Lessons Learned from Wedding Planning

The follow-up sentence to this title should read: from someone who is known as a control freak by everyone who knows her and also has mild OCD.

I realized how much time has passed since we got engaged when a co-worker a few days ago asked if I had found my dress yet, and I replied, “Yes, just this past November.”

Pause. Not November 2015. NOVEMBER 2014, OVER A YEAR AGO.

So yeah, we’ve been planning our wedding for quite a while now. And our wedding planner reminded us we only have 18 weeks left until our wedding, which ended up with Timmy and I dry heaving a bit at this news. Things haven’t felt all that stressful the last 6 months or so, simply because we got most everything completed as soon as we set the date.

I know I’m quite different from most people in this world. Organized doesn’t even begin to describe how I operate. I see the world not how it is, but how I can group like things with like and how quickly can I accomplish challenges and to-do lists. So once Timmy and I set the date, off I went like a horse out of the gate.

There are so many lessons I’ve learned over the process of planning a wedding for a date 1.5 years after getting engaged. I tried to give us enough time to do what we needed to do (from a different state) while also giving us a cushion of time to also do the dirty work of getting used to what life would be like as a married couple. So many lessons however were ones that came out of left field for me.

I originally scheduled dress shopping at only two small stores in Atlanta Thanksgiving weekend in 2014 simply to placate my sister and mother, who were quickly starting down the “when are you going to start planning” path. I figured dress shopping would calm them down.

Lesson #1: Expect the Unexpected

…like buying a dress before you thought you would and before you have a budget.

I had ZERO plans to buy a dress. And lo and behold, I found my dress at the last store we went into, La Raine’s Bridal Boutique in Virginia Highlands. Correction: my sister found my dress, which was the last one of the day, and I had already changed back into my clothes when my sister brought me the dress. I immediately said, “Oh. My. God.” when I put it on, and the consultant reminded me that this dress was the only one I had a reaction to.

And then I knew. Done. Check. Dress found.

The whole thing happened faster than I had intended, and all of the sudden, with that decision, wedding planning had begun. I wholeheartedly had planned on waiting MONTHS before starting any type of planning with Timmy.

Expectations mean next to nothing when it comes to wedding planning.

Even though it wasn’t the color I wanted, it wasn’t ever what I had envisioned, it was definitely my dress. Which leads me to my second lesson-

Lesson #2: Compromise Will Save You…and Your Sanity

I tried on maybe 20 dresses at both stores. And once I found my dress, I stopped the search and never looked back. I’m the best decision-maker ever (although some have called me impulsive, including myself). I make decisions quickly, with assertiveness and acceptance. Timmy, well, not so much.

I learned maybe 1 minute into our wedding planning that everything I learned about being with Timmy would have to be applied times 10 to the planning process or else we were going to kill each other. I would make a list of decisions that needed to be made, asked him to honestly decide if he cared about those decisions, and the ones he agreed to, I gave him 2-3 weeks to marinate before re-addressing the issues.

That way, I wasn’t all down his grill about deciding things on my schedule, and I still got a decision made by him in a timely fashion.

Obviously, not all decisions have worked like this, but I would say, once we found our groove, probably 75% of the decisions were solved in this way.

I have compromised on nearly every aspect that I thought I would have very strong opinions about. When it came down to it, if it seemed like Timmy felt stronger about something than I did, I let him have it his way. Now, some of those decisions are biting us in the ass a bit now, and I wish I had fought more for some of the things that are going exactly the way I predicted, but hindsight, blah blah blah.

Lesson #3: You Have to Let It Go

Making decisions between Timmy and I has never been an easy thing. I knew heading into this we would really be testing our relationship in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. At the end of the day however, we both realized that we had to let it go. Resentments? Let it go. Anger? Let it go. Confusion and frustration? Let it go.

And I don’t mean let it go like “never discuss it and get over it.” I mean, talk. Talk. More talking. Talk more than you thought you needed to. And then talk again.

Talking through everything that popped up, no matter how insignificant the emotion or issue, made us get on the same page. There was no other option than to be in sync with each other.

And after talking, we realized the issues or things we were so worked up about, NOW we could just let them go.

Lesson #4: You Have to Be on the Same Team. Period.

There has been some drama pop up here and there, like everyone experiences when you attempt to bring two families and two sets of friendships together. If Timmy and I had been divided on anything, we would probably not be wedding planning at this point anymore.

