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Pobody’s Nerfect

31 Oct

So, it’s been a while. Sorry about that.

Shaun and I made a journey to the USA after Spain for his sister’s wedding and to catch up with friends and family. It was so nice to see everyone, and Christy’s wedding was fun and prettyyy…

Being at Christy’s wedding obviously made me think of me and Shaun’s wedding. I was making mental notes left and right.

“Photo Booth = Cool. See if it fits in budget.”
“Toasts – tell people in advance if you want them to make a toast. Figure out who will be making toasts and when.”
“Cocktail hour music. Figure it out.”
“Blue and orange are pretty together.” 
“Love is the Thing. It needs to be about love.”

And, being in the trenches of wedding arts and crafts hour the nights leading up to the wedding got the whole Truelove clan whipped up into a frenzy of nuptial discussions.

“What kind of food are we going to have at our wedding?”
“What will our colors be?”
“Do we want a photo booth?”
“What about a popcorn machine?”
“Will the caterer be bringing their own tables or do we need to provide those?”
“What kind of dresses are the girls going to wear?”
“Will we have a slide show?”
“Who will be making toasts?”
“Who will be invited to the rehearsal dinner?”

After 14 total days in the USA and approximately 1,400 converstations about The Wedding and 14,000 incoherent thoughts in my own head about The Wedding, I have decided I no longer like planning The Wedding.

In fact, Shaun and I have recently flirted with the idea of a surprise-we’re-home-for-christmas-and-we’re-having-our-wedding-at-the-courthouse-tomorrow type of affair. The conversation went like this:

Me: We could just do it at the Madison courthouse on like the 27th and then go over to the Great Dane afterwards for dinner and drinks. Most people take that week off work anyway.
Shaun: The Great Dane isn’t big enough.
Me: There wouldn’t be many people there since it would be so last minute.
Shaun: True.
Silent Pause
Me: But our families would be so sad if they couldn’t make it.
Silent Pause
Shaun: But, they’d probably get over it.
Me: True
Silent Pause
Me: I am not seriously considering this, you know. We already spent money on the barn and the hotel block.
Shaun: Ok.
….A week later….
Me: I looked into it, and we’d really only be out a couple grand if we did the courthouse thing…

I think about “the courthouse thing” the way I think about buying a pair of $1000 Christian Loubouton shoes. Not going to happen, but damn aren’t they pretty? Let’s fawn over pictures and think about what dresses I would wear them with.

I want! I want! I waaaaant!

Anyhow, I guess the point is this. When I first got engaged, I was SO EXCITED to plan a wedding. All The Pretty Things! But now, the excitement about The Wedding is gone, and all I really want to do is marry Shaun. And be married to him. And end all the conversations and thoughts and expectations that come along with The Wedding.

But, this is what wedding planning is about. The challenge of navigating all those expectations from all those different people and finding a way to fight the good fight where it matters and go with the flow where it doesn’t and come out the other end with all the family and friendly bonds still holding tight. Here we go.

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It’s the principle of the matter (wedding budget)

13 Jul

Let me paint a picture for you. I am not yet engaged nor really thinking about getting married any time soon. I am watching a guilty pleasure wedding “reality” show on TLC, and I am thinking to myself, “They spent THAT much money?! Just to throw a PARTY?! That’s INSANE!” I make a “Pshhh” sound out loud and roll my eyes. “I would never…” I think.

Fast Forward.

I am engaged. Yay! I get to spend the rest of my life traveling the world, having a family and generally just hanging out with my best friend. THIS ROCKS!

And, oh! Icing on the cake, I get to plan a wedding! I get to pick out pretty dresses and flowers and table runners – yeee! And let’s not forget the thrill of walking through a store with a bar code gun adding items to the gift registry. I want, I want.

Ok, I think. Let’s not get carried away. Remember the TLC show? Remember your promise to yourself to be reasonable? You can still plan a wedding and have lots of pretty things. But, you can do it for $10,000. That seems like a good amount. I mean, that is ALOT of money. And, it’s all going to a party that will only last one day for Christ’s sake.

So, now it’s time to get out the excel spreadsheet. Let’s see exactly what my budget will be on individual items if I spend 10K total. First, I google “sample wedding budget” to get a list of all the things I need to budget for. Each item gets a line on the spreadsheet, and I start filling in an estimated cost. It takes about 15 minutes of scouring the internet for invitations, wedding dresses and venue/catering charges, and I realize it. Weddings are expensive. $10,000 is not going to cut it. After filling in what I think are reasonable goals for individual items for everything from catering to gifts for the wedding party, I came up with a little over $16,000 in total. So, that is the budget.

