One Year

I truly cannot believe it has been one year ago today since we said, “I do.” I am so incredibly blessed and thankful to God for sending Ryan to me. This last year has been amazing from our wedding day onward; from our honeymoon in Europe, to our road trip up to DC for Christmas, to traveling in-state for countless more weddings, to traveling to Philadelphia this last summer, to the tense nights more recently watching “Breaking Bad.”

I’m so thankful to be where I am today and as hard as my life was four years ago when he “left me,” I can say with complete confidence that I really would not have done it any other way if I had the chance. As hard as that was for both of us, it is sadly what it took for both of us to realize that we never wanted to be without the other again. And, I think it made us stronger in the end.

Here’s to the next 50!

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I Think It May Be an Appropriate Time to Announce…

Adding to my list of things I have done in the last year or so (getting rejected from my dream post-graduate school, waitressing, then quitting waitressing, now working from home), I purposefully left out the biggest thing that happened to me. Besides getting a “no-you’re-not-admitted-to-Columbia” letter (of course that was the biggest thing that happened to me, duh), I also got engaged and married! I did have that included in yesterday’s news post, but then I got sucked into a huge wedding side car and I had to remove it. A wedding post is probably better suited for another day.

And today is the perfect day.

We’ve been married six months to the day today!

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I know, can you believe it? We actually survived each other, against all odds. And more importantly, he hasn’t tried to kill me yet. And he didn’t throw me overboard on our Mediterranean cruise honeymoon! (Yes, these things have happened to real people. There goes my first murder-mystery reference… get used to it now because I tend to do it often.)

But in all sincerity, six months ago today was the best day of both our lives. I pretty much single-handedly put together a 104-person wedding on a $10,000 budget in five months while working two jobs seven days a week. Looking back, I do not know how I did it. I guess that’s why my dad kept saying how “proud” he was of me during our father/daughter dance. And to think I thought he was proud of me for actually finding a man who could deal with me, because prior to my now husband, I couldn’t! My dad was the only man in my life who did not leave me, yet he couldn’t stand me either! Turns out, there was someone who maybe cannot stand me at times, but still choose to make that vow to not leave me! Yay.

I had a flower-less wedding and I could not have been more happy with my decision. We were married in a garden (Harry P. Leu Gardens), so I mean, hello — there’s $750 worth of flowers included in our rental fee for the space right there. Perfect. My mother made my bouquet out of fake hydrangeas and broaches.  The bridesmaids had feather bouquets with crystals throughout. And I have all of them proudly displayed in our house and they will not “die” as “real” flowers do.

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We chose to have our reception at a restaurant (310 Lakeside in downtown Orlando) that did not charge a fee to rent the space. That was a serious God-send because frankly, our budget did not allow paying $1700-$2000+ just to rent a space, plus over $100 per person for food. Instead, we paid nothing to rent the space, paid about $27 or so per person for dinner, set our own cap on what we wanted to spend on alcohol, got the cake fee waived for having cake pops instead of an actual cake (that saved $1 per person for a cake-cutting fee), and got a complimentary champagne toast (as if we didn’t have ENOUGH champagne that day already!). Most receptions can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 after it’s all said and done — we did everything, including gratuity, for just over $3000. And I think our guests enjoyed themselves — or so they’ve said. (Now would be a great time to tell me if you did not. Feel free to leave a comment.)

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And of course, being the five-star-hotel-guru that I am, it was only appropriate that we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes the night of our wedding. We also saved a few hundred on that stay as well from using my awesome bridesmaid Kelly’s employee discount. (See, there are ways to do amazing hotels on the cheap. Stay tuned for more.) I really wanted us to have a “special” room that night with rose petals on the bed, champagne or wine in the room, etc., so I looked into having that added to our reservation but it turns out, that package was about $250 to add. So, I did what I knew could possibly work (just knowing the Ritz and their outstanding customer service), and I wrote on our reservation “notes” that it was our wedding night. That’s all. Just dropped a hint to see what would happen.

Sure enough, when we got up to the room, there were rose petals in the shape of a heart on the bed, another bottle of champagne, and an arrangement of chocolate covered strawberries. Awesome. It could not have been a better ending to our already perfect day.

Wedding Must-Haves and Must-Have-Nots

I’m officially one of the last single girls standing in my group of friends from high school. In fact, out of the seniors in our church youth group, five of us remained un-married. Three girls, two guys. Sufficient to say, I’ve been to a few weddings, seen a few pictures, and have conjured up some ideas of my own on how I’d like things done, whenever that day may come for me. ($50 says I’ll be last one out of us five singles) I’ve expressed previously, about a year ago, my fear of all-things wedding. It’s funny how that fear turned into complete peace not long after I wrote those two posts. I’m not scared of weddings, or marriage, but I do believe that when it does happen for me, it will be focused completely on the marriage, NOT the “party” or the money involved.

On the way to my friend Lisa’s bachelorette party last year, I felt completely out of place. Not only was I the only girl who wasn’t a bridesmaid who was at the celebration that began in my apartment, but I was also the only one who wasn’t already married or engaged. I rode in the back of another girl’s car texting my mom, asking her, “Do you and Dad have money already set aside for my wedding?” She was taken aback by my question, and said, “No… Why are you asking this?” All that was going through my head as I sat in the backseat was, “there is absolutely no way I can do any of this. How do I avoid all of this, but still get married?” Then, the idea came to me. City Hall. That is the only way I saw fit in my head to avoid all of this bridal shower, wedding shower, bachelorette, toilet-paper wedding gown, mumbo-jumbo. My mom told me that they would decide how much my budget at that time, and that I would seriously regret not having an “actual” wedding.

So, when I do have a wedding, whenever that may be, I’ve decided on a few things that absolutely will not take place:

  • no bridal shower. no games, no toilet paper gowns, none of that.
  • no cupcake gowns. no poofs. no trains. something simple.
  • no sauntering down the aisle to “here comes the bride.” Canon in D, please.
  • no getting married in a church. I love God, but I don’t want a traditional wedding inside of a church.
  • probably little to no wedding party. Just my sister. (this may change, of course)
  • no lighting of the “unity candle.”
  • no generic vows. we write our own.
  • no electric slide at the reception. I’ve been toying with an all-Beatles themed music for a while.
  • no champagne toasting. We don’t even like champagne. Wine me.
  • no removing of the garter. No garter, for that matter.
  • no tossing of the bouquet.
But what will I have, as of now?
  • a bachelorette party in New York City. Or maybe Vegas.
  • a simple, yet still elegant dress. I’m currently obsessing over this dress, but I’ve been feeling as if it may be a little too “promy.” 

And that is all I know, for now. Stay tuned.