Let’s Do This Thing

A few things have become clear in the three months Jay and I have been engaged:

  1. I can’t wait to be married.
  2. Wedding planning is for the birds, even when it’s supposed to be super casual.
  3. People LOVE to discuss a wedding.

I don’t know if maybe I just haven’t been in around anyone, proximity-wise, who was newly affianced (shut up, it’s a word), but all of those things came as a surprise to me. First, I didn’t think the piece of paper that said we were married would be so important to me, since we’re already doing almost all the things married couples do anyway. But now that I know he’s going to be my husband, well, I just want him to be my husband already. Like, right now.

Second, and I won’t go into details here, but I can’t help feeling a sense of dread about all the work that is still left to be done to pull off a wedding of even a small size. Every time something gets finalized twelve more things are added to the list. It’s terrible to think that your wedding day is going to be filled with worry about porta-potties and rain storms, but what can I do? I’ve already decided to let go of what I have to because it’s going to be fun to have all my favorite people there regardless of weather… but dammit, it’s just not in my nature to be all laissez-faire about an event. I SAID ROSE GOLD FOR THE MASON JARS ARE YOU CRAZY WITH THE MATTE GOLD? Ahem.

At least twice a day someone asks me about the wedding. Most of the time they use it to segue into a conversation about their own, which I don’t usually mind, but hello, Woman Who Never Talked To Me Before November, suddenly I’m the most interesting person to you because I’m wearing a ring? When I discussed this with Jay he seemed genuinely interested in this phenomenon. Since dudes don’t wear engagement rings things have barely been any different for him, except when he has to call me fiancé instead of girlfriend. For a girl, it’s like something has shifted once you have a ring. I can literally watch men at the gym or at a bar or on the train look at me, look down at my hand, then move on to the next girl to see if there’s a chance. (I actually kind of like this part. MOVE ALONG, WEIRDOS.) Then suddenly I’ve been invited to join a group of women at work for lunch on Fridays who are all married, when I was never invited before. And you know what? They all want to talk about our wedding. And also their in-laws, and their wedding, and their honeymoon. They want to try on my ring and recommend jewelers and debate DJs versus bands. And all the while I want to shout, “Yes, I’m getting married, but I was interesting and fun even before I was engaged! I swear there is more to me than a wedding!”

Hmph. I guess what what it boils down to is that it’s very lovely to think Jay will soon be my husband, but also that being engaged is a very, very strange time. Hurry up, July!

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Not So Easy Breezy

Whenever people would tell me that they had an extravagant wedding because their parents wanted them to I would scoff. My parents would never try to make me have something I didn’t want! Mumsy has told me horror stories about how her parents forced her into something super traditional and expensive since they were paying for it (probably why my dad chose a powder blue tux for himself and orange for his groomsmen… and I wonder where I get my oppositional streak), so I knew they’d be happy to let us plan whatever we like.

Until the other night, when I called my mom to discuss, for the very first time, anything even remotely wedding-like. These are the actual things she said to me in the 10 minutes I could stand to stay on the phone:

  • You want to have it in Connecticut? Who do you think is going to come to that?
  • You’re thinking July? Why, so we can all sweat to death?
  • Who’s paying for this?
  • Ok, let me look at some of the ideas you posted on Pinterest: the photobooth idea is stupid, absolutely not to those centerpieces, mason jars are redneck, hate that, hate that, hate that, that dress wouldn’t look good on you, no, no, no.
  • YOU DON’T WANT A CAKE?!

Even though I was just discussing possibilities, things Jay and I have talked about, her rudeness made that hereditary oppositional streak come out in full force. I was very close to ordering everything she hated just to spite her, but managed to hold back. Instead, I said: “Good thing you’re not planning the wedding, then. We’re going to pick what we want, and we like all those ideas, and you’re being rude.” Didn’t faze her at all. She insisted that she absolutely does get to plan part of the wedding, and when I insisted just as hard that she didn’t she plaintively asked, “What do I get to pick, then?” I told her she could pick where she was sitting.

Needless to say, the conversation did not end well. I was mostly bewildered by her attitude, but also overwhelmed with angry and disappointed feelings. I know she’s probably stressed about things like money and time and she’s just not great at expressing her anxieties, but damn, Mumsy. Jay seems to think she’ll come around eventually. That would be really nice, of course, but if she doesn’t, maybe I’ll just have to remind her that her wedding ending with people getting so drunk they stole cars out of the parking lot and crashed them, and ate bowls of hummus using rolled up dollar bills as bread.

**Update: She texted me to say she gave herself an attitude adjustment about the whole thing. Not an apology, but something at least? Unfortunately we talked on the phone after that, which ended with actual tears on her part when I said I was thinking about hiring an ice cream truck. I think she’s going to have a really hard time with this process. Pull it together, Mumsy Lou!

