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?