Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The long, engaged weekend

Um, you guys are amazing. I'm incredibly overwhelmed and touched by your comments yesterday. Thank you all so much for sharing in the excitement, truly.

I honestly wasn't sure where to start with this - we didn't have a super traditional engagement situation and it was a little complicated. Do I start with that? Or with a schlocky story about us and how we met? Plus, do I want to take up prime crafting post time during the holiday season to babble about myself? Tough decisions.

But then I started my usual process of pulling photos from the weekend and found myself writing a little bit more than usual. So here is the story of the weekend, organically. Good enough for now.

The weekend was a bit of a blur. Shocking, I know.

I was lucky enough to be able to take Wednesday off and I spent the entire day cooking in my kitchen, quietly. It was wonderful, soul renewing, especially because it felt like the calm before the storm, a day alone before this big life change (spoiler alert - I already knew we were going to make the official announcement on Thanksgiving, so it wasn't a surprise). Also, I got my hair cut and realized I'd forgotten how very good an expensive hair cut can make you feel. I had to run to the store for garlic and wait in a long day-before-Thanksgiving line and I was all smile-y, chatting it up with other customers instead of groaning audibly. I allowed the roving wine expert to talk me into another bottle of champagne, flipping my hair ever so slightly. Note to self, haircuts are totally worth the expense.

thanksgiving kitchen
{thanksgiving kitchen}

On Thanksgiving, we strapped the giant door to our car and drove, slowly, slowly, slowly down to Orange, afraid we might take flight if we went over the speed limit. Having never actually driven the speed limit on the 405, we were somewhat curious about how long it would take. Answer - not too terribly long, especially if you have a ring nestled in your bag and feel so anxious/excited that time is alternately speeding way up and then slowing way down. Disorienting, to say the least.

thanksgiving apps
{thanksgiving apps}

At my parents' house, D set to work making the door into a table. I flurried around the kitchen, determined to get the meal on the table on time, to make everything perfect. I snapped at my mom, but just once and then I made myself some strong tea and told myself to get it together. We set out plates of appetizers, large garden roses, plopped into a vase because we ran out of time to arrange them. People began to arrive. I tried to chat through the lump in my throat. We set the table, heirloom lace and linens overlapping to cover the giant door, now table. Silver and grandma's china. Linen napkins. Mismatched chairs for twelve.

beautiful turkey
{beautiful turkey}

The turkey emerged early, eager to get started. My mom used Alton Brown's Good Eats method and I'm pretty sure that we'll never go hunting for another recipe again. Fast, beautiful, perfect. I had been terrified that the (23 lb) turkey might be late, holding up the whole show. I couldn't explain to her why I was worried, so she probably thought I was crazy, but she was nice about it, getting the turkey in the oven right on my time table.

People filled their plates. Champagne and cider were poured. Immediately before we raised our forks, D stood and made the announcement. (I slipped my ring on under the table as he spoke) Our mothers cried. I turned bright red, mostly unable to speak, people hugged us. Glasses were raised, the ring was examined, congratulations were given. Wanting everyone to know on the same day, we drove over to my stepsister's house for dessert, made the announcement to the family, all hung out on the couch for a few hours, recovering. We emerged into a perfect night - cold and crisp and absolutely clear, filled with stars.

And there is this - I was overwhelmed. I was supposed to be happy and excited, but it was all hidden beneath a layer of stress from having such a big day, from having what had previously been so private suddenly become so public. I needed to decompress, badly. I got a little teary, and not in a good way. I felt a little bit like a failure at being engaged, already. We went home and collapsed.

The next day, we woke up late and ate leftover sandwiches with a side of cranberry orange relish.

thanksgiving friday
{thanksgiving friday}

I re-read Harry Potter, just for fun, while eating pie in bed. D didn't complain even though I probably left crumbs.

pie, book
{pie, book}

We went to a really hard yoga class and sweated a lot (I wore my ring and it was fine). We drove up to the vineyard to pick up our wine club shipment. We tasted several cabernets and pretended to be wine experts. We ate cheese and crackers and it finally hit me - I was so happy, so excited, so calm.

wine tasting, feet
{wine tasting, feet}

We sat in the chilly air for a long time, feeling like kids. Except better, because we were a little tipsy. We took lots of pictures, including the fist pump shared yesterday. And some less exciting ones, like this.


We drove home and spent the rest of the weekend just the two of us, which is exactly what I needed. A little reminder that even though this is all public, it's still just us. We ate lots of leftovers and washed lots of dishes and felt different, somehow.

glass, china
{glass, china}

It was lovely.

About the ring - it was my grandmother's, who gave me my middle name and who died shortly after I was born. It is from the 1930s and it is a little bit art deco and sparkly and worn nearly paper thin in the back because she wore it her entire adult life. D and I both agree that we couldn't have picked something better, and I'm honored to have it. We had it painstakingly repaired but held off on replacing the band because I couldn't bear to do it right away. I love it.

