Hello BG brides. Those of you who are familiar with the "Real Brides Speak Out" blog may recognize me as Chris, Neda's fiancé. Today I'm taking over the blog to share my perspective on how our relationship has changed since getting engaged.
Some of the most profound changes I've witnessed have been with my fiancée's family. Her relatives were sweet and welcoming towards me as soon as I met them. However, once I was accepted in as family, it took on a whole new level. They've showered me with gifts for Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and my favorite foods. More importantly, they've gone above and beyond to take a genuine interest in my thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams.
For example, one of Neda's uncles and I had a conversation where he asked, "What would you do if you didn't have a job and you had to work for yourself?" I mulled it over for a minute and replied that I would start my own cafe/craft beer bar, which is an idea that I've always kicked around. After a brief Q&A, he said, "Quit your job and go for it. I will finance it to get you started. You are family now." Wow! That just blew me away. This kind of unconditional love, trust and generosity is rare and uncharted territory for me.
I of course politely declined for the time being — I like my current job as a police officer. Maybe one day as retirement draws closer, but for now, it's a great thought to keep in the back of my mind.
Neda and I have also encountered some challenges along the way. The wedding-planning process has highlighted one fundamental difference between us...MONEY! Namely, I think about it and she doesn't. One of Neda's best (and worst) characteristics is her free spirit and the belief that everything will work out. I come from a more practical mindset: I know that we can do and get anything we want if we work hard enough, but we need to have a budget and adhere to it.
I would love to provide the wedding of her dreams and not be the proverbial party pooper by telling her we cannot afford it. However, the pragmatic side of me knows that I make a certain amount of money, she makes a certain amount, and there's life expenses along the way, so something's got to give. As enticing as a week-long beach excursion at a five-star venue may be — complete with crashing waves, a live band and a gourmet plated dinner for 300+ guests — neither one of us hails from Bill Gates' family lineage.
However, our financial difficulties led to a refreshing revelation. Neda is flexible, not in a limber yogi kind of way, but when it comes to scheduling and wants versus needs. A few months ago, she approached me about postponing the wedding so that we would have more time to plan and enjoy this process together. At first, I was hesitant because I'd heard that a lot of long-term engagements with no "set date" rarely work out, but the more we discussed it, the more sense it made, and I reluctantly agreed.
If you've read any of Neda's previous posts, then you know that we're in a long-distance relationship: I live 600 miles away from her and we work opposite shifts. Then, there's the logistics of my house in Sacramento, which is currently on the market, not to mention that little thing called a job. And if I were to quit said job without a suitable replacement, how could we pay for the wedding? Neda believes that postponing our big day will give us the time to make concessions and save for everything.
Now my fiancée isn't a high-maintenance diva — her grandiose plans are actually for all of her friends, for us and everyone involved to have a fun time. She has never said the words "I want" or "I need." Everything has always been, "We could," "We should," or "Wouldn't this be cool?" As far as my "I"...I think I'll just smile and nod.
And to all the aspiring grooms out there, you may hear horror story after horror story about planning a wedding, but if you just keep an open line of communication and don't sweat the small stuff, everything will turn out great. In the grand scheme of things, do you care as much about your wedding color palette as much as your future wife does? Probably not. However, I've learned that it's a bad idea to utter that. Instead, try saying, "You go ahead and choose. I trust your judgement. You have good taste, you're marrying me, after all."
Don't be afraid to take a hard stand on the things that are important to you. This is the beginning of your life together and it won't be the last disagreement and compromise made. If you genuinely dislike/cannot afford the venue, caterer, DJ, or photographer, then by all means, say so. Don't bite your tongue and hold in resentment. However, on that note, if she wants iris and lilly arrangements instead of carnations and dandelions (and you can afford them), just get her the darn flowers. It all evens out in the end.
I pictured a small intimate wedding barefoot on a beach somewhere. She wants a big celebration to share with all of our friends and family. Then, she got offered her dream job on the other end of the state and we had to change our date. With all challenges come new opportunities — life threw us a wonderful but unexpected twist. With any luck, we may be able to make both of our wedding visions come true.
Grooms, we want to hear from you! Tell us: How has your life changed since getting engaged?
P.S. Have an interesting wedding planning story to share? Apply to become a real bride blogger here ►
Neda Iranpour's fiancé, Chris, proposed to her after she ran three marathons in three days around Lake Tahoe. In keeping with the couple's adventurous spirit, they plan to have a four-day destination wedding somewhere in the United States. They can't wait to enjoy a fun-filled wedding experience with their guests, complete with paddleboarding, kayaking, running, dancing, sipping fine wine and drinking craft beer. Chris is a fun-loving, dedicated police officer and Neda is an Emmy-award winning news anchor who loves to share stories, even her own.