The first issue that ever popped up, the one that blindsided us completely, and had us scrambling to re-evaluate some friendships and trusted loved ones, FORCED us to be on the same team. He had to have my back and I had to have his. We knew we could NOT have opposing or conflicting statements, emotions, or decisions. Any sign of us not being together on it would have severely affected the emotional state of the other person and could have torn us apart.

Once we realized how strong our teamwork was and how it made our vision complete, we have been on the same team on everything else since then. There are no ifs, ands, or butts on this one.

Lesson #5: Still Date Each Other

This one got much easier once we moved back in together at the beginning of this month. Timmy and I hadn’t lived together in 2 years, so every weekend we spent together, going back and forth between Orlando and St. Pete was always filled with dinners out and about.

But during the week, it was usually a call once or twice a day, and then a quick FaceTime right before going to bed. Love was there, but connecting is quite challenging that way.

Once we moved back in, we promised each other a number of things that we’ll see how well we can stick to them over time. The one thing we HAVE done is cook meals and sit down at the dinner table nearly every night for almost 4 weeks. No t.v., no phones, no distractions. Just us.

It can be easy, after 6.5 years together, to start to take each other for granted. And yes, for the record, I’ve heard 90% of Timmy’s life stories a million times now. But that shouldn’t keep us from spending real time together. Time enjoying meals cooked together or by the other partner. Time looking at each other, time not rushed, time for us.

It’s only been a month of living in my less than 800 square foot, one bedroom, one bath apartment, a place we were CERTAIN would make us kill each other in no time at all, and we have grown so much closer, it’s insane. In our cozy little apartment, it feels more like home than any other place we’ve lived together.

Lesson #6: Use Who You Hire

We made about 93% of the decisions on our own. And yes, one of our first decisions was to hire a wedding planner. But I’ve only used her for her expertise maybe 3 times in almost a year.

Why? Like most things in life, sometimes it’s just easier when you do it yourself. I used the internet, my wise friends and family, and my gut to make decisions and hire vendors that fit our vision. I talked to my most organized friends and they gave me what they had when they were planning their own wedding.

I quite clearly can do this all myself. I involved Timmy on the things he asked to be involved in. But at the end of the day, I struggled with figuring out how to use my wedding planner.

And then, MONTHS after already printing out the invitations and having them sit in my apartment for close to 9 months now, my wedding planner caught the only typo that 6 of us who reviewed the invitation never caught.

And my heart fell through my butt.

Obviously (well not really as she had to explain this to me on the phone yesterday) proofreading every important document is a wedding planner’s duty. [Thankfully, the typo is not a big deal or else I would have to order brand new ones. Most people won’t even catch it when they receive the invite. Whew.]

So that naturally led to discussions of the guest list (which so far, has really been the only point of true contention between Timmy and I). And she reminded me of the million and one things to remember when addressing envelopes (which are stupid and I hate them), so she reminded me that she also can look through the guest list to review everything there.

I mean, these are things that it didn’t even occur to me to use her for. I didn’t need her help in picking out invites. We didn’t want to spend a fortune because everyone just throws them away anyways, and we weren’t going to design some floral, romantic, girly thing from scratch. We didn’t want to spend money on calligraphy since the envelopes are the first to go in the trash. But what she did remind me was that since the invites are technically from my parents, they would want calligraphy on the envelopes since it’s a thoughtful and very beautiful touch.

She helped steer us to some vendors that have been amazing so far, but the band was all us, color choices were me, outfits us, wedding page me, music selection us. Her expertise was so invaluable at the beginning when I didn’t know how to talk to vendors, how to look at proposals, how to not work with some vendors, spatial design and decor for a room the size of ours.

If you hire a wedding planner or day-of-coordinator, USE THEM. Don’t believe for a second, since you’re so organized, you don’t need them until the day of. I could’ve saved SO MUCH TIME just reviewing all my decisions directly with her instead of searching the internet like a mad woman for proper etiquette, yada, yada, yada.

Lesson #7: Poof! There Goes Your Budget

You have set ideas how things will go. I wanted to elope and avoid spending money of any kind. I wanted the whole thing to be about the two of us, that’s it. And Timmy felt very strongly that NO.

All of the sudden, we were planning a wedding that I didn’t really want. My parents gave us a budget (because they are amazing and OMG how incredible are they?!!) and it didn’t work with the amount of people on the list. Then they raised it. And it still didn’t work. And they raised it again. And the whole time Timmy and I kept fighting about the guest list and the amount of money I felt we were spending and at the same time wasting.

