One of the things we’ve been working on quite a bit before Dallas leaves is big-picture wedding planning. It’s been rough–his family is here in Georgia, mine is mostly in Michigan. We have no idea where we’ll be living when it’s actually time to get married (late July 2015!). But he’s going to be gone for close to a year, so we wanted to get some of the big stuff figured out before he goes…because by the time he gets back, it may be next to impossible for us to actually reserve venues and things like that because we’ll be about a year out from our wedding.
We originally wanted to get married in Georgia or Alabama, but both of our families thought Michigan would be a better idea. His parents thought we’d be inconveniencing my very large family by asking them to come down here, even though it’s going to be hard for them to juggle everything with pets and their work to come to Michigan. But neither of them has been to Michigan before, so maybe it will be a nice vacation for them.
Then we talked about getting married at the courthouse or one of the city parks the weekend Dallas gets his PhD. Great plan, until you consider that Mount Pleasant gets very busy over graduation weekend. You have to book a hotel room months in advance, restaurants that never take reservations begin advertising in February that they’re taking reservations for graduation weekend, and people in graduation attire are finding new and creative places to take pictures all over town.
So it looks like we’re probably getting married near where all of my mom’s family lives, which is about an hour from where both of my parents live. It’ll be convenient for all of them, plus it would be easy to find places for some of the out-of-town guests to stay if they don’t want/can’t afford a motel room. In addition, Michigan’s marriage license laws mean there’s a three-day waiting period between getting our license and being able to use it. Getting that will be a lot easier (and cheaper!) if we can crash at my grandparents’ house or with any of a dozen other family members rather than having to pay for a room, which we’d have to do if we were getting married in Mount Pleasant. In Georgia, you can literally apply for your license, have it handed to you, and get married the same day. Kind of wish Michigan was that way, actually…
We’re planning an evening wedding with a dessert reception, and I’m sure that will still all be over early enough that my family can go to the bar or drink at somebody’s house if they’re so inclined. We’re not having alcohol at our reception, which is sure to irritate some of the people I expect to be there, but you know what? We pretty much don’t drink at all anymore. I know it wouldn’t go to waste, but it’s not a good use of our very limited budget.
Dallas has actually been pretty involved in planning. He was the one who brought up not having alcohol in the first place, he suggested an evening wedding (under the sunset? yes please), he even said he’d wear a tuxedo if I wanted him to. But he’s relying on me to do a lot of the location-specific footwork because he doesn’t know much about that area, and I’m okay with that. I have a lot of help. My family is pretty awesome. It’s still a little stressful because I have to rely on my memory and on family members who live up there because I can’t just jump in the car and go look at places, but I think everything will come together just fine.