The Truth About Marriage Is

The other day, my bestie who is engaged showed me an article she came across called “5 ways to secure your happyish ever after.” I found it refreshing and it slapped me in the face a bit. Here’s why. This line: “Invest in your marriage, not your wedding.”

Wow. I mean, it’s common sense, but why on earth did I not apply that thought to my own wedding?! Before we were engaged, we both had debt, but that sure didn’t stop me from overspending on my wedding. I used the logic, ‘It’s the biggest day of my life’ as an excuse to buy every little thing that struck my fancy. I also wanted to have lots of small personal touches that I thought would make my wedding stand apart. But now that that day is gone, did it really matter that I had personalized napkins? No. Even though I bought them on sale, no one would have been upset with me if I didn’t have them. Because napkins aren’t what makes a wedding awesome. It’s the people who are committing their lives to each other.

It’s hard to realize that every little expense adds up really quickly, and impulse purchases did me in. I’m now literally paying the price of my frivolous spending when it came to my wedding. And I HATE myself some days when I realize that the money I’m using to pay off my credit cards with ridiculous interest could have all been going toward a down payment on a house or a new car for my husband who badly needs a more reliable vehicle. It could have started a savings account for our future children. It could have been used wisely. Instead I’m throwing hundreds, more likely thousands, of dollars into paying off my wedding and other purchases that I really didn’t need to make. But there’s no use in dwelling in the past, and the best thing is to move forward and make better decisions from now on. Which I am trying really hard to do. Changing bad habits is really friggin’ tough. If I can curb unnecessary spending, I’m going to be setting better examples for any future children and set up a better foundation for our marriage and lives together. Not to mention cause less stress for both of us!

This article had some other really solid points, like this one: “The truth is that cleaning up socks and trying to get someone to really listen to you IS marriage. It’s less sweep you off your feet and more sweep the kitchen four times a day.”

The point is that marriage is most of the time not glamorous. It’s work. Hard work.

When I got engaged, I thought to myself often, ‘I got this. I’m going to be an awesome wife. It won’t be hard. Nothing’s going to change.’ Wrong. I thought that just because Cal and I had dated for eight years that I knew everything there was to being married because it wouldn’t be different than dating. But it is! It so is!

That’s the one thing that has surprised me the most about being married. It is very different from dating or even being engaged. Because it’s so much more serious now. It’s locked in. I gave my commitment that I am going to be with this person for the rest of my life, and we have to make it work. I mean, if we want to have a happy and healthy relationship anyway. We have to combine two totally separate lives into one. We have to make decisions together. We have to manage money and the household together. Not to mention potentially raise children together! That one is terrifying. But that’s another blog post in itself.

I think that it’s incredibly hard to be a good wife and live up to the expectations I thought I had about marriage. I often compare myself to others. I think that other couples have no issues. I think that I should be more like so-and-so. Or even worse, I put unfair standards on my husband. ‘I wish he were more like so-and-so.’ But that is toxic thinking. He is not anyone else but himself, and I am myself. I married him and I accepted everything about who he is by doing so. Sometimes when I hear stories about husbands who do X for their wife (start their car in the morning, rub their feet every night, buy them unexpected gifts and shower them with kisses 24/7, whatever it is), I get jealous. But it is so unfair to put that kind of unspoken pressure on someone. I need to focus less on what my husband doesn’t do and instead on the things he DOES do. It’s not like he does nothing for me. He does so much! And I need to be more grateful of that.

As humans, we’re naturally selfish. Seeing the big picture is hard. Especially for people like me who tend to overanalyze everything. But we all have self doubt, jealousy and strange emotions that make us human. Reminding yourself of that and taking the time to realize that, then fix bad behaviors, is important. And that’s what makes us good wives and husbands, I think. Remembering to accept each other as is and work together to deal with life, to be a team and have a happy and healthy relationship.

