Wedding planning

When it rains, it pours diamonds

When it rains on my mom’s side of the family, apparently it pours. Except instead of rain it’s diamonds, since two of my cousins announced their engagements shortly after I did (and we’ve also had three weddings in the past two years). At least we’re keeping America’s jewelry industry booming.

ENGAGEMENT RING BATTLE. My cousin Elyse’s ring, versus mine. I’m calling it a draw since they’re similar in style. But she went with red nails and I went with pink, so really we’re very different.

My family is spread across the country now, which has meant that all the weddings have also been excuses for yearly vacations. And, no matter the army base I move to in the future, I’m sure to have family in driving distance; even if I don’t have CVS Pharmacies and BB&T banks.

For instance, we also have West Coast family who live in Vegas. The girl cousins enjoyed that bachelorette party. Worth mentioning: it was at a drag club on army pants night. Full circle.

Since we also have family represented in the driving-distance-to-Broadway part of the country, I spent my Saturday road tripping with Joanna to New Jersey for my cousin Elyse’s engagement party. If engagements were a competition (which they’re totally not, because girls would never try to out-do each other), Elyse would already be beating me for not only having an engagement party, but for having an engagement party that was probably more put-together than my wedding will be.

And also for thinking of a genius way to collect addresses for invitations. Much more organized than the Facebook messages I’m using.

I’m considering adding one of those popcorn makers to my registry. Overdoing it?

Don’t worry; I found camo seashells hidden in the beach theme. That’s what I’m here for.

The flamingo that, from our expressions, apparently made both Joanna and me clinically insane. The flamingo seemed to have no effect on Elyse, who was able to touch it and look adorable instead of mental.

Their little girl.

In addition to our blood relation, Elyse and I also share a proclivity to marrying people who are much taller than we are.

The lovebirds. Not shown: Elyse’s crazy ability to wear cute but deadly heels for an entire day.

While my wedding preparations have mostly just been watching “Bridezillas” marathons to make myself feel better, Elyse one-upped me by planning a cake-cutting rehearsal into her engagement party.

No cake-in-the-face during the party, but we’ll see if they’re ready to put courtesy aside by the time the wedding planning is over.

Even though they’ve been dating for long enough that I’ve been seeing their prom pictures at the house since high school Thanksgivings, this was my first time meeting Joey. Which is another great reason for an engagement party; most of my non-immediate family members (and even one of my bridesmaids) will be meeting Jonathan for the first time seconds before the family photos after our wedding ceremony next year. And he can’t wear his cowboy boots with his dress blues, so it won’t be a very authentic first-meeting of Jonathan.

The scariest part about your cousins (who you still remember catching fireflies with as kids) growing up and marrying off is that it means you are growing up (and marrying off) too. Instead of flying between West Coast and East Coast for Passovers and bar mitzvahs, we’re celebrating new careers, new marriages, new babies, and (in several instances) new kittens. We’re pretty much all cat people. Jonathan is terrified.

The expanding family of kids. I like hanging out with my cousins because, at 5’2″, I’m considered average-height.

We’re great at group photos now, thanks to all the weddings. And by the time the next few years are over, we’ll be experts at navigating wedding registries. We could probably pull a Von Trapp and start a family wedding-planning business. Technically I’m the youngest of this group, so that makes me Gretel.

Congratulations, Elyse! I can’t wait to celebrate the rest of the getting-married milestones with you. And you know I’d only travel the Jersey Turnpike twice in one day for family I really like.

Another milestone this weekend: For the first time during this deployment, I talked to Jonathan twice in the same day. Although I think technically one of those days was already a different day for him. Semantics.

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