Tuesday, March 30, 2010

tuesday quickie

As I was doing "research" for yesterday's post, I also happened across this little gem at The Knot entitled "Wedding Newsletters: Why You Need One". (Is it sad I get so much amusement from articles people are supposed to be taking seriously? A little...)

While I'm all for keeping the wedding party in the loop about wedding events, if any bride I knew sent me a newsletter once a month, every month for the entirety of her engagement... I would kick her in the pants. Just sayin'.

Monday, March 29, 2010

the naked foot revolution

As many of you have already heard, during the first few months of our engagement, I was crazy for The Knot and websites like it. I craved the articles that gave us detailed instructions on what we had to do and everything we had to have for the wedding. But, I quickly realized how bossy The Knot was. And how much -- in spite of my love for structure and acceptance -- I didn't like how it made me feel about our wedding. We didn't want to have an open bar, but The Knot told us that was tacky and rude to our guests. We didn't want to spend $10,000 on decor, but The Knot told us that our reception had to have a serious "wow" factor to measure up. Holy second guessing ourselves, batman.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. And I stopped reading all the articles that made me feel like I had to micromanage our entire day down to the point that I would decide what color socks the groomsmen wore (um, as if I have time to worry about that...). Originally, I had every intention of unsubscribing from their newsletters about stylist wedding themes and new hairstyles which I received multiple times every month. But since starting this blog, I find that the newsletters provide me with a great source of inspiration each time they arrive in my inbox.

What? They inspire me? Am I crazy? Have I lost my mind?

Nope. They don't inspire me in a "OMG-I-have-to-do-everything-this-newsletter-says-right-now" kind of way. They don't remind me of what we aspire to make our wedding.

They remind me of what our wedding day won't be.
Not only what it won't be, but what it won't be... by choice.

And today's newsletter, entitled "10 Wedding Questions You Didn't Know to Ask", is yet another reminder: planning our wedding won't cause us to second guess what we want nor will it make us sacrifice what we want to do for what we should be doing.

The entire article consists of questions posed to the omniscient presence of The Knot about what "should" happen on the wedding day:

1. When should I take off my veil after the ceremony?
2. How should our wedding party travel to the reception?
3. Do I really need someone to hold my dress while I pee?
4. Is there an appropriate way to kiss at the ceremony?
5. What exactly do the bride and groom do during the cake cutting?
6. Where do I put my engagement ring during the ceremony?
7. Who lifts my veil?
8. What side are we supposed to stand on during the ceremony?
9. What's the best way to greet guests if I don't want a receiving line?
10. Can I take my shoes off at any time during the reception?


And while I understand the need to ask logistical questions until your face turns blue for those of us who haven't attended many weddings (myself included), I found myself reading the article and thinking: "Isn't this stuff common sense? Just do what you want".

I mean, seriously, who has the time to micromanage their wedding so much that they know exactly what their first kiss as husband and wife is going to be like? Yes, Mr. FP and I have talked about it. But we didn't make any decisions. There was no definitive "your head should go this way, and mine will go that way" statements. It's a first kiss, where's the fun, romance, or magic if you've discussed it to death ahead of time?

Okay, maybe the first kiss thing is a matter of opinion or taste, but the "Can I take my shoes off at any time during the reception?" question is the one that really blows my mind. Again, seriously? Is this supposed to be a joke? Are there really brides out there who are so stuck in tradition and so (for lack of a better word) brainwashed by the wedding industry that they feel the need to ask if its okay for them to take off their shoes? Not only is the fact that the question was posed so disconcerting, but the answer they gave is much worse:

We've all been to the wedding where guests cut loose on the dance floor and ditch the heels. But it's a little different when you're the bride -- especially if you're wearing a formal dress. Instead of going barefoot, bring a pair of flats for dancing. If you're getting married in the summer, have baskets of flip-flops in your wedding colors for your guests to slip into before they get down. There's one exception to the shoes-or-lose rule: beach weddings!

I don't care if you're getting married at a beach or at The Plaza, for goodness sake, if you want to take off your shoes, take them off! If every one of our wedding guests showed up without shoes on, I'd be fine. And our wedding isn't on a beach. Well, technically, it's near one. But it's not the type of beach where people want to be barefoot. In fact, the rocks on our beach are so far from Caribbean sand that Mr. FP wears bright yellow Crocs all summer long to protect his footsies.

But if they didn't want to wear shoes, that would be fine. In fact, it would make me feel even more at home, since my feet will be going commando... wait for it... the entire day! That's right, from the time I get up to the time we go to bed as husband and wife, my feet will be naked.

Why? Because its their favorite way to be. They love that kind of existence. They wore flip flops to prom and graduation and a high heel hasn't come within 10 feet of them since middle school when I thought I need heels to look sexy.

Little to no apparel for the feet has worked since I came out of the womb, so why change it now?

Why ... on the "most important day of my life", the "happiest day of my life", the day I'd like to be the most confident person in the world ... would I want to cramp my own style because of what The Knot tells me is proper?

Oh yeah, thankfully, I wouldn't want to. And I won't. But the idea that there's brides out there who would compromise their dreams because of what is proper blows my mind and makes me a little queasy.

Now, I realize that these questions weren't necessarily submitted by real brides. They very well could have been (and probably were) fabricated by the writers at The Knot. But the idea that this article is out there, making brides feel like they should be asking these kind of ridiculous questions makes me want to bitch slap the wedding industry.

Seriously, ladies... pee by yourself if you want to, stand where you want, and let your toes be free if that's what will make you happy. Chances are, even if you disobey the wedding industry, Emily Post won't show up to yell at you on your big day. She is, after all, long gone.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

bring on april 24th

I'm a bad blogger this week. A really bad one. I know, I know... I'm usually so perfect, it must be quite a shock. But I'm in final paper/exam mode for the next month, so my posting might be a little spotty. Try not to miss me too much.

The good news about this? After April 24th, it will be nothing but wedding for 2 months. No school, no reading, no work. Just a trip to Florida (which I have mere 5 days to prepare for once I'm done exams) and the wedding. What a life I shall live.

But for now, I have a major struggle on my hands. I should be focusing solely on school. My brain doesn't work well when its got too much stuff in it. Plus, Mr. FP is going to be so upset when we sees this post because he hates when I think about wedding stuff when I'm supposed to be studying. Which I should be doing right now. He thinks we should wait until after exams are done to do anything wedding related. Which, is probably a good idea. But time sensitive issues can't be thrown aside until exams are over. As much as I would like the ability to focus on just one thing for 5 minutes, it ain't gonna happen right now.

