Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Story

I realize it has been a few weeks since my last post, but I've had pressing matters at hand--you know, work, wedding planning, finishing the current book in the Game of Thrones series...really important stuff.

Now that we all know the background story, let's get to The Story. I've delivered many versions of this story since it happened. The full version, the shortened version, the two sentences version, and the non-verbal version (this one is the easiest, I just point to my ring and let the bling speak for itself). Lucky you, you're going to get the full, unedited, directors cut! Let's get to it.

I had been eagerly anticipating a proposal from Matt for some time. And by some time, I mean since the day we met. It wasn't until I got my new job as a 4-H agent in Loudoun County that I felt ready to be engaged. For some time I had been floating around from job to job, never fully happy and never fully sure of what I wanted to do with my life. Landing the 4-H position finally made me feel like I had found the right career path. I gave Matt the signal that I was ready to get started on the rest of our lives together (if you want to know what the signal looked like, take a look at Daniel Stern's character from Rookie of the Year), and the real waiting began.

We began idly browsing rings in October. Towards the end of the month, I noticed that Matt started doing some ring research on his own. And by saying that I noticed, I mean that Matt told me. This kid cannot keep a secret.

Matt also told me he was planning a trip to NYC for us in December. I was thrilled of course, because I always wanted to go to NYC at Christmastime. I immediately assumed that it would all go down in December. In the middle of November we went home one weekend to visit my parents and celebrate my brother's birthday. It was the perfect opportunity to spend time with family, eat at Crackerbarrel, and give Matt the chance to ask for my parents' blessing.

During the afternoon, my mom and I went shopping, which gave Matt some alone time with my dad. When we returned, I casually asked Matt what he and my dad talked about. "Nothing," he replied,"we didn't talk about it." This made me a little bit cranky, because I was getting a lot of anxiety over the anticipation of everything. Really, I just needed to take a nap.

Upon waking up refreshed from my afternoon nap, Matt informed me his friend Tyler was in town and wanted to have drinks with us. Tyler was from Bristol and we'd met up with him before, so it was nothing suspicious. The plan was to meet him in Abingdon around 8:30. However, we were running a bit late with the birthday dinner, and around 8:15 Matt looked at his phone and said "I think Tyler is already at the bar, waiting for us." I simply told Matt that Tyler would have to wait, because he was early anyway, and we were spending time with family and we weren't going to rush that. So, Matt went outside to call Tyler and tell him we were running late.

Finally, we were on our way to the bar, and all of a sudden Matt made a big show of his phone going off, and told me Tyler was calling him. He then proceeded to have a fake phone conversation that went like this:
"Hey we're on our way. The Tavern, right? Oh you're at the Martha? You want us to meet you there? Alright be there in about five minutes."

Again, I detected nothing suspicious. I did not think it was weird that I didn't hear the phone ring, because Matt always keeps his phone on vibrate, and it made sense to me that they were at the Martha. The story Matt fed me was that Tyler's fiance wanted to go check out the Martha, and of course I believed it. There are about three bars in Abingdon, one of them at the Martha, and it's an old, historic, haunted hotel, so who wouldn't want to go check it out?

I should mention that we had already been by the Martha that day, to look around and spy for ghosts. Also, it's no secret that I have always dreamed of having my wedding reception at the Martha, so Matt wanted to take a look around. 

We arrived at the Martha and walked towards the front porch, where Matt claimed we were supposed to meet Tyler and Emily. There was a horse and carriage waiting in the driveway, but that's also normal; the Martha has been offering carriage rides through Abingdon for as long as I can remember. As we walked up to the porch, however, Matt started pulling me towards the horse and carriage. I started pulling him away, thinking to myself "what is he doing?!? We're already running late and people are waiting for us!" Matt then looked at me and said "I think this is for us." For a brief moment I felt his hand tremble, and I thought "this is it! this is the moment!" But then I remember he did not talk to my parents, so no way was that going to happen. I promptly forgot the brief hand tremble, mainly because I was brimming with excitement over the quaint horse and carriage sitting in front of me. The fact that he was taking me on a romantic horse and carriage ride did not send up any warning flags--that is just a sweet thing Matt would plan for me, regardless of the occasion.

There we were, cloppin along Main Street, and I was happy as a clam, ordering Matt to take pictures of all the surroundings and at the same time trying to update my Facebook status so everyone would know I was on a horse and carriage ride and would be jealous. Before I could post anything, Matt said "let me take a picture of you," to which I promptly obeyed, because in my head I was thinking it would make a great Facebook profile picture. Then Matt began to put the camera away and said "okay that's the last one." I immediately assumed the camera was dead, because the battery light had been blinking at me all night. Instead, Matt said "that's the last picture of you as a single lady," and he began to get down on one knee.

I immediately start sobbing, saying "are you serious?!? are you serious??!?" Matt said "you make me the happiest man alive," and whatever else he wanted to say he couldn't, because he started to get choked up. At this point, tears were pouring down my face, all I could do was nod my  head and stab my finger at him.

