Posts in the 'Planning' Category

Ask Liz About Guest List Management

Hi Liz,

My wedding is in September, and I’ve been struggling with my guest list for at least 6 months now – I didn’t send out  Save the Dates simply because I couldn’t get it together in time. The main issue is that my venue has a 50 person cap if I want a sit down meal.  I’m happy with having a small wedding, but it means there are old college roommates and friends from my 20s that I simply can’t invite.  We thought of having a separate event the day after the wedding, but that basically means planning two weddings at once. Do you have any solutions for how I can include and celebrate with folks who are emotionally important to me but won’t be invited to the wedding? And once they get here, how do we acknowledge/handle out of town friends? We don’t own a house, or else I’d go the BBQ route!

Signed,
Gobstopped at the Guest List

Dear Gobstopped,

I can’t decide whether to start tackling this from the “good news” standpoint, or the “wedding planner with a stopwatch and a bucket of water” standpoint. Coin toss…bucket of water wins: If you don’t have enough room to invite your college roommates and friends from your 20s, then you can’t invite them.  Sucks, but you can’t do it. The rule, such as it is, is that you don’t have to invite anyone you haven’t seen or talked to in over a year. Start slashing, over a glass of wine if you have to. And try and get those invites out next month, my stopwatch is ticking. Oh, and practice saying this so you’ll have it ready if anyone asks, “It’s small wedding – the venue that we love only accommodates 50 people. And there was his list, too, so that limited mine even more.” Not just short and simple, but true. And they’ll get it – they weren’t invited, but then again, a lot of people weren’t.

Now for the good news, such as it is: Typically, you get about a 15% attrition rate – in other words, 15% of the guests you invite are not going to be able to make it, for whatever reason. That even goes up a little if you have more out-of-towners. So, you can send invitations to say, 60 – 65 people and you should still end up at your limit.

You can also stagger your invites – send half or so out to those whoabsolutelypositively MUST be invited, like family and your best friends and wedding party.  Then depending on how many actually accept within a couple of weeks, send out more. Everyone gets the same RSVP date, but you just need to give yourself a deadline to send out the second set.

As for those who didn’t make the cut, take a cue from my friends who’ve eloped – Send out wedding announcements afterward, either formal or by email. If you want to do formal ones, order them at the same time as your invites, and then send them out at the same time you mail your thank you cards. That’s like, 3 birds with one stone. Love it.

Out of town friends? If they’re not going to the rehearsal dinner or there isn’t going to be a rehearsal dinner, then find a bar you love with a great happy hour and invite them to hang out for a couple of drinks. If you can, buy the first round.

That being said…

Wow, these can get you coming and going, right?

Hi Liz!
I’m wondering what on Earth happens when more people show up than you are allowed to accommodate. I’m not overly worried about it – we only invited about 10 more people than the 150 we’re allotted, and of course some won’t be able to come. But I have this nagging feeling like: wait, what if they
do all come? Most of our guests are local, so we’ll probably have a lower “No” rate than usual. It’s most likely I’m fretting over nothing at all! But have you heard tales of venues that are very strict about capacity, and weddings that are over that capacity?

Signed,

Space Worrier

Dear Space,

Most venues have capacity rules, but odds are that you’ll be fine – it’s that whole 15% attrition thing I was talking about above. But give your venue a call and ask if they would be able to accommodate 10 extra guests,  if it comes down to it. Find out what that would look like logistically and cost-wise. Forewarned is forearmed, and it will make you feel better. I have coordinated weddings where more guests showed up than expected (RSVPs looks like an approximation to some people), and from my experience, venues and caterers generally make more food than is ordered and you can usually squeeze another table in there somewhere. But definitely, definitely ask.