And, as awesome as a trip to Florida is, it's also been causing us major time constraints. Since we decided not to send out Save-the-Dates, we want to send out our invitations a little early to make sure people have enough time to fiddle with their schedules. We decided that 2 months would be enough time since we'd ideally like to start receiving our RSVP cards back around the 1st of June.

So the day after exams finish, I have to buckle down and get the invitations ready. Getting envelopes stamped with our owl stamps, writing out the addresses by hand, buying postage, attaching postage and making sure they get sent out before the 30th of April, when we leave for Florida.

Plus, we'd like to hand deliver as many as we can 1) to save on postage and more importantly 2) because its fun. For my side of the family, it should be pretty doable, since 2 of my mom's 3 siblings and their families live on the same street as my parents. As do my grandparents and my grandmother's sister. That's right, 6 out of the 9 houses on the street I grew up on have my family in them. I loved it growing up and I love it for logistical purposes because it will make delivery pretty easy. For Mr. FP's, it's probably not going to work out so well since his family is spread all over the province and country. Did I mention we only have 4 days to get these delivered and sent out? Ideally, we would like to do more hand deliveries, but we simply won't have the time. Thanks to the registrar at my university who decided it would be fun to make me write exams until the last possible day of the exam period. On a Saturday. At 9 am.

In addition to the invitation conundrum, we need to get any online orders done ASAP as well. Depending on where the items are being shipped from, it could take around a month for things to arrive, and since we're officially 3 months away from the wedding tomorrow (eek!), it's important to get that stuff started in case we have any problems. If I decide I can't make my own veil, I'll need to order one of them from Etsy. Same goes for my hair fascinator ... which, for the life of me, I cannot make a decision about. Right now, I have it narrowed down to 3 choices from Etsy: this, this, or this. C'mon ladies, a little help please. And on top of that, the paper lanterns we need for the reception tent have been sold out for a couple weeks, so we're waiting for the paperlanternstore to get more stock in before we can put that order through.

And I keep remembering I need to schedule a dress fitting. Hell, forget the fitting, I need to see my dress first. And we need to register at some point. And call the minister. And write the ceremony. And design/order programs.

Ugh, this post is stressing me out by reminding me of everything we need to do. Stupid blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

c'mon, let's shower together

{source}

As I've already expressed (in this post), I hate being the center of attention. I don't get any pleasure from it. But, as a bride, a certain amount of time in the spotlight comes with the territory.

Obviously, I've accepted that... since we're not eloping. The wedding with be the day when -- in spite of my introverted ways -- I want to mingle, talk, and celebrate with our nearest and dearest. Although I refuse to subdue my tendency to be shy to make other people happy, this is something I want to do for me.

But when it comes to wedding peripherals (things that are often expected, but not necessary), I get to pick and choose. Things like the first dance, the garter toss, cake cutting etc. are usually part of a wedding, but not at all necessary. And for us, these things are meaningless and (more specifically for me) they only give us extra worries. So we're cutting them.

Another aspect of weddings that I see as a peripheral is the bridal shower. So I'm debating whether or not I want to have one if the offer is made. Honestly, I could case less about having a shower. But I'm 99.9% sure that it's important to my grandmother and future mother-in-law. And since I don't have any problem with attending one, I'll likely jump on board if they want to host one in my honor. I'm close with most of my aunts and female relatives and even with some of Mr. FP's, so I think it would be fun to have an all-girls afternoon before the wedding. Plus, since I only have to show up, it gives me no extra stress.

However, there is one major aspect of bridal showers that I have a problem with: opening presents in front of everyone. And before you leave a "well, what's the point of having a shower if you're not going to open gifts?" comment, hear me out.

Traditionally, yes, the bridal shower has literally been about "showering" the bride with gifts. And traditionally, the main (if not only source) of entertainment at a shower is when the guests watch the bride unwrap the gifts. Of course, brides.com and The Knot agree:

Q: I'm really shy. Do I have to open presents in front of everyone?

A: Sorry to say it, but yes. When guests take the time to buy you the perfect bridal shower gift, they expect to see you open them (and enjoy your reaction to them!).

Surprisingly (to me, at least), so do most of the people on WeddingBee, since 79% of people who replied to this poll think it's rude not to open gifts. Honestly, this shocked me. The WeddingBee, despite its downsides, usually features members who are quite open to non-traditional ideas. I've seen threads in support of everything from dry weddings to potluck weddings and everything in between, but for this, the members seem adamant.

So it appears the wedding community has once again ruled. Even though a bride like me doesn't want to include a certain traditional aspect of the wedding experience because it makes her incredibly uncomfortable, she's just going to have to suck it up. Just deal with it. Get over her self-centered, introverted ways and open the damn presents. Right?

Um, no. Actually, um, hell no.


If I don't want to open presents at the bridal shower, I ain't doin' it. For me, it's a legitimate concern. I don't want to be nervous, stressed or worried. And if I put myself under the spotlight, that's what will happen. Maybe that's wrong, maybe I'm crazy, maybe that makes me a bad bride. But I don't care; it's how I feel.

Let's just take a moment to respond to some of the comments that this poor girl received in the WeddingBee thread, shall we?

"yeah sorry - the whole point of a shower is to shower the bride with gifts, so you have to open them. if you dont then why have a shower? just have a tea or party or something of the like where there isnt a requirement for presents."

The gifts will still exist even if they're not opened during the party. There's nothing implicit in the title of "bridal shower" that says she has to open them. After all, it's not called a "shower-the-bride-then-watch-her-open-all-the-presents" party. I don't understand how it somehow makes it less of a "shower" if the presents remain unopened. If I don't include a first dance or cake cutting on June 26th, does that make it any less of a wedding? No, of course not. And a bridal shower is exactly the same thing. It's not suddenly going to be less of a party, less of a gathering of female friends and family, or less fun because people don't get to gawk at the presents.

"Sorry, but yes, it's rude to not open the gifts while there and yes, people will be offended. I put a lot of time and thought into the gifts I give,and the most pleasure I get is from seeing their expressions. For birthdays and holidays, how would you feel if the people you gave gifts to took them home and didn't open them?"

Honestly, I would feel fine. In fact, I couldn't care less. As a gift-giver, I just want to know that the gift was appreciated. I don't need to see the reaction. That's what Thank You cards are for.

Plus, if I was a guest at a party and I knew that the bride (at a shower) or child (at a birthday party) was incredibly shy and would be made to feel uncomfortable whilst opening my gift in front of everyone, I would feel incredibly guilty. I wouldn't want to be the reason they were made to feel self-conscious or uncomfortable.

