By AMY ZUBEK

azubek@tnonline.com [1]

Since Bob and I got engaged on Sept. 14, life has changed drastically for me.

No, I haven't moved out of my house yet, changed jobs, or had any major things happen since saying "Yes, I will marry you" to my boyfriend of over two years, but life as I knew it prior to being a blushing bride-to-be has been altered.

I have since entered the twilight zone, a vortex that sucks unsuspecting women, mothers, daughters, and all female friends down the white rabbit's hole into a world of magic and mayhem and where Alice is not trying to find her way home, but rather she is trying to find her perfect wedding gown, photographer, reception hall, cake decorator, florist, DJ, and everything in between.

Since getting engaged, I've had a crash course in Weddings 101 and so far, I think I'm holding my own in the tissue and taffeta world of the brides. But I never realized how much work goes into planning a wedding. The countless phone calls and inquiries to find vendors that can and will meet all of my needs during our big day in August were more than I ever imagined. It was online search upon search for limos, invitations, favors, and more; as well as researching just what kinds of things I would want at the wedding. Honestly, it's enough to drive any bride-to-be batty if she's not fully armed and ready for battle. The whole wedding world is quite overwhelming actually, with various themes, colors schemes, styles, and more flashing before your eyes every time you click on a Wedding Web site.

But thankfully, my mom has been there to help take some of the pressure off of my shoulders and keep me from going insane making these decisions.

She has been there every step of the way to guide, give advice, and help make this special day perfect. Her help, has made the whole experience less stressful and more enjoyable.

Together, and with the help of family and friends, we have tackled finding my wedding dress, the reception hall, centerpieces, place cards, limo services, florist, favors, candles, decorations, and a whole lot more.

It has been a memorable experience so far and I appreciate knowing that I have my parents, and Bob and his parents; as well as so many friends who are willing to help me in this journey. With everyone's help, Aug. 21, 2010 will be a day filled with smiles and lasting memories.

There are still some small items that need to be organized yet, but as for now, I think I'm going to sit back, enjoy a tea party with the Mad Hatter, and watch as Alice continues her trek through Wonderland in search for her "King of Hearts."

P.S. I want to say Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to some special people in my life.

Ÿ To my maid of honor and best friend, Laura, thanks for everything you've done in the soon-to-be 26 years that I've known you. You're like my sister and I'm glad nothing has ever gotten between our friendship. Happy Birthday tomorrow!

Ÿ To Ashley, may all your dreams come true. Happy Birthday tomorrow!

Ÿ To Marigrace and Bobby, you are my extended family and I am so happy you both took me under your wings five years ago. May you have many years of happiness together. Happy Anniversary on March 10.