Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ceremony Debate

Something I realize every time the holidays come around is how difficult it is to combine two lives into one. Both Mr. FP and I spent the better part of 19 years as individuals who celebrated unique sets of traditions with our families around Christmas time and after moving in together last year, we're know faced with the difficulty of balancing two families who are used to having us all to themselves on December 25th. Ha, forget just the 25th, we struggled with how to balance the entire last week of December. Every year, it's hard, and every year we struggle with it.

This whole debacle got me thinking about our wedding ceremony and how it's proving to be another one of those pesky balancing acts that attempts to merge two individuals, two families and way more than two opinions. Since we both come from families with religious influences (mine mainly from my grandparents and him from his parents) we've had a variety of input from those family members about how our ceremony should play out. My grandparents (being the devout Pentecostals that they are) thought we should get married in a church but since my faith has been centered on my relationship with God, not with a congregation, that didn't make much sense for us. Plus, although he was raised in with strong religious influence, Mr. FP is not tied to faith like I am so this would have resulted in him feeling awkward and out of place at his own wedding ceremony. Not cool. And since neither of us are tied to a specific church, simply choosing a church in our area -- though simple enough -- would not have resulted in us getting married in a place that held no meaning or significant to us as a couple.

However, when we ruled out the church, we then faced the dilemma of the officiant. Ideally, we would have gotten married by a friend, but the laws in our province don't allow it. We needed either a religious figure or a justice of the peace. And since neither of us personally knew anyone who fit that description, I turned to my grandmother and asked her to choose from one of her many -- and I stress the word many -- friends who were religiously affiliated to officiate. Since my grandmother probably knows me better than anyone in the world (except for Mr. FP, of course) I knew she'd be able to pick someone who was more laid back and had a good sense of humor. Which is exactly what she did and although we haven't formally met them yet, we've been assured that he will be comfortable with a short, casual, personal and non-denominational ceremony.

In order to achieve our desire to have the ceremony entirely personalized for our needs, I've enlisted the help of a book written by Reverend Judith Johnson (an ordained ecumenical minister who has officiated weddings with a variety of religious and spiritual traditions for the past 14 years). The book is called "The Wedding Ceremony Planner: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Part of Your Wedding Day" and I am in love with it.


It's been so helpful, so diverse and reminds me that amidst all these crazy wedding details is a marriage in the making. I would highly recommend it to anyone who's looking to write their own ceremony because it has got tons of examples of ceremonies, worksheets and logistical information (which has been extremely helpful for me since I haven't attended a wedding since I was a flower girl in one). It's also been helpful in balancing my faith with his not-so-much faith in order to make us both as happy as we can be.

I think above all, we're trying to keep it about us. And even though it's been difficult ... no, extremely difficult to ignore the many opinions of others, at the end of the day, it's our marriage. And we have to be happy with what we get.

Now all we have to decide is what type of vows we're going to have. On one hand, we could go for the more traditional version which is written ahead of time by the two of us, recited in the same way by both of us and contains no surprises. On of the other hand, we could write our own vows and keep them secret from one another. Trust me, this decision will be the difference between pretty bride tears and uncontrollable sobbing which results in streams of tears and running makeup. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DIY Centerpieces: Part 1.5

Something I forgot to mention in the last post is the options I'd found for those of us who are less DIY inclined, are strapped for time or just willing to spend a little more money on the centerpieces.

Though they're in the same vein as what we decided on, these pots I found from Home Depot are all ready to go and come in some gorgeous colors.


And although these ones are a bit small for our purposes and a little too expensive to buy 15 of, I absolutely love, love, love the designs on them.


For environmentally aware brides, there are these pots which -- according to the website -- will "decompose naturally in landfills and compost bins". Impressive.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in

I'm back! Exams have been completed ... successfully enough. And now that Christmas is over, I feel like I need a holiday to recover from my holiday. But, I have a trillion wedding-related projects to work on over my break from school (which only lasts 6 more days, eek!).

I find the whole balance act between school and the wedding is becoming increasingly frustrating. Though I knew it would be difficult, I don't think I ever entirely anticipated being so distracted from school by the wedding plans. Considering the fact that I'm one of those people who keeps themselves awake all night thinking about all the things on the To-Do list, it's hard to focus my mind solely on school for the 13 weeks of each semester. Plus, as the date gets closer and closer (6 months from Dec. 26th, but who's counting, right?) I worry more and more about how I'm going to get things done when I should be focusing on school. And I sometimes find myself fantasizing about how it might have been nice to fall in love when I was done school. Unfortunately, I just had to go and fall for my high school sweetheart and get stuck with the fact that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with the man I love. My life is so rough. Okay, I kid, I kid.

