Sam and Mark's Super Happy Wedding Funtime

Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

We did an engagement photo shoot last week. It was weird.

In a good way.

I was really anti-engagement pictures. Adamantly. It was something other people did. Cute people in matching hats or boots or sweater vests. People who make me want to throw up. That said, I’m really glad we did it because it is going to make taking pictures at the wedding so. much. easier. Like a million times easier. For many reasons. Including:

  1. Our photographer is rad. Seriously. She is really easy to work with. And despite my awkwardness and anxiety, I actually had a lot of fun. I am not going to magically look like a supermodel in these pictures, she is not a wizard, but I felt really good taking them. And maybe that *is* kind of magical.
  2. Being photographed is not normal. Just going through the motions of this photo shoot is comforting. A dress rehearsal. Now, I won’t feel awkward. Well, I probably will, but I *know* I will and I *know* that’s ok and that makes a huge difference.
  3. I realized that I have to actually kiss Mark for more than half a second in order to get a decent picture. This is good information to have as PDA is not a natural thing for me. Well, documented PDA is not a natural thing for me.

So yay to engagement shoots! I never wanted one, but I’m so glad we did it. It was really fun!








All pictures from the delightful Emily Takes Photos


I’m not really the wordsmith in the relationship, so Sam has taken up a lot of the blogging on this site. However, the one year anniversary of our engagement being today, it seemed like a good time to actually break my streak of not posting. It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since we’ve been engaged, but that’s a good thing.

Reflecting upon the events of that weekend a year ago, I’m surprised at just how much of it I can still recall. I’d planned what I hoped would be the perfect weekend getaway to Monterey where I would ask her to marry me in front of the kelp forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She’d already stated that it was one of her favorite places in the world, so it seemed like the logical choice. Also, just look:

It’s pretty much right at the intersection of beauty, science and tranquility.

Of course, planning the perfect weekend and actually executing it are two very different things. The very first significant event of the weekend occurred when we stopped to get coffee before leaving town:

As we were getting out of the car to grab a quick coffee before getting on the road, Sam dropped her phone and it very conveniently landed screen first on the hard concrete. The phone itself was technically still functional, but only barely. When we got on the road, all I could think about was how to fix this problem so Sam wouldn’t be all stressed out for the weekend. But in a way, this was a blessing in disguise. It pretty much established the fact that no amount of planning is going to make for the perfect weekend. We tried to get it fixed at an Apple store in Monterey, but with no luck. At this point, I’m sure, Samantha was quite curious as to why I was making such a fuss over the phone. I knew that one of the first things she would want to do after I had asked would be to tell friends and family, so staring at a broken shell of a phone might be more than a little distracting. But she carried on like it wasn’t a big deal, saying things like, “See I can still use it fine and I only get the occasional piece of glass in my finger.”

The hotel we stayed in had some lovely views of Monterey Bay, so we were able to see some otters, seals and (if I wasn’t mistaken) whales outside of our window.


Samantha would wake up at 7am to watch the otters feeding in the bay. I could hear her trying to keep her oooohs and aaahs to a bare minimum while I was barely conscious, but it still made me smile to hear it.

The aquarium part of the trip was, at least for me, the most stressful. Try having an engagement ring in your camera back for a whole day while switching lenses constantly. It seemed like the most logical place to put it, but every time I reached in I was worried it would come flying out by sheer force of will. Thankfully none of that happened.

What did happen was that they decided the weekend we visited would be the ideal time to clean the tank in the kelp forest! The last thing I wanted was a bunch of divers with weird suction cups staring at us while I asked the question. So throughout the day we’d swing by the kelp forest and there they were staring back at us. Additionally, for some reason, the bees and hornets that day were all quite busy trying to fly into my face. Maybe they’re attracted to rings, or something. Regardless, every time we stepped outside a bee or hornet would just start hovering around me. Strange. They certainly weren’t helping with the stress level! We decided to call it a day later that afternoon and stopped by the small beach near the hotel just to check out some of the waves. While we were there one wave came in particularly hard and soaked Samantha’s pants, so back to the hotel we went. At this point, I was trying to think of ways to get us back to the aquarium before closing. We had some gifts to pick up, so that seemed to be as good an excuse as any.

Back to the aquarium, we hit the gift shop quickly and I noticed that the divers had completed their cleaning for the day and the kelp forest exhibit was pretty empty. Seemed like an ideal time. Not too many people to stare, so the proposal would be relatively quiet and understated, something that we both wanted, I’m sure.

“Hey, let’s check out the kelp forest again now that the divers are gone.”

We sat down on the back bench away from the few people that were still there and I reached into my camera bag. I’ve heard that when you ask, you should already know the answer and I was 99.99% certain Samantha would say “yes”, but that didn’t make it any less nerve-racking. My heart was beating like crazy, I had the butterflies in my stomach. All the cliches were covered.

