| Happily Ever After – We Are Engaged! |

I know it’s been a long time coming, but here is an official post announcing that I AM ENGAGED! Man, does that feel good to say. I am officially going to become a Mrs. Pagano  :)

Today not only marks exactly 2 months of being engaged to my best friend, but it is also the day that we will be getting married in exactly one year! We have gotten so much wedding planning done in the past few months, and I can’t believe that we can finally start an official countdown. I can already tell that the next 12 months are going to fly by, but that is okay with me because I absolutely cannot wait to marry the love of my life.

My Fiance

When looking back on our special day and all the events leading up to it, it became clear how meant to be everything was. It was almost like everything in our lives lined up perfectly and it showed that something bigger than us definitely had this planned out for awhile. All I have to say is, thank you to the big man upstairs!!! I couldn’t imagine having a better man by my side on this crazy rollercoaster that we call life.

Every once in a while – on very rare occasions – we meet the person of our dreams. It’s always unexpected and almost never at a convenient point in our lives, but they appear nonetheless and change our life forever. Zach was one of those people for me. Meeting him was completely unexpected, but it’s funny to think that I knew from the beginning that we had something different. Something special.

Falling in love, deeply in love, is like finding your place in the world for the first time in your life. It’s knowing that you are exactly where you ought to be and that there is nowhere in the world you’d rather be. He became “home” to me and I never felt completely whole unless he was around. A few months ago a good friend asked me how I knew he was the one, and to be honest, it’s kind of an unexplainable thing. Sometimes when we love a person beyond imagination, we aren’t really sure why. To be truthful, you don’t really need a reason. You just know in your heart, in your mind, and in your soul that they are who you are meant to be with. Now, as if all of that wasn’t gushy enough, let me explain why our engagement was meant to be :)

