Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I was pretty confident it would look great when I made the decision, and still am now.
Even more so, now that I've seen these pictures:
See? It doesn't look like a funeral...
Friday, March 27, 2009
I deleted almost ALL of the wedding blogs I read daily from my Google Reader.
Why? I don't know. I guess you could say that I'm over them. I've found myself scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and not really stopping to look at any of the pictures or read the stories. The 2 blogs I have continued to subscribe to are my always wonderful A Practical Wedding and the fabulously funny blog, I Hate Planning My Wedding. Unfortunately, her wedding was back in February, and there are no updates, so I'll probably delete that one soon, too.
I've really begun feeling very "Meh" about the planning and the details. I feel that I have everything under control, and actually get slightly annoyed when people ask if I'm stressed out. All of our big decisions feel great, and we don't regret a single one. I still feel very confident in all of our vendors to deliver what we've agreed upon, and deliver it well. I know that if any issues arise the day of, they all have the experience and practicality to fix it how they see best. Because of this feeling of implicit trust, my stress has really been at a minimum. The most stressful part for both Tom and I was the guest list, and that really has nothing to do with any of our vendors.
It's not that I'm not excited for the wedding, because let me tell you, I am SUPER excited, it's just that I'm not dwelling on all the different facets of it anymore. It's a pretty great feeling, knowing that I can now devote my time and energy into other arenas of my life (including my insane craft list!). As Tom and I begin the preparations to move, and he moves into yet another season of track, we've realized that the whole point to this wedding is beginning life the day after.
We've been doing some serious thinking and discussing this week about all the possibilities in the future for us. A lot of our conversations center around money, as many couples' do. With Tom planning on becoming a professional athlete once he graduates, our future priorities are a bit different than other people. For example, every important (and sometimes not-so-important) decision we make centers around our big potential move in a year. Tom has an opportunity to be coached by an Olympian, and that's certainly not something we'd ever give up. But, it does change where we'd thought we'd be in five years.
When I start thinking about all that we discuss, and how well we know each other, I am always amazed at how similar we think. Before it was even said aloud, we were both on the same page concerning Tom's Olympic dream. I knew I'd do anything to make it happen, he knew that he wouldn't let me give up everything to make it happen. We've come to such a great place of calmness and trust within our relationship, I can't imagine it being any other way.
So I guess the sparkle of wedding planning isn't really gone, it's just transferred to another place in our relationship. And I think I like it a lot better...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It's no surprise that I love me a good project, especially one that has instant results.
I actually started these organza flowers a few weeks ago as a test run. They were pretty simple, actually, and I had churned out 3 in less than half an hour. Plus, I only spent $10 on the organza, and I have plenty left over!
Mine are made out of blue and green, and I'm hoping I can figure out a way to make them into hair clips for my nieces. The ones I made were a bit more curly around the edges, but I like them that way. If I figure out a good use for them, I'll be sure to post the final result.
Last night, I left the wedding projects behind and moved into home decor. Not for my house (though those projects are beginning to swirl in my head, too!), but for my nieces' bedroom. The two oldest of the bunch are moving up to a "big girl" bedroom to make room for little Charlotte, who will be arriving in just 6 short weeks! So, last night, I dug my trust little sewing machine out from the depths of my closet, fired it up, and whipped up 2 pairs of curtains and 3 throw pillows. Tonight, I'm finishing up the last of the 3 pillows. Soon, Becca and I will start with the last of the accents, which I'm most excited about. I'll definitely post some pictures once the room is finished!
Since I was already on a crafty roll yesterday, I ordered a new set of calligraphy pens and white India ink to address the invitations.
(Clever calligraphy from Once Wed)
I informed Tom that once I finalize and verify all the guests' addresses, I'll be launching a hostile takeover of his computer and printer so I can begin the printing, then will start the white ink process in batches throughout April and May. This way, June will roll around and all I'll have to do will be to purchase the stamps! :)
And what's an envelope without an invitation?
That's right --- I'm breaking out the Gocco. I know I've made a series of false promises with this, but I really have no choice anymore. I have to start this and figure it out, in case it doesn't work...