"Open them. I was a guest at a shower where the gifts were not opened and I was (and still am) hurt/angry/disappointed/offended. Also, we brought multiple gifts but only put our name on one of them because we expected them to all be opened together at the shower. I guess they got split up when they were put in the car because we only got thanked for one gift in their thank you note."

Seriously? Someone out there is harboring anger over an unopened bridal shower gift? Even after being thanked? C'mon, people. It's just not that big of a deal.



Okay, ranting done. My annoyance has been released. I'm all better.

In spite of my clear opposition to how the mainstream wedding community feels about this subject, I do understand the other side. And I anticipate that a few of the readers are on the other side, which is cool. It is fun to see the reactions of someone you buy a gift for, I get that. But from the perspective of a shy person: 1) how surprising is it going to be considering she probably registered for the gift? and 2) why would I, as a bridal shower guest, want to cause the discomfort of someone I love?

I also understand that the more traditional folks at any potential bridal showers that are hosted for me will probably think it's strange that the gifts aren't opened. But that's okay. It may sound selfish, but since it is a big deal to me, I'm doing what I want regardless of what other people think or feel. If it was important to others and I genuinely didn't care, it would be a different story. I'm not against compromise. But I'm not going to compromise my strong feelings just because someone might be mildly weirded out. Let me say it again: I'm not going to compromise my strong feelings to avoid offending someone. More of us need to say that to ourselves every day. This has been our policy -- mine and Mr. FP's -- throughout the wedding-planning experience, and it remains strong in this case. Plus, what are the chances that someone will be so "offended" or have enough gall that they feel the need to complain to me? In my Irish family? Chances are slim. We don't talk about anything.

Let's keep in mind people, brides aren't entertainment props and our wedding is not a show. It's just not worth it to make the brides out there feel pressured to comply to the standards of the wedding industry. Whether it be the bridal shower, the garter toss, cake cutting, or anything in between; what the industry says doesn't matter, it's all about how you/we feel. Just because we've always done it one way, doesn't mean we have to keep doing it that way.


p.s. Plus, I found this article from Miss Manners. And she said I was right. Ha! Take that wedding industry!

Friday, March 19, 2010

part of the family pt. 2

As many of you know from this post, my relationship with my future in-laws hasn't always been the smoothest of roads. Honestly, I thought after the last big conversation we had with them about how we were all feeling about certain things, the drama would be over. But, alas, that does not seem to be the case.

Like I said before, my FMIL has a very strong emotional bond to Mr. FP; she suffers from empty nest syndrome like you would not believe and has always felt as though she's not as involved in our lives as she should be. After we got engaged, I thought this might be a good time to change that. My mom is more of a logical thinker and less interested in the wedding fluff than my FMIL, so I thought the wedding planning would provide us with a good chance to bond.

But since I'm in school, there hasn't been a whole lot of wedding-related activities/outings/planning going on. I mentally plan and have a gigantic folder of wedding inspiration on my computer, but we haven't really had much time for active planning. The stuff that has to be done well in advance (rentals, catering, rings, clothing) is being done, but other than that, we're pretty much waiting until I'm done school in April to get heavy into wedding planning. It's just too much in my head to focus on school and the wedding at the same time. Bride-students, you'll know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Apparently, this is a big problem with FMIL. She thinks we're just not involving her at all. We asked her to do a reading at the ceremony and I invited her come with my mom and I when I get my dress fitted, but when those things didn't happen in a timely manner, she started getting upset and thinking that we just didn't want her to be involved anymore. This is not true, we just haven't gotten around to them. And although we told her this, she still seems upset.

We're also trying to put down a deposit for the rentals (for which my parents and his parents are splitting the cost) from a company an hour away and she suggested that her and I drive up there so we can sign the contract and she can put down the deposit. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be a problem, but I have classes through the week, am currently trying to finish 4 final papers and I have exams in 2 weeks... which means I have zero spare time to drive up there. When we explained this to her, she was upset and said she wouldn't be putting down the deposit until we found time to drive up there with her.

To make matters worse, she seems to have hijacked our wedding rehearsal. She booked it for 8pm without consulting us and plans to invite way all of the out-of-town guests. We wanted something early and something small, as in only the wedding party, our parents, the minister and his wife. Originally, I thought my problem with this stemmed mostly from my inability to give up control and let her plan it, but I soon realized that it wasn't about control. I want our rehearsal dinner to be what we want; to reflect us. And in order for that to happen, it should be intimate and simple. We want to invite the wedding party, enjoy the night with them, and see everyone else at the wedding, but she seems to think that -- since the groom's parents traditionally take care of the rehearsal -- she has total control over it.

I know her hurt feelings about the rentals and desire to control the rehearsal probably originate more so from the fact that she thinks I don't want to spend time with her and her desire to be involved than anything but I'm not sure how to avoid this. I want her to feel involved, but I have no idea how to make her feel involved when we've barely been involved. We do what we can, we discuss our ideas with her and FFIL all the time, so I'm not sure what else can be done. I feel as though waiting until April when I'm done school to involve her in the wedding is our only option, but I don't want to deal with this kind of drama until then. With final papers and exams, the last thing I need is to worry about how upset she is with us.

Okay. Advice. Now. Pretty please.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ready or not, here we come

I have a fear of divorce.
A troublesome, worrying, want-to-curl-myself-into-the-fetal-position kind of fear of divorce.

It's not pretty, and it's not constant, but it's there. In the back of my mind. And it's been there since we got engaged. Actually, that's a lie. For the first 8 months of our engagement, I don't even think I realized we were getting married. And no, I'm not stupid, thank you. I was just caught up in the hub-bub of wedding planning. My brain was all fuzzy and I couldn't see the marriage for the wedding. Yep, I was one of those girls. Thank God that didn't last.

And since the day the wedding fuzz stopped clouding my vision, I've been scared of divorce. Finally realizing what a huge commitment marriage really is can be a scary thing. Terrifying actually. Have I mentioned the fetal position? We'd talked about marriage for years prior to getting engaged, but there's something about being 5 months away from the big day that has the ability to snap you back into reality with lightning speed.

Everything that had previously seen so stable and certain suddenly seemed to be the exact opposite. I felt as though my feet had been kicked out from under me and I was looking at our relationship from a whole new angle. And that angle left me wondering things like: are we right for each other? do we fight too much? will it really last? how do we know marriage is right for us?

And the last question has stuck with me the longest: how do we know that marriage is right for us? Personally, I don't subscribe to the whole "you just know" philosophy. I do believe people can genuinely "just know", but I am not one of those people. While I realize that love can't be imperially measured or even seen, but I needed something more than a feeling. I mean, c'mon, it's marriage. The big one. How could I base the biggest decision of my life on a feeling?

