Thursday, February 24, 2011

Everything you're "supposed" to have at a wedding

My friend and I were gossiping about a mutual friend who recently got married.  Said friend and I have fallen out of touch, so I didn't get to go to the wedding, but she did and when I asked about it, she said, "it was really nice.  But it was like, they had everything you're "supposed" to have at a wedding that you've ever seen on TV.  It didn't feel very personal."  I think if you asked most of us wedding bloggers what the scariest thing somebody could say about our wedding was, it would be "It didn't feel personal."

So this got me thinking - what makes a wedding feel "personal"?  We went to a lot of weddings this past year, so I'm going to pull from a few of the most recent ones that I have pictures of.  At our scientist friends' wedding, they used beakers as cake toppers:
(by Robert Lassiter)
And the favors were test tubes filled with jelly beans.  (Delicious and fun!)
(by Robert Lassiter)
I liked this because it was a fun way to personalize their wedding without going totally overboard.  They also had a wonderfully traditional Jewish ceremony with some really meaningful personal touches - my favorite part was where the Rabbi read aloud sections from the letters she had had them write to each other in their pre-marital counseling.  She gave them the full letters to read on their honeymoon, but the parts she read aloud made me sob.  

We have two friends that got married in August and had a beautiful beachfront wedding in Annapolis.  They had a totally blog-worthy wedding - it was gorgeous.  But all of my favorite parts were not "things" that they had, or "details", even though they had a lot of them.  They were moments during the wedding - for example, during the ceremony, the minister reminded us that this would probably be the only opportunity we had to meet each other and had all of the guests introduce themselves to each other.  We were sitting on the bride's side, even though we were with the groom, and introduced ourselves to the people around us.  It was a really nice moment, and very personal to the couple, who is all about family and friends.  It did make the wedding party feel a little awkward, so they just all hugged.

One of my favorite things about this couple is one went to Maryland and one went to Duke.  So when they were introduced, they introduced the bride and groom as rival teams and had them come in to the song that Maryland plays at the start of basketball games.  (I'm sure it has a name. I don't go to a lot of games.)  The guys came in and did all the required chest bumping:
(photo by our friend Chris)
And his family did some kind of crazy dance-off skit later in the evening:
(Photo by Chris)

My point here is that there are a lot of ways to make a wedding feel personal.  A lot of people have commented that our wedding felt "very us", and when I think about the details, like our half-a$$ed favors and programs and some of the other things we threw together at the last minute, those things don't feel "us" except we were running late and got it done, which is us.  But there are other personal touches that we did add that did make the day feel more like it was "our wedding" and not "a wedding".  It's also some of the oddly small things that seem like no-brainers when you start planning.  One of the things that made our wedding feel personal to other people was our alcohol selection - but that wasn't something we intentionally did to make it feel personal.  Other things that made our wedding feel personal were the songs that we danced to with our families, and the fact that we incorporated the hora even though we aren't Jewish, all of which didn't feel like very hard choices to make.  Also things like my first dance with my Dad, which wasn't to a "normal" song, but was such a no-brainer when I sat down to pick a song.  
The wine and chocolate for the ceremony (did I mention the stinkbugs that came to the wedding?)
Our entrance
I love how our wedding turned into a costume party of people wearing photobooth props.  Also, several people have mentioned that our grilled cheese and tomato soup station felt very "us".  

I will also say this: we decided early on we wanted our wedding to be "the fun wedding" because "all of our friends are going to be so sick of weddings.  Ours should be different and fun."  Let me tell you, every wedding we've been to in the last year and a half (which is ten, in case you were counting), has been different and fun.  So don't worry so much - your friends are fun people, and they will have fun.  Do what you like, and have/serve/play what you want, and don't search so hard for something that feels like you - just do what feels right.  

I will say I got a lot of surprised glances from guests at the wedding when I hiked up my skirt because I was hot, or admitted that I needed to go to the bathroom, or obsessively asked people if they got enough to eat.  It's as if people didn't expect me to be the same person, just because I got married that day.  You will be yourself on your wedding day.  You will act as unladylike and ungraceful and loudmouthed and bossy as you do every other day of the year.  So don't be surprised by it, even if other people are.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wedding Websites

Over the weekend we went up to New Jersey to visit Mark's parents, and we did a few things for his sister's wedding while we were there.  When L. got engaged, I suggested to her that she use a "real" wedding company for their wedsite, because I felt like our Google site looked like, well, a google site.  We checked the options with Google Weddings, but their designs were so limited that we turned to a few other company's.  I googled "free wedding wedsite" and came up with two I really liked.

The first was Project Wedding, which is what L. went with.  The nice thing about them is unlike The Knot, the wedding wedsite is easy to remember and type in - it's yourwedding.projectwedding.com.

The second site that I loved was My Wedding.  They have some really gorgeous designs, including ones inspired by Offbeat Bride, which are totally fun and funky.  I fell in love with this music notes one, which would have been perfect for my friends Mike & Stacy.  
Plus, you can get matching invitations and some of the invites are pretty reasonably priced.

Both sites have an RSVP page, which is nice.  Ours was messed up because Mark and I didn't communicate enough about it and we used a Google form site, but it was at a different URL, which was the problem.  This is a problem that is potentially solved with the Google Weddings sites.

But we used Google Sites and since we're keeping our URL, we decided last night to redesign the site.  Then I went ahead and did it without asking Mark for input.  Since I love the newer trends of using typewriter style fonts, but they didn't suit our wedding, I went with Courier and the "Notebook" theme for our new post-wedsite.  I feel like this version of our site looks much slicker than the old one, and a little less like a totally amateur google site, but it's still not as slick as the Project Wedding or My Wedding sites.
One thing you can do with Google sites though, is put on a pretty nice slideshow of images.  We already had a slideshow of our professional pics on the front page, but I put in a slideshow of our honeymoon and may add one of our engagement pictures as well.  

I didn't really know what to do, so I put in a little "write up" of our wedding with a note about when we got married and also included the reading from The Irrational Season from our ceremony.  I left our registry on there because some people have mentioned that they haven't gotten us a gift yet (although we closed out the Pampered Chef registry already.)

I feel like once we have a pet, a child, or a house, we would add a blog-type page so that people can read updates about what is going on, but right now, we don't have much going on.  Which is, frankly, a good thing.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wedding Writing

I used to be painfully shy. Sadly, I also wanted to change the world. In sixth grade, I got up to give my speech to be Secretary of the SGA and stared at everybody for two minutes, then ended with, "vote for me" and sat down.  So I knew I was going to have to get over the fear of public speaking.  I joined debate team. I gave many more speeches to my class while running for office.  I won a few of those races.  I'm pretty comfortable with public speaking now, and will often volunteer to be the person who presents a group project to the class or speaks at an event.  So I've written a few speeches in my day - and I've got some tips.

