Posts Tagged wedding

Another Wedding!

This has been a busy last week of the year. It was full of family, friends, & celebrations. This past weekend, I gained another brother when my little sister got married. The wedding was beautiful (I wouldn’t have expected less from an artistic bride), but I think I’m still recovering from it. It was a long day, but I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it as the matron (sounds old) of honor. As we went through wedding week, it reminded me a lot of where I was almost exactly one year and five months ago, except this time I walked down the aisle in a different role.

So here are a few pictures from the wedding for your viewing pleasure.

Wedding Uggs for the bride from her bridesmaids

Wedding Uggs for the bride from her bridesmaids

I got a lot of MOH ideas from Pinterest, including one of having women write letters to the bride for her to read as she’s getting ready on her wedding day. So I had bridesmaids, friends, women in our church, fellow pastor’s wives (my sister’s now a pastor’s wife), her new sister-in-law, and our mom write letters for the book. I just put them all in a binder and had the last letter be a letter from the groom.

Reading Letters to the Bride

Reading Letters to the Bride

Wedding Pug

Wedding Pug

We loved that it snowed a little on the wedding day after not having much snow at all this month. It made for some beautiful wedding pictures. I can’t wait to see how they all turned out!

Beautiful bride

Beautiful bride

I hate walking down the aisle since I don’t like being the center of attention, but I loved how they did my hair & the dress (by Landa Designs). I walked way too fast in my own wedding & I walked fast here too. :)

Photo by Gerald Stroud

Photo by Jenn Lee

Here comes the bride

Here comes the bride

Even though this next picture is a little blurry, I loved watching Pearson (the groom)’s face. They didn’t do first look pictures, so the first time he saw his bride was walking down the aisle. He could barely hold back his tears. Precious moment.

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My sister kept the decorations simple–mostly just candles, but it looked beautiful.

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First dance

First dance

Centerpieces

Centerpieces

Sprinkles cupcakes instead of a cake

Sprinkles cupcakes instead of a cake

My husband & me

My husband & me

And for your viewing pleasure, my husband surprised my sister & her husband at their wedding reception with a Gangnam Style dance along with his little dance crew. The kids are so cute!! My hubby’s got some good moves of his own too. He’s a WAY better dancer than me!

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How Google Helped Plan My Wedding

Today marks six months of marriage for Gerald and me. I can’t believe how quickly half a year has gone by already. Yet at the same time, it feels like we’ve been married for longer than that. Maybe it seems that way because we dated for almost 3.5 years before we got married, but either way we’re glad to be celebrating this 6 month marriage anniversary. :)

I’m sure all those brides planning for summer weddings (or any wedding) this year are extremely busy or overwhelmed (or both), so I want to share some helpful tools I used when planning my wedding at this time last year. Mostly these are all from Google (which seems to be taking over the world and is now going through other privacy changes–whether you like this or not is another story), but the people over there are innovative and they made wedding planning so much easier!

The Guest List
Google Docs was our friend for much of the wedding planning process, so you’ll see it come up here a lot. If you have a Gmail account, which most people do nowadays, you can easily access this and you can share it with people even if they don’t have Gmail. To make guest list planning easier, I set up a Google Doc spreadsheet and made separate tabs at the bottom for my guests, Gerald’s guests, and our joint friends guest list. I shared the document with Gerald and our parents so we could all fill in addresses and guests (you may or may not want your parents on this though because sometimes it can get ugly if they start adding or changing guests and you don’t want them to). Gerald knows how to do formulas on Excel, so he made it so we had another tab with a head count that added up the number of guests we had total from all 3 lists. My dad payed close attention to this tab. :-P

This spreadsheet also made it easy to export into an actual Excel document and print out so my sister could address all the invitations (she knows calligraphy & I’m so grateful to her for actually writing all the addresses out!). We also used it to keep track of which thank you notes we’d written by adding columns later for gifts, etc.

