The problem with planning a wedding is this: The rest of your life doesn't stop. My status right now on Facebook is "I am very, VERY thankful for - and completely overwhelmed by - all the good things in my life." I have never been so busy.

I know busy is good. I have a lot of good things going on - I'm losing weight, I'm buying a house (eep!), I'm planning a wedding, I'm working a full-time job and, in my spare time, I'm writing a blog. As wonderful as it all is, it's stressful.

When I met my fiance, I was similarly stressed out. I knew my whole life was on the verge of changing (and, indeed, it has) and I panicked. A good friend told me to relax.

"It's OK," he said. "It's just eustress." "What now?" I said. "Eustress."

Eustress is otherwise known as euphoria-induced stress. Endocrinologist Hans Selye named it that after he discovered euphoria can be as stressful on your body as anything else - basically I wasn't imagining that falling deeply, madly and irrevocably in love was taking its toll.

Once again, I am feeling that drain. So I have taken the week off from all planning and indulged - chocolate-chocolate chip cookies, anyone?

And I'm going to let another bride take over. Meet Jessica Belcher, a very funny bride originally from Port Republic who recommended I pace myself. I couldn't agree more. Take it away, Jessica:

My fiance's name is Joe Korang; he is the middle of five kids, with an older sister and stepbrother and two younger brothers, same as me. And also just like me, he is the shortest person in the house. However, he's exactly a foot taller than me at 6-feet 3-inches, so ... I'm clearly marrying into a family of Nordic giants.

I met him during the first week of freshman year of college. I was a socially awkward art major from Port Republic, and he was an equally socially awkward computer science major from Mount Holly. We sort of banded together during those first few weeks and decided we rather liked being socially awkward together.

So five years later, here we are. He works for fleet management at Rowan University, and we just recently got a dog and moved to Williamstown together. It's been an adventure, so far.

I can't really say for sure when I knew I wanted to marry him. It might have been hundreds of thousands of moments from the day I met him until now. For me, nothing has changed from the first time I told him I loved him until now, except we've gotten a little older and hopefully a little wiser.

But I figure if you can find a guy who treats you like a queen, but also has no problem telling you where you can shove it and why if you're being unreasonable, who respects you and pushes you to be a better person just as he strives to be a better person for you, and - probably most importantly - can admit when he's wrong without a trace of anger or bitterness (because Lord knows it doesn't happen often), then you know you have a winner.

The proposal itself was pretty fantastic (and surprising!) I had planned a hiking trip in the Shenandoah Valley for us to try and use up some of my days off this past fall. It was the first time we had ever gone on a trip alone with no ulterior motives (like visiting family) so it was pretty big.

After he got us lost in the woods (and I was, admittedly, not the most pleasant person to be around at that point) we managed to get up to the top of the mountain and stopped there for lunch. All of a sudden, he says he wants to take our picture. The view was pretty great, so I was like, "Well, OK." And he set his camera up on the tripod, came over and stood next to me and we waited for the shutter to snap. Except it didn't.

And then, all of a sudden, he was down on one knee and my brain kind of froze. And by kind of, I mean the only thing I remember is saying "Yes."

He says he's glad I don't remember what he said because instead of the wonderful heartfelt bit of prose he was going to try and lay on me, it came out like a load of incoherent mush. But between you and me, I prefer it this way. Perfect was never our style.

The best part by far, however, has been the ring. About four years ago, I had broken my favorite ring: a silver claddagh (Irish wedding band) that my sister had given me when she got engaged to her husband. Joe apparently kept it for all this time and melted it down using shop tools he borrowed from work and made it into a really pretty silver band. That, aside from the sentimental value, proves he really listens when I talk - I had once made a comment that I hated gold, and thought platinum was too overpriced and flashy, and I thought that silver and jade would be really pretty and unique.

So here I am now, years later, with a silver engagement ring that does have a jade stone to go with it that he's trying to teach himself how to make a bezel for. Did I mention that he also cooks, sews and cleans? Because he does, and he does it all better than me. (Seriously, where did I find him again?)

Well, I know "that" feeling. Thank you, Jessica, so much for sharing your story. Stay tuned for Part II next week ;)

All atwitter

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Happy planning, ladies!

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