Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Weeding out Your Wedding Nightmares

There is one wedding-related recurring nightmare that I hear about over and over and over. Yes, more than the one where you look awful, despite hours of hair and make-up. Yes, more often than your groom/bride not showing up. Or the one the one where you can’t show up because you’ve locked your keys in your car. Somewhere in Siberia, which is  even worse because you’re afraid of bears … like the one staring at you over the hood of your locked car.  Okay, fine, that was just one bride.

Hey Nearlywed That Wedding Nightmare It's Probably Not Going To Happen

Nope.

The most often recurring wedding nightmare I hear about is where none of your guests are having a good time. Over and over and over. They’re going to hate the food, they’re not going to dance, they’re not going to talk, they’re going to ignore the candy buffett/photo booth/chocolate fountain, and stand around and stare at each other, and at you, with deep regret and condemnation.  You wake up in a cold sweat (again) at 4:00 a.m. One thought goes through your head: It’s going to be the worst wedding ever.  All the hard work, all your vision, for naught. YOU. WILL. FAIL.

Instead of anticipating the day, you’re stuck future-tripping over, dreading all the horrible things that could occur.

#REALTALK

This is 10 years of wedding planning experience talking to you right now: Things might go entirely according to plan, or just go wrong, this is true. But all of your guests having a bad time at your wedding? With the one or two exceptions that you can name — because you know how they are —  It’s not going to happen.

(yes, it will, you’re thinking at me)

No, it won’t. Why? Because you have gathered your favorite people, some of whom you haven’t seen for years, in one room. As much as you’re looking forward to seeing them, they are looking forward to seeing you, and seeing each other. And that’s what they are going to do.

(they won’t like anything, you mumble in your head)

Not true, but your guests will follow your lead. If you’re having fun, they’re going to have fun. So, open the photo booth by dragging a couple of bridesmaids into it. Grab your brother and attack the candy buffet. Go up to the bar and order a signature cocktail. Be the first one on the dance floor. Tell everyone you talk to how glad you are that they came. You created this wonderful day, you’re marrying the love of your life, while surrounded by everyone you both love. Look forward to it. And when you when you get there, enjoy it, all of it, and your guests will, too. I promise. Repeat this as often as you need to: “I’m going to have fun, so everyone else will have fun.”

Seriously, who doesn’t turn into a giddy 3-year old at the sight of a candy buffet?

So, what’s your other recurring wedding nightmare? Let me know in the comments and I’ll share mine with you from my wedding 500 years ago.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

 

 

 F

future tripping

Liz

Words to Wed By: Excerpts for the Kids at Heart

Full disclosure: I’ve been waiting to do this Words to Wed By, and really, it could be FOREVER long. Kids, man, they get all the good shit — toys, clothes, books that have wise and sweet words nestled nicely inside. It must have something to do with the inherent innocence and lack of jadedness. There were many more readings that will be awesome for your wedding ceremony that I wanted to include, but these are just a few of my favorite excerpts pulled from awesome books (that are supposedly for the little ones).

Words to Wed By Excerpts for the Kids At Heart

Credit: 50Peach’s Instagram

From “Winnie-the-Pooh,” by A.A. Milne

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” 

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” 

From “Charlotte’s Web,” by E. B. White

“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’
‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’”

From “Peter Pan,” by J. M. Barrie

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

From “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss

“You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous an deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

From “Your Personal Penguin,” by Sandra Boynton

I like you a lot.
You’re funny and kind.
So let me explain
What I have in mind.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to walk right by your side.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to travel with you far and wide.

From “I Like You,” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you and I know why
I like you because you are a good person to like
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember

When I think something is important you think it’s important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too
Hah-hah!

I like you because you know where I’m ticklish
And you don’t tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too
You know how to be silly – that’s why I like you
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump
HOORAY!

I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
You can’t stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute
You want to think about things
It takes time

I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It’s awful when the other person isn’t
They are so nice and oooh you could just about punch them on the nose

I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
It must have been lonesome then
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again
And that’s how it would happen every time

What are you reading during your wedding ceremony? What inspired you?

Real Bride Peach: Next Stop, Married!

