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Hello everyone! I am a newly engaged applicant who's been accepted to an inaugural program starting in January (fingers crossed nothing falls through) and am looking for advice from any PA-S or PA-C on whether to plan a wedding during didactic year to get married during clinicals or plan during clinicals and get married post graduation? I come from a cultural family so wedding's tend to be big and I am assuming planning will take at least a year or 6 months prior to the date. For what it's worth my program is set to graduate March 2023 and my fiancé is projecting 2022 to be the best for him, financially. Would love any insight from spouse PA's who had to make this decision or even attendees in rigorous programs. 

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I got married 2 weeks after taking the PANCE. My wife did the majority of the wedding planning and we had a wedding planner which was well worth the money. Did not feel very stressed. Still was involved in making decisions and meeting with vendors, but my wife knew that school was number one importance and was fine with that. I had a classmate get married over Christmas break with a small wedding so it’s doable. Just don’t forget about right after graduation you have the pance to worry about and should be your number 1 priority. Worked out well for me to study for 2 weeks then take it. Found out I passed the week of the wedding. you could say it was a great week, even for 2020! 

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Can someone get through PA school while planning a wedding?  Sure...but you will be putting increased stress on yourself in what is already going to be a stressful 2-3 year period.  Doesn't mean don't do it, just understand the ramifications.

The biggest thing to remember is that nobody owes you anything because you are getting married.  Assuming you choose to plan a wedding during PA school doesn't entitle you to leave class or rotations early, do poorly on exams, or other assignments.  You are entering PA school with the intention of being involved in the healthcare of people...therefore you will literally make "life and death" decisions.  Don't take that lightly and put your wedding before that.  You owe it to your future patients to be present in both body and mind for PA school and learn everything you can.

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On 11/16/2020 at 10:34 AM, PA2O18 said:

I got married 2 weeks after taking the PANCE. My wife did the majority of the wedding planning and we had a wedding planner which was well worth the money. Did not feel very stressed. Still was involved in making decisions and meeting with vendors, but my wife knew that school was number one importance and was fine with that. I had a classmate get married over Christmas break with a small wedding so it’s doable. Just don’t forget about right after graduation you have the pance to worry about and should be your number 1 priority. Worked out well for me to study for 2 weeks then take it. Found out I passed the week of the wedding. you could say it was a great week, even for 2020! 

Congrats all around! I certainly didn't forget about PANCE, that's why I thought it's valuable to ask those experienced which year they felt is more doable---last thing I'd want is to jeopardize my education after all time and money spent. I do agree that a wedding planner would be a huge help in this scenario!

On 11/16/2020 at 6:17 PM, mgriffiths said:

Can someone get through PA school while planning a wedding?  Sure...but you will be putting increased stress on yourself in what is already going to be a stressful 2-3 year period.  Doesn't mean don't do it, just understand the ramifications.

The biggest thing to remember is that nobody owes you anything because you are getting married.  Assuming you choose to plan a wedding during PA school doesn't entitle you to leave class or rotations early, do poorly on exams, or other assignments.  You are entering PA school with the intention of being involved in the healthcare of people...therefore you will literally make "life and death" decisions.  Don't take that lightly and put your wedding before that.  You owe it to your future patients to be present in both body and mind for PA school and learn everything you can.

Absolutely right! Definitely going in with the "school is priority" mindset---I'm proud of where I made it to and won't sacrifice that. Hoping others found a healthy balance that could share. 

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7 hours ago, copticmare said:

Congrats all around! I certainly didn't forget about PANCE, that's why I thought it's valuable to ask those experienced which year they felt is more doable---last thing I'd want is to jeopardize my education after all time and money spent. I do agree that a wedding planner would be a huge help in this scenario!

Absolutely right! Definitely going in with the "school is priority" mindset---I'm proud of where I made it to and won't sacrifice that. Hoping others found a healthy balance that could share. 

Finding a healthy balance of anything during PA school is difficult. Extremely so. Any additional thing that you take on outside of your coursework will make PA school more challenging and have the potential to compromise your ability to be successful. That’s just the reality of the situation. 