10 Reasons Why It Was Meant To Be:

  1. For the past 4 years, Zach and I have made it a tradition to go see one of our favorite bands – the Avett Brother’s – during their summer tour at Red Rocks. Well, on July 10th 2015, our little tradition became even more special because the love of my life asked me to marry him in the middle of the crowd during the most beautiful love song.
  2. To make the whole moment even more amazing, we had always talked about having our first dance be to one of their songs. It will be fun to see the moment come full circle from getting engaged during one of their beautiful love songs, and then starting our journey as a married couple to one as well.
  3. He always knew that it was extremely important to me to have my family there to celebrate such a big moment. Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to get all of us in one place at the same time…especially when I’m living in another state. My whole family happened to be in Colorado for the celebration of Zach’s brother’s Colorado wedding reception. None of them had ever been to Red Rocks, so we decided to invite them along to our special little tradition! The funny part is that they didn’t know it was going to happen either. When Zach got down on one knee, they were actually not even paying attention. But to be honest, it was nice to have a special little moment to ourselves. The music faded in to the distance, the tears started to stream down my face, and it was just us in that moment…until the cheers from the crowd brought me back to reality – along with my family pummeling me with hugs and kisses!
  4. The FamilyOne of the things that truly showed that all of this was meant to be was the timing of the proposal. Exactly a year before our special moment, we were both at a good friends wedding where I caught the brides bouquet and Zach ended up catching the garter belt! As tradition goes, those who catch these two things are destined to be the next to marry. We didn’t notice this until after the fact when we happened to be on our handy Time Hop app and noticed what had happened exactly a year before! If that’s not a sign of fate, I don’t know what is.
  5. The Lucky CoupleThe whole proposal was a complete shock to me, and I guess I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We talked about marriage and getting engaged almost on a daily basis, but we also talked about how we were in no rush for it to happen. We are young, and we knew that it was definitely going to happen at some  point, so why push it? We also talked about how we both had just gotten brand new cars, how difficult student loans were to pay, and how we were still trying to save to get a place of our own…along with a puppy! He really threw me off with all of that stuff because in my head I thought, “even if we both wanted to pursue that next step in our relationship today, there’s no way he would ever be able to afford a ring!!!” Little did I know, that Zach had actually gotten the ring over a year and a half ago – he was just waiting for the perfect time to pop the question. He was even able to completely pay it off before he asked me! Now, that’s a pretty impressive thing to do.
  6. Speaking of planning in advance, he also did something else over a year before he proposed. He always knew that I wanted a fall wedding back in Minnesota, and that I wanted us to get married in the St. Thomas chapel because that’s where our love story began. The tricky thing about getting married in that specific chapel is that you have to book your date almost 1-2 years in advance because it is so highly requested! He took the initiative to do just that. Around when he got the ring, he also booked our date – September 10th, 2016.
  7. As you can see, the number 10 seems to be a recurring theme in all of these special events. It’s actually kind of funny, because the number 10 is one of our favorite numbers. I don’t know if any of you remember the old AT&T commercials that use to air with the man asking the kids simple questions, and they would answer back with the funniest comments? Well, one of our favorites is when the man asks, “Pick a number between 1 and a million.” and one of the kids immediately responds with “TEN!!!” and the guy just goes, “Really?” I don’t know why we always found it so funny, but we did. We literally use the word TEN in our daily conversations and we say it just like the kid does in the commercial. It seems so fitting that our wedding anniversary will forever be nine, TEN!!!
  8. The ring that he picked out for me was and is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. We never talked much abut what my ring would look like someday because I didn’t really know what I wanted. All that really mattered to me was that it would come from him :) I told him that I didn’t care about the size or the label, I just wanted it to sparkle! I also didn’t want something that was too big and gaudy. We went to try on rings a few years ago and I found that my little skeleton fingers were way too small to carry a big ring – it just didn’t look good. So I kind of left him with little to go off of, but boy did he do a good job. Not only is the style of the ring perfect, but it shines so bright. The cut is classic, timeless, and absolutely breathtaking. I was also blown away when he pulled it out of his pocket and I saw that beautiful blue Tiffany’s box. Never in a million years did I think I would get a Tiffany’s engagement ring. I mean, could my guy be more perfect!?
  9. The RingOur whole engagement was full of fashion faux pas, but that’s kind of what made the proposal perfectly imperfect. First of all, when we got to Red Rocks it was about 90 degrees…and Zach was wearing a jacket. I found out later that he had put the bright blue Tiffany’s box in the pocket of his jacket and was worried that someone would see it if he took it off. He also dressed abnormally nice for an outdoor concert. Like, I’m talking a nice button up shirt, some fancy jeans, and nice shoes. I did poke a little fun at him throughout the night, but it never crossed my mind that he was acting strange because he was planning on asking me to marry him! It had also rained at one point during the concert, so I had put a poncho on. When the rain clouds had clearly passed, Zach kept asking me if I wanted to take the poncho off. I kept telling him that it was keeping me warm and that I wasn’t going to take it off no matter how weird I looked. This later came back to bite me in the butt because in the only picture that was snapped during the actual proposal, I looked like I was wearing a giant trash bag hahaha. I had also gone to town on my gel manicure throughout the show and took all of my nail polish off and fell back in to my bad habit of biting my finger nails. Of course on the one night that I wanted my nails to look perfect, they were just a hot mess! I fixed that the next day with a wonderfully relaxing manicure :)
  10. We Are Engaged!!!Before the proposal Zach posted in a private Facebook group called “Avett Nation” and announced that he would be proposing at the concert. This group is full of Avett Brother’s fans such as ourselves, and he got so much love and support!!! Apparently as he was walking around Red Rocks people even pulled him aside and wished him luck or asked if he had popped the question yet! Luckily, I was never around when this happened! But it was so amazing to have so much love and support from the people around us who we though were strangers, but really they knew the big surprise before any of us did. Zach also ran in to the Avett Brother’s Dad during the concert, and he even knew about the proposal! He actually taped a video with Zach and gave us some advice for living a long and happy life :)

Avett Nation

I could probably go on and on about our special day, but I will leave it at that for now. All I can say is that I am literally the happiest girl in the world – I finally get my happily ever after. Be prepared for multiple wedding planning posts through out the next year! I am having so much fun planning this big celebration, I might even have to change my career path to wedding planning ;)

Thanks for reading!!!