About the wedding - I am really excited about being married, but a little freaked out by the whole wedding planning thing. This will probably pop up here and there on the blog, but I'm not planning on turning this entire blog into wedding planning central. We'll see how it goes. You'll probably also have to put up with some of my musings on how I came to the point where I wanted to get married, after having been in love with the same person for most of my life and feeling no desire to formalize it. Good thing you guys are patient.


  1. CONGRATS!!!! I love that ring... and i love the organic way in which you wrote this post... i would definitely think those type of emotions are normal... CONGRATS again!!!!

  2. You take your time. These types of things can get so emotionally overwhelming, since so many people want to share in the happiness. But in the end it's just the two of you... And isn't that the best?

  3. i'm excited to hear every little bit of your story, rachel! it's wonderful that you & d are so happy, and thanksgiving is the perfect time to make the announcement! I dream of one day making a big announcement to all our family at the same time at a holiday dinner. how special! enjoy this wonderful time, and don't worry - being overwhelmed is all part of it. after i became engaged i think i was literally in shock for about six hours. enjoy all your feelings while the newness of everything lasts!
    xo meg

  4. i will gobble details greedily when you choose to share - i love to watch you plan things - and i will root quietly for you the rest of the time, imagining that you and D are doing awesome wedding things behind the scenes. those are the best wedding things of all.

  5. CONGRATS.... it's a beautiful ring! Have great time!

  6. It's so beautifully written. Thanks for sharing the story. I wish you both lots of happiness!

  7. oh wow, congratulations!! and what a great story behind the ring :) x

  8. I'M teary after just reading this. You guys are amazing... I could not be happier for you both! xoxoxoxo

  9. Congrats! Beautiful ring. I think I was overwhelmed the first few days I was engaged. Whatever wedding planning news you plan to share, I can't wait to hear about it!

  10. I think it's perfectly lovely that you want to take your time to slowly share your story. This is about the two of you, and in the end, isn't it such a relief? Enjoy and dwell in the happy moments together!

  11. Congratulations Wishing you all happiness.

  12. i'm so happy for you - i always love the quiet peace that you voice in your blogs and it comes across again with your engagement. you will be a beautiful bride.

  13. WOW!

    So glad for you, Rachel.

    What a beautiful ring, beautiful food ;)

  14. I can't imagine having to navigate making Thanksgiving dinner AND a wedding announcement on the same day! I was so touched by your account. This is going to be a GREAT wedding.

  15. Your musings are awesome. What you say about what you do/experience and how you feel about it are what make your blog special and different, and make us, your readers, feel lucky to "know" you a little. Its the cherry on all the crafting and styling goodies.

    And that beautiful mahogany turkey is a masterpiece!

  16. thanks for sharing your story. i am looking forward to hearing more about how you did end up wanting to get married formally. cheers!!!

  17. it must be terribly & wonderfully odd to have a world of people who are super duper excited for you...yet only know you from the words, ideas, deliciousness & pictures you share here. i guess that's the fun of blogs, though :o) thank you for sharing, and, as you're ready, share whatever else you feel comfortable sharing. it's fun to celebrate with you. besides, in the midst of planning, you'll need the outlet, and we'll need your honesty in the future when we enter wedding-planning-land!

    p.s. your picture yesterday announcing the big news is my favorite "ring pic" ever! love, loooove it!

  18. indeed. whether you share or not, i will be rooting for you, cheering you and d on. the process, it can be overwhelming. but it's also fun and growth-inducing. and it can involve some amazing projects, if you want it to. (ours did.)

  19. what a sweet story about the ring. mine is from my husbands side of the family -- dainty and vintage with filigree and perfectly imperfect. we also announced our engagement at thanksgiving (planned) but i didn't find out about the ring until he surprised me in front of the family on christmas eve. definitely remember the "blur" feeling on both occasions.

    i'm so happy for you guys. i'm sure you will come up with the most clever wedding details -- i can't wait to see.

  20. Congrats to you and your future hubby! Enjoy every minute of it!!


  21. This story just made me remember the stressful butterflies I was feeling before I told everyone that Andy and I were dating. (We'd been best friends so long that when we started dating it was pretty much a sign that we'd be getting married.) And then my freaking out when people started to get in my business because we were dating. But I love what you said that even though it's public it's just the two of you. That's the perfect way to put it.

  22. This is my second comment ever on your blog.

    Being married is a nice thing, and I think you will find it satisfying. I, too, got married after living with my boyfriend for a long, long time with no real desire to get hitched. I can't articulate it properly, but one day, I was ready. When you are ready to share with us why you chose to take the leap, I hope in reading your story, I will think to myself, "Yes, that's it exactly. She said what I couldn't find the words to say."

  23. so refreshing and organic. i love that you shared the little details that everyone was so anxious to hear.

  24. The story behind your ring brings tears to my eyes. Seriously. Because it is so amazing that not only is the ring an heirloom, but that you went to such painstaking lengths to tell all your family in one day.

    And snapping at your Mom on Thanksgiving? If she's ever prepared that meal, she knows. My mom can be a B on Thanksgiving... but she's preparing a meal for almost 50 people, so we let her be!

