We actually met online. We both belonged to an online forum but I actually hadn't participated in that particular forum for months and months. A friend, that I had met on there, called me one night and told me that I needed to sign onto that forum because he had sent me some emails on there and wanted me to read them and respond to them. So I signed on...
Nathan happened to be online at the time and we ran across each other on the boards and got to chatting back and forth. We chatted for quite a while and I told him that I wasn't interested in dating and that I certainly wasn't interested in a long distance relationship (we live 4 1/2 hours apart). I told him that I was finally at a place in my life where I was content and just didn't want to "mess that up" in the hopes that a relationship might work out. He said that he totally understood and that we could just enjoy getting to know each other as friends.
Needless to say we kept chatting on and off over the next several days. One week later we met half way between our homes and had our first date and the rest they say is history...LOL!
Well, to be perfectly honest, my fiance hasn't officialy proposed! I know - we're doing things a little bit backwards but it works for us :-)
I do know that the ring has been purchased (he had to special order it) and that the proposal is hopefully going to happen within the next few weeks. Soooo...stay tuned! I'll be sure and update you all when the big event finally does happen :-D
November 1, 2009, Nathan officially asked me to be his wife!!! And I said YES!!!
The day was a total surprise for me. I had no idea what we were going to do. I just knew that I need to dress warm for the morning and then bring a nice sweater or something to change into for later in the day.
We hopped in the car and off we went. It was a beautiful drive but since I'm not from around the area where Nathan lives, I had no idea where we were going :-D At one point, Nathan asked me to close my eyes. I found out later that there were signs along the road announcing where we were headed and he didn't want me to see them. He pulled over at this beauitful view and told me that we had arrived at the Columbia Gorge (on the Washington side)
After taking in the view....
We hopped back in the car and continued on our way. Our next stop was the local landmark, Beacon Rock. We hopped out of the car and started up the trail. 850 feet up the side of the rock!!! LOL!!! Here's just a sampling of the switchbacks we took on our way to the top! :-D
We stopped along the way so we could take in the view (well, actually it was more so I could catch my breath but I like to say we were taking in the view :-D)
We finally reached the top and had the rock and view to ourselves!!!
I sat down on a rock to take it all in and Nathan bent over to give me a hug and then continued on down to one knee. He pulled out the ring box and took my hand...I promptly burst into tears...and he said, I love you very much and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Denise will you marry me?...and opend the box to reveal the most gorgeous ring! Thru my very happy tears...I said YES!!!! And he put the ring on my finger!
We had a few more moments alone before another couple arrived at the top of Beacon Rock. They were looking at us sort of funny as they could tell I was crying. So I smiled and said, we just got engaged! Oh! Oh! They said...we can leave...we'll leave right now! We assured them that they didn't have to leave at all and they congratulated us and asked if they could take our picture :-D
They told us that we had just made their day :-D And they wished all the happiness in the world.
After we had our photo taken Nathan pulled out his blackberry and showed me some emails he had exchanged with my parents that very morning letting them know what his plan was for the day and asking them for my hand in marriage. That had happily given their blessing and were very excited for both of us! That of course brought me to tears again! What can I say...I'm a crier! :-D
After reading the emails, we took a few more minutes to soak in the view and then headed back down the rock. Once we got back to the car, Nathan told me that I should go change into my sweater for our next stop. I went to the restroom and changed and then off we went.
Our next destination was Skamania Lodge! It is absolutely gorgeous and the setting is stunning! We enjoyed their famous Sunday Buffet and shared our first champagne toast as an engaged couple. After finishing brunce we took a walk around the grounds and then unfortunately, had to head back to Nathan's so that I could pack up and make the 4 1/2 hour trip home :-(
It was the most wonderful, perfect and special day! And I am the luckiest woman in the world to be loved by such an amazing man!!! I can't wait until our wedding day!!!!
My fiance did such an amazing job choosing my ring!!! It is a white gold, princess cut center stone, 20 round cut stones on either side and on both sides of the profile, vintage inspired ring! I just LOVE it! We had looked at rings together and exchanged a number of online photos so that he could get an idea of what I liked but he picked this one out all by himself and it is just absolutely gorgeous!!!