And then we had another budget increase from Timmy’s mother, and all of the sudden, our costs went crazy. It was like there was no limit on something I had desperately wanted limits for. And I felt crushed. Crushed by guilt. Crushed by the loss of the way I had wanted things to turn out.

If you don’t put your foot down, your budget will explode in your face. My parents gave us, quite frankly, a VERY healthy budget and it still wasn’t enough to satisfy some people’s desires. Instead of buckling down and saying from the very beginning, oh well, we can’t have everything and everyone we’ve known our whole lives at this wedding, we’re still running into issues around the guest list now.

But because we’re also on the same team, these later challenges have felt much easier to handle since we’re both shouldering the effort.

Lesson #8: Plan for the Marriage, Not the Wedding

Like I said before, we have had a long engagement intentionally. At the very beginning, I had a VERY hard time adjusting to this new course in life. I hated everything that we were doing and everything that we had to keep making decisions on.

And now, I’m loving it. I love planning. I love making decisions. We’re at a really good place where now all I am is excited for our wedding. I’m not dreading it, I’m not sad or guilty or anything else but stoked to party with all our friends. I’m so excited, some days I’m ready for it to be tomorrow.

But we 100% haven’t forgotten that the wedding is one day. The real thing is the marriage. The wedding is temporary, a memory that hopefully we’ll be able to store away as much as we can for as long as we can, but a marriage is forever. Whenever we’re with our married friends, one of my first questions is “What is your advice to us?”

I’m craving time with Timmy, even in our cramped apartment, because soon, he will be my husband (I’m still making gagging noises when I say that, so clearly I’m not 100% ready). I need to know him better, I need to trust him more than ever, I need to feel like we’re both fully committed to this partnership. Not that I haven’t felt any of those things before. I just need them more now.

Because marriage is the hard stuff. Picking out vases and candles and outfits and paper for invitations is not hard. That stuff is NOTHING compared to what kind of life marriage brings two people. And it’s a part of life that Timmy and I have zero context for because we’ve never been married.

It’s the fear and uncertainty of the unknown that is keeping my brain up at night sometimes. Even when my heart is settled and sure and dedicated.

So through all these lessons, this roller coaster of emotions spent on a million plus decisions for this wedding, I still repeat what I said almost one year ago:

“The happy is being with my partner, the happy is spending a life exploring each other and this world, the happy is making him laugh for years to come, the happy is in the celebration of this love.

The happy is Timmy. Which will be my mantra from here until our wedding day.”

♥, VB

Panama

This last month has been exhausting. There’s been a lot of traveling, a lot of stress, and a lot of heartbreak. There’s also been a lot of joy and hope, so let’s start with the first story and make our way through the rest later.

The weekend after our Bach party (as in 3 days later) we flew to Panama for a friend’s wedding in a remote location off the coast called Bocas del Toro. My father’s side of the family all still lives in Panama City, so imagine my surprise when I ended up being the first in my entire family to visit Bocas. I’m such a world traveler.

On the flight from Atlanta to Panama, we got upgraded to First Class and holy shit I don’t think I can ever go back to being a regular citizen. That was legit. AAAAAANND I totally forgot that my friends’ gelato company, Honeysuckle, is now served on first class flights on Delta, so that was definitely fun and filled me with pride at how cool my friends are.

We sat next to two gentlemen that were THE definition of the odd couple, talking extremely loudly, making each other laugh, and just genuinely becoming friends. It was a much older white man who was super overserved with wine (as we all were) and a SUPER tall black man who, as we learned later on the flight, used to play for the Atlanta Braves in the 70s and was roommates with Dale Murphy. How cool is that??

My cousin picked us up from the airport and drove us to our hotel around 9:30p, which gave us just enough time to shower and fall asleep only to get up at 5 am to make our flight to Bocas. We got into the cab, told the driver Albrook Airport, and took off.

About 30 minutes later, I had the feeling that something wasn’t right. I had purposefully picked our hotel because it was only 15 minutes from the Albrook airport, so I signaled to Timmy to tell our driver, and lo and behold, we were one exit away from the WRONG AIRPORT. So we turned around and proceeded to take one of the most dangerous drives back in order to hopefully make our flight.