I also read an article that a friend shared on Facebook about how Brad Pitt even considered divorcing Angie when times got tough. But instead of throwing in the towel, he tried. Putting our own needs aside to help our spouse can be hard too, because often we get so wrapped up in our own individual lives that we forget there’s another person we need to consider. That makes me respect their marriage much more, though it’s hard to compare to a Hollywood A-list couple. But the lesson is universal: Be considerate, be there and TRY.

I’m sure that I’m going to learn so much more down the road about marriage, relationships and life, but if our foundation can stay solid, we’ll make it through whatever comes our way. To stay solid though, we have to keep making that effort. I think that’s most important.

What lessons have you learned about love? Any surprises? Advice?

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2013: What a Year!

Seriously. WHAT A YEAR. 2013 was crazy. It was without a doubt, the busiest, biggest year for me, probably ever. So far anyway.

To start with, I got married, had amazing bridal showers and a bach party, honeymooned in ‘Nawlins, had a second reception in my hometown in Indiana, and did all sorts of exhausting yet fulfilling tasks the whole way, from changing my name (post coming soon just about that process!) to planning the whole darn thing.

Thumbs up for my bridal showers

Thumbs up for my bridal showers

I got married! Whee!

I got married! Whee!

Honeymoonin' 'Nawlins style

Honeymoonin’ ‘Nawlins style

And that was just the wedding-related stuff! Yes, there’s more! Much more!

I also changed jobs. Twice. In a year. While I don’t like job-hopping, it really was all for the best. In March I left a job that I loved but had been at for many years, and for various reasons, I needed to leave. I took another job doing social media for about 7 months, where I learned so many cool new skill sets and had tons of fun going to free concerts, but my heart was longing to be a writer again, and so just before Thanksgiving, I started as an Internet Copywriter and Proofreader at a vitamin and health food company. Which I LOVE by the way. I really think this is where I was meant to end up, and I hope to be here for many moons to come.

Outside of the full-time work, I also took on freelance blog writing for a local custom dog products company, which gave me so much fulfillment in those months doing social media when I just had to be writing more. But even though I do that for work now again, I love it too and have no plans to give it up. (Shameless plug: Read my blogs here if you so wish!)

Oh, and you know, I also started THIS BLOG! Best decision ever!

My Ups (Besides getting married and starting new jobs, of course!)

-I became a bridesmaid for my bestie in Fargo who got proposed to in an epic way (flash mob in the park!), and we’re now planning her wedding and shower, which is so much more fun than planning your own wedding, dontchaknow.

-I became an official aunt to four nieces, one nephew, and now one more on the way! I also gained some new sibs, which is totes cool since I’m an only.

My new family! Photo courtesy Lori Anne Photography.

My new family! Photo courtesy Lori Anne Photography.

-We vacationed several times. In February, we celebrated our 8-year dating anniversary with a trip to St. Cloud and dined so much we waddled around uncomfortably full but so happy. In August, we met another couple at a campground for a weekend retreat of grilling, beach time, campfire hanging and general laziness. In September, we visited friends who had just moved to Canada and had a housewarming/board game playing/eating lots of food party. And in October, we went to our first professional sports game and saw the Vikings play the Panthers.

-Book club continued and we gained one new member. In all, I think we read four books this year (hey, don’t judge, we’re all busy people) — Malala, Gone Girl, Lean In, and the Snow Child.

-We combined car insurance and saved so much money!

-I couponed much more, watched sales more, started using money-saving apps like Cartwheel and ShopKick, made weekly meal plans, donated old stuff and decluttered the house. That makes me feel like such a good wife.

-I was interviewed in the paper about my extreme phobia of needles.

My Downs

I wrecked my car. Three times, technically, according to my insurance claims, though none were my fault! The first time was right when I started my first new job, and we had a big blizzard the day before, so roads were awful. I slid and my brakes locked up as I came up on the car in front of me at a stop sign, so rather than hit them, I turned into the snow drift, which turned out to be more of an ice cap than soft stop that dented Leslie good (yes, I name my car! Leslie the Legacy – she’s a champ). Then a month later, the day before my bridal shower, some jerkwad plowed into me going around a corner because he was too busy texting to look and see me coming and caused almost $5,000 worth of damage! Thank God I had good insurance, though I still had to pay my deductible and over a week’s worth of car rentals because said jerkwad didn’t have his own insurance (grumble grumble). Then lastly, on the interstate a semi truck in front of me kicked up a nice-sized rock, which hit my windshield, cracking it and nearly giving me a heart attack. Again, thank God for insurance because that time I didn’t have to pay a dime. Progressive, I am so thankful for you this year.

