There’s so much I need to be getting done now that the wedding and honeymoon are over. The wedding was perfect, the honeymoon was amazing, and my life is so full of joy and peace and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I want to write so much about everything, but for now, I can really just share this video for you – my own stories and details to come soon!
For Valentine’s Day, Bonnie wrote a post about why she and her husband work (for a link-up I missed. sad face.). I’ve been thinking about it since I read her post, and the idea of writing the same regarding my relationship has been brewing in my mind.
Last night I had a wonderful evening with my fiancee full of a great dinner, pre-marital counseling, and ugly-laughing at hilarious Youtube videos. Driving home, I felt especially grateful for my relationship and decided to finally write this post when I got home.
I’m proud to say that this is my first link-up that I’ve participated in! Hurray!
So, this month, the linkup is about our marriage goals for 2014. I have to say that my list is probably quite different from a lot of the other ladies participating because I’m not even going to be married until May. However, I don’t believe that this means I’m not able to have goals for my marriage in 2014. Here’s a short list of some of the things I have in mind.
1. Actually GET married
I don’t think I really need to elaborate too much on this goal! I’m looking forward to being able to participate more in these linkups. =]
2. Obtain an actual table, at which to eat.
Hopefully, Luke and I can get a table into his apartment before we’re married, but I’m still making this a goal. Seriously – it sucks not having a table at all. (If you’re wondering why we don’t have one, it’s simply because he/we do not own one yet.) It’s so hard to feel productive and get papers and work done on the couch all the time! It also means we don’t get to sit and eat dinner together, really.
3. Start off being really, really organized.
I really want to start things off right by being one of those wives that has a home organizer binder and a bill schedule and maybe even meal planning (*gasp*). I don’t really know where to begin, but I feel like at that point, I won’t really have anything else on my plate to worry about, having graduated from college by then. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of time to organize and label our cupboards and things.
4. Spend time with family regularly
Because Luke, his parents, and I all live pretty far away from each other, it never seems to quite work out to see our families as much as we’d like. Once we’re married and on the same schedule with school out of the way for both of us, I think it’d really make our lives that much happier to see our parents and siblings more often.
5. Be on the ball with post-wedding checklists
Thank you notes, gift returns, organization/putting things away, decorating a bit, legally changing my name, making a combined budget, etc. All things I really want to make sure I actually get around to getting done after the wedding!
6. Find a new place to live
After the wedding, I’ll just be making due with Luke’s bachelor pad for a couple months until his lease ends in August/September. I really hope to find a nice 2-bedroom apartment nearby that is a good price, and actually has counter space in the bathroom. Seriously. I’ll be living out of a suitcase at first and there’s absolutely no counter top in the bathroom. This may be the hardest thing about our first few months of marriage. Oy vey.
7. Pare down my own belongings
Speaking of moving in with Luke, I have wayyy too much stuff. On top of everything I’m hoping to get done before the wedding (uh, like, planning the wedding), I really need to set aside regular time to sort through all my junk.
Here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, browsing Pinterest (because for real, though – my life is now all Pinterest. Shameless Pinterest), and I come across a photoset that I have seen before:
These are photos from grooms and brides having pictures taken together before the wedding, but without seeing eachother. I’ve known for a while that this is something I want for my own wedding, but then I pictured Luke and I in these photos. And here I am, sitting in a quiet living room, and maybe I kinda sorta started tearing up out of emotion and excitement for the first time about everything.
Oh, and do you guys remember this last post where I said I hoped the right choices (especially for venues) would be as clear as day and that I would fall in love with one that was somehow miraculously available on only one of the two dates we’ve been considering? IT HAPPENED. I am feeling so crazy and happy that it actually happened like that! The venue I’m looking at for my reception is one that I really loved when I was looking with my sister for her wedding in 2010. It was the first reception venue I called, and when I told the lady this, she promptly began offering education about things to look for, consider, and ask when it comes to shopping around for reception venues. This immediately made me excited and that I could trust this group of people. They’ve been consistently available to contact, promptly respond to my emails, and very helpful with getting everything to fit into my budget.
Other places I have toured have either been much too expensive, or the girls working with me just weren’t personable or made me feel awkward, or they were unenthusiastic about, well, my wedding (which feels really selfish to say, but for real – my wedding means their business, and being excited and enthusiastic for others is #1 for customer service and even just generally connecting with others).
