Category Archives: Family

Getting the party started!

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Previous recaps: (First Look and Ceremony)

After we officially tied the knot, we took some brief family photos while our friends helped do last minute prep for the reception.  I’ll only bore you with the one awesome whole-family shot!

I absolutely LOVED how our reception decor turned out!  The dip dyed tablecloths and Mexican prayer flags looked awesome with our super amazing floral arrangements made by my friend Melissa.  That girl seriously needs to make a career change!  And just check out that blue Arizona sky!

As guests munched on appetizers, we signed our marriage license with some help from our witnesses.

And another witness watched from inside…

Our wonderful friends helped us heat up all our tasty taco buffet ingredients and brought it out to our rented catering dishes.  For the record, no one seemed to mind that we didn’t serve any meat.  We still had way too much food, a variety of vegetarian taco options and sides, and it was all delicious.  I know because I did make sure to eat!  We had worked too hard not to enjoy it!  While we ate, two friends and two siblings of ours all gave toasts.  Only one was slightly awkward (always prepare your speech, people!).

Then it was time to cut the cake!  I was super excited for this moment!  I know people always have strong feelings about cake smashes and whether or not they are appropriate.  I, for one, think they are hilarious and too once-in-a-lifetime to miss!  What made ours a little more risky, however, was that the cake we decided to cut was all chocolate!  It could’ve been bad but thankfully we had a good splash and I didn’t end up with any chocolate on my dress!

I say I won!

Coming up next: We dance!

All photos courtesy of Bright Fizz Photo

Video Invites Revealed!

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I imagined us making a video for our wedding invitation pretty much from the beginning.  We obviously had no budget for buying fancy invitations and paper crafting is something I’ve just never been into.  So we decided to put my film degree to use!

We basically wanted to share a little of our journey and history with our invitees through this video.  I came up with the stop-motion animation idea as a fun, cartoony way to tell our story.  Zach used his artistic talents to make the cars, buses, and boats you see in the video.  We chose the song “Flowers in Your Hair” by the Lumineers because we love the sound and lyrics, and its so short it forced us to keep the video brief!  All of our guests received a short email with the link to this video.  (Also, in the version guests received, the last title shows our wedding website URL, but I took it out here to maintain our privacy.)

So, without further ado, the Carrie, Onwards! premiere of Zach and Carrie’s wedding invitation video!

What do you think?  Did anyone else make a video invitation?  What did you do?  How did your guests react?

The Big Doozy: Changing vs. Not Changing My Name

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One family=one name?
Source: http://www.truewoman.com

The name change issue can be divisive and controversial.  The changers and the non-changers too often pass harsh judgement on each other.  That’s not right!  We should all band together in realization that this issue is TOUGH and puts ALL women in a hard place.  I truly believe that what’s most important is that each woman realize the implications of either decision and truly give it some heartfelt thought and discussion with her partner before deciding.

That being said, my own name change journey involved lots of, well, changes- both changes of my own opinions and others’ expectations of me.  You see, growing up in a conservative family, I never considered NOT changing my name when I got married.  That’s what my grandmothers, mom, and all my aunts had done.  Until quite recently, I honestly never even gave it a second thought.  Like many of us growing up, I often matched my first name with the last name of whoever my current crush and doodled it in curlicued hearts along the margins of my notebooks.

Even early in my relationship with Zach, I first remember thinking to myself, and later actually admitting it to him, “It’s a good thing I like your last name.”  And I do like his last name.  It would sound good with my first name, maybe even better than my family last name.

Yet, as the prospect of marriage grew more real, I started to unearth other options…wedding blogs written by women who chose not to change their name, who hyphenated, or even women whose husbands changed their names (gasp!).  It was like stumbling into a whole new reality I didn’t know existed.  As I started researching and thinking more, I realized how weird/unfair/sexist it was that I had been so cultured into the idea that I HAD to change my name.  In so many other cultures, it is completely normal NOT to change your name.

