Planning something like a vow renewal is hard enough in ordinary circumstances. However, planning it with an active duty spouse can seem near impossible at times. Trying to squeeze in the decision making into a short time of leave, or on days off while still trying to live your normal life is difficult to say the least.
Even keeping it simple is harder than is sounds. There are so many different aspects to planning even the smallest ceremony! There’s the venue, to have food or not to, the flowers, cake, etc. So many decisions, so little time to make them!
For us these decisions are coming just after a PCS. My husband took extra leave for the move, so we are trying to get it all done before he reports in to the new unit. Once he reports in, he will be so busy; he won’t have much time to help!
I know what you are thinking, “That’s no big deal. Husband’s aren’t much help in those situations anyway!” “They don’t care. Just tell them when to show up!” In most cases, this is probably true. However, I have a husband who wants so to be involved; he wants to help with the decision making. Add that to the fact that we are in a new area, so I don’t have anyone else, and it means he pretty much doesn’t have a choice.
All of this means we are planning a vow renewal in a new area, in a short amount a time, four months before the actual day, and to top it off we are on a fixed budget! How do we do it? Well, it hasn’t been easy. But, here are a few tips we picked up during from our experience.
One, make a list of your top five, maybe ten items that are non-negotiable. These are the things that are most important to you; that you have to have. These may very likely be items that will take up most of your budget as well. For me, I had three things on this list; a photographer, my flowers, and a cake.
Two, be willing to lower your standards and compromise. Sure the historic inn on the hill, overlooking the harbor, with the gourmet chef is breathtaking. But, is it a necessity? Could you be just as happy with a local community center you can get for free and decorate yourself? Do you have to have the three course dinner? Or is it ok to just have a cake or cocktail reception instead? Make the day special for yourselves, but remember you don’t have to break the bank to do so!
Finally, remember the day is about you! Whether it is a vow renewal on your 10 year anniversary or your wedding day, it about you and your spouse. Don’t compromise on what makes you happy to please others. Of course you want all of your family and friends to be there, but don’t let it ruin your day if they can’t. Don’t forget the most important person is the one standing next to you!