“When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out.”
~ Elizabeth Bowen
Since we’ve finally (and I use the word finally very loosely here) found our venue, I thought I’d take a couple of days to highlight some of the major contenders that didn’t ultimately make the cut. The process was a long one, since, as I mentioned, I may have started
a lot little early.
In retrospect, the first venue I fell in love with might seem a little crazy… after all, it is in Arkansas. Hear me out, though. Mark and I are from opposite coasts. Our family live everywhere from upstate New York to Louisiana to Oregon. When it came to choosing a location, one particular place just didn’t scream, “pick me!” In fact, we almost felt like, rather than choosing sides, a neutral, interesting location might be a better fit… everyone would get to take a mini-vacation somewhere new.
Enter Thorncrown Chapel.
Photo Credit: Hudson Photography via Style Me Pretty
The gorgeous chapel was built by E. Fay Jones, a former apprentice of Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright. It sits outside one of the cutest little towns you’ve ever seen, Eureka Springs, buried deep within the mountains and woods of the Ozarks. Between Mark’s love of Frank Lloyd Wright and our combined love of the outdoors, it felt like the perfect place.
Photo Credit: Hudson Photography via Style Me Pretty
Of course, ultimately, it just didn’t feel right. The closest I’ve been to Arkansas is New Orleans. I wouldn’t even know what to expect, and Mark is no different. The whole thing started to feel a little contrived, two kids from the coast celebrating their love with southern charm?
Yes, I grew up on a horse and am only partially ashamed to admit that I love country music, but I am not southern. In the end, Thorncrown just wasn’t the right choice.
… although, Joe, if you really would play our wedding, I could be persuaded to change my mind… so, let me know.
I feel like most rustic inspiration lacks color, and I understand the urge. I love the simple look of a barn wedding in natural wood tones. But what about a pop of color? Is that allowed? And how much color is too much color, for any type of event? I’ve been playing with that idea for a while now.
Jill Thomas via Style Me Pretty / Invitations by Be True Designs via 100 Layer Cake. / DIY Fabric Chandeliers via Luna and Chloe Weddings / Sweet Caroline Photo via Style Me Pretty / Aaron Delesie via Style Me Pretty / Harwell Photography via Style Me Pretty / DIY Coffee Filter Garland via Pam Garrison / Field Photo by Edyta Photography / Sweet Caroline Photo via Style Me Pretty
On July 3, 2011, I overslept.
I suppose he knew for sure at about 9:45am that I had no clue what was planned. It was about that time that I was officially about to miss my Sunday yoga class, the first stop on a scavenger hunt that would eventually lead me all the way from Maryland to Oregon.
When I did finally drag my (hung over from a birthday party the night before) butt out of bed I discovered a hydrangea, a camera, and this note.
After I died, I called him. He wouldn’t answer, but texted me to continue on to my first destination anyway. Shaking, I cleaned myself up and headed out the door.
He wasn’t kidding, the hunt really did last the whole day. I visited the place we had our first kiss, our first home together, our favorite places… I told the through-hikers at the AT Visitor Center in Harper’s Ferry about my hunt and snapped their picture… I snapped my own picture too… I cried at least ten times.
At the end of the day, he gave me my final clue. It was an address.
Walking to the restaurant I knew he would be there. I was shaking, wondering how he would propose. Would it just be him? Would others be there too? Would he be down on one knee the second I saw him?
I arrived at the restaurant and asked for the “Olson” party, as I’d been instructed. Still shaking, I was led to a table. I looked for him…
What I saw, when my eyes finally focused, were my three best girlfriends with a bottle of wine and another note!
I think the poor things might have been a little scared. What kind of reaction was I going to have after all that buildup?! To be honest, though, I loved seeing them there. I loved him even more for including them.
We had an amazing dinner.
The note told me to pack my bags. His brother would be by our house early the next morning to take me to the airport. I was already checked in for my flight to Oregon… my home.
The rest is kind of a blur. I packed my bags, including my iPod, which was missing and mysteriously reappeared with a personalized playlist of love songs for the long ride. I made it to the airport in plenty of time. When I arrived in Portland, a town car took me to our favorite hotel. When I opened the door to our room, I heard The Ramones, “Baby, I Love You.” He didn’t miss a single detail.
On the dresser, next to “Baby, I Love You,” was my final clue. It sent me to Powell’s, just around the corner, for a book on Frank Lloyd Wright… and there he was. He led me to the waterfront… he got down on one knee… and he asked. It was like a dream.
That night we had another amazing dinner, and the next day we celebrated in wine country with my family. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around just how amazing it all was. I will never top this… I think I might be marrying the most romantic man in the world.
Photo Credit: Jose Villa
I have been planning this day longer than I care to admit.
And yes, I do mean since I was a little girl… but that’s not the confession. What I’m really talking about here is that for the past year, I have been poring over wedding blogs, searching for venues, researching photographers and caterers… all of it. I may have jumped the gun a little.
In what I’m sure was an awful year for my poor boyfriend, I stopped short of only two things:
1) Wedding Magazines
For some reason, I didn’t bat an eyelash at the 30 wedding blogs happily waiting for their daily visit in my Google Reader, but the act of purchasing a full-fledged copy of Brides was just too much. I have no logical explanation here, logic just doesn’t come into play in this scenario.
I can tell you that I wanted that DIY issue of Martha Stewart Weddings so bad it hurt.
2) My Own Blog
Yes, so that would have truly been crazy. But again, I really wanted one.
Now, I do have to blame him a little. The year began with an innocent trip to the local jeweler… to, you know, decide what cut of diamond was my favorite… totally innocent… He joked that it would be another 5 years or so, but if he was shopping… ?
I was pretty sure that the proposal was just around the corner. Then a few months passed… and a few more. We went on an unbelievably romantic vacation to Hawaii… found ourselves lingering in some of our favorite spots… fell in love a little more… a few more months.
It was a slow form of torture.
On July 4, 2011, he asked me. It was arguably the best proposal ever staged in the history of life.
It was so worth the wait.
So here I am. I’ve been planning for a year, but the funny thing is, nothing is planned. I have a Pinterest full of pins and a not-so-small obsession with the inspiration board feature on Style Me Pretty, but when the planning turns real, everything changes. Example: I was certain I had my venue all picked out. I called shortly after our engagement to check on dates, only to learn that everything I had assumed was exactly the opposite. My backup venue? Same deal.
So even though I’ve been planning this forever, I’m really just starting from scratch. It’s so exciting and so terrifying all at the same time… and I can’t wait to get started!