Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Proposal Story

It's taken me a while to write this post. Mostly because its hard to capture the emotion of being asked to marry someone. That and coupled with the fact that riding high on emotions causes you to forget some of the details. I wanted to tell the story right. So here's my best shot . . .

We became "officially" engaged on July 3rd, 2010. I say officially because we knew we were getting married months before he actually asked. Some would argue that beginning to plan our wedding before Nate proposed was doing things a little backwards. I think it's a personal preference thing. We knew we wanted to get married in 2011 and I loved the idea of having it in the spring. We had discussed it. . and discussed it some more. So the fact of getting married was no surprise for me; and I wanted it that way. Frankly, if I girl has no inkling that her boyfriend is going to propose and then he pops the question with no discussions on marriage, kids, live values etc. . .isn't that a slight problem? I'm a planner and I needed a year to plan the wedding we wanted. So I planned. . without a proposal.

That being said, I wanted a proposal to remember; something to tell the kids and grandkids if you know what I mean. It was also important to me that Nate had a chance to do things his way and "play the role". I knew he wanted to ask me,  I just wasn't sure when.

Then reality hit. To sum things up, an engagement ring just wasn't in the financial cards. I was "ok" with it. It was just a piece of jewelry after all, and although my disappointment was obvious, I knew that ultimately all that really mattered, was being able to marry each other.

So I forgot about rings (tried to) and stopped hoping for a proposal (mostly). So it should come as no surprise that when Nate suggested a 4th of July trip to visit friend R in Charleston (now groomsman R!) I suspected absolutely nothing. I really should have been suspicious, yet even when I complained about not wanting to make the drive, Nate was incredibly insistent that we go on this trip; I should have known something was up. So I relented, and off to Charleston we went.

On Saturday, the night of the 3rd, Nate, myself along with friend R and friend D, walked downtown to find a place for dinner. The weather was typical Charleston summer weather. Even though the sun was dipping behind the trees, the heat and humidity still hung in the air. My sunburn, gained from the day we had spent at Folly beach, had turned me into a touristy lobster. Friend R suddenly stopped on the sidewalk.

R: "Oh man, I just realized I forgot my wallet, D, walk back with me to grab it, (to me and Nate) we will meet you guys at the restaurant."

Me: (slightly annoyed at this point) "um, ok, we'll text you when we decide where to go"

I found out later that R did not actually forget his wallet. This was all part of the plan.

Nate and I continued on towards the waterfront to hunt down a dinner location. I was hungry and was very focused on naming off dinner options, when Nate suddenly announced that he wanted to walk over to waterfront park.

Me: "???, ok, but there's nothing to eat in the park."

We reach the fountain that looks out over the pier. Nate is fidgety and acting really weird. Then he says he wants to show me something over in the grass.

Then, at that moment, I knew something was up.

I feel like a total bride FAIL at this point, because I don't really remember the details after that!! I know I know, isn't that terrible?! My memory of what came next comes in snippets.

I know we sat down on a bench, I know that the sun was almost completely gone below the horizon and that the gas lanterns in the park had come on. I remember that the air smelled like gardenia blooms, delicious smells from the restaurants over on King Street, and the salty brine of the harbor.

I remember Nate asking me what it is I loved so much about this park. It is my favorite place in Charleston, the best of what Charleston has to offer, the beautiful buildings, the towering trees and spanish moss, and the beautiful view of the water.

He says something, something about how pretty I look, something (ok let me ask Nate really quick what he said. . . )

o.k. back, He said that we had been through so much together and had so many wonderful memories and that he could think of nothing better than spending the rest of his life with me.

He got down on one knee, cue ugly crying face from me, and asked me "Katie, will you marry me next year in Charleston on May 1st?" Then he opens the ring box and I gasp.

It was my mother's ring. even after her divorce from my Dad when I was three, she had kept the ring all these years. I didn't recognize it for a second, it had been changed to white gold from the yellow gold that she preferred.

Me:" It's so pretty, wow, it's just so pretty. . "

Nate: "So, um ,is that a yes?"

Me: "Oh! Yes yes! sorry, yes I will!"

A crowd of tourists that happened to be walking by had stopped to watch the whole thing 30 feet behind us. At the nod of my head, they errupted in cheers and congrats, causing me to erupt in a fit of giggles, I shouted "Thank you!!!!"

