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Saturday, June 30, 2012

my life: engaged

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
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After my emotional proposal of marriage and Paul's jovial acceptance we went full speed ahead with wedding planning.

newly engaged - christmas with my fam
This time felt completely different than our previous engagement: I knew what I wanted, and was overjoyed to be planning the biggest event of our lives thus far - the celebration of committing ourselves to each other.

I proposed in December of 2006 and later that month we both travelled to Minnesota for Christmas. During our trip I went with my mom and sister wedding dress shopping - again.  This time it was a beautiful, memorable event.  I tried on a couple gowns before donning the one.
We all knew it was the one.  My mom was in tears.  Everyone at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul was nodding in agreement as I stepped onto the raised platform in front of the triptych of oversized mirrors.

I never pictured myself in lace, but the intricate lace overlay of the strapless ivory gown, scalloped romantically at the bodice and the train, warranted no need to look at anything else.   It was classic and absolutely perfect for the style of wedding I was imagining in my head, now that I could actually imagine that day.

The simple ivory mesh veil perched on my crown was the perfect finishing touch...and when I really felt like a bride-to-be.

Surprisingly, wedding planning was not stressful.  It was fun to use my creativity to choose things that would represent my style, as well as Paul's.  I relished every moment of planning our day.

Initially I just knew I wanted classic and romantic.   Also, because we already were wine lovers and we planned on a Napa Valley honeymoon, a color scheme was chosen: black, ivory and burgundy.

We had a strict budget, as neither of us had saved any money for a wedding.  My parents didn't have much extra money to spare, but they bought my wedding gown, which meant the world to me.  His parents were generously covering the rehearsal dinner and wine/drinks at the reception.

The rest of the cost was up to us, so we decided on a budget and took out a loan to cover it, planning to pay it back as soon as possible.

Neither of us wanted a huge, fancy affair.  It would be on the smaller side and more intimate.  The guest list was, for the most part, close family and close friends - with a target of around 100 guests.

Another thing I did know was the location I wanted: a park in Cincinnati that I ran around frequently, which also happened to be one of the most sought-after wedding venues.  Most dates were booked by brides as soon as it was humanly possible to book them.

We decided to not be picky and just see what dates were still available for the beautiful gardens and arched stone pavilion at the park.   Only two Saturdays left: one in May, and one in September.  Wanting a little extra time to plan, we chose September 8th, 2007.

Amidst the wedding planning we decided to take a cruise - to Cozumel, Belize and Nassau.





The cruise was a welcome distraction, as there was so much going on in our lives during that time, all wedding planning aside...

My job as store manager of a large shoe store was getting more and more stressful.  I had been moved to the busiest location in Cincinnati.  The store had a lot of issues, to say the least.  Being entrusted to improve the store was a daunting task that had me cranky and working a lot of hours.

our first home
Then Paul and I decided to purchase our first home together.  House shopping was sort of difficult but mostly just exciting for us.   We found a gorgeous home in a historic neighborhood that we thought fit our lifestyles well - with a lot to walk to and close to downtown.

Only few weeks before our wedding another good friend of mine, who was going to be one of my personal attendants, was getting married.  I travelled solo to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota to share in her wedding celebration.

me and the beautiful bride!
photo with random park ranger was a must!
Soon enough bachelor and bachelorette parties were underway.  Paul ended up going with some of his close friends to Vegas.  God only knows what went on -- in true Vegas style I've only been told about the FIBA basketball games they attended.  I'm sure they were angels the rest of the time...


My bridal shower and bachelorette party were actually the same day -- the Thursday before our wedding.  This allowed my out-of-state female family members and closest girlfriends to celebrate with me!   My future mother-in-law planned both events and I had an absolute blast.  We had a hotel room in downtown Cincinnati and went out on Mt. Adams - a fun bar area where Paul had originally proposed to me.  Such a memorable night with some amazing ladies in my life!

my sweet gram even donned a boa!
me and most of my favorite lady friends 

me and my sweet mama
this pretty much sums up the evening
The next night was Friday evening and we had the rehearsal at the park where the wedding ceremony would be held...or at least where we planned for the ceremony to be held.  (We learned the next day that things don't always go exactly as planned.)
Paul brought me one lovely sunflower to hold in place of my bouquet.
my dad - running us through the ceremony
After the rehearsal we all headed to a local German beer hall for our rehearsal dinner.  Let's just say there was lots of schnitzel, wurst, kraut and beer.  Oh, and sweet polka music.  It was everything we could have hoped for - a blast for all our wedding party, relatives, and guests who were in town that night and came out to party with us.

the bride and the guys
with his sisters and dad

After the celebrating in true German style, I headed back to our home.  It was abuzz with my immediate family members and several of my friends who were staying there.  All I recall is there was a lot of last minute program-making, wine-drinking {we needed the bottles for the table decor!} and loudness.  That is my family.  Oh, and someone, who shall remain nameless, threw up in the attic.

Because of the craziness in the house, my husband-to-be insisted I vacate and got me a hotel room for the night, so I could spend the night in peace.  Best decision ever.  He knew I needed my space and some quiet to keep my balance, and retreating to the nearby hotel gave me that.

Let's just say, amid the fun and festivities, I had a few freak-outs.  I'll keep them to myself, but they make some funny/ridiculous stories now.

I snuggled into the hotel bed that night and blissfully slept my last night as an unmarried woman.

Up next: the wedding day!
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