Friday, February 26, 2010

DIY: (wedding) quilt

Okay, first and foremost ... we're officially 4 months away from the wedding! Ah! Excitement! Jubilation! Panic! Terror!

Alright, back to business....

I love projects. I love always having projects. Always. I hate being project-less. Paintings. Felt creations. Home decor. You name it, I usually try to do it.

Unfortunately, I have a tendency to only take on projects that I think can be completed in one day. I hate projects that drag on because I'm a "want-to-do-it-and-finish-it-right-now-so-I-can-bask-in-the-results-of-my-own-amazingness" kind of girl. Okay, not really. But I do love to finish everything I start because I only have one table for crafting. And when I craft, I CRAFT. I get crap all over the place and that was fine when I lived with my parents because they had a basement and I had a designated craft area. But apartments are small. And we only have one table. No basement. No craft area. Our dining table is my craft area and if I ever need that table for other things like school work or eating at it (ha, like that ever happens), then crafts get set aside. And when crafts get set aside, they get forgotten. Things get lost, I forget about stuff and then I'm sad. And so are my crafts.

So, what I'm trying to say is that I hesitate to take on large projects that take time. The problem? Well, I've wanted to make a quilt for a long time. And the wedding is the perfect excuse to make one because I can write it off as a wedding expense! I love to sew, but I suck at it. And sewing projects, for me, take a long time. I have a pattern for a handbag and the fabric to make it sitting in my desk as I type this that I've had for over a year. Haven't even taken it out of the bag. I need help. Serious help. And my grandmother is the number one source for that help. But, she lives on the other side of town and is usually too busy through the day to help me with sewing projects (give the woman a break! she has a dog kennel business to care for). So I avoid sewing projects.

But not this one! I'm making a quilt. I bought the fabric and I found a tutorial online. I'm doin' it. If I wear really brave, I'd be trying to recreate something like the quilts in the photos below:

{click photos for sources}

But I'm not brave. I'm a sissy. So I'm not even really making a quilt. I'm making the blanket in this tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew! But as far as I'm concerned, it's a quilt. And technically, it is. Minus the quilting part. It's tied instead of quilted. But maybe I'll grow a pair and decide to quilt it.

{photo from Sew, Mama, Sew!}

We're hoping to use it as a backdrop for our photo booth but I'm not sure if it'll end up being as large as we want our backdrop to be. If it's not, I don't care. I still love sewing. Even if I suck at it. And once I'm done, I'll either know that it's do-able for me or I'll realize that I should never be allowed within 20 feet of a sewing machine. If it turns out to be the former, I already have fabrics picked out for the next one.

It took us f-o-r-e-v-e-r to make a solid decision on a fabric. And by "us", I mean me, because I kept going back and forth between two. Our final decision was based on some mock-ups that I made in Photoshop to get a better sense of what all of the fabrics would look like together (please keep in mind, I am graphics expert):

While I love the colors and the bold quality of the red/orange/pink one, it isn't going to work for the wedding. We want something that will blend with the outdoors, not something that will stand out like crazy. Plus, Mr. FP is a man and isn't a huge fan of that much pink. He had a thing for grey. Even though he loves redheads. Strange. Anyway... so I've decided to save that for another time and go with the blue/grey fabrics from Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley line.


Now I just need to find the time to wash the fabric, cut the fabric, lay it out right, sew the squares together, make pockets, baste, stitch, sew, layer, tie.

Oh man, I am in so far over my head. Maybe I'll just make a casual trip to my grandmother's house sometime soon ... with all my sewing gear in hand.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

dress distress

I'm just going to come out and say it: I don't have the perfect wedding dress. Hell, I don't even have a wedding dress. I have a bridesmaid dress that was ordered in ivory *insert shocks of horror from the wedding industry here*.

Let's review, shall we? I don't have the perfect dress. It's not a wedding gown. It's probably not the most glamorous thing I'll ever wear. It's not going to be a focal point. People won't start crying when I walk into the room because my dress is just so perfect.

Oh man, my whole wedding's ruined. It's the end of the world. I need to go out shopping immediately to find "the one", right?

Ah, hell no. I don't have the one and I probably never will. You know what I do have? An amazing fiancee and a lifetime commitment ahead of me. I will have a marriage, not just a wedding. Can he be my "the one"?

Having said that, when it came to dress shopping, I was not above feeling the pressure of the wedding industry to find "the one". Maybe it had something to do with my addiction to Say Yes to the Dress or the fact that for the first 6 months of our engagement, I was a The Knot junkie. Wanna know how many articles on The Knot are devoted to bride attire and finding the perfect dress? No less than 78 if my math is right. Actually, it's probably more because after 78, I got sick of looking and gave up after coming to the conclusion that the world will someday implode upon itself.

