Blushing Belle: Being Engaged Young and Far Away

Hi, I'm Lexx.

That's me!

This is my FIANCE, Connor.

Wow, it's still super weird calling him that. But ain't he cute?

Connor and I were both screenwriting students at Drexel University. In April 2015, we both volunteered to participate in Accepted Students Day(s)—I was in a glorified "line leader" role, while Connor answered questions on the Co Op panel. After the first day of volunteering, all of the volunteers retired to 027 for free lunch. I overheard Connor speaking to Professor Kaufhold about his senior project, Kaiju. Kaufhold mentioned Ultraman in the conversation, and I--a professional eavesdropper--picked up the familiar tidbit and inserted myself into the conversation. Connor and I chatted for a while before he had to leave for a Quidditch match. I gave him my card and never heard from him again...for a whole ten days. I had seen him the next week at the second Accepted Students Day. He had added my on Facebook, but nothing. However, after those ten days, Connor noticed some interesting mutual friends and through the power of the internet, the two began talking day and night. I would go to Connor's apartment at 40th and Baring, and hang out there all night until almost five in the morning. We would talk, write, and just enjoy each other’s company. I went to Los Angeles in June 2015, and we stayed in sporadic contact. I got pneumonia in late June, early July--as one does in the middle of Summer in California--and the only company I found was Connor. In the early fall of 2015, the two were FaceTiming and chatting every night. Connor supported me through a lot of difficult moments that I was going through. I loved Connor's company. We engaged in a writing challenge together in October 2015 as I searched for an apartment for us to share. I finally found one for us to move into on October 25th, 2015. Connor bought his ticket for the 24th--the same evening as the Blumhouse Halloween party that I would be attending as an intern. On Wednesday, October 20th, I managed to grow a pair and ask Connor to be my boyfriend. He joyfully accepted the proposal. I picked Connor up at the airport, still covered in latex and blood from the party, late Saturday evening and we made the little apartment a wonderful home. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving on our own, and even put up our very first Christmas tree together. The apartment memories were full of snuggles, Let's Plays, writing Pow-Wows, and home cooked dinners. It was a splendid paradise. Connor and I stayed just as connected and in love once I returned to Philadelphia to complete my education. I returned in late June for a visit, and then back again in October 2016. We recreated our first date for our anniversary on Thursday, October 20th, 2016: Nanbankan and a trip to The Sovereign--formerly Judy Garland's yacht, and now Larry Nelson's yacht, and possibly the most beautiful yacht ever--for a few rounds of Boggle and some slow dancing. After I mercilessly spanked Connor at the longest four rounds of Boggle in the man's life, we retired to the lounge to slow dance to our song, Haley Reinhart's "Can't Help Falling in Love With You"--brought to us via an incredibly well written and conceived gum commercial Connor shared with me in early October 2015. After the song concluded, Connor got down on one knee, presented me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, and asked me to marry him. I, for the first time in my entire life, couldn't find any words. I was so overcome by joy. I finally managed to say a yes before smothering Connor with kisses. The next day, we went to Disneyland to Mickey's Halloween Party. We are dorks, but we are dorks that were written for one another.

So now that you know basically all about us aside from our social security numbers, here's the nitty gritty part that actually may be helpful to you.

We are engaged at 21 and 23 years of age, we currently live on opposite coasts from one another, and our wedding date is set for October 20th, 2018. 

There's plenty to process in that previous statement. First off, most people don't even commit to a Tinder bio at 21 years old, let alone decide to spend the rest of their lives with another human being. Both Connor and I have had to deal with the following statements, and variations of the following statements:

"You're too young to get married."
"You don't even have a job yet!"
"In two years, you'll change your mind."
"Shouldn't you wait a bit longer?"
"Are you sure you're really ready?"
"Are you pregnant?"
"You two might not be right for each other."
"Where are you going to live?"
"How are you going to make this work long distance?"
"What if he finds someone else in Los Angeles/what if she finds someone in Philadelphia?"
"Why?"

There's also the classic questions anyone is asked when they get engaged, which was kind of a bitter sweet combination of frustrating and fun to answer over and over:

"When's the wedding?!"
"Are you going to have two weddings? One for each coast?"
"How did he do it?"
"Is the ring real?"
"Who's the maid of honor/best man?"
"Did he ask your dad?"
"What did your dad say?"
"Was it romantic?"
"Who's paying for the wedding?"

Listen, folks, with big news there comes three types of people:

1. The people that love and support you through any decision--whether well thought out or totally bone headed.

2. Those who will stop at nothing until they have absolutely ruined it for you, and the entire parade is rained on, or perhaps aflame.

