Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The first steps of planning our wedding

We've already been engaged for a month and a half! I can't believe it. And, no, I haven't stopped staring at my finger or getting giddy when I catch a glimpse of my ring at a particularly sparkly angle. And the word "fiance" still sounds weird rolling off my tongue :)

Instead of taking the advice of my friends, I jumped into planning mode about 2 days after Tom popped the big question. For us, the first thing we needed to figure out was where the heck we're going to tie the knot! With my immediate family in Texas and Tom's immediate family in St. Louis, we had a few decisions to make. Additionally, we needed to take into account all of our friends and family who will be traveling for our big day. We figured out that we'll (hopefully) be welcoming wedding guests from New York, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, California, Texas, and maybe a few other places. Although we weighed all of our options -- including traveling somewhere fabulous for a destination wedding -- we decided to get married right here in good 'ol Columbia, MO. Why? Because this is where we met, fell in love, and now call home...and it's a fairly central location for everyone!

At this point, we've checked out four venues here in town (well, one's in Jefferson City about 30 minutes away): La Maison, Museao, Columbia Country Club, and Stephens College's Kimball Ballroom. Without naming names, we liked three (each had its own respective list of pros and cons) and hated one (the space isn't right for our wedding, but the service was AWFUL). Throughout the touring process, we've been gathering ideas about what we like and what we don't like, but it's safe to say that we haven't found our wedding location yet. Still, we're early in the process, and I'm doing research every night to find new places to visit. I also think we're realizing that there's a good chance we're not going to find the place here in Columbia. And that's okay. I've started researching ceremony and reception venues in St. Louis just in case.

Once we find a few venues we love, my dad will fly up and help us sign all of the paperwork, and we'll be able to nail down our wedding date! At this point, we're hoping for April 2014 :)

Even though we don't have a date or venue yet, we did meet with a photographer here in town. Her photos are beautiful, and we love the packages she offers, so we hope she'll still be available once we book our venue. To better our chances, I'm not giving out her name quite yet. If we get married here in Columbia or in St. Louis, stay tuned!

Other than checking out venues and meeting with the photographer, we've been busy putting together our guest list and figuring out what's important to us to include in our wedding day. We're currently having a little trouble finding a suitable wedding officiant, but we're working on it. I've also been spending a lot of time building up my wedding Pinterest boards, which I think has both helped and hurt. Yes, I'm getting a good idea of how I want our wedding to look, but I'm afraid I'm getting my hopes up for things that just aren't time and cost efficient and, ultimately, won't end up being a part of our big day.

For that reason and a few others, I'm currently pretty stressed out about the whole planning process. So, last night I decided to take a step back and take a few weeks off from planning. I'm going to read this book, which was given to me by a friend, and do what I should have done a month and a half ago: spend a little time enjoying my fiance and basking in the fact that he wants me to be his wife!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

23

To be honest, I wasn't excited about turning 23. I can't exactly put my finger on why, but it's probably something to do with the fact that 23 is almost 25 and so on and so forth...

Regardless, I was excited to celebrate my birthday with friends, and that's exactly what I did!

My birthday was on Sunday, March 10, but I knew it would be easier to celebrate on Saturday night. On Friday night, Tom and I went to dinner at a new sushi place with some new friends of ours. Good conversation, yummy sushi, and strong cocktails was a great way to kick off my birthday weekend!

On Saturday morning, I woke up early to go to Pure Barre, and then Tom and I went to check out our first potential wedding venue! More on that later :)

That afternoon, my friend Lindsay arrived from St. Louis. We hadn't seen each other since December, and I'm so happy she made the trip to celebrate my birthday! We spent a little while hanging out before it was time to get ready for dinner.

Since I'm a little overwhelmed with the thought of planning a wedding, I didn't want to go crazy planning my birthday party. Instead, I wanted a relaxed, leisurely evening with friends, so that's what we did! Tom, Lindsay, and I headed downtown to Broadway Brewery where we met up with Monica (Tom's cousin that I absolutely love) and our friends Harrison, Alex, Emily, Cameron, Jill, and Dillon. There was an hour-long wait for dinner, so we all walked over to Top Ten Wines for a glass of wine while we waited.

Dinner was delicious, and the whole evening was so fun! Emily and I are birthday twins, so it was awesome to be able to celebrate together. I'm so lucky to have such great friends who all enjoy each other's company :)
After dinner, Lindsay, Monica, Tom, and I all went back to our apartment and hung out and played with Jibboom. It was pretty late by the time Monica left, so we called it a night soon after.

Tom had originally planned to take me to brunch on Sunday (my actual birthday) morning, but we both woke up completely exhausted. I'm sure the weather -- it was dreary and poured all day -- didn't help, so we decided to pass on brunch and sleep in. It was PERFECT! It seems like there's always something going on on weekends, and I can't remember the last time I got to truly sleep in. My birthday was already off to a good start :)

Since Lindsay was in town, I thought it would be fun to have her try a Pure Barre class. We went to an early afternoon class and then went to a local Mexican restaurant for a late lunch and birthday margarita. We probably undid everything we accomplished during Pure Barre, but it was my birthday. I'm allowed to indulge a little ;)
After lunch, Lindsay left to go back to St. Louis, and Tom and I spent the afternoon just hanging out. It was still raining, so it was nice to lay low for the day. Around 8 pm, Tom and I headed downtown to get ice cream. We went to Sparky's, which is known for its unusual flavors. I got green tea and cream soda, which were both delicious!
On Monday morning, my awesome coworkers brought in an adorable flower arrangement for my birthday! Since they know I'm trying to be gluten free (more on that later, as well), they thought the flowers would be a good alternative to cupcakes :)
All in all, I had a great birthday!!! 23 might not be so bad after all :)

Just for fun, let's revisit my 23 before 23 list. Over the past year, I managed to accomplish the following things:
22 was a big year for me -- Tom and I moved in together, we got adopted Jibboom, and we got engaged!!! Pretty good for one year!

I don't think I'm going to make a 24 before 24 list. Why? Because I want to focus on being the best version of myself, and I'm so happy with my life right now. I have the best fiance, family, friends, and dog I could ever imagine. I like my job. I'm taking care of myself. I'm happy :)

Here's to 23 being the best year yet!
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