I had neglected to tell Timmy about driving in Central and Latin America. It’s really fun when you think about it: lane markers are really just suggestions, traffic lights are there for funsies, pedestrians get dropped off on the side of the highway, including school children, and the emergency lane is really for when you want to go faster. Timmy, bless his heart, almost had a heart attack.

And I just laughed quietly to myself.

We ended up making our flight by about 20 minutes. Thank god it was a small airport and not the international one, because we would’ve been screwed. And I had amped myself up to have a good ole, knock down drag out fight about payment since the driver was the one who messed up, but he charged us fairly and all was good.

We landed in Bocas after about a 45 minute flight and wow. What a cool freaking town. It’s laid back (think: not rich and glamorous resort living), friendly, and cheap. We stay on Isla Colon, the main island, which was about a 15 minute water taxi ride away from Bastimentos, where Jasmin and Todd were getting married. Our hotel was ADORABLE and definitely worth it.

We immediately found OUR spot, a teeny little bar restaurant with a surf/dive shop in the back. This town is clearly a surfer’s town, as everyone was unkempt, sun bleached, and suuuuuuuper laid back (read: high). This place served the BEST FISH TACOS EVER. No, I’m not kidding. They were amazing, and we went back again before we left for a repeat meal.

hell yes

The day of the wedding, we decided to take a day trip to Starfish Beach. We took a $35 cab about 30 minutes through the jungle to the other side of Colon. This was not a fun ride. The streets are “paved” and very very very hilly. It’s a miracle I didn’t get sick.

From our drop off spot, we took a water taxi about 5 minutes to the beach and OMG. This place. Unbelievable. It’s called Starfish Beach because there are starfish EVERYWHERE. You’re not allowed to pick them up but you can touch them underwater. It was just so cool.

We were pretty hungry when we got there but knew that the wedding was a few hours away, so we decided to split a meal at one of the little restaurant/shacks on the beach. There were only about 100 people on this remote beach, with a few spots to get food and drinks. We had brought the beer (which was like 85 cents for pretty delicious beer) and ordered a lobster with creole sauce from a dude who spoke perfect English. Then the coolness started.

We were told to go pick our lobster. Here we are thinking, “Oh from a tank. Cool.” Nope. FROM THE WATER.

Then we’re told to take a seat. Here we are thinking, “Ok, one of these tables.” Nope. THE TABLE IN THE WATER.

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Then he brings out the food. Here we are thinking, “This will probably be pretty good.” Nope. THE BEST LOBSTER I’VE EVER HAD.

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We clearly highly recommend checking this place out.

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The only time we were taken advantage for being tourists was on the water taxi over to Bastimentos to the Red Frog Beach Resort for the wedding. We didn’t get an itinerary in our gift bag, so I was going by the wedding website which said the wedding started at 4:30p. Knowing how long it takes Timmy to get ready (AGES), I said 4, so he’d be ready on time. We boarded the water taxi, paid the driver, and headed out.

First, he lied and said English was his first language even though it clearly wasn’t. Then, we stopped for gas (without telling us first) and asked for more money (which we didn’t give him). Then he dropped us off at the wrong dock at the island even though there were only 2 and I clearly didn’t know which one we were supposed to go to (side note: the resort is the only thing on that island. He clearly should’ve known). Thankfully, he was still close enough to come back and pick us up because at this point, Timmy and I didn’t have any more cash for a new water taxi. Silently and clearly disgruntled, he drove us to the other marina and HAD THE NERVE to tell me it was because my Spanish was so bad that he didn’t know where he was going.

F*%k You, sir. Clearly, you’re an idiot.

Finally we end up getting to the resort, which then entailed a golf cart ride to the actual wedding location, and by the time we arrived, it was 4:17. On time, right? Wrong! Apparently the wedding had been moved up to 4p, so we were late. AND YOU ALL KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT BEING LATE.

The Bride and her bridesmaids were already at the top of the stairs and I can’t even explain how bad that feels. We did it once before for a wedding in Beaufort, SC where the church was surrounded by 25 other churches and we got super confused as to which one we were supposed to go to. We ended up running into the church right before the bride, and I do mean, RIGHT before the bride and I’ve never felt so bad in my life.

Cue a second time doing this in Panama. We apologized profusely and explain what our taxi driver did (which apparently happened to a few people at the wedding too), and ran down the stairs only to be seated about 4 minutes before the wedding started.

Whew.

After the ceremony, they served fresh coconuts and I drank that sucker down in record time. We made our way over to the cocktail hour which was in a really cute hut overlooking a spectacular view.

