The Truth About A Long Engagement

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I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile because people always asked me while I was engaged, “Do you like having a long engagement?”

The short answer is no, of course not. We were engaged for almost two years (1 year and 10 months to be exact) and our wedding day felt like forever away.

We decided on a long engagement for many reasons but at the time, we didn’t realize just how long it would feel. We stand by that it was the right decision for us but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

I break down the pros and cons below, but my overall feeling is: I loved being engaged and I loved the whole process of wedding planning, but it was challenging staying focused and not getting discouraged when time seemed to stand still…until two months before our wedding day anyways, and then BOOM! Time flew.

PROS

{ONE} Enjoy wedding planning without stress.

I didn’t relate to people who said wedding planning was stressful. Honestly, it was a lot of fun and easy to maintain. Maybe it’s because I’m Type A so organizing multiple projects and to-do lists gives me immense amounts of energy, but wedding planning was a really fun process.

{TWO} More time to research, save money, and prepare.

Having a long engagement means more time to research options, save money wherever possible, and prepare for different situations. I loved researching florists and looking for bridal gowns because I didn’t feel rushed to make decisions, and therefore compromise what I wanted. This was a big pro for a budget-friendly bride like myself!

{THREE} You can procrastinate and it’ll still all work out.

I know I just said I’m Type A, but there were times when I procrastinated. Thankfully, even though I procrastinated on a few tasks, it all worked out in the end. (Hallelujah.)

{FOUR} You can choose any date you want.

For “regular engagement time” brides, finding a wedding date can be tricky. You may settle on a date you didn’t want because of availability or budget. When you have a long engagement, however, the calendar is open! We chose the date we wanted without having to “fight” for it. If you’ve ever watched Bride Wars, you know what I mean.

CONS

{ONE} Literally everyone will get married before you. 

I’m going to be completely honestly with you. This is the biggest con in the entire list. I admit I had difficulty staying positive as people got engaged and married all before our wedding day. It was really easy to fall into the “Seriously!? Wait your turn” mindset. Reminding myself that every love story is different helped me keep it in perspective. At the end of the day, I would be married to my best friend and all the waiting would be totally worth it.

{TWO} You just want to get married already.

This is an obvious one, but as the months *slowly* passed by, the more we really wanted to be married. We were in the process of decorating and preparing our house, thinking about the holidays and beyond, and it made me so freaking excited to be married to Luke. It felt like time was standing still and the wedding was still so far away for our next chapter to begin.

{THREE} Things you like when you first get engaged won’t be in style or “on trend” by the time you get married.

From wedding colors to flowers to music, everything will change from the time you get engaged to the time you get married. Colors we loved at first were no longer what we preferred later so our theme changed drastically. Another aspect of this was the whole “people getting married before you” thing. One of the things I had to be okay with is that just because we got engaged first, didn’t mean we got first pick. For example, if someone got married first and chose the same song for their grand entrance that we were thinking of using, we were back to the drawing board for Plan B, C, D, E, or whatever it may be. (For the sake of argument, we could’ve used the same song and probably no one would’ve cared or noticed, but you get the point.)

{FOUR} Your guest list changes a billion times.

People you are friends with or work with at the time of your engagement will most likely change by the time you get married. Meaning, the guest list (which was already a very stressful part of wedding planning!) changes a lot.

 

Long engagements are not for everyone. Although it’s difficult to wait to marry your best friend, if it’s the right decision for you as a couple, then stick by it! I have one tip for long engagement brides: Be flexible. There are going to be times when you are frustrated or feel like time is standing still. Believe me, I get it! However, it will all work out and at the end of the day, you will get to marry your best friend and that’s all that really matters ❤

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2018 in Review: Change, Do, Joy

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Can you BELIEVE 2018 is pretty much over? This year flew by way too quickly but honestly, it was by far my favorite year so far. I’ve never felt so strongly about a year ending but 2018 was really one for the books so it makes me sad that we’re nearing the end.

At the beginning of the year, I chose three words to theme 2018. A lot of my New Year’s Resolutions fit under the three words: Change, Do, and Joy. Man oh man did these words truly embrace what 2018 ended up being all about. SO much change. SO much doing. SO much joy.

Take a look at my 2018 in review and comment down below what your 2018 highlights are!

Change.

Less coffee. slowly decreased the amount of coffee I consumed in a day to {on average} 16 ounces. This is truly a miracle because at the beginning of the year, I drank close to 40 ounces a day at least!