Well, that's what I'm going to have to do. Because although Dr. Phil seems to think we're ready, we'll never actually know until we jump in. I don't know we'll be together forever, but we share a mutual desire to make this relationship work. I don't know marriage is right for us, I can only feel it. There's no proof, no flow charts, no diagrams that indicate -- without a doubt -- that our marriage will work. We could be married for 40 years and discover that it's just not working. Or we could come to the same conclusion 4 days after the honeymoon. That's the part that scares me. Flow charts are for sure, this is not.

But we have a great (albeit, not perfect) relationship that works because we really, really want it to. And there is some circumstantial evidence (I watch way too much Law & Order) that what we're doing isn't totally crazy: the last 5 years are proof that we do have at least a decent amount of sustainability; we have a compatible outlook for the future; our core values and desire are similar; we treat each other with respect; we communicate (not always super well, but it happens); and more importantly, we laugh, a lot.

I don't think any of us will ever know if what we're doing is right. Marriage or not, life seems to be a trial-and-error kind of deal. All I know is that I'd rather take the risk than spend my entire life sitting around for some scientists in a lab to develop a way to tell me with 100% certainty that marriage is right for us.

But, if you're not so apt to go with this whole "feeling" thing, you could always get some proof here and here. Apparently online generators can tell you, unequivocally, whether or not you're ready for marriage in with the help of as little as 8 questions!

So what if it made me feel a little, teeny bit better that both of these quizzes told me I was ready for marriage?

Don't judge.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

cupcakes on trial

I desperately need to get the cupcake brainstorming session started. Like so many other DIY wedding projects, the cupcakes for our wedding will definitely require a few trial runs.

I've already purchased Martha's cupcake bible and bookmarked about 10 different recipes I'd like to try out. Of course, carrot cake will be a necessity for Mr. FP. And I'm really liking the sound of these chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes that a little birdie weds posted today.


There's so many great recipes out there that the phrase "so many cupcakes, so little time" keeps running through my head. Two weeks ago as I was perusing the Martha book, I began wondering how the heck we were going to be able to narrow it down to a single flavor. Yeah right, not possible; I'm the most indecisive person ever. Especially when it comes to something this yummy.

And then it dawned on me. We'll have multiple flavors at the wedding (yeah, maybe an obvious conclusion, but for some reason, I was convinced that we should only have one flavor... holy wedding industry brain, batman). This way, we can reduce the stress of choosing and ensure that each guest will be able to find something they like.

We recently found a cupcake tree like the one below for sale though an online classified ad and since someone in our area was selling hers after her wedding, we got it at a great price and didn't have to worry about ordering online or shipping costs.

{source}

So I figure each layer can hold a different flavor cupcake in hopes that everyone will be able to find something they like.

I love when I think up ways to avoid making decisions. It makes life so much easier.

Oh, and if anyone has any cupcake recipes that they swear by, please share them! Anything goes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

we've got mad skills

In the months since our engagement, I have been given the advice "participate in some form of pre-marital counseling before the wedding, it'll be worth it" many times. A couple of times this advice came from people we know and mostly it came from the dozens of wedding blogs I peruse daily.

As I've already discussed here, our relationship is far from perfect. I'm impatient, he forgets everything and we're both really stubborn. So we bicker. A lot. And we argue. Not habitually, but it happens. We could both learn to communicate better, listen to one another more, and fight more fairly. Obviously, our relationship could use a little tweeking. We ended up attending a few counseling sessions through a local organization and they were definitely helpful to us. I think it helped us realized that there were more levels to many of our common conflicts than we had originally thought and it got us talking more. Honestly, I think some of our best conversations happened after those counseling sessions.

That being said, at $100 per session, we were only able to attend 3 at the time and with school/wedding expenses piling up, we can't afford to spend that kind of money right now, no matter how well spent those dollars would be. So we're on the hunt for something more affordable in our area, but in the mean time, I didn't want those awesome conversations to stop. I'm terrible at bottling feelings and when I do, they only get much worse. Unfortunately, I find it exceedingly difficult to start those important conversations which is why I loved the counseling sessions so much because were great a great forum in which we could talk about anything and everything.

Thankfully, I think we found the next best thing... a couples counseling book.

I've always been skeptical of the self-help book industry. I'm sure there's tons of really useful books out there, but gems like "He's Just Not That Into You" have overwhelmed the industry for years and I've been put off ever since. But after doing extensive research into pre-marital books, it seems that many of the best don't always apply to engaged couples, but center rather on improving the couple as a whole, whether they're in a relationship, engaged, or already married. Plus, finding a secular couples book in a plethora of books which are affiliated with some major religion was a battle in and of itself. Anything with the word "soul-mate" was immediately taken off the list, as was anything that hasn't released a new edition since 1980 (there's a lot of those out there, by the way). We wanted something practical; something we could really apply to our conversations and disagreements; something that would help our relationship work better; something that would improve our skills as a couple.

Well, lo and beyond. We found Couples Skills: Making Your Relationship Work.

We could not have been more lucky. After glancing through it in the book store for about 30 seconds, we knew it was for us. It's got everything we needed. It starts off with the most basic skills of listening and expressing feelings. Moves into problem solving and dealing with anger. And goes even further into issue like "separating your partner from your parents" and "identifying your couple system". To take a peek, click here.

Some of it is a little cheesy, the exercises and example seem artificial (in fact, the book recognizes this by saying "this exercise may seem artificial" but it's opened up conversations... some good, some bad, but conversation nonetheless. It's practical, applicable and has definitely improved how we communicate our needs and listen to one another. Um, did I mention we're only on the third chapter? Here's to hoping it can only get better from here. While I hesitate to give a full-hearted recommendation given that we are only on the third chapter, I'd say that, at least so far, the book seems to be living up to its expectations.

Alright, spill the beans. Anybody have some other good couples (preferably secular) books to recommend?

Monday, March 15, 2010

DIY: stationery pt. 3

The stationery saga continues. Sometimes I feel like it will never end. But I was really excited about this part because unlike our invitations, I didn't have to spend 8 months thinking about it!

Early on in the planning process, I happened across photos of wedding stationery which featured the most gorgeous envelopes I'd ever seen. Until that point in the planning, I can't say I'd given the envelopes for our invitations a second thought. Or even a first one for that matter. I just figured we'd go with something simple, more than likely white, with hand written addresses. And then I started seeing more and more photos of wedding stationery that featured gorgeous envelopes like these ones:


{source}


After seeing photos like these, suddenly boring white didn't seem so appealing. I figured if our invitations are going to be amazing (in my totally biased and un-humble opinion) why shouldn't our envelopes be pretty too?

