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Her Marriage: How it changed our lives

Cassiopeia and James Bailey became engaged to be married last June and were married a few months later in October. In that time their lives have changed in many different ways.

Sun Advocate contributor

On June 10, 2010, which happens to be my birthday, the man who was my boyfriend at the time, surprised me with a memorable gift: the most beautiful and unique engagement ring I have ever seen. It was a very unforgettable birthday.

I cannot explain the euphoric feelings that I felt that evening, knowing that my best friend had just asked me to be his wife. This was a blessing I had never in my life thought would happen to me. Every chance I got, I would sneak a peek at the engagement ring and day dream about our wedding day. I had always worried I would never marry. I had traveled the world, having lived in more than one country, but who knew I'd marry someone from Emery County?

When I told my mom, sisters, friends and coworkers about our engagement, everyone had an idea, suggestion, or opinion on how to plan a wedding and the reception. It became overwhelming, as some of the information conflicted with things other people had told me. Which was the best advice? My brain was crammed with so much information from everyone I had difficulty thinking about this wedding, my wedding, as an exciting event. I did not want it to be a stressful wedding day - I wanted it to be exciting and fun.

I began to wonder, should we plan our own wedding, or should we hire a wedding planner? Could we afford it? Could we manage making wedding plans on our own?

Since we live in a smaller community, I was familiar with some of our local vendors and decided we would organize our own wedding. I made lists after lists about color schemes, party favors, and what kind of food we wanted to serve at the reception. The lists were useful in prioritizing the wedding planning to our unique tastes.

The first thing that I learned about wedding planning was the importance of creating a budget and adhering to it. We attempted to set spending limits on the wedding flowers, the wedding attire, reception food, wedding rings, and decorations. Despite all of the extra planning, I was surprised on how easy it was to justify a little extra spending and blow my budget. Some things proved considerably more expensive than we first imagined, however since we had saved money in other areas, it thankfully balanced out in the end.

We had also budgeted for our once-in-a-lifetime, honeymoon but decide between expensive plane tickets or the cost of soaring gas prices and the extra time and stress associated with driving. We also had neglected to consider the costs of my groom's passport, or the extra fees we had to pay on the honeymoon (such as gratuities, for example).

Also, with my fiance's wedding band, we decided on a particular material with a sapphire stone to match my ring, we learned it would not be available in that combination. We were required to use a different metal that was more money than we had budgeted.

Other things that we had failed to include into our wedding budget were 'thank you' cards and postage, the wedding license, and the necessary manicure.

When I started planning my wedding I had a vision on exactly how I wanted the wedding. I learned through the wedding planning process to be more flexible, listen to other's ideas and adapt them to my vision, and accept advice. I learned we could accept other ideas, but still make it "ours".

As I reflect, I recall what I enjoyed about our wedding. Ours was unique and tailored to fit "us". We had a tropical themed reception which allowed our guests to relax and have fun. Our guests appreciated they could come in casual attire. We loved having a caricature artist sketch cartoon pictures of our guests as a party favor, and he also drew one of us in color. We loved that we served cupcakes to our guests while we reserve the top of the wedding cake for our one year anniversary.

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, especially when you do not know where to start with the planning, and also because for many, it is the first wedding they've ever planned. There are amazing resources that are local, that can help plan the wedding, one step at a time. There are also many people who have already been through the process that are willing to offer advice.

Now that our wedding plans have been completed, and our "big day" has now become part of our memories, we are overjoyed to be planning on another life-changing event. Our first child will be born into our family 14 months after our wedding day.

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