Screenshot of our RSVP page

Online Response Cards
I wanted to have people RSVP to our wedding online to help save on postage costs for response cards (plus it’s a lot faster). Again, I turned to Google Docs for help and created a form doc. They have templates that you can use to make the form look nicer so I chose a wedding template. Then I created the different fields we wanted people to fill out. The only thing was whoever filled out the form had to fill it out for each invited guest. You can see our RSVP page here. Google creates a really long URL for your form page, so I used bit.ly to create a customized shortened URL that we could put on the invitations (http://bit.ly/WongStroudRSVP).

I love that once people fill out the form, Google automatically creates a spreadsheet in Google Docs for you with all the information. As people RSVPed, I just created new tabs in the Doc for each meal choice or if they weren’t coming so I could easily know who ordered what when we made the escort cards later. I also ended up printing the names for escort cards out on clear mailing labels instead of writing them all out. Since I had certain color escort cards to coordinate with a specific meal choice, this made it easy to make sure the right name got on the right escort card. It was just more organized since I didn’t have to sift through the entire guest list spreadsheet. It’s easier to do this as RSVPs come in.

Search & Communication
Of course, I also used my Gmail account for lots of wedding communication with vendors, family, our wedding party, etc. I planned out the entire ceremony and shared it with Gerald in a Google doc (this helped because we didn’t see each other much during the week because we lived an hour apart). I also have to thank Google search for helping me find this cheap place to buy paper, Paper & More. I got the cardstock for the invitations (a shiny kind) and ceremony programs there. I also printed the escort cards on the cardstock too.

Cardstock from Paper & More

Other Great Sites
Save-On-Crafts – I used this site to buy the floating candles and vase fillers for my centerpieces, my cake stand (which was actually a cheap cardboard stand but looked fine once I put some ribbon around the edges and when it had the cake/cupcakes on it), the aisle runner (french lace), & maybe more things that I forgot about.

The cake/cupcakes on the stand

Our centerpieces

The Knot Wedding Shop – Bought gifts for my bridesmaids, bridesmaid jewelry, parasols, groom gift, some groomsmen gifts, champagne flutes, bubbles & some other stuff here. They always have sales, so wait for them!

Th parasols from Wedding Channel/The Knot Store

The parasols made great photo props & gave shade

 Beau-Coup – This was a great site too. I bought the tags for my wedding favors here.

Wedding favors

Rent the Runway – You have to have a free membership to rent here, but I rented my rehearsal dress from here. It was a Yumi Kim design. You have it delivered a couple days before and if it’s your first time renting from that designer you can have them send you two sizes, which is great because one size definitely fit me better than the other. Then you just drop the dress in the mail the next day to send it back. I think I also had a $20 referral coupon, so I rented this dress for $20! You can’t see the whole dress in the picture below, but you get an idea. I would definitely rent from RTR again.

My veil was from an Etsy seller and I bought A LOT from Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. Hopefully these sites and some of these tips help some other brides planning their weddings out there!

If you know of any other good sites to shop at for wedding stuff, let me know in the comments (I’ll probably be helping to plan other weddings in the future ;-)).

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Wedding Teasers

This is my first post as a married woman! I can’t believe Gerald and I have been married for two weeks (tomorrow). The whole day went by so fast and it felt surreal to suddenly be married after all that. The weather was perfect–sunny and warm, though a little humid. We were even right on schedule (according to the very detailed wedding day schedule I created), though the ceremony did start a little late because there weren’t a lot of guests there yet. But then we got in the car to head to our reception site and the clock said 4:30pm and I thought the time was wrong. According to my schedule we were supposed to leave by 5:15 so that was a nice surprise. :)

I don’t have all my pictures back yet, but the wonderful Megan Chan of Megan Chan Photography posted some teasers from the day to share. Gerald and I were so impressed with Megan. She spent well over 12 overs photographing our wedding and she did a fantastic job. Megan was great to work with (though it helped with our comfort level that we’d done our engagement session with her before) and went above and beyond what was expected of her. We’re really pleased with the pictures so far and can’t wait to see the rest! So enjoy these few photos. You can find more on her blog.

