I am married! I wasn’t sure if I would get here but I did. Before we jump to the wedding stuff, I’d like to share a mindset shift to all the single ladies who send me DMs on Instagram, feeling despair or pressure to find the one, get married and have babies just like what society primes us to do. DON’T BE PRESSURED. This post might even work for the newly broken hearted.
I was honestly doubtful if I would meet the right one. Even if I thought I had most of the attractive qualities a good man would want in a wife, it just wasn’t happening for me then. The universe had something else, something better planned! When I started to believe that, that’s when my energy about being single changed. It made me happy to be single and available for the right one to come along. I was saving space in my life and not wasting it on a frog who did not deserve me anyway. The right one can’t come in if you’re wasting your time on someone who isn’t right for you.
At one point, while I was single at 32, I was able to “let go” of any pressure to date. How? Being an independent woman, I channeled my single freedom into living my best life exactly the way I wanted. I focused all my energy on myself and the things that made me happy. I spent my time working out, eating well and sleeping well so I can be in the best shape. I went on road trips with my dog, traveled to different countries alone and with friends, went on many beach trips, worked super hard, hosted lots of dinners at home and enjoyed the company of my friends. I did a lot of things I did not tell anyone about because I didn’t have to! I reported to no one but myself. Throughout this, I became whole. I have such fond memories of my single life well-lived.
I read a lot of self-help books and journaled everyday. Journaling is the key here because it gives you an outlet to be honest with yourself and discover what your core truths and beliefs are. When you read what you wrote, it reinforces who you really are. You become self aware. When you are self aware, you always work on self improvement. When you are your best self and ripe for the picking, the right one will come when you least expect it. Timing is everything.
Being single in your late 20s and 30s can be empowering if you let it empower you. You’ve supposedly got some of your shit together, you’re making a little more money to do what you want, and you’re old enough to live your life the way you want with some life lessons under your belt to help you power through. Also, every time someone breaks your heart or you’re going through a tough break up, be grateful because you are receiving genuine life lessons that will make you a better person and help you get to where you need to be. Loads of wisdom comes each heart ache – if you work to not make the same mistakes again.
Now that I am married, I’m glad I did all of that. Because when you’re in a committed relationship, everything changes. You no longer have to freedom to just think about yourself. With (mostly) everything you do, you have to consider someone else’s feelings. Your time and precious resources go to this person.
So while you are still single, please be happy and do YOU! Grab a journal and use these prompts for some self discovery. Here is a formula to nourish your soul, become whole and be happy single:
- Spend lots of time with your favorite people. Do different actives with them. Maybe even get a dog if you are committed to training it and picking up poo for 15 years. Your dog will be your best bud and someone you can spend your love on while you’re single. It was easy for me to be happy alone in my own world because I never really felt alone with a dog. There was always someone waiting for me to come home.
- Travel! It does not have to be fancy. But take a trip alone then another trip with friends. Marvel at the world outside of your comfort zone and go on little adventures. Take your dog with you.
- Find happiness in spending time with yourself. Do small things you like and enjoy your own company. Like doing your nails for 3 hours while watching a chick flick. Or tinkering with your car if you’re a dude. Do things by yourself.
- Get in shape! Not for meeting the right one, but for feeling like your healthiest and fittest self! Maintaining your physical and emotional wellness is another key to being happy single.
- Emotional wellness. If you need to unpack some baggage, I encourage speaking with a counselor or psychotherapist. Your friends are there to listen but a psychotherapist will give you the tools to process trauma and understand yourself better. That and MEDITATION. Yes, meditate and live a mindful lifestyle. Everyone loves a calm and sincere person. Living mindfully in every aspect of your life gives every little thing a sense of intention. By contrast, being mindless is like sleepwalking or going on auto-pilot throughout life. This is not very attractive and probably is not healthy for you. Live wide awake and be present.
- Learn how to cook and bake. Everyone loves being cooked for and receiving homemade baked goods! It’s incredibly therapeutic to work with your hands and create something to be enjoyed by others.
