Wedding Update: Halfway There (6 months to go!)

We are halfway there folks! There are only 6 months left in this journey to the altar! And guess what…saturday night live so freaking excited kristen wiig

A lot of progress has been made this past month! We finalized the bridesmaids’ dresses so all my girls can put their orders in and I can’t wait until they receive their dresses so I can see them and have peace of mind in that department. The online company that the dresses are from is actually sending me a swatch of the dress color so I can use that to match the guys’ ties.

Speaking of, Tom and I agreed on the guys’ attire, so we just need to go somewhere like Men’s Wearhouse, find the tuxes we want, and get measurements and orders in. This one is a front-runner:

dumb and dumber orange tux dance gif

We sent out Save the Dates about 3 weeks ago, and it made me feel really good to hear that people thought they looked nice! The following week, I started looking into invitations; goodness, I just finished getting the STDs out, do I really need to start getting invitations already? I’ve let Tom look at a few that I personalized and we have an idea of what we both like, so that’s progress.

Since we sent out our Save the Dates, our wedding website is now public! If you want to go check it out, it’s right here; it includes not only the updates I’ve published here on my personal blog, but also has the proposal story and will continue to have new wedding-related posts that I might not post on here.

Also, we received our first engagement gift this month! One of Mrs. Harrigan’s co-workers/friends (who is invited to the wedding) gave us a set of BEAUTIFUL crystal champagne flutes. They are absolutely stunning, and surprisingly heavy!

Waterford Crystal Believe Flutes

We went to a florist last weekend, and I have to admit that this was one of the pieces of planning that had me kind of stressed. So far, everything has been fairly stressless – our venue, my dress, the bridal party attire – and yet I’m worried about flowers. Is that weird or what?

I had ideas about what I wanted, but there are just so many options when it comes to bouquets and centerpieces and other arrangements. I think most (if not, all) flowers are pretty, so it’s hard to narrow it down! I mean, you can start by figuring out the color(s) you want to use, but after that you still have so many options and combinations!Wedding flower collage

I figured it was time to start hammering out the flower situation, so I made an appointment with a florist in Melville, NY since they have worked with our venue before. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of meeting with multiple florists and having to go over the same layout multiple times and then have to choose which one to go with and then start doubting my ideas and decisions.

The lady we met with was very knowledgeable and thorough in all aspects of the typical wedding flower arrangements. She sat with us for about an hour and a half going over everything from bouquets and centerpieces to boutonnieres and corsages.

We decided that since she was so great and we would be getting everything we wanted/needed, we would just go with this florist instead of shlepping around to others and spending more time when we could just get it done and over with. I’m really thankful that Tom agreed to go with me because I know it’s not something he really wanted to spend a couple hours doing on a Saturday.

Not only did he come with me, but Tom actually contributed his ideas and opinions! I honestly don’t think he realizes how happy that made me. It may seem silly, especially to guys, but I’m sure that all engaged girls out there can appreciate those moments when our grooms participate in the planning process, no matter how small the task. Unless you’re a bride who wants no one else’s opinion but your own; that’s fine, carry on.

But seriously Tom, you’re amazing for picking out flowers. I love you!stefon aww gif saturday night live

Anyways, I guess we can step off the corny train now.

I really want to go cake-tasting. Like, bad. I don’t think that has to happen until about 2 months before the wedding, but I want to go now. I want 20 different flavors of cake, with buttercream frosting, all cut into bite-size pieces, so that I can pop those suckers in my mouth and savor each and every one of them. Except, then we have to decide on only one for the wedding. Bummer.wedding cake tasting

We’ve discussed the honeymoon situation and I think we’ve come to a decision. Since we’re getting married in the middle of August in Long Island, holding a separate reception upstate the next weekend, and I’ll (hopefully!) be starting a teaching job soon after, I don’t see us having time to go on a proper (i.e. week+ long) honeymoon for awhile after. So we’ll go on our honeymoon over winter break; not only would that give us a few months to settle into married life (living together and me starting a new job, for starters) but it’ll also get us out of the cold for a bit!

