Posts in the 'engagement' Category
You know how sometimes in life you make decisions that you believe are the right decisions and whether or not they are actually the right decisions, you MADE a decision and that is what is important? And you know how sometimes those decisions don’t work out for some reason or another and that can make you feel like that decision you made was wrong? But then, years down the road, you make another decision and the universe, or God, or fate, or whatever shows you how all those “wrong” decisions were really the right ones because they all led you to this exact perfectly right moment in your life? Puzzle pieces fall into place and great things start to happen that could not possibly have happened without all those “wrong” decisions? (Decisions, we get it.) THAT is what it felt like to decide to marry Travis. THIS TIME. Yes, that’s right. I must admit, Travis and I were quasi-engaged back in 2008 when we lived in Scottsdale, AZ. That “proposal” went something like this:
Me: (Sitting on the couch, looking at a FASHION jewelry catalogue) Oh, this ring is nice.
Travis: (Sitting next to me, watching football, not actually looking at me) Well… how much is it?
Me: It doesn’t say…. Wait… Why?
Travis: Well, we should probably quiet the critics….
(At 25, Travis was many things. Romantic was NOT one of them.)
I know what you’re thinking: ‘What!?” How much is it??” “Quiet the critics??” What does that even mean!?’ Now, 30-year-old me would’ve replied, “What. The. Hell?” and dumped him, (Because everyone deserves better than a couch proposal) but, for whatever reason, 24-year-old me was like, “Woo hoo!!!!” So we bought a ring (not the one in the magazine mentioned above) and told people we were engaged. I was a dancer and just began teaching high school and he was finishing up at ASU. Getting engaged seemed like the natural decision. That thing you’re supposed to do. (I think that “thing” is what Travis was feeling when he said, “We should quiet the critics.”)
At first, everything was great! We were young and we were madly in love. I had a beautiful ring that I LOVED showing off. We even bought our first home and settled right into a rather typical suburban lifestyle. But after that initial ‘engagement glow’ wears off, the harsh reality of planning a wedding sets in. I was going to have to be a budget savvy bride then, too, so naturally, wedding planning practically became a full-time job. I had even decided to personal assist the owner of a perspective venue in exchange for having our wedding there for free. I was BUSY. Everyone would ask, “When’s the big day?!” And the truth was, we had NO CLUE (and no money) and we grew really tired of that question. We were growing more concerned about our careers and the general direction that life was taking. On top of that, that owner of the perspective venue made me her bitch, so I quit her. (She asked me to re-tile her bathroom. No, thanks.) As artists, Travis and I both began to feel a little unsettled. The idea of a wedding became this symbol of being stuck. And it just didn’t feel right. We both had lived in Arizona our entire lives and the idea of continuing on this path that was “expected” of us brought us to our breaking point. So, instead of a wedding, we made the decision to leave our home, family, and friends, pack up our stuff and our cat, Fitzy (Ella P. Fitzgerald) and move to Los Angeles!
Our original draft of the 2008 Save-the-Date. THIS is why you don’t make big decisions before you’re 30. I mean, what’s happening here? Travis looks like a brunette Ellen and I look like I smell something.
That was the best decision we ever could’ve made. Since the move, we’ve been pursuing our dream careers. We’ve learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We’ve made some incredible friends and have gotten some amazing opportunities! And only now, after 9 years together, it is perfectly and wonderfully the right time to pull out that beautiful ring and get married. (2014 budget is only slightly larger than the 2008 budget though. Thanks a lot, Universe.) Now though, I’m a firm believer that if you’re taking steps forward in your life with the best intentions, you’ll never make the wrong decisions. Life is funny.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…..
On October 17th, this happened…
…and then this happened…
…because this happened…
And I couldn’t be any happier to have this happen, with this man…
…for the rest of my life.
Yes, kids. I’ve been re-BRIDAL-ized. Wedding 2.0 coming atcha this fall.
Happiness infinity, coming at your forever
You think you know how it will all go down. You’ve dreamed about this moment since you were a little girl. Notice I said you. Not me. But whatever you have envisioned for the moment you become engaged, rest assured it won’t happen exactly as you hoped or dreamed. (SPOILER: It’s actually better.)
Lemme s’plain how it has gone down for me by sharing what’s been the most surprising so far.
1. The moment.
I thought I would react like you see on TV… the chest-clutching, cover the mouth, face crumpling in tears, all aflutter, oh-really-who-me?
