Tuesday, January 1, 2013

chapter ten: a special engagement

I moved in to the apartment on Ohio Street on August 1, 2009.  My parents bought me a tv stand, and I bought a high-top black “pub table” with two chairs.  My mom made me black and white accent pillows, and I got my parents old TV and green leather couches.  It was a high-rise apartment with a doorman, and a receiving room for packages, and I thought I had made it.  The big time.

I called it my Carrie Bradshaw apartment, and told my grandma that I “love love loved” it (and for the next couple years she would ask how my “love love love” apartment was).  I turned 25 on August 11th, and flew to Huntsville, AL that very day to spend some time with Scott.  It was an extended visit, where I’d be there from Tuesday til Sunday.. the longest we’d been in one town since college.  I flew in to Nashville (fares were almost $200 cheaper at that airport) and Scott picked me up, and we headed in his Scion south towards the Alabama state line. 

After a quick pit stop at his apartment to drop my luggage and get a little dolled up, we headed out to a restaurant I’d been wanting to try in his town – the Melting Pot.  I was wearing a sleeveless black dress and red slide-on sandals.  We ate dinner, and I had a Bloody Mary.  Then Scott ordered champagne, and with it, the waiter brought the most beautiful ring I have ever seen.  Scott said beautiful things and asked me to marry him… and of course I said yes.  A couple a table away from us took our picture.

My first call was to my mom and dad, and then my grandma and then my brothers.  Scott called his mom.   We were engaged!

I can’t say it enough: planning my wedding with my parents and Scott was among the highlights of my life.   My mom and I are organizers by temperament, and we spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on the phone and in person analyzing every detail.  I wanted the wedding to be classic yet modern.  We focused heavily on our guests experience  - what would be more fun as a guest?  (For example, I originally wanted Scott to not see me until I walked down the aisle at the wedding Mass, but then photographs would have to be post-ceremony, and I decided that the timing wouldn’t work, because I wanted the cocktail hour to begin as quickly as possible for our guests benefit).  We worried about the details big and small, how it would be seen, how it would be remembered.  We wanted the Mass to be personal, the reception to be fun.  (Someone later offhandedly said that I was "anal" during my engagement, and the description still stings.  I was certainly focused on the details - it was the most important - and expensive! - day of my life, and while I was focused, I was not obsessive).  

Three cousins got engaged in the months after my engagement, and I was both overjoyed for them and for thrilled for myself.  Being able to experience several weddings while planning my own, did add a little somethin’ somethin’ to my wedding planning.  There is a formula for success for traditional types of weddings, but it was a fine line because I still wanted mine to be uniquely Kate and Scott.  (For example, my cousin and his wife got married about six months before Scott and me… and their beautiful wedding featured navy dresses, a candy buffet and the first dance “You and Me” by Dave Matthews.  I’d already picked navy dresses and the same first dance… so while I really wanted a candy buffet, it was more important to me to have elements of individuality so I scratched that). 

My parents came in to the city for wedding dress and bridesmaid appointments, and both cried when they saw me in my first dress (coincidentally, the one I went on to purchase).   My parents and Scott and I did a blind taste test of wedding wine, and taste tested cakes from several local bakeries.  We decided on favors, and visited printers for invitations.  We went through about 15 iterations of the wedding program.  My mom and I visited about 5 locations of the same store, trying to get enough matching backordered clutches for my bridesmaids.  Videographer appointments, venue taste testings, photographer consults.  It was an important day, and we gave it the preparation it was due.

I had a bachelorette party that was crazy and fun and wild (and involved dancing at a latenight bar until 4am) and girls that came in from across the country to celebrate with me (shoutout to my California and Minnesota and Iowa family for making the trek). 

Scott had interesting opinions: he thought that chair covers were crucial to our venue, and his opinion on that was so strong he offered to rent them (and he did!).  He did NOT like one of the two bridesmaids options that I was debating between (so we went with the other one).   Sometimes brides get a bad rap for having the wedding be all about them, and while I certainly had a vision and opinion, Scott did too, and was an active and equal participant.

In the end, our engagement was a true collaboration between the four of us… all working together to make Scott and my wedding weekend the best it could be.  


  1. Thank you for the honor of helping you plan your wedding! I will carry the memory of that time with me forever. I am a lucky mom - and now a lucky mother-in-law and love you both! And, not to gush, but now I'm getting all the advantages of my new role as MOG and am enjoying the planning with another generous bride, my precious DIL2B!

  2. I like this post (and the comment by my MIL2B)!


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