Engagement Journal: Final Month
As I type the title to this blog post so many emotions rush over me. Here we are - at the final month of our engagement season. It feels... in a single word: overwhelming. We are experiencing overwhelming love, overwhelming support, and overwhelming excitement leading up to our big day. Sam and I have talked about what this day would look like for nearly the past 7 years.
Before this month, our wedding day felt so far into the distance. When we got engaged in June of last year on the anniversary of our very first date, we felt like we had an endless amount of time to enjoy the process and plan slowly. A year seemed so long. But, we were warned that the engagement would fly by and feel like seconds as opposed to months. Spoiler alert: it did. I feel like it was just yesterday that Sam was down on one knee at the CN Tower in Toronto asking me to be his wife. We didn't have anything on our minds except sharing our exciting news with everyone we came in contact with, and making sure that my ring didn't fall off during our boat ride under Niagara Falls.
I'm so grateful for the engagement journal that I've kept up with throughout the year. It is truly the sweetest little collection of memories; every few months documenting how we were feeling in the process, where we were at in terms of planning, and the fun (and not-so-fun) details that I would have already forgotten.
Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have one last planning session with two of my best girlfriends and fellow bloggers, (Sydney and Colleen) who also happen to be engaged at the moment. Now, I say "planning session" very loosely. It was a little more like catching up, taking cute boomerangs, and drinking chai. So, essentially doing everything except actually planning our weddings. Having the support and love of my girlfriends in the city has been incredible throughout our wedding journey. It has been fun to compare notes and laugh about wedding nightmares while reassuring each other that "bride brain" is tottttally normal.
Our afternoon was made even better by the simple fact that we were wearing matching "Future Mrs" shirts, and in a crowded coffee shop laughing hysterically while bystanders grew confused and Jade Nikkole Photography snapped away.
TIME SINCE ENGAGEMENT: 416 days! I literally gasped when I saw this number; it does not feel like it has been that long!
THE PHRASE I CAN'T STOP SAYING: "I'm/We're so excited!" Oh my gosh, I am honestly getting on my own nerves with how often I have been saying this! I have heard myself say it several times in a single conversation and, although it describes exactly how I'm feeling, I need to get more creative with my responses haha.
ESPECIALLY THANKFUL FOR: Our family's support has been enormous throughout this engagement season. I can't imagine planning our wedding without the support and encouragement from both of our families. They are constantly cheering us on, telling us how much they are looking forward to our big day, and asking us what they can do to help. My grandma is so funny - she has called and left me a voicemail every single day for the past 2 months. It's always the same and it puts a smile on my face every time. It sounds like this, "Hey Anna, it's Grandma. Only "x" days left! Okay, love you. Bye!" After the 5th or 6th voicemail, I warned my Mom that I didn't think Grandma's going to be coming back to the US with us after the wedding. She has never been out of the country and I think she's just as excited as Sam and I.
Another person I am especially thankful for right now is our wedding planner. When people say that it is the best investment you will make, trust me, they are not exaggerating. Especially if you're getting married in a location that you've never visited yourself. I've had bi-weekly video meetings with our wedding planner since the beginning, and every time I get off a call with her I feel immediately relaxed and trust that she has it all taken care of. My biggest tip for future brides would be to form a great relationship with your wedding planner/coordinator. You need to feel like you're on the same page and that they have your best interest at heart. I actually feel like I've gained a friend in our wedding planner and I even told her that I'm going to miss our phone calls and texts!
WHAT EVERYONE IS ASKING US: "Are you ready?" With how much we've been asked this question, you'd think that we had been training for the Olympics for the past year. All joking aside, I feel like the past 7 years of our relationship has prepared us for marriage, and in terms of the wedding itself, our remaining "to-do list" is very minimal. We tried to take care of as many responsibilities as we could early on so it didn't feel super stressful at the end.
CURRENTLY FEELING: This week has been the first time in about a month that I haven't felt like I'm stuck in a "brain fog". It was such a strange feeling to be doing something and realize that I'm not even really experiencing it. I was definitely feeling more "in my own head" than I ever have, and it was frustrating because that's not how I want to spend my time. I had to fight the urge to be laser focused on our big checklist, because every time one thing would be complete, I was feeling like "okay, what's next?" instead of actually enjoying the process. Recently, I added a 5-minute meditation, a walk with Oliver, and a no-phone policy into my morning routine and I think that it has helped immensely. I also started re-reading "Present over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist which always grounds me.
CURRENTLY DOING: Pretending to pack (lol). Piece by piece, I have been slowly adding to my wedding week and honeymoon wardrobe over the past few months, and I've been stacking together little piles of things here and there that need to be packed. But alas, my suitcase still remains empty. I'm scared that I'm going to forget something that's important and if I start putting things into my bag I might forget what exactly is in there.
