Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Re-purposed and Re-tooled... or not?

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and an opportunity to give thanks for all the small blessings in your life. I spent mine with over thirty members of my family. Which always makes for a good time with lots of good food.

My goal was to come back from vacation with a new sense of purpose and direction for our wedding. Sadly, this goal was not accomplished. It was probably too much to hope for given that I flew over a thousand miles and drove another seven hundred over five days.

I feel a little bit like I have been sent back to the drawing board as it seems that our wedding guest list is closer to 200 than 150 (and 150 is the maximum our original venue could hold without a tent). So, we are back to the initial question: where o' where shall we hold this shindig. I would love to have the outdoors as a backdrop, because I think it would give us the most flexibility to achieve the wedding we both want. And it is beautiful just as it is. But, we need a rain plan. And a facility that will let us stay past dark and bring booze. This has proved a challenge. It doesn't look like we have a family member (whom we could ask to provide a space without feeling as though we were imposing) with a large enough house.

Eek! I cannot wait for this part of planning to be over so we can move on the fun stuff!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I am a blog-addicted bride

I have never really been that into computers. I don't really visit youtube and before becoming engaged didn't have a list of certain blogs that I follow. Now, I most definitely do. Some days it is because work can be really boring. Most days its the only way that I maintain any kind of perspective. These are the blogs that I follow for inspiration, ideas, and sanity:

(1) Meg at is always so honest and makes you feel you have a good friend who is right by your side as you struggle through this craziness called planning a wedding. And trying to do it in a way that makes sense.

(2) Kathryn at Snippet & Ink who, as she advertises, provides daily inspiration. I haven't even looked at a bridal magazine in weeks.

(3) A ten thousand dollar wedding

(4) 2000 Dollar Wedding is a great resource for how a couple planned their day like they wanted on a very practical wedding by making every decision mindful of their goals. And, because our wedding is about what comes after--being married and making a life together, I enjoy her input on married life and just basically living mindfully.

And I owe all of these bloggers a big THANK YOU for helping me stay sane and be inspired.

This weekend I attempted a couple DIY projects--just making some prototypes. My perfectionist streak kicked in and I ended my weekend feeling kind of deflated. I think I've lost a little bit of purpose. Which sounds crazy--I'm only six weeks into wedding planning and I've already lost touch of my goals?!? Well, its just that picking a reception venue and beginning to interview caterers has left me realizing that there is just no way we can meet our target budget. Not without some serious re-thinking. We have tried thinking outside the box, but for various reasons (he wants dancing, his mother wants FOOD, we have many out-of-town guests, and we haven't figured out how to get our guest list below 125) that just isn't working for us. So, now we are spending more than we had originally planned and so I think I am feeling like a bit of a failure and can't quite see how my DIY projects fit in. We are planning to brainstorm this week while we are driving to and from Thanksgiving (6 hours each way). Now that we have more information about what to do. So, hopefully, post-vacation I will have a better idea of what we are doing and what I need to do next.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


My fiance lives 571 miles away and I am planning a wedding 542 miles away from where I am right now. My fiance and I have been dating long distance for seven and a half months now and we have another nine to go. I like the fact that in planning a wedding we are also planning our lives together--where we will live (both where geographically and where specifically), what we will do, and all those little things that make up the every day. In the midst of planning the one day that marks the beginning of our lives as husband and wife we have tried to make an effort to discuss what comes next; the whole married part of getting married. Which is great and interesting and, I hope, helps open the lines of communication, so that they are well-trod familiar paths to us once we are actually married. And it makes the prospect of getting married and being married very very exciting--we will finally be together every day. Yay! But, I must admit that it is also hard and frustrating and sad. Some days it is just very sad. As in, I have found the love of my life and yet he is many miles away and when I am tired or sad I can't just lay my head on his shoulder and feel better just from his warm presence. Or make him laugh at my giddy silliness when I am happy. I know that couples have been separated for much longer and for much worse reasons. Everytime I start to feel too sorry for myself, I console myself thinking about how many other couples have suffered being apart except without the luxury of cell phones and e-mail and the other things that let us stay close despite the distance. Mostly, I just try to remain grateful that I have found someone so wonderful to spend my life with. He makes my days better even when he isn't physically present with me. And I am lucky, indeed, to have found that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ceremony Decorations

The Church we have picked for our ceremony is absolutely breathtaking. Therefore, I don't think that we need much (if any) decorations. I am thinking about jumping on the bandwagon and doing these.

The photo source and directions can be found here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted. Did you?