So I started sourcing out envelopes of all shades, hues, textures and shapes. I absolutely fell in love with the envelopes from Paper Source which come in just about every color imaginable. And then I took it one step further and fell in love with their envelope liners too. I soon realized I was in way over my head and falling in love with items well beyond our budget for stationery. To buy enough envelopes and liners in a size that fits out ginormous invitations and to have them shipped to Canada would have cost more than either of us ever wanted to spend. And that's another thing, since when is a 5.5 x 8.5" invitation considered ginormous? I have no idea, but envelopes for them seem to be impossible to find at a decent price. Maybe it's my cheapness, or the difficulty of getting them across the border, but I couldn't seem to find any in a decent color for a decent price.

I was ticked. There was no way I had spent the last 8 months of my life toiling over the invitations to have them exit my hands in ugly envelopes. So I thought maybe I'd settle for white envelopes and try making liners myself. After reading through a few online tutorials, I quickly realized how little I actually cared about envelope liners. Yes, they would be pretty. Yes, they would add something special to our stationery. But they weren't worth the money and they certainly worth the time I would spend stressing about making them. Ultimately, I moved beyond them. For the sake of my sanity (and by extension, that of Mr. FP), I'm glad I did. Because we found a great option that will make our envelopes both pretty and special. Plus, it throws in a little of the DIY and handmade touch we wanted our stationery to have without sending me to the crazy house.

And that option is a blank address stamp. More specifically, the cutest address stamp in the entire world. And let me tell you, it was no easy item to find. There are thousand of sellers on out there who make return address labels, but we didn't need one of those. I wanted a blank address label so we could fill in the names of our guests on the front of our invitations. I did end up finding this one, but Mr. FP wasn't in love with the ice cream cone and there's no lines for the address (a necessity because although I have really neat handwriting, my lines tend to tilt if I don't have a guide).

Finally, I came across Etsy seller narchitoo who carves rubber stamps by hand in some of the cutest designs. I'm so glad I came across her store when I did because she's in the process of liquidating her stock as she won't be carving any more stamps. She still has a few super cute stamps left, including this sewing one which I love:
{click photo for listing}

Thankfully, we got in in time to snatch up her last owl address stamp.


Although $30 (with shipping) is more than I probably would have liked to spend on a rubber stamp, it's so cute and Mr. FP is in love with the owl. Plus, we'll be able to use it after the wedding, which is always a bonus with any wedding expenses.

Of course, as soon as it had arrived in the mail, we rushed (obviously by my choice, not Mr. FP's, he wasn't quite as excited ... he's such a boy) over to Michaels to get some ink pads to try it out. We ended up buying two different colors that coordinate well with our invitations because we (and by we, I mean I) couldn't pick just one.


And after a few really unsuccessful trials, we finally started getting some good results. The biggest issue is finding an ink pad that is large enough to accommodate the entire stamp. It's about an inch too large to fit within the confines of most of the ink pads at Michaels, or at least, the ones that don't cost over $10. So it's slightly more difficult because we have to press it in a few times to ensure that the entire thing is getting covered, but it's worth it.



{click images to enlarge}

One of my favorite things about the handmade stamp (as opposed to most mass marketed stamps) is that the detailing is so clear and the image is a little different each time we stamp it. While the purchase of the stamp is yet another example of settling for something that's a few notches below our ideal stationery situation, the end result is something that's much more cost effective and much more us. Because, honestly, as pretty as Mr. FP thought the envelope liners were, he would have never gotten as excited about them as he did about this (I swear, it's something about the owl). Plus, I think we did our relationship a favor by choosing a project that isn't going to stress us both out for months on end.

So we love it. Regardless of the fact that, by the end of May, our hands will probably be permanently stained with red and blue ink. It's a good thing that owl is so darn cute.

Friday, March 12, 2010

sunny skies

{source}

As most Canadians have probably noticed in the last week or two, spring seems to have arrived. Key words being "seems to". According to Environment Canada, its been the warmest and driest winter on record for Canada. Its only the second week of March and I'm already considering pulling out my flip flops. Basically, I'm in heaven.

And with this warm bliss comes a handful of worries. Because -- as many Canadians know -- nothing in our weather system ever remains stable for long. Especially not in Atlantic Canada. So while I'm hopeful that the sun will continue, I'm prepared to pull out my rain boots and umbrella at a moments notice.

Fine, let it rain. Let it pour. But, please, God, let is stop by May. Otherwise, I will have a severe panic attack as the wedding day approaches. No, I'm not one of those brides who will freak out and lose all hope in life if I wake up on the day of our wedding day and see rain. But last year, it took so long for the ground at the cottage to try up that even by July, the ground was still a muddy mess. There's large parts of the lawn that don't get exposed to sunshine for more than 2 or 3 hours a day and with constant rain, those parts never really got a chance to dry out. So the ground was squishy. Mega-squishy. Had-to-walk-over-wooden-boards-to-get-to-the-beach-so-we-wouldn't-slip-and-fall-in-the-mud kind of squishy. Not an idea situation for the wedding day. Not at all.

And while I know I took that risk by having the wedding at the cottage so -- as my aunt has so kindly pointed out to me -- I'll get what's coming to me if this happens again, I have high hopes. In the 22 years I have been going to the cottage, last year was the first. And I think it's mainly because there was so little time between the snow drying up and the rain beginning that caused this conundrum. Plus, even if it does happen again, I'll do my best not to be put out. We've already planned to have the reception tent placed on a piece of ground that is stable and far away from the squishy parts. But our ideal location for the ceremony will be lost in the mud if there's too much rain. And while there's plenty of other places to set up the ceremony, it's not going to be our favorite place on the grounds of the cottage if the mud takes over.

In addition to that, I'm slightly worried about rain on the day of the wedding. While it's supposed to be good luck and make for some awesome photo-ops, I have no desire to have rain. Mainly because rain might be good luck, but wet wedding guests are not. And with a tented reception, a mega-rainstorm could cause some problems.

So, I've been praying constantly that there won't be rain. I've already got a deal with the Man upstairs, but just in case that doesn't pan out, I've come up with some alternative sources of comfort:
  • Historically, it hasn't rained on our wedding day for the past 4 years. You can check out any date in any city on the Weather Network's website here.
  • If you check out today's post on This Little Journey, there's an Irish tradition that's supposed to help prevent rain with a little help from the Child of Prague.
  • Apparently, rosary beads -- either in the bushes, or hung on a clothesline -- the morning of the wedding should put a stop to any rain.
  • Brooms in trees. I have no idea why. But apparently, placing a ton of brooms in trees the night before the wedding will help you out.
  • If all else fails, revert to some witchcraft and cast a spell. Learn how here.

