So, as promised, I am here to spill the details of Brett and I's engagement. We even saved the story from our family, as it is long, and they read the blog any way. Needless to say, they know we are getting married, but they don't know the "proposal story".
First off, I am not a sappy romantic - at all. Poor Brett, he has to fear for his life whenever he does something sweet for me, afraid I will laugh at him and think he is cheesy (though Brett, I do recall a "phoenix rising from the ashes" moment in one of your papers for class - hehehehe). What I have discovered is that I like "romance lite". I don't fault anyone who likes the stuff, but to me, well, it doesn't really feel authentic or genuine unless done very tastefully. I think I may just be a snob or something....
Brett and I have been together for six and a half years, so this has been, I guess, a long time coming. Many people really thought we were never going to get married. You see, the thing is, both Brett and I are children of divorce. We've seen infidelity, heartbreak, and we both have baggage - some emotional, some flesh and blood, but baggage nonetheless. We didn't want to rush into anything and we wanted to be sure, well, as sure as you can be, before we made a lifelong commitment (and that is how we both feel about it, we don't believe in divorce in most instances [abuse and mistreatment are different stories]) to one another. We've been through a lot together - good and bad - and we have grown from it - both as individuals and as a couple, and that is something special.
There is also an age difference between us - 5 1/2 years - that has never bothered me, but it does mean that I was very young (18) when Brett and I got together, this was another reason to take it slow. And then there was Brett's education, he receives financial aid that he wouldn't have received if he and I were married as my meager income pushes him over the limit to receive aid. But we also don't have enough income (not even close) to pay for it out of pocket, so we wanted to wait until at least his last year as an undergraduate - which is this year.
The initial intent of our getting married though, was, well, a little clinical if I am being brutally honest, we were tired of calling each other "boyfriend and girlfriend", and we wanted to be able to provide health insurance to one another, and also be able to make medical decisions and such.
But anyway, the closer the time got to when marriage was an actual possibility, we began to make loose "plans" for our wedding based on what we wanted and what we could afford. We decided a courthouse wedding would be just fine - no guests, just a witness, we could get new outfits or just wear each other's favorite, and if we could afford it, we'd spend a night in a hotel. Sounds pretty simple, eh? Well, then Brett actually had to ask me, which as you can see from my romance admittance above, this wasn't an easy task. Unknowingly, I thwarted a couple of attempts. :-(
Then last Wednesday, I took an impromptu day of vacation from work - things had been really crazy around our neck of the woods the past few weeks and some things around the house got neglected, and I just needed a break. I had first planned on going on a "book run" to the library - as I was getting plans in place to catch the bus, Brett decided he wanted to come with me. And this was weird, he never wants to go to the library with me. Then I began to look at the weather, it was cloudy, very windy, and it looked like it could rain at any moment, so I nixed the library plan.
So Brett decided we should go to a small, gorgeous little park right by our apartment. He wanted me to wear comfy shoes and bring an extra jacket. I told him we didn't have to go anywhere, but he insisted. I thought he was being weird because I admitted awhile back that I didn't like having to make our plans all the time (men!). He tells me to bring our camera so I can try to get some pictures of the squirrels, I love the squirrels, especially the obese ones on MU campus and in that park (they get way too much people food, but they sure are cute all pudgy like that). Then we headed to the park. I began to head off to do our usual "laps" to see the growth of some of our favorite plants, but Brett wanted to sit on a bench to "look at the squirrels". It was a strange day in that there usually aren't very many people in that park and that day there were.
We sat on a bench and not even five minutes later, he wanted to move. Then we went to the herb garden to see what was growing (not much yet). And he wanted to sit at yet another bench. I was starting to wonder what was going on as he was acting weird and looked really nervous (I must really be stupid, looking back I should have seen it, but I am oblivious to these things). He put his arm around me and whispered in my ear "Will you be my wife?" I looked at him and said "Are you serious?" :-) Yes, that was my initial response, I didn't know if he would ever ask. Of course I said yes after that and he looked so relieved. Of course, the camera and all that was a guise, and the coat and comfy shoes were so we could go out afterward and celebrate.
I was so happy, but proud that I held myself strong and didn't cry until we got home. I really didn't expect to be as excited as I was. Like I said earlier, we didn't think we'd be super excited about getting married beyond the new nomenclature system and the benefits. It turns out that had very little to do with it.
After that, we hopped on a bus and went downtown. There we got my "engagement ring" (more on that below) and went out to eat at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. We even had the place all to ourselves. It was seriously a perfect evening. Before I go on to how our wedding plans have changed, I will show you my "engagement ring".
Meet Babo. He is an Ugly Doll - obviously not a ring. But I am a strange person so bear with me, there is a story as to "why Babo".
First off, I told Brett a long time ago that I didn't want an engagement ring. I actually despise jewelry. I have never worn a piece of jewelry regularly, and I do not like stones (especially not diamonds) and I do not like gold, not even white gold really. And when we discussed styles, we decided we wanted simple bands. I didn't want to have two bands, that would look silly. Besides, we are having a hard enough time finding rings that suit us anyway. For the wedding rings we have decided on getting something simple and unique - we are going for some handmade rings from Etsy.