On the plus side of all this mess, I have the privilege of absorbing myself in wedding projects even if the bliss will only last 6 days. First and foremost, I need to get the centerpieces for the reception done. After deciding against cuts flowers (mainly given their extreme expense and the fact that they're not the most environmentally friendly choice) we settled on potted flowers. Although they only account for something crazy like 0.1% of the photos of centerpieces I've seen since we got engaged, I love the idea of being able to replant them once the wedding is over and enjoying them for years rather than having to throw them out 3 days after the wedding. Since making that decision, I've found some amazing resources online and some really great sources of inspiration.




After seeing the last photo posted above, I knew for sure that potted plants were the way to go. And I discovered I could save even more money by using the most inexpensive container ever... a terra cotta planter. I found a great link from the maker of spray paint, Krylon, who have these DIY instructions posted of their website.


However, since we'll be buying enough planters for 15 tables (even though we really only have 10 tables, we wanted lots of extras) spray paint didn't seem like an affordable solution nor did it seem practical since we live in an apartment building in Canada where it's freezing cold 24/7 during the winter months. But the basic idea will be the same as those instructions.

I opted for water-based acrylic paints and got my trusty bridesmaids to help me pick out some colors at the local Michaels and spent the better part of a day cleaning them all off with water and soap. I got two 2 oz. bottles of each color and in the colors which had good coverage (avoid orange unless you want to do 17,438,937 coats) I only ended up using 3/4 of one bottle which means lots of left overs in case of emergencies. Now I just need to spray them with a finishing coat of spray paint to give them an iridescent look and I'll be finito. And I promise to post some photos of them so far once I can locate some batteries for my camera.

As for the rest of the winter break, I just have a small list of other things to do, such as : making the tags for the guest book tree, completing the fabric additions to the centerpieces, ordering a sash for my wedding dress, putting down a deposit for the rentals, figuring out what we're doing about a caterer, finalizing the invitations, getting the invites printed, ordering envelopes, deciding what the men will be wearing, bugging Mr. FP to finally ask his groomsmen to be groomsmen, deciding on the flower girls outfit ...

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I only have 6 months left?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Weddings

In the spirit of winter (and in the spirit of a much needed blogging break so I can focus on exams) I decided to make an inspiration board for winter weddings. And after searching through Etsy for winter wedding related things, I started to wonder why I wasn't having a winter wedding?

The benefits are numerous. If you're lucky, you'll get a pretty blanket of snow on your special day. The use of twinkle lights will be a given (and after all, what's better than romantic lighting for a wedding?). As for flowers, rose bouquets (though slightly overused these days) are gorgeous and in season.

As for attire, brides can be covered head to toe in white, one of the most romantic colors out there. From accessories to the dress itself, everything can sparkle. The combo of white with ice blue is a classic for a reason... because it's amazing. Pearls are the perfect accessory and go well with everything winter related.

So once again, I asked myself, why am I not having a winter wedding? And then I realized that our idea of the perfect wedding -- an outdoor ceremony and the reception under a tent at my family's summer cottage -- would be totally unfeasible in the winter.

I guess I'll just content myself by living vicariously through winter brides. Darn.

{click image to enlarge}

From top left corner, clockwise; the links for everything: ball gown from Priscilla of Boston's Vineyard collection Style Kimber ; clutch from BrianaEdelmanDesigns on Etsy, white carved teardrop earrings; one of my all-time favorite necklaces called Pearly Girly from VirginiaGeigerJewels ; another one of my favorites (but ridiculously out of my price range and not available locally) is this gown from KittyChen Couture called Brier Rose ; boutonniere on Etsy (which, by the way, is a great resource for inexpensive boutonnieres) ; two-piece flower brooch ; screen printed ties from ToyBreaker (who has some other amazing styles which Mr. FP has already fallen in love with) on Etsy.

And in the center is another one of my favorites (though I don't think I can pull of a headband, it's still gorgeous) from Etsy's LittleWhiteDresser (who, by the way, is having a winter sale right now).

Enjoy! Happy Winter!

Cynicism and Cheer


As far as I'm concerned, once December 1st comes, it's Christmas season.

