Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ahh, Moms

I love my mom.  I've been falling a bit behind on wedding planning, with the impending holidays, visitors, cleaning, and other general distractions.  But when my mom came to visit, she came with new excitement towards my wedding, and her energy gave me new energy towards my wedding.

For anybody reading this planning their own weddings, if you're trying to save money, you might consider asking for wedding-crafting supplies for Christmas or Birthdays.  Even without asking for it, though, my mom came laden down with a pair of toasting glasses, a wedding photo album, a simple white bouquet, and a spool of orange ribbon.  Of these things, I probably only would've bought the ribbon for myself, but I'm glad to have all of them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This is Delicious Cake

Wedding cakes these days range from classic and beautiful, crazy and fun, and everywhere in between.  Personally, I like both ends of the scale, but for my wedding, I'm aiming more for a beautiful cake.  I love the drama of a tiered cake, but not the cost.  Even supermarket cakes can cost a lot, and those taste vaguely like overly sweet cardboard.

So easy, anybody could do it.
I love baking.  I'd like to think I'm pretty good at making cakes, cookies, and other sweets that are delicious.  I've even worked in a bakery (albeit a supermarket bakery).  However, my work at that supermarket taught me just enough to know that I can't decorate cakes worth anything.  I'm sure I could get better with practice, but I'm going to take a simpler, more foolproof method.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Procrastination Strikes!

I know that this will all come back to bite me in the butt, but I find myself procrastinating on several wedding planning type things.  It's not so bad in some places, but really bad in others.  Part of the problem is that we still don't have the money set aside for even our budget wedding.  It's hard to plan around what we don't have.  The other part of the problem comes from the fear that things might change from my original plans.

For example, I haven't properly contacted my venue to see how much it will cost and make our reservations.  It's a park, so I'm not too worried about the costs, nor am I really too scared that they won't have a single picnic pavilion available for rent on that day.  The reason I'm holding off on contacting them, though, is because I really wanted to give my mother a chance to see the venue first.  I don't doubt that Mom will love whatever I pick, but I'm wanting to make sure she doesn't think I'm crazy for asking guests to hike to get to our location.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm not usually one to fuss much with my hair.  But I do fuss with it for special days and when I want to look especially nice, so it's a given that I'll be doing something special for my wedding.  I thought about growing my hair out for the wedding. It's actually a bit long right now, brushing my shoulders.  But I can't stand it at this length, and it's not really me.

Keeping my hair at a chin length bob, and getting the ends curled just slightly outward is totally me, though.  The website I got that image from says that that's Katie Holmes, and I'll have to take it's word for it.  (Sorry, I just don't care one lick about celebrities, normally), but I usually associate this hairstyle with Yuna.  Either way, it's cute, and the car spent in curling it and getting it to lay down smoothly will make it special.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Clueless Ceremony

Though I almost hate to admit it, the wedding ceremony just doesn't jump out at me as being particularly interested or important.  Don't get my wrong; I love Joshua and always will.  But in my own mind, I've already made my promise and commitment to stay together with him.  I made it years and years ago.  So maybe that's why performing stale rituals and repeating after a pastor doesn't appeal to me as much.

But, though I'm bored by the concept as a whole, I have started pinpointing just what I do and do not like about it.  For example, I do like being able to share this commitment not only with Joshua, but with our family and friends.  And I know that this is important to some of my family, though I doubt if anybody would complain much if we just eloped.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grooms and groomsmen

Joshua still hasn't officially selected his groomsmen, but that doesn't stop me from dressing the men of the wedding up!  Now, though I have tastes that are a bit more laid back, I know Joshua loves the formal and ritzy and classic sort of things.  And he really, really loves a good, old fashioned tuxedo.  So I'm having to suck up my modern tastes for his sake, here.

So probably, for Joshua, we'll be renting him a good, classic sort of tux.  I'm only hoping that I can talk him out of the bow tie; they're cute on some guys, but I don't think it'd suit my sweetie.  I much prefer a regular tie, or even better, a cravat.  Something about them just makes me happy.  But I definitely want him in a silver/gray waistcoat.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bridesmaids Dresses

I'm going to let my bridesmaids pick their own dresses, but that doesn't mean I can't get ideas for them, right?  And I see a LOT of cute dresses out there that I'd love.  Besides, I'm still giving guidance for my girls.  For example, I'd like them to wear either orange/gray/silver, and I'm going to heavily suggest something at around a tea-length or shorter.

