Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Honeymoon Planning: It's Really Not-So-Scary

Over the weekend Drew and I spent a lot of time psyching ourselves up for our honeymoon in Disney. Not that we really need that much psyching up; we talk about Disney all the time and perk up pretty much anytime the theme park is brought up in conversation. But still, we had a lot of fun nerding out over the five days we'll spend at the Parks in October.

Disney Nerd-ism: Part 1
My birthday is right around the corner so my parents surprised Drew and me by contributing to our Disney Honeymoon Registry. We immediately took advantage of their generosity by purchasing tickets for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on October 11 (but not before listening to the parade/fireworks soundtrack on my iPod for extra excitement-building).

In case anyone hasn't heard the story by now, Drew and I met during a Halloween Party in 2009 when we were both working as interns at Walt Disney World. I guess there's something about purple pants, bright green shirts and bat headbands that screams "soulmate" for us.

Looking good, right? Anyways, as soon as we decided to spend our honeymoon in Disney, we knew we had to attend a Halloween Party, and now we are! All that's missing are our awesome costumes. Any ideas?

Disney Nerd-ism: Part 2
If buying tickets for an intended-for-children Halloween fest in Disney World wasn't nerdy enough, just you wait. Once our tickets for the Halloween Party were purchased, we still hadn't had our fill of Disney-related excitement. 

We I decided we should keep the excitement going by watching a Disney movie. Not pleased with the DVD selection at Meijer, we turned to Netflix Instant to give us our geeky Disney fix. And boy, did it ever deliver:

Both movies were Travel-Channel-style shows revealing Disney "secrets" and fun facts. We already knew a lot of the "secrets" that were revealed, but they were still fun to watch and definitely did their job of getting us even more pumped for our next trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

In the midst of finalizing many of our wedding plans, I'm not only excited for our honeymoon but grateful we decided to go somewhere so familiar to us. Knowing the Parks as well as we do will allow us to take our time and really enjoy our time at Disney and has taken practically all the stress out of planning our honeymoon. We booked our dining before we even booked our hotel room, and we've both spent enough time in the Parks before to be able to enjoy other fun stuff Disney has to offer - like the spa.

Plus honeymooning in Disney allows us to go full-circle with our relationship: we met and got engaged in Disney, and now we'll get to celebrate our marriage there too!

Are we the biggest Disney nerds ever? Maybe. Probably not. Whatever. We're going to have so much fun on our honeymoon, and we can hardly wait to enjoy our old stomping ground as newlyweds. Now about those Halloween costumes...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Lesson from Tori Spelling

Planning a wedding takes a lot of work. Beyond the appointments with vendors, the shopping, registering for gifts, addressing save the dates and invites, there's a lot of self-reflection that goes into planning a wedding.

Remember, a wedding isn't just going to a church and throwing a party, it's starting a marriage. Marriage is all around, but, at least for me, wasn't something I considered too much before getting engaged.

I mean, I thought about marrying my boyfriend and how amazing it is that my parents have been married for nearly 30 years. I've seen movies and read books. I thought about marriage, but the consideration I gave it before getting engaged is nothing compared to what I think about now. Before I was thinking of marriage in terms of what it meant to other people or in other situations. When it came to thinking about marrying my now-fiance, I thought about how I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But it's more than that now.

Now I think of marriage in terms of what it means to me personally and as part of a couple. I think of mundane things like what it means to share a bank account or a bathroom. What it means to be with each other every day, all the time. It's going to be amazing, particularly because we've been long distance for the majority of our relationship, but it may very well also be a struggle. Part of the struggle will be, and has been, fully sharing my life with another person, for better or worse.

I recently read Tori Spelling's memoir "sTORI Telling" (don't judge, it's actually really good). In her book she discusses her first failed marriage and her relationship with and second marriage to Dean McDermott. One revelation she makes is of the conscious changes she makes to her own behaviors  to better herself and her relationship with Dean. While the two are working through ending their first marriages, Tori talks about her deliberate choice to be open and honest with Dean rather than acting timid and alone:
I'd hear Dean on the phone with his wife discussing the children. When he hung up, I'd have withdrawn. He'd ask what was wrong, and my first instinct was to say, Nothing, nothing's wrong. I'm tired. I have a headache. But I decided to break that habit. I always told Dean the truth. I'd say, "I feel like you're going to go back to her." It was scary, making myself vulnerable like that, but I was determined not to repeat my past.
I really love that she admits this decision, because this has been true for me too in my relationship. When you're single and your actions really only affect yourself, lying is easy. No one gets hurt. There aren't many long-term consequences to white lies outside of a relationship. But once your life and someone else's are intertwined, you have to open up. You can't hide. If you do then you're not giving the other person a fair and honest chance to know you. And knowing each other's worst and most insecure moments but loving and supporting each other anyways is a huge part of being in love. It's a huge part of being in a committed relationship. Besides, when you're in love you no longer want to hide anything about your life from your partner. At least Tori and I don't.

Wedding Marriage planning has taught me this. Considering my future, the rest of my life, with my fiance has shown me that the key to relationship success is honesty and trust, even if opening up is scary or awkward at first. I'm at the point where complete transparency in my relationship is second nature, but at first this was something I actually had to decide to do, just like Tori. I had to make the choice between hiding within myself and closing my fiance off from the "real" me and telling him everything I thought and felt and allowing him into my life in a huge way.