While Real Bride Peach has already been a married lady for a few weeks now, she kindly saved some of her pre-wedding posts to keep us going until she gets all of her pro photos back. Here’s the final one before she delves into deets of her big day!

Real Bride Peach: Next Stop, Married!

 

Photo Credit: Lee Patterson Photography

Looking back on this last year, it’s been surreal. There were so many wonderful, crazy exciting times. I can reflect back and smile on the bridal gown weekend in January, right along with my amazing bridal shower and bachelorette party weekend and our sweaty, sweaty engagement photo shoot. It’s been so much fun! Yes, there have been bumps, aka nights that I drowned my sorrows in wine and chocolate and/or called my MOHs in complete trainwreck mode … but I survived! Yay, me.

Jersey and I also connected in a new, super awesome way that isn’t explainable. You think that this person you’ve promised yourself to can’t possible grow closer in your heart, but they do. It’s all become so real and our love for each other has taken on a new sheen. Which is really a quite lovely perk that no one tells you about.  Because going through all the trials and meltdowns and craziness of wedding planning? Well, in my mind, it’s just a sneak preview into how the two of you are going to deal with the much bigger, scarier curveballs that life is going to throw your way. Jersey and I have a new appreciation and understanding of one another after over a year of planning, coordinating, communicating (often times long distance while he and I traveled for work), moving into a new home and dealing with the emotional typhoon of family/friends/people involved with our wedding.  He is my person. 100%. I can’t wait to marry him!

… which is rapidly approaching. Tomorrow brings the arrival of the first of our out-of-town guests, then the following day my parents arrived. The Jersey/Peach Inn will be full for a few days, until we all head to the hotel near our venue on Friday.  But honestly, I’m relieved to have the emotional support arriving soon, along with the fact that I’ve taken off of work starting on Thursday. There will be a fair amount of running around left to do and it will be nice to not have to do it all alone!

The LAST of our to-dos! *gulp*

Mama Peach's Veil, from 1972.

 

Mama Peach’s Veil, from 1972.

Take my mom’s veil to the florist. I’m using the pearls and pieces of the tulle for the wrap on my bouquet. This made my mama a little leaky, but it means the world to me to have a part of her big day with me on mine. My parents have been married for 42 years (!!!) and their devotion and love are what I waited so long to find for myself. I can’t think of a better good luck charm.

Final touches on our welcome bags.  Since 90% of our guests are flying in from out of town, we made the choice to forego favors and instead have welcome bags waiting for them when they check into the hotel. Included in each bag will be: a personal thank you note, a MoonPie, Georgia Peanuts, a bag of chips, a few caramels, bottled water and Advil.  We really felt the welcome bags would be both a really appreciated gesture and far more useful than a token trinket/favor at the wedding.

Make the seating chart. I’m not procrastinating on this, I swear. But even this morning I woke up to an email from a friend who is no longer able to attend. Seating plans are truly a moving target and I am doing everything I can to only do this thing ONCE!

Haul everything to the venue. Luckily our venue allows us to bring our personal items a few days in advance, so we don’t have to worry about trucking over pictures, table numbers, exit favors, guest books, etc., etc., etc., on the day of.  Whew. That’ll get done Thursday.

Pack for the weekend + honeymoon.  Considering packing for a 2-day trip takes me 4-5 hours, I better get going on this one. I am the type that is super-paranoid about forgetting something and I have to have every possible clothing option thought of and packed for just in case. I know. I drive my own self crazy!  But honestly, I’m more worried I’ll forget some key component for our actual wedding. Like, I dunno … the DRESS?!? That would be typical of me.

Take good care of myself. This may sound silly, but I DO NOT want to get sick, hurt myself, or be completely exhausted for the big day. For that reason, this week is all about being nice to me. Healthy foods, plenty of sleep and as little stress as possible. That’s the plan.

Wish me luck with the final details and see y’all on the other side … AS A MRS.!!!  omgiamsoexcited.

‘Til next time,

 

Got a Wedding Budget? Then Start With Your Wedding Budget.

drink ceremony

Credit: Beyond the Ordinary

The bottom line is the bottom line: Weddings cost a lot of money. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $27,000, although I read one article that said that $16,000 is probably closer. You know, as if that wasn’t a bunch of cash, either.