The really hard speech writing is the speaking-from-the-heart speechwriting.  The speechwriting we do for weddings.  (Also funerals.)  To date, I've spoken at two weddings and two funerals.  These speeches have to be organic, and they have to be good.  They have to be funny, or touching, or both, or something else.  Because the secret to really good writing is simply inspiration.  And writing down everything. So here are a few tips to get the juices flowing.

1.) Stay sober.  Don't write the speech drunk; don't give it drunk.  (I gave one speech on a glass of wine on an empty stomach.  Everyone else said it was fine, I was totally embarrassed.  I've also seen people get really wasted and give toasts.)
2.) Write the bones of the speech about 2 weeks before the wedding.  Then it's done, and you don't have to stress about it.  Print it, fold it up, and put it in your evening clutch.
3.) Think about the person/people you are going to talk about.  Think about your favorite thing or things about them.  Think about their most annoying, but also endearing, trait.
4.) Have a pen and paper.  List those things.
5.) Walk away.  Come back after the list has germinated.
6.) Eventually, the speech will come to you.  If it doesn't, try this easy formula - think about your favorite thing about the person who you are standing up for.  Think about your favorite thing about their partner.  Then think about why they are good together.  Then maybe tell a (short!) story that shows they are good together, or when you knew they were perfect for each other.  Cap it off with a quick wish for the couple - I wish you a lifetime of happiness and really good beer; May you have many adventures together; etc.
7.) Don't be awkward.  If you are older than the person getting married, and still single, do not, do not, do not, make a comment like, "everyone's asked me if I minded my sister getting married before me."  It makes everyone really uncomfortable.  Don't try to diffuse the tension you know is there by being self-depreciating and making people laugh - it will only make people feel sorry for you.

Any more tips for wedding writing?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ground Rules?

I saw this post on Weddingbee about the "rule of three" which is telling your mom and his mom that they only get three things of the wedding to care about.  I think it's a good idea for people with overbearing parents, but it wouldn't have worked for us.  At all.  Because we would have lost big.  We could have given them three small things, but their big problems were big issues.

Our rule, instead, was the Rule of One.  Which is that you pick One major issue for which you will go to the mat, and tell your parents to go to hell over, if it comes down to it.

With my mother, the One issue was an outdoor wedding.  My mom is a worrier.  She likes being outside, so long as there is actually a window between her and being outside.  She's not a big fan of mosquitoes, bugs generally, heat, cold, or being wet.  Our outdoor reception in a tent worried her, more than she was even willing to let on.  I reassured her in the beginning that our wedding was in October, that bugs wouldn't be an issue, and that it wouldn't be too cold or too hot, and if it was, we would bring in heaters.  It was 72 degrees and sunny on our wedding day, so worries were [mostly] unnecessary.  (Stinkbugs!!)  I think the biggest way I got around this was by reassuring my mom she could bring and wear whatever kind of sweater was necessary to ease her fears. She brought an army of sweaters, and the advantage of the tents were that we were so close to the car that she could go get anything she left in the car that she needed to stay warm.
Photo by a guest

With Mark's parents, the One issue was food - pescatarian vs. serving meat.  I said a lot about this over at 2000 Dollar Wedding, so I won't say much more, but what we found ultimately was to pick the thing about the One thing that was important to us, and then let everything else go.  If vegetarian food didn't seem particularly impressive or fancy looking, we went out of our way to serve fancy looking vegetarian food.  If the concern was that the buffet would run out of food, we made sure that the caterers had enough food.  If the concern was that certain family members didn't like real vegetables, we would serve crabcakes and grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a vegetable crudite platter.  We got many compliments on the food, and were really happy with the way everything came out.

Other issues came up - issues that weren't worth fighting over.  I could have fought on whether or not favors were necessary, but the truth is, at the end of the day, our favors cost us $30 and they weren't a big headache.  We could have argued over whether we really needed aisle decorations, but it was easier to spend the time making it happen than fighting over it all.  The thing about wedding planning, especially an indie wedding, is that sometimes I suspect we fight just to fight - just to make sure that this day really is reflective of us.  We fight to maintain "our" aesthetic, even if we don't have one.  We fight to avoid the posed family portraits because they are not fun, they're not creative enough, and they're a hassle to organize.  We fight because, lets face it, favors are silly.  (We found it was crazy-easy to have favors be just in a bucket on the way out.  It's pretty easy to get a bucket or basket that goes with your theme, and then fill it with cheap candy.)

I know there are people in a much tougher position than we were.  I know that there are fellow bloggers whose parents have a problem with the city they are getting married in, the venue that they chose, how they are spending their money, the religion of the service, and pretty much everything else.  I feel for people in that situation, I really do.  But I don't have any advice for them, because simply put, we got lucky.  My advice is for people with parents who are generally pretty chill, but you can't agree on a few things.  We also had my sister tell us very early on that we could only pick one really big issue to fight over, and that we would need to let everything else go.  So I guess the only thing I can say is let go, where you can, when you can.  Or, lie, and then tell your mother-in-law, "I don't know why nobody put out the programs...we worked so hard on them." Or delegate, and say, "I know it's important to you to have programs/favors/aisle decoration.  Do you think you could take care of it?"  Then realize that having programs that somebody else designed isn't the end of the world.

What is your rule?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Wedding Video

We got our wedding video back, and I'll remind you - I asked a friend who does video to shoot it, and gave her my parent's camera.  Which I thought was an HD video camera but it turns out it's not a true HD camera...or something.  Anyway, the video is awesome.  Not because it's amazing quality and perfect cinematography, but because it gives us the chance to watch our wedding as guests, without over thinking everything.  We rewatched our ceremony after we got it and we laughed and commented on everything that happened.

I will tell you, I've looked through our wedding pictures about a million times, and everytime I see them, I glow.  I feel really happy, just like I was, when I look at them.  But watching the video brought in a whole different kind of glowing.  My heart swelled and I watched us laugh and cry and become husband and wife all over again, it really was like we got to relive it.  Which is different than how I feel about looking at the pictures.  It was really magical to get to watch our minister say those words to us again, words we didn't listen to as closely as we should have the first time, and remind ourselves of the promises we made.  Because I can look at the pictures and remember that yes, we made vows.  And I remember basically what they said.  And I can read them on our marriage contract, but ultimately, nothing compared to watching them again.  So yes, it's worth it to go to the trouble of finding somebody, anybody, to tape it.

