Friday, November 5, 2010

My Mantra

Hello again, wedding fans!  I'm writing with much news.

First of all, I am pleased to report that my thesis is DONE!  After two years of grad school, I've produced a 150-page manuscript (twice as long as the guidelines suggest—whoops!) that I will be defending in front of a committee on Friday.  Assuming that goes well, I only have to make it through four—count them, four!—more classes as a TA and then I will officially have my MFA in writing.  All of this has contributed to a very hectic past couple months and a very tired but happy yours truly, as you can imagine.

 Copies of my thesis, waiting to be bound!

With grad school ending, my job search is just beginning.  The freelance work I've been doing is great, but not quite enough to make ends meet when it isn't supplemented with student loans.  (Have I mentioned that weddings are expensive?)  Fortunately, I have an interview in two weeks that I am very, very excited about.  It's a job that would allow me to flex the writing muscles I've been working on all this time and would allow us to stay in Savannah.  As you can imagine, that's pretty high on our priority list.  I'm not trying to plan a destination wedding!  And, I love the city where we fell in love.

Anyway, before I keep blabbing on about petty things like graduate degrees and life-affirming careers, let's talk about what really matters.  Our honeymoon!

On Halloween, after months of research,  dressed as Catwoman and Tony Stark, we finally booked it.

Tony Stark                              Catwoman

You may remember this post my fiancĂ© made a few months back about our then fledgling honeymoon search.  Since then, nary a night has passed when we didn't spend at least a few minutes Googling tropical destinations and all-inclusive resorts.  Over and over again, the Dominican Republic came up as the place for us: incredibly affordable, totally gorgeous, warm, new to us both, and so enticing with its long beaches and lush vegetation.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

We are SO excited.  We'll be staying at one of the Riu resorts in Puerto Plata.  For nine days and nights, all of our meals, drinks, and entertainment are comped and we're free to lounge by the pool, lounge by the beach, lounge in a hammock, lounge in a jacuzzi...well, you get the idea.  There will be much lounging.  Hopefully there will also be some hiking, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins, and exploring the town.  

Oh, in case you didn't hear me up there, I did say nine nights.  I don't think I've ever had a vacation that long (Dad, correct me if I'm wrong!) and I'm so looking forward to spending this one with my new husband!  Already, in moments of stress, Puerto Plata has become a mantra that breathes out of me.  It promises the longest vacation of my life with the most important man in it.  A chance to dwell and focus on our wonderful relationship, to remember the past, to daydream aloud, to plan for the future, and, most important, to be together.

Puerto Plata, Peurto Plata, Puerto Plata...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sibling (Un)rivalry

Well, once again I'm coming up a bit tardy on this post.  I find that when someone (read: my professor) isn't forcing me to find something to report twice a week, there's actually nothing to report twice a week!

But this time I do have some wonderful news — we're just back from my big brother's wedding!  

My brother and his WIFE!

We spent a truly wonderful weekend in Orlando to celebrate Patrick and Katie's new life together.  I just drank in all the quality time with family, the fun parties, and the all-around wedding-y goodness.  Not to mention the joy of sharing all this with my own wonderful groom-to-be!

Next in the wedding line.

As our wedding gift to the happy couple, my other two brothers and I (we three were the "groomsmen") hosted the rehearsal dinner in Patrick and Katie's back yard.  

The Groomsmen and Groomswoman

Shawn, the grill master, and his super-talented wife, my bridesmaid!, produced a delicious meal that suited the occasion perfectly.  Meanwhile, my other brother, Adam, and Nathaniel and I fancied up the backyard.  

The coolest thing I've ever built!

We strung white Christmas lights between the house and a large oak, clasping colored paper lanterns along every few bulbs.  When they were all ready, we hoisted them up high in the tree and they created the perfect ambiance for the evening.  (If I do say so myself!)  It was a great example of the kind of fun, beautiful touches I hope to fill my own wedding with.

Patrick and Katie had a really unique, really beautiful, really laid-back ceremony that suited them perfectly.  There are certainly a few pages Nathaniel and I hope to borrow from their book (and a few we aren't brave enough to try — their dog was the ring bearer!) but the thing I most admire about my big brother and new sister is their vibrant, healthy love.  The kind you can see from miles away.  The kind that inspires everybody around, especially kid sisters like me.

