Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I found out today that there is another name for Team Bride - the House Party. While not the perfect term either, it makes some sense - instead of being in the Wedding Party, which is in charge of making sure the bride makes it down the aisle, you are in the House party, which means that you are in charge of making the wedding fun.
Some of the possible tasks for the house party include picking up the alcohol if we are doing BYOB, helping craft stuff, performing DOC tasks like making sure the cake shows up, ushering, decorating the car, setting up centerpieces, reminding people to sign the guest list and starting the conga line, electric slide, and awesome dance moves. Other tasks of the house party will probably be helping out with shower and bachelorette party stuff. I figure our house party will kind of get formed along the way, as soon as we know what we would really need them to do. A house party is a great idea because you can have a lot of people on it without having to worry about them all picking out the same colored dress.
I feel like I should feel guilty about asking my friends to be a part of my slave labor team for our wedding, but I don't, for a number of reasons including: I've done it for them, or I will do it for them. When it comes to weddings, people are generally willing to help out, so I'm not going to worry about feeling guilty. As long as all of the tasks that we give them are out of the way before the actual fun part of the wedding, and don't require them to do anything they are uncomfortable doing, I don't see why I should feel guilty, or like it's tacky to ask people for a favor. Additionally, they are grownups and can say no. But the bottom line is that I would rather give a lot of people a single small job than dump every single job on my bridesmaids.
Monday, March 30, 2009
We have been thrilled so far with what we have seen from the Baltimore crafting community, and we will definitely be using as many local & handmade products as possible.
Cutting and pasting this directly from the website:
Why go handmade for your wedding?? There are many reasons!
-Have custom jewelry, paper goods and spa gifts created that are as a special as your wedding.
-Support local and woman owned businesses.
-Many BEST artists use sustainable and green materials in their work.
-Give your wedding a handmade touch that is unique.
-Show your bridal party and family your appreciation with gifts that are created just for them!
I want to go so badly but of COURSE it's a Thursday night...and I have class Thursday nights. From 3-7:30. If you live in the area, go and have fun!!!
Hi Ellie – Here is more info about the Running of the Brides this week in Rockville, plus some last minute tips that might be helpful (those are attached):
· There will be over 1400 gowns to choose from (sizes 2-26)—we will only sell a fraction of them.
· If you want to be part of the 'rush to the racks,' then you should get to Filene's Basement at around 6am.
· If that's not your idea of fun, plan on arriving later. Even though the line to get in at 8:00am looks long, you have to remember, most of those people are helpers, not brides-to-be.
· By late morning, the early brides will have either made or narrowed down their selections and most of the gowns are back on the racks.
· Definitely go later in the day if you don't like crowds and chaos or if you are shopping alone or with just one helper.
· The quietest time is mid-afternoon.
· If you can't shop until after work, no problem. A couple of weeks ago at the event in NYC, over 50 brides found their dream dresses between 7pm and 10pm.
· Specialists in wedding gown cleaning and alterations will be on-site to advise you about what can or cannot be altered or cleaned and they can give you an idea of what it would cost.
1.) I really enjoyed that wedding. It started at like, 3pm, we then had cocktails, ate, drank, danced our little hearts out, and then went home around 9pm, which was fine, because it was like, an hour and a half away.
2.) Even if it's "just cheap", it's cheaper enough to make a big dent in the budget. We are trying to keep the food/venue around 10k, and hopefully by having the wedding on a Sunday at a more popular venue, we can do this. I think, on average, I have noticed that the difference around here is $2000, which will let us hire a better photographer or have more flowers or a DJ or whatever.
3.) It is nice to have the Saturday. When I have been in Sunday weddings, it is good to have the day before because you can get a lot more done - if you are going to DIY a lot, it is good to have the Saturday. I wouldn't want to request that any of my bridesmaids take the day off work on Friday to help me with stuff, so this will result in extra hands. You can also do the rehearsal during the day, go get manicures/pedicures, and feel generally more relaxed.
4.) Sunday weddings are a little bit lower key. Because we would have it earlier in the day, it might get to feel more like a fabulous garden party/afternoon tea/early Sunday supper which is more the vibe that I want than a glamorous night event. (I realize I say "I want" or "my wedding" a lot, but that is because I am unwilling to speak for Mark on this aspect and he has the power to chime in.)
The Sunday we are looking at is 10/10/10. This date has some obvious pros and less obvious cons, most of which only apply if we get married in the Baltimore area.
1.) It is a fun date.
2.) It is the Sunday of Columbus day weekend. Half my family works for the federal government (and the other half is retired) so this will feel like a Sunday wedding of a 3-day weekend for them.
3.) It will probably mean that it is the day after the Baltimore Marathon. I have run in this festival 2 years in a row and I love it. The festival is great - it features a full marathon, a half marathon, a 4-person relay, and a 5k. I think wanting to do a full or half marathon the day before our wedding is ambitious - but the 4-person relay (which features distances from 6-7.3 miles) would be an option, possibly with members of my bridal party or just my usual running team, or I could gather up a group to do the 5k out of people coming to the wedding. This might cut into the rehearsal a little, but we'll see.