And it was also in direct sunlight with no fans. I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I saw anyone use napkins for anything other than wiping off the profuse amount of sweat torentially downpouring from every inch of skin. Welcome to life on the equator. Thank god we were all wearing white.

The party moved back to the ceremony site where we ate, danced, and caught up with old friends. I heard someone say that I was Todd’s oldest friend present at the wedding, which just made my heart warm. I’ve known that dude since 1st grade, and he’s been solid ever since.

We were able to get back to our hotel much later that night so Timmy could shower. And then in the morning he showered again. And then he showered after breakfast. He took 5 showers in 18 hours. I’ve never laughed so hard at someone being unable to control their bodily perspiration. Did you realize that knees and ankles can sweat?

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We made it back to Panama City where my cousin took us on a whirlwind driving tour of Panama. I hadn’t been back to Panama in over a decade, since my Abuelita’s funeral, and holy shit, this city is insane. It looks like Dubai. The entire downtown looked NOTHING like that the few times I came to visit when I was younger. It’s really incredible.

We got dropped off at our amazingly beautiful Marriott for a quick snooze and another shower for Timmy, and then we were ready to meet the family for dinner. We went to a restaurant in Casco Viejo, which is the oldest part of Panama that they’ve beautifully restored. It looks a lot like Viejo San Juan, with its cobbled streets, white walls, and beautiful architecture and plazas. This was Timmy’s opportunity to meet nearly all of my dad’s side of the family, and I was so happy we were able to fit in a quick visit. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them, and it was so so so fun. And Timmy was a HUGE hit (when isn’t he, really). All in all, it was a fantastic but too quick 4 days.

Thanks and congratulations again to Jasmin and Todd! You gave us a reason to come to Panama to celebrate your love. We both couldn’t believe how gorgeous Jasmin looked (not that it was surprising since she’s already beautiful), I mean really stunning, and Todd couldn’t have been more happy to have all his friends and family in one place. We love you guys! Panama, we’ll be back, don’t you worry.

♥, VB

 

VicTim Bach Bash

Bachelor/bachelorette parties are a funny thing. Sometimes they are just the most incredible, most memorable experiences where the groom/bride are surrounded by their best friends who turn the world over to make it all about them for one night/weekend.

Labor Day weekend was Timmy and my joint bachelor-bachelorette parties. They were joint in the sense that we both had them in St. Pete and planned a Sunday beach field day, but other than that, they were separate.

My weekend was amazing. My friends who I invited that are either in my bridal party or are my best friends in the world couldn’t have made that weekend any more incredibly relaxing, chill, and overall exactly what I wanted. We hung out at the beach which was no joke, about 50 yards away from our Treasure Island house. Or what we called it, the 80s Porn Palace.

Yeah. It’s exactly what you would picture in your mind. In fact, a few of us thought we recognized it from somewhere…:)

My maid of honor Lyndsay, my past roommate of 5 years and one of my best friends in this world, went ABOVE and BEYOND. She shopped, she cooked, she prepared, she planned, she had anxiety, but she did the damn thing. I kept telling her that I didn’t expect her to plan it like how I would plan it, because really, that’s crazy, but man I can’t believe what an awesome job she did. If anyone’s in the market (she may cut me for offering her maid of honor services), she left no stone unturned. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than what she did.

And all my friends! AHHHHHH, they were the best! I had two surprise guests show up who I thought weren’t coming, and my other friends were there for me all weekend. No one complained, no one was dramatic, no one was bitchy, and everyone stayed by my side the whole time. Sure, we were kinda boring, taking naps, and reading books, and laying out, and getting in the water, but we’re in our 30s now. My days of clubbing are over because that’s pretty much all I did in my 20s. No need to re-live the good old days because I’m still having lots of good days now.

We did have a few incidents with someone, but other than that, the rest of us were no-drama, sun-loving, relaxing fools. I love you all, there’s a reason you’re in my life — you make my life happier and brighter, you celebrate with me and you grieve with me, you’re there when I need you and I’m there whenever you need me. Thank you for being you.

Two of my bridesmen (my 3rd couldn’t get on a flight unfortunately) stayed at Timmy’s place and spent the weekend going back and forth between our house, our Saturday night dinner, and their house. I planned a private dining room dinner at Station House Saturday night  in downtown St. Pete where we stuffed ourselves silly and just really really really enjoyed ourselves, went to one bar, then went home to get into our pjs. Sleep was such a necessity that weekend, I’m really glad all my friends are now in the same “I kinda love sleep more than people” space that I am in.