“So, I actually had another reason for coming here this weekend…. ”

I didn’t drop to a knee or anything. Didn’t want to draw the attention of the few people that were there, plus it seemed a little cheesy to do so.

“Samantha…will you marry me?”

Thankfully, she said yes. She’d picked out the ring on a random stop to a jewelry store (honest!) about 6 months prior and had all but given up hope of seeing that particular ring again, so she was ecstatic to see it. I had to stop her ever so briefly from putting the ring on her finger herself.

“Um, I think I’m supposed to put the ring on your finger.”

“Oh. OK!”

So I took the ring out of the case and placed it gently on her ring finger.

A lovely dinner at a French restaurant rounded out the evening and we made the calls to our respective families and contacted our friends. Samantha’s phone was still shattered, but it didn’t seem to be as big a deal. It had still been a pretty perfect day.

One year ago. Doesn’t seem that long ago, though, and I’d do it all over again. Fortunately, Samantha has a better case for her phone this time.

I’ve finally found a wedding website that makes me feel good about wedding websites! A Practical Wedding is something I stumbled across while scouring the interwebs for guidance on our current favorite non-plan plan. This site makes me happy and hopeful that I won’t fall into the giant wedding machine or if I do, that I will be able to climb back out.

Anyway, yay for sensible people celebrating the joys of marriage in all the wonderful, different and special forms it takes!

So as this non-planning pre-planning phase of the engagement continues, I’ve realized a few things:

1. Engagement really isn’t any more fun. I’m extremely happy to be engaged, don’t get me wrong, but other than the fancy shiny bobble I get to gaze at lovingly, there really isn’t anything more to it other than now we have to plan a wedding. Or a non-wedding. Some sort of thing. Or non thing. Turns out what I’m really excited about is the marriage. Go figure.

2. Weddings are reeeeeeeeediculous. Expensive. Excessive. They are bizarre. I want a relaxed and fun afternoon. This is apparently not included in your basic wedding package.

3. I’m easily bogged down in details I’m not even involved in. Mark keeps reminding me we need to think big picture, then we can focus on the details. I, however, need the details to know what the big picture entails. Maybe not the exact details, but details flush out the big picture. Right? Right?

4. Speaking of details, why are there so many? And back to 2- why are they so expensive? Linen rentals? Cake cutting fees? A fee at a wedding TO CUT THE CAKE. Blerg. You people are not getting any cake.

None of this is news. It isn’t like I didn’t know this going in, but it is still something I had to discover/experience for myself. Now I just need to remember that this is supposed to be fun. Even if it isn’t stress free, it should be fun. When it stops being fun is when it is time to take a break and remember why we are doing this and who we are doing this for. The second (ok, maybe not second exactly) I start feeling myself getting sucked into the role of Bridezilla is the second we elope. And for reals elope, not 3000 dollar elopement package elope.

Though, that 3 grand does include the cake.

Today, I received my first official wedding-related gift: an emergency essentials kit for the big day.


This kit has everything from bobby pins to super glue to something blue. It is adorable.

I’m still not sure what we will do for the big day, but I do know that with friends like these I’m not going to have to worry about a thing. (This does not mean I won’t worry, just that I won’t have to worry…)

I am not a huge fan of unknowns. Especially known unknowns.

Unknown unknowns, I am ok with. But not too ok. I wouldn’t welcome them, lest they become known unknowns.

Known unknowns drive me insane. I need to know. Not unknow. Know. For instance, you are kind enough to buy me a gift for my birthday. You tell me “I got you a birthday present!” There is no “Thank you!” or “How nice!” there is only “What is it?” It turns out in addition to not liking unknowns, I’m also terribly rude.

So what does this have to do with enjoying the engagement?

So glad you asked.

It isn’t that I don’t want to enjoy my engagement. I do (ooooh, trying that on is fun!), but there are all these questions. Have you picked a date? Where will it be? What are your colors? What kind of dress? Buffet or table service? Who will you invite? Will you elope? Does Spoon even play elopements?

So many questions! So many unknowns!

So I’m going to try to be good! I’m going to do my best not to freak out over the large quantity of unknows. I’m going to enjoy finding them out and in the meantime, I’ll have to keep reminding myself of my knowns. I know I’m happy. I know Mark and I will have fun, no matter what we decide. I know I’m lucky to have friends and family that love and support me and are curious about what we will do. I know I can’t afford Spoon.

I am super lucky because I will be able to know all my unknowns in time. And if I end up not knowing any of them, they probably weren’t that interesting to begin with.

We are not making any plans.

We are enjoying the engagement.

At least that is the plan.


Sam and Mark