On the last Friday of every month we introduce you to a real married couple that worked through a challenge in planning their wedding. Since these couples are no longer in the midst of planning a wedding, we think you’ll find their solutions and perspectives refreshing. To read the first two Real Wedding Challenges, click here
This month was my wedding anniversary, and since I didn’t quite finish editing the article about my first choice of a couple… I thought I’d tell you about the challenge my husband and I faced. I promise, this is the last post about me for quite a while!
: Marta and Danny
Ages and Jobs
: Marta, 33 magazine editor, Danny, 34 professor
: Chicago, IL
: May 19, 2002
How We Met
: We met volunteering at a restaurant that serves the homeless. We didn’t necessarily plan to get married within a year, but one night over dinner (and a pitcher of margaritas) we realized that we were ready. Because Danny is a professor, we wanted to get married in the summer so we could take a honeymoon. A combination of factors left us with May 19, exactly one year after our first date, and nine months after we decided to get married!
The Biggest Challenge
: It turns out that nine months was enough time to get everything done, the challenge was more personal. Danny and I knew we were right for each other, but planning a wedding is stressful, and having a little more history together might have made some of the discussions easier. Also, while Danny and I had an instant connection, the same can’t be said for our connection with each other’s families.
: We had a casual outdoor wedding with a sit-down brunch. The wedding was in a park, the reception at a library across the street.
Best Advice We Were Given
: “Act as if…” One day when I was complaining about my future m-i-l’s latest comment/act/breath a friend told me the best advice she’d ever gotten was to “Act as if she isn’t your mother-in-law.” It’s amazing how much more you can tolerate from people who aren’t related to you. You can apply the useful phrase to almost any annoyance. If you act as if things aren’t that important, you’ll quickly find out that they really aren’t.
What worked the best
: Because we didn’t know each other’s families and friends very well, we really wanted the wedding to be a way to introduce ourselves. We wrote a program, we named the tables after places we’d lived, we had family members make our chuppah (wedding canopy). Our wedding was in downtown Chicago, we were spending our wedding night at a nearby hotel and had planned to just walk to the hotel on our own, but the night before the wedding a group of friends from both sides, secretly planned a parade to accompany us!
What we might do differently
: When certain family members got on our nerves, we tried to avoid them. I think if we’d had better communication and been clearer about our expectations, and theirs, we could have avoided some of the problems. Also, we hired a documentary photographer. We were thrilled with 99.9% of the photos, but my mother really wanted some family portraits. The photographer had very little patience with getting our cantankerous families to behave and pose. We should have warned the photographer about potential problems ahead of time and asked him how he would handle them.
Advice for other couples get married in less than a year
: You absolutely can do it, you just have to be organized and get on the ball (of course, I recommend OneWed’s checklist
for this). You may also need to do things a little differently than other couples. For example, since I didn’t get around to looking for a dress until about four months before the wedding, I bought a vintage dress and had it altered, rather than ordering a dress.
Update: Seven years later, we’re happily married with two children, and obviously, I’ve found a love for weddings! I can’t say that my relationship with my in-laws is perfect, but it has definitely improved.