So, are any of you going through these dilemmas, or does anyone have any more advice to give? Let me know in the comments!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

{Earth Day} We’re Loving: GREEN Goodies

Earth Day is 40 years old today, and we’re so excited. Mother Earth means so much to us, that we even made a vow to protect her during our wedding! So, naturally, on this day in her honor, we’z about to bust out some of our favorite green goodies to help you discover how being green can help you save green, have fun, and give Big Mama Earth a big, heartfelt, broke-ass hippie {HUG}
Earth Day comments

Anyone out there have disposables guilt? You know, that regretful feeling when you buy a pack of disposables for your home, a party or a wedding event? Hang onto your socks, and meet this bevy of bio-goodness. There are tons of disposables out there made from biodegradable materials, such as corn starch, bamboo and sugarcane bagasse, and they’re super affordable, yo! We used some for our day-after party and they were perfect! Biosmart used to offer a $20 party pack that fed 50 people… I wish they’d bring that back! But still you can get 125 plates for $9.99 or 250 bar cups for $24.61 – can I get a what what? That’s my jam!

Ohh Emm Geee.

Yes, please.

Sustainable Party is an adorable site filled with different styles of sustainable disposable – from your basic whites to some really stylish bamboo. They sell most items in bulk batches (ranges from 25 to 3,000) and bulk batches mean bulk discounts, and you know we love that! And I can’t resist those party monsters they put in the product porn :) GreenFeet has a great selection at great prices too – but my favorite has got to be the bamboo spork!

Present your disposables in a cute fabric lined basket, tie some rustic twine around the utensils, cut up recycled fabric with pinking shears to create adorable cloth napkins and some grub…. you’ve got yourself a guilt-less, easy clean up and affordable feast.

Browsing for a wedding dress can be eco-friendly in so many ways these days, its hard to justify not checking this shiz out! Naturally I’ve gotta plug the eco-fashionistas out there, having worn a gown made of sustainable fabrics… so let’s give it up for Deborah Lindquist, Amy Jo Tatum, and Puridee who handmake gorgeous confections of dresses out of organic and recycled fabrics and are just to die for!

Amy Jo's green-chic line has retro flair

I LOVE this color by Puridee!

But there before buying new, make sure to check out the zillions of bridal resale options… from vintage shops in your hometown to awesome online resalers like Recycled Bride, wedding website classifieds, or charity resale events like Brides Against Breast Cancer. You can even rent gowns like the one in yesterday’s gorgeous real wedding feature for just one night! Already married? Unload that lonely gown and send it down the aisle again on another lucky brides back, and list it for resale or donate it today!

Guiltless snacking is my favorite.

Add some sun to your day.

I’m sure you’ve seen that Sunchips has a very sexy new biodegradable bag, but did you know that all those old bags can still be put to good use? Check out this cutie pie chip bowl from Ecoist for your wedding registry or a gift, or snag a purse made from a Lay’s bag for your summer wedding!

California Pink Tourmaline, and vegan!

Something old, made new.

Eco-wedding rings do exist, and what a great way to make a vow, right? Recycling rings from estate sales and vintage boutiques is a great place to start, but you can get even more progressive by seeking alternative styles like the gorgeous wood-laid reclaimed silver bands right there, or those made of reclaimed metals and non-diamond jewels like this gorgeous $298 pink solitaire by McFarland Designs on etsy. Even better, scour your old jewelry box and ask friends or family to donate old metals, send ‘em to a jeweler, and have your own design cast from some meaningful metal.

Oh, there are so many goodies we love that support and protect the lady that feeds us, houses us, nourishes us and on which we’ll marry… I could go on for days. Do your part today and every day.  As the Native American Proverb says:
Treat the earth well… we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

What are your favorite green goodies?

Dana

Your Wedding Can Be A Launchpad For Your Life

I have lots of strong feelings about weddings. I don’t believe they should result in debt. I do believe they should be a celebration of your personalities, and sing with details that say something about your love. And generally, I don’t believe there are rights or wrongs in weddings, because really… who are we to judge what’s right for you, or the next couple?