Alrighty, well, until next month: cheers!

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” OR Happy Birthday to me!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9

5

This past Saturday, April 27, was the five-year anniversary of my being saved. I found myself thinking a lot that day about how things change in five years; how much we grow (physically, emotionally, mentally), how many decisions we make (whether right or wrong), the people that come and go. I think it is important to reflect on our lives often, not just to reminisce, wish for the past, or dwell on regrets, but to realize how far we have come in our lives and all the events and people that God has placed in our paths along the way.

April 26, 2008, I was in a car accident (ironically on my way to an event at church) that I came away with just some scrapes and bruises. I don’t know if I have any pictures of my car anymore – it was considered totaled after it flipped over, both of us upside down on the side of a country road. I rounded the curve too close to the outside, hit some gravel and overcorrected, then swerved violently before finally flipping over and landing upside down. My stomach still drops when cars make swerving motions, and I still feel anxious when I hear the sound of screeching tires. I called my mom sobbing because I didn’t know who else to call; she has Multiple Sclerosis, so there wasn’t much she could do for me other than making some more phone calls and worrying about me. Real smooth, Holliday. Real smooth.

The next 20 minutes were such a blur, but the people that I encountered are still pretty clear. A man drove by the scene shortly after and called 911 for me; I remember he had a verse of scripture on his shirt. I had been following my friends’ family so when they realized I was no longer behind them they came back for me; their hugs were so comforting at that moment. The police officer in the ambulance told me that God had a bigger plan for me that day. God certainly provided me with comforting people that day. How else could it be explained?

Later that day, my boyfriend at the time had asked me, “If things had turned out different [AKA if you had not made it out of this alive], do you know where you would be right now?” I had been attending church regularly for the past year. I volunteered for church events. Heck, I had been on my way to bond with a group of women from the church to make soup! I had never done drugs, I didn’t drink, I didn’t swear; I was a good person. But somehow I knew that these things weren’t enough.

So the following day, Sunday, I walked into Pastor’s office and prayed to God to save me and take hold of my life. I was baptized a couple months later; my testimony verse is Romans 5: 3-5, which says

More than that we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Over the past five years, I have stumbled. I have looked to God for selfish reasons. I have tried doing things my own way. I have been impatient. But just as well, despite all of these things, God has never ceased to bless me. No matter how many times I fall, God has never failed to pick me back up. He has thrown things in my path that, at times, seemed insurmountable. But He has also blessed me immeasurably.

Five years ago today, if you asked me where I would be in five years, I would have never guessed where my life is today. I never would have thought I would get accepted into SUNY Geneseo, get involved with InterVarsity, meet so many wonderful, amazing people, and receive my Bachelors degree. I would never have guessed I would meet and fall for a tall, red-haired guy named Tom at a church event. Who knew I would be accepted into Teachers College, Columbia University, and move to New York City?

There are so many things that I never would have imagined for my life. But God is funny in that way; we think we know what we want, we think we know what is best for us, but God knows so much more and has so much more planned for us. Like Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

These past five years have shown my how much deeper my testimony is; in the beginning, it was because I was afraid of dying and going to Hell. I realize that I was saved even though my reasoning may have been pretty shallow – I mean, being saved is being saved, we shouldn’t feel the need to compare our testimony with others.  Tim Hawkins is a Christian comedian and he has a short skit that addresses this need to compare testimonies and the desire to have a “good” testimony (watch it here). I have grown to realize that my whole life is a testimony to God; He has gotten me through pretty crappy stuff, sometimes without my consciously realizing it.

Who knows where I’ll be in five years? I sure as heck don’t! And I don’t really feel like limiting myself to who/what/where I think I’ll be in five years. Whatever I think, God’s plan is so much better than I could even imagine. Cheers, God. Here’s to another five.