Oh my gosh, what an exciting post to write! I’m looking forward to sharing our wedding planning process with you, but first, I need to give a Texas-sized thanks to my parents, my in-laws (Jay and Denise), all of the May and Baker extended family and the Seaborne extended family. There’s NO WAY we would’ve been able to pull this thing together without your hard work. Also, I asked a friend, “how long did it take for you to plan your wedding?” And she gave her approximate timeline and followed it with, “however much time you have, you’ll get it done and it’ll be perfect.” And that was the mantra for the rest of the planning!
Surprise Engagement at Enchanted Rock
Just to set the scene for you, it was 2018 Superbowl Sunday (Feb 4th) and a beautiful Texas day. I’d returned from my France and Utah adventures and Jason and I had been having lots of fun together over the winter months, making meals together, seeing movies, catching up with friends, etc. I think we both knew that we never wanted to stop hanging out haha, but we hadn’t definitively talked about when we’d get married. I’d dropped hints in the previous year (he’ll say they were anything but subtle), but I genuinely didn’t want to pressure him and didn’t want it to be an ultimatum proposal. To that end, I’d made a deliberate decision to not bring up marriage/engagement from the months of August 2018 – February 2019. Just wanted to enjoy our time together, because ring or not, we had a great relationship and that was what really mattered. And, sometimes you have to go away to realize what’s important, and you have to live without the things you love to realize their value.
So, anyway, back to the details. It was a Sunday morning and I’d just gone for a run in the sunshine and 60-degree temps and was loving life. I asked Jason if he wanted to take a spontaneous day trip to Enchanted Rock and he said, “yeah!” Ee packed up the car and started on our way. We almost got into a car accident just pulling out of my apartment complex, which Jason later told me was because he was nervous about proposing. We stopped in Fredericksburg for coffee and kolaches on our way and then got to the park and waited in line. By the time we parked and started exploring, it was already about 4pm and I knew we only had so much daylight left. Have you ever hiked with me? If so, you know I like to go fast! This is sometimes where Jason and I disagree…he’s more of a meanderer (unless on the bike) and I like to MOVE. We got to the top of the rock and were taking pics and I asked Jason to take a pic of me laying on the rock with my fanny pack on. I was like, “This is gonna be the best photo of the day! I’m gonna write a hilarious caption of Here’s the most enchanting thing in Texas…and a big rock.” He was like, “lol, okay, are you sure it’s going to be the best photo of the day?”
We kept walking and he kept trying to get me to go on some steep side trails and I defiantly said, “no way! we’ll fall off the cliff.” But he was relentless and eventually pulled me into this little opening in a bush of scrub brush (I guess for privacy) and got down on one knee and said how much he loved me, how he wanted to do life together and other stuff I can’t remember and then asked if I’d marry him and pulled a ring out of his pocket and started putting it on my right hand. haha! I said, “yes, thank you, but that’s the wrong finger!”
I was so surprised and thrilled and it was surreal. Since we really hadn’t talked details, he proposed to me with one of my own rings that he’d snuck out of a jewelry box and then said, “I want you to pick out the ring you like.” But, this sounds really bratty after the fact, but I had this dream that he’d pick it out and said, “I want you to pick it out and surprise me. I just want some blue details…like your eyes.” Haha.
We called our families and shared the good news and my parents said, “we were wondering!” Jason had driven down to ask my parents for my hand about a week before.
We left Enchanted Rock and drove back to Austin, stopping for celebratory pizza and beer at Pinthouse.
The Wedding Planning Begins – First, the Venue!
The following Monday, my mom and sister invited me out for a congratulations lunch and to start planning! Okay, so here’s why it was a four-month engagement: he proposed in February and we initially thought about having the wedding the following September or October. That would have given us 8-9 months to plan and seemed like a reasonable time frame. But then we started thinking about the weather that time of year and the scenery and decided that there was a high probability that everything in Central Texas would be brown from a hot summer and that we could even have a lot of rain. Spring seemed like a prettier time of year, so did we want to wait until Spring 2019? Hmm, no, we’d already been dating for 3.5 years and that seemed like a long time. I think it was my Mom that suggested that we just do it the following spring, in 2018. I’d kinda dreamed about having a wedding at The Meadows Center in San Marcos, Texas. It was beautiful and still undiscovered and seemed like a neat experience for guests. I called The Meadows Center that day and asked about their spring availability and if June 2nd was available and they said, “yes!” Venue? Check! And only one day after proposal. A little less than four months until the big day.
Wedding Details – Picking a Dress, Flowers, and Invites
The next thing to figure out was a wedding dress. Probably like a lot of brides, I had an idea of what I thought I wanted and discovered that I wanted something different. I thought I wanted long sleeve, but they all looked weird on me. So, nope! I found my dress at David’s Bridal two weeks after Jason proposed and it needed only minor adjustments, which Lilian Mae Bridal did perfectly.
