Will you tell us your proposal story?
John Allen suggested to Annie that we should go down to Winston-Salem to surprise our friend with a visit before he moves away to Florida. Annie thought that was a great idea! “Ok great, because I already booked our flights”, John Allen said, which immediately made Annie suspicious that something more was going on. Actually, it was pretty obvious!
Anyway, we fly down to Winston-Salem on a Saturday morning, rent a horribly smelling car, have lunch at The Porch, see some friends, then head off (in the rain) to walk through Reynolda Village and visit Wake Forest’s campus! Not a typical rainy day activity.
He proposed by the bench and lamppost on the trail between Reynolda Village and Wake Forest, in the pouring rain! But the rain actually made it very special because it was quiet, private, just us. Not the million dog-walkers, joggers, etc. you regularly see on the trail. Annie happily said yes, and we continued walking through the trails excitedly talking about what just happened! Finally we got back to the car, FaceTimed our parents, Annie’s brother, and our best friends who had helped push us together over the years.
We ended the night with a special dinner at Spring House — our friends had sent ahead champagne and hors d’oeuvres! And then a drink at The Katharine for a final celebration of the night!
How and why did you choose your wedding venue?
We wanted to get married in Winston-Salem, (we live in D.C.), it’s very special to us! We wanted something classic, beautiful, with a floor plan that allowed space for all of our guests in one room to party together!
Would you like to share anything about your wedding planning experience together? Is there any advice you’d love to give future couples about planning a wedding together?
Advice: Know thyself. Know thy mother (if that’s who you’re planning with). Discover thy partner. A lot of the wedding planning process was about acknowledging the gifts of those you’re planning with. I know that my mom is a thorough researcher, and desires to maximize the potential of any project. She also has a lot of energy to dedicate to projects, and coordinate lots of people and information. I know that I am creative and intuitive. “Knowing thyself” and “knowing thy mother” also means knowing your work styles and not expecting the other person to work like you do. I like reserved, organized time in which to complete particular tasks planned out ahead of time. My mom doesn’t need that and is comfortable jumping right into a task as she thinks about it. Work styles can clash if you aren’t aware of them, and it often helps to flex as well as you can to the other’s work style while still being honest about how you best work. Give those you are working with the benefit of the doubt!
I say “Discover thy partner” because I found that I discovered more of John Allen’s gifts and willingness than I anticipated. We knew each other really well going into wedding planning. I think having a posture of curiosity about your partner will help you appreciate them more in the wedding planning process. Tell them what you see in them!
Be honest but also be flexible. At times you have to be honest about your preferences, your work styles (here I am talking about work styles again!), and your frustrations. But also remember to flex to other people’s preferences, work styles, and frustrations. It’s a dance, and takes real-time wisdom applied in each scenario. I guess that means it also takes patience.
Which details did you like the most about your wedding?
When I think of our wedding, I think of the warm glow of the ballroom when I walked in/at dinner time – seeing all of the people covering the room at glowing festive dinner tables was so special.
The happy dance floor! Everyone had SO much fun – that’s what we wanted.
The detailed touches: names on the menus at each place, names on the party favors, detailed ceremony programs, peppered bacon at the cocktail hour bar. It felt very us to think on that personalized level.
What was the most helpful resource you used when planning your wedding?
Probably other friends who have gotten married (or mom’s friends who have recently planned weddings). My mom’s friends and sister provided lots of suggestions on the planning process. My (Annie’s) friends were great for providing perspective when we were in the middle of the many details!
And of course, vendors! Get vendors who will actually answer your questions and give you their expert opinion on their field! Ask them your questions, and trust them with their answers!
If you could remember one thing from your wedding day 10 years from now, what would you hope it would be?
Sitting at dinner, next to John Allen, surrounded by our best friends, looking out into a room full of all of our beloved people!! It glowed.