4.) Since the city will be impossible to drive in, we can encourage people who want to come in to the city to take the light rail from BWI, resulting in a public-transit wedding (something important to Mark.)
5.) The museums and attractions will probably be pretty empty because everybody will be running the race.
6.) Very few of our guests will still be in school at this point, so a Sunday wedding will be less inconvenient, except for the teachers.
7.) It might cut down on out-of-town guests who we don't really want to come. (I have a couple cousins who spring to mind.)
8.) It is sensitive to our orthodox Jewish guests. (Unless its a Jewish holiday. I checked the major ones but please clue me in.)
1.) It will probably mean that it is the day after the Baltimore Marathon. This means that Baltimore city will be extremely crowded, and people will be unable to come into the city to go to the museums and stuff, unless they take the light rail in from the airport. Which takes forever.
2.) We will have to come up with some kind of "guide to circumventing the marathon"
3.) It will mean that some people can't go to church on Sunday, since they will stay, so we might have to put together a guide to local services.
4.) We might look cheap. (I'm not really worried about this, but I am worried about guests feeling like we exchanged their convenience for money.)
5.) It is insensitive to our guests who have kids in school or who don't want to stay the night.
What day are you getting married on?
Saturday, March 28, 2009
1.) It was totally painless.
2.) I look fierce in a veil.
3.) I look pretty good in dropped waist dresses.
4.) I really don't want beading.
I will preface this by saying that I am lucky - sizewise, I sit squarely in the 8-10 range, so I'm pretty much sample sized and did not need to be clipped into every dress. I tried on 8 dresses and it only took an hour, because I just had to step in and then out of each dress. The dresses did make me feel small chested, which, at a 34D, I'm not, and short, which, at 5'4", I am, in wedding world. I've been trying to keep my dress budget pretty low, because I know that I will be paying around $400 in alterations, because I am short, and I'm also short waisted. (When I make dresses, I cut a full inch and a half out of the waist, although sometimes its as much as 3 inches.)
I tried on this one gorgeous Two by Rosa Clara dress which was a little out of my price range but would only need to be hemmed. My favorite was actually a different dress, that looked pretty much like my dress had in my head. It looked a lot like this one, right down to the color and sash. I wasn't actually wild about the sash, so I would get one in a different color (maybe a nice bright green to match the bridesmaids?)
I'm going to try to figure out how to do cuts in blogger so that I can put up pictures but Mark doesn't have to see them. Also, I think we will take pictures at Running of the Brides next Friday, so that will be exciting.
I have no desire to own a Gocco - sure, they make pretty stuff, but I'm seriously gonna use that for the wedding and then never again. We have a very limited amount of space, and I am a slob. Like, seriously, need professional help, slob. I'm sitting here surrounded by the ever-present threat of an avalanche. So any craft related stuff I buy for the wedding must be accompanied by me throwing away craft related stuff that I don't use.
Really, anything I buy for the wedding should be accompanied by me throwing away stuff. Really, every day should start with me throwing away stuff.
The crafting appliances that others seem to find really helpful are xyron machines, color printers, goccos, heat embossers, and sewing machines.
Of these, I own a heat embosser and a sewing machine. They were the cheapest, as the heat embosser was $12 with a coupon and the sewing machine was free because I stole it. (From my mom, and she got the good one, but I still feel a bit guilty sometimes.)
I want to do craft projects for the wedding, but I want to do them with equipment I already own and don't get to use. I don't want to use the wedding as an "excuse" to do anything except go cake tasting. If I buy a piece of crafting equipment, it has to be something that will actually be useful for other stuff (like a die-cut machine would be).
I want to come up with sewing projects that will let me finally sew more than halloween costumes. I'm considering consulting some books and craft magazines for ideas of things I can make (200 chair cushions? no thanks. table runners? yes please - I'll get the serger out of storage!).
Did you buy any equipment for your wedding? And do you use it for anything else?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Case in point? My latest issue of Brides magazine - which is, by the way, the May-June issue - includes a "Wedding do-over" section where brides list their regrets. It's actually a pretty realistic list. The most realistic? Don't get your upper lip waxed two days before the wedding. (I take at least a week to recover.) Other regrets include not hiring a crappy videographer, buying the right makeup, and my personal favorite, "I would have included my husband more in the planning and not delegated it to other people. My cousin and stepmother-in-law knew more about the wedding than he did." While I agree that this is a realistic regret, and is often a regret for both people in this kind of situation, it made me feel both sad and relieved. Sad for the person whose husband didn't want to be or wasn't allowed to be included in the planning, and relieved that Mark not being involved will probably be the least of my problems - although right now he has the problem where he wants to be involved and I keep forgetting to catch him up to speed with everything I've been thinking about.