Although, nowadays, retailers have been starting much earlier than me.
But oh well, 'tis the season which means 'tis the time for a new blog design!
And to make sure we have the perfect balance of cheer and cynicism (my two favorite things) I will leave you with these pieces of artwork:


You're obliged to love what I made you

I was touched by your attempt to wrap my gift

I'd be totally into your invitation to go Christmas caroling if it wasn't for my aversion to singing in public, spreading cheer, and freezing my tits off

I hope your Christmas display doesn't incinerate your home and loved ones

Monday, November 30, 2009

DIY: Candy Buffets

I love, love, love candy buffets. I mean, who doesn't like candy? Except maybe diabetics and people with fake teeth. But other than those exceptions, I choose to believe that everyone likes candy. Especially me. Plus, if you combine candy with a cool display and cute little take-out containers you will have people drooling their way into your reception.

So, clearly, we're having a candy buffet. So far, I've got the take-out boxes covered and I've already explained the process to find those here. As for glass containers to hold/display the candy, word on the street is that yard sales are an excellent source t it's not exactly yard sale season here, so I'll have to wait until summer to buy those.


Most recently though, I've been wondering exactly how much candy I'm going to be needing. Foolishly, I took to the internet to answer this question. Which is where I found this gem:

"buffets work best when you plan by the eye, not the numbers .... take five to 10 types of candy, and buy 15 to 20 pounds each, whether you actually need that much or not ... If you have a large table overflowing with candy, you have presence. The biggest disappointment I hear is that the candy buffet didn't look substantial."

10 types? 15-20 pounds of each? If my math is right, that means 150-200 pounds of candy. And at anywhere from $1 to 6 per pound of candy, I'd end up spending way more than I wanted to. Suddenly, my inexpensive and easy idea for guest favors has turned into a monster of a concept. Um, can you say 'not an option'? Because I can.


Thankfully, my research didn't stop there. I found this article which gives some excellent tips. Encouragement to use affordable containers, candy bought in bulk and not overdoing the candy buying sounds more my style. Plus, a helpful tip for those who want the wow factor on a budget, she recommends using several small containers as opposed to 2 or 3 giant ones.


Now I just need to decide on a color. Or not. While I like the aesthetic effect of candy which is the same color across the board, if the candy ends up being all the same or gross tasting, what's the point of following a color theme? Plus, we never settled upon 1 or 2 colors for our wedding in general. There will be no blue/red, no brown/pale blue, no pink/orange themes happening on June 26th. We're free spirits. And that's what our candy buffet will be too. I love not having to follow rules.

For more great inspiration, check out The Knot's collection of photos. I know, endorsing The Knot, what am I thinking? Just be forewarned, avoid the articles and stick with the photos. Even some of their candy buffets are a little elaborate for me, but they're still a good source of inspiration once they're dialed down slightly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DIY: favoring our guests

You know how you get engaged and you make all sorts of plans immediately? And then two months later you change your mind entirely? And then 3 months from then you change it again? And again? And again? And then one more time?

Okay, so there's more decisive people in the world than me. But this was the situation in our case. I was so excited about the wedding that immediately started searching the internet for everything from escort cards, to the invitations to the dress. And every couple of months (or weeks in some cases) I would change my mind entirely. It was a pathetic process. Thankfully, one idea has stuck from day one: our guest favors.

This was one of the first photos I'd ever come across in my searching and I fell in love with the idea immediately.


What could be better than take-out boxes? So cute. So fun for the guests to fill their own. So cheap. Right? Um, no. Wrong. They are not cheap. Especially the kind in this photo. Okay, once again, in terms of wedding favors that the WIC tries to sell us, they are probably one of the cheapest options. But, personally, there was no way I was going to spend $5 on a set of 6 tiny take-out boxes. Unfortunately other than finding containers at outrageous prices, my online searching proved fruitless.

So I was depressed. For about 2 days. And then, in a random trip to one of the dollar stores in my area, I found take-out boxes -- exactly the same as those being sold online for up to $1.99 each -- in a set of 3 for $1. They weren't perfect since I had originally wanted all frosted white while these ones were frosted white, pink and blue. Not perfect, but they will do. When I thought about the alternative of not having them I decided to compromise. So I bought out the store's entire stock with a sense of relief.

In order to pretty them up, I've DIY designed some stickers using the artwork from our invitations and put our names in the center with the date of the wedding. I put in an order with an Etsy seller, SassyCat which was really easy. All I did was send her the design and she sent me back a proof and they should arrive in a few weeks (and although I haven't gotten the final product yet, I would recommend her since my communication with her was excellent so far).