Nope. I was grinning like an idiot the whole time. I mean, sunbeams shooting out of my face, grinning. Overjoyed. Happy. Couldn’t wait to say yes. Let a curse word slip. Laughing, smiling, elated. No tears. I mean, why cry?!? I love this man so much it’s stupid. Plus? I’m a stress crier, not a happy crier. Or maybe I’m just a weirdo. There’s always that. Good thing he loves my weird.
3. The Questions – Holy sh*tballs, no one prepared me for all the questions!!!
THEM: When is the wedding? Where will it be? What season? What are your colors? Indoor or outdoor, church or no church, what kind of dress do you want?
ME: Ummm… I don’t know, soon-ish? Somewhere. Something not cold. Or hot. Salmon and Puce. Depends. None of your business. And something with none of the following: bows, ruffles, feathers, camouflage or poofy sleeves.
Y’all, am I the world’s worst bride-to-be because I don’t have answers for ANY OF THESE? Or that Jersey and I have barely even grazed the surface of most of these topics?? So, can someone remind us both to breathe? And tell us how to politely respond with something other than this?
4. The Bling, part two.
It’s $$$. Trust me, the enormity of the financial implication of it is not lost on me. It is not to be taken lightly. Hence why I seriously get sweatypits when I have to leave my house. Or wash my hands. Or pretty much breathe.
5. The Facebook Apocalypse.
Whoa. People come out of the woodwork. High school friends, current coworkers, former coworkers, undergrad and grad school friends, music festival friends, Camp Mighty friends, cousins/aunts/uncles (on both sides), former teachers/mentors, ex-boyfriends, Crossfit friends, holy frijoles. Best to turn off your phone notifications in advance. It’s nutso. But also kinda awesome.
6. My New Name.
People referring to me as ‘Mrs. HisLastName’ was a huge jolt the first few times! It wasn’t that I’d never imagined the phrase – it was that it had never been LEGIT until right now. Sh*t just got real.
Aside: Not trying to start any controversy with this, because I’m sure some folks might be aghast that people just assumed I would take his name. But in actuality, it doesn’t bother me. And remember too, this is the South.
7. The Parents.
I had no idea how hard it would hit them. My mom, especially. She shared with me that she has been happy-tears weepy, remembering when I was born and how she held me and wished me all the happiness in the world… hoping that one day I’d be as happy and in love as she was. Well jeez, Mom. Thanks for helping me make up for those tears I didn’t cry when he proposed. Sniffffffffff. I’m sure all my mama bear readers are cursing me and reaching for the Kleenex, too. Sorry, y’all. My dad has been a rock. He, of course, mock-threatened Jersey with mention of his shotgun, but that’s his love language. Not one of many words, my dad, but he expressed plenty of love and congrats and desire to help us wherever possible in his own calm and quiet way.
I think we spend so much time as single gals NOT wanting the family pressure to get married that when it does happen, we forget how much it affects them, too. I have no doubt the planning will bring it’s share of stress, but that it will also bring us all closer together.
8. The F-word.
He said it to me first, all stretched out. “Hey, guess what? You’re my fiannnnccceeeee.”
It takes some adjusting to make the switch from ‘boyfriend’ to the F-word, but I think I’ll get it eventually.
So there you go. That’s what has smacked me upside the head in the first week after I became newly betrothed. How about the rest of you?
What took you by surprise when you became engaged? If you’re my lovely single ladies, what is surprising about this list?
Heeeyyyoooo!!! Now that the insanity of the holidays are safely in the rear-view mirror, you’re rockin’ that sparkler and all you newbie Broke-Ass Brides are starting to look ahead to your big day, I think it’s important to sit you down and talk about that horrible monster that is sure to rear its ugly head at some point during your planning process …
BRIDE BRAIN. *cue suspenseful music*
But Christen!, you’re saying, I’m totes rational and there’s no way, ever, EVAR that I’ll succumb to Bride Brain. I got my shizz together and I GOT THIS.
Darling, it’s OK. Bride Brain is nothing to be ashamed of … unless you let it get the best of you. And please, for the sake of your friends, family and your hubz-to-be, don’t let it do that. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of grovelling to do.
How do you know you’re getting conquered by Bride Brain? Well …
- Instead of wearing rose-colored glasses, you’ve started rocking Wedding Color-Scheme Glasses. Everything you see is suddenly twisted into wedding context. Would that rad vintage beer sign work with your Champagne fountain? Is that Creature from the Black Lagoon statue work with your centerpieces?
- You can’t have a conversation without bringing up your wedding … even with the customer service rep from your bank or the gas station attendant.
- You find yourself more stressed over whether you have enough baby’s breath for your bouquet than the fact that your car’s radiator is about to fall out.