Other regrets include not hiring a day-of-coordinator (how you can salve your regret with money) and not...flying to Paris for your gown. Really? Really?
Another section talks about backyard weddings and how you do have to rent a tent, because it might rain and you would regret it if you didn't and it did. I'm not saying that you shouldn't rent a tent. I'm saying that this is yet another example of the WIC preying on our fears of regret, especially because my god, tent rentals are expensive!
So I think in the future I am going to try to look at the decisions we have to make and say, "are we spending this money because we want to? or are we spending this money because we are afraid we will regret it if we don't?" With the economy the way it is, I wonder if we'll regret more the extra $3,000 we spent on a venue that we didn't need when that will be 2.5 months rent it is possible we can't pay.
I think we all know people who have hated their weddings. I certainly do. But I don't feel that sorry for them, because in the scheme of things, its one day, and over the course of your life, you get a lot of days. So I will stop letting my fear of regret paralyze the venue search, and I will not let it drive the budget. Even if our wedding is a disaster, everyone we're inviting loves us enough to know that it wouldn't be intentional.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
How did I get to wedding burnout this quickly? I think its probably pretty typical for anyone in our situation - we have a long time to plan, but we are starting early because I won't be around this summer and I'm glad we started early because it turns out that you can't necessarily just schedule venue visits and go check out 10 places in one weekend. The venue hunt is exhausting for the same reason that considering different options for anything is exhausting - there are a lot of options, and none of them are perfect. Then, after the venue hunt is the hunt for everything else. And the end seems so far away. To get to our wedding, I have to graduate from law school, then study for and take the bar.
We have two visits scheduled for this weekend - the Elkridge Furnace Inn, and Historic Oakland. We're going to go check them out, but I feel like I have shut down on the venue hunt. I'm not sure if its childish on my part, like "I can't have my perfect wedding so I don't want one at all" or if it is my usual response to anything that is stressful for me, where I just don't want to talk about it or acknowledge its existence until it somehow becomes something that I can process. (I am currently doing this with law school. I am mostly ignoring it.)
Seriously. We could just book our wedding here, decide to screw over all of our friends and family who don't have money and who don't scuba dive, and ignore the fact that October is still hurricane season.
I know that I'll come around, and enjoy planning again at some point, but today is not that day.
How often do you experience wedding burnout?
I originally wanted California Tortilla, but some people really don't like the idea. The only person I care about liking it is really Mark (which he doesn't seem to). I think a Cal-Tor wedding with dos equis and coronas and margaritas and sangria would be fantastic. Originally I focused a little much on the "what you should know about a party catered by Cal Tor" section - there will be plenty of food, and everything will be delicious. I've been to Cal Tor parties and they are delicious. Plus, Cal Tor is actually a local chain to Bethesda and I like them.
Some of the other chain stores are options as well - Qdoba, Lebanese Taverna, Mama Lucia's, etc. The biggest con that I can see is that the catering doesn't necessarily include service. Another con is that aluminum foil pans on chafing dishes isn't exactly classy, so I might want to rent nicer chafing dishes. We would also have to rent linens and plates and cups and barware separately if we wanted to have something that wasn't plastic. (And even I don't want to use plasticware at my wedding. It's not environmentally sound and it's just a little cheap.)
I've never been to a wedding that has done this - I've been to one buffet wedding, and they had nice chafing dishes. Everything else I have been to is a sit-down dinner, so I really don't know whether people will think the foil chafing dishes are cheap or if they really won't notice, because really, who cares as long as it tastes good?
Another problem is that we will have a lot of older people who maybe do not like tacos at the wedding - would it be wise to have some kind of alternative option? Serving salmon and roasted potatoes seems safer, but less delicious and fun. Going with a pasta place (I hear pizza hut now delivers pasta) seems like a better idea, but I've had to eat so much mediocre pasta at catered events that I don't trust it.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So far, we've only picked two members of the wedding party - my sister, and Mark's sister. I never had any question as to who my maid-of-honor would be - it's my older sister, Margaret. She's married, but we've decided that Matron of Honor sounds dumb. The British term is Chief Bridesmaid, which I like a lot, and may start using, depending on what she thinks. So here they are right after I asked them:
(MOH Margaret on the Left; Mark's sister Lynsey on the right)
And what is that they are holding?
It's the bridesmaid bear!
I don't know how I came up with the idea of a bridesmaid bear - but I know when I got asked to be Margaret's MOH, I didn't really get asked. I assumed I would be a bridesmaid, and so did she, and then eventually somebody asked Margaret who her maid of honor was and she pointed to me. Then that person made her ask me officially, and that was that. And that is certainly a fine way to do it, but I wanted to do something a little more fun, and slightly more "official". I looked around at CustomInk and some other sites before I found CafePress. CafePress was good for this because I did not need 600 bears and the minimum order from Custom Ink was pretty large.