Am I really glad we didn't spend $800 on a professional videographer?  Yes.  But am I nonetheless extremely happy that our friend video'd and edited the whole thing for us?  Yes.  Because I don't know anything about editing and the whole thing would have sat on my hard drive until our children were grown and having their own weddings and asked to see our DVDs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eeee!

Our Wedding Graduate post is up!  I tried hard to say things that were important, and that I hadn't already said here, and there's lots of pretty pictures.  So go check it out!

Regrets and mistakes.

It turns out that I don't know myself very well.  After our wedding, I have a few regrets, and they aren't the standard regrets.  They are the advice I took from other people and got so caught up in that I missed other key things.

For example, I got so caught up in taking in the faces of all of the people that love us as I was walking down the aisle that I didn't look at Mark until I was halfway down the aisle.  Yes, it was amazing and overwhelming to take in the faces of all of the people that love me enough to show up for our wedding, but I didn't even look at the guy who loves me enough to show up every night for dinner.  This is again why I wish we had done a first look.

I also got caught up in making sure I got to eat the food at the reception.  I really wasn't that hungry, and just ate a few bites of most of it, but I felt like I had insisted so much on wanting to eat that I had to eat.  Really, I wanted to start making the rounds to tables - and since we took time to eat, we didn't get to everybody, which I really regret.  It was one meal out of my life that I should have skipped, and I should have just talked to people.

making the rounds - also, my sister offered me some stuff to cover my tan lines before the ceremony and I turned her down...another mistake - by Prema Photographic

I also made the mistake of assuming I wouldn't really care who saw me before the wedding with my hair done, etc. and that we would have time to return to the hotel.  I should have loaded all of my stuff, including the dress, into one car to go to the salon and the venue.  This would have prevented a lot of the later stress. I can't help but think if I had not been hiding behind another car, my makeup case wouldn't have been forgotten.

Another mistake was letting other people have total control and tell me not to worry about things because they would stress me out.  This led to an incredibly stressful 30 minutes before the wedding because I was assured that everything would be fine, and then suddenly, all at once, it wasn't.

Another mistake and regret is something deeply personal but I'm going to relay it now because it still makes me feel horribly selfish.  My aunt, who my grandmother was living with, and my grandmother, called on the morning of the wedding to pass along their best wishes.  I had followed a lot of people's advice and handed my phone over to my sister the morning of the wedding.  So my sister took the call, talked to my grandmother briefly, and then passed along her good wishes to me.  I never spoke to my grandmother again.

You guys, it was my grandma.  Not some annoying guest who was lost trying to find the venue, or my dad trying to figure out what to buy us for lunch, or something else.  I should have put my hairdo on hold, taken the damn phone from my sister, and told my grandmother how much it meant to me that she called and how much I loved her.  But I was following the no-phones rule.  So if this happens to you, make an exception to the "no-phones" rule that you've made for yourself.  I could have assuaged this guilt by calling her later, but the day snowballed and by the time I called my aunt after the honeymoon to talk to her, she was already very sick.  So if somebody you love can't make it to the wedding because they are sick, call them.  You just never know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Maryland and Marriage Equality

I love this state, fiercely.  I'm committed to keeping it a good place to live, and to making our laws good laws that treat people as they should be treated. 

All through the election, people said things like, "Maryland will be the next state to pass marriage equality."  They said, "this state is so blue, we should be ashamed that we haven't passed gay marriage yet."  To which I usually countered, "Have you seen our divorce laws? This state is so Catholic I'm surprised we have any kind of domestic partnership laws."

Anyway, I thought, going into this session, that these people were wrong.  That they didn't understand the state.  That Maryland would remain fundamentally backwards and homophobic on the issue of marriage equality and that we would slowly chip away at the conservative stalwarts by passing smaller laws that protected the rights of same-sex partners.  But a few days into session, I began to adamantly and truly and deeply hope that I had been wrong. 

People care more now, than they did just a few years ago, about marriage equality.  They have begun to understand the arguments that discrimination is wrong; that gay couples really are treated differently, and that gay marriage doesn't affect them but it does affect somebody that they love.  More people are more vocal in their support, and I began to become hopeful. 

I haven't written about this until now because this issue is simply too close to my heart.  I have friends who are gay who have recently gotten engaged.  I desperately want my state to make me proud, to let them be married here, to fundamentally do what is right by it's citizens.  To do that, we need your help. 

There are a few senators who are holdouts on Judiciary.  I have heard that Senator Rosapepe, from Prince Georges County, and Senator Conway, from Baltimore, are two of them.  The most effective way to change hearts and minds is to make a phone call or write an email.  You would be shocked at the way that constituent contacts are regarded - it's not like the federal level, where your contact doesn't really make a difference.  In Annapolis, every voter matters.  So if your senator is one of the holdouts on gay marriage, and you vote in their district, please call them today and tell them to vote for marriage equality.  Go to www.mdelect.com to find your elected officials if you aren't totally sure who they are.  Better yet, join me and the Young Dems of Maryland next Monday night to lobby in Annapolis for Marriage Equality.  Email me if you're interested. 

Engagement Rings

My family is currently going through the process of scanning and labeling old photographs.  I thought I would share with you this fantastic picture of my mother's engagement ring:
Huh?  You say.  That's right, friends.  Diamonds are for suckers.  My dad proposed with a snowsuit on Christmas day in 1972.  You can't tell in this picture, but it's red.  My mom reluctantly said yes, but I think that is because she wanted the snowsuit.  
The story of how my mom got her actual engagement ring is one of my favorite stories that my dad tells over and over.  One day in Norfolk where my dad's family spent the summers, my grandmother realized she had lost her wedding rings after breakfast.  She asked her six children to help her find them, but five of them went to the beach.  My father stayed around and dug through an alley full of trash cans - rotting crabs in summer heat - until he finally found their breakfast garbage, where my grandmother had taken off her rings to do the dishes and set them in a mini-cereal box.  When he proudly presented my grandmother with her rings, she told him that when he got married, he could use the center diamond for an engagement ring.  
I love my engagement ring, I really really do, but to this day, I still think my mom has the prettiest engagement ring/wedding band set I've ever seen.  
At my grandmother's funeral, I finally got to hear the story of how my grandmother came by the ring.  He was overseas during the war, and he told his mother to take my grandmother to the store and pick out her engagement ring.  

Can we just stop here, for a second, and reflect on the fact that my grandmother picked out her own ring and it was totally fine and that is awesome?  