- Your last 20 Facebook/Twitter posts are wedding related.
- You live on Pinterest and have pinned 7x more on your wedding board than any other of your boards.
- You now picture your wedding in terms of how good it’ll look on a blog.
- You’re having wedding nightmares … every night. Getting strangled by your veil, your MIL turns into Ursula from “The Little Mermaid,” your groom shows up naked (though that may not be so bad).
Fear not, you rockin’ BABs! This too can be fixed.
First, step away from your computer. That’s right, take that finger off the mouse and and power that bad boy down. WAIT!!! Not YET … finish reading this, first.
Talk to your fella about setting up at least one night per week that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with your impending nuptials. Go catch a ball game! Hit up the mini-golf course. Have some fun and blow off some steam.
Plan a mock-wedding full of the ugliest shizz you would never imagine having at your big day. Poufy sleeves, baby-puke-colored bridesmaid dresses. All the hideousness to your heart’s content. Make a Pinterest board for it, sketch it, whatevs. Just make something that is so far from what you want that you can’t help but bust a gut laughing (or gagging).
Tackle one big thing at a time. For serious. You don’t play in the NFL, so don’t think you’re capable of taking down more than one linebacker at a time. Make a list of your priorities (Venue, photography, cake, bar, dress … etc) and number them. Then devote a week to the first one, the next week to the second, etc. Limit the list to your top five or ten, and don’t start working on the small deets until each one of these big ones is donezo. Once all the big pieces are in place, the little stuff will either come easy or no longer matter.
Fine yourself every time you mention your wedding plans during an arbitrary convo. Kind of like a swear jar, throw a quarter into a vessel every time you bring up your special day during an irrelevant chat. Gas Station Gus will thank you.
Finally … KEEP CHAMPAGNE IN YOUR FRIDGE. I can’t stress this one enough. It doesn’t need to be a baller-ass bottle of Dom. But make sure you have it on hand for stressy wedding moments. There’s something about those tiny bubbles that will put you in a happy fog and remember the celebratory aspect of this whole deal. Don’t drink? Keep whatever special, treat-yo-self kind of bev you lurve on hand.
With this, I set you free to tackle the wedding road ahead of you. Please, make sure to keep your brain straight and don’t hesitate to freak out in the comments if you need to. We’ll love you regardless.
Now off with you! Go get some other stuff done and don’t even think about picking up that guest list. Go on, BABs, and be the amazeballz chickadees you are!
Welcome, all you newbies! And if you found us through The Listserve, an uber-awesome high-five for you! Woot!
Hey there, BABs! Back in the days when I was debating where we should get married, I mentioned our plan to move to San Diego, California, from Ohio. Well, I’m happy to announce that we turned that plan into action and…
HERE WE ARE!
Honestly, now that I’m here, I’m really glad we decided to have our wedding in Arizona. Trying to find a place to live, find jobs, and learn our way around a new city has been hard enough without also trying to find an ultra-low-budget wedding venue!
It’s been a tough transition for us. It took me nearly a month to find a job. Combine that with the sticker shock of SoCal life compared to the Midwest, and the wedding countdown ticking away, stir vigorously, and you’ve got one stressed-out Carrie. As always, Zach has been the yin to my yang. When I’m lying on the bed crying that, “We’re never EVER going to have enough money for a wedding!!!!!!!” he’s sitting there rubbing my back reminding me that, “Everything will be perfect. Just be patient and it will work out!” I know he’s right. However, according to the experts, moving, getting married, and unemployment are three of life’s biggest stressors! Thankfully, we are both now working and building that wedding savings account!
I know our situation is easy compared to the problems many other engaged couples are facing. I’m glad that we were able to make it through this huge life transition together! Did anyone else move or have a major life change mid-engagement? What are your tips to help engaged couples cope with wedding/life stress, and come out stronger in the end?
Does anyone else ever wish their family could just shape up and be as happy as the Cleavers or other perfect sitcom families? I know I do.
To be fair, I want to make it perfectly clear that Zach and I both love our entire families dearly and are so, overwhelmingly grateful for all the love we received growing up and the countless opportunities we were given thanks to our parents’ generosity.
I have to be honest, though. Zach and I both struggle as the “black sheep” in our respective families. The similarities in how we were raised and how we both rebelled against it are actually one huge commonality that brought us together. See, we both grew up in very traditional, conservative (both our dads LOVE Rush Limbaugh), religious (Evangelical Christian, specifically) homes. Zach was even home-schooled, and we both went to church every Sunday. Along these same lines, once we each moved away for college, we both started developing our own views, questioning the ways we were raised, and engaging in some normal college student shenanigans.
