Love Does!

This weekend magic happened!

For the past six years two of my best friends have been in love, and in that time the rest of our group has met someone, dated, got engaged and married and they are still in love, not married, not engaged just together. They have moved across the country together, have 3 animals together and so what is the hold up on marriage you ask?

Well they also happen to be two girls and one of their parents hasn’t known about the love at all. So we have all waited, encouraged, had the only major fight in our friendship about when her parents would know and when they could move forward. And about one year ago we just stopped asking all together, trusting that it would happen when it could.

But this weekend, they got engaged! Now do her parents know yet. .. no! Will they know soon . . .yes! But you know this really isn’t about them! It is about what love does . . .

Love does bring magic to life !

Love does wait six years to move forward because there is no one else they could imagine being with!

Love does leave their own house when parents come to visit!

Love does trust in their partner through it all!

Love does last!

Now if anyone of our group wasn’t going to last these last six years you would think it would have been them, the strain of simply waiting and the unknown, no posting on Facebook or “meeting the family” in any official capacity.

But we have watched them only get stronger over the past few years, to grow to . be one team that will stand against the odds together. That when one family may be lost they have formed their own to brace the storm, and that is what love does.

They choose each other every single day, and will continue to do so, and that is what love does!

Love is a choice, and action it is a tangible experience not some abstract feeling, love is decided each and every day. When someone does something to annoy you, to disappoint you, that goes against your values, love is the choice to work through it and not walk away.

As my friends move into this new stage of life, a stage we have all anxiously awaited I pray that they are greeted only with the choice of love, and if the day comes that they are not I pray that they remember to turn to their chosen, family.

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Here is a picture from the secret garden we made for them for their proposal!

-Rae

For the Bride who didn’t grow up dreaming of a wedding.

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So you know every chick flick shows the little girl with her barbie dream house playing wedding, it shows the two best friends dressed up in their moms wedding gown singing here comes the bride, it zooms in on the Wedding Dream Book that she has been building since she was 14, with all the colors, flowers, centerpieces and wedding etiquette rules all outlined, years of research to perfect it.

And I am sure there are those girls out there, my bridesmaid and college roommate who got married 2 years ago was one of them, her wedding took exactly 2 months to plan and that was only because that was how long it took to execute the plans she had already made.

However for me, and I am sure many others out there this was not the case, I hated Barbies and their dreamhouses, I often found myself playing with Lincoln logs and running outside, and I NEVER thought about my wedding. This is not to say I was a total tomboy,  I wore a dress to school everyday till the third grade, I have famous pink cowboy boots I wore until the toes began to rip. I girly things and things not so girly, but in all of that, I NEVER dreamed of my wedding.

This might have to do with the fact that I grew up in a single parent household wear weddings were not attended regularly, there were no wedding pictures hanging in the house, and it was never expected that you needed to get married, or that you needed a man in your life at all.

So now here I am 24 and getting married and I am expected to know ALL of the wedding rules, who gets invited to the rehearsal dinner, what does the mother of the groom wear, when you do send out invites, is it rude to not allow guests, what are the traditions, what should a reception timeline look like. . . and my overwhelming answer is I DONT KNOW!

Now I am at that 32 day countdown till my wedding and The Knot and Wedding Wire have definitely been some of my best friends throughout this process, I have figured out every question that I have been asked, but this leaves me wondering,

Why am I supposed to have all of this picked out already?

Why is it assumed that I have been dreaming of this day for my entire life? Because guess what I wasn’t I didn’t even think I would get married until I met Mr. I was perfectly happy on my own and I enjoy that I can take care of myself.

So the world needs to embrace these women too, don’t expect too much of your brides, give them time to plan something they may not already have worked out in their heads, and don’t stare at them funny when they say that they don’t care what you wear, or how you do your hair, don’t make them feel less Bride-like because they aren’t obsessed with having the exact shade of grey throughout the entire venue and when they tell you that everything is going to be ok. .. trust them… not all of us are Bride-zillas to be!

❤ Kelsi Rae

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The Evolution of the Breakdown

I had a breakdown, a huge crying, incomprehensible speech, blubbering breakdown, and the best part was I had no idea it was coming.