Here are a few close up shots of the ring...not super great or creatively taken at all but they do show off the ring! :-D
So this is the ring that my FI chose. It's 7mm and stainless steal!!!
It's basic and simple but he loves it and said it was the most comfortable one he tried on! Plus we got a smokin' deal so that made it even more great!!!
It wasn't really in the budget for us to hire a professional photographer to do engagement photos for us so one of my nieces did them and I thought she did a great job!!! What do you think?
Amazingly sweet PW'er EmmyKim photoshopped some of our e-pics for us and they turned out so awesome!!! I'm just *bouncing* with happiness :-)
My colors are periwinkle blue (bridesmaid dresses, flowers, linens), soft yellow (flower girl dress, flowers, lemons, accents), black (groom and groomsmen attire), silver (candleabra's, accents) and white (wedding dress, flowers, linens, china, accents)
We created our own wedding vows (combined different parts from examples we found online and wrote some portions ourselves). They are perfect for us and we both cried the first time we read them out loud to each other :-)
I, Denise, take you, Nathan, to be my husband. Secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my one true love, today, tomorrow, and forever. On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and our family and
friends, my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful wife. Through the best and the worst. Through the difficult and the easy. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your
goals, go fishing with you even if it’s before 6:00 am, walk the Sportsman show with you every year, travel to new and exciting destinations with you, laugh with you and cry with you, always be open and honest with you. Whatever may come I will
always be there. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but
death parts you from me.
I, Nathan, take you, Denise, to be my wife. Secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my one true love, today, tomorrow, and forever. On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and our family and friends, my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful husband. Through the best and the worst. Through the difficult and the easy. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, look at all your scrap booking creations and say more than “that’s nice honey”, watch amazing race with you and let you watch Project Runway on the big tv even if the Blazers are playing and it's televised, travel to new and exciting destinations with you, laugh with you and cry with you, always be open and honest with you. Whatever may come I will always be there. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. May the Lord do with me and more if anything but death parts you from me.
This is my wedding dress!!!!
My 8 year old niece is going to be my flower girl. I haven't chosen her exact dress yet but I do know that I want to find something in a soft yellow.
12/12/09 edited to add...went shopping with my two sisters and my youngest niece a few weeks ago and we ended up choosing a totally different dress . I love it though and it looks great on both of my sisters.
This is my oldest sister in the dress but the one we're getting will be in a sky blue and the white shrug around her shoulders will be out of the same sky blue fabric :-) You can't see it here but the dress is floor length rather than the original tea length I thought I wanted.
This is my youngest nieces flower girl dress but it will be in a soft yellow
This is my youngest niece getting measured for her dress. She is just the cutest thing and is so so so excited to be a flower girl!!!
And the dresses are in!!! Here are my two sisters, me and my youngest niece picking up their dresses for the wedding!
Two of my other nieces are going to be my candlelighters. They are 18 and 19 years old and I'm going to let them choose the dresses that they will wear. I want them to match and to be a blue and white pattern if possible but other than that, they are going to choose them and then just run them by me (and their mother's :-D) for final approval.
We found the dresses for my two nieces :-)
We're going to pair the dress with yellow ballet flats :-)
Had my hair and makeup trial today. I took in my inspiration photos and the hairstylist did a great job on my hair
Thing is...I don't really like it :-( I went home and messed around a little and I think I like my hair down so much better. I just feel like me :-) So for now - this will be the look (but a bit more polished on the wedding day)
Oh and I LOVED the way she did my makeup! I thought it looked very soft and natural!
Right now I'm just looking for some inspiration photos to show to my hairstylist when I go in for a trial. Thought I would post some possibilities here :-) My hair is about the length of the first photo and I have a headband that I'm going to wear...still undecided about a veil or not. Here is the headband that I purchased
I wanted to have some sweet ballet flats for the wedding and I decided to get them in blue (to match my wedding colors as well as be my something blue) I found these from "The Dessy Group" and I love them!!!