And maybe, just maybe, if I'm not too burned out, I'll finally start on the ribbon wands I mentioned.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
But, as we stand 4 months out from the wedding, here's the plans/inspiration so far:
This is the bouquet that started it all; Most of my decisions have stemmed from this picture:
The ceremony venue:
The ties for the gentlemen:
The flower girl dresses:
My HOT shoes (but in blue):
Monday, March 23, 2009
The 4 Keys to Having a "Practical" Wedding:
- That you have a honest wedding. That your wedding budget (whatever it is) reflects who you are, and what you feel you can afford to spend. That when you think of your wedding budget you don't feel ill and wonder, "oh dear god, how are we ever going to pay off this party?" I mean, in my experience *any* wedding budget will make you feel ill now and then, but most of the time it should make you feel confident like, "Hey, it feels like a lot of money, but we're spending smart, and we can do this thing." Amen, sister! So glad we nixed the $20k budget!
- That you tried to spend less then you can afford. At the end of the day, it's nice to know that you have a little in the bank in case of an emergency, and you didn't blow it all on one day. (I'm aware that this is not always possible. In my most broke days a marriage license would have felt like more then I could afford!) Yes! I'm a deal-hunter! This is sooo me. We're paying for the wedding and honeymoon in cash, and will still have a savings! Yes!
- That you have a laid back wedding where you care more about having a wedding that reflects who you are then meeting some arbitrary criteria, whether they are set by a wedding magazine or a blog. Hey, us again! We're on a roll! Haven't I tried (though I've slipped at times) to focus on WHY we're getting married, not HOW?
- But there is one thing that I care about most of all: I think how you spend your money is more important than how much you spend. When I look back at what we've spent our money on, the decisions I feel the best about are the ones where we put our money towards things we believe in. I don't feel best about the affordable wine we bought at Bevmo (though I think it was a smart choice), instead I feel the best about the wine that we bought on sale from Meeker - our favorite funky, low brow, small, local winery. When we bought Meeker wine, we helped support a business that we want to thrive in a difficult economic environment, and I feel great about that. I've tried to look at our wedding budget as money we are going to spend regardless, and tried to allocate it to people, businesses, and local artists that we want to thrive. Hmmm, if I stretch it, this one might be us, too. Though we're not having an all out eco-friendly, locally-grown wedding, we are doing our best to make conscious decisions about how and where we spend our money.
It's funny, because I was planning on posting something thoughtful today, anyway, that this showed up on my Google Reader. It's one of the few wedding blogs that doesn't just churn out pictures of over-priced (but gorgeous) weddings that focus on the invitations, the bridal dress, the venue, etc.
This weekend, I had a "Eureka" moment. Tom and I had a fairly laid back weekend, and the only "wedding" moment was when we tried on our wedding rings (which was a pretty spectacular moment, by the way!). The rest was all wedding-free, and it was so nice returning back to who we are as a couple, as opposed to Tom and Beth, the groom and bride. It's so very easy to get caught up in the plans, the budget, the etiquette rules, and the details, that we forget to relax and enjoy ourselves. :)
So, as March begins to come to a close and we head into "the crazy months," I plan on making a concerted effort to keep my head screwed on straight and my stress to a minimum. The "Will it matter in 10 minutes? 10 days? 10 years?" question will be one I ask myself more often.
Any maybe, just maybe, I'll remain practical until August.
Friday, March 20, 2009
My initial idea was to purchase 2 of these, and have one above and one below. Essentially, I could mix and match -- wear both bands and my e-ring, one band and my e-ring, just my e-ring, just a band, whatever. I could change the look to whatever I desired...
But, that idea crashed and burned. I got the rings sometime last week, tried them on, and promptly decided I hated the idea. Absolutely hated.
I loved it. Immediately.
It only came in platinum. The cost was equivalent to a down payment on a car. I asked if it came in white gold, and was told no.
The next day, I loaded up their website, and to my chagrin, found the EXACT ring in white gold.
Whaddya know? Plus the cost was close enough to our budget.
I received the ring yesterday, and am on the fence. I like it, then I don't like it.
Is it too shiny? Do all the diamonds match? Are the diamonds too big? Does it dwarf my engagement ring? Is the band too tapered? Should I have my engagement ring tapered to match? Should I get it soldered so the diamonds match up all the time? Is this what I'm going to want thirty years from now?
For now, I'll hang onto it. I'll show it Tom, wear it around, then make my decision. Ultimately, I think I'll keep it, but you never know...
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Below are photographs from our florist's wedding (actually photographed by our photographer, Kara!)