Ultimately, I went through a lot of soul-searching of my own and a lot of discussion with Zach on the name change issue.  He (being wonderful) agreed with me that the concept is sexist, paternalistic, and unfair.  He didn’t care if we had the same last name or not.  He just wanted me to feel at peace with my decision and my name, whatever it ended up being.  Also, neither of us wanted to hyphenate; it just seems too cumbersome.  In the end, I decided not to change my name.  Woohoo not having to do all that paperwork!

Avoiding this is a definite perk!
Source: site.k2motor.com

Despite our comfort level with my current decision, we are both remembering that “nothing is set in stone.”  If kids come along, for example (a very big, and very far away “if”), and my feelings change, I can always change my name then, or we can choose to hyphenate.  I can change my name at anytime if I so choose; it’s not a decision that can only be made when I get married.

For now though, we’re happy with the idea that “You don’t have to have the same name to be a family.  You just have to be a family to be a family!”  (Quote stolen from a wedding blog I read but can’t find now, sorry!)

This issue has been much discussed but it is so important!  Did you agonize over the decision?

Forgoing the “Party” to Focus on the “PAR-TAY!”

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In one of our many efforts to keep our wedding simple and laid back, Zach and I decided not to have an official “wedding party.”  It’s not that we don’t have friends who we’d love to honor with this position, as I think both of us could easily pick a few close buddies to stand up with us.  It’s more that we just don’t really see the point.

I mean, dressing alike is cute when you’re toddlers…

Source: allposters.com

And then all of a sudden it’s cute again when you’re a fully-grown adult if you’re in a wedding?  I don’t get it.

Source: hitfix.com

We didn’t want to boss people around and tell them what to wear and what to help with for our wedding.  Honestly, we hope that our friends and family will voluntarily step up and help us out of the goodness of their hearts, not out of obligation because of some “title” we’ve bestowed upon them.  We’re still involving some special people in the ceremony by having them perform readings, and both of our best friends will still be giving toasts at the reception.

Another factor in our decision was that our wedding is only going to have about 60 guests.  The more people you put up front the emptier the seats will look!  I don’t want our ceremony to look like no one is there because there are no butts in seats!

​Anyone else forgoing a traditional wedding party for a more casual approach?

Honeymoon Dreamin’

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As you must have realized by now, Zach and I have a pretty hardcore love affair with travel going on. I started traveling internationally at age 16, when I went to Australia and New Zealand through a student exchange program. That experience was all it took to get me hooked on exploring and wandering the globe.  After that, I went on volunteer trips to the Bahamas and Kenya. If you remember all the way back to our “falling-in-love” story, you’ll remember that I left Zach in Ohio when I went to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania. After I got back and things got more serious between us, Zach caught my wanderlust disease hardcore. For the last few years, we’ve basically worked to travel, working overtime and saving all we could and then taking off on epic road trips and adventures. We’ve done multiple road trips through North America, and our seven-month Latin American Odyssey was the biggest adventure yet.

Our wall map with pins where we’ve been!

Needless to say, one of the wedding traditions we’re most excited about is the HONEYMOON!!!  There are just a few small obstacles to overcome first…

  1. We have no money.
  2. Zach has a real job now.
  3. We can’t decide where to go!

Yep, the sad fact of the matter is that just paying for our broke-ass wedding is going to clean out most of our excess funds. Will it be totally worth it? I’m sure! Do I sometimes think we should just go to the courthouse and then book it to Thailand for a month? Hell yes!

There’s also this whole “growing up and getting a real job” issue.  It’s something we’ve somehow managed to avoid…until now! Actually, I still don’t have a “real job” but rather a seasonal internship AND four shifts a week at a bar/restaurant. Zach however, stumbled his way into an awesome job as a line cook in a 4-star restaurant, complete with salary and benefits and everything! It’s a great new phase for him in a lot of ways, but unfortunately ample vacation days are not part of the deal. In the past, we always just up and left our jobs to travel and found new ones wherever we ended up when we got back. Not something we want to do anymore!