In spite of this ridiculousness, I, like A Mountain Bride, find myself doubting my choice. In my desire to fit in and feel accepted by the wedding industry: I often wonder whether or not I should have gone for something more elaborate than my strapless, empire waist chiffon number in favor of something more grand and sparkly. I wonder whether or not I should have given in and spent more than $300 because after all, it is our wedding.

And then I've had the opposite kind of dress doubt where I think I've been adhering to the standards of the wedding industry too much: why did I pick a white dress? A pattern would be much more unique. Floor length, what was I thinking? It should be short! $300 for a dress that I'll only wear once? Have I totally lost my mind?

Yeah, welcome to my head. Get out while you can.

At the end of the day though, I know I did the right thing. I walked into the bridal salon knowing I didn't want the average $1,200 wedding gown. And it took trying on 3 of those before I snapped out of it and tried on bridesmaid dresses instead. I thought maybe something a little more glam would be better, but I eventually went back to flowey and comfortable.

The wedding industry told me dress shopping should be an event of epic proportions where I surround myself with my 176,362 closest relatives and shove them all into a bridal salon. The reality? I had basically made up my mind the first time with only my mom there and purchased the dress the second time with only my mother and sister in attendance.

Were people thrilled with that? Um, no. Friends were shocked that I'd done it basically on my own. Mr. FP's mother felt slighted that I didn't invite her to help me pick it out. Do I care? No. Because I never wanted their opinion. As mean as it sounds, I just didn't. Because I am the kind of person who will initially be influenced by the opinion of others only to realize later that I've made the wrong choice because I based my choices on their opinions, not my own. Honestly, if Say Yes to the Dress has taught me anything, it's that brides shouldn't take more than 1 or 2 people dress shopping with them. Because too many opinions = stress for the bride.

In the end, I made the right choices for me. They're not for everybody. Some brides will have to have the glam, sparkly dress in order to be happy. But that's just not me. My glam will come with accessories. As you can plainly see here. And no, The Knot, I don't need your help picking out those. I've got it covered.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

real wedding: courtney & christian

In case you didn't see this post on snippet & ink a few months ago, you need to check out this wedding. The photos by Jonathan Canlas Photography are unbelievable. I love how relaxed and jovial the couple looks in every single shot. And honestly, what could be better than a backyard wedding in a home that looks so gorgeous? Um, nothing.

For more awesomeness, you can see more of Courtney & Christian here or check out Jonathan's blog. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

it's our day, not mine

Wanna know Mr. FP's biggest wedding pet peeve?
When I talk about everything to death.

Wanna know his 2nd biggest pet peeve?
When brides, in reference to their wedding, say: I want to have blue bridesmaids dresses at my wedding. I want purple flowers at my wedding. At my wedding, we're going to have a candy buffet. My wedding is going to be perfect.

See the trend?

We were watching Say Yes to the Dress tonight (only for 15 minutes because that's about all he can handle) and he heard a bride say to her fiance: "Well, I want you to like the dress too. After all, it's just as much his day as it is mine. It's our wedding".

I thought his jaw was going to hit the floor. He was shocked. And he immediately turned to me and said "Did you hear that?!" And I thought "Wow, I did, actually. Brides never say that". (I know, I shouldn't generalize, but honestly, other than this girl, I've never seen a bride on SYTTD refer to the wedding as a collective effort, so I'm doin' it anyway)

And honestly, other than the online bride community of wedding blogs, I've heard very few brides refer to the day as "our wedding". This is one of the reasons I love Ellie at Wedding For Two's subtitle on her blog header: Because the first two letters in wedding are "we".

Simple logic. It's the alphabet. But honestly, it seems like a lot of brides forget it. Personally, I blame the wedding industry, they would love for all brides to think that because then they'd all shop 'till they dropped because if they feel like they're being personally judged on their wedding as some kind of show, they'll spend more. I used to be one of those brides that used "my wedding" all the time. And while I don't think it was based on an unconscious belief that it was my day only... I'm just used to referring to myself as a single person, rather than as an "us". It took some getting used to.

What I worry about more is the brides that honestly believe that their wedding is all about them. Just the lady. And the man gets dropped by the wayside.

Like I've already talked about here, I hate wedding sexism. I don't like to be made to feel as though I'm the only one out of the two of us that cares about the wedding. I don't like when people think Mr. FP couldn't give a shit about what decor, kind of cake, food etc we have at the wedding. As I said before, he is laid back. He honestly doesn't care about a lot of this stuff so he lets me decide. But the important thing is that everything gets discussed. I don't just assume I know what he wants or what he does/doesn't care about. I care about him and how he feels. In fact, I care so much that I've toned down anything involving the color yellow, my addiction to Hello Kitty, and dogs dressed up for weddings. (Okay, the Hello Kitty part is a lie. He shamelessly feeds that addiction ... evidence below.)