Wedding planning is stressful. Especially if you’re planning a large wedding and want to be involved in the process. The ideal situation would be both planning the wedding and getting married after your graduate.

If you absolutely have to get married during or right after PA school, I would plan during clinical year and get married after your graduate. Planning during didactic sounds like it could be a disaster. Everyone deals with didactic year differently. Some people do well and are able to keep up without too much trouble. Others really struggle and have to study constantly. In my experience, it’s difficult to know which one of those categories that you fall into until you’re in PA school. 

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On 11/20/2020 at 10:37 AM, hmtpnw said:

Finding a healthy balance of anything during PA school is difficult. Extremely so. Any additional thing that you take on outside of your coursework will make PA school more challenging and have the potential to compromise your ability to be successful. That’s just the reality of the situation. 

Wedding planning is stressful. Especially if you’re planning a large wedding and want to be involved in the process. The ideal situation would be both planning the wedding and getting married after your graduate.

If you absolutely have to get married during or right after PA school, I would plan during clinical year and get married after your graduate. Planning during didactic sounds like it could be a disaster. Everyone deals with didactic year differently. Some people do well and are able to keep up without too much trouble. Others really struggle and have to study constantly. In my experience, it’s difficult to know which one of those categories that you fall into until you’re in PA school. 

Certainly right! I've definitely had the conversation with my s/o that I really have to see how rigorous my program will be and whether I can handle the stress of wedding planning. I also believe that life shouldn't completely stop just because you're in school as long as you're honest with yourself about what you can/can't take on. Thanks for offering your year recommendation!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got married during my 2nd semester of didactic year. My wife and I did a destination wedding and already had paid for it and had the date set prior to me getting accepted into PA school. I spoke with my faculty about it on the first day of classes. I was very fortunate in the fact that they allowed me to take a couple of tests early on the day before I left for my wedding. I was gone Thursday-Sunday and back to school on Monday. It wasn't all that stressful for me because the wedding was basically planned prior to me being admitted to PA school. Had the faculty been less willing to work with me, I would have been much more stressed out because I was planning to go to our wedding no matter what. I wasn't going to miss out on the $10,000+ I had already paid for the wedding.

Like others have mentioned above, the program and/or your clinical sites don't owe you anything and they don't have to work around any special events in your life if they don't feel like it. I would recommend speaking with the faculty of your program to see if they can offer you any insight or see if you can gauge whether or not they will work with you. If it seems like they are not willing or it will be be too much of a burden, it may behoove you to delay your wedding until after graduation.

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On 12/11/2020 at 1:39 PM, SirScottric said:

I got married during my 2nd semester of didactic year. My wife and I did a destination wedding and already had paid for it and had the date set prior to me getting accepted into PA school. I spoke with my faculty about it on the first day of classes. I was very fortunate in the fact that they allowed me to take a couple of tests early on the day before I left for my wedding. I was gone Thursday-Sunday and back to school on Monday. It wasn't all that stressful for me because the wedding was basically planned prior to me being admitted to PA school. Had the faculty been less willing to work with me, I would have been much more stressed out because I was planning to go to our wedding no matter what. I wasn't going to miss out on the $10,000+ I had already paid for the wedding.

Like others have mentioned above, the program and/or your clinical sites don't owe you anything and they don't have to work around any special events in your life if they don't feel like it. I would recommend speaking with the faculty of your program to see if they can offer you any insight or see if you can gauge whether or not they will work with you. If it seems like they are not willing or it will be be too much of a burden, it may behoove you to delay your wedding until after graduation.

Involving admin and taking their advice into consideration sounds like a great idea! If I do mine during didactic, I would certainly plan it towards a specific break, not in the middle of anything important and same would apply for clinical year. Thank you!

Edited by copticmare
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  • 4 weeks later...

I got married this August between the summer and fall semesters of didactic! Luckily, I was able to plan everything before starting didactic, so it should have been a breeze and no big deal. Well, then the pandemic happened and we had to decide what to do with our wedding, cut 2/3 of the guest list, and replan many aspects of it which was incredibly stressful and impacted my studies...classic 2020.

Everything is totally fine now and I am happily married and on clinical rotations! We loved our wedding!