One dress style I adore and will suggest to any of my girls who don't know what to do is the Infinite/Convertible dress.  It's a really simple, but really lovely little dress that can be worn in TONS of different styles.  You can dress it down for a day look, or dress it up for a super sexy evening look.  It's a bit expensive (the one I linked to is a little less than $100 before shipping), and would wind up costing more than my dress did in the end, but I think the sheer practicality of it is worth it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Drink Ideas!

Did I say Monday?  I meant Wednesday.  Conventions are exhausting!  But it's alright, because I'm back again with another fantastic drink idea (or two) for the wedding.  Both of these come in a variety of flavors, are fun, and feel really special while being more budget friendly than alcohol is!

Both my fiance and I LOVE Italian sodas, so we know it would be a lot of fun to have at the wedding.  We just buy several bottles of syrup and lots of seltzer water.  And you get to watch as people have fun making their own sodas, mixing up all night and enjoying their interactive drinks.  Plus, it gives us something bubbly to toast with, which is always nice.  It could get a little pricey, depending on how many different syrups we get, but I think if we stick to about 5-6 options, we should be alright.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Ah, joy.  You know how I said I wasn't setting my heart on a date.  It's good that I didn't.  I finally got around to asking my last bridesmaid to be a bridesmaid the other day, and she reminded me that the weekend I was planning to have my wedding on might be Passover.  A quick check, and yup, it sure is!  I'd really hate for my friend to not be able to enjoy our delicious food (especially after I spent the first half of the phone call bragging about how delicious it was all going to be), so I'm probably going to reschedule.

Passover Seder is actually really fun to celebrate!
It's fine.  I still haven't set anything in stone (tick tock goes the clock!).  I'm still not sinking my heart completely on this date, as other family issues might have me changing it again, but now, I'm aiming for either April 9th or 10th, depending on whether I choose Saturday or Sunday.  I like Sunday because it's easier for several guests I can think off right off the bat.  But I know Saturday is more traditional, and I'd hate to interrupt family who go to church.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Of course, everybody wants to hear all about the linens and tableware, but what really gets the eyes popping is centerpieces.  To add a bit of light and drama to the tables, I'm going to start with low lying tea candles in glass holders, which I already bought at a steal; I paid 8 cents for 24 of them!  I'm not kidding!  Thank you Dollar General, and your hidden penny rack!  And thank you Joshua, for working there when these hit that rack!  In the candleholders are orange-colored pumpkin spice scented candles, which were considerably more expensive than the holders but worth the cost for the extra pop they give.

I love these little candleholders!
In the center of the tables (or perhaps two per table, as they're rather long), I'm going to have a stack of books, covered in paper matching the colors of my wedding (which I hope to find on sale after the holiday season), and tied off with a ribbon and a bow.  I'll probably also have a small bouquet of paper cranes tied on, as well, in a simple, elegant sort of way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Place Settings

Alright, last time I talked about my table cover plans, so this time, I'm going to talk about my specific table settings.  I wouldn't mind feedback here, so if anybody actually follows my blog, please leave a comment about what you think!  Since I'm on a budget, I'm probably going to go with paper plates and napkins, and plastic cutlery.  But that doesn't mean I can't be picky about WHICH paper plates I pick.

I'm thinking about doing something different on the tables with orange overlay cloths versus the ones with the white tablecloths.  Mostly because I don't think orange on orange is attractive, but that a table with no orange at all would be boring.  So for the white tables, I'm using orange square plates as a base, and on the orange tables, I'll be using silver.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Setting the Tables

Since I'm (probably) having my reception inside a picnic pavilion, I know I need to find a good way to dress up those scruffy old picnic tables!  The trick here will be to decorate the tables without them looking cheap, and without spending an arm, a leg, and a half on tablecloths, centerpieces, and other pieces that are usually far too expensive for their own good.

I sorta like the look of that table, though I think a shorter tablecloth with give a lighter, airier feel that will seem more luxurious in the end.  But the most important part is that the tablecloth is really light, and casual.  Not those weighted down polyester tablecloths I see at far too many weddings.  And plastic tablecloths (though I considered it) are right out!  They look obviously cheap.  But renting tablecloths gets pretty expensive, pretty fast.  Even the cheapest linens seem to be about $10 per table, which adds up pretty fast when you consider all of the tables for guests, food, and gifts and such.