Finally, you can be pro-active by predicting whether or not rain is on the way by watching the cows. According to some, if cows are laying down in their fields, its going to rain.

Okay, do I genuinely believe in any of this? Other than the historical statistics of the Weather Network, no.

But if I need to bury a small statue, hang out rosary beads, and put brooms in trees to calm my nerves, I'll do it. I mean, witchcraft, probably not. But I like cows. I'm sure I'll be able to spare some time before the wedding to scientifically observe the movement patterns of cows. Just in case.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

veil validation

I never thought of myself as a veil girl. I hate the ones with blushers and I loathe the ones that poof up to give the appearance of a large bubble attached to the brides head. Okay, I should clarify. I hate those veils on me. On other people, they look great. But blushers and bubbles just aren't me. So early in the wedding planning process, I had decided that I didn't want one. Just a flower or something simple in my hair would do.

Then I heard the stories. All the wonderful stories about the veil that made me change my mind. There are articles, blog posts, forum posts and epic poems all over the internet written by brides who love their veils. And after reading these stories, I went from thinking of veils as an overpriced piece of transparent fabric to believing that the veil will make all the difference.

Did I fall prey to the wedding industry? Did I let them convince me? Let them make me feel like I needed something I didn't really need? Maybe a little.

But honestly, I think it's more than that. I think the veil does complete the look for a lot of brides. And while I understand why a lot of brides remain veil-less, I think it's exactly what I need. My dress is a bridesmaid dress ordered in white, it doesn't sparkle or have any lace on it; I can pee by myself and it's flowy and comfortable. Pretty much everything the wedding industry wants, my dress lacks. And for that, I love it. But at the same time, it is very simple. And I want to be at least a little glam for our big day.

But I still didn't want a blusher, a bubble and I definitely didn't want to pay upwards of $200 for a piece of tulle. DIY-ing the entire veil was out of the question for me. I have no desire to make my own veil. Nor do I think I would get the results I want. So, since I didn't want to hate my veil, I needed another option outside of the walls of the bridal salon. Thankfully, I found it.

After reading this article from APT 345, I completely fell in love and knew I needed to have a veil. It's just so gosh-darn pretty. Simple and non-obstructive but definitely beautiful.

{photo from Apt 345}

Brooke, the author, like so many other brides talks about the difference the veil made to her:

I considered skipping it completely, but there's a reason those sales girls insist on putting them on you in the bridal salons--it completes the look. You go from "yeah, this is a pretty dress" to "OMG, I'm getting married" with the addition of one little piece of fabric.

As much as I love my dress and as happy as I am that I went with something simple, I want to have the "OMG, I'm getting married" feeling too! And while I may be jumping the gun a little since I have yet to try on my dress with a veil, I have this feeling in my gut that's telling me its the right thing for me.

Another part of me, however, is reminding me that there isn't $300 in the wedding budget set aside for a veil. So I'm turning to my best friend, Etsy. After I try some on at the salon to get a better idea of what goes with my dress, I'm going to scour Etsy for something similar but much more cost effective. In fact, I have a feeling that I'll end up going with something very similar to Brooke's veil which can be found in Etsy seller BellasBridalVeils' shop here. How does $29 sound, instead of $200? Um, hell yes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

stupid expensive rentals

I hate when necessary wedding expenses end up being way more of an expense than we ever wanted them to be. I hate that rental companies charge a bazillion dollars to set up a tent for two days. I hate that we're going to have to pay way more than we ever thought we would just so we'll have tables, chairs and linens at our wedding.

These are things that I hate. Nonetheless, these are things we have to live with. We didn't chose a simple banquet hall wedding. We decided to let sentimentality rule over us and chose to go with the family cottage. The cottage has been in my family since my mom was a kid and its basically a storage center of yard-sale rejects and furniture that no one wanted to use in their everyday living spaces anymore. Nothing in there is new. Nothing. And I love it. I love our cottage with all my heart. I have a ridiculous tendency to get attached to inanimate objects and the cottage is definitely one of them. Some of my best childhood memories are attached to that place. So when we were searching for a unique summer wedding location, it was an obvious choice. An obvious and amazing choice that came with a ridiculous amount of strings.

I don't know about your family cottage, but ours normally doesn't have outdoor, weather-protected seating or dining space for 85. We don't have a good supply of matching table linens or even more than 3 chairs that match one another. So obviously rentals would be a necessity. As would elbow grease. A lot of it.

Unfortunately, we got a quote last week from the rental company which will be supplying the chairs, tables and linens for our ceremony and reception and it makes me sad. For tables, chairs and linens to seat and feed 95 people (we're overestimating just in case), it'll be close to $500. And since we want everything for two days instead of one (because we certainly don't want anyone doing set-up on the day of the wedding), the cost has reached almost $1200. I hate it. I hate that we have to spend that much money on rentals. It's a little over 1/5 th of our budget.

And what I hate even more is that this expense is necessary. I can't get around it. For every other wedding expense that seemed outrageous to me so far, we've gone DIY. If we didn't want to pay for it, we DIY-ed it.

Don't like the cost for catering? DIY food.
Don't want to pay a florist? DIY flowers.

Unfortunately, I can't DIY tables and chairs. Oh man, I would if I could. But trust me, carpentry is not my thing. So I have to suck it up this week and hand over a 30% deposit just so our guests can have a place to sit.

Okay, okay. I know, I'm overreacting. I can feel it. I know that it really is probably the most necessary expense in the world. It's meeting the most basic of wedding needs. Plus, we've been extremely lucky. We were originally going to have to pay upwards of $1,000 just for the reception tent if we got it from a rental company. Thankfully, a family that owns a cottage down the road from ours hosted their daughter's wedding at their cottage two years ago and they had purchased tents for it. So through a weird coincidence, we were able to get their number from a co-worker of my mom's who attended the wedding and we'll be renting their tents for our wedding. At a ridiculously low price compared to a rental company.

And in the grand scheme of things, banquet halls might include tables/chairs/linens in their room rental, but the ones in our area would also require us to pay upwards of $4,000 for catering. Hm, which would I rather pay ... $1,200 for rentals and $600 for food at our dream location .... or $6,000 for room rental and catering in some generic wedding hall? The choice is clear.

