On Being Ready

When I was single, I used to curse my fate and wasted hours wondering why I couldn’t find someone to settle down with. For so many years I felt like not enough, an obvious outsider in the land of coupledom, the fifth wheel, that friend who was always going on dates but never really had a partner. But now that I am days away from marrying Mr. Darcy, almost three years into our relationship, I am glad it took me until I was 36 to find my Mr. Right and until I was 39 to get married.

You see, all that time I spent dating random guys (or as some would say “sowing my wild oats”), I learned a lot about myself, about relationships, and about love. So when I finally met Mr. Darcy, I was in a place where I was ready. I haven’t been bothered by any nagging regrets- did I live out my single days to their fullest? Why yes, yes I did. I have the stories to tell and the scars to prove it.

Every guy I dated before Mr. Darcy helped shape the woman I am today- for better or for worse- and I’m grateful for all of them, even the ones who broke my heart. Because in its breaking, I learned how resilient my heart is and it grew stronger every time. I have no regrets for the life I’ve led or the men I’ve shared it with. I even got lucky a few times and dated some really great guys who are now among my closest and best friends. In fact, three of them are coming to my wedding.

The other day as I walked through our old neighborhood, I kind of chuckled to myself. Six and a half years ago when I moved to Seattle, I wanted so desperately to fit into the scene there. The dirty emo hipsters with their tattoos and tight jeans and retro outfits, their late nights at bars and hangover breakfasts on Sundays. I wanted to be cool too. And maybe I was. Maybe I still am. But I realized then as I dodged smoking teens and street musicians and girls much younger, thinner, and hipper than I, that I’m so happy with my life. My suburban life with Mr. Darcy in a house we own, at jobs we like, surrounded by friends and family we love, the hope for a child alive inside of us, about to get married to one another. This is the dream I never thought would come true. It’s so much simpler than I ever thought and yet, more than I thought was possible for myself.

So many of you have been on this journey alongside me, reading my updates, and giving advice and support. It feels like forever ago and simultaneously like yesterday that I was lamenting my single life and my poor choices in men- so much so that my friends intervened with the Boyfriend Review Board. Remember that? Luckily Mr. Darcy (who was known as Bachelor #4 back then) passed with flying colors.

You guys? I’m getting married on Sunday. I can hardly believe this is happening to me.


I’ve got my mind on my money & my money on my… wedding

We’re 23 days away from the Sizzle & Darcy wedding.


You can’t? Me neither!

As the day draws closer we are knee deep in details. Ok, to be honest, I’m about elbow-deep in details but I like to get my stressing out of the way so I can enjoy big events. Ask anyone who has seen me in action on the day of an event I’ve planned. I’m cool as a cucumber, even when raising close to a million dollars is on the line. I can be that way because I’ve planned in advance. This time I’ve gone one further and hired my proverbial ace in my pocket, my friend Amy who does day of wedding coordination (among many, many other skills she has. . .she also makes a potent yet fancy jello shot). Everyone keeps asking me incredulously, “Are you really going to be able to not be an event planner on your wedding day?” And the answer is, “I’m going to do my best not to.” I truly want to just be the bride and that’s why we hired Amy. I trust that she will take care of everything I’ve turned over to her and even think of stuff I’ve missed. I’m meeting with her this morning to talk over the plan and get her expert opinion on my wedding timeline. I’m currently worrying I haven’t timed things correctly. I’m too close to this event (um MY WEDDING) to have an unbiased eye.

I’m hopefully picking up my dress today and it will be the last time I ever have to step foot into that sad David’s Bridal alterations area. Whether they have fixed it or not, I’m taking the dress with me. I bought a pashmina that I may or may not wear. I’m still looking and thinking on the whole cover up issue (thank you to all of you who sent me links and offered to make me one- I have the nicest readers/friends!).

I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to have a wedding you’d see in a bridal blog. I sheepishly had to admit to myself that I was holding that ideal in my head so it’s no wonder I was stressing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get this just right because I am an event planner by trade and I wanted some attention for the details we dreamed up. Since confessing that this was driving my perfectionism, I feel better. Like I let myself off the hook a little. Our wedding will be amazing because WE ARE GETTING MARRIED and our closest friends and family will be there supporting our union and hopefully dancing their butts off. Absolutely nothing else matters except the fact that at the end of the day, I will be married to Mr. Darcy.

