Wedding Planning & the Longitudinal Project

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Last year I started thinking about the idea of the “longitudinal project”—defined as an endeavor that you work on long term, incrementally, and like the research method it’s named after, doesn’t really pay off until significant time and resources have been invested—so, way into the future.

I started thinking about this as an antidote to the kind of “projects” I’ve been doing lately—blog posts that take at most three to four days to pull together, artworks that can go from a blank page in my sketchbook to an edited image on Instagram in an hour. Projects that I want to share—and get immediate feedback on (usually in the form of views and likes)—as soon as I finish. Projects that keep my feed fresh and updated. Projects that sometimes feel a little divorced from the true joy and quiet solace of creating itself.

I began thinking back to pre-college days, the dozen or so years when I would spend large chunks of hours at weekend art classes. I remember, as a kid, having a reputation for not showing anyone my work until it was totally, totally done.

These days I’m still the same way, I think. But because the desire to share the finished result with the world often seems to overpower anything else, I’m finishing projects quicker. And to finish projects quicker, I’m choosing quick projects.

Can I still work on a painting for eight weeks in a row? Can I still work on it for eight weeks without sharing it anywhere? Not even a #workinprogress shot on Instagram Stories? The shareaholic me of today—enabled by the abundance of social platforms and features—can’t seem to fathom that anymore.

But then a “longitudinal project” fell into my lap. Something that’s broadly expected to take a long time and where the final result—including a necessary element of surprise—is everything.

Wedding planning!!!

Years later, I may look back at now and think—actually I’m already beginning to think it—is this how God works?

Well, isn’t it?

I’ve been searching for a “longitudinal project” all this time, had no idea what it would or should be, and then all of a sudden, He drops one on me—the perfect one, because there’s no backing out of it.

Wedding planning has been challenging. It’s been challenging for all the usual reasons—chaos of logistics, endless decisions, budget wrangling. But concerning everything I’ve been talking about so far, it’s also challenging because I feel like I’ve been doing so much work (and it’s draining my will to do any leisurely blogging, art, or language study) but I have nothing to show for it, not yet anyway. I’m just chipping away at this thing, hoping it turns out well, but won’t ultimately know until the day comes. Until it’s all over.

I’m not the sole artist this time, though. And I’m grateful to have Jason to share these behind-the-scenes months with—and beyond.

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