Monday, January 18, 2010

Not a Wedding Planner

Nothing is really happening with wedding planning at the moment. People keep asking when the date is, and we still don't know because we still don't have a venue. Besides, it's incredibly hard for me to plan something THIS far in advance; I'm a procrastinator, I always have been, it's just how I work. The thought of planning this huge important celebration that isn't going to be for another eight months or so just baffles me. I can't wrap my head around the fact that it isn't a wise idea to wait until August and go, "Oh yeah, a wedding. Okay, um...go buy some shrimp rings and get the tulle out of the basement, we'll throw some of that around and tie it up all pretty." Ugh, the thought of planning something for this long just makes me want to move the whole thing up to May like we'd originally talked about.

I'm also terrible at delegating. It's not that I'm afraid to ask people to do jobs...I just tend to think, "Oh, no big deal, I'll do that myself." and then I end up doing too much. Thankfully I have a wonderful matron of honor who is going to be wonderful at delegating FOR me - even more so because she just got married this past August, so she's done this recently.

The fact of the matter is, I really don't know HOW to have a wedding. And I pretty much refuse to use the "typical" wedding resources, because every time I actually take a chance and glance at them, I end up mildly disgusted. There are plenty of other great resources out there (thank you, A Practical Wedding), but I'm still having a hard time figuring things out. Eloping seems more and more like a great idea...but I'm an incredibly social person, and I really do WANT everyone I've ever met to be there. Not that we'll be able to afford that, but it's what I want.

At least some of the cost isn't a worry - my mother has mentioned that they'll help. I don't know how much, but knowing my parents, they'll end up footing the bill. Still, I don't want to put them in debt over a single day any more than I'd want to put myself in debt. The Boy's parents have generously offered to send us on our honeymoon...but the problem is, we want to take off on a road trip across the country, and we're not sure how to ask them to help finance that when their idea is to send us off to New York for a week.

Sigh. Planning. Does/has anyone else out there just really...NOT felt like planning their wedding, no matter how exciting the prospect of an actual marriage is? Because honestly, I do want the pretty white dress (and it WILL be pretty, if the mock-up made out of old dusty curtain lace and muslin is already pretty) and the cake (even though I don't even care for cake that much), but what I really want is to be married.

Monday, January 11, 2010

We went out to look at a couple of venues yesterday. And by "venues" I really mean public parks that we could feasibly rent out for the wedding. I'm pretty much in love with the Botanical Gardens. The Boy is being a little more practical and thinking about things such as, "Can we fit everyone here? Do we need to decorate?" To which I said, "'s a park, why would we need to decorate?" And if he wants flowers, he can have them. I'm still not sure if he actually WANTS these things he keeps mentioning, or if he has just seen way too many weddings (He used to work as a conference manager at a resort, so he's worked way more weddings than I'd ever even care to attend) and can't quite shake the idea that they have to look a certain way.

Wouldn't it be awesome to get married on the steps of this cabin?

View from the steps looking out.

View from the back of the field.

There are some logistical problems, of course. They actually advertise weddings on their website, which is good because it means it's doable (and they're SO cheap compared to real "wedding venues"), but we haven't yet found out things like if there's enough parking, if we're allowed to have the reception right there at the same spot as the ceremony, if there's any kind of sound ordinance that would prevent us from having music, etc.

Space around back - once the ceremony is over, the reception could span both areas.

Put up a couple of 6' tables against the back walls, instant buffet!

There are two different "wedding spots" (and a third that would be beautiful if it weren't so close to the road), and of course the one I love is the one that you have to hike to. It's not a huge long hike, and it's not very steep, but we would definitely have to put my aunt Marie in a wheelchair to get her there. Then there's the issue of bathrooms - there's one in the visitor's center, which is not close to the site I like best. I'd be willing to pay to rent a nice Porta-Potty for the day, but they'd have to walk it in and out, which would definitely cost us a bundle more (assuming it's even possible to do that).