Friday, October 8, 2010


An epiphany, for anybody who might not know, is a sudden realization or comprehension of something.  I just had one a few minutes ago, regarding my catering.  I mentioned last week that Joshua and I have a friend who owns a Japanese restaurant, and how he has already made a generous offer to provide sushi for our guests.  But I realized today that I was thinking about spending about $5-$10 per person on catering, and that the food at Sakura falls within that price range.

I won't be asking them to cut us a deal, or anything like that.  But we love this restaurant, we love their food, and we love these people.  There is absolutely no reason we SHOULDN'T ask Jun and Janice if they could cater.  We have to make it clear that we want to pay them for their services, of course, but I can't think of anybody I would RATHER pay for food.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Expenses So Far

bI've started realizing that a lot of the stuff that I'm getting for the wedding is going to be bought gradually, over time.  It's not going to be all at once.  This is MUCH easier on a tight budget, because it means you can pay for things as they come.  But at the same time, if you're trying to keep track of how much money you've spent, it's a bit of a hassle.  So today, I'm going to run through what I've already bought specifically for the wedding.  I'll also make mention of things I already have, so you can consider those costs if you're planning your own wedding.

My Engagement Ring

The biggest expense so far has been my dress.  It was $99.99, with no taxes (hurray for used items!).  However, I AM planning on altering the dress, and for that purpose, I've bought three yards of a simple, white ribbon from Wal-Mart.  At 33 cents a yard, that's $1.07.  I also picked up some fabric at $1.50 a yard to use for table overlays.  It's beautiful, and worth every penny, even if there was only 7 yards of it.  That was $11.37.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wash It Down

While eating all that delicious food, you need a great way to wash it all down, right?  The typical wedding reaches for alcohol at this point.  However, between religious family members who don't drink, family and friends who seldom drink and could do without, and a few folks who are probably better off NOT drinking, I'd rather omit the spirits from our reception.  And besides, if I wind up having my wedding at a state park, I cannot legally serve alcohol without paying some pretty hefty fees.

But just because I don't have alcohol doesn't mean my guests can't be happily quenched.  I'll probably have a nice variety of non alcoholic beverages, including a signature punch, much like the signature drink other weddings also have.  I'll have to play around, but when I come up with a recipe, I'll be sure to share.  But it's worth noting that I love the look of orange slices floating in a punch bowl, so I'll probably use that.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Om Nom Nom Nom

Well, I have to admit, one of the most important things to me for my wedding is the food.  But the problem is that I don't have the money to splurge on a good caterer.  Heck, a good caterer could cost my entire budget twice over.  So while I'd love for this to be my 'splurge' item, instead, it's 'that thing I might pay to have done professionally.'

High end catering is completely out of the question, no matter how I look at it.  Heck, even lower end catering often charges $20 a person, which for 50 folks, is $1000.  And with the other things I have to pay for, that's just too much, unfortunately.  Besides, a lot of that catering is either down home Southern classics, or barbecue.  Not that there's anything wrong with a good barbecue, but I personally prefer something a little bit more special.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DIY Project: Origami Paper

Since I'm folding 1000 cranes (I'm up to 200!) for my wedding, that means I need a LOT of origami paper!  Rather than going out and buying all of that paper, though, I've been using ink to create a wide range of colors and patterns myself.  I had originally planned to creating designs on the computer and printing them out, but after creating a few sheets by hand, I realized I wanted to keep doing it!

This is a really easy, cost effective way to get all sorts of great paper.  I just take regular computer printer paper, a sponge, and artist's ink, and you can get all sorts of fantastic papers.  I would recommend using ink over paint, because heavier bodied paints will make the paper stiffer (and harder to fold), while watercolor will have a tendency to make computer paper wrinkled.  I had ink already, but you can get bottles that will last you a long, long time from any art store..

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Horrible Housekeeping

Admittedly, this post isn't so much about the wedding itself, but our marriage as a whole.  Joshua and I have a problem; we can't keep our home clean!  Ack!  It's gotten really bad at some points, and even right now, we know we can't have anybody over.  Which is bad, since I have both family and friends coming to visit at the end of October.  So I've decided to spend a few weeks dedicating myself, not just to cleaning up, but to learning new habits that will KEEP the apartment clean.

Our apartment has looked like this before.  It's embarrassing.

