Woohooo only 11 months to go until I get to marry this sexy piece of man candy. Bahaha this is easily my favorite pictures from our engagement shoot. In fact, all my favorites are the ones of us being silly and laughing… because that’s just really us. We only have one where we’re making a kind of serious face and it kind of makes me giggle.
Ok let’s do some updates from the month of April. I feel really good about where we are in the wedding planning process. We’ve got like all the big stuff taken care of and it has been ZERO stress. Let’s recap what we know so far:
We got all the photos from our engagement shoot! We are SO pleased with them. Anyone in the New Jersey / Pennsylvania / New York / Delaware area looking for an excellent photographer consider using Kevin Isabelle Photography
We booked our ceremony location! Mike and I are thrilled that we will be married at Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Georgetown. We are both very committed to the issue of Marriage Equality and I am thrilled that we were able to locate a beautiful historic church that shares our values on this issue. We will also be able to have our family friend co-officiate the wedding, which is perfect. We can also use their musicians during the ceremony… another item ticked off the list!
We got our wedding photographer! Rachel Pearlman photography will be doing our wedding and I could not be happier. Rachel has done my cousin’s wedding and numerous family parties / baby shoots. Her work is impeccable (in fact, she won Best of the Knot for Philadelphia in 2012 and Bride’s Choice on Wedding Wire).
We picked our wedding colors! I had a hard time here because I’m not particularly artistic or creative. March is also an interesting time. It’s not winter but it’s also not time yet for traditional spring colors. Ultimately, we’ve settled on black, gold, and dark green. I’m really happy with the choice and I think my bridesmaids are really excited to wear black (also… so easy to pick dresses now!)
One minor snag that has come up… I’m having a small trouble with the salon where I am shopping for my wedding dress. I am pretty sure it is resolved now after a long, honest conversation with the store manager the other day. I have asked them to order 3 additional styles I would like to try on that were not in the store. I was not anticipating that to be an issue, but it has been harder than I expected! Luckily, I have confirmed that those three dresses are currently IN STORE, in my size, and waiting for me to try on next Wednesday night when my mom is in town. Phew OK!
- Now that I have our engagement photos I am ALMOST done with our wedding website!! Woop woop!
- We also need to design our Save the Dates. I found some cute free templates online. I’m having fun playing around with them.
- Still finalizing a contract with our DJ but we’re almost there!
- Meet with our wedding coordinator at the Key Bridge Marriott. We’re going to meet her next week and schedule out our tastings / planning meetings. I personally CANNOT WAIT for the tastings… BEST part of wedding planning.
- Get this dress business figured out. The dress is the only part that I’ve been indecisive about. I hate indecision and I normally do not struggle with that. For some reason, it’s been really easy to be indecisive about the dress. I just want to try on these three additional styles and make a choice.
As always… everyone PLEASE feel free to chime in with info / advice. I welcome your sage wisdom 🙂
I kind of can’t believe we’ve been engaged for over two months. But then at the same time, it feels so natural / right for us to be “engaged” that I kind of forget what it was like to NOT be. (Except I definitely need to stop wearing my ring to the gym. My trainer had me doing deadlifts the other morning and my ring was basically tearing up my hand…ew) Let’s recap what we’ve talked about so far:
- Mike proposed and then I finally told you guys the whole story.
- Then I gathered some of my initial thoughts on being a bride.
I do have some updates for you guys!!
We set the date.
Mike and I will be saying “I Do” on March 22, 2014. Initially, we were completely set on March 8th. We even told all the venues we were considering this was our first choice. But then, a late season snow storm (ok it was more like a rainstorm but people totally freaked out) hit DC on March 6th and Mama POTR (my mother) didn’t sleep for 3 nights. She also started watching way too much weather channel and was spouting a lot of very bizarre statistics about the occurrence of late season snow storms. We all agreed that if we could get the same prices, it was safer to go for March 22nd (I won’t even begin to discuss the snow storm that occurred on March 24th in DC because we’re not changing the date again). Keep your fingers crossed for an early spring 🙂
We booked the venue.
We will be hosting our wedding at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, VA. I knew I wanted a hotel venue because it just seemed a LOT easier and a lot of stuff already comes with the package. Plus, since the majority of our guests will need to travel to the wedding, it is easier to have the reception at the same place where people are sleeping. The Zimmermans do not condone drinking and driving. But we strongly encourage you to drink! Initially, I really wanted to have the wedding at a venue in DC but we couldn’t find many options (that were in our price range) that could accommodate our numbers. While Mike and I are very committed to not having a crazy over-the-top wedding, we cannot commit to having a small wedding. We just have large families and large extended networks of friends who we want to be included in our day. I am committed to keeping the final number under 200 but it’s creeping up. Arlington venues had bigger rooms but still offered proximity to DC. Even better, the Key Bridge Marriott’s ballroom is on the top floor with gorgeous views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center, and my alma matter, Georgetown. SCORE.
