Reasons I’m Going to Marry Brian

Brian and I are getting married on September 16. For those of you not interested in mathing that out, it’s approximately 4.5 months  (or exactly 142 days) from today.

We had our engagement photos last weekend, and they were ridiculous,  just like us. For those of you not following on social media, here’s a sneak peek:

adorable engagement photos at a playground

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

That guy right there? Is my favorite. And soon, he will upgrade from handsome boyfriend to handsome husband. Here’s why:

  • He makes me laugh. So much. If you can believe it, he’s actually way funnier than me. And he can keep me laughing all day long.
  • He keeps me grounded. I was out with some girlfriends last night and we were talking about how WHEEEEEE!!! Out of control we can sometimes be, and Brian can bring me right back down to earth when I need to be there. But he also holds on tight as I flutter free(ish) in the breeze. Never let go, Jack Brian. Never let go.
  • He’s so fucking smart. I learn something new every day. He also understands things about the world and can try to rationalize them for me when social injustices make me cry.
  • He’s so generous. He lets me warm my cold hands and feet with his human space heater body…at night. When he’s trying to go to sleep. And then he laughs with me (see the first bullet).
adorable engagement photos at a park with board games

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

God, he’s the best.

 

via GIPHY

 

Are you married? Got any marriage advice? Why do you love your partner or best friend? Is your person as awesome as Brian?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

There’s Nothing More Tasteless Than Eating Disorder Jokes at a Bridal Show

When you think of a bridal show, you may have visions of creative photographers, wedding gown experts, travel gurus, brilliant bakers, and entertainment professionals settled at their respective booths, vying for the attention of every bride, bridesmaid, and mother of the bride in a 60-mile radius. And quite likely, you’ll expect this event to culminate with a parade of elegant men, women, and children in a bridal fashion show designed to elicit the oohs and ahhs of those aforementioned brides and their entourages.

What you don’t expect, I’d gather, is for a barrage of demeaning, disgusting, and downright offensive commentary from the fashion show emcee.

Last weekend, I attended my second bridal show in preparation for my upcoming nuptials. This time, I was accompanied by one of my amazing bridesmaids at The Windy City Wedding Show at the Embassy Suites in Naperville, where we made appointments for dress fittings, gathered ideas, and spoke with other potential vendors. It all went as expected. Until the fashion show portion of the afternoon.

As the lights dimmed, we were greeted by a man who claims on his entertainment company’s website to “know exactly how to make your special event, extraordinary.”

Extraordinary, indeed.

If this fashion show were an audition for my business, Keith Christopher (KC) KoKoruz of Keith Christopher Entertainment would have lost my bid the moment he opened his mouth. As the audience, which consisted of a female majority, awaited the show, Mr. KoKoruz asked for a round of applause.

When the audience didn’t offer enough enthusiasm to suit his liking, he made the following commentary:

“We’ve got some insecure and unattractive models back there. They’re going to need some more applause before they come out here. [If you don’t clap louder,] we’re going to have eating disorders up the wazoo.”

Not only were disparaging remarks made about the models in the show, but also this emcee tastelessly made light of eating disorders to a room full of women, many of whom had probably started some sort of diet regimen to fit society’s standards of a beautiful bride.

When did it become okay to crack jokes about eating disorders?

I’ll give you a hint: It didn’t.

I left that show fuming. Pissed at the man who spoke the words. Angry at the wedding show company that supports this sort of commentary. Irritated with the women who clapped after his speech. Mad at the world. Disappointed in myself.

Not one woman in the room, myself included, stood up and said anything to this man. I was ready to start asking him questions immediately after the show, but I could sense my companion was uncomfortable with this idea, and opted, instead, to email* Keith KoKoruza, who also owns Windy City Wedding Show and several other businesses tailored to Chicago-area brides.

In both a blog post comment and a Facebook comment, Mr. KoKoruza apologized for his insensitive and uncouth remarks, but his double apology came wrapped with excuses and exceptions. Anything but genuine remorse.

He was very confident that his humor was used successfully throughout the show though I found him crass and chauvinistic. But, to each their own. Humor is absolutely a personal thing. There’s a line, though, between crass and class. I assumed when I registered for a professional bridal show, though, I’d be receiving the class end of the stick.

KoKoruza also insists that his jokes about the models are funny because they’re his friends. “They are also some of the most secure and confident people I have ever met which is what made the joke so ironic,” he rebutted.