Moving on.  My grandma picked out a ring and apparently my great-grandmother said something along the lines of, "Frank can afford better than that."  Let's mention here, briefly, that my great-grandmother is not remembered for being nice*, and move on.  My grandmother explained to my great-grandmother that even if he could, she didn't want it, because they were going to start a family and have a marriage.  I will also take this opportunity to point out that the diamond is an old-mine-cut with amazing clarity and sparkle, so maybe diamonds were just cheaper during the war, or my great-grandmother had a weird sense of "better", but I loved hearing this story because it involves my Grandma being practical and standing up to my great-Grandmother.  I think she would have fit in well with the rest of us.

*My ring is a stone that was given to my great-grandmother by the only man she was ever nice to, who was the little old man that lived downstairs.  Every day she brought him orange juice and a newspaper.  The ring went to my aunt, then my other aunt, and then me.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Changes acoming!

Okay, not much change, but a little bit of hopefully very awesome change.  I've been wanting to do this for months, but kept not doing it, I'm not sure why.  I think I was afraid it would start a kerfluffle.

I'm hoping to actually start a blogroll.  We haven't had one in awhile because I had one initially, and then I found out about all these other awesome blogs, and then we redesigned the site and I took it down and wanted to wait until I updated to put it up.  So I think it's high time that the internet had a Feminist Wedding Planning Blogroll.  So if you're a feminist, or you think you're a feminist, comment on this post with a link to your blog or your favorite fiesty feminist wedding planning blog.  It doesn't even have to be fiesty.  But man, I like fiesty.

Also accepting suggestions of feminist lifestyle blogs.  Not blogs like "feministing", as that is not a personal blog.  But blogs that talk about having an egalitarian partnership; being a woman in the workforce; being a feminist and having children; being a feminist and thinking about big problems in the world; being a single feminist.  But ideally, it will be a blog where a person talks about their own life/career/views rather than something more academic.  (Although fiesty feminist academics are always welcome.)

I don't want to alienate anyone whose not a feminist and I don't want anyone thinking I'm an authority on feminism, or that I think I am.  But I spent a lot of time looking for other feminists in the wedding-planning community (and ESPECIALLY in the married blogger community), and I'd like to save a lot of other people that problem.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baltimore Sun states the obvious

But does it in a gender neutral tone!  


This morning when reading the Sun's headlines, I saw their "20 great places to propose" which is basically a standard list of every tourist/hip location in Baltimore, but includes language like, "Once he or she says yes, go next door to Sofi's Crepes and indulge in something sweet."  It continually refers to "your partner" and "your betrothed".  It's possible that the non-sexist language is a nod to the current gay-marriage legislation, but nonetheless, it was a really refreshing change of pace from all the, "she's sure to know you love her when you propose in this super romantic location after an expensive meal."  


We just hit our 2-year "engageaversary" which we celebrated by going to a free brunch at the Rusty Scupper (they sent his parents a giftcard for brunch as a thank-you for hosting the rehearsal lunch there).  We got engaged at Place No. 7, Federal Hill, and is described as, "It's a casual approach to a proposal, but also one that won't stress anyone out with over-planning."  


Did any other Baltimore couples get engaged someplace on the list?  

Valentine's Day Sexism

I recently flipped through an issue of the SoBo Voice which gave the following tips for Valentine's Day.  This list did little more to reinforce my awareness that I am, in fact, the man in my relationship.

Mr. Holt's tips?
Pick your socks up off the floor....if you really want to get crazy, throw a load of laundry in.  That'll have her reeling for weeks.  


Really man, really?  Like I'm not insecure enough about being a bad wife that you have to go ahead and compare me to sitcom husbands.  Do I really need to mention here that my socks are currently ALL over the bedroom while my husbands are neatly in one of our five color-coded hampers?  And do I really need to mention that my husband does the laundry?  Actually, he got mad the other night because I folded the laundry for him.

Fix the garbage disposal like you promised to do three months ago.  

Continues to point out that you don't actually have to fix it, you just have to call the guy.  I am the queen of Not Calling The Guy.  Mostly because I hate phones, but sometimes, I just forget.  I'm supposed to be the one emailing the landlord, but often, I'm not.  Or it happens a few weeks or months after it's supposed to.  Oh also, this is the 21st century.  Both genders are capable of using the phone - I'm not sure this is a man thing.

Plan a trip and don't tell her where you're going.  


My only problem with this tip is that it doesn't say "and take her with you."  It also says, "You'll be forgiven for quite a lot after that one.  I mean, we're talking homicide forgiveness."  Um. No.  There is a reason you started this article by talking about how single you are, dude.  Not saying I wouldn't mind a fun surprise trip, but I am saying that I'm not going to forgive everything because he did it.

Ladies: Give him a pass on something he dreads doing.  


You mean like calling the garbage disposal repair person?  Anyway, Mr. Holt writes, "It's not what you give them, it's what you don't make them do that makes them thrilled."  Um.  For starters, this isn't about chores.  Chores are part of being a grownup, and for women to give men a pass means that women are doing that chore.  But Mr. Holt lists, "a pass on dinner with the in-laws, a completely interruption-free game day".  I don't understand why this is directed at women.  Am I the only woman that would love a pass on dinner with the in-laws or an uninterrupted game day?  No, I am not.  

The truth is that this list could have been genderless, and I'm generally annoyed that it wasn't.  The sooner we stop gender-stereotyping household chores and assigning messiness to men, the better off we will all be.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confession Time

I get a little miffed when people start complaining about women wanting to look/feel like princesses, or complaining about there being a Disney Princesses wedding dress line, or trashing the wearing of tiaras.  I get that their main complaint is the idea that we are women, therefore we must all want to look like princesses.  That there is a lot of pressure to want to feel "bridal" or "princess-y" enough and a lot of women don't.  But a lot of women do, and those of us who are otherwise plugged into the indie community might get a bit out of sorts at the implication that we don't want to feel princess-y.  So I'm going to speak up in fierce praise of princesses and their dresses.  
Why yes, Prince Charming, hold my train.

Looking like a princess is something I had to come to terms with wanting.  I've been an outspoken feminist since I was thirteen, and I'm not particularly feminine in my day-to-day life or really even in my "dressed up" attire.  I don't wear a lot of jewelry, I really hate the color pink, and I went to law school so I could get a job in women's issues advocacy and change the world (still waiting...).  These are not thoughts that jive well with being a princess on my wedding day.  

At the same time, I think that princesses have gotten a bad rap in the wedding-planning community.  There is a lot of junk out there aimed at making girls feel like princesses - when else do you have an opportunity to wear a tiara and a ballgown?  And there's a lot of backfire by people who never wanted to be a princess, and I think it leaves a lot of women out.  We sit here, and we read wedding blog after blog about women who opted for simple dresses from department stores or short dresses or trumpet silhouettes.  We think, "that big poofy gown in my closet that made my heart sink and my brain go 'ohhhh' when I put it on...is it okay to want that? Is it wrong?" And even though there is no wrong way to get married, it's sometimes hard to not feel like an anti-feminist when you get giddy while trying on sparkly jewelry and prancing around in a ballgown that you love because it has maximum twirl, or because it makes you look like a princess.