  25. As always I love your refreshing writing. Thank you for sharing this wonderful event with us. Congratulations! Your heirloom ring is gorgeous!

  26. Congrats, again. This post is so lovely!
    And that ring is amazing!

  27. First, congrats on the engagement.

    Second, do you have a recommendation for a place to get the above-described good, expensive haircut in LA? I've been getting free haircuts from a trainee since I moved to LA 3 years ago but the last one was pretty bad so I'm looking for suggesions :-)

  28. love the description, such a fun announcement with family at thanksgiving. so classic.. and a door for a table.. genius! best wishes to you, the bride to be. xo.

    p.s. i agree whole-heartedly about the splurge on a haircut, now please indulge us in photo!!

  29. Congratualtions!!!

    I love the story behind the ring and the story about it all..sounds like perfection!


  30. part of the reason i love your blog so much is because of your thoughtful articulation and honesty. it always feels like i'm catching up with an old friend - and today is no exception. i was married last year, and i can completely relate to the hugeness of the moment. it's funny how it can catch you off guard when you least expect it. be present in it, though...it's amazing how much you learn about yourself. wishing you and d much, much happiness. congratulations!!

  31. when you post about crafts and recipes, i read your blog. when you post about flowers and books and dogs, i read your blog. when you post about emotions and meltdowns and sharing, i read your blog. i can't wait to add posts about weddings to that list too. :)

    congrats again!

  32. Oh, Rachel. Reading this gave me chills and made me smile, and I really needed to smile today.

    I'm so impressed you stayed so composed through all the prep! I might have lost it. And I love that your ring belonged to your grandmother; it's gorgeous. Can't wait to hear more. :)


  33. you have such pretty hands, rachel.

  34. I love your engagement story! My husband proposed to me in our bathroom as I was drying my hair - and on my birthday no less! – romantic, right? I don't remember how we told everyone, but our families live far away from us so I think it must have been over the phone.

    By the way - I know you don't plan to talk about wedding planning much on your blog, but if you ever have any questions about wedding planning, please don't hesitate to reach out. I remember how overwhelming it was for me, particularly in the very beginning, so if there's any way I can help please just let me know!

  35. So sweet and beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

  36. I love this story. I, too, am so excited to hear the details as you feel ready to share them. It sounds like everything you felt was perfectly normal, and I'm sure everything you will feel in the future will be just as organic - you express things so elegantly in your posts, and I look forward to sharing in the planning as you see fit to foreclose! Congratulations again!

  37. I cannot WAIT to hear about how you guys decided to get married and why... ang your (gradual?) process of engagement.

  38. Aw. I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and finally feel the need to comment. I love your engagement story, and can't wait to hear how it all came about. It's a fun time. :) Congratulations!

  39. So great to hear the story! Your ring is lovely. The 1930's turned out some stunning engagement rings (love mine). A few other people shared that the engagement is a bit stressful/overwhelming, and I totally agree. Just remember you are marrying the person you love, and it will all be worth it. Enjoy!

  40. many congratulations!! love that you have your grandmother's ring...absolutely sweet!

  41. Congrats on your engagement!
    Just stumbled across your blog...its lovely!
    Good to hear I am not the only newly engaged who is freaked out about the actual planning part! (And I even plan events for a living...I was told I might have planners planning block!)

  42. you know, i often found the traditions and ideals of "being engaged" and having a wedding to be a bit stressful, especially because we'd lived together for years and felt we were already a married couple. i sometimes cried in a not good way too because of all the expectations and found that focusing on the part about being joined to my best friend was what i needed to remember and not care about what everyone else thought or the colors of bridesmaid dresses. we eventually decided that the right thing for us was to elope to scotland and have a private and small ceremony just this past summer. it was lovely and i was not at all stressed, haha!

    sorry to write such a novel! i love your posts and this just struck a chord with me. you will find a way forward that works perfectly for you and that is all that matters.

  43. Eeee, super congrats :)! I totally feel you on needing some down time + celebrating just the two of you after making the big announcement -- especially when there's a not-so-side event you're hosting on the same day! Not a failure by any means -- my hubs + I decided we'd share the news of our wee one with our parents on the day we drove in to host her 60th birthday party (not that we'd steal her spotlight, but after the party, since we were in town and wanted to tell them in person). And I still shy from all the (kind and caring, non-intrusive) questions from all his family members -- I still feel like this is "private" but now public... A-hem, back to you :) -- congrats again. And your ring is doubly lovely -- on its own + bc it's your grandmother's :) Enjoy this engagement + the nuptials to come!

  44. I got teary reading this post! I also have my grandmother's ring - and her middle name. She died when I was 17 and I think of her every single day.
    Congratulations on your engagement!

  45. Huzzah! Thank you for sharing such wonderful news. Big Congratulations. I ate up every single word of this post, by the way.

  46. Congratulations again, such a beautiful ring.

  47. I'm thrilled!!!
    never take for granted that you CAN get married. not all of us can.
    that makes it even more lucky & special.
    heartfelt congrats.


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