{photo by me, of a Christmas present from Mr. FP, see? I wasn't lying}

Honestly, that's part of the reason I know our relationship works. We actually had an hour long discussion the other night because I was so certain that he had an opinion and just didn't want to share it. I'm making a quilt for the wedding and I needed help picking out fabrics, so I made some 3 mock ups of what the quilts would look like with my top 3 fabric choices. I asked him what he thought. He picked A and I loved C. And he knew that so he told me to pick C. And I got so angry with him. I told him he couldn't just let me walk all over him. If he liked something, he should stand strong. And he told me to shut it and pick the one I loved. I refused. I insisted that I didn't want to be one of those women who knows her partner's opinions and goes against it anyway because she doesn't like it enough. I was so upset with him for refusing. And I was more upset over the fact that our opinions didn't mesh.

Then he explained to me that while he did have a slight opinion, he loved option C as well so it should be the one I pick if I have a clear opinion on the matter. I refused. And he insisted. And I refused. And... well, you get the idea. Eventually, he said "Look, it's not going to matter to me on the wedding day if our quilt is blue or red. I don't care. But you do. I'm not going to look back on the choice and think 'Oh, I wish I had picked that other option'. But you will. So pick the one you love." Gosh, I love that boy.

So I stopped being crazy and gave in. I remain confident that I didn't just toss his opinion aside. He simply doesn't care as much as I do. We both still love Miss C's comment on my first post on this subject: "My dear groomie put it to me this way: 'If I'm not interested in organising colour schemes, flowers and various stationery products in everyday life, why would I be now?'.

It makes total sense. And applies to us more than anything in the world. In fact, Mr. FP often refers to it when I feel like I'm ignoring his opinion and he feels like he just wants me to do what I love. So, many thanks to you, Miss C. ... I think your groom saved mine a lot of time.

At the end of the day, it will always be our wedding. It will always be an amalgamation of the things we both love and it will be perfect for us (with maybe a little more Hello Kitty than he might prefer... hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do).

Monday, February 22, 2010

DIY: centerpieces pt. 3

Like I talked about last week, our centerpieces are going to be potted plants in hand painted terra cotta planters. And while I would love to have the centerpieces sit upon beautiful vintage tablecloths to add some more color to the tables, we simply don't have the time or money to execute that plan. At first, I thought I'd have to invest a good chunk of dough into linens because I'm a color girl. No white tablecloths for me. There had to be color. And I probably would have paid a lot for it. Thankfully for our budget, I came across this photo and decided to recreate it the same sort of look.

Apparently, this idea is becoming more and more popular for weddings, but until I came across this photo, I'd never thought of doing it. Personally, I think it's a great idea to incorporate a favorite fabric or some color without going overboard. So instead of full tablecloths, I've purchased a few meters of fabric and cut them into fat quarters. (That's right, fat quarters, which, by the way, is the most unattractive name for a piece of fabric... ever. But essentially, it's just squares of fabric that is 20 x 22 inches.)

For anyone considering a similar project, I would highly recommend searching through Etsy's fabric category because they have just about every fabric known to man. From vintage to designer fabric, there was so much selection that it took me a good month to make a final decision. Okay, so it's not the best choice if you're indecisive and the choices will keep you up at night, but if you want options, I recommend it.

[Personal anecdote on decisions: I was debating between two of my favorite fabrics for weeks. They were very different and I loved them so much, but for the life of me, I couldn't decide what kind of look I wanted. So we ended up taping them to a wall in our apartment for a week to live with them for a while. Ridiculous, I know, but effective. It definitely made the decision easier.]

After finally settling on an Alexander Henry fabric called Anemone, we bought 4 yards from BittyBlossoms, who I would highly recommend because she was a big help in setting up our custom listing. And although I could settle on a fabric, I couldn't decide on a color palette (it comes in Periwinkle, Pink, and Sage, which can be seen here) so we went with two that incorporate some of the same colors and fit within our jewel tone color theme. And because the edges have a convenient color coding thingy (it's official title, I'm sure) on the side, it was super easy to match the fabric to the paints I picked out for the terra cotta pots.

{Photos by me, with apologies for the wrinkles}

I looooooove them. They're bold, colorful and slightly crazy. Just like us. Now I just have to get to work sewing them so the edges are clean and we'll be good to go.

Hopefully when it's all said and done, they'll look something like this.

Minus the horrible orange planter which I decided I hate but it's the only one I still have at the apartment because the rest are living safely in my parents house. I swear, the other ones look better.

Friday, February 19, 2010

DIY: centerpieces pt. 2

Although it's been a long time since I talked about our centerpieces (find previous posts here and here to catch up, slow pokes), I finally have some photos to share.