But today, a really bad-ass post by my friend Emily at Eco-Chic Weddings (& Good with Style) reminded me that one of my strongest feelings about weddings is something I’ve not posted much about… yet.  I kept telling myself I’d do it when I hit the ceremony part of our recaps, but who am I kidding yo? You and I both know those recaps are taking their sweet-ass time and I am bored of waiting. (sorry about that, they will come. sometime) So, in the spirit of continuing where Emily left off….

DH-1215

Holy crap, we're getting married!

Your wedding isn’t just one day. It’s no carriage gonna turn into a pumpkin at midnight, people. It is the beginning of your life as a married person. As a couple. As a team. It’s kinda like, your wedding is like the ultimate new years eve. Out with the old… and in with the new – resolutions vows and all.  Heck, there’s even usually champagne toasts and kissing involved just like new years! It is not about expense. It is not about purchases, or timelines, or gratuity envelopes. It is not even about beautiful dresses and photographers and music. It is about you, your partner, and your love. It’s the beginning of a new phase of life, but now you’ve got a buddy who wants to be there every day with you. PS – how freaking rad is that?!

It goes lightyears beyond what kind of partner you want to be to your mate. If you haven’t already, now is the time to decide how you want to approach life together, as a unit. Whether you’ve been together for 5 minutes or 5 years, it’s up to you to decide what the next 5 minutes or 5 years or 5 decades will be like (beyond the to have and to hold business). This can be so fun (and it doesn’t cost a single dollar)! Look back at your relationship, and think about what elements you can infuse into your wedding design and your ceremony, as reminders to yourselves and to communicate to your posse, the kind of life you’re creating together.  So…. eff tradition and let your unorthodox light shine, if old-school ceremony doesn’t suit your style. Or revel in the ritual of convention and history, if that’s what makes your heart sing. There is no right or wrong, as long as you’re being true to you. So be straight up with yourselves and don’t compromise. This is a rare moment in our adult lives, in which you really get to set yourself up for the future you dream!

When we wrote our ceremony, we were hellbent on making it extremely personally unique, and wanted to really use it to set up the life we want to forge together. If we were going to make a solemn, lifelong vow to each other, we decided it was best to put everything into words and actions that personally embody our priorities as  a couple.  And it went beyond the vows to each other. We invented symbolic gestures to replace ones that didn’t resonate with us, or we borrowed inspiration from others and made it our own.  The internet is rich with cool people who’ve designed personal and rad weddings, and we made good use of their legacies.

DH-1252

My daddy, imbuing our rings with his love.

At the top of the ceremony, we invited our guests to join in a group blessing, to commit to support and protect our relationship – and then continued their involvement with a ring warming ceremony. We wrote personal statements to each other, and customized our vows completely, looking boldly at our strengths and shortcomings, weaving in ways to keep us strong, grounded and connected. We also dedicated a section of the ceremony to making vows to the universe – pledging to be conscious caretakers our earth and her people, and to lead by example in an effort to help others find a way to greener, kinder lives.  Later, our guests showered us with compliments about our ceremony. Many said they’d never been to such an unique or personal wedding, and they absolutely loved learning about us through the event. The best compliment we heard all night? “It was so YOU!”

The same can (and should) apply to your design. Let your spirits sing, yo! Some of your guests may never have met you before, or perhaps the last time they saw you, you were rocking pampers. You’ve invited this specific group to witness your marriage, so what do you want your wedding to say about you, and how can you include your guests?  Have fun with it, and see how many ways you can infuse what makes you YOU into the day.

And please, lets not underestimate the valuable life lessons hidden in the wedding planning process. If you’re self-planning, there are some bad-ass skills that you’ll acquire that can easily be applied to your life in ways that you’ll never imagine! From budgeting and negotiation, to creativity and design, to research and logistics, don’t just abandon all those useful talents you’ve been building up once you reach the end of that aisle!  Use them to make your life better, easier, more fulfilling, and sweeter, every day!

Every couple has a different personality. A different set of priorities, or personal doctrines, by which they lead their lives. So why should your wedding be a one-size fits all, fill in the blanks script or design?  Let your wedding day serve as a reflection of and  launchpad for your life, and live its lessons every day, for as long as you both shall live.