For the less crafty bride, you can even order a custom design from this sellers and then order the labels elsewhere. Or some sellers -- like this one -- will put your name and date on one of their pre-made designs.

We're thrilled with this concept because it makes our dollar store, generic take-out boxes something more personal. Plus, our cost savings on the containers means our guests can fill them with tons of goodies from our candy buffet. More on that one later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Dreaded Guest List

It would mean a lot to me if your wedding guest list included fewer family members and more hot, horny, single women

Before we got engaged and before the idea of planning a wedding even entered into my mind, I remember hearing about how brutal the creation of the guest list can be. Of course, being the naive optimist I am, I thought "Yeah, right, that won't be us. It might get a little heated but no biggie. This is the least of our worries when it comes to the wedding."

Boy, was I wrong.

So, so, very wrong. Apparently everything I'd hear before hand was entirely applicable to our situation. As a couple, Mr. FP and I bicker a lot. But it's rarely about anything big. Nothing too life altering. So when we started screaming at each other the guest count, I knew we were in trouble. Sometimes, I almost wish that we were having a gigantic wedding with endless funds so we could just invite everyone we each wanted to and never have to talk about it again.

But that was impossible. And not what we really wanted. From day one, I knew I wanted a small wedding with only the people who were the most important to us. Mr. FP, however, (following in the foot steps of his parents who had 300+ people at their wedding) thought we could invite the whole world. So we devised a system in order to trim the list a bit. We decided to make an A list of must haves, a B list of people who we wanted there and a C list in case we win the lottery. The A list remained pretty constant throughout the whole process and in the B list we went through and asked ourselves some questions "Have we talked to this person in the last 2 years? Does this person know we're even in a serious relationship? (And most importantly...) Would it make or break our wedding day to have/not have this person present?"

Thankfully, this worked quite well. Of course, we had the typical resistance from family members and parents who thought we should be inviting more people. For Mr. FP's family, I think it was more difficult to accept the idea of a small wedding because they are such a large family. And my parents kept wanting to invite people that they/I was close to at one point in life with little to no contact since. And while I understand that a wedding is about more than a couple and that the parents involved are celebrating that day also, it makes no sense to me to invite people Mr. FP and I are not close with. I'm lucky enough to have a man who agrees with me on this point, so it was much easier to ignore the opinions of others. And that's what we did.

We've settled on somewhere between 70-80 people and we're leaving some room open just in case. But since the ceremony/reception is being hosted at my family's cottage and the reception is held under tents, we only have so much room. Which is another good reason to keep it small.

If keeping it small means we get to have a meaningful connection with every guest at our wedding and spend quality time with each and every person on the wedding day, then it seems worth the hassle to me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

DIY: Photobooth Props

I am so happy that more and more people are jumping on the DIY photo booth idea. In my wedding blog travels, I've found some more beautiful and hilarious photos of people in their photo booths which has served as a great source of inspiration for me!

My favorite part of this one is that the photographer framed the photo with some of the natural surroundings of what I'm guessing is their ceremony and/or reception site. This is especially relevant to us since we're getting married at my family's summer cottage which is where I spent 95% of my childhood summers. So there's a huge nostalgia factor which this photo booth takes into account so I love it even more.


I'm also a big fan of the photos that include props. The first prop I came across and fell in love with was the chalkboard since it gives the guests the ability to personalize their photos with their own words.


But I've also fallen in love with the idea of giving the guests props for their photos. This photo cracks me up.


Whatever we end up picking, I'd like to handle the props myself if at all possible. The moustaches would be easy enough to re-create and other props could either be borrowed or bought at a flea market/second hand store. However, it's good to know that -- in the inevitable situation where I have taken on too many DIY ideas to handle -- there are other options available. I found these amazing props from the Etsy seller lepapierstudio.


Now all I need to find is some sort of fabric backdrop. Preferably something neutral in color and something meaningful like a family quilt. Looks like I need to scour my grandmother's endless closet of family heirlooms. Sweet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drool Worthy

Giant rice krispie treat as a cake?

Um, yes please.

Personalizing the Guest Book

There is nothing I hate more than boring guest books. Which, in my experience, is almost every guest book in the world. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But I do find them foolish. Why -- 20 years from now -- will you care what your guests' signatures look like? I know the main purpose it to record the names of the people with you on your special day, but why not make it more interesting than a single line per person? So in the past few months, I've been gathering some ideas and saving photos for inspiration. (By the way, a folder on my computer devoted to wedding inspiration = best idea I've ever had because otherwise I'd forget everything.)

