How to Know He’s Perfect For You, Part 23

This weekend I was in desperate need of some retail therapy. Engagement is an emotional adjustment because every single relationship in your life is changing. Even your relationship with yourself is changing as you take on a new identity.

Like most women, I tend to drown my sorrows at the mall. What’s better than new shoes and the choice between Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, and Chick Fil A? Having just lost all my fun money (see my previous post), this isn’t an option anymore. And window shopping isn’t as much fun when you know you can’t buy the stuff. So, what is Nature’s remedy for an emotionally distressed engaged woman with no more spending money?

THE REGISTRY.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I lost my disposable income during my engagement. God’s timing is usually en pointe. Thursday evening we went to a “Sip and Scan” event at Macy’s, and registered for a few things, but it wasn’t so great, only because there wasn’t a lot of stuff that I wanted. I almost cried at one point, and James had to pull me back from the brink of a bridal meltdown (blame it on the sleep deprivation). SATURDAY, though, I wised up and went to my favorite wish-I-could-buy-everything store: WILLIAMS-SONOMA.

James came with me, which was a very brave move considering my almost-tear fest 2 days before. Poor guy, I don’t think he was expecting what was about to happen. I literally registered for almost everything. It was a frenzied display of “Ooo click that one! Did you get this one? We need 6 of these! I want this pan! And this pan! And don’t forget the ocean blue Le Creuset Dutch oven!” I was so excited. Sure, there were moments of stress: “Connie, why do we need a Paella pan?” “James, I’ve been dreaming of this day my whole life, and I would love a Paella pan.” But there were also moments of sheer glee, like when I found the French onion soup bowls. And the Ruffoni hammered copper au gratin pan.

At the end of a few hours, we handed the scanner back to the employee and ate a few samples of pumpkin thingies. That was the moment James turned to me and asked if I would like to split an Auntie Anne’s pretzel on our way back to the car. I do. Happily Ever After, Amen.

Wedding Website Adventures

We finally picked a date! June 1, 2013. I can’t really even describe what a relief that is, and how happy it makes me. Next step, wedding website.

Actually, we already have one. I made something about 7 months ago when we first got engaged using WeddingChannel.com. To be honest, none of the pre-fab backgrounds and formats were really working for me. It’s a great and easy tool, especially if you have zero experience blogging or website building, but I just wasn’t happy with the appearance. None of the options were really us.

Finally, it dawned on me to make my own site using WordPress. Why did it take me 7 months to figure that one out? The great thing about putting your wedding website on WordPress is that you have way more control over the formatting, the background, and the title. Also, we can keep it going long after the big day as a blog about our life.

Recent Web Development Activities

Going along with all that, this week I’ve been crazy into site building. Right now I’m still working on a site for my mom’s painting, www.ConniesArtGallery.com. I know I need to learn a lot more about upgrading appearances, but I’m getting somewhere. I’d like to have a job writing web content soon, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the technical aspects of web development. I worked for a year in SEO, so I know a little, but I need to learn more. So that’s what I’ll be doing this week during my down-time. Does anyone know of any free online tutorials that are especially helpful?

Why does everyone spend so much on weddings?

Flipping through bridal magazines trying to get some cute ideas for our upcoming big day, I started getting a little sick to my stomach. No, not cold feet. I was a little sickened by some of the extravagance, to be honest. It seems like so many people spend so much time and energy on the wedding without putting much effort at all into preparing for a life together.

I grew up in a Catholic family, and so did James. We were taught that marriage is a Sacrament. This means that marriage is much more than just a civil contract, it’s sacred. In it, two people are joined forever by God, who gives them the grace and strength to live out their vows. This puts it on a level way beyond our secular view of marriage. Take a look at the Catholic marriage vows:

“I, (name), take you, (name), to be my (wife/husband). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you, all the days of my life.”

That’s some serious business.

I want our wedding to be about our enormous family and the life we’re beginning together. I don’t want the Plaza in June, the $15,000 gown, or the $5,000 carriage ride in Disney World. Just my James and our family and close friends (which adds up to over 300 people so we really have to scale it back! We’d like to keep it 200 MAX, preferably less). Now it’s true, having a party for 200 people that involves food and dancing is very expensive. But that doesn’t mean it has to be extravagant.

Look at the difference, for example, between Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton. Two very expensive televised events, but that’s where the similarities end. Kim married a guy she hadn’t dated for very long in a Hollywood glam ceremony where everything was the absolute most expensive it could possibly be. It was extravagance for the sake of extravagance. Will and Kate had been dating for YEARS. They showed the utmost dignity throughout the engagement and wedding, and didn’t make a show out of their love. It was expensive because it was the royal family, but it was tasteful. You could tell that they truly loved each other and had been waiting for that moment for a long time. Will and Kate’s wedding displayed true love. Kim and Kris’s wedding displayed extravagance.

