Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can you have a wedding on a budget of less than $5,000?

Someone posted a thread on a wedding forum I go on and asked this question. So far her guest list is at 47 people. A lot of people are saying DIY stuff and have a smaller guest list. Here was my response. I think it can be helpful to any bride out there who is on a very tight budget.

We have a guest list of 170 and we're trying to keep it under $3000. Definitely possible! We're doing great so far. It's all about priorities and the big picture.

By big picture I mean this: are your guests or even you going to remember 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the road that you had fake flowers over real flowers? Didn't have favors? Had a friend taking the pictures? Probably not.

Here's what I recommend, even without having a smaller guest list to cut costs!

Brunch is much cheaper than dinner. Plus you can get away with not having alcohol (since it's so early in the day) but if you must have alcohol, mimosas and sangria are perfect brunch drinks that don't break the budget.

Call in favors from friends! If you know someone who loves taking pictures and has a nice camera, see if they're willing to do your photography as a gift to you! You can save sometimes thousands that way...photographers in my town go up to $1500 for 6 hours of shooting the day of. That's most of our budget! So we're getting it for free from a friend and his wife who are gifting their talents to us.

Network! Ask around about bridal shops, flower places, music, etc! A girl I work with told me about a bridal consignment shop. I was iffy on buying a used dress (I'm superstitious) but it turns out "consignment" to that shop meant inventory buy outs, so I got a BRAND NEW dress, valued at $2300, for $200. AND I asked the shop owner about alterations. Got my dress altered almost completely for less than $50 because of a lady she knows.

Consignment and thrift shops are awesome. You can get great stuff there. I got all of my centerpiece vases for less than a buck each at Goodwill.

I'm saving money on my hair and makeup the day of the wedding by having a friend do it for me with the makeup and hair stuff I already own. No need to buy extras.

Our friend's dad is a notary (all you need to marry you in our state) and he's marrying us for free.

We're having our wedding at a state park. The venue cost for the WHOLE day, including ceremony and reception with tables and chairs included? $160.

My shoes were $20 brand new. My necklace and earrings for the day of were $4 (yep. But I didn't see it as a priority though so I didn't want to spend a lot there).

I paid $50 for my bridal portraits from a professional photographer (and by professional I mean someone just starting out in the business...much cheaper prices than "seasoned" professionals and pictures just as great)
Our invitations were from VistaPrint and we got 100 of them for FREE. Sign up for the emails on VP b/c they send around free stuff all the time. Our invitations are awesome and were free. FREE! Can't beat that! Well, we did pay shipping, but who can really say they got invitations for $6 for 170 people?

If you do Save the Dates and RSVP cards, go postcard style! The postage for that is 28 cents as opposed to mailing an envelope for 44 or something cents. Our RSVP cards (bought off of VistaPrint) were free and they're postcards and we're saving a whole lot on postage. Same with the STDs...bought them when they were free (told you they have a lot of free deals on that site) and they were postcards so postage was much cheaper.

Make your own food. We're doing a brunch reception with NO caterer at all. I work in a restaurant and so many of my coworkers have offered to be our "staff" that day and help make the food. But you don't need to work in a restaurant to get that kind of help. Family and friends are usually willing to help with it. We're having all sorts of food with the help of our family and friends, so it'll be much cheaper than paying for a caterer.

I have an app on my phone that sends you coupons. Watch for coupons. I got a coupon for Party City that was 50% off of one item. No lie, and I know this sounds bad, maybe a little trashy, and probably a little dumb, but I printed off like 5 or 6 of those and went to Party City two different times and used all of the coupons. I went through the line as many times as I had a coupon (luckily there was no line, and the kid behind the register was fine starting a new transaction for me each time...b/c it was Christmas time). So I bought all of our silverware for our guests (the plastic kind that looks real) and spent $15 on all of it as opposed to $30. I looked stupid going throug the line that many times but hey, I saved money!

Same wth Hobby Lobby and Michael's. They have coupons like that all of the time and I've saved a bunch that way too.

That's all I can think of right now. If I think of more, I'll post again! But it's totally possible to have a wedding for so much cheaper than $5000.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pictures, again.

I've been trying to compile a list of all the types of pictures I want the day of the wedding. As I said before, the pictures are the whole reason we're not just eloping. We want the memories and the pictures to look back on. So they're extremely important to us. I'm a bit photo-obsessed, definitely.

So in compiling this list, I've realized the ceremony pictures and the pictures of us seeing each other before the ceremony are the ones I want most. So people dancing, pictures of the centerpieces...all of those I could do without (though I want pictures of those too) as long as we get a billion pictures during the ceremony.

 I'm really set on making the ceremony sweet, fun, sentimental and very us. Jared is on board with it too, luckily. I've been to very long weddings (like Catholic masses) and very short weddings (vows, rings, kiss, done) and we both want a memorable and sentimental wedding. We want emotion, damnit! We want to laugh, cry, fall in love with each other all over again. We want it to be fun and memorable for all, though, not just us.