I started my own CafePress store based off the idea because the bears got a great response from the people who saw them (even Mark thought they were cute) and I hadn't seen anybody else do it yet. I've seen cards and jewelery and other stuff, but I hadn't seen teddy bears. When I opened the shop, they gave me the option of putting the text on other stuff too, so I put it on the items I thought people might use - although I don't really expect anybody to buy them. I thought that other people out there might want a bridesmaid bear or two, but didn't want to spend the time playing with the templates, etc. to get the font big enough.
The bears are wonderfully fluffy and cute, and the text came out larger on the t-shirt than I thought it would (I was afraid it would be tiny) so overall I am extremely pleased with them. They also shipped very fast - they came in a week or less. This was the first time I'd used CafePress and I was very happy with them.
How did you ask your bridesmaids?
Monday, March 23, 2009
Okay, so I contacted a vegetarian caterer in Bethesda to gauge how much food costs if you have it catered to a place like my church. (Also to see what kind of vegetarian food they suggest. I can't serve tofu at our wedding, I just can't.)
This was the food they/I suggested (I told them it would be fall, which is why there is so much pumpkin on the menu...and does pumpkin lasagna sound fantastic or weird?)
Veggie Platter with Hummus
Warm Artichoke Spinach Dip with Melba & Crusty Baguette Spears
Filo Triangles Stuffed with Pumpkin or your choice
ON THE BUFFET
Roasted Veggie or Pumpkin Lasagna
Ratatouille and Grilled Polenta Moons OR Veggie Chili
Romaine or Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette (chef's suggestion)
Artisan Bread & Butter
Does this sound like food that carnivores would eat? I think it sounds amazing. Particularly pumpkin lasagna. Or roasted vegetable lasagna. Does veggie chili or ratatouille sound like something I would spill all over my dress?
The cost breakdown that we were quoted comes out to about $60-70 per person, including delivery and labor, which is well in line with a lot of places that we have looked at - but doesn't include the usual 3-4k rental cost of the facility, or some of the other charges, like chairs/tables, etc. which usually drive the cost up - but we haven't figured out yet what the church would provide as far as chairs and tables, so that may drive up the per-person cost as well.
This caterer is a local vegetarian caterer who uses fresh, seasonal, local organic ingredients whenever possible. This is someplace that would be a good place to put our money where our mouth is, and "spend smart".
My only problem with this place is that everything is not only vegetarian, it's vegan. Which means - no brie and cranberry in phyllo pastries as appetizers...and I have no idea what will be in their spinach dip. I'm kind of wondering if we can get the appetizers from somewhere else - that way we could serve something with meat or dairy or whatever. We can bring the cake from somewhere else, so why not the appetizers?
Saturday, March 21, 2009
That rant aside, just because we're not getting married in our parents backyard doesn't mean our wedding won't be about our family and friends. Just because I have no interest in hand-making parasols for all of our guests (I don't think anybody actually does this) doesn't mean I don't love them!
Big weddings do not equal impersonal weddings. Weddings at restaurants, churches, zoos, historic mansions, or even hotels, are not weddings by people who want their day to be all about glitz and glamor. Some of them are. But some of them are weddings by people who have big hearts and big families and too many friends (which is not a bad problem to have).
Yes, I wish we could have a fabulous backyard wedding. And while can't is a four letter word in the indie-fuck-the-WIC-wedding planning world, we can't have a backyard wedding. But we can still have a wedding that is about family and fun. And for aforementioned reasons, I want all of the people who have supported us and who will continue to support us to be able to be there, and I can't imagine shutting them out. I know that some people have very different ideas about what a wedding should be - I know one girl who got married in her dining room, with only her fiance and parents present. I know people who have gotten married at a rented beach house with 30 people. I know people who have eloped. I know a couple that seriously grabbed two friends from work and went to the courthouse at noon on a Tuesday, and then went back to work. There is no wrong way to have a wedding (there are wrong reasons, but we can talk about that later). So why do I feel so judged? Am I just defensive because I want to have a big party? Or do I really feel like somebody is telling me that just because I'm able or willing to spend more money on my wedding, it won't be about family and friends?
I know I'm overreacting. But I just wanted to remind all of the other couples out there who, for whatever reason, can't have a fabulous backyard affair, your wedding will still be about your family, your friends, about fun, about whatever you want it to be. You can still have a low-key DIY wedding, even if you have it at someplace that is less low-key.
I actually go through this cycle fairly frequently - I grow my hair out, get annoyed, and chop it off.
I have actually done the PWC before - I bobbed my hair when I got to law school, then grew it out for my sister's wedding so they could put it in a nice updo (they didn't, but that is besides the point.) The next day, I went to the hairdresser and got it bobbed.
It went from this (it turns out when it was long, it was never down, so excuse the poor quality of this picture. Also the guy on my right is my friend Danny, not Mark.)
to this (with Mark, wearing my dress from my sister's wedding - bridesmaids dresses are totally rewearable!):
Later, in October, I finally found myself a proper stylist (Lynsey Hall, works at Geometrics in Baltimore, highly highly recommend), and she gave me this cut:
(Kindly ignore the goofy facial expression, I wanted a picture that would show the cut.)
