Lovely Lucy and Tom…A Short and Sweet Engagement

Phil and I were engaged for 7 months and 18 days. Though we knew we would one day say ‘I Do’, I was adamant that there would be no more than a year between ‘Will you…?’ and ‘I now pronounce you…’. I’ll be VERY honest here, I just don’t see the point. Congratulating the glowing girlie showing off her sparkling ring and asking ‘When?!’ only to be told 2018…I don’t understand. I am, however, very open to explanations and reasoning. Maybe one day soon, we’ll do a debate-inspiring piece on it, as I fear I may hijack the yummy-scrumptious story of another couple’s short and oh-so-sweet engagement and wedding here! I hand you over to the incredibly sweet and infinitely talented Lucy….

I thought in a moment of impulse I’d write and tell you about our wedding, which happened this summer in our village church. We diy-ed our afternoon reception in my parents’ field, in a big canvas tent. Then we left for our honeymoon leaving our guests to revel into the night and toast our good health (drink the bar dry). I have been a wife for three wonderful little months and I thought I’d share our story. I have a tendency to go on a bit especially about all things wedding but here goes…

My husband and I knew from the outset what we wanted our wedding to be like. We had a short engagement on purpose because we wanted it to be simple, lovely and relaxed – we were both adamant that the wedding planning would not steal years of our lives or of our savings. Maybe we were a little bit scared it would run away with us if we had enough time to let it get out of hand. When people asked us what our theme was we mumbled something about a wedding type theme..? I guess you could say that from there, our approach to planning was a bit of an oxymoron – it was militantly relaxed. If we thought we were making things too complicated we stopped and did an about turn. As it turned out, it suited us fine not to complicate things with lots of guests, elaborate themes, entertainment, large wedding parties or wedding bumpf the industry says you need. We weren’t being mean or lazy by leaving these things to one side, and we do think that these things can make a bloody good wedding but we stuck to our guns and just focused on the important bits to us. In the end, our day really was all the things we had hoped for. But it was much, much more to boot. I think some of the best bits were things that just happened, that we hadn’t planned for and that says it all really about what’s important. 


It was simple and the planning didn’t take too much effort in the first flourishes. We booked our ceremony and my parents offered their field to host the reception within 2 weeks of the proposal. Within a month we had made a guest list, chosen invitations, ordered my dress, booked the marquee and the photographer and chosen flowers. 

People said we ‘didn’t hang around’, like it was a bad thing! But doing it all at the start meant we had a fun newly engaged rush of dashing around choosing things and then months of not planning a single thing and that was actually rather nice. It left me lots of time to daydream about what our day would be like and what it would be like to be a wife to my wonderful man. I do love a good bit of daydreaming.


But even so I, like so many otherwise ’normal’ (!) rational, reasonably intelligent women, found so many things to fret over and I did doubt and challenge our choices at times, no matter what people said to try and stop me. My aunt told me it was because women take their weddings too seriously and think every decision they make is so important when it really isn’t. But that was what we had been so strongly against, we were trying to go with the flow but I couldn’t stop myself from letting it matter what the day turned out like if that makes sense? 



I think part of the anxiety was down to the fact that we knew the run up closer to the day was going to be intense because of the diy. I don’t mean diy as in tons of pretty handmade details of the type that grace magazines and drool worthy blogs, although we had a few small bits of pretty. I mean diy as in washing and drying hundreds of glasses and cutlery, putting up tables, ironing tablecloths and setting places, buying (and growing) enough food and calculating enough drink for the free bar, finding enough room to refrigerate it all and then putting it all together to hopefully look pretty and wedding-y enough. We didn’t have caterers to oversee the day and make sure it ran to plan so we roped in some helpers and they made sure food was put out and cleared away and that the bar was well stocked. Actually they ended up taking it upon themselves to do loads more than that – they were worth their weight in gold. All of our kind of diy gets overlooked if you go to a venue, most if not all of it is done for you without you having to give it a second thought. I will admit there were times when I doubted whether we had made the right choice!

  


 
I know we were not alone in the more challenging moments to think ‘why are we even doing this, I just wish we were already married’. I started googling elopements like a frenzied crazy lady for goodness sake, which was pointless as we had no intention of cancelling the day and eloping. I wasted many hours looking at other people’s drop dead gorgeous weddings (and pretending to my husband to be that I wasn’t) and generally feeling intense jealousy at how well organised everyone elses days seemed.

I guess that unless women are bold enough to say, you know what, wedding planning isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be, what you are feeling is NORMAL because I felt like that too, women are going to carry on stressing that they are the anomaly or a dare I utter its name… a bridezilla. Thankfully more places are springing up for women to voice these kind of things, which is why I love AOW.  


Almost all my stresses about the day melted away as soon as the wedding day dawned. I was still nervous of course, but I can categorically confirm that none of the things that didn’t quite go to ‘plan’ actually mattered. We didn’t have any crises; it was all minor detail stuff that most people wouldn’t have noticed anyway. I’m not even going to go into it, because when I wrote all the things down it sounded too trivial to concern you with and it made me laugh out loud. So I pressed delete.


I know that some women just won’t believe that they will overlook all the little things that don’t quite work out on the day. To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought it would happen to me if I was reading this before my wedding but there you go. The way my husband managed things was to think, will this matter a year after the wedding. If the answer is ‘No’ then move on.

I loved our wedding and it has given me some wonderful memories but a big part of me is glad it’s been and gone. Yes it was wonderful and yes I am delighted to be my husband’s wife but no I don’t want to do it again thank you. I look at my simple teeny tiny wedding band and my heart swells with the thought of the vows we made and the life we are creating for ourselves and our family. That is enough. That might sound sickly sweet but it’s true. And I am a newlywed so I’m allowed to be a bit sickly sweet aren’t I?


