Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Wedding: Food!

As we stepped into wedding planning, we put together a list of things that were important to us. One of the biggies was using local, organic and seasonal food if and where possible. We knew this was going to cost us more, but when we are spending thousands on one day, we wanted to spend on our money on vendors and food that we felt good about.

Enter our caterer: Josephs Catering in Minneapolis.

Josephs was the first caterer we met with - and the only. Screw that business that you have to talk to at least x amount of vendors before choosing one. We liked them, felt good with them and went with them. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I didn't feel it was worth the trouble and time to do a million vendor interviews when we found one who seems to be a match!

We were so happy to find a caterer who truly seems to be committed to running a sustainable business. They only use dinnerware and try to reduce waste as much as possible and maximize recycling. They use local, organic and seasonal foods as much as possible and the chef often shops at the local farmers markets. And one of our favorite part is their food recycling program. All the leftovers that are suitable for people are given to a home for adults with disabilities. The leftovers that are no longer suitable for people are given to a local pork farmer - which is also where they get their pork.

As a business they are also great to work with. They are willing to work with us to get our choice of local wine and beer, to create a menu that fits our wedding, and to get the most out of our money without nickel and diming us. We may be paying a bit more than we had hoped, but in the end I think we are getting a lot for the price and that it will be well worth it.

We both feel good about this decision and are checking it off our list and not looking back.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dress

Oh my! I was just informed that my dress is in! I was expecting it in May but now its here! EEEEK! I feel very nervous to see it and try it on again. What if I don't like it? What if it turns out not to be "the one"? That mythical, magical dress that sweeps me off my feet and turns me from a frog into a Princess with glass slippers?

Ok, mostly joking! I know there is not the perfect "one" dress just like there isn't the "one" perfect man for me and just like our wedding isn't going to be perfect. This isn't the Matrix and there isn't the One anything.

But. I did have my heart set on a dress and this dress is not it. I settled. I settled for the dress under $500 instead of shelling out $1,500 for the dress that really sang to me. Am I going to be happy with that decision? I can't tell, and I'm nervous to find out.

I have been doing lots of thinking about how to make the best of my little lovely dress. Because it is a lovely dress and it looks great on me. Its just very....bridal. Which is not what I was going for. I had really wanted a short, fun, white dress but never found anything in my price range. My dress is full length, strapless, made out of taffeta and ruschy all over the place in a subtle fit 'n flare style. Its a great dress but I need to do a little something to ensure that I feel like ME in it. I don't want to feel like The Bride. I want to feel like me...who just happens to be getting married.

To make it feel more like me I'm going to chop off the train and maybe use that extra fabric to make a jumbo taffeta flower that will sit on my hip. Or thats my only idea so far.

Any other ideas on how to take a dress and spice it up? Add some flair? Take the bridal level down a notch and turn up the fun?

Note: I suppose I'll share a link to the dress so you can see it! To the boy, DON'T PEAK! Not that I'm superstitious or anything, but I wanna savor that moment when you see me and get that dumbfounded look on your face! That's my favorite!

Back to life...and planning

Phew! After a wonderfully long vacay, I'm back to life, reality and wedding planning. And having a bit of a time adjusting back into it! I barely though about anything relevant to anything on vacation and went DAYS without thinking about the wedding! It was the best thing for me at the moment because before vacay thoughts of the wedding were driving me towards a mental break down cliff and I was teetering on the edge.

And the break gave me a different vantage point of the wedding and is making me promise myself that I will chill the F out! Sure there is still a lot of stress involved, but everything will work itself out. I just have to be patient and find my wedding zen.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm going to be taking a break for some vacay time! Yippie!!! Its been ages since I've had a solid vacation, and I'm really looking forward to some chilling. Well, it won't be that chill since we are going out to Utah for spring skiing! woo! But we are going to be there for NINE days visiting friends and just recharging.

Its a perfect time because at 5-6 months out we've had a nice pause in planning. And maybe while we are out there I can have a day where I don't think about the wedding. Maybe? Or at least where I don't spend much time thinking about it...that sounds more likely. :)

But we are going to be using our 20+ hour drive out there to discuss some important things that need discussing. We'll be doing some informal, self directed marriage counseling while we are stuck together for that time.

Be back at the end of the month (the 29th).

Until then, peace out, wedding land!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Before getting engaged, I will say that I was a bit against weddings. I wanted to avoid all the drama and just have a big, fun party. Since getting engaged, I’ve changed my tune a bit and our big, fun party is looking more and more like a wedding. And that’s fine. In essence it’s still a big, fun party, but I’ve learned that there are a lot of great parts of weddings and I am excited to include these parts!

My favorite part so far has been that of community. We’ve had people offering help and services like I never expected. I’ve gotten to hang out with my aunts and cousin all to brainstorm and craft for the wedding. Sometimes I feel apologetic for taking up their time, but in the end I know that they love helping out and applying their skills and knowledge to our wedding. And it is so much fun to be in the center of this outpouring of help, love, and creativity!

It’s bonding time that I can’t imagine happening in any other way at this moment in my life (I’m sure having a baby could be similar but that is way, way far away), and I feel as though I’m going through a right of passage. The other weekend I was sitting at a table with my mom and two of my aunts. Mom had her wedding album out and the three of them were sharing wedding memories. It was fun to hear about their favorite parts, the mishaps, and their perspectives from each others weddings. And to feel excited for our wedding so that we could add to this shared experience and group memory.

It makes me hopeful that all this time, energy, and money will be well spent.