Suffice it to say, we will not be able to go on a big honeymoon anytime soon after the wedding, probably not anytime this year.

While it is kind of sad, we’re going to make up for it in a couple ways.

#1. Vegas Friendy-moon!

Vegas baby!

A lot of our Ohio and east coast friends have never been out west at all. Because they’re a fun-loving bunch, a lot of them are planning to tack on some Las Vegas adventures to their trip when they come out and see us get married. Although Zach and I aren’t really “Vegas types”, we decided to join, realizing we’d never, ever again get a chance to party on “The Strip” with so many of our best friends.  Plus, I’m hoping the hotel will throw some perks our way if I tell them it’s our “honeymoon.”

#2. Real honeymoon in the future.

Despite our more settled, awesome life in San Diego, we can’t go very long without traveling abroad. We’re hoping to go somewhere, anywhere, for at least a few weeks as soon as we can swing it financially and job-wise.  The problem is, we have no idea where to go! Top contenders…

 Spain & Morocco

Gorgeous Spanish beaches…plus we could pop across the straits of Gibraltar to Africa!

Italy

I mean, PIZZA!!!

I mean, PIZZA!!!

Russia

Possibly the most hipster honeymoon destination ever…but Zach REALLY wants to go there for some reason.

Turkey

We’ve heard amazing things about Turkey…

Thailand or Indonesia

Southeast Asia would be a dream, but flights are so expensive!!!

Do you think planning two crazy nights in Vegas on the tail end of our wedding is a terrible idea?  And where should we go for the big trip?

 

The End of the Dress Saga

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Last time I talked about dress shopping, I shared my internal conflict over this flattering but perhaps too-traditional David’s Bridal dress:

David’s Bridal Allover Lace Trumpet Gown

If you recall, I had originally envisioned myself in a short white dress with a little bit of funk.  Then I stumbled into this gown on a “just for fun” shopping trip with my mom and bestie.  I tried it on and, “Bam!” I felt like a bride.  Next I agonized over my simultaneous disdain for David’s Bridal and love for this dress.  I pondered looking for a used dress online and many of you told me to go for it.  In fact, in the days following that post, I came *thisclose* to buying a used version in my size off of Recycled Bride.

What I didn’t tell you last time is that all along, there was another dress…

One day, months ago, before I even took that trip to David’s Bridal, I was wandering through Etsy in search of short wedding dresses.   Somehow, looking through pages of dress pictures that didn’t really strike my fancy, I stumbled upon one dress that made me pause and look closer.

It was short!  And cute!  And a little bit vintage but still a little bit funky!  All of a sudden, I was enamored.  It turned out that the dress was made by a super-talented designer, the lovely Iselle of The Little White Dress.  To torture you, I’m not going to tell you which of these dresses is the one, but here are a few of her pieces.

“Chloe”
“Imani”
“Annabelle”
“Elisa”
“Ivanka”

One of these dresses (sorry, I’m really not going to tell you which one) literally made my heart flutter.  I had to get more info!  And that’s when I discovered THE BEST PART!  Iselle is based in San Diego!  “OMG, it’s meant to be!” I thought.  I was hesitant to buy a dress online without trying it on, but because we now live in San Diego, I contacted Iselle and arranged a visit to her studio to try on a sample of my dream dress!  Of course, I was terrified that the dress wouldn’t wow me in person and I’d be back at square one.  Luckily, despite all my stress about whether it would actually look good on me, I LOVED IT.  Waves of relief washed over me as I realized, “Yesssssssss!  This IS the one!”  Mission accomplished!

Plus, Zach and I totally stole a page out of Dana’s book and negotiated a labor exchange with Iselle, the dress designer.  Although totally worth it for the awesome hand-craftsmanship of her dresses, the $500 price tag was a little high for us!  So, we figured, “It doesn’t hurt to ask!” and inquired if she’d be open to discounting the dress in exchange for us helping her out with something.  It turned out she really needed help building a website, and Zach just so happens to be experienced in that area!

