It hasn't been five weeks since I asked my now-husband to marry me, and in two hours I can go pick up the marriage certificate that means I have changed my name and my life. Yes, I asked him. He made me.
Dear Husband (DH), as he now is, agreed a few months ago to come back to South Korea with me this time. I think he's hoping it'll get it out of my system. I'm hoping he'll like it enough to stay an extra year or two. We looked into tourist visas for him, which would require a trip every 3 months to another country to renew. And then the M word came up. I jokingly said we should just get married so he could piggy-back on my visa. Then I really thought about it. We love each other deeply. We've been together almost 5 years now. I knew he had serious reservations about marriage; I told him I didn't think it'd change our relationship, how we feel about each other, just how we're legally seen. He said yes, and I pointed out that neither of us had actually flat-out asked the question. So he told me to do it, and he still said yes. People ask how he proposed. I tell them I did, still wet from a shower, in our bed. Conventional we are not.
The why of the rush to get married is mostly the moving to Korea--it takes about a month to change your passport, and I need to get a bunch of other stuff corrected as well in that time. It's also because I will be working in a city two hours away through much of the summer, and didn't want to get married and then not see him most of the week the day after. So we have one week, and then we're a weekend couple. But that's how it goes sometimes.
But here's the thing: I wouldn't have wanted more time. The only thing about this crazy, simple, perfect wedding that I would change is, because of personal stuff, his brother was able to make it but his brother's family couldn't. We're visiting them at the end of the summer, before flying out to Korea. Otherwise, it was perfect.
Most women, I guess, when they think about their wedding day, have plans. I didn't, and that helped a lot. For rings, we got wedding bands on Etsy. I didn't want to spend money we didn't have on an engagement ring for, quite literally, 4 weeks, so we went to one of the cheap jewelry stores at the mall and found one no one could distinguish from a $2000 ring for $10. My dress, my parents paid for. We got it at Dillards, and it was not what I pictured but exactly what I wanted. They also agreed, as per tradition, to cover the reception: we barbequed and potlucked and had a ton of food left over. His dad helped pay for his clothes, and we got a free vest for the best man, who spent not a cent on what he wore. His mother helped me with buying the flowers, which I couldn't have done financially or conceptually without her. My maid of honor was able to fly out from Seattle, and she brought a few dresses we had both picked out online so I could choose. (Incidentally, I have never had so many people ask me what they should wear. I have trouble dressing myself, and you want me to dress you too?) The intent for her dress and, indeed, even mine, was that they be things that could be worn again.
Last Saturday, May 25, our friends and families came together to watch us get married. My younger sister flew out from South Korea, for two days, to be there. One of our friends recently took up photography, so took pictures as his gift to us. I'll post a couple once they're up, but even the ones he showed me were amazing already. My ex, who DH and I have lived with off-and-on for about two years during our relationship, was the officiant, and he cried more than either of us during the ceremony. We combined our dice-bags, in true nerd fashion, and had heady literary readings. We said our own vows, we kissed. We ate a ton of great food, played Rock Band and Cards Against Humanity, smeared cake in each others' faces. It was, as I said, perfect, with everything we wanted and the way we wanted it. It felt like us, rather than us pretending to get married the way you're expected to. We got married within our means, with friends and family building the wedding with us, and we're both just so happy it's sickening.