Writer’s Block: Going to the chapel

As a pastor’s kid, I’ve attended more weddings than most.

Olivia Koester
Olivia Koester

Many Saturdays, I scrambled up to the church balcony, electing to watch strangers’ nuptials rather than play outside or watch TV.

Taking in the bride’s beauty, the sometimes overwhelming scent of flowers and the mix of emotions below me was one of my favorite pastimes.

Now, it’s my turn to walk down the aisle. I’m engaged!

I never thought that I would marry this young – I’ll say “I do” at 23 – but as “When Harry Met Sally” taught me, “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” We make each other better people.

My fiancé, Matt, and I don’t remember meeting. It happened sometime during the chaos of our first week at St. Olaf College.

It was by no means love at first sight. He had a crush on my roommate, and I dated someone from back home for a while. But eventually, the timing was right and we fell in love.

When he asked for my parents’ blessing in late September, they gave him more than that – my late grandmother’s diamond.

He set it in a gorgeous band with tiny twinkling diamonds on both sides. I catch myself staring at it way too often!

Leading me to believe the proposal would happen on a “date night,” a Friday or Saturday evening, Matt caught me off guard one Sunday afternoon as we were walking around Centennial Lakes in Edina.

I saw four pumpkins with writing on them, and even after I was close enough to read “Will you marry me?” I just thought, “Aw, someone’s going to get engaged here!” Then, he was down on one knee.

Everyone thought that I would cry when it happened since I’ve been known to tear up taking in pet food commercials, strangers’ graduation ceremonies, a well-written greeting card, etc. But I was so shocked that I could only smile.

“Yes!” I squealed, clapping and jumping up and down.

Now, suddenly, I’m planning a wedding. Not the hypothetical wedding I’ve been planning since I was three years old – a real wedding!

The process has brought a couple of things that my childhood fantasy didn’t include: frenzied planning and a giant bill.

I thought we’d have a little time to sit back and enjoy our new status, but it’s really been a flurry of phone calls and check writing from the get-go.

There’s no time to lose. You have to book a church, a reception venue and a caterer – immediately!

One reception venue only saw us because it had a cancellation. Not for a Saturday next month, but for Oct. 4, 2014 …

Though it’s been hectic, I’ve enjoyed the planning process, buying up overpriced wedding magazines and setting up an account on The Knot, a popular wedding website.

I really am living a fairy tale, but one that costs a little more than a trip to Disney World.

The average wedding costs around $30,000, so it is a challenge to try and find venues and vendors, especially in a metropolitan area, that will allow my future husband and me to throw a memorable bash without breaking the bank.

I think that the day will be perfect no matter what dress I’m wearing, what food we’re eating and whether the groomsmen wear ties or bow ties.

Since Matt put a ring on my finger, it isn’t the wedding I’m looking forward to most; it’s the rest of our lives.

I’m excited to have a fun party with all of the people we love, but I’m more excited about our marriage, and I think that’s how it should be.