And, just because I’m feeling hella guilty about our recaps being so slow… here’s a taste of our ceremony – the repeated vows that we handcrafted together: DH-1302
I Dana, take you Hunter, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love you without reservation and to demonstrate that love in action, as well as word. To turn to you and not on you in times of trial; and to practice honest and thoughtful communication, especially when its most difficult to do so. To challenge and inspire you to be all that I believe you can, and to welcome the same from you with an open heart. To make passion a priority, and faithfully work to entice and attract you through the years. I vow to trust in your love and put apology and forgiveness above ego. To take ownership of my health and to care for yours; to celebrate your joys and share your sorrows as long as we both shall live. From my hand to your heart, I thee wed.

How will you use your wedding as a launchpad for your life? What life lessons will you take with you?

(update: I changed the title to “can be” after (the ever-astute) Liene brought it to my attention that it might insinuate that everyone is waiting for a wedding to come along before they start their life. Oh no! My true point is that a wedding is an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities, and consciously decide how you’d like to step into the next phase of life. And that the vows one makes and lessons one learns in the process should never become secondary to things like flowers and invitation wording. They should live on long after that day, and always! The best part of life is that every day, we have the chance to change it, and ourselves, for the better – married or not!)

Dana

Ask A Broke-Ass Is Back!

Its time for another exciting installment of Ask a Broke-Ass! (insert kitschy theme music here) And away we goooooo……

My partner and I are both college students so we are trying to stay as cheap as possible. Plus I don’t see the point in wasting all that paper…Do you think it’s inappropriate to send out postcard wedding invites?

Sure, why not? Sure, your Aunt Edna may scoff at it, but guess what? IT AIN’T HER WEDDING – its yours! You can do what you like :)

I knew a couple who sent adorable postcard invites! They did their own version of the ipod ads with their silhouettes and white headphone cords on the front, and the back was set up like an iPhone screen with the relevant info and their wedding website address. I loved it!

How did you develop your writing style and blog sense?

I was born with it, yo! *wink*

I basically write like I talk, but smarter and funnier (I hope). And ballsier. I write my best self, the one I’m sometimes shy to share in person (but I’m working on it!). Does that make sense? Its all authentically me, though. All Dana, all the time

I developed my blog sense by drinking in as much bloggy goodness as possible. I saw what others did and I learned from it. From the successes and failures I see in other blogs. And I still am doing it, I never stop learning, plotting, revising, etc. Its a lot of trial and error. Lots of firing bullets with one hand over my eyes. Sometimes I fail, and try again. Sometimes I win! (I like winning).

If you’re trying to find your own voice, I have two pieces of advice:
1. Be yourself. Authentically, genuinely you. No one does it better
2. Write write and write some more. The more you do, the more you’ll find your voice and the courage to let it sing loud and proud!

What was your favorite wedding accessory?

My fly-ass husband, yo!

Ok, I know that’s not what you were looking for, but its the truth :)

I loved my dress more than words can tell. But I also loved my headpiece and earrings, my shrug, my bouquet and my shoes a whole lot. BUT the wifey pimp cup? That one was balls out awesome.

In conclusion, while everything I wore made my heart sing, my husband was the best accessory of all.

How do you slow down and find balance on days that feel just completely overwhelming? What do you do to cope and take control again?

GREAT question! And one that I still haven’t perfected the answer to… yet.