We've pretty much got an itinerary of how the ceremony will go. And I'm so excited for it. That will make all of the planning worth it to me. (And you all know how much I hate planning this damn wedding)

Here are examples of some of the pictures I'm set on. I pulled some of them off of a wedding forum I'm on and some are from Google Images. I don't know who the photographers are, but these pictures are very much NOT mine, they will never be mine, I didn't pay for them nor have I been paid for posting them (so there goes my copyright get-out-of-jail-free card). Of course the list goes on and on and on and poor friends who volunteered to be our photographers! I still want all the normal my BMs together, the groomsmen together, pictures of us individually, pictures wiht the parents...etc. But some of these are my favorites :)
Ok seriously, how awesome is this?

I love feet shots
A sweet shot of the couple
The first look! Oh I can't wait to do this one
I like angles.
Details like this are so sweet
Another first look shot! I LOVE THIS
I want the faces of each of us seeing each other before the ceremony for the first time
A great moment
The perspective here is awesome
I love the idea of "diving" into the dress
Very cool

Thursday, December 9, 2010

4 months.

Yep, 4.

And I'm starting to freak out a little. Just a little.

Ok a lot.

I had one bridesmaid tell me today that I'm allowing everyone to have too much freedom to choose what they wear and what not. That was sort of a wake-up to me. She said I'm the bride, it's expected of me to make decisions, and since there are 6 of them, I can't try to please everyone. I'm really grateful to her for knocking some sense into me.

But still, the people-pleaser in me wants to still step back and let them decide. But it's seeming to be a difficult task, with everyone having their own input. I feel like someone is going to be unhappy and I don't want anyone at all to be unhappy.

I don't know how to be assertive, especially when so many people are involved. I always want equality, and though I do have a hint of control-freak, mostly, I want everyone to be pleased. But it's coming time for me to make some decisions on my own and stop asking for opinions.

Things like "What do you think of these flowers?" and "What color shoes do you want to wear?" shouldn't be questions I ask of anyone except of myself and Jared. It's our wedding, yes. We know what we want, what we want our pictures to look like. We know how we want our wedding to go. So we know it's not up to everyone else. But it also doesn't help that Jared always says "That's up to you, baby." I swear he's going to have that etched on his tombstone. "Jared, do you want to do a first-look picture before the ceremony?" "That's up to you, baby."

I don't want it to be only up to me.

I just really hate wedding planning and we're in crunch time. The invitations are going out in a couple weeks. Then we'll get RSVP cards back (I hope!). Then we'll have to start buying dishes and planning food.

Money, money, money. Where will it all come from? How will we get it all done.

Someone give me an Ambien, plan and pay for our wedding, and wake me up on April 9 just before I have to walk down the aisle. Please?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Say, would you like a chocolate-covered pretzel?

This isn't wedding related at all, but I figured, what the hell, it's been too much time between blogs.

Last year, Jared and I were bored one night around the holidays so we decided to make some chocolate-covered pretzels. I couldn't fathom how to do it, but because he likes to cook so much, he decided to show me how to make them. It wasn't hard at all! Just some chocolate chips melted by a double-boiler (or a pan on top of boiling water that's in another pan) and some pretzel sticks and some sprinkles!

We made so many that I decided to give some to my friends as Christmas gifts since we were meeting for lunch the next day. They were a hit! So I really wanted to make them again this year because one of my friends mentioned how good they were last year.

So we made some tonight. We bought some pretzel rods (weird name) and went to work. Then we realized we had so much chocolate and white chocolate left that we had to do something with it all! I suddenly remembered that Jared got a little over-zealous at Sam's a couple months back and bought an entire box of small bags of pretzels, and the only one who has eaten them is Sheila, our dog, when she was able to get into the bottom cabinet they were in. Silly dog. But we still had dozens of bags left. Eureka!

And this picture is missing yet another pan and 2 plates more...
He asked me if I'm going to go overboard next year with them too and I told him yes and that we're starting our own holiday tradition. Right now we have 7 Christmas containers full of them and 2 tupperware containers full. I've been racking my brain to figure out who to give them to. We're meeting friends for dinner tomorrow night so there are a few of them gone. But who else?

Right now, I don't care, because my stomach hurts. Hurts so good...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hair. An important decision.

I've got my bridal portraits scheduled for next Sunday with the lovely Michelle Daniel. I'm so super excited about taking them because I have a plan and I'm actually keeping the plan secret (a first for me!) so that Jared doesn't find out, since I want to give him some of the portraits as a gift. Anyway, I am scheduling my hair trial for the same day since there's this whole two birds/one stone thing going on. I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out how to do my hair.

Basically how I pictured my hair sans veil on my wedding day
I finally buckled down and decided that I will be wearing a veil that day, even though I am still telling myself how "typical" I will be (I have this weird thing about being a typical person, and since bride=veil, I'm having a tough time swallowing that pill). But I reasoned that I'll have just one day to feel like a bride, so why not go all out? But I like the way weddings look without a veil, and I love how elegant some of the hairstyles look.

Not my hair but basically how I do it, but messier
The problem is that all the hair styles I love and want to do to my hair is how I do my hair every. freaking. day. of. the. week. Pulled back, twist into a bun, have some flyaways, done. I wear my hair the same way every day because I hate having hair in my face and I'm growing it out for the wedding (for purposes such as this actually). I like the way it looks on me but I feel like I should change it up just for a day. I bought some really pretty orange and green hair pins from Etsy that will just look adorable in my hair, I'm sure. And I know how I want them placed and all, but given that I feel like I should do something different to my hair, I doubt they'll go where I want them.