I am not a huge cryer, I have noticed that recently it has become more apparent in my life, when I am mad or upset a few tears will slip from one eye or another but never a huge issue. Even when Ben and I fight it is never a huge deal, I will let a few tears fall quietly and we both continue fighting and no one really has to address these tiny tears.

Well the breakdown started Saturday night, I had class all day on Saturday and then Ben and I went out to a great dinner where we tasted three different bourbons, we had a drink with egg whites in it, and tasted oysters (for the first time for me). It was a wonderful celebration of just being alive and being in love. We got home and began stuffing our save the dates, The first big act to let other people know, Hey we are getting married and we would love to have you there. It should have been a great night, but we both started snapping at each other, and it ended with me hiding behind the still up and lit christmas tree letting a few tears fall as I finished writing the return addresses on the last of the save the dates.

As we headed to bed you could feel the tension between us, but I don’t think either one of us really had any idea why we were fighting. We fought about nothing for like 20 minutes when I got up to leave, he tried one last time to prod at my hard shell, “Kelsi what is wrong.”

And I lost it, sobs erupted and I sat on the edge of my future bed crying harder than I can ever remember crying. I simply kept repeating, “I don’t know and I am sorry” over and over. Ben got out of bed, came and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed with me and wrapped us both in a blanket. As I sobbed and mumbled speech even I couldn’t understand, he repeated ” It’s going to be ok.” As many times as I could say “I’m sorry.” He sat through my blubber and held me tighter the harder I sobbed. All the while reminding me that we would work through it together, that I was never alone in this. And after what seemed like an eternity of tears, when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to cry again, we climbed back into bed and he told me that he would choose me everyday no matter what.

I still couldn’t tell you what the root cause of this breakdown was, or really how it cleansed my soul. But I can tell you that just letting someone know that I need help, that maybe Grad school, and planning and wedding, and working full time isn’t as easy as I continue to tell myself that it is was such a freeing experience. And I can tell you that I made the best decision of my life, by marrying this man.

I hate to blame my fatherless past for many things in my life, I don’t want to fall into that stereotype of women. But sometimes I have to own up and admit that it did have an impact on my way of viewing the world and this is one of those times. I don’t think I have ever cried in front of a man in that way. I don’t think I have ever felt that they would hold me in that way and still view me as the women they loved and wanted in their lives. I have always held the assumption that if the man that was supposed to love me unconditionally couldn’t live up to that, no one ever would. Now that is not to say that my mom wasn’t the best mother and father she could be, I never wanted for anything that I needed and she made sure I had a life where I could honestly say that my father wasn’t missed too much. But she was only one person and it is unrealistic to expect her to be two. However I think I can officially say that not everything you grow up believing about men, women or the world will hold true. I am so happy that this particular thing wasn’t true.

Even though I still have all of those things to balance, and I still strive to be perfect, to manage all of these things, stress- free. Maybe that is not realistic and being able to hold onto the fact that when I can’t do it anymore, when my perfection falters and my insecurities show,I won’t be alone is the more reassuring thing I have in my life.

In 7 months I will marry this man and hopefully some day he will ensure that our daughter never has these same insecurities because she will grow up knowing that no matter what two people will love her unconditionally.

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What Say Yes to the Dress doesn’t tell you. . .

Dress Say

For years I have been obsessed with Say yes to the dress, I mean who doesn’t love a 20 minute episode where you get to watch women try on 10,000 dollar dresses, where Mom and Dad just fork over whatever dollar amount it will take to make their little girl happy. I am pretty sure that I never saw a dress budget less than 2,000 dollars on that show, and whenever a girl said her budget was 2,500 dollars you could see the consultants internal eye roll and sigh as she tries to think of what dresses they have that will fit within that teeny tiny budget.

But even so I dreamed of a Randy, of someone that would magically find the dress that was just built for my body, a dress I never would have picked out for myself but sucked in all the right places and pushed out the other one. I dreamed that when my budget conscious, thrift store loving Mom saw me in this one of a kind gown she would fall in love and throw the budget out the window so that I could have this perfect thing,( Now that might have been a little ambitious).

I dreamed of the tears and screams of joy that would come from me, my mom, my bridesmaids and probably the stylist, because the dress was just that perfect. That one moment where you look in the mirror and never want to get out of that dress again in your life. . . (Damn that would have been a lot of tears.)

