Tag Archives: wedding planning

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

We Did It!

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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

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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!

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?

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?”

Gotta Have Some Pretty Pictures!

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At first we weren’t going to have a photographer.  We were convinced we couldn’t afford one and didn’t need one.  Some of our friends have dSLRs and we were hoping they would help us out.  DIY photography all the way!

But then I got sucked into the world of wedding blogs and Pinterest.  I started feeling jealous of these couples I didn’t even know for their gorgeous photos!  My BFF strongly advised me that I would definitely regret not having a photographer.  I started feeling bad about the idea of asking our friends to don cameras on our big day.  Thus I secretly started looking around the web, “just to see what’s out there.”  “You don’t need a photographer!” the logical, thrifty side of my brain told me.  “But maybe, just maybe, if you could find one that’s not too expensive…” the other side whispered.

And that’s when I stumbled upon Bright Fizz Photo, based in Phoenix, Arizona.  “Wow,” I thought, as I perused the website, “These photos are so fun and quirky!”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Although I am normally annoyed when websites start blasting music at me, I actually really liked the songs playing in the background on Bright Fizz’s site.  More points for good taste in music!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Plus, Zach and I totally agree with their philosophy!  “Our style of photography is not traditional. We like the candid, silly moments that every couple has to offer. We do not like the standard poses with two people smiling at the camera. We create images that really show the style and connection of two people in love. Our style is happy with a little bit of funk.”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

“So who is behind these awesome photos?” I wondered, “And how can we possibly afford them?”  So I sent an email to Rachel, the wonder-woman behind Bright Fizz.  It turns out that she and her husband Nick run the business and they both seem super awesome-sauce.  And, amazingly enough, they are AFFORDABLE!  (Basic wedding packages start at only $1500!)

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

I pretty much knew I NEEDED Rachel to photograph our wedding as soon as we talked.  So I turned to my parents and asked them if they’d be willing to gift us our wedding photography and they said yes!  I guess it’s kind of breaking the rule of paying for everything ourselves, but since Zach’s parents are providing our venue, my parents also really wanted to contribute something tangible.  This will make everyone happy!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

We haven’t met Rachel in person yet, but we will definitely be doing that before the wedding.  For now though, her awesome photos and the personality that shines through her emails are enough to convince me she’s going to do a great job!  Wedding photo win!

Did anyone else decide they had to have a photographer after initially not wanting one?

#WEverb12 CATCHUP!

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I got really behind on this due to my business trip to Monterey and other life busy-ness.  I want to keep going so I’m going to catch up now!

7. enliven [GROW]:  Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig was the best and most challenging book I read this year.  It taught me a lot about philosophy but also went over my head a lot.  As I mentioned here, the book really helped me realize how TERRIBLE I am at staying in the moment.  I’m trying to get better at breathing in the present without fixating on the future, but it’s going to be a lifelong process.  Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”

“The truth knocks on your door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.”

“When you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

8. respond [LISTEN]: Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I certainly do try to.  Planning a laid back, nontraditional wedding is an example of this.

9. triumph [CREATE]: How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?

The editing of La Aventura Project into a documentary is an enormous undertaking.  I learned that maybe I shouldn’t promise to make a documentary and then end up with a million other things to do and no time to edit.

10. lose [HOPE]: Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory

I didn’t say goodbye to anyone permanently (I hope!) but I did say goodbye to many people as we traveled, moved, hosted Couchsurfers, etc.  Saying goodbye to the nomadic lifestyle was hard!  It was an amazing year on the road all over America.  But we’ll travel again!

11. spend/save [LIVE]: Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year?

Poorer!  But all that money went towards great times and great memories!  I don’t regret it for a second.

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?

Weddings –> Emotional Depletion

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In the aftermath of Mark and Sally’s (future BIL/SIL) lovely wedding, I feel surprisingly emotionally drained.  Weddings are just so packed with heart-walloping meaning and jaw-dropping beauty that the downswing afterwards can be kind of melancholy.  So for the past two days I’ve just been feeling kind of blue about regular, non-wedding-land life.  At the same time I’m also feeling super-giddy head-over-heels in love with my Zach.  Probably had something to do with that sexy suit he wore!  Zach said he feels similarly drained but elated.

Does attending weddings of those you’re close to have the same effects on anyone else?  Or are we just extra-susceptible to emotion since we’re in that crazy strange phase called “engagement?”

If I feel like this now, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel once our day is done!  Thank goodness it’s still a ways off and we have lots of planning excitement ahead of us!