Leslie got a little beat up this year, poor girl.

Leslie got a little beat up this year, poor girl.

My Firsts

-With my upcoming wedding as an excuse, I treated myself to some new beauty treatments for the first time. I got my first brow wax, facial and professional dermabrasion. The facial was relaxing and amazing. The microdermabrasion was kind of terrifying. It was like one of those rollerball perfumes where the ball was sandpaper and was rigorously pushed into and around my face like a jackhammer. Ouch.

-I did one of those restaurant tours, both of which were themed around bacon, so I ate some amazing baconified dishes around town with my foodie friend.

Baco, aka taco with a bacon shell

Baco, aka taco with a bacon shell

Maple bacon cupcake

Maple bacon cupcake

-I went to the county fair in Fargo for the first time and saw another free concert (Hinder, which was just like listening to them on the radio. meh!) and ate so much fried food on a stick.

Fried mac and cheese.

Fried mac and cheese.

Deep fried banana with sugar and caramel. The highlight of the fair, for sure.

Deep fried banana with sugar and caramel. The highlight of the fair, for sure.

-We started our home search and took a homebuyer’s education course, met with a realtor and looked at two houses.

-I joined a professional group that meets now and then to talk ab0ut our trade. I went to a few Meetups so far and find it so inspiring and helpful, and it makes me feel grown up and connected.

-I took control of our finances and made a real financial plan to tackle our debt and save for that first house. Thanks to Amberly for the inspiration! Blog post about this coming soon too. What a process, but so worthwhile. Wish I had done it sooner.

-I became more conscious of my style and finally took to heart that looking good makes you feel good, so I try harder now at having a nice appearance. This included buying into some trends and purchasing my first fashion scarf (cat print, of course), cool yet practical boots and skinny pants. Having a friend that’s a Lia Sophia advisor helps a lot too since I get awesome jewelries from her.

New Fave Things I Discovered

-Belvita dunked in coffee. I had been eating Belvitas for awhile, but one time this year I dunked it in my coffee on a whim, and my world changed. It’s been my breakfast at least three times a week now ever since.

-Quinoa. How had I missed out on this for so long? I think I thought it was “hipster” or “healthy” so never bothered, but now with my new job that’s made me more health-conscious, I gave it a whirl, and it is just so amazing.

-HGTV. Again, how did I missed out on this so long?! I’ve never been inclined to tune to this channel before, but once we started talking about getting a house, I thought what the heck and recorded some House Hunters and My First Home. I was hooked. Apparantly my husband is too because he discovered Property Brothers just recently and we watched about five episodes of that in a row.

Things I Learned

-It’s important to be open and honest with your feelings to those you love. When you hold back, all it does is enforce poor communication and unclear expectations. I learned this during wedding planning, my wedding itself, and many times after. It’s something I have to try hard at, but I’ve found it makes a world of difference and makes you closer to those you love and enforces bonds.

-I don’t like tea. I have been trying to like tea for awhile now, and gave it another shot very recently, but I find myself choking it down every time. The bigger moral of the story is it’s OK to admit something isn’t working. Give up and move on so you can focus energy on the more important things. This means I need to bring my new box of tea to a friend who does sincerely like it. Present coming your way, Jenna!

Wrap Up

Again, what a year. I have no clue how I made it through. I’ve never felt so busy in my whole life. But, I did it, and that makes me feel good. I can tackle anything now, right? We’ll see, because I have some lofty resolutions for 2014, which I shall reveal soon!