Kristen, our florist, did all the flowers for her own wedding. This is the card holder she'll be providing for our wedding (using the same flowers as my bouquet, of course!):
Hard to see? Sorry. It's a HUGE vase (I think almost 3 feet tall), with a floral rim on the top. It's pretty, it's secure, and it's pretty obvious in person what it is.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
While it's still a little early to be making our last payment, there's a reason for the madness.
This bad boy right here:
Part of the ceremony "package" with the park district is a free engraved brick to be placed in the garden where the ceremony takes place. Tom and I thought it would be more fun to have the brick there the day we were getting married, instead of after. So, we have to pay the money and choose our inscription this week to meet the deadline before August.
I am sooo excited about this brick! I've already decided that we're going to make a big, obvious sign with an arrow pointing towards it that says something like "Look Down" to point it out, and I want to get a picture of our rings with it. :)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
This isn't to say that couples don't put thought into the gifts, but when buying a "blanket" gift for 6, 7, or 8 people, you tend to get generic. And one thing Thomas and I are not is generic.
So, we plan to go unique with our gifts. Instead of giving the boys all pilsner glasses or cuff links, Tom will actually be taking them all to a White Sox game. Most of them, including Tom, are Sox fans, and they all enjoy baseball, so it seems a good opportunity for some male bonding. Plus, since 3 of the groomsmen are underage, it's a lot easier logistically than going to a bar or other seedy joint.
For my sisters, who are all my bridesmaids, I haven't completely decided on what I'd like to do. Even if I did, I probably wouldn't post here since they all read this. I'm most likely not going to do the jewelry route, since I don't care if they all have matching jewelry. I like the idea of buying them all clutches, but it's a bit impractical considering two of them need mom purses. I really like the idea of buying them all different, separate gifts, so I might do that.
Then, we have the parents to consider. I don't even know where to begin on this one. How do you thank your parents for all their love, support and time with a $50 or $100 gift? While I know they would appreciate a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, I don't think it's completely fitting.
But, again, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, as always. Stay tuned. :)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Look what my swatches turned into!!
Yay! Our ties our finished! In less than a week, no less. They're being shipped from NY today or tomorrow, so I should have them soon! I should also have our wedding rings in this week, too! It's all so very exciting!!!!!
PS - Videos of Tom to come later...he hogged the computer all night last night so I couldn't upload them :(
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Gotta forgive the boy, though, because, well, he took 5th OVERALL in the weight throw!!
I'll probably post Sunday morning with the videos of his throws, plus all the pictures of him on the All-American podium receiving his award!
Today, at 3:30 EST, he'll be throwing the shot put. He's definitely more relaxed today than he was yesterday, so today should be another good one!
More later! :)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Even though you will find me wearing flip-flops on any given day, including winter, I still love (and collect!) shoes. What did I bring back from Germany? Wine, nutcrackers and shoes. Red peep toe stilettos, to be exact.
So it's of no surprise that I'm taking the task of finding my wedding shoes pretty seriously. Pretty seriously, indeed.
Every time I enter a store, I head to the shoe section and peruse the selection. Saturday's trip to the mall was no different. I was actually about to pass a store up when my mom convinced me to look inside.
I'd been searching for shoes like these, but in blue:
And what did I find? This exact shoe in the perfect blue! With an original price of $59.99, these shoes became destined for my wedding when I found out they were marked down to $19.99. Score!
I love love LOVE them! :)
Again, just one more example of how waiting can bring good things into your life. Had I purchased the $60 shoes and paid another $15 to dye them, I'd be out an extra $50, run the possibility of the dye bleeding if the grass was wet that morning, and not be completely satisfied anyway.
In other Tom news, I won't be posting tomorrow, since I'll be heading up to Terre Haute, IN for Nationals. As it stands, Tom is still ranked #7 nationally, in both events. If he finishes within the top 8 (out of 14), he'll be honored with the title of All-American! I'll be taking video and pictures, and hope to post his results in the evening. (He's in charge of packing the camera and the dock, so if I don't post, you'll know why...). This whole experience is still very surreal. He's been waiting for this moment for four years. I know he'll be splendid and turn out the performance of his life! :)
Be back tomorrow evening with updates!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
While most people are afraid of using the internet for expensive purchases, I do not shy away. It's a fantastic medium that allows for easy price comparing, provides extra information, and can offer some great deals.