One of my best resources for this, believe it or not, has been Martha Stewart Weddings. Although I have to take some of the advice on the website with a grain of salt since a lot of them are way more elaborate than what we need, it's been great for ideas that I can personalize to better fit our wedding. Plus, they've recently upgraded their "DIY Weddings" section, so it's more comprehensive.

Some of my favorite ideas from there, so far:





I really like the idea of having envelopes right in the guest book, but buying almost 100 tiny envelopes could get expensive and I'm not sure I want to commit to making them myself.

So I'm thinking we'll probably go with a combination of the last three. I'd like to have different colored cards for the guests to write on and then have them hang them on a tree similar to the one above. And when we get the photos of our guests at the DIY Photobooth printed, I can arrange them around the guest book tags from the tree. Because, while I like the idea of having the guests write directly into the guest book, like in the 2nd photo, I'm an organizational freak who would probably think the whole thing looked messy with everyone signing everywhere. This way, our guests will have more than single line to share their wishes with us. And I can be organized. What could be better?

Plus, I can make the tags myself. Easily. After seeing this photo from another blog, I couldn't resist buying an edge punch similar to the one in the photo. I got mine at Michael's for $12 (originally $18, but I rarely buy anything from Michael's without their weekly coupons).


So all I need to get is some card stock which is uber inexpensive and have a crafting night. Which will be like heaven to me.

For more ideas from Martha, there's a selection of 25 different guest books here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DIY: Stationery Pt. 2

In my last post, I mentioned how easy out stationery endeavors have gone so far and one of the main reasons is for a great resource I only recently discovered. Although I'd heard it before, it wasn't until I got the recommendation from our wedding photographer (shout out to Julie for this one!) to try VistaPrint.ca

I was a little skeptical in the beginning because although they give you a preview of what the product will look like once it's customized, it's impossible to get a true understanding of the quality from a photo online. So we decided to do a trial run with our RSVP's. Although they have a ton of pre-made designs, I already had our design ready to go so I just changed the size of the photo to fit their template and uploaded it to the site. When we got them back, I was so thrilled that I decided to order some address labels and some business cards (that have a link to our wedding website; which we'll include with our invitations when they get sent out). For the address labels, we used one of their pre-made designs which you can use to customize your own caricature.

And their prices cannot be beat:

* 100 glossy/color (on one side) postcards (for RSVP's) are free, plus the cost of shipping, which was around $10
* 250 color business cards are free, plus $6 for shipping
* 140 return address labels are free, plus $4 for shipping

And if you sign up to receive their e-mail updates which come about once a week, there are a ton of other great deals. Invitations are slightly more expensive, but not nearly as pricey in comparison to the average cost of getting invitations made. We should be able to get around 100 for under $50 and that includes using our own design and upgraded to linen paper.

The only downfall is that since it's an online company, it's hard to see a definite preview before ordering so I recommend giving it a shot with something free before ordering something big like your invitations. But with their templates (which they have for every product they offer) it makes the process much more simple because you can make sure none of your design will get cut off.

I think they should hire me on as their PR lady. I'm so enthusiastic about them it's pathetic.

Monday, November 16, 2009

DIY: Stationery

Sorry I spent three seconds reviewing the wedding invitation you spent three months on

(If you haven't seen someecards, I highly recommend partaking in their hilarity.)

So far, one of the biggest ways Mr. FP and I have saved money on the wedding was on our stationery. When I started looking at invitations, I fell in love with the designs the sellers on Etsy had to offer. But with prices that ranged anywhere from $2.50 - 10.00 per invitation, there was no way I was going to drop that kind of coin.

I also considered buying a set of invitations which can be printed at home from places like Michaels or A.C. Moore but I couldn't find any designs that really appealed to me. Plus, when you factor in costs like buying a printer (if you don't already have one) and ink (who knows how much ink it'll take to print 100 or more invites) plus the cost of the actual invites which usually come in packs of 50 for somewhere between $30 and $60.

I know this is relatively cheap as far as wedding standards go, but I was determined to find invitations with a design that we loved and a price that I can live with.

Thankfully I did. With a little help from Mr. FP (okay, a lot of help) I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and with a little practice (okay, once again, a lot of it) I finally got to the point where I could design our invitations myself. Yes, it took a long time, and yes, it was frustrating. But it was so worth it in the end. We now invitations no one else will ever have (a much better alternative to an "out of the box" option, in my opinion) and more importantly, we love them.