I also don’t like all this emphasis on the wedding being all about the bride. It’s not just my day, it’s his day too! It’s OUR day. I’m sure I’ll have some crazy stressed out moments along the way, but I want to always remember that the bridesmaid’s earrings have absolutely ZERO consequence. What matters is that James and I are being joined together in a lifelong commitment to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives. That is what we are celebrating. And that is priceless.

Wedding Brain

Lately I’ve been having a terrible time trying to concentrate on things. Whenever I go to dinner with people, my brain is in another place and I feel flighty and uncool. This Saturday, I thought my car was stolen in Silver Spring, until I realized that I was in the completely wrong section of the parking lot. My friend who was with me smiled and said, “You have wedding brain!”

Is that what they call it? We’ve been engaged for almost 6 months, and the planning is driving me crazy, probably because we don’t have a date yet and I’m starting to feel very scared and nervous. It was our choice not to set a date until James got a job, and it’s a good choice for us in this economy, but the waiting is driving me crazy. Everyone’s been suggesting that I go ahead and plan as much as possible without a date so that when we’re ready, all we have to do is book everything and go.

So, how much of a wedding can you plan before you have a date?

A lot, actually. You just can’t finalize anything. For example, you can pick your bridal party, but it might be smart not to ask anyone until after you have a date, that way they can decide if they can commit or not. You can design your ceremony (as Catholics, this means we get to pick the readings we want, the music, and the blessings). You can decide what sort of favor you want. You can design centerpieces and table settings. You can even pick your dress. It’s still nerve-racking though. I wonder how many other engaged couples got shafted by the economy?

We’re praying really hard that something works out soon. Hopefully it won’t take too much longer. We’re praying my dad’s miracle St. Jude/Sacred Heart novena, which has never failed. Recently we got the family on board, asking around to see if anyone knows of any openings in our area. And I do think that this experience will be worth it in the end. I can already see how we’ve become stronger because of it. Maybe dealing with snags during engagement helps people prepare for better marriages in the long run. I’ll keep trusting that God knows what he’s doing, and everything happens for a reason.

Engagement Stress = Blessing in Disguise?

Like most girls, I love the movie Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. One of the major themes of the movie is how engagement stress can either drive couples apart or bring them closer together.

James and I have had our share of engagement stress. Thankfully, we’ve been able to recognize that with every road-block comes a chance to work together. We’ve never put it in those words, but it’s true. Every issue that has popped up in our path has made us turn to each other for help. Everything that’s happened to us has been another chance to hold hands and walk forward.

Recently I was telling a priest some of the struggles we’ve gone through, and he pointed out that perhaps it truly is a blessing in disguise. People that have fantasy engagements do not always get the chance to prepare for what marriage really involves: sharing and sacrifice. I pray every day for a happy marriage. Maybe this is God’s way of answering my prayers. If we learn what to expect now, we will have an easier time adjusting later. Maybe if we can be happy together in bad times, we can be happy in good times.

I know I’m very young and often naĂŻve, but I have a good feeling about this.

Bling :-)

So I haven’t written in forever, but I think it’s time I bring this blog back up, mostly because I miss writing. A lot has gone on in the last year, like, um… ::holds out left hand waiting for you to notice:: IM ENGAGED!!! James and I are getting married!!! I have the most beautiful ring in the whole world and the most wonderful fiance imaginable. Seriously, he’s better than prince charming (who, in fact, is named Prince James in Once Upon a Time…I think the writers got that from my James). We haven’t settled on a wedding date yet, and I’m totally stressed out over it already, but everything’s going to be fine because the most important decision has already been made (the groom, of course) and no matter what happens on that day, I get to be Mrs. James P. 🙂

We got engaged July 24, 2011. My wonderful aunt, who is also my godmother, threw us a fabulous engagement party in October. His family and my family finally got to hang out. Both our families are huge, and they both go to the same church, so it’s not suprise they all had a great time together. It was a dream come true for me and James to see everyone together. We already love each other’s families and have for years, so it was really overwhelmingly beautiful to have everyone together.

More updates will come later, I’m sure I’ll be blogging about wedding stuff and tv shows (did I mention I love Once Upon a Time?). Oh and I now have a real job, and my lunch break is ending so I have to go. And I went to Greece and Turkey and loved it. And we’re looking for a house (too bad only one of us can live in it until the wedding because so far we’re having a hard time deciding who needs it more).

Arrivederici tutti 🙂