I'm hoping that when the lady calls us back, she can answer all these questions. I kind of lost my enthusiasm right after looking yesterday because as we were driving back to my house, I quite suddenly seemed to develop the flu. Body aches, headache, and a fever that eventually peaked at 102.1, all out of nowhere. And then last night, the pipes burst in the apartment above the Boy's, which flooded his apartment. Bad news is he's having to move (again) in a very limited space of time. Good news is...he's getting a better apartment at a discount because the flooding wasn't his fault. Of course, moving always causes expense, no matter if it's just across town, so I'm crossing my fingers that this all works out in his favor.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dress mock-up is done!

So I just finished putting together my mock-up wedding dress...and I love it. In fact I love it so much I'm still wearing it. I feel like a little kid playing dress-up!

It's not completely finished; if I want to get the whole effect, I need to hem it, put the flounces on the sleeves, and put the inside lining in. But it's given me a pretty good idea of what my real dress is gonna look like; even though I used cheap muslin for lining and by-the-pound curtain lace for the fabric, it's STILL pretty.

I'll probably add pictures later under a cut, under the condition that if the Boy reads this, he doesn't go peeking...hehehe.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Community Wedding

I ended up having the WHOLE day off today because of snow (a lot of times one of my schools I teach at will be canceled, but not the other). I should be doing something productive, as it's almost noon and I have lots of things I COULD be doing. And instead I'm sitting here in my pajamas wearing my new shoes to try to stretch them out. Speaking of which...does anyone have any fabulous shoe stretching tips I don't know? I dampened them with water before I put them on like my mother said, but I wondered if there was another magic trick.

So I had this whole post typed out about something entirely different, and I just deleted it in favor of talking about the sense of community our wedding is already developing. I've had SO many people tell me that they'll help us. I was frustrated about the lack of decent bridesmaid dresses, and I've already had three seamstress friends offer their talents as a wedding present (well, only one said "as a wedding present", but I sure as heck am not gonna let the other two ladies get us something else if we end up doing the sewing route). And I'm leaning more and more towards accepting their offers...that way the dresses would be the colors I want, the style I want, and they'd be tailored to fit each of my girls. And since I love sundresses so much, how cool would it be to have all my bridesmaids wearing pretty blue sundresses in my wedding?

The cake is also taken care of; Scott's mom volunteered that right off the bat. Like, seriously, the next time I saw her after we were officially engaged, she asked if she could make the cake. Of COURSE I said yes; on the practical side, that means free cake for us. On the community's something that will honestly be even more special to her than it is to us. She wanted so badly to help out when Scott's brother (who recently passed away, for anyone who didn't know) got married, and his wife was very adamant that everything was done by a professional. It really hurt our shared mother-in-law's feelings, I think. And the thing is...she IS a professional. She runs an ice cream store and bakes cakes to sell all the time, so it's not like she doesn't know what she's doing. She and her sisters made the cake for her sister's wedding last month; it was beautiful, and I'm so blessed to be entering into a family of such warm, wonderful women. The aunts have already volunteered to help us make the food!

Of course my mother is helping make my dress, which is very special to me, as one of the few things my mom and I bond together with is sewing. If I bought my dress of the rack, I would probably resell it or even give it away (A Practical Wedding has dress giveaways sometimes from bride-to-bride, and I think it's a wonderful gesture). But since my mom and I will be making it together...I'm definitely going to keep it. Maybe one day one of my daughters will want to wear it. I would have loved to have worn my mother's wedding dress...but in true DIY fashion, it was a white prom dress borrowed from a friend with some alterations made to make it look more wedding-like. So it was given back. Plus it would NEVER in a million years have fit me; my mom is a tiny bird of a woman and her little 19-year-old self weighed 90 pounds on her wedding day. I'll have to post some pictures of their wedding sometime.

So, I'm happy with all the volunteers we're getting for this wedding. I haven't even mentioned them all here. I'm going to keep hoping that even more generous souls pour out of the woodwork, partly because yes, that would save us some serious cash. But honestly, I'm not INCREDIBLY worried about the money; my parents have offered to help, and as long as we keep it reasonable, I don't feel bad about them contributing. Most of the reason I'm so happy for volunteers is because I really, REALLY want this wedding to be a community effort. I want the guests to feel like they had a hand in making the whole thing happen. It's like watching a stage production, in a way; I enjoy them when I'm walking into the theatre without having had ANY hand in the show, but it's a much richer experience when I can go, "Oh, I made that costume! Oh, I did his makeup ten minutes ago backstage! Oh, I helped paint that wall!"

Because no matter what wedding magazines want us to think, the wedding is NOT just about the bride. It's not really even just about the couple. It's about the marriage, and a good marriage should begin with a whole lot of love and support from those around you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Venue Search, aka Why I Don't Like Package Deals

So the Boy has been doing his part wonderfully and calling the venues we've been considering to get their pricing information. I'm still floored at how expensive venues are...even though he says that some of the places are really not that bad, considering all the things they include. He's worked on the venue side of things before, so he knows what he's talking about. And of course, what it boils down to is how much we're willing to spend, REGARDLESS of whether or not it's a good deal.

Here's the thing; a lot of these packages that are reasonably priced and include lots of things? As soon as I read the package description, I feel a little antsy and uncomfortable, and I immediately know that the venue is not right for us. For instance, one place includes all kinds of useful things; setup and cleanup, chairs, tables, valet parking, lodging...good things that I would like to have if possible. And then I read on...they also include glass plates, silverware, white linens, horse drawn carriage. All nice wedding things. All things most any bride would welcome at her wedding. And while I'm trying to be open to the idea of pretty white linens and glass plates...I really just want a barbeque/picnic with blue flowered Dixie plates and mismatched tablecloths. Or no tablecloths. I think most brides would be upset if they didn't have matching glasswear, but I'm afraid I'll be upset if I DO.

Of course, I'm trying to stick to the philosophy that none of that really matters anyway; what matters is we get married*. It'd just be nice to do it the way I want.

In other news, my shoes came today. They are as gorgeous as pictured...but unfortunately, my feet are too wide for them. They go ON, but they aren't gonna be comfortable to dance in. I bought them off an seller and can't really send them I just need to decide whether to resell them, or keep them and see if they'll stretch enough to be comfy. It's a shame, too; I was really excited about these shoes, and I don't often get excited about shoes.

On the upside, my dress pattern came - yay! - and I'm going to start cutting out a mock-up within the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll be off work again for snow tomorrow and can get started on that.

*Random Reason #13425 Why I Love My Fiance: He feels the same way I do about all this. Plus he lets me bite his nose and doesn't think I'm weird for it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frustration with various media outlets.

Okay. Random, totally uninformative rant coming just because the wedding industry seems to annoy me at every turn.

1. I do not actually intend to buy anything from David's Bridal, but they have a sweepstakes/giveaway thing where you could possibly win 5 bridesmaid dresses. And I would love to get my girls their dresses for free. So I registered on the site, being careful to unselect anything that had to do with them contacting me with offers, etc. Today I got a call from a random phone number; I looked it up online, and got this discussion page from a lot of women saying that the number is David's Bridal, that they get calls CONSTANTLY from them, and that they, too, made sure to unselect anything to do with contact. This is annoying, and wrong, and did I mention annoying?

2. Facebook Ad #1: David's Bridal again...starting out with "Glamour. Opulence. Tradition." Just one more example of how brides are brainwashed to believe that glamour, opulence, and tradition all go together. They DON'T. Traditional weddings were small, family affairs. Unless you were royalty. And let me state that if you can afford to have a glamorous, opulent wedding without going into debt, and that is your style and your desire, go for it. But the fact is, 98% of us cannot. It really makes me angry. Brides are constantly being made to feel like they don't "measure up" somehow to the weddings they see in the media.

3. Facebook Ad #2: Almost every other time I load my page, I get an ad for "Pre Wedding Diet". COME ON. This is TOTALLY sending the wrong message, and it's making too many assumptions. Who are they to assume that a bride automatically wants to lose weight before her wedding? Maybe she doesn't want to. Maybe she doesn't NEED to. And yet we keep being inundated from ALL kinds of wedding resources that we need to go on diets and start working out in order to be in shape for "the big day". It's disgusting. I've even heard from women who were enraged that when they went to try their bridal gowns on, the sales associate said, "Oh, well, you'll have plenty of time to lose that extra weight before the big day." Um. SERIOUSLY? If anyone had the gall to say that to me, I would ask to speak to their manager immediately, and I would certainly NOT buy my gown from them. And yet so many women don't, because for some reason they think it's OKAY for a stranger to talk to them like that. Now, DO I plan on losing weight before my wedding? Yes, I do. But I don't think it's at all appropriate for anyone to EXPECT all brides to "shed unwanted pounds".

...and you know, even I think it's a little funny that I'm getting so passionate about this, because to be totally honest, I'm not a person who gets really passionate about this kind of thing. I'm more of a "live and let live, do your own thing" kind of gal. I'm not an activist. I'm a feminist in the sense that I think women should have their own just so happens that it's my choice to wear pretty 1950's sundresses and bake pies. But maybe that's exactly WHY this gets me so mad; I don't like some big conglomerate industry trying to tell women that THIS and THIS and THIS makes a wedding. A wedding should be a reflection of the couple, and it's supposed to be the first act of hospitality the newlyweds show their guests. I'm really just wanting to get back to basics, here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



(And for the record...I feel like the groom in this video, not the bride).

Monday, January 4, 2010

$#%&*$ Bridesmaid Dresses

Right now I really just want to stamp my foot at the WIC.

Background: I decided to try and find bridesmaid dresses. After throwing up in my mouth a little at the explosion of Pepto Bismol on the first page of the David's Bridal catalog, I began looking at non-wedding sites for inspiration. I found this lovely dress and got all excited; it's roughly in the right color scheme (which when people ask me what my colors are, I say "blue." They ask me to specify what shade, I shrug and say, "Blue. I like blue."), plus it's a dress that would look good on ALL my bridesmaids (who are very differently sized women). The website said they had it in sizes for all of them! After a quick check with the girls, I told them to order it, and went to order one myself since I was getting one bridesmaid's for her (she has bad internet).

I got to the checkout and it told me the size I had selected was unavailable. Whaaaat? I mean...I selected it. How could I even select it if it was unavailable? But sure enough, it was. I tried this for several sizes, hoping to get one approximate enough to be fitted to all my girls...and no, the only size ACTUALLY available for purchase is an 8 petite.

First, I was mad at JCPenney. Then, as I started to look at "wedding" sites again...I got angry at the WIC. One of my bridesmaids said, "Well, it's okay, just go to blah blah blah, they have cheap bridesmaid dresses." But CHEAP to me is like...$10. That's why I was going for the $30 dress; I can understand spending $30 on a bridesmaid dress. THAT seems reasonable to me. Anything over $50 just seems absolutely ridiculous, and yet it's impossible to find a bridesmaid dress for under $70 (and that's on clearance). I feel bad enough asking my friends to shell out $30 for me; there's no WAY I would ask them to pay over $100!

I just want to ask WHY? WHY is it considered okay to not only throw away your own money on one day, but to demand that your friends throw away their money, as well? WHY is it considered normal, nay, even necessary by some people, to dress grown women in hideous matching dresses that they will only wear once? Granted, I don't think all bridesmaid dresses are ugly, but they still scream BRIDESMAID, and I would really like something that my friends could actually wear again. They all loved the dress I linked to, and I was excited; it's a little darker than I ideally wanted, but who CARES? It's a sensible dress for $30 that would look good on everyone! Sadly, the website lied and we can't get these dresses, after all.

And I know, I KNOW I don't have to dress them all in the same outfit. I know this. But fiance secretly wants to. No, really. I think he's still adjusting to the idea that our wedding doesn't have to look like a wedding, but he honestly DOES like the idea of people matching; he told me so when we were discussing the option of letting the groomsmen wear whatever. I would like to have my girls match, a way that isn't junior prom-ish. But apparently the world is refusing to give me that option, because every remotely pretty dress I see is over $300. Um, my friends can't spend that. No way. I won't let them. One is a newlywed herself, one JUST graduated from college and doesn't have a real job yet, and one doesn't have a real job by choice because she devotes her life to her acting and has a very supportive family that helps her as she tries to achieve her dream. Which all boils down to...they're as poor as I am.

I just...ARG. To steal a term from A Practical Wedding, I'm engraged. So much so that my hands hurt from all this angry fast typing. I think I'm gonna go snuggle up in some soft fluffy pillows now.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

DIY Flower Girl Dress!

I just made a possible flower girl dress out of scraps in my basement. In half an hour!

It's not finished; I haven't done any detailing on it yet, and I'm going to hold off on that until I can actually try it on our flower girl. This SHOULD fit her; it's a pretty generic pillowcase dress, and they're adjustable (to a point), so unless she's WAY larger than most 2.5 year old kids, it's probably good. And considering I care for toddlers for a living, I think I'm a fairly good judge.

Also, keep in mind that a pillowcase dress pretty much ONLY looks good when it's being worn or is on a dress form. I tried to achieve the illusion by putting it on this huge stuffed bunny my aunt gave me one year. It didn't quite work.

And a couple close-ups, one of the ribbon/sash and one of the lace applique thingy (which has not been sewn on, it's just laying there).

All in all, I'm pleased with my half-hour effort. I don't know that this dress will actually work on the Boy's niece or not; the two layers of fabric (one blue, one sheer lace) are making it a little too stiff, and since the blue fabric was just taken from an endroll my mother got for next-to-nothing from her work, it isn't wide enough to flair out at the bottom like I'd like. But at least this way I can try it on the Sweetpea and see what needs to be done!

EDIT: The more I look at this, the more I realize how easy easy easy it would be to turn this from a pillowcase dress into a dress with a bodice and skirt; I think all I'd need to do is cut the dress off at the waist, make a wider skirt from the same fabric, and voila! But once again, going to make sure it fits before I start making it for real.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I made some impulse purchases, which is something I never ever ever do, and I'm so thrilled with myself for it.

Actually, the first purchase was not an impulse by at all - my dress pattern, which is the same pattern I've been looking at for at least a week. The thing is, I KNEW I wanted that pattern the moment I saw it, but I made myself shop around. Then two nights ago I very hastily logged onto Ebay, found the pattern for sale, and bought it with a few clicks without letting myself think anymore. I'm excited. I also ordered some fabric samples. In a few weeks I should have the pattern and can get started on the muslin mock-up. Squee!

The other purchase, which was much more impulse (for me) were these shoes. I love them. So much. They are my size, they are a perfect color for me, they're one of my favorite styles, and they are a shoe that I can guarantee I will wear again and again because I have several blue sundresses that they will look adorable with. And I usually don't wear anything BUT dresses all summer long because I love dresses, I make a ton of sundresses that look fabulous on me, and...well, I love dresses.

Right before I bought the shoes, I showed them to my fiance and talked about how much I loved them, then said, "But I've never paid this much for shoes in my entire LIFE."

Boy: "But these are wedding shoes. That's a good price for wedding shoes."
Me: " No no no, we are not going to start labeling things as "wedding" this and "wedding" that. Because when people do that, they start spending more than they can afford because it's "a good price for a wedding ___". I am going to treat these shoes like any other pair of shoes."
Boy: "Okay."
Me: "....but I want them. They're adorable and they're vintage and...and..."
Boy: "Baby, buy the shoes. You should get them."
Me: "*CLICK* YAY!"

Sometimes it just takes one little push, doesn't it?