The biggest take aways: It IS possible to get married during PA school. For my program specifically, didactic was better because we do not have scheduled breaks for clinical year. Plan as much as possible before school starts to take that off of your plate. Don't forget to factor in time for wedding showers and a bachelorette/bachelor trip or honeymoon if you're planning on doing that! 

Good luck and I'm happy to answer any questions if you have them 🙂

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Am I understanding this correctly as Clinical year does not have scheduled breaks?

Just got engaged and understand Didactic year is out, which is easy as I just started semester 3.  She wants date sooner, I want it AFTER I'm out and then a little.

I figure if she does MOST of the planning, can compromise, but if no breaks clinical year - that kind of sets the timeframe for me.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I'm currently in my second-to-last clinical rotation and was in a very similar situation. Got engaged a month before starting PA school and then decided about 2/3 way through didactic to bite the bullet and get married a couple months after graduation. Right now I'm set to graduate May 2021 and planning my wedding for August 2021. My fiance is currently getting his MPH and will graduate within a month of me, so he also has zero free time. It. Is. Stressful. Clinicals sound all fun and exciting when you're slogging through didactic but the constant travel, accommodating new healthcare systems and preceptors, end of rotation studying, PANCE studying... If you're someone who thrives on routine then be prepared to grow a lot. Adding wedding planning on top of that has really tested my limits. I've personally done well on all of my EOREs and the PACKRAT because I prioritize school over wedding planning, but I've made huge sacrifices with my free time in order to get everything done. It also means that wedding stuff often takes a backseat, and friends/family just have to be patient. Every program is different, but my only break during clinicals was over Christmas. We used that time to knock out a bunch of wedding tasks - dress and suit shopping, finding a caterer, photographer, making the website, ordering invitations, etc etc. Otherwise it's knocking the small tasks off my to-do list with the random days I have off that aren't otherwise consumed with school. My fiance and family have helped a ton, but wedding planning has still been an additional source of stress during an already stressful year. 

I also had a classmate get married during our last didactic semester. She really simplified it though - small guest list, family helped cater, limited bar offerings, things like that. She was very chill about her wedding and it worked well for her. 

Something else I had to figure out on my own - if you're planning to change your name, do it ASAP. I'm legally changing my name before the wedding so that my diploma, PANCE, and all licensing will be in my married name. If you're not changing your name, disregard and thank your lucky stars because it is a gigantic pain in the you-know-what. 

Good luck with school and wedding planning! 

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On 1/14/2021 at 11:09 AM, PA-Candidate said:

Am I understanding this correctly as Clinical year does not have scheduled breaks?

Just got engaged and understand Didactic year is out, which is easy as I just started semester 3.  She wants date sooner, I want it AFTER I'm out and then a little.

I figure if she does MOST of the planning, can compromise, but if no breaks clinical year - that kind of sets the timeframe for me.

The longest period of time I've had off during clinicals was a couple weeks over Christmas/New Years. Otherwise just long weekends here and there. We have a "spring break" coming up that's about 5 days long. 

The brief breaks are nice and much needed, but a lot of the time is spent decompressing from how stressful and busy rotations can be. I can't imagine having a wedding and really being able to enjoy it and appreciate how special of an occasion it is during clinical year. 

If I were in your position I would recommend waiting until you graduate. You'll likely have time after graduating and prior to starting your first job. This would be a better time to get married.

Edited by hmtpnw
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I got engaged at the beginning of my clinical year and then married about a month after graduation/2 weeks after the PANCE. While clinical year was busy, I did feel like I had more time to plan than I would have during didactic year. I also had a lot of help from family, and hired a wedding planner to take some of the burden off of me (highly recommend). It  was stressful but totally doable!! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I got married during the break between fall and winter quarters of didactic year.

It was fine. I was back in my seat 48 hours after saying my vows. We took our honeymoon after I graduated and passed the PANCE, and I started my job when I came home.

What helped was planning as much as possible before I started school. Got my vendors lined up and everything. Then I delegated the SHIT out of the daily grind. My now-husband took care of business - it's his wedding, too - and my sister helped.

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