Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Failing Slightly Less

Yeah, so you know that list of stuff that was supposed to be done by the end of October?  Well, here it is again:

Book a venue
Open a joint bank account
Obtain money from contributor(s?)
Figure out my own money contribution situation
Finalize initial guest list
Create and send out STDs
Obtain contact info for everyone who will receive a STD
Finalize wedding theme
Figure out my dress situation
Finalize wedding party and officiant
Choose official date, haha

Everything else should be done within a week.  Thank God!

And now for December.

You may have noticed that I have actually been posting lately!  In large part, this is due to the fact that I just quit my job.  I really could not stand sitting in front of a computer all day, and the 2+ hour commute and less-than-thrilling work were not helping.  So I am off to apply to jobs that I actually want until I run out of money.  I would say this will leave me ample time for wedding stuff, but I got a seasonal job in an effort to avoid real employment for as long as possible, so I may not have much more time.  However, I will have much more patience for my computer and a reason to procrastinate, so hopefully, I'll be able to make up for the last two months.

And in that effort, here is my to do list for December:

contact photographers
get a cohesive idea for flower arrangements
find and start permit process for ceremony site
send out Save the Dates
have initial meeting with bridesmaids (and groomsmen)
start researching invitations in earnest
ask officiant/day of coordinator to be such

All right, we'll keep it at that so that I might actually finish everything.

By the end of December, we'll be around 8 months out.  Am I missing anything I should be worrying about now?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Proof That We Are Getting Married

Shoot, I thought I might be able to hold off until the 100th post for this, but as we mailed in the deposit today, it's time to tell you:




When we found out Catalina was going to be more expensive than we planned, our second choice became a much more viable option.  In the end, we probably could have made Catalina work, but the number of things we would have had to give up to do it just wasn't worth it.  While Catalina was the venue we wanted, Guayma's will allow us to have the wedding we want, and we decided that that is more important.

So meet our venue:  Guayma's is a gourmet Mexican restaurant in Tiburon, CA in Marin County (just north of San Francisco and one of the most expensive places to live on the planet).  If you live in the Bay Area and haven't been, you really, really ought too.  It's a bit on the expensive side, but you can eat cheaply there if you make an effort, especially if you come for happy hour (half off appetizers -- get the empanadas/quesadillas/whatever they're calling them these days, they are fantastic).

The more I think about it, the more Guayma's really makes sense for us as a couple.  It's a place we've been just the two of us to celebrate special occasions for years, and it's a place where we've made memories together.  Also, as it's right on the bay, it almost has the ocean view that we wanted but also gives you a look at the beauty of Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge.  As a reception venue, it couldn't be more perfect.  Outdooors, gorgeous view, exceptionally good food, room for dancing, available and no more expensive for Saturday night, and very reasonable prices.  And, get this, NO SITE FEE.  You heard me, none, zip, zilch, nada....OK so they're implementing one next year, but even then it will only be $150 which isn't even noticeable in a wedding budget.  We got really, really lucky.

So it's not the open ocean, and it's not my beloved island, but it is still a spectacular venue, and I think we'll be very happy with our wedding there...and with the money that has been freed up for other stuff...like a honeymoon.  Plus, we'll have the world's greatest cake which frankly was a larger part of the decision to go for NorCal than I'm proud of (Katrina Rozelle, I am coming for you).  Though as the last couple I know that got their wedding cake there said, "Katrina Roselle should have been the ONLY consideration in terms of where to have your wedding."  Yes, it's that good.  But more on that later.

For now, pictures (all personal photos)!

The restaurant.  Our reception is on the upper deck.

The reception space.

 And the view.  Which I did not get the greatest pictures of, but you get the idea.

How did you know that your venue was "the one?"

P.S. Dana, I know you read this, so just so you know, vegetarian options will abound :).

Friday, November 26, 2010


Even though you guys are going to think I'm super geeky after my previous post, I couldn't not share this with you:

OMG HARRY POTTER WEDDING:  http://offbeatbride.com/2010/11/harry-potter-wedding

Go, go forth and drool!

