Opinion & Editorial

Ready, set … marriage!

CRESWELL – If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past year, it’s that when life takes you by surprise, your village will show up for you. 

I met Mervyn volunteering at our church on Nov. 20, 2021. 

Walking across the street, I never dreamed of meeting the man of my dreams on that very morning. 

Meanwhile, Mervyn was debating making a move, and decided it was finally time to introduce himself to that cute girl he’d seen around. 

It didn’t take long to fall in love. After multiple dates and game nights, it was official in January and on July 16, Mervyn asked me to marry him. Our wedding day would be Oct. 1.

A bit of a time crunch

Mervyn and I wanted to be married before we lived together and did not want to be worrying about wedding plans for any longer than necessary. 

Even on such short notice, 200 guests attended the big day. 

According to Wedding Wire, only 4% of couples plan a wedding in under three months. I can say from experience it is easier than you think, but it takes a village. 

My advice to anyone planning a wedding is to involve as many loved ones as you can. 

Seventy-five percent of our wedding vendors were family members and friends; it made an often-stressful undertaking much easier and sentimental. 

Thanks to our village of people, the wedding day was perfect. 

Planning started in July. Aspenwood Ranch was the ideal location, owned and operated by dear friends of ours, Jordan and Cortney Stevens.

There were a few dark clouds looming, though. With typical Oregon rain, it wasn’t safe to book an outdoor venue much past September. 

The ranch is truly stunning, nestled against a hill off Highway 99 and surrounded by endless trees, fields and blue mountains in the distance.

By nothing short of a miracle, we got a call from the Stevens letting us know they had a cancellation for Oct. 1, close enough.

On Oct. 1, the sun cast a golden hue on the hillside and the aspen leaves fluttered in the breeze. 

I’ll be the first to admit, this was lucky, but weddings do seem to have a way of coming together. 

If a wedding venue isn’t available, though,  try asking a friend who has a beautiful yard if you can have your ceremony there or renting an Air BnB could also be an option.

Next was the dress: As my consultant took me to browse, my gaze fixed on that very dress I had seen online months before: an ivory white gown with an open back, adorned with floral lace on the bodice, and silky white fabric cascading down the bottom with 15 buttons securing the back.

It was my size and even came with a bustle.

If you’re short on time and frugal like me, I recommend buying from a bridal consignment store. And the icing on top of the cake, you get to take the dress home the day of purchase. 

Taco bar

Securing a caterer with only two months’ notice is a tall order, but I knew exactly who to call: Jeannie Loomis, with Flavors Events and Catering. As a dear friend of my mom’s, she was thrilled to be a part of our day and cried during the ceremony as she set up the taco bar, which was a hit among all guests.

Unless the wedding is black tie, most guests don’t expect fancy food at a wedding. If you can’t find or afford a caterer on short notice, choose something simple like tacos, soup and salad or pasta that a close friend or family member can master and make in a big batch. 

Early on in our relationship, Mervyn told his mom I was the one he would marry. Since she does florals for weddings on the side, I knew all along I’d ask her to do the flowers for us – and I think she did too.

On the day of, the tables were decorated with autumn-toned roses, carnations, dahlias and sunflowers, with a touch of eucalyptus. They were “made with a lot of love,” she would say, every time someone told her how stunning they were. 

Get a team involved

If you don’t happen to have a florist in the family, make it a fun bridesmaid activity by going to a farm or flower shop the day before and making the arrangements. The arrangements don’t have to be too large, either, and you can use mason jars around the house for vases. 

As far as makeup, I liked the idea of having a bridesmaid help me over hiring a stranger. Since it was important for me to still look like myself on my wedding day, I thought someone who knew me should do it. My bridesmaid Avery wasted no time in offering.

“Don’t worry. We can go to ulta and get new makeup and do a trial run a few weeks before. It’ll be fun!” she said. 

Confession: Some of the products in my makeup bag I used in high school, so this was long overdue

If you don’t or can’t hire a professional, don’t sweat it. 

Although some may disagree, a close friend or family member knows what you look like, and maybe will be able to showcase that better if they have some knowledge about makeup. Plus, in this day and age, tutorials are everywhere.

As Avery applied my foundation and eyeshadow, I felt incredibly loved and cherished and it was a special moment that we will share forever. 

For three days prior, I had been a complete wreck, worrying about every little thing. But when it came time to walk down the aisle, all of those anxious thoughts fell away. 

Steve Goble, our pastor and another member of our village, officiated the ceremony. 

Before we started dating, we both asked Steve about one another, and he gave his stamp of approval, praising Mervyn for his intentionality and me for my loyalty.

This leads me to my next piece of advice: have people close to you involved in your ceremony. If that’s not a pastor, it can be a close friend or relative officiating, telling a story, singing or playing music. 

During our ceremony, Steve shared how he has seen us both grow and read aloud our accounts of our first date, which made the ceremony more personal, especially for guests who didn’t know the whole story. 

Since Mervyn is a game fanatic, it was only fitting that we played a game during the reception. With the help of one of his groomsmen, we conducted a game of bride and groom trivia with the last five tables advancing to the next round. 

Kesh had hidden golden tickets under the tables that the last guests standing scrambled to find and bring to Mervyn for a prize.

In a time crunch, incorporate unique elements like this that highlight you and your spouse’s personalities in a flash for little to no cost. It can be anything, have fun with it!

Looking back on our wedding day, it has been the greatest joy to share memories with our friends who filled the dance floor to the brim and helped us out immensely. 

As many have said and many will say, marriage is wonderful, and marriage is hard. 

But having a village that will always show when needed to celebrate in times of joy and mourn in times of sorrow makes all the difference.

There will be many friendsgivings, game nights, tears shed, car trouble and vacations to come. That’s the beauty of a marriage. While it is a union between two individuals, it is also a union of the people in their lives and it is such a gift. 

In the highs and lows, enjoy it, together.



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