Getting them printed will be easy peasy (more on that in a future post) and this way all of our stationary can be fitted to match the invitations because I designed the artwork and can alter it to fit anything (so far we've done RSVP's, business cards with our wedding website on it and stickers for our guest favors).

Although I understand the hesitation to take on something like this in the months prior to your wedding, I highly recommend it if you have the time and if you're mildly crafty. I have a huge sense of accomplishment every time I see our invitations and I'm so excited to send them out to our friends and families. In spite of the fact that I started this endeavor in hopes of saving us some money, in the end, it had nothing to do with finances. We're both so in love with what we've created that I'm happy we didn't do it any other way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

DIY: Photobooth

I have been in love with the idea of having a photobooth at our wedding since I first heard of the idea. However, the logistics of renting a photobooth like the ones they have in malls and transporting it to our cottage venue would be too complicated. Plus, the cost would be astronomical. So I'm glad I have a few alternatives. My all-time favorite idea so far is to set up a cloth backdrop and have guests take photos in front of it. Like this one:

But to make it even better, I'm going to make a hand-held chalkboard in a frame so they can write messages on it. More like this one:


The benefit of having messages written on them (other than the fact that it's adorable, of course) is that we're going to put these photos in our guest book.

I love this idea simply because it's so adorable, meaningful and easy to do myself. I like the idea of using an old family quilt for the backdrop and the chalkboard can be made from stuff at the hardware store. Although, if I really wanted to give myself a challenge, I could always attempt something like this (which is pretty amazing):


What better way for guests to spend their time in between the ceremony and reception while we're having photos taken? And something even more hilarious to look back on, would be a video like this (they have props and everything!):

Keira & Dan's Hello Guest Book from Hello Super 8 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Name Game


I have been struggling with the idea of changing my name for months. Since we got engaged, actually. I always (and I really mean always) thought I would want to take the last name of whatever man I married when I grew up. Yes, that's right, I was one of those girls who thought about which last names of fellow male classmates would fit with my first name the best. It was fun and romantic to think about taking the name of the love of your life and for a long time, I was convinced that it was what I wanted to do.

It wasn't until this past summer that I seriously started thinking I would want to do otherwise. I was organizing photos and memorabilia from my grandparents' wedding for their 50th anniversary when I found a pamphlet that my grandmother had kept in her wedding album. It was a guide for brides who were changing their name after the wedding and inside was a check list to follow. It reminds you to get a new bank card, a new set of personal cheques from the bank and to change your name with any charitable organizations you might be involved with.

And then it hit me. My grandmother had no choice. In 1949, if she'd been resolved to keep her own name, she wouldn't have been taken seriously. It's just what they did back then. It was their way of doing things. And part of me wants to do things like they did back then.

Plus, taking his name really is romantic and it helps to create a better sense of unity as we create our own new family on the wedding day. I wholeheartedly think that marriage is about forging a new family and sharing a common last name helps solidify that family. It makes a host of things easier if I take his name instead of keeping my own: mailing addresses, the naming of our future children, being identified as a family instead of Mr. X and Ms. Y.

But at the same time, unlike my grandmother, I have a choice.
So while the idea of taking his name appeals to me, I'm just not sure I can bring myself to conform to such a patriarchal structure that forces women to give up their names. The fact that women are expected to comply with this system while most men would laugh at the idea of their future wife asking them to take her last name seems ridiculous to me. Plus, I have a nagging feeling that a few members of the families on each side would turn up their noses at the idea.

And he would love for me to take my name. And actually, he seemed surprised (and maybe a little bit of hurt) when i first told him that I thought I wanted to keep my own name.

But, in spite of all this, I have a strange attachment to my name. And the funny thing is that I didn't even realize I felt so attached to my name until I was faced with the idea that it might disappear. Even though I'm only 20, it's been a good last name for 20 years. It's been mispronounced more times that I can count, it's a compound word and it represents my childhood, my family and my identity. There's nothing wrong with the Mr's name. I love it, actually, mainly because it's Scottish. But it's no compound word.

So why should it be me that gives up my name? Why do I suddenly have to adopt a new identity? How am I somehow less important that I should automatically be willing to give up my name without putting up a fuss? These questions bother the feminist in me. And she really doesn't like to be angry.

Other options have crossed my mind, but things like hyphenation or making an entirely new name by combining our last names doesn't seem logical either.

So here I am, back at square one.
And I can't decide.

