Y’all, this summer will mark lucky number S-E-V-E-N years of marriage for Taylor and I, and I still get butterflies when I come across a good short engagement story! Hearing the unique ways the Lord works to bring two people together never ceases to amaze me. Saley contacted me through our website with the sweetest message a while ago, and as soon as I read a teaser of her story, I knew we had to share it on the blog.
I absolutely loved reading through Saley’s answers to our interview questions and learning more about the special, intimate details that she and her husband, John, implemented at their wedding, which was planned in just four months! It made me extra happy to hear that Saley referred to our site throughout the wedding planning process and found it encouraging as she worked to bring her own Christ-centered wedding to life. “I LOVED this website and its resources/checklist as I planned my wedding in 4 months. Even just knowing that I was in fact not the only person on earth getting married quickly, was such a little boost!!” she shared.
I’m still smiling :)
I know that you will enjoy learning more about Saley + John’s story and the personal touches that made their day so meaningful just as much as I did. My biggest takeaway: God's timing is perfect, and He truly cares about every detail of our lives. Without further ado, I'll let Saley take it away!
SALEY & JOHN HURLEY
Length of engagement: 4 months and one week!
Wedding date: August 9th, 2019
How did you meet? We met when I was 17 and John was 21. I hadn’t even graduated high school yet! We met on a construction mission trip in West Virginia, John was leading on the trip and I was attending. He waited until I turned 18 to tell me how he felt (church rules LOL) and we started dating about a month after I had turned 18. I told him “no” the first time he asked because it all felt too soon, I told him later that I had the strongest sense of knowing that he’d be the man I’d marry. At 18, that was terrifying to me! Funny enough, after I told him no I kept referring to myself as his girlfriend by accident. It was right after that slip up that he asked again and I said yes!
How long did you date before getting engaged? We dated for 5 years before getting engaged! I had to graduate high school, and then finished college right before we got married. We had known each other about 3 months when we began dating.
How did your family react when you announced your engagement? Our families were thrilled when we got engaged. They all screamed and celebrated and cried. It was so much fun and we were so surrounded with love. They did get a little spooked when we announced our timeline, but we stuck to what we knew was God’s plan for us and what we knew was best, and they eventually joined in.
Why did you decide to have a short engagement? We decided to have a short engagement because after 5 years, we knew we wanted to be married. I was graduating in the spring, we knew we preferred a summer wedding. As a teacher, I knew I couldn’t do a school year wedding. The alternative would be the next summer, and we didn’t want to wait that long! We did not live together until getting married so we knew sooner was better for us.
In hindsight, God’s hand was completely in the timing. My Grandma who I lived with for the last two years prior to getting married passed away in September. Because we got married when we did, she got to see us on our wedding day at the hospital. She picked out my dress with me and helped me make decisions. Sadly, we have another similar situation. John's father had a severe stroke in November, and spent a long time in a coma. He is coming back to his family every day now, but we feel so blessed that he got to be so present at our wedding. He was able to dance and walk down the aisle. We can’t imagine how different our wedding would have been if we’d waited.
What are the benefits of having a short engagement? The drawbacks? The benefit was that the excitement never stopped! People were thrilled when we got engaged, and then it just rolled from the engagement celebrations to the shower, to the bachelorette! It was such a joyous romantic time.
Another benefit is that we were able to finally be married and live together and start our lives! It kept us focusing on that the wedding was just one day, we didn’t worship our wedding plans for a year, we planned it and when it was over the important thing was left: our relationship.
A drawback is that it can be an inconvenience to your family or bridal party. If they are truly supportive this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but if it is I tried to jump in a lot with the planning and set up of our wedding shower. I knew I needed to be apart of it all due to the short time frame.
Another drawback is that with a short time frame comes a tighter budget. We did DIY on everything, and seriously thought outside the box! We asked for help in all sorts of ways.
Describe marriage in either a single word or short phrase: Choosing the other person every day.
Describe the moment you knew your spouse was "the one."
Saley: It was just an overwhelming feeling of calm, and just this feeling that we’d be together.
John: “Is it too cheesy to say that just like, the minute I got to know you, I just knew?” (Cue Saley melting.)
Most special memory during your engagement: We couldn’t decide!
Our wedding shower was really special and wonderful. Our beautiful Moms made it so vintage and glowing, it was very relaxed and fun. We felt so loved, and by opening up an entire household—our soon-to-be married life just felt so tangible!
Another fun very mundane memory was the night that we and both of our Moms sealed and stamped all our envelopes. We had them completely pre-addressed from Shutterfly (huge time saver) and created a very fun assembly line to mail them off!
Favorite detail of your wedding: My favorite detail was our foot washing ceremony. It was so peaceful, meaningful, and intimate. It slowed us down. It reminded us of the meaning of the day.
I loved how much of our wedding was homemade & handmade by my husband: the doors I came through, and our wedding arch.
John says he really enjoyed seeing every one of our friends and family there with us and celebrating.
John also says he loved having so much fun at the reception, dancing and partying! We had a close friend DJ for us off a Spotify playlist, he had a great personality and voice, and he really kept the party going. It saved us so much money and he was amazing! Think outside the box.
Did anything go wrong on the day of? Nothing really went wrong, but we did change our timeline the week of the wedding. My Grandma was unable to be at the wedding, so we left our ceremony and instead of taking portraits, we visited her at the hospital. It was so worth it, and our amazing photographer captured all our portraits later during golden hour.
Did you go on a honeymoon, and if so, was it difficult to book on such short notice? Yes! We honeymooned in Hawaii. It was an incredible gift from my grandparents, they booked us the same house that they stayed at 15 years prior. It was a little high stress to arrange it all but when it was all said and done, not that tough to do. Doing something closer would also help making it easier to book, even with a short engagement I totally think every couple should honeymoon. It was the most magical experience of my life!
If you could plan your wedding all over again, what (if anything) would you change? We have said over and over again that no matter how much time we could have had to plan, there’s not a thing we could think to change. It was the wedding of our dreams!
What's your best advice for other engaged couples? (Particularly other couples planning a wedding on a short timeline.) Our advice is to stay true to what you want! If God has placed it into your hearts to have a short engagement, then embrace it. Don’t worry about what anyone may be thinking or wondering. Keep the joy and focus more on the fact that your wedding is just one day, prepare for marriage more than the wedding. Meet with your pastors or pre-marital counseling, and that will be just as valuable as any time you spend planning. Most of all, enjoy every magical special moment. Soak them in and be present. Treasure up these things in your heart and remember them.
John says: It is totally do-able, just think outside the box. You may have to make compromises, but it can still be beautiful and all that you want.
Logistics wise: Keep a master to do list and pace yourself with it! Delegate from it, if you can. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!
Photography: Rebecca Gleason Photography
Flowers: Viviano Flower Shop
My Dress: Beckers Bridal Outlet
Johns Suit: Men's Warehouse
Food: El Charro! Yum!
Ceremony: Faith Troy (Outside Field)
Reception Venue: The Big Red Barn