Wedding Wednesday

Wedding Wednesday: Resources

Today I want to share a few sites, apps, and other resources I’ve been using during this wedding planning process. A lot goes into planning one of the most important days of your life, and here are the resources I’ve been using to give me some inspiration, motivate my inner wedding planner, and keep my sanity:

1.Google Drive
Thank goodness my fiance is as type A as I am, so he not only tolerates my lists and spreadsheets, but actually appreciates them. Setting up spreadsheets on Google Docs was one of the very first things we did, and it has made it easy to collaborate and keep everything in one place that is accessible to both of us. (Look out for more to come on all our spreadsheets!)

2. The Knot Wedding Planner App
I was planning on avoiding The Knot, thinking the most obvious source wouldn’t necessarily be the best, but nope, I was wrong. This is the best checklist app I’ve found. I put in our date and like magic, our timeline appeared. We are straying a bit but this definitely helps keep us on track.

3. Pinterest
This is a given, but it must be mentioned because it really is that good. I’m very visual, so having all of my dream wedding images in one place (even before the engagement, of course) instantly gave me a feel for the type of celebration I wanted.

4.  Style Me Pretty
Wedding blogs do not get any better than this. It is full of inspiration and just overall pretty-ness. It’s the perfect place to go when you fall out of the wedding-planning mood to give you the boost you need to get amped up again.

5. Instagram
Yes, I am an Instagram addict. And yes, wedding planning has contributed to my addiction. Here are some of my fave accounts:
 | @engagedandinspired | @weddingchicks | @greenweddingshoes@howheasked |
@weddingpaperdivas | @loverly | @bhldn | @heygorgevents

6. Various Wedding Magazines
I’m old-fashioned, so I get overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet and still like the feel of good ol’ paper between my fingers. Wedding magazines are my go-to for ripping and scrapbooking, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing on a lazy day when I need to pull my eyes away from a screen. My favorites include Brides and Martha Stewart Weddings.

Wedding Wednesday: The First Step

So, you’re engaged. Congratulations!!! Now what? 

Some people set the date or start searching for their perfect dress or dream venue right away, but I think the very first step for me was to put everything into perspective and decide what’s important. The proposal was not a huge shock for me — we already had seven years of dating under our belt + months (okay, maybe even a year) of me dropping not-so-subtle hints that I was ready for marriage, so there wasn’t even an inkling of doubt that I wouldn’t say yes. But still, there was this “whoa” moment shortly after it happened. Like, whoa: This is really happening. This is not a drill.

After the excitement and celebration dies down, you get a moment to breathe and realize what saying “yes” really means. It means starting a whole new chapter in your life and making this commitment to one person for all eternity. It means changing “me” to “us”and “I” to “we”, and there seems to be substantial shift where you realize your life really isn’t just about you anymore. And even though you’ve said those things and felt that way before, they start to feel deeper, like they’re more real. There was a moment when all of these things hit me at once, and it was emotional, exciting, and honestly, a bit terrifying, but more than anything, it felt right.

I think it was that moment that set the tone for the rest of the wedding planning process. Once I took into account the “why” of the situation — why I’m getting married, why I want to spend my life with this man, why this is the right time — the “how” was the easy part. How are we going to start our lives together? It only made sense that the “how” would involve the two most important things to us: our faith and our families. Those are the things that matter the most to us in our everyday lives, and it should be no different on our wedding day. That has been the basis for every single wedding decision, and when planning doesn’t quite go the way I’ve envisioned, I always remind myself that those are the only two things that are really important. As long as we say our vows before God and our families, and I am married to my best friend at the end of the day, our wedding will be perfect.

Wedding Wednesday: Announcing the Engagement

Being the over-thinker that I am, I kinda already had an idea of how I wanted to announce my engagement before I was even engaged. Is that weird? Yeah, probably. But I’m a planner (and a weirdo) so oh well.

I’ve seen a lot of cute engagements where the family and friends are in on it or are there ready to surprise the bride-to-be, and I knew that wasn’t right for me. It may sound selfish, but I really didn’t want to be the last person to find out about my engagement. I’m glad my fiance knew this because I honestly think getting to tell the news to everyone I love was almost as exciting as actually getting engaged!

As soon as the deed was done and we left our little corner street sign (read our proposal story here), I wanted to tell the world. I didn’t want our close friends and family to find out from social media or hear it from someone else, so I started going through my list of loved ones. I instinctively called my parents (who of course had an idea it was coming), and then my siblings — it was tough to decide who to tell first of the three, so I think I went by age. And then I made one last call to my grandma.All were surprised and overjoyed.

