Tag Archives: wedding stress

Epic Journey: Bachlorette Conundrum

I’m stuck with a quandary that I can’t seem to shake.

When I started researching, buying books (yes, I still buy paper books), visiting venues,  and getting my head wrapped around this whole Epic Journey of planning our wedding I tried very hard to convince myself I didn’t need to do all the traditional wedding stuff to feel happy. We have made a few adjustments to a lot of our original ideas and as we get closer and closer to the Big Day I have one underlying feeling growing inside me.

A few months ago I attended my first birthday party at a Strip Club, with male strippers for the record. I have been to a female strip club in the past, but that story is for another time. I attended with a small group of friends, some new, some old, and got all gussied up for a night on the town and opportunity to tuck some dollar bills into a greasy guys thong. It. Was. Amazing. Mostly due to the strippers rubbing themselves all over my friends and steering clear of my nice clothes. I was busy taking pictures and used my iPhone as a shield against their greasy thrusts. It was hilarious. It was a nice lesson. A fun moment in time. I also appreciate the experience of attending an event such as this for someone else on their special and fun night. I now know I never want someone to get a stripper for my birthday, or any other event in my life. It’s a lot more fun to see it from the outside, watching it unfold before your very eyes…and laugh, and have fun with it.

Trying to stay under the radar after a stressful week of wedding shenanigans.

Trying to stay under the radar after a stressful week of wedding shenanigans.

I will admit, I’ve never been a bridesmaid, I haven’t been to many bridal showers, and only one bachelorette party in my life. I’m not quite sure what I want, or what to expect out of a party of this kind…for myself. If you’d asked me a few months ago I would have made simple requests: a spa weekend, a night of light drinking, combined with maybe watching crappy movies and lots of girl talk. However…the closer and closer it gets to the end of this Epic Journey the more I want to go all out and party like it’s my last day on earth. Maybe it’s the stress of planning the wedding. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to do much for my birthday this year. Maybe I’ve just lost my mind and I think drinking copious amounts of alcohol will bring my equilibrium back. Who knows. All I do know at this point is that I want to, no need to, get silly and drunk. Possibly double the amount of silly and drunk.

Am I the only person this has happened to? Am I losing my mind? I feel weird about the expectations for this kind of event, and instead am having a weird knee jerk reaction. I’m not sure if I’m excited, terrified, or ambivalent to the whole experience. At this point, I just wanna drink. A lot. While trying not to vomit on myself. And maybe not end up in jail for beating someone up. Just sayin’.

Maybe I need to try to do more everyday things, and try not to lose touch with my everyday life while this Epic Journey gets closer to consuming my life. Silver linings. Deep breath.

Photographic evidence that I'm trying to stay productive.

Photographic evidence that I’m trying to stay productive.

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Epic Journey: Photographer Choices

FINALLY! The piece I’ve been trying to get done for a few weeks…choosing our photographer. I almost added it to my last post, but decided it is long enough be a separate post. Enjoy!

Photographer Required

Selecting a photographer was as stressful as deciding on the venue. We were fortunate to have the venue locked in over a year in advance. Once January 2013 hit the pressure was on to interview and select a photographer. We felt our budget was set, and were already having issues coming up with the money due to family drama. Every time I looked into possible photographers I would get anxiety when looking at their package pricing. I had an idea of what I was looking for in a photographer, but just looking at their websites didn’t really give me a good sense of who or what they are about.

While waiting for me to get off of work my fiance had a few drinks at a local wine bar and started chatting with one of the girls who worked there about our wedding. Turns our she’s a wedding photographer! I had already begun making appointments with other photographers and then added her to our list of people to interview. Within a few days we had three interviews set up for the following week and got to meet them (2 out of 3, one flaked on us) and check out their portfolios in person while chatting about pricing, packages, and extras. Turns out the gal from the wine bar was a perfect fit! Even if she was almost double what our original budget was.

A small Thank You gift we received after signing our contract with Sposto.

A small Thank You gift we received after signing our contract with Sposto.

We figured that our wedding photos are gonna last forever, why not invest in someone who is a professional and is flexible enough to give us what we were looking for:

  1. Payment Plan: So we don’t have to pay everything up front.
  2. Add/Subtract Items: For A La Carte extras, like photo albums.
  3. Offers ALL DAY coverage for no added cost!

