Meet Kathleen, Our New Real Bride Blogger

kathleen and her fiance Gray

Greetings, brides-to-be! My name is Kathleen and I’m the newest addition to the Real Bride Blogger Community. I’m so excited to be sharing my wedding-planning experiences with you all.

For me, as a journalist, writing has always been one of my biggest passions, an accounting of everything that is going on in the world, as well as people’s hopes, dreams and feelings. It’s a bit more difficult to write about yourself, but I want there to be some permanent account of the lead-up to my wedding that my fiancé Gray and I could look back on in years to come. Something that we could share with our future family. But let me dispense with the sappiness and tell you a little bit about Gray’s and my story.

Gray and I are both journalists covering the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee. We first met at a press conference in November 2010. Well, sort of. He saw me speak on a panel that previous July, but he didn’t introduce himself. He says I just didn’t notice him. We started dating that spring and moved in a year later, with both of us agreeing that we should only move in together if we intended to get married. And this past Memorial Day weekend, he proposed!

One of the best parts of his proposal was that it was a complete surprise to absolutely everyone. After a really nice dinner in Melbourne, Fla., Gray and I took a walk on a very secluded beach where he asked if I could “do him a favor.” When I said “sure,” he pulled out the ring and asked “will you marry me?”

Gray intentionally kept it a secret so that it would be a private moment for just the two of us and we could just celebrate without everyone asking a ton of questions and offering their opinions. We were able to spend the next 30-40 minutes alone just walking, smiling, hugging, kissing and celebrating our engagement. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

kathleen engagement ring
Here's a photo of my ring!

Of course, that meant everyone was extra surprised when we started making phone calls. The news wasn’t a shock, of course. Our families and friends expected it eventually, but just not at that particular moment. My sister proclaimed she had to start working on a hilarious toast, while Gray’s sister demanded to talk to me (instead of him!) and wanted to know why Gray hadn’t consulted her on the ring and proposal in general. “He could have really screwed that up,” she said. One of my friends screamed, scaring the heck out of her husband who was driving and almost had to pull off the road.

Now comes the planning part. Within 24 hours, all of Gray’s and my family and friends wanted to know the date and location. (I grew up in Pittsburgh, he’s from the Florida Space Coast and we now live in Tallahassee). A few days later, we’d decided to have a fall wedding on the Space Coast. Our decision on time of year and location was more of a logistical decision than an “I love fall” or “I want the wedding on the beach” choice. Though, I do actually love fall and the area where Gray grew up and his mom and brother still live.

I determined it would be too difficult to keep flying back and forth to Pittsburgh to plan the wedding, not to mention expensive. That meant a Florida wedding. We decided summer was out because of the heat and spring was iffy because that's our busiest time of work, so that left autumn. Fall also equals football and we live in a college town. So, we crossed out Tallahassee and declared Space Coast the winner.

We are also thinking of having a 50’s/60’s beach theme for our wedding. I confess I got the idea because one of my friends jokingly texted me that we should have a “Mad Men” themed wedding. But, both Gray and I love the style of the era and the music. Look out for Beach Boys, Motown and the British Invasion on our playlist.

Our next step is to look at venues, so we’re heading down to Satellite Beach, Fla., the first weekend in August to visit places along the coast. We’re looking at some hotels that offer all-inclusive packages for beach weddings, but also a park and maybe even the zoo! (Yes, I get that doesn’t quite work with the theme, but I figured why not check it out.)

I’ll keep you posted on that trip and whether we can actually pull off this 50’s/60’s theme beach wedding.


—Kathleen Haughney