How involved should you be in your engagement ring process?

Were you like me growing up?

After seeing proposals as a kid on telly and stuff, I always assumed that the entire process of getting engaged was a giant surprise.

Whenever I would see those jumbotron proposals, I would always think to myself, “What if she says no,” not realizing until a teacher told me later, that a proposal, and an engagement, generally, were discussed at length prior to it happening.

So all that said, when I got into a relationship, the sort where I felt like I could share my life with this person, I had no idea how we were supposed to go about choosing a ring.

Wasn’t I supposed to be surprised?

DID I want to be surprised?

And then I thought about it.

I love Austin so deeply.  However, throughout the course of our nearly four-year courtship, it became apparent that he might need some help picking out the jewelry that would symbolize the start of our relationship together.

For one, he was colorblind.  When colors, especially those on the same note, were mashed together, he couldn’t tell the difference, which I learned after we spent a weekend painting together.

For two, he was a straight male engineer.  Engineers are notoriously no-frills.  He likes his hair buzzed.  He doesn’t like fancy clothes.  And fashion isn’t one of his main concerns.  And knowing that, I still decided to try the whole “going to pick out a genre of ring, and letting my man decide” thing.





My husband didn’t know what to do.  He didn’t know what was a pretty metal.  He didn’t understand why I liked the stone in a certain shape.

So off to the jeweler we went.

We went to a custom jeweler in 5-Points who sat down with both of us.  Austin gave him his budget on the DL, and I gave him what I wanted, after I figured out what I wanted.  The day Austin got down on his knee, I was surprised, happy, and I think Austin was happy with my answer 🙂

So to answer the original question?

It’s really a matter of individual preference.  But for me?  I liked having my hand in the design process.

What do you think?  How involved will you (were you) in the engagement ring process?


The invite list.

We’re coming up on over a month of being married, and as I’ve stated again and again, being married is amazing.  It’s like before when we were dating, but even better.

On Thursday night last week, our wedding photos, courtesy of Blest photography came in the mail, and I’ve spent the last few days looking through 900 amazing photographs again and again.  I’m debating how to share this with you all, if at all, but here’s a little taste for you guys, one of my favorite photos of the day.

At this moment, Cole had just asked us if we minded playing around in the tobacco for a while.  Of course we didn’t, and Austin helped me pick up my dress and sort of frolic in the field.

But I’m getting distracted.

Let’s talk invites.

So I’ve hopped around the wedding thing a lot, trying to give you the best info.  But since I’ve just gone through it and my sister is going through it (she’s doing a wedding reception with her husband in December), and it’s something that is the source of a lot of grief.

Who the heck do you invite to your wedding?  Who don’ t you invite? How do you keep from insulting folks?

This is something we went through – I have a large family, and my parents got married in the 80s, when a lot of times, your parents would invite whomever they wanted, and you, the couple-to-wed, has very little say in who is invited.

Things have changed since then, so here are a few rules when you’re trying to figure out who you invite.

  • Immediate family.  Duh.
  • Friends.  Invite folks that you would invite to your housewarming.  Do not invite frenemies.  You don’t need negativity on your day.
  • Work people.  For my small, more intimate job at Fleet Feet, I invited everyone, as we often invite each other to big life events.  At my new job, I invited no one, and my husband invited folks that were on his leadership team at work.
  • Family/your parents’ friends.  This one got a little tricky for us.  We wanted to invite everyone our parents had ever met, but it simply wasn’t possibly.  Our venue would only seat 140, and we really wanted to make sure we got everyone in that we could.  We invited family friends that we’d grown up with, and Austin’s mom invited a few of the same.

The tricky thing when going through this list is figuring out how you can keep from insulting folks when you don’t invite them to your wedding.

Here’s your answer.

Who cares?  It’s you/your partner’s day.  And real acquaintances who care for you will understand that you like them okay, but not necessarily enough to spend over $100 for them to eat up all your food and drink all your liquor.

How do you decide who gets invited to big events?  