Maybe I don't get in on the princess-hating because I knew a different kind of princess.  In my world, princesses are fierce.  The princess I played growing up, the princesses my dolls were, were tough as nails b*tches who usually wound up saving the world.  Sometimes they did it wearing pretty dresses and sometimes they did it wearing nothing because, let's be real, my dolls didn't have that much clothing. (And I lost a lot of it.)  Princesses weren't helpless girls waiting around to be rescued.  The princesses in my childhood storybooks fought dragons, rescued the prince, and saved the town.  Even the princesses in some of the Disney movies are fierce, headstrong, or extremely smart.  I don't think wanting to be like them is such a bad thing, and I think it's time to rewrite the book on princesses.  Even though my dad occasionally referred to my sister and I as princesses growing up, I didn't internalize it as, "I'm a princess therefore I must be pretty and helpless."  I thought of it as, "I'm badass, and I'm a princess, therefore princesses are badass too."  


At the end of the day, you should wear a dress you love, and that you feel good in, and that fits whatever idea of, "I'm getting married!" you're comfortable with.  You should be excited to wear your wedding dress, because hey, getting married is exciting!  It doesn't have to be the One Perfect Dress, because most of them aren't.  But I think all of us should be able to express our own choices without maligning other people's.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Throwing money at problems

Okay, I'm going to level with you guys, and I know most of you aren't in the position we were in.  We didn't pay for our wedding.  Our parents very generously chipped in and paid for our wedding.  So we set a budget early on, and then came in about $10k over our budget but still came in about $6k below the maximum budget my parents had set for us.  So if you don't have any spare money in your budget or you are sitting at home thinking, "well, do we really need to spend $500 on a florist?, this post probably isn't for you.  You can write this post off as, "they had way more chickens than us."* But if you have a decent size budget and are trying to spend an amount you are comfortable with, and spend it on the right things, keep reading.

Our plan was to have a family-community-homegrown-DIY-friendly wedding.  We had that.  But we also saved ourselves a lot of stress and worry by throwing money at the following problems:
1.) The flowers
2.) The music
3.) The bar

1.)  It had always been my plan to do the flowers ourselves.  It sounded like a fun project and a great way to spend some downtime with the female members of our family.  We were "just" making bouquets and how hard could it really be?  Then I stabbed myself with floral wire, concluded I wanted to spend the weekend with family and friends, and hired Judy.

The day before the wedding, we were at WholeFoods and I looked at their beautiful fall floral bouquets.  I thought, "oh, how pretty." Then I thought, "oh, thank goodness I'm not buying these so we can make bouquets instead of going to the aquarium tonight."Our bouquets were beautiful and we had enough to worry about without making our own floral arrangements.


2.)  It initially bothered Mark to hire a DJ when, "we could just do that ourselves" and it bothered me because I hate DJs.  Hate 'em.  Eventually we gave up and started looking half-heartedly.  Then Mark's parents went to a wedding with a "great" DJ and told us we should definitely hire one.  We were pretty sold by that point, and then we went home to try to come up with a playlist - we felt baffled and confused, and finally contacted DJs.  We met with a few and hired the one who wasn't pushy and DJ-ish, or representing a company that would send a total stranger to our wedding.  (I'm sorry, but is it crazy to actually want to meet with the service provider when I'm paying $800 for something?)

Our DJ was great, and incorporated last minute changes - we hadn't given him a song to enter to, but told him how we were coming in and he said, "how about Rock 'n Roll Part II?" which was completely perfect.  Our dinner playlist was fantastic and during the dancing, he read the crowd and played the music it took to get people on the floor.  

3.)  We talked about having a bartender early on, or doing self-serve and having people make sure the bar didn't run dry.  Ultimately, we went with a bartender because that way we didn't have to bring our own sodas or other drinks, and we didn't have to worry about where to set up the bar or where to move the bar to.  It worked out really well, and we still saved a lot of money on the bar.  I think the cost of the bartender was $7 per person or so, and the cost of doing beer/wine would have been $14 and full bar would have been $20, but it's likely I'm making that up.  I know somebody quoted us prices similar to that.

There were a number of other problems that we threw money at closer to the wedding - I made countless trips to AC Moore, Staples, Michaels, and JoAnns to make sure we had all the supplies we needed to make the day look and feel right.  (Hot tip from the Sister Of the Bride: buy extra of anything, and then return it after the wedding if you don't use it.)  On the day before/on the wedding, our cousin's wife picked up everything else we could need at WalMart and JoAnns and generally saved the day.  Which is where I come to the one problem we didn't throw money at:  We didn't hire a day-of coordinator.

We initially didn't hire a DOC because we thought, "hey, how hard can it be?"  Also, this is a point where Mark and I strongly disagreed - I thought that we needed a DOC, he told me that we/he could handle everything.  I'm not going to tell you that I was all stressed out on our wedding day because we didn't hire somebody - that would be a lie.  I will tell you that Mark and the groomsmen spent all morning running around and setting up and generally feeling like there was not enough time to get everything done and sending people out to buy stuff that they left at home.  I also will tell you that my cousin's wife served as our DOC and we would have been lost without her, but that I also felt really guilty about not hiring one when I knew we could have afforded it.

Look, everyone tells you to hire one, and I looked into it but not very hard.  By the time I realized we should hire one, we were six weeks out and I was working from 7am until 11:30 at night.  There was no time to find and hire a DOC, even if one was available on the most popular wedding day of the year.  So we did without, and we made do, but if you have the money, please hire somebody.  Otherwise, please designate a few specific people to be generally around and helpful on your wedding day - your bridesmaids have better things to do, and you need a few extra hands on deck - in this case, my cousin and his wife showed up early to help out, and the significant others of the bridal party were EXTREMELY helpful.  All it required of us was giving them space to get ready.

Do you throw money at problems as well? What are your biggest "cheaping out" regrets?

*I feel like I need to apologize for having enough chickens at my disposal to have a fancy wedding without stressing over the budget.  I am choosing not to feel any guiltier about this than I do about having a mom who wasn't a control freak about my wedding or about having drama-free bridesmaids.  Simply put, I got lucky.  Oh, and we spent more on our wedding than I might very well make both last year and this year combined, so my life does still kind of suck.  Just before you get too angry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

You're Welcome

A few of you all have the same wedding timeline and it seems like now is the time to stress about the invitations.  So I wanted to solve your problems and tell you what to do, because I'm a know it all smarty pants and if I'm not telling somebody what to do, I'm definitely not blogging.
So lets start with a few invite design ideas from our designer, Printable Press:  

This one made me think of Ms. Bunny and their swanky rooftop affair for which she is making her own vintage dress.
This one made me think of friends I wish I had who would invite me to their fabulous and funky weddings.  







