Friday, May 29, 2009

An Engaging Event

Tomorrow is our engagement party! My mother very generously offered to throw us a small party to celebrate our engagement. She did the same thing when my older brother got married so she wanted to host something for us as well. My mom sent out really cute invites that she printed herself.


After some discussion we decided to rent out a pavilion at one of the many parks in NoVA and have an outdoor picnic type of event. I wanted something very casual and laidback and that wouldn't cost a whole lot of money. We ended up renting one of the gazebos in Occoquan Regional Park which is a few miles from where we live. The gazebo overlooks the water and has a grille.


We decided to keep the guest list fairly small with only our immediate families and closest friends. We thought it would be a great way for everyone to meet and get to know each other prior to the wedding. I'm so excited to see my friends including my matron of honor and her husband who are driving up from Raleigh! I can't wait to see so many of the people we love all together in one place!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Groom's Engagement Gift

Shortly after getting engaged I started thinking of an engagement gift to give to Kristian. I knew it wasn't something I had to do and not something that is traditionally done but I felt bad that he had spent all this money on a ring for me and didn't have anything in return...except a super cool fiancee of course!

I started thinking of various things I could get him but nothing seemed right or he flat out told me he didn't want it. Being the master fisherman that he is I guess it shouldn't surprise me that what he ultimately decided he wanted had to do with fishing. Admittedly I'm a fishing novice and still don't understand why he needs 15 different fishing poles...don't they all do the same thing?? Apparently not! Then again the same question could be posed to me about my shoe collection but we won't get into that!

So after a bit of pestering he finally sent me a link to what he wants a new fishing reel It's fairly pricey, around $550, but considering what he spent on me I really shouldn't complain. I told him that I would get him an engagement present sometime before the wedding, I'm just not sure when. Hopefully I can pull enough money together to get it by this summer so he has some time to use it this year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flower Power

This weekend Kristian and I went back down to his parents beach house for a little rest, relaxation and of course fishing (I caught two fish!) but while we were there we also discussed the wedding...more specifically the flowers. Even though I still have plenty of time before I need to really figure out bouquets/centerpieces we couldn't help discussing possibilities for the wedding after seeing the amazing roses and peonies that his parents have in their garden.

Flowers seem to be one of the few things that Kristian really has an interest in when it comes to wedding planning. While most men could care less about flowers and wouldn't know the difference between a carnation and a tulip Kristian definitely has a green thumb and is really interested in landscaping, plants and flowers. After seeing his parents garden I now know where he gets it from.

The flowers at his parents house truly are amazing, I've never seen such full, beautiful roses and peonies outside of a flower shop. They were in shades ranging from white to pink to red and his mother had several vases full around the house. The vase in the kitchen full of light and dark pink peonies alone would have made a beautiful wedding centerpiece.

I've never really been drawn to the overly ornate bouquets and centerpieces with 5 different kinds of flowers mixed together. I like simpler arrangements of one or two different types in tight bundles. The great thing about peonies is that they are large blossoms and as with hydrangeas (another favorite) you don't need many for a centerpiece or bouquet which equates to less $$$.

So after some discussion Kristian and I decided that if possible we will try to incorporate peonies into the wedding decor. Another bonus is that peonies are in season in May which should also help with the cost.

Check out the beautiful flowers that his mother cut for us to bring home.


Friday, May 22, 2009

One Year

Today, May 22, 2009, is the one year "pre-aversary" to our wedding. Okay I don't think "pre-aversary" is a real word but whatevs! In exactly 365 days and some odd hours I will become a wife! Maybe by then I'll have gotten use to being a fiancee because even after 3 months of being engaged I find it odd that is my relationship "title".

Tonight Kristian and I are going out to dinner to celebrate the one year countdown. We're planning to go out somewhere in Old Town which is close to where our wedding will take place. This will also give us a chance to walk around and check out some of the restaurants in the area for possible rehearsal dinner locations and hotels for our guests.

Ever since we booked our venue a month ago, after a stressful 2 month search, I've taken a break from wedding planning. Fortunately we had our trip to focus on so it wasn't that hard to turn my brain off from all things wedding (not that it ever completely got turned off!) but now that the trip is over and we are only one year out I know I need to get back on the wedding planning train. The next big things on the to do list are dress shopping (CAN'T WAIT), finding a photographer, having our engagement photos taken and start figuring out save the dates. Fortunately I still have a few months to get all this done but I don't want to put it off too much longer. Especially since I will be spending the next few weeks moving everything else out of my apartment and into Kristian's, hopefully having a yard sale of some sort to add to the wedding fund and of course the engagement party next weekend. It's going to be a busy summer and I'm hoping to get a lot of the bigger stuff squared away by September.

But for today I'm just going to sit here and daydream about where I'll be this time next year and how happy I am to be marrying the man I love!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reason #7,546,342....

why I love my fiance....he called me at work today and told me to meet him out in front of my building in one minute (he works 1 mile down the road from me). When I went outside he pulled up and gave me these:


When I asked him what these were for he simply responded "Because I love you". And that my friends is reason #7,546,342 why I love him so much!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jamaica Update

Saturday night Kristian and I returned from a fantastic week in Jamaica. We left early- 5am! - Saturday the 9th. Our first flight down to Ft. Lauderdale went smoothly and we even had the chance to meet up with my friend Kristen and her husband who live down there during our 4 hour layover. We finally arrived in Montego Bay around 4pm. We made it thru customs pretty quickly and soon we were on a bus headed towards the resort which was a little over an hour away. On the way the bus driver filled us in on Jamaican life and the sights we were seeing. It was amazing to see some of the "houses" that Jamaicans live in. They look like they've been partially demolished. Apparently many Jamaicans live in houses while they are building them...the whole process can take years!

