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engagement

wedding-in-three-months-part1

I’m often asked by couples what the ideal time frame is to plan a wedding. My answer is always a question, “How long do you want to be engaged for?”

Understanding and agreeing on how long you want to be engaged for puts more focus on your relationship than on the scale of the wedding you’re dreaming to have. Here’s my blog post that talks more about this.

One couple who decided on their wedding planning timeframe primarily based on how long they wanted to be engaged for was Patrick and Laura.

They planned their wedding in barely three months.

 

 

Patrick and Laura met through a common friend. They were put in touch in a chat group. And as the virtual conversations progressed, the common friend decided to drop out of the chat group leaving Patrick and Laura all to themselves to talk. Their friendship grew and soon realised that they liked each other. So  they decided to date exclusively in spite of being continents apart.

They had planned to see each other in their home cities to learn more about each other’s friends and families.

From the very start, they were upfront to each other about their intention - to find a spouse. So it did not take long for them to decide, through their dating relationship of eight months, that they would like to marry each other.

They got engaged in November 2018 in Los Angeles. A few days after, Laura had to fly back to Singapore where she was working. They were very much aware that they had to close the distance gap between them when they get married. Holding different citizenships, one of them obviously needs
to relocate to the other person’s city. They decided that Laura will be the one moving to America once they’re wed. This process involves applying for a spousal visa for her that they can only initiate once they’re married.

Convinced that getting setup for marriage is more important than the type of wedding they wanted to have, they decided to keep their engagement to at most four months.

During the first few weeks of engagement, they focused on setting up their foundations. They prayed and fasted together while also asking for prayers from their church community. They also started researching on the legal requirements for Laura’s visa application, and the legal marriage rites that are available to them. And they also quickly reached out to the church for pre-marriage counselling.

I asked them about their experience in planning their wedding that Michael, my husband, and I had the honour to attend and emcee. Here’s part 1 of what they’ve shared:

 

 

1.  How did you decide on your wedding venue?

Laura: We agreed on our aesthetic vision and our budget before making the search. We wanted it semi-outdoor, with natural light, with high ceiling, with a tropical green garden, and fit for 40 guests. Then we did a Google search using these descriptions. Lewin Terrace here in Singapore showed up as the top result. I visited their space, then showed videos and photos to Patrick as he was overseas. We instantly fell in love with it! We didn’t look for anything else since it matched our vision plus it qualified for our budget.

 

2.  How did you find your other major vendors?

Laura: What’s great about Lewin Terrace is that they have strong partnerships with other wedding vendors. Part of the venue rental package are the florals, decors, and catering. Then they recommended a photographer too. This made the search easy for us because they had most of what we needed.

*Tip from The Asian Mrs. Blanding: I agree that a packaged deal that includes most of the wedding services usually ends up cheaper than finding them individually yourself. Reason is that the key vendor (in this case, the venue) has already negotiated for a long-term partnership price with these different vendors, bringing down the price that gets passed down to you. It’s a great option for couples who have a tight planning timeline!

 

 

3.  You were physically apart when you were planning your wedding. And you had a short timeline - just three months! What were the steps you took to pull it all off?

The couple shared:

     a. Pursuing pre-marriage counselling

This was a non-negotiable for us. We’ve learned from our married friends how important preparing for marriage is. So even with our distance, we sought for a way to go through counselling. Laura’s church pastor and wife from the Every Nation Church Singapore were very accommodating to our request to counsel us over Skype! It was the best investment of our time.

     b.  Constant communication

We had to communicate daily, even several times a day through calls and messaging to update each other of our progress. Communication also assured us of our availability for each other.

     c. Quick decision-making

We established our “guiding principles” first for the wedding (something we learned from The Asian Mrs. Blanding!). This allowed us to make decisions on the details faster. We also had to stay away from Pinterest or Instagram after we’ve made up our decisions. We didn’t want to be swayed to changing our mind with the hundred other options out there.

     d. Organised file sharing

We used Google Docs a lot. This is so much better than sharing attached files. We always have the latest version of our updates with Google Docs on Drive.

     e. Use of available online tools

For setting up our foundations, we read up on The Asian Mrs. Blanding’s posts and downloaded her tools. One that we used a lot was her 7-Day Devotional that helped us through our prayer time. We also used a lot of the planning tools from the Knot.