I was so sad to say goodbye to everyone, it was just enough time to get comfortable with my friends, but not enough time to feel like we had all really caught up with each other. Seriously you guys, you made the trip, you took the time and $$ to celebrate my life with Timmy, I’m so humbled and honored and blown away that you would put me first like that. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

It’s true, the time went by too fast. The weekend shot by like a bullet. And at certain times, I wish that it had been a real bullet directed at a few people who attended the parties that weekend. Timmy’s experience…well, let’s just say, it wasn’t the same as mine. But that’s his story to tell, not mine.

But to end this post on a happy note (because by nature, I’m not a negative person), I love all of you who made our parties a place to celebrate not only our love, but our friendships with you, our bonds, our connections. You spent money on us, you blocked off time for us, you came because you love us. Without y’all’s support, Timmy and I definitely wouldn’t be the people we are today.

♥, VB

What Happens After a Perfect Day

I figured I might as well get the horrible part of this blog post out of the way so I could finish it on a high note. I can look back on it and laugh, but that day, nothing was funny.

I’m talking about the day after our amazing engagement party where I experienced what I assume to be the 2nd closest feeling to death without actually being dead (the actual closest is food poisoning, where I would gladly welcome death instead).

I honestly don’t know what happened. Being a health educator, you’d think at this point, 32 years old, hangovers would be a thing of the past. But man, did I get schooled on what it’s like to mingle at a wedding-themed event that revolves around you and your partner.

I had no idea how hard it would be to remember to eat enough and drink water when attempting to make every single guest who drove 1+ hours to Athens in your honor feel welcome and appreciated. I’m sure some people felt a tiny bit shafted by Timmy and I; I promise we tried to make the rounds but we only had so much time to fit it all in. And we only had like 30+ guests! I can’t even imagine how freaking difficult this is going to be at our actual wedding.

We did make it out to downtown Athens that night with Timmy’s cousins Matt and Leeanna and my brother in law Jared with a follow-up at Waffle House, if that’s any indication to you how the day went.

So obviously, Sunday, was the the worst. Absolute worst. Ever. I’ve never felt that bad for that long. It’s true what they say about hangovers in your 30s — they will make you regret every decision you ever made that led you to that point. I won’t go into details, but needless to say, I had to reschedule my flight home until the next morning (I would’ve missed it anyways thanks to construction traffic), and I finally stopped throwing up at 4 PM. FOUR O’ CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON.

Thankfully, my mom was there to take care of me and make me my favorite childhood soup remedy. I don’t care how old you are, when you get sick, all you want is your mommy.

I’m getting flashbacks, so let me move on with the story.

So the actual engagement party day was pretty perfect. It was hot as f%^k (which duh, it was the last weekend in July in Georgia. Of course it’s going to be hot) and we all pretty much sweated off any attempt at makeup, but I didn’t care for long. Once people started showing up, it was pretty sweet.

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setting up

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sitting area

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all ready for that low country boil!

It’s a little odd to be the direct center of attention at a party. Even our 30 Years, 1 Wish party was about something bigger than ourselves, so the attention, while on us, was shared with our charities and special guests. Our engagement party and subsequent fiestas are about us, and that’s a little odd.

But not unwelcome. If anyone loves being the center of attention, it’s this girl and Timmy. It’s like we were born for this kind of stuff. 🙂

You’ll probably notice that I have on two dresses in these pictures. The first one, I loved and felt like a pretty little girl in. But I quickly realized that the fabric wasn’t letting any air in between my legs, and I immediately ditched that plan after the first two guests arrived and switched to a shorter dress.

One of my favorite moments of the party were when at one point, I walked inside and all my guy friends were inside in the AC with their children while their wives were outside drinking. To hell with gender roles!

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My two bridesmen, Matt and Austin, with their sons, Matthew and Aidyn

Also, this moment was made possible by our old neighbors from Norcross who remember me from before I was even a baby. Their gift giving ability receives a perfect 10.

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The Joy of Sex, indeed

Also, at some point, this also happened. No words. Just awesomeness.

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’01 Yeah

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my bro in law Jared and Timmy mean muggin’ like old ass high schoolers

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We love being dorks and will never apologize.

Honestly, I’m so impressed that we all fit into our old letter jackets. Seriously, that’s an accomplishment to add to our life lists.

