I never imagined I'd be writing a blog post like this. It's currently 3.18am and I’ve got an early flight to catch tomorrow. Lying next to me is a passed out future husband and a 6.5 pound snoring chihuahua. Life couldn’t be better. But how did we get here? I really don’t know! I mean, I guess I do...it's just that time flies and blurs all the steps between your milestones.
Please give me a moment's satisfaction of screaming it in writing for a sec: I’M ENGAGED!!!! It happened last weekend. I knew it was coming. Joseph, my partner, asked my parents for my hand in marriage back in November 2021 at Thanksgiving. To say we haven’t talked about or plan this day since summer of 2021 would be a lie. To say it didn’t take years of therapy, working individually on ourselves and working to cultivate a better understanding of each other would be a lie. Our relationship has been a soup on the stove, stewing at different temperatures for the past 8.5 years.
But how did we get here? Less than 9 years ago I learned that my boyfriend (who I lived with at the time) was cheating on me and talking to girls on his laptop while I was watching TV right beside him (among other things). I'd been clueless, perhaps too comfortable in the relationship. It was an abusive relationship on many levels, but mostly psychologically. I moved my shit out, got a cute studio apartment and began my love life all over again surrendering to this very new concept of dating called “apps”. There was only Tinder back then, and this was way before predatory swindlers lurked the app.
One of my first swipe right matches was a dirty blonde haired hipster named Joseph. He was the epitome of what I’d never dated before and I was so nervous to meet him. I still own the skirt I wore on our first date. He still wears the same outfit that he wore, except he’s since moved on from his deep v American Apparel tees. Anyhow, this was how it started. A date at Fig19 where we downed cocktails made by a Muslim bartender who'd never drank in his life before. Surprisingly good cocktail, I must say. He said I looked like the Latina version of Sandra Bullock and I remember thinking he was the exact opposite of the kind of men that weren’t working out for me. Could this be love?
I never thought about this in depth until now, but he didn’t try to take me home or pressure me to come up. He never asked to come to my place either. We kissed and he disappeared into a Soho loft building. I disappeared into a cab. As I fell asleep giving into the alcohol, I remember my final thoughts for the night: That was nice. I’ll never see him again but it was fun…and so refreshing to meet someone different.
And now, what's crazy is I’m gonna marry this man. Life just has a way, you guys. There’s no one who’s treated me better and who's willing to roll up his sleeves and make shit happen with me in this thing called life, than Joe. While it’s been nearly a decade, the truth is we’ve just scratched the surface and I hope we’ve got what it takes to last. What I know is that I love him.
And I literally can't stop looking at my stunning ring! The 3 stones symbolize me, Joseph and Frida coming together to become a family. To finally wear it is to experience my life—our life—in a new dimension. We designed my ring (and his) together, because this whole thing has been a partnership from the getgo. And this is just one of many things we’ve got planned.
I'm currently in the midst of planning an engagement celebration weekend for our immediate family and then a party at our house for all our friends and family. This will be my first time creating an event like this so I’m pretty nervous about it. In an ideal world, I'd have a planner or some outside help. But we decided to do it ourselves because we wanted to plan a weekend that would make us happy, and of course, we’re doing it on a budget. You might think “Oh she’s an influencer, she probably gets all these things for free…” but that’s actually far from the truth in this case! I can get all the face cleanser and watermelon juice my heart desires, but in New York City an upscale engagement party with hardworking talent making things happen does not come for free. I’d never expect it to either!
We're planning an engagement high up in the sky against the backdrop of the frenetic city in which we met. I’ll admit, it wasn’t my initial idea. But the more I researched “hot air balloon engagements” the more I realized not only were we risking our lives BUT damn those things are noisy! As one of the first people invited up to The Edge days before the New York City shutdown, I thought how epic would it be to return celebrating this major milestone in our lives especially after surviving Covid-19 in NYC? And so yeah, that's what we're doing! The funny thing about it is that we're both scared of heights...and yet somehow we always find ourselves at high altitudes. Without revealing all the details our our plans…don’t wanna jinx it! I do want to recommend a few tips for planning a special engagement event without losing your mind. Here they are…
My Tips For Planning A Memorable Engagement Party:
- It’s always about you and your partner, but your guest list matters too. Creating a room and environment with people who bring you good vibes and feelings is key. These are the people who celebrate your love with your partner and want to see you guys succeed as a couple and team. Think about the list. Remember, it’s not your wedding, it’s more intimate than that and the good thing is you don’t have to invite the people you might be pressured to for your wedding!
- Come up with a date at least 1 month in advance because in our new not-Covid-free-world, plans and reservations are much harder to make. Expect to put down not just a deposit but payment for the whole thing.
- Drop a hint to friends and family that you’re planning it so they can mark their calendars, buy their airfare and make hotel arrangements if traveling from afar. You might need to adjust the date around your closest friends schedules as it would be a bummer not to have some of your best friernds there.
- This is probably one of my best tips: Build a website for your engagement event and give it an easy to remember url that spells our your names together. Make it easy to access, navigate and understand as it will serve an itinerary for your friends and family to follow. Include descriptions of locations, addresses and suggested attire. This website should be easy enough to email, text or DM since this is the way we communicate now. You can also do a formal paper invitation but make sure the website is on there. The great thing about a website vs an tangible invitation is that it can never get lost!
- Give your neighbors a heads up that a party is going to happen. Invite them if you like! But most importantly they deserve to know about loud music, heavy foot traffic and anything else out of the ordinary that’ll be taking place that could disrupt their lives that day.
- Ask for help. If you don't ask for it, you won't get it. My famly is vey hands off in terms of helping out with planning so I've had to vocalize many times that I need help with things. Once people hear it, they respond.
- Look for local bakeries, barteders and chefs/caterers for your party. I emphasize LOCAL because there's less of a chance they'll get stuck in traffic or get lost or have anything major happen if they're close and have easy access to their headquarters in case of an emergency. Get quotes and speak to a few options in each category. I did a lot of this!
- When deciding on appetizers and cuisine in general, keep your guest's best interests in mind so they can eat, drink and have a good time. Take a tally of vegetarians, vegans, etc.
- Don't spend TOO MUCH MONEY! Remember, you still have a wedding to plan, bills to pay and a life to enjoy with your favorite person. I always say, "where there's a will, there's a way" and when I say it, it's always in reference to money. You can make beautiful moments happen without maxing out your credit cards.
- Lastly, create Pinterest boards of your vision. It really does help. As soon as I entered planning mode, I started 3 boards related to engagement, weddings and bridal looks. I had massive success styling and furnishing my new home by using Pinterest as inspiration tool, so now I'm fully committed to using it as a mood board for my engagement weekend. Even my outfit! I found so many beautiful engagement styles that they inspired a custom look I'm having made. Check out a few of my boards below.
Also, with Pinterest, it's not just about looking at other peoples' pins. Add your own. Uploading your own looks, hairstyles or accessories helps you visualize everything so much better. I just uploaded some of the images I used in this blog post. They're pics from the Rish bridal fashion week press show (that I was invited to before the pandemic. I got to try on several gowns and pose in extravagant bridal robes. It was so much fun! What I now see looking back on these shots are the flowers, the color scheme and the shape of the fabrics. These are all things to take in and consider as you're painting a picture of what you want.
I hope these ideas help you get organized! Let me know your love story and/or experience planning your own engagement celebration in the comments.