Being in college can be both the best and most stressful time in your life. Juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activities and job applications can become overwhelming and leave students feeling as if there is no time left over for anything else, including serious relationships.
However, for some student couples like Eddie and Sidney Vadbunker who wed June 21, marrying in college was the next logical step in their relationship and waiting was out of the question.
“Eddie and I met freshman year of college and the way we thought about it was that we are living in two different places, paying two different rents, buying two different gallons of milk; whereas, we could just be paying for it together,” Sidney said. “It just made more sense to us financially.”
The couple, both seniors studying engineering, said being married also allows them a chance to look for job opportunities together versus struggling to end up in the same location.
Stacey Ignowski, ’14 alumna, and Kevin Ignowski, senior in construction science and management, agreed with the Vadbunkers and said being married young serves the benefit of making life decisions together.
“We had dated for four years, and we didn’t feel like we had rushed anything,” Stacey said. “I was going to find out in March whether or not I got into medical school and if I got in then I would start in July, and I didn’t want to ever have to plan a wedding while going through medical school.”
The Ignowskis, who got married June 6, said they knew getting married while still in college would better allow them to move together, and grow as a unit rather than as individuals.
Valerie Meyer, senior in graphic design, and Keithen Meyer, senior in civil engineering, wed May 31, 2014. They too said they felt that marriage brought them closer as they began to make important post-graduation decisions.
“Being married young, we get to grow so much,” Valerie said.” We aren’t completely set in our ways yet and, in a way, this gives us a chance to learn and decide things together.”
When reflecting back on the processes of their marriages, the couples all admitted that balancing school and the wedding planning process was difficult. Sidney said one of the biggest challenges for her was planning a wedding that would be located in Newton, Kansas while in Manhattan.
“I called my mom a lot, probably at least four times a week,” Sidney said. “It was hard for me to be away from it all.”
Sidney, much like the other brides, used a timeline to stay on track. Valerie, however, utilized her time during her holiday breaks to piece together the wedding details. She crafted during break to help save costs for their wedding decorations. Sidney had her family prepared the food for her wedding to help save funds for other means.
The Ignowskis also had to prioritize the things they valued the most, such as the guest list, as they prepared for their wedding. The couples all advised students who are considering marriage to have lots of conversations about values, morals and expectations.
“Make sure you have good communication and talk about what you expect as far as the wedding goes,” Stacey said. “That will make the wedding planning process easier.”
When looking back at the overall event of their weddings, all of the couples said they were pleased with the end result of the events.
“Nothing ever goes as planned on a wedding day,” Stacey said. “At one point my veil was ripped off of my head because it got caught to the rug, and right after our wedding it started to rain. Looking back at it though, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Eddie said he wishes he would have better known just how much work actually went into a wedding before beginning the process.
“I would say from a guy’s experience, I wish I would have anticipated how much work we were going to do,” Eddie said.
In the grander scheme, all three couples said they felt happy with their weddings, and even more so with their decisions to get married while still in school.
“I think that it is important that you remember why you are doing this,” Stacey said. “It’s not about the wedding day, but the relationship and the marriage.”
The Ignowskis, the Vadbunkers and the Meyers all left their wedding nights feeling satisfied and fulfilled, despite any minor details. As students ponder their relationships and begin planning weddings of their own, the couples said they hope that they will keep in mind the true reason behind their intentions: love.
“Now I get to be with my best friend all of the time,” Eddie said.