3. The individuals that are SO supportive because they want to live vicariously through your big news, and some how some way make that big news about him/herself. 

If you can, be the first kind of person. I wanted to write this article because I have been reading a TON of articles about getting engaged and wedding planning and things of that nature, and I feel like this one was the kind that was missing. I wanted to write an article for the couples that are facing stigma or obstacles like age, location, financial concerns, or lack of support.

Being engaged is an absolute blast--I say 12 days into being engaged--and I wanted to share my joy with people. However, there were people that really weren't happy with my news, or immediately felt obligated to give me a Power Point presentation on my bad decision. People make mistakes. It happens. Connor and I both feel that we have a future together, and that's the best future for the both of us. We have plenty of time to iron out details, but right now, we just want to enjoy the fact that we made this choice together.

No matter what kind of problems, obstacles, challenges or jerks you may face, just remember that ultimately this decision is about YOU and YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Some really important advice I have received that I would like to pass along:

"Put as much time into working on your relationship as you do on wedding planning. People spend so much time picking out center pieces and invitations, but forget that the wedding lasts for a day, while your marriage lasts a life time. Make sure that you both are as honest as possible with each other, and that you can council each other in times of need."

"MAKE TIME FOR EACH OTHER! Make time now, make time when the wedding planning gets intense, and make time for each other for forever. Make sure that date nights don't become a thing of the past. Make sure you feel sexy and fun with one another. Keep the flame a fire. Your love will change. You won't love each other any less, but eventually you will just love each other, not be in love--so it's important to show that you are important to each other."

"Wedding planning advice: pick out what is important to you, and ditch what isn't. I didn't want flowers at my wedding, but because everyone has flowers, I got them. I could have saved $6,000. Seriously. Have the wedding you want, not the wedding from a magazine."

"Tell each other a secret every day, something big or small, it doesn't really matter, but it's something that you can share together."

"Set rules for the future. Make sure that you both understand where one another is on certain subjects. My husband and I discussed that divorce was never going to be an option. That was twelve years ago. There are some days when we want to murder each other, but we know that we are together forever, and it's easier for us to look at the problem and say, "Is this worth it?" and if it's not, then we forgive each other. Work through your problems, don't let them define your relationship."

"Kiss. Kiss a lot."

I really enjoyed tidbits like these. Connor and I set time aside every single day to do a little FaceTime date. Lately, we have replaced our normal Let's Play watching with wedding planning stuff. He's an absolute champ at sitting through my presentation of my Pinterest boards.

What's your piece of wedding or engagement advice? Do you have any fun engagement tales? 

Check back for the next Blushing Belle Engagement installment: The Engagement Party!

Blushing Belle: The Proposal

This is not about the romantic comedy starring the forever extremely handsome Ryan Reynolds. This is about the big question between two very special people: "Will you marry me?" or any variation you find yourself attracted to. Here's a guide for cowboys and cowgirls as to how to pop that perfect question.

Do's and Don'ts:

DO

Make it special. This is an important and romantic moment, but it's also a major life decision for the both of you.

DON'T

Don't rush into things or drag your feet. As mentioned previously, this is a big decision for the both of you to make. Are you ready for this commitment? Is this something long overdue? What have you been waiting for? What else do you need? What else does he/she need? When the moment is right, you'll know. Now, no one can really tell you when it's a good time to get engaged no matter what the old grumps or fairy tales say. Some people consider the best time to get engaged is after being with a person for a few years, settled into a nice house with a white picket fence and a career that brings in at least $65,000 a year. However, others (myself included shamelessly) sometimes it's just about how two people feel about each other. I know how lame and cliche that may sound, but at the end of the day you click with one person. You come close to that click with some people, but there's really only one person that you really, fully click with. People are like puzzles. All of the little jigsaw pieces come together to form something greater. Those pieces are memories, experiences, and other people ranging from family, friends, lovers and foes, but there's only one person, that missing piece, that brings the whole picture together to complete you.  

DO

Get some ideas. Go on Pinterest. Ask your engaged friends. Ask your prospective fiancé's friends or family. This will help generate your perfect plan. 

DON'T

Don't ask empty handed. I know this sounds incredibly "douche-y" but according to several surveys, all of the wedding sites, and many pissed off, passive-aggressive brides asking without the ring can seem like you're unprepared or didn't put as much time and effort into the moment as you could have. If you couldn't afford a ring, this may be a factor you should consider when it comes to the engagement idea. Now, let's say you can't present her with a ring. Check your other options. Can you present her with something else like a necklace, promise ring, Boot Bling, etc? 