Fast forward to today…while we try to maintain a good relationship, our parents have problems with many aspects of our lives. The fact that we drink, the fact that we have been living together before marriage, and our nomadic lifestyle. Not to mention our political and religious views, which now differ from theirs. It’s not a matter of my parents not liking Zach or Zach’s parents not liking me. None of them can deny how perfect we are for each other; it’s just that they don’t approve of the way we live. As a person who grew up always trying to make my parents proud, it’s hard. I’m proud of the life I’ve created for myself, but they never will be until I settle down, get a career, and go back to church.
As you can imagine, the overall tension that exists in our families also carries over to wedding planning. It’s a big reason why we want to fund the wedding ourselves. (That and the fact that my family has done enough for me already!) As far as I can tell, the parents are happy for us, and are definitely relieved that we will finally be tying the knot after “living in sin” for so long. But the guaranteed awkwardness of my conservative, tee-totaling family mixing with some of our rowdy, partying friends on our wedding day weighs heavily on my mind.
Sorry if this post has been too much venting on my part. To any others in my situation: you’re not alone! I know how hard it is to walk the tightrope of keeping the family happy without compromising yourself.
Is anyone else a “black sheep”? How did you deal with clashes of beliefs while wedding planning?
This is how much life has reinforced to me that my plans don’t mean anything. I distinctly remember being 18-years-old, sitting at a pizza joint with two high school friends, our departures for various colleges imminent on the horizon. We were talking about the exciting possibilities of college guys, of course. I remember saying something almost exactly like this: “You’re not going to meet any decent guys at parties or bars…that’s trashy. We should try to meet guys in classes or extracurriculars or something.” Oh, how wise I thought I was!
Fast forward 3.5 years.
February 11, 2009 was a pretty average Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio. I had recently graduated from college and moved back home to my parents’ house for the six months I had before I would be leaving for my Peace Corps assignment in Tanzania. I had a waitressing job to fill my time, and was focused on enjoying my friends before leaving for Africa. So where else would we go for a Wednesday girls night but out for $10 fishbowls????
Yes sirree, we went to the oh-so-fratty Ugly Tuna Saloona!!! What can I say, we loved fishbowls. Somehow, we ended up merging tables with the group of guys next to us. There was probably some liquid courage involved, because I’m normally not at all outgoing, but by the end of the night I found myself sidling up to the cute, curly-haired blonde kid. We talked for awhile (more like shouted at each other over the blasting music) and discovered a few common interests in movies, music, etc. And I definitely thought he was beyond attractive. Despite being way out of practice at the dating game (I had recently broken up with my longtime college boyfriend), we exchanged numbers and made plans for a date! Of course at the time I was not looking for a relationship (I was about to leave for two years in Africa!) but I was excited for a date (my first after breaking up with my ex, so I guess you could call it a rebound) and some casual flirtation.
When Friday night rolled around, I was nervous. I spent a lot of the time on the phone with my BFF worrying about how awkward and weird this might be. (I am super awkward…like the female version of Michael Cera.) I mean, I only talked to the guy once, and we had both had a few drinks! Was this what the dating game was supposed to be like? I felt so out of things after my long, steady college relationship. But I kept remembering how cute Zach was and I just had this feeling about him; I knew I couldn’t chicken out.
I shouldn’t have been so worried though, because everything went great! Zach picked a classy joint and spent what I would later learn was his last $50 on a bottle of wine and dessert! (Two ways to my heart!) The sparks were definitely flying, even though I had told Zach early in the evening about my impending departure for Tanzania. Not wanting the night to end, we hung out with his friends at another bar, still having a great time.
Eventually the night had to end and I was in a blur of happiness. I had survived my “rebound” date; in fact, it was awesome! Now I just had to worry about whether or not I was ever going to see this guy again…
Luckily, I did! After this, we quickly became inseparable. We hung out every chance we got, he met my friends, I met his friends. The whole time, however, the specter of Africa was looming on the horizon. Zach even asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend and make our relationship official, but I said no because I didn’t want to “start something that had to end so soon.” But of course, official or unofficial, it had already started.
As my departure date got closer and closer, I found myself getting less and less excited about leaving for the Peace Corps. I knew Zach and my attempts to keep things relaxed were failing when BFF called me out on being in love with him. “If I were you, I wouldn’t go,” she even said once. But I HAD to go, this was the Peace Corps, this had been my dream for years! I knew that if I gave it up I might never forgive myself, no matter what happened.
