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It's here!

By Kirsten Valle

Posted: Friday, Jul. 09, 2010

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Photo by Critsey Rowe

Kirsten Valle is a business reporter for the Observer. She can be reached at kvalle@charlotteobserver.com.

Read more "Getting to 'I do.'"

Ten days to go, and all bets are off. Everything I said about feeling laid-back and relaxed? Out the window. All my illusions about most of the wedding plans being done? No more. Reese and I met recently with our wedding planner to go over final details. Two hours later, we left with an inflated to-do list and deflated egos. We thought we were so organized! But without our planner, we'd have likely shown up on our wedding day sans cake knife, program baskets or guest book. So it began: the final 10 days. Here's a rundown of the final moments of our engagement.

June 30: Well, it's official: I have the wedding jitters. I'm not nervous, exactly. More like, so excited I can't sit still. I'll catch myself at work fidgeting: legs bouncing, fingers tapping at the keyboard even when I'm not typing, as if I just downed a few cups of coffee. And at home, I'm alternatively overly happy or overly emotional. Yikes - poor Reese. On to those last-minute to-dos: Tonight's task involves picking up my bridal portraits from our photographer. Fingers crossed they turned out well.

July 1: It's finally our wedding month. Luckily - or unluckily, maybe - I can't seem to forget how fast the wedding is approaching. And I'm checking off to-dos slowly and surely. The bridal portraits look great; the next step is to find frames to display them at the reception. I collected all our vendor contracts, paper-clipped them neatly in a folder, and dropped them off with our wedding planner. And I've been e-mailing vendors like a crazy person, making sure everyone is still on for July 10. I put my calligraphy skills to use again this week, making little seating signs for our rehearsal dinner. And finally, the fun stuff: exchanging e-mails, text messages, phone calls and Facebook posts with my best girlfriends, who seem to be almost as excited about the wedding weekend as I am.

July 2: The weather is beautiful for a Carolina July: sunny, warm but not blazing, and zero chance of rain. Which reminds me - The Weather Channel's 10-day forecast finally shows our wedding day. This morning, there was a 60-percent chance of rain. Yes, I've checked the wedding-day weather already, and yes, I realize this is a bit psycho. Looking at the forecast so far in advance is only going to stress me out, so I'm trying to limit myself to once a day. I've always been convinced it would rain on my wedding day, because it's rained on pretty much every other big day in my life so far, from high school prom to college graduation. But you know they say it's good luck if it rains on your wedding day...

July 3: Last night, my girlfriends threw me one final bridal shower at Freedom Park, the site of the engagement itself. My maid of honor began her Wedding Tour of the South there before heading to the beach for a few days, and my mom and future mother-in-law got to spend some time with my sweet friends. And today was a wonderful start to the holiday weekend: A day of wedding details followed by a relaxed evening at Pops in the Park with a blanket, a bottle of wine and just the two of us. A nice glimpse of how calm life might be after the wedding.

July 4: We made the trip to my parents' house this morning to knock out a few more details - namely, our slideshow for our rehearsal dinner. The day started off as a collection of thoroughly embarrassing and unattractive school-days photos and ended, thankfully, as a polished and unexpectedly touching project. A big thanks to my mother on this one - who knew she was so tech-savvy? Less than a week to go...

July 5: We left my parents' with a carload of wedding gifts - and a long list of new thank-you notes to write. We've been trying to keep up with this task, knowing it's going to overwhelm us if we wait until after the wedding. After writing a few, I continued the note-writing kick with the cards for my bridesmaids' gifts. Writing these took longer than expected, but it was really fun to think about the things I love most about each of my girls. They are so different, and I credit each of them for teaching me who I am and what I want from life - which has, I think, helped me end up in such a happy relationship. I feel lucky every time I think about that - and them!

July 6: It's my last week of work before the wedding. Somehow, the prospect of our honeymoon in Italy keeps getting lost under the mountain of wedding details. But I'm making a point to remember: After all this running around and stressing out and, eventually, celebrating, I'll be waking up in Rome with a husband. I called the bank today to give them a heads-up about what's sure to be a boatload of Italian debit-card purchases, and I made a mental note to start packing tonight. We'll see if that happens.

July 7: Well, what do you know: I didn't pack last night. But Reese and I did knock out a very important step today: Our marriage license. I was frankly afraid to attempt this, sure we'd encounter a mile-long wait at the county register of deeds office. But we strolled in easily at lunchtime, filled out a quick form and had our application a mere minutes later. Meanwhile, I'm as nervous as ever. And my groom? Perfectly mellow – on the outside at least. He says he's nervous, too. I think both of us are like 6-year-olds anticipating Christmas Day. Times 10.

July 8: Work is over, and it's full-on last-minute planning mode. My parents came down today to check into the hotel, help me drop our favors, guest book and other items off with our wedding planner - and help me pick up The Dress. One minor trip-up: We got it back to the hotel and promptly realized there was nowhere in the room to hang it. Supremely uncomfortable with my dress hanging on the shower rod for two days, we made a quick trip to Reese's parents' house and found a perfect spot in a little-used room. Whew.

July 9: Up bright and early this morning with a full day of manicures and pool time with my bridesmaids ahead. It's been a long - and equally quick - year, and it's crazy to think it's almost over. I've got so many people to thank, and so many mushy things to say to the people I love. Other than that, what else is there to say? I'm getting married tomorrow!

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