More water. One change I made in 2018 was that I told myself I couldn’t drink coffee unless I drank at least 8 ounces of water first. Doesn’t seem so hard, right? Wrong. In the morning, the last thing I wanted was to drink water first but slowly, the habit changed. I also started actively tracking my water intake with my Fitbit app and realized I wasn’t drinking as much water as I thought I was. I now consistently aim for at least 64 ounces a day and it makes such a difference! I feel healthier and more energetic.

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More reading {and audiobooks}. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read at least 25 books, and thanks to apps like Audible and Libby, I was able to achieve this! A list of my 2018 books can be found here but a few favorites included The Paris WifeThe Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Lilac Girls.

Less TV. At the beginning of the year, I realized I spent way too much of my free time watching TV and/or Netflix. I would complain I didn’t have any time but when I started to list what really was taking up my time, I realized I could make conscious decisions to truly open up my schedule. One of those changes was less TV. I watch Netflix occasionally but I wait until the rest of my to-do list is complete before I do. Fun fact: Luke and I don’t own a TV so that definitely helps!

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Less clutter. WOW. I had a LOT of stuff! I love decluttering but in the process of moving to our house, I realized I had too much clutter. I read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up which really helped me truly take a look at what I was keeping, understand why, and if it didn’t spark joy, I tossed it!

More budgeting. #Adulting at its finest. We have a budget and we stick to it. I’m sort of a nerd but I actually love the excel document that tracks what we spend and how much we save. Highly recommend.

 

Do.

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Get married. I mean, this is the biggest DO on the list! For most of the year, I planned for our wedding day. I absolutely loved the whole wedding planning process and loved getting married (and now being married) to Luke even more. ❤

1-Second Every Day Challenge. This has been one of the BEST things about 2018! I started the 1-Second Every Day video challenge on 1/1 and never stopped! I will definitely post it once it’s completed on 12/31. It’s been such a fun way to capture all the little moments throughout the year in an easy-to-execute type of way. HIGHLY recommend downloading the app and joining the challenge in 2019!

Social Media Marketing Certification. This one has been on my goals list for a while so this year I decided to finally take the 10-week course and get certified in social media marketing and content strategy. It was a fun experience/challenge and I’m glad I finally took the time to do it!

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Run a 5K. I am NOT a runner. I’ve written blog posts about this before but running a 5K has been a goal of mine for some time. This summer I had the opportunity to run a 5K for someone who means so much to me. I was honored to run in memory of my mentor. It made the whole experience mean that much more to me.

Read 25+ books. I love to read but in years past, I never made it a huge priority. It was something I did if I had time. In 2018 I decided that not only would I make it a priority to read more, I would set a goal to read at least 2 books a month. Thanks to LibbyAudible, and the Goodreads app, I did it!

Learn to cook. This was sorta, kinda mandatory when I moved out. I received an Instant Pot as a wedding gift and it is amazing! I’m slowly but surely experimenting in the kitchen and I have a feeling that 2019 will definitely evolve my growing love for cooking.

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Travel more. I traveled to New York, Boston, and Aruba this year. All were amazing experiences in their own unique ways and I’m thankful for the memories!

Pay off student loans. GOODBYE, STUDENT LOANS! 👋🏽 As of a few weeks ago, I officially paid off the rest of my student loans and it feels sooo good.

Move into our first house. We moved into our first house! It has been a blast decorating and making it ours. I’m SO excited for our first Christmas together. Here’s a quit snapshot of our tree (before we purchased a tree skirt).IMG_9190.jpg

Joy.

Unlike Change and Do, Joy is not a list of accomplishments, achievements, and milestones. It isn’t a specific lesson or goal. It is a mindset and a way of viewing the world. Joy is not a temporary feeling like happiness or excitement.

The Lord says to “Rejoice!” and so this year, I aimed to do just that. In every situation I tried to seek out joy. Rejoice in the Lord. Consider it pure joy when we face trials. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Again and again, God reminds me that in all things, He is in control. The joy of the Lord is our strength. While Joy was my third theme word of 2018, it is never truly complete. Joy continues and so, seeking joy is never something that is finished. Finding the little joys of life, like waking up to sunshine or drinking your favorite coffee on a Saturday morning, is an every day choice. We have to CHOOSE joy. It does not come naturally. One of my favorite quotes is “You have to CHOOSE joy and keep choosing it.”

