Friday, February 27, 2009

The Hunt Begins

This weekend I'm going to start checking out possible wedding venues. I figure even though Kristian is out of town I can get a jump start and if I like the places I can bring him back to check them out. First up on the to-do list is to find a church. Since neither Kristian nor I currently belong to a church we have to find one that is willing to let non members marry there. Kristian was raised Catholic but he no longer goes to Catholic church and has some issues with a lot of their teachings. I consider myself non-denominational but I was baptized Methodist so I've been looking at mostly Methodist churches and some Presbyterian ones as well. Christian wedding ceremony's are basically the same regardless of the actual denomination.

My goal is to go to two of the churches on my list on Sunday morning. I plan to hit up the 8:30am service for one and the 11:15am service for the other. My grandmother would be so proud! Of course come Sunday morning when I'm lying in my nice warm bed I may opt out of the 8:30am one this week. We'll see.

I will be checking out Oakton Methodist Church which I've passed a million times and always wondered how it looked on the inside. A vendor of mine just went to a wedding there and said it was really cute and the pastor did a good job.

The second one is Falls Church Presbyterian Church from what I can tell it looks like a beautiful old stone church which is right up my alley. For our wedding I would prefer a church that actually looks like a church.

I'm hoping that whatever church we end up with we will be able to start going to on a regular basis. I think it would be more meaningful to get married someplace that we are familiar with rather then some random building we've only been in a few times.

Then Sunday night I'm going to an open house at Top of the Town with my mother and one of my bridesmaids. I believe that they are having one of their caterers coming in for this. This is one of my top choices for a reception site even though I know it's pretty pricey. I can't wait to see what it looks like in person.

My goal is to have a church and reception site picked out by the end of March so the next few weekends will probably be pretty busy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Passport to a Tupperware Party

Today I went to apply for my very first passport! I've only left the country once and that was 10 years ago to go to the Bahama's and I only needed my birth certificate to get in and out of the country. Well Kristian and I are planning a trip to Mexico in May for my birthday so we both needed to get our passports. He went last week before he left for his CA trip but I wasn't able to go until today.

The whole experience was rather assuming. I was sitting at the desk filling out the paperwork and the older woman that was helping me asked if this was for my honeymoon...obviously she saw I was wearing a ring. I told her that it was for another trip and that my honeymoon would be next year sometime. She then told me about how to go about getting a new passport once I'm married and change my name. Apparently if I get married and apply for a new one within the year it's free (unfortunately we won't be getting married within the next 12 months). Anyway she then started asking me how long I've been dating my fiance and when we got engaged etc. I was polite and answered her questions even though I'm not a big fan of chit chatting with strangers, especially about my personal life.

The funny part came when she was said 'So I'm assuming you'll need to put your kitchen together' I took this as old woman speak for registering for the wedding. I said that yes we would need to register later on since we don't live together and that's when she mentioned she sells tupperware and maybe I could host a party for her to sell my friends and I tupperware!!! I'm sure it's against the rules to solicit people for a side business but I smiled and just said that would be fine...after all she has control of my passport application and nothing is coming between me and Mexico!! She said that she could call me after hours so we could set up a date for her to come by...uh I will be screening my calls like a champ the next few days! She then mentioned that she's hoping to retire soon and hopes that she can just get away with selling Tupperware from now on.

All I could do was try not to laugh. She was a very sweet lady and I did appreciate her help and information about changing over my passport once I'm married but that doesn't make us Tupperware BFF's. I had no idea this is what comes with wearing a ring!

Monday, February 23, 2009

location, location, location

When it comes to wedding planning everybody has their own way of approaching this beast of a job, most magazines/blogs say that the first thing you need to do is create a budget. Followed by deciding on the number of people to invite, picking a date etc. etc. Admittedly Kristian and I haven't come up with a budget yet, other then "as inexpensive as possible". A large reason for this is because we don't know how much money he'll be making once his starts his commission-based job. Since we will paying for a majority of this shindig that will definitely play a big role in how much we can spend.