Amelia and Josh's Wedding

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to catch up on some real weddings that I've been meaning to share with you.  This was originally meant to cover my hiatus period while we were trying to cinch the deal on our venue, you know, in October.  Yeah, woops.  Moving on...

We're going to start with Amelia and Josh.  Now, despite my resistance to having a themed wedding, even to the point of thinking a color palette was too limiting, I LOVE looking at other people's themed weddings.  OffBeatBride.com and I are best pals.  So when my friend showed me a few pictures from her friend's STAR WARS THEMED WEDDING, I simply couldn't resist asking her if I could post about it.

I'm sure most of you do not have as many geeky tendencies as I do,  so let's start with the obvious questions:  what is a Star Wars themed wedding and how do you put one on?  I'm going to assume you have all seen Star Wars at least because if you haven't, you should go watch the original trilogy and then come back and read this post.

So, what made this a Star Wars wedding?  Well, this might give you an idea:

*I don't know who took any of these pictures, so let's give credit to Amelia and Josh

Groom is dressed as a Jedi (or Sith? not really sure) and friends are wearing Star Wars t-shirts.  And this was exactly how the bride and groom wanted it.  The Star Wars elements of the wedding included the bridal party's clothing, the (brave) guests' attire, invitations, favors, decorations, and even some of the music.  Here is one of the more enthusiastic guests:

Yeah, you get the idea.  But with an all-out awesomely themed wedding, there is often resistance from the parental/family side, and Amelia and Josh were no exception:

"My parents thought it was silly to have a Star Wars wedding, but they were ok with it since I said it was what I wanted. I think they knew our minds were made up to have it this crazy, unique way. A lot of my family and friends kind of looked down on it, 'What's with the dorky wedding? You should have a traditional wedding!' and seemed a bit snobby about it. My advice would be to just make sure that whatever non-traditional theme you want, it's what will make you and your fiance happy. Everyone else, unless they are totally footing the bill, can deal with whatever you choose. And if they are footing the bill, some compromises should be made - but it is still YOUR day." - Amelia

Despite the lack of support from friends and family, they were able to make their day one guests will never forget.  Amelia says that one of her favorite elements of the wedding was "... how much fun everyone was having. People are still talking about it, and it's been nearly 4 months. Also, it's a great conversation piece!"

At the end of the day, no one cares whether the wedding was traditional as long as they had a good time.  Good thing for me to keep in mind.

But not everything about their wedding bucked tradition.  Like many of us, Amelia's favorite moment was when they said their vows, "The ceremony was amazing. I remember all I could see was Josh....I remember thinking there were stars in both of our eyes - I don't think either of us have ever felt as joyful as we did then. We had Josh's grandparents marry us and that was exactly the right choice - it made everything even more special. We had pretty basic vows but even so, they were just what we wanted." 

And as with all weddings, not everything worked out as planned:  "A lot happened that wasn't planned! My husband's dad was in charge of the music... so we had a couple of false starts for the ceremony (the wrong music was played). The theme my dad and I walked out to was only 30 seconds, so not only did we speed walk for half of it, we walked the last half in silence! My hair that I was promised would last all night (curls) fell out of its updo about an hour before the wedding, so Heather frantically tried to fix it. The officiant forgot the last part of the 'history of us' speech we had prepared. During the vows, the music was accidentally turned on just after my husband said 'I do.' The music got stuck on repeat instead of shuffle, so the ceremony music played over and over and over all through dinner. We dealt with it by just laughing it off - we knew things wouldn't go perfectly and the important things were all there - good food, good cake, us, and our family and friends."

In the end, Amelia was very happy with the way things turned out.  As she said, "that's definitely what sticks out the most, the absolute joy of the day."

What really impresses me about their wedding is not the amazing decorations or clothing (though the cake was pretty spectacular), but the fact that they were able to pull off a completely unique wedding that everyone enjoyed without freaking out about it.  I know I can learn a lot from their go with the flow attitude and their conviction to make their day the one they wanted.