Reality checks are good.

Here’s a mini-checklist of things we are working on:

  1. finalizing menu
  2. decoration making (girlfriends are coming over next weekend to assist)
  3. vows & ceremony writing (along with our officiant, Jenny Two Times)
  4. hair & make up run thru
  5. ring bearer pillow sewing (I wanted to make at least one thing)
  6. day of poster designing (so as to not waste trees- Mr. Darcy has got this)
  7. first dance practicing
  8. marriage license getting
  9. confirming honeymoon plans
  10. flower purchasing & bouquet making (thanks to my sister this is handled)

I’m getting excited!

Why I Cried At My Wedding Dress Pick Up

I went Friday with my sister to pick up my wedding dress. I brought along the bolero I purchased from Etsy, a fake flower for my hair (for sizing & look since I hope to wear a real flower in my hair the day of), and my shoes. Getting the dress on was easy enough but when I put on the bolero, it just didn’t look right. The soft lace of the jacket did not match the more modern style of the dress. Disappointed, I took it off and thought “there goes $40 to waste.” We clipped the flower to my hair but I was just not feeling it. I felt dumb in all that white. I felt like I was failing at dress up.

When I stepped out into the communal mirrored space, I was already a little defeated. I have been concerned all along that I bought a strapless gown knowing full well I do not like my arms and am afraid I’ll have “back butt.” It’s a lot of bare skin up top and I’m distracted by it. Without a shrug to cover that part of me, I was obsessing on it.

The dress had been taken in at the waist and side plus hemmed and 11 bustle points were added. There was only one issue with one bustle that was a little too high along the hemline so I asked for it to be fixed. I also noticed that where the folds of the material along the chest/waist area was some imperfections. I pointed them out but the seamstress, who was meek and unhelpful, keep saying “that’s how the dress is.” She was offering no sympathy or support or helpful suggestions. She called out Bertha, a head seamstress, to look at it. Bertha was not any better. She fussed with the folds of the material and pinned here and there when I would point out an area where the material was puckering while softly muttering under her breath, “ayyyee, mmmm, hmmm” with no actual communication WITH me. I finally had to say “Am I being crazy? Or does it look bad?” I didn’t want to be a bridezilla or rude to anyone but they were not being encouraging or helpful at all. Their silence was unnerving. They claimed the dress was pressed but yet there were obvious wrinkles in it. Frustrated, I gave up after pointing out 5 areas I wanted fixed and went back into the dressing room to cry.

I didn’t feel pretty and my dress looked cheap (even though with alterations it’s now cost us $700).

My sister tried to comfort me but I just wanted to get out of there. The seamstress called into us asking if we’d like to wait why they fixed the dress. I said no and thought- how can they fix it that quickly? No wonder their work looks like crap. When I stepped out of the changing room she informed me that I’d have to pay $5 per tack. There’s $54 more dollars I didn’t plan on spending. She could tell I was upset but didn’t really offer any solutions. I had to pay in advance to get it fixed but I could call the manager to discuss getting it comped. I paid, rescheduled my dress pick up time, and left tearful and dejected.

I gave into a weekend of looking for new dresses on line and lamenting my dress choice.  I know we don’t have the budget or time for me to scrap this dress and get a new one. I’m stuck on what I will do about a jacket or sweater. It will be late October in Seattle and there will be a chill in the air so I’ll need something. I had such a hard time finding the first shrug, so I don’t know how I will find the next one. I don’t want to wear a pashmina/wrap because I don’t want to fiddle with it or have something so fussy on but I might just get one as a back up. I’d like a vintage, cropped, beaded cardigan but where to find it with only a month to go and in my size?

I hope I get over this feeling. I just hope I can feel beautiful on our wedding day. If I’m crying, I want it to be happy tears.

Engagement Photos

I woke up to a special treat in my in box- engagement photos! No matter that I am wrecked by a nasty head cold or that I worked a 12 hour day yesterday (and pulled off a very successful fundraiser), I needed to get up immediately and look at all of them repeatedly.

We went with our amazing photographers to our old neighborhood of Capitol Hill. We figured it was fitting since it’s where we met and fell in love. The building in the pictures is the old apartment building we used to manage. Isn’t it beautiful?

