I’m not a proponent of rushed engagements, let me be clear. Yet, I don’t recommend any particular length of engagement because every relationship is different. I have some questions though that I propose to Bible-believing couples they can ask themselves when making a decision on how long to be engaged for.
What I don’t recommend is deciding on an engagement time frame based on a wedding planning time frame. I believe the engagement (a time of transition to marriage), should be seen as more than just a time to plan a wedding.
I would be happy to write about a wedding planned for two years that prioritised the purpose of engagement and focused on preparing for marriage! So let me know if yours is such!
Patrick and Laura’s wedding was planned with a short timeline in mind. They wanted to close the distance gap (one living in the US, the other in Singapore) as soon as they get married. Given the legal process they have to go through (this is still in process at the time of this writing) the waiting time involved in that, and a marriage certificate being pertinent, they decided to get married in three months.
On Part 1 of this blog post, I shared about how Patrick and Laura picked their vendors, how they planned their actions, and how they split tasks between the two of them. I was very curious to know about the latter because they had to plan their wedding while being in two different continents! That’s not easy, but they were able to do it.
For this Part 2, they share about the help they needed in planning their wedding, the challenges they encountered, what their wedding budget was like, and what their tips and advice are for couples planning a wedding with a shorter timeline in mind.
1. Did you ask help from people when you planned your wedding?
Patrick: Definitely! We couldn’t have pulled it off without the help from friends and family. Laura’s friends in Singapore were gracious enough to volunteer as hosts and coordinators for the wedding day. This relieved us of the burden of having to run our own show. A few other friends helped with producing some of our decors. Also, my parents blessed us with $5,000 USD for us to use for the wedding at our discretion. We wanted to be financially wise by not taking on a loan, so the gift from them was very helpful.
2. Every couple experiences challenges during the planning stage of the wedding. What were yours?
Patrick: One of them was the distance obviously. I couldn’t physically be there with Laura as she met up with vendors. She had to repeat to me everything she talked about with the vendors so I can still be involved in making decisions. For many other things, I just had to trust her judgement.
The short timeline required us to act fast, which added to the overall stress during that period. But we still would rather go through that than prolong our being apart from each other.
Laura: Our cultural differences, while making our relationship rich and colourful, brought about some challenges too. The most pronounced part of it were the differences in our family’s traditions and expectations especially around weddings. We had to walk each other through the background of those expectations so we get a better understanding where our families our coming from.
3. What was your overall budget for the wedding?
Patrick: We set our venue package budget to USD5000. We made the estimate based on the templates and budgeting tools we found online. They pointed out that around 50% of the expenses will be for food, venue, and decors. Our venue package included all that. Then we set a budget of another USD5000 for everything else including our wedding rings, honeymoon (in Singapore), photography, the wedding dress, and other logistics.
Laura: After the wedding, we ran through our budget sheet against our actual expenses and everything came up to about USD10,000 which was the target we set.
4. What is your encouragement/advice for couples planning their wedding with a budget in mind and with a tight timeline?
The newlyweds shared:
Create your priority list.
Decide which elements of a wedding are essential to you, and which ones you can do without. If you allow non-essentials to creep in, wedding expenses could balloon out of control. You could take on immense debt to have a grand wedding, but after a certain point, there are diminishing returns to the extra amount you spend.
Manage your guest list size.
Make it only as large as you need it to be. You don’t have to accommodate everyone.
Begin with the end in mind.
Couples can get bogged down by the details of the wedding. Remind yourselves of the end goal - which is to be married!
Asking help from people was probably the most humbling part of the experience. We are both very independent, so we had to go out of our comfort zones to ask help from people. And it was all worth it.
Remember to take breaks from planning and have fun with your partner. Always remind yourselves why you’re marrying her/him in the first place.
Have a sense of humour.
Laura: I remember telling Patrick a lot of jokes. Sometimes he just laughed at me while I laughed at my own jokes. It’s an effective way of reducing stress and overcoming disappointments. It also strengthened our emotional connection by creating a positive atmosphere. The feeling that we get after laughing helped us stay grounded and united.
Invest in your spiritual life.
Regular prayer time goes a long way. The wedding provided opportunities for miracles to happen. It was an invitation to our loved ones to be generous, loving and kind towards us and to one another.