Let 2018 be a reminder of the joys you chose. Let it be a reflection of the person you grew to be this year, regardless if 2018 was good or bad. Let joy be an ever-present thing we continue to choose in 2019 and beyond. Let the joy of the Lord consume you as you live every day to its fullest. Joy is a choice so let us always, always, always keep on choosing it.

Here’s to 2019 and everything that is to come.

Monthly Roundup: October Favorites

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WEDDING MONTH.

That was the theme of October. Tons of checklists, meetings, last-minute fittings, packing, coffee…

And then finally…

OUR WEDDING DAY.

By far, hands down, 100% no question about it, October flew by faster than the rest of 2018 put together. I will have to write an entire blog post on just the wedding day because how can one sum up the best day ever in a single paragraph? It’s impossible.

Below are a few of my October favorites.

{ONE} Milburn Orchards

One of my favorite memories of October was my bachelorette-ette party with two of Luke’s younger sisters. We planned an entire “basic white girl” themed day complete with Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, leggings and boots, and a trip to the local orchard. It was a blast and I’m so excited to call these two my sisters!

{TWO} The Paris Wife

I finished The Paris Wife this month, which is a historical fiction novel about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. I borrowed it from a friend because I loved the cover (yep, totally judged it by the cover) and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a bit dry in some parts and a little risque at times, but overall it was a good read.

{THREE} Wedding Day

The best day of my life!!! It went by way too quickly and was filled with my all-time favorite things and people (duh!). It was a rainy Saturday in October so a lot of our photos were in the rain. Honestly, even though we didn’t get the beautiful golden hour with fall lighting that I had envisioned for so long, it was still a day to remember and one that we will cherish forever. I got to marry my best friend, how cool is that?! Check out the hashtag #PapiliEverAfter for some guest photos while we eagerly await the professional pics together!

{FOUR} Aruba/Renaissance Island

We went to Aruba for our honeymoon and oh my goodness, it was stunning and we cannot WAIT to go back! There are so many things we wanted to do that we didn’t have time to get to so we will definitely be returning in the near future. A few highlights include beautiful sunsets over the ocean, Flamingo Beach, chilling in hammocks, and seeing beautiful fish swimming in the crystal clear blue water. Paradise.

{FIVE} Lilac Girls

I can’t put Lilac Girls down! I started it on our flight to Aruba and read it any chance I could while chilling on the beach. I love learning about American history, especially World War 2, and this book is about three girls from three different countries with three different experiences that occurred during World War 2: one from Germany, one from Poland, and one from America. Incredible read so far and I already highly recommend it.

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Monthly Roundup: September Favorites

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This month was the first full month living at our home. (To clarify, Luke will move in after we’re married in October!) One of my favorite things about our new home is how close I am to work; my commute is 5-10 minutes now instead of 45-60 minutes. It’s ah-maz-ing and honestly has positively impacted the quality of life. I do not miss sitting in traffic at 8am!

There was a lot of change in September. I’ve loved settling into a new routine and *slowly* making our house a home. I’ll have to publish a blog post soon to show you all the DIY projects we’re doing around the house to make it our own, but for now I’ll share a few of my favorites below.

{ONE} Bridal Shower

My fabulous bridesmaids, mom, and friends threw the best bridal shower! I didn’t want the typical pink and gold theme that you see all the time on Pinterest so that was my only request. It was the perfect Breakfast at Tiffany’s-inspired shower complete with cake pops (Thank you, Po!) and the classic engagement ring balloon. I definitely felt the love and was so thankful for everyone who came on the rainy Saturday morning ❤

{TWO} House Update

I mentioned this a bit above but September was a huge month for our house. We continued painting, unpacking, and arranging furniture. We got a piano from a friend so a house isn’t a home until we have a piano, right? Right. After the bridal shower, we had a blast putting everything away. It really made our house feel like ours when things were in cabinets and we weren’t eating on paper plates anymore 😉

{THREE} Meal Prep

Two gifts I received at my bridal shower were an Instant Pot and Joanna Gaines’ cookbook. I absolutely cannot WAIT to use them and have slowly tried my hand at meal prepping and planning on Sundays. In typical Keri fashion, I created a Google Doc (surprise, surprise) on possible meals and when to eat them during the week along with lists of available ingredients at our house and what we need to buy. Adulting at its finest 😉

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Vision Planner & Stickers

I can’t say enough good things about Bloom Daily Planners. They are, by far, one of my favorite brands ever. After visiting their HQ last month, I walked away with a lot of their products including this Vision Planner and a few sticker packs. Guys, I’m telling you – the Vision Planner is THE BEST. I love that there are weekly columns, to-do lists, meal and water trackers, and goals lists. It really has helped me keep everything straight especially as the wedding gets closer and closer every day!