After I got this haircut, I was set. I don't think I've ever had the same haircut for so long, but I love it. I love how easy it is to maintain, how fast it is to wash and blow dry, how much more grownup and professional I look, and how it doesn't need to be scraped back and headbanded to go running or to the gym. I just put in one of those little plastic headbands that 6 year olds wear and I'm good to go.)
I've thought about growing it back out to chin length for the wedding, but I don't really see myself going further than that. I was recently at a law school competition and I got complimented on how much more professional I looked than the other students there because of my hair, and when you're 23 and a law student, you need that.
I'm considering growing it out this summer because Lynsey is here and not in Michigan, and so I might have her just give me the bob from photo 2 again, which will grow out much better than my high-maintenance style (expensive, but worth it to cut every month). I may grow it back out into a bob for the wedding so it can be pulled back just a little, but I haven't decided. My hair grows at least .5 an inch a month, so I can wait until next spring to decide. I do know I have neither the patience or time to maintain growing my hair out long again, and I plan to have short hair in the future, so why would I want to look unlike myself? My mom has had the same haircut for 25 years, but in her wedding pictures its long and she looks so different.
So I'm looking into the options for hairdos and accessories for short-haired brides. I think I might do a veil attached to a cute ribbon wrapped headband or a birdcage veil, for the ceremony, and then maybe just some kind of cute hair flower or tiara for the reception.
Does anybody else have short hair? Any ideas in mind? I could have sworn that one of the wedding sites did a roundup of short haired brides and hairdos, but I can't find it - does somebody have the link?
We're planning to go dress shopping next weekend, so I'm gonna try on veils there and see if any of the styles work more or less with short hair (and will it stay in if there is no hair to keep it there?)
Friday, March 20, 2009
But for now, I shall leave you with this:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
It seems fairly rude to me to register, especially if you are early on in the planning process. I will say that I wouldn't necessarily mind engagement gifts, but I'm not going to register for them! I also am not wild about people buying gifts off registries for bridal showers either, because I feel like that is not the point of the shower. However, the FMIL was saying tonight (she's here in the UK visiting her parents) that when she got married, you got a gift for your shower and then money for the wedding - although this was before people had really particular registries. Which does make sense in the traditional definition of a shower being "lets shower the couple with gifts to start their new lives."
Because of my animosity towards showers that are just a requirement to buy another thing off the registry, I like the idea of a themed shower. My sister's was honeymoon themed, my friend's is lingere themed, some people have book themed showers, etc. For my shower, I have been toying with the idea of something cooking related - possibly either a cooking class, or a potluck in which everybody brings a dish and a recipe for the dish and the gift is some (small) piece of cooking gear necessary to make the dish. I realize that I don't get to pick my shower, and I should appreciate any shower that is thrown for me, but since the MOH has already talked about my shower, I'm expecting one at this point. Anyway, my only hesitation on the cooking thing is that it will look like I want people to just buy things off the registry. So I guess we will see, and I will leave that up to my MOH.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I don't really believe in first glances. Not because they're bad luck, but because they are poorly executed. Every time I see them, the bride walks up behind the groom and she taps him on the shoulder. Then he turns around and they get gooey.
The whole point of that giant aisle, besides being surrounded by people who love you and them all watching you walk to your beloved, is that anticipation where you get to stare at each other. No bride would walk down the aisle, tap the groom on the shoulder, and then have him turn around. At least not that I've ever seen.
I'm not ruling a first glance out, because the idea of getting the portraits out of the way and actually eating food at cocktail hour, I think, sounds darn tasty. But I want to come up with a better execution - something that captures that anticipation, and something that lets somebody get a picture of the look on Mark's face when he's really looking at me for the first time in my dress - and that should be a long enough time period for him to cry, not just a five second "oh, hello, girl that tapped me on the shoulder."
Sunday, March 15, 2009
If we don't do a buffet, we might do what my sister did - have candy as a centerpiece on the tables (although probably not name the tables after the candy, because that seemed to confuse some people), and try to make sure the more American tables got the English candy and the English tables got the American candy.
There is also the favors route - stick a thank you note on a bar of chocolate or box some candies up into a little plastic box with a note and put them at every table. If it was somehow cost
My only other way to incorporate it would be to put it in the out-of-town bags - everybody gets like, an Aero bar and a Cadbury egg and a Reese's peanut butter cup and some Hershey's kisses.
So what are you favorite candies that are distinctly English or American? And if we serve Cadbury Creme Eggs in October, will people think we've saved them from Easter? (They are available year round here! They would be fresh!)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So supposedly, you boil this all down to a single meaning when you make vows. I love watching other bloggers come up with their own vows, or make the choice to simply say, "I do". (Anyone who watched the sobbing meltdown mess when I made my toast at my sister's wedding should understand if I choose to go with, "I do.")
