wedding

Weddings Cure Cancer

At least that’s my theory. And I don’t mean planning a wedding for yourself, that may cause cancer. Another theory. I mean weddings where you get to watch two friends make that special commitment to each other and you get dressed up and then you get to eat delicious things and drink for free. It is like an explosion of happy things and if that doesn’t cure cancer I guess we’ll have to turn to science.

I have three compelling examples supporting this theory:

1. The first trip I made after my initial surgery, which I had a really tough time recovering from, was for my childhood friend’s wedding. In an example of the universe aligning, she happened to be marrying a friend of mine from high school so it was great to see two people I knew and cared for separately find each other and make each other happy. I wasn’t sure how I’d do, but I made it to the wedding and through the ceremony and it was wonderful. I really love the photo I got of us too.

Maria's wedding

Maria’s wedding

1. In early December when my immune system was at one of it’s lowest points, I flew connecting flights to SF for a wedding and did not get sick. I did wear the shameful SARS mask, but whatever. It was flu season and I rode on four airplanes and spent time in 4 different airports, two of them multiple times. I also managed to do everything I had planned. I also got on a plane four days after getting dosed with poison and still had a great time. The only low point was when I wanted to murder the Southwest desk lady who suggested I waited for everyone to board if I was having a tough time, right before announcing that anyone with children or disabilities that need to pre-board should see her. I still wish some bad things on her that I will not put in print.

2. I had my final big surgery the beginning of March and a wedding in Kansas City last weekend. I made it and even danced. This is just ridiculous because I was told 4-6 weeks to be able to go back to work (if I had a job) and that the drains usually stay in really long in the hip. I got those suckers out in record time and was off the pain meds after two weeks. Advil is a good friend of mine these days, but only intermittently. It also came in perfect time because I was feeling really low. I think it was a mix of recovery (pretty normal for major surgeries) and being home a lot by myself (and fuzzy companions that never want to talk about Rob Kardashian posting that photo of the Gone Girl covered in blood and comparing it to Kim, I mean WTF?). I wasn’t homesick for SF, but I was really homesick for my friends and family in SF. The KC wedding included a lot of them which was an amazing pick me up when I really needed it.

Next up we have three more weddings between now and the end of May and then another in November. I’m pretty sure this means I’ll never get cancer again.

How I Chose My Save-the-Dates

Once you have a date, venue and guest list, it’s time to send your save-the-date. Be prepared to be overwhelmed (in a good way) with choices. Unlike venues, with which you can be majorly held back by budget, it’s easy to find a ton of options in your price range for these.

If all else fails, you can do a postcard and have it printed at a local printer. There’s actually several free/cheap online sites that will help you design so you don’t have to be an artist to do something cute.

I spent a lot of time pouring over etsy.com and looking at all the wonderful pieces on there.

These are two of my favorites:

The first is a filmstrip-style magnet. I loved the playfulness and thought it would be a really fun way to spread the good news. It’s by loniann18.

Courtesy of loniann18

The other one I really liked was sent to me by my boss. She knows that A. and I have a scooter, and thought this would be perfect for us. I think this one is really classic-looking and stylish. It had a personal touch of the scooter and just was a really nice design. It’s by jackandjillwedding.

Courtesy of jackandjillwedding

I ended up going with this design, which I got through Costco.

Personal Library

Yes. I said Costco.

Costco has a wide selection of wedding invitations and save-the-dates, and you can order samples very cheaply.

I realized while I wanted something cute, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the save-the-date, because I felt that it would be better spent in other areas, like rings, invitations, etc. I was able to do something personal that was nicely designed while spending about $90 for 75 magnets (they ended up giving us additional ones for free), magnet card holders and envelopes. They also had spectacular service. The order went on sale shortly after I ordered, and I was able to get them to honor that. I also realized I should include location and our wedding website, and they let me cancel and redo it. They also called me when the image quality wasn’t going to print well and formatted the higher res image I sent them (they’ve since revamped their online proofing). Budget conscious and excellent customer service? What else are you looking for?