And even Mr. FP, the most frugal man I know, is telling me that it's okay to spend that kind of money. And so are his parents. And my parents... well, my mom just keeps reminding me that if we'd gone with a banquet hall, we wouldn't have to think about these things, so it's really my own fault that I'm stressed out. Um, yeah, thanks mom, that's really helpful. So I ignore her and figure that if Mr. FP thinks it's a good idea, it probably is.

But still, the tiny voice inside me that hates paying other people to do things is screaming. It's telling me that there must be another option. Even though it won't give me any insight into what the alternatives might be.

Hopefully it shuts up soon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

wedding cake and video games

So I've already posted about how Mr. FP has been the executor of many wedding choices. Well, one of those decisions came in the mail last week and we're so excited!

Our Mario and Peach cake toppers have arrived! They're cute, colorful, unique and totally us so we love them to bits. Although we're doing cupcakes, so technically, there's no cake to top, we wanted something to go on top of the cupcake tower. And since we're anything but traditional, the standard cake toppers didn't seem to fit us. Plus, he's got an Arab background so he's brown, not white and not black. And that translates into being impossible to recreate in cake topper form in today's wedding industry, apparently. Our only choices have been a very white or a very, very black cake topper man. I know there's tons of people on Etsy who will customize cake toppers to look just like bride and groom, but honestly, the idea of seeing a mini version of us perched on top of a cake kinda freaks me out.

It wasn't until Mr. FP found this cake that we knew what we wanted to do:


{source}

Although I'm sure Mr. FP would have loved to have the entire cake recreated for our wedding, we knew we wanted cupcakes, it was out of the budget and we weren't sure we'd be able to find someone in our area who could do it justice. So we settled for the cake toppers. That's right, we settled. It wasn't our dream wedding cake situation, but we're making it work. But that's fine with me, because I love our little video game heroes. Well, hero and stereotypical female who needs a man to save her. Oh well, we'll just ignore that part for now and focus on how pretty they are.



{click images to enlarge}

And, of course, like many projects in our wedding, these guys still have some DIY awaiting them. They're fairly small in comparison with the standard cake topper and they're separated by two different bases, which I'm not a huge fan of. So they'll eventually get removed from their bases and placed on a single base upon which I hope to be able to create some sort of arch to surround them. Ideally, I'd like them to look something like the cake toppers below (both of which I love), complete with arch and decorations.


{click images for listings}

Overall, the cost should be minor. Mario and Peach were found on eBay for under $8 each, a base shouldn't be more than $5 and I'll use decorations I already have in my extensive collection of crafting material.

So, unless Mr. FP breaks an arm off Mario or Peach we'll be good to go.

But honestly, I don't have much faith in that considering the fact that the first thing he did after we opened them was make them fight. That's right, he pitted Mario and Peach against each other in a fist fight. At which point he astutely noted "Hey, did you ever notice that the first things boys do with action figures is make them fight?"

Yep, that's my future husband I'm talking about...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Giveaway! Rachael Ray Cookware

Kristal D! Congrats!

Kristal, when you get a chance, please e-mail me at missfancypantsthebride {at} gmail {dot} com to claim your prize. And thanks to everyone else that entered!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Giveaway! Rachael Ray Cookware

Something that has been on my mind more and more lately is our wedding registry. We're seriously slacking in that department. We've already created our registry online, but we still haven't gotten our butts into the store. I know, Emily Post is probably rolling over in her grave because we're only 4 months away from the wedding and our guests are still clueless about what we need and want.

So, I've decided that this weekend is the weekend. We're finally going to do it. We're going to register. And I have conflicted feelings about it. On the one hand, I want to play with the registry guns. On the other hand, I don't want an employee following us around and pressuring us into buying stuff we don't need or want (yeah, I've heard horror stories about such experiences). Thankfully, we've already been living together for almost 2 years and we have everything we need. Everything on our registry will either be upgrades to stuff we have (the cute, but semi-broken Hello Kitty toaster) or things we still haven't gotten around to buying for ourselves (blender, decent knives, etc.).

So when I was approached about doing a cookware giveaway, I thought it would be great for anyone going through a similar registry crisis. And for those who aren't in crisis, well, who doesn't like free stuff? CSN stores has a collection of online stores with everything from kids bedding to modern furniture to cookware. And they've been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway of a 10" skillet from Rachael Ray's line of porcelain enamel cookware. How cute is this?


{click photo for link}

How to enter:


1) Leave your first name and the first letter of your last name (ie. Jane A.) in the comments below.

2) Become a follower to enter a second time.

3) Enter a third time by re-posting this giveaway on your own blog and leaving a comment with a link to your post.

Make sure to leave a comment each time you enter (ie. one when you leave your name, another if you become a follower...).

Entries good until 7 a.m. Monday (March 8th) morning. I'll choose a winner at random and announce sometime on Monday, so make sure you check back then to give me your e-mail so I can send you the details. Happy entering and good luck!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

etsy seller: NHWoodcreations

I'm 100% in love with Etsy shop NHWoodcreations which I found from yesterday's post on The Sweetest Occasion. It was nearly impossible for me to limit myself to 6 photos, I wanted to link to everything.

If I was not determined to have fresh flowers at our wedding, I would definitely be buying some of Allison's work. The prices are great, colors are amazing and she gets inspiration from wandering through the woods of New Hampshire. How cool is that? Check her out!






{all photos from NHWoodcreations}
{click photos to link to listings}

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

part of the family

Author note: Please be advised that this post, like the last one, does not contain any wedding fluff. There is no mention of pretty centerpieces, lace gowns or menu choices. It's depressing, I know. But that's the kind of weekend I've had, haha. If you're a wedding-fluff-only kind of girl, you'll want to leave and come back some other day when I go back to talking about how in love I am with our wedding. Just sayin' ...

We've all heard the horror stories of the dreaded In-Laws. There's the crazy cord-hasn't-been-cut-yet mother in law who refuses to let go of her son. There's the pervy dad who can't keep his eyes focused on your face. And then there's reality. Hopefully, fiction and reality never match up. But even so, trying to forge a relationship with your partners parents is a tough one. There's tons of pressure attached to it.

Thankfully, Mr. FP and I met in high school so the "meeting the parents" situation wasn't as stressful for us. We had no idea we'd be getting married 6 years from then, so it wasn't a big deal. But since that day, the relationship has definitely been complicated and while my future In-Laws aren't even close to the crazy mom/pervert dad, it's been a difficult relationship to work with. Especially when it comes to balancing it with wedding planning.

