As March 17 fast approaches, Liz Kirk, ’10, and senior Blake Faulkner are putting finishing touches on their wedding plans. The couple has been together for more than two and a half years, over a year of which they have been engaged and planning their wedding.
Between both of their busy lives, planning a wedding has been a balancing act. Kirk, who majored in history and elementary education with a minor in English, is a full time substitute teacher in the Hillsdale area while Blake is double-majoring in Christian Studies and Speech.
“When he proposed, the whirlwind began,” Kirk said. “It has been a lot of work for him to be doing school and planning at the same time. And even though I’m working full time, it’s a lot, but it’s easier.”
Spring break worked out to be the best time for Kirk and Faulkner to tie the knot, a time when family can take time off work and friends will be on break.
The couple agreed that being engaged a longer time eased much of the stress of the planning process. Kirk had experience with friends trying to plan a wedding in six months and did not want to have that experience planning her wedding.
“It was hard, because initially we didn’t know what we wanted. I know a lot of women stereotypically have the wedding planned before they are engaged. They have the Cinderella fairytale planned, and that wasn’t me. I was not the person that had everything figured out and had the scrapbook just waiting for someone to propose,” Kirk said.
The couple took care to work out the larger issues in the planning process before diving into the details including location, caterers, and decorations. They had to make reservations for the location the wanted a year in advance.
“The lesson we learned is that if you don’t have the big elements like catering, the reception hall, the DJ…if you don’t have that before Valentine’s Day of the next year, you’re not going to have it,” Kirk said.
Kirk’s search for the perfect dress was one of the many details to be worked out. Kirk would Skype and call her mother, who lived in California, after every appointment to discuss the dresses.
Eventually, Kirk found “the one.” She recalls sending her mother a photo and calling her right away.
“She started to cry on the phone, and I knew from her reaction and the looks on my bridesmaids’ faces, that we’d found a winner,” Kirk said.
“But if there was one most difficult part of the planning, it was the invites, oddly enough. Liz wanted to design them. More hours went into this than any other part,” Faulkner said.
Designing invitations early will force all other aspects to be taken care of because the catering, venue, registries, and schedule all have to be in order by the time the invites are sent, he said.
All these preparations can be difficult to navigate, but the couple manages to stay relaxed.
“Every time it gets stressful, we could just take a deep breath and say, ‘It’s OK, we’re going to Florida.’ That’s kind of been our rock,” said Kirk.
Kirk and Faulkner have planned a two week honeymoon in Florida.
“It gives you a goal to strive for and a light at the end of the dark tunnel, which is engagement,” Faulkner said.
After Faulkner graduates, the couple will move to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he will attend Cincinnati Christian University pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology.
“We’re ready to be married. We’ll be happier and less stressed,” Kirk said.
“Engagement sucks,” Faulkner said. “The only way you can mediate it is if you spend a lot of time together. You’re not really dating, but you’re not married, either. You’re just in limbo. If it was a matter of our relationship, we would have gotten married the night I proposed.”
Neither Kirk nor Faulkner are nervous about getting married partly due to planning far in advance.
“Even if everything we want to happen fails, we will be married at the end of the day, and that’s really all that matters,” Faulkner said.
“Who could ask for anything more?” Kirk added. “Sure I’ll be upset if the cake falls over, or the wrong food shows up, but hey, at least we’ll have a good story to tell. I get to stand in front of our friends and family and pledge to God that I’ll stay by his side for the rest of my life. I couldn’t get any luckier, so I’m not nervous one bit.”