A Christmas Engagement

As we headed home for the holidays with a car packed full of gifts, Brian and I were really looking forward to 10 days away from home, away from the office (I was off 14), and to spending time with family and friends.

Our Christmas engagement was exciting news but we were also looking forward to the downtime of not thinking about wedding details (or so we thought).

A Christmas engagement will often end up meaning you are going to talk a lot about your wedding, even if you just saw everyone at Thanksgiving. For me, I was planning on asking the 4 remaining friends to join my bride tribe and I could not wait! Brian and I were also asking our ring bearers and flower girl to stand with us on our special day so there was a lot to be excited about. Thankfully though, all of those ask gifts were safely packed away in the back of the car and all we had to do was wait for the right moment to ask.

Christmas in Corning

We were heading to my mom’s house first on Friday the 22nd, it was also my step-brothers 21st birthday so we had big dinner plans. We enjoyed Habachi and no wedding talk which was great as the focus was on Ben for the night.

The next morning, I was super excited because just like our Thanksgiving Day workout our team was having a Christmas weekend accountability workout and I was up to crush it. It was Day 20 of 21 Day Fix Extreme (my last hard work out) and Day 4 of A Little Obsessed (the teaser workout of the program launching on January 15th). Both were awesome and having the team to motivate me throughout was tremendous. I seriously can’t tell you what having a team and community like the one I have has done for me in the last 6 months and I can’t wait to see where it will go from here.

The Force was With Us

After mixing up a shake, chatting with my mom for a bit and just relaxing, it was off to dinner and a movie with Brian and my dad and his. We planned to see Star Wars and grab drinks and BBQ afterward. This would be the first time our dads really had the chance to talk and we didn’t know how that would go. Seeing Star Wars with my dad has been one of our traditions so we thought it would be fun to bring Brian’s dad along too.

Thankfully, there weren’t too many awkward moments, we talked about the wedding a bit, discussed the highs and lows of the movie, and just enjoyed each other’s company. After saying goodbye it was back to Corning we went, after all, it was Christmas Eve Eve!

Christmas Engagement – Eve

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite nights of the holiday season. My family used to go to church and then have apps back at the house with family and friends. In recent years, that has turned into the same meal (apps and cookies) with the added bonus of alcohol and games. Plus, every Christmas Eve we get a pair of Christmas Pajamas. This year, was the Year of the Penguin.

This year we played a game with booze, chocolate, and lotto tickets wrapped in cellophane. You also had to wear oven mitts. This was a ton of fun and the videos are hilarious to watch. My sister was caught stealing my chocolate in one of the videos.

After the fun and games with the parents, my siblings and I ended the night with our annual game of pong before heading to bed before the BIG and busy day that was ahead of us.

Christmas Day Marathon

Christmas is always a very busy day for Brian and I. We spend Christmas morning with my mom and then we head to Ithaca to spend Christmas Day with my Dad, Nana, and Aunts. Then we are off to Auburn for Christmas night with Brian’s mom. It can often feel like a whirlwind but it is worth it to be able to spend time with everyone.

Plus, I had a special question to ask my sister while we opened gifts; as well as, Matilda, my younger cousin. But you can read about that soon in my Ask post!

This year was special to be able to see everyone and it felt pretty even when it came to time. I think this is the first year we were actually on time with everything!

The Holiday Goes On

On the 26th, we had Brian’s family Christmas. It was nice to be able to enjoy games and a meal with them before heading out to catch up with friends. Having such a large family, it is hard to be able to spend equal time with everyone. It has gotten so hard that I haven’t been able to see any of my friends over the holidays because of all the time on the road.

This year, I made sure that I was not going to miss the opportunity to see my teammates from school because I had a huge question to ask them!  I had asked my sister the day before and now it was time to complete the squad. You will be able to read all about when I asked all my girls very soon! But for now, Mal, Jess, and Kayla and I had an amazing time catching up over drinks and wings and they were totally surprised.

On the 27th, it has been my tradition to visit my Nana and family for the afternoon. It is nice to be able to have conversations while they are all in town without having to worry about leaving to go to another Christmas. My dad wasn’t able to come this year but it was a great time all around. I value my time with my family so much that it means the world to me to be able to use this day as an extra treat.

We talked a lot about the wedding and where we were in the planning process and I promised to keep them in the loop when it came time to book rooms.

Mom’s Birthday

My mom’s birthday is on the 29th of December so every year, Brian and I head back to Corning to celebrate her day with her. This year, I had booked my mom, sister, and I massages. It was pure bliss. I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated. Then we enjoyed dinner at a new Thai restaurant which was incredible. I think she had a great day!