Even though my future In-Laws have welcomed me into their family and taken time to get to know me, I'm still not sure I'll ever feel like their daughter. And I think they might expect me to. However, I'm a sensitive, quiet, shy, creature of habit who doesn't stray to beyond the life she's been leading for the past 22 years. And they, well, they're not shy or quiet and the dynamic of their family is very different from that of mine. They talk about everything, we talk about nothing. They're fans of Lebanese and Indian food while my family is a meat and potatoes kind of bunch.

This has been a problem in my relationship with them. They seem to expect something different than what I am. They expect me to show up to every family function. And while I try my best to spend time with his family because it's important to him and well, I'll be hanging with them for the next 60 years of my life, I'm not comfortable with giant groups of people. It's never been easy for me to approach and relate to complete strangers immediately. It take me a lot of time to get to know and be comfortable with people. Which I have been able to do with a few members of his family, especially the local ones.

This is something I think his parents don't understand. Actually, I know they don't understand it because the subject came to a head this past weekend when we had to talk to them about it. We tried to explain that my shyness and reserved nature makes me feel uncomfortable at large gatherings where everyone knows everyone else, but I'm unfamiliar with most, if not all people in attendance. As we tried to explain my shyness to them, his dad made an insensitive joke about
how I "have to show up" at our wedding regardless of how many people I don't know who might be there. Then his mother told me that I don't live up to her expectations of what she thought Mr. FP's partner would be. She thought her relationship with the woman who marries her son would be different than my relationship with her. That hurt. A lot.

I think it's situations like this that prevent me from feeling like their daughter. Hell, forget feeling like their daughter, it's hard for me to even spend time with them when they're making me feel like an idiot for being shy and introverted. While I obviously give some thought to what they think of me, I have the ability to shove off how they feel about me and try my best not to worry about it, but it's Mr. FP I'm most worried about. I don't want there to be tension with his parents because they mean the world to him. But I can't just stop being shy and I flat our refuse to put myself into uncomfortable positions just because of my fear of not living up to their expectations.

Ugh, damn families.

Anyone else have any In-Law troubles? Or have you managed to feel like part of his/her family? Or even better, solve my problem for me! Ha, yeah right. You're not miracle workers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

seal of approval

I have a flaw. Yep, I do. I know. It's hard to believe. But it's a big one. I try to hard to please other people. Ever since I was a kid, I've hating fighting with friends. I hate disappointing my grandparents. I don't like when people don't like me. If you've ever seen the episode of Friends where Monica panics and bends over backwards to please the unhappy mother of Rachel ... yep, that's me. Okay, well, not really. I'm not that Type A. But you get the idea.

I don't deal well with disapproval. And while I have grown and come to accept the fact that not everyone will be thrilled with me at all times, it still bugs me sometimes. I like living up to the expectations of others when I feel as though I can. I'd like to be one of those women who is extremely confident in herself and is able to adopt a universal "screw you" policy when faced with the disapproval of others ... but I'm not one of those women. A lot of the time, yes, I can stand my ground, but when it's my closest friends and family, it's rough.

This issue, as one can imagine, has come to head during wedding planning. I've had to deal with the expectations of other more in the last year a half of my life than I ever thought I would have to in my lifetime. I'm not sure what it is about weddings that makes people feel comfortable to insert their opinions when they're not asked to. This is especially prominent with parents. On my side, we've got a lot of it. My dad's determined to rent a trailer for extra space in spite of the fact that the Mr. and I don't want or need it and my mom doesn't understand the concept of candid photography so she believes only formal photos will do regardless of my passionate love with candid shots. On Mr. FP's side, his mother is persistent in her desire to hijack our rehearsal dinner (because it's traditional for the groom's parents to take care of it) and turn it into a boisterous night out with our entire wedding party as well as all the out-of-town guests (numbering almost 20) even though we want a small, intimate dinner with only the people who need to attend the rehearsal dinner.

And while I would probably try to gain the approval and acceptance of them in any other situation, our wedding has been a whole different story. Honestly, it's issues like these that bring out my inner bitch. And I like it. I find myself freely saying no to things that go directly against our original version for the wedding. I don't understand how people -- even our parents -- can remain persistent in ideas that we've expressed animosity for in the past. It's strange. I thought we were all taught, at some point in our lives, that "no means no". Apparently, weddings clog the ears of those we love the most and make them oblivious to what we truly want and what's really important to us. *sigh* Maybe they'll get the idea some day soon. Even if there's only 115 days left, I'm holding out a little bit of hope. And if not, being a bitch seems to suit me pretty well.

compostable weddings

At one point in my life, I was stressing over how much plates and cutlery for the wedding would cost. That's right, I got myself worked up over the thought of having to pay for china and silverware and stressed about finding a rental company with a decent price. If I could go back in time, I would find that version of myself and slap her.

At this point in our life, I have no desire to pay $0.40 for cutlery and I definitely don't intend to have the entire cost for plates/cutlery/glassware for the wedding to reach almost $400. Nope. It ain't happenin'. Plus, I don't want to give any added formality to the reception. Let's face it, our wedding is being held at a summer cottage and the reception will take place under a tent decorated from head to toe with bright, fun colors. Nothing formal here. So why would I care about having formal place settings? Oh right, I don't.

Suggesting alternatives to traditional place settings to my family didn't go over so well though. My mother laughed and I'm pretty sure Mr. FP's mother might faint when she finds out. I think it's probably a common reaction for people when they think of the possibility of having paper, styrofoam or any substance other than ceramic as plate ware at a wedding, but so freakin' what if we want paper plates? Oh no, are the wedding police from The Knot might come arrest us? Um, no. In spite of the opposition, I'm pushing forward with the idea and I've found some great eco-friendly solutions online:

  • Plates, bowls, cups from Branch, an online store based in San Fransisco are made of 100% sugar cane fiber and created in a factory where the workers are treated fairly and paid well. They're biodegradable and compostable and most products come in packs of 50 for pretty reasonable prices.
  • Similarly, Worldcentric.org has bio-compostable plates, cups, "silverware" and even has paper towel, bags and sample packs.
  • Finally, one of my favorites is from Ecowareproducts.com who makes biodegradable cutlery formed out of birch wood. The prices are pretty good for the numbers we need and according to Budget Savvy Bride, they're tough enough to cut through chicken and sausage which is a plus. Although I don't eat either, I don't want our guests to get some birch wood particles along with their BBQ.

{source}

How cute are they? Honestly, I expect that if we buy all the plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons, and bowls we'll be needing online, I'll end up paying more in shipping than I might have to rent plates, so I'm going to have to do some number crunching to make sure we can afford it. But if our wedding isn't going to save the planet, whose is?!