This morning, I met with a reception venue that was all of the above. Feeling a little discouraged, I drove down the road to the church I am hoping to get married in. I was worried it would be too weird or awkwardly set up, but when I walked into the quiet and empty sanctuary, I just sighed. The room was big, but probably not too big; I know this church does great backdrops for the stage with fabric and lighting; although the carpet color isn’t part of my colors (navy, spring green, and white), it was a muted purple, which fits into the combination so well and was actually a color I had considered using. When I walked down the center aisle to the front of the stage to consider the stairs up to it, everything felt surreal. I felt as if I were a ghost bride, looking at the ghostly, empty seats of my ghost guests, and that all of this would be fleshed out, colorful, alive, and breathing in a few months. As I was leaving the building, I looked out a completely glass wall to a beautiful back yard of the church: a creek with a bridge, lots of trees, and even a gazebo. Perfect for taking pictures.
Is it weird that the carpeting is possibly the one thing about either venue that makes me feel super anxious? I want to say that this is because it is the only thing about venues you can’t change, but that isn’t true. There’s lots of other things about venues you can’t change. Maybe it’s because there’s so much that could be wrong with it – the pattern, color, texture, stains, etc. I don’t know. Weird neurosis, I guess.
I’m usually very good about tuning into my intuition and gut feelings about decisions, and I think that this skill is going to be absolutely key throughout my wedding planning process. Listening to my intuition, staying calm and breathing, and keeping an open mind. I’m so stupidly excited (obviously). I also have an appointment for my first time shopping for bridal gowns, and I’m unbelievably eager to spend time with my mom and my sister, and to just see what there is to see. Going in with no expectations or demands, I can keep my mind and options open, and my stress low.
The big things – the wheres – seem to be falling together. Once I can get a grasp on these big things, I feel that I have a foundation on which to lay each brick and detail. I know it’s within my control to make this process a harried and stressful experience, or a calm and fun experience. I have that control over my responses to the process.
And I choose to have an absolute ball while planning the biggest party of my life.
Okay, first of all, I have to tell you about my lovely weekend! This past weekend I was able to have the honor of seeing my best friend play in her senior recital (she’s a piano major) and we got lots of time to go shopping and eat Thai food. It was just an awesome weekend. Also, her (actually down-to-earth and very sweet) sorority sisters welcomed me right in with their hall and sat with me during the recital and basically I feel like I made about 25 new friends this weekend. They were all super excited that I was engaged, even though they didn’t know me, and it was great to feel instantly brought in by a great group of girls. The bottom line is that my bestie is awesome and an incredible pianist and has great taste in friends (I mean, obviously!).
Now for the think-y stuff.
Even though I’ve only actually been back in my own house for about an hour an a half, I’m beginning to feel some anxiety again. Yes, a lot of it has to do with wedding planning, but most of it has to do with things I can’t control – people who I know will or won’t be willing to attend, the distance between us and my amazing photographer of an aunt (leaving us with only one weekend as an option for engagement photos by her, conflicting with other plans), and the fact that I have to just nail down a date and run. I’ll be touring some more reception sites this week (and hopefully choosing one) and I’m just hoping I can be guided to know when all of my upcoming decisions are correct. For example, I really hope it’s as easy as falling head-over-heels for a venue that seems too good to be true and they just happen to only have an opening on one of the two main dates we’ve been considering.
This brings up a whole philosophical discussion and struggle about whether or not people are happier with the more choices they have. Personally, I don’t think so. I firmly believe that more choices and options lead to dissatisfaction, second-guessing, and discontent. I’ve even read a couple studies that have backed this up.
Another example of this that happened today is that I submitted a take-home final exam for one of my classes. Two days early! Initially, I was all, “Go, me!!” but then I thought, I had more time. Maybe I should have proof read it again. Maybe I should have checked my math. Maybe I should have added more to the essays. It’s not like I was rushed. I could have done something different. When I submit assignments right on time, I feel more able to accept the fact that there’s nothing else I could have done – that I did what I did and had to submit it when I did. Having extra time makes me feel so anxious and like any points I get marked down are just all the more shameful and ridiculous because I could have theoretically put more time into it and should have (theoretically) no excuse to get any point at all taken off. It’s not like this for in-class exams because the moment the test starts, there’s a sense of calm I get when I know there is nothing else I can do – no cramming, no studying, no flashcards. I know what I know and I’ve done what I can and the only thing that is left is to answer the questions I know the answer to. But take-home tests, with all of their glorious benefits, still have that subtle, strange different layer of pressure, because they’re take-home.
I don’t know – am I the only one like this?
Put all of these feelings on top of getting to plan the biggest party I’ll ever throw, and there are so many decisions and different ways everything could go. I have to learn a new coping mechanism for making decisions other than “well, I finished it just before the deadline so it’s not like I had any more time to make it perfect.” This contentment strategy will not fly in the real world, and planning my wedding is my first big taste of it.
Really, I plan to commit to just sitting and writing any time I feel like I have to talk about or debate different decisions in my head (or when I’m laying awake trying to figure it all out in my head). Like, right now I need to go type up a specific conversation with myself about photography sessions and dates. I obviously also call my mom and friends when I need it, but there are so many decisions where there’s no real right or wrong way to do things, and they can’t really make the calls for me.