My late grandmother's brooch. I'll be using it as my bouquet brooch
Not sure yet...stay tuned :-)
My wedding shoes
So there was some drama surrounding the venue.
I've always wanted to get married in a little white church with a steeple and a bell, etc, and I found that perfect church! Right here in my town!!! The sanctuary was the perfect size, intimate and quaint, with the old fashioned wooden pews, etc. We're having a small wedding, maybe 60 to 70 guests and didn't want to hold it in a church that seats 1,000, etc. Anyways, this little white church was perfect!!!
I first met with the church secretary back in July. I asked her very specific questions about what was allowed for decor, music, reception, etc. My fiance and I want a family friend, who is a Pastor, to perform our ceremony and I was told that was ok along with the other things I wanted as far as music selection, etc. I was told that I would need to provide the church with a letter from the Pastor and copy of his credentials which I did. I emailed back and forth with the church secretary on several occasions, asking and answering questions, etc.
Then on Friday, September 11th, my fiance and I, along with my mom and two sisters, met with the church wedding coordinator. We again reviewed all our plans and the specifics of the times for the decorating, rehearsal, ceremony, reception, etc. Everything was great! The wedding coordinator was very cooperative and accommodating.
Fast forward two weeks and I receive a phone call from the president of their board of elders. He explained to me that the church secretary and the wedding coordinator did not have the authority to book the church for a wedding and because I wasn't a member of their congregation or their denomination (which both the church secretary and wedding coordinator were aware of and knew specifically that I wasn't when I very first started talking with them) they could not allow me to have my wedding there.
I was shocked and quite upset. I explained to him that I had been speaking with them since July and it was now the end of September so it wasn't like I had just called last week and that I had already started making plans on the decor, etc, based on that being the location. He said that he understood but that my wedding was not going to happen there. I told him that I was stunned that his solution to a mistake made by their staff was to tell a bride that she couldn't hold her wedding there. I told him that perhaps a better solution would have been to review the wedding policy with his staff and let them know that in the future, only members of their congregation or denomination could hold a wedding there. I asked him to please reconsider and to please discuss it again with the minister of their church. He agreed to do so.
I then spoke with my fiance and after giving it a couple of days, we decided that we didn't want to hold our wedding where we weren't wanted and that we didn't want to feel like we were walking on eggshells if we asked the church to do something or accommodate a request from us, or like they are doing us a favor by letting us hold our wedding there. We want our wedding to be a joyous occasion full of happiness and excitment so, we decided to look for a new church. I called the president of the elders and informed him that we did not want to be where we weren't wanted and that I was not in need of his assistance any longer.
My sisters and I then went on a church-crashing excursion that next Sunday morning. LOL! My one sister and I had staked out some possibilities on Saturday afternoon and then all three of us went on Sunday morning and ran into each of the churches as their services began so that we could see the inside. It actually was pretty funny and is a great memory that we have together and it never would've happened if not for the first church doing what they did...so...we were able to take lemons and make lemonade! :-D
I found 3 great options and after talking with each church decided on one. It is a gorgeous facility that actually used to be an old theatre. It has amazing redwood hardwood floors and the "sancturary" seats about 200 so still a small, intimate setting. The area where we're going to have our reception is actually the old lobby of the theatre and it has cathedral ceilings and the same gorgeous hardwood floors.
The Pastor at this new church is wonderful!!! Truly wonderful!!! He is letting us do pretty much whatever we want to do. We can still have our Saturday evening wedding, which a lot of churches around here don't allow because of having to prepare for Sunday morning service. We can have our Pastor perform the ceremony. We can have whatever music we want and whatever decorations we want (oh this church also has old fashioned wood pews!!! *clap*) and the price was still affordable. Oh, and the Pastor assured me that he did have the authority to book the church - LOL!
So in the end, while this new church looks nothing like the little white church with a steeple and a bell that I had pictured in my head and thought I had found, this is the place for us! We felt welcomed and like they are excited for us and want to do whatever they can to make our day special.
So there ya have it...sometimes one door closes for another more perfect, although different looking one, to open.