DO

Go big or go home. This could mean many things. This could mean making the engagement an all out event, or going big on the nostalgia factor. Either way, make sure that this moment is one of the biggest for the both of you next to the actual wedding and perhaps your children. 

DON'T

People are going to be super stoked for you and shower you with praise, congratulations, advice and perhaps even actual gifts--which is never a bad thing. However, there are going to be THOSE people that are going to be less than thrilled that you've popped the question or said yes to the question. These people can vary from relatives that don't think you're ready for marriage or your jilted best friend that never got around to telling you how he feels about you. No matter who that person is, don't let him/her ruin this for you. Be happy. (Unless someone tells you, like, "Hey, your fiancé is a serial killer. Like, legit, bodies in his basement." Then consider going about this with caution.)

DO

Traditions. There are some traditions to this engagement game that still may be considered important to a lot of people. Think about these traditions and which you are willing to do. The most popular one is the groom asking the bride's father for "permission" before popping the question. Now, personally, I think this is a cute idea because it's shows that you want the girl bad enough that you'll do anything for her, even if that is tackling the obstacle of asking her scary father if it's okay to take her hand. It also kind of sets the guy up for failure though, because sometimes it's hard talking to a girl's dad. No matter what though, it's a respect thing. Ask the dad, at least 7 times out of 10 he won't kill you.

DON'T

When it comes to celebrating the engagement, don't feel pressured by family or even your own eagerness to show off and celebrate to have the engagement party the weekend after you get engaged. Can you? ABSOLUTELY, YOU DO YOU, IT'S YOUR ENGAGEMENT! However, "studies" (and I say that to legitimize my internet blog post, but I really mean from the many stories I have read on The Knot, Pinterest, Facebook and several real life lady sources) show that waiting to have the engagement party any time between 1-3 months after getting engaged is best. This allows you time to do a lot: just simply enjoy being engaged, plan out some details (because people are going to ask you A LOT of questions you don't have the answers to at the party), who's going to make the guest list for the actual wedding (kind of bad form to invite someone to an engagement party, but not the actual wedding), what kind of engagement party you want to have, set up a registry, etc. 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER:

Here are some things you may want to consider when it comes to how you want to go about getting engaged.

1. What kind of engagement do you want? (several ideas are listed below)

2. How much money do you want to spend on the engagement?

3. Who do you want to involve in the engagement? (Will it be a big family affair? Do you need an audience? Do you need the employees of your location to help you out? Do you need a confidant like the sister of the bride or best friend?)

4. What do you need in order to execute your plan? (location, supplies, reservations, flowers, etc.)

5. When do you want to get engaged? (What time of day? What time of year? What season? Day of the week? During a specific holiday?)

6. Where do you want to get engaged? (Is there a special destination or place that means something to the both of you? Are you willing to travel?)

ENGAGEMENT IDEAS:

1. Destination Engagements

Wanna go somewhere super special to pop the question? Consider these destinations.

1. Disneyland or Disney World

Disney actually has entire website dedicated to engagements and engagement planning. Buzzfeed has done articles about it. Disney is considered to be the happiest place on earth, so if you and your fiancé to be are into that kind of thing, make it a magical day at one of Disney's many parks. You can get the park involved or just do it yourself!

2. The beach

Go seaside and propose in the sand or right by the ocean. The setting is romantic and it's super simple.

3. Near a tourist trap

Places like the Hollywood sign, the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Piza, the Empire State Building, or anywhere else you kind find a fanny packer taking a photo might be a fun spectacle for an engagement.

4. The great outdoors

Find yourself on a hike, camping, or perhaps just a romantic stroll through the woods. Let the trees, wind, and woodland creatures create the setting.

5. Theme Park 

Can't afford Disney or just not into giant mice? No worries. Check out Six Flags, Dorney Park, Sea World, zoos, etc. Go out for a day of fun and splendor!

2. Activities: 

Doing activities and going on a fun date sets a perfect mood to ask the question. Consider these date ideas and activities.