Here's to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Working on TTD with my GTB

Hello, wedding fans!  I'm reporting live after a super fun, totally productive weekend with my groom-to-be (or, in wedding planning parlance, my "GTB").  Here are some things we've scratched off the ol' TTD list lately:

- Further negotiations with the caterer
- Visiting our reception venue to work out logistics
- Opening a joint banking account (this is a big one!)
- Getting estimates from local bakers (and sampling their wares!)
- Negotiating with local hotels for out of town guests
- Planning decor and DIY projects
- Nailing down a wedding budget

Phew!  I get tired just re-reading all of that.  The good news is my wedding mags no longer seem to be telling me "You're hopelessly behind schedule and will never make it in time and the whole thing could fall apart at any moment!!!"  Now they're just telling me "You're hopelessly behind schedule!"  I can live with hopelessly behind schedule.

Aside from the new progress on our to-do list, the other major wedding planning news is that I've discovered wedding classified sites.  They're brilliant!  Sites like and have great message boards that let brand new wives work with soon-to-be brides to sell gently used wedding things for cheap.  It's my new addiction, and, I hope, the key to our budget wedding success.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

She's Baaa-aaack!

Hello, wedding fans!  Let's be honest.  Raise your hand if you thought I wasn't going to post again now that I'm not doing it for a grade.

Really, that many of you?  

In my defense, I've been quite busy with work, school, and a little thing called love. Even wedding planning has taken a back seat these past few weeks.  My wedded friends reassure me that it's normal for the planning process to be sort of a roller coaster with a lot of action and a lot of downtime.  I'm happy to listen to them rather than to my bridal mags, which will have me believe I'm doing a horrible job if I eat, breathe, or sleep anything other than WEDDING.

(To be fair, though, wedding stuff really is all I want to eat, breathe, and sleep.)

Despite the lull, my wonderful groom and I have managed to tick a few things off the list.  We've started sending out Save the Date announcements in batches (I know, I know, I wasn't supposed to have the kind of guest list that required "batches"), planning the reception, and getting organized.  We've also made a wedding website, the URL of which I don't feel like advertising to the blogging world, but I'll be happy to send to you privately!

We have plenty of upcoming plans, including a meeting with the caterers to solidify things tomorrow morning, a date with a "harper" (we're not entirely sure how she'll differ from a harpist), and trips to register sometime soon.  In fact, I can feel the roller coaster tipping back toward the speedy planning slope as I type this.

In parting, and as an apology for being so tardy with this post, I leave you with the "Charlotte and Nathaniel Pop Quiz."  Try your hand at some of our fun relationship trivia!

Go to the pop quiz!

P.S. If you'd like, feel free to give me a grade on this post so I'll have some extra incentive to come back sooner next time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Something Blogged, Something Through

Tonight is the last night of the quarter, and so this is the last post I'm required to make for class. (Coincidentally, this also means that, after tonight, the only things standing between me and my MFA are a measly little thesis and a teaching assistantship next quarter! Yay!)

Despite that, though, I wanted to say that I'll stick around here if you guys will. It's been a lot of fun chronicling our wedding plans, and hearing all of your wonderful suggestions and insight! I might not be making my heretofore required two posts per week, or meeting any certain word limit, but I'll still enthrall you with all of the intricacies of getting hitched as long as you'd like.

I hope to see you all soon!

The Guest List Blues

In the suggested timelines in my bridal mags, picking a date, working out a budget, and settling on the guest list — I like to call them the Big Three — are always the first tasks. It's like these writers conspire to put you through the ringer right off the bat. More stressed out brides equals more magazine sales!

(This isn't my only wedding planning conspiracy theory, by the way.
As each new challenge pops up, I've been quietly wondering. . .
What if all of the planning hubbub was really invented by men
as one final test of their bride's ability to multitask,
exhibit grace under fire, and do the Macarena in heels?
It's possible!)

With our venues secured, Nate and I have finally managed to squirrel away the date, as you know. And our "budget" continues to teeter precariously in the realm of the doable. So, that's two of the Big Three... it's just the third that's still giving us trouble.

Not checking it twice.

We came up with a draft of our guest list very soon after the proposal. And despite a determination to keep it around one hundred guests, we woke up the next morning still blissfully engaged. I thought, at the time, that every other bride I've known was silly for complaining about her guest list woes.

And then it began.

A text message from an old friend. A sweet childhood memory including a relative you haven't seen in years. A new, wonderful acquaintance. All of these things in themselves lovely, but wreaking havoc on The List.

Havoc being wreaked.

Nate and I have tried a few different approaches to this problem. "Pencilling in" new additions. Repeatedly saying we'll give it a harsh going over, and never going over it. Wildly overestimating the number of regrets we'll receive. And meanwhile The List grows.

Our current philosophy is not to cut anyone, not to add anyone, and to tweak the budget in other areas to allow for adding per capita necessities like food and drink when needed. I sure hope this works!