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I know, I know, that sounds super dramatic. But so far, wedding planning hasn’t exactly been fun for me, which, if you know me, is a little surprising. I LOVE this kind of stuff. (And if my wedding planner is reading this, NONE of this is a reflection of you. You are awesome, so patient and helpful, and I am so relieved to have you as part of my wedding planning team! xo!)

I got engaged in the end of February (read that story here) and have made what feels to ZERO progress wedding planning. We haven’t set a date, we have no venue, nada. I’m basically failing at it.

Well, that’s not completely true. In the past ten months (holy crap, I’VE BEEN ENGAGED FOR TEN MONTHS?!?! Get it together, Salaun! Plan that wedding!), I’ve chosen a wedding planner, set my budget, seen about a bazillion venues, done lots of pinning on Pinterest, and started the beginnings of the registry process (last weekend I registered for ONE thing on Amazon…progress!).

When it’s all written out like that, it feels like I’ve actually done SOMETHING, but for 10 months of being engaged, I definitely feel like I should have done a bit more. (We’ve always planned to get married in August/September of 2015, so we haven’t postponed the wedding or anything due to lack of planning, we’ve just shortened our allotted planning time).

But back to the hating wedding planning thing…I wouldn’t say that I currently hate wedding planning. I think I’ve finally reached the turning point where I’m excited about it again (don’t get me wrong, I was SO excited to get engaged, I have absolutely LOVED being engaged ever since, and I am so pumped to marry to Charlie… it’s just the planning an actual wedding part that is more the headache.) I went to a good friend’s wedding last weekend — Congrats to the Givens!!! — and it helped propel me out of the grumpy planning phase. BUT, before that turning point, every time I dove into wedding planning, I came out on the other end stressed, having a bridezilla-lite freak outs on the regular, and just not wanting to do it. At all. And also feeling extreme guilt every time I saw friends or acquaintances because the go-to conversation starter when you get engaged is “How’s wedding planning going?” My response was always, “Not any further than the last time we talked! Soooo, pretty much nothing.”

And here’s why…

Inside my head, and sometimes on the outside (*sheepish smirk*), I’m a princess. I don’t have one of those wedding binders with all the details already planned for my dream wedding, nothing like that. But, like probably every girl out there, I want to have a FANTASTIC wedding. In my head, I’d love to have a $100k wedding (imagine all you could do!!!), but practically speaking (and even if I had an extra $100-grand to throw at a wedding), that is a bit excessive. Frankly, as princessy as I can be, spending an astronomical amount of money on a wedding just doesn’t make sense to me. I think that amount of money can go a lot further on a number of other things (like buying a house, taking an epic vacation, paying off student loans, getting a new car, investing in something, etc.).

But let’s be honest, the princess in me is at odds with the financially practical side.

We’re planning to get married in the Santa Barbara area (right now, our top venue choice is in Camarillo). This area is one of the most expensive places to get married. It’s a destination wedding location for many people. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $30k (excluding the honeymoon), while the average cost of a wedding in Santa Barbara is nearly $45k (minus the honeymoon). I just started my own business, so I want my wedding to be as economical as possible. Pretty tough when you’re planning a wedding in the 6th most expensive place in the country! And then, when I go to see venues that fit in my budget, they fall dramatically short of the wedding I’m picturing in my head. So, this beginning step, finding a venue, mostly ends in disappointment. None of the venues (aside from the one that was half my entire budget) feel like the right now. Oh, I also have a ginormous family and want all my family and friends to be able to come, which doesn’t alleviate the budget concerns at all.

I do think that choosing your venue is one of the toughest pieces of the wedding planning puzzle. The venue sets the stage for the entire wedding, so it has to feel just right. You have to be able to visualize your entire wedding there. And then it has to fit the price too.

I will also say that right now, in my life, everything is huge and life-changing. I started my own business shortly after getting engaged, I’m remodeling (aka nearly completely rebuilding) my house in Santa Barbara, oh, and I’m planning a wedding. All, huge, things. If you didn’t already know, my fiancé and I don’t currently live in the same city either. I’m based in Santa Barbara, while he’s full-time based in Hollywood (my work does allow me to split my time about 50/50 between the two cities though). So, wedding planning also involves planning to move my life to a whole different city. Another HUGE thing. (Don’t worry, SB peeps, I’ll still be in Santa Barbara about 1-2 days a week, but will most likely be based in Hollywood, rather than based in Santa Barbara). So, as you can see, wedding planning has often been put on the back-burner, for obvious reasons.