But I also dreamed that I would probably not fit into any of the dresses on the rack, because well I am a size 12 ( the US average by the way) but wedding dresses just run so small that I would probably be a size 16, and no one would carry that on the rack, only you know those size 6 dresses, that I haven’t fit into since 8th grade. Because again my beloved Say Yes to the Dress taught me well. . what to expect for size.

I imagined that I would have to try on many many dresses, that I would fill up my 2 hour appointment and probably walk away empty handed, that I would need to go to multiple shops and see every option before I would know for sure, before I would get that feeling.

Well it didn’t exactly go like that. . .

Let’s start with the things that did go like my dream, when I walked in to the store my mom did throw out the budget. Meaning that when asked for a budget she looked at me, and said “Well what do you want to see?” And even after that when I gave the stylist a budget she followed up with, “Well if it is perfect and it is a little more than that, I still want to see it.” This from my mom that has never worn a dress a day in her life, and is going to wear a pant suit at my wedding.  From my mom who loves thrift stores where pay 1.50 per pound and whose entire wardrobe was  Thrift Store chic before Macklemore made it cool. She wanted to see the 500-600 dollar dresses.

I also was put into some dresses that I would have never picked out for myself, Some of them pushed in all the right places and pushed out the others. While others just let everything hang in ALL the wrong ways. You know that saying a 2 lb sausage in a 1 lb casing, . . well that was me in some of this professional stylists choices.

I also did have a Randy, and by that I mean I was able to work with a male stylist, he wasn’t over the top excited about what he was doing. He wasn’t in my face about anything and he didn’t try to hard to push his agenda of what he thought I would look good in. I preferred all of this!

Now what didn’t go like my dream . . .

One a budget of 500- 600 dollars was more than enough for the dress of my dreams. I did not try on a dress that was more than 100 dollars over my 500 dollar budget and they were all beautiful. (I picked out a 549.00 dollar dress)

I did not need to be fit into a magical dress that I would have never picked out for myself. I did not need to “think outside of my comfort zone” and I wasn’t too one track minded. I know my body and it looked amazing in exactly what I wanted. I patiently tried on the dresses that were nothing like what I came in wanting. I tried on the tule, the mermaid style, the beads and the ballgowns. . and even liked some of them more than I imagined I would. But none of them were for me. When my bridesmaids walked up with my dress in hand it was exactly what I had told them I wanted on the ride over. They listened to me and picked out my dream dress, fit to all my specific qualifications. ( And contrary to Mr. Randy, bridesmaids, moms, sisters make great shoppers off the rack, they know you way better than a stylist anyway).

I also fit comfortably into almost every dress we tried on. They have rack sizes that range from 0 ( which was the size of the girl standing next to me) to my lovely 12 and I tried on a 14 for good measure. I also was a size 12 in my wedding dress, just like the pants I wore into the salon. There was no up-sizing in any of the gowns I tried on. So don’t be scared of the sizing you will look gorgeous.

And most of all. . There were ZERO tears. I walked out in the dress and took a deep breath in. It was gorgeous, but not tear evoking. My mom, and my bridesmaids loved it, It complimented my body well, it was wonderful. And then it hit me this was only like the 7th dress I tried on. . this couldn’t be it. It was too easy.

So I walked around, made sure I could go up and down stairs and sit comfortably. I made sure that the train would look good with my shoes an d that I wasn’t going to be worried about my boobs all day. I had the alterations lady come to the bustle for me. And I added a sash for a burst of my colors. And still when everyone else told me it was the one, I was nervous that it was too easy.

So like that I entered the dressing room, removed the dress and the terrible corset of an undergarments that you have to wear with them and stood with my wonderful maid of honor and asked her if it was too easy. She has known me for 10 years and told me that ” You are the most sure of yourself person I know, it wasn’t too easy, this is just you.”

And in that moment, I knew. . this was my dress. So I said yes to the dress just like that, no frills, no tears, no screams. It was my dress and I can’t wait to get married to my best friend in it. It didn’t need to look like a neatly packed 20 minute episode of Say Yes to the Dress to be perfect. It was perfect just for me. .

❤ Kelsi Rae

What 2014 taught me . . .

Are you ready for one of those life lessons you can learn in a year posts? Well I hope so, because it is coming for ya!

