For those of you who weren't already aware, I'm getting married this year.
Within days of getting engaged I had made two promises to Dale's sister.
I promised that I would a) not become obsessed with my wedding and talk about nothing else and b) never deny myself anything delicious in pursuit of The Dream Dress.
With the exception of my long-suffering work colleagues who, before the engagement had to put up with my non-stop talking about Dale, our flat, and Disney World anyway, I think most people would agree that I am doing a fine job of sticking to my promises.
(Just to be clear, they are top witnesses to the fact that I have not started denying myself anything delicious- although I really do need to face the fact that it's not Christmas anymore and we don't need cupcakes every day. But they would probably argue that I could talk about the wedding less. Sorry ladies.)
Anyway, for one day only I'm going to officially break promise A and tell you aaall about it.
(That was a warning. If you don't want to know, close this down and maybe do a Friends quiz? Or is it just me whose news feed is over run with Friends quizzes right now?)
SO first things first.
I won't bore you with the details that I bored my Mum with, but here are the key highlights...
Dale and I have always disagreed on our anniversary. By quite a lot. In that I say it's 14th August and Dale says it's 5th November. (Yep. A lot.)
Which is why despite arriving in Orlando on 28th October, Dale decided to wait until 5th November to propose. How he waited that long with the ring sitting in his suitcase I do not know.
Every Walt Disney World resort hotel shows a Disney Movie Under the Stars every night, and on our first date in mid 2013, Dale and I watched Up under the stars at Disney's Port Orleans Resort Hotel. We laid on a blanket outside and talked all the way through the film, eating a picnic and swapping life stories.
It was every bit as magical as it sounds.
On 5th November 2016 at 11am Dale and I popped into the Port Orleans resort to get a drink and look at how pretty it is.
It never gets old.
As we walked past the spot of our first date, Dale pointed out that there was a big, Princess chair and asked if I wanted a photo in it.
I got a soaking wet butt, not realising that the chair was still drenched from the previous night's rain, jumped up, checked how obvious it was (really obvious) and turned back to find Dale holding a ring and asking me the most important question I will ever be asked.
I will never stop being impressed that he managed to find somewhere in Walt Disney World that was not only hugely special to us in a way that it probably isn't to many other people, but was also deserted so that we felt like the only two people in the world for the big moment.
I was then immediately whisked away to Animal Kingdom to see my favourite show in the entire world (The Lion King show) in VIP seats, before going to meet the cast.
By the time I turned the corner to see the whole cast there waiting for us, having still not had a chance to tell anyone we were now engaged, I was totally speechless and, I'm fairly sure, left them thinking that I couldn't speak English.
I was whisked from there to my favourite restaurant in Disney World (and the real world, in fact), Be Our Guest, and then to watch The Festival of Fantasy, the most magical parade, and then to meet the main man- Mickey Mouse- who was, of course, delighted at the news.
From there, Dale took me back to our hotel and told me to pack my bags, we were going on vacation from our vacation.
To my favourite resort.
Yacht Club is my favourite resort for many, many reasons.
But the main one is that when I stayed there for the first time there was a painting of a lady who looked incredibly like Dale. Seriously, it's uncanny.
So you can imagine my absolute delight when I walked into our breathtaking room to find this on the wall:
Potentially the best part of the day.
I was then whisked off to VIP seats for my favourite evening spectacular, Fantasmic, in Hollywood Studios, before whizzing over to Epcot for what is always my dinner of choice, from the French Pavillion. We took it to go and ate it on the balcony of our hotel room as we watched Illuminations, the Epcot fireworks.
It was the first time either of us had done all four Disney parks in one day, and it was the best day of our lives.
It will take a lot for the wedding to beat it.
Which brings us seamlessly to...
We were ever so good and vowed not to discuss the wedding until we got home, despite having agreed long before we got engaged that we both wanted a short engagement. (By which I mean I wanted a short engagement and Dale said okay.)
I like to think I knew more or less what to expect when it comes to wedding planning. I'm the last of all my close friends to get married, and although I didn't have a huge involvement in planning their weddings I did lend an ear when chair cover and invitation thickness decisions got too much, and I have attended more weddings than I could count on my fingers and toes, so I know more or less what weddings involve, and also what I do and don't like.
