Monday, December 26, 2011

The Proposal

Contrary to popular belief, Nathan and I did not get engaged for Christmas. We actually decided to get married on 11-11-11, which was our nine year anniversary. Looking back, I wish we had just told everyone right away. At the time, the idea of orchestrating a big holiday reveal seemed exciting, when in reality it ended up being a bit of a headache. But let me back up for a minute and tell you how it all came to be.

For the last few years, Nathan and I had talked here and there about celebrating our ten year anniversary in 2012 by getting married. The closer it got to year nine, however, the less it came up in conversation. I wondered if I should bring it up - the one thing I know for sure about wedding planning is that it takes a lot of time, and the one thing I know for sure about me is that I like to make spreadsheets as soon as possible. And even though I am a feminist lady who has no problem asking my dude if he wants to marry me, I decided to hold off. It ended up being a good decision!

Our anniversary was a Friday and we went out to dinner at Yosake, a fancy (for us) sushi restaurant in Wilmington. We sat down at a little table in the middle of the room, ordered half priced wine (happy  hour is the most romantic hour of all), and then exchanged cards, because we're broke and had opted to forgo anniversary gifts. Nathan opened my card first. It was a cute card from Target that suited us perfectly, but in a generic, Target sort of way. I had written sweet things inside, but nothing truly memorable.

Then Nathan slide an envelope across the table. I picked it up and opened it. It was a handwritten letter, on a piece of paper torn from a notebook. On it, he had written beautiful and loving things about me and us and our relationship, and at the bottom was a simple question.

"Will you marry me? Circle Yes or No."

"I don't have a pen," I said.

"You can just say it outloud," he said.

"Okay," I said. "I mean, Yes. Yes!"

And that did it. We ordered second glasses of wine, stuffed ourselves on veggie sushi and Thai curry, and talked giddily about the fact that we were engaged, which seemed so weird and strange and real. There was no big public proposal (not our style) and no engagement ring (I was adamant about not wanting one). It was simple and sweet and perfectly us.

For the next few days we didn't tell anyone about our plans. We finally called our parents, because they would kill us if they found out any other way, but we swore them to secrecy. We wanted to come up with a way to tell everyone that was different, fun, and exciting - a simple change of our relationship statuses on Facebook, or a mass text message, just wouldn't do. We finally decided to have our super talented graphic designer friend, Elma, create a Save the Date for us, and include it with our Christmas cards. We wouldn't get to see the surprise on the faces of our loved ones when the opened the cards, but we would have lots of fun imagining their surprise.


As it turns out, collecting addresses, writing cards to 60+ people, and cutting out as many postcards (I printed them at Office Depot, six to a page) takes a really long time. We didn't get the cards out until last Monday and quickly learned that snail mail the week before Christmas is extra snail-like. Some people had received their cards by Wednesday but others didn't arrive until the weekend. A few friends started congratulating us on Facebook, while other friends were asking what was going on. Finally, we couldn't wait anymore. We became "engaged" on Facebook, I told my blog, and now pretty much everyone knows. (An aside: it's so interesting to see how social networking has changed the way we reveal the big moments in our lives. I will admit - I was counting the "likes" our announcement received and took way too much pleasure in watching the number rise.)

As for the wedding planning: I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I asked for and received the book A Practical Wedding for Christmas and I'll be reading it cover to cover as soon as I get back to North Carolina. We know we want to get married on November 10, 2012 (technically a day before our anniversary, but it's a Saturday, which makes for a better party) and we know we want to get married on Long Island (I have a large family here and we have a lot of friends in New York). It will be a little hard planning a New York wedding from North Carolina, while going to graduate school full time, but at least I'll have the summer to do things like DIY my heart out. I'm also glad we're having a fall wedding - because it will be out of season, we'll be able to save quite a bit of money, and this will most definitely be a budget wedding.

As for blogging while engaged: I'm not going to be a bridezilla. In fact, I probably won't have much time to even think of the wedding once the semester starts. I'll update here and there, mostly with decisions we've made, as we've made them (like a venue, whether I'll change my name [hint: I won't], if the dogs will be in the wedding party, if we'll have a vegetarian wedding, etc) but otherwise you can expect the usual from The New Me. Running, writing, recipes, and dogs, with a few wedding updates thrown in here and there.

And, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the well wishes and the congratulations. Marriage is something I never expected to do, so getting excited about it is still a little surreal. But we're definitely excited, and we hope to throw a hell of a party. After ten years together, I'd say we've earned one.

26 comments:

  1. I don't know exactly what to say except you are the best and you deserve the best. I am so excited for you both! Congratulations again and kudos on the big reveal. It's hard to do just right, but you sure gave it a shot and it's admirable. I love y'all!

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  2. By the way, I totally LOLed at you saying "I don't have a pen." That reminds me of the memorable line from Say Anything when John Cusack says "I gave her my heart; she gave me a pen." A pen is a very good thing to have, but it's nothing without love! :)

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  3. Jeromy and I were delightfully surprised when your "save the date" fell out of our holiday card! I think we high-fived in your honor! So excited for you guys! 