Wedding Day Confessions and Regrets

(Sorry, really long post ahead)

Just yesterday I read this amazing and honest blog post from The Florkens about how she did not enjoy her wedding. In short, she enjoyed PARTS of her wedding, but was frustrated, stressed and disappointed looking back on it as a whole. (Read the whole post here.) I can’t blame her. She had some major mishaps.

The post really resonated with me, and I so appreciated her openness. Because honestly, I’m not 100% sure I did either. Now, hear me out. Overall, I think I am far happier with my own day than she was hers, but I definitely have lots of regrets. I often wish I had a time machine to go back and redo that day, and many days leading up to it, but then again, I do believe that you have to live and learn. A wedding is something you’ll probably only have one of, so I do feel a little sad that I can’t redo it like I could a birthday party or something. But, we can’t live a life full of regrets. So I try to move on and accept that in the end, the important part of that day, and its entire purpose in the first place, was to marry the man I love. I may not be able to redo it personally, but I can share some of the lessons I learned with bloggy land, and my best friend who is currently planning her own wedding. I’m inundating her with tons of advice, and maybe it’s too much, but she hasn’t told me to back off yet, and seems to want to hear it, so I keep giving it. I figure that hopefully she can learn from my mistakes anyway.

But then again, even if someone had told me everything that I’m telling her, I don’t know how much of it I would actually would have taken. It’s one of those things where you have to learn it on your own. You have to do it your own way, hope for the best, and deal with whatever comes up.

Just some of my lessons learned/reflections from/thoughts/regrets are:

-Not having a photo booth. I don’t have nearly as many photos of my guests as I’d like, and now I’m having a hard time remembering who was there for what parts.

-Investing so much in so much. I intended to have my entire wedding for under $10k. I know I went over that, but I purposely haven’t calculated how far over I went because I’m afraid to find out how bad it was. Instead of outlining and sticking to every expense within a budget, I just haphazardly bought things I liked whenever I found them. “Oh, this ribbon is cute. I’ll buy it. Hopefully I can use it somewhere.” I didn’t. That scenario happened a lot.

I also spent a lot on my bridesmaids gifts. Probably too much. I really wanted each girl to feel super special and to know how much she meant to me, so I showered them with stuff. No, not like all-expense paid trips to Hawaii or anything, but a lot for me and my budget. I bought personalized tote bags (which alone were my entire budget for their gifts), but instead of stopping there, I filled the tote. They each got a pair of flipflops, a necklace and earring set, a DIY survival kit that included items like sewing kits, gum, mints, chocolate, hair spray, body spray, nail files, nail polish, eyeshadows, combs, safety pins, bobby pins, and even more stuff that I just can’t remember, plus my maid of honor and matron of honor also got personalized compacts. They loved their gifts, which warmed my heart and made me think it was all worth it. But, now I’m questioning if it was. Because it made me max out my credit cards (yes, plural cards), I’m far in debt and ruined my credit score and chances of getting a house as soon as I wanted. So while I’m glad I got them so much stuff and they loved it, was it really worth it? Cal got his groomsmen engraved beer steins. That’s it. He spent on those what I spent on the tote bags alone. And they loved them just as much as my girls loved their stuff. So, was it quantity or the thought that counted? I’m torn on that one. Mostly because right now I hate how irresponsible I was with my money. I spent a lot that I did not have.

But it wasn’t just on our wedding party gifts. I overspent in every area that wasn’t big. See, I rationalized it by thinking I could get more little stuff because I got really good deals on the big stuff. My photographer was a good friend who gave me an incredible rate. My caterer also shaved off some of the price just because he was 5 minutes late to our consultation. My dress was from David’s Bridal and my budget was $1,000, but my actual dress was only $650. Win! I ordered nice but fake flowers on Etsy instead of using real flowers. So since I saved in those areas, I could spend a little extra elsewhere, right? Yeah, if I didn’t go overboard. But I did. I bought pretty much everything brand-new when I could have rented or bought used. I didn’t coupon and watch sales nearly as much as I should have. UGH. I am literally still paying the price for those decisions.

