I never imagined that getting married would be such a communal experience.

I’ve never been big into the wedding circuit. To be honest, I’ve not even been to that many weddings. Many of my friends got married before I knew them, or I wasn’t close with them yet when their marriages occurred. I’ve been a bridesmaid exactly once. Entire years have gone by when no marriages at all happened within my social circle.

And as for myself, I stopped roleplaying weddings in my head a long time ago. A string of long term relationships that ended in heartbreak (and often betrayal) made it too hurtful for me to even think about it in detail for fear of jinxing me. I’ve been clear with my past boyfriends that it is a goal of mine to find a long-term committed relationship that culminates in marriage, but that’s it. So I had NO pre-existing ideas aside from 1) having a wedding dress of some sort and 2) not getting married in Vegas.

Then in 2011 I met Dave, the love of my life. Still, he had his own heartbreak and was divorced, so I feared marriage would never be high on his list. In December 2012, I scheduled a vacation at Disney World for us for my birthday. Being the clever man that he is, Dave took advantage of the event dinner I had planned at Victoria and Albert’s (the best restaurant at the resort) for my birthday dinner. After our first course he asked if I wanted my birthday present, then came over on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Certainly the best birthday present I’ve received. 🙂 There was also the added poetry of this being the day the world was supposed to end. Dave hinted earlier in the month that he felt that it would rather be the beginning of a new world. And as many have pointed out, with my history as a former Disney employee and lifelong Disney World fangirl, getting engaged at Disney World was pretty much all I could have ever wanted.

December 21 2013: Engaged at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney World!

Getting engaged is basically the biggest Facebook surprise you can pull, so it was important to me that I reach out to some folks first to let them know before the surprise hit. Of course, as it turns out Dave updated Facebook while I was in the restroom during our 3 hour dinner. Surprise! Still, many people found out from me. And still more people missed the engagement posts on FB entirely despite the hundreds of comments and “likes” – Facebook’s algorithms are mystifying to me. That may also be a factor of my birthday’s proximity to Christmas; by the time people started paying attention again it was old news. I still have folks finding out because I pinned some wedding dresses to Pintrest (which is apparently What You Do When You’re A Bride.)

The reality of an engagement is that it’s basically “Congratulations! HERE’S A BUNCH OF WORK!” if you want to do anything fancier than Vegas or the courthouse. Which I do. I want the opportunity to celebrate with my closest family and friends, and since Seattle is so rarely “on the way” to anything it’s a great opportunity to share Seattle with some out of town friends and family. I was still overwhelmed by how many people, including my parents, asked us if we had set a date or picked a venue starting less than 20 hours after we got engaged. Really? Really.

What I wasn’t really counting on is EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW getting married at the same time that it turns out I’d be getting married. I am the SIXTH wedding in my social circle right now. My brother and cousin are both getting married, as well as 3 pairs of close friends. Attending the annual Seattle Wedding Expo felt slightly like going to an improv convention because so many friends were there – and when I wasn’t running into people, Dave was running into people he knew from his many event gigs as a carpenter and grip.

Dave and I have particular affection for the month of September as it’s when we fell in love – and the show that brought us together was called “September Skies”. But there are already TWO other weddings that month, plus Labor Day is a nonstarter due to massive conventions in the area. So we may lose a few folks to their own honeymoons, but I just can’t see waiting more than a full calendar year to get married. Too much time!

So here I am, starting the planning journey. I have a great if not completed bridal party and a supportive fiance who is happy and enthusiastic enough to come to the wedding fair (Brave man!) All the questions from my youth – “who will be in my wedding? when will it happen? will it be awesome?” will soon be answered, and I hope to have fun and take things with a grain of salt along the way. I need to let it sink in that I AM the bride, even if I’m just one of SIX brides this year in my circles. 😉

And yes, the honeymoon will probably take us to Disney World among other stops.

You know, I can’t help but wonder if there are so many engagements and weddings for 2013 because everyone thought the world was ending on my birthday… perfect engagement conditions for commitmentphobes, right? 😉