Do you experience this dissatisfaction with increased options? What’s your go-to decision-making strategy?
So, I have my own engagement story now! And, since many people have been asking me for details, I have created an FAQ for the occasion!
When did you get engaged?
I got engaged Sunday, December 1st.
How did he propose?
Well, we went out on a romantic date to a fancy-ish restaurant in downtown Rochester, MI. Every holiday season, they are notorious for having every inch of each and every building and storefront covered in Christmas lights. They’re all different colors – some patterned, some solid – it’s really beautiful. At dinner, we were lucky enough to be sat a table by the window so I could see the town from my table. This particular restaurant has paper as table cloths and crayons at each setting. I always love this and have fun drawing and writing things to him across the table. It’s fun seeing how well I can or cannot write mushy things upside down. Our food was great, and then we head out to walk a block or two along the lit-up town.
Our next stop was this fantastic dessert and coffee shop that has a significantly artsy, cafe ambiance and atmosphere. They’ve got everything – house-roasted coffee, cheesecakes, mousse, etc. We decided on chocolate fondue for two, and settled into a love seat by a coffee table. We talked while our chocolate melted and got warm, and they brought over the dish of our fruit and cookies to dip. Once we had finished, we began discussing logistics and timelines of getting married. Luke then began an adorable little monologue about things he loves about me and how he doesn’t want to ever be with anyone else, and proceeded to get on one knee in front of me (still sitting on the couch). He pulled out the ring box, asked me to marry him, which I answered “yes” and we hugged and it’s pretty typical from there!
His car has bluetooth capability so we ended the nigh by sitting in his warm car, calling our families on speakerphone together to tell them we were engaged.
It was perfect, and even though it was technically a public engagement, because we were sitting and he just shifted his weight to get on one knee on the floor, it really wasn’t obvious at all what he was doing. It still felt very private and intimate. No crowd applauding, no congratulatory comments on our way out. It was perfect.
Did you cry or scream?
Haha, no, I didn’t. =]
Did you know it was coming?
Yes, I did. I had known for a while because we discussed it a lot. Nevertheless I had been feeling held in such suspense! It’s been surreal that it’s actually happened.
Do you have a date planned?
Well, we have a couple in mind. It’s been less than a week, so any planning that I’ve/we’ve done has been really spontaneous and kind of up-in-the-air still. We want to make sure the date we choose works best for the most important people to us before we move forward with plans and announcements. We are looking at May or early June, though. I’ll keep you posted.
Where are you getting married?
I also have no clue about this yet. Like I said, it’s been less than a week. He proposed on Sunday, and it is Friday (technically, it’s the wee hours of Saturday morning).
What’s the best part about being engaged?
The best part has really been the fact that I have been feeling so special to have my sister and two best friends so excited for me and so enthusiastic about everything, and that Luke’s family has done absolutely nothing but welcomed me with open arms and excited smiles. It’s been very sweet.
Also, I like being able to actually discuss/toy with plans and ideas without looking like a lame person for planning her wedding before even being engaged. I’m not gonna lie, that was definitely happening a little bit. Guilty. Sue me.
What is the most difficult part about being engaged?
In the moment, I want to say the most difficult part has been trying to nail down a date. Luke and I are both anxious to just be able to have a date decided and run with it. I feel like everyday I’ve been making calls trying to figure out what day works for our immediate families and best friends. Once we can just get a solid date decided, we’ll feel like we can actually get started on some other solid plans and begin to flesh out the actual wedding.
Another really difficult thing is still dealing with the recent passing of my wonderful grandmother (my mom’s mom), and figuring out how to make room for all the happy and excitement in all the grief and pain and complicated family matters that arise from such events. Luke told me the night he proposed that he was hoping to propose on my birthday (September 16th), but nothing about that really went right (the weather was awful, and our plans involved a lot of outdoors – and also I hurt my ankle very badly), so he held off. The first thing that popped into my head at that time was If he had proposed on my birthday, I could have called Grammy about it. I did tell Luke this. We’ve talked about it and he actually told me it came up in a conversation with her and he got to tell her how he had a ring and was planning to propose ASAP. That makes me really happy, that she knew. Grief comes in waves, and more than once in just this week, I’ve found myself looking at one thing or another that made me think of her, or even just thinking about how excited and adoring she would be over the situation and crying. But it’s okay. Ultimately, right now I’m so very glad to have a reason to bring my family together for something to celebrate, considering a funeral was cause for our last gathering.
Additionally, I’m having a terribly difficult time getting used to calling him my fiancee. So, that’s pretty hard. Words are hard. whomp whomp.