These two both make me want to get married again.  Seriously.  I hope my cousin uses something similar for their catskills wedding.  
I thought DIY invites would be difficult, but they really weren't.  Follow the following steps:
1.)  Order design.  
2.)  Order linen textured cardstock from www.paperandmore.com.  Don't overthink this.  Just get white.
3.)  Get printed at Staples in their copy department.  At most staples, their flat rate for color printing is $.50 a page, which means you get 2 invites for $0.50.   
4.)  Cut.  Or have them do it for you, but our cutting experience at Staples was a disaster, so I would recommend hitting up a friend who has access to a professional paper cutter (or buy one yourself), and cut them.  
5.)  Stuff and seal into envelopes.  If you really want to, you can buy or make pocketfolds to stick them into, or glue them to a cardstock backing, but simple invites on heavy cardstock are also really nice. 

A few designs from Whimsical Prints, who a few friends have used.  



And a couple from Jean M., one of my favorite more affordable "fancy" designers.  



Any more sources I should share?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saturday Continued or Vendor Review: Our Hotel

Warning: This is an angsty post in which I use a LOT of captial letters.  It is mostly about how poorly the Hyatt Place Owings Mills treated us and our wedding.  From everybody I've talked to, the nearby Hilton Garden Inn was much better.  
  
We went back to the hotel.  Fun tip:
Make sure your name is on the hotel room you will be staying in the night before your wedding.


We get to the hotel.  I'm holding my wedding dress and EVERYONE is sitting in the lobby of the hotel.  I'm stressed beyond belief, and they won't let me into my Sister-in-Law's room.  Because I might be trying to sabotage/rob/murder my sister-in-law.  REALLY?  REALLY????  (Yes, legally, I understand this as a general policy.  But I do think an exception should be made for the bride in the wedding party.  This is pretty much the only thing I felt entitled to as a bride - entitled to access to the hotel room where I planned to sleep.)

The main reason this was a problem was: my SIL was already at the bar, and also, the hotel had let me into the room earlier in the day just by looking at my driver's license, so I assumed that they would do it again.  But not only would they not let me in, the manager was a HUGE A**HOLE about it, and made me stand there, holding my wedding dress, while I had a total meltdown in front of ALL OF MY IN-LAWS.

Our photographer showed up, who was staying with my SIL, complaining that her keycard wasn't working.  The manager wouldn't even reset her keycard.  If we had known earlier in the day that this was a problem, I would have had L. add me to the room so that I could access it.  Finally, I desperately asked the manager if he could call my SIL and ask her to give us permission to go into the room.  "Of course," he said, like he couldn't believe we hadn't asked.  I could NOT believe he had not suggested that when I said, "isn't there ANYTHING you can do?"

So we got into the room, dropped off our stuff, and went to the bar.  We got lost on the way, but when I got there, barely recovered from my meltdown, my husband had a margarita and a pad of paper waiting for me, saying, "tell me everything I need to do tomorrow to make sure this happens right."  I looked at him with relief and started to blurt out everything that had to happen.  I don't know what all of it was, but it was things like "burlap on benches" "make reserved signs" "get table runners from your mom".  So I relaxed and hung out with my high school buds who had made the trip for the weekend from NY and Massachusetts and I didn't get to spend any time with on the wedding day.  Everything was going great until my sister got a call from my parents saying that something had gone wrong with their hotel reservation and they were changing to the Hilton Garden Inn.

We got back to the hotel and had to, again, deal with the night manager.  I'm still not entirely sure what happened with my parents reservations, but I do not believe that the hotel actually lost them.  What I absolutely know to be true is that after a long go-round, the hotel let my parents cancel one of their two rooms, and my sister and I opted to take the other room (it was around 1am at this time).  When we got into the room, the room smelled funny and the carpet was damp.  Literally soaking through my socks damp - clearly the carpet had been steam cleaned that day, and not able to dry.  It was definitely NOT how I wanted to spend my last night as a single woman.  My sister went back to the desk to ask the manager about switching to a room with a not-damp carpet, but the hotel was fully booked.  (Where the second room that my parents had went, I don't know, but I do know that there is no way the hotel should have assigned us to a room with a damp carpet.)  The man told us that we could cancel that room, and go back up to my SIL's room where we had originally planned to spend the night, but we were afraid they were all asleep/settled by then and we'd had enough crazyness for one night, so we kept the wet room.  I complained to the hotel after the fact and they offered to upgrade me for free the next time I stay at a Hyatt Place.  I can assure you that I never intend to stay at a Hyatt Place again.

The other thing that happened, around the same time as the meltdown with my parent's room, was actually much more offensive to me.  The hotel had offered to schedule shuttles to Irvine for us, and this was the main reason we went with the hotel.  They told me over the phone that they usually schedule two, but could do more if we needed.  Mark set up the times and the hotel had sign-up sheets when people came in.  The shuttles filled up pretty early, because it turned out we had a lot of guests trying to take them.  The night manager, rather than scheduling a third shuttle, told our guests that we had only contracted for two shuttle runs.  Our contract said absolutely nothing about the shuttles, and all guests who stay at the hotel are entitled to use the shuttle (I will agree that scheduling the shuttles was a courtesy), and the manager should have said that, rather than telling them that we only contract for two runs.  This had a lot of people blaming us for not setting up more shuttle runs, when really it was hotel policy and not our decision at all.  I dislike being blamed for things I didn't do, and I even more dislike it when people say things that would lead our guests to believe that I had not put their comfort and safety at the top of my priority list.

I get that the hotel was overextended and we got married on one of the most popular days of the year.  I would cut them some slack if they had been at all polite to me, but the night manager in particular was rude, ungracious, and on some kind of crazy power trip.  He treated me like he already had decided I was a bridezilla, and therefore I was the crazy one and he didn't need to be nice.  He was even worse to my poor sister, who moved heaven and Earth to try to keep me happy.  Everyone else I dealt with, during the day, was generally pleasant and respectful.  I probably would have let this go if the hotel had responded to the email I sent them the day after we got back from our honeymoon with anything more than a generic, "we're sorry. Stay with us again and we'll try to be nicer to you."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Saturday was Awful

I've talked about the rehearsal and stuff for our wedding already, but I wanted to reiterate it again because it was really terrible.