The trick to buying jewelry on the internet is to research and know your product. Check out the product in-stores, get the prices, try it on for size, then head to the internet. Read reviews of the product, the stores, check out the Better Business Bureau, etc.
Before purchasing Tom's ring, we visited several stores. We first determined the style that Tom likes --- white gold, simple, no design or diamonds. Then, we sized his finger. (We promptly forgot it, so in the end, he had to print off a sizer and do it himself...). I searched for about 2 months, reading reviews of various vendors and websites, watching the Christmas sales, signing up for promo codes, etc. I'd send him links to different rings, and he'd reply with what he liked and didn't like about them.
In the end, he chose this ring:
It's the exact ring he tried on at a jeweler's, and even with their "20% wedding jewelry" sale, it was completely out of our budget. While we realize that rings are not something to skimp on, since we'll be wearing them the rest of our lives, we still did have a budget that we had to stick to. By searching out the ring online, I found a Chicago-based store that had an online shop. Then, I searched for the store on eBay, finding the ring to be $30 cheaper (and included free shipping) than was listed on their website. In the end, I saved more than 50% of what the jeweler quoted us. Before I purchased it, though, I read the terms and conditions, refund and exchange policies, and the warranty and appraisal information. Since all checked out, I went ahead with the transaction.
Tom opted for white gold, as it holds up better than most other metals against scratches, but can still be easily buffed. Because he uses his hands so much with weightlifting and throwing, we needed to be sure that the ring could be cut off at any point in case of an injury. We'd heard many conflicting reports about titanium, palladium and tungsten, so we just decided to be on the safe side and choose gold.
All in all, we're both pretty happy with our ring selections. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures once they're in! :)
Monday, March 9, 2009
On Saturday, on a happenstance outing to the local mall with my mother, I found the exact pair of shoes I'd been in love with, since seeing them make the rounds on other blogs. I'm working on finding a picture. I'll probably just end up taking a lovely picture for you all...
Being the slacker that I am, I just actually signed the contracts for the florist and linen specialist, and will mail those this week. I also bought the ribbon for the wands, and am waiting for the dowel rods to go on sale before I pick them up.
Yesterday, while my nieces were over and my sister was in a black dress, we took the opportunity to try on our wedding wear. It was sooo exciting to see "the vision" together for the first time. It's just so crazy to think that the planning portion of this is over, and the actual "doing" portion is here.
As of today, we are officially 5 months away from the wedding! I have a feeling that the next few months are going to fly by! This month, I hope to start printing the invitations and other stationery (that's right, it's finally Gocco time!). April should give us a bit of a break. Tom and I will be moving mid-May, so the end of April/beginning of May should be a flurry of packing, cleaning, painting and unpacking, and then we go right into our first shower (which means I need to get cracking on designing and printing thank-you's, too). Our newest niece will be born in May, Tom has outdoor Nationals, finals and then a week-long trip to Colorado, and we'll have a variety of family functions and graduations to top it all off. June and July aren't much better, and then before you know it, the wedding will be here!
Friday, March 6, 2009
This morning, I finalized the order for the custom ties (Tom chose to wear "apple" green, put all the boys in the "light turquoise" and give the fathers "apple" green, if you were wondering...). In the next week, I'll be finalizing the order for the favors (more to come on that later --- it's turning out to be awesome!) and hopefully beginning to work on some of the minor stationery elements (napkins, "guest book" cards, etc.). Yesterday, I finalized the wording for the response card.
I really wanted something fun, instead of the etiquette-appropriate "Accepts with Pleasure/Declines with Regret." So, this is what I found:
In case you can't read it, the options are "Wouldn't miss it for the world" or "Be there in spirit."
I can't wait to see how it turns out!!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tom: Well, it's 4:30 in the afternoon, and we're married. What's next?
Me: Uhh, I don't know. Wanna go out to dinner?
Now I'm not talking a "Let's go to the club and dance until 3 am" after-party. After all, we will be leaving for Australia the next day!! Instead, I've always pictured us having a low-key, lounge-around, fun party.
After-party napkins! How fun are these?
So, my first thought was Lucky Strike bowling alley. Since LS is known for being a bowling lounge (think sectional couches, coffee tables and low-hanging lamps) instead of a regular bowling alley, I thought it would be perfect. Until I found out the price. Parties start at $40 a person. That quickly adds up, and really isn't an option.
So I have two choices. I can either try to reserve 2 lanes before the wedding (reservations are only accepted 2 weeks out) and we can provide a few beer buckets and trays of snacks, or we can try to brainstorm a different idea.
