Dress? Check. Church? Check. Reception hall? Check.
Brides and grooms have a lot to check off their lists before their wedding day, but their to-dos don't always have to do with the wedding itself. For some, it's personal dreams that have to be achieved before starting the next chapter.
Charlotte Allen of Michigan City plans to wed in September, but has some other plans in the meantime. "Before getting married I wanted to graduate college with my bachelor's degree in English literature and determine my military career," she says. "It was important to me, because it was the foundation to my future both as a successful adult and as a partner to my future husband. I will have completed both of my goals before we get married."
She says her fiancé, Daniel Krause, was supportive of her goals and helped at every step. They became engaged in May 2011 and Allen continues to work on her degree. Their formal engagement party will take place during her commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army and her college graduation.
"I would advise brides to set themselves up for success in the future both individually and as a partner to their husbands by completing their lifelong goals. After completing your dreams you are motivated and dedicated to starting a dream with your husband. Otherwise, you punish people you love with regret for not completing your dreams."
Raquel Perez of Highland also had educational goals she needed to achieve before tying the knot with Juan Torres on November 11, 2011.
She wanted to complete her bachelor's degree in organizational communication with a double minor in hospitality and human resources. She did just that in May 2011 at Purdue University Calumet. "I thought it was something to have for myself before I moved into a fully committed relationship with someone else," she says.
Her fiancé, Juan Torres of Highland, supported her along the way and worked hard so she could focus on school, she says. Torres worked full-time and also went to Purdue Calumet full-time while Perez worked part-time and studied full-time.
The groom's education also provided inspiration for his pre-wedding bucket list. Torres, who is working toward a degree in international studies focusing on Spanish translation, says his goal was to study abroad. "It's actually part of my degree in my major, so I wanted to get that out of the way before the wedding," he says. In June 2010, he studied for a month in Spain. "I just felt like it was a way of doing something big for myself."
Torres says grooms should definitely take one last adventure. In his case, he says it strengthened his relationship because he and his fiancée had to learn to deal with a long distance relationship, living in totally different time zones.
Their dedication to their goals has paid off. After Perez graduated, she began her first full-time career as special events manager at the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.
She says brides and grooms should definitely do something for themselves and focus on goals. "Be situated on your own," she says, before taking the next big step.