Here’s a few from the session:

We love Jon and Heather from One Love Photo. They are so fun to hang out with and they take beautiful photos. I can’t wait to see the shots they get at our wedding (in 37 days!).

I’m the Bride

For as much planning as I’ve been doing for the wedding, I haven’t spent too much of that time feeling like a bride. I’ve been too distracted with the cancer stuff. Even as we check things off our master to do list, I’m not 100% in the moment of wedding bliss. For as excited as Mr. Darcy and I are to be married, it’s difficult to not acknowledge the current place we are in. I’m pretty sure the last few months have aged us. I see more gray in Darcy’s hair and much bigger bags under my eyes. I had such different priorities when we got engaged and now all I can think about is clear margins and what ifs.

But yesterday, amidst all my worrying and recovery, my Mom and sister threw me a lovely bridal shower brunch and for the first time in months I was able to just be Sizzle the Bride.

I’m getting married in 6 weeks. Eek!

My mom and sis outdid themselves with the spread. It was so nice to just sit around a table with some of my best girlfriends and laugh.

I’m lucky that I work with awesome women whom I call friends.

At first I was against having a bridal shower. I didn’t feel like I needed one more party, especially when we were already asking people to come to the wedding, buy us a gift, and attend a bachelor/ette party. Besides, many of my dear friends live out-of-state. But after some cajoling, I agreed to the shower on the condition that no one could bring me a present but instead everyone would bring a candle and we’d do a gift exchange. That way everyone went home with a little something.

I happened to get an owl candle which is perfect for our guest bathroom (there is an owl theme emerging in there).

My sister outdid herself with the little matchstick jars. When you unscrew the lid there is a place to strike the match. It says “A Perfect Match”- how cute is that?

My sister, Little Miss Creative. Somehow I didn’t get a photo with my Mom. Probably because she was in the kitchen making the deliciousness happen. I was very distracted drinking peach bellinis and blackberry gin fizzes.

It was such a treat to spend the afternoon with wonderful women. I’m so very lucky to have great girlfriends. Thank you to all my sweet friends who came to celebrate with me!

East Coast Celebration

We flew back to New Jersey for the weekend. Yes, you read that correctly. We flew out Friday and returned Sunday. I wouldn’t normally recommend this time frame for an East Coast trip but since the future in-laws were throwing us a wedding shower, purchasing our plane tickets plus one for my Mom, and putting us up, how could we say no?

After a 3.5 hour flight delay, we boarded a janky US Airways plane and suffered through a 5 hour flight where in two new mothers talked excessively loudly for three hours of it about their birthing experiences while their children were perfect peaches, barely making a peep. And no, these women had never met before this flight.

It’s been hard for me to be around pregnant women or babies. Kind of makes my heart ache more.

We got in so late we had to get a hotel room for the night but since we hadn’t had any dinner and it was 9pm to us since our bodies were on West Coast time, we took my mom to the hotel bar and got her tipsy while snacking on a bar mix of nuts and puffy rice. Within 5 minutes the bartender said “wudder” instead of “water” (cute) and talked to us about the Kardashians. Oh, New Jersey!

Saturday was the wedding shower brunch party so we spent the day at my future sister-in-law’s house (it was HER birthday that day but she threw us a party) hanging out with friends and family, laughing and catching up. It was great to meet so many of Mr. Darcy’s people, many of whom I’d heard countless stories about. My mom had a blast swapping stories with Mr. Darcy’s parents and their friends. The food was delicious (future brother-in-law is an excellent cook), the party decor matched our wedding colors to the letter (I thank future niece-in-law for that since she is a stickler for such things and she loves organizing things and is a voracious reader so basically she’s a smaller version of me), and everyone enjoyed this delicious and adorable cake:

They used the front of our wedding invitations for the cake design. How cool is that? Mr. Darcy and I got to cut the cake and feed each other (nicely) AND eat each other’s faces. How often do you get to say you ate your fiance’s face? (His face was delicious by the way.) We aren’t having cake at our wedding so it was fun to play along with the cake feeding ritual at the shower.

Before we knew it, it was Sunday and we had to head back home to Seattle. Despite being our shortest visit on record and feeling utterly exhausted upon touchdown, we all had a fantastic time. I’m so very grateful to be marrying into a fantastic family  of generous, loving, and kind people.