Even though every tutorial I found told me to spray the pots with spray paint, I decided that was dumb. Okay, not dumb. Probably more practical for long term used, but since we're only using them for one night and they probably won't ever be outdoors for any long term period, it seemed foolish to spend money on spray paint. Especially since we have about 14 to paint. So I decided on acrylic paint, a substance I've been using to paint with since I was 9 years old. Not only am I familiar with it, but it's cheap and cheerful. It runs for about 99 cents a bottle and comes in about 198,348,129 colors. But before I bought all the paint I would need, I went to Michaels, bought one bottle of my favorites and did a test run.

I painted some cardstock with a few coats of each to see how they'd turn out because the bottles are a bad indication of the true color. And boy, am I thankful I did this. It turns out some of the colors I thought I would love are disgusting in reality.

Plus, I'm stupid and didn't read the labels of some of the bottles. If I had, I would have realized that some of the paints had a built in gloss. And while I have no aversion to gloss, they finish on those paints turned out to be quite different from the colors that dry in a matte finish. Thankfully though, it's a finish I can live with so I bought another bottle of each color and went to town over winter break. As it turns out, I only needed 1 bottle per planter, but it'll be good to have extra in case some get chipped or broken and need redone.

As for the actual painting, it went swimmingly. I just taped the rim with painters tape and left about 1/2" of the terra cotta exposed. (In the photos, you can still see some of the tape on the edge but that's only because I was lazy the day I took the tape off and wasn't very thorough, teehee.)

Overall, the cost breakdown for this part of the centerpiece project was:

  • Planters from local dollar store = $14
  • Paints = $20 (mainly because the glossy ones are more pricey than the normal ones)
  • Brushes + Tape = free because I already had them
Total: ~$34

As far as I'm concerned, $34 for centerpieces is my favorite thing about life right now. Although, technically, I should also include the cost of the fabric that will go below them and the cost of the actual flowers. But for now, I'll chose to ignore those costs and focus instead on how awesome I am.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DIY: pom-pom vines

In a post a few days ago, I was talking about tissue paper pom-poms and how I have about a million to make. Since then, my problem has grown exponentially after seeing this tutorial on Once Wed that gives instructions on how to create pom-pom vines.

What's the problem you may ask? They're pretty. What's wrong with pretty things?
Well, I'll tell you what the problem is... now I have to make these too! I looooooooove them.

Oh the bright side, after making 60+ standard size pom-poms, a few more probably won't phase me. On the down side, after this wedding is done, I'm probably going to continue to dream about large numbers of pom-poms taking over my life and may develop a severe tissue paper phobia.

The things I'll do for decor...

c'mon, everybody else is doin' it...

I'm glad we'll have a night to rehearse getting blind drunk for the actual wedding reception

Although this hasn't really been a problem we've had to deal with given the fact that our wedding venue is a summer cottage, for years other couples have been forced to face the open bar vs. cash bar conundrum. And because it's what I do, I've decided to weigh in on the situation.

My main motivation for doing so? I'm tired of couples feeling pressured by this and oftentimes being forced into having an open bar even when they a) don't really want it b) can't afford it. Honestly, the pervasiveness of the wedding industry surprises even me sometimes. For years, the industry has done it's best to convince couples that it would be rude not to have an open bar, that it somehow causes them to fail to fulfill their duties as hosts, and that their guests will be hurt, offended, appalled, disgusted, horrified, shocked, *insert negative emotion of choice here* if they don't give in to the idea.

Take this article from The Knot, for example:

Q: Is it improper to have a cash bar at our reception, even if we will have around 400 people and don't have the money to provide for everyone?

A: While it is often necessary to find ways to cut costs, a cash bar is never a good choice. When you have a wedding, you're inviting people to a party, and they shouldn't have to pay for anything while they're there. [...]

Seriously? 400 people and they're still expected to have an open bar? Wouldn't that cost... um, about a bijjillion dollars? Oh, and as a warning, stay far, far away from the boards on The Knot if you're even thinking about a cash bar. Because they have etiquette police that will hunt you down and beat you with an old edition of Emily Post's wedding etiquette book.

As I watched my guilty pleasure/wedding planning show "Rich Bride, Poor Bride" tonight, the couple in question was discussing the possibility of a cash bar. Of course, the wedding planner was appalled by the idea, the bride wanted to have it, and the groom didn't want to fork over the cash. How'd they convince him? With this gem: "Well, just think about it. Would you invite friends and family over to your house and ask them to pay to drink? No, of course you wouldn't." And although he fired back with an extremely valid point: "Well, no, but I also wouldn't be offering them a $72 spread of food". A solid piece of logic which that they conveniently chose to ignore.

As I've already expressed in this post, I don't tend to subscribe to the "they're your guests, so you need to entertain them properly" philosophy that the wedding industry tries to shove down our throats. I've never felt the need to embrace my "duty" as a hostess, and I don't intend to ruin our budget just to avoid pissing people off. I love our guests, yes. I want them to enjoy the day, yes. But do I think that I need to provide $5,000 worth of booze to make them happy, ah hell no.

Personally, if I were to show up to a wedding with a cash bar, I wouldn't think anything of it. If I showed up to a wedding where they offered no booze, I'd be just as content. Then again, I'm not a big drinker, but even so, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who shows up to a wedding and gets pissed because the couple isn't breaking the bank to give guests a couple drinks can be told exactly where to go. Which is something I've already done with the two individuals that have expressed dislike for our booze-free wedding. While I understand that many people come to weddings expecting booze and some might even attend solely for the purpose of free food and the opportunity to get drunk, I'm not worried. For us, it's more important that our wedding be about the celebration of our union and the fewer people walking around in a drunken stupor, the better.

In addition to my stance against the wedding industry, we have a few practical reasons for excluding alcohol from our wedding:

1) The owners of our venue, my grandparents, are very strong in their religious faith and neither of them drink. So seeing friends and family slurring words and acting crazy (which, as unlikely as it may be, is always a possibility when there's alcohol available) could easily have the ability to ruin the reception for them.

2) Our venue is 40 minutes out of our main city and any overnight accommodations (except for an Inn which has 6 rooms, 3 of which are already booked for our wedding) are about 30 minutes away. Therefore, eliminating the possibility of drinking and driving is a necessity.

3) The cost. We simply don't care about it enough to fork over that kind of dough.

Like just about every issue with wedding planning, I desperately wish the wedding industry would get off people's backs when it comes to the bar. If you want it and can afford it, then kudos to you. But for everyone else who's having a booze-free or cash bar wedding, kudos to you too. So quit feeling guilty, don't feel like you're failing as a host, and don't feel like you're disappointing your guests. (I mean it, stop it. Right now.) Because more likely than not, the majority of your guests will be so thrilled to have seen you celebrate your love that the bar will be far from their minds.

Plus, think of it this way, even if you don't have the booze-a-flowin', you'll still be married. You'll still have each other. And you'll still be in love. Well, hopefully you will be.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the mythology of marriage?

The institution of marriage. A dying structure? Something that doesn't really exist? Still going strong after thousands of years?

There are a billion different opinions on the subject. And many people are pulled strongly either for or against marriage. But what does it mean when people say that they don't believe in marriage? Type "don't believe in marriage" in Google, I dare you. Trust me, I just did it. And I was bombarded by tons of opinions. Some people are scared to get married for fear of divorce. Many feminist abhor the idea. Some people have political motivations for avoiding the institution. A lot of people don't want to enter into an institution that excludes people based on their sexual preferences.

These reasons, I get. I can understand the fear of divorce. I'm terrified of it and quite often, I find myself wondering whether or not marriage is the right step for us. Not because our relationship is lacking but simply because I don't ever want to have to deal with the stigma and trauma caused by a divorce. And while I completely understand the civil rights issues associated with marriage, I am lucky enough to live in a country that has accepted gay marriage and since I have always supported marriage equality, I feel that I can continue to do so as a married woman.

So these reasons, I understand. But how is it that people don't "believe" in marriage? In some quick research for this post, I've come across references to the institutions of marriage as being "fake", a "set of formalities" which only acts as a method to sustain "strained metaphors". Every time I hear the phrase, I immediate think: "Well, okay, you can be against it, you can choose not to participate, that's fine. But you can't deny it's existence... can you?". And honestly, I continue to find myself wondering that. Has the "institution of marriage" as we know it been so drastically altered and obscured that it no longer exists?

As far as I'm concerned, um, no. It still exists. Of course it does, because it is an institution and although it follows certain "formalities", it is stable. Plus, it's different for every one that enters into it. There is no formula for the institution of marriage. Every marriage is different because every couple is different.

Marriage is what you make of it. You don't want to let it strip away your identity as a woman by being dominated by your husband? Fine. Keep your maiden name and put yourself on a level equal to your male partner. Like Amy Williams says in this article -- "I Don't Believe in Marriage, Here's Why I (Grudgingly) Got Married Anyway" -- getting married no longer means a loss of identity or of freedom.

If couples enter into the institution aware of how they want to treat each other and how they want to be treated in return, marriage has the ability to work. Another columnist, Courtney E. Martin discusses how she has a "fantasy that, without the dominant culture's definitions of husband and wife as default, [she and her partner] will be constantly pushed to reinvent [their] relationship, question our assumptions about who should do what, and stay honest and authentic". But I think... hey, why can't we reinvent our relationship and stay honest/authentic and still have the marriage certificate? Martin seems to think that the adoption of a marriage label causes couples to be tempted to fall into a "his-and-hers routine". However, for most couples, there is no longer something inherent to marriage that reinforces traditional gender roles and forces us (usually women) to lose ourselves in the process.