{FIVE} Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words

As mentioned in What I’ve Been Reading Lately, I’ve been into audiobooks and the Libby app lately. One of my recent reads was Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, a biography all about Princess Diana. Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by her and although the book is pretty long, I definitely recommend it. It was about 22 hours via audiobook but it goes by quickly especially while cleaning or working on mindless tasks.

Here’s to a busy, fun, and extremely memorable October! 🙂

Monthly Roundup: August Favorites

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August, where did you go? I swear it was August 1st yesterday but alas, here we are, the end of another month.

This month was fun and crazy. There were many Firsts this month as you’ll see below. We also hit the “2 Months To Go” mark so the start of September is super exciting yet insane that our wedding day is almost here!

{ONE} Bloom Daily Planners

If you’re an avid reader or follow my social media, you know I’m a huge fan of Bloom Daily Planners. I’ve used their products for at least 5 years now and talk about them frequently on my social channels. This month Bloom surprised me by reaching out and asking me to visit their headquarters; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Their kindness was contagious and they graciously gave me products to give to friends and family. I even grabbed a new Vision Planner and it made me so excited to plan out the rest of the year! We had a lovely visit and I am so thankful for the opportunity to visit my favorite company. Thank you, Bloom!

{TWO} Spin Class

Another First that occurred this month was attending my first Spin Class. It was something I added last year in my 101 in 1,001 list and have kept an eye out for opportunities to try it out ever since. When my alma mater offered an alumni-only spin class at a discounted price, I couldn’t refuse! My friend and I went together and were sore for days afterward but I’m glad I did it and hope to attend another class soon!

{THREE} Pentatonix Concert

A coworker won tickets to a Pentatonix concert and couldn’t go so she gave them to me. It was such a lovely surprise and Pentatonix, as always, was unbelievable! We saw them back in December when they sang all of their Christmas hits but listening to them sing their other hits was a fun experience. Echosmith opened for them and they were also fantastic. Current favorite Pentatonix covers: The Evolution of Michael Jackson and Hallelujah.

{FOUR} Moving

HUGE First of the month was moving to our house (!!!). In a blur of packing and cleaning, the realization that I moved out of my childhood home into our future house didn’t hit me until I saw my stuff sitting in an empty room. Craziness. However, it has been a fun experience unpacking, settling in, and making a house our home. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about that in the coming months!

{FIVE} Wedding Look

With two months to go, the to-do list should be dwindling down but it is, in fact, skyrocketing. All of the to-dos, however, have not been all been boring. For instance, this month I had my first dress fitting, found my veil, and had a hair trial! Putting the dress on again after a year was so exciting and made it all feel more real — I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and dance the night away.

{SIX} Date Night Diaries with Steve and Stacy Hart Podcast

I mentioned this podcast series in my recent post about my morning routine but I wanted to give it another shout out. Steve and Stacy discuss a variety of topics and keep Christ in the center of it. I love that. Each episode is between 30-45 minutes so it’s easily digestible and the perfect length to stay focused. Spoiler alert: Stacy is my wedding photographer!

{SEVEN} Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Don’t judge me but I totally purchased a PSL within 48 hours of Starbucks announcing they were back. I can’t help it — I love fall and everything about it. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 😉 #SorryNotSorry

The Year of 3 Words: A Mid-Year Update

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At the beginning of 2018, I declared this year a year of three words.

You may (or may not) be wondering how 2018 is shaping up to my three-word description. I decided to ease your minds and give you a mid-year update. It is June, after all, and the year is halfway over (whoa, that’s weird). It’s time for a little checkin.

Change. 

Change is inevitable and my Type A self can’t cope with it sometimes, but this year there has been good change, bad change, and uncomfortable change.

Changes in habits: less coffee, more water, more reading & audiobooks, less TV, less clutter, more budgeting, more time with people I love.

Changes in life: Updates at work, new house, new professional accomplishments, new friends, new perspectives.

