Monday, October 20, 2008

Engaged Encounter Weekend

Rob and I had the opportunity to attended Engaged Encounter this past weekend as part of our required marriage preparation. We had the choice between doing a one day session or a weekend session. Based on experiences of friends and family, we decided that the weekend session would be much more fulfilling for use. We were correct.

The premise of Engaged Encounter is to get couples to talk to each other about topics or issues that had not been addressed thus far in the relationship. Honestly, Rob was hoping that his Notre Dame degree and St. X education would exempt us from going to ANY marriage prep. courses or retreats. Despite his wealth of Catholic School experience we were still required to attend.

As we are getting married in Dayton, our Engaged Encounter was sponsored by the Cincinnati Community. Rob thought that I would like the Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Center in Milford more than our other retreat option - especially because of the changing of the leaves.

In spite of the fact that Rob and I have been dating for over five years, I was really looking forward to going on retreat with him because it is something that we had not shared together. Plus we are facing increasing amounts of stress and I felt that a weekend away from cell phones and other distractions was needed - even if, as I thought, there wasn't anything I could gain from the experience.

The retreat involved 12 couples, 2 presenting couples, and a deacon. We were encouraged to interact with the other couples and we did. The focus of the weekend, though, wasn't to make new friends and socialize but was to spend time revealing our fears, insecurities, hopes, and desires for each other and our approaching marriage.

The format involved about a 30 minute presentation on a topic. The couples would then divide and spend about 20 minutes writing in response to reflection questions the built off of the presentation. They were not related to our comprehension of the presentation. After writing, the couples would come together and exchange writings and then discuss the responses and any questions regarding the responses.

Rob had and I had eerily similar responses for almost all the questions (which was reassuring as we think that we are completely compatible). We did find some questions that we had not discussed despite our many, many, many conversations.

On Sunday, we closed the weekend with a mass. The weekend was a truly awesome experience that I recommend to any couple contemplating marriage. No reservations.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My dress has arrived!

My wedding dress has finally arrived. Although, I shouldn't say 'finally' as it has arrived a month before it was scheduled to arrive. I don't know quite how I feel about it - realized (as I was sick of trying on size 6 dresses onto a not of a size 6 body).

I have decided that trying on wedding dresses is the most awful thing in the world. There are a limited number sizes available as samples. This was actually a really cute dress - for an outdoor wedding (tried on at Altar Bound Bridals).

This was one of about 45 dresses that I tried on before I found "the one." I really like my dress and I purchases it from Madison Avenue Bridal in Covington, KY.

While all of the stores that I worked with on my dress hunt all had wonderfule salespeople, I especially liked the people at Madison Avenue.

They talked to me, asked me what I had tried and what I thought that I wanted. They told me to look around the store and then, based on our brief conversation, they started finding me dresses they thought that I might like or that might look nice on me.

When I tried on a dress that I didn't like or they didn't like - they were honest (refreshing because a lot of the salespeople kept telling me that i was beautiful in dresses that most definitely were not).

Plus, their dresses were wonderful and different than a lot of the dresses that I had seen in other stores. I really feel that a lot of thought and preparation when into selecting the dresses that they carry and that the people love what they do.

I can't wait to pick-up my dress this weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Engagement Story - Per Waton's request.

I published the brief engagement story of Rob and I on "The Knot" but Rob's best man requested that I provide more detail and I shall here.

My sister was graduating the weekend of May 10, 2008 from the University of Charlotte with her masters in school counseling and I decided that I wanted to go and offered to let Rob come with me.

Rob suggested that we take a three hour detour and head to Louisville, KY to have lunch with Rob's friend Watson, his, wife and there 1 1/2 year hold. As it was already going to be at least a nine hour drive, I was game but I didn't want to make Watson et al have to wait too long if we were delayed.

Rob insisted that it was fine and that he had already checked with Watson's wife and she was also willing to wait for us to eventually arrive.

We decided to meet at Tumbleweeds on the Louisville Waterfront (right near the fire boats!)
I really wanted to have a Hot Brown which is a local bit of toasted, cheesy heaven) but no one asked me where I wanted to go. Lunch was enjoyable. The company was enjoyable. I tried to get Watson's toddler to pull down a steer head that was decorating the wall - unsuccessfully might I add.

As we were leaving, Watson's wife said she had a gift in the car for me that couldn't be opened until my birthday. It was wrapped in what I like to call "Pretty Princess" wrapping paper.

As Kentucky is equally famous for horse racing as it is for bourbon, and Watson, true to his personality, seems to know everyone everywhere, I assumed that it was some sort of special bourbon that was going to be released on May 20th in commemoration of horse racing and because May 20th is my birthday, that is why I needed to wait to open the gift.

What I didn't know until later is that the box contained, rather than a smooth liquid refreshment, my engagement ring that Rob had shipped for safekeeping to Watson's. Apparently Rob felt that I was a bit of a snoop and that I would discover the ring if he did not take the extreme precaution of shipping it out of state. I am really not that nosy or snoopy.

I also didn't know that Rob and Watson had multiple, lengthy, and stressful conversations on how exactly the ring would end up in Rob's possession. As a military man, Watson felt that covert operations, involving throwing the ring box into the window as we were driving away or key exchanges under the table would work the best. I have no clue as to what Rob thought would be the wisest plan.

Luckily, they engaged in the assistance of Watson's wife who is much better as planning covert operations that Watson with all of his military experience and she developed the gift plan. It worked great because I would never open something that she gave me that had to wait. I like her too much. I would open whatever Rob had given me because I don't like surprises.