We took our engagement photos.
A wonderful family friend is a very talented photographer and he came down to DC last Saturday to take our engagement photos. We were hoping for Cherry Blossoms but no cigar. However, we happened to pick the day of the Kite Festival which was actually really cute. Waiting for the pictures and I’m nervous / excited. I’m worried I made weird faces lol. We will likely use one of these photos for our save the date and the others on our wedding website (which is still VERY MUCH under construction). Here’s a couple that my mom snapped on her phone during the shoot. Can’t wait for the real images!
We have confirmed our wedding party.
We are having a small wedding party, which I think is the ideal match for our personalities. I will be having my best friend as my maid of honor and two bridesmaids (one friend and one cousin). Mike will be having his brother as his best man and two groomsmen (my brother and his friend). We are currently working out how we want to include other special people in the day including readings, ushers, musical performances, etc.
We also have several things in the works that aren’t 100% confirmed yet but looking good. They include:
- A church for the ceremony – it was important to us to find a ceremony location where we felt comfortable. I would like a family friend (who is a minister) to perform the ceremony and want a church that looks beautiful but also aligns on some of my social values.
- A photographer – I am in talks with someone who I know / have seen her work etc.
- A DJ – I am in talks with someone recommended by one of my bridesmaids. I know him / have seen him work as well.
- The dress – We are VERY close to the final one. I went shopping again with my mom this past weekend and I think we might have found the one. No details though … have to leave some things until the big day!
So what’s next??
- Confirm all of the above. Most importantly the church.
- Finish the wedding website
I welcome ALL advice from former and prospective brides out there (or non-brides who have opinions… this is an inclusive environment!)
Mike and I have now officially been engaged for 4 weeks. Woah, right? I actually got a new laptop this week (thanks Dad!) and Mike obviously set it up for me because I don’t know how to do it myself. He made himself a profile on the laptop too and I jokingly said, “Who do you think you are??? Setting up a profile on my computer??” and he response was, “Um… like… your future husband?” That was so cute to hear. I’m such a wedding planning novice and I’m definitely feeling pretty out of my element. We haven’t set an official date yet and have only just begun looking at venues. However, I have some feelings and thoughts on being a bride that I thought I’d share with the internets 🙂
1. Pinterest is a bully. I don’t really do the Pinterest thing but I did set up a couple secret boards to share with my friend Elsa. It’s helping me keep track of a couple things I’m finding around the internet. But other than that I’ve really been steering clear of Pinterest for wedding ideas. All it does is make me feel bad that I’m not going to spend the months leading up to the wedding making handmade needle point handkerchiefs to hand out during the ceremony or serving rosemary infused pink lemonade in mason jars wrapped in burlap and raffia during my idyllic outdoor wedding ceremony. I obviously want a beautiful wedding and honestly have so much respect for those wonderfully crafty and talented people who want to do that. But it’s not who I am, and I really don’t want to get bogged down in comparing our wedding to what it “should” be.
2. 90% of wedding dresses are strapless. I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at me recently but I have broader shoulders than your average lady. I look like a middle linebacker for the Miami Dolphins in a strapless dress. Thanks… but no thanks. Thankfully I am noticing somewhat of a trend away from strapless and a lot of really gorgeous offerings within my budget. I have no concept of what I think will look good on my figure, so I have a lot of trying on ahead of me.
3. I think a lot of Bridezillas are just really hungry. For someone who already has body image issues, being a “bride” is an emotional minefield. When I signed up for TheKnot.com, one of the first items on my “to do” list they gave was, “Get in wedding day shape! – eat right, join a gym, or even hire a personal trainer!” (To be clear, my post about getting Lady Ripped is not b/c I want to get in “wedding day shape” I just want to stop having this knee injury flare up). Do I want to look my absolute best for my wedding day? Absolutely! But I want to look my best, not starving. Emotionally, I have been all over the map on this issue for the past 4 weeks. Immediately after we started talking about the wedding, I started feeling my dumb inner voice telling me that I’m fat and I need to lose weight. Think of all the pictures they’re going to take of you! You’re going to look like a beached whale in white! Honestly, I’m nervous about this. I’ve shared these concerns with Mike, my mom, and my MOH because I need their support in the next year. I am committed to not reverting to old, very bad habits, but I’m definitely feeling the pressure. Any words of wisdom?
