On July 31, 2013 Erik and I packed up the Green Hornet (aka my car, a 2012 lime green Ford Fiesta. The name is thanks to my dad…I have yet to come up with a better one) and hit the road to head back to Illinois for a long weekend. Once we returned from this trip I would be officially losing Erik to the world of MBA (his orientation started that coming Monday) so this was the last real chance I had to get him truly involved in the wedding planning process. The result of this fact was a road trip back home (home for me anyway) for 3 days of appointments, decisions and family time.
Thankfully Erik’s mom, dad, and sister, Kristin (also one of my bridesmaids), were going to be in Oshgosh, WI for an annual trip they take to an airplane festival type event. This meant that Kristin and his mom were going to be able to drive to Illinois and come spend the weekend doing wedding planning with us, which was such a blessing, as I want them to be as involved with the process as they can be.
Erik and I are getting good at enduring long car rides together. We spend a lot of the time talking about things, and yes, sometimes we hit metaphorical pot holes (to go right along with the real ones) and end up arguing for a bit, but the nice thing about that is we are both stuck in a car, so we tend to discover a problem, discuss it intensely, and come up with a solution all within the car ride. If you and your significant other think your relationship could use some work, go on a 800 mile road trip. It helps. Maybe it’s because our entire relationship up until the move has been long distance (save maybe a month total of time spent in the same state thanks to various visits) so communicating is something we do well, but every time we hit a disagreement or problem, talking it out works, and even if there isn’t an instant solution, we figure out what conscious efforts each of us need to make to fix it. Signs I know i’m with the right man 🙂
Anyway, after a 14 hour ride we arrived at my parent’s house around 9:30pm. Romano’s pizza was there waiting for us (this was also the weekend of “make sure Brianna gets to eat (and Erik’s family gets to experience) all of the Chicago-area food that isn’t anywhere else”). Romano’s is a place my family has been eating at my entire life, so it was nice to have that to refuel us after a long drive. The best part about walking into my house was seeing my dogs. That is the thing I miss the most about being home; I don’t have any furry friends to offer the unconditional love, cuddling, and allergy problems (okay, that one isn’t a loss) that I have been used to my entire life. After a little bit of visiting with my family, we headed over to my grandfather’s house where we were staying. He and Marilyn (his girlfriend)) live there now (for a time he lived at her place and I stayed there, until the epic flood that happened early spring), and were awesome enough to let us stay in the apartment upstairs while we were in town so I could avoid the allergy doom that would have come with sleeping at my parents house. After visiting with Pops and Marilyn for a bit, we went to bed, having no problems passing out with a day full of driving and knowing the wedding planning chaos that was ahead.
Thursday started easy, with being able to sleep in a bit. Erik decided he and I should go out for breakfast, so we asked Grandpa and Marilyn to come along, and they did. I’ve always loved watching Erik and my grandfather getting along as well as they have the few times they’ve seen each other. We took the opportunity to sit and talk about life in North Carolina, church hunting, etc, because that was the only chance we’d have to really sit and talk to them without the rest of the family around. Fueled my hearty grained pancakes, fruit, Egg Beaters and turkey bacon, we were ready to embark on our wedding planning mission of the day: the florist.
A friend of mine from college, Mike, is in the wedding business in the area and has been amazing with offering me recommendations for where to go for various wedding things (for which I owe him majorly), and the florist was one of the places he hooked us up with. We went in and talked flowers with Annie, who ended up being very knowledgeable, helpful and straight forward. Did you know that there are carnations that grow naturally in several magnificent shades of purple?? Yeah, me either. Well now a few of those will be with me on my wedding day. We spent about two hours with her discussing arrangements, ideas for the church, and even her nephew, who has Muscular Dystrophy as well. I love when that sort of thing serves as an instant bonding agent between myself and people I’ve just met. It’s sort of like finding another Alpha Chi Omega; you might have just met, but you’re now bonded in a way you weren’t before.
After spending time at the flower shop we went to church to meet with Pam, a woman from my church who has known me pretty much my entire life (as far as I can remember it’s my whole life) and is doing all of our invitations and other paper needs. We walked into a bit a of a welcome party with the group of people that happened to be in the building at that time, which was wonderful. I feel so at home there, and have missed my church greatly since being away. After some socializing we got down to business and spent some time discussing our invites, arguing over the RSVP cards (there were 6 people in attendance, all of which voiced opinions..it got intense at times), but finished with a good idea of what direction to go. Ever since Pam and i have been shooting emails and PDF files back and forth, trying to find what’s just right. Today (8/24) is when I finally sent the “perfect! let’s do this!” email.
The only other thing on the agenda for Thursday was dinner with my Aunt Norene. We went to Lonestar Steakhouse (just the 3 of us) and had good food and good conversation. She also showed us our engagement present. She was awesome enough to get us our crystal toasting flutes for the big day. They’re beautiful.
After dinner we got a call that Pam was at my parent’s house with revisions in hand already, so we hiked it back over there for a bit before heading back to grandpa’s for the evening. One busy day down and two more to go.
Say tuned for part 2, complete with photos. When Erik’s mom shows up you know there will be plenty of photos. 🙂