- Delete, block, unfollow any exes or toxic “friends” who suck up your precious energy even from a far. Make space in your life for the right people to come in.
- Check in with your finances and find a side hustle if you need one. Get busy working on your career and save some money! When the right one comes along, if you want to marry him/her, it will only happen if you’re both financially stable. But while you’re single, enjoy spending mindfully on your self improvement. Buying ONE cute dress is self improvement.
- Go out on dates. Meet as many people as you can and have real conversations. Learn more about the opposite sex and discover what you really like in a human being. Invest time in the ones with potential to see if they are a prince or not BUT be aware of RED FLAGS early on. Avoid committing to any frogs you’ve kissed, especially if there are red flags. If there are, then goodbye!
- This is probably the most important thing on this list. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Manifest your ideal life partner by writing in your journal EXACTLY what you want in a relationship, what you deserve and the kind of person you’re physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially attracted to. I’ve always believed in the law of attraction and it has worked for me many times. Writing down what you want in a partner is like sending it out to the universe and manifesting it to come to life. Even with finding “the one.” I was specific even down to the height, race and all the lovely qualities I expect in a life partner.
So while I was having too much fun as a single independent 30 something in 2018, I met Ralph. Within a few hours of meeting, we knew that we wanted to be together.
Another question single people love to ask (I also asked my married friends this) – so how do you know if he/she is the one?
Answer: Apart from the attraction, there is a calm sense of overall security. Boundaries are respected. There is mutual admiration and loyalty. Without a doubt in your mind, you are sure you want to be with them and that they feel exactly the same too. No one in your inner circle objects. All your family members and best friends feel that this person is right for you too. You make plans for the future and both are equally taking steps to be together. You follow through and show up for each other, especially when times are tough. If you’re in a relationship that does not fulfill the above, have the strength to get out. Make space.
Now, let go and let the universe work its magic. Be the happiest single person you can possibly be.
Back to me.
March 8, 2020, I land in Sydney for a vacation. The pandemic is declared. The borders close. Ralph proposes. We get married. And I choose to stay in Australia to be with him. I haven’t been back to the Philippines since! My life changed completely. I sold 95% of what I owned and started over.
So, what I really want to talk about is planning a minimalist wedding. A lot of women seem to be interested in this concept these days so I want to share my thought process about this. Big weddings are beautiful and quite the spectacle. But getting married in 2020 meant it was impossible to plan a wedding. We decided to focus on life and save the big party for when we have a permanent residence to call our own and this whole mess of a pandemic has fully blown over.
If you’re in a similar boat, or if you’re just a simple and low-key person, it is just as special and magical to have a simple wedding ceremony. What matters is your genuine intentions for entering the partnership and how you follow through after you say I do.
We wanted a stress-free day and did not want to spend too much money unnecessarily. Because no one from our close family or friends could fly in, it did not make sense to plan anything but a simple ceremony. Nevertheless, many couples drown in stress from planning big weddings. They also cost a lot of money. This did not feel like something we ever wanted anyway. A party, yes! An entourage, a gown, traditional wedding program, no.
So if you’re thinking of being practical for your big day, here are some of the things we considered and did for our living room wedding, pandemic or not…
Because our engagement was not a surprise, but rather, a result of many deep conversations about our future together, Ralph proposed without a ring. I had the privilege of choosing my rings – which were not ready by the wedding day and it was totally ok. So for our ceremony, we used our Oura rings that Ralph gave me in March 2020. He is always concerned about our health and well-being, and he knows I am obsessed with getting good sleep.
Side bar: The Oura ring has played a huge part in our wellness. We love tracking our sleep and recovery from physical activity on the app. It tells us when we’re not getting enough rest and helps us to understand our patterns so that we can make adjustments to optimize our lives. Sleep, for me, is at the top of the health triad along with food and exercise. I highly recommend getting an Oura ring through this link if you like to stay on top of your performance. By far, it has been one of the best gifts I have ever received because I wear it everyday and it has significantly improved my overall well-being. I also wrote about how the Oura ring helped me track ovulation and the early stages of my pregnancy by monitoring by body temperature.*As an affiliate contributor for Oura, I may receive incentives through purchases made through the Oura links in this post.