If I had to plan my wedding again…

So, it’s wedding Wednesday, which we haven’t done in a lot of weeks, but you all will deal because I got married and bought a house in the span of the last 30 days.

Helene blogged an excellent post about if she had to plan her wedding again.  Yesterday is our one-month anniversary, and quite honestly, I’m still floating on the clouds, however, I thought the post was really interesting, and really pertinent, as it seems like every single person on my Facebook feed is engaged – so here it is…

WeddingIf I had to plan my wedding again….

First off, this is really really hard, because I honestly feel like the day was perfect.  But it was more because of the company I think.  Being with my friends, being with my husband, getting pictures taken, and dancing all night left very little to want for.  But as far as planning goes?

  • I would have spread the planning out a little bit more.  When we got engaged, I was really really overwhelmed.  My grandmother died immediately following our engagement, and I really didn’t get into planning until months before the big day.  Everything got done, but it made that time right before feel a little crunched in the weeks before.
  • Knowing how much it costs, I would have saved a little more leading up.  You think you have all the costs together.  But I absolutely guarantee, future brides, you will bleed money in the month or so before your wedding.  Even if your family is paying for it all, you’ll  need to buy this or that at Michael’s before.  You’ll forget that there are favors to be purchased, and jars to be crafted. Trust me on this one.
  • I would have delegated a little bit more, sooner.  My friends were absolutely incredible.  One bridesmaid registered me at Target and BBB.   One ran to Michael’s for chalk the morning of.  My brother put together some gifts for some of the folks for me.  But I wish I had realized just a little bit sooner that it is okay to ask friends for help.  A lot of times, they want to help, and would gladly do whatever it is you want to.  They have no stake in this.  They don’t care if you want pink flowers and yellow walls with  kites hanging off of them (just an example, and not at all indicative of what my gorgeous day was about).  But they will do what you tell them and be happy to do it.  <-to be fair to this point, I also hate to relinquish creative control to anyone, so the delegation I did was hard, but worth it 🙂

And that’s really it.  My wedding was such a gorgeous celebration, I have very little to say about the day of.  But leading up, there were definitely things I could have done to reduce my stress level.

What would you have done/what are you doing to streamline your wedding planning process?

Errr….Wedding Wednesday?

I know it’s not Wednesday.  But you know what, I think you guys can deal with it and forgive me right?  It’s been sort of a crazy week at work (and I promise that once it kind of gets smoothed over I will tell you about it) but rest assured, there is a ton of stuff going on, and I’m sorry if you feel neglected.

So let’s do some catching up.

Numero uno, have you met my favorite song yet?  I heard it like a week-and-a-half ago, and it’s currently climbing the charts, like number 8 on Billboard, and a little higher up on Spotify’s list.  The song is the perfect mix of blue-eyed soul, plus a really sweet reggae feel that I haven’t heard in a while.

Behold ‘Rude’ by Magic! The group releases the album July 1st, and once that happens, I will definitely be looking for their shows. Their lead singer, in particular, is so interesting to look at, and the way he moves is really unique. I just loved discovering new loves!

Wedding Updates + a legitimate dilemma. 

  • I called last week to check on my dress, and to be completely honest, the situation with my dress is cutting it really close, and I’m not comfortable with that, but I really can’t do much about it now.
  • My wedding bands came in yesterday.  I was tempted to go pick them up so I can put them on, but is that bad luck?  Did anyone else “test” their wedding bands and wear them before they actually got married?
  • I’m not sure what I’m going to do about my last name, and I’m actually lost.  Custom would dictate that I take his.  But I like my last name.  In fact, I love my last name.  I love my family, and I love my father, and part of me might mourn the loss of that.  Do I want to keep it completely?  I don’t know.  Do I want to have part of my new husband’s name?  Yes, because we’re a family now.  But I’m not sure how to make that happen.  Please let me know if you have any cool ideas.
  • The invites are sorta ready.  I have the .tif file for them, and I am exploring some printing options for them.  If you will recall, I wanted to have them sent out by now, but things don’t work out the way you want them when you’re getting married.  Learn that, and you will have a really easy time 🙂
  • Me and Austin may have a big (non-baby) announcement soon (calm down), but I can’t tell you yet.