Our wedding invitations were a collaboration between Mr. Darcy and myself. He did most of the work, obviously. My role was mostly as the nag. They turned out spectacular if we do say so ourselves.

Yeah, yeah, yeah our real names.

Please, no wedding crashers. 🙂


Engagement Photo Shoot Outfit: Help Me Decide

So, despite surgery looming large on Friday, life continues on at its hectic pace. We’ve got our engagement photo session tomorrow night (or 7/25 depending on when you read this) and I can’t seem to figure out what to wear. Mr. Darcy will, of course, be wearing jeans and a shirt because he lives in that outfit. I have, however, convinced him not to wear the sweatshirt he’s usually in. And by convinced I mean instructed.

I don’t want to look too dressed up but I also want to look like me. I wear dresses 98% of the time and so I’ve picked three that I think could work. We have tentatively planned to meet our photographers at our old apartment building to start the photo shoot. The building is old with a lot of character and played a major roll in our relationship. Then we’ll probably walk around the old ‘hood since it’s full of charm and personality (like us!). I don’t want to wear uncomfortable shoes is what I’m getting at. If it were up to me I’d wear my beat up boots but they don’t really flatter the leg so my vanity is winning out.

Here are the three options I’m considering though not with all the accessories. You can vote for your favorite up until 4pm Wednesday, July 25th and then I have to pick one and head to the shoot!

Option 1: Green Lace Dress

Pros: Got a lot of compliments on it, it’s comfortable, it’s a great green color.

Cons: It’s a little baggy at the top, it doesn’t do much for my chest, it gets easily snagged.

Option 2: Yellow & Gray Dress

Pros: It’s got pockets, it’s new, short sleeves, IT HAS POCKETS.

Cons: The color might wash me out.

Option 3: Teal Dress

Pros: it’s comfortable and a vibrant color with pockets.

Cons: It seems blouse-y in the chest.

Out of these three (give or take the shoes/belts/lack of jewelry) which would you pick for me to wear?

Master To Do List: Manage Feelings & Expectations

We will have three big wedding items checked off our master to do list by the end of this week.

Venue: CHECK

(subsequently) Date: CHECK

Photographers: CHECK

Caterer: Deciding between two of our favorites

It feels good to have those big things pretty much done and it allows for me to focus mainly on my big fundraiser at work for the rest of the month. Although, it doesn’t stop me from fretting over the guest list. I’ve always been overly concerned with hurting people’s feelings. Nothing like a wedding to bring up old habits!

Many months ago, OK FINE, back when Mr. Darcy and I first visited New Jersey together (over a year and a half ago) and we first discussed marriage, I made a list of wedding guests on the plane ride home. What? He was sleeping and I had finished my book. I needed to occupy my time! AHEM. Anyhow, there was a list and since then, that list has changed due to the cost of putting on a wedding and the fact that we’re mostly paying for it ourselves. Plus, as we’ve begun planning in earnest, our vision for our day has shaped it. We want it to be rather small (under 75 people) so that we can actually spend time with our most important people.

Here’s where it gets a bit messy.

A lot of our closest friends and extended family live far away (In California and New Jersey mainly). Mr. Darcy has more immediate family members than I do but I have more core friends that are family (James Dean & Natalie Wood, Tomato, Dumpling & Jersey Girl, Bird, Rae Rae & Run Run, Supple, and Jenny Two Times). My extended family is many people. As in, you invite one, you invite 40+ people. The Irish like to procreate. We can’t conceivably afford to invite my entire extended family and be able to afford it. Plus, it totally changes the vision of our wedding from a small one to a big one. So, we made the difficult decision to not invite them but instead to go to them in California and have a party there. That way we get to celebrate with all of them, take a mini-vacation in one of our favorite cities, and not go over our wedding budget or ask all of them to spend money on airfare and accommodations for our wedding. Same goes for New Jersey- we will go out there to visit the family and they are throwing us some sort of party (at a country club which sounds very fancy) to invite extended family and friends to celebrate.

