Holiday Engagement: Part 1 – Thanksgiving

Wow, it is definitely hard to believe that Brian and I have been engaged 3 months already! We are officially counting down and inside 18 months. We are slowing but surely ticking things off the list but you can check those all out on the other wedding posts. For this post, I wanted to share our experience with our holiday engagement and it is a two-parter because a lot happened!

Yes, I know we did not get engaged at the holidays but a holiday engagement is so much more than the initial shock! In fact, the entire engagement I am learning is a whirlwind and I am just trying to soak up every phase of this stage in my life. As well as, enjoy our journey as a couple.

So how did our holiday engagement actually go? Let’s start with Thanksgiving

Holiday Engagement: Thanksgiving

My Family Traditions

Every other Thanksgiving, my super large family (60+ people) gets together usually in Virginia or West Virginia which is roughly equal distance for everyone to travel to. This year was not a big Thanksgiving for the family and my family did not go to the last one due to my father’s dad passing away and a few other reasons. So, Brian has never actually been to one of those Thanksgiving because we just started doing holidays together fully 3 years ago (this was our third full Thanksgiving & Christmas celebrating together).

I am really looking forward to next Thanksgiving and having Brian there with me! I can remember my older cousins bringing their person to their first Thanksgiving and it being a lot of fun!

My family created the alternating Thanksgiving tradition so that you could visit your in-laws during the off year. So, for the last three years, Brian and I have spent Thanksgiving with his mom’s family.

An Auburn Holiday Engagement

We headed to Auburn on Tuesday night after getting out of work. Unfortunately, Brian got out VERY late so we didn’t get into town until about 9 pm. It is usually a 2-hour drive for us to get to Auburn.

Wednesday, we were able to relax, workout and just catch up with his mom. We were also able to go out with his friends that night. Thanksgiving Eve is a big tradition with them. But our age was definitely showing as his group all realized they were some of the oldest in the bar.

So, my question to you, at what age is too old to be out past midnight? We haven’t been drinking a ton because we are sticking to some very healthy habits so I just wasn’t feeling my beer. But it was great to see everyone and be introduced to some new people as Brian’s fiancé (I feel like I have met everyone in Auburn in the last 6 years but every time we go out, I meet new people). We had seen a lot of our friends at the wedding we attended in October so most of them had congratulated us then!

Thanksgiving Accountability

Thanksgiving morning rolled around, I slept great and my team was having an accountability Thanksgiving Day workout all together at 8:30. I was so excited to press play. At one point, we had 130 women working out virtually together! Talk about motivation and accountability! Knowing I was about to eat a ton of stuffing (my favorite) I was really looking forward to getting my sweat on ahead of time.

We had also seen Brian’s family the last time we were in Auburn but the engagement was the talk of the meal. They are all really looking forward to our wedding and two of his cousins will be in it! They had a lot of questions to ask about if we had made any further decisions. The truth was at that point, we really hadn’t outside of the date and the venue!

The Post-Holiday Meal

The next morning, another workout and then we were off to spend the rest of the long weekend with my mom and sister! On our way to Corning, we stopped to see my Nana and Dad in Ithaca. It was really great to connect with them since I hadn’t seen them the day before. I was able to update my Nana in-person on some of the details and ask if she would come dress shopping with me when I officially made the trip. I can’t wait to have her there and I know she appreciated being asked.

The holiday weekend with my mom flew by! Corning does this Parade of Lights every year. I had actually never seen it before so that was a ton of fun on Saturday night. My mom and I were also able to do some Small Business Saturday shopping. I absolutely love supporting local businesses. And the best part got the cutest Mr. and Mrs. Claus mugs! I am currently drinking some tea out of right now!

Sunday came and I was sad to see it (thankfully, I took work off on Monday). My mom, sister, and I had signed up to do a Gingerbread house decorating party which was a ton of fun. You should have seen the candy bar! It was kind of like a Paint with a Twist Party except without the wine and a ton of kids.

After that was all over, we packed up and hit the road to try beat the traffic. We also wanted to get organized for the work week ahead.

Our first major holiday as an engaged couple was in the books and we were really looking forward to another one in just a few weeks!

Engaged November to Remember

I seriously cannot believe that November is over already! But that means we are one month closer to our wedding date and I have big news to share.

We actually decided on November 8th at like 9 pm, Yodeler Lodge at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, NY was going to be our place. And our date……May 25th, 2019.

