12/22 {Tightropes & Teacups} Our budget, theme & trajectory.

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Hello, Lovelies!

If memory serves… I promised you cookies!

Now that that’s all taken care of… Anyone who has any idea who I am {and I certainly don’t fault you if you don’t; I’ve only just begun to figure it out myself} also knows the story of how The Groom proposed to me in the dark room of Pace University, where we met while we were still in school.

The lesser-known story, the one fraught with worry and bashfulness, is the one of Being a Financial Whole. The Groom and I tying the knot means combining the debt of two private educations. And pooling the collective dream of buying our first house, while I get to go back to school {probably for the rest of my nerdy life}. Happily Ever After has never been so expensive, and we were really overwhelmed once the magic fairy dust of getting engaged had settled and we found ourselves staring at a spreadsheet of our collective assets, terrified by all the red.

Despite the precarious and overwhelming situation in which we found ourselves, The Groom vowed that The Wedding Process wouldn’t be awful for me. He labored to keep his promise – despite the large guest list and little budget- by humoring me the theme of my choosing: A Mad Tea Party.

If you are thinking this…

… you are sorely mistaken, and need to download the Kindle desktop client {MAC or PC}, and to read the original works by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel. This is more my tune…

The idea is to craft a wedding that makes our guests feel like they’ve wandered through a magical mirror, or stepped down a rabbit hole and landed in a place where life still feels a little extraordinary. I’m building all the flowers from paper products – and don’t let the term flowers fool you… the goal is to make everyone feel the excitement they felt when they read the books for the first time as a child, like it’s possible to stumble into a magical garden of flowers as large as yourself. It will be an experiment in scale, and a commentary on texture and color stories.

My venue – the Sans Souci of Sea Cliff – has graciously agreed to let me take over and transform the interior space into my magical tea garden, and the bridesmaids {all six of them} have heartily agreed to help with the hot-gluing. Bless their hearts, they have no idea what they’re in for.

That’s why you have the distinct advantage here! Any bride looking to DIY her way into Marital Greatness needs one thing above all over things: tequila! A plan!

I happen to have one such plan, and I’ll share it with you so long as you promise not to share it with The Groom, lest he make futile attempts to stop me as I take over the world! muahaha… er, I mean… plan our lovely wedding day. What I have to share with you will fall into roughly three categories:

  • Tips. Would you like to know my Master Plans for haggling successfully with vendors, getting professional-style make-up for free and not cutting down your guest list as a last-ditch effort to save money? Great! Tips are for you!
  • Projects. Do you quiver with inferiority any time you hear the name Martha? Do you find yourself wondering how you can give your wedding a personal touch without incurring burns and/or gluing yourself to things? Do you curse politely under your breath as “The Experts” make paper flowers and hand-calligraphy and stamping projects look second nature? Yes, well… I’m in the same boat, and I’m here to tell you it’s NOT a sinking ship. I will bravely go where only a few women have gone before me… into the Martha Stewart Craft Encylopedia with nothing but blind ambition and a refusal to fail. Also, a language de-coder. And probably burn cream. The idea of Projects is to break them down into easy-to-understand language and non-craft-veteran-friendly steps.
  • Confessions. I’ll tell you a little secret… Any married woman who tells you that getting married was the easiest, most stress-free thing she ever did probably had two things I don’t: inexhaustible wealth and a wedding planner. Either way, she is suspect in my book. Why? It’s just counter-intuitive to the Laws of Nature and Mothers-In-Law that planning such an event on a tight budget is possible without a few tears shed, and a few ounces of wine consumed. Confessions is a safe place to be honest about the deeper implications of the equation we’re all trying to balance:  (DIY + Real Life) – Loads of $$ = Sanity of the Bride.

Here’s where you come in! If there are specific Projects you’d like to see, Tips you’re looking for or Confessions you’d like to talk about — tell me! Post a comment, shoot me an e-mail, record an interpretive dance set to Miranda Lambert’s new single Only Prettier. Whatever. It doesn’t matter how you put it out there. We’re all friends here, and where they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a – bigger, fuller, better-decorated – village to get some women down the aisle.

Hello. I am your village. And I am here to help.



  • Oh my…you took the words right out of my mouth with the "confessions" part of this post. Actually, the part about student debt and dreams of home ownership as well. I'm not against DIY but I don't love it and I'm certainly not crafty, so I would love "foolproof" ideas that I can use for my wedding (in ~6 months, eek!)

  • You go girl. Love the Mad Hatter theme! And I am personally sooooo looking forward to Confessions.

  • Did you seriously have to tease me with those amazing looking cookies?

  • Your venue is really pretty you shouldn't have much trouble transforming it into a magical tea garden.

  • cookie recipe? those look yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Haha… I'm so awful at giving out recipes. First of all, I never follow them. Second, I was raised in my grandmother's kitchen, where the instructions were to the tune of "Mix it until it looks like cookie dough. Bake it until they look like cookies."


      Go with the recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse package, adding a splash of extra vanilla, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and just a shake or two of ground cloves. I also cream the butter with the sugar for a little longer than they tell you to… makes for a cake-y cookie that gets nice and crunchy if you let it cool overnight. And I drop them in heaping tablespoons on tinfoil lined pans. Give them room to spread out, though, or you'll end up with one GIANT cookie (not always an awful thing).

      My grandmother also always told me that if you eat the cookies with milk, the calories don't count. 😉

  • gilfillan37

    Hello, Lovelies!If memory serves