How I Almost Got Un-Engaged At Starbucks

Shortly after my husband and I got officially engaged, we set off to the nearest Starbucks to plan our wedding, armed with a notebook, a checklist his dad had printed off the Internet, and a pile of magazine clippings his mom had been saving since… what year does that one say? 200…2? Had we even met yet?

About 30 minutes later, before we’d even finished our drinks, we were ready to call the whole thing off.

We had already checked a few things off the several-hundred-item list, and had almost come to terms with the daunting fact that we’d have to invite over 250 people because while you can separate friends into 1st, 2nd and 3rd tiers, you can’t just pick and choose the family members you like best: you have to have ALL the aunts, uncles and cousins, or none of them. And if we’re gonna have all those people we might as well have ALL the friends, too. Or at least tiers 1 and 2.

But our fragile confidence in our developing plans shattered when we realized we didn’t know any boys little enough or cute enough to be our ringbearer. Or rather, that we did, but if we were to choose one little boy over another, the political/familial fallout could cause irreparable damage.

IRREPARABLE DAMAGE. (photo credit: Quinn Miller)

“What are we gonna do?” I asked, the sudden realization of this glaring problem threatening to crush all of the hopes and dreams I had been carrying with me for the last two minutes of our conversation.

“I guess we… just won’t have one,” he said after a few moments of frantic internal brainstorming.

“Can we do that?” I asked, tears welling in the corners of my eyes. “How can we just not have a ringbearer?”

“It’s our wedding, isn’t it?” He suggested, tentatively. “Can’t we just… do whatever we want?”

It took a moment of stunned silence for the gravity of these words to set in with both of us.

Whatever… we want?

Whatever… we want?

I think the other patrons of Starbucks might have actually seen the lightbulbs going off above both our heads in unison, as checklists and magazine clippings alike got sent into mental oblivion.

It didn’t take long for us to concoct a decidedly epic plan that would have us getting married four months later on a mountain in the winter, to the tune of 8-bit Super Mario Bros., with an attendee cap of 54 people, and a snowboarding after-party the following day. There’s no reason to let something as silly as a wedding put a damper on your marriage.

(Amanda Gregor Photography)
(Amanda Gregor Photography)

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Katelynn, who is having a wedding of her own exactly a month from now to tie the knot with a guy I’ve never met, because they live on the other side of the ocean. Or rather, I do. I’m sorry, Katelynn, to miss the kick-off party of your marriage, but I promise I’ll be “home” one day soon.

Also, happy news! I entered this post into Yeah Write’s weekly writing challenge, and was voted into the top three! Hooray for everything!


45 thoughts on “How I Almost Got Un-Engaged At Starbucks

  1. I love your posts and sense of humor: light-hearted and funny and insightful all at once. I cringe at the thought of a big, expensive wedding one day. My dream would be immediate family only, maybe an informal party for friends after the honeymoon. I nearly have a heart attack every time one of my friends gets married and says they’re spending several thousand on the venue, and several thousand on the photographer… do you have any idea what you could do with that money?! /end rant

    1. Nice, yeah me too… I love the look on other people’s faces, though, when you can tell that’s what they’re up to. Like the look on a guy’s face when a girl asks him a seemingly inocuous but potentially incriminating question… “How do I look in this dress?” for example, haha.

  2. I kind of love you for this. The boyfran and I have had these conversations and it’s pretty scary how quickly it goes from “lets do something small with like 60 people” to “oh my God how are we going to afford a full meal and drinks for 350 people?” I like your way MUCH better.

    1. I hear ya! It’s really hard to keep your head, and feet, on the ground when there’s an entire wedding-industrial complex in place to prevent you from doing just that. But take heart, resistance is not futile! 😉

  3. My wife and I had two weddings: a civil ceremony and a bit later, another in the church. Having said that, one day while I was getting grief from the Mrs at her parents house, I said with a groan, “and I married her twice.” Her father simply shook his head and said, “always thought you were a slow-learner.”

    1. Ahaha! That’s awesome! I’ve been to weddings like that, where the couple had already got “officially” married, and some people were all offended that the ceremony they were watching was “a farce.” On the flip side you must love her a lot to marry her twice! It’s like “liking” something on facebook, then “un-liking” it just so you can like it again!

        1. “Oh, yes Aunt Lucy, you got me. I spent 20,000 dollars to throw a giant party for all my family and friends, complete with roast beef and mashed potatoes… for a toaster. Shame on me.”

          1. It is amazing the lengths people will go to for a toaster or a crock pot. Truth be told, I am thinking of marrying the old girl for a third time. I got my eye on a gravy boat.

