Stress Free Wedding Planning With The NEW Erin Condren Wedding Planner

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October 7, 2017 is a day that I will never, ever forget! On our "10th-date-iversary" (I'll explain that story later...) trip to Napa, CA, Matt asked me to be his WIFE! I couldn't be more excited to spend the rest of my life with this incredible man. He completely surprised me with this proposal which is shocking because he is NOT a planner and we also live together and share a bank account so he REALLY had to be sneaky to pull this off!

Matt and I actually met on OKCupid (when it was still cool) although he will tell you that we met through friends even though online dating is not as embarrassing now as it was in February of 2014 haha! On our first date, he took me to a wine bar not knowing that I didn't like wine. He ordered this big bold red flight and I got the sweetest dessert flight. As we talked and got to know each other more, we decided that "if we made it that far" (one of our first inside jokes that we still use to this day) we would go to Napa on our 10th date to learn more about wine. That first date at Bin 36 turned into many more dates, family parties, friend gatherings, double dates, moving in together to two different apartments over the course of 2.5 years,  getting a dog together and opening up joint bank accounts.... but still no Napa trip.

When we were planning our travel for 2017, we decided that we should FINALLY go on that 10th date trip to Napa. We researched and booked a hotel and made dinner and winery reservations all together and even had them entered into our joint iCal (yes, we are that couple). Little did I know, the trip we booked together was NOT the trip that I would be on 6+ months later!

We got to Napa and everything was going according to our plan - flight was on time, we got the last convertible from the car rental place, weather was perfect, the hotel was beautiful, we had a great lunch... then it was time to go to dinner. Our calendar said that we had a reservation at Celadon but as we got ready, Matt told me that we were actually going to Morimoto, the sushi place that I thought we had reservations at for the following night. We actually do little surprises for each other all of the time so I didn't really think much of it. We had an amazing first night there full of delicious sushi and LOTS of wine, then headed back to the hotel.

The following morning at breakfast, we were discussing the plan for the day which included taking UBERs to two different wineries that we had reservations at. We had talked about hiring a driver but we decided (or so I thought) that it would be too expensive and not worth it since we could easily UBER back and forth as we needed to way less money. When I asked Matt what time we should call our UBER, he responded with "well, that's the thing... we aren't taking an UBER. I got us a driver". Again, I stupidly thought nothing of it because this was a special trip and he is definitely fancier than me so I played along haha! Our driver took us to Hendry for our seminar tour & tasting which was FABULOUS. We learned SO much about wine and it really set us up to be smart tasters for the rest of the trip. From Hendry, we went to Chappellet which is absolutely beautiful inside and out. We had another great tasting there and as we walked out, our plan was to go back to the hotel. For some reason, the way Matt was acting made me suspicious so I asked him where we were really going and with a shit eating grin he said "back to the hotel". Now, we were both two generously poured tastings deep at this point, so I drunkenly questioned him over and over again and he kept responding with the same thing "we're going back to the hotel". After promising that multiple times, I let it go... until the driver turned the wrong way down the main road. Matt was hoping I wouldn't pay attention to this part but I always like to know where I am, especially in new places! The driver was even trying to distract me but I was not letting up! A few minutes later, we pulled up to the Auberge de Soleil, a place that I thought we had dinner reservations at for the following night. I was complaining to Matt that I wasn't dressed up enough to eat there and that I had no make up on and that I didn't have anything with me to get ready, etc. He finally shut me up by saying "shhhh, we aren't eating here... we are staying here". The Auberge is also a resort, FYI, not just a fancy restaurant. This is the first time that I had a hunch of what was going on!

As we sipped on our check in wine (because at the Auberge, that is a thing), I continued to question Matt about our luggage and our rental car which were still at the original hotel. He kept reassuring me that it would all be figured out but if you know me, this was not an easy thing for me to accept. Matt definitely out planned the planner (meaning me) on this one! We got to our room and put down the few things we had with us before heading out to the private balcony overlooking the valley. Just as we were walking out the door, I stopped to hug Matt and thank him for this amazing surprise. When I did that, his heart was RACING just like it was right before he told me that he loved me for the first time. As soon as I felt that, I knew exactly what was happening and I started to freak out! I was literally saying "I'm freaking out, I'm freaking out, holy crap, I can't breathe, omg it's happening" while taking very deep, lamaze type breaths... very attractive as you can imagine.