For free graphic design tasks, we used Canva.com.

     f. Regular prayer time

We prayed at the start and prayed all throughout our engagement. We asked our friends to pray for us too.

 

4.  How did you and Patrick split the tasks?

We split the tasks based on our strengths and capacities. Since Laura was the one in Singapore where we were going to have our wedding, she attended the meetups with the vendors. Patrick took care of the administrative part, accounting, sourcing of wedding rings, planning the solemnisation requirements, and organising our honeymoon.

On part 2 of this blog post, I share about how Patrick & Laura managed their budget, the challenges they faced, and their tips for couples planning a wedding like theirs.

 

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things-to-consider-when-planning-honeymoon

You know that you’ll get there. You see it as a reward after this long period of non-stop wedding preparations. You’ll say “bye” to your weddings guests, sneak into your hotel suite, and grab your bags for a trip of a lifetime.

Your honeymoon will be sweet and memorable. Sex will be HOT.

Is it that simple?

Hmm, maybe not.

Can you just wing your honeymoon?

That’s risky.

Can you just have a travel agent plan everything and you’re good to go?

Not advisable.

Do you really need to plan your honeymoon?

I suggest so. And there’s a wise pacing for how you can plan it.

“But we have a million things to plan for the wedding? And then we’ll have to move into a new house which we need to plan for too? Can we just postpone the honeymoon?”

I can hear you cry.

On this blog post, I share what I’ve learned from other married couples and from my own experience. Hope this will help you prepare for the first few days of your life forever.

 

The honeymoon is your first few days together as a married couple. It's a good idea to start strong by being intentional about it.

 

What is the importance of a honeymoon?

After getting married in the eyes of God, and legally (because the Bible honours earthly authorities too), you and your fiancé are then ready to consummate your marriage through sex.

The honeymoon, while a more modern concept, is what you can consider as the period where you and your new spouse lavish each other with your bodies for the purpose of consummation. And that part is biblical. Read Songs of Solomon.

It’s a precious time between you and your new spouse to build the foundations of what will be your life forever - both spiritual and physical.

While you can’t anticipate every single issue that may arise in the area of your intimate life, you can do your best to prepare for it.

Like how we are preparing for marriage. Or for parenthood. We can’t be 100% ready for any of these new life roles. But we can definitely reduce the amount of unnecessary ignorance about these important matters.  

Having said that, your honeymoon needs some thinking.

 

What should you consider when planning for your honeymoon?

The commercial notion of a honeymoon is a grand vacation to an exotic place. Let’s go back to the goal of the days after the wedding day. It’s to consummate your marriage through sex, isn’t it?

I won’t be diving into the details of your first night as newlyweds because I don’t want to arouse anything before it’s time. I’ll reserve that for my exclusive emailers for brides who are just a few days away from their wedding day. But in a general sense, here are the key things you need to consider when you start planning your honeymoon.

 

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

 

1.  You’ll most likely be tired after the wedding day.

After the long period of wedding preparation, and finally welcoming your guests on the big day, you will just feel like you’re done.

Most couples don’t get enough sleep the night before their wedding day. And very few actually get to eat the feast they prepare for their guests. Then there is usually a lot of “goodbyes” that need to be done the next day as you send off your guests. This part also becomes tricky because one of you would usually just want to finally hang-out, cuddle and what-not with the new spouse, while the other will be in major post-wedding operation mode.

I don’t suggest here though that you shouldn’t consummate your wedding right away! My husband and I snuck out of our wedding before it was over because we just wanted to finally see each other naked! And we think it was a great decision.

