Before the wedding was his proposal

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Every wedding planned in history started with the proposal.  The story line goes "he got down on one knee, pulled out a small box, and expressed his love in words and with a diamond ring.  YouTube is filled with videos of unforgettable marriage proposals.  Below we share our experience and some things we've learned.

The trip to Ireland

Our proposal story could not be kept secret.   

In late Spring 2015, we decided to book our first out of country trip together.  Being fans of the HBO show Game of Throne our destination choice was obvious, Ireland.  

For months, we planned out our route, got our reservations handled, and made sure to pack enough deodorant and toothpaste.  The plane ride to Ireland seemed a blur.  An overnight flight that consisted of two and half movies, lots of diet soda, and frequent bathroom breaks.

We landed in Ireland at roughly at roughly 5 in the morning.  After about 30 minutes of figuring out how to work the car we set off to our first stay, at Park House.  

Our next six days consisted of traveling across the southern part of Ireland.  We stayed in a castle in Waterford, visit the zoo, walked through several ancient forts and keeps, at tons of food and drank lots of Guinness.  

We had a blast!

Umm, I thought you were going to propose?

It was no surprise that after 4 years of dating Priscilla would be wondering why Michael had not proposed.  They booked this elaborate trip, had lots of fun, and yet no ring.  

Michael had the big moment planned out far in advance.  Well over a year in advance.  Enough time to let every person they knew in on the big surprise and trusted them to keep it a secret.

Put it this way, by the last afternoon Priscilla was getting bummed.  It showed in her demeanor.  The morning of the proposal we agreed to stick to our plans to visit two scenic views, the Cliffs of Kilkee and the Cliffs of Moher.  Of the two spots, Kilkee was on the way to Moher (of course, it was...).  

The Cliffs of Kilkee is a quiet home town version of Cliffs of Moher.  It is beautiful and has a similarly stunning ocean view and large cliffs.

It was so beautiful that at the highest point of the cliffs Michael suggested a couples photo.  He set up his tripod and told Priscilla to get ready for the picture by counting down from 10 (he turned on the video recorder).  She counted down and he moved to stand next to her.  As she called out '5, 4..' he reached into his pocket and got on one knee.  Her shock was part confusion, part questioning, part excitement.  It may have took moment but she said Yes.  Sounds amazing doesn't it?  See for yourself.  We posted it online.

On to wedding planning

Priscilla spent no time getting moving on wedding ideas.  We got back to our final stay destination Moy House and she was plowing through her cell phone.

Side thought: You'd think with all these 'houses' that we should buy a place in Ireland and call it Sweet House *chuckle*.

Planning wasn't easy.  It is a fun idea for the groom-to-be.  It is a nightmare and a fantasy for the bride-to-be.  What it really should be is PLANNED.  Planning takes time.  A lot of time!  All the variables must be accommodated for in order for the dream to come true.  

There a many methods for planning out your wedding.  You can hire a wedding planner (always a good choice if you can afford it).  You can put the pieces together yourself like a puzzle board.  Or, and we don't recommend this, you can wing it.  Please don't wing it.  Please.

Our wedding was built around a planned program.  Michael's former background is in software product management.  During his time as product manager he used a method called SCRUM.  Add to it Priscilla's background in retail management the combination made inventory, vendor, and activity tracking straight forward.

To sum up what we did.  Our wedding was held at the Cabins on Strawberry Hill.  A beautiful cabin resort in northern Arizona.  We had the entire venue to ourselves which meant we could plan the workings based on a schedule of events.  We got ready in separate cabins, had the ceremony within the cabin rows, feasted on a large lawn space, and provided a s'mores camp fire gathering.  For us, the forest backdrop made for a memorable experience.  

By the way, Priscilla made the wedding.  Shocker, right?  A four tier cake with a delicious peaches and cream filling and vanilla frosting.  

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A dream come true

Your wedding dreams will come true.  Said confidence as we know many brides-to-be struggle to mesh planning (the work) with ceremony (the dream).  When we dream of the perfect wedding we dream of the tears, the cheers, the "I do", and the first dance.  More simply, poof, all the stars align, no directions, no work necessary, the dream becomes reality.  

While the 'poof' may not be reality it certainly doesn't mean your wedding planning will be hard.  If you are the DIY type here are few things to keep in mind.  

  1. Do Not Wing It! 
  2. Set some boundaries.  Know what you want to have and strive to reach it.  Your goal is to ensure you achieve the outcome you want.  DIY'ers are frugal to a core because they see opportunity where others see a pile of stuff.  If this isn't you that is okay.  Consider a wedding planner to help start the process.
  3. Your wedding is about you and your spouse-to-be.  Keep in mind that catering to family and friends is important, but more importantly is you both having the best day ever.  Plan ahead so that you both aren't working during your special day.  
  4. If at all possible; push your big day out only if you feel you are rushing.  It may sound ridiculous but from our experience designing cakes we found those couples with short deadlines tend find their wedding less of a dream come true and more a nightmare on wedding lane.
  5. Keep reviewing what you've completed. This is the most important aspect of wedding planning.  You both need to continuously assess your accomplishments.  Two reasons for this: First, your stress level reduces when you visually see less to do.  Second, are you able to determine priority much easier.  Wedding cake is more important than a dancing pig wearing a tutu (or maybe not...).

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Share your experience

One more thought.  Share your experience.  Which experience? Anything you want to share but share something.  You will be amazed how receptive the world is to moments of happiness and words of wisdom.  That is why we are sharing our little story with you.  

Take lots of pictures! #SweetStubs

Best wishes to you and your spouse-to-be!

Michael and Priscilla Sweet

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