And maybe that's the biggest message of all: marriage can't be superficial or it's doomed to fail. Marriage is a complex relationship which involves every part of the people in the relationship. It's a two-way street in which we have to both open ourselves up and let the other person in. You can't have one without the other; it's reliant on total harmony. And that's a great and beautiful thing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wedding Recap #1

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Drew and I attended our first of three weddings as an engaged couple. This was for one of Drew's friends in Grand Rapids; in July my cousin is getting married, then Drew's best friend since birth in August.

With each wedding we attend leading up to our wedding, I'm going to try to take note of what I liked  and what I learned from the event. So now over a week later I give you my first wedding recap.

The Wedding/Reception
This wedding was a really fun, creative, loving event. As all weddings should be, I think. In my research for inspiration for my own wedding, I've come across many websites full of pictures, ideas, how-tos, etc. Many of these seem to be focused on the indie, handmade, crafty wedding that looks really cool, but I didn't think anyone could actually pull off in real life.

Enter Wedding #1. So many cute crafty, whimsical touches were all over this wedding, and everything came together so well. There was a clear theme to the wedding (beyond, you know, marriage) which I really appreciated because everything flowed together so well and looked amazing. Plus, a real-life indie, handmade wedding! Amazing. Definitely not something I could (or would) do, but it made for a fun and inspiring wedding and truly fit the personality of the couple.

What I Liked
Theme: This wedding was complete with bunting, homemade desserts, mason jars on the reception tables, and a soundtrack (versus live ceremony music).
Color: This wedding didn't have a clearcut color scheme, but everything flowed together really well. The wedding party wore navy and tan, the flowers were predominantly pink, programs were turquoise, and the bunting fabric tied everything together with pink, blue, yellow, and turquoise. Pastel, but not too girly, and nothing too match-y to keep everything casual and calm.
Music: The couple made their own mix for ceremony music including James Taylor, Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones, and The Beach Boys. Each selection fit perfectly with the atmosphere and emotions of the event.

What I Learned
One of the biggest take-aways from this wedding was the well-planned and well-executed theme and atmosphere. Drew and I have struggled with finding a theme for our wedding to tie everything together without just relying on our colors. Maybe it's the advertising majors in us, but we really want our wedding ceremony and reception to flow and coordinate, rather than being a mishmash of grey and green decorations and accessories. 

The day after the wedding we headed to Michael's to find ideas for our centerpieces, and we definitely made some progress towards finding a unified style for our decor. Thank goodness since this is one of the few chances we have to truly be creative (see also: studying advertising for 4 years and not getting to use any of those planning and coordinating skills in your day job).

Attending a wedding as an engaged couple was an amazing experience. Not only does the ceremony hold a different meaning when you know you'll be saying those same vows in a few months, but seeing another wedding live is inspirational. We have so much left to plan for our wedding; centerpieces and ceremony decor can have a huge impact on how guests enjoy and remember your wedding and make for some pretty stellar pictures. We don't want to miss the opportunity to create a memorable and inspiring event for our friends and family, and for us this includes tying our ideas and style together for a visually pleasing atmosphere as we celebrate our love and commitment.

So thank you to our wonderful hosts last weekend for inspiring us to have fun with our wedding and showing us that the time and effort we put into each detail is completely worth it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cake Tasting & Tornado Chasing

Last night my future mother-in-law and I were supposed to attend a cake tasting with a potential wedding cake baker. That didn't happen. Instead we had a pretty interesting adventure straight out of either a sitcom or a horror movie, depending on how you look at it.

How It All Went Down
I drove up to Saginaw after work on Tuesday so we could attend a cake tasting with a woman who works out of her house. Drew had to work that night, so luckily my awesome future mother-in-law was available to go with me. Because cake tasting at a stranger's house sounds super creepy, and I didn't want to go alone.

We started on our 30-minute or so drive to Midland out in the middle of nowhere, and the sky looked pretty awful. When we were a few minutes from where my GPS told us this woman's house was, an emergency weather alert came on the radio talking about "supercell" thunderstorms (whatever that means) and ideal tornado conditions. Right where we were driving. Um, yikes! We figured the best course of action would be to pull up to the woman's house and see if we could take the cake to go and follow up with her later so we could get out of the storm's path.

Well, a couple miles down the road my GPS announced we had arrived at our location. A forest. Surrounded by a trailer park. With a little shack that I thought resembled a crack house. All while a thunderstorm threatening golf-ball-sized hail was forming above us. Scary. Not really the kind of place I wanted to pull up to, let alone go inside to eat cake.

We're no fools, so we immediately turned around and sped out of there, back to Saginaw and shelter from the storm.

The entire drive back we couldn't believe how ridiculous the whole situation was. As if trying to outrun a thunderstorm (and possible tornadoes!) wasn't bad enough, we almost walked into a horror movie in our attempt to find a wedding cake! Surely we had the address wrong, but as soon as we got back home and pulled up the baker's website, we realized that she did indeed live in that shack in the woods like some sort of ghetto Hansel and Gretel witch.

Am I making this up? Oh my goodness, how I wish. Luckily we were able to quickly find another potential baker (who attends our church so we know she checks out), so hopefully our new prospect works out well! Of course I'll post updates along the way of our continued Wedding Cake Saga.

Until then, be sure to check back for my recap of a wedding we attended over Memorial Day Weekend (our first as an engaged couple!).