I am still very early in planning and not many checks have been written yet. But, already, I have some lessons learned:

  • It’s ok to splurge on something if it is really important to us/me (e.g. I am ok with spending alot on my dress and overall look because I love getting dressed up, and when else am I going to get to wear a beautiful white ball gown?)
  • It’s ok to completely cut items that are not important to us (e.g. We’re alright with home-baked pies and cake a la friends and family. No need for an expensive wedding cake.)
  • DIY is not always the cheapest way to go, but sometimes it’s just fun to be crafty.
  • Generally, wedding things cost more than I think they should. (A belt I tried on while wedding dress shopping had a $1000 price tag. In.Sane.) Luckily, my mom is an expert bargain hunter. I will put her to work to find the item of my dreams at a reasonable price. (Ahem, half priced designer wedding gown)

I am sure things will come up that will expand our budget. Hopefully we can find other places to cut if/when that happens. But, for right now – 16-17K is the goal. Luckily, Shaun and I have parents that want to help cover the costs. (Thanks, guys!) With their help, Shaun and I will not be spending much of our hard-earned savings on this shindig. Could we afford to if we wanted to? Probably. But, it’s the principle of the matter.

Rustic + a touch of Arabia? (wedding planning)

28 Jun

So, as you know, my wedding is going to on a farm in Wisconsin. Here are some more pictures that I took when I went to see the venue this past winter. The plan is to have a rustic theme and to incorporate lots of Wisconsiny things such as cheese and beer.

The whole “theme” ties together so nicely – wedding on a farm with good micro-brews, cheese and lots of ho-down fun including but not limited to square dancing, a hog roast and a camp fire.

BUT, I also want to include some Egyptian touches because well a. we are going to spend the year prior to our wedding here, and b. I can get things very cheaply here – always thinking about that budget 😉

For example, they have these beautiful lanterns everywhere that make gorgeous patterns of light on the walls and ceiling. Can I put these in the barn for the reception and make it look like it fits in with everything else? Or, will it come off as scatter brained and out of place? Help, please!

Wedding planning so far

21 Jun

Taken from Cedar Hill website

So, one of the topics I want to cover in this blog is wedding planning. I have lots of ideas and thoughts about the whole process, and I hope my experiences can help other couples doing the same thing. So, here are the basics of what I have done so far:

  • Chose the venue – a farm in Wisconsin – and date – 7/7/12
    • This was the very first thing I did AFTER coming up with a budget ($16k) – more on that later
    • I love love LOVE this venue! Here’s why:
      1. Everything will happen in one location – the rehearsal dinner, getting ready (in the farm house), the ceremony and the reception. This makes it easy and more enjoyable for our guests, our vendors and not to mention me and Shaun!
      2. Renee and Gary, the owners of Cedar Hill Barn, are SO nice! It makes the whole process SO much more relaxing to feel like I am working with good midwestern folk rather than some crazy vendor who wants to get me for all I am worth with hidden costs and rules.
      3. Everything in this venue is beautiful – from the quaint farm house, to the oh-so-lovely barn to the immaculate grounds. Look at those multi-colored chairs!
      4. Oh, and the barn was built using old fashioned post and beam methods from cedar in the area. Pretty cool.
      5. It has a keg-orator. ’nuff said.
  • Having the venue and date determined made it easy for me to pick a theme (Summer in Wisconsin/Rustic) and food (Hog roast, of course!)
    • See my inspiration board here
  • Compiled the guest list
    • This, by far, has been the most difficult task to complete so far in the process – who to invite? who to NOT invite?
    • The venue seats about 175-180 comfortably and considering weddings at home are usually more in the 350-400 range, I had to make some difficult decisions
    • Adding to that the fact that a vast majority of our guests will need to  travel for the wedding (Shaun’s family is mostly in Indiana and mine in Ohio) – how many can we invite under the assumption that they won’t be able to make it?
  • My uncle is a DJ – so I contacted him to do my wedding
    • His availability was critical to picking the date
    • At weddings in my hometown (where he normally DJs), we always square dance – it was important to me to have that incorporated into our reception as well and Uncle Slick can help us out on that front!
  • Our friend Lexia is an AMAZING photographer – so we contacted her
    • I am not just saying she is AMAZING because she is a friend. It’s true! See some of her past weddings here and here.
    • Oh, and some of her photos have been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and she is going to be in SMP this week. How awesome is that?
  • Picked out my wedding dress
    • The designer is La Sposa and that is all I can tell you right now – I want it to be a surprise!
    • My mom (being the maven that she is) found a sample dress that has never been used on preownedweddingdresses.com for less than half the price of what the store would charge me (remember that budget?). It’s 2 sizes too big but I have a tailor that says she can get it down to the right size without issue.
  • Picked out bridesmaids dresses
    • I went shopping with the women in my family (sister, mom and niece) the weekend before I left. We narrowed it downto four styles and sent them to the other bridesmaids for opinions.
    • Dessy styles 6609 and 2787 won the vote (in midnight blue)

My first DIY project

  • Made (yes, MADE) my save the dates
    • I used wallpaper, card stock and a custom rubber stamp to make these beauties

So, as you can see, I have a lot done so far. My plan was to get alot of the big tasks checked off before coming to Cairo. Mission accomplished, I think. There are still some pretty major outstanding questions like, um, what kind of ceremony/officiant will we have? This task is so overwhelming to me for many reasons, and I just haven’t had the patience and energy to deal with it quite yet…

Overall, though, I really want the wedding to be practical, pretty and personal. How do you think I am doing?