But Mrs. Cheese wrote this as she was explaining her vows and I found myself agreeing.
"I want to feel the awesomeness of the moment as I pledge my life, my future, my love to one single person until I die. In that moment, I want to feel the losses as well as the gains. I want to be aware that I am choosing to never have another first kiss, to sleep with only one man, to be loyal and faithful to one person. I want to knowingly and willingly give up everything I could have for everything I do have. And then, I want to feel the joy of gaining someone else’s loyalty until he dies. I want to want to laugh and run and skip with happiness (happiness I’ve only ever felt with this man). I want to giggle because life’s just so good. And I want to feel the beginning of a new family, of a new life together, of being acknowledged and accepted and ready to move forward as a couple. Not too young, not too fake. Honest."
The two sentences here that stuck out to me were these - "In that moment, I want to feel the losses as well as the gains" and "I want to knowingly and willingly give up everything I could have for everything I do have."
The first one sticks out to me because it is a phrase we use frequently in law school - the loss as well as the gain, or as the lawyer in me says, "the benefits and burdens." Everything has a balance - everything has some gain and some loss, some benefit and some burden, some joy and some heartache. And I think that a wedding day is an important day to understand that you are choosing (and fortunate) to undertake the benefits and burdens of this institution. It is why the traditional vows say "for richer and for poorer" and "in sickness and in health."
The second phrase, I love, because I am young. I am 23. I will be 25 when we get married. I am fully aware that I could leave law school, join the peace corps, travel the world, write a book, and then find love and settle down. I could spend 10 years in a BigLaw firm, working 90 hour weeks and making more money than I will ever need, and then eventually retire to Tahiti (which I will purchase.) I could date more men, see what I am missing. I could date women, see what I'm missing. I could move to Africa and help AIDS victims. I could take a job clerking in Upper Marlboro and build myself a giant house on the Chesapeake bay. There are a lot of doors out there in life that are open to me - and to choose to get married is to "knowingly and willingly give up everything I could have for everything I do have." Yes, there are things I could have - but I am choosing to forego those options, because I am comfortably certain that what I do have is worth more than any of that.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Part of my reason for not changing my name is because it is a hassle. I'm a busy person and do not feel like standing in line at Social Security, the MVA, or anywhere else. Southwest won't change the name on your rapid rewards account unless you send them a certified copy of your marriage license. Plus I go from the front of the alphabet to the back - not cool, especially if I need to put my name in a phone book for my legal practice. Another reason is because I'm proud of who I am, of what I have accomplished as me, and some of that does disappear. The last reason is because I do think its patriarchal. Usually the name change is a shift from leaving your father's house to your husband's house. I do want us to be a family - so I do kind of want to share a last name, but neither of us are willing to take the other's.
I should say though - I do plan to change my name - just not to his.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Maybe I'll just stalk him while we're in England (leaving tomorrow, going for a week, so posting will be light) and when he puts things down in souvenir shops, I'll sneak up behind him and buy them.
Or I suppose I could get him a real gift. He doesn't really need much though, cuz he has me.
How do you keep the magic of gift-giving though, after 6 years and once you share finances and buy the things you need together? I've already used his birthdays & Christmas to dress him better - new ties, shirts, a suit, and a watch. (This might sound horrible but I realize he hasn't introduced himself yet - he's an engineer. When we met, he would occasionally wear his shorts with a giant hole in the back to family lunches.) I've used it to buy him gifts that I secretly want for myself since we live together and I get to play with him.
I could make him something, but he has enough stuff and nicknacks and framed pictures of us.
I could take him out to dinner, but lets be real - I'm going to do that anyway.
So what do you buy the man you live with, share everything with, and have run out of gift ideas for?
If this was our wedding, we would let people eat for awhile - keep a station menu, so people can sit at whatever small table they want, and then eventually shrink the number of tables available, move things, and make space for some dancing! Just move the little square tables to the edges, so people can still sit and wander!
I have yet to find another picture that is so many things that I want in a wedding in one picture. Can't you just tell how much fun they are having? Can't you tell how relaxed they are? How delicious the beer is? See how there is a tree in the middle of the patio? See how those people in the bottom half of the picture have pulled the tables together and gathered all of their chairs together to eat?
Do you have a Wed-spiration picture that embodies everything you want in one picture?
We live in Federal Hill, where people park like giant jerkfaces. The most common thing I see is the "half-spot". This occurs when somebody doesn't pull as far forward as they possibly can to park in a space. Its particularly annoying when the person hasn't pulled all the way forward to the area where parking starts (usually a sign or a curb.)
Which brings to mind the following solution:
So here's the problem (and how this relates to weddings.)