Would love something like this but it won't work
The biggest dilemma I have is that my hair is so super fine. It doesn't hold  a curl, a wave, nothing. Hair spray is no match for my hair. So if I wear it down or half-down or quarter-down or anything at all, I can pretty much bet that it'll be, well, straight within 20 minutes. No lie.

So I'm struggling. I have no idea. I did some googling and found hairstyles I liked that could look good with my hair AND it'd be different from my normal 'do, but still similar to what I like. And my hair pins would go great with them.

So, I present to you some hair trial ideas. Thoughts?
Bottom left is a big contender

Love the ones on the left
Definitely one of the highest on the list

This is cute. Shows the placement of the hair pins I wanted
And this is probably what I'll end up doing, hair pin placement and all
All relatively similar hairdos but I don't know...none of them show a veil over them. I sort of like the idea of a splash of color showing through my veil so I'll definitely use the pins I've already bought. Just so torn...

Anyway, bridal shower tomorrow.....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pictures Pictures Pictures...

I'm obsessed with pictures. I'm usually the only one of my friends who has brought a camera, and if I'm wearing a cute outfit, I try to get pictures of myself in it, standing with my friends. And I will not hesitate to say "No, take the picture length-wise!" I want pictures of everyone when we go out to places, and I love smiles and goofy looks. I love pictures!

I also upload pictures like crazy to Facebook, something that I'm sure annoys my friends. I take pictures of license plates, for example, that are funny to me. Vanity plates, mostly. I've even got people on board now! People send me pictures of funny plates, or they tag me in their Facebooks of ones they find out and about. So I know people know I'm picture-obsessed, but I always hope I'm not annoying about it.

And I'm definitely by no means a photographer...just love pictures. Memories! That's what they're for! Memories, people! I want to remember everything!  I know I get that from my mom. For years, she's given people gifts of pictures and photo collages. Bless her heart, she's not a scrapbooker or crafty by any means, but I love that she's so sentimental about them. For Jared's birthday, she gave him a collage she made of baby pictures of me. She loves them too.

So it goes without saying that my wedding photography is, with the exception of marrying Jared, the MOST important thing to me. The most! I want pictures of everyone...people dancing, people eating, people tying their shoelaces. I want pictures of me getting into my dress, getting my hair done, my bridesmaids getting dressed. I want pictures of Jared's face when he first sees me, pictures of my face when I first see him, pictures of us's safe to say my photographers,  my very wonderful friends Chris and Kim, will have their work cut out for them.

My dream is to be featured on Style Me Pretty, as I mentioned in my last blog post. I swear, sometimes that's the whole reason why we're doing an actual wedding, rather than something simple. I WANT TO BE AN SMP BRIDE! Please? Oh please.

We're having a DIY photobooth, another thing I mentioned before. I want pictures of people having fun, letting loose, being goofy. I want pictures of everyone who came to the wedding. I want to know they had a good time! I want to look at the pictures one day when I'm old and losing my mind and say "Wow, it looks like people had fun. Was I there? Oh, I must've been. There I am!"

I got these done so I could look at myself
I'm also a little narcissistic, but only in the Greek way, not the psychological-label way. I love looking at myself and thinking "I'm pretty in this picture. Oh! I'm prettier in this one! Ooh and then there's this one!" So lots and lots of pictures, please.  Not because I'm the bride, but because I'm, well, Mehgan. That's me.

I know I'll have a bunch of poses and SMP links to share on a future blog post, if I can motivate myself enough to write more often than every few weeks, to give an idea of what I want, and to also organize a list to give to my photographers of shots I "must" have.

I've told Jared from the beginning that I want the pictures...not the dress, not the shoes, not the flowers...the pictures. That's what I'm most excited about, other than the fact that I get to marry him.

Have I mentioned before I can't wait to marry him? Gosh, i can't wait. He's the absolute best.

Ok hopefully I'll write more sooner! Bridal shower in 2 weeks. Bought my outfit tonight. Can't wait!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My favorite wedding...

I am so in love with this wedding:

I want to include so many elements to it, but I don't want to rip off their wedding! I knew from the get-go I liked the chalkboard look, so I've been planning to use that for quite some time. But then when I saw how they did the baby's breath, I decided I love that look and want to do that! Only I don't know how it'll look with my dress, which is ivory. Regardless, it's cute!

I've also given up on Jared's groomsmen wearing vests, since of his guys are such different sizes. I orignially wanted them all in vests, then just the GM in vests and Jared in suspenders. Now I think it'll be too difficult for them to wear vests b/c of sizing issues, but I love the suspenders look. So yeah, another element of this wedding I want!

I even used this wedding as inspiration for the backdrop for our makeshift photo booth. I found a great sheet with a great pattern at Goodwill (no stains, either!) and will use that as a backdrop. The only thing is that it's not our wedding colors, which my little groomzilla was quick to point out! But that's'll look great!