Unfortunately, KC doesn’t seem to understand that people who appear confident are not always as secure with themselves as they seem. Many people have close friends and family members struggling in secret with their eating disorders. On the outside, they look happy, fearless, and well-adjusted. On the inside, they are fighting a demon every day of their lives.

Eating disorders are lifelong mental illnesses. You don’t recover from an eating disorder. You don’t wake up one day and decide, I’m not going to starve myself anymore or I’m done puking up every meal I eat and then it’s over. You wake up every day and decide, I’m going to focus on taking care of my body today. I will fight my disease, and today, I will win this battle. Every day is a battle. Every meal is a battle. Some battles are easier to win than others. And some are harder.

But what those struggling with eating disorders don’t need is some man, who may or may not struggle with his own eating disorder (I won’t be so brazen as to assume he doesn’t), making jokes about it as if it doesn’t matter. As if it’s not real. As if every model behind those curtains wasn’t insecure. He doesn’t know.

But what he should know is the complete disregard for propriety he displayed to the audience at this wedding show in order to gain a few cheap laughs. It’s a shame there is no one to hold this emcee accountable because what KC KoKoruz said was unacceptable.

What would you have said or done if you had been at the show? How would you have reacted? 

*While Mr. KoKoruza did not respond to my initial email sent the day of the bridal show (apparently, it was lost in the system), he did see and respond to my Facebook message.  His response arrived in the form of a comment here and on Facebook, which you can view below.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Planning a Wedding is Hard Work

It’s been a little over two months since Brian and I got engaged.  We (and by we, let’s be honest here, I mostly mean me) are deep in the throws of the planning.

Since Brian has been telling me we would get married this year since last January  (why yes, he did wait until December to pop the question), I knew we didn’t have a lot of time to waste. So we jumped right in.

It’s gone a little something like this:

image

Read wedding planning book. I did this last summer, before Brian proposed, when my wedding guru friend Alessandra hooked me up with her amazingly helpful and real book.


Leave book on bedside table, let boyfriend wake up next to you reading book, and make notes in the margins when you know he’s looking.

*Results may vary, engagement not guaranteed by buying or reading this book.

Get engaged. Sometimes,  this will happen before the wedding book reading. You do you, Boo.

Drink champagne.

Ask mom to stop blabbing to the world before you get a chance to tell some of your besties before they hear about it on Facebook.

Tell the Internet.

Drink champagne.

Start receiving wedding advice from anyone and everyone. Choose wisely which advice you listen to and which advice goes in one ear and out the other. So far the best advice has come from my boss: “Don’t let the details stress you out. Don’t get caught up in Pinterest.”

The worst advice comes from everyone else (and let’s be honest here,  I’ve offered this up to a lot of people, myself, and even try to convince Brian it’s true, but it’s likely a do as I say, not as I do situation): “Don’t worry about what other people think. It’s your wedding. You’re paying for it. Do what you want.” Yeah. Right. You know how many people have already told me how irritating they find a wedding without cake? Fucking Pavlovian responses. Wedding bells = cake. Even when the bride and groom don’t particularly love cake.

Drink champagne.

Re-read wedding planning book. Alessandra encourages a do what you want mentality but she also understands that it’s not always possible and to focus more on the not stressing out part. She’s realistic about that shit.

Make future husband read the groom chapter of wedding book.

Binge watch Gilmore Girls.

Drink champagne.

Start making actual decisions.

Like the where: I started emailing venues for pricing, capacity, and other details. I plugged it all into a fancy spreadsheet I created and mathed the shit out of the prices. I narrowed it down to three places, found out availability for the general season we wanted, visited the venues and scoped out details, and ultimately made our decision.

And the photographer: This was a factor in our location as well. The photographer we (I) wanted was available on certain dates, which narrowed our venue options further.

And the DJ: We were so close to skipping this and just making a playlist, but decided the cost was worth it for someone who could actually read the crowd and manage the tunes to keep the kind of atmosphere we want.

Drink champagne.

And now here we are. Exactly 7 months from our wedding. We’re not completely on track with the timetable mapped out in the book, but it’s more of a guide than a rulebook, which is what we needed. With a lot more to do, I’m still not stressed. I’m excited. And in the grand scheme of all the things, the ONLY thing that matters at the end of the day? Is that Brian and I are pledging to spend the rest of our lives together.

