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