For us, marriage was a natural progression that just made sense. Is that an archaic concept? It very well could be. But for me, it's the highest form of commitment. Do we need a marriage license to have a better relationship? No, of course not. But I do look forward to our wedding because I think it'll be a communal celebration of the commitment we've willingly chosen to make to one another.

And although I realize I'm opening this up to a skewed sample of the population since the majority of you readers are brides, but what do you fellow fancies think about the institution of marriage?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DIY: tissue paper pom poms pt. 1

Wanna know what I love?
Tissue paper.

Wanna know what I love even more than tissue paper?
Tissue paper formed into the shape of pom poms.

Infatuation. Love. Addiction. These words aren't strong enough to describe my feelings toward these colorful little bundles of joy. So when it came to choosing decor for our reception tent, the choice was obvious.

And thanks, once again, to the internet I found tons of information on these little pieces of joy. They're up for sale in several Etsy shops including PomLove and orangekisses for those brides who aren't as DIY inclined or who don't want the stress (trust me, I wish I wasn't so cheap and stubborn sometimes). But since I'm crazy, I've bookmarked about a million tutorials (some of my favorites include this one and the original one from Martha found here) on how to create them myself.

Easy peasy, I thought to myself. A couple hours, maximum. That's a last minute do-it-4-days-before-the-wedding kinda thing, right? Um, no. Wrong. So, very, very wrong. My first attempt at making these bad boys sent me into a fury of frustration.

Because, honestly, there's about 2 things I really need to get married: Mr. FP and tissue paper pom poms. So not having them simply wasn't an option, unfortunately for me and Mr. FP. Especially for Mr. FP, who spent hours encouraging me and trying to get me to believe that with a little practice, I could perfect the art. Poor boy. Anyway, turns out he was right (that's right, I said it) because after a lot, a lot, a lot of practice, my attempts are slowly improving, as you can see from the photos of my trial runs which are now hanging in our bedroom (ignore the lopsided one in the last photo, it needs to be fluffed).

I don't know if it's just me, but this project does not seem like it's for the faint of heart. Once I realized I wanted a variety of sizes (personally, I find the ones from Martha are too big for our purposes) it was even more challenging because I had to figure out the ratio of tissue paper height and width in order to maintain the proper shape (trust me on this one, I had some funny looking shapes when I tried to change the dimensions). Fortunately, Mr. FP is a math genius and he made me a math formula so I can fill in whatever height I want to get the proper width to maintain the shape. That's right, my man makes me wedding-related math formulas. It's romantic, okay?!

In spite of all the stress, it will be worth it. And although it takes 4-8 sheets of paper per pom (which translates into... um, a lot to decorate a wedding tent) it can be done pretty cheaply if you get the majority of the tissue paper from the dollar store.

The only real dilemma after catching onto the learning curve of this DIY project? Deciding between poms and my other love, paper lanterns. For the life of me, I could not decide. And after months of me bugging Mr. FP with "pom poms or paper lanterns?" I finally realized... um, we can have both. Duh. So now, we're going for a look more like the photo below except for the fact that we're going with color pom poms and keeping the lanterns in white.

So now, the hard part is behind us.

Oh, wait. No it's not.
Now I actually have to make 6 trillion tissue paper pom poms.


Friday, February 12, 2010

meaningful ceremony readings pt. 1

When we first got engaged, I looked up "wedding ceremony" online because, well, in my 20-ish years on earth, I've only been to a handful of weddings... most of which I don't remember, so I (naively) figured there must be a formula for wedding ceremonies that everyone followed. Traditional readings of bible verses have been in the wedding business for a long time and as beautiful as 1 Corinthians 13 is, I started longing for something more unique, something not so overused, and something that expresses us better as a couple. As much as I understand why people use the traditional formula for a wedding ceremony, I think weddings everywhere could benefit from a little sprucing and personalization to fit the couple standing at the alter, under the chuppah, or barefoot on the grass.

So, in an effort to make every part of our wedding ceremony meaningful and personalized to us as a couple, I've been researching unique ceremony readings like a mad woman. And I have to say... I love the internet more than ever. I have found so many unique, amazing, and special readings that I wish I could include them all. And I probably would. If I wanted our ceremony to be 4 hours long, that is.

Since that's not the case, we've had to do some serious trimming. Only the essentials. Only the readings that best illustrate us as a couple will do. And after reading Weddingbee posts by Mrs. Candy Corn and Miss Scissors about Sandol Stoddard Warburg's children's book "I Like You" a few months ago, we've definitely got at least one reading that fits the bill. While I read the excerpts from the book in these posts, I was fighting back tears, thinking about how perfect this book was for us, and praying that I could find a copy for the wedding.