Basically, I am thrilled that my dress-finding journey has reached a successful “end.”  (Nearly the end since the dress isn’t actually made or in my hands yet.)  I am so so SO glad that I held out and ended up getting a dress made by a small, independent designer, and one that fits my initial vision much better!

Has anyone else gotten a discount by offering up your labor or skills?  Anyone buy their dress off of Etsy?  Which one do you think is “mine?”

The Dreaded “D” Word

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It’s easy to get caught up in fantasy land and think about nothing but whimsical details, cake flavors, and reception playlists while planning a wedding.  Zach and I recently got smacked back down to reality, though, when we heard the sad news that two of our old friends are getting a divorce. It was hard not to feel a bit shaken by this event, especially because these two seemed so awesome together that we even held them up as sort of “marriage role models” for ourselves.  This was also the first married couple in our circle of friends to break it off.  We’ve happily celebrated with many different friends on their wedding days, and it is SO WEIRD to think that statistically, half of those marriages won’t make it.

Honestly, I haven’t pondered the topic of divorce too much until recently, when I talked to my now-divorced friend for the first time in awhile and she basically tried to convince me not to get married.  Yeah, that was awkward.  But it did get me thinking hard.  It’s impossible, in this day and age, to take the cavalier “That’ll never happen to us,” mindset.  So why do we get married when the divorce rates are so scary?  Why do I, personally, still believe in marriage?

The answers, to be sure, are complex, emotion-riddled, and different for everyone.  I think it’s important for every couple to take some time and let the sobering divorce statistics sink in, and then really consider WHY they want to get married.  For Zach and I, from a logical standpoint, we want the many rights and benefits that accompany legal marriage (rights which someday soon will hopefully be extended to ALL couples!).  From a more philosophical standpoint, we both still believe in the commitment of marriage.  We find the concept of teaming up with one person for to be noble, desirable, and right.  Love is an action and a choice, and we have decided to continue choosing each other for the rest of our lives.

Despite our persistent believe in marriage, the current divorce stats are still terrifying.  I don’t really know what else there is to do besides support our friends in good times and bad and keep trying to be the best partners possible to each other.  I also think discussing marriage and divorce with those holding differing beliefs is really important.

So let’s discuss!  Do you still believe in marriage despite the sobering divorce rate?  Why or why not?  If you’re in a life-long relationship but have chosen not to get married, how has that decision affected your life?

Veggie Vendetta

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I’m about to tell you something you might find shocking.  But hold onto your hats, because our wedding is going to be a….

That’s right folks!  I am a longtime vegetarian and Zach rarely eats meat nowadays.  So we won’t be serving anything that used to breathe and have eyeballs at our wedding.  I think a lot of our non-vegetarian friends and family members are surprised we’re doing this.  But really, even if we were hiring a caterer, I wouldn’t want to pay for people to eat in a way I don’t believe in.  Because we’re cooking all the food ourselves, of course we’re not going to serve meat.  I don’t even know how to cook it!

We’re having a vegetarian taco bar!

I hope that people aren’t upset about not eating meat and I really hope they enjoy our food.  If it forces them to try something new, then good!  Maybe some will realize that it is possible to eat a satisfying and delicious meal without meat.  Maybe some will freak out and slam burgers before they come.  I don’t really care.  At least we’ll be showing off our values (and our mad cooking skills, hopefully) on our wedding day!

As a side note, I have been to several weddings at which vegetarian options were not even offered!  Maybe I have a slight vendetta, but after not being able to eat at weddings I’ve been invited to, I am super pumped to turn the tables on everyone and not serve any meat!  I promise that the food will be delicious and that there will still be lots of protein (beans, guacamole) and cheese (we’re not vegan).

Is it crazy to have a totally-veggie reception?  Do you think people will freak out or enjoy the food?  Have you ever been unable to eat at a wedding reception?