Once we were out on the balcony, Matt grabbed a Ziploc baggie out of his pocket and started unwrapping something from a big wad of toilet paper as he was telling me how he loved me so much and how he can't wait to go on 10 + 10 +10 etc. more dates. Once he got through the toilet paper to the ring, he got down on one knee and from here, I honestly don't remember anything that either of us said except for "will you marry me?" and "YES!". We stayed out on the balcony for a little while crying and laughing as he told me the whole story of how he planned this entire intricate surprise. Once we were ready to head back inside, we realized that we had locked our keys in the room and had to walk back to the main building without any shoes on to get a new key. The hotel already knew what was happening (and there were even more surprises planned!) so they were so happy to give us the key, laugh with us and congratulate us. Once we got back into our room, we used one of the resort's cars to head back to our original hotel and get our rental car and luggage. When we got back to the Auberge, we watched the end of a sad Michigan football game and texted family & friends the good news. That night we celebrated at Meadowood with one of the best meals I could ever have imagined. I am still in shock that Matt was able to pull everything off and that this is the beautiful engagement story that we get to tell for the rest of our lives. Even after telling it a ton of times, I am still not sick of it as some people said that I would be!

The rest of our trip to Napa was beautiful, but we were near a bunch of crazy wildfires so we didn't make it to the rest of our special dinners, tours, and tastings. Luckily, we were safe and the resort took really good care of us for the remainder of our stay! As soon as we landed back in Chicago, I immediately booked our photographer (check out Ben Ramos Photography for some STUNNING photos). As soon as we were settled at home, I also ordered my Erin Condren wedding planner!

Some of you may already know that I am a HUGE fan of paper planners and have had an Erin Condren planner for 6 or 7 years. You can check out my planner instagram here :) I am also part of the admin team over at the We Love EC Facebook group where we post and discuss all things Erin Condren!

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I have always known that I would have a big wedding because I have a HUGE family and I wanted everyone to be there to celebrate. I have also watched a LOT of Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezilla, and Four Weddings and knew that I did NOT want to be a stressed out bride-to-be. Planning and staying on top of my schedule and to-dos has always been my biggest key to success. It helps me to maximize my time in order to get everything done. Planning is actually a stress reliever for me and if I have a plan of action, I can handle anything else that is thrown my way!

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Adding wedding planning to my already hectic schedule was not something that I was too concerned about because I knew that I was going to enjoy the entire process and come at it from a place of love and excitement rather than stress and overwhelm. I also knew that the best tool that I could possibly have during this time would be my long-awaited Erin Condren wedding planner! This thing is INCREDIBLE. It has everything from monthly calendars to note pages to a wedding planning timeline, to-do lists, memory keeping pages, beautiful stickers to keep you organized and more! Plus, it is so pretty and the beautiful colors and quotes throughout the planner inspire you along the way!

Over the years I have gotten to know the team over at Erin Condren and they generously sent me their newly redesigned 24 month wedding planner to use and show all of you! Below is a video of me taking a look inside of this beautiful planner! I cannot wait to start using it as we dive into planning our August 2019 wedding! Please note that the opinions expressed in the following videos are all my own. This post is not sponsored and while I was gifted this product, I am a proud supporter of Erin Condren and would never promote anything that I didn't truly love and use!

https://youtu.be/DgQOMqKA0bc

If you loved that wedding planner, take a quick peek at some of the other incredible accessories that you can purchase from Erin Condren in this accessory review!

https://youtu.be/wHuiRg61OaI

If you decide to purchase any of these products, I would appreciate if you did so through my affiliate link :) Shopping through this link gets you $10 off and gives me a $10 credit!

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Erin Condren is one of my favorite companies for SO many reasons but a HUGE one is that they are extremely generous. Head over and join the We Love EC Facebook group and find the post to enter the customized wedding planner giveaway for not one, but TWO lucky winners! Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, 12/20/17 at 9:00pm CST so don't wait!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our engagement and the start of my wedding planning journey! I will be sure to keep posting and keeping it real about the process :) xo