Laura Leigh Bean
Illustration, Visual Branding + Design
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Thoughts on Destination Weddings

When I was 16, I was returning home from a week with my family in Mexico. I sat next to a man who was also returning from a trip to Mexico, and his trip just so happened to be his wedding. (In later years, I have wondered where exactly his wife was!)

He said, "Kid, let me give you some unsolicited advice. When you get married, do the destination thing! It's easier to plan and you'll spend more time with the ones you love." 

I was never the girl to dream of a big white wedding, but thinking about sand, sun and a huge vacation with everyone you know and love? Now that sounded like the kind of wedding I could dream of.

14 years later, I found the dream guy. In our time together, he has instilled in me an even deeper love of travel and adventure and going away seemed like a no-brainer. Despite never having seen Mexico, my trooper of a fiance happily signed up for "the destination wedding thing" as my just-married plane friend so eloquently put it, long ago. 

Jason's the planner in our relationship. At first, I admit that much of the appeal of going away for our wedding, for me, was tied to the lack of planning required. The way I look at it, we only get to be engaged for a year. I wanted to enjoy that year, and I've seen plenty-a-girl get overwhelmed by traditional wedding details. 

And the "easy" part has proven true. We've found that it's pretty much a do-as-much-as-you-want-to-do scenario when it comes to choosing extras like table linens (don't care), chair bows (really don't care) and florals (dahlias in the bouquets, please.) And interestingly, I've found that I do care, far more than I thought I could, about some of the details. Who knew how desperately I needed a violinist and globe lights? 

We visited the resort in June for my 30th birthday under the pretense of "just checking it out." Suddenly, this fuzzy, warm vision of fun in the sun with family, friends, and an ocean backdrop for vows became crystal clear. I was standing in the place where I'd marry my prince charming, and on our wedding, we'd get the best gift we could possibly ask for: time.

I blinked, and it was Labor Day Weekend and we were sitting on a patio on the Chicago river, soaking up what we knew would be one of the last warm weekend nights. I blinked again, and we're figuring out how to divide up time between families for the holidays. 

Yesterday, I got my hair colored and I had an existential moment realizing that I'd only get my hair colored ONE MORE TIME before I got married. #deepthoughts, ladies and gentlemen. 

To put it mildly, this time is flying by. And while I'm particularly sensitive to it with such a big moment coming up, marked by a big fat heart on the calendar,  I suspect that things won't exactly slow down after the wedding.

My mother has always told me that time accelerates with age. But seriously -- it's nuts, isn't it? How do I have to schedule monthly dates with my best friend to see her in real life, not just G-chat? How has it been 6 weeks since my parents were just here for dinner, and how is a dear friend's baby already 6 months old and I haven't even seen her yet? 

Time (and health, of course, which we are very blessed with) is our most precious commodity. And that's the part of this whole "destination wedding thing" that I had no idea was absolutely, definitely, the best part.  

We chose not to register for the wedding. We don't want a Kitchenaid (that's actually kind of a lie on one of our parts...) but we do want to push pause. To live for a few days, a week, in an alternate reality with an odd assortment of family and friends where everyone is together and the real world is hundreds of miles away. Oh yeah, and the mojitos are included. 

It feels like we've stumbled upon the equation to rectify the age/speed of time problem: get married + go on vacation + invite everyone you love = physics changed; time expands. (My scientist brother just sighed in dismay somewhere.) 

Lest you think that I'm delusional and that time will still speed by on our wedding day: I know this. (Both of those things, actually.) But I will still be forever grateful for every extra second and minute spent in the sun, in celebration, in the company of all of the people that have helped to lead us to each other. 

*If you've read this far, thanks! If you're wondering where this novella came from: I participated in a sort of writing workshop at work recently. It reminded me how much I love to write and I've been itching to do more of it. I also have a lot on my mind with this wedding business! It's emotional stuff. Then I realized, I have a neglected blog! And here we are.