When I am completely overwhelmed and I feel like I’m drowning, the following things help:
1. Make a list of all there is to do
2. Prioritize it as much as I can
3. Do the 2 easiest things just to be able to cross them off. Even if #1 is “make a list” :)

Other great things that help me:
1. Take a 10 minute break and get away from my desk. Outside if possible. Even if I feel I don’t have the time to spare, just getting fresh air and a change of scenery can really help with my mindset.
2. Changing up my music. Something productive and happy can help me shift my perspective.
3. List 10 things I’m grateful for (especially good for when overwhelmed = blue)
4. Take a day off. I know a day off for a business owner is pretty different from that of a 9-5er, but just gifting myself with the time and freedom to see a movie or have girlfriend time over a manicure can really improve my mental health.
5. Exercise. Again, I never feel like I have time. But even just 20 minutes for the Shred can really clear my head and make me feel in control of myself again.
6. Ask for help. Hunter helps me so much, and I’d be lost without him. But asking for help is sometimes the last thing that occurs to me when I’m stressed! Go fig…

Hope this helps! Good luck!

What is the recipe of your most favorite healthy meal to cook at home? 

Oh, man – there are so many, and yet, most of them are originals without recipes. We’re the kind of cooks who throw something together based on what’s around, usually.

But, I happen to LOVE this easy, peas-y soup. Its a snap to make, super healthy, and leaves guests wowed:
Chilled, Minted Pea Soup!
*3 cups frozen green peas
*2 cups vegetable stock
*handful of fresh mint leaves
*salt/pepper to taste
*juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (optional)

Put all the ingredients into your blender, hit GO, and let it all be pureed into a delicious delight. If you’re feeling extra fancy, strain it, but its good either way.

Garnish with a few mint leaves and a dollop of creme fraiche (if you’re extra fancy), throw a hunk of crusty bread with some olive oil on the side, and enjoy the flavor party in your mouth!

Your ability to put yourself out there is very inspiring. What is your biggest motivator?

Desperation. Seriously. Pretty simple.

I’m DESPERATE to give myself the gift of the life I’ve always dreamt of. Desperate to get out of my dayjob doldrums. Desperate to be creative for a living. To be heard. To get out of debt. To be fulfilled. To make a difference. To inspire others. TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

I can’t tolerate the alternative of always wondering “What if?”, so I use all of that desperation and turn it into motivation to take the bull by the horns and lay my balls on the table to make it happen. Life is for living!

Don’t get me wrong. Its scary as hell. I get butterflies in my stomach. I get nauseous with fear. I procrastinate. I fret. I cry. But at the end of the day, I push myself to do the scary things because that’s when change happens. I go to sleep proud, because I didn’t let the fear paralyze me. Instead, I made it work for me. I took control. Whether I win or lose the goal I’m working toward, I always win the self-respect that comes with trying as hard as I can… balls to the walls.

At first it felt like pretend. I was ACTING brave, but it felt like a mask. But over the years I’ve realized it was always in me… I just needed to exercise that muscle and welcome it in. Now I can’t see myself living any other way!

I see friends and colleagues stuck. Inert. Stagnate. And they’re miserable. But they don’t do anything. They don’t affect change because they’re too busy waiting for life to happen to them. It makes me so sad, because I’ve been there too. I just want to shake them awake and help them. But people can’t be helped unless they’re ready to help themselves. That lesson, I’m still learning.

I spent 25 years waiting for life to happen to me. I’ve always been ballsy and took risks, but only sometimes and always in soulquaking fear. In opposition, I spent many years paralyzed in self-doubt, fear, and misery… hoping for something to change. Little did I know what needed changing was my attitude! I try to look back on those times with gentle eyes, and see how going through that helped me build up what I needed to turn around…. but I also look back on that time as life lost. And that burns.

So I resolved to actively participate in the change of my life, and every day I step into and through my fear to reach that goal. Because I’m absolutely desperate to make it happen.

What do YOU want to know?

Dana

Something Old, Made New! Our Vintage Registry.

We got the idea to register for vintage dishware after seeing the plates of our dreams on set at a television sitcom taping we attended. I was flat out drooling for them, and even Hunter gave them a hells yeah. We scampered over to check the stamp on the plates, ran home to google it, and mentally filed it away. After a long and painful search for something new (and more readily available) that we loved just as much, we finally decided to go our own way and register for the first dishes to steal our poppy lovin’ hearts.

Wild Poppies – Metlox: Aren’t they dreamsicle?!?

