Today I’m excited to tell you we are launching a weekly interview series called Marriage Mondays where we’ll be chatting with some of our favorite creative people about their own weddings and marriages (which are two very different things). My hope is that these questions and answers will open the door for honest conversation with our engaged readers who are in the overwhelming midst of wedding planning. Marriage begins after the wedding, and truly—that’s the best part. The wedding invitation is the first page of a new family’s story, and we’d like to invite you good folks to let your thoughts wander to those sweet chapters of life.
Our very first post comes to you from Erin Austen Abbott, wife of Sean Kirkpatrick, mama to Tom Otis, owner of Amelia, fellow Mississippi artist, and all-around darling of the creative movement happening in our state (which you may have read about in the New York Times). Her shop on the Oxford square holds so many lovely treasures, from pretty paper to fancy bath products, and as a new friend, I’m excited that she’s leading the way on our interview series. So, let’s get started!
Tell me about how you met and how you felt about each other that first day. What eventually happened that made you each believe you would get married some day?
Sean and I have a long story about how we met… I’ll give you the short version. I was sitting in a coffee shop in Oxford one day, and he walked in. I, without a doubt, knew the moment I saw him, he was who I was going to marry. We never spoke nor made eye contact. My heart just knew. I didn’t meet him until eight months later, in San Francisco. The first encounter was like slicing butter. You could feel the chemistry. We didn’t meet again for six months, this time in Los Angeles. After that night, we talked on the phone everyday, as we were apart the first four months. We knew we were going to marry because it was like nothing either of us had felt before. We were okay when we had to be apart. We could still follow our own creative path and the relationship was going to be fine. Independence within the relationship has always been so healthy for us.
Tell me the things that mattered most to you about your wedding day.
We wanted a very small wedding. One where we could be with all of our guests, talk to them, so we had a small church wedding and dinner of about 25 people, then ten days later, we threw a big party for our friends and family to attend.
Planning a wedding can be stressful. It’s expensive. Your feelings all become so elevated about the event, and before you realize it’s happened, your relationship and the actual marriage can get put on the back burner almost like a reward for getting through the enormous party. How can a wedding become less about planning a party and more about the new family that’s beginning?
Something that we thought about doing, after the fact of course, was to just elope then go on a long trip, traveling around to family and out-of-town friends, making introductions and meeting those near and dear to the other. It would have been a fun adventure and a great honeymoon. Planning a wedding is stressful and making sure you don’t hurt someone’s feelings is really hard to avoid. We thought the idea of travel would have really introduced us as a new family to all of our friends and family. And we could have sent out a really fun invitation suite to show everyone where we were traveling to.
How do you each envision your marriage 10 years from now?
Sean is a musician, so I hope that he’s where he wants to be in his career by then and myself in mine, with my writing and the shop. I see us continuing to support each other in our chosen creative fields, doing a lot of traveling together, with our son, Tom Otis. I want us to see the world. We don’t need stuff, just want to come home to a comfortable, loving home.
What advice would you give to a newlywed?
The first year is the hardest, so don’t feel like you made the wrong decision. Start a savings account and add to it yearly. The single most important thing in a marriage is to communicate. Always tell the other what’s going on, because letting it build up is never a good idea. You aren’t a mind reader and neither is your partner. Come at problems in an adult, calm way and you can avoid saying something you might regret. Also, have fun!!! Marriage is fun! You get to spend everyday with your best friend. It’s awesome.
Thank you so much, Erin! We’ll see you sweet readers here next week for another Marriage Monday interview!