Hey there, hive! Remember me? It’s been a while. I wanted to pop by with an update on one very important thing: my name.
Last time we left off, I had decided I was going to change my name when Mr. T and I got married. I always knew I would change my name when I got married. I like the idea of having a family name, and it was important to Mr. T that I take his name. Plus, I was never very attached to my maiden name. But as the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
I decided early on in our engagement that I would change my name to Molly Middle Married. Four months after the wedding, I officially changed my name. When I looked at the little pieces of plastic in my wallet, it felt odd to see a new name. Who was this new person? She looked like me, but I didn’t recognize her name.
I told myself that I would adjust, that I would grow accustomed to that new combination of letters, but I felt uneasy with my decision. After a few months, that uneasiness turned into regret. I wished I could take back my name. I wished I hadn’t callously thrown it away with little thought. Despite what I thought, I was attached to it. That name was me for two-and-a-half decades. That name was printed at the top of college newspaper articles and in high school yearbooks. It was on trophies, diplomas, and the dean’s list for several semesters. It was announced when I walked across the stage at my high school, college and law school graduations. That name is a major part of who I am, and I wanted it back.
A lot of commenters have asked me about what it was like to plan a wedding while also studying for the bar exam. It’s that time of year again, so I figured I’d address that now.
Studying for the bar exam was, without a doubt, one of the hardest things I have ever done. Maybe THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was time-consuming, intellectually challenging, and physically and emotionally exhausting. You know what else is all of those things? Wedding planning. So here are my tips on how to combine the two without going insane.
Choose your date wisely.
The busiest time of studying for the bar exam is the last month before the wedding. The busiest time of wedding planning is the last six to eight weeks before the wedding. Unless you have a lot of help, I would recommend picking a wedding date that’s at least two months after the bar exam. We got married exactly two months and four days after I finished the bar exam, and I’m happy that we had that much time in between the two.
Mr. T and I left the reception venue separately. He had to bring the cooler from the trolley back to his parents’ room, and I had to get my clothes from my parents’ hotel. My best friend and bridesmaid walked with me back to the hotel. I was in my wedding dress, carrying my heels in my hand, walking through the middle of downtown Chicago on my wedding night without my brand-new husband. I could not stop laughing because it felt like something out of a movie.
Eventually, I made my way to our hotel room for the night. I took off my wedding gown and replaced it with the dress from our rehearsal dinner, and Mr. T and I headed over to the same bar where we’d had our rehearsal dinner the night before. We drank beer and ate nachos with our friends and family members from out of town. It was so nice to have that extra time with them. One thing I’m really happy about is that we got to spend a lot of quality time with all of our guests on our wedding day. I’m so glad that we weren’t liberal with the guest list.
A little after midnight, we headed back to the hotel and quickly fell asleep. The next morning, I awoke to the sun coming up over Lake Michigan, which illuminated the aftermath of our wedding day.
Just after we served our late-night snack, our wonderful photographers left for the night. But we still had two hours of partying left. Fortunately, my dad had his camera there to capture the rest of the evening.
I know I wrote that we weren’t going to do the bouquet or garter tosses. Mr. T hates the garter toss with a passion, but near the end of the evening, I looked over at my wilting bouquet and figured that if it was just going to go in the trash anyway, I might as well have some fun with it. So I walked over to our DJ, asked her to put on “Single Ladies,” and made my way onto the stage with my bouquet overhead.
I turned around as my friends gathered together in the middle of the dance floor.
One thing I really wanted was to get photos of our families together. While the dancing was going on, but before things got too crazy, we called our family members up to the stage to do a big photo. This is my giant Irish family. (And this isn’t even everyone! We’re missing at least 15 people.)
Next up was Mr. T‘s family. They’re a slightly more manageable size.
After Mr. T and I finished our first dance, my dad joined me on the dance floor for the father/daughter dance. My dad is a HUGE Beatles fan, so we danced to “In My Life.” It was really nice to have this moment with him.