Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Planning a small wedding: Part I

I thought I would go ahead and write about my wedding, you know...almost 4 months later...

Let me go ahead and say, I am not a planner.
I'm just not.
Most of the time when I do plan things ahead, I feel like they end up being worse than the spontaneity of just "winging it." Call me crazy, but that is just the way it is when it comes to me.

So, when Heath proposed to me, I knew that I was going to have to get over that and get down to business.
and it terrified me.
Heath and I toyed with many ideas when it came to our big day. Neither of us wanted anything big because we both are pretty laid back. An idea we alllllmost went with was eloping. We had talked about getting a cute white dress for me, some slacks for him, pick up some flowers, and head to City Hall. Then after "I do's," go out for cupcakes with family and friends for our "reception." Cute, right? As cute as that was, we decided that we wanted to have a private wedding among family and really close friends. Something small, something meaningful, something totally us. Heath is an only child, so I knew this would be the only wedding his parents would ever get to partake in, plus my sister got married in Las Vegas, so technically, this was going to be the first traditional wedding for my family, as well. So once that set in, my mind started racing with questions. I have been around weddings for 6 years now as a professional photographer, and I always joked that I could plan a wedding in my sleep with all the knowledge I accumulated of all the "do's" and "don'ts." One thing was for certain, though: we didn't want to wait very long at all.

I have witnessed lots of people having long engagements and while that may work for lots, it didn't for me. Allow me to use math to illustrate my thoughts:

Heath Ring + Jordan Simmons = Heath and Jordan Ring.
Jordan Ring > Jordan Simmons

(I'm a math wizard, y'all. Pretend you are not impressed..)

When Heath and I verbalized our desire to marry one another, we both agreed that when the time came and he proposed, we needed to be in a place to where we could marry THAT DAY if we wanted to. So the week that we got engaged, we set the date for October 27, which gave us a month and a half. To me, that was feasible, that was HAPPENING.

My momma and pops looked up some places in Searcy for us to get married. I wanted a small, white church, at least, that was my dream. But honestly, I would have married Heath in a cafeteria if I had to. #YOLO #heistheverybest  #hashtagsdontworkinblogs

They looked and looked and were striking out left and right. We were working with a small budget for our wedding because the plan was to have a small wedding but take a BIG honeymoon (which we are in 4 short weeks! Eek!). One glorious afternoon, however, my mother was babysitting my nephew and he found a magazine for the Searcy Parks and Recreation that had a bird on it. He brought it to my momma saying, "Bird, Gigi, Bird!" And wouldn't ya know it, on the cover of that magazine was THE church that we had originally wanted. It is a church that sits in a curve that I travelled by many times growing up. I was always enamored with the church because it was just so cute and dainty. I even shot some engagement photos there for a college friend a few years back. My mom and I didn't even think to look there because the city of Searcy owns, so we didn't even think it was an option as a venue. The magazine had a little article about a wedding held there, complete with a spread of photos. At the bottom, it gave a number to call to see about availability. So Mom called immediately and found out that our date was available. Then came that awful question to ask, "How much?" The places my mom had found before were either unavailable or insanely expensive for what were planning to do. Then God did that thing that he is sooooooo good at doing; He blessed our pants off in a great big way. The reply my mother received was, "$150 for the day." Then the clouds opened, choirs sang, and the sun shined a little brighter. We also found out that Smyrna Methodist Church was also the oldest documented church in Arkansas, dating back to 1857. One of my favorite stories of the church is that during the Civil War, the minister's son went off to fight. They didn't know where or how he was. After the war was over, the minister was preaching on a Sunday morning, and his son walked in to church, from the war. If those walls could talk!Heath and I are both history nerds, so we kind of geeked out over that. It was like icing on the cake.

Seriously, though. Isn't it the CUTEST EVER? Because it is.

Once we had the place on lock, I went ahead and got our invitations together. In case you missed it, you can read more about that here. It was really difficult, in a way, having a small wedding because of narrowing down our guest list. We could only have 95 guests tops because that was all that was allowed in the church per order of the city of Searcy. My immediate family alone is huge, so first we listed family only. Then we gradually invited our close friends. However hard, it was a really comforting feeling to know that there weren't going to be a ton of people there. It helped me relax. I've been to weddings before where there were people who attended solely to criticize. I didn't need that negative energy on my day. I wasn't going to be doing the "normal" things brides do who have at least a 6 month engagement: tan, work out like a crazy woman, and diet like there was no tomorrow (though I did get pretty healthy before our wedding, which I dubbed my LGN plan: look. good. naked.) So we invited people who either cheered us on during our relationship or people who influenced us individually in order for us to be prepared to be better as pair. Keeping it small allowed us to have a big honeymoon, and as much as we would have loved sharing our love with everyone, we really wanted the honeymoon, naturally.

Within that first week of being engaged, I ordered my dress from LA, and it arrived a few short days later. The bridesmaids dresses, however were not as easy as my dress.

That is enough for tonight; I'll write more about that tomorrow.


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