I love Style Me Pretty so much. It's my wedding dream to be featured on there! They seem to like DIY weddings too, which is what Jared and I are doing. He even said today that he really wants people to know we put together an amazing wedding with very little so I know he's on board with it looking SMP-worthy, even though he doesn't scour the site like I do!

Another wedding I really love is this one:

Mostly for the Cornhole boards, which we will be doing. They also have their GM in suspenders, which is so great looking! Jared's on board with that too, luckily.

Can I just have their weddings? They're so beautiful and just look fun! That's what we want.

Just in love with Style Me Pretty and those two weddings...I can't wait to see how ours turns out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We're having our wedding at a state park, and we are not allowed to bring alcohol. Our wedding and reception, therefore, must be alcohol-free. Because I don't drink, I don't mind this rule at all. My fiance is indifferent about it too. He drinks but not to the point of recklessness or dependency in the least. A lot of my family members drink, as do my friends and his friends. I'm definitely the odd-man-out when it comes to drinking.

I keep worrying that no one is going to have fun at our wedding. Really worried. Like to the point of nightmares. I wake up in the middle of the night feeling shaky and anxious, all because my dreams are of people sitting around with their arms crossed while music is playing but there's an empty dance floor. It's really starting to bother me.

I can have fun without drinking. I do it all the time. In fact, the last time I got drunk, I wasn't having fun at all because I was throwing up the whole time. So I haven't been drunk in 8 years but I've had TONS of fun since then! Karaoke, dancing, bachelorette parties...I always have a good time. So I'm not worried about myself not having fun, but I know that others aren't so ready-made for fun and need encouragement. I don't want people to come to my wedding and leave early because there's no alcohol. I don't want people to not come at all when they find out it'll be a dry wedding (it's listed as such on our wedding website).

So I'm plagued by this. We're going to look into seeing if there's a special allowance for private functions like this, but I'm not sure.

I don't know. I want my wedding to be fun, but I feel like the odds are working against me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm a big-girl bride

I love Dove's real-woman campaign
I actually enjoy being a thicker girl. Like, a lot. I often stare at myself in the mirror and sometimes jiggle things and laugh with adoration.  I feel more womanly standing next to some wafer-thin women I know. I gots dem child-bearin' hips, whatup.

So I will start by saying I'm just 5'0". Short, right? Yeah, I guess, but I don't really notice it, especially since Jared is just 5'4" (and also chubby). Enough to be taller than me but not enough to tower over me like other guys I've dated. It works well.

At 5'0" and 28 years old, I should probably be about 100 pounds, according to an ideal weight calculator I found by googling some things (go ahead and shove it, you stupid calculator). But I am...wait for it...165 lbs. According to that calculator, my weight is enough for a 6'0" person. Well, that extra foot of height has been compressed and then divided into two very plump thighs. We call them the Burroughs Thighs.
Burroughs Thighs.

The Burroughs Thighs: given to all women on my paternal side from my lovely and very wonderful late grandmother. And now it seems the thigh curse has been spreading to a few more people in the family, namely my nephew, whom I've dubbed "The Chunk." He's cursed worse than I am. Poor kid. Good thing he's fricken adorable.

So back on topic, I'm fat. Well, at least my thighs are. Call me what you want...thick, curvy, plump, womanly, heavy. I know what I am. But I LOVE my body! I'm beautiful! My weight, though "heavy" for my height, is, to me, evenly dispersed among my body. I have an ass that won't quit (and gets me a lot of unwanted attention from men I don't care to talk to) but my thighs rub together so much that I could teach boy scouts how to start a fire. Thus, I wear shorts under every skirt or dress I wear. It helps the Chub Rub immensely. I'm grateful that I don't have a large stomach or a muffin top. So I feel like my body is a great shape and is big in the right places but not so big (notice I didn't say small) in the other places.

Anyway, I guess you could call me a plus-sized bride. My wedding dress is a size 14, which I guess equates to a size 12 in normal dress standards. Ok, great! Excited about that. I'm not "really" a size 14. The dress has a corset that ties up under the dress, and then the dress is zipped up over the corset ties.

Now, when I got this dress, I was thrilled that it fit "perfectly" and that I wouldn't have to tailor it except for the train and hem. But what I failed to remember was that every winter, I pack on some winter weight for hibernation purposes. And then it stays forever. So I gain at least one size per year. I don't get fatter; I expand. My thighs, when standing, just get wider and I'm pretty sure my butt grows out a little bit (like I said, it won't quit).

So I'm concerned that my dress won't fit come April. Not to mention that the cute little Filipino lady who did my alterations couldn't zip it completely (but I'll blame that on her one arthritic finger and the fact that it usually takes 2 people to do a corset properly...right?). I've never been one to diet. Like, ever. Dieting is stupid. I've always said I'd rather be fat and happy than thin and hungry. I LOVE my food (a bit of an eating addiction, actually, that I haven't allowed 12-step to fix for me just yet) and I hate exercise. My exercising is lifting a fork to my mouth and chewing.