 

My shoes & bouquet

 

Our rings - I love this one!

 

Bridesmaids & me before the ceremony

 

Gerald & me

 

The entire wedding party

 This next series of photos is by our friend, Tony Chan, who (sort of) was a second shooter for Megan. He did a fantastic job too!

Ceremony program

 

Groom & groomsmen

 

Caught this during our "first look" photos

 

My dad walking me down the aisle

 

Making our church exit!

 

Our amazing cake & cupcakes

 

You can view more of Tony’s teasers here.

We can’t wait to see the rest of our wedding photos and relive the day. But for now we’re just enjoying life as newlyweds. :)

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Goodbye, Single Life!

This is going to be a quick entry, because I’m getting married TOMORROW!! I still can’t really believe that the wedding’s tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like it to me. Gerald and I were talking and we think it’s because we’re still in the planning/preparing mode. So especially for someone like me who loves to plan, it’s almost like just getting ready for another event. After tonight though when everything’s done and I have nothing left to plan or prepare, I think it will hit me more. I’m really excited about everything and just to see how it will all come together though!

I won’t post any pictures yet of the decorations and other shots from prep week, but my cousin Justine is amazing at decorating and all the place cards Melissa designed look great on the screen we have at the reception. :) You’ll just have to wait to either see it in person or for the pictures.

This morning started out with a great run (my last one as Christy Wong–I realized now in races I’m going to have to put my new name!). Now I have to start cooking for the bridesmaid brunch I’m hosting at my condo and then we get to go get pampered by getting mani/pedis before the rehearsal tonight.

Still, even with all the time and money that goes into this one day, I know that it’s only the beginning. Marriage is more than just the wedding day and Gerald and I are looking forward to sharing this life together.

If you have any marriage advice, feel free to share! :)

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Race Report: The Christy Triathlon

Hanging out at the park on Friday night

This past weekend, I participated in my only race of the summer: The Christy Triathlon (aka bachelorette party #2). My sister (and maid of honor) did such a great job planning it all out and keeping it a secret. The triathlon theme was a great idea too and very fitting for me. :) So you may be wondering what three events we did (because obviously they were not swimming, biking and running). Here’s this weekend’s race report!

We all met up on Friday night for some desserts and snacks. My cousin from Toronto came in and so did one of my friends from college, which was great! I didn’t see either of them at my first bachelorette party so I’m glad they made it. The Friday events weren’t part of the triathlon, but they all gave me fun things like ring pops, tattoos, stickers, glow bracelets, a little tiara, my bachelorette sash, body jewelry, leis, and bubbles. I had to wear everything.

Then we headed out to the park just to take some pictures. Of course, Lexie, our pug got to come.

Afterwards, the girls actually helped me work on putting the programs together (so they did work!!) and we tried to get to bed somewhat early because we had to leave the next morning at 5:45 AM (races start early).

To start off on Saturday, we got race bags. That was totally unexpected, but then makes total sense. They were so cute too! There were Luna bars, Hello Kitty bandaids, lip gloss, and some other stuff in there including…RACE SHIRTS!!

The front has our initials on the pocket

The backs of the shirts

My shirt says “Bride” on the back in gold letters so it’s hard to see the letters in the picture. My sister designed the logo, which looks like the Chicago Triathlon logo, but there’s an Arch & the St. Louis skyline because that’s where we went! I didn’t even realize this until I read on my race packet that it said “Race to St. Louis.”

Event 1: Explore
After a 5 hour drive to St. Louis, we arrived at the City Museum downtown. This is like a giant playground for kids (and adults). We got to climb around on stuff (some of which was kind of scary) and explore the museum. Our shirts got all hot and sweaty since it’s really hot in the Midwest lately. We went down giant slides, crawled through caves, and climbed in a giant tree.