And so, on June 13, 2009, only four short months after our first date, I found myself gathered in Zach’s embrace, both of us sobbing. It was the hardest goodbye I’ve ever said. As I stood there crying, wondering how I was ever going to get up the courage to leave, all of a sudden I knew I had to be honest. “I love you,” I blubbered, for the first time ever. “I love you too,” he said.
And the next morning, I got on a plane.
Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means that Mr. Officer and I have been engaged for almost a year already. Yikes, where did the time go?! Aargggh, that means our wedding is right around the corner….there’s so much to do!
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that little panic attack out of my system, I’m ready to talk about getting engaged. I know there are some readers out there that are anxiously awaiting their chance to freak out about invitation ink colors and veil lengths, so this one is dedicated to you!
Valentine’s Day just isn’t complete without conversation hearts
Photo via Necco
1. The ring you hate is just as important as the ring you love: before we got engaged, Mr. Officer and I were in New Hampshire visiting family when he suggested that we should stop by the jewelry store to look at rings. It was at this point that I launched into a very long and boring speech about getting someone’s hopes up. After I calmed down a little, I decided that maybe I should give him some ideas of what I actually like in a ring. So, I emailed him some pictures of rings that I really liked along with a few I hated. I’m glad that I did, because apparently he was really surprised by taste in rings (i.e. he thought I would like a solitaire that was on my dislike list).
2. Don’t underestimate the power of involving the parents: okay, I know this is super old fashioned, but I’m telling you, it really is worth the extra effort. About a month before we got engaged, Mr. Officer and I were in Philadelphia visiting my parents when Mr. Officer asked if I could show him where to find the bathrom (a valid request since it was in a weird location). Little did I know that while I was in the bathroom, Mr. Officer had sprinted back down the stairs to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. In this modern age I think we can all agree it’s simply symbolic (I mean come on, I’ve been living on my own for 10 years), but my parents really liked being involved in the process. I was touched that Mr. Officer kept this chivalrous tradition alive, and my mom has told me a couple of times that my dad really appreciated the gesture.
3. A simple, heartfelt proposal can be better than a super elaborate, public one: somehow it’s become a cultural norm that the proposer feels it’s necessary to come up with some crazy, elaborate and expensive way to ask the proposee to marry him/her. That’s a lot of pressure for the poor proposer, but I also think a giant billboard just would have made me feel awkward. Quick family anecdote – when my grandparents were dating, my grandfather accidentally proposed to my great-grandmother……on the phone. It was WWII and my grandmother wasn’t home when he called from bootcamp, so my grandfather told her mother ”If Pauline wants to get married, I have leave coming up soon, sooo…….” My grandmother obviously agreed, and they’ve been married for over 70 years and counting. Similarly my mom recently told me that my dad produced a ring while muttering something super romantic like “So, do you want this?” and now they’ve been married for over 40 years. Apparently it runs in my family (sigh), but I’m really glad that Mr. Officer opted to scrap his original plan, which involved a special presentation at a fancy restaurant (especially since the restaurant told him that we wouldn’t be the only newly engaged people there, prompting many jokes about a mass engagement room).
Is it necessary? I’m not convinced….
Photo via Evilflu
4. Keep it to yourself for a while: Mr. Officer told me after the fact that he had asked my parents, so I knew my parents already knew, but I still decided to wait a little bit. I really wanted to just appreciate the moment with my new fiance, and I wasn’t thrilled about spending my first night as an engaged person glued to the phone. I’m so glad that we waited, because it allowed us to really focus on the excitement of the night and each other. Plus, sharing good news with loved ones is always a great feeling, and it kind of gave me something to look forward to the next day.
5. Enjoy the attention: when you are ready to start telling people, get used to enjoying the attention. Feel free to flash the ring around and tell random strangers that you just got engaged. People love to get in on the action and live vicariously through your good news. Plus, you might be surprised by the number of people that want to give you free stuff. We didn’t tell the bed & breakfast where we were staying that we got engaged and the innkeeper told us after the fact that she would have comped us some champagne and treats if she knew. Rats, we missed out on free bubbly and snacks……don’t be like us!
I wondered if you could help me out with an engagement ring? My boyfriend and I plan to get engaged around Christmas, and I’ve fallen in love with the “Moonlight” ring by a Japanese company, Niwaka.
It’s not available online and the company doesn’t ship outside of Japan, not to mention it’s got a $1,800 price tag for the setting alone. I was wondering if you knew of anything similar and cheaper, perhaps with a Moissanite instead of a diamond?
Here are some rings that are similar but much more affordable:
Good luck in your search!
- Dana F.