I'll not go into too much detail about what I do and don't like as I want some things to remain a surprise for the day, but here are the top things I've learnt planning my wedding...
1) Being Fearless has never been more important.
What a super time for me to have made that my new resolution. People are brutal when it comes to expressing their opinions on both your wedding and the weddings of others, and if you listen to them, you'll end up doing a lot of your breathing into paper bags and taking up daily drinking.
Honestly it has shocked me how many people have felt the need to tell me everything they didn't like about all the weddings they've been to. What if I've already organised that? That lesson has actually really helped me with my promise to my new sister-in-law not to talk about it too much, because I really don't want to talk about it. I don't want any more opinions, thank you.
Compiling the guest list is also a brutal task for a sensitive soul like me.
Between us we have so many friends, if we invited everyone we love we would have a crowd to rival William and Kate, and as relatively shy people, we would both rather stick pins in our eyes.
So it's a family affair for us, but it's surprising (and mortifyingly awkward) how many people openly say that they expect to be invited.
I really hope that everyone finds this and we're not the worst people in the world for feeling this way, but we have had to be fearless with the guest list. Dale jokes that if it were up to me we'd be inviting the lady from the Post Office and asking guests to let us know when and where would be most convenient for them, and he's not far off the truth.
2) It does not need to be as stressful as Facebook tells you.
Seriously. Ever since the second we put our engagement on Facebook we have both found our news feeds filled with blogs, articles, videos, and lists of reasons telling us how and why getting married is the most stressful thing you can do.
One article told me we need to put aside at least £27, 000 (if I had that much money to spare it would absolutely not be going on a day). I've read so much about the stress of choosing the right dress (bought the first one I tried on), choosing the right venue (booked the first one we saw), and choosing a theme (a no brainer for us).
I have managed to find a human being, among all of the human beings in the whole world, that I like enough to promise to spend the rest of my life with, and he wants to promise to spend the rest of his life with me too! Surely I've done the seemingly impossible bit?!
We started planning this wedding in December and finished planning it in January.
It's been nothing but fun.
3) There's one thing nobody ever tells you.
Don't worry though chaps, I'm going to share it with you now. You think you know everything. You know about the dress, the flowers, the vows, the entertainment, the little touches.
What nobody tells you is that if you get married in a registry office, there's a £50 charge. If you get married in a venue, there's a £525 charge for the registrar, plus a £70 appointment beforehand.
It's daylight robbery! Why does nobody ever warn you about this? NONE of the Facebook warnings included this.
You have all now been warned.
4) Getting engaged brings you closer to everyone you've ever met.
It's been amazing how many people have been excited about our engagement, have wanted to hear about the wedding, and hugged and kissed me in congratulations.
It means I've had special days out with my best friends and my mum that I wouldn't have otherwise had, and everyone suddenly has something to say to me.
My favourite thing about every wedding I have ever been to has been getting to know the families of my friends and their new spouses.
My favourite thing about our wedding is all my favourite people getting to know each other. Doing the table plans has been an absolute joy for that reason.
5) Say Yes to the Dress is the best thing since Reese's peanut buttercups.
Seriously. You get the expert help and undivided attention of an absolutely amazing professional with years and years of experience, they're incredibly kind to you, give you champagne and lunch, and I certainly ended up choosing a dress I would never have chosen for myself.
I do not understand why you wouldn't do it.
If you're yet to get your dress, I cannot recommend it enough. Even if you don't end up getting a dress I had the best day with my mum and my friends.
Of course, the absolute best thing about being engaged is the excitement.
Since the day we got engaged I've found myself overwhelmed with the need to tell Dale that I just can't wait to be his wife every single day.
I think that out of all of the traditional milestones, being engaged has to be the best one. You're in a wonderful position and you know that all the best bits are yet to come.
Like Christmas Eve, but for seven months.
When I was away and all my friends were getting engaged I used to feel a little rush of excitement that I had all that to look forward to still. I like to think that I'll feel an equal warm rush of nostalgia every time I look back.
Okay it's out. It's off my chest. This is my experience of being engaged. I'm getting married in four and a half months!
Promise I won't mention it again until 26th June, and I assure you I will continue to eat all my favourite things throughout the engagement and beyond.