As we left the park, Nate repeated his question:

"So what do you love so much about this place. . .now?"

I love it because . . . it's where I said Yes.

No pictures of us in the park, we were much to excited to pause for pics. I will leave you with a picture from our dinner that we finally got around to that night. Sunburned, excited, and so so happy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To China and Back!

Put your chopsticks away cause no, we did not actually go to China recently (or ever for that matter; it's on the bucket list). What I am referring to is registering for our fancy schmancy china set that we are going to use when we are old and sophisticated. Riiigghht. I'm not so sure about the sophisticated part, but we are almost certainly guaranteed to get old. It seemed only fitting for us that we should go the traditional route and add fine china to the list. I don't foresee us ever buying it for ourselves in the future and Nate and I absolutely love to entertain people.

My first thought when we were narrowing down where we wanted to register was to head straight to a big department store such as Macy's or Dilliards. I didn't invest much time in researching how registries work beforehand so I assumed that it was just something that everyone did. You go straight to Macy's, find the snootiest sales associate you can find, pick out your china, your 400 count egyptian cotton sheets, and your top of the line blender, and that was that.

Enter the wonder of the world wide web, and with it the quick, easy, and ohsomuchfun online registry. No longer did I feel like I was on a one way train to typical town; I had options! Pottery barn, Pier One, Williams Sonoma, Amazon, and even the store where you can never come out with just one thing, (Target of course!). We initially tried the in person registry at Pottery Parn and encountered a major FAIL. We enter on a Wednesday night thinking this will be a breeze. 45 minutes later we walked out having no idea what we just registered for, feeling extremelly overwhelmed, and had a hunch that the girl who was helping us had no idea what she was doing. 10 points for our intuition, because sure enough when we checked the online list several days later, it was very much blank. Yey girl at the store who didn't know what she was doing! A certain movie comes to mind.

After this experience, we were officially terrified of the registry experience. Holy monkey was it harder than I thought it was going to be. I never thought that picking out a bunch of stuff that you wanted but didn't have to pay for could be so stress-inducing!

Online registry it was! A couple quick clicks and I could easily add things to the list or remove them at will. Oh the technological power!


Slight problem. . .it is incredibly hard to register for china online. You can't get a good view of the pieces, it's hard to see if the colors really match with other items, and it can be so confusing!

"o.k so I have 12 sets of 6" butter plates, and then 12 sets of the saucer dishes and then I need to add the salad dish, but wait which size is that, 6" ok, but . . huh, that's the same size as the butter dish, sooo what's the difference? Well let me just add those anyway (click), oh, crap I wanted 12 not 122!"

Ughh, you get my point. We had to give the in store registry a second shot. We went to Bed Bath and Beyond to grab some items today and we passed right by their bridal registry section. Huh, I noticed, they have a lot of options with china and stemware, same brands as the big bad department store, well, we're here, let's take a look.

I eat my words about the evils of in-person registering. It was so much fun ya'll! The associate, Amber, who helped us, made the process go so smoothly. She was at the ready with suggestions and directed us to look around and see what caught our eyes. Nate liked one pattern, I liked another, hmm what to do?

Nate's favorite: The Crestwood Platinum Dinnerware by Noritake

My Fav, which was much more girly than his choice: The Parchment Dinnerware by Mikasa

Ooooo, pretty flourishes and swirls, yes please.

I had been inspired by a post by Miss Seashell over at weddingbee who had mixed two patterns together and the results were fantastic! I knew this would be the perfect solution for us. Our two favorites look like they were made for each other. A few decisions and an adorable bird napkin ring later, here were the results:

A perfect pairing!!! We were both really happy with the compromise and both very pleased with the results. The bird napkin ring has to be one of my favorite elements, it adds a little french country to the set and really speaks to our personality; traditional with a twist. I am looking forward to using these dishes for years to come on holidays and other special occasions.

It would be tempting to say that I am reformed on my idea that registering in the store is not so bad after all. We really enjoyed doing this together. But, just to keep my sanity, I think I'll stick to the click click aspect of the internet for all our other items. More on those other items later!

Did you conquer your registry demons? Or perhaps you were the lucky duck who conquered the scary in store scanner? If you're not to the registry point yet, are you looking forward to it?

*All photos unless otherwise noted were taken by moi!