1) I can make a difference where I am right now. . . watching the struggle the minority communities are going through right now makes me want to change the world. I need to go out and save the world from itself, all alone right? Well that was my first thought, but then as I thought about it some more. I maybe can’t change the entire world from my facebook account but I can change the lives of my students. They are the future of our country and if I can impact the way that they view themselves and the world then my reach will be much bigger than it could be from behind my computer screen. I have learned that the behind the computer screen ” activism” ( which is what I am doing right now, right?) just seems to make people more angry, but if I can influence my students, and make them believe that they are smart, strong, beautiful and worthy. If I can educate both my white and my minority students about what type of place I hope the world will be one day they can make a much bigger difference than I can. And if that is the impact I make on the world, I will be forever proud of that.

2) I have learned that no matter what you prioritize in your life, that becomes obvious in your actions. When I entered grad school this year I was told over and over again that this would destroy my relationships with friends, family, but most importantly with my then boyfriend Ben. I was determined to never let this happen, I was going to do what they said was impossible, balance them both. And I did it! Throughout the first half of grad school, I missed the Friday happy hours, and the halloween parties in order to have a weekly date night and we made it work. The time we could take together we did it whether that was just making dinner and watching TV or hitting a coffee shop on Saturday so that we could both get our work done., and in that time we have gotten engaged, and began planning our wedding so it must be working.

3) I have learned that you must find the people that will match your effort, and hold onto them tight! I have only about 6 true friends at this point and that is all I need. Whether they are 1000 miles away or 2 minutes away you have to know who is worth it, and more importantly who is not worth it.

4) I have learned that planning a wedding does not have to be as stressful as everyone says that it is. I started planning my wedding during my 4th month of grad school. Another feet people kept telling me couldn’t be done. I learned quickly that tuning out other peoples opinions when they are not needed is the key. I figured out what I wanted and made it happen. Everyone tells me about the most stressful months of their lives, and I will tell you if I get there. But the key is too enjoy it. This is ONE day of your life,you have to focus on what is more important, the life you are going to build with your husband.

5) Love is a choice, everyday! This year my fiancé watched one of the couples he looked up to growing up, get a divorce. They made their strife and frustrations very public on facebook and this made it hard for him as we enter into our marriage.Growing up in a single parent household I never thought that love was enough, you can love someone with your whole heart, and yet that could not work out. That is something my mom deals with to this day, watching the man you love disappear from your life. It was tough watching my fiance learn this lesson, but  I think that it will be something that helps us during the hard years of our marriage. Knowing that everyday we have to choose this love, we have to choose “Us” everyday.

6) A new years resolution is just an everyday resolution with an easy date to remember. You have the choice to change everyday. You can make yourself a better person any day of the year. Don’t be boxed in by the January 1st fresh start. If in 2 months you need a fresh start you take one then. You are always making choices about your life, make sure you are making choices you would be proud of.

I hope that 2014 has taught you things you will carry into 2015. Welcome to the year from Back to the Future. Make the most of it.

❤ Kelsi Rae

The bad bride blues. . .

So I think I am a bad bride.

I don’t love the spotlight, I don’t want to tell everyone every detail of the wedding and gush about the flowers and the colors and the dress. I love my fiance and I am so excited about our wedding. And its not like I am not on top of the planning, because believe me I am. I have the venue booked, the flowers picked out, dress ideas up the wazoo, the menu created, but I just want to keep all of that to myself. I share it with my fiance, my mom ( she is paying for it after all), and my best friend ( sometimes I even forget to include her.) And that is all. . .

People will find out I am engaged and immediately want to know all of the details, this seems to happen more to my fiance though, girls ask him all sorts of questions, and like really he is a guy he knows a lot but why as him about the wedding. But they want to know all of the details, I just give them a look like please random physical therapist that I just met, no I don’t want to share every detail with you.

Even people that I am close to and gladly share the information with when they ask, I generally don’t volunteer the information without prompting. I just feel like this is my thing, I get the pleasure of planning a party that is just about me and my man, and why do you need to know all of the details now, 8 months in advance? Most likely you are not even invited so you won’t see any of this executed. Now I love a good wedding pinterest board as much as the next girl, I think I am just uncomfortable with the direct attention that I receive as a result of this new found status in my life. My future father in- law so nicely reminded me that this day will be all about ME! Oh god, I thought to myself.