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  4. Congrats again to you two! It was funny-- I read the card before we noticed the save-the-date, and I was like, what's the surprise? The fact that they sent us a card? And then Chip was like, oh! look at this. :) We were so excited! It's prominently displayed on the fridge. I planned our wedding long-distance too-- I was in South Carolina, he was in North Carolina, and the wedding was in Louisiana. My mom had to help me out a lot, as far as looking at venues and that sort of thing. I did a lot of the shopping for things myself and then just brought them with me when I came. I went home a couple of times to do wedding planning type things. I also wanted a pretty low-key wedding, so that made it easier. I can't imagine what a pain it would have been had I been a high-maintenance bride. Some things like having a family member take the pictures and video, getting a cousin who decorates cakes make the cakes, having a family member make the favors (pralines, yum!!), and having a friend DJ made the planning MUCH simpler. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you!

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  5. Very sweet story and congratulations again!

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  6. Oh oh OH!  Congratulations, my dear!  I'm so excited for you and Nathan!  Hurray for love and surprises and a big old party to celebrate ten years together.  It's so delightful to catch up on your blog (I'm still in Michigan) and even more delightful to bask in the fun of your engagement story.

    Happy happy happy!  You are adorable.

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  7. At our wedding, we saved money by having a friend DJ from two iPods. One iPod had scheduled music on it for specific things (us coming in the room, first dance, dance with parents, etc.) and the second had regular music to be played throughout. A quick headphone jack unplugging and replugging did the trick. :)

    Not that you're taking a vote or anything, but I would think it COMPLETELY AWESOME if you both changed your name to Henneward. Would it helped if I dared you?

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  8. I was pushing for the iPod DJ, but we have a few friends who are actually DJ (and well!) for a living, so we may ask them first. Music is important to Nathan, so we're willing to splurge a little on that. (My splurge will be on the food!) We also have a friend who does wedding cakes and she would be upset if I didn't let her make the cake. It's nice to have talented friends!

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  9. Thanks, Rose-Anne! I wanted to write down the engagement story so I could look back on it, and it only seemed right to put it on the old blog :)

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  10. I am hoping to make this wedding a community effort, for sure! Lots of good friends, donating their talents. Plus the wedding is so far off, so I have a lot of time to figure stuff out. I really like the idea of edible favors! And I'll definitely let you know if I need any long-distance-bride advice. :)

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  11. High fives?! That's serious business! So glad y'all are excited. :)

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  12. Ha! I love that movie and I love you for thinking of it!

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  13. We did give it a shot. I guess that's all that counts. Well, all that really counts is that we're getting married. At least we got that part right!

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  14. It is indeed. We also had a relative who makes cakes do both of our wedding cakes. She did an amazing job. I'm pretty sure my dad also made pralines for everyone. I have no talents that could contribute to anyone's wedding.

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  15. Awww, super duper congrats!  I love the card proposal--too cute & sounds perfect for you guys.  Much love to you two!!

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  16. Congratulations! Your engagement reminds me so much of Neil's and mine, and I can totally relate to the feeling of what you DON'T want it to be like. The best advice I can give is just keep your desires at the forefront and to not let it (wedding planning) overtake your lives or your relationship. Real Simple makes a 9 month planner that is excellent and kept a lot of those little annoying details from being forgotten. 

    So excited for you!

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  17. I thought I commented on here but I'm not seeing it.  Congrats!


    http://scrapandrun.blogspot.com/2006/08/i-engaged.html  - the post I made shortly after being engaged.   then a more detailed post: http://scrapandrun.blogspot.com/2006/08/more-info.html  neither of which are detailed.

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  18. Congratulations you guys! This is a great story -- I love that you'll be getting married on (about) your tenth anniversary. So cool! I am excited to see how you guys pull off the planning and such. The save the date cards are fabulous. Love that Calvin and Seamus make their appearance in the design!

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  19.  Big congrats to you both! Your proposal sounds a little like ours. I am also a feminist and didn't want to be "asked" or have a ring. It was a simple agreement after "living in sin." :) However, I can tell you that I LOVE being married, and I know you will, too. I don't know how or why it feels better. Enjoy every moment of your planning, and try not to get stressed.

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  20. Very cute cards, by the way. Love the dogs!!

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  21. Congrats on the engagement. I can't think of a more perfect way to go about everything.
    And I love the dogs on the save the date card, it's so awesome!

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  22. I'm a little late to this but I wanted to say a huge congratulations to you both!! I love the proposal story and Nathan's letter to you. We did something similarly low-key but meaningful to us. T. proposed the evening after I had run a half and was super pumped about setting a new PR. I thought he was cooking me dinner to celebrate but really he wanted to make it a nice evening to propose. No ring and nothing but us, homecooked dinner, the dog, and a 'will you marry me?'. It was perfect. 

    We did get a ring months later (I wanted one, just not a diamond). He got me a beautiful white gold and sapphire ring with an inscription on the inside that is meaningful to us. I love that it reminds me of our bond and love for each other without buying into the consumerist hype of getting a 'huge rock'.

    Your save the date cards are lovely! I love the pups on top :) I'm sure that your whole day will be unique and wonderful and special to you both, I do look forward to you sharing bits of it with us, your readers, as well. Many many congratulations to you!

    S.

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