Like I said above though, we’ve narrowed our venue options down to a top favorite, and I’m feeling good about it (I’m just seeing one more option this weekend before making my decision). And the wedding I went to last weekend really re-inspired me to get back into the wedding planning game, and I can tell I’ve rounded the corner out of “I hate wedding planning!” town, and it feels good. (Trust me, I know there will be more freak outs, but over all, I’m in a better place with it.)

If you’re feeling like you’re in a wedding planning rut or you just do not like it, it’ll change. It might take 10 months, but it will. And a good thing to keep in mind is that while yes, your wedding is a reflection of you and your fiancé and you want it to embody everything you both are in your love and fabulousness together, but it’s also a reflection of where you are right now, at this point in your lives. It doesn’t define you or dictate your worth as individuals or as a couple, and it doesn’t have to be the end-all celebration of your life together. Saying that out loud seems like an “oh duh” statement, but I think we get wrapped up in trying to make this day something more than it is. Don’t get me wrong, I think weddings are incredibly meaningful, precious, and wonderful, but it doesn’t define your relationship or your future as husband and wife. And that’s something to keep in mind (talking to myself here!).


Epic Meal Empire Premiere at YouTube Space LA (Weekly Vlog 7.29.14)

Last week I got to see the premiere of Epic Meal Empire (brought to you by the dudes at Epic Meal Time) – it was great! These guys are hilarious, and they have a pretty awesome show. They started everything on YouTube four years ago, and now they have a deal with a network – pretty amazing to see what’s can happen all through YouTube!

The premiere was at YouTube Space LA, and it was my first time going there. It’s a really rad space and I can’t wait to go back for more events!

Oh, we also did tons of wedding planning…or rather, venue scouting. I’d say it was pretty successful. We didn’t settle on a space just yet, but we have quite a few good options to think about.

Broke Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Last weekend, my cousin Kelsey got married!!! The wedding was in Monterey, and it just so turned out that my friend, Kaitlin, had a wedding to go to in San Francisco. So, we carpooled…which turned into quite an adventure. About 3 hours into the drive, our car broke down! And of course, as luck would have it, we broke down on the one-hour stretch of the 101 between Santa Barbara and Salinas where there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No gas stations, no rest stops, no stores, NADA. Thankfully, we only had to wait in the car for about an hour before getting picked up by Triple A. We were towed to Salinas, and then my mom picked me up and took me to my Aunt’s and a friend of Kaitlin’s also happened to be passing through on their way to SF. So it all worked out.

The weekend was really fun. Lots of work prepping for the wedding, lots of running around from place to place, and lots and lots of family time. It was awesome. The wedding was beautiful, and it was SO fun. Hope you guys all had a great week!

Charlie’s Surprise Birthday Party aka It’s A TRAP! aka How I Unknowingly Planned My Own Engagement

On February 22, 2014, Charlie asked me to marry him.

I said yes. Duh.

The end.

JK…it’s a good story. Keep reading.

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Charlie’s birthday is in the end of February, and in January, his sister, Z, asked me if I had anything special planned. At that point, I didn’t. She suggested we throw him a surprise party. I thought that was a GREAT idea. As we talked more about specifics, she threw out the idea of karaoke. I was in.

There were only two places in town that would be doing karaoke the night we had in mind. We decided to go with Old Town Tavern. The place is an utter dive (more on that later). I’d never been there, but they have a very popular “college night” on Wednesdays that I’d heard good things about, and their karaoke started at 7pm instead of 10pm, so they were the clear choice (Yes, I realize that makes me sound 100 years old…10pm, LATE?!? I’m too busy lately and thus really coveting my sleep and often go to bed earlier on the weekends than the weeknights, so yeah, early-bird special coming right up over here.)

As January and February went by, things began coming together nicely. We had friends coming from both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles (and some from San Diego!). At one point, Z asked if I was going to invite my parents. I hadn’t planned on it and didn’t really think it was that big a party for them to make the 6-hour drive to attend, but I figured I might as well give them a heads up. My Dad said he’d be there. Cool! My Mom would be in Hawaii with friends, but decided to change her flight to return a day early to make the party. Even cooler! Z later told me that their Dad was going to fly down (from Oregon) for the party too. WAY COOL!