#WEverb12: GROW

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Ruinas Tazumal, El Salvador

4. experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

So many things!  What did I do that I HAD done in the past?  Not much!

I traveled through 10 different countries, met countless new people, sailed on a sailboat, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, got engaged, lived in Toledo (yuck, not doing that again), moved to California, and bought a surfboard!  I also started my own business and it is continuing to GROW.  Not too bad, if you ask me.  I’d love to go back to Latin America again but there are so many other countries in the world that I have to see first!

To Bling or Not to Bling and the MAN-gagement Ring

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Disclaimer: I totally understand that this is a touchy subject and I am NOT trying to diss anyone with a diamond.  I’m just trying to present my own opinion, which is no more than that–my opinion!

I’ve never been into fancy jewelry or diamonds.  If someone gave me a zillion dollars and told me I HAD to spend it on jewelry, I’d end up with 13 billion macrame bracelets and 16 million pairs of beaded earrings.  So call me a hippie, whatevs.  I also kind of HATE when people post pictures of their engagement rings on Facebook.  I know they probably don’t mean to trivialize their engagement, but to me that’s how it comes across.  Emphasizing the rock takes a momentous life event and turns it into a materialistic brag session.  Anyone else with me on this?  Okay, mini rant over.

“OMG! LOOK AT MY HUMONGOUS RING!”
Credit: http://www.ruccus.com

That being said, back in the day, as the prospect of becoming engaged drew closer, I found myself thinking about rings.  Specifically, did I even want one?  If so, what kind?  Zach also subtly dug for answers to these questions.  That’s right, we talked about rings before we were engaged.  We’re modern.  What I eventually decided was that I liked the symbolism of a wedding band but felt pretty ambivalent about an engagement ring.  In the end I basically gave Zach two little tidbits of information on the ring thing:

1. I didn’t need an engagement ring at all, BUT

2. If he wanted to get me one all I cared about was that it be ethically sourced.

Pretty easy, right?  Isn’t he a lucky guy?  Well, despite my insistence that I didn’t even need a ring, Zach wanted to propose with one.  So he found an awesome, inexpensive, handmade metal ring in a Peruvian crafts market and used it to pop the question!  Yay!

The proposal ring. I hope I don’t seem like a hypocrite by posting this but I thought some might be curious. I did not post this on facebook.

Then, because he is AWESOME, Zach decided that he wanted to wear an engagement ring too!  That’s right, without any prompting from me, he realized that if I was wearing one then he should as well.  I was all for that!  I mean, let’s face it, how unfair is it that a woman is suddenly marked as taken from the proposal onward, but the man is still ringless until the wedding?  My little feminist heart was thumping with pride!  Once we began looking for his ring, we decided we wanted our rings to match, since we might as well just keep using them as wedding bands once we get married.  After awhile, we found some handmade, matching silver bands from a silversmith in Ecuador and snatched them up.  I now wear the proposal ring on my right hand, and the silver band on my left.  We might upgrade our silver bands someday, as they’ll probably get scratched and tarnished, but because we didn’t spend a fortune we won’t feel bad if, eventually, we decide to change them up a bit.  For indecisive people like us, the simple/cheap ring route was totally the way to go!  Also, if you’re looking to save some money, buying from a local craftsman while traveling in a less expensive country is a great option!

Our engagement rings which will probably turn into wedding bands.

Zach has definitely encountered a lot of questions about his MAN-gagement ring.  I know it’s pretty rare.  The only other guy who I can remember to wear an MAN-gagement ring is Cory from Boy Meets World, the best show ever!  (Anyone else remember that episode?).  It’s just so weird to us that many people never question WHY a woman wears an engagement ring and a man doesn’t.  I’m so happy that Zach chose to wear one and that we are presenting a more egalitarian option!

Did anyone else have a two-ring engagement?  Or did you not care and go totally ringless?  What do you think of the incessant facebook ring pictures?