He's sporty
I should also add that I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs, so my only unhealthy vice is food, but I use that to justify my fatness. It works for me (I will remember this as I have my first premature heart attack). But I am going to attempt to eat a little bit better in order to shed a couple of pounds, if for nothing else but my wedding dress alone. Otherwise, I'm sure I wouldn't try to lose any weight before my wedding. I'm definitely not one of those brides.

On April 9, 2011, I will be a bride. A plus-sized bride. And I will look amazing. And I will eat wedding cake. Lots and lots of wedding cake.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I guess because I frequent bridal message boards, I feel like everyone is getting married. And it makes me think of the finances of the day. People spend so much money to have the memories of just one day. I wonder sometimes if it's worth it. Not to say that getting married isn't worth it, but the wedding in, what's the big deal? I read so many threads about what each person's budget is...I couldn't imagine spending more than we're spending on our wedding. Not to knock others who spend more, but for me, it's just one day, a significant day, yes, but still just one day. We will have the whole rest of our lives to do more and get extravagant about other things (like opening up a small coffee shop like we want to).

People ask us why we don't just elope because I make it pretty obvious that I loathe wedding planning. But the truth is, I DO want the memory of it. I don't want to go to a courthouse and get married and then go home and watch Family Guy. I want to be able to look back at everything and say "That was our day. That day was about us. And it was amazing." Even if things don't go "as planned", I want to look back and think "that was a perfect day." Because I'm marrying the best guy in the world and that's all that matters.

But really, even with the details and getting lots of people together to celebrate, why does it have to be so expensive?

The answer is that always "because people will always pay for it." Yeah, that's true. People go nuts over wedding planning and the details and have a tendency to spend so much money on things that people won't remember.

We're not rich. Not in the least. I work 25 hours a week, roughly, as a waitress. Jared works as a beer salesman and works 50 hours a week for less than he's actually worth. So we don't have a lot and we're paying for this ourselves. Even if we wanted help from others, his parents cant afford to help, and neither can my parents. So we have to stick to limited ideas and a limited budget. And in that way, I think we're setting ourselves up for a good marriage.

I don't know...maybe I'm putting too much thought into it. But I know that at the end of my wedding day, I'll be thrilled that I'm married and happy that we had a day dedicated solely to us. But we can have that without breaking ourselves.

Actually, I'm looking forward to the challenge to see how much we don't spend. Challenge accepted.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Wedsite

The wedding website is up and running!

And I actually really like it.

Yes, I do.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Accomplishing nothing

One reason I find wedding planning so ridiculously irritating is that you can do so much wedding stuff and still accomplish nothing. Getting quotes, scouting, meeting with vendors, trying on dresses, looking at bridesmaids dresses, looking at wedding websites. You can spend hours and hours and days doing all of this and yet still have nothing accomplished or set in stone.

That's the dilemma we're facing right now. Just the other day, on his day off, Jared went to go look for groomsmen tuxes and suits. I'm very particular about what I want them to wear (vest but no jacket, white shirt, brown/khaki/tan pants, but absolutely nothing "tux-like", such as the silky, shiny vests with matching tie), but not so particular about the shades being the exact match or anything like that. So my recommendation to him was just to have the guys buy the pieces individually.  He wants all the shades the same though (new upcoming blog on all of his guys. So he's picky and therefore scouting tux shops.
what I want the guys to jackets! No tux crap!

The problem is that some of his groomsmen are larger than the majority of most people (a couple guys in height, a couple in weight). And since suit shops operate on the idea that everyone is a classy size 6 (whatever that is in guy sizes), they don't carry what we want in his GM's size. So they keep coming up short. It could all be solved by each guy buying their own brown/tan/khaki vest and pants at a place like Target or JC Penny or fricken Wal-Mart for all I care, but Jared wants every shade to be the same.

So he scouted. He looked and looked. Visited every suit shop in town. Came up with nothing. Used a whole day to find this stuff and he's no closer to a solution than where he started.

Meanwhile, that same day, I was scouting new locations. We're still looking for a new venue but are facing money concerns and catering concerns. The place we do want that is affordable has a requirement that we use their caterer. We really don't want to do that. So that day, I made phone call after phone call, visited many sites, went to the actual locations...and we still don't have a place that we like and that we can afford (with just 205 days left. Yep).

So a whole day wasted. Nothing accomplished. No further progress. 
Eff you, wedding planning. Eff you. Hard.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hello, blog. I have(n't) missed you.

A crazy 2 weeks, I must say. Moving. Housesitting. Getting a cold. Not caring about wedding stuff.

We're in the process of trying to find a new "venue." Our original spot is really great, really very pretty, and I really like it. We're getting it dirt cheap (literally) and can have it the whole day. It's exactly what I want...close to the water without being on the beach, but more of a garden feel to it. A nice spot. But there are downsides. We can't have both the wedding and the reception there...there's just no way to fit 100 people for the reception and the wedding in that one small space. We could do one or the other (the wedding woudl be better) but that's about it. Plus, there are no bathrooms, and we'd have to bring EVERYTHING. Tables. Chairs. Linens. Dishes. Staff to help clean and take care of guests. Everything. Literally.

So we're scoping out some places. I don't know what to do...we can't afford the crazy-ass prices that some places want to charge, but we know some of them are still considered really cheap in terms of weddings. But it's still more than we want to pay.

