Category Archives: Relationships

Getting the party started!

Standard

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

Last minute DIY for the win!

Standard

Hey everybody!  Long time no write!  Life is awesome (but busy) here in newlywed-land!  I can’t believe it’s already been four months since Zach and I tied the knot!

A little preview of our wonderful day!

To start off my recaps, I thought I’d update you on how all of our last minute DIY projects turned out!  I was pretty stressed about all we had to do in the week before our wedding.  It was definitely a lot to do, and the process was not without its hiccups.  I’m pretty proud of how everything turned out in the end though!

One of the first things we tackled was our tablecloths!  In order to create the exact hues we wanted, we used this handy Rit Dye Color Formula Calculator.  The hardest part of the process was just figuring out how much dye we needed to make and calculating the amount of each color to use for a huge bucket of dye.  Once we got it figured out though, the dip dyeing was super simple!

Tablecloths in windy action! 

Our next big project was a photobooth!  My “Pinspiration” was this photo booth:

But with a little ingenuity and use of some already-lying-around wood, this is what Zach built:

Suffice to say, it was a HUGE hit and totally worth all of our (mostly Zach’s) hard work!

Inevitably, there were a few projects that fell by the wayside.  We never got around to making an arbor or focal point for our ceremony.  Oh well!

Our biggest project was definitely self-catering our food and desserts!  Thankfully, we had a lot of help from family and friends, and everything came together beautifully and deliciously in the end.  It was definitely a busy week in the kitchen!  We actually ended up with too much food!  Here’s a little peek at the dessert spread my mom, sister, and I slaved away over:

Mmmmm…

Would I recommend saving so much DIY for the week before your wedding?  Definitely not!  Making all this happen and getting along while doing it was not without its challenges!  I’m so happy with how everything turned out in the end!

Did you save lots of DIY for the last minute?  How did it end up for you?

(Special thanks to our photographer Bright Fizz Photo!)

We Did It!

Standard
Photo Credit: Melissa Gebauer

Greetings from married life!  I want to wait for our professional photos to come back before I write official recap posts, but I had to pop in to say that WE DID IT!  Our wedding was a whirlwind of stress, hard work, last minute details, laughter, reunions, love, and joy.  It was completely homespun, perfectly imperfect, and we loved it.  To everyone going through planning conundrums, DIY frustration, and other wedding-related headaches, it is SO, SO WORTH IT IN THE END!

I promise you’ll hear more from me once I have some pro photos to back up the story!  Hopefully any day now!

6 Signs You Might Have Bride Brain

Standard

1. You can’t sleep.  And when you do sleep, you dream about weird/crazy/horrible things happening at your wedding.

2. 90% of the things you say to your partner are wedding-related.  As soon as they open their eyes in the morning you’re asking “Have we called the rental company to tell them how many chairs we need?”

3. You decide it’s a great idea and totally necessary to work out 3 times a day.

4. You believe your wedding is a valid excuse for slacking at work.  When your boss asks you about a project you’re supposed to be finishing, you actually say, “You know, my wedding is in two weeks!”

5. Your “To Do” list has taken over your life.  Your response to most invitations is, “Maybe after the wedding.”

6. You thought of this entire blog entry during a yoga class, during which you were supposed to be relaxing and focusing on your breath.

Anyone else suffering from these symptoms?  What other crazy ways did “Bride Brain” manifest itself for you?  Well guys, my wedding is in 10 days and I will see ya on the flipside!

Our Grand DIY Intentions

Standard

I must admit, I’m not much of a crafter.  Sure, I dabbled in cross stitching, rug hooking, and sewing back in my middle and high school days.  This mostly led to a bunch of abandoned-while-only-half-finished projects.  My creative talents mainly revolve around cameras, not quilts or paints.  Basically, Martha Stewart, I am not.

However, a budget backyard wedding definitely calls for some crafting, whether I like it or not.  I do want our wedding to be pretty, after all!  With the overload of wedding “Pinspiration” out there, Zach and I tried to restrict ourselves to a select few important DIY craft projects.  Here’s what we’re hoping to accomplish:

Dip-dyed tablecloths!
Source: http://www.housetohome.co.uk

I really didn’t know what to do about tablecloths until I found this beauty online and fell in love!  Our plan is to dip-dye white cotton tablecloths in several different jewel tones.  I already have all the dye and all the tablecloths, but we’re waiting until we arrive in Arizona the week of the wedding to dye them since we don’t have space for this project in our apartment.  I really hope it works!  We’re also hoping we can resell the tablecloths later if they turn out well!

Lighting!
Source: http://www.younghouselove.com

We definitely need some romantic white lighting to transform our very “driveway-ish” driveway into a magical fairyland!  Luckily, Zach’s parents already have a ton of white string lights.  Since Zach used to be an electrician, I’m delegating this project to him and hoping it will turn out as pretty as this picture!