 

We know it is a long way off but Holiday Valley is the place we fell in love with and they are all booked up for 2018 so 2019 here we come. That just gives us lots of time to make arrangements and truly plan the wedding of our dreams. Brian and I are so excited to be able to share this news and to spend the next 18 months planning. The countdown is officially on!

Engaged November

So how did the rest of November go? Did I make any big decisions? Well, November kicked off with a bang! Even before we had our date and our venue, my mom, sister, and I headed to a bridal show in Williamsville to just start getting ideas. Because I haven’t asked all my bridal party yet, this was something I wanted to keep small. I am not the type of girl who has been planning my wedding since I was born. So taking the time to just get ideas was what I needed. I had no idea that I would start checking things off my list that day.

Before heading to the show, my sister gave me the sweetest gift, a personalized wedding planner! In it, she included herself as Maid of Honor even though I have not asked anyone that question yet. The rest of my bridal party asks will be coming soon and I cannot wait to give them their ask gifts! Plus, Brian hasn’t asked any of his groomsmen! Stay tuned.

Engaged November: Bridal Show Madness

For me, having so much time until the wedding, it is hard to commit and put deposits down right on the spot. I don’t know about you but bridal shows are seriously overwhelming! The vendor that I connected with the most was a DJ and Photobooth company. They did ceremony music and party music; as well as, the uplighting for behind the head table. In addition, they have a 10-person photo booth which I am so excited to have at our wedding. The piece that sealed the deal for me was the fact that they create a custom, hand-drawn scrapbook of all the photo booth photos (basically so your guests don’t draw dirty pictures).

Although we didn’t sign with them on the spot, the owner let me know the deal would be good for a few weeks which I was entirely grateful for! I actually sent him the contracts at the beginning of December after Brian and I discussed it. But more to come in my December post on that.

Engaged November: Dress Appointment

At the bridal show, I also was able to book an appointment to visit David’s Bridal in December. I wanted to be able to try on all different styles of dresses before I made a decision and had my entire bridal party (those who could come) plus my grandmother and Brian’s mom in the room. I wanted to know what I like so that when I do pick my dress I am not overwhelmed. David’s Bridal was going to let me do that and I was really looking forward to my dress appointment on December 9th!

Engaged November: Thankful

The rest of November was seemingly uneventful. We headed to a Beer and Wine Festival up at Holiday Valley with friends, which was so exciting to get to see the place again in a different setting. It just made Brian and I more excited to celebrate our special day there in 18 months. We knew as we drank our beers (unlimited for 4 hours), we had made the right decision.

I will be sharing more about the first major holiday with family where we were engaged in my Holiday Engagement post coming soon. However, Brian and I planned to ask our flower girl (my cousin Matilda) and our ring bearers (Brian’s cousin’s kids Evan and Parker) at Christmas if they would like to be in the wedding. But with little kids, we wanted to make sure we asked their parents first!

So at Thanksgiving, we pulled Todd & Tracey aside and asked if they would be okay with the boys being in the wedding. After all, it is a cost to them; as well as, extra attention they will have to pay during the wedding. But they were really excited and obviously said YES.

I had actually seen my Aunt earlier in November and was able to ask her then. Her reaction, “I have been waiting and hoping you would say that.”. As an older cousin to an almost 3-year-old, it has been fun watching Matilda grow and I can’t wait for my nana to see her 3 granddaughters walk down the aisle on the same day!

Everyone in our family is so excited about this wedding and so are Brian and I. We have a lot to plan but the next 18 months truly are going to be so exciting!

One Hell of an Engaged October

October was one heck of a month for Brian and I thanks to it being half marathon season! We basically referred to Engaged October as our hell month in terms of scheduling.

Don’t get me wrong, they were all fun things but we had a lot on our plates! But before I go into Engaged October, I have to finish off September when I asked one of my great friends to be in the wedding!

Will You Be My Bridesmaid: Part 1

My friend Ali and I went through MDP together at the bank over 3 years ago. We met on the first day of the program but I wouldn’t say we were as close as we are today at that point. She and I have grown super close since finishing the program and really growing into the real world together. Ali is that friend for me where we can go to Starbucks and sit and talk for hours. Brian often says when we say we are going to Starbucks, see you at dinner. She is also my friend who I have run 2 half marathons with, trained together, gone through the highs and lows, the ups and downs, and all the gross parts that come with training for a race. To say we have bonded would be an understatement.

