On a brisk, cold walk through Central Park, mere hours before I fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, my longtime love Mark Manderson got down on one knee to propose to me.
Heaven help him.
Sometimes, just weeks after his proposal, I find myself tearing up while driving through traffic when the light catches my ring, or watching movies, or simply staring out my window at work. I can't believe he wants to marry me!
I never anticipated being a 24 year old bride. That seems VERY young to me. I always saw myself standing on my own two feet for a while before finding someone. Focusing on career, then family. Perhaps this is because I didn't have many interested suitors for most of my high school and college years, and that the average age of marriage these days is just rising higher and higher due to the economy, divorce culture and a variety of other reasons.
But just like that, I met Mark in my last month of college, fell madly in love, moved in together after graduation, got a puppy, and got engaged.
"Life never happens how you expect it to," and "life's what happens when you're busy making other plans" seem to be ringing truer than ever these days.
And for that, I'm happy.
Because now that I've found someone who is willing to love me forever, take an interest in all of my day-to-day minutae, fight with me, grow old with me, raise babies with me (though no time soon, my friends!), and all that stuff, the other "is now the right time?" falls away.
And now comes the time to plan the wedding. Having a wedding is the realization of a once-in-a-lifetime dream. Planning a wedding makes me ANXIOUS.
See, I'm disgusted by the whole wedding industry. Mostly that one exists at all. In my mind, a wedding is an intimate union of two people and two families. For some it's a religious experience, too. To current wedding culture, popularlized by TLC shows (Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, Bridezillas etc.) it seems more like "gather everyone you've ever known, even cousins you've never talked to and friends you haven't seen in a decade" to flash how much money you have (or how much debt you're willing to go into) and what a great party you can throw for yourself.
I want our engagement and our wedding to be about Mark and I. About learning how to communicate with each other and love one another for the rest of our lives. About our journey to this point in our lives and about our future as man and wife. About our families who will become relatives with our union. About starting off on the right foot emotionally and financially. About our love for each other. That's some heavy stuff! Cause to celebrate, mais oui! but a much more intimate journey than I want to share with a crowd of 200!
A wedding is a single day of our lives. A marriage and our future family is forever.
I'm in it for the forever.