The last item was a BIG deal for us if we were going to invest in someone who was originally out of our price range. A lot of photographers offer 4,6, or even 8 hours of coverage on the day-of, and then charge extra for additional hours and staff. Since our ceremony and reception are at the same location and we have the venue until midnight we wanted to make sure we had someone who would also be able to photograph everything. We especially wanted someone who could be with my fiance and his groomsmen, while someone else is with myself and the bridesmaids at the same time taking photographs of everyone getting ready. We discussed doing “First Look” photos of us seeing each other before the ceremony, on-site at the venue. Planning a timeline for the day-of was getting longer and longer, and by the time we met with our chosen photographer I knew exactly what we were willing to compromise on, and what we didn’t want to waste time and money on (i.e. engagement photo session). The other big advantage to finding someone from the local business community was getting an additional discount on our Thank You cards. She offered to help design and print our Thank You cards at no additional cost as a “4th Street Discount” because my fiance and I both work locally as well. How awesome and sweet is that?!

The final item that impressed me is their photo albums. Originally I had been against getting photo albums (not enough funds), and during our initial interview they showed us these beautiful photo albums with the most amazing binding and layout design I had ever seen!! I’m a big stationary and paper geek (hence doing all the DIY invitations and stuff), and was surprised at how much I loved their albums. When they then offered to substitute the cost of the engagement session for possible photo albums on the back-end I was ready to give her a deposit right then and there! The pragmatist in me waited 24-48 hours before finalizing our decision, of course, because we still had to decide how we were going to come up with the rest of the money to pay for their services. Due to their awesome payment plan we still have time to save up, and hit up other family members, for the rest of the money for our chosen photographer.

We’ve been fortunate to have a very generous and loving family who are helping us with financing the wedding, photographers, venue, and some odds and ends. There are always stressful budgeting and financial questions that come in to play when planning a wedding of any size and scale. Take a deep breath and try not to freak out. 🙂

Until next week!

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Epic Journey: Not Being Perfect

Hola!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. I reblogged an item from a fellow blogger that I thought was helpful and relevant to my current situation and wedding planning. You try so hard to get everything together and make it look “perfect” for your looming Big Day, but in the end you just have to remind yourself that perfect is what you make of it. Sure the centerpieces won’t be aligned perfectly the way you want them to look, but who’s gonna really notice? If for some reason you get wind that a guest made a snarky comment about decorations should you really let it get to you? Today I explore all the stressful wedding stuff I’ve experienced while getting all my ducks in a row.

My dining table turned into a craft construction zone while we assembled the invites.

My dining table turned into a craft construction zone while we assembled the invites.

Compromise

My fiance and I had a small conversation last night about our concerns with the centerpieces being too “plain” or looking “empty” because we might not have enough flowers or decorations for the tables. I let him know that if it looks a little simple I’m okay with that. I’d rather be happy with what we have than worry endlessly about what others (or ourselves) are gonna obsess over as looking “perfect.” We are constantly reminding ourselves that we just don’t have the funds to invest it in the little things that are the status quo for other weddings or brides.

Case in point, our wedding favors are a perfect example of something we’ve had to readdress as we get closer to the wedding day. At first we wanted to get coffee mugs with a custom image and filled with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for our guests. Now we realize the custom coffee mugs are not going to be cost effective for us to accomplish. However, our new backup plan is to get paper coffee cups decorated with sleeves, ribbon, and a custom sticker instead. Compromise is everything. You can accomplish your vision with a few adjustments and still feel happy with the outcome of your wedding style.

DIY (Within Reason) and ASK for Help!

Realizing that stamping all the items for the invites is gonna take a LOT of work!

Realizing that stamping all the items for the invites is gonna take a LOT of work!

Offbeat Bride Tribe had a great post about how easily DIY projects can consume a lot of your time, and money, without realizing what you signed yourself up for. From the start I had planned on doing a lot of DIY wedding stuff because I wanted to have a hand in creating and designing items over a long period of time (over a year and a half) for our wedding because I take a lot of joy in crafting and creating stuff for my wedding. I also never could have done it by myself, and have been grateful that we have a village of friends who have been kind enough to offer their help, have shown up to help, and continue to be supportive of all the DIY stuff we have created and continue to do for our wedding. Many of them also understand that despite having a relatively large wedding, we are unable to invite everyone due to financial limitations and venue space. All of our friends have been kind enough to give us words of encouragement, advice, tips and tricks on how we can accomplish our dream wedding, and I continue to pick their brains for more help. I always make a point of constantly thanking them in any way I can to show my appreciation for their help and friendship.