It was the perfect decision for us, and we love our dishes more and more every time we use them. In fact, we ended up buying vintage silverware to go along with it!

The benefits of vintage dishware are threefold:
1. more financially friendly – the set we picked out cost less than most sets we saw at Crate and Barrel or Macy’s.
2. more eco-friendly – reuse is always a better choice than buying new, any day!
3. more finger friendly – we excel at breaking dishes. Vintage dishware is often sturdier and more break-resistant, which means keeping our wedding dishes safe for years to come!

Whatever your taste, you can find vintage dishes to suit them, in many places both online and in shops. Check out these babies:


Manzanita by Brock


Johnson Bros – Chelsea Collection


Starburst by Franciscan


Gold Dahlia by Metlox

You can search for vintage dishware at sites like Metlox California (who were supremely helpful in our registry process), Replacements.com, etsy, and ebay among many others. You can also try flea markets and antique bazaars in your town, like the Rosebowl.

There are also some progressively fierce companies taking vintage dishware/china and turning it into something modern and delicious, like Esther Dirkx!


via Reform School – a favorite green boutique of mine

“But, Dana” you protest “how do I register for something so random and hard for guests to find/pay for?”

Woman, hie thee to Wishpot!   You can register for items you find anywhere, in brick and mortar stores or on the internet.  Its a convenient way to unleash yourself from single-store registries, and allowed us to explore our eclectic tastes in a personal and customizable way.  It worked great for us, even when we bought our flatware through auction.  We just manually listed it, posted the price, and someone “reimbursed” the gift to us. Or, contact a replacement company and ask if they’ll set up a registry for you. Many offer that service these days.

There are tons of ways to make your registry more personal, and more green.  But vintage dishware is my absolute favorite (she says, as she eats her cereal from a sunny poppyfilled bowl).

Did you register for any vintage items?

Dana

When I Was 31… (Or, The Birth Of A Stylephile)

Being in my 30′s (shhh, don’t tell) has brought some cool bonuses along with it. My stages of life have varied wildly: I was a nerdy kid, awkward tween, rebellious wildchild turned hippie teen, and was left in my 20′s very confused and insecure in my own style. In fact, looking back I can see that I didn’t really have a style to speak of…. unless you call being unsure, erratic and wearing comfy clothes waaaay too often a style. No bueno!

I’d always heard that women really settle into themselves in their 30′s, and hoped it would be true for me as well. Now, I’m sure that there’s more to do with it besides numbers – hell, I don’t feel 31 and I certainly don’t act it. To me, age is just a number. And numbers aside, I’ve had some freaking amazing life defining moments in the last couple of years that I credit with helping me find my inner voice – a la this bloggity blog…. a la marriage… a la career satisfaction and direction, et cetera. Indeed, planning our wedding was the ultimate exercise in defining our style, and I think it reflected us perfectly: funky, bold, eclectic, whimsical, and vibrant!

So in my 30′s, I am learning to follow my own compass and not only embrace my colorful, eclectic personality, but really let it sing to the world as well. Know where this is going? SHOPPING, YO!

Starting with these so-hot-they’re-just-plain-SICK retro-y beauties from Sika


Effffffff, I lurve them SO much! (curse you, I mean, thank you Miss Poodle, for introducing me to these!)

Or these tribally influenced flouncey frocks from Zachary’s Smile, which also stocks the dopest vintage gear I’ve found…

source

You may remember my open letter to Kate Spade? Well, yeah. That’s my style, too. My problem? PRICE. This broke-ass has expensive taste, son! So I’ve been learning to stalk vintage shops and sample sales, keeping an ear to the proverbial ground of where to source the most “me” duds on the cheaps. Y’know…. ’tills I hits the jackpots :)

The trick is patience. So far, I’ve found a handful of amazing dresses that I keep in rotation and try to care for with love. Investing in (or finding steals on) good quality dresses is a great alternative to what I call “fleeting frocks” from Forever 21 or H&M. They’re affordable, but rarely last much more than a season because the quality is just not there. Another great resource is invitation-only sales such as Rue La La, Ideeli, and Gilt Groupe – to name a few.