Oh well, at least I have 8 months to figure it out, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the Hunt for Wedding Bands

Wedding bands have perplexed me since day 1 of our engagement. I am so happy I didn't have any input into the choice of my engagement ring because I am notoriously indecisive. So a decision this big (I mean, come on, we will have them for the rest of our lives so I'm feeling the pressure) is next to impossible for me. Thankfully, I have the internetz to help me out on this one.

And once again, Etsy has been my got to source for the wide array of choices. I love the eco-friendly choices at mcfarlanddesigns especially this gem (pardon the pun):


And, although I love my engagement ring to death, it was really expensive. Much more than I probably ever wanted to spend. And in spite of the fact that I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world now that I've fallen in love with it (just to reassure Mr. FB that he made the right choice), if I'd found something like the amazing stuff from onegarnetgirl I might have encouraged him to spend less money on something like this:


Another great thing about buying handmade wedding bands is that a lot of them come in sets which will match perfectly since they're created to go together instead of buying from jewelery stores who carry all different brands. I love the look of this set (from esdesigns) since I'm a fan of a wider band than most traditional bands have:



And through my extensive research, Mr. FP and I have finally found something that we can agree on (what a shock, I know). They're made by a husband-wife business in Maine and we're going to get them customized to suite our tastes since they can make almost anything.

I'd share a photo, but Mr. FP is so impressed with them that he doesn't want to share our secret with anyone yet. I know, how rude. But secret or no secret, I can't wait to see how they'll turn out. Let's keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

Friday, November 6, 2009

the WIC at it's best

Although I try my best to avoid reading the articles and advice on The Knot (mainly because they make me feel like my wedding doesn't measure up to the high standards of today's wedding industry), I was checking through some of their photos from real weddings which are a great source of inspiration and ideas, I couldn't help myself and I read one of their newest additions.

Boy, do I regret that decision. The article is called "17 ways to spruce up your site" ... referring mainly to reception venues and it's full of ideas on how to make your reception site more beautiful. Okay, fine, I'm all for decor and a fan of anything fancy. But as I got further into the article, I found myself laughing at their suggestions. I was actually laughing out loud because some of them are so ridiculous. Here's some of the "gems" the article boasts about:

  • Carefully conceived lighting will brighten any room -- and give your party a dramatic glow. Hire a lighting designer to focus guests' attention where you want it (on the cake table, off an ugly dance floor). Trust us, it'll be worth it.
  • Don't let a brown shag carpet dissuade you from booking your dream space. Hide that floor with ground-sweeping linens. Or cover it with a nice rental carpet, or a rented parquet wooden floor.
  • A real detail-oriented to-be-wed will even make over the hallways .... One idea from an actual wedding: arrange huge amounts of tightly packed pansies to line the hallway leading to the bathroom.
  • Give bathroom-bound groups something to talk about. The restrooms will need a little attention, but you don't have to go overboard. Think subtle sophistication: A centerpiece-evoking flower arrangement (like bunches of sweet-smelling lavender in small vases or wildflowers bundled in baskets), heart-shape soaps, or monogrammed hand towels will go a long way. Spruce up the women's stalls with antique perfume bottles filled with your favorite scent, or a fragrance reminiscent of your bouquet.

First of all, what the heck is a lighting designer? How does one become a lighting designer? Is there a school of lighting design? And even if such a thing exists, why would you want to spend your hard-earned money on such a frivolous thing. The same goes for "ground-sweeping linens". Nowhere on the internet can I find anything about them. Why would you invest anywhere from $5,000 - 20,000 for a reception venue when you hate the flooring so much you're willing to pay an enormous sum of money to have it covered?

But the last two are the ones that really made me laugh. Just in the off chance your guests aren't happy with your wedding or are bored for the 5 minutes they're in the bathroom, apparently, they're supposed to be greeted by rose petals and perfume. Even more ridiculous is their suggestion that "you don't have to go overboard .... Think subtle sophistication". What is subtle about a petal-lined path to the bathroom, antique bottles of perfume specifically chosen to be "reminiscent of your bouquet" and monogrammed towels?

Monogrammed freakin' towels? This is a joke right? I honestly found myself wondering that. And that's when I realized that I was in exactly that place a month after I got engaged. I was thinking of the most elaborate ways to spend money for almost a month. Until I grew a brain and snapped out of it. But seriously, who needs all this stuff? A wedding is supposed to be about a union. Not about flowers, perfume and ground sweeping linens.