So anyway, why Babo? For our first Valentine's Day together (and coincidentally the only one we celebrated), Brett got me a stuffed dog called Dusty. I really love stuffed animals, especially novel, strange ones, and Dusty looking like a big ball of matted fur fit the bill perfectly. I slept with Dusty until I got tired of inhaling his hair, and put it away for awhile. In the past few months that things have been rough, I've gotten him back down and slept with him again, fur and all. When Brett and I got engaged, we thought it would be most fitting, since I didn't want a ring, to get a replacement for Dusty to symbolize the new chapter in our life (cheesy I know, but not too much for me).
We went downtown to a local store called The Butterfly Tattoo to look at Ugly Dolls. I really like these things, they are really cute. So anyway, I spotted Babo and picked him up to read his little "bio". Turns out, not only was Babo the one I loved immediately, he was also the Ugly Doll of love, and he also happens to have a strong fondness for cookies - like someone I know. One Brett whom I've found asleep in bed with a half eaten Newman O on his chest. We knew he was the perfect one then.
I will admit, when we got home and Brett watched me put Dusty away and "relinquish his space" to Babo, that is when I cried.
I love Babo, he has a Buddha belly that is perfect for rubbing, and no more fur to inhale while I sleep (well aside from cat hair).
Here are some pictures of Babo and me. Enjoy, I don't submit to the camera very often.
Me giving Babo a nice kiss.
Babo returning the favor. :-)
Look at those buck teeth, I love it.
Me hiding behind Babo.
Check out that belly!
Onto the wedding plans. When we got home from our engagement celebration (the celebratory bottle of champagne still sits on our bookshelf, neither of us drink, so I'm not sure why we even got it), we were really excited, and surprisingly, we wanted to tell people. Sorry Dad, but the first person I told was my very best lady friend, Ms. Selina, who also happens to be the wonderful author of Vegans Rock!!! After that we made the rounds calling our family, all of whom were excited and would respect our wishes to have a private ceremony. Brett even called my dad so he could be the one to share the news (he felt it appropriate since he didn't ask Dad's "permission", I love how he put it, "I would have asked even if I didn't have permission" - that is my rebel), and he and my step-mom Stacey made plans to come down over this past weekend to celebrate.
When they came down over the weekend, they came with the offer of helping us make our wedding special. They wanted us to know that we had options and that we weren't limited by what we could afford. Some of their suggestions sounded wonderful, but they were just too much for me, I am a simple and humble girl, others sounded nice, but were marred by fear (fear of planes, fear of water). And I also found out that Brett secretly wanted to see me in a nice dress, that he wanted to wear a tux, and that he wanted something more special that a courthouse because he loves me more than that makes him feel. I didn't really realize until then that a courthouse didn't seem appropriate any more either. We are truly happy to get married, to be "officially together", to be able to celebrate our relationship with our friends and family, and to be able to start our lives together - the insurance and change in titles is only a perk now, a mild one at that, not the reason.
After a lot of thought, Brett asked his best friend Neil if he would "officiate" our wedding, as he is ordained and has not only been one of our biggest supporters, but has always wanted to marry his best friend and I. He was so stoked, but a little concerned about his ability to officiate Missouri weddings. He wanted to look into it. After Brett got off the phone with him, he admitted to me that he would like Neil there as a witness if he can't perform the ceremony. I had already asked Selina to be my "honorary Maid of Honor", and now that we had the help of my parents, we could actually make it a reality.
So we have a rough idea of what we want now, a late spring wedding, here in a place called Peace Park, with Selina and Neil looking on (or Neil "officiating"), and then have a nice dinner as a group. Brett and I will then spend as many nights as we can get away with in this gorgeous "solarium" hotel room (a solarium is apparently a sunlit patio type thing) and an in room hot tub. We want Selina and Neil to stay an extra day or so that way we can pal around Columbia, with Selina in Indiana and Neil in Kansas, our visits are few and far between.
But I didn't realize that there was planning involved in even a small wedding. Brett and I wanted to get married before the end of June, and even with our simple plans, that is a rush. Thankfully, I have found a dress, we have chosen the location, the Maid of Honor has said yes, and that is really about all right now. Apparently there are travel arrangements, techinical things like marriage licenses and hiring somebody to perform the ceremony if Neil can't, our accommodations, where are we having dinner, what should Brett wear, do I really have to carry flowers?, decisions over hair, presents for the guests (thankfully there are only two and their significant others!), and so much more. Then the idea of a cake was brought up to me - are we going to have one? I never thought about that. What about a veil? Hell no. What about the "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue"? Do I really have to do all that? And now I am flippin' concerned about the weather!
I never thought I would be someone planning a wedding, or enjoying planning a wedding. I am so thankful that we get to keep it small and private, but am much happier with it being special rather than done in a courthouse, I am thankful for the help of my parents, especially with the "girlie" things, I don't know anything about any of this stuff. And Selina, Jason, Neil, and his partner (I feel so bad I don't know her name, he has been in Kansas for awhile), you guys seriously rock and I can't wait to see you all!
Well, let the planning begin I suppose. We already have a pair of photographers in Selina and Jason, so we'll keep you up to speed on our planning and post pictures of the ceremony.
'Til next time.