-I was too worried about everyone else having a good time that I didn’t allow myself to. By the reception, I caved, and man did it feel good. After the meal, I just sat at our empty table for a long time, acting like I was picking at my food so no one would think I was being anti-social, but really, that was my time to breathe. I tried to look kind of busy, but I really just needed to sit and not talk to anyone. I had been talking and smiling and hugging all day.

-During photos, we were a little rushed on time (not as much as the Florkens – they had only 20 minutes!). We did all the posed shots with family members first so that they could leave and have a small break before the reception, but I truly regret that now. Because I don’t have nearly as many photos as I’d like of the wedding party, and mostly, of Cal and myself. We have some, but I wanted tons. I really really want so many more of just us. Too late now. We had to end before I felt done so we could stay on schedule. I should have put my foot down and demanded we finish, because in that moment I knew we didn’t have everything I wanted, but everyone else was eager to leave, so I wanted to make them shut up happy. Was it their wedding day? No, it was ours. But I lost sight of that.

-I didn’t stalk my husband during the reception dancing. After my much-needed moment alone “poking at my food,” I really wanted to spend lots of time dancing with and talking to Cal. But, he ran off to the upstairs hotel bar, and was outside with his family probably about half of the entire reception. I was not happy about it, but instead of going to get him, I just complained about it and danced with my girls. Which I enjoyed too, but I really wanted my new husband! Where was he?!?! Someone grabbed him for the crucial moments like the cake cutting, garter toss and first dance, but those aside, I barely saw him. I knew he wanted time to catch up with his family and relax too, but he missed a lot of moments inside where I was. Some of the songs he had requested and that we were looking forward to he completely missed. I should have hunted him down and told him he will NOT leave me again. I had envisioned us spending that entire evening side by side, but I never really conveyed that to him. After my table moment alone, I went back to caring about everyone else but myself and let him do what he wanted. Maybe I should have joined him, but I didn’t want to leave the people that were still in the ballroom. What would they have thought if neither of us were there? But who cares? It was OUR day. The one day we had full right to do whatever we wanted. But I didn’t capitalize on that. Sighs.

-I wasn’t in the moment. I didn’t take time outs to just sit and breathe. It started like right away, too. My makeup took longer than I had planned for, so I had to ditch my mom and leave right away to rush to the other salon to get my hair done. Which made me feel really frantic. During my hair, I was delivered an Edible Arrangement from my friends who weren’t able to make it that day, and while I ate it, that’s the last moment I remember feeling any kind of calm. As soon as I finished it, I started freaking out that my videographers weren’t at the salon yet, and they were supposed to be filming me getting my hair did. Then, afterward, I ran to the hotel/reception site to drop off my overnight bag and pick up a bridesmaid so we could drive to the ceremony together. We were behind, but still needed to eat, so ran to get some fast food, and I sped on the interstate to make it to the ceremony site and finish getting ready. That is when the day really starts getting fuzzy. It may have been an entire hour, I really don’t know, but I swear, it felt like not even 5 minutes. I felt more frantic than I ever had in my life. At one point, I was trying to put my shoes on, and I was falling over, and I was yelling for help, but my girls were running around panicking just as much as I was (I think?) and I got upset that no one was helping me, even though I know they had to get ready too. When Cal’s sister was putting my necklace on, I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I was making this awful face that actually made it onto the video. Then, my mom never showed up to our dressing room. She was nowhere in sight. I hadn’t seen her since like 9 am at the makeup place. I had her corsage and was upset she wasn’t there. Granted I had never told her to be there, but I assumed she would be. So I made a bridesmaid literally run across the museum grounds to hunt her down so she could wear her corsage. I was actually really upset she wasn’t with me getting ready. Again, I had always envisioned she’d be there, but never told her to be. The next time I saw her was in the church as I walked in to Halo, my version of Here Comes the Bride.