This car, which I have convinced myself is an irrational purchase (when really, it makes a lot of sense and will be ultimately more practical than the Vespa that I really want), will cost the same or less than dinner for 120 of our closest friends at our wedding. For the cost of the average wedding, Mark and I could each get our own Smart Car. We could even get the convertible version. The wedding will last for a single day, but the Smart Car will last for awhile. Probably 10 years.
But then I start thinking about the other sides of the coin - a smart car will only last for ten years, but our marriage will last for our entire lives and isn't celebrating that more important than sensible transit and not wanting to kill myself when I get home after 8pm on a Thursday? (I have spent, literally, an hour driving around the nighborhood looking for parking.)
All of the people we are inviting to the wedding will be people I would gladly take out to dinner to celebrate our marriage and thank them for being so supportive of me, or of Mark, or of both of us, to get us to this point in our life. Isn't a wedding just a really big way to say, "you've always been there for us and we really appreciate it?" At least, that's what I think it is. It is a way to thank my sister and my brother in law, who convinced me that living with Mark really was a good idea. It is a way to thank Mark's family, who took me in and accepted me as an important part of his life, no questions asked, when Mark came to visit and brought me with him. It is a way to thank my family, who has loved Mark since day one and have never hesitated to express to me how much they like him or how much they support our relationship. It is a way to thank our friends, who have listened and been supportive when we hit a rough patch with each other or with our lives. It is a way to thank the people who make us who we are so that we can be who we are together. I am eternally grateful to all of Mark's friends and family and even his ex-girlfriends who have made him a sensitive, compassionate, and hard-working person who I love very much and am excited to marry. And so for all that they have done for us in the past, and all they will do for us in the future, I would very much like to take all of these people to dinner, and that is not something I am willing to forego for a Smart Car.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Interestingly, Hortense's idea of a fudgie-the-whale cake is apparently in this month's wedding mag, so chalk one up for creativity and also sea-creature shaped pastries at weddings.
Anyway, if you need a good feminist-wedding-planning-fixed, check these gals out.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I don't know if vintage has always been "in" or if it's just been the last few years, but man, vintage is in. Truth is - I don't care for vintage wedding style. I do like vintage, in small doses. I have a few cool vintage necklaces that my grandmother gave me (they're vintage style, not actually hers.) I have some other vintage jewelry that is actually heirloom. I like to paw through my mom and grandma's old clothes.
But I don't really get the having a vintage style/theme wedding. I guess it is helpful to have a central concept to arrange your decor around. I like the idea of incorporating some vintage elements into the wedding. I keep thinking that a really cool wedding theme for us would be travel - and we could use an old world map as the base for our color palatte - light blue, dark green, and splashes of tan/light brown - and if we do that, it would be fun to use some vintage suitcases as possible photo props and as a card repository (I have a carpet bag that would be fantastic!). But I wonder if there isn't a point where the theme feels a bit too costume-y.
Also, I find that fabric doesn't age well, and gets stiff and itchy. Plus, vintage dresses tend to be clingy. I don't do clingy. I'm not judging anybody else for liking vintage - some people have gorgeous vintage weddings. I just feel like I might feel a little out of place as a guest.
I guess it is purely a question of personal preference, but I think I prefer a slightly more modern feel as far as decor, and a slightly more classical feeling when it comes to dresses.
(All of these statements will be retracted if we have a halloween wedding, because the point will be to be in costume.)
I'm gonna be outright and say that we plan to register. We both cook, and cooking is a huge part of our relationship. Plus, most of our pots have gotten warped, some of our appliances are showing wear, and most of our bakeware, flatware and dishware is hand-me-downs because we are in our early twenties. (I am. Mark's old.) When we do register, it will probably be through the I Do foundation - http://www.idofoundation.org/ - which means that by registering at certain stores, up to 10% of the profits will be given to the charity of your choice. Cooking.com gives 10% - and I like their website, because they have reviews, plus a broad spectrum, and often have flat rate or free shipping - plus, hopefully, we can force guests to ship the gifts directly to us, instead of bringing them to the wedding by going through an online-only store.
Thus, this is a good option for people like us that hope to purchase a house around the same time they get married, and are currently getting by with what they have. As selfish as this sounds, I'm also not particularly compelled to have a charity registry because my entire life is a charity (I work in women's interests non-profits, such as domestic violence organizations), and also because we will probably choose to donate some percentage of any financial gifts we receive to charity.
For the people that don't need stuff, you can also register directly to give to a charity.
Charity registries are tough, because you have to pick a charity that people won't mind giving to. I would love to ask people to give to Planned Parenthood, but I know I can't ask my guests to give to a charity they might be morally opposed to. There are a few other options though, for those looking for a direct charity registry or alternative registry:
- The Goat Project
- Kiva.org (blogged about here)
- The Alternative Gift Registry (as discussed by Mrs. Tulip.)
You can also ask people for favors - you could register for a friend to come over and weed your yard. You could even ask people to volunteer for a charity as their wedding gift to you. Or you can ask people to come help set up the centerpieces or do your makeup or play ceremony music or SPEND THE RECEPTION FIGHTING YOUR MOTHER FOR HER VIDEO CAMERA.