The Long Road Home

It was amazing to be able to spend so much dedicated time with family and friends this year. I pride myself on being able to step away from work and leave my laptop behind for these weeks with the family. We enjoyed a wonderful 10 days away but by the time it was over and we were on the road home, we were looking forward to some quiet time before we were back to work. We each have some huge goals for 2018 and the time to reset and recharge was going to be much needed! Plus, the Bills play on December 31st and could be in the playoffs!

A December Engagement to Be Jolly About

Let me start by saying, this post is about so much more than being engaged at the holidays! This is about some decisions Brian and I made for our wedding, our engaged December and enjoying the holiday season together!

In December, we really realized as much as it stinks to have a longer engagement, we think it was right for us. After all, we already live together, own our home, we are not ready for children, and just love being around each other. We know we have our whole lives to be together so why rush and make decisions we may regret. One of those decisions I know we would have regretted would have been sacrificing the venue we wanted. I am still beaming because we have Holiday Valley – Yodeler Lodge as our venue!

The Start of Our December Engagement

The beginning of December was a rush because it started on a Friday and was the first week back from Thanksgiving break at work. I thankfully had taken Monday the 27th off that week to get our house decorated for Christmas! Plus on December 3rd we got to go on the field during the Bills vs. Patriots game.

I do a ton of post-Christmas Day decoration shopping so every year when I decorate, it is like I am giving presents to myself that I forgot I bought. I love decorating our house because it feels so much warmer at the holidays with a tree (artificial because we travel) and the lights and garland!

There was a ton to get done this Christmas but thankfully I had started shopping way earlier! I like to shop for people all year round because then I don’t feel like I am buying just to buy.

Northern Christmas Party

Every year, my Northern Aunts and Uncles and Cousins all get together at one of the 3 Aunt’s homes. This year, we decided to change it up and have the party at a restaurant/bar. It is always a great time to connect with everyone, have dinner, enjoy some cookies and catch up. As we have gotten older, I see my cousins less and less so when we do connect it is always fun!

The not so fun part was the 2.5 hour drive home from the restaurant through white out conditions. So glad Brian drove for that trip.

Dress Shopping

I mentioned in my November post that I had signed up for a dress appointment at the bridal show with my mom and my sister. So, on December 9th, my mom, sister and I headed to David’s Bridal in Buffalo to try on every single style, color, and size dress imaginable to get an idea of what I wanted out of my dress. I am a very simple person and because I hadn’t spent my life dreaming of my wedding, I didn’t really have a vision.

My goal is that when I do a larger shopping trip with some of my bridesmaids and special guests, I am not overwhelmed by opinions and thoughts. I wanted to know the style of dress and the color of dress I wanted so I can control the situation.

What I was shocked to discover after trying on several styles of dresses was that I think I may have found my dress. I am hesitant to say it is the one just because we are still just over 16 months out! But it very well could be. I love the dress, I love the style and the best part….no alterations needed for length. Just in the waste!

Will you be my Bridesmaid?

My December engagement was not only focused on the dress shopping and the holiday but also on how I wanted to ask my 4 remaining bridesmaids. I am going to have 4 bridesmaids and 2 maids of honor, my sister and my best friend Mallory. Why am I having two? Because it is my wedding and I don’t think I should have to pick. Both of them are special to me in a unique way.

I spent the last 4 months thinking about how I was going to ask them and it wasn’t easy. You already know I already asked Shelly and Ali in unique ways. And I wanted each of the other 4 proposals to be unique to their personalities as well.

In January, I will create a whole proposal post about asking your ladies to be in your bridal party. I think the key thing to remember, ask from your heart. Also, so I don’t leave you hanging, they all said yes! So now, I have my bridal squad. Just one more thing off the to-do list!

Let’s Get this Party Started

One of the most important things to me and Brian outside of the venue, convenience and great pictures (heads up Photographers, I am still looking for someone),  was that we wanted to have great music to drive the night and the energy in the room!

I shared that at the Bridal Show that I had also found the person I wanted to use. Well, in December after really thinking about it, I sent him an email. I wanted to know if the deal he offered me at the show was still valid. After all, it had been a month since the show! To my surprise, he said he would honor it. So, I signed the contracts, paid the deposit and now we have ceremony music, party music, up lighting for behind our head table, and a 10-person photo booth for our guests to enjoy! Another thing off the list.

December Engagement: Christmas

As we headed home for Christmas (you can read about that here), we were feeling accomplished. I had my remaining bridesmaid proposal presents packed and wrapped! We had our date and our venue. We also had our DJ, we had our photo booth, and I knew the style of dress I wanted. With less than 17 months to go, I would say we are really on track if not ahead of the game!

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!