Thankfully, I did. And $8.95 cents later, I was able to order it into a local book store to love it in person. And boy, do I ever. We've had our copy for over two months and I still get choked up every time we read it. And just in case any of you haven't read it yet, here's some of my favorite parts (and by parts, I mean 'here's almost the entire book' because I love the whole thing).

I like you
And I know why
I like you because

You are a good person

To like

When I think something is important

You think it's important too

When I say something funny

You laugh
I think I'm funny and
You think I'm funny too

You know how to be silly

That's why I like you
Boy are you ever silly

I never met anybody sillier than me

till I met you

If I am a goofus on the roofus

Hollering my head off

You are one too

That's because

You really like me

You really like me

Don't you

And I really like you back

And you like me back

And I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going
Every day

And I like you because

When I am feeling sad

You don't always cheer me up right away

Sometimes it is better to be sad

You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly
every single minute
You want to think about things

It takes time

If you find two four-leaf clovers
You give me one

If I find four I give you two
If we only find three

We keep on looking

Sometimes we have good luck
And sometimes we don't

I like you because
I don't know why but
Everything that happens

Is nicer with you
I can't remember when I didn't like you
It must have been lonesome then

I like you because because because
I forget why I like you

But I do

So many reasons

Even if it was way down at the bottom of January

Even if it was no place particular in January

I would go on choosing you

And you would

go on choosing me

Over and over again

That's how it would happen every time

I don't know why

I guess I don't know why I like you really

Why do I like you

I guess I just like you
I guess I just like you

Because I like you

Like Miss Scissors, I have no idea how I'm going to keep it together at the wedding ceremony with this book on our list of readings.

Speaking of reading, I would love to have one of the kids at our wedding read this, but I'm still a little apprehensive about putting such a big spotlight on a lil' one. So we need to find someone who is young at heart and able to do the book justice because it wouldn't be nearly as special if it were read in a monotonous, blazay kind of way.

Just to insert a little egotism into the conversation, I personally think I'd be the best one to do it given the fact that I act like a child 92% of the time, but I think I might be a little busy getting married that day to swing it.

In addition to this book, I've found some other great suggestions for readings for those in the children's book groove like us:

"Guess How Much I Love You?" Sam McBratney
"All the Ways I Love You" Piggy Toes Press
"I Love You More" Laura Duksta

Alright, come on, give them up, I want some more suggestions for readings! I can guarantee you I will poach your ideas for our wedding if they're really good ones...

the dreaded guest list pt. 2: dealing with +1's

Yesterday, Sara over at 2000dollarwedding wrote this post in response to a reader's question about the messy +1 debaucle every couple has to deal with and our regrettable guest list experience came flashing back to me all over again.

I'm just going to come out and say it. I hate guest lists. And what I hate even more than guests lists is long guest lists. Which is what our list is slowly turning into. At first we capped it at 70, then 75, then 80 and now I'm thinking we'll end up being closer to 90. Suddenly, our small, intimate, backyard wedding is turning out to be anything but. Grr.

My main issue with the +1 issue is being directly approached by people who want to bring their own guest. I do not deal well with confrontation. I can't make eye contact, I get all blotchy, I stutter like a mad woman, and I will say anything just to avoid all of this. So obviously, the first words out of my mouth are going to be "yes, of course you can bring your boyfriend of 2 weeks, whom I've never met and his band friends to the most important day of my life". Seriously.

Thankfully, we've (and by "we", I mean me) devised (and by "devised", I mean I ripped off the idea from wedding invites I saw online) a way to proactively deal with the nasty +1 decision. For anyone dealing with the same problem, here's some options:

1) Invite people in clusters. Try to make sure that everyone you invite will know someone else on the guest list well enough to hang out with them during the reception. College friends and work colleagues are probably the best examples of this. The only people, and I mean only, we've given the +1 approval to are people who won't know anyone else at the wedding. So far, I think the only person given the go ahead is a mutual friend from highschool. We don't want him to feel really left out so a date will keep him company. An example of the other side: Mr. FP's mother suggested that his brother be able to bring a date. Um, why? His whole family will be there. With aunts, uncles and cousins that are his age to hang out with ... why would be need a date? She didn't agree and was not impressed, but we stuck with our choice. Same thing with some of my teenage and 20-something cousins, they have boyfriends/girlfriends but since their parents, aunts, uncles and cousins will be there, they won't be lonely.

2) Decide who is important to the two of you. Most people think the rule is that people in long-term relationships should be allowed to bring their partners, but if they're significant others aren't close with us, we're not adding the +1. Simple as that. A family friend of my parents just recently got married, but we've decided not to invite her husband. Are we crazy? Nope. But because their dating and marriage happened so quickly (under 9 months) we've never met him so we have no relationship with him. Even though they're married, we just don't need to have him at our wedding. I know, I know, he's important to her, and we want our guests to be happy but her parents and sister will be there and she knows 95% of my family anyway, so the cluster rule applies here too.