I know what some of you are thinking – you don’t have to spend that much on your wedding. And you’re certainly not going to! Well, you’re right, you can spend less, of course you can. But if you’re going to, or you have to, then you need to pay attention to where it’s all going. I have watched many a couple set a budget, and then slowly, line item by line item, toss it out the window and themselves into debt, a $175 peony centerpiece and a new (or pre-owned, for that matter) Monique Lhuillier gown at a time. And then becry how the “wedding tax” has destroyed their budget.

The truth is, you’re not paying a tax. You are paying in bulk, paying for labor, and really, paying for your expectations, all of which you can manage.

A little perspective on just the ceremony and reception:

  • The average hotel room in this country is 325 square feet, and costs $139 a night. The average ballroom that holds up 150 people is 2,706 square feet. And someone has to set up and break down the tables and chairs, monitor the AV, etc. You’re kind of getting a deal, there.
  • A comparable wedding meal at Olive Garden — appetizer, salad, (1) drink, one of their higher-end entrees, and a piece of cake is over $50 per person, not including tax and tip. At Olive Garden. That’s $5,000+ for 100 people.
  • Waiters at most restaurants serve 2-3 tables at a time. So, 100 guests is 10 tables = call it 5 waiters, for 8 hours , let’s say at about $15 an hour with service (which is lowballing in L.A., and probably where you are, too.)Setting up, serving, bussing, cleaning. Plus two chefs and a bartender, who will make at least twice that. At least. Are you adding this up?
  • Every table is 13 plates (salad +entree+cake) , 10 forks, 10 knives, 10 napkins, 10 chairs and a table linen.  Every one of those is being cleaned and packed and unpacked and set out and then packed again. Labor.
  • Every table is a centerpiece. Every centerpiece is a dozen or so flowers, depending on what you want.  You’re paying a florist for materials, skill and labor, which you will have to buy and develop if you do it on your own.
  • Every guest is at least four glasses (water + bar drinks + back-up)
  • Which means every guest is at least four drinks.
  • Every guest is one ceremony chair, although you can use one for both the wedding and for dinner. See, saved you money right there.
  • Every guest is a favor.
  • Every bride and every bridesmaid is a bouquet. Every groom and every groomsman is a boutonniere.

“Bulk” is the new four letter word. You are paying for a lot of stuff, whether you’re providing it yourself or your venue is. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away. Being realistic about this and owning your budget gives you the power to decide what everything is going to look like, and how much each one of these things is going to cost. The chairs could be $12 each or they could be $1. The plates could be $0.75 each or they could be paper. And, there is plenty of room in between.

You have plenty of resources to come up with a wedding budget you’re comfortable with – I like Wedding Wire’s calculator – and plenty of resources, like this website and everyone here, to figure out how to use what you have to get what you want and need. Don’t give away your money with a shrug. Don’t act like your wedding expenses are something that’s happening to you. The bottom line is YOUR bottom line. Keep your eye on it!

So, how are you keeping track of your budget, and what are some fantastic ways you’ve found to spend less. Let us know in the comments. And, if you’d like to find out more about me, come visit at www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Real Bride Elissa: Nice to Meet You!

Hello fellow brides (and all you grooms and moms and bridesmaids and not-yet-brides)! I’m so excited to join the Broke-Ass Bride brigade as a Real Bride. In 2013 two of my best lady-friends got married within six weeks of each other, so I thought I was MORE than prepared for wedding planning. While helping my friends do research I’d been furiously pinning dresses, venues, photographers, the whole nine yards, so I wouldn’t have to go through all the stress of research when it was time for my own big day. Needless to say I had a bit of a rude awakening when it was my turn; I had no real concept of all the tiny little moving parts that all have to come together before you have a wedding, and how expensive each of those tiny little parts can be! But we’ll get into that later – first, the fun stuff.

I moved out to Los Angeles over 10 years ago now for college. My two roommates and I all decided to stay in L.A. together, so we moved out to our first off-campus apartment about a month after graduation. The building was a small, three-unit complex on a quiet residential street, and the other tenants happened to be six awesome guys, also in their early 20s. As we moved in, one of them, Nick, was just getting home from a long day at work and saw me struggling with some boxes. He immediately ran over and helped carry my things up the stairs, and when we finished asked if I wanted to go get a beer. We struck up an instant friendship over a drink and a game of darts, and now, almost seven years to the day later, we’re getting married!

yay

Circa 2010, but we’re still just as excited!