I’m a little shy to share a close up photo of what my ring looks because it’s so personal, but I’m trying to see it as art – a collaboration between me and the ring designer.
I did not want to rush the process as it’s the most important piece of jewelry I’ll ever own. I did research and tried to figure out what made sense for me. Webpages like this were very helpful in understanding cut, carat, clarity and color. I made sure the stone size was modest enough for my little ring finger. I went for clarity and color over stone size. Cleaner and whiter was better for our taste. I know some couples like big stones but it did not feel right for me. A smaller stone, to me, made the ring more wearable (and affordable.) Ralph gave a budget and I’m proud to say that I spent 30% less. I was very conscious of keeping the price down. A dream fiancé!
Next, I wanted a ring design with a low setting, something less prone to snagging on clothes so I picked a basket setting. I also considered how the engagement ring would stack on top of the wedding ring. I wanted them to flush together, meaning the wedding ring would have to sit tucked under the main engagement stone. The two rings would blend as one.
Lastly, what would the ring look like? Dainty nature-inspired is what caught my heart. I preferred a round main stone with an interesting cluster of little stones that flowed organically.
The process was very enjoyable. I got to flex my creativity in other ways and study ring design while creating something that will last forever. It was also nice to share the experience with Ralph, instead of him going through it alone.
We love our home. We’re super comfortable at home. It is our sanctuary that I have kept clean, organized and decorated minimally. I don’t like wearing heels and since we had our wedding at home, I could go barefoot! Also… it’s free! We didn’t have to pay for a venue. Our living room has floor to ceiling windows and tons of natural light. It made the perfect backdrop along with our natural décor of flowers and plants.
Don’t have the same living room? Just pick any part of your home and clean it up. Maybe you have a garden? If not, one of your close friends or relatives might have a space they can lend you for a few hours.
Flowers (and plants)
I love arranging flowers. This is something I don’t get to do as often because it can be pricey. I saw our wedding as an opportunity to buy as many flowers as I want! My good friend Mari came with a bouquet too and helped me decorate the living room. I just realized I forgot to prepare a bouquet to hold. But if I had one, I probably would have held a big cauliflower or broccoli head just for fun.
I also have a lot of plants already. Plants make me happy. If we didn’t do it in the living room, we would have done it in a park or botanical garden. If you want to get married at home, I suggest buying a lot of plants! They will last so much longer than flowers (obviously) and they look beautiful in pictures.
I made it a mission to find a dress that I would use over and over to all sorts of events. I kept an eye out for dresses that were not white. I can’t wear white to other people’s weddings. I online window shopped for a few months until I settled on 2 dresses from SIR the label. I got super lucky because both dresses I fell in love with were on sale! I spent under my budget for both dresses that I absolutely adore and will wear forever. My power colors are also olive green and off-white-nude/beige/cream. I feel really good in those colors.
Ralph loves cookies so I asked Miko Aspiras, an award winning Filipino pastry chef and friend, to bake some chocolate chip cookies for us. We served that with coffee and tea for our brunch time ceremony. After that, we had a nice seafood lunch at a restaurant close to where we live. No stress of clean up at home! But if restaurants were closed during that time, I probably would have ordered big platters to serve at home.
I have no proposal photos or videos, no prenup video, no same day edit, just some nice photos and a video recording of our wedding on my phone and Mari’s camera. The simplicity of our wedding did not take away from the magic. Choosing to focus our energy on our life instead of one wedding day was best for us.
One day we will have the party will all our friends and family with some offspring running around. But before allocating our savings for a party, there are some things we’d like to achieve first.
I hope you enjoyed reading this little happy ending or rather, happy beginning to my new life as a wife. If you’re single, I hope you are able to live your life the way you want and be happy. If you’re about to propose or get engaged, I hope this article is a little helpful in navigating how to keep things simple. Life is complicated enough, right?