1. Horseback riding
2. Dinner and a movie (perhaps make it a home cooked meal of favorites and her favorite movie, a fancy restaurant and the newest blockbuster at the theater, etc.)
3. Stargazing
4. Build a blanket fort together
5. Go to the zoo
6. A picnic
7. A scavenger hunt
8. Make paper plane love notes and throw them at each other while you wait for a pizza to be delivered
9. Create a playlist of songs that are special to both of you and slow dance and jam out
10. Go out and get or stay at home and give each other the spa treatment (massages, candles, steamy shower, etc.)
11. Actually Netflix and chill (yeah, we know what the kids are really up to when it comes to the "Netflix and chill" date, but it's actually a great date idea. Set up a que with a theme: binge a few episodes of a new TV show you both wanted to watch, horror movies, enjoy a couple of episodes of each other's favorite TV shows, RomComs, "bad" movies, etc. Cuddle up with a blanket and an array of snacks and enjoy! You get to spend time close to each other, learn a lot about one anode there AND watch some entertaining stuff.)
12. Bowling
13. Go to an arcade and earn enough tickets to get each other prizes
14. Play games! (this is fun to incorporate alcohol and stripping too if you feel so inclined. Best games: poker, Boggle, Trouble, video games, etc.)
15. Shooting range to fire off some shots
16. Go camping (hike, build a campfire, stay in a cozy trailer)
17. Find some "Free Day" stuff to do (make a list of local events or locations that have freebies)
18. Tastings (whiskey, wine, cheese, cake, etc.)
19. Make a trip to a quirky destination (Pick a funky or interesting destination whether it's the next town over or a classic tourist trap, jump in the car and make a day trip out of it. Don't forget to bring a camera!)
20. Seasonal adventure (pumpkin picking/carving, berry picking, picking out/chopping down a Christmas tree, beach day, etc.)
21. Concert
22. Karaoke
23. Explore a city (check out tourist destinations, the best shops and place to eat, etc.)
24. Shop at a flea market
25. Do DIY projects together
Check out some more ideas here, here, here, and here

3. Nostalgia:

Make it an unforgettable night with the memories that brought you both to this point in the first place.
Go to the places of or recreate your first...
-Date
-Kiss
-Dance
-Anniversary
-Specific activity (For example, the first movie I ever saw with my boyfriend was Mad Max: Fury Road and that was before we started dating)
-Homecooked meal

4. Food:

Classic. Proposing with a girl's second biggest love: FOOD.

This is a cake.(gccouture)

(palomasnest)

5. During an Event

-Sporting Event
-Movie
-Concert

Check out more ideas here, here, here, here and here

 

Blushing Belle: Honeymoon Part 1-Locations

Now that you're hitched, it's time to escape and go off on your first adventure as a married couple together! Whether you want to go somewhere rustic, get down and dirty, head to a tradition spot or enjoy a stay-cation, this list will hopefully inspire you for where you'd like to spend your honeymoon.

Traditional Honeymoon Destinations

Hawaii
(brides)

The Caribbean, Cancun, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Rio
(edgertonstravel)
You can't really go wrong on a tropical island. There's always spending long hours on the beach, staring at crystal blue ocean, enjoying fruity cocktails and booming night life.

Europe
(heyprettything)
Explore Europe's cities of romance and culture!

Southern Inspired Honeymoon Destinations

Savannah, Georgia
(hamilton-turnerinn)

New Orleans, Louisiana
(travelersjoy)

Wrightsville Beach, NC
(southerngirltravel)

Red River Gorge, KY
(kylandsales)

Charleston, SC
(theknot)

Fredericksburg, TX
(baronscreekside)

Virginia Beach, VA
(breakersresort)

Wilmington, NC
(resortsandlodges)

Fairhope, AL
(vacationidea)

Gatlinburg, TN
(pinterest)

Asheville, NC
(thefarmcabins)

Nashville, TN
(studioweb)

Louisville, KY
(jaclynjourney)

"Outside of the Box" Honeymoon Destinations/Ideas

The Comfort of Your Own New Home
(axka)
Spend your honeymoon decorating, consummating and enjoying your new living space together! Make the house a home. 

A Treehouse
(treehousepoint)

Camping
(travelersjoy)

Staycation
(perfectweddingguide)

Cross Country Road Trip
(tahoeunveiled)

Helpful Links:

50 Best Places to Honeymoon in 2015
5 Unconventional Honeymoon Ideas
24 Honeymoon Destinations You've Never Thought Of
15 Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA
25 Best Small Town Honeymoon Destinations in the US
Find Your Perfect Honeymoon Destination from Southern Living
55 Honeymoon Destinations You'll Remember for a Lifetime
The Honey List
5 Southern US Honeymoon Destinations

 

 

Bushing Belle: Groom's Guide to the Southern Gentleman

Here are some quick tips, tricks, traditions and more to get you cowboys to your casanova best for your big day.

