What happens when you cross two overachieving meteorologists who chose to join the Air Force — and happen to be in love?
You put “Get Married” on your To Do List, in between dry cleaning, getting an oil change, and the oodles of military training trips the two of us had. We visited the trailer home of Arlene, the Justice of the Peace of Vernon Parish, Louisiana, and got married among four of our closest — um — office mates.
This is common in military life. Especially when it comes to fitting wedding and wedding planning in between trips to the field, trips for additional meteorology training, etc. Military couples “get hitched” and put off the real church wedding with family and friends for a later date. Typically this is done so a couple can get stationed together, or to get military medical and housing benefits transferred to the new spouse.
In my case, I simply couldn’t handle the stresses of planning a wedding while living so far from our friends and family…and my future spouse who was living in Pennsylvania while I was just getting set up in Louisiana. Our schedules were so busy! My husband was actually still in college, and was awaiting orders for Air Force Officer Training School, so to plan a date simply wasn’t going to work. We didn’t want wedding plans to get in the way of his entering the Air Force, the work force, his earning potential. In addition, my father was stationed in Guam at the time with the Navy. Flying my parents and sister back to the states wasn’t an insignificant expense — about half of what I was willing to budget for a wedding!
That was 15 1/2 years ago! We contemplated renewing our vows for our 5th anniversary, having a church wedding and a classic reception. Oops, in August 2000 we were just returning to the states after bring stationed overseas in Seoul, Korea. In fact, our furniture was being moved into our new house in Ohio on our anniversary itself!
How about our 10th anniversary? Probably not…we were again in the middle of a move from Florida to North Carolina — complete with a toddler and newborn!
This still weighs heavily on my husband and me — that we haven’t had a traditional wedding with the chance to exchange vows in front our friends, family and God. No pretty dress, no beautiful wedding portraits…I’ve never gotten to experience that special day that’s supposed to be “All About
My wedding day was not an “all about
me us” kind of day. We got married in the morning, then I had to work an overnight shift that night. Really!
But as reality and practicality sets in, I wonder how to tastefully go about inviting the now-hundreds of friends (after living in 7 different communities, you pick up a lot of great friends) and family to a church wedding after 15+ years and two kids.
I think about others who have similar challenges, but make it a higher priority than Dave and I apparently did. They made the wedding happen: the choose the date, the location and the wedding party. If guests can make it, great, if not, so sorry.
There’s also the matter of budget. I consider the wonderful things my husband and I have done over the past 15 1/2 years…we’ve traveled the world, had great experiences and have led a pretty darned good life…despite a lifestyle of deployments and frequent moves. Do I want to invest $10,000-20,000 for a lavish party? Now that we’re that much older, I certainly don’t expect the parents to do it! After all, our parents now have their 50th Anniversaries in their scopes and perhaps we should be investing in their celebrations instead.
Help me out readers! Should we have the later-in-life wedding? Or should we save our money?