So, fine. Let them eat cake.

image

What was it like when you planned your wedding? If you’re not married yet, what are you most excited/worried about? What was the best wedding you’ve been to like? The worst?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Didn’t Want Him to Buy an Engagement Ring

After a certain point in your relationship, people start asking questions. They ask if wedding bells will be ringing in the near future. They start grabbing your hand every time they see you, hunting for a giant, sparkly rock. They address invitations, thank-you cards, and holiday greetings to “Mr. and Mrs. _____” in an attempt to get a rise out of your male counterpart.

For me, this started about three years ago. His family. My family. Our friends. Everyone kept asking, “When is he going to buy you a ring?” For a long time, I laughed it off, showed them my empty ring finger and shrugged nonchalantly. A few months ago, I started answering with the truth.

I didn’t want a ring.

I didn't want an engagement ring

This is not to say that I didn’t want to get married. I just didn’t want an engagement ring. I love pretty jewelry, but I rarely wear it. In the first couple years of dating, Brian bought me necklaces and earrings that fit my personality perfectly. When I’m wearing these beautiful accessories, I think, oh, this is so nice. Maybe I’ll start wearing jewelry more often. Maybe I’ll be the girl who always wears fine jewelry.

Here’s my actual MO: I’ll wear the jewelry for a few weeks until I forget to put it on in the morning. I leave it sitting on the coffee table when I paint my nails. It gets left in the bathroom after I shower. Eventually, the necklaces, accent rings and earrings retire to my jewelry box, where they sit, collecting dust and waiting for some TLC. When I remember them, I pull them out for special occasions – weddings, special date nights and fancy parties, but then they go back to the jewelry box for another couple of months.

After nearly five years in a relationship, Brian and I have built a life together. We purchased a house and established our own little family of two. We talk about the future, marriage and babies. As a proposal drew closer, I’d begun hinting at not wanting a ring, but I wasn’t convinced he believed me.

We finally had a conversation about engagement rings, and I told him I’ve never had strong feelings about my dream engagement ring. I’ve fantasized about the ceremony, cocktail-hour cheese display, reception, honeymoon, and marriage, but never about the ring. It just wasn’t important to me.

I asked him if it was important to him that he buys me a ring. He wasn’t entirely sure. You know what worried him most? What other people thought. He didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I told him that we were probably going to disappoint a lot of people when we started heading down that path of wedding and marriage bliss. Not everyone will agree with our decisions for the wedding, how we choose to raise babies and God only knows what else.

I realized that his concern was mostly with social conventions, and I started thinking about my heirloom jewelry collection of rings passed down from my parents. I told him, “Just steal my great-grandma’s ring from my jewelry box, and we’ll be cool.”

He didn’t look swayed. We locked eyes and I explained I have a beautiful heirloom ring that belonged to my great-grandmother. I would be honored to wear it and have my family be a part of our wedding.

We considered the financial implications of buying a ring. To fit the industry standard, he was supposed to spend about $4,000, and so we talked about the things we could do with that money. From remodeling the bathroom to finishing the basement, planning a big wedding with our family and friends or paying for the honeymoon of our dreams, it seemed to me that stretching $4K further than a size 8 ring would be a wiser investment. And let’s be honest. A four thousand dollar piece of jewelry that I may wear for a year at most? My soul cries for the amount of cheese I could buy with that kind of money.

Sure, he could buy me an inexpensive ring, but I’m perfectly content with an heirloom piece that represents tradition and family. How cool is that? After I made my case, Brian finally understood and was on board with the plan to use my great-grandmother’s ring to signify our engagement. To hell with what everyone else thinks about buying a fancy new diamond. The ring I wear for however many months we’re engaged will be super pretty. And won’t have cost either of us a dime.

A week before we got engaged, he asked me one more time, “Are you sure you don’t want me to buy you a ring?”

I responded with a very confident “yes.”

I wanted to shift the focus from showing off the ring to sharing the excitement about committing ourselves to each other. And so, when my best friend silently pilfered a ring from my dusty, rarely opened jewelry box and asked me to be his wife, I promised to try and wear that ring every day. But for better or worse, when I forget to put the ring back on after washing the dishes or taking a shower, it can live safely in my jewelry box (I hope) while that four grand remains untouched in our savings account.

How do you feel about engagement rings? Do you have one/want one/not want one? Am I just a weirdo?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!