Wedding Dress Shopping

I am preparing to go on my very first wedding dresss shopping excursion. And I am excited. I think mainly because I am pretty sure that I am not going to buy something from a store, but try to find a pre-owned dress or some other creative solution. I think this takes a little of the pressure off.
That being said, I would like to look at any samples or sale items that the shop might have. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky I have heard that some bridal shops can be, well, a bit snobby towards brides who favor their sale area. In an effort to make sure that my shopping experience is pleasant, I wasn't sure how to handle this. Should I just try on the expensive dresses and then ask if they have samples left from their sample sale or any other sale dresses. Or should I broach it initially: "I am looking for something with a sweetheart neckline or off-shoulder straps with a chapel length train. Oh, and if you have any sale dresses, I'd also be interested in looking at those." Thoughts?
Image: Priscilla of Boston Style # 4209

Budget Woes

The title to this post may be a bit misleading, because it's not woes as in we can't possible plan a wedding on what we had planned to spend. Which is true. But this post is about the fact that I feel completely stumped trying to figure out how much things cost. I mean I have my Real Simple Weddings budget sheet that tells me what percentage I should spend in each category. So, I know my target. But what I don't know is how much will alcohol for 150 people cost if we bring our own and can get it at a discount. It makes it hard to figure out what budget we are working with for catering when I am at a loss to plug in a number for alcohol. Or centerpieces, if we DIY. Am I just being too detailed? Should we just build up individual elements as we get estimates and just work toward our targets. Has anyone else had this problem?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dessert Buffet

Homemade Cookie Buffet

Watch the kid in guests appear when they reach for cookies made from family recipes. Ask relatives to bake, or have your caterer make them

Well, this is my idea for a dessert buffet--of course Martha had it first.

Venue and Other Updates

I think we have a venue for our reception. Yay! I haven't seen it in person--only in photographs. Fiance and parents went to look at it and loved it. It's an old house that is currently a museum. It has beautiful hardwoods inside and a great porch. I am so excited. It seems pretty perfect. We really wanted outdoor space, but didn't want to rely on the weather too much. If the weather is good, then we can make extensive use of the porch. And, if it's raining cats and dogs, we just move inside. Perfect. Plus, we really really wanted to avoid a banquet hall. We wanted something unique. And I think we have found it. I will post more once we have signed on the dotted line and paid our deposit.

In other news, fiance was skeptical about an earlier reception. He decided he really wanted dancing. So, we are back to an evening reception (wedding at 4pm, reception from 5-9). This doesn't really change our concept, except we are adding more food--stations instead of just passed hors d'ouerves. Oh, and we don't have to get up super early to start getting ready.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding Plan Draft #1

  • Colors: navy and green. (For the green I am thinking the color of a granny smith apple, not something too bright.)
    • Bridesmaids: navy dresses and green bouquets
    • Men--hmmm... I don't know, the below wedding would be too early for tuxes, so I guess we'd have to go with suits (I'll have to check with the honey on that one)
  • Schedule:
    • Wedding at 2pm (at the Church)
    • Reception 3:00 - 7:00 (location TBD)
      • Music (ipod or a small group)
      • Dancing
      • Dessert (I have a fun idea for a dessert buffet-I will share more later)
      • Passed hor d'oeurves
      • Bar with beer, wine, champagne and maybe a signature cocktail
    • Meet up with those that still want to party at a bar around 9/10

Does anyone who might be reading this have any thoughts? I was having a tough time sticking to my budget while doing something around dinner time. This idea seems to solve that problem. I am hoping there will be a little dancing (well hubby and I will for sure and me and my dad and he and his mom, plus, I can probably encourage my bridesmaids to get a little dancing underway).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Preliminary thoughts on venues

I love the beautiful simplicity of an outdoor reception. (An outdoor ceremony would also be lovely, but, being a good Catholic girl--at least some of the time--a Church ceremony is in order.) I love the idea of picnic receptions. Cute, pretty, fun, intimate, and simple. I love this idea! Unfortunately, I don't know how to make it work for us. What about the weather? And about half our guest list (if not more) will be coming from out-of-town. Thus, it feels like we need something more than a picnic.

We did find a beautiful space that we both love, but it is definitely very outside of our budget. I have been thinking about doing a dessert reception with light hor d'oeuvres, but it seems ridiculous (and not very mindful) to pay so much for a space and then not take advantage of it. I don't even know why I am still thinking about this space. I just need to let it go. But, I keep picturing it. Every time I try to get creative and think about how to have a special day to celebrate our love with our loved ones, it is in that space.

But I need to move on. I am hopeful that sharing this thought will help me move on to a more mindful venue idea.

And So It Begins....

I have been engaged for one week and two days and I am already frustrated with planning a wedding. The one thing that has kept me sane is blogs on practical budget-conscious weddings. So, I thought sharing my thoughts anonymously might help me keep it all in focus as well. My perfect wedding is intimate, simple, and classy. Not modern and flashy. Not trying to impress anyone. Just letting our closest friends and family (turns out this may be upwards of 125) celebrate this very special day with us. Oh, and I want to do all this without spending money that would otherwise go toward... a honeymoon, a house down payment, our savings account.

I also want our wedding to reflect our values. We seek to live mindful lives that celebrate deep inner peace and joy over binging on consumer goods. This makes it hard to plan a wedding (as so many others have observed) in an industry geared towards making it as expensive as possible. So here we are, trying to plan a mindful wedding. Which makes me a mindful bride