Not to mention many changes that have pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

Needless to say, change happens pretty much every day and I’m learning how to embrace it and trust God every step of the way.

Do.

I’ve written about wedding planning multiple times this year so you know how the “Road to I Do” is generally going, but just in case I haven’t made it clear, this is the biggest “Do” of the year and I am pumped.

At the beginning of the year, a few other “do” items included: complete my social marketing certification, buy a house, read at least 25 books, and write more letters.

So far, I have completed my certification, we found a house, I have read many books, and love writing letters when I can. I’ve also traveled to places like New York and Boston, worked on a few incredible projects, and have begun training for my first official 5K (a big deal for a non-runner like myself!).

“Do” encompasses so many things, so it has been interesting to see how 2018 has unfolded this way. It’s not always about checking things off. Sometimes a “do” is a mindset, just like my third word of 2018 is.

Joy. 

This is one thing that is not a “check off the list,” so to speak.

Joy is a choice and something that takes focus and practice in order to make it a constant part of your life. I have a post-it note on my mirror that says “Joy is a choice,” and this year, in the good and the bad, I try to focus on that mindset.

An easy way to do this is instead of saying, “I have to…” replace it with “I get to…”  A mindset makes all the difference.

So that’s a bit of a recap as the year keeps flying by! What about you? How are your three words going for 2018? This week I challenge you to revisit your goals and be motivated to keep going!

Monthly Roundup: May Favorites

May flew by in a blink of an eye! I had a feeling it would…It was such a jam-packed month filled with mini adventures and I loved it!

The busyness of the month is also why I’ve been MIA lately (whoops). I’ve been working on a secret project for you all, yes, but life offline has been a bit crazy in general!

With so many fun things, it was hard to pick just a few to share as my May Favorites, but below is the list so check it out!

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{ONE} Brooklyn Bridge

I kicked off the month by escaping to New York City for a girls weekend with my mom and cousins. We traveled to Chicago a few years ago and decided to plan Girls Trip 2.0 a little closer to home this time.

We checked many things off the bucket list including trips to Central Park, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Alice’s Tea Cup Cafe, Chinatown, Little Italy, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m a fan of all-things adrenaline but I have to be honest, at the top of the bridge I felt a little shaky! It may have been the wooden boards and being able to see the water when I looked down, but it was still something I’m glad I did.

{TWO} Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, New York City

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum was another place I wanted to visit while in NYC. I had read reviews and seen a few pictures online and thought that although it looked weird and a bit creepy, I had to see it for myself. I’m so glad we did! It ended up being the highlight of the trip. The wax statues were unbelievably realistic and the gallery included statues of Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Ronald Reagan, Usher, The Rock, and Amelia Earhart. Definitely a must-see!

{THREE} Engagement Photos

Luke and I had our engagement photos taken in May. After rescheduling the photoshoot three times due to absurd DE weather, we finally had a beautiful (hot!!!) afternoon and went to Winterthur Museum & Garden for the day. Stacy Hart Photography did an incredible job and you can view the entire gallery here.

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{FOUR} Registry

May was the month of checking random wedding to-dos off the list. We had fun scanning things and creating our registry at several of our favorite stores. I never knew I could be so excited about registering for plates and kitchen utensils, but alas here we are. #Adulting

{FIVE} The Knot Wedding Website

I mentioned in a recent post, 5 Wedding Planning Tips From a Budget-Friendly Bride, that I would be saving paper (and money) by creating digital RSVPs instead of requiring my guests to send back paper cards. The Knot makes it easy to create a personalized, user-friendly website and it’s been fun creating one for our guests. I even linked our registries to the website, too!

{SIX} The Royal Wedding

Yes, I was one of those suckers who woke up at 5am to watch The Royal Wedding. Judge me all you want, it was worth it. If not for the fashion then definitely for the memories of my mom and I drinking tea and watching the event unfold across the pond.

{SEVEN} Mercy by Jodi Picoult

2018 is all about change and one of the habits I’ve recently changed is avoiding social media before bed. About 30-45 minutes before I call it for the night, I open a book instead of the Instagram app. During a recent thrift store visit, I picked up Mercy by Jodi Picoult (my favorite author of all time!) for $2. Best two bucks ever spent because I’ve been reading Mercy and it is phenomenal. Picoult wrote it back in the ’90s, but it is a timeless, thought-provoking, and captivating read.