Image from maz hewitt

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Wedding: The Partiers

I thought I'd throw out some info on our wedding since so far its just been me bitchin' about wedding stuff. There will still be lots of venting, but I want to write more about the good as well as just the basics.

So one of the first basics we covered party!

Choosing our wedding party was pretty easy since we were going for simple and just two people each. The Mister has two brothers and wanted them to stand with him (and totally avoids any hurt feelings. There is no arguing with family.) and I have two friends who I want to support me on that day. But then, just because things were going so smoothly and trouble free, we had wanted to come up with titles other than "bridesmaids" and "groomsmen". For one, I would have had a "maid of honor" and a "matron of honor" since she is married...and can I just say, eew? Who wants to be the "matron" even if it is "of honor"! It sounds like a boring grandma is standing up for me.

We threw around lots of ideas.... There is the "Bridal Brigade" as told on A Practical Wedding. They were our 'special people' for a while. I thought about giving them each individual titles or calling them my "Sisters from other Misters". But in the end, we end up just calling them by name (revolutionary!) and saying pooey to titles. Our program will say "Standing up for Jen and the mister are Bob, Billy, Betty, and Bo." Done and done.

Any other titles or options people have used?

Deciding whats important

We are less than six months out from our wedding (EEEK!) and have most of the major decisions done (venue, officiant, caterer, photographer). And we are now moving on to the details of our wedding that in the end will (hopefully!) make it feel personal and feel like us. This is the point where I need to reign in all the ideas that have been floating around, nail them down, and commit to them. I'm trying to make sure that I focus on things that will be important the day of and let go of the things that in the end won't really matter. But how do we know which is which?

I've come to realize the importance of things in many different ways - sometimes intentionally, but mostly in a completely random, roundabout way.

On the intentional side: The Mister and I have done lots of discussing and negotiating to pull out what is important to us. And I have found the (sane) blogs helpful by just noticing what I like in the photos or discussions - and as has been said before, its the smiles and love radiating from the photos that makes them amazing! So that's, great, cuz smiles are free! yay!

But mainly its random when I find out if something is important or not. And this is where it gets messy. Cuz this is the drama of mixed opinions and too much input on what sort of attire or music or cake or whatever to have. And that's when you have to take time to figure out whether to stick up to your guns - is it really that important to you? or compromise - is it really that important to them? Argue...I mean, discussions can help here too or it can help to just picture the day of with or without that certain element. Would you be sad? Disappointed? Not give a rats butt?

Or I like to play a little game my friend taught me. (It works best if you can teach this game to your partner, and they can spring it on you.) For whatever the decision, leave it to a coin toss. Assign heads/tails - flip - and see what the results are. If cupcakes win and you feel a sigh of relief inside, then nix the five tier professionally baked cake! Its really just a way to force your brain to decide which side of the fence its on and you can feel the relief or disappointment in a certain decision almost immediately. But as noted, it does work best if someone else can spring it on you and try to be serious about it - better to fool your brain with.

Then. I have to make a decision and be done. No rethinking. And when you find out how to do this, please fill me in!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wedding Drama

First, I have to say that I am extremely lucky and have only mild drama compared to tales from other brides. My parents have been mostly understanding and agreeable and the in-laws have been only mildly crazy and hair-pull-inducing. But there has still been drama and tears and frustration and considerations of eloping.

I find it very challenging to figure out what I want, what I like, what has meaning for me, etc while at the same time negotiating everyone's opinion that is being thrown at me. This has led to lots of fumbling and renegotiating and difficult discussions. And it takes that fumbling and those discussions for me to learn what is important to me and really find out why I'm making the decisions I'm making. Sometimes it turns out my decision was mostly random...sometimes I find out its because something really was important to me. And from there, a constructive decision making process can continue. But it can get messy before that!

This is also where I've been finding out what is important to other people (aka parents), and I'm guessing they go through a lot of the same process. They don't have everything figured out either, and their decisions are a mixture of randomness, emotions, WIC pressure, tradition, preference, etc too.

Wedding planning is a great lesson in patience. In negotiation skills. In communicating with your partner. In working with your partner. And lots of other life and marriage skills that will definitely be used in the future.

Yay for growing as people and as a couple!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Garland Obsesssion...

Hi, my name is Jen and I'm obsessed with garlands.
I don't know how or why it started, but I LOVE them! Maybe because they are so cute and whimsical and doable! A lot of it is that last doable! There are many different kinds of garlands and they go from the level of "easy but time consuming" to "My cat could do this!" So easy yet so adorable.

Photo from

Friday, March 5, 2010

No, really...I don't care

There are areas of wedding planning that I think are really fun, pretty, exciting, meaningful, etc etc. There are areas of wedding planning that I think are horrible (favors. screw favors.) and want to avoid all together. And then there are areas in between where I just don't really care. I don't care much what our centerpieces look like. I don't really care what the ladies standing up for me wear. And it has surprised me that I don't really care about the cake. As long as it makes it to my mouth and is tasting good, I'm happy!

But this doesn't work so well in wedding planning. And I'm getting frustrated with the expectations of me to be this all knowing bride who has everything figured out and knows what she wants and can make snappy decisions on demand!

Now, I know that I do need to make these decisions because they are mine to make. My mister generally cares less than me and defers to my opinion on most things wedding. I need to be the captain and the anchor of this wedding and make solid decisions, but sometimes I don't know what I want or just haven't seen an option that I really like. So in the meantime I sit on my hands and when asked about these topics shrug and say, "I dunno! I'll get to that later!"

Photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston