Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Check it out!

Allow me to end my hiatus to ask you to check out my guest blog post on http://2000dollarwedding.com about deciding to keep my last name!

(It was published yesterday...I'm a little behind.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting Married Before Getting Married, TV Style

 [via FanPop.com]

I was watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother today (a new favorite, so I try to watch all the old ones so that I can follow along with the references in the new ones), and caught Part I of Lily and Marshall's wedding.

In the episode, they showed how initial wedding plans rarely are what you end up with. They went from wanting a small, intimate ceremony in a garden with an acoustic guitar to a 300-person, indoor affair with a harp player where everything went wrong.

And like Pam and Jim of The Office after them, they secretly and spontaneously got married (in a garden with their closest friends and a guitar player) before the ceremony that was planned.

I think that had I seen this episode (or Pam and Jim's wedding) pre- or during planning our wedding, I would have appreciated the sentiment of running off and getting married privately and accepting that sometimes, the big wedding just doesn't work out (like you thought it would or at all). BUT, I'd still probably believe that ours would be different.

I've planned events before. I've helped my friends with their weddings. I am extremely organized and creative. So of course I could pull this off! But when it came down to it, sometimes you can have all the right tools, but if others (caterers, photographers, venues, etc.) aren't willing to work with you, then that big wedding with tons of players and projects and logistics just might not be in the cards. And that's okay.

It reminds me of math. I've been bad at math all my life. And I was raised hearing that if you try your best at something, you have to succeed (and I appreciate that I was raised this way). So when algebra came around and I tried by best and STILL sucked at it, it was a very rude awakening.

Finally deciding that no, our wedding was not going to happen the way I thought it would was also a rude awakening. I had been planning it in my head forever! I had experience! And ideas! But guess what? I can plan parties instead. And thank goodness we didn't waste any more of our time, energy and money just trying to make it work and then run off spontaneously and secretly right before the ceremony anyway.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where I Went

You may be wondering where I went. (Or maybe you haven't. Whatever.)

The answer is that I got a new job! I started on Monday and because of training, I have been so drained each day when I come home. Plus, I don't have the same kind of free time as I did at my last job, so I can't check in throughout the day.*

When I get more settled, I'll be sure to work out a better blogging schedule, but for now, I'll only be in from time to time.

With that, if you're in/from the States, Happy Thanksgiving! Everyone else: have a great day/week/weekend!

*I didn't have much free time at my last job either, but I often had to wait for a lot of my projects to be signed off on, so I'd have some wait time. The new job isn't really like that. Oh, and it's also a huge international company that keeps tabs on what websites its employees visits. Ha.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

RED ALERT!

[screen shot of my sale alert...I love that coat.]

I get daily sale alerts. My favorite is the Shop It To Me Sale Alert, where I can select what stores I want listed in my email of every little item I can get on sale that day.

So I was scrolling through my sale alert today wondering, "What possessed me to include shops like Neiman Marcus, Anne Klein and Barney's on this list?!" I mean, only shop at places like LOFT and Banana Republic when there's a sale. What made me think that I would buy a $300 watch (after a 50% discount) from Barney's?

And then I remembered. I added these stores to my sale alerts after getting engaged.

Because what if I found the perfect pair of shoes? I'd spend more on them, because they're for the wedding.

Or what if found a GORGEOUS necklace that would go perfectly with the neckline of my dress? Who cares if it's way out of usual Nina-budget. It's my wedding! I'm willing to spend more on a gorgeous necklace because it's for the wedding.

I've always been very, very frugal. I spend money rarely and wisely, and if I do splurge a little, it's an absolute treat and nothing I should let myself get used to. But for some reason, I was going to let myself splurge on just about anything, as long as it was for the wedding.*

Why do we do this? And, what's even worse: why do businesses in the wedding industry exploit this? (Because they're smart. And evil. That's why.)

I'm no psychologist, but wedding spending is one serious mindf*ck. I'm not saying that the day isn't important-- it really, really is. In fact, it's SUCH an important day that we attempt to put a monetary value on it. Maybe not overall, but with individual details like the dress, the cake or the flowers (which, as we know, add up). And that's okay! Sometimes we show that we care about something by putting extra money into it (an expensive haircut comes to mind). But it's important not to lose sight of the REASON the day is so important: the commitment.

And really, there's no amount of money in the world that you can put on that. But we try anyway! And are pressured again and again to put more and more money into proving that your love is the best love.

Man oh man. I hate money sometimes.

*One thing that was on my radar in the sale alerts was my actual wedding dress, because I didn't really want one from a bridal shop. I was more interested in a pretty one I could buy off the rack from a department store. No, I wouldn't buy a $1000+ wedding dress, but I would buy a pretty dress from Neiman Marcus for $500. That was the only exception in (browser) window shopping when scrolling through my sale alerts.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My Wedding Checklist at 7 Months

 [Me and my would-be best man. He's obviously making some ridiculous point.]

If we hadn't eloped in September, today we would be exactly seven months out from our wedding.

No, I don't keep a tally of this in my head. I'm actually still on all of those mailing lists for brides planning their weddings. I do this because I still like to blog about weddings and-- to be completely honest-- have wanted to be a wedding/event planner my whole life and try to stay in the loop about trends and ideas that I was on these lists as a "professional" before even getting engaged.