Another major plus: our photographer is willing to come to the party and take photographs. How much fun will those pictures be?!?!?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I'm not sure why. Could it be the promise of what will be made with those swatches? Maybe. Could it be the ability to coordinate these swatches with the rest of your design elements? Possibly. Could it be the ability to feel the different textures and see the way they look in different lights? Could be.
Who knows? I just love them. So when I received swatches in the mail on Saturday, I was a happy, happy girl. I immediately dug out my wedding boxes from underneath my bed and in the depths of my closet, comparing ribbons and invitations and flower girl dresses to these tiny swatches.
And what where these swatches for? The guys' ties! (Say that 5 times fast.)
(Etsy Seller Jesswitaj)
I put a bid out for these ties using the Alchemy feature of Etsy. You simply describe the object(s) you want, how many you want, and the price you are willing to pay. Sellers then input bids that you can accept or reject. Then you work with the seller to create your custom item.
I received over 20 bids in 24 hours, which was awesome! I had retired Home Ec teachers, stay at home moms, and aspiring fashion designers all offering to custom-make these ties.
In the end, I selected Jes. She falls into the aspiring fashion designer category. Her Etsy shop is filled with her printed ties, which are really fun. We're not having our ties printed, since it doesn't really match up with the feel of the wedding, but I've seen some of her work from weddings, and they look awesome!
So, back to the swatches: After showing them to my family, the consensus was to select the Light Aqua silk and the Kiwi silk. But since they're for the boys, the decision ultimately came down to what Tom liked. He chose Light Turquoise and Apple, which were the colors I like first. :)
Now we just have to decide who gets what color tie, and place the final order.
Oh, and before you get all judgey-judgey about ordering custom ties, I'd like to mention that these ties will cost us less than if we purchased them in a department store. Total price for 8 ties? $120, or $15 each. Plus, I get to keep the fabric swatches! ;)
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Until then, bear with me and use your imagination...
So the paver walkway extends past the staircase, and then splits around a small flower bed, then meets again. The path continues for a distance to the parking lot, I believe. The garden is actually tucked behind a building, so it is not visible from the parking lot.
As a dual-purpose project, I'm thinking of creating some path markers. I saw this featured on OnceWed:
Pinwheels and ribbon wands:
Now picture these ribbon wands, with a bit thicker stem and thicker ribbons, spaced every two feet or so, lining the path to the tent. As a project that will cost less than $20, I think this is something that would make a big impact with little effort (similar to the sheer sashes being tied to the chairs!).
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Saturday was possibly one of the longest meets I have ever been to, and I've been to a lot of meets.
During the warm-up for the guys' weight throw, a guy broke a crossbar off of the throwing cage, and for safety reasons, we had to wait until they could fix it. So, for an hour and a half, we sat and waited. And waited. And waited some more.
In the meantime, Tom, who had been up all night with a fever and cough, was doing his best to rest and quell his queasiness. When he woke up that morning, the first thing he said to me was "I can't even lift my head off the pillow. How am I going to throw?"
Eventually they fixed the crossbar, and Tom mustered up the strength to do this:
Not only did this throw (coming in at 17.43 meters) place Tom in the lead, it also broke every existing conference record and secured him 7th place nationally. Yep, nationally. Like, all 50 states nationally. How cool is that?
Since he was in the lead by over 2 meters (almost 7 feet!), his coach had him sit out through finals so he could conserve his strength. The poor guy was so sick that he was running to the bathroom in between events and throwing up... :(
But, he somehow managed to do this:
This throw, in shot put, measured at 16.00 meters. Again, this was enough to place him in 1st, break all existing conferences records, and place him in 7th place nationally. Too funny, isn't it?
In weight throw, Tom and his teammates placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th. In shot put, they placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. At the end of the meet, in addition to receiving his medals, Tom was also named Men's Field Athlete of the Meet.
To me, it's unbelievable that despite how sick he was (and he was pretty dang sick, people), he was able to make this his best meet EVER. I guess it really shows you how important mind over matter is.
And it really shows the mettle that this kid's made out of.
I am bursting with pride, and just so happy he's made it to this point. I am extremely lucky (despite my complaints at times!) to be sharing this journey with him...
Oh, and I promise, back to wedding stuff the rest of this week. I have some exciting stuff! :)