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Alternatives

Maybe it’s because Jay and I are planning to get married later in life than most of the people we know, but a lot of the trappings of weddings are completely lost on me. I guess I’ve had plenty of time to think about things in an abstract way: would I want to change my name? Would I care if I had a white dress? Is it possible to not ask your sister to be your maid of honor, or would she be mortally offended? Except now those questions are not so abstract. They’re very real, and decisions need to start being made. Will I change my name? Still undecided. I mean, my name is my name, but it might be weird to have kids and not have the same name as them. Do I want a white dress? I do think white would look nice on me if I had a summer glow-y tan, but terrible if I was my normal pale self, so… maybe. Do I have to ask my sister? No, I don’t, but I probably would if I was planning to have bridesmaids at all, which I’m not.

Here are the (only) things I know for certain we want:

  1. Nothing religious
  2. Don’t care about most wedding traditions (e.g. father-daughter dances, smashing cake in each other’s faces)
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Fun

Because we really just want to have a party and would prefer to have the ceremony privately it feels a little strange to even call it a wedding, but for the life of me I can’t think of a suitable alternative. I’d call it a “wedding”, but that makes me sound like some kind of ironic hipster. A “We’re Filing Joint Taxes!” party is also kind of asshole-ish. Why is there no other format for getting married than a wedding? I guess I’ll just suck it up and use the W word.

I have this one co-worker who has to decided to ask me about the wedding every single time she sees me, which, since we work together, is every single day. Lady, even if I was actively planning something huge I wouldn’t have daily updates for you. No, I don’t want the number to the place where your daughter bought her dress. No, I would not like to see pictures of her winter wedding at a castle. No, I definitely do not care how much she spent on gold ribbon. But, you know, it seems like the kind of topic people really latch on to, and I don’t know how to make it any more clear that I’m not interested in what anyone else did. Or at least, not as it pertains to what Jay and I want to do.

Would things have been different if I had gotten married at 20? Obviously. For one thing, I’d already be divorced. For another, I know myself so much better at 35! I can take a step back to say, “Self? No to getting married while you’re still in college, and an even bigger no to that body glitter.”

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The End

I MADE IT! Thirty posts in thirty days. Isn’t it crazy how much your life can change in one month? Something that hasn’t changed, though: NaBloPoMo still sucks. Posting on the weekends was never fun, and it was extra challenging this month when I was home for exactly three weekend days out of the entire November.

They may not have been my finest work (hell, I wouldn’t even say they were good), but they’re completed.

Whatever. As usual, NPDubs pulled out a win! Not that I actually get anything for this except to say I did it. Which, actually, now that I’m thinking about this clearly, why on Earth did I think this was a good idea?! I should at least get a trophy or some shit. And bonus for you: now it’s Stefanie’s turn! But since I know she’s going to refuse (quitter!), I am passing the torch to Courtney and then to Badger Reader. Who knows, maybe we can make it three engagements in three months! What do you say, ladies?

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The Proposal

Ask and ye shall receive. The story of how Jay proposed:

Just about two years ago Jay and were only a couple months into our relationship and decided to get away for a weekend. We picked Portland, Maine, partly because it’s lovely there and partly because it’s an amazing place for people who enjoy food and drink like we do.

When we arrived at our hotel we were delighted at how cozy it felt. There was just one thing: there was a strange little mini stage in the corner of the room. We ended up laughing ourselves silly imagining what the stage was for and declaring that we would have a karaoke-off on it. Well, the singing never happened, but we did really enjoy that little stage and would bring it up years later to make each other giggle.

On Friday when we got to the hotel, Jay grabbed the keys and we headed up to the room. “This seems really familiar… is this the same room?” But when we opened the door I knew it couldn’t be. There was no stage! Little did I know that Jay had indeed requested the same room but that in the last two years they had gotten rid of that stage and re-tiled the floor.

We headed down to the hotel lounge to grab a drink before dinner and we laughed about how we could still have a singing competition even without the stage in the room. I made a bold claim that I would just stand on the bed and sing, and that I still knew all the words to the French national anthem so that was my choice. Let this be a lesson to you all: if your boyfriend is determined to make you perform, he is not going to care that you were kidding when you chose La Marseillaise as your song.

Once back in the room Jay was all, “Get up on that bed and sing!”. Not to be made a liar, I stood on that bed and sang the whole anthem complete with military salutes while Jay watched from the couch. And then it was Jay’s turn to perform.

He hopped up on the bed and told me I was not allowed to video this performance. He turned around and loaded a song on his phone and then… you guys. Do you remember the 90s R&B song “I Love Your Smile”, by Shanice? I bet you do, even if you don’t think you do. Hold on, I’ll let you jog your memory.