Climbing through the trees

Surfing on the giant whale fin

Event 2: Relax
We went to our hotel to cool off in the pool and to relax in the hot tub followed by dinner at the hotel (which was free!) and 3 free drinks for each of us. Good deal. :)

Event 3: Taste
We finished off the night by visiting the famous St. Louis Arch and then went to have frozen custard at Ted Drewes. I’ve been to

Yummy frozen custard

Ted Drewes before, but this time I saw they happen to have a specialty called CHRISTY! So of course I got that. It was a frozen brownie with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and caramel. So yummy but very rich so I didn’t finish it all. 

Our bachelorette party is pretty G-rated, so we ended up going back to the hotel and playing Bananagrams and watching Legally Blonde, which happened to be on TV. Then Sunday, we had breakfast at the hotel, packed up, and headed home.

It was a great, relaxing weekend. I enjoyed getting to spend time with the girls (two of which I don’t see very often!) and just not really thinking as much about wedding stuff. Now we’re 10 days away, so it’s crunch time on some of these things–but first I have to finish this last week of work.

I’m getting excited for the big day to finally arrive. I can’t believe it’s here already, actually. It seems like just yesterday when Gerald and I got engaged and started planning. But I’m also ready for all the wedding planning to be over so I can enjoy the marriage that follows. :)

The Arch!

All the girls

 

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Turning the Page

After finishing the Soldier Field 10 Miler in 1:28:46!

I’ve been MIA on the blog lately because life is picking up speed again. I’m excited to turn the page on my calendar to reveal a new month–July. Six months ago I wished July would come sooner, but now I can’t believe that I can say, “I’m getting married this month.” A few months ago I felt like I had a lot of time to prepare for the wedding, but now I’m starting to wonder how I’ll get all these details done (and finish unpacking and settling in to my new condo and read our required pre-marital counseling books) when my weekends are already filling up with two bachelorette parties, birthdays, and fellowship times.

A lot has happened since I last posted over a month ago. My last post was about my goals for the Soldier Field 10 Miler, which I’m happy to say that I reached all those goals and beat my time goal by a couple minutes. :) So to help catch you up, I’ll share a few glimpses of my June.

Bridal Showers

 My first shower was hosted by my aunt, two women from church, and my bridesmaids (though only two of them could make it). I loved the Christy’s Coffeehouse theme because I do love my toffee nut lattes.

 

Toffee nut lattes are one of my favorite drinks

Tiffany, me, and Melissa (my bridesmaids & Mel's my sister too)

 A couple weeks after this first shower, the wonderful PR team at Tyndale hosted another bridal shower for me at work.

Me with members of Tyndale's PR team

 

My mom came too!

More recently, I packed up my little apartment and moved to the condo Gerald and I will be living in for the next year. Not only am I moving to a new location, but after living on my own for the past year, I know it’s going to be an adjustment for me to learn how to live with someone else again–much less, a guy. I’m so used to doing things on my own timeline, in my own way, and having things put just where I want them. Even having Gerald over has reminded me that life is not going to be like that a

So many boxes for such little stuff

month from now! I’m going to have to be a little more flexible, show a little more grace, and remind myself that things don’t always have to be done my way (there can be better ways to do things!). That’s just another thing I have to learn as I move into this next phase of life.

I’m at a very transitory time in my life. As we were moving my stuff into the new condo, Gerald kept saying how we shouldn’t get a lot more stuff because we’re only going to have to move it again soon anyway. I like consistency. I like being settled down. I’m looking forward to the day when we own our own home and can really dig our “roots” deep into it. I hate the idea of having to look for a new place to live in 9 months when I just moved in. I hate packing and I know that moving is going to be a bigger ordeal in the future now that we’ll have to move two people with a whole lot more stuff.

But I’m not going to worry about that now. For now, I’m finishing wedding preparations, preparing to jump into this thing called marriage, and to learn how to do life together with Gerald. I know that God will continue to guide us to live wherever He wants us to live and to do whatever He calls us to do.

So with July 1 now on the calendar, that’s 29 days until the wedding. I’m picking up my gown and it’s all starting to become more real. These next few weeks are going to fly by. It’s hard to believe that my life is going to be completely different 29 days from now. AND I’m no longer going to be a Wong. :( That’s a strange thought, but exciting at the same time. We’ll see if I get any more posts in before the wedding, but I’m looking forward to posting about my journey into young married life and beyond.

