5 Tips For Planning Your Wedding: Military Edition

I was never one of those girls that planned her wedding at an early age. I didn’t have any wedding scrap books and I didn’t daydream about my big day. I thought about it from time to time, but I had too many ideas to make a solid plan. But when Kyle proposed, I dove in head first, ready to plan our wedding for September of 2017, even though we had just gotten engaged at the end of December. We’ve been together for a long time, so I was more than ready to get the marriage part started. But things certainly didn’t go as planned..

By early March, I was already looking at wedding dresses with my mom. I even picked one out, but thank God, didn’t put any money down. I got to my parent’s house that night to find Kyle already there, sitting with my dad. And I just knew. I knew that all of our plans had flown out the window. Because that’s just one of the things you dread when you try to plan anything with the military involved. We found out that night that he had been accepted to further his training, and would leave at the end of the summer, returning a few months later.

All of our plans had to change, and they’re changing again as we speak (more on that later). But I’ve come to learn that what will be, will be. He’s being blessed with some amazing opportunities, and this one day, although it’s our wedding day, will never rival his whole career. So I’ve had to learn to adapt in this lifestyle, once again, and learn how to be accepting of the things I can’t control. And I know I’m not alone.

If you’re planning a wedding with someone in the military, here are some tips that are keeping me sane.

Decide on Your Deal-Breakers

I’m extremely organized (most days), so I had a wedding binder going by week 2. I researched all my vendors, and made a list of “deal breaker” questions for them. These were my top 2 questions when choosing my vendor:

Under what circumstances will you refund a deposit/are there special circumstances for military?

Can we move our date if we find out he’s required for training, deployment, etc.?

If the answer to either of these were “No”, we couldn’t logically spend our money on that vendor. Because God forbid something happen and we lose thousands of our wedding savings. Planning a wedding is scary and stressful, and a military wedding adds a few extra worries. Like any soon-to-be military spouse, I’m constantly terrified that he will get deployed and we’ll have to get married through Skype, or even worse, he’ll miss out because of our wedding. But I have some control over the situation by asking the right questions, and putting us in a position to get our money back if needed.

Ask The Right Questions

Don’t go to a viewing/meeting with a vendor unprepared. You should know exactly what you need to ask so that you can make the most out of the time. Make sure you have all their contact info as well in case you think of additional questions or concerns. Don’t waste their time, and don’t let them waste yours.

Change Is a Good Thing

Accept it and embrace it, because you’re in for a long haul if you can’t. Like any wedding, you’re probably not going to get everything perfect. We had to change our date once already, and we might even have to change it again even though our venue and DJ are booked. Such fun! All you can do sometimes is roll with the punches, and learn to adapt just like you always have.

Not Every Experience Is The Same

I’ve had to learn this lesson in many aspects of life, but it certainly applies here as well. Not everyone’s bad experience will be your bad experience, so try to ignore the wedding horror stories. There are some things that are completely out of your control, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the “worst” will happen. Take it day by day, and just do your part to cover all the bases.

Make Sure You’re Both on The Same Page

We all know who plans the majority of the wedding: the bride. And it’s no different in our case. I have made all of the phone calls, scheduled every viewing, budgeted each deposit, etc. But even though I’ve been doing most of the work, it’s still so important that I keep Kyle in the loop for many reasons. 1. It’s not just my wedding, duh. And 2. We can better avoid the scheduling conflicts if he knows exactly when everything is happening.

There are some obligations that he absolutely cannot get out of, but there are some that he can. His command is aware of when we’re getting married, so they’re trying their best to keep us updated with any news on deployment, training, etc. They still have him going to school at the end of the summer for a few months, and they’ve been really helpful and understanding of our situation. In order for things to go smoothly, everyone needs to be on the same page.

What are some tips you would give to a soon-to-be military spouse? What are some obstacles you faced with your own wedding?

On-The-Go And At Home: 10 Healthy Snacks For Every Routine

I’m sure we’ve all been there. That moment where you open your refrigerator or pantry door for the 10th time to stare at the shelves full of food. You sift through the drawers and shuffle things out of the way, but you can’t find anything you want. There’s tons of options, but nothing seems appealing. I go through this process far more often then I want to admit. I’m always looking for the 1 snack that I don’t have, which leads to a trip to the grocery store where I’m surround by unhealthy options. 