4. There are only a few things that REALLY matter. I’m thrilled to be planning a wedding with Mike. I couldn’t be luckier to have such a wonderful future husband and future family. No matter what happens on our wedding day, I get to spend every day for the rest of my life with Mike, and that’s the happiest thought of all. My approach to wedding planning is: focus on the things that really matter to me, be flexible on things that don’t, ask for help (especially from my mom), enjoy the process (I’m majorly type A so planning is super fun to me… let’s keep it that way), stick to the budget, stay grounded, simplify, and don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day the only things that matter in the whole world are the four Fs.
This guy (my fiance):
These three (my family):
Her (my best friend):
And these two (my faithful felines):
I thought I would start off by telling you guys how Mike popped the big question!
The lead up: To be clear, I was completely surprised that he asked me that day, but I knew that he was planning to ask me at some point. We had really been talking about it a lot since the summer. At that point it was more like, this might be like … it? And by the end of October, we were both certain. We talked about it and decided it was the right decision for us.
The Ring: I’ve honestly never really given much thought to my engagement ring before. I’ve thought more about the wedding, but haven’t spent time conceptualizing what kind of ring I wanted. I also felt pretty uncertain about buying a diamond. I feel pretty uncomfortable about the diamond industry worldwide and wasn’t sure I wanted to buy into it. I was just really undecided about it… which is really unusual for me. Then Mike had the perfect solution. His mom, who is potentially one of the most wonderful women I have ever known, offered him her engagement ring if he wanted to give it to me. It had belonged to Mike’s grandmother too, so I am the third generation to wear it. He showed it to my best friend for her seal of approval and she loved it. She also verified it was the right size.
He asked my dad: I know some people don’t believe in this tradition anymore. But Mike and I had talked and he knew it was important to me that he talk to my dad before proposing to me. Unbeknownst to me, Mike asked my dad one morning over Christmas. I went out for a run and he talked to my parents while I was out. He said he wanted to ask my dad in person while he had the opportunity.
The proposal: Ok so you have all the back story. Wednesday night before my birthday (which was on Friday) Mike and I had planned to go out to a nice dinner just the two of us. We like to celebrate holidays just the two of us in some small way. Looking back, some people were acting a LITTLE weird (My best friend asked me twice what I was wearing… which was unusual haha but I didn’t think of it at the time). I met Mike at 6:30 at La Tasca in Chinatown for a glass of sangria. I immediately noticed that he was SUPER dressed up (like slacks, button down, jacket, and a pair of black dress shoes I’ve never once seen him wear). He said he just dressed up because it was my birthday, and I believed him. We went to dinner at Graffiato. Over delicious food and great bottle of wine, we had this amazingly gushy conversation about how happy we were and how much we loved each other. Then he gave me THE SHOES (and a really beautiful birthday card).
After dinner we got frozen yogurt for dessert. I thanked Mike for an amazing birthday celebration and he said “well I have another surprise waiting for you at home”. I was totally shocked! But we took the metro home and Mike asked me to wait in the hall while he checked on his surprise. When I walked into the apartment all the lights were out and there were these awesome electronic candles on (our cats are not exactly candle friendly). There was a huge bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, and another card. I thought this was the surprise and thought it was so romantic! Then Mike told me to open the card. On the front it said “I Love You” and the inside said, “I Love Us” and Mike had just written “Forever” in the card. Then he said “I want to be with you forever. So, Christina, will you marry me?” He got down on one knee and had the ring and it was just… perfect.
My thoughts: I couldn’t be happier with how the proposal went. I had made it clear to Mike that I really didn’t want a big production. I definitely didn’t want scoreboards lighting up or skywriting or anything. Plus, Mike is adorably shy sometimes, so if I made him do a big embarrassing spectacle in public he probably would’ve died. This was perfectly us…simple, personal, and private. And the cats were there! But they were terrible celebration partners. I cried SO much after saying yes. It was like it finally hit my like a tidal wave of emotion. I couldn’t believe this moment I had thought about for so long had actually happened. I am also obsessed with my ring. I love the history of love and family that comes with it and the design is gorgeous. Very “my style”. I also love that he involved so many people in our lives. My parents knew, his parents knew, and he planned it with my best friend Sarah. Everyone came to celebrate that weekend too. It was… amazing.
Next Steps: We took a little time just to soak up the engagement moment. But we would like to get married in March of next year, so we really do need to start getting moving on finding a venue. Right now we’re making contacts, setting up appointments, and doing all of that! I am really looking forward to getting a venue. Then I feel like I will be able to start visualizing the event. I’m hopelessly lost on “colors” so I will definitely be looking to the more creative people in my life, like Mike’s mom. My mom and I are all business planner types so we’ve got that logistics on lock down 🙂
I’d love to hear other proposal stories! Please feel free to share them!!