Seems like I haven't updated in ages! So much going on, apologies to everyone.
In the hectic period of December 2004, when I had all the coursework deadlines, exam revision and things to do, I felt God was telling us that His plan was for us to get married in summer 2005. I was trying to push the thought out of my mind, thinking this was absolutely impossible. I was facing an even more hectic 2nd semester as my course workload was going to increase, plus I had a dissertation to write that summer. I was worrying about how to tell our family that we were planning to get married in the next year. I was worrying that there wasn't enough time to plan a successful wedding.
Eventually we had our Christmas break from uni. I remember that holiday clearly. In the middle of Christmas celebrations, revising for January exams and what not, I was worrying and worrying. Mr and I came back to London and started talking seriously about it. We put all our concerns and worries into prayers. In the end we decided to go ahead with it, that we will do as much as we could and then let God take control of the rest. We tentatively chose a date in July 2005 (I remembered we had jokingly mentioned the date as a possibility in the past, see here) and so we began the planning process.
First thing to do was to inform our families so that they could start making their own plans. On New Year's day in 2005, myself, Mr and my two sisters went to spend the day with his older brothers and their families. From there, we called my parents and told them of our plans. I was dreading the call because I expected my dad to hit the roof. Surprisingly, he didn't. He asked us a few questions. Some stuff about me having to finish my degree and make sure I pass my exams. I promised that the wedding won't affect my studies in any way. And then he said it was okay! (That's some faith). He said he and my mum would start putting things in place. That went well, I thought. Then we called Mr's parents. They sounded pleased too, and said they would start putting things in place at their own end. When we hung up, Mr and I looked at each other and said something like "so we are really going to do it this year!" and went to announce the happy news to the rest of the family. It was like "Hey everyone, we are getting married in July!" If anybody was worried or surprised, they didn't show it. Everyone started talking at once. His older brothers started asking Mr about plans to bring their parents over because we said we wanted the wedding to be in England. My sister-in-law started discussing about planning every detail, asking about my bridal train and offering to help. All the kids were jumping up and down and telling me they wanted to be my flowergirl or pageboy and were already asking what they would wear. My sisters started planning their summer holidays around the wedding as they were going to be bridesmaids, naturally. It was a bit surreal, I was in a daze, my mind was swirling with so many questions and ideas and it was just beginning to sink in that I was getting married soon. Mr on the other hand was already talking and then I realised, right Favoured Girl, snap out of it, there's so much to do and so little time. By the time we left his brother's house, I was already dreading how busy I was going to be over the next few months.
Over the next few days, we informed other members of our families, our pastors and our friends. I remember telling my good friend on the same course as me, and she sounded excited. But she expressed concern over how I was going to cope at uni with the added stress of planning a wedding. I must have sounded more confident than I felt, cos I told her I don't know, with God all things are possible (while agreeing with her and wondering what I had gotten myself into!).
Soon the holidays were over and I had to go back to Nottingham. Mr and I agreed that we would meet up once a month in London, aside from the marriage classes, so that we could deal with issues that we couldn't sort out over the phone, visit the necessary people, meet vendors, look at venues and so on. You can just imagine us trying to squeeze everything we had to do in 2 weeks into a single day everytime we met in London lol. After many calm (not!) conversations, we drew up a budget for the wedding and got the ball rolling.
I got back to Nottingham, resumed lectures and started revising for exams. Some of the lecturers were already talking about the summer dissertation. During one class, the lecturer was giving us advice on how to manage our time mroe effectively over the summer. He gave us this sage advice: "Don't be like one of my students last year who finished her exams in June, went home and got married over the summer, and then failed her dissertation because she didn't have enough time to research and write it properly". I could have laughed but I couldn't because I was in the same situation. My two friends in the class turned to look at me with funny looks on their faces. After the lecture, they teased me saying "Did you hear what the lecturer said? One student did what you are planning to do and she failed!" I knew at once that I was going to have to be much more organised with my work and with the wedding plans. And boy did I become organised. I made very good use of my diary, appointment book and the academic year planner on my wall. I made a time-able for everything I was doing every hour of the day. It meant I was constantly busy, because if I wasn't studying, then I was planning. If I got tired of studying, I would do some wedding planning. And if I got tired with all the planning, I would take a breather and go and study! I can definitely say that during those months between January and July 2005, I was never bored.
During those months, I also really learnt to trust God more. There were some things that could not have happened without God's divine help, but I'll talk about them in the next few posts.