Nick proposed this past April at the kitchen table. We had just finished dinner when he pulled out a puzzle and asked if I wanted to have a game night. As I started to assemble the pieces, I realized the puzzle was a picture of the two of us. Nick likes to do fun projects with photos, so while it was obviously really sweet and creative, this wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary. By the end though, we saw that one of the corner pieces was missing. Looking annoyed, he ran into the other room to go look for it, hoping maybe it had fallen out somewhere. I heard him shuffling things around, but just a few moments later I saw him come back into the room out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head to ask about the puzzle piece, he was down on one knee, and tucked inside the ring box was the missing piece that read “Marry me?”

proposal

 

Can I tell you how much I love my ring?

So, here we are! Our wedding will be June 20, 2015, in Pasadena, California. I just started a Master’s program this fall, so between my school schedule and both of us working full-time, there were only about five weekends that worked for the wedding – all, unfortunately, in what is considered Prime Wedding Season. We’re aiming for around 80-100 guests, and our budget is a whopping $12,000 for absolutely everything. I don’t mean that sarcastically, either! $12,000 is a HUGE amount of money – but apparently not, as it turns out, for a Southern California wedding. According to The Knot, the L.A.-area average is around $37,000!? Well, I’m taking the stance that MY BUDGET IS ENOUGH.

I’ve been an avid reader of the site for a while now, but I decided to apply to be a Real Bride after I’d been budget-shamed by a few vendors. One even told me to “come back when I get more money.” Luckily, after only a handful of tearful meltdowns, migraines, and angry rants against our entire modern society, we found the most perfect, outdoor/indoor, flexible, affordable venue. That same weekend I found a gorgeous dress that had just been put on final sale, and about a month ago we locked in an incredible, budget-friendly photographer, with whom we’re finally doing our engagement photos this weekend. Now I’m stuck in catering limbo, but … we’re getting there. And you’ll get there too! Everything seems to be falling into place pretty perfectly, but there has been a lot of legwork involved to get us to where we are. I can’t wait to share my journey with you in more detail, and I hope my experiences will help show that YOUR BUDGET IS ENOUGH to have the beautiful, wonderful wedding of your dreams.

Words to Wed By: Sweet Poems That Don’t Suck

In our ongoing Words to Wed By series, we’ve so far tackled prayers and blessings and sayings for the sweet geeks among us. Now how about a little poetry, y’all? I know, there are times that poems suck and are uber rhyme-y, but then there are the really good ones. The ones that tug at them heartstrings like whoa. These are some of ‘em.

Words to Wed By Sweet Poems that Don't Suck

Litany by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) by E.E. Cummings.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

“I Rely on You,” by Hovis Presley

I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you.

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The life that I have

Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

BAB Throwback: Real Bride Mellzah – The Kids Aren’t All Right

While we’re on the topic of tricky guest-listing, it seems like a great time to revisit that all-too-stressy issue of kids vs. no kids at your wedding. Guys, it’s cool. Whatever decision you make is TOTALLY up to you. Some people are all about the kidlets, providing coloring books and play areas. Others are all “NOPE.” Both are great decisions, as long as it’s something you’re comfortable with. Mellzah and her hubz were in the kid-free camp, and she wrote this during her tenure as woman of awesome here.

Go away, little girls…and boys.

With our Save the Dates at the printer, we are fast approaching the date at which we need to have our guest list finalized, and it’s turning out to be the most stressful and contentious issue thus far. Mr. Dildarian comes from an enormous family, and they treat weddings like an opportunity for a family reunion–with his family alone, our guest list stands at 43 people. Add my entire family, and that list swells to 50 people–we’re a small group that becomes even smaller when you take into consideration feuds and cut ties and elder relatives too infirm to travel. However, I’m a bit of a social butterfly and I could easily invite 100 friends and still end up with people with hurt feelings. So where is our issue? The inclusion of children. Namely, I don’t want any present, and while Mr. Dildarian is fine with that, his family absolutely would not be.

