Imagine waking up on the day of your engagement party to find out that you're actually getting married. For some brides, it might be their worst nightmare. For Carly Butler, it was a dream.
The Windsor, Ontario, native married Adam Verheyen last August in front of family and friends. Verheyen proposed in January of 2013, and the couple had previously set a date for this May. Butler and her groom made a list of what was important to her and what they absolutely wanted on the big day.
"We had a shared Pinterest board," Butler told us of how they prepared for the big day. "I wanted really nice hair. I know that sounds vain, but I did. I wanted a really good dance floor and a band. And we knew we wanted the day documented."
Shortly after their engagement, the bride-to-be flew to England to retrace her grandmother Irene's steps. Her grandfather was a Canadian soldier and met his wife while deployed overseas. The two wed in England and spent six months apart while Irene waited for her travel papers. During that time, she wrote letters to her husband. Butler discovered 110 of those notes after Irene's death.
While across the pond, Butler visited locations her grandmother mentioned in letters while discovering a lot about her past and herself. She also had a few visitors, including her mother. While Carly's mom was there, they picked out her wedding dress.
When she returned to Canada, Butler had one more letter to read. It was from her fiancé.
"For the last few months I've been planning an engagement party with several people, mainly your mama, to allow all of your friends and family to see us together engaged," the letter said. "But what I am trying to tell you is today is not our engagement party, it is our wedding."
The ceremony took place at the same location of the engagement party – although even Adam's uncle, who offered up his house for the party – had no idea. Guests showed up without gifts and in casual attire. After a snafu with the bridesmaids' attire, Butler opted instead for them to wear their own black dresses. She also switched out her bouquet.
Guests ate chicken, corn-on-the-cob, and mac-and-cheese, all previously chosen by the bride and groom. Everyone danced to a live band. Butler described the ceremony and reception as a "low-key environment." But most important, she is happy with the way it all turned out.
Butler tells us that she and Adam are doing great and that she is hoping to release a book about her travels in 2015.