3) Make it clear from the beginning that there's no wiggle room. It took us forever to come up with a solution to make it clear to people that we wanted them at our wedding, not them plus their mom, sister and cousins without being rude. I think the best way to address this is when the invites go out, but it can be tricky. We dealt with it on our RSVP's because we didn't leave it open for people to squeeze in a ton of people.

Traditionally, you have M______________ on your RSVP and the guest fills in the names of those invited. But I've heard horror stories of couples who address the invite to John Smith and the card comes back with a ton of other names crammed into it like this:
Mr.__ John Smith, Mrs. John Smith, Bobby Smith, Jane Smith____.

I don't think many of our guests would be that dumb or sneaky, but I didn't want to leave us open to the possibility. So instead, we had the M______ space, but we also included "__ seat(s) have been reserved for you". Check out the photo below for the real thing.

For us, this is the least forward, yet clearest way of saying, we want you, not everyone in your family. Apparently, the same kind of thing can be done with online RSVP's (according to a comment on Sara's post): "To deal with the "penciling in a +1", we're going to do our RSVPs online. Each invitee gets a response # and when they put it into the website, it will have just the names of people invited hard-coded and they can choose their meal that way too".

Plus, either RSVP option gives you the change to deal with the problem well in advance once you receive the RSVP in the mail or online. If someone is still trying to sneak people in, we'll simply call them and let them know that we're keeping our wedding small. And by "I", I really mean Mr. FP will call them ... I can still get blotchy over the phone!

It might seem a little extreme to go to these kinds of lengths to keep out a few +1's but they add up extremely fast. When we started our list, we theoretically gave everyone who was single, out of town, not familiar with our families etc. a +1 and it brought our numbers up by almost 20 people. It was not pretty and we quickly realized we simply wouldn't be able to do it. I expect to get complaints about this from a ton of family members, in fact, we already have. But for us, it's more important to stick to the policy and fill our guest list with people who we have really great relationships with, not people we feel obligated to invite. Besides, Emily Post can kiss my ass.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

cake and polka dots

I love cupcakes. Next to Mr. FP and my dog, they're probably my favorite thing in the world. So I guess it's no surprise that we've chosen to have cupcakes at our wedding instead of a traditional cake. Clearly, we're not the first ones to make this nontraditional choice. In fact, I'm pretty sure wedding cupcakes are well of their way to being a classic, but nonetheless, we were still met with criticism and doubt when certain family members caught on to this.

I think we horrified my just-celebrated-their-50th-wedding-anniversary grandparents with this announcement. But that's okay, my Grampy is a sugar fiend so I know he'll like them.

My parents seemed on board with the idea until my mother found out that I want to make them myself instead of hiring a baker. Haha, that did not go over well. Since that announcement, every time I bring up cake, she tries to convince me to hire someone as she looks up online ads for bakers in our area. She thinks I won't be able to get the icing nice and pretty like real bakers do. Um, who the hell cares? Is forking over $300 for cupcakes simply because they'll have pretty icing really worth it? We think not.

On the plus side, I'm confidant in my abilities because I've always loved to bake. And because as long as there's some carrot cake and the cupcake tower is topped with Mario and Peach figurines, I know Mr. FP will be thrilled.

So I invested in Martha's book Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat and I have to say, it was definitely worth $20. I haven't tried out any recipes yet so it might be premature to fall in love with it, but there's so many amazing recipes and ideas that I couldn't help it. Thankfully, I have 4 months before the wedding to try out tons of recipes and figure out which ones we'll have at the wedding. At that point, hopefully I'll do a book review to give you a better idea of what it's really like.

With gems like "Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes", "Streusel Cupcakes", "Blueberries-and-Cream Cupcakes", it's taken all my willpower to stop myself from gnawing on the book.

And what's even better than good-tasting cupcakes? Good-looking cupcakes! That's right, I'm superficial like that. And thanks to Etsy seller HeyYoYo, our cupcakes are gonna be styling.

We love them so much and they were so cost effective (150 liners for under $10) that I couldn't resist. If I'd had my way, all the cupcakes at our wedding would be purple. Hell, our whole wedding would be purple if I had my way all the time. Unfortunately, silly ol' Mr. FP had to reign me in, remind me that he was a boy (or more accurately, in his words, that he "doesn't have a vagina") and say that he'd rather have a variety of colors. Okay, fine.

In exchange for his insistence on toning down my obsession with purple, I bought a little something extra from HeyYoYo (seriously, check out her store, she's got some great stuff) and named him after Mr. FP. Now he sits on my desk in all his naked glory, looking nothing like his namesake (sorry sweetie, but you don't even own a speedo), but making me laugh all the time.

Revenge is sweet. And, in this case, plastic.