The whole event was completely unexpected. I was so convinced he would propose in December, I didn't even bring my phone tree home with me (yes, I made a phone tree of all the important people who needed to be informed once it all went down, don't judge). It was absolutely perfect. Apparently, Matt had purchased the ring a few weeks beforehand, and decided he could not wait until the New York trip. That turned out to be a good thing, because the New York trip fell through in the end. In fact, another surprising thing about the engagement was that he was able to keep it a secret. Like I said, he cannot contain surprises. I'm pretty sure I received almost all of my Christmas presents in the weeks leading up to Christmas, because he couldn't wait that long to give me my gifts. It's just one of the many things I love about Matt Thomas.

And just in case you were curious, he did ask my parents for their blessing, and they said no. Yikes! No, I'm JK kidding, JK kidding.

Now that you know all about The Story, we can finally get into the business of wedding planning. Please get ready because I have so many spectacular ideas to share, it will probably blow your mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How I Met Your Father

I need to get this account set down now, before any completely untrue versions start to circulate. What are you about to read is the absolute, unvarnished truth. Don't let Matt tell you anything otherwise!

No worries, I'm not going to make this some long, drawn-out story, like the television show bearing a similar name (but not the exact same name! no copyright infringement here!). Unless Neil Patrick Harris is involved. Then I will gladly sell all movie rights of this blog and anything else NPH requires of me.

Matthew Thomas picked me up in a bar. It was April 15, 2011 and I was in the midst of celebrating my Birthday Week with friends. I was hanging out at Brewbaker's, minding my own business, when I notice this guy in a plaid shirt checking me out. I did some checking out myself, noted that he was quite handsome, and decided to investigate further later. Or, he could come to me.

Shortly after this non-verbal exchange, an obviously inebriated woman meanders over to my group. She props herself against my table (most likely to keep from falling over), and drawls "see my friend over there," (points to handsome man sporting plaid shirt), "he has been checking you out alllllll night. Will you go dance with him?" I compose myself and respond to drunkie: "If your friend wants to come and ask me to dance, I might say yes, but let's not be middle school about this." Drunkie seemed satisfied with that answer, because she stumbled off into the crowd.

I resumed my birthday celebrations, and about five minutes later Handsome Plaid Shirt appears at my table. He apologized for Karen (drunkie), got down on one knee, and begged for forgiveness. No, just kidding, that part did not happen. He apologized, I accepted, told him it was my birthday, and he offered to buy me a drink. I politely declined (had to play hard to get), he insisted, so I then graciously accepted. It was, after all, my birthday.

I discovered that Handsome Plaid Shirt was not his real name, his name was Matt and he was from Ashburn. Thus, he was saved in my phone as Matt Ashburn (Matt insists he told me his last name that night, but I believe that point is debatable). When I found out he was from Ashburn, I gave him what I'm sure I thought was my most winning smile and said "oh, well it just so happens I will be in Nova tomorrow for a bridal shower, maybe we could meet up." This was probably followed up with another coy smile and a batting of eyelashes.

Our dinner date the next night is its own story. Matt and I met up in Arlington, and I was a tad bit nervous. I'd had my fair share of first dates that didn't warrant a second date, and I wasn't sure if this one would be any different. Well, spoiler alert, there WAS a second date!

That night, we dined at the finest french restaurant in DC. And by "finest french restaurant" I actually mean a random irish restaurant called Four Courts that was down the street from the bridal shower. Lucky for us, there was a cover band playing. I can't remember the name of the band but we should definitely book them for our wedding. As the night wore on, the band members continued to serenade us and continued to drink as well. So much so that they never completed another song--they would sing, a band member would yell "UNLEASH THE FURY" in a demonic voice, and then they would switch to a new song. It was quite the backdrop for a romantic evening.

It was the perfect date, and I wholeheartedly mean that. We talked for over five hours, and finally left the restaurant around midnight when the band started to get seriously out of control. He walked me to my car, and I kindly offered to give him a ride to the parking garage. We cruised on over, and lo and behold the parking garage was closed! Shut down! What a coincidence! Matt had NO IDEA that was going to happen! Being the kind, southern lady that I am, I gave him a ride back to his house in Ashburn. I am still convinced that he planned that out so he could spend more time with me.

Five days later we were an official couple--although not Facebook official, which I do realize is the only thing that counts. Matt said something to me in german that night, which he says translated to "you are wonderful," but for all I really know could have meant "is that beer a worschteiner?" Whatever it was, I was hooked. The rest, as they say, is history.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the weight our words carry

Before I throw you into my super exciting and dramatic life, I would just like to say a few words about the title of this blog. Why?  Well many years from now, once my blog has been published into a best selling book and becomes an integral part of the American Lit canon, I want all high school AP English teachers to know exactly what I meant when I titled this blog. I don't need anyone twisting my words into whatever metaphor is currently popular, especially when I am cold in the grave and unable to defend myself. 