I don't know. That's all I've got. Apathy is in full swing tonight.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Utterly in love...

It's no secret that I'm a difficult partner. I'm high-maintenance and pushy and stubborn and sometimes downright mean. But the upside to that is that I always take responsibility for my actions, and I apologize once I recognize that I was in the wrong for any bad behaviour. Now if I could just recognize how to NOT be mean before I actually am mean, so as to bypass any amends-making.

I'm very high-maintenance as well.  Jared and I were watching When Harry met Sally one day and there's a scene that Jared just loves to scream "THAT'S SO YOU!" when it's on:

Harry, to Sally, while watching Casablanca together: Oh Ingrid Bergman. Now she's low-maintenance.
Sally: Low -maintenance?
Harry: An LM, definitely.
Sally: Which one am I?
Harry: You're the worst kind. You're high-maintenance but you think you're low-maintenance.

Jared loves to throw that one at me. But it's totally true. I love to think I'm laid back and easy going but I'm not. Something is always wrong, and I thrive on problems and drama, so starting fights is a common thing for me. But the thing is, now that I've had 3 years of consistent 12-step programming, I now recognize when I'm being ridiculous and fighting just to fight. And then I apologize. And Jared says it's ok that I'm like that because I always recognize my crazy and apologize for it, so that's why he doesn't fight back or give me the pleasure of the drama.

So right now we're in that relationship-state where we're not fighting, like, at all. Everything is blissful and enjoyable. And I like us like that. I like when nothing is wrong and when I am not trying to find things that are wrong. And if I am, he's very good about putting me in my place. Thank God for that, truly.

Right now, because of this state we're in, we're very lovey-dovey and cheesy with each other. Like we can't cuddle enough and we can't stop thinking of each other. And the random texts of "I LOVE YOUUUUUU" and immediate cuddling when getting home from work are amazing. And last night when I was suffering from a migraine and nausea and wanted to die, Jared was so sweet and just came and sat in the bathroom with me while I sat in a tub of cold water and moaned about dying. It's like we can't be away from each other for even two seconds because we then miss each other.

I've always wanted a relationship like Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. In the episode where Ted is trying to figure out what to say in his best man speech at their wedding, he finally comes up with how they can't be apart for even one night. They decided to spend the last few days/weeks before their wedding sleeping apart and not seeing much of each other, but they were actually sneaking out to spend time together in a hotel. In one scene where they're spooning, Marshall says "Can I be the little spoon now?" and they switch sides and continue spooning. Jared and I are very much like that sometimes, especially lately. There's also another scene where they're cooking in the kitchen together and Lily says "Oh I need more eggs!" and Marshall says "Ok, I'll come with you" and they walk over to the refrigerator together while Ted rolls his eyes at their cheesiness. THAT is the relationship I have always wanted to have! And we've already got the karaoke duet under our belt.

Now, granted, it's TV and TV is fake, but Jared and I, I can tell, are on our way to that level, and I'm so excited about that. I love that we can't get enough of each other, and though I have major intimacy issues, his patience and overwhelming love for me are getting me through that, and even those "tender" moments are getting better and better.

So that's what I am excited about with our upcoming marriage: times like this that are guaranteed for the rest of our lives. I know we'll go through hard times, just like we sometimes do now, but I'm not scared of those, because I know what we have and what we can get back to. Wedding or not, I can't wait to be his wife one day. I absolutely can't wait.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hold it right there, tradition!

Damn. That's a hot-ass bride right thar
 I was just reading a thread on one of the many, many forums I go on (I have a bit of an addiction) about the upselling of bridal accessories such as veils at bridal shops. The poster said that the saleswoman was in disbelief that the bride wasn't going to wear a veil and still tried to coherce her into at least trying one on so the whole look will "come together."

Now, before I go on, I will admit that the first dress and veil combo I tried on did make me feel like a bride (swoon!) but I have a bit of a hatred (actually, a phobia is a better word for it) to all things stereotypical and traditional, so I was very much like "YEAH! Stick it to the man!" while reading this thread. Future bride: 1. Salesgirl on commission: 0.

She went on to ask if there are any other "tradition-stoppers" out there. And I piped in!

No! I will not be having my dad walk me down the aisle!
No! My fingernails will not be manicured in French-like ways!
No! A member of the clergy or government official will not be marrying us!
Yes! A big Southern homo is going to perform our wedding!
No! I am not wearing a veil!
No! There will not be one rose or one spot of pink in my wedding!
Yes! My fiance will be seeing me before the ceremony!
And YES I will sure as shit be walking down the aisle to a song from RENT instead of Canon in D!

Not to knock brides that do have their dads walk them down the aisle while their French-manicured fingers clutch red and/or white roses and Canon in D plays romantically in the background.

Oh, Angel. I'll cover youuuuu
It's just that Jonathan Larson's music and my big Southern, very very gay-bear officiant can do things the way I've always dreamed of!

Now, I'm not disregarding all tradition. I'm still doing the wedding as it is, so there's loads of tradition right there in one fell swoop. I'm having a nice white-ish dress and some sort of flower and a first dance (but to Barry White, mind you), but anything that screams "OH MY GOD THERE'S A BRIDE!" is what I'm sort of trying to avoid.

