It took a camping trip to gain the perspective that saved our wedding

Guest post by jsloan

6.27.12 - Nicole & Josh's Eco-DIY Beach WeddingI hear it said that “everyone has pre-wedding jitters” — what ifs and cold feet. But I had a full-on panic. Like, “I woke up crying and told my fiancé that I wanted to cancel the wedding” kind of panic.

Our wedding hasn't been an easy one to plan. We wanted to get married before my job contract expires and before we move across the country, so that put us at a four month engagement. On top of looking for a job, and thinking about moving, our families are not terribly supportive. Add to this that most of the wedding is DIY, and that most of the DIY is being done by me… Nevermind, all of it, because I am stubborn as hell.

I was at the end of my rope. Spending all of my time doing DIY research, making lists, calculating costs, and worrying. Fighting with my family. Getting outrageous quotes from caterers who kept insisting on throwing in things that I didn't ask for or want, and then charging for them anyway. And realizing that I didn't even own a cake pan.

I lost it. I told my fiancé that I thought we should cancel the wedding and just elope, or even not elope and just keep things the way they are. I told my two close friends the same thing, then read every article on how to tell people you're canceling a wedding. I even told my therapist I didn't want to get married. I took my ring off to see what my hand would look like without it, and then I started Googling jobs in Botswana.

I came home that same day to a living room full of camping supplies. My fiancé said that he had to get me out of here. Too tired to fight it, I allowed myself to be scooped into a car packed with blankets and hot dogs, and driven two hours out into the wilderness. It saved our wedding.

First: no cell reception. Goodbye, endless DIY research. I hadn't realized how much energy I'd been pouring into that black hole, either looking at things or thinking about them.

Second: no one else around. No friends. Goodbye, fights with family — the rest of my energy had been going there and getting even less promising results.

Third: nothing else either. No chores, no grocery lists, or book club books to finish, or even real work to do. I had my dude, and some hot dogs, and really not much else.

So we pitched our tent and left the fly off to look at some stars. But it rained at 3am so we rushed out in our underwear to put the tent fly on in the rain. And I thought, “wow, we're a pretty good team.” We slept in. We went for a hike and he gallantly went first with a stick to make sure he knocked down all the spider webs. When we tried to light a fire with our damp wood in the light rain, he wound up using our air mattress pump as bellows. He bellowed the hell out of that campfire for maybe an hour because he knew I wanted a hot dog. And then I realized how very badly I want to marry this guy.

I like to think I took the wedding crazies to the woods, killed them and buried them there.

And that was it. After that, all of the wedding stress seemed stupid. Even worse, I seemed stupid, because I'd fallen into the trap of focusing so much on the wedding that I'd forgotten about the marriage.

After that we started talking wedding stuff, but without any of the panic. We set deadlines for things we knew we wanted, and we tossed things that were more stress than they were worth. We did it together, without 100 Google images in front of us, without budget spreadsheets and raving in-laws, and without other peoples' expectations, so we could focus on what was really important to us and what wasn't. Then we looked at some fireflies, ate some s'mores, talked about politics and just enjoyed each other's company for the first time in what felt like a month.

I like to think I took the wedding crazies to the woods, killed them and buried them there. But really, my fiancé did. He said he had promised to take care of me, and that started the day he proposed.

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Comments on It took a camping trip to gain the perspective that saved our wedding

  1. This is such an adorable article and a GREAT idea. Definitely keeping woods-escape in mind!

  2. I love this. Well done to your fiance! It’s so easy to get sucked into the DIY research stuff I lost loads of time doing that myself. The only thing that matters is that you marry the one you love. I keep telling my mum it’s about our marriage not a showy wedding. The funny thing is, when the rest of the family hear of our plans for a 2 day wedding it’s just… ‘oh that’s Kirsty’s style’. They don’t flap like mum does lol.

    Well done again I salute both of you 😀

  3. THIS!!!!

    “I like to think I took the wedding crazies to the woods, killed them and buried them there. But really, my fiancé did. He said he had promised to take care of me, and that started the day he proposed.”


  4. Amazing amazing. Do this after you’re married too! After you have kids, after life gets crazy. do this.

  5. This is a great story! I need to stop researching and second-guessing everything. We have made many of the decisions, we just can’t afford to execute them all yet. So I keep looking, thinking I’ll find something “better.” I need to stop!! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. This is a beautiful story. Best of luck to the both of you, wishes for long life and happiness shared together! Remember this when things get crazy, and know that someday it’ll be your turn to take him camping to save his sanity. 🙂

  7. Oh the DIY demons….

    DIY elements are very important to me too and I’ve done all sorts of things for other people’s weddings (food, decorations etc) . So as idea after idea piled up I thought nothing of it. Then we tackled the first project, the invites, which should have been simple but of course were not…. we got there in the end though and I LOVE what we’ve got, but it was stressful at points and it needed time to sort out. And that was just one project with tonnes of time before the wedding, it slowly began to dawn on me that there was a huge difference in going all out on one single project for someone else’s wedding and co-ordinating all the projects on your own wedding when you are studying for a PhD and your partner is going all out for promotion.

    So we did what you did , we went back and re-assessed. We didn’t go camping but we had another kind of time out from our busy lives and my study, I had a (wanted) hysterectomy. My partner took time off during my recovery which went very very well and so we ended up having a lovely time doing jigsaws, watching films, reading, playing our board games etc and just generally chilling and slowly calmly re-assessing.

    We’ve kept several DIY elements in, but only stuff we can do bit by bit in advance – for instance we have some origami elements and there is a shoe box in the living room with the stuff in for that so we can get it out and do a few every so often while watching a film or whatever. The big big thing is that I have let go of making our wedding cake and it feels great! What we’ve got now is totally us and totally achievable. We could probably have pulled off all the ideas but it would have taken every last bit of energy, given what we’ve both got in the year ahead work and study wise. I totally get what you say about realising you are focusing on the wedding not the marriage, I was a bit shocked but by going so bananas on the DIY that’s what I was doing, which is no way a judgement about DIY in general.

    Enjoy the calm!

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