Style

Bowties 
(deepsouthmag)
Bowties have been a southern groom tradition for a long time, and quite frankly it will never go out of style. Southern weddings traditionally are more colorful and full of flare, so your bowtie choice can speak more to your personality. Be sure to coordinate your bowtie with your grooms party and perhaps the wedding's color scheme as well. 

The Something Tradition
Old, New, Borrowed and Blue. This one isn't just for the ladies. Something old could be anything from a pair of cufflinks that have been passed down from generation to generation, or an incredibly dusty suit jacket you stumbled upon at the local Goodwill that just fits you perfectly. Something new is yes anything that you recently purchase for your big day, but it should still be able to tie in with the rest of your ensemble. Borrowed definitely should have some family or friend significance. Something blue may be a bit more difficult considering that it may contradict with your color scheme, but check out this article 6 Ways Grooms Can Add Something Blue for some tips!

Add some Flare

Colorful and flashy socks, bowties, ties, or kerchiefs are perfect ways to add subtle flare to any ensemble.
(brit)

Khaki, light blue, pink, these are all shirt colors that offer a bit of pizzazz as opposed to the classic white undershirt. If you do go white, make sure it is a BRIGHT WHITE, or else the shirt may seem dingy in photos.
(southernbrideandgroom)

Shoes, keep it classy and comfortable but you can go with cowboy boots or tasseled loafers to add some style to your outfit.
(pintrest)

Groom's Cake

The Groom's Cake is a southern tradition that has recently become quite popular for the modern wedding. A Groom's Cake is a cake baked (or commissioned/designed) by the bride for the groom based off of his interests, likes and hobbies.
(themescakesbytracy)
(richmondcakes)

Monograms

If you can brand it, stitch on it, or write on it--monogram it. Monograms are an important tradition because it unifies the event as your own. Monogram your breast pocket kerchief, the back of your tie, even your socks! Make sure to sign your special day.
(pinterest) 

 

 

 

Blushing Belle: Wise Words for Brides

Some advice passed down from generation to generation, heart to heart, and internet post to canvas painting on sale at Marshall's...
(contemporarybride)

On buying the dress:
"When getting a designer gown, start selections and alteration about five to eight months in advance so that the price tag matches it worth! Also, it may take some time to make and get to the store on time."

"Retail gowns will arrive at a shop faster and aren't normally as particular/fussy with alterations. More often than not, you can try these dresses on and feel their fit accordingly. This process should go down maybe two or three months previous to the big day."

"A hand me down gown you'll know if you're wearing well before. However, if you're wearing Mom's, Grandmom's, Sister's, next door neighbor's, make sure that it fits you--not only physically, but emotionally and the desired effect you wanted to pull off on your big day."

"When it comes to the fit of a gown, every bride is different. A gown should make you feel like a beautiful princess, but a comfortable, beautiful princess. Make sure your dress fits your body for you."

"Price: always keep a budget and options in mind. Sometimes one dress may seem too good to be true, but at least you know what your taste is. Keep a variety available."

(contemporarybride)

Bridesmaids:
"The bridal party dresses, accessories as well as characters are 100% YOUR choice (the bride.) Their colors, styles what have you, are YOUR choice--not Mom, Dad, Aunt Helen, etc."

"Keep our bridal party as large or as small as you feel comfortable with."

"The Maid of Honor is an important position and you only get one pick. Don't consider it a life or death decision because you'll drive yourself bonkers over it and make it about these ladies when this day should be about you. Suggestion: have more than one sister that you can't choose among? Pick a best pal and put the sisters in the bridal party! Or title them ALL maids of honor. Who's gonna call you on it?"

(thenaturalweddingcompany)

On wedding planning:
"Pinterest in your friend."

"Plan all of your versions of your wedding and then combine your favorite elements."

"Have some perspective help, but don't lose your own vision."

"Do a little each day."

"Keep a few TO DO lists."

"Get excited."

(brides)

Be careful of hiccups!

Makeup Mistakes

Top 50 Mistakes Brides Always Make

Tidbits:

"Never go to bed mad, or your marriage will be very sad. Your sex will be better, your heart unfettered, and you'll both be happy and glad."

"Alway assume he's trying to help, not insinuating or accusing. Save the aggravation for a real fight."

"There is more than one way to do it." -Tim Toady

"Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy."

"What counts in making a happy marriage is not how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility." -Leo Tolstoy

"If you fight, fight naked."

"Kiss before bed and goodbye."

"Don't fight when you're angry."

"The wedding is not a be all end all--this is an event about love and celebration. Let it happen. Enjoy yourself, this is the first day of the rest of your life."

Your Welcome

(bridenewwoman)