There are a number of children on Mr. Dildarian’s side, spanning the age range from newborns to teenagers. One of them we’ve taken to calling The Grifter, whose favorite trick at Christmas was to go from adult to adult asking for money to “show [them] a trick” and when they complied, it was revealed that the trick was “It’s mine now!”. While he certainly made money at a rate at which I could only dream, it’s not exactly a charming experience I’d care to have repeated at my wedding.

Precious.

Literally no solution I’ve suggested has been deemed acceptable. I first said we should just be adults and tell them that we’ve decided to have the wedding and reception be adult-only; we’re not having any flower girls or ring bearers or junior bridesmaids, so it’s not a case of inviting some children and not others. This was countered with “My whole family will be uncomfortable if not everyone is invited.” I then suggested we should lie and tell them our venue doesn’t allow children. “They’ll call the venue to check.” WHAT?! Fine. I’ll hire a babysitter to watch the kids at a nearby hotel room (As all relatives have to fly here for the wedding, leaving their children at home and hiring their own babysitter is out of the question). “My aunt won’t want to be separated from her children.” Is there no possible scenario where I get to have my way? I don’t allow adults to bully their way into a party invitation–why do I have to allow people to steamroll me with their children? And if I can’t tell his family no children, how can I tell everyone else with a child that said child is not invited? It’s ballooning out of control.

Our venue has a hard guest limit of 120 people, and it galls me every single time I have to cross off someone who has played a major role in my life to include someone’s baby. It will gall me even more if said baby starts screaming in the middle of our ceremony. I have a crystal clear mental picture of me whipping toward the audience in an uncontrollable scream-induced rage, which is hardly the image of radiant and serene beauty I was hoping to project. Just thinking about it now is deepening my frown line.

I’m trying to see the issue from both sides–I’m sure people with kids can’t fathom why someone would want to choose to exclude them from an event that is, at its core, about family; after all, kids can add exuberance and life to a party. On the other hand, I can’t see what’s wrong with wanting to have an adults-only gathering for one night–the kids won’t be excluded from anything else when the whole family circus comes to town, and the adults can have a good time and relax instead of worrying about whether tiny fingers are going into the cake or frantically sticking their hands over their kids’ ears when a toast goes off-color.

Another lovely capture for our wedding album.

Is there a happy medium? A place where I don’t have to worry about kids at the wedding without the lifelong consequence of being “That Awful Medusa Woman Who Stole Our Son Away By Poisoning Him Against Us” or “That Rotten Kid Hating Whore”? Or do I have to suck it up, find a way to come to terms with this, and just be thankful that they live across the country so I never have to buy a Thanksgiving table that seats 60?

Words to Wed By: Love Quotes for the Geeks at Heart

The words you speak when standing at the altar with your person don’t always have to come from a serious or traditional place, as long as you’re serious about the love an commitment you share with one another. In fact, some people have a hard time being serious all together (raises hand), and some people are serious about their love for geekery — and may very well want to include their favorite quotes from the land of geek. Personally, as a huge Doctor Who fan, the inhabitants of the T.A.R.D.I.S. tend to have very profound words about their interpersonal relationships. The Lord of the Rings crew? They had to stand through thick and thin to reach their destination. In fact, many of these fantasy tales could be about love and marriage and commitment — if they weren’t, you know, about warding off Cybermen or outsmarting Orcs or smuggling any number of things across the far reaches of the universe.

Words to Wed By Love Quotes for the Geeks at Heart

 

“Star Wars” Han and Leia rings available at Amazon

The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater. – Haldir, “Lord of the Rings”

I’m your density. I mean … your destiny. – George McFly, “Back to the Future”

I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone. – Arwen, “Lord of the Ring”

“It’s not enough to just live. You have to have something to live for.” – Commander William Adama, “Battlestar Galactica”

“You know when sometimes, you meet someone so beautiful – and then you actually talk to them, and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick; but then there’s other people. And you meet them and you think, ‘Not bad, they’re okay,’ and then when you get to know them… Their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality’s written all over it, and they just – they turn into something so beautiful.” — Amelia Pond, “Doctor Who” 

“I am of sound mind. The man next to me is the one I want. You asked me, I’m answering, yes I love that man of mine.” — Lydia Deetz, “Beetlejuice”

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.” – Gandalf, “The Hobbit”

“I came across time for you. I love you. I always have.” Kyle Reese, “The Terminator”

“Our lives are different from anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.” – The Second Doctor, “Doctor Who”

“You’re mine and I’m yours. And if we die, we die, but first we’ll live.” Ygritte, “Game of Thrones”

“Do you wanna come with me? ‘Cause if you do, then I should warn you — you’re gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past. Aliens from the future. The day the Earth died in a ball of flame. It won’t be quiet, it won’t be safe, and it won’t be calm. But I’ll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime!” – The Ninth Doctor, “Doctor Who”

Do you have a favorite geek quote that should be added to this list? Tell us in the comments!