Okay, what’s new with you?  What should I do about my last name? 

Wedding Wednesday: the weight issue.

Don’t know if you know, but there was a big wedding this past  weekend…

image via E!
image via E!

I texted one of my bridesmaids and asked her if it made me a huge sap that I thought the two of these guys looked legitimately happy…seriously, they seem super pumped, whereas if you remember the special when she married the Hump, things were not as rosy.  (Seriously, do you guys remember the fact that the two didn’t talk in the days leading up to their rehearsal dinner?  Oy.

Okay, so I’ve been working on a few things on my end, this being one of those things.

IMG_3848I’ve got a million more jars, and a million more coming, so I’m happy, but also staring to get a little anxious and starting to doubt my ability to get all of this finished.  I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of wrapping my brain around that.

But today, I want to turn my our attention to something else that I’m struggling with a little bit.

The weight before the wedding thing.

So I’ve seen this hashtag a few times over the past few months.


And though I don’t have a weight problem, and I work out extremely regularly, there is this gnawing at the back of my mind, and I honestly think it’s a little bit of pressure from other brides.  And the nagging, needling question is, should I be worried about my weight?  Should I be pushing myself to lose 5 pounds to ensure that I look impossibly thin in my photos?  

And I know the answer to that question – I’m healthy.  I’m at a great weight.  I take care of myself.  And I still treat myself.  But occasionally, those thoughts try and creep in.

Any other brides feel this way? 

Wedding Wednesday: What do we register for?

First off, I want to thank you guys for allowing me a day, and not completely abandoning yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days when I was completely overwhelmed between my laundry piling up, and paperwork piling up at my job.

So before we get into all the wedding stuff, look at these cool shots that were taken a few weeks ago at that fashion show!  I kinda love when I do stuff like this because you sort of forget that you took the shots, and then they come out a few weeks later and you’re like “oh yeah!”

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Fun, right?

Okay, so instead of me talking at you for a million years, I need to ask you all a questions, especially all of you who’ve done the whole married/wedding thing in the past.

As I go through the checklist of things that I need to do for the wedding, I kinda am starting to realize that I have NO clue what it is we need to register for, because it seems like we need virtually everything.

We met while we were in graduate school, so neither of us has quite has “real” stuff.

Between the two of us, we possess a hodgepodge of things – an old rice cooker (that still works, but is certainly not pretty), a rickety old George Foreman, and some pans that my grandmother ordered off of HSN before she passed last year.  But it’s not enough,

We have no microwave.

We have a set of knives that are embarrassingly starting to rust when I leave them in the dishwasher for a second too long.

And my utensils bend if I shove them too emphatically into whatever it is I’m eating.

So there are definitely things we’re going to need as we start to live our life as a married couple.

But I have no idea where to start!

And this is where you guys come in.

I need help – if any of you have links, lists, or your own personal lists of things you pulled for from your registry, that would be really awesome.  Please email me, comment below, or send up a smoke signal, cause for this wedding Wednesday, I need your help!

Wedding Wednesday: Almost 3 months away!

I say this every week, and I will continue to say this – I don’t know where the weeks are going.  I’m in love with the fact that the time is flying by, and that after the harsh winter from hell that we’re already having 90-degree days in Raleigh, but as far as wedding planning goes, this time rocketing by thing is a little scary.  Nevertheless, taking the time out to make a few lists and holding myself accountable by telling you guys about what I’ve been up to has been so helpful.

So first things first.

I had another stress dream last night, this one involving my wedding dress.

My dress has long been ordered, and it’s to die for.  It’s sexy, and still classy, and perfect for the barn bash we’re throwing in August.  But in my dream last night, it was anything but the things I just described.

