First things first...

Being engaged in July, my dream fall wedding was out. My fiance calls me CDO (OCD, alphabetized), so needless-to-say, I was not going to plan a wedding in three months! Due to where we live, I also was not about to have a winter wedding. For about five months a year, our little town is sporadically closed to outsiders due to snow and inclement conditions on the roads entering town: not worth chancing on your big day!

All said and done, we chose May 15, 2010 for our nuptials. Not a bad date for cards, either; it looks nice in calligraphy (05-15-10). This date is out of the snow rush; save for some uncharacteristic blizzard in May (has been know to happen even in July!). This date also opens a lot of doors for planning: 10 months to book sights, ALL flowers available and in season, and at the end of the school year (I am a teacher).

Most of these perks play into my main goal while planning: saving money. Using the website I was able to look at estimated costs for my zip code. The average wedding in the US costs around $20,398. In my area things are a little cheaper, so the average is around $15,000. I am hoping to stay around $10,000. I believe this can be done if I think frugally. So far, things are looking good. I will run a cost counter at the end of each blog to update my investment.

Total cost of wedding: $0

The Engagement

Now, if your first date with your future husband is in an helicopter, can you imagine the engagement!? However, as the man asking, how do you out-do your first date?

The answer is to go completely in the other direction and be as UN-romantic as possible. My fiance did just that. SL and I decided we should clean the house because it is usually the lowest priority for us while he is home from work (he works three weeks at a time and is off for two). I was cleaning, as planned, and noticed that he was following me around watching. Finally, I turned around and asked him what he was doing. To this he responded, "nothing, what are you doing?"

"I am cleaning," I informed him sharply. "Like we said we would today!"

"But I don't want to clean," SL slyly told me.

After throwing out a few alternative suggestions for the day, and having them all struck down, I soon realized he must have something in mind. I decided to play his game, and asked him what HE wanted to do since none of my ideas were sufficient. He looked me in the eye and said, "I would like to get engaged."

At this point I was going to kill him if he was kidding, but he got down on one knee and asked me if I would marry him. Because I was standing in my grubbies cleaning the house, my response was, "seriously?!"

He told me that, yes, he was serious. I, of course, emphatically said yes.

So although our first date was a flight over the valley, and ridiculously, perfectly romantic, I wouldn't have our engagement any other way. Plus, SL got what he wanted: I was completely surprised!