As if being a student isn’t challenging enough, try being a student and either being married or engaged. From planning every detail of your big day to making sure you finish your homework before the due date, when your love life and scholastic life collide, it can bring about some challenging times. With so much going on in our lives, not many of us favor the idea of taking on more responsibility. There are, however, many people who decide to make a commitment during this time—marriage. DIG caught up with two couples that say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Recently engaged education major, Sierra Bunch says although she’s a young student, she doesn’t have too many worries about tying the knot.
“I don’t really have many fears [about] tying the knot, mostly only excitement and joy!” she says.
Bunch says her relationship with her now-fiancé begin shortly after she graduated high school.
“The summer after I graduated high school, I went to a summer Christian conference in Colorado, and there, I met a new friend Meredith Miller,” Bunch says. “We became really close. She was from North Carolina. After our time at the conference, I came home, and about a week later I received a Facebook message from her brother, Andrew.
“We’re both photographers. His sister told him about my work, and he checked it out and thought they were really good and complimented me on them. From there, we began to write letters back and forth for a whole year.”
Bunch says her relationship began very untraditional.
“We exchanged a few phone calls as well, but not too many. We actually have never seen each other during that time period,” she says.
However, Bunch says in due time she and her fiancé were able to spend an entire summer together after both receiving summer jobs in Colorado.
Along with the challenges of being in a long distance relationship, Bunch shares some of the challenges of planning a wedding while being a dedicated student.
“…being a student and trying to plan a wedding can bring difficulties because many times while in class with my computer open, I am tempted to continue Googling and search for anything I might need,” she says. “But when realizing all this, I realized that it is actually good, because it reminds me not to let wedding planning become a ‘black hole’.”
Bunch says her demanding school and work schedules can sometimes make setting aside time for wedding planning difficult, but she makes sure to keep school her number one priority.
And there’s no denying that the idea of getting married young is a heavily debated subject, but Bunch thinks this is the right time for her to get married.
“Some people have said ‘You’re to young to be married,’ but I usually respond, ‘Why?’ because I know that is just their opinion. I respond with ‘I believe we are not too young, because this simply is God’s timing for Andrew and me. He has provided for us financially to begin a life together, and more important, He has prepared our hearts and our minds to where Andrew and I are ready and thrilled to make a promise to each other for the rest of our lives.’”
Bunch says the big day is set for Nov. 26, and while the transition is new for her, she’s enjoying every second of her engagement.
Like Bunch, Ben and Christina Landry know all about the struggles of being a student and planning the biggest day of their lives. This local couple shared some of the same experiences as Bunch.
During their engagement, Christina was studying animal and dairy science. Her time in college was split in half, the first part at LSU and the second at Mississippi State University, where she graduated at in December 2014.
“I proposed to her on June 23, 2014 at Fort Walton Beach,” Ben says. “It was last minute. I saw another couple going into the elevator at the same time as us, so when Christina hurried back to the room to take her jewelry off, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get them to film it.”
“I didn’t want to get my jewelry full of sand looking for seashells,” Christina says. “Little did I know.’
Despite this surprise proposal, both of them mentioned marriage over the years.
“It had come up in conversation a good bit over the eight years we were together,” Ben says.
“We always knew it’s what we wanted, but I needed to wait until I finished my undergraduate degree,” Christina added.
While they did talk about the idea a lot over the years, Christina and Ben said when it came down to it, being students and young brought a lot of stress.
“Going to school five hours away and planning a wedding at the same time was tough,” Christina said.
“It was really tough at first with her away in Starkville for six months of our engagement,” Ben said. “We didn’t get to share some of the planning memories that other couples might have shared.”
With work, school, and a relationship to keep up, they both said it was extremely important during this crazy time to talk about what they wanted from the engagement the wedding.
“I actually had my best semester yet. Thanks to Skype we stayed in touch more than we had in the last 2 years apart,” Christina said.
“Hectic is our normal” she later joked, “So we made it work.”
While things were difficult at times, Ben said everything paid off at the engagement party.
“I just crossed my fingers until it came around,” he said. “And it ended up being an absolute blast. Everyone was slow to leave because they were all having such a good time.”
Ben and Christina offered some words of advice to couples in the same situation:
“Remind yourself everyday that you are in this together. This is your first test in a lifetime of compromise and communication,” Ben says.
“It rained on our wedding day,” Christina says, “and the secondary location in the courtyard ended up being even more beautiful. Nothing will ever go exactly as planned. Your best bet is to just roll with it.”
Kinesiology major Bryce Tramonte Trahan shares some of the same experiences as Bunch and Landry, and says there are definitely some challenges being a young married couple.
Trahan was married on November 21, 2015.
“One of the biggest challenges is getting people who don’t know us to take us seriously,” she says. “They see we’re young and assume we’re unintelligent or don’t have our finances in order.”
She explains some of her biggest challenges were planning a wedding and being a student.
“My husband is a professional baseball player and spends a lot of time on the road playing in the Arizona Diamondback minor league system, so that adds extra challenges in itself,” Trahan says. “Since I had a fall wedding, the hardest part came down to finishing all the last minute details and meeting with the vendors for last minute decision all while trying to pass finals! Thankfully I had help from my mom and a wedding planner so when school was taking over my life, they were able to take over the wedding load.”
Trahan says married life is a bit different from just dating. However, the biggest difference that she has noticed so far is finances.
“I’ve always traveled with him during the summer (for baseball) and he lives with me during the off-season, so there were no changes there,” she says. “The biggest and basically only difference is the fact that we now have a joint bank account and we put ourselves on a budget.”
Marriage didn’t have much of an effect on Trahan’s friendships.
“I came to college already in this relationship so the people I became friends with, he also became friends with. Like I mentioned before, he lives with me during the off-season, which means he lives with my roommates too. They love the extra protection he provides, and his ability to take out the trash [laughs].”
While many may say their lives are too stressful as is, these couples all agree that even with it’s challenges – married life is better than ever for them!
Photo courtesy of Bryce and Stryker Trahan. Photo by Mark Eric.