How did you find your style, and where do you shop for it? How are you incorporating your personal style into your wedding plans?

Dana

The Last Name Game, Part 2

Pssst, if you missed part 1 – get it here. We left off a week before the wedding.

Four days before our wedding, Hunter had run out on an errand, and called to ask me to come upstairs to the car and help him with something. I could tell he was crying. Terrified that he had been hurt, I tore upstairs to the street to find him crumpled in the driver’s seat of our car, an emotional wreck. He had just gotten off the phone with his parents, and told them the news about our name change decision.

Suffice it to say, it did not go over well, and I had never seen Hunter so upset in our seven years together. There’s just something about Hunter that’s so pure, seeing him hurt or in pain is utterly and consumingly heartbreaking.

The details are unimportant, but basically his parents saw our decision as doing exactly the opposite of what we had intended it to mean. They felt betrayed. That it was a rejection of the family name. That it was a slap in the face of their history. And Hunter, who has always enjoyed a very open and supportive relationship with his parents, was devastated both by the severity of their reaction, and the fact that we were now in a crucial position to either go with what they want, or to follow our own compass. Having both been raised by families that encourage innate compass-following, it was a very conflicted feeling for both of us.

I immediately bent to their will like one of Uri Geller’s spoons. I wasn’t about to start my marriage by driving a wedge between my beloved and his family. Sure, I am devastated that we cannot share a last name, that our children cannot carry both names forward, and this could be the end of the line for my family name. I know in my heart that our intentions and the execution of them were nothing but respectful and inclusive in nature, and that this choice is truly only between the two people marrying each other. But preserving the integrity of our extended familial relationships is more important, and our desire to marry with the full blessing of his parents was stronger than our need to win this fight.

So two days before the wedding, we found ourselves back in line to get a new marriage license. This time, filled a different set of emotions. This time, with a different look in our eyes as we filled in our names. This time, with a different decision for our future.

Now, let me be crystal clear: This is not a post inviting any judgment upon my husband’s parents, nor is it intended to be an indictment of them. I hope that it is not construed to make them appear as bad people, because nothing could be further from the truth. They are loving, giving and very supportive; I appreciate and care for them very deeply. They made Hunter into the man he is today, and that’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received. So, please, do not misunderstand the point.

The name change game is a personal and often highly sensitive part of the marriage process. I know women who put off a decision until many years after their marriage because they can’t make up their minds, or they fear a family reaction that goes against their wishes. I also know women who don’t think twice about giving up their name and can’t wait to make the switch. You never know what reaction your choice might incite among loved ones, and I recommend that you weigh the matter and possible consequences carefully before making a choice. The waters of this decision are muddled and murky; you never know what feelings lie beneath until you swim through it, yourself.

So how does this story end? Stay tuned for the finale… coming soon to a blog near you!

Dana

Coming Full Circle With Sharing & Saving

This weekend, I’m going to experience some very happy wedding deja vu. My Bride$hare buddy is getting married, and Hunter and I are thrilled to go back to the Bungalow Club for the first time since our wedding 6 weeks ago, and enjoy some of our decor, drink delicious mojitos, and dance our faces off, for the 2nd time around.

These are the fateful paper lanterns that spawned the whole idea for Bride$hare! (photo by Dan Chen)

Way back when, Rebecca saw a blog post of mine lamenting the desire for paper lanterns to spruce up the space at my venue, and she contacted me to suggest we go in on them together and share them. That was just the beginning. Together, we were able to co-purchase and recycle many items from our weddings, which went perfectly with Hunter and my mission to both save green and be green in our wedding plans! In fact, the reception venue owner likes them so much, she might even buy them off of us after the fact and keep them up, which means future brides can benefit from them, too! My bridal karma meter must be off tha charts, son!


These manzanita trees will make a repeat appearance this weekend, too!

