If you are reading this, you either:
- Just got engaged and are genuinely curious about what I had to go through.
- Are married and would like to reminisce on the beautiful struggle that went into a day like this
- OR… you are sitting at your computer with a glass of wine in hand and ready to dive into my personal stress head on. Welcome brave and curious person :].
My wedding planning began only 24 hours after Zach and I returned from our first big vacation to the Greek Islands. If anyone would have mentioned that I could possibly get engaged while on this vacation I would have honestly laughed. First, Zach and I never really talked about marriage. We really are the type of couple to just live day to day and enjoy every little moment without too much future planning. So, needless to say when my then boyfriend of 3 years got down on one knee successfully without ripping his pants, I was shocked, and my immediate reaction was to cry. After all, I had found my hatter. The man that so precisely planned this moment for months, hide a ring through 4 different foreign countries customs without my “always aware of everything” self seeing it, and proposed at a winery overlooking the ocean at sunset on the island of Santorini. Okay we can all go home now.
I knew after that moment I could no longer call myself the more romantic person in our relationship. He had me beat, and for once in my life, I did not mind losing.
We were on a tour, so of course 34 people that we had practically became family to over the course of the previous days were crying alongside us, taking pictures, and marveling over my ring while I collected myself and looked at my future husband. I do not think I have ever seen someone more proud of themselves.
OOOOOHHHHHH you thought this was all just one big happy and overly adorable sharing of my proposal… well lets fast forward to that night and what I call the first panic attack of the engagement :] Because I can’t lie to you, and thus I am going to admit that on my engagement night, I went into shock… fetal position, on the small European bed…shock.
It might come as a surprise to those couples that have not taken the plunge yet, but getting in engaged is a VERY LARGE STEP, so please do not take it lightly as just another milestone in the relationship. This is the the first step, of the rest of your life, and my brain and body knew it as soon as I settled into bed with my then collected thoughts on what had just happened. And I finally thought it…. “I have to plan a wedding.”
***Que Panic Attack to end any potential romance that might have taken place. Here is a beautiful synopsis of what it looked like for all of those curious :]
Fetal position, burrito blanket wrapped, freezing and jaw clenching, crying, and wondering why I am having a panic attack on what should be one of the happiest days of my life thus far. Well, because what I want everyone to know who won’t understand what I was going through is that I was happy, I was so happy that my brain flipped a switch and took this engagement so seriously that I shut down from happiness. And that still might not make any sense. But when I was laying there, it was Zach who understood what I was feeling because (your significant other should know you better than you know yourself), did not take me freaking out personally, and stayed up till I fell asleep.
Fast forward a week later, and finally at home with our baby… I mean dog Lucy. I got straight to wedding planning because Zach had to go back to work and I had 3 weeks before I went back to teaching.
Step 1: Find your vendor (during this time you should hire a wedding coordinator if you are rich and can afford it, I am jealous of you… but I survived so you can too :])
Step 2: Ask solid people who are awesome and will come thru for you on your wedding day to be your bridesmaids and groomsmen. I had 9 and Zach had 8… we wanted a mini army.
Step 3: Create your wedding website to put on the save the date and inform people on how 21st century you are.
Step 4: Buy your dress & get fitted for suits
Step 5: book your photographer and videographer
Step 6: order save the dates, stamps, & return address stickers (send out or you will plagiarize)
Step 7: find and taste different places for food
step 8: Breakdown and finally ask your partner for help even though he always asks but you say stupid stuff like, “I’ve got this.”
Step 9: Decide whether you are going for a do it yourself centerpiece or hire a professional with the skills I do not have to keep a plant alive to create a magical set up that makes your guests go “OOOOOO.”
Step 10: Start panicking because you have a job, pay bills, need to balance friend relationships with your family and significant other, and should probably sleep and throwing anything else into that, like planning a wedding, would make even the most put together of us crack. I cracked…
Step 11: Send out the invitations (please do not do what I did and try to calligraphy the names on the front like you have seen on pinterest) and if your partner asks if he can help regardless of his not like yours handwriting, you freaking let him.
Step 12: Get the little stuff like… cake cutter, mr/mrs toasting glasses, thank you cards for after wedding, extra decor that is not already supplied by the venue, table numbers, guest book, card box, etc. I got all of this from Michaels craft store.
Step 13: If you have created a website using The Knot, it will have a timeline of when you should do things.. and really you should treat it like the wedding bible.
And then, I finally heard wedding bells
If you have made it all the way to this part of my adventure, then I am here to tell you that every last bit of stress, was completely and utterly worth it. The night before Zach and my big day we had a rehearsal dinner at his parents house that was my kind of perfect. The kind that comes with only those closest to you, is showered with personally placed twinkling lights, and pictures your mother in law decided to place everywhere herself to remind us of our journey from then until now. I was slightly anxious from time to time, we were after all getting married the next day and I couldn’t help but wonder if I had forgotten to do something. Although, that changed the minute it was time to exchange our gifts and I was forever calmed because of what happened next.
I wanted to go first because well, I am a crier and I knew if his gift made me cry, then I was going to be down for the count and chicken out when it was time to give my gift to him. He of course insisted that I should get my gift first. I was completely nervous, shaking, and the thought of what did he get me was choking me because he had not even hinted (WHICH WAS NOT LIKE HIM). And then I peeled back the corner to the perfectly wrapped present, and immediately broke down into tears that transported me back to when I was 13 and begged my parents for a typewriter.
However, I was crying for two reasons: 1. He had gotten me something timeless that is my soul purpose for living: writing. 2. Behind our officiate hid the journal that I had been writing in since the day he proposed. A journal that I had filled of love notes, memories of our engagement, and appreciation for him that he could keep and read whenever he wished. And this journal, had a typewriter on the front cover.
I never needed anyone to tell me we were perfect for each other, but in that moment, it was official.
That night I went to bed with my bridesmaids sleeping in different parts of my house, and my best friend beside me. I was calm, and I was so excited. That feeling lasted the entire next day from getting to the venue, to the “I do’s”, to us falling asleep after it was all over to pizza and a movie in our hotel room.
And I will never have another day like it, which is fine because… your wedding day is meant to be special.
Last on this blog post is a clear and concise list of my vendors, their contact information (because they were my silent yet deadly army that made my day happen), and a list of websites I used to make things easier (because my parents did not have stuff like the internet to make seating charts and they should be jealous ;])
Desert Foothills Wedding and Events
Dan and Erin Dezago PhotoCinema
Based in Arizona
Based in Arizona
Owner: Bess Tilley
Based in Arizona
Based in Arizona
Grace Style and Bridal
owner: Hayley Benjamin
Based in Arizona
Based in Arizona
My wedding website created using The Knot:
High school English teacher, Arizona State University, blogger.