My Story | Engagement

Meet Sierra…oh wait, you already have!

profile1. Did you enjoy making wedding plans? And which month was the absolute bear of the whole experience & why?

I did enjoy making wedding plans. I’m a list type of person, so it felt nice to write things down, then check them off accordingly. Although, near the end…I just wanted to be done with it all. Really, really done. March was, by far, the worst of the whole planning process.

More than making wedding plans, I was scurrying around trying to switch insurance providers, schedule doc appointments as well as get surgery done. The month of March was full of doctors and pain, then the beginning of April was surgery and recovery. It was very difficult to be having doctor apps, surgery, recovery, wedding plans, teaching, and regular life all at once.  People didn’t always understand the pressure I was under, but it was good for me to feel that pull. I learned to just do what I was able, instead of trying to meet everyone’s expectations with an A+.

After the long-awaited surgery! So much physical pain, but so much JOY.
After the long-awaited surgery! So much physical pain, but so much JOY.

2. What was one of the most difficult parts of being engaged?

Finding Bridesmaid dresses! HA. But more importantly….it was sometimes difficult to have so much joy when I knew others around me were struggling with singleness or my engagement..ect…

Here I am, literally exploding with joy, but others are enduring very real trials, and you really have to be careful how you come across to them.  I didn’t always succeed in being thoughtful, and because it was such a struggle for others, I made the mistake of feeling guilty for being engaged. By feeling guilty, I became a bad steward of the blessings God had given me.

Thankfully, I realized sooner than later my folly. I became aware that I needed to rejoice in the gift of being engaged, and enjoy the life stage that I was in. I could not gloat about it or flaunt my blessings around, but I could truly enjoy it and be thankful to God for this wonderful time!

The day we got engaged & the picture we used to announce the wedding date.
The day we got engaged & the picture we used to announce the wedding date.

3. What was it that surprised you most about this time of engagement?

It surprised me when I had a meltdown just a few weeks after being engaged. The days directly after getting engaged are so much fun. You’re dreaming and thinking up ideas together, and just having a splendid time in love! But it’s also the time when a million opinions are thrown at you. Maybe not a million, but it felt like a MILLION. I had several different family members offering their wedding dresses to wear. That was kinda funny, but then I had all these other opinions for how the dress should be, and this and that and the other.

I was also the first daughter & granddaughter to get married so I got to be the one to set the example (YAY, me :p ). I kinda started to feel crushed under the weight of people’s expectations. I felt cornered. I deeply wanted to honor my parents and those older than myself, but I just felt tired about it all. So, I cried like a good, emotional basket-case. Ben comforted, Mom came to the rescue, I got over myself and it all worked out. 🙂

It also surprised me to see how much my Dad got into the wedding process. When we were talking about wedding arbors, he was looking up Google images & commenting on the ones that looked cool. He then helped build it. He had awesome ideas for the reception (glow-stick fireworks anyone?). And he also wanted to see my wedding dress after it came in from China. I don’t remember him saying much, but he looked at it, and had a big smile on his face as I told him about it.

My Dad found the time of sunset for May 23rd, and one afternoon, I saw my Dad sitting in the a chair where we had chosen the ceremony to be and I don’t know what he was thinking right then—but I sure loved that picture.

I will especially never forget the Wednesday evening during the wedding week when Dad choked up and said “As a parent, you always pray that your child will be loved by someone, and we are so thankful for Ben.” That was the most emotional day of the engagement process, and I could barely keep those happy/sad/joyful/anxious tears in!

Taken May 2nd....getting married was SO close. This was a formal we attended :) First & only. :)
Taken May 2nd….getting married was SO close. This was a formal we attended 🙂 First & only. 🙂

4. Were there certain expectations and/or ideas that you had to forgo, because it just made more sense to give them up?

Of course! Not every idea I had got done. But a lot of them did and I was very pleased with the results. With a wedding, you have to pick a direction you want to go and then GO. There are a billion ideas out there and I loved so many of them, but I couldn’t have all of them. There were things that turned out better than I thought, and there were also things I wish I were able to have done that just didn’t happen.

You also can’t people-please during a wedding process. A lot of people have ideas and you cannot (and don’t want to) take all of them. It was important for me to honor my parents’ desires for the wedding on the really major things. So I gave up some of the things that I wanted in order to honor my parents, but there were little things like going barefoot that I did even though my Mom hated the idea 🙂 🙂 I guess there is a fine balance between honoring, saying no, and acting on your own ideas & desires for a wedding. Don’t people-please, but do honor your parents or those who have loved you & brought you up!

Making due with what we had--an old junkyard door It worked!
Making due with what we had–an old junkyard door It worked!

5. If you could give a girl any kind of advice about this engagement/wedding plan time of life, what would it be?

If you have a good relationship with your Mom ask her what her expectations are for the planning process, before you start planning like crazy. These months are a big deal for you, but they are also a big deal for her!

She likely wants to be involved, but she doesn’t want to feel like she is over-stepping her bounds. She wants to give ideas, but ultimately (as was the case for me), she wants your ideas to come to fruition. I really made the mistake of not communicating well with my Mom when I should have asked her “What are your expectations for this planning process?”

Last GIRLS day before the wedding...05.20.15. :)
Last GIRLS day before the wedding…05.20.15. 🙂

I got smarter and asked a couple months in, but it would have served us both well if I asked her before the days rolled into months! This is such a fun time for you and your Mom, so be sure to communicate well! And acknowledge your mom’s ideas. My mom really did have good ideas! I loved that she was constantly sending me pins on Pinterest. She had a whole secret board of ideas for me to consider & she knows me so well that most of the ideas were right on!!

6. Explain your favorite memory of the whole process?

A favorite memory from the whole process was just all the joy Ben and I had for the marriage to come. We would go into town and plan our honeymoon, talk about our expectations, drink coffee, and spend time just really building our relationship, not our wedding day. We even still talk about how these dates were our very favorite memories from all the months.

I never tried on multiple wedding dresses, but once when Ben and I were in town, we decided to buy a “get-away” dress, so we went through the dress racks and picked out several dresses that we liked.

Then I went to the fitting room to try them on, I took pictures of the end results and showed them to him. We found the perfect dress, and then searched for a sash/belt to make it look even better. SCORE on all accounts. He bought my getaway dress and told me to keep it a secret from everyone else, even my sisters!

Only 1 or 2 people (aside from Ben and me) saw it before the wedding day. Right before we left for our honeymoon, I changed into it and my Mom just loved it. She thought it was so cute. It was such a fun secret to keep! And an amazing memory too 🙂

the *secret* getaway dress in action!!

Something to Consider:

If you can manage it, take a couple weeks and don’t talk about the wedding plans at all. Talk about your future, your honeymoon, your expectations for the honeymoon, and just talk about regular life! You may be planning a wedding every day for months, but it is not your life. Don’t treat it like it is.

You are planning for a DAY. So take time to build more of your LIFE together. Ben and I had such fun talking about potential places to go on our honeymoon. When our honeymoon plans started coming together, it felt so wonderful and so real! The wedding day people knew about, but the majority of our honeymoon plans were a secret. I loved that.



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