I took last week off from blogging because I turned my dinning table into a crafting construction zone as I began the process of putting together our wedding invitations. With 2 of my bridesmaids on Spring Break in New York, another in school full-time while working, and another bridesmaid just becoming engaged I took upon myself to call in all my favors. I asked friends who offered to help in the past if they were available to come by (when they had time, I did not dictate when they had to help) and help me construct the wedding invitations. It was amazing and inspiring to see all of the friends who came out to help last week, and within 5 days we had finished putting together every little detail. There are still a few things I need to finish on my end, but those are things I can take my time doing over the course of this week (like numbering the RSVP’s and finalizing the mailing labels) with the help of my fiance.

Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Mold

What if somebody notices the invites are mounted off centered?! What if they notice the stamp is upside down?! Can they tell I had to trim the edges of the cards?! *GASP* “Who gives a shit!?” was my response, after I spent 5 days constructing everything. 🙂 I can’t emphasize this enough, not everything will be perfect. That’s okay. Hell, not everyone is going to have the same aesthetic or taste as you do, and that’s okay. Our wedding style is not there to please our guests or other brides and make them feel validated. Our wedding is just that, our wedding with our style and showcases who we are as a couple. Granted, our families do not have the same taste as we do, but that’s why they get to plan their own weddings and parties how they like. 🙂

My bridesmaids are going to wear red and black dresses because I think they would look amazing in red! I’m going to wear red shoes and dye my hair red because I love the color red! Yes, wedding style magazines say don’t use too much red because it should be an accent color. Well, they can shut up and suck it because I plan on using a lot of red! Can you tell I’ve gone a little crazy? 🙂

It’s been a long couple of weeks and I’m doing pretty well holding it together (for the most part) with the help of all my friends. We never could have accomplished everything without all of their help!! I can’t say it enough:

THANK YOU to all my friends, colleagues, and family who have helped us make this wedding become a reality and not just a fantasy!!

Getting all my crafting supplies in order so my helpers don't need to bring anything but their beautiful selves!

Getting all my crafting supplies in order so my helpers don’t need to bring anything but their beautiful selves!

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Whirlwind

This is the only word to best describe my life for the last couple of months.

  • my manager quit
  • wedding planning got serious
  • training/informing my new manager
  • assessing the budget of our large wedding
  • paper flower making tutorials in action
  • sold out performances for our current show
  • working massive overtime
  • putting out (metaphorical) fires at home and at work
  • coordinating bridesmaids
  • hosting parties
  • and finally, trying to breathe

So…I’ve been swamped to say the least. It has been the most rewarding past few months, but also the craziest. My manager quit, as you saw at the top of my list, so most of time at work has been spent picking up the slack and taking control of the front/box office. I am the last person there who has been with the organization for the last three years. Everyone else quit. Awesome! Right? No not really (insert sarcasm here). Luckily, I am the Master of My Domain! I wish I could be modest on this point, but I’m not. I’ve managed to pull the place together and keep it afloat. I tend to do well in stressful situations, and work well under pressure. On the other hand, I get a little impatient with people from time to time. 🙂

Besides work, which is boring to talk about, I managed to put out another fire with my mother-in-law, who was upset she had just realized that we were not getting married in a church, by a priest. Yeah….crisis averted. We had a heartfelt conversation and let her know that our plans were very clear from the beginning and this was going to happen our way. The way we had planned, since before we were engaged. She wasn’t happy, but she resigned to let us do what we wanted.

I’ve also neglected posting about my wedding crafts, as well as posting photos of our progress. Since I  also recently cracked my phone screen and lost a few photos of our work when I backed up my stuff and it wasn’t properly saved. *sad face* Phone is now fixed, and properly backed up, but I lost a few things. Nothing I can’t live without.

The biggest and best news is that we have SET A DATE! We finally got out venue, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, on September 7th, 2013!! Hallelujah! I apologize in advance if you are not invited. My fiance and I have large Catholic families, and too many friends. I cut our friends list in half just to keep the financial stress off our of parents who have been generous enough to pay for the whole endeavor. If we had a wedding the exact way I wanted it would have been done and over, with no one knowing anything had happened. Then we’d throw a party and SURPRISE! WE’RE MARRIED!!

In other good news, I have had the last two nights in a row off, during a show, due to working too much over time. This last month, and week, have been really difficult, but totally worth it.

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