As you hopefully heard, Alissa and I got engaged a few weeks ago. Many thanks to those of you who read through that previous blog post - I know it was exceptionally long! And despite its length, there are still a few details I forgot to include, so I'd like to address those now.
Detail 1: timeline to engagement
Early on in Alissa's and my relationship, we shared what we each thought a likely/reasonable timeline was for dating before getting engaged. Her opinion was 6-12 months, whereas mine was 1-2 years. These were general guidelines, not something we'd necessarily lock ourselves into. For Alissa, her timeline was shorter because she pictured a short time of dating, followed by a longer (>1 year) engagement; for me, I held the opposite viewpoint: a lengthier time of dating, followed by a short (3-6 months) engagement. I know it was a struggle for Alissa waiting for me to reach an emotional readiness for engagement, though in my defense, once I was ready, I acted immediately, and this allowed our official engagement date to fall on the one and only day that overlapped both our definitions of dating length: exactly 12 months / 1 year.
Detail 2: after she said "yes"
Right after Alissa said "yes," as soon as I stood up from kneeling, we embraced and she exclaimed "I get to keep you!" It made me misty-eyed. We have our disagreements, and we have our own issues to work through, but I love this woman.
Detail 3: the price of her ring
My mom suggested it might have been tacky of me to post publicly the price of Alissa's ring. I disagreed. Neither Alissa nor I believe an expensive, multi-thousand dollar ring is required to prove your love. She picked the ring she wanted, and it happened to be $100 (actually less, on sale). She thinks it's beautiful, and that's what matters. And for me, I chose to post the price publicly because it combats the materialistic notion that the more expensive and fancy the ring, the more you love someone. Alissa has four younger sisters who, presumably, will one day get married, and this is a teachable moment.
Now, a few new frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have come up in the past few weeks:
Do you feel any different now that you're engaged?
No, not really. Nothing much has changed. If anything I probably see Alissa less now than before we were engaged, because she's very busy helping students as the school year wraps up.
Did you get the ring resized?
Yes! Despite what Zales' website said about this particular ring being non-resizable, the guy in-store said "I absolutely guarantee it is, and I never guarantee things in this business." About one week later it was ready for pick-up, and now Alissa's wearing a correctly-sized ring that fits and doesn't fall off!
What church will you be involved in?
We will each continue being involved in our current church communities (her: Grace Fellowship; me: Jacob's Well and Upper Room) for the foreseeable future. We will also continue to be involved in the young adults bible study at Alissa's church, rather than transitioning to the "young marrieds" group, which is really targeted more at "young families". Years from now when we have kids, we agree we want to have one unified church for the family, and will need to negotiate at that point where that might be. That transition will likely necessitate church-shopping, because Alissa wouldn't feel 100% comfortable at either of my churches, and I wouldn't feel comfortable at hers. That is a decision we get to put off for now.
Have you picked a date for the wedding yet?
Yes and no. We have a date we would like, but nothing is confirmed yet. Originally we were looking at next summer, because this summer would be too soon, and a school-year wedding would be difficult given that Alissa's a teacher and therefore has very limited time off. However, like I wrote before Alissa is afraid that if we wait over a year, I might get cold feet and run away, so she suggested Thursday, December 8 of this year.
Why that day? Because it's my birthday! My family has a tradition of getting married on or near birthdays: my parents married on my mom's birthday, my grandparents married 4 days after my grandma's birthday, and my aunt and uncle married 3 days before my aunt's birthday.
The week of December 8 happens to be the beginning of a new trimester, so it should be no issue for Alissa getting a couple days off. And then, by the end of Thursday night, the wedding is done, leaving us a three-day weekend to ourselves. This as opposed to a Saturday night wedding, which leaves only Sunday - barely enough time to catch one's breath before returning to work.
We were all set on this idea until I talked with my best friend Marissa (who will also be my Best Woman in the wedding ["best woman" other than Alissa, of course]), who suggested a Thursday night wedding might not be in the best interest of the guests. After I did some Googling about "Thursday vs Friday wedding," it appears the entire Internet hates the idea of a Thursday. So we are now eyeing Friday, December 9, 2016, as our leading candidate. Since we don't have a venue for-sure picked out yet (though we're narrowing the list), I'd suggest penciling, but not pen-ing, that date into your calendars.
Okay great but will I be invited???
The answer is still "maybe". We've compiled a preliminary guest list, divided into four sub-lists:
- Have to invite (family and wedding party)
- Really, really want to invite
- Want to invite (but could be cut if needed due to venue size limitations)
- Possibly (friends we haven't talked to in a while, but would be fun to invite if space allows)
Including kids, we're just shy of 400 people total from all these lists. How many we get to invite (factoring in a standard 25% decline rate) depends on which venue we choose, and how good of a deal we can strike with a caterer.
What's your wedding mission statement?
Okay no one has actually asked this question ever, but you should! Marissa gave us a book called "A Practical Wedding Planner," and the first task the author suggests is creating a mission statement for our wedding day. She explains how useful this will be later in the planning process when we are mired in muddy details, to be able to look at and ask, "how is this decision helping further our mission?"
After throwing a few drafts back and forth, Alissa and I crafted this as our wedding mission statement:
Joining together our two lives, celebrating with our community of family and friends, and focusing on God, service, and social responsibility.
Hopefully, you will see these elements intentionally reflected in all aspects of our ceremony and reception.