or, Why We Looked at Wedding Venues Before we got Engaged
or, How Not to Be a Crazy Person
My wedding story began before the proposal - long before. Just as weddings aren't planned in a day, marriages aren't built in an engagement. They begin the day you decide that this is it, this is your person. And that day is certainly not the same day I said yes to a proposal.
When I Knew
The day I knew (the day we both knew) that this was it, this was the person, was a boring day in 2011. My husband was then my boyfriend of less than a year and he was living at my place over the summer between university semesters. I don't even remember what we were doing, only that we were spending time together. Some how the conversation turned to long-term, to marriage, and then out of silliness he got down on one knee and pre-proposed. "Will you agree to be pre-engaged to me?" or something like that, replied to with a giggly and melodramatic "Yes, oh YES!".
The funny thing was that we were both kidding and absolutely not kidding at the same time.
Living and travelling together that summer we knew that we were solid. That this would endure and that we had found our partner in life.
When I Decided
Fast forward two years. Boyfriend and I are still committed, happy, and having just started a lease on a dream apartment in our dream neighbourhood in Toronto. He had finally graduated from a prestigious art degree and was eager to enter the job field. We had talked often about moving, maybe to Vancouver or to Los Angeles where the job market was hot (for him). I was in full-on planning mode as I tended to be, and decided we needed a list of terms under which we would move cities. The list was simple:
salary of at least $XX,XXX
Three months into living in the dream apartment, he got that offer. That exact offer. And so we had to decide, and the decision was yes, he was taking it, starting September 30th, in Vancouver, for a year. We packed up his things and threw him a party and then, before I could even wrap my head around it, he had moved. We had done long-distance before, but this time felt very different. I had decided to stay in Toronto to finish out my contract, pack up our stuff and move out of the apartment (for which we had to break a lease). And then move to Vancouver, not for a job, not for myself, but for him.
This decision is the biggest I have ever made. Much bigger than saying yes to the real proposal. This was deciding to allow someone else's needs to come before my own. This is where the foundation of my marriage truly began.
I felt sadness, loneliness, resentment, hope, anticipation, anger and anxiety. It felt entirely anti-independant, and I based a large part of my identity around independence. Was I really moving for a man? Away from my job, reputation, community, and family?
This was the True "Yes". The most defining "Yes". And the beginning of a beautiful transformation.
Wedding Planning Before Engagement
As the weeks wore on my "yes" became an even firmer resolve. I began to bring up how I was feeling and my hopes for marriage. He had always wanted to get engaged a) after graduating and b) when he had a job steady enough to support us. Well that was one of the benefits of the big move! We began to talk about what we would want for our wedding, where we would want to have it and when. At this point we were committed to living in Vancouver and not returning to Toronto for a long time. We knew that regardless of when we got engaged we would have the wedding in Toronto - so it only made sense to start researching venues while I was still living there.
That's right, I was that girl, without a ring, without a formal proposal, calling up wedding venues. Going to see them. Meeting with event coordinators. I truly debated whether or not this made me a crazy person.
But in the end, what did I care? I was being true to myself and my relationship. We are both glad that I took the time to see venues in person that fall, because as it turned out, we got engaged that winter in Vancouver. We were able to select a venue and date right away from clear across the country.
The day I decided to put my partner before myself was the day I began to become a spouse. I wish someone had told me about the sheer Sublime of it all, the true ecstasy and terror of becoming one with another person. The spiritual transformation I discovered on my wedding day (post coming soon) began with this decision to compromise. I won't pretend I was happy about it all the time. Or that it was an easy thing to accept. But it is the most important thing, and I'm thankful I pushed myself to grow.