That's why when I see brides doing keg stands in their white dresses while their new husband holds their legs in the air, I get sort of happy, though I know I won't be getting to that point (did I mention that I don't drink, so there will be no engraved champagne flutes for me and my new husband sitting on our couples' table?). BUT it's women like that who change the look of the traditional brides out there. Ladies, set your roses aside! It's time to hold the funnel!

So, tradition be damned. I can do things my way because I CAN.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Money money money. It's a rich man's world.

Oh, one can dream, can't one?

Oh the money issue. It comes up in every relationship at some point, and it's bound to make or break a relationship.

Let me start by saying that I have no intention of being rich. To me, money doesn't equal happiness. I've never had a lot of money, I was never "privleged", and I know I'll never have a lot of money (my English degree tells me so). I find ways to be happy with little things and appreciate everything I have, no matter how small. And I sort of like that I am frugal in many ways. It's a sense of pride, actually.

I've always had the mentality that I'll "be ok" no matter what. As in, I'll never live under a bridge in a box and demand money for cleaning your windshield with a newspaper. Poverty doesn't scare me. I don't burden myself with the pressures of money. I rarely get stressed over it, even when I probably should stress over it. But this lax way of thinking has caused me problems before, for sure. I will pay my car payment, setting it up to take money out of my account on a certain day, and I just don't put the money in my account. Why? I don't know. Laziness? Apathy (there's that word again)? Pure, blinding optimism? Maybe a little of all 3. So after 27 years of not worrying about money and spending my money however the wind takes me, I've found that I really actually DON'T like paying overdraft fees. I don't like seeing my online banking's giant red font with a negative sign in front of money values that I wish had a positive sign.

 So I've made it a point to do better, keeping track of my income and what I spend. I write down EVERY dollar I spend and EVERY dollar I make. If I spend $2 on a scratch-off lottery ticket, I record Lottery Ticket, -$2. If I win a dollar from that same ticket, I write down Ticket, +$1. It's helpful so far. It's a pride thing for me to look back over and see that, oooh, I spent way too much on dining out this week. That hurts to look at. Better cut back.

So far, it's working.

Because I waitress (thanks, English degree!), I never know how much I will make. I just know I'll make money every day. Not exactly the security most people look for, but I enjoy my job immensely, and I'm grateful for every tip, good or bad, I get, b/c I have a job and many people don't. But still, it makes it hard to plan things. Will I be able to put money toward the cost of the food the week of the wedding? No idea. But I know we'll make it somehow and we'll "be ok" (there's THAT word again).

Jared, unlike me, has a stable full-time job. He makes about $500 more a month than I do, but he works nearly triple the hours I work. If you ask me, I say I'm pretty lucky to have that sort of job that doesn't take over my life like his does (who wants to work 15 hours on a Saturday? He doesn't, but he finds it necessary). He thinks in terms of the future. As in, months and years from now. Retirement and what not. I think in terms of tomorrow. It's still the future. That's how I justify it.

So we clash majorly with money so far. He's able to put money in savings AND have money left over for bills and to do fun things. I have money for bills and fun things. Savings, eh, not so much. He's on me to get a better job, to live up to my potential, to try to better myself. The way I see it, I am doing ok as it is. I may overdraft every once and a while, but I'm not broke. I have the things I want and get them when I want, when I can. He sees me as a college-educated waitress who is better than waiting tables. I don't want to live my life behind a desk or working for someone else. I like to be in control of my own income (and though I work for a restaurant I don't own, I still control the money I make by getting tips based on my service).

We're at a bit of a dilemma in terms of money. I know that money is the biggest cause of divorce (or actually, I don't actually know, but it's what I hear). So I kow I need to get my butt in gear and do better (and ultimately, I know Jared is right. He very much so is right. I can even admit it to him and tell him he's right, but I just don't do much to CHANGE the situation).

I should probably say the serenity prayer here.
 I accept that I can't change how detrimental money issues can really be to a marrige. I know I CAN change my financial situation by not living by the seat of my pants (is that the phrase?) and by realizing that Jared, God love him, has one of the biggest points he could ever probably make. But the courage? The wisdom? I need some of that. Because the real world scares me. Once I get comfortable with my surroundings, I have a difficult time changing. I don't want to put forth the effort of submitting resumes or looking for jobs in random places. I want to stay the same, always.

But I know my marriage won't last if I don't find that courage.

So I hope this will be a turning point for me. Help me, God, to find the courage to change my situation for the sake of my future with the most wonderful man I've ever known. 

Here's to saving money and actually having a future.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Hunt for a Wedding Dog

Me and my perfect girls.
Up until October of last year, I had a dog. She was a great dog. Perfect, actually. She did what I told her to do the second I told her to do it. Drink water, go potty, bring me a ball, stay, wait. She knew it all and did it all. I didn't have to leash her and I didn't have to worry about her. And then she got cancer and died and I haven't had a dog since. As a matter of fact, she died a week before I met Jared. So he never got to meet my most perfect, beautiful girl.

