Today's Bride

Meet Our New Real Bride Blogger: Denise!

Hi there, TB world! My name’s Denise. I’m no stranger to these parts – I’m actually the former Social Media & Content Stylist for Today’s Bride! As a newly engaged woman, naturally I was so excited for the opportunity to share my own wedding planning experience with TB readers.

What have I been up to lately? First of all, I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay involved in the wedding industry! Nowadays, I work in both sales and wedding planning. I talk to thousands of brides a month about their needs and experiences. Despite that, I’m already finding that planning your own wedding comes with its fair share of difficulties. (Newsflash: It’s a lot of work … I bow down, former brides!) I currently live in Chicago, but am planning my wedding for back home in Northeast Ohio.

Engagement | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Brian Carroll

So how did my love story begin? Well, when it comes to Mike and I, it was always a matter of when – not if. Mike and I met the way so many Millennials do – online. I saw this guy with a 94 percent compatibility rating and had to know more! So I messaged him…and then played the waiting game.

For four excruciatingly long days, I waited. And the worst part with those sites is they feel the need to tell you when someone has read your message – which he had done early on. So when the response doesn’t come immediately, there are a million questions going through any relatively insecure 23-year-old’s head. “Was I too eager?” “Maybe I should have ended that message differently?” “Did I talk about my cat too much?”

And, poof! The return message came just like that.

For our first date, we grabbed gelato and Mike walked me around his hometown of North Canton. It was cute and quaint in the best possible way. Which is, oddly enough, how I would describe our relationship today.

The first date turned into a second. He pulled out all the stops – taking me to Brandywine Falls at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and using his sister’s dog as bait. Our third date was an Of Montreal concert in Pittsburgh (one thing to know about me, I love live music!) This time, I pulled out all the stops, using Pinterest to put together a cooler of yummy snacks for us to enjoy.

Engagement | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Brian Carroll

I remember the moment when I knew Mike was the one. It was either date 5 or 6, and we were hanging out at the Sand Run Metro Park. It was a simple moment. We were just watching the creek running over the road, and I felt the stillest I had felt in a long time. And not just in the way that nature makes you feel for a hot minute and then you hop right back into your busy, everyday routine. My soul felt still. Content. And I don’t think I realized that was something I needed until that very moment.

Mike and I have a lot of similar interests and what I like to call a “mutual weirdness.” But in a way, he’s also the yin to my 1000-miles-an-hour yang. He always has a way of calming me and bringing me instant comfort. He is my human equivalent to walking into your childhood home and being greeted by the smell of freshly-baked chocolate cookies.

Our first year turned into two, and now – as of July 2018 – we’ve passed the six-year mark! I guess you can say I was expecting a proposal to happen at some point. Mike and I had casually talked about rings, but I had no idea he was completely scoping out my Pinterest board and planned to buy one soon. (And I would also like to point out that he bought my absolute favorite because he knows me that well!)

Engagement | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Brian Carroll

However, the proposal itself totally caught me off guard. It was a Saturday in late March 2017. I had just gotten off work late so Mike was texting to ask when I’d be home. When I reached our front door, there was a welcome note awaiting me. Inside, the light switches were taped down with instructions not to turn them on; from our front stairs, I could see a couple of candles lit below. Mike does romantic things like candlelit dinners from time to time, so while I was a little suspicious, I still hadn’t caught on.

As I made my way down the staircase, I could hear one of my favorite love songs playing and there was a row of candles lining the hallway. That was the moment it finally clicked. A lump formed in my throat. Tears started welling in my eyes. I struggled between hastily walking down the hallway and dumping my things on the floor; my actual movement was an awkward dance between the two. When I finally made it to the end of our hallway which seemed five times as long, Mike was waiting for me in our living room, suit and all. He donned a nervous smile and started talking about us and what he loved about our relationship. Admittedly I can’t quite remember everything that he said as I was almost in a state of shock. After the proposal, I couldn’t even recall that he had gotten down on one knee (he had!) because, for me, it was a blur of adrenaline, tears, and smiles. (This is why photographers & videographers are so key!)

I, of course, said yes, we danced to the remaining songs on his playlist…and the rest is wedding planning history!


Next month, I’ll talk about how we chose our venue and all the aspects that went into such a big decision! Stay tuned!

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