In the meantime I've decided to start getting some pricing together so that we can see what to expect. Since we live in one of the more expensive areas of the country trying to plan a budget friendly wedding is not going to be easy. The largest chunk of the budget will go towards our venue/catering. Most magazines say that's a good 50% of the budget. Since most of the places I've found have site fees, it doesn't seem to make a difference (initially) as to how many guests are invited. Some of the more fancy sites even require a minimum amount spent on food/drinks...this is total bullshit in my opinion.

I've contacted a few places already and started getting pricing which has caused me to want to shed a few tears and consider eloping however I know that with a little creativity and some scrimping in other areas that aren't as important to me like invitations and flowers we can hopefully make this work.

The one thing I'm pretty sure of is that we will have a church ceremony followed by a reception elsewhere. Even though it's usually cheaper and much easier to hold both the ceremony and reception in one location I've always envisioned myself getting married in a church. This is kind of surprising considering that neither I nor Kristian are very religious. But to me a wedding is a religious event and it just feels right for me to have it in a church. I also love the idea of getting married outside by the water or in a beautiful garden but the unpredicibility of the weather and the added stress of worrying about rain isn't worth it to me.

The funny thing about the few reception sites I've contacted so far is that they are all very different from each other. One of the things I do want is a place with either easy, direct access to some outdoor area or at least a lot of windows to give the feel of being outside. I think this may make up for my fear of planning an outdoor wedding. So far some of the spots I'm looking at are:

Top of the Town in Arlington VA-
This venue overlooks DC and apparently has a view that is to die for. I think it would be great to overlook the city and get the feel of having a "DC wedding". I showed Kristian the website of this place and he really liked it as well.

Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Falls Church VA-
I love the idea of getting married surrounded by tress and flowers and since there are so many windows looking out we wouldn't need as much decor on the inside of the Atrium. This is one of the more popular spots in the area to get married and therefore one of the pricier spots. However one of my friends sister is the event coordinator there so I'm hoping maybe she can help me out.

Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa in MD-
The great thing about this place is that it overlooks the water and all the boats. Kristian loves the water and I think this would be a spot that he would really enjoy. It's a bit out of the way (about an hour drive from NoVA) but from what I can tell the pricing isn't too bad.

Old Town Hall in Fairfax, VA
This location definitely seems to be the most affordable so far and is located right down the street from where I live now. It's in the old Town Hall building (hence the name). I've only seen it from the outside and it looks really cute. I've even driven by and seen wedding parties going in.

I still need to go visit all of these places in person as well as continue to look into other (cheaper) venue options. I also still need to find a church that is willing to marry non members and isn't located too far from whatever reception site we decide on...oh yeah and make sure both places have openings on the same day! It's a good thing I do project management on a day to day basis and deal with coordinating vendors and schedules because it's going to come in handy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I had to wake up at 5:30am today in order to take Kristian to the airport. He flew out to CA today for two weeks to train for his new job. This will be the longest we've gone without seeing each other since we began dating. It will definitely be hard not being able to see him for 14 days but I realize it could be worse and I'm hoping it will go by quickly.

The one positive about him being gone is that it will give me ample time to pour over my wedding magazines and continue with my internet research. Since I don't want to spend all our time together talking about/planning the wedding this will give me plenty of time to focus on all things wedding without boring my fiance to death. I'm hoping by the time he gets back to have a lot of information/pricing for us to look over and start figuring out at least some of the big details like budget, date, venue, size etc.

In the meantime I went to Target (one of my favorite places) and bought some materials to put together a wedding notebook and stay organized as much as possible. I've seen so many ideas over the years that I've torn out of magazines that I now need to finally start getting it all organized and together in one location. This is starting to feel like a really big homework assignment but probably the best homework assignment I've ever had.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A perfect fit

Once I got my beautiful engagement ring we realized that it was a tad on the big side. This was the case despite the fact that Kristian had looked at several of the rings I already had and used them on his pinkie as his measuring tool, apparently this is not the most affective way to gauge a person's ring size. Anyway, the fact that the ring was a bit looser then I was comfortable with didn't stop me from wearing it (carefully) for three days. I just couldn't bear to take it off.