If I had to say what I would do differently I’d probably say I should’ve stopped reading pretty wedding blogs because I did drive myself to distraction thinking about all the different types of wedding days we could have. But who am I kidding?! I still read them, three months a married woman, and I drink in all the beauty, design and drama of other people’s days. There is something so pivotal, so alluring about how people celebrate the milestone of marriage that I can’t turn my back on it.

*All images by the evidently extremely talented Emma Cleveley *

Categories: Engagement, Family, Friends and Relationships
11 interesting thoughts on this

11 Comments

  1. Posted December 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    This is so beautifully written and so so relevant for me. Our engagement was almost exactly 12 months, and yet I had nothing more organised than Lucy did. Although I loved knowing I was going to marry Andy, I also didn't necessarily enjoy the entire process of being engaged. It was a stressful, time consuming, problem highlighting time, I'm not sure it would have been any different had it been 6 months or had it been 2 years. So why extend that? Why not get on with it and get to the really good part – being a newly wed and all that that involves.

    I'd be interested to hear from any of you who've had/are having longer engagements… Is it less? What made you choose to have a long engagement? Are you glad you did? Because right now I can only see the arguement for quicky engagements…

  2. Posted December 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Ok, so it's fairly obvious I wrote that from my phone – please ignore any typos! And in the last paragraph it should say is it less STRESSFUL?

  3. Posted December 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Great post. Hello from another 7 month engagement bride. We knew we didn't want a long engagement and had to fit it into school holidays. A January engagment meant that the summer was great timing. I think had we had longer then I'd have just made loads of decisions and then worried about it and then thought should we change things.
    Also I found using the word 'fiance' bad enough for 7 months goodness knows if I'd have had to use it for longer…

  4. Posted December 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    We will have been engaged 15 months by the time we get married. We got engaged in January, and not wanting to organise it in less than 9 months (before the weather got dodgy – we are in the north of Scotland after all) we decided to hold out till the winter was past and spring arrived again. I didn't want to rush planning, and monetary wise, it has given us breathing space x

  5. Posted December 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    We really didn't want to wait around after getting engaged – the whole point of getting engaged was to get married, after all! But when M proposed I was in the middle of getting my teeth fixed, and being rather vain (and hating my teeth as they were), I really wanted them to be "okay" for our wedding day (or rather, the photos). So our wedding ended up being 15 months after we got engaged. I'm glad we waited, because I felt so much more comfortable on the day every time I smiled, but if it wasn't for my teeth then we definitely would've got married earlier. But those fifteen months just whizzed by….and now we've almost been married for that long. Crazy!

  6. Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    @JHD Good Lordy I hear you on the 'fiance' comment. I felt like a 12 year old swearing in front of her parents for the first time everytime I used the word! In fairness, I'm taking my sweet time getting used to 'husband' too…why is it 'boyfriend' is so easy?!

    @Emma-I have a friend who did exactly the same thing, 'cept she got so tired of waiting to get married she had her braces taken off 4 months early, did the deed and had them put back on to finish treatment after her honeymoon! Taking impatience to a whole new level…

    Intellectually and practically I CAN understand why people might be engaged for longer than a year. For us, (me!) once that ring was on my finger there was no reason good enough for US to wait any longer than absolutely necessary. But I shall open my mind and my heart (I think it's my heart that snags on the specifics of this discussion-it should be about the LOVE!) and I am for sure starting to see how a longer engagement makes sense for some.

    And without you ladies I most certainly would not be learning to broaden my wedding-preconception-horizons, so thank you and keep it coming!

    And thank you to Lucy for her b.e.a.u.tiful write-up and scrumptious pics. A wedding that sits very nicely alongside my own-clearly we have similar tastes Lucy!

    x

  7. Posted December 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Lucy this is beyond beautiful!!!

  8. Anna K
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this, Lucy! We got engaged in September 2008. I spent the next three months in a blind panic, incapable of doing anything. Come January 09 and a stern talking-to from my friend, we found a venue. Six months later, we were married.

    For me, it was perfect. We didn't second-guess decisions, and because I'm the kind of person who gets OBSESSED with planning, any more and I would have burned out. And become a complete bore. Because really, other than the man, the venue, the family and friends and something to wear…what more do you really need?

  9. Posted December 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you everyone for reading and for your lovely comments and thank you to Clare and Aisling for having me!xxx

  10. Posted February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written… our wedding will be about a year and a half after we first got engaged – just because it gave us time to get the money together. I would have loved to get married sooner (and yes I do the 'I wish we were already married' thing!) I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the planning so it's nice to hear that it's totally normal to be doing a lot of eeek! :)

  11. Katie
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I know this is an old post, but only recently come across this blog.

    Lucy and Tom’s wedding is very pretty. I'm terribly impressed with the amount of DIY.

    We’re having a fifteen month engagement. I’d have loved a short engagement. We booked all the main items when we got engaged, and then put wedding planning aside for about nine months.

    Both my boyfriend and dad are dairy farmers. Dad did not want us getting married beyond August, as he starts calving from August onwards, and my boyfriend did not want us married before 18th July as he’s busy with silaging/ contract work etc.

    Autumn is impossible as Dad has an autumn calving herd. The winter is impossible, as the cows are in sheds, and need feeding/mucking out daily. Spring is a very busy time on the farm. Out of 52 weeks in a year, we had two weeks that we could get married! Also a summer wedding is best for us, as we are having a marquee wedding.

    We got engaged the start of April 2010, and it was not possible to organise a church/ marquee wedding for July 2010.

    I think the longer engagements can be due to any number of reasons including work, hotel availability, finances etc.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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