Here are some inspiration photos...I don't really have a set idea on what I want other than the style of the bouquet and I know I want blue hydrangea in mine...other than that I am making a list of flowers that I like and ones that I absolutely don't want and then I'm planning on leaving it up to the florist :-)
photo by: S. Graham Photography
next two photos by: Floral Verde LLC
following photo by: J.P Langlands Photography
Oh and I'm using one of my late grandmother's brooch's as my bouquet brooch
For the centerpieces I want to do something like this only with lemons instead of limes :-)
So I'm going to make pew cones to hang on the ends of the pews. Here is a sample one I made
Those are going to hang on every other pew. Then on the other pews I'm going to have silver pew candleabra's like this
Only they won't have the legs at the bottom but rather, will be clipped to the pews. I'm going to cover them from the pew part down with the same white fabric that is used on the pew cones and will tie it off with a soft yellow organza sash that will puddle at the ground along with the white fabric.
We are using two of these at either end of the stage, on the floor level not up on the stage.
and then two of these up on the stage
I'm also going to have two of these up on the stage and they will have two of the tall lemon and floral centerpieces on them which will then just move from the ceremony to the reception.
We'll also have a unity candle/communion table at the center of the stage with linens and a floral arrangement on it.
I think it is going to be beautiful with all the candlelight glowing and the rich warm tones in the wood floors and the pews. I'm just really excited at how all of this is coming together.
For the reception I'm having round tables with white linens that go to the floor and periwinkle blue organza runners (there will be two organza runners on each table in basically a plus sign). I'm having a mixture of 3 china patterns (all with white backgrounds) and the chairs are going to be white wooden folding chairs with padded seats. I'm having center pieces of 22-24" tall vases filled with lemons and white flowers coming out the top.
Inspiration photo for linens
I found these great cloth napkins for .49 each at www.towelmania.com. Toile is one of my most favorite fabrics so I'm really excited to be able to incorporate a touch of it into the wedding.
We're going to have a candy buffet at the reception as our favor. So, at each place setting will be a little white chinese take out box with a tag tied to it that says something like - Thank You for sharing in our special day. Please be sure and visit the candy buffet and we're going to each sign the tag for that personal touch. I don't really like that it rhymes but the candy buffet has to be set up in a different room than the reception due to space issues and I want everyone to know that there is one and to please visit it. I found the chinese take out boxes online for $27 for 100 boxes
And I've been collecting glass containers for the candy buffet
I just purchased the wonderful "Love is Sweet" sign from our very own AnnaBanana to use at the candy buffet! YAY! (It will look great in our home after the wedding too!!!)
Thanks to MountainBride who came up with this idea - we're having a lemonade stand at our reception! :-) I've already purchased a flat white sheet to use to make the banner and my FI is going to build the stand for the sign for me :-) I'm super excited about this fun and happy element for our reception!
Edited 12/6/09 to add...and the winner is.....the words cake!!!!!
We're going to have three square tiers and they aren't quite as high as the one's pictured so we'll only have 2 rows of writing instead of three and our cake will be white with blue writing.
We chose all the words that will go on the cake so it will be very personal. Some of my favorite words that we chose are:
Tweetheart (that's what my FI calls me)
Awesome Possum ( cause I say that all the time and it make my FI crack up cause he says that there is NOTHING awesome about Possum's - LOL! :-D
Mr & Mrs
and lots more wonderful words that will make our cake very unique to us :-)
Oh and we chose this as our cake "topper" only it won't be on top...it'll be sitting on the corner of the second tier :-)
Edited 12/11/09 to add the great cake stand idea from PW'er Kristeen
I want to alternate using lemons in one vase and then led tealights surrounded by light blue stones/jewels (the kind that go in beta fish vases :-D) in the next and so on. I hope it turns out as great as hers.
I really have no idea what I'm going to do for a cake or who I am going to get it from. There are a couple of bakeries that are a possibility but budget is going to be a big determining factor. All I really know is that I would like a square cake and possibly the main color being blue and then any decorative work/writing being done in white. I have pulled a lot of inspiration photos (not all are in the right color scheme) and my absolute favorite is this one:
I also really, really like this one:
I would do both of them in a square shape. I'm just not sure that any of my small town bakery's could pull either of these off.