Now that I've gone through my mourning process (still going through, on some days), I'm ready for another one. And Jared has the same feeling of dogs as I do: they can complete your life. Where we live right now is a little tiny apartment. It's actually an old hotel room with a little kitchenette. Jared and I have no room for anything. We stare at the wall or TV or we stare at each other. There's nowhere to go if you want to leave the room. It's also on the 4th floor of a big building with elevators and carpet in the halls. So dogs just aren't allowed. I understand that.

But thankfully we're not in a lease and we can go whenever we're ready. We've been here since the middle of May, and really we moved in just because we wanted to live together. This small space has actually been very helpful in a lot of ways for us. It helped us realize taht we're compatiable enough to live together and we can handle being together for hours on end without killing each other. Still, though, our teeny, overcrowded one-room apartment still feels empty without a dog running around it.

So at the end of the month we're starting a new adventure together. We're getting a bigger place, one that actually allows dogs and one that has more than just one small room with a bed and a couch. We'll have a bedroom, an eat-in kitchen, and a living room. It'll be bliss!

We're on the hunt for a dog, but it's pretty much torturous going down to the Humane Society and looking at a dog when you can't take one home with you immediately. But we know we have to wait, and we know we need to find a dog that matches our personality and lifestyle and not just one that's cute.

My biggest thing is having a dog in the wedding. I always wanted Leeluu to be in my wedding. But now that she's gone, she can't be in it, and I hate that. I always pictured her in my wedding. She was a white boxer, so she would've blended in nicely.

They all look so happy.
I love when people have dogs in their weddings. It just tells me that they're easy-going and can appreciate the little things in life. I am not talking about the people who put a little wedding dress on their girl dog or a tux on their boy dog. I'm talking about people who decorate their dogs just so, and then they include them in their pictures, and the dog is essentially a wedding guest and part of the family.

I hope that Jared and I can find a dog that can be in our wedding. One that will be calm enough to sit still when needed but not be scared of all the people and the goings on. One that will be in a picture with both of us and it will be our first official "family" photo.

I know Leeluu would've been good at the wedding. She would've sat down during the wedding and just hung out, and she would've posed for pictures well (provided we had a tennis ball for her to look at). And she would've been just so pretty.

She'll still be at our wedding. We'll include her on the memory table and, as cheesy as it may sound to people who don't think of dogs in that way, she'll be there, wishing us well, in her own little way.
Leeluu Palin

I can't wait for us to start our own family, and I'm still sad that Leeluu isn't going to be there with us, but I'm thankful I had 7 great years with such a wonderful being, so I am trying to keep perspective. But I'm on the edge of my seat, ready to love on any dog that comes our way, but I am trying to be patient. Just a few more weeks...
About 2 weeks before she died. Pure perfection.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Groomal Baths

We all know the bride gets a shower. But what does the groom get?

These women are in for some shower fun!
The bridal shower is a chance for a bunch of women to gather around and play a couple of corny games (like not crossing your legs, or seeing how many pieces of gum the bride can chew to see how many children they'll have) and watch the bride-to-be open presents, all usually while putting all the bows on a little paper plate and making the bride wear it as a hat or carry it as a bouquet at the rehearsal. There's a lot of oohing and aahing at kitchenware and a couple of red faces as the bride opens up lingerie and has to show it, usually, to the groom's mom at some point. They also usually get a lot of things that can be used for the house (mostly kitchen things, b/c we all know that's where a woman belongs!).

Well, what do the guys get? Screwed, if you ask me! We want equality among genders, don't we? We women demanded bachelorette parties (which, though now mainstream, is still not recognized as a word by SpellCheck). We took the last night of freedom away from guys and demanded our own! We wanted a chance for penis cakes and feathered tiaras that say "Bride to be!" or "Bachelorette!" and go on scavenger hunts for a lock of a random man's hair or a picture of the maid of honor getting kissed by a bartender, all while the bride gets obliterated and throws up in a toilet all night. Makes for good Facebook pictures!

Those aren't MY boobies!
The guys, though entitled to the bachelor parties, usually get together with each other and drink. Maybe see some strippers (but insist that "nothing" happened with them), and the bride-to-be usually gets upset that he saw boobies that weren't her own.

The men are not coming out on top here.

So I'm making a point to attempt to change the face of etiquette as we know it. I present to you the idea of the Groomal Bath (and curse you, Google, for coming up with search terms to show that my fiance and I are NOT the creators of this new term).

Oh yes. Someone please do this.
Here's what will go down at a groomal bath. The men get together. They drink some beer. Play a couple of games (poker or something similar. Or even pin-the-boob-on-the-model, if there is such a invention? YES). Then the gifts! Yes, the men should have gifts. But they have to be as stereotypical and sexist as the gifts at a bridal shower. Wrap up a hammer or a fishing pole (out of the case, please, as to make it very obvious what it is. Just because that's funny) and give it to the groom-to-be. Let the men ooh and aah at that, but please, guys, keep the competition to a minimum (no telling the groom that your hammer is bigger than his). Eat some finger sandwiches (or better yet, a 6-foot-long sub) and be on your way.

I just changed humanity forever. Now we're all equal. Write it up, Emily Post.