I also just finished the first official draft of my vows this morning. I had been carrying around my wedding journal with me for the past few weeks, jotting down thoughts and memories to get me started. But, I wanted to wait until I had a morning free of distraction to sit down and really pull everything together. Let me set the stage for what my morning looked like: I woke up early, did a 5-minute meditation, took Oliver on a walk, stopped into the coffee shop down the street to grab my favorite chai latte, lit a candle in my office, and started writing. As the hour passed, I cried into a lot of tissues, and imagined myself standing at the altar holding Sam's hands and saying my vows to him in front of our closest friends and family. I feel like I have a great first draft on paper now, so I'm going to give it a little space (so I don't over-edit) and come back to it in a few days to make any adjustments.
MOST NERVOUS ABOUT: Traveling with my dress, for sure. I've read countless articles and tips for prepping for a destination wedding, but everything I've read is unique to the bride's individual circumstances and chance. I'm hoping for the best, but at the very least I just don't want my dress to get damaged a few days before our wedding.
BLOG LIFE: In my first engagement journal back in July, I promised myself that I would take a break from collaborations until after the wedding. Somehow, I've swung in the complete opposite direction. I've almost tripled the collaborations I've been a part of this year as opposed to last. It has been so much fun, but between a full-time job, wedding planning, events, and collaborations, I'll admit that it was a bit much on my plate at once. Thankfully, I'm wrapping up my last collaboration before the wedding now and have told my brand partners that I'll need to put new campaigns on the back burner until late-September so I can enjoy this month. I was a little afraid of missing out on great opportunities or connections, but everyone has been extremely understanding and supportive so far.
After we get back home and settled from our wedding and honeymoon, I'm excited to jump back into blogging and styling and make it a priority again. I'm planning to share a bunch of wedding-related posts including skincare prep, my diet and fitness prep, our tips for planning a destination wedding, travel guides to both of the places we are visiting, and so much more. Get ready for a ton of fresh content and even more wedding pictures!
MOST RECENTLY CHECKED OFF OUR LIST: Dance lessons and my final dress fitting! We were lucky enough to have an incredible instructor at the Arthur Murray Studio in Columbia, and he made our private dance lessons so fun and romantic. We're not planning anything super extensive for our first dance, but we learned some basic moves that we'll be able and feel comfortable to use.
I wasn't planning on doing a second dress fitting (I took my dress to my local seamstress as opposed to a bridal salon). But, after I tried it on again a few weekends back, I realized that the waist needed to be brought in in order for me to feel like I wasn't swimming in the fabric. We also ended up taking up the length again since I was still tripping on it when walking. Needless to say, I'm thankful that I tried it on again!
MOST IMPORTANT TO US: Being present and soaking in the real-life moments of our wedding week and honeymoon. I know that it's going to fly by, so I want to pause as often as possible to really feel the emotions. We want our guests to be present as well, as opposed to experiencing it all through screens, so we are having an unplugged ceremony, which we're both really excited about. We plan on being pretty disconnected from social media during our time away and just using our camera and GoPro to capture the picturesque moments.
ADDED TO THE PLAYLIST: All this time by One Republic. I fell in love with the song when I heard it in Julianne Hough's wedding video (as I'm sure the rest of the world did). Also, added Two Occasions by Babyface, and Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire. It's becoming a very well-rounded playlist!
SOMETHING I DIDN'T NEED: A wedding planning how-to book (A Practical Wedding Planner by Meg Keene). I was so excited about this in my first post when we got engaged, but I honestly only skimmed the pages that applied to our specific wedding plans. From what I read, it wasn't a poorly written book or anything, I personally just enjoy listening to wedding planning podcasts (The Bridechilla Podcast is my favorite) and reading wedding blogs instead.
LAST ITEMS TO PURCHASE: A raincoat (I'm currently searching for a pretty blush pink one, obviously), and maybe some earrings for the wedding day, and a pair of heels for our rehearsal/welcome party the night before. I purchased a pair of insanely gorgeous Badgley Mischka jeweled pumps for the night before for a great price from Poshmark (my new obsession), but sadly they were half a size too small and I can't return them! So, while I'm in the process of reselling them myself, I'm struggling with the decision of whether I should go buy a new pair from Nordstrom for double the price in my correct size, wear a pair of heels that I already have in my closet, or buy a different, less expensive pair of heels.
SOMETHING WE TALKED ABOUT TODAY: Getting to wear our wedding bands! Since purchasing a few months back, we have tried them on an embarrassing amount of times and are both excited to finally wear them in public.
My favorite thing about this pre-wedding look is the gorgeous, beaded wrap bracelet that I'm wearing by Victoria Emerson! If you follow along on Instagram stories, you know that I've recently become obsessed with their brand and products because of how easily they accessorize any outfit. I have 4 of their bracelets now (2 wrap bracelets and 2 boho cuffs), and I love stacking them beside each other or adding in other pieces like this pink watch (they also have the CUTEST watches).
To get 30% off at checkout, use my code "LIFESTYLEBYANNAELIZABETH"!
Are any of you babes currently engaged and planning a wedding? Comment on my latest Instagram post and tell me what your favorite moment has been so far!
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xo Anna Elizabeth