My save-the-dates won’t match my invitations, but that wasn’t important to me. I’m really happy with the finished product and definitely recommend checking Costco out.

DIY Wedding Venues: Pros & Cons

When we decided to get married in Vermont, I really wanted to have our wedding at a DIY location — somewhere we’d bring everything in. My hope was that we’d be able to save money through having it on someone’s land, where they’d let us have the location for free. Vermont is such a beautiful location, where you can get married in the middle of nowhere pretty easily and have all the decoration you need.

A. and I visited over Thanksgiving and were shown a few locations we could use for the wedding. We settled on this one, which was right up the road from my parent’s house, so it was really convenient, as well as beautiful.

Photos Courtesy of Susan Pelletier

There was a perfect place to set up a tent next to the pond, and the driveway was fairly long, so the road wasn’t visible. I was so excited to have such a major decision made, and such a gorgeous location to tie the knot in.

Then came the reality check. Having your wedding at a DIY location means you really have to Do It Yourself, all of it. As I said in a previous blog, I wasn’t able to get a wedding coordinator, so it’s all me. The costs and tasks started to really add up.

You need to bring in bathrooms if you’re having a wedding of more than just a few people (we’re planning on around 100 guests). You probably don’t want the standard blue port-a-pottys  for your event, and the nice ones were about 1k. Then you need a tent (in case it rains, is windy, etc.), tables, chairs (for ceremony and reception), tablecloths, silverware, glasses, plates, lighting, power, etc. With so many pieces that need to come together, it felt like it was going to be as expensive as going to an actual place that does weddings, and also, we’d need someone to coordinate the day before and the day of to make sure everything was set up.

With the majority of our guests coming in from out of town, I wanted to make sure they weren’t being asked to do too much to help the wedding take place. I wanted to be appreciative that they have to spend time and money coming to the wedding by keeping our requests for help to the minimum. I also didn’t want my Dad or Mom stuck with coordinating setup and takedown.  Looking at all the logistics and cost, I realized that while a DIY Vermont wedding would have been beautiful, it just wasn’t practical for us.

Take a Break!

Wedding planning can be exhausting for you both, so don’t forget to take a break. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go a day without talking about the upcoming wedding (6 months away) and it makes me feel like a crazy person. It’s a mix between being excited, having a lot to do, and having a lot of people ask about it.

Make sure you take a break.

When you find yourself dreading going home and getting back on the computer, or you see your honey start to wince when you mention color schemes again, it’s time to take a break.

I’ve had a few friends talk about the come down after the wedding, where they found themselves at a loss as to how to spend all the free time they had now. I thought they were crazy, but now I find myself thinking about that scenario and how it will be weird not to be planning/worrying all the time. Don’t get so wrapped up in wedding that the rest of your life starts to get neglected.

One of the ways to prevent becoming “bridezilla” is to maintain your grip on reality (the non-wedding reality). Go away for the weekend or have a night/day where you don’t talk about anything wedding related. If you find that you’re spending a lot of that time worrying about wedding stuff, take more breaks, because sanity is a good thing. Do something that is relaxing and takes your mind off planning, like read a guilty pleasure book (fantasy books are my favorite), watch a movie, watch terrible TV (I find myself watching more and more Jersey Shore as I get closer to the date).

Do something that takes your mind away that’s relaxing, but try and avoid signing up for any classes. Do we really need more commitments right now? Sometimes our brains just need a vacation from all the wedding planning. It’ll be there in the morning.

Why I’m My Own Wedding Planner

I had always planned on being my own wedding planner. I had talked with my other marketing friends about how we’re all too controlling to trust someone with our vision, how we’d love all the details too much to give it up to someone else. Right.

Fast forward to when I actually got engaged and my wedding is on the other side of the country, while I work 50-60 hour work weeks regularly. Suddenly, being able to hand stuff off to a seasoned professional looks like how I imagine heaven.

When my parents let us know they were planning on helping contribute, I heaved a sigh of relief. The anxiety I’d been feeling about our budget receded and I had a little more breathing room. With that breathing room, I started to wonder if I could have a coordinator help me. One of my former coworkers started a wedding planning business and offers month-of packages at $900 and a la carte options for the day of, as well.