I am very close to my cousins so I couldn’t wait to tell them, but there’s a lot of them and they’re spread out all over the country — literally, from New York to California —  so I figured a group text was the way to go. Somehow during my proposal blackout period, I remembered to take this picture:

Some time long ago, I was daydreaming of this big day and pictured us high-fiving when it happened. Don’t ask why. I think I’ve just seen too many cutesy engagement photos and they didn’t feel like “us”. This felt like us. Best friends high fiving because they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together. Perfect.

Anyways, I sent this picture to my cousins with a simple message: “Look, guys, I found a street sign with my name spelled correctly”. The excited congratulatory texts came pouring in (plus some hilarious ones that only noticed the sign at first — haha).

We went out for a friend’s birthday that night, but decided to keep it hush hush: partly because we didn’t want to take away from the birthday celebrant’s day and partly because we knew we would see other close friends and family in the coming days. It was almost impossible to keep it to ourselves that night (at least for me), but we managed to get through it and only told one person that we mutually agreed upon in advance.

The next day I told three of my best friends (and soon-to-be bridesmaids) and his cousins the following day, both at pre-arranged gatherings. We had made a plan to have him fake propose at both gatherings, but I couldn’t get through it without laughing both times. It was nice to tell people in person, and every time was just as exciting as the first.

We told a few others with the same picture before finally deciding to make it “Facebook official”. I used the pic one last time with this caption:

Friday was a great day: found a street with my name spelled correctly and this guy asked me to marry him. High fives all around!

And so the word was out.

I know I make it sound like this was a big deal to me, but in the grander scheme of things, it really wasn’t. If word had gotten out or my entire family had known before me or the whole world had found out on Facebook, would it have taken away from this experience? Absolutely not. Because honestly, nothing could have taken away from it. I only share this because the way everything played out felt so perfectly right for us, and I’m hoping it’s a sign of all the good to come.

Wedding Wednesday: The Proposal

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have a place to document all of the the experiences in my life — good and bad. I’ll start with the good: since today, April 22, 2015, is exactly four months (!!) until my wedding day, I decided it is the perfect time for my first Wedding Wednesday post!

I am beyond excited for this time in our lives. The past 6 months have been a roller coaster, and I’ve learned so much about relationships, wedding planning, myself…and a million other things during this milestone. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Today is about ground zero of the wedding craziness: The Proposal.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It was really just an ordinary Friday. I don’t remember much of it. I had a half day of work (thank goodness for summer hours) and went home to enjoy the afternoon off. It was beautiful out — sunny and not too hot or cool for an August day in Chicago. Tom and I had made plans for dinner earlier in the week, which really wasn’t unusual at all since we went out to eat often. He said he’d choose the place. When he came over after work, he decided to take a short nap before leaving. Everything was just so regular.

I dressed up for dinner because I didn’t know where we were going and dresses are my go-to in the summer anyway. We started heading north on 294 and I thought nothing of it. But then we kept going farther and farther and my typical Allie questions started popping up, “where are we going?”, “how did you find this place?”, “is this place really good?” , “you couldn’t find anywhere closer?”.  I made my guesses (Gurnee Mills? Great America? Wisconsin?). And of course, Tom responded as he usually would “you’ll see when we get there.”

Shortly after getting off the highway, Tom turns into a random neighborhood. I am confused. There are literally no restaurants around where he stops — just a bunch of houses. He simply says to me, “Look where we are” and I look out my window and see Allyson Ct. (with a y!). I have always wanted to find a street with my name spelled correctly. We both run out of the car and to the sign, but he gets there first and starts taking selfies. Um, okay. I stand there, slightly annoyed, asking if I could take a picture since it’s my name. To this, he hands me his phone and asks me to take one of him, so I grab his phone and try to take a picture, trying to hurry to get to my turn. He then takes his phone back, says to try one more time.

When he hands me his phone the second time, I look down and notice one of his selfies is on the screen. It’s the same scene I’m standing in front of, but in the picture, the Allyson Ct. sign has a piece of paper underneath it that says “Will you marry me?” I start to cry and the rest is literally a blur — I don’t remember much of it after that (I swear I blacked out from all of the excitement), but I know it was one of the best moments of my life.

I love hearing about other people’s engagements (and watching them on YouTube, of course), but I still say ours was perfect, and it always will be because it’s ours.