Adding long and elaborate activities like travelling and touring into the formula might just exhaust you even more. That’s what I mean.

 

2.  You’d want to be in your most comfortable and rested state on your honeymoon.

And again, I don’t suggest putting off your honeymoon just because you need to take a full week to regain your strength.

Your honeymoon is when you’ll get to unwind from all the hustle and bustle of the wedding. And the best part is you’ll get to do it with your new spouse!

You’d want to have a lot of warm-up time before having sex anyway if you are doing it for the first time. The first night or the first day might really just be about exploring each other’s body while it enters into a relaxed mode.

On the note of travel again: unmet expectations on accommodations you’ve never tried before might also be a source of stress. A four-star hotel in another city may not necessarily be the four-star standard you’re accustomed to in your own city. I’ve heard of horror stories of what couples thought was white-bedding-fluffy-pillows-and-a-bed-we-both-can-jump-on hotel rooms that turned out to be very uninviting for sex.

 

3.  You’d want medical assistance that you trust to be accessible.

This is no exaggeration here- the intensity of physical tension from your honeymoon can bring about some physical discomfort. Some of which might need medical attention.

For women having sex for the first time, honeymoon cystitis, a bladder infection, is common.

In some cases, it’s the exhaustion after the wedding activities that can put pressure on the immune system.

You can already imagine the stress of getting medical help from a place that you’re not familiar with.

 

Photo by Una Kao on Unsplash.

 

4.  If you think the honeymoon is as important as the wedding, then you need to prepare a budget for it.

For many busy couples, the honeymoon ends up being just an afterthought. Because there was not much thought and preparation committed to it, neither is a budget.

So many couples put off the honeymoon after a few months, sometimes even a year.

If what is being put off is the big trip, then call it as “the first trip as a married couple”. But I wouldn’t say you’d want to delay the honeymoon itself. Again, we’re talking about the consummation of marriage here. It’s the first few days of your life forever where you explore each other’s body with which you commit to serving each other intimately.

There is indeed something very special about travelling as newlyweds. You get to experience sights and sounds with someone you will reminisce on the memories with when you’re old and grey. This can wait if the budget doesn’t allow for it yet. You’d want to start on a good financial note as you start your marriage. But re-think about holding off the real deal of the honeymoon.

With that being said, having your honeymoon in your newlywed home right after your wedding is a great option. If you prefer not having to clean up the house during your first days as newlyweds, then a hotel stay is another idea.

If you haven't done your wedding budgeting yet, you can sign up here for my Wiser Weddings Budget Worksheet.

 

5.  There will be pressure around you to pull off an extravagant honeymoon trip. Think hard if this is really what you need as a honeymoon option.

I’ve already mentioned about the commercialisation of honeymoons. Even your friends and family have probably asked you “So, where do you want to go for your honeymoon?” As if it always needs to involve travelling far.

With all the factors I’ve mentioned above, you will need to pray and discuss with your fiancé what your ideas are about what a honeymoon is supposed to be. Then consult your marriage preparation coaches or pastors about your thoughts.

 

6.  The journey to your honeymoon is mostly a spiritual preparation.

The preparation that couples need for the honeymoon is largely spiritual.

Once you understand the purpose of the honeymoon then it’ll be easier to focus on what’s essential.

And the honeymoon preparations become less of logistical planning and more of faith building.

I strongly suggest for you to go through a marriage preparation course. I talk about that here.

It’s very essential to pray for your heart, mind and body to be ready to serve your fiancé.

And if you or your fiancé need any spiritual healing from past sexual relations, it’s good to pray for it now. I recommend pastoral counselling so you can be guided through the process of prayer. I’ll talk more about this on another blog post.

 

Those are my thoughts!

If you’re currently planning to get married, what are the obstacles you face in preparing for your honeymoon? Please share in the comments section below. And please don’t forget to follow @theasianmrsblanding on Instagram!

 

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