Real Bride Meg: The Search For “The One”

There are few things in your (wedding planning) life that are are more important than finding “the one”– your wedding venue, that is. What did you think I meant? Let me explain.

Steve and I had been together for almost six years by the time we got engaged, so the topic of marriage had been a popular one for at least a year prior. Every now and then, Steve would ask me who I would have as bridesmaids (and then name 13 of his friends as groomsmen), what kind of ceremony I’d like and what songs we would need on our reception playlist. Needless to say, we definitely had an idea of what we wanted for our wedding day, including our venue. We based our decision on these four things:

- What time of year we wanted to get married

- How many people we would have on our guest list

- What area would work best for our families AND our budgets

- Whether we wanted an indoor or outdoor ceremony/reception

Neither one of us wanted to wait more than a year to get married, but we also didn’t want to rush things. We wanted to be able to take time to enjoy our engagement (or “The Victory Tour” as Steve called it) with wedding planning on the side. That’s when we decided a 18-month engagement was much more doable than a nine-month engagement, which brought us to settle on June 20, 2015, as our date, but it took more than snapping our fingers for it all to fall into place.

Being just another couple who got engaged over the holidays, we were eager to book a venue ASAP — and I mean weeks after he put a ring on it in order to get what we wanted when we wanted it.

First, we thought about our style and the kind of place we wanted to represent it. In my ideal world, I would be getting married in the middle of the woods with a huge dance floor lit up by only market lights, but it just isn’t realistic. While we were able to find a few places that gave us a similar vision, not all of them could accommodate our guests or our budget.

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We chose this historic home as our venue in February. Photo courtesy of Meg
receptiontent
The flowers around our reception tent started to pop up in early April. Photo courtesy of Meg
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The gardens around our ceremony were in full bloom exactly a year before “I do!” Photo courtesy of Meg

Once you’re able to identify when you want to get married, guest list numbers, location and budget, the rest is fairly simple. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding in late spring, we’d have at least 225 people attending, and we did our research as far as reasonable prices for venues in the Philadelphia area. It made more sense for us to look outside the city after hearing from a handful of venues we simply couldn’t afford.

Steve and I absolutely fell in love with our venue just from looking at photos of the place — a historic stone house perfect for our vintage theme, a colorful garden backdrop and a reception tent lit by market lights. We went for a tour when there was eight inches of snow on the ground, and I became a bit discouraged by it. We sat on it for about a week before Steve convinced me that our day would be even more beautiful than the photos on Google. It also helped to know that some of our deposit went to charity!

venuebooked

Steve and Meg touring the ground of their venue. Photo courtesy of MOH, Mandy Douress

So, when it comes to wedding planning checklists, I highly recommend checking off your venue first (after settling on your budget and guest list numbers, because those will determine a lot about your venue). It sets the tone of your entire day. It gives you a visual when it comes to the rest of your wedding planning — from dress shopping to cocktail set-up to all of your money-saving DIY projects! Just be sure to find a place that fits your personalities as a couple and a place where you can see yourselves throwing the first party of your life together!

And one last word of advice for Philly brides: Partyspace is your best friend when looking for your venue! You’ll be able to search by category (outdoors, country club, museum, etc.) and county. Once you find a place that fits your vision, that’s when it becomes really helpful! Each venue will give you its contact information, how many guests it can accommodate, if you can bring in your own food and beverages and it will even tell you if your ideal date is available! The tricky part is that every one of them will make you contact them to get any sense of pricing, which is why I also recommend doing a Google search of each place to see the different photos and reviews before contacting them. I even Googled photos of our venue in June!

How did you go about finding your venue, BABs?