Unfortunately, she’s in the Bay Area, so I can’t use her in Vermont (Va De Vie Events for any of you lucky brides in the area). I began looking online for local wedding coordinators. I was really disappointed to see that they were all playing “the wedding game” (as I like to think of it) and not providing any pricing on their websites.

I reached out to them, and the emails started to pour in. I was told it is impossible to plan a wedding for 10k, that their rates were thousands of dollars, that I can’t rely on any help from friends or family. It was quite the positive experience, obviously.

None of them gave any indication they would be able to help save me money in my planning or had any vender relationships that I’d be able to benefit from (I asked).

(image from Hasboro games)

I was really disappointed that this was my experience with wedding planners in my home state, but it didn’t affect how I feel about the wedding.

I believe I will be able to plan this with my budget (or come close enough that I’m happy). I’m not interested in paying any individual person thousands of dollars for services I can’t eat or drink. I also do believe that my friends and family are going to come through for me and help me in this momentous task.

Don’t allow venders of any kind to intimidate you in your wedding talks. It’s their loss. Make sure you’re working with supportive people who you feel you can trust and have a beneficial relationship with.

Are you working with a wedding coordinator?

Dealing With ‘Mother-of-the-Bridezilla’

 

My Mom has always been a strong force in my life. From her encouragement, I brought home good grades, did a lot of extra curriculars, and graduated from Dartmouth. She also tended to have a heavy hand in events: she chose all 4 of my prom dresses and chose every college I applied to except for Dartmouth. After college, I moved to San Francisco and the space really gave me an opportunity to learn how to say “no” and take the driver’s seat when I made life decisions. However, while I was gaining my independence, my Mom was still Queen of the castle when it came to my Dad and my 5 year younger brother.

When I got engaged, she once again tried to take control. It was natural for her, because it’s always been her role with the big family events.

Having lived in my grown up life for 4 years now, this didn’t go over well with me. She felt so strongly that she knew best that she refused to listen. I found myself stressed out and upset about an event that I didn’t even have a date for. She was pushing (with a bulldozer) for us to get married in Vermont, and I was afraid that would mean I wouldn’t have any control since I’m so far away.

The more she asserted herself, the more I distanced her from the decisions. I talk to my Mom probably every other day, and having this stress and conflict around such a happy event was really hard. I finally blew up and told her how upset I was that she wasn’t listening and how she was the only source of stress and frustration around this, and that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I told her that I wanted her to be part of this and that she had to let me come to her with requests for help. I reminded her that I was waiting to try on a wedding dress until she could visit and what a big deal that was.

We didn’t talk for three days, and at the end of that three days, I received a card with an apology from her. Ever since then, it’s been much better. We’re working together. Every now and then I still have to remind her that I have thought of the “what ifs” and the coordination pieces (it’s pretty much what I do for a living), but we’re getting there.

It’s hard for Moms to snap out of the “Mother Knows Best” mentality sometimes. Often, they feel like they’ve been looking forward/working toward this event just as much as you have. Sometimes, their focus on the decisions they want to make leaves them missing the decisions you’re trying to make them a part of. Make sure that you communicate when it gets to be too much. You don’t need further stress on your day, and it’s important that she understands her role in your wedding. A big deal for me is that I don’t want my wedding to be a family reunion. Our friends are just as important to being there as our family to me. I also know what A. and I want more than anyone else. It can be hard to tell people “no,” but remember, you only get to do this once (if all goes as planned), so make sure it’s what you want.

Remember, if anyone goes to the wedding and is disappointed about something not being done the way they wanted it, they’re missing the point!

Why I’m My Own Wedding Planner

I had always planned on being my own wedding planner. I had talked with my other marketing friends about how we’re all too controlling to trust someone with our vision, how we’d love all the details too much to give it up to someone else. Right.

Fast forward to when I actually got engaged and my wedding is on the other side of the country, while I work 50-60 hour work weeks regularly. Suddenly, being able to hand stuff off to a seasoned professional looks like how I imagine heaven. **READ MORE**