We just can’t find the words to say how appreciative we are of everyone who came to the party and risked standing dead still in traffic on insert-any-Atlanta-highway-here. To my sister (and matron-of-honor) Carla and my bridesmaid Heather for hosting the party. Thank you to my bro-in-law Jared for standing in direct sunlight for over two hours making the low country boil (first batch non-spicy, just for me!) and quite possibly losing a gallon of body hydration in the process. To my parents who came early in the week to help babysit my nieces, set up, cook, and decorate.

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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

It was just an awesome day. Thank you.

♥, VB

Life Lately + Head Trauma

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

SO FREAKING TRUE. While we haven’t done anything monumental lately, we have had some really awesome weekends, and the more I forget to share, the faster the time seems to go.

Let’s start out by categorizing what’s been going on with our life lately!

Wedding Planning

I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!! This is the stage where I’m the most comfortable being at when I’m planning anything. It’s the anticipatory, to-do lists, breathable, productive, I’m-going-to-conquer-the-world stage and I’m loving it.

Obviously, the beginning was ROUGH. Like, beyond rough. Like crying every day for a month rough. Once we set that date, it was a ticking time bomb strapped to my back. Looking back, it was a combination of everything in the world that overwhelms me, hitting me all at once.

  • Ginormous price tags? Check.
  • Guilt beyond belief at my parents paying? Check.
  • The idea of being married when I had never wanted that? Check.
  • Decisions that I never thought I would ever need to make and try to make them with someone who doesn’t like making decisions? Check.
  • Planning a major event from a different state for a reason that I never had wanted before? Check!

One of the main problems was that Timmy and I do not approach decision-making in the same way. In fact, we’re complete opposites. I’m a snap decision-maker. I don’t like to over-analyze anything and I just want to move on and get shit done. Timmy becomes paralyzed. He gets frustrated easily when it’s time to decide, and then he will just stonewall until he feels he’s had enough time (usually about 10,000 times longer than I’m okay with). This does not make for smooth decision making and it’s been an issue for a long time in our relationship in general.

But we sat down, hashed it out, and now we’re excellent. Timmy and I finally found a groove to wedding planning. I’ll do some research here and there and compile some ideas and send it to him, and then 2-3 weeks later, we’ll basically knock out like 3-5 decisions in one day. And I’ve had time to digest the fact that my parents WANT to do this for us and I can accept it now.

We have just under a year until we get married. This is what we’ve done so far:

  • wedding coordinator hired
  • date and time chosen
  • venue chosen
  • guest list almost complete
  • photographer chosen and engagement pictures printed
  • caterer, food options, baker, and design chosen
  • band chosen
  • alcohol package chosen
  • wedding website nearly complete
  • invitations printed
  • registries complete
  • save the dates designed
  • rehearsal dinner space booked
  • wedding dress and bridal party and outfits selected
  • bachelor/bachelorette party scheduled

I told you, I don’t mess around when it comes to planning. I want as much done now so that we can just pretty much coast up until the wedding. We have about 4 things on the docket that should be complete in the next few weeks, so as that to-do list gets done, I get happier and more and more excited to marry my partner.

Travels and Visits

The first weekend of June, I traveled to NY to celebrate my best friend Denise’s daughter’s baptism. Seeing as how I hadn’t met the little lady since she was inside her mom’s uterus, I thought it would be a great time to meet her and chill out with my besties. This trip, I didn’t even step inside Manhattan, which was a nice change of pace. It always feels like the city is trying to run me over when I visit because I try to fit so much into one weekend, and this time, we just stayed in the suburbs and enjoyed beautiful weather with family and friends.

Not going to lie, their apartment does not absorb sound well, so in addition to little Mary’s screams, I also was privy to the fighting Puerto Rican family below them, and good god, getting 4 hours of sleep is just not okay.

A few weekends later, my good friend from grad school, Alex, came down for a half week of relaxation and fun. This woman, god I love her. She’s amazing. Strong, driven, intelligent, and with a heart as big as the sun. I admire her in so many ways, and it’s always such a nice calming feeling to be around her. She pretty much came down to escape a little drama in her life in Atlanta, so we ate well, beached it, had a boat day with my old work colleague Leila and her husband, and just enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Pride Weekend

It’s really really fun living in monumental moments. Timmy had made the trek to St. Pete a few weekends in a row, and so Pride weekend (the last weekend in June) was supposed to be my weekend in Orlando. But then the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality Friday morning, and because Timmy is the most amazing person ever, he decided to come to St. Pete to help me volunteer and experience what a major civil rights victory feels like.

