slow and enjoy every part of the wedding planning journey and most importantly the wedding day. Make a conscious decision to remember every moment and make memories with the people you love. I will not ever forget my daddy’s face when he came back to walk me down the aisle. I think I connected more with him in those two minutes than I had in years.
Whit and I also chose to write our own vows. We wanted to be real with each other and give each other a promise that no one else could give. This was truly a special day for us and I have so many memories to which I will always cherish. I will always remember my mom praying over me before we walked out to start the wedding, and the overwhelming feeling I had as I saw the number of people who took time to come and support and love on us.
There was also the memory of having both of our childhood pastors join together and marry us and the signet ring ceremony where I gave Whit my purity ring I received when I was sixteen along with the sealed promise statement stating I would walk my life in a state of purity waiting only for him. The only thing I wish is that we would have had more time to enjoy the wedding itself as it seemed time flew by so fast on such an incredible day, but it was a great great day and I will forever cherish each memory.
Enjoy each moment, make time for the ones you love along the wedding planning journey, be flexible and understanding, and book your wedding date EARLY to insure you get the wedding vendors you want.
Amber – 2010
Pictures provided by Memories by Patrick Trehern
Catering by Tyner’s Catering
Cakes by Cakes By Judi
Floral Designs by The Rose Bud Florist and Gifts
Rentals by Port City Rentals
Venue is the Bragg Mitchell Mansion