Mom and I started talking about flowers and I said I wanted soft pink and white and some kind of dusty green. She went to The Floral Studio in San Marcos for some of the arrangements and also worked with the San Marcos HEB. They both did a great job and I was happy!
On nights and weekends, we were building our guest list and collecting addresses. My mother-in-law had just helped plan her daughter’s wedding in March and had an amazing spreadsheet that she shared with us, including timelines, guest list management, budget stuff and more. Y’all, if you’re planning a wedding, use a spreadsheet! It’ll make life so much easier. We skipped save-the-dates and engagement photos because our invites would be going out about 3 months beforehand. I ordered a bunch of invite samples from Minted.com and played with some different color, font and paper variations. I’d originally wanted engraved invites, but they’re so dang expensive! Instead, we did printed with gold foil. My mom and I hand-addressed all of the invites and if you were lucky, you got one with her beautiful calligraphy.
In March, my sweet Grannie and Grandpa hosted an engagement lunch for us at The Gruene River Grill and I think there were about 30 family members there from both sides, some of whom had never met. It was so special to see everyone together and to make introductions and share stories. This was the thing that really started to make everything feel real and we were both delighted and grateful to have such loving families.
After we mailed the invites, we breathed a little sigh of relief. That was the first big to-do! We spent the following weekends with more items to knock off the list: cake tasting at Pennington’s Bakery in San Marcos, brisket sampling at San Marcos BBQ, ordering party rental stuff from Peerless (chairs, tables, linens, fans, tent, dance floor), finding a DJ, hiring a string quartet, tailoring Jason’s suit, planning the honeymoon, picking a rehearsal dinner and I’m sure more things.
As the date approached, we were less stressed about rain and more about heat. We’d rented a giant tent as our rain plan, but hadn’t considered that it could be so hot in early June. Memorial Day weekend was really nice and then our wedding day hit a high of 105 degrees. I called my Dad and was stressed…”should we reschedule? push it back? change venue? don’t want any grandmas to melt!” Dad calmly said, “it’s going to be okay, people know that you can’t control the weather and they’ll plan accordingly.” To make it as comfortable as possible for guests, we changed the layout of the ceremony, rented huge fans, bought paper fans and parasols, stocked hundreds of water bottles and told everyone to wear their coolest outfit. Although we all sweated, nobody fainted and once the sun went down, it was better.
During the wedding planning process, we made multiple trips to San Marcos to take care of things. One weekend, Vivian and I went down for a hair trial and makeup run and to buy the beer, wine and spirits.
Then, Jason and I went down on another weekend to spend time with flower girl Addie and her parents and sister, our sweet friends Melissa, Graham and Isla.
In April, Vivian asked me what I wanted to do for my bachelorette party. We had a small wedding party…just Vivian as maid-of-honor and Eric as Jason’s best man. Initially, I told Viv that I wanted to do a big group thing with friends in Austin, but then decided that a trip would be more fun. We were going to road trip to New Orleans and then, after a couple of beers, decided to just look up flights to Cancun. I had Southwest points and we almost flew for free. Then we stayed for 3 nights at an affordable, all-inclusive, resort called Paradisus Cancun. Our Mom was terrified and thought we’d be kidnapped, but we never left the resort and had fun swimming, giggling and enjoying sister time.
Also in May, Jason’s maternal side of the family, the May squad, hosted the most fabulous engagement shower! Jason’s aunts, Mom and Grandma went all out and fired up the backyard pizza oven, decorated the house, created a photo poster board and a jeopardy game, showered us with gifts and just made us felt so loved.
Another big thing to plan was the rehearsal dinner at Denise Baker knocked it out of the park. 😉 We had it at Palmer’s in San Marcos and it was perfect. We had a huge group of I think about 50 people, with many hilarious and thoughtful toasts. We shared delicious food and laughed at a nostalgic powerpoint of funny childhood pics. Thank you, Denise and Jay!
In the week before the wedding, Jason got his suit back from the tailor, we got our marriage license, finished pre-marital counseling, picked up the rented audio equipment and took care of any last minute things. We were doing our best to keep everything going, while my parents were holding down the fort in San Marcos and being tremendously helpful in talking with the venue coordinator, musicians, caterers and more. Seriously, at one point, my Dad had to meet the rental equipment company at the venue to make sure they wouldn’t hit any underground power lines when drilling big holes for the tent.
We made it to San Marcos on the Friday before our wedding for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then we all went to bed and got ready for the next day.
It was a very special day and we’ll always remember it with gratitude for everyone who helped make it happen and for all of the guests who shared in our celebration of a future together. Whether you have 4 months, one week, or 10 years, you can plan your own perfect wedding and it’ll all workout…just remember why you’re doing it and enjoy the moments leading up to the big event. There were a few times where I got so stressed that I just started crying, but then I had another friend remind me that it’d be over with the blink of an eye and to enjoy this special time.