Here are some other cakes that I like too:
(I'm sorry that I do not have proper credit posted with each photo. I started saving them and did not keep track of which photo belonged to whom :-( )
So I finished my invites. Here they are:
So I'm making my own invitations. I wanted to do a photo invitation with vellum over the top and the printing part on the vellum. My FI and I were shopping at Michael's for supplies for the pew cones that I'm making and he found these, on sale, and absolutely loved them!!! They're not my first choice but are the concept of what I wanted to do and he was so excited about them, and we're really trying to do things on a very low budget, that I just couldn't refuse him :-)
One of my nieces, is a great photographer, so she is going to take our engagement photos and we're going to choose one of those for the photo on the invitation
I wasn't planning on doing a wedding program but after reading a lot of the posts on PW and seeing all the great ideas for them, I think I just might tackle that as another DIY project :-D I'll post inspirations once I find some that really speak to me :-)
Our very own Sankofa24 created a great monogram that was the jumping off point for my friend Dwayne who has a design and printing firm. Dwayne contacted me thru facebook a month or so ago and offered to create a monogram for me for the wedding. So using Sank's idea as inspiration, Dwayne and I came up with the following two monograms. I like both so much I may use them both in different ways at the wedding :-
I want to find gifts for our wedding party that are personal and meaningful. All the members of the party are family and it is just so special to us that they want to share in our celebration!
I found a wonderful seller on Etsy who is going to do personalized handkerchiefs for me for the mom's. My mom's is going to read: Thank you for raising your daughter to be the woman of my dreams. Love, Nathan, 04-10-10 and his mom's will read: Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams. Love, Denise 04-10-10. She is also going to stitch a small yellow lemon at the bottom of each to tie in the lemon theme that seem to have sort of become the focal point of my wedding - LOL :-D
Anyways...this seller has been wonderful and very responsive and enthusiastic! Her name is Chrissy and her shop is Chrissy's Creations
I have 7 nieces and nephews participating in the wedding and they range in age from 18-24. My FI has 2 sons, a daughter-in-law and his other son's girlfriend also participating in the wedding and they range in age from 17-24...and then we have various other people participating, like my brother (escorting my mom down the aisle), my brother-in-law (doing the video) and some friends (helping with set up) and we want to give everyone a gift but can't afford to do something big for everyone. So, I found www.discountmugs.com and created a personalized coffee mug! It totally makes me laugh and we're going to include some coffee "money" in each of them. Should be fun and bring a smile to everyone's face :-)
My friends at work gave me a shower this past weekend (3/13/10) and it was a BLAST!!!
It was a 'weiner' themed shower - LOL! A couple months ago we had a 'flasher' behind our office building and he was exposing himself to customers as they left the office. Of course we called the police and they took care of the situation...BUT whenever one of my co-workers tells the story she always says the guy was showing his 'weiner' *slaps forehead* I HATE that word!!! I don't know why but 'weiner' sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.
Soooooo...my co-workers decided to have a 'weiner' themed wedding shower for me!!! *rolls eyes* *LOL* *grins* It was hilarious!!!
There was a surprise visit from a well-known weiner :-D
And we played 'weiner' golf :-D
Me and my two sisters in the 'weiner' golf finals :-D
Oh and they made a 'panty line' for me...they wrote this great poem and I had to open different presents that were all panties and they hung them on the line...
It was a fabulous time and I got some wonderful lingerie (and 'other' things) for the honeymoon!!!