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Engagement Pics!

Gerald and I took engagement photos in Historic Long Grove a couple weeks ago and we just got the pictures back from our photographer, Megan Chan. So for your viewing pleasure, I’ll share some of them with you. We got nearly 170 pictures back (so I’m obviously not posting them all) and we took way more than that (she only sent us the good ones after she edited them).

It was a little awkward at the beginning for us, but engagement photos with your wedding photographer are a great way for you to get comfortable with him/her before the wedding day.

We have a bunch more pictures (including more with the pug :)), but I’m pretty happy with them. Of course there are pictures where I don’t think I look good and others where Gerald doesn’t think he looks good, so now we have the task of finding ones we both like and compromising on ones that one likes but the other doesn’t like as much. But these will be perfect for our slideshow and for the guestbook my cousin was making for us (and to put around the church on the wedding day).

Only 116 days to go!

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DIY Wedding Decorations

CMJ, the name my sister (Melissa) and cousin (Justine) and I call ourselves, was reunited this week since Justine visited to help with some wedding prep. I’m not the most creative or artistic, so I’m sooo glad I have her and Melissa to help with wedding decorations and other stuff. Melissa’s going to be designing our invitations, the program, and the escort cards based off of a design I found that I liked. Since I was sick on Monday and then back to work the rest of the week, M and J were extremely helpful in going out to buy supplies and starting to put together various wedding projects I gave them. Tiffany, another bridesmaid, came over with M and J last night and they started putting more things together.

I thought I’d showcase some of what they’ve been doing for anyone else who wants some do-it-yourself wedding ideas (CMJ colors are part of the wedding color scheme).

Make Your Own Pew Decorations: Justine became a ribbon and bow expert when she helped make decorations for her friend’s wedding. She’s now using those skills to create pew decorations for my wedding too. We got black and white ribbon from Hobby Lobby, some sheer white ribbon and ribbon wire to make these bows. If you want instructions on how to make the bows, let me know and I can have Justine send me instructions to post up. I didn’t actually do any of them myself, but it’s fairly easy. Then they bought some silk flowers from Michael’s and used a hot glue gun to glue them to the ribbons. These will be hung on the pews in the church and then connected using white tulle.

We measured 10 feet of ribbon for each bow.

Tiffany folding the ribbon. She's crafty too!

 

These are the types of flowers we used.

 

Justine practically made all the bows.

Finished product!

One of each CMJ color

For the getaway…I decided to make dowel rods with purple, blue and pink ribbon attached to them for the wedding party to wave as Gerald and I exit the church to head into the limo for the reception. The rest of our guests will have bubbles, which we ordered from The Knot store. I think this will make for some really nice pictures.

These are pretty easy to make. Melissa and Tiffany did all eight of them in about 15 minutes. You just cut the ribbon and we used a hot glue gun to glue the ribbon to the dowel rods.

They glued the ribbons like this.

The finished product!

Very Easter color-ish, but will look nice with the black dresses & tuxes.

Guestbook: I don’t have pictures of it, but Justine was helping me to create our guestbook, which is basically a scrapbook. I bought the scrapbook from Target and got lots of prints of Gerald and me printed from Shutterfly. Melissa and Justine bought some nice paper and are using it and the ribbons to decorate the pages of the scrapbook. We’re going to have all the pages lying out on a table before the ceremony and during the reception so people can sign it. I’m saving some room in it to add some of our engagement pictures too because we’re taking those this weekend. :)

My apartment's becoming wedding central

So lots of wedding stuff got done and is underway this week. They also bought a card box and are decorating that with ribbon and tied ribbon to a white wicker flower basket for the flower girl (it’s really an Easter basket). We’ll just have to get some white satin lining to glue in the basket too. It’s exciting though to see all these things start to come together. It makes the wedding more real in a way. I’m looking forward to what the next few months have in store!