The 5k the morning of our wedding was great.  We went, we ran, we ate.  It was excellent.  Then panic hit.  The biggest wrinkle in the plan was that the city had turned off our water on Saturday, which, at least we had warning about, but was still a hassle.  A bunch of us drove out to the hotel and used my in-laws rooms to shower and get ready for the rehearsal lunch, and my bridesmaid met me there so that we could do a trial run of our makeup.  We were running late and getting a bit frantic, so eventually we were all ready to go and we piled into a car and headed for the rehearsal.
After the rehearsal lunch, we went over to the venue, where we rehearsed.  I've already talked about it a bit, but it was just a disaster.  It was a total fustercluck (my friend Lauren uses this term and I think it's awesome.)  I have never felt so stressed out in my entire life, and you guys? I took the bar.  
Rehearsals are a disaster because everybody is looking at you for direction, and wtf do you know?  You're there to rehearse too!  
A few tips:  
1. Be early, not late.  Keep careful track of time throughout the entire day - issue the entire wedding party watches if necessary (only the guys got them as their groomsman gifts).  
2. Have everybody down at the ceremony site to rehearse.  We had to use a stand-in for Mark because we were late and he had to deal with the caterers.  
3. If anybody tries to ask any questions about where the benches/chairs/haybales will be set up, tell them to STFU and wait until you are done rehearsing.  
4. If anybody tries to ask anything about scheduling, tell them to STFU and remind them that you sent them an email about this and you're not going over it until after the rehearsal.  
5. If you can avoid it, don't invite your moms.  I'm sorry, but moms are really not helpful at rehearsals.  Even low key moms like ours wanted to know everything that was going on and had forgotten all of the stuff we had painstakingly told them.  After the actual rehearsing was done, my parents asked if we still needed them and I believe my response was, "please leave.  I will see you at 9am tomorrow morning, that is all you need to know."  I just couldn't go over the schedule again and I could not take another question about what was happening.*
6. Hire a day-of coordinator.  If I haven't convinced you yet, you should be convinced.  
7. See if your venue coordinator has someplace they need to be at a certain time, thereby cutting your time at the venue short.  Ours had dinner plans, so we couldn't stick around in the building setting up the centerpieces and making sure everything had arrived, meaning stuff got forgotten and misplaced.  Also, review Rule 1, because this wouldn't have been a problem if we had been on time.  
8. Don't get lost in a cemetery with your photographer.  (But we saw a toad!)
9. If you had a deal to set up the benches for the ceremony site, you should maybe enlist people who aren't part of the rehearsing party (mostly the SOs of the rehearsing party) to start moving the benches and chairs to the general vicinity while you are rehearsing.  
10. If you can, have a game plan with your husband beforehand and don't listen to other people.  We did a lot of standing around trying to figure out if we had enough benches, which benches we should use, where they should go, and a whole bunch of other issues.  In the meantime, I was FLIPPING OUT about all the stuff that had to get done the next day.  
Photo by our best man

The most important lesson though, is go out for drinks afterwards.  I was seriously so flattened that I was just like, "margarita time? please? please? need. need. need."  I was pretty desperate.  

Sadly, we had to fight with our hotel to drop our stuff off, and then I got lost on our way to the bar.  Did I mention Saturday was awful?  On the bright side, we had a rehearsal lunch, and at least I didn't have to go from the horrible rehearsal after which I hated everyone, to a rehearsal dinner at which I had to be nice to everyone.  

Tomorrow I tell you how I wound up in a hotel room with a damp carpet the night before my wedding.

*Arguably this could have been avoided by going over the schedule in advance, but uh, we did that the weekend before.  Listen, parents are old.  They forget stuff.  Like that they are supposed to get ready with you and not at the hotel.  You are best off accepting that your parents are loose cannons.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding Weekend: The Aquarium!

Now that I've recapped most of the reception, I'm going to rewind all the way back to Friday night.  Because it was awesome, and I wanted to share this with anyone who is wondering whether they should DIY their flowers the day before the wedding or if they would rather spend that time with their families.

The best part about our wedding was that we threw money at problems and said eff it and generally powered through everything else and finished our crafting by Friday afternoon so that we could knock off and spend time with our families and friends that had come in from England and Canada.  We decided to take advantage of $5 Fridays - it turns out that the line gets CRAZY long (I've never seen it that long, and I've done $5 Fridays before).  We bought timed tickets to go in at 7:30 (while standing in line) which gave Mark's family time to take the Metro in from the hotel (which worked really well).
The aquarium is a little crazy with a group of 12 people, but it gave us a good chance to walk and talk with people and do some catching up.
and I got to play with my camera.
It was also really, really nice to walk around and look at the fish and take everything in and talk to people if I wanted to, about fish or about the wedding, or about how they were doing, or about anything at all.  We didn't have to talk wedding.  We could talk about the normal things you talk about with family.  Or the normal things you talk about at an aquarium.  

By the time we got to Friday, I was a weird mix of Zen and Exhausted.  I didn't really care at all about any of the details - tomorrow would come and we were ready - there was nothing left to do that hadn't been done.  I had to run a 5k the next morning with my friends and I was really excited.  It was Friday night, it had been a nightmarish week, and all I really wanted to do was sit on a bench and watch some stingrays.  (Because I don't drink before races, but otherwise it would have been time for a large glass of wine.) 

After we were done at the aquarium and had seen Mark's family safely onto the Metro, we headed back towards our apartment with the guys - Mark's groomsman and FBIL were staying with us, and they decided to go out and grab a drink.  I passed, and went home to pack up my emergency kit and bag for the hotel, lay out my running clothes for the race, charge our electric toothbrushes for the honeymoon, and generally praise myself for being so well organized and put together.  It was good.  I would recommend forcing yourself to take it easy before your wedding if you can.  Because Saturday was awful.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reception.

Okay.  I could say a lot of things about our reception, but what I will say is this:  it was a long time ago.  I no longer remember every detail, I barely remember what we danced to, I remember that I barely spent time with M. and I was okay with that, because the next day we were leaving for our honeymoon.  I remember that the night ended and I was sad, because I didn't want it to be over.  I remember that people had fun, and I had fun, and that's really all I need.  I remember realizing at the end of the reception that Kiersten hadn't been shooting for the last 30 minutes or so of the wedding, because the time we had paid her for was up, and also we told her to feel free to y'know, sit down and eat, sothese are from our friends.

I danced with my family.
I danced with Mark.  His mom danced, his dad stood and swayed.