As this was all happening, there were a few times, where in the back of my mind, I would think to myself, “Ya know, I know Charlie’s planning on proposing some time this year, and he’s pretty dang sneaky…I wouldn’t put it past him to somehow be behind all of this.” I thought it was a possibility, but I didn’t think that was actually what was happening. At that point, we hadn’t gone ring shopping together (a step in the process I really emphasized was important…I’m a bit particular…), so while it would be a good trick, I didn’t think this would be the big night. I’d remind myself, “We’re doing a nice thing for Charlie. It’s not all about ME.” Riiiiiiight.

The week of the party, I was so focused on making sure everything went right…reminding friends, buying birthday decorations, you name it. The day of, I was In. The. Zone. Coordinating with the people coming into town to make sure there weren’t any run-ins and on my phone more than normal (which is already a lot) — everything was going as planned. And I was pretty sure Charlie had NO IDEA.

I told Charlie we were doing something “special” but not too fancy that night to celebrate his birthday, that we’d be going to a place I’d never been before, where there’d be food and fun stuff to do. He kept guessing that we were going bowling (good guess) or to Chuck E. Cheese (joke guess). Charlie drove, while I kept giving play-by-play updates to Z and my Dad, who had both been there for over an hour setting up and organizing everyone for the surprise. (Sadly, my Mom’s flight from Hawaii was cancelled, so she didn’t end up making it after all 😦 boo.)

We got out of the car and made our way to one of the dive-iest bars either of us has ever been to — no joke. As we walked up, we were, uh, serenaded by a middle-aged woman’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” We went through the doors, and a crowd of about 45 people shouted “SURPRISE!!!” (including the homeless-y folks at the bar, all equipped with the noisemakers and hats I bought the night before). Charlie was SO SURPRISED. I’m standing next to him, just BEAMING. “We did it!” I thought, “We nailed this surprise party! BOO YAH.”

Z jumped on stage and began leading everyone in singing “Happy Birthday.” When that was done, she told Charlie and me to get up on stage. I thought that was a little random for me to get up there, it wasn’t my birthday after all, but I went up too. I said thanks to everyone for coming, blah blah, and then passed the mic to Charlie. He said “Oh my gosh, this is such a surprise! I didn’t know I had this many friends! And you’re all so good looking! …In keeping with the theme of surprises, I have a surprise too.” (Quick cut to my brain at this time…I honestly didn’t think anything fishy was going on…I thought he was just going to make some silly Charlie joke, like “Lauren’s pregnant!” Something like that.) He turns to me and says, “Lauren…” gets down on one knee, “Will you marry me!?” and holds out a black box containing a — HOLY CRAP!!! — GORGEOUS ring.

I FREAKED. Somehow, I hadn’t seen that coming AT ALL. My hands immediately went up over my mouth, and I kept looking out at the crowd and then back at Charlie, not fully comprehending what was happening. I honestly felt like every emotion had slammed into my face at once — like I was going to cry, scream, laugh, everything…through my face. I nodded frantically, Charlie said, “Is that a yes?” I squeaked out a “Yes!” in the mic, Charlie gave me the ring box, he stood up, and then we hugged. Yes, you heard that right…he gave me the box. Haha. I took it and said, “Put it on me!” Charlie: “Yeah! Put it on!” Me: “No, YOU put it on ME!” Charlie: “Yeah! Put it on!” So, I just put it on myself when we hugged again.

I got down from the stage and was bum-rushed — “Congratulations!!!”, pictures with friends, pictures of me with the ring, people wanting to see the ring, people giving me drinks, hugs, some people asking if I had a date (UHM, REALLY!? It JUST happened!)…It was surreal. I seriously feel like I blacked out from emotional overload — in the best way possible. The rest of the night, we did karaoke, danced, ate cake, and had a blast.

And that’s how it all went down. We got engaged at Old Town Tavern — a dive if there ever was one — and it was perfect. I love that so many of our friends and family were able to be there. I love that I was so utterly caught of guard. I love that how it all happened is just so “us.” I loved everything about it.