"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The life of a newly engaged lady

So! What does a newly engaged lady do in the days following her engagement? If that newly engaged lady is me, it goes something like this.

  • Newly engaged lady (hereafter referred to as "NEL") excitedly shares the happy news with friends and family.
  • NEL shows people her ring and is pleased when everyone oohs and aahs over how beautiful and unique it is. She feels slightly guilty that she is buying into the tradition of a lady receiving a diamond upon engagement, but not so much so that she doesn't enjoy the sparkle. She is, after all, a lover of gems.
  • NEL has to explain that no, there was no formal proposal, so she has no sweeping grandiose tale of romance to relate. 
  • NEL has to explain to over-eager friends and well-wishers that no, there are no wedding plans yet. She and Fiance plan to get married, hopefully within the year. But that's just about it. NEL starts to wonder just how much time other ladies devote to wedding planning, real or imagined, before they actually get engaged. NEL starts to wonder if there's something wrong with her because she was never one of those little girls who dreamed about her wedding. Instead she dreamed about having her artsy black-and-white author photo emblazoned on the dust jacket of an international best-seller (that she has yet to write).
  • NEL uses a birthday Amazon gift certificate to order a bunch of budget wedding planning books, including Offbeat Bride, the book that led to the greatest website ever for the newly engaged
  • NEL finds a binder from her senior year in high school titled "The Sacrament of Marriage," a project wherein all senior year girls had to plan their own weddings, both from a religious perspective and a practical perspective. NEL laughs when she sees that her 17-year-old self imagined getting married at age 22. She laughs even harder when she sees that her wedding budget was under $5,000. Then she sighs and feels like crying a little bit.
  • NEL travels back to Boston post-birthday-Thanksgiving-engagement-and-reunion-with-high-school-friends-whirlwind and feels the doldrums that come after a week of excitement and fun. She finds it hard to work, mostly because she's begun obsessing, just slightly, about her wedding. 
  • NEL starts to seriously research things like venues and a bubble of panic begins to form inside of her when she realizes how expensive these things are.
  • NEL starts to imagine a wedding with only 50 guests. Then 30. Then 10. Then she begins to imagine how wonderful (and affordable!) eloping would be.
  • NEL decides that eloping is the only solution.
  • NEL realizes that even though she never spent hours imagining her perfect dress or floral arrangements or first-dance song, she actually does want a real wedding, with a meaningful ceremony and surrounded by family and friends. Elopement is out of the question.
  • Realizing this, NEL then faces the fact that it will cost a lot of money to have even a very simple, pared-down, classy yet unelaborate wedding.
  • NEL spends several days feeling pit-of-the-stomach dread and several nights getting very little sleep because she cannot turn off her brain.
  • NEL, in a state of sleep deprivation and complete financial paranoia, has a meltdown. 
  • Fiance of NEL spends the evening comforting her as she sobs and snots and wails all over. Fiance of NEL wipes her tears away, assures her everything will be okay, reminds her that a wedding is a happy thing, tells her to relax, throws away her snot-covered tissues, and puts her to bed.
  • NEL realizes she is marrying a gem who is right.
  • NEL gets a good night's sleep and wakes up the next day confident that yes, she and Fiance can figure out a way to do this and stay happy.
  • NEL brainstorms and researches and finds potential wedding venue and lots of money-saving ideas. 
  • NEL feels much better and actually gets excited about the prospect of planning her wedding. Fiance is actually showing enthusiasm and contributing ideas too, which makes NEL extremely happy that this isn't going to turn into The Bride Show with Groom acting as a mere prop.
  • NEL vows not to become a Bridezilla.
  • NEL happily bakes a cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake, which she is convinced is just a tiny bit responsible for Fiance wanting to marry her. Yes, it really is that good. (Recipe to follow!)
So there you have it. My life as a newly engaged lady, to date. I have no idea if this is how a typical newly engaged lady spends the first couple of weeks after getting engaged, but I'm sort of glad I had a meltdown early on. It gave me some much-needed perspective and helped me lighten up and remember that this should be FUN, not OMG WTF. Also, the wedding porn on Offbeat Bride helps me feel not quite so odd for wanting to do things my way.

Fun recipes, including coffee cake recipe, coming soon!

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