Planning a wedding without a groom proves to be very difficult. He had to go back to training in California about three days after the proposal. But in those few days, we managed to pick out a church and a reception hall. This helped, but there was still so much more that needed to be addressed. The original date was set for December 20th, because it was our anniversary. That fell through because it would have been on a Tuesday. So then we shot for December 17th. Once again, it wouldn't work because one of my far away siblings wouldn't be able to make it, and family is important to both of us. We tried for New Years Eve, but the church wouldn't allow it. Apparently, even pastors want to get wasted! So we finally settled with December 30th, 2011, at 3pm. That gave us precisely three months for planning and preparation.
The day he left was rough, but I knew I would see him again in roughly 12 weeks. I once again promised not to cry, and I kept that promise. He had MCT for about a month, therefore he wasn't really allowed much phone time making it near impossible to go any further with wedding plans. He said it didn't matter and that he would love the wedding no matter how it was put together. But I wanted his opinion. So I made things difficult by waiting. This endeavor made things stressful on both sides and I don't particularly recommend it; but it seems that I learn things the hard way which is better than not learning at all. It was hard on my side because of course I missed him terribly, and also because my mom is a "get it all done right now" kind of gal. (God bless her.) It was hard on him because when he did get phone time, he wasn't exactly looking forward to making decisions, and I don't blame him. There were several meltdowns, but the one I look back on the most and can finally smile about is when my sister, mom, and I went ring shopping. I had intended on just picking my wedding band out just to prepare for how much we were going to have to save. But with my family, tings never really turn out the way I plan. We ended up looking for his ring, which was stellar and all, but I wasn't exactly keen on the idea of buying his ring without him having any say-so in the matter. I realized that I had no idea of what he liked when it came to that. So immediately, I'm sweating, hunched over the glass looking at all these rings that wouldn't pop up and say, "Hey! Pick me! I'm his favorite!" It was a pretty frustrating ordeal. My mind was racing and I suddenly sympathized with Him. He went through this for me already! And did an amazing job picking my ring. Eventually I chose a ring I thought he would like. I got up in preparation to leave, thinking that I would describe it to him when we got to talk this weekend, but my mom insisted that we buy it right now and get it over with. "It's not that big of a deal, Emma! He will love it. Let's just get it now." But to me, this was a very big deal! He has to wear this ring for the rest of his life, and I wanted him to have input. Somehow we ended up raising our voices and I hurriedly exited the store in hopes that no one would see that I had involuntarily started crying. My sister came out and bought me a drink and told me to just get it today because we were allowed to bring it back for full store credit within 90 days. I found this comforting, so we bought it that day. (Duh. Why didn't I think of that?)
Looking back that seemed soooo stressful. But that was only the beginning. We had a food finding frenzy about a week before the wedding, flower mishaps, and a lack of funds. But with the cooperation and assistance from both families, things progressed and pulled together. There was a lot of drama between families, and a lot of tears and heartache on both sides. Somehow though, we worked through it, and when the big day came, everything was sincerely perfect. Sure, there were some last minute freakouts; (Example, my dress wasn't finished being altered, I lost my eyelash glue, a flowergirl tore her dress...etc) But we got through it. Together. As two people united, two families did as well. And that in itself, makes a ceremony truly worth remembering. Having one challenge checked off my list, I faced another. I married the military.