A huge part of leading a healthy lifestyle is realizing your areas of weakness. I love sweets. I could have sweets every day, 3 times a day, and be perfectly okay with it. But my body certainly would not be okay with that. So, I combat my weaknesses with preparation, and that means snacks too. Here are 10 snack ideas to keep you going!

Skinny Girl Popcorn

A lot of people swear by popcorn as a go-to healthy snack, but this isn’t true for all popcorn. Some snack brands are loaded with sodium, refined sugars, and oils, resulting in a bunch of empty calories that your body gets zero energy from. What I love about Skinny Girl brand popcorn (as well as their other options) is that they have tons of flavor, reduced salt, and set portions. Rather than giving you the option of 1 large bag all to yourself, you can by a box that contains 12 snack sized bags. Not to mention they have amazing flavors like Lime Sea Salt.

Seeds/Nuts

I tend to tread lightly with this one, because it doesn’t include all seeds and nuts. My go-to options for this category include almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Cashews are a favorite of many, but they’re the highest in fat and don’t pack the same energy as a handful of almonds. Try to steer clear of any seed/nut that has added flavors, because this often means a lot of sodium. If you really need that kick of flavor, try roasting your own seeds/nuts and adding some chili powder or onion powder. This gives you the control, and makes you fully aware of what you’re consuming.

Homemade Granola Energy Bites

I made these a few weeks ago and they’re amazing. There are tons of recipes out there, but I found my favorite on Pinterest (of course). They contain simple, whole ingredients, and they often work with any type of diet, including gluten free and paleo. It took me about 15 minutes to make mine, and I brought 2 to work each morning for a whole week. They leave you feeling full, and they’re a great option for a pre-gym snack.

Frozen Grapes

I discovered this about a year ago now, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Take some red grapes off the vine, wash thoroughly, and then cut them in half. Divide them up into small baggies, and freeze for about 3 hours. When you feel like having something sweet, grab one of the little baggies. You would be amazed at how much they taste like dessert. Sometimes I leave them whole, but cutting them in half makes it a bit easier to chew when they’re frozen.

Sliced Grapefruit

The majority of people avoid grapefruit as a snack because 1. It’s really tangy/bitter sometimes. And 2. It’s really messy if you try to peel it at work. But if you take the time to peel grapefruit and throw it in your lunch box, it’s one of the healthiest snacks you can have. They provide the same benefits as oranges with the boost of Vitamin C, hydration, and nutrients, but has also been proven to aid weight loss. If you’re like me and crave sweets 24/7, then fruit snacks will help you keep it under control.

Homemade Veggie Chips

These can be made in the oven, and they do take some time, but they last quite a while. I usually chop up some thin slices of zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, beets, etc. and lay them out on multiple cookie sheets. I cover them in a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, and a little bit of balsamic vinegar if I feel like it. I then bake them at 375 degrees for about 2 hours, or until they’ve dried out and are mostly crisp. I usually divide them into little baggies so that we can grab some on the go for lunches and road trips. This is another great homemade option because you have control of exactly what goes into it, which helps you avoid any hidden ingredients. 

Mini Parfaits

I used to love having a yogurt parfaits in the morning, either from Starbucks or the grocery store. But they’re made in large containers, and the granola always tasted like a mouthful of sugar. Mini parfaits can be made in a mason jar (multiple size options) and you can choose the granola that fits your diet best. 

Carrots with Humus

I’m a big fan of humus on almost anything, and there are tons of flavors to choose from. But rather than pairing it with some chips, try vegetables. My favorite combo is humus with carrots, but peppers, cucumbers, celery are great options as well. 

Cucumber Sandwiches

I’ve seen some different variations of this snack, but I usually combine it with turkey and sharp cheddar. Slice up some cucumber, deli meat, and your favorite cheese to create these mini bread-free sandwiches. Hold it together with a toothpick, and your good to go!

Dole Pineapple Dippers

I can’t say enough about these. You can find them in the freezer sections with the other frozen fruits, and they also have strawberries and banana if you’re not a pineapple fan. They’re coated in dark chocolate, and they come in a portion size pack with about a handful in each. Clearly I’m a big fan of the frozen treats!

When it comes to any snack, my best advice is to take control and make it yourself. I know that’s not ideal, but if you’re dealing with a restricted diet due to a food allergy or you’re really trying to lose weight, it’s so important to know exactly what you’re consuming. Become familiar with what you have at home, and the many things you can create with those ingredients.

What are some homemade or store bought snacks that you rely on? Have you already tried some of these?