I’m not entirely sure if I’ve hurt any of my family’s feelings. I wrote them all before the announcement of our engagement went viral to tell them personally about the good news and our plan to have a small wedding but to celebrate with them in California. Most wrote back with congratulations. If they are upset, no one told me (though I realize that’d be in poor taste to bring that up at that moment). I know my Mom is having feelings about not having her family at the wedding and I’m sorry for her sadness. We’ve had a couple of talks about it already (because it’s not technically a wedding without some family strife, right?). It’s hard to not be able to make everyone happy but that’s sort of the story of life, isn’t it? You can’t please everyone. It’s often hard to do what you personally think is right when it hurts people you care about. And honestly, I’d rather not invite any of the extended family than to pick a few I am close to and possibly hurt the other family member’s feelings.

Besides family, there might be a few friends who are sad to not get an invitation. I’m probably overly concerned about the fall out from that but we really have to stick to our budget and our vision and just hope people will understand. I’m really struggling to feel okay with all of it knowing this is the right decision even when it could upset someone. When people say, “oh you’re the bride! just think about what you and Mr. Darcy want!” I get where they are coming from but it doesn’t change the reality that when there are feelings involved, it could get messy.

So basically on my master to do list for the wedding where it says “Manage Feelings” I have “on-going, try meditating”.

Registering for Happily Ever After

Yesterday I declared it a day to do nothing. Forget the to do list! For me, a do nothing day apparently involves cooking, watching tv, not wearing a bra or make up, not leaving the apartment, and setting up our wedding registry. Oh, and drinking an entire bottle of wine. (That part was an accident.)

You guys? I have found some wedding-related happy: the beauty that is a wedding registry. It combines two things I love: shopping and other people buying me stuff. And by me of course I mean us. Mr. Darcy totally wants that Kitchenaid mixer (if it means I’m going to make him delicious treats, it sure does). But really, it was fun for us to shop on-line and then just click ADD TO REGISTRY.

Things have lightened up here considerably since we booked our wedding venue which means we now have a date (Oct. 21, 2012 for those wondering) and can move forward with booking our caterer and photographer. HOORAY! We’ve got inquiries into both and hope to finalize them in the next couple weeks. Picking out a photographer is challenging. There are so many and you spend so much time with them on your important day so you want to like them. It’s like on line dating a bit. Everyone says- don’t scrimp on hiring photographers and we won’t but ohmygoodness it’s expensive.

I’m taking any downtime I can get because I’m 3 weeks out from my biggest fundraiser of the year. That means long hours, stress dreams, and putting all else on the back burner until it goes off without a hitch on March 20th. Things that keep me sane during this hecticness? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, going to dance class, laughing with Mr. Darcy, connecting with friends, and deep breaths.

Avoidance Master

You guys? I’m not doing very good with the whole “be in the joy” thing.

I’m totally sucking at it actually. As evidenced by the couple of crying outbursts I had over the weekend. I’m just so pent up. And when I try to get in touch with the feeling I kind of freak out and start thinking about things on my to do list. That’s my M.O. – when avoiding feelings, do. Which is probably why we have a venue for our wedding (awaiting confirmation from location) and subsequently a date, have sent out four inquiries to potential photographers, have set up a bare bones web page, decided on colors, created a budget, and a master to do list. Oh and tentatively booked a band.

Avoidance. I’m a master at it. But damn if I don’t get shit done!

I finally broke down Sunday to Mr. Darcy. I feel like a drill sergeant a lot of the time. “We’ve got to book this!” “We’ve got to send inquiries to caterers now!” “Which template do you like best?” It’s too much. I can see it in his eyes. He’s panicking and backing off. I would too if I had to deal with me. I saw the look and just cried out, “I’M NOT HAVING ANY FUN!” Because, WTF, this should have some elements of fun. We’re getting married! That’s joyous! BUT I CAN’T FEEL THE JOY BECAUSE I AM TOO BUSY FREAKING THE FUCK OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING.

Deep breath.

I appreciate that everyone is excited for us. I think it is so sweet that people have suggestions and offer to help. I know it is up to me to temper all the well-meaning advice with our own vision. I know people will likely get their feelings hurt despite my best efforts not to do that. I realize that I will probably end up calling Jenny Two Times many times over the next 9 months, crying. I just hope that some of those times will be because I am overjoyed with good feeling, because I’m finally able to fully feel the enormity of this- that a wonderful man has asked me to spend the rest of our lives together.