Some of the problems I know we've had before include: me having bad habits, and not being able to keep it up for more than a few days, Joshua not trying at all, leading to me being discouraged and feeling like he doesn't respect me, having clutter start forming, and just keep growing until it fills the whole house, and feeling overwhelmed when there is a lot to do, and not trying because I know it'll be too hard.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Game

So I've been focusing on music for the last few updates, and while dancing is the main entertainment at most weddings, that won't really cut it for ours.   Most of our wedding guests are family, and a lot of our family members don't dance, either for religious reasons or simply because they don't enjoy it.  Though I could dance the night away, and have a great time doing it, the last thing I want is for all of my guests to be bored.  Instead, they get board games!

For my family, playing board games has long been our way of having fun as a family.  I'm hoping that even my older brother, who has Asperger's and difficulty in social settings, will be able to loosen up and have fun if I let him bring a deck of Magic the Gathering cards and play with Joshua, his groomsmen, and my other brother for awhile.  And for our other family members who aren't as familiar with that game, we can have fun, easy to play games.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reception Music

What better way to follow up the ceremony than with a reception?  I can't say I've narrowed down all of my music choices yet, but I have a few ideas for songs that I'd like played during the reception.  We're going with the cheap and easy 'iPod' DJ, where we create some mp3 playlists and just mash go for instant entertainment!  Playing off the abundance of video game music during the ceremony, I'm going to use a game song for our first dance, too.

However, Joshua and I are actually disagreeing on which song we should use for our first dance.  While I'm a huge fan of "Eyes On Me" (as seen in the above video), Joshua really wants to do a more classical dance, like a waltz.  Or the 'Waltz For The Moon'.  While this would be crazy impressive, I'm not sure if either of us has the patience to learn that whole dance without bickering at each other.  I think this'll just become a 'we'll see' thing and we'll be flexible either way.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ceremony Music

I'm pretty sure both Joshua and I just want a simple, standard sort of wedding ceremony.  He's not interested in writing his own vows, and I'm not too interested in boring my family with something super long.  But I'm not normally a typical girl, and so I've decided to mix it up a little bit with my preferred music choices.

This is the song I'm planning to use during the processionals (the part where I walk down the aisle, for anybody who's as foreign to this stuff as I am).  Video game music for the win!  But aside from the fact that it's from a great game, it's also a beautiful piece of music.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nowhere To Go But Up

Ahh, the decor.  You have your tables, centerpieces, floral arrangements, and all sorts of things to think about.  One thing that is always important to consider, and often forgotten, is the ceiling.  At least that's what they taught me in design school.  And when you're starting with either a tent or a picnic shelter as your reception venue, you have a lot of decorating up to do.  Thankfully, there are a lot of great ideas for weddings out there.

I love the look of paper lanterns, and there are several websites where you can purchase them for a little over a dollar apiece.  If I look around, I might even be able to find other brides who are selling theirs after their own weddings, and save even more.  These can make a very big impact, and with some LED lights and batteries, can even light up the reception as it begins to get dark.  And after the wedding, I might be able to sell mine back to yet another bride, saving her a lot of money.  All in all, it's a lot of look for not a lot of money.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Colors, Colors, Colors!

Though weddings were traditionally the time for white to shine, it's since opened up to all sorts of possibilities.  I've seen brides rocking it out in dresses in every color of the rainbow, though red seems to be especially popular.  In terms of decor colors, you're no longer limited to red roses, but whatever color of the rainbow suits you.  A lot of brides have been going for Peacock lately, or the stricking combo of black and white.  But I need something brighter, something more poppy.

Something more orange.  Paired with gray, it makes a striking combo that's hard to ignore.  Martha Stewart calls it Marigold and Pewter, but if I was going to attach a frou frou name to this particular, yellowy orange, I'd have to pick Apricot.  So, Apricot and Pewter it is!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Visiting Venues

Though I know it's usually traditional to hold the wedding ceremony and reception at different locations, I never quite understood that.  Since I wanted the same sort of location for both (a nice, outdoor area), I'm planning on just using the same location for both.  And at first, I had a really great plan.  The college I attended, O'More College of Design, used to let students use the campus for events for free.  A historic mansion as a backdrop, a recently renovated landscape, lots of pretty details.  I was in love.