So in our normal fashion, I asked her to be my bridesmaid by surprising her at Starbucks! I asked the barista to write on her cup, “Will you be my Bridesmaid”. The best part is the Barista did such a great job, she had some of the words written above the cup holder and then you had to slide the cup holder (you know the thing to keep from burning your hand) down to read the rest! Ali was shocked.

Now, you may be wondering, why I did it so early. The answer is Ali is moving back to Jersey (NYC) and starting a new role within the bank. I want to ask all my bridal party-in-person, so that meant surprising her early! Thankfully, Ali is a go with the flow kind of person and was down for limited details at this moment.

The Race to the Finish Line

It started the first weekend in Engaged October with my first half marathon of the season, The Wine Glass Half. I won’t go into too much detail about the race I ran with my sister because I shared my results in my race recap post. But overall it was a great race and Devon and I had a ton of fun! I may not have hit my sub-2 hour goal but I got to run Devon’s first half marathon with her and I did earn a new PR.

And great news, I am planning on running my 4th Corning Wineglass Half next year! It will be on the 30th of September next year.

A Wedding Weekend to Remember

The following weekend we got to celebrate two of our friends getting married. Not only did we have a great time catching up with friends but this was the first wedding Brian and I were attending as an engaged couple. As far as new experiences go, we had a blast. To top it off, we had time to celebrate the month of October with Brian’s mom’s family and carve pumpkins. We have done this the last 2 years and it always a fun time.

Alumni Weekend

Every year, Brian and I try and head back to RIT for Brick City Homecoming at RIT. This year was a little strange because my coach decided to not have an alumni game. So instead of heading back to Rochester together, Brian and I went separately because Brian’s team still had their game and other events. With all the stress of being on the go so much over the last couple of weeks, I was fortunate we didn’t have a game because I came down with a slight cold.

Instead of heading to the hockey game as I had planned to, I went to Rochester just for the day to catch up with a few of the ladies I had played with and headed home to get some rest because our big trip to Louisville was coming up.

Time for Bourbon

For the last part of Hell October, we were heading to Louisville. I was so excited because it meant I was going to see one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in almost a year and a half since she moved back home. I was also going to be able to ask her to be one of my bridesmaids!

Brian and I were set to the run the Urban Bourbon half marathon that weekend (Saturday). You can read all about the race in my race recap.This post is more about the weekend itself because it was time to ask bridesmaid #2.

Will you be my Bridal Minion: Part 2

Now, Shelly loves the minions, everything about them. So I had purchased a minions cup and slipped a note inside it asking her to be one of my bridal minions (get it?). Unfortunately, the packaging got a little wrinkled in transport but Shelly didn’t seem to mind, she is easy going that way. This girl is in med school and will just be finishing her 2nd year when we get married but she was also down with limited details and ready to assist in any way she can.

Excuse the glare on the photo, I was trying to be sneaky!

Bourbon Tasting

The rest of the weekend was so much fun minus the huge hill at mile 6.5 of the half, read more about that here. We had stayed with Shelly’s parents for all but one of the nights (the night before the race) which was amazing. They are great people and it really helped us stay on track as far as eating properly to have the best travel race possible.  We enjoyed Bourbon tastings at the post-race party and then headed to a new distillery in Louisville that is in their 2nd year (really at year 2.5) so they don’t have Bourbon yet because they are making their own mash. So instead we got to try their Rye Whiskey.

While we were also there, we had the chance to attend a pretty awesome exhibit of 5,000 pumpkins that Louisville does. I was mesmerized by the detail, way better than my simple Jack-o-Lanterns (although there were some of those too). Here is just one of the 5,000 pumpkins – minions of course. The theme was the ABCs so each letter had a unique theme.

Our flights home were bright and early so that we could settle back into life, get unpacked and ready for the work week ahead. We were sad to leave Louisville but knew it would be nice to be back and home and have a day to relax. Our Engaged October was over!

The End of Hell Engaged October

Even though Brian and I knew that we wouldn’t have much time to wedding plan in October, our goal was to decide on a venue and a date. We saw a few more venues and even went back to one we really liked to check out a few more options they had to offer during the work week. I will say we did not hit our deadline for an October 31st decision. But I promise a decision is coming soon!