Having a Bride$hare buddy was not only a great way to be more fiscally and eco-responsible, but it was also the beginning of a fun and resourceful friendship. Whenever we researched or booked vendors/hotels/rehearsal dinner venues, we’d check in and make suggestions or give feedback to one another about it. We talked invitation design and oohed and aahed over eachother’s creations. We generally supported eachother in a way that most brides only find via message boards, and that was a priceless bonus of the whole experience.

Together, we shared roughly $4,000 worth of goods/services. It was so inspiring, that I set up a website for other brides to connect and get their own share on! Saving all that money was certainly thrilling, but after blogging about it what excites me most is the amount of interest in and embracing of the BrideShare concept from gals all across the web. I encourage you all to try and share and save – after all, green is the new white! So whatcha waiting for? Go get you some!

I am so happy for Rebecca and Rupen this weekend, and can’t wait to celebrate with them, and raise a glass to our collective good fortune.

Dana

Flab To Fab: The Aftermath

I promise I’ll start my official wedding recaps soon, I’m just waiting for the pictures to come in. Until then, I’m cooking up some great wedding fodder for you all. Including…..

Back by popular demand….. Flab to Fab! That’s right kids. After losing 20lbs leading up to the wedding, I am determined to not fall back into my lazy, food-addicted, compulsive and guilt-ridden ways. I achieved my dream of being a buff bride, but I still want to be a hawt newlywed, yo! Who says marriage is the time to let go?

I admit, I fell off the wagon with a loud *clunk* for the month after the wedding. Lots of excuses abound, mainly my sprained ankle and post-wedding blues. But enough is enough. I’ve gained back 6lbs and I’m saying the Flab stops here!

How am I getting back on track, you ask? Welp chillins, let’s have some show and tell, why don’t we?

1. Friend-spiration. There are so many great weight-loss and fitness blogs around the internets, but my favorite new one is Bikini by 30. Sure, maybe I’m biased because this gal is my friend, but she’s also a real, funny and interesting woman working to overcome bad habits and replace with with new goodness. Check it. Got one to recommend?

2. Some new food goodies to shake things up. Variety is the “do” of diets. If I don’t try new things, I burn out. Fast. Meet my new lunchy lust.
source

These babies would satisfy even the most cantankerous carnivore, I tell ya! Oozing with cheddar and sizzling with spice, these sausages are tasty, delicious, easy and so healthy! 50% less fat than beef franks, all protein-y goodness? Hellz yeah!

3. Punch it out. Our wedding gift from our trainer Tiger was 2 pairs of boxing gloves, a punching pad, and resistance bands. This is perfect for me right now because my ankle is compromised still and I can’t do traditional cardio (oh, Jillian, do you miss me like I miss you?). But a gal can punch her way into quite a cardio tizzy, and the release is pretty unreal. Think you’re depressed? Start punching something and you’ll soon realize its really just anger under there that has lost its flame. The endorphin rush from this exercise is two-fold, since you get the physical rush of cardio, and the emotional release of….. oh well, anything!

4. Knocking Boots. Sorry Mom and Dad, but getting freaky with your husband is a great way to work off that jiggle. I’mjustsayin’.

5. Ask for help. I was really feeling overwhelmed by getting back on the horse, and didn’t know how to stop spiraling back down into all my bad habits. Then, I realized the obvious. My husband! I had been hiding my anxiety about my fitness from him because I was ashamed of myself for letting it go after working so hard pre-wedding. But we’re partners, and I’m blessed with an extremely supportive and loving teammate, so what was I waiting for? I confessed to him that I was scared, and needed support. He came to my rescue like the super-husband he is, and has gently helped me rope in my indulgences and encourage my exercise. He cheers me on every day for my healthy choices, and in that way, he is truly my secret weight-control weapon.

How is your Flab to Fab challenge coming along? Got a recipe or tip to share?

*PS – Hey newbs, search around – there’s tons of past posts to inspire those of you new to the series!

Dana