Front Lawn
New Landscaping
Sadly, when I finally went and contacted them about it, this policy had changed, and it was no longer free.  It's still incredibly affordable for any bride on any sort of average budget.  And even with my piddly budget, I'm considering it.  But it's probably dropped down on my list.  I still suggest it to other brides, though, looking for that perfect outdoor venue.  It's really lovely.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wedding Dress Woes

Fancy dress shops, formal fittings, surrounded by family and friends.  Pah, who needs them.  Well...  I can't say that it wouldn't have been nice to have somebody there with me, to tell me what they thought.  But my mom is halfway across the country, and I didn't have a whole lot of notice before the Goodwill Bridal Gala, so I couldn't get my friends on board that fast.  Besides, it started at 6AM, way before anybody wanted to be awake.

Both of these numbers on my dress were higher.

And yes.  I did say 'Goodwill' there.  Meaning those charity thrift shops, selling secondhand clothing.  It was actually pretty fabulous, with a really nice set up and everything.  Lots of mirrors, staff on hand to help out whenever necessary, cake.  We all stormed in.  Shopping happened, and it happened hard.  Gowns, bridesmaid dresses, veils, decor...  It all vanished off the racks before I left.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Suddenly, Cranes! Thousands of them!

1000 paper cranes.  Based on an ancient Japanese legend, any person who can fold 1000 of them will be granted a wish by a crane.  There's also a more contemporary story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who tried to fold 1000 cranes to fight her leukemia as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima.  Whether she was actually able to finish is up to speculation, but either way, her efforts are remembered by many.

I don't know if I really believe that I'll have a wish granted if I fold 1000 of them.  But I do believe that the level of dedication, perseverance, and joyful effort required in folding them all will be helpful to a marriage, as well.  On top of that, the strings of cranes are beautiful, and a single folded crane looks an awful lot like a flower.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest List Management

So, you sit down together, come up with a list of all the fabulous people you know and care about in your life, and when you're done, you have this massive list of about 300 people to come to your wedding.  Then you have to prune and pick down and cut off this person and that person.  In the end, you have to feel crushed because you couldn't invite Auntie Margo, or your friend from high school.

I actually envy brides who have so much trouble, though.  I wrote down a list of the closest friends and family that I wanted at my wedding, including those people on Josh's side, and I had a list of 35 people.  Joshua came home and added a few more, upping us to 42.  I'm going to guess that there might be more people I've forgotten, or who we might become close with, or that I might let some out of town friends bring guests...  So I'm rounding up to 50, to be safe.  But this is pretty much every person close enough in my life that I want them in my wedding, and I find this a bit sad.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Setting the Date

Picking a date for your wedding should be one of the simpler tasks when planning.  You only have to consider the season, day of the week, and then pick a specific date at random from there.  You might go back and forth between one weekend and the next, but it's really about the same either way.  This was true for me, too, when I set my date for October 16, 2010.

But then, I lost my job, and the money I'd been setting aside for the wedding had to go towards taking care of our bills.  It became apparent not too long after that a wedding in 2010 wasn't really possible.  Thankfully, I hadn't sent out any invitations, or booked any vendors yet.  But it's still frustrating because I had finally really committed myself to something in the wedding planning.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Broke Budget

According to the average couple spends $19,581 on their wedding.  In Nashville, that average is even higher, with most couples spending between $19,864 and $33,106.  I sincerely hope I'm not the only person who looks at those figures and cringes.  Maybe it's because we're young, and entering the work force when the economy is down.  Or maybe it's because we know that money would be much better spent on a down payment for a house.  No matter the reason, this budget was definitely not an option for us. 
This still costs less than a real bouquet
Instead, we agreed very early on that we were going to spend as little money as possible.  Why don't we just elope?  Because I really do want to share this moment with my family and friends.  For me, I want to be able to look back and really remember something beautiful and romantic, and to share with our children down the road, so they can see this special moment too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Improper Proposal

We all know how it goes.  He takes her out on a beautiful date, they have a really romantic time, there are all sorts of special touches to remind them of their first date, and then BOOM, he surprises her by popping the question in some creative, remarkable way.

But not every proposal is so perfect.  Sometimes, the question is popped randomly, while talking on the phone, or doing something else completely arbitrary.  Sometimes, the woman is the one who asks the question.  Sometimes the proposal is rejected outright.  I get the feeling that most men don't pop the question without talking about the prospect of marriage first.  I know Joshua and I had decided to get married long before the official proposal.