What are some other alternative registries out there?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Plus, you can use the engagement shoot pictures in stuff for the wedding, like a photo-guest book or anything else. And you get to have nice, professional pictures of you in a fun location - like the city where you live, or a park you really like, or even a vacation spot.
We have some friends who are into photography so they might be willing to follow us around for an afternoon with a camera - I think it would be fun to do a shoot in Federal Hill - go up to the hill where we got engaged, hit up the Book Escape, maybe Sam's Bagels, stop for Margarita's at Blue Agave. I really love this shoot by Lara Swanson, especially the pictures in Olsson's.
- John and Susan, the owners, seem to be incredibly willing to make adjustments to fit guests' needs - for instance, he discussed adjustments to the menu (Susan, a self-taught chef, makes all the food), and potential plans for the future to offer an all-local menu.
- John was very honest. We've been talking about a guest list of 175, but he said 160 was what they could comfortably handle. While we were touring the gazebo area, he pointed out that our large numbers would stretch the seating area pretty much to the edge of the lawn, close to the street, so guests in the last few rows might notice cars going by - then again, it's a small street in a small town, so that probably wouldn't be much of a big deal.
- Their web site has lots of details on the pavilion, but in brief - solid structure, wooden roof and brick floor (no mud if it rains beforehand), lots of nice space outside for mingling, assuming good weather.
- The mansion itself - the rooms and everything else looks pretty nice,
- Location - close to 95, fairly convenient to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and NJ. Oh, and two blocks from the river and five from the bay, so lots of great options for photos.
- Decent amount of off-street parking.
- Reasonable price, and, as implied above, includes catering (and a cake from a local bakery), etc. No additional vendors to deal with for tables, linens, etc. Generally speaking, $70-90 per guest depending which options we go with. We'd probably be in the middle of that range.
- Decent number of rooms on-location for bridal party, parents, and a few other guests (which all include breakfast).
- They like to end events by 9pm, which fits with our general inclination to not be exhausted as we kick people out at 11pm.
- Somewhat handicapped-accessible. Not fully ADA compliant (old building, grandfathered) but someone in a wheelchair can at least get around to where they'd need to be.
- At our current estimate, our size is right on the edge of what we can handle. Ellie is concerned that with a full six chairs on each side in front of the gazebo, the aisle might be too tight to have both her parents walking her down, and as I mentioned, the seating would run most of the way back towards the street. Full seating in the pavilion wouldn't leave much space for dancing and would potentially be cramped for larger guests at adjacent tables.
Invites are going to happen sometime between graduation and the bar. So I'm giving them up. I shall leave them to the talented professionals. What are you giving up without even having to learn the hard way that its a bad idea?
Which might not be so bad:
All by the fabulous, and fabulously affordable, Jean M. (These designs are all $119 for 100 invites.)
I like to support small local businesses. When I bought my bicycle, one of the reasons I bought it from Wheaton Cycles was because it was a small, local business with a wonderful owner who was very friendly and personal. I like to support nice people who are trying to make a living.
In the summer, we hit the farmer's market to support local farmers so they don't have to ship their products across the country. Some of it is organic, some isn't, and I care more that it is local than it being organic. I don't really like to shop at Whole Foods because so much of their produce is imported from California.
I try to buy local Maryland wines - they tend to be sweeter, which I prefer anyway, but it is one thing that is much easier to just buy a local wine because its so much better environmentally. It also supports local businesses, which puts dollars in your local community.
My point here though, is that for a wedding, which will cost about 60x what my bike cost, we want that money to go, for lack of a better word, to a good cause. All this means for me at the moment is this - no hotels.
Bed and breakfast or small inns (like the venue we checked out yesterday, which I will let Mark write about) are acceptable. But the local Hyatt or Sheraton (which would be very convenient, and the Inner Harbor one is quite nice) is not going to put money into the local Baltimore community (something it desperately needs), in addition to the fact that the money does not "go to" anything but the hotel's profits.
So where does this put us? Most of the historical homes in the area are non-profits, run by historical societies or the counties they are in. Some of them are privately owned, but if they are historical buildings I would rather support them. Some of the places we are looking at are owned by the state park system or the department of natural resources. I'm not ruling out my church - which is a nonprofit and a place I like to support. The aquarium and Science Center gouge a little bit, but they are membership based organizations that are also funded by grants and fund nonprofit programs. The EPA building is run by a non-profit. These are the people who I want to receive the 2-4k we are putting down for the cost of the venue. It's not just about the place being cool, unique, or original - its about where the cost of the wedding ultimately goes, and its about who I want profiting off of our wedding - I'm fine with the vendors and services costing money - but I want to feel comfortable with where that money goes. The catering company that I've already emailed a week ago that has not responded at all? (Who has also not responded to my cousin who is wedding planning also.) I don't think I want them to get our money.