First of all, this title has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. Yes, I was aware that it was a movie, starring Matthew Perry and some other person, but I have never bothered to watch it. I IMDB'ed it the other day and found out the movie is essentially about a shotgun wedding. It also seems to be a before-its-time version of Knocked Up. Let me just state that my life bears absolutely no resemblance to either one of those movies. 

Second, I have never believed in love at first sight. At least not while an adult, anyway. I was quite proud of this and made sure to broadcast my opinion loudly to others, especially after a few glasses of red wine. I congratulated myself on being a real 21st century, independent kind of gal, didn't need no man and definitely didn't need any of that Hallmark/Kay Jewelers nonsense to find happiness (for the record, I still find Hallmark and Kay Jewelers commercials disgusting). After all, how could anyone know immediately after meeting someone that they will spend the rest of their life with that person? I frequently agonized over what cereal to buy at the grocery store, and that was for a one week commitment (unless the store happened to carry Berry Berry Kix, then then there was no hesitation). 

I think that my opinions on love could be illustrated by two of my favorite movies: Beauty and the Beast and When Harry Met Sally. In both stories, the main characters did not have any kind of fireworks-exploding-everyone-bursts-into-song kind of moment when they met. In fact, both parties hated each other at first sight! They couldn't stand to be around the other, and probably could not imagine a more tortuous life than one spent together. Rather, their relationship started out as mutual loathing, transformed begrudgingly into a tight-knit friendship, and then blossomed into true love. And, since all movies are based on true stories (just ask my dad), I adapted those plots into my own belief system, and firmly believed that I would detest my soulmate upon our first meeting, then become besties, then fall madly in love. I expected nothing less. 

Then, I met Matt--game changer. We both knew instantly that we were dunzo, we needed to look no further. Really, the only way I can describe it is love at first sight. 

And thus, after a long-winded ramble, we've arrived at my reasoning for choosing the title. "Can't Help Falling in Love" is one of my favorite songs (particularly the Ingrid Michaelson version), and I felt the lyrics were fitting for our relationship. Anyone who doesn't know us would probably take a look at our relationship timeline and immediately conclude that we rushed everything. Five days after we met we were officially a couple, two weeks later we exchanged the words "I love you", and seven months later we were engaged. How could this happen to a girl who just typed a short essay on how true love only blossoms from close friendship? Throughout my whole life I have questioned my decisions on friendships, careers, and yes, even breakfast cereals. This is the only thing that has ever felt right--no questions, no hesitations. Does that make me foolish? Maybe. But  I would rather be foolish and absurdly happy than wise and eternally sad. 

"wise men say, only fools rush in...
but I can't help falling in love with you."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let's get this train wreck started!

Much to my embarrassment, I have decided to start a blog (obviously). Other than a brief period in high school when I kept a Xanga site (remember those days? such angst), I have mostly been opposed to blogging. This demotivator from despair.com sums up my opinion on the matter quite nicely:

So at this point you may be thinking "Did this girl create a blog just to talk about how much she hates blogs?!?!" Please, I have more productive things to do with my time, like browsing Facebook and Pinterest. This blog is intended to document the trials and tribulations of planning a wedding. Ever since Matt and I got engaged, I have been telling the same stories, about the engagement and wedding plans, roughly 500 times. Per Day. Maybe that is an exaggeration, and maybe some of my friends are thinking "Katie's never had a problem telling the same story 5 million times before!",  but I have discovered that retelling the same story gets to be exhausting, a fact that I'm sure my previous roommates could have told me 4 years ago. Thus, I came up with the inspired idea to create a blog, and any time any one asks about wedding plans, or the engagement story, or how we met, they will be directed to this blog. They will get nothing more from me! 

Just kidding. I'll direct them to the blog, but tell the story anyway. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I can't resist the retelling of a story, complete with lots of exaggerations and maybe an interpretive dance or two. Since I do find sooo many blogs and their content insufferable, I will make some vows to you, my dear readers (which will probs amount to around 7):
1. I promise to not let this blog turn into a play by play of my daily life. I can't promise that it won't get boring, but I can promise that I'm not going to give you a detailed account of what I ate for breakfast. Please, I'm not that narcissistic! 

2. I am not Oprah. I am not going to constantly barrage you with a list of my favorite things (only Oprah can get away with that!). Sure, I may mention my "must haves" every now and then, especially because I can become weirdly obsessed with the most random things (taco bell #8 with soft tacos and a mountain dew), but it is not going to become a weekly update. Totally unnecessary. 

3. My fiance is the best ever, and in roughly 11 months he will be the best husband ever. You can go ahead and secretly think that your significant other tops mine, but if you even whisper it on here I am going to kick you off of this blog! (Can I do that? Can I have a blog bouncer? That would be really fantastic.)

I wish I could bore you with some more tedious promise-making, but my stomach is rumbling, and you know if I don't eat every 3 hours I get nauseus! (Name that movie and we will be friends.) I also have a pretty serious date with the Hokie Bird tonight. It's okay, Matt is cool with it. 


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