I don’t remember much of the ceremony either. I know stuff happened, but the thing that stands out the most was Cal’s pocket square was crooked, and I kept staring at it. I think I actually tried to fix it while we were standing up there. I don’t recall the vows much if at all, and I have no clue what message the pastor gave. Something about cats was in there and that we met at Perkin’s to discuss the ceremony earlier. That’s seriously all I remember. Then all of a sudden we were skipping down the aisle, and next thing I know, I’m hugging 130 people in the receiving line and we’re walking through bubbles. Then photos, which were rushed, and the groomsmen were complaining about everything, which made me furious, but I let it go. In the party bus to the reception, I remember a little more, probably because I was forced to sit down. But I was worrying about the reception and how we’d do the grand entrance, wondering if everything was decorated properly, if the food was there yet, etc.

So in short, I was rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, worried and tired. And I should have not worried about anything that day. Who cares if the ceremony started a little late? It would have been worth it to take 5 minutes to just sit and savor the moment while we got ready. I had intended on finding a moment before the reception to just sit alone with Cal, but that never happened because we were rushing to coordinate the grand entrance.

Anyone else out there reading this who has yet to get married, I hope you can learn from my mistakes. I know I have even more regrets than I listed here, but I have to stop writing this novel sometime. If you are already married, what lessons did you learn? What would you do differently?

Wedding Planning Tips & Lessons Learned

For work a little while ago (I help a local wedding venue with their social media and marketing), we decided to create a little handout to use in mailings and at wedding shows; something that would be informational and helpful to brides. Thankfully I had plenty of personal inspiration to draw from my own recent wedding.

It’s sort of text-heavy from this view, but the front is designed all pretty and such. Here’s my tips:

avalon

-Start early. The more you do early on, the less you stress as your big day comes nearer.

-Be budget smart but splurge on the big stuff. While you may need to go outside your budget once in a while, you also don’t want to create large debt that follows you into long into your married life. It’s OK to skip the personalized reception napkins and welcome bags for out-of-town guests if it means you get the best photographer and tastiest food.

-Be you. You want your wedding to reflect your personalities as a couple, so break a few rules and insert special touches and moments into your day.

-Enlist the help of friends. Ask your crafty aunt and/or super organized friend to help you with the details. Making favors with friends is fun, and saves you money!

-Register wisely. Sure, you want to scan every kitchen knick-knack you see, but winding up with five different toasters doesn’t do you much good. Register for what you truly need first, then allow both your and your fiancé a couple of fun items too.

-Relax. You (probably) only get to be engaged once.  Savor the experience and don’t get too caught up in minor details. Remember, no matter how the day goes, you’ll still get to marry the love of your life.

-Be present. Your wedding day could be a blur, so make sure to cherish every moment with the special people in your life. Let your mom and girlfriends be there for you, and sneak off for some alone time with your man.

-If you’re not leaving right away for your honeymoon, invite guests to a day-after brunch. This gives you more time to visit with the people who came a long way that you didn’t get much time to catch up with.

-Honeymoon! You spent months planning the wedding of your dreams. Treat yourself to a relaxing break bonding as a married couple. You deserve it.

-Remember your vendors. You’ll make some great connections with various businesses, so show the extra-special ones some love with kind reviews online, referrals or even repeat business for future event needs.

The above was all very straightforward and “safe” for PR purposes, but for you bloggy friends, I’ll share a little more about some other regrets, and one embarrassing story.

Said embarrassing story goes like this: It’s maybe a month before the wedding, and it was just one of those days. I had entered into full-on panic mode a couple weeks prior. I had WAY too much left to do and not enough time to do it. I felt like I had to be superbride and do it all on my own (sure, I had my maid of honor help with a few things here and there along the way, but I didn’t ask for all the help that I hadn’t yet realized I needed). Hunting down missing RSVPs, doing seating charts, organizing schedules, assigning day-of tasks to family and friends, DIY-ing decorations, planning the honeymoon, writing our vows, I swear the list just did not end. One night after work when I was trying to tackle it all, I just had a meltdown. I had picked up some fast food for dinner, because who has time to cook when there’s a wedding to plan?! I was eating it with my then-fiancee and remember just feeling so overwhelmed and stressed and upset to begin with, but then the mushroom and swiss started dripping out of my burger and onto the couch and my clothes. I balled up the rest of the burger and angrily threw it in the bag. I moved on to my sundae. I had let it sit for too long, and it was drippy and soft. On the way from container to mouth, it fell. Enter meltdown. I screamed and put my hand in the container, picked up the rest of the ice cream and just smeared it on my face, shouting something to the extent of “I may as well miss my mouth because I can’t hit it even if I tried, and my life sucks and nothing is working,” then threw the rest of the ice cream on the coffee table and smeared it around.

