In the last post, I mentioned that picking a date was much easier than picking a location for this little party of ours, and yet the date-setting process sounded a bit involved. How on earth could decision making be any more complicated than that?
Screen capture from Google Maps
There’s an awful lot of dots on that map, neh?
Tradition states that the wedding should be held in the bride’s hometown. This is pretty practical advice if the bride hasn’t moved far from her hometown and if the groom’s hometown is nearby. “Hometown” normally means this is where all the couple’s friends and family live or at least are from.
Not so much with us.
Technically, my hometown, the city where I was born, is the southernmost dot on this map—Mobile, Alabama. A significant portion of my parents’ families live there still—including one of the flower girls for our wedding and her older brother, the altar server for our wedding.
I may have been born in Mobile, but I spent most of my life in a much more northern dot—Roanoke, Virginia. (Spent a few years in central Kentucky before moving there, too.) I made my lifelong friends in Roanoke, the girls that helped me fight my way through the horrors of middle school and fly relatively below the radar in high school. Roanoke is where my family met the priest that will be marrying us, the role model that became my Confirmation sponsor, and other wonderful families we want to invite to the wedding.
I went to college just down I-81 from Roanoke at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia (the dot that’s practically on top of Roanoke’s dot). At Tech I picked up another bridesmaid, and she and one of the friends I’d made in Roanoke snagged husbands by the time we were done with our engineering degrees. I grew up in three different states, and though that’s not really a whole lot compared to military children, I can’t really call any of the towns my family has ever lived in “home.” When I think about “going home,” I think about going to Blacksburg.
Mr. Potion, on the other hand, is from one of those western dots—Little Rock, Arkansas. His parents and many of his family members live there or close by. He went to college at Louisiana Tech University in the dot just south of Little Rock, Ruston, Louisiana. He met some of his best friends there, including groomsmen, his best (wo)man, and the extremely talented photographer who shot our engagement session.
After graduation, I, like so many other Hokies, snagged a job that brought me to Northern Virginia. Because we’d been talking about marriage for so long at this point, Mr. Potion saved his pennies and moved here less than a year after I’d settled in. (Those two NOVA dots are the places we live now.) We both have friends and coworkers here (and in DC and Maryland).
So what’s that red dot on the map?
The summer after I started my brand new big-girl job, my dad got a new job that moved my parents and sisters to Alexander City, Alabama. The older of the two, my maid of honor, is finishing up an art degree at the University of Montevallo, and my baby sister lives with my parents in Alex City.
Before my family moved, I had always assumed I’d be getting married in Roanoke. This turn of events tossed a wrench in the works, so by the time Mr. Potion proposed, I was warming up to the idea of a DC wedding. Every Sunday at my new parish, I’d picture myself walking down this aisle and was dreading the idea of paying DC wedding prices on my modest barely-out-of-college budget.
And then we talked about it.
During the same conversation in which we picked a date, when I was still finding myself distracted by my brand new bling, we had a rather long conversation about exactly where we were going to get married—a discussion I’d never thought was necessary because I’d pretty much made up my mind already. This was the first conversation we had where I realized that Mr. Potion is not the “traditional” groom the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) tries to sell us—the uninterested groom who has no opinions on anything wedding related except for where to go for the honeymoon, who answers the question “Which do you prefer?” with just a grunt, if anything. Mr. Potion is just the opposite of that—in this instance (and in some others), he didn’t even need me to present options before he made his opinion known.
Hive, my groom has a brain and a heart, and he’s using both just as intensely as I’m using mine in this wedding-planning adventure.
Mr. Potion asked what I thought about having the wedding in Alexander City. The question caught me off-guard a bit, but he had good points.
That red dot is (roughly) in the middle of all the other dots on that map. In all honesty, the people we are most concerned with having near us on The Big Day are our closest family members, and Alex City is reasonably close to those most important people. Because our friends and family members are so spread out, this wedding is going to involve considerable amounts of travel for pretty much everybody, no matter where we have it. In addition to Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Virginia, we want to invite people who live in DC, Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Missouri, California, and Washington, among other places. Although we absolutely do not expect all of our loved ones to make the effort to be there with us that day, we want to make it easiest on, well, our parents. Plus, he figured I’m going to need my mom’s help throughout the planning process, and it would be easiest for her to help if the majority of our vendors are where she lives. (Oh how right he was on this one!)
Photo courtesy Emile Frey
So…that settled it! When we finalized the date with our parents, I talked to my mom about what she thought about having the wedding at the little church where they are parishioners, and though she was taken aback at the idea, Mr. Potion’s logic prevailed on her, too.
Red dot it is!
How did you decide where to get married? Are your friends and family scattered across the country like ours?