My friend, Brenda, who is also going to be my DOC threw me a shower on March 30th. It was a lot of fun and was a group of ladies that I attend church with. I really enjoyed myself and got some fun gifts :-) At the end of the shower they all basically started asking me questions about FI and I so it sort of turned into an interview - it was really cute :-)
This is one of my best friends, Robin and her daughter Rachel and her granddaughter Rilee who was born just 6 days before my shower. I was so happy that they were all there!!! It was my first chance to see Rilee and I loved that Rachel made the effort to come :-)
This is me and my mom
This is me, my mom, my sisters and two of my nieces :-)
The shower was held at a place called "The Bear Hotel". The president of one of the local banks is very community oriented and several years ago he got local artists to paint and decorate big fiberglass bears and they were displayed all summer on one of the main city streets. It has grown over the years and now there are huge nutcrackers at Christmas time and fiberglass bald eagles one summer. Well, this year the artists are doing bears on harleys :-D and the bear hotel is where the artists work and the past bears, eagles, and nutcrackers etc are stored and on display. After the shower my nieces went exploring and here are some of the fun photos :-D
Wedding dress - www.onlinebridalstore.com
Bridesmaid and flower gril dress - www.abridal.com
Shoes - www.dreamdressbridal.com
Photographer - www.vogueimpressions.com
Catering - www.goodnessgraciouscatering.net
Rentals (decor such as candelabra's) - www.thepartyplacepdx.com
Vinyl lettering - www.signnetwork.com
Floating Unity Candle - www.myweddingfavors.com
24 x 4 vases for centerpieces - www.flowersandsupplies.com
Personalized coffee mugs for bridal party/ceremony participants - www.discountmugs.com
Unique/handmade items - www.etsy.com
- personalized embroidered hankies for MOB and MOG - Chrissy's Creations
- custom earrings for bridesmaids - Jeweled Fibers
- organza flowers - Juja Crafts
- jewelry for rehearsal dinner - flipchick1369
- rhinestone design for bridal hoodie - CustomBlingApparel
Ebay, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Michael's and Wal-Mart have also been great resources :-)
12/12/09...I did my first DIY project today. Not to terribly difficult but still fun.
I wanted to have "Thank You" signs and didn't feel confident in my ability to paint the words and have them come out well and I wanted them to be large letters. So I searched online and found a vinyl lettering company www.signnetwork.com. I ordered the vinyl lettering from for a total of $20.57 including shipping. I then bought 2 16 x 20 artist canvas from Big Lots for $5 each and applied the lettering.
12/20/09...created my second DIY. Our Mr and Mrs signs to hang on our chairs at the sweethearts table :-)
Chinese take-out boxes for our candy buffet. They are going to be placed at each place setting so that the guests are sure to see them and also to add color to the tables. Took a few tries but I finally came up with this :-)
Anniversary Card Memories :-)
Each table at the reception will have one of these...
I went to the dollar store and found these great little easels 2 for $1
Then I bought 10 different anniversary cards (cause we're having 10 tables) and these were also 2 for $10
Then I wrote a little poem and printed it and glued it to some coordinating cardstock that I'm using for other elements of the wedding and attached the card to the easel.
Put it all together and for around $10, you have a sweet, sentimental and very special memory in the making (at least I think so :-) )
Thanks to a suggestion from MountainBride, I'm going to have a lemonade stand at the wedding :-D
The sign that I made :-)
Me...measuring out the size of the sign on the floor of my fiance's master bedroom
Tracing the sign using an overhead projector (had to do it in the master bedroom closet cause it was the only place dark enough - LOL!)
In the process of painting
The finished sign!!!
My fiance is building a frame so that the sign will stand on the table like the inspiration photo. I absolutely love this project :-)
Here is the completed frame and us holding up the sign (the frame will sit on top of the drink table)
We also finished the pew cones today. They will hang on the ends of every other pew :-)
And we finished the most labor intensive project - the lemon shaped wedding programs! I love how they turned out! :-)
Bridal hoodie - semi-DIY
I ordered the rhinestone design from http://www.etsy.com/shop/CustomBlingApparel and then I ironed it onto my hoodie. I'll wear it to my bridal breakfast the morning of the wedding, while I'm getting ready and then on our honeymoon flight to Italy :-)
I made up cards for my niece and nephews who are each doing a reading for the wedding and vow cards for FI and I to use. I didn't want anyone to have to worry about memorizing anything :-) I added a groom to the back of FI's vow card and a bride to the back of mine :-)