Photobooth!
Source: sharonlovesthis.blogspot.com

This is our most ambitious project, and, I feel like, the most likely to get axed if we run out of time and energy.  But seriously, how awesome is this photobooth?  We want to use old family wedding photos to celebrate our loved ones and also get some funky props and costumes for people to pose.  I’m hoping we have time to construct this!

Arbor focal point
Source: apracticalwedding.com

We need some sort of focal point for our outdoor ceremony.  Zach’s also taking this one on, hoping he can construct something simple and pretty from some old wood and flowers!

Easy cake stands!
Source: number-2-pencil.com

At first I wanted to scour antique stores and thrift shops for vintage-y looking cake stands and serving plates.  I soon realized that was more expensive than I originally envisioned.  Then I stumbled into this idea on Pinterest.  You just buy some fun, colorful plastic plates and cups, glue them together, and voila!

These are most of the craft project we hope to accomplish, although this is not all we’ll be DIY-ing, by any means.  We’re also going to make all of our food and all of our desserts, do our own flowers, design our own playlists, and write our own ceremony.  Uh-oh, I’m getting overwhelmed just thinking about it!  The most stressful part about these crafts is that we can’t really do any of them until we arrive in Arizona.  It’s going to make for a busy pre-wedding week, but there’s really nothing we can do about it.  Thankfully we’ll have lots of able-bodied friends and family members arriving early to help!

What do you think of our craft list?  Too ambitious?  Anyone have tips for any of these projects?

The Big Doozy: Changing vs. Not Changing My Name

Standard
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!”

Standard

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?

The Dreaded “D” Word

Standard

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?

#WEverb12: Catching up again!

Standard

18. soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

This year I soaked in uncertainty.  Traveling, living in Ohio for a few months, and then moving out here.  It was constant motion, lots of changes of plans, and not knowing what to expect.  It was hard for me, as I’m very type-A.  But it was good for me.  Uncertainty and second-guessing and plans changing are all part of life.  You could also call it FREEDOM!

19. exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

While we were backpacking, I didn’t make any effort to work out or anything.  But most of our days involved lots and lots of walking, sometimes with all of our crap loading us down.  We also went on a lot of epic hikes, went surfing, swimming and ziplining!  Travel is the best because exercise feels like an adventure!

Since getting back, I’ve done something I never, ever expected I would do.  I started running.  Not just lame-o occasional 30 minute jogs either.  Over the summer, I actually followed Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan all the way through, although I never did run a half marathon.  Working my way up to running 10 miles without any breaks and without dying made me really proud.  It was weird how easy it was, too.  Unfortunately towards the end I got a weird muscle strain in my thigh and when we moved I had to stop running for awhile.  As soon as my leg healed, I started the plan all over again, making sure I really stretch and cross train a lot to try to avoid injury.  So far so good!  I’ve gotten faster (which means a 9:35 mile, still really slow!) than I was in Ohio and I love running along the Sunset Cliffs!  I’m about halfway through the plan this time and I’m hoping to run my first half marathon in January!

302124_10100587535176780_898219880_n

The view helps me run fast!

20: reminisce [GROW] What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

I’ve found myself reminiscing about college a lot this year.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been OUT of college for longer than I was IN it.  I graduated almost exactly four years ago.  College was just so much fun and so easy compared to real life.  It’s funny because when you’re in it you think life is so hard!  It’s pretty awesome that you get to live with your friends, learn about things that interest you, do whatever crazy clubs and activities you want, and you somehow still have enough energy to party it up!  More than anything, I miss my old roomie Erica.  She truly “gets me” and is one of the best friends I will ever have!  It sucks because we’re on opposite coasts and rarely get to see each other, but sometimes we’ll still text each other random, “Remember when…” texts.

Roomies for life!

Roomies for life!

(Hey Erica, remember when we met Mr. Belding?)

#WEverb12: HOPE

Standard
Bartending 80s night at Loki!

Bartending 80s night at Loki!

5. fellowship [HOPE]: What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?

In the first part of the year, it was the backpacker community in Latin America.  The staff crew at Loki Hostel in Cuzco and all of our ridiculous shenanigans.  Oh, what good times we had there!  We recently reconnected with Ben, our best friend from the hostel, and it was so great to see him!!!  While we certainly partied too much and were so sick of it by the end, we now look back at our experiences there super fondly.  The hilarious moments in the staff dorm and all the characters we bonded with will forever be in my memory.

In the second part of the year, it was most definitely our beloved Couchsurfing community!  Words cannot express how much I love meeting like-minded, adventurous, fun people everywhere we go!  The San Diego Couchsurfing community has really embraced us and we are so lucky to have such good friends after being here only a short time!