  4. That’s funny. Weddings are such a balancing act, usually.
    I mean, mine wasn’t: I have no family and I was getting married a thousand miles away from home in the only state that allowed me to get married at that time, but still… I’ve heard stories.
    The fallout from a faux pas like running down to the justice of the peace or getting hitched while bungee jumping is just too serious.
    Still fun to think about, though!

    1. …or, you know, not seating someone appropriately close enough to the head table (O_o)

      We had no tables, either, you probably won’t be surprised to learn, haha! Sounds like your wedding was an adventure on its own terms, too, congrats!

  5. Girl I’m am right there with you!!!! Planning a wedding is stressful! My best friend decided to get married and I have never wanted to strangle her so bad in the 17 years that I have known her….. we went from having a year, to 200 days, to I don’t know when its going to happen. I WISH she could make it simple like you did!!!

    1. Yeah, good freaking luck is all I can really say! My wedding happened halfway through my last year of uni, full time courses while I was also working 2+ jobs. So there was NO WAY it was gonna be more complicated than it needed to be. In fact I still don’t know how I, and everyone around me, came out intact! But it was a blast, and contrary to so many weddings I’ve been to that the bride and groom describe afterwards as “a blur,” I remember all of it and enjoyed (almost) every minute!

  6. I’ve always wondered why so many couples get so hung up on wedding preparations and spend little or no time talking about how they plan to live as a married couple. A wedding is one day, a marriage is hopefully the rest of your life.

    1. So true! “A wedding is one day, a marriage is hopefully the rest of your life.” This sounds like common logic to me, but when my husband and I said something to this effect to our pre-marriage counselor, he said we didn’t really need his help and that we could be the poster couple for his other clients because, apparently, this simple truth escapes so many. (O_o)

  7. Having helped with various friends weddings, I’ve decided that whenever I end up getting married, it will be as simple and nerdy as possible. I don’t want big bows and fancy things. I just want to get married. Getting married to an 8-bit Mario track sounds amazing.

    1. Nice! Do what you want! I was gonna direct you towards a blog I knew that focused specifically on geek weddings, but it has completely disappeared! I know there are lots of ideas out there, though, if you’re looking for inspiration. And the Mario track was what we played when we were walking out at the end (so the ceremony itself, at least, was a bit more serious, heh). Cheers!

  8. A wonderful story, Janelle! I am glad you did it your way too. It amazes me as well, when I sit down with couples pre-marriage or when their relationship is in trouble, just how much time, attention and money they devote to the ‘ceremony’ rather than the real stuff of ‘living in marriage’.

  9. Great decision! I eloped with my email lover and sent the email from Egypt about it to all my family back home… it was waaaaay easier! Loved your story, best wishes to you both!

          1. Hahaha it sounds like a much better strategy than mine… I knew my mother would have a cow so I gave it to her right between the eyes… with lots of smiles and xoxoxos to soften the blows… hahaha we still don’t get along!

  10. I have a co-worker who was just going through the ancient ritual of asking, “But isn’t my wedding supposed to be about ME?” Of course it is. (No it’s not.) Anything you want, dear. (Not those ideas, though.)

    Also, bonus points (no redeemable value outside of NE) for use of “burninated” in comments.

    1. Hahahahaha… yes. Everyone has expectations/goals/dreams/complaints/criticisms for everyone else’s wedding… Even though we managed to opt out of a lot of it by doing it how we did, we still had our share of crap to put up with… and yeah, burninating is always my first instinct when I don’t like how things are going, heh.

  11. Oh my goodness. I was super ‘meh’ when it came to my wedding. I didn’t care about what colours or flowers I had. I remember having an hour long conversation about how the toasts should go before the speeches with the in-laws and I was like ‘what’s the difference between a toast and speech? Don’t people just talk?’ It’s really easy to lose focus on yourselves as a couple during the whole process.

    Now the real question is, what friendship tier are Nate and I in? Huh? Huh? *eye brow quirk*

    1. Haha, yeah, now people have themes and official wedding quotes and all kinds of stuff. (@_@) I think weddings are only meant to have toasts, but speeches is what they turn into, because… alcohol?

      And there are no tiers. We burninated the tiers. But we love you guys forever!!!

  12. “There’s no reason to let something as silly as a wedding put a damper on your marriage.” – YES. 🙂 Loved the story and I always love y’alls wedding pictures– gorgeous!

    1. Thaaanks! I’m always bewildered by how much effort people put into weddings and meanwhile neglect to think much about the marriage part, when that’s the whole point! Cheers!

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