My fiancee looked at me like he had just witnessed something straight out of one of those real housewives shows, and he had. But worse. About 30 seconds later, we laughed, because what I had just done was so ridiculous. And he cleaned up my whole mess. What a guy. That moment made me realize I was a hot mess and needed help.

Remnants of the table decorations

Remnants of the table decorations

Some time after, I gave him some to-dos and pleaded with my crafty friend to help me with the table numbers, escort cards and other crafty things I felt inadequate in my ability to do myself. She did, and thank God. Shortly after, we had a craft party at my apartment with me, four girlfriends, lots of colored paper, lace doilies, glue sticks and all sorts of unknown craft items she had brought with her. It was one of the best moments of the engagement. Not a big moment like the shower was, but a small victory. I had my wedding army, and we were attacking my to-do list. It felt amazing to accept help and get so much done. I really should have done it sooner. I didn’t get a great shot of my table numbers (dang!), but you can see one in this shot from the reception.

One other regret that I didn’t realize until recently was that I didn’t have a photo booth or disposable cameras at each table. I have plenty of photos of me and the bridal party, but not enough of my guests. I have some candid ones from the reception, but I really wish I had one nice posed photo of everyone who came. Sometimes I’ll have a hard time remembering who came, if they stayed for the reception, what they were wearing, etc. That day was such a blur that I just don’t remember as much as I would like. Sure, I have the guestbook, but it’s not the same. I want to see the smiling faces of everyone who came!

If I could get married again, I’d do a lot of things differently. But, that’s life, right? We live, we learn. I can’t go back in time, so for now, I at least get to help with my maid of honor, who is now engaged herself and guide her so she doesn’t make my same mistakes.

If you’re also married, what’s your biggest regret, or something that you learned? Did you have an epic meltdown like I did?

Welcome!

I’m so excited for my very first blog post! It only seemed fitting that my first post should be about this whole blog thing and what brought me to start one.

First of all, I’m a newlywed. I was married in June 2013 (see more about my wedding here), and throughout my engagement and now about 5 months of being married, one day it just suddenly hit me that I’ve leaned a lot throughout this whole process. I think I’ve grown more in the past year than I ever have … so far anyway.

If I could go back in time, I would do several things very differently. I made some mistakes along the way, but I took so much away from it all. I could probably write an entire book about the wedding planning process with many, many lists and tips. So, throughout this blog, I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned. Some are big, like stick to the budget and communicate better; some are small, like allow extra time for photographs of just you as a couple, and do not use a cinnamon Wisp toothbrush right before you walk down the aisle, because it WILL turn your mouth an awful shade of red.

But, we made it, and in the end, I’m incredibly happy that I married the man I love. That was the most important thing. But now that I’m a few months into being married, oh boy, the learning just keeps coming.

The first thing to note is that my husband and I dated for 8 years before we were married. Eight! And while I thought that was a long time, and I thought that I knew everything about him and about us, turns out I didn’t. I thought right off the bat I’d be an awesome wife. I also thought while some things may change, for the most part, everything would feel completely the same as before. Wrong again.

Now, as husband and wife, we have to communicate better and more, and suddenly everything is so important! We’re not just dating anymore; we’re locked into this thing for life! And I want to do it all right, but part of that is accepting that at times, I’ll screw up, and so will he, but along the way, we will learn a ton, pick ourselves up and keep on keepin’ on.

So this is the crazy journey of my new life as a wife. Enjoy!