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celebrating OU seniors and Bartlesville and Tulsa families through photography.

Hey, y’all! 

I’m Melanie, the girl behind the lens at Melanie Foster Photography. Whether you’re getting ready for your upcoming OU senior or your Bartlesville or Tulsa family photography experience, I hope you’ll stay a while, pick up a few tips, and be inspired for your own MFP photo session! 

On Planning Your Wedding Before You’re Engaged…


The older I get, the more I realize that you really don’t know how you’re going to respond to things until you’re the one actually living it. As I watched my best friends get engaged and married over the last few years, my thoughts were forming about how I thought things would play out when it was my turn. The closer I got to that day, the more Jonathan and I were going about the process in the exact opposite way of what I anticipated! Hah!

Here’s what I imagined: I would date someone for a year before we got engaged or married. For sure see each other through all four seasons, the holidays, and be able to make a well-informed decision instead of an emotional one. I thought I would wait to plan anything for my wedding until I actually had my ring on my finger. I thought we would be traditional – we’d maybe talk about getting married briefly a couple of times, he would secretly ask my parents for permission without me knowing, and he would get all the intel about what I wanted for the ring and proposal from notes my friends have been keeping over the years for a massive surprise.

None of that happened (although, he did pull off the surprise!)

You can read more about our proposal, but first, I want to fill you in on how we got there. When the topic of getting married first came up between me and Jonathan, it was December, about a month-and-a-half in to our relationship. While managing long distance, we were seeing each other every weekend and spending hours on the phone each night. This particular weekend, we were in Dallas together for the first time, and Jonathan was meeting my family. I don’t tend to be shy, so I just straight up asked – you want to marry me, don’t you? I would say Jonathan doesn’t hide his feelings well, and I felt confident enough in what his answer would be to ask!! (Also do you know me? 🤪)

I don’t want to say things “spiraled” from there, because in reality, that’s not what happened. But because of my expectations of maintaining tradition, I did feel internally like things started moving significantly faster, and my insecurity about the way things played out (specifically with going against tradition) was apparent. After this conversation, things went like this:

  • The next day, we talked about my preferences- proposal, ring, and timing. I knew I wanted to get married between late spring and early fall, but other than that I was pretty clueless.
  • As the conversations continued, we narrowed down two timeframes – a fast track and a reasonable track. The more time we spent together over the holidays, the more we realized that the fast track was going to be our best option. While there would have been no harm in waiting until 2021 to get married, we live 2.5 hours away, both have dating experience, and felt that we were old enough and confident enough to move things along. The blessing of our friends and family also played a big role.
  • As the new year rolled around, I started worrying about the availability of my photographer. She was priority #1, and I told her I would plan my wedding around her availability. Once she agreed to take us on, we needed a date and a venue ASAP in order to officially book with her.
  • I booked venue tours across the Dallas, OKC, and Tulsa areas. Thankfully we only needed one tour before making a decision – I knew from the pictures, research, and talking to other brides who had gotten married there that this was it.
  • They only had 1 of our possible dates available, so that decision was made for us.
  • We looked at rings together a couple of times, because again, I was clueless. Then, I waited! Very impatiently, I might add 🙂


When I was single, It always frustrated me that people would say, “when you know, you know”. But it couldn’t be more true. Jonathan and I knew from the start that we could see our relationship leading to marriage, and once we knew for sure, we saw no need for dilly-dallying or waiting around. We shared a lot of intentional conversations before we were officially engaged about the important things – our theology, finances, parenting, family dynamics, etc. and found that we were on the same page about everything. Planning ahead of time, before we were engaged, wasn’t something I would have done without Jonathan’s full support of. Something he said early on in the process was crucial in my confidence of how things were playing out:

“These are big decisions to which you are subject to the consequences of, so why wouldn’t we talk through them and decide together?”

We were engaged on February 16, just about four and a half months after meeting. The more time we spend together, the more overwhelmed I am at the providence of the Lord. Aside from knowing Christ, Jonathan is the greatest blessing and the answer to so many prayers.

I don’t share this as a recommendation to anyone and everyone, but I do share it because planning our wedding before we were engaged was just the way it happened, and I fought it for so long feeling like we were doing something wrong. It ended up being a great decision – not only are the current circumstances of COVID-19 a confirmation of that, but we also got to cross off some of the biggest decisions early on, and are enjoying our engagement season with a few less decisions to be made!

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