Fortunately the jewelry store where the ring was purchased was very helpful and accommodating. They were able to re size the ring from 6 3/4 to 5 1/4 in a day and free of charge! When I went over to K's house last night he told me that the ring was unfortunately not ready yet and would be another day. I understood and only pouted for a brief second until he got down on his knee again and re-proposed (in almost the exact same spot) and held out my newly sized ring. He's so cute...and apparently a big liar! :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Big Moment

Kristian and I had only been dating a couple of months when we first started talking about getting married. We even went together to look at rings which was a very surreal experience for me. We didn't have any set timeline for when a proposal would take place. I wasn't in any hurry however I didn't feel the need to date for years before getting engaged either.

In January Kristian got laid off from his job thanks to the poor economy. Thankfully it only took him about 3 weeks before he found another job. However due to his brief unemployment I figured that any possible proposal wouldn't be happening for a while...little did I know the big purchase had already been made.

On Valentine's Day I went over to Kristian's house for dinner. I figured he had done some decorating since the night before he said we couldn't hang out partly due to him needing to get stuff ready. However I did not expect to see what I did when I walked in the door. He had his entire dining room decorated, including balloons, flowers, a banner, rose petals and candy hearts on the table and even streamers. It was amazing and I started to cry. No man has ever done anything so sweet for me before. He cooked an amazing dinner of steak, twice baked potatoe, green beans and salad.

As we ate dinner we were playing my "love mix" on my IPOD and I began to read the 22 hearts he had cut out of red paper. On each heart he had written a reason he loves me. After dinner we even slowed danced a bit, it was all very romantic. As I was standing in the dining room talking to the cat and not paying attention K went to get the ring. He came back out as the song "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz was playing (this has been one of our songs since we started dating and we even went to see him in concert). He told me he couldn't wait any longer and got down on his knees. I thought he was messing with me since there was no way he could have a ring and therefore couldn't possibly be proposing. I kept telling him to stop messing around and to stand up but then I looked down again and he was holding out a little wooden box. That's when I began to freak out. He opened the box and asked me to marry him. I was in complete shock and just kept saying "oh my god" over and over again. Finally after what I'm sure seemed like forever I said yes.

The funny thing about it was that he told me he truly didn't plan to propose. In fact he kept telling himself NOT to propose. He thought that I would find a Vday proposal cheesy and he was going to try to wait until May when we go on our trip to Mexico. However he said the setting was too perfect he couldn't resist. I asked him about the ring since I had no idea he had gotten it. He said he bought the diamond in November...NOVEMBER...designed the setting in December and just got it back a few weeks ago. I was shocked for the simple fact that he has the hardest time keeping presents from me until the actual holiday/event. In fact he gave me my actual Vday present (a necklace) a few days beforehand because he couldn't wait.

The ring is absolutely beautiful and exactly what I wanted. It's 1 1/4 carat cushion cut for the center stone and 2 carats total. I never in my life thought I would have something so beautiful to wear or a man so wonderful to give it to me. Now all the planning fun begins!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And so it begins....

After waiting almost 29 years...going on countless dates...and watching almost all my friends get married (and being a bridesmaid a few times) I have finally found the man I am going to marry and he popped the big question to me this past weekend on Valentine's Day!

I met my future husband Kristian last summer. We had our first date at the end of August, the night before I left to go to the beach for a week with my family. For some reason that night I felt inspired to wear a dress which is something I NEVER did on a first date. I would usually try to keep it more casual with jeans and a cute top. I guess subconsciously I knew this guy would be special. We went to Bonefish Grille and had a fantastic meal and I immediately felt comfortable with him and knew I would see him again. We kept in touch throughout the week via text while I was on vacation. We went out on our second date the night after I got home and we've been together ever since.

Our relationship has moved pretty quickly and at times I know people wondered if we were moving too fast. But after spending the last decade dating around and meeting lots of people we both knew immediately that we had found a great thing. Kristian is everything I ever hoped for in a boyfriend/husband...not only is he stunningly handsome ;-) but he's hands down the sweetest man I've ever known. He's constantly going out of his way for me and always trying to make me happy. But I think the best part is that I can totally be myself around him and he loves me despite my weird little quirks. We always have fun together whether we are just laying on the couch watching LOST, hiking in the woods or going out for a fancy dinner. Over the past six months we've already been through so much together- the loss of jobs, a major surgery, the holidays and meeting extended family, a friend's wedding and so much more.

These have truly been the best six months of my life and I can't wait to spend my life with this amazing man!