YouTube Preview Image

Jay legit danced and sang that song like no one’s business and I was delighted because he plays that song for me in the mornings when I wake up and it’s so ridiculous and so us that I couldn’t believe he was doing a WHOLE ROUTINE TO IT. He always says “I DO love your smile! But that song is terrible. But I REALLY DO love your smile! But seriously, that song is the worst.”

And it is. But that’s why it’s also the best.

So he was singing and dancing and then suddenly he spun around and got down on his knee and I was still sitting across the room when he asked me to marry him. I am mildly embarrassed to tell you, I was frozen to my seat. I also kept repeating “Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS?”, and finally: “Yes!”

Jay turned off Shanice and came over to me on the couch and told me all the sweet things but I needed to try that ring on. It’s so shiny and so perfect, and Jay and the Mumsy Lou spent months sneaking around to pick out the setting and get it made. I have no idea how my Mumsy kept a secret that long, but now that I know they’re super sneaks I will keep it in mind for the future.

And that’s it. We are engaged. To be married! It’s crazy and wonderful and perfect, just like us.

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Jive Turkeys

turkeyEat your faces off this weekend, my lovelies. And please: have some extra wine for me. You deserve it.

Cheers!

 

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Another Weekend Away

Gah. You guys. This whole week is going to be a mess. Half day at school, run home to bake, drive to Connecticut, spend Thanksgiving with the future in-laws (!!!), drive back Saturday morning for a baby shower in New Hampshire. Basically, zero seconds to relax and do nothing which is kind of the point of the long Thanksgiving weekend (besides the food).

I know I shouldn’t be complaining that we’re busy visiting loved ones, but for my own sanity I know I need at least one night per week to legit sit on my ass and just zone out while powering through the DVR. I swear, after this weekend I’m going to start blocking out my calendar to include Zone Out Days. You know, except for all the days we’ll be doing stuff for the holidays. Sigh.

But for now I’m off to make Pecan Pumpkin Crunch Bars, pickled watermelon rinds wrapped in maple bacon, and brussel sprouts with a balsamic reduction. Plus, I was able to purchase all the alcohol for the baby shower online just now: PRAISE THE INTERNET! So please tell me what you’re making so that I can drool from afar.

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Questions, Questions

Why is it that the second you tell someone you’re engaged they ask if you’ve set a date yet? Is that a thing? Do people propose and then immediately check their Google calendar and say “how does August 26th work for you to get this done?” Who cares about a date?! Man, I’ve waited 34 years to find someone amazing and have them feel the same way and people don’t even want us to enjoy it for a second before we’re consumed with details!

So in case you were wondering: no. We haven’t. Quite honestly, neither of us is interested in anything traditional, religious, or expensive, so it might take us a little while to think of an alternative that we love, and we’re ok with that.

Quickly following the question about a date is to ask how Jay proposed. While it was adorable and perfect for us, it requires some back story to tell, a 90s R&B hit, and some improvising on Jay’s part when everything didn’t work out quite as he planned. That is to say, not a story to tell in the twenty seconds you have while standing at the copy machine in between classes.

But don’t worry: I promise I’ll tell you all. I just want to make sure I get as many posts out of this as I can.

(Kidding! We’re just both super busy preparing for Thanksgiving and shopping and hanging with friends and family who want to celebrate.) (But yeah. At least five posts.)

Anyway, I’ve only ever been engaged once so I don’t have much experience with this situation, but I feel acutely aware and awkward about so much attention on me. I love that everyone is so excited for us, but wow. I haven’t blushed so much since 7th grade sex ed.

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Heh, Oops

Well, I feel a little silly about those scheduled posts considering what really transpired over the weekend. In case you were one of the few people that missed the news, Jay proposed to me on Friday night up in Portland! And of course I said yes, because he’s my favorite person ever. We celebrated all weekend, which was amazing and perfect and full of love. As my sister texted me: “Are you guys all sloppy lovey dopey eyes stumbling around today?!” Yes. Yes we were. It was probably sickening to everyone else but we didn’t even care.

Even just the memory of it erases the fact that I had to return to work today, plus grocery shop at The Store of Nightmares and do stupid things like laundry and dishes. Because shiny diamond! Proposal! Fiancé! GETTING MARRIED!

Plus, seriously: how cute are we?

engagement

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Happy Birthday to ME!

birthdaycat

Still in Portland, but let me be the first to say: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SELF! This has been a pretty great year, but even though the bar has been set high I fully expect you to top it with the next.

And I hope you all enjoy my birthday as much as I know I will. Go on. Have an extra piece of cake. Birthday cat even says so.

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