So anyway, I got an email from one of those services (which, while helpful in some ways, usually do more of a disservice to brides because it makes them think that EVERY LITTLE DETAIL is important when really that just can't be the case) telling me:

Nina, with 7 months to go, don't forget to:
  • Pick the perfect bridesmaid dresses with the bridesmaid dress finder.
  • Explore the bridesmaid bouquet gallery for ideas and inspiration.
  • Check out the bridal party channel for advice on picking your bridesmaids.
  • Send updo inspirations from one of the hairstyle galleries to your bridesmaids.
  • Get a head start on saying "thank you"-- start shopping for the perfect bridesmaid gift right now!
  • Is a traditional shower not really your style? Read up on fun alternatives .
  • Dress your bridal party in the hottest styles. Check out the Celebrity Wedding Blog for Brides for the latest Hollywood style inspirations.
With seven months to go, I guess it's important to turn your attention to your bridesmaids. If we were getting married in June 2011, this is where I would be regarding my attendants (going by the bullet point, from top to bottom):
  • The dresses: I was going to ask them to wear whatever dress they wanted. Really.
  •  I might actually go ahead and explore the bouquet gallery, but would probably go for farmer's market flowers the day of (or the day before) anyway.
  • My bridesmaids were already selected. They were going to be my best friend fron high school, my best friend from college, and my brother was going to be my best man (and I was going to ask him to wear whatever suit he wanted).
  • Updo inspiration? They were going to wear their hair however they damn pleased! Who knows how long/short their hair would be anyway?
  • The dresses I won were going to be their presents, and I was going to get my brother a fancy silk tie with other dapper accoutrements like cuff links and a tie bar.
  • I definitely didn't want a traditional shower, and honestly didn't expect to get one because my friends (and especially bridal party) are so spread out around the country.
  • I don't really care what celebrities are doing. And really, because they're celebrities, they are guaranteed to have way more money than I do or am willing to spend on the wedding.
Like I said before, those checklist emails can be helpful (say, for the bride that has no idea what she's doing), but also harmful (for brides that know and don't alike) because they:
1) Stress you out. When you look at all the things these emails tell you to do, your To Do list grows exponentially.
2) Convince you to spend money/time/energy/precious resources on things you might otherwise have never considered.
When, in a nutshell:
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ALL (OR ANY) OF THESE THINGS!

You're welcome.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thank You Rant

 [via TastyTouring.com -- Artist: Pablo León-Asuero Moreno]

Richie and I work on our thank you cards a little bit every night. At first we planned to do 5 each day, but when we sit down and start writing, we end up doing much more. So tonight should be our last batch (for now, until the other party and more gifts start coming in).

So here's where the rant part comes in. Richie has been amazingly helpful with these thank you cards. He writes almost as many as I do, despite the fact that he's not thrilled with his penmanship and has to write very slowly to ensure the notes are legible. Last night, as I was putting away the stationery (yes, I put it away after each session), I was patting myself on the back for marrying an awesome guy that helps with the thank you cards while so many women do them all themselves!

Examples, from a forum on a certain wedding-planning website:

"Should my soon-to-be husband and I both sign the thank-you cards if I'm the one writing them? He works A LOT, so it's easier for me to take care of this (and my handwriting is better!). I just don't want to send thank-you cards without his signature if that's proper etiquette."

"Should you have the groom sign his own name to the thank-you cards?"

You'd be amazed at how many questions some women have to basic Thank You 101 posts. Maybe it's because my mom made me write thank you notes for every present I got when I was younger, but is it really that hard?

I digress. As I was thinking about how great Richie is, I got angry that guys are awarded points for being helpful when it comes to things like writing thank you cards. How silly would it sound if this was actually Richie's blog and he was gushing about how his wife really pulls her weight when it comes to wedding related tasks? And guess what? He cooks and cleans, too, and people are always very impressed with him. If we were out to dinner and he said, "Nina's so great. She cooks and cleans as much as I do!" our companions likely wouldn't be too impressed. But what if he did all the work? All the thank you cards, all the cooking, and all the cleaning? I'd be a "bad wife." If I did it all, people would say he's lazy, but "that's men, right?"

This rant doesn't discount the fact that I am extremely appreciative of everything Richie does. He really is great.

...he just shouldn't get any points for it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Party Animal

AAAAHHHH! I've been gone for a while. (Sorry about that.) And in my absence, Richie's parents threw us a reception to celebrate our marriage! And it was lovely.

My parents and my great uncle and aunt flew in for various lengths of time during the week/weekend, so even though I took some time off for it, I definitely didn't have any free time.

When I get some professional pictures, I'll be sure to share them, but for now, here's one of me and Richie that my mom took:

 I love this picture.

I decided not to wear my wedding dress because:
1) It wasn't requested. In fact, in the weeks leading up to it, most dress code conversation was about if I had a dress yet, so I think I just went with the flow and didn't really consider wearing it.
2) It was cold, and my wedding dress is very lightweight and flowy.
3) I scored this adorable retro-looking Maggy London dress at a consignment shop recently and really wanted to wear it.

And may I just point out how cool my necklace is? It looks like it's glowing, but that's just from the flash because it's clear. I found it that very afternoon when my mom and I went to get our makeup done. She bought it for me. Hooray!

Along with the pro photos, I'll share a couple DIY projects I did for the event.