We pulled up to our resort, The Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, and we were very happy with what we found. Immediately the front desk staff was very friendly and before we even had our keys we were being served shots from the bar. We were then lead to our room which looked more like a hut. All of the rooms were in small stand alone buildings either right on the beach or back in the garden. We were in the garden section about 30 steps from the beach and most importantly the tiki bar. In addition to tiki bar on the beach there was a larger main bar next to the restaurant where we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. There were two additional restaurants on the resort. Everything was all inclusive which I have decided is the only way I want to travel in the future. It's sooo nice not to have to worry about bringing money everywhere and paying tabs and leaving tips. And if you order a drink and don't like it just order another! Fantastic!


Our "hut of love"


Beach Bar

We spent most of our days the same way, we would wake up, have breakfast, lay out (I would lay out and Kristian would fish or snorkel), drink, eat lunch, drink, lay out, take a nap, shower, drink, eat dinner, drink, go to bed...lather, rinse and repeat. On Tuesday, aka my birthday, Kristian bought me a wonderful massage on the beach. I got to be massaged to the sounds of crashing waves. It was wonderful. We spent the rest of the day laying out and drinking and just relaxing. It was the perfect birthday!

On Wednesday we took a "highlights" tour 20 minutes away into Ochos Rios. We went to see the Fern Gully which was a drive up into the mountain rain forest area. Then we stopped in downtown Ochos Rios for some shopping. This was an interesting experience. We went into a "tent city" full of booths with people trying to sell any and everything. We did a bit of bartering and did walk away with some nice souvenirs but overall it made us a bit uncomfortable the way people were coming at us wanting us to buy their items. After that we went to the Dunn's River Waterfall, which is a huge, beautiful waterfall that you are able to climb. You are guided up the rocks and stop in areas with pools of water. It was definitely one of the coolest things I've done.


Dunn's River Waterfall

Other than our one tour day we stayed at the resort which was a great time. I was perfectly happy laying on the beach or by the pool while Kristian had fun fishing or snorkeling. We hung out at the beach bar quite a bit and got to know some of the other guests. There were a lot of Europeans, primarily British, and also several newlyweds. In fact we saw three couples get married on the resort the last day we were there. One of the couples we wound up hanging out with at the bar after their ceremony in the sand. Turns out they got engaged the same day we did!


One of the beach areas on the resort.

Not only did we get to know the other guests but the staff as well. All of the Jamaicans we met, both on and off of the resort were incredibly friendly. Kristian bonded with a lot of the guys over fishing and asking them for advice on the best way to catch fish down there. When he told one of the guys that it was my birthday he gave me a free bottle of rum, another went to pick 3 mangoes for me off the tree.

The weather was pretty good considering that May is one of their rainiest months. We always had at least a few good hours during the day for laying out on the beach. Almost every night however it would pour down rain while we slept, which was actually kind of nice.

The trip back to the States unfortunately wasn't as smooth as the trip down. We flew out during a downpour which lead to a 30 minute delay and a lot of turbulence! The delay lead to us only having 55 minutes in Ft. Lauderdale to de-plane, get thru customs, re-check our bags, go back thru security and find our gate. It was a very stressful hour and we were convinced we were going to miss the flight. Thankfully we were able to skip ahead of some people in the customs line, we threw our bags at the lady in the baggage area crossing our fingers they would get to DC, cut in front of a large line for security, got pulled to the side thanks to my stupidly putting a bottle of rum in my carry on, and literally RAN thru the airport to board the plane right as it was scheduled to leave. They ended up holding the plane for another 15 minutes to give everyone a chance to get thru customs that was on our first flight. The weather in DC was also bad and lead to even worse turbulence on the landing. We finally made it home after midnight.

Overall the whole trip was amazing. This was our first major trip together as a couple and traveling together for a week, especially internationally has the potential to end in disaster. You never know what someone else's travel style is until you are on vacation. Some people prefer to constantly be off sight-seeing while others prefer to just relax on a beach. Also, the way a person handles the stress of flight delays, bad weather and almost missing flights can potentially lead to conflicts. I'm happy to report that Kristian and I made it thru our first vacation with flying colors. We were almost always on the same page with what we wanted to do, never got sick of each other or bickered and laughed thru the stress of our trip home. It just further proves to me that we are a rock solid couple and I can't wait for our future travel adventures together.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Countdown begins

In exactly one week I will be celebrating my 29th birthday and the countdown to the big 3-0 will officially commence. Anyone that knows me knows that my birthday is a big deal to me. It's the one day out of the year when I know I will hear from everyone that is important to me. Even when I don't have anything special planned I always get excited in the days leading up. I guess I'm really a 8 year old at heart. This year, I'll admit my birthday has fallen off my radar a bit which is VERY unusual. I think the reason is that I've been so focused on our upcoming trip to Jamaica and all the back and forth from last week with the last minute change of location. I'm so excited about getting this MUCH needed vacation that I keep forgetting part of the reason why we are going...MY BIRTHDAY!

These next two birthdays will probably be my best ever, not only will I be celebrating my 29th on a tropical island with the man I'm going to marry but I will be getting married 10 days after ringing in my 30's next year. These two will definitely be hard to top!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Love Notes

My adorable fiance decided to take the leftovers from our make-your-own taco night and pack my lunch for today so that I could have a taco salad. He even separated everything into different tupperware containers so that the lettuce and tomatoes wouldn't get soggy in the meat. To top it off he even included a little love note with illustrations. He's always doing sweet little things like this for me and it's only one of the many reasons why I love him.