Every time I read a short engagement story, I'm reminded of why I'm such a big fan of saying "I do" sooner rather than later. Christine and Matthew's 7-month engagement story is no exception! Following a friendship-turned-courtship, they were engaged on March 11, 2017 and exchanged vows on October 15 of the same year. From attending pre-marital counseling to trusting vendors with the specifics of their day, read on for Christine and Matthew's top tips for navigating—and enjoying—a short engagement!
First things first: how did the two of you meet?
"Matt and I met at a church small group the summer of 2013. It was a brief encounter, and neither of us thought much of it. Fast forward to the summer of 2014 when Matt and I ran into one another at a Rangers game in Denver (we are both native Texans). I had actually posted a picture with my dad using the hashtag #texasforever, and when I looked at the other trending posts at the end of the night, I found Matt’s Instagram post of the game as well—also with #texasforever. We then mutually started to follow one another and keep in touch via social media! Jump to the spring of 2016 and we reconnected again, this time in Vail Village, over his pup. We started dating shortly after and haven’t been apart since."
What made you decide on a short engagement?
"We knew pretty quickly into dating that we wanted to be together forever, and we didn’t want to prolong it! Matt and I dated 'long distance' from Vail to Denver for a year before Matt got transferred following our engaged. Having grown up in Colorado, I always knew I wanted an autumn wedding (with October as my dream month), and so we figured that a spring engagement at our one-year mark would allow for us to have a short engagement and a beautiful fall wedding to look forward to!"
Read 6 more reasons for a short engagement right here.
What are some of the most difficult aspects of planning a wedding quickly? The benefits?
"During our engagement, we observed how truly time consuming wedding planning is. It’s all your family and friends ask and talk about, and while we were so grateful for that season, we truly could not wait for life to feel like life again! One of the biggest benefits of a short engagement was knowing that we got to start our lives as best friends together come October. It was a total blessing to have both families involved in the wedding planning process, but we could not wait to do life with one another in the same home where our conversations didn't just revolve around the wedding. Pre-marital counseling was SO good in this regard and helped us to shift the focus from the 'big day' to our marriage."
How did your parents respond when you shared that you would be planning your wedding in just 7 months?
"Both of our parents knew pretty early on that we were meant to be married, so they were absolutely thrilled when we got engaged. Matt involved both sets of families in the proposal (his parents drove out from Austin to Breckenridge for the engagement); our family’s approval and involvement in our relationship was super important to both of us."
Describe the moment you knew your spouse was "the one."
"About three months into dating, I left for camp with my high school students for a week. It was the first weekend Matthew and I had spent apart, and we weren't able to communicate during that time. As the camp was 'unplugged,' all Matt and I could do was pray for one another. Matt had a busy week at work, and I was serving at a special needs camp with my high school students. The time alone allowed us to reflect on our relationship. Each night I would head back to my cabin and look at the stars. I remember thinking how big and how good God was for bringing me Matthew. I had never felt that way about anyone before. At the end of the week, I received a care package from Matt with a long letter that he wrote about his feelings for me and our future. I had never felt so known or loved, and I knew I never wanted to be apart from Matthew from that moment on."
"I knew within the first month that Christine was exactly what I was looking for (but not 'the one' just yet). This feeling wasn’t the high of a new fling but rather a true connection that we both felt. She was and is someone that thinks about others' needs over herself, especially her partner. I’d never dated someone that was not a 'taker' before and Christine made me feel like I could do no wrong in her eyes. I knew she was the one when she began to show her spontaneous, adventurous side. I’ve always been the adventurous type and thought initially Christine may not have the 'wild' side I was looking for. This side of her was all I needed to see to know that she was the one, because she far exceeded every other expectation. This wild and adventurous side came to fruition on a number of occasions...the first time I skied with her because she could ski blacks and didn’t complain once all day. When I saw her have a few glasses of wine and let loose around me. When she played air guitar for hours to classic rock at her parents' cabin in Breckenridge—and I mean hours. When she asked me to go shoot shotguns at her favorite sporting clay club, which is every man’s dream. When we hiked our first fourteener together with my dog, Ranger. All of these events compounded into me seeing the side of her that I needed to see. I still am reminded she is the one when I see this adventurous and fun side of her. I know she will always have the faith, integrity, character, empathy, and friendship that I’ve desired, but it’s the adventurous side of her that really got me."
What's your best advice for other engaged couples who are planning a wedding on a short timeline?
"Make a list of a few things that are important to you, focus on that, and let everything else go! There were three things that I knew I wanted to be a part of our big day, so I focused on those things early on, and let everything else fall together. An example of this is how we worked with our florist. She’s a professional and knows what’s in bloom and what colors work well together, so I literally told her to do whatever she thought was best and entrusted that to her! The same can be said with other vendors—they’re the pros! Also, pre-marital counseling. It was so helpful (and fun!) to have a third party evaluate our relationship and give us tools for our marriage."
Learn more about what to expect from pre-marital counseling and download our free conversation guide here.