marriage

#wedwellbrides: Willa from @viathevan

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 11.05.39 AM.png

I'm sure you've already heard all about vanlife through the popularity it's gained on instagram and the intriguing New Yorker article, but have you ever been curious of how couples actually do it? I mean, what is it really like living together in that tiny space? I (Lilia) and am all for the trend and Olivia is not so sure!

We got to chat with Willa, one half of the instagram @viathevan where she and her husband moved into vanlife one year after getting married. Read below for all things marriage and #vanlife related...who knows, maybe you'll be inspired and try van life out for yourself! xx

What was the hardest part of planning your wedding?

Knowing whether we were making the very best decision. You don’t think you’ll be the couple that frets over whether your dinner napkins should be ivory or off-white but once things really start to come together, you don’t want anything to be out of place. People are always saying that guests won’t notice those little missteps but truthfully, it’s not about what your friends and family do or don’t notice, it’s about knowing you and your partner created something magical, something as close to whatever you deem ‘perfect’ as humanly possible.

What was it like doing vanlife after getting married? 

It was like getting thrown into the marital gauntlet. We were married for exactly one year before moving into the van- our first night in the van was the day after our anniversary- and while we had spent a lot of time together over the course of our first seven years, van life was something new entirely. Luke and I share the same moral compass, spiritual beliefs and life goals but as far as the day-to-day, we’re opposites. We quickly found that in order to live happily together in such a tiny space, we had to make sure we weren’t compromising on our desires. We would often take turns picking the day’s activity or would take quick jaunts on our own. In the end, we fought a lot (typical) but became better communicators and learned what each of us needs to be our best partner selves.

What was the best part of being engaged?

Telling our engagement story! Luke was so proud of the ring he snagged me and the location of our proposal that both of us just lit up when someone asked about how it happened. Montana has become our favorite state as a couple and jump at any opportunity to return.

What shifted for you since getting married?

Honestly not too much. I think the first year we were both just so high on life. All we wanted to do was scurry home and snuggle. We were living in the same apartment as we always had been but now it felt even more like home- there was a family inside that had so much potential for growth and change. Not that it wasn’t there before but we’d talked about getting married since year 1 so it was wild to realize that big life checkbox had been accomplished.

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 11.05.55 AM.png

What would you tell other brides-to-be right now?

Ooph, such a tricky question! You start to get advice from so many angles that sometimes your eyes begin to glaze over #guilty. If I could travel back in time and tell my earlier planning self one tip it would be this, listen to your little gut, don’t settle, find exactly what you’re looking for because it’s out there and you’ll be so so incredibly happy that you did. I spent every one of the 365 days of planning looking for very specific pieces; flatware, florals, garlands, runners etc and the entire time I kept asking myself if it was going to be worth it. For me the answer was yes. All the time I dedicated to eBay that I will never get back made sitting next to my husband, smiling at not only all of our friends and family but out at the party I put together, that much greater! So maybe more universal, find out that thing that’s really really important to you and don’t give up on making it a reality. You got this.

What was the biggest surprise you had while planning your wedding?

How many people accepted our invitation! You go into your numbers with the assumption anywhere between 15-30% will decline but I think we had just a handful of people who weren’t able to make it. Our venue was sent down from wedding gods and didn’t have a cap so it was definitely the more the merrier!

How have your perceptions on marriage shifted since being married?

Will Smith was quoted recently talking about marriage in a way we don’t often hear but we feel is an important part of finding your life partner,  “[Jada’s] happiness was her responsibility and my happiness was my responsibility and we decided that we were going to find our individual internal, private joy and then we were going to present ourselves to the relationship and to each other, already happy. Not coming to each other, begging with our empty cups demanding that she fill my cup and demanding that she meet my needs. It’s unfair and it’s kind of unrealistic and can be destructive to place the responsibility for your happiness on anybody other than yourself.” We dig that. Less pressure on your partner to complete you but rather to accompany you down life’s path. We’re two different people who decided to link up, and essentially come to all future decisions as a unit- something inherently difficult to accomplish. We’re going into our third year knowing that everyday we choose one another and this life we’ve created.

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 11.04.59 AM.png

wedwell believes: Our Social Mission

wedwell believes: Our Social Mission

V2.jpeg

Our entire mission with wedwell is to create social impact through female empowerment.

wedwell empowers women to have more control, independence, and well-being in their relationships by creating this platform to share, engage in discussion, and offer services to help emotional well-being. Aside from our services and offerings being engrained with our mission, we also have a financial contribution of 10% of our profits going to a non-profit to end child marriage.

Every seven seconds, a girl under age 15 around the world is getting married. Child marriage isn’t a glamorous topic and it’s not something people know how to help support. If you’re living in a big city, it can feel out of your control to help someone in Niger or Bangladesh (where 82% and 75% of girls marry before the age of 18). Even in the US, there are 26 states that have no legal age to marry.

We chose child marriage as our cause because it is so parallel to the work we’re doing in the wedding industry. While we can often be clouded by the excessive consumption of planning a wedding in the US, marriage isn’t a beautiful situation for everyone. Sometimes, it can be the worst possible thing that happens to you, and we want to bring awareness to the issue. We even have a section in our Bridal Wellness Guide on “Keeping Your Perspective” throughout your engagement as to not get wrapped up in wedding stress and encourage women to remember what else is going on.

Now, I think we’re ready to get even a little more personal.

IMG_2252.jpg

My (Lilia’s) grandmother, my favorite woman in the entire universe, got married at age 13.

She met my grandfather who was ten years older than her when she was 12 years old. While the circumstances were extremely different in Iran circa 1960 (this was not an arranged marriage, was my grandmother’s choice, and she and my grandfather were actually very much in love), I have personally seen the effects of what happens when someone gets married so young. My grandmother barely finished the eighth grade when she stopped going to school.  She grew up poor without a father figure, so of course a pre-teen wouldn’t be able to make thoughtful decisions about marriage. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder how she’d be different if she had gotten more education and the ability to think for herself, instead of living a life dedicated to serving her husband and children. It’s no surprise that my grandmother highly values education and was the proudest at our college graduations – she was denied that ability.

Child marriage is a cycle that denies girls the right to education and learning, thus keeping them seen as a commodity and not an individual. Typically, child brides are more prone to abusive relationships, domestic violence, and rape.

So, how will wedwell’s contribution make a difference in the community?  

We want girls to have rights and the ability to receive an education. By donating a portion of our profits to organizations to put an end towards child marriage, we will be supporting non-profit groups that work to educate women and provide safe spaces. We plan to incorporate this mission into all of our wedwell events by having speakers come chat about the topic, fundraising for organizations, providing sponsorship to women in other countries, and participate in other events related to this work with Girls Not Brides org. Our goal is to support girl’s education and non-profits helping take a stand to increase education rates and end policy that supports child marriage, and getting creative on ways we can make an impact.

Xo

Olivia & Lilia