In the months leading up to my wedding, the last thing I need to spend sleepless nights thinking about is my appointment with my lighting designer and how important it is that we chose lighting to compliment every skin tone known to man. If we all spent as much time thinking about how to make a marriage work as we do thinking about the details (which, let's face it, in 20 years will be totally meaningless to us) maybe we wouldn't have such a high rate of divorce.

For more amusement, the full article is here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

dress shopping trip #1

I dove into the world of wedding dress shopping today! So exciting. And nerve wracking. I was really nervous and really worried about not being able to find anything that I fell in love with. Honestly, I think I've watched one too many Say Yes to the Dress episodes on TLC and I was building the experience up as much more stressful than it had to be.

Thankfully, I only took my mother this time so I didn't have a bunch of people giving me a variety of opinions so I could really figure out for myself what I liked. I tried on something like 4 bridal dresses and wasn't digging any of them. They are so heavy and hard to get on! I guess I should have been expecting that but I wasn't... Half way into the 5th dress I realized that I was nowhere near where I wanted to be, these dresses just weren't working for me. I was uncomfortable, warm, and stressed. Thankfully, I'm looking for something simple and sleek so the consultant suggested that I should try a bridesmaid dress that was a similar style to the bridal gowns I disliked the least.

So I tried it on. And the heavens opened up.
Okay, not really. I'm being dramatic. But I was thrilled. I felt comfortable. I looked good and my mother approved (a job in and of itself, FYI). So I'm pretty sure I'll end up buying that dress and 100% sure that if I don't buy that particular one, it will definitely be a bridesmaid dress. I highly recommend other brides try this along with your bridal gown experience. There's many upsides for someone who's looking for something casual, simple but beautiful: the price is great, the ordering/alterations processes aren't as time consuming and they come in a really wide variety of styles and sizes (and colors, if you're into that).
We also took a look at some dresses for my bridesmaids and decided that since my dress isn't glitzy or very glamorous we should have knee length bridesmaid dresses. Plus, the wedding is in June so it makes sense that way too. Some of which I've included photos of below. (I'd show a photo of the dress I'm thinking of wearing, but Mr. FB is too nosy to control himself!)

Now, all I have to do is figure out when to fit in another day of dress trying on into my busiest 3 weeks of university... leading up to exams and final papers. AH.





Wednesday, November 4, 2009

keeping it casual

Welcome to my blog! After spending the last 8 months since our engagement reading wedding blogs, I was inspired to start my own. Okay, when I say 8 months, what I really mean is 7 months because it took me about 4 weeks to get my act together when it come to a realistic vision for our wedding. He proposed on Christmas Eve and by New Years I had 90% of the wedding planned with a small price tag of almost $20,000. Influenced by websites like The Knot and Martha Stewart, my brain was overrun with ideas about giant centerpieces, jazz bands, and a $5,000 budget for the dress which the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) told me I had to have. While I think people should spend however much they want on their wedding, that kind of money wasn't going to just automatically appear. I'm in university and Mr. FP is working to support us both so we're relying on savings and parents for the wedding. I am ashamed to say that I quickly joined the large group of people who lose total sight of the fact that a wedding is about love, not stuff.

As Oprah says, I eventually had one of those "Ah Ha" moments in which I realized that I didn't want to have a 200+ guest wedding with a reception in a giant ballroom which was dripping with flowers and decor. I didn't want to stride through my party in a giant, beaded cupcake toward my $800 wedding cake. And Mr. FB certainly didn't want any of this either. Thankfully, I was still over a year away from the day of our wedding when I had this moment so I was quickly able to switch gears. One of my greatest inspirations (which I highly recommend to fellow brides) is Sara at http://2000dollarwedding.com who's blog reminded me that it was our wedding, it was about our love and it should be done the way we both wanted it.

So it's been almost a year since our engagement, almost that long since I snapped into reality and we're now 8 months away from our wedding day. Now our wedding no longer looks like something you'd find in a bridal magazine... and what a relief that is. My family is hosting the wedding at our summer cottage outside the city and the guest list is at a moderate 80 people and still lowering (more on that later). The ceremony will be held outside under a bunch of trees and the reception is tented with about a thousand of my favorite white christmas lights (because I'm totally obsessed with them). My mother, grandmother, friends and I are doing the flowers including the bouquets and the centerpieces (once again, more on that later) and most of the decor will be handled by yours truly. I've become much more resourceful in the past months and while DIY is challenging and difficult at times, I find it much more relaxing than the alternative of giving the jobs to strangers. Plus, Mr. FB isn't curled into a small corner crunching the numbers with a panicked look on his face. Everybody wins!