When I looked in the mirror, the dress contained this like, pink piping around the shoulders.  “This isn’t what we ordered,” I said to myself, and I ripped the silky piping off, to reveal a wedding dress that looked like a golden suit of armor underneath.  Then I woke up sobbing late for work.

Stress dreams aside, things are great!  Save-the-dates are out, like I said last week, and there were only a few people who asked about theirs, one of whom gave me his address incorrectly (my sister did that too 😦 ).  We are meeting the DJ tonight, and I’ve pretty solidly nailed down the costs for him, and for the rehearsal dinner, which came in a hefty amount less than I thought it was going to be for about 20 folks!  I love saving money!

The crafting part has been really fun too.  Over the past few weeks, I have been trolling the Craiglist for mason jars + jelly jars for favors, and at first, I couldn’t find anything, and then the heavens exploded with jars.  I have a friend getting married this weekend, and she has over 50 jars.  I have so many jars that I’ve either purchased for cheap or gotten for free.  And now, it’s just a matter of painting/decorating them/filling them with pretty things.

photo 3

Alsoooooo, I finally got to see my younger sister in person, who’s also engaged too.  I’m getting married in 3 months, and she’s thinking a December wedding.

Bahhh this is so fun!

My brides, how are you hanging in there?

Wedding Wednesday: Finanaces

So in like, 3 months and 24 days (which I didn’t know til I blogged about how much time it was gonna be until our Wedding Date), I get to marry this hunk.


Now, I’ve talked openly and candidly about my finances here, but it was important to do that with my husband-to-be, and that meant being really open about my student loan debit and my spending patterns.

And I was really really embarrassed to sit down and talk with him about it.

Austin has a really, really good handle on his finances, and makes a ton more money than I do, and I can learn so much from him (and I have in our years together).  I make a social worker’s salary, and have a decent amount of debt from graduate school mostly, that I’m working on.  But we’ve gotten together every day for the last few days and created a budget, and gone over every single piece of paperwork involving my student loans, and for once, I don’t feel like I’m in a horrifying panic over the state of my loans.

Like I said last week, paying down more of my loans, and still having a little something left over to save, means some actual focus and work, but thankfully, I have a partner who knows what the heck it takes, and is helping me focus on the big picture.  And instead of being mortified and embarrassed, once we got down to the real work, I felt comforted that I was able to share my “burden” with someone else.

In other wedding news?

  • Save-the-dates are OUT!  I will do a big reveal next week, so I can make sure folks get theirs before I put all their business out there.
  • Wedding bands are purchased!  Just waiting for them to come out,
  • Invites?  The ball is rolling, but I have no clue what the wording on the invites is gonna say.
  • My mom screamed at me for not inviting one of her friends.  I am not a cold, heartless person, but she literally told me that she didn’t want to invite this person because they hadn’t been picking up her phone calls as of late.  Well she texted me last night to ask if I invited this person, and then yelled at me when I said no.  I WAS JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS!  Ugh.
  • Catering is thisclose to being finalized.
  • We’d already booked the photogs a while back, but in the course of some emails we’d been sending back and forth, I kinda let them know I needed them for our (very late) engagement photos and bridal portraits for you guys to put gifts under when I get married.

To do in this week?

  • The biggie is the wedding website HAS to get some progress on it.  Maybe I’ll work on that this weekend.

I am SO happy that things are getting done.

How do you keep up with your monthly budget/big ticket expenses?

Break Day!

Hump dayyyyyy!

Okay, so can I tell you how insanely awesome my alma mater is?  Last week, on Hump Day, they brought camels out for the students to pet and take pics with.

HumpWho the hell thinks of this?  Annnnd it’s awesome.  Seriously, soak it up college students, cause I guarantee you your boss isn’t bringing camels to the break room to entertain you in real life.  Guarantee.

Okay, so today is normally Wedding Wednesday, but I need a break.  I’ve been nursing a headache and some nausea for the past few days, so I’m gonna take the day off, and Wedding Wednesday will be tomorrow 🙂

I love you, see you tomorrow!