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The Stress of The Dress

I haven’t updated in a while, but that’s because I’ve been busy starting out in the wedding planning process (and I didn’t really have any good ideas for updates lately). Since my upcoming wedding will be taking up most of my time these next six months (190 days to be exact), much of this blog content will be wedding related–beginning with this post.

Wtoo Zora

I’m currently in a crunch to find THE dress. Several bridal store consultants (as well as what I’ve read online) say it can take 4-6 months to order a gown, so I really need to find one I love soon if I want to get it in time for my July wedding. Needless to say, this is our big priority right now and it’s not an easy task.

There are a few factors that make it a little more difficult (for me):

  • My Size: I’m very petite (around 5′ tall) and most gowns I try on (okay, more like all of them) are way too big on me. It’s hard to find something that looks good on a small frame. The websites and magazines all say A-line or sheath for petite brides. I’d agree, but when I try on gowns, I think I like the sheath silhouette much better. I’m even starting to go for trumpet gowns now when I didn’t think I’d like that style (as long as it’s not really poofy at the bottom).
  • My specifications: As I mentioned, I don’t want a really ball gown-y dress. I never really liked that style as much. I also am looking for v-neck or halter necklines. There don’t seem to be as many gowns out there like that. Most are shoulder-less. Those look fine on me too, but they’re not as flattering. The v-necks seem to elongate my body more, which is good for someone short like me. I didn’t really like lace much before, but after trying on a lace gown, I’m mostly looking at all-lace gowns now. Since I’m petite, I also want a shorter train (like a sweep train). I don’t want the dress to overwhelm me (and I don’t really want to have to pay to bustle it…haha).
  • Budget – Of course this should be a factor. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding gown that I’ll only wear once, but since we started shopping for gowns, we realized we may have to increase the budget a little bit to get something that I really love and not something that I’m just settling for because it’s cheaper.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have that moment–the one where you just KNOW that this is your gown. I’m not sure if there will be tears. So far there haven’t really been any from me, my mom, or my sister, but I guess you never know. Maybe that just means we haven’t found it yet.

These are the designers I’ve been looking at: Allure, Essense of Australia, WtooAllure Couture Style C153

I’m looking forward to my next few bridal gown appointments because I’ll get to try some of these designers on, but I’m also starting to get tired of looking. So if anyone has any gown shopping ideas for me, let me know!

Also, my fiancé wants to wear a white tux, which would work with our black and white color scheme. I’m trying to figure out how a white vest, white tie, white jacket ensemble would look. I’ve seen some pictures of a white tie with a white vest and it looks like the vest should have some sort of pattern on it to make it stand out. Anyone have pictures of this or comments?

AND…today happens to be a special day because it’s Gerald’s 25th birthday!!

 

 

So happy birthday!! :) This is the man I’m going to marry in 190 days!

If anyone has good money-saving wedding tips, I’m open to hearing them!

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The Proposal

On December 8, 2004 (my 20th birthday), this is what I wrote in my journal:

So I’ve thought about it and in 10 years I’ll be 30…wow. A lot can change in your life during 10 years. I feel like the changes between 20 and 30 are the most drastic ones too.

Here’s my plan: I find a guy this year and we date for 2 years then get engaged. By that time, I’ll have graduated from school and been out for about a year. Then I get married at least before I’m 25. Or by the time I’m 25. Then I have my first child before I’m 30.

I wrote all this back when I was a sophomore in college who never had a boyfriend (I never dated until after college…though there were a couple opportunities). So even as I wrote those words, it all seemed unimaginable because I wasn’t sure if and how any of that would happen.

Already, I didn’t meet that goal of getting married by the time I’m 25, but I’m not going to be too far off from that goal. It’s like God continuing to show me that I need to trust Him with timing and to let things go according to His plans, not my own.

We're engaged!!