This year, I’ve been trying to volunteer more around my community, and Pride felt like another perfect moment to help out. I volunteered earlier in the week for the Stonewall Reception and got to meet the mayor of St. Pete. We volunteered together at a concert with someone from Glee (no clue, but holy cow they could sing!), and then we made it out to the nighttime Pride parade on Saturday night. Of course, Timmy is the greatest flirter in the world (which I warned him about), so he won the bead war. Hey, it’s not my fault most of the floats were men and Timmy was practically throwing himself at them!

Slut.

But all in all, it was pretty much the perfect weekend, and I can’t wait for next year! 🙂

Destin and 4th of July

UGGGGHHHH, this trip was no bueno for me. It seems like every time I’ve been to Destin, it ends in E.R. visits (which is actually the case for Timmy. He and his friends really have never been able to finish a trip to Destin without visiting a medical professional). They actually still had my information on file from the last time, like 5 years ago, when I jumped in the water and stepped on some barnacles which tore the sole of my foot up.

This time, it started out great. Magda and Corey, who so generously donated the BOTE board for our “30 Years, 1 Wish” party, invited us to stay in their renovated, white, shiny new home. Their house is super gorgeous and seems to be the perfect party pad. I’m not a huge alcohol drinker, so I knew I would have to psych myself up to hang out with this crew who have livers of steel. Not that I went overboard, but I definitely had to pace myself to get through the day drinking part (which for those of you who know me well, is NOT a strength of mine).

Friday, they had a get-together at their house where people just drove their boats up or paddled up on their boards (which is the greatest way of life, let me tell you) and we all hung out in the sun by their pool. Saturday started out much like Friday. The sun burning our eyes out (they hadn’t put up drapes yet), children crying, that sort of thing. But we were heading out to Crab Island, so I was excited to have a really awesome day.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

We made it out there, anchored the boat, played a frisbee game, met people, it was great! BOTE is constantly trying out new designs, and this weekend they were trying out a prototype for a wake surfing paddleboard. It’s smaller than a regular paddleboard, and way less stable. I tried it out a few times, was able to get the hang of it, and even tried (and failed) to do a little yoga on it.

But then, it all went downhill.

Here’s where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember talking with Timmy, facing their boat, and then all of the sudden I heard, “Look out!” and then BAM, the paddleboard came crashing down on the back of my head. If you’ve ever been hurt by something that’s also taken you by complete surprise, you understand the feeling. It was horrendous.

After that, I remember things in bits and pieces. I remember being brought on someone else’s boat to ice my head, I remember feeling really sleepy and just wanting to rest my eyes, and then I remember being at the E.R. with a brace around my neck, going in for a CT scan. I couldn’t remember who the president was at first (which made me cry because I was so scared).

Timmy was by my side the whole time. He was my rock, calming me down when I started to freak out, asking all the right questions, and helping me with insurance and confusing payments. In short, he was incredible.

The following week, I had some nausea, trouble sleeping, headaches, and general confusion. I had a lot of trouble getting words out, and am still kind of struggling here and there with speaking smoothly and quickly but in general, I’m completely back to normal. Timmy hated it but loved it because he eventually said, “I finally feel smarter than you!”

Slut.

After that, I felt good enough to have another St. Pete weekend (the last one in a while, since it’ll be my turn to visit Orlando multiple weekends in a row. It’s only fair). We had a really good time at the Rays game last Saturday night for an Emory alumni event, which I may or may not have outed him to everyone as a non-alum. As though his Auburn hat didn’t give him away. We had a delicious dinner at our new favorite place, Brick and Mortar, met a couple and talked with them the entire night. Sunday, we had lunch at Locale Market (an incredible, jaw-dropping place) and saw Jurassic World (which pretty much sucked. We were uber disappointed), and had ourselves a delightful weekend together.

The weekends are getting harder and harder when it comes time to say goodbye. We may be seeing an end in sight as we try to figure out Timmy’s job and what moving will look like. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely having the talks.

Life is so funny. As I’ve been going through the summer, I haven’t really felt like what we’ve been up to has been that interesting to share. I haven’t been taking as many photos, I’ve really been trying to be IN the moment. But now that I’ve finished writing this post, damn, we are busy people. I love our life.

♥, VB