It’s a universal truth among the “newly engaged” population of this world: After the honeymoon period of your engagement is over, after the soft-focus photos have been uploaded, when it’s actually time to plan your wedding, there is an inevitable, ugly moment where you realize that planning a military wedding is hard.
Seriously: Wedding planning has no chill. Not least, of course, if you’re under the added pressure of planning a military wedding. In your mind’s eye, you’re picturing sword arches and dress blues, little military-themed favors and garters, but what you don’t picture is the hassle of orchestrating this kind of event.
Bam! I swear, I didn’t mean to shoot you down. It’s just, with everything that’s going on around you, plus the added weight of your future spouse’s hectic career, it’s incredibly difficult to put together the sort of wedding you had splashed all over your Pinterest boards. It’s not impossible, by any means, but it is financially, physically, and emotionally draining.
Don’t feel alone, though: Anyone who has planned a military wedding before can give you the scoop on what hardships to expect, and how to deal. Ultimately, with a pragmatic attitude, a dollop of common sense, and the willingness to be flexible, you can have all the Disney romance (and driftwood) you could ever desire.
1. You may have to make concessions.
See, in the the civilian world, you’d have the luxury of no limits. Okay, so this is a slight exaggeration — I’m going to assume you didn’t win the Powerball this week — but there are some concessions you may have to make in pursuit of the picture-perfect wedding you always dreamed of.
I’ve written before about my “big fat cheap wedding” and how my husband and I decided to simply bypass the crazy world of cakes and save-the-dates. But that decision wasn’t easy, and for some time I yearned for intricate lace gowns and pastel peonies and all that jazz, and it felt like a kick in the teeth to have to concede this picturesque vision I’d created for myself. But, when push came to shove, I conceded that being married to my other (better) half was more important than flowers, fondant, and all that malarkey.
It sounds silly, perhaps, but overcoming the old “expectations versus reality” conundrum is a big deal. While my case is extreme, in the sense that we really did take a complete U-turn, it’s worth noting that planning around the military involves a level of concession. The military throws curveballs that throw you into a new dimension of planning hell: How long you’re willing to wait before you can live together, how much time he’s allocated for leave, how far he’s allowed to travel, your budget. Be honest with yourselves about what you both want or need from your wedding, but even more importantly, be realistic. And if you do have to concede some of your #weddinggoals, always remember that you’ll live happily ever after regardless of your wedding’s “fairytale” factor.
2. The stress might come between you at times.
It’s ironic: Your fiance is required to take charge of himself and others for a living, but he doesn’t have the time or resources to take a whole lot of charge when it comes to planning your wedding. If this has been a source of discontent for you, it’s time to let go; your other half almost certainly has a crazy schedule, and at the end of the day, it’s understandable that his brain appears to be comprised of mushy peas when you ask his opinion on wedding favors.
Fighting through your engagement sucks. In this instance, letting go of the feeling that everything needs to be joint effort is a real help — and, furthermore, getting upset that he “doesn’t care” is just wasted energy.
Ultimately, if you’re feeling isolated, then try and create something productive from the experience: There will inevitably be moments, as a military spouse, that the same feeling will crop up again (when he’s away for weeks in field exercises, when he’s deployed, and so on). He, too, can learn, though: He needs to know that communicating and being affectionate are always necessary, despite the fact he might want to leave the bulk of wedding planning in your (capable) hands.
Stress might be third-wheeling your relationship right now, but it’ll only come between you if you let it.