I danced with my dad.
And the night wound down.  After the cake was cut, people started coming up to us to say goodbye.  By the time I reminded the DJ that he had to play My Girl, he told me we only had 15 minutes left.  Somewhere in there, most of our guests left.  We shut down the dance floor, our bridal party grabbed everything from everywhere and put everything away, and we headed to the afterparty.  That's right, no sparklers, no ribbon wavers, no send off.  We threw this party and we weren't gonna leave early, darn it.  

We did get to leave in style though.  We talked, for maybe a second, about getting a limo.  Then we decided to either get a ride or take the shuttle.  It was incredibly important to me to stay sober through our wedding, for a lot of reasons, and Mark felt similarly.  It was also really really really important to me that our car get decorated.  Car decorating may be one of my favorite parts of weddings, and I'm a stickler for it.  So some people that love us made it happen:
It was even more fun to make the drive back down 695 the next day with trucks and cars honking at us and people rolling down their windows to yell, "congratulations!!!!!"  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Registry Lessons

We got into a chat on Twitter recently about registries and what to register for, and I thought I'd offer a few reviews about what did and didn't work for us, and what people did and didn't buy from our registry.  Also a few things we forgot to register for, because we had three registries and I thought I put them on one of them and did not.  I will say, even if we hadn't felt the need to replace everything in our kitchen (we've lived together since college and very little of what we have was new when we got it, or is particularly high quality), I would have registered.  Because to me, since I know that people in my family give gifts, not registering felt like asking for money.  And registering made me feel icky, still, but it made me feel less icky.

For starters, we registered for versatile, everyday china.  It works as both everyday and as formal china, it looks nice, and we like it.  We got the Noritake Colorwave Square in a variety of colors, and we were lucky to have enough people give it to us that we have a complete set.  I recently had a conversation about what china I would get if the President came to dinner, and I said, "I would just use the china we own and say dammit, we're Americans. Our china doesn't match."  We also registered for stemless white and red wine glasses, because we tend to break stemmed ones.  And using mugs isn't classy.  We registered for new appliances - a food processor, a crockpot that doesn't burn everything, a rice cooker, a hand mixer. (Yes, I kept the Kitchenaid too.  It's awesome.)  We also registered for some "weird" items - a suitcase, camping pads, a camping meal kit, a new bike rack, and people got us these as well.  We've also used almost all of these items and they are fantastic, so I don't feel guilty that we registered for a rice cooker that cost 6x the one I would have bought myself.  Yes, I don't need to own something that nice, but it's really nice.

Things we didn't register for?  Knives.  My dad gifted me with a set of wonderful knives, pretty much all German, all good knives, when I moved into my Courtyards apartment.  Most of them came from his own knife drawer or the stash he keeps in the basement of closeout scratch & dent knives he buys when he goes to Germany.  I'm a knife snob, I will freely admit it, and wouldn't have registered for the standard block knife set.  I did put a Shun Santoku knife on our registery, and one of my best friends got it for me, and I'm afraid to use it.  It's really nice. But when I thought about registering for knives, I realized that we did not need new knives, and our current knives were nice enough that we wouldn't just give them away to a homeless shelter.  You probably have things you feel this way about as well.  We also didn't register to replace our Pyrex baking dishes, our cutting boards, or our other baking pans, although I realized after the wedding I hadn't put loaf pans on the registry and I'd like to have some, so we bought them when we exchanged a few items.

We also didn't register for a pot set.  We got a lovely everyday pan, a new deep skillet, a french oven, a cast iron skillet, and a saucepan.  They do not match, but matching pots are, it turns out, totally unnecessary.  What is necessary is pots that serve your needs, like a pot that goes from stovetop to oven to table.  A set felt really silly, and whatever one we picked would have been prohibitively expensive.  Also, the pot that I use the most right now is a $40 pot, which didn't come with a set.

We registered for new sheets and towels, and these were one thing that people didn't get us.  I'm not complaining - we deliberately put a lot extra on our registry so that people would have freedom to choose gifts that they wanted to give.  People were also reluctant to give the more "practical" gifts - but our dish draining rack (we got the SimpleHuman one with the built in knife block which I thought was excessive but turned out to be amazing) and our laundry sorter and our new showerhead are all awesome gifts we use every day.  But these were some of the last items we received, after the china and the appliances and the other stuff had been purchased.

I know when I buy off registries, I'm also reluctant to get somebody their towels (mostly because Mark wouldn't let me monogram them with "beauty" and "beast" for our friends) or bathroom kits.  I'm not sure why, but it is what it is.  Maybe it feels less like a wedding gift, maybe it's creepy to give your friends something they wrap around their naked selves.

We registered for a number of small things - new spoons and tools for cooking, a new can opener, etc.  We got some of these items, and some of them we are simply living without.  We'll replace and upgrade our tools as necessary, but for now, we're getting by with what we had, and the new stuff.  The people who did get us small things got us a box of small things that mostly went together, or came from the same section.  I couldn't help but notice that these gifts came from recently-married friends, who I suspect know that even though you really want the $25 can opener, nobody will get it for you.

What did you register for?  What did you get?  What didn't you get?

Vegetarian Weddings

Yesterday my guest post at 2000 Dollar Wedding went up about our decision to serve vegetarian food at our wedding.  Truthfully, it was a really scary post for me to write, because I talk about religion and I talk about food, both very personal things.  Mostly it's about standing up for yourself and compromise.  My favorite comment is from Paige at Little White Chapel:
"Yes, weddings are about compromise, but I get the feeling that when people use that word, they expect the couple to be the ones to compromise--not the rest of their families."  

And that, my friends, is wedding planning in a nutshell.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cheap and Easy? Yay!

Okay, so I'm not a big fan of favors.  I think they can be really fun, but I find it a bit heartbreaking when a couple spends $3 on a favor that is useless or not going to be everyone's style.  So I was super-psyched to see Ms. Sloth post about their favors - which I had considered, but only when I saw amazing handmade DIY ones.
It never occurred to me that I could just buy wildflower seed packets and put them out on the tables.
Or, better yet, get a big clay planter and fill it with seed packets by the exit with a sign that says, "thank you!"  This is my trick for not having to buy as many favors - you buy 100 seed packets for 150 guests - chances are, you'll still have some left over.
Wildflower seeds are great because you don't even plant them - you just throw them on the ground and they grow!  These would have been perfect for our wedding, since it was at a nature center (although perhaps we should check to make sure the wildflowers are not an invasive species), and they would have been a nice potential alternative to the candy that we had as favors - it's two totally different things, people could take one of each or just one, without feeling guilty.  Of course, you don't need to have favors, but if there is a family member that thinks that you do need to have favors, this is a really easy way to silence them. 

Any other ideas for really easy favors you can put in buckets by the exit?