On December 23, 2010, Gerald asked me to be his wife! These past few weeks have also shown me how just as I need to trust God with His plans, I need to trust Gerald too. I knew the proposal was coming soon. Gerald told me the ring was my birthday and Christmas gift, so I was anxiously expecting it. It was sooo hard to not be able to tell anyone about our engagement because it wasn’t official and I really wanted to start planning, but felt like I couldn’t do that yet (I’m such a planner anyway).

Gerald knows that about me, so he gave me a few days to keep open because we were going to go on special dates so I wouldn’t know exactly when he’d propose. It could’ve been any one of those days. For the first of these dates, we went to see Wicked then ate at Flat Top Grill and then went to the mall to look at rings. I was a little disappointed because I knew he still didn’t have the ring yet then. It was really hard to trust that he would find one because I felt like he was running out of time. I have a really small ring size (4) and some jewelers said it takes 2-6 weeks to custom make the ring to my size if they’re not able to resize it. Gerald and I already talked about getting married in July 2011 before we even got engaged, so I told him that he could always get a temporary ring until the real one came in.

So our next date was Dec. 23 and the night before Gerald told me not to get my expectations up too high. So I was still kind of disappointed because I’d have to wait longer and I thought he either still hadn’t found the right ring or was waiting for it to be sized and to come in. Our plan was to meet up at my parents’ house and then go downtown.

When we met up late in the afternoon, Gerald told me that he had a gift for me that day because he didn’t want me to be too disappointed. I asked if it was for my birthday and Christmas and he said it was “part of it.” So I didn’t really suspect anything.

Right when we left the house, he told me to close my eyes because he was going to take me somewhere before we went to catch the train to Chicago. I did it, and I still didn’t really think anything of it. I was actually a little grumpy in the car because I was trying to drink the coffee he bought me with my eyes closed and ended up spilling a little bit of it on myself. I was also too busy thinking about if we were going to make it to the train on time (curse that planning mind of mine sometimes). I needed to trust Gerald on this one!

When we finally got to our destination, Gerald led me through the snow up to a gazebo. He told me to open my eyes and to look at him but not look around. I had no idea where I was, but then he handed me three roses, one for every year we’d been together so far. I saw a Starbucks cup sitting on the ground and asked if that was my coffee, but he was like, “Don’t worry about that right now.” Obviously I still didn’t know what was going on at this point.

Getting down on one knee - pic from Tiffany's cell phone

Then he started to read a poem that he wrote for me. Even as he started reading it, I STILL had no idea he was proposing even though the poem started out talking about diamonds! Gerald read poems to me before on dating anniversaries, so I didn’t think it was out of the ordinary until he said “of course following this poem I must ask you the question.” FINALLY I started cluing in as to what was going on. So of course, I start tearing up as he’s reading the rest of the poem.

When he’s done, Melissa, my sister, comes out with our pug, Lexie. Gerald reaches down to take a ring off Lexie’s collar, but it’s this big plastic heart-shaped ring. I’m like, “What is that?” It was slightly disappointing, but then Gerald reached down and picked up the Starbucks cup and said something about how every cup of Starbucks has something special inside (I love Starbucks, so it’s fitting for me). Then he pulled out the ring box and opened it revealing a

The rock. It's just what I wanted!

beautiful engagement ring. :) And he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!

Then our friends Pearson and Tiffany came out from the bushes and kept taking more pictures. Only after we’d taken some pictures the Christmas lights in the gazebo finally came on. I couldn’t believe Gerald had actually found a ring (since he hadn’t had one only 5 days earlier) and that we just got engaged. It still feels a little surreal. :) This just goes to show me that I should’ve trusted that Gerald had everything under control–because he did. It’s something I have to continue to work on as we go into our marriage. The same goes for trusting God with the timing of all those significant events in my life.

We missed our train, but we caught the next one downtown and went to eat at Grand Luxe Cafe. Then we came back to my parents’ house and celebrated with my family (at like 11:45 pm). It was a long, but great night. Gerald and I and our families are very excited about our future marriage. One of our pastors even announced it to the whole church at our Christmas Eve service the next day!

And now begins the fun wedding planning part. So if you have any great creative ideas, let me know!

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