Let me tell you a long love story. Not that the story itself is long, but the amount of time it took to get to the wedding part, now that was a long time.

The year was 2012; the place was Buena Vista University; the class was Japanese History. Minding my own business and all of the sudden there was this guy three chairs over making fun of my sweats and hair in a mess. Little did he know or seem to care, but I got home from a basketball game at 2:30 am and class was at 8. He should have congratulated me for even being there. That guy was #along Tyler. After a year and a half #along Tyler finally had the guts to ask me to be his girlfriend, and by guts I mean he asked me by writing it on my car window with chalk paint. Romantic right?

Fast forward to January of 2016 and I am sending #along Tyler off to the Caribbean island of Grenada for Medical School—long distance is an understatement. If you think that would be hard to get through, let me tell you, you are right and you cannot even imagine! Finally on my 4th trip to the island, #along Tyler popped the big question!

Most people then start planning and get married within the year (or close to it), well folks, #along Tyler and I are not your normal couple. After the schooling part the rotations start, and where was the luck of the draw for those? Miami, Florida, of course! Let the long distance relationship continue. #along Tyler decided that we should wait until after he was done with rotations to get married. But we did finally set a date, June 20, 2020. Let the planning begin!

Planning started with the hunt for a dress. Is trying on nearly 100 dresses too many? Asking for a friend. I did a lot of the decor items myself, shopping at Hobby Lobby when they have a sale on florals; shopping Facebook Marketplace for items that have been used that I could re-purpose, and shopping at Grandma Haage's house because all of the good "old" stuff is there. What? All grandmas don't have that amazing stash of goodies? With my country rustic style and #along Tyler wanting nothing to do with that, I had to walk a fine line between natural tones and a rustic decor because putting boots on the table was a big "no-no" from the Fiance. Who knew the man gets a say in decoration? I didn't think so, I guess I was wrong. Don't write that down, I am not wrong often, right #along Tyler?

Finally 2020 arrived. #along Tyler moved back to Spirit Lake with me in February. Hello gut punch of COVID-19 in March. There were many sleepless nights and tossing around the numerous different ideas of how to move forward with the wedding that I had been planning for almost 2 years. Do we postpone? Do we cut the number of guests? What do we do? This was supposed to be the happiest of years and a global pandemic made sure to test that.

All new items to consider when planning a wedding during a global pandemic. How do you set up a reception venue so that the tables seat 10 or less and are 6 feet apart? Make sure you put a note on your invitations letting guests know if they don't feel comfortable attending due to the virus that you understand. Make sure you have hand sanitizer handy and placed throughout the venue. Have servers lined up to help with the food line so guests do not have to touch the handles of the spoons you have in the pasta sauce. Stay in constant contact with your caterer to see if they even will be able to make the food under the guidance of rules and regulations that are constantly changing from the Governor. Contact the hotel to see if they are even going to be open. Have back up people to fill positions in case there are out-of-town guests originally planned for certain jobs, who are now not traveling due to the virus. (Thanks #along Fran, you sang beautifully, even with the late notice.) Did you know you have to think of all of those things? My list, which was already a mile long, just doubled with all of these things to consider.

After fretting for so long about this, I am so glad that we decided to go through with the wedding. The Friday before the wedding, the restrictions on serving lines were lifted, and our venue was large enough we were nowhere near the 50% capacity limit. Everything went off without a hitch! Now to continue practicing writing R-O-S-E-N-G-R-E-N as I sign my name.

My number one recommendation is to find yourself the best support system. We had a ton of family and friends in our corner, willing to help out with anything and everything to help us make sure this day was a special as could be. To all the Brides out there, you won't remember the specifics, but you will remember the love you felt, and that is the best feeling of all. The cake says it all, FINALLY MR. & MRS. Rosengren!