Then we took engagement pictures last weekend, two hours of a camera in my face and I was so uncomfortable. . but according to #theknot, that is supposed to prepare me for 8 hours of photos of me on the big day . . well #FAIL!

Speaking of The Knot, they have things on their wedding checklist I can’t even imagine, having the time, money, or desire to do for my wedding. They have suggestions like start a pampering week, getting a massage, manicure and pedicure ( ok this one I might do) hair done. . all weeks before the wedding for a trial run and then do it again. I don’t even think I will trust someone else to touch my hair the day of my wedding, but that is more a result of my hair- crazed ways than anything else. But I have no time to spend weeks focusing on “pampering” myself. Will I look good, yes, but that does not take weeks of preparation. Is this something women do on a regular basis? Maybe this is why my wedding won’t even cost 1/4 of the average cost of a wedding in America which is over 25,000 dollars!!! That is the cost of a new car, that is over double what my future hubby just spent for a car. That is ridiculous, who is paying for these weddings, I get anxiety thinking about the few thousand dollars people are dishing out for mine I couldn’t imagine spending four times that much, what do you even spend all that money on?

With all of the pinereset and instagrams dedicated to weddings and brides and engagements I feel like I am the only one that feels this way, do all women automatically crave attention when they get engaged? Do we all become a little narcissistic for 8 months of our lives? Is there a secret bridezilla ready to spend daddy’s, mommy’s, hubby’s and her own money on center pieces and massages, and the 1000 dollar wedding shoes I used to crave so much, inside every woman. Maybe I just haven’t let my bridezilla out yet, we will see when she surfaces over the next 8 months . .

Signed . . . the bad bride

❤ Kelsi Rae

No, your grandma cannot come to my wedding!

So I am getting married next August in the most beautiful chapel that I have ever seen. It has been my dream to get married there for a few years since I learned the history of the chapel. Give me a good history and I will fall in love with most things, and this one has a great history.IMG_0062

It was build in the late 1800’s and as a result it is the size of an 1800’s chapel that means that it sits about 85 people and we are going to push it to 90 for our wedding. This means that my ceremony guest list is very exclusive :). But apparently people think they can invite anyone they want, including themselves and grandparents. So due to this limited size we are not allowing plus ones at the ceremony.

Since becoming engaged I have discovered there are two types of people when they hear the news, (these people exclude your close friends and family that display a normal level of excitement)the people who are like oh congratulations but give you the side eye like they are not super happy for you, thats fine I don’t need their happiness. I prefer those people to the second type of people, the second type of people,  these are the people that maybe you used to be really close with, or you were coworkers a few years back. The people that haven’t talked to you in about a year, these people become overly excited and begin asking for all the wedding details, the location, the date, the colors, what is your dress going to look like, way more information than you were wanting to start announcing when you updated your “life event” on facebook.

They do these large show of excitement of feigning friendship in order to be able to end the conversation with the epic statement, ” I will be looking for the invitation.”

Well that is awfully forward of you. . lady that I have not seen or heard from since you moved in with your boyfriend despite the numerous attempts I have made to hang out. Oh you will be expecting the invitation, to the couple that cannot make the 45 minute trip for anything even birthdays are you sure you will be able to do that for a wedding.  What, no you may not bring oyur Grandmother that lives in Arizona that I have met once to my wedding. T

hank you for assuming that I need to use my limited seats on you and spending money to feed you and not inviting someone that has probably seen my in the last 6 months. Maybe someone that even knew I was going to get engaged. I have discovered that this is the most annoying aspect of  the wedding planning so far. I hope these people don’t become to upset when over the next 9 months that they continue to not speak to me that they don’t receive a wedding invite.

I am assuming that the level of friendship will not change before the wedding, and will not change after the wedding, so really what am I hurting by not inviting them. My great aunt that my mom wanted me to invite, that I will concede to, Great Aunt, here is your seat at my wedding. However to the “I will be waiting on the invitation” friends I am sorry, you will be waiting a long time for that invite.

#isthisevenmywedding?

#becomingaHarris

– One in a million Budget Brides,

❤ Kelsi Rae