But the reason I decided to write about them was their cake which was fucking awesome!  Observe:

Cute, traditional cake on top tier, DEATH STAR CAKE on middle tier, and Endor cake on bottom tier.  As in the Death Star is orbiting the Endor moon on their cake.  Yes, they did that on purpose because they are just that awesome!
I would love to post more pictures of their super amazing Star Wars decor if Amelia wants to send them to me (hint hint, nudge nudge).  But for now, I leave you with the most important part of their day:

The Bride and Groom Together

If you were going to go all out for a themed wedding, what would you do?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Doom List

I knew from the beginning that the guest list was going to stress me out more than anything else, and I was right even if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The problem is, you can talk all you want about doing what's best for the bride and groom, but if my groom's father is going to pay for 2/3 of the wedding, he is going to get a say in who's there.  I would feel terrible for not giving him that.

It's not so very much that I don't want to have a bigger wedding.  If we could comfortably afford to have 100 people, I'd be OK with that.  There are definitely people I'm not inviting that I would really like to invite.  There are two main problems.  The real one is that we cannot afford to have more than about 85 people without sacrificing some pretty big stuff, stuff that we (all right, that at least one of us) REALLY want to have.  The other problem is that if I agree to have a bigger wedding if FIL agrees to pay for it, it opens a floodgate of people we "have to" invite.

The latter is a problem that we will avoid by not having a bigger wedding, at least not by very much.  So let's concentrate on number 1.  My best friend, the budget.  FIL said he would be willing to pay for about 10 people more than we can realistically invite in order to not deal with the fallout (read:  anger and nagging) of not inviting said people.

This is not something I would be utterly opposed to, but it presents a different problem.  You see, Daniel is already inviting significantly more people than me.  But when we broke it down further into who we actually think will come, just with the people we are already inviting, we predict that almost 2/3 of the guests will be his, leaving me with a measly 1/3.  This is not really OK.  At all.  But this is the way our "really ought to invite" lists ended up, and I can accept that he has more family than I do, so I can live with it.  But add another 10 people to his side?  All of whom are likely to turn up?  That's just overwhelming, especially because I do not know a very large number of these people.

So it's a problem.  There will be compromises in my future, but we just spent an awfully large portion of our day on this and related subjects, and it just sucks.

You may be thinking that I am overestimating the number of people who will turn up.  I am not.  My side, I'm predicting well over the standard 20% will not come because I'm just not close with my extended family.  But his side?  They're tight.  The 2,000 mile plane flight may deter a few more than we're predicting, but consider this:  several of these people live in Israel.  They have all been to ALL of the family's weddings in the states.  There have been 3 in our generation in the last 5 - 6 years.  Do the math.  These people are serious about their social gatherings, so we can't just hope that people won't come.

The biggest issue I've had to deal with is that I am not inviting people that I would really like to invite in order to deal with Daniel's swelled family, appease his father, and still have the wedding that I want.  What kills me is inviting people that NONE of the people involved in the wedding actually want to invite just to appease "the family."  Daniel isn't really giving up people he actually wants to turn up.  But this is the way it goes if we are going to take FIL's money.  And really, none of this would happen without it, so I'm OK with it.  It just kind of blows a little bit.

Besides, I care the most about the other stuff in the wedding, so it makes sense for me to be the one to sacrifice the most people for that.

Anyway, stressful day, but at least the guest list will officially be done very soon.  And by officially done, I mean I'll be sending out STDs to these people.  Don't get me started on the long wait before the actual wedding in which things will invariably change.

Tell me your horror stories!  Make me feel better!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Are Never Going to Get a Date

Eff my mothereffing life!

The coordinator at Catalina finally got back to us.  Turns out they cannot do the dinner option we had originally planned on during the day...which means it will be $15 per person more expensive...for our already over budget wedding.  We figured out a way for it to still be possible, but it involves making the guests pay an extra $5 to get there, bringing the total up to $35 for them.  Plus, the buffet option we would have to do allows for only one entree which is a major problem for the vegetarian guests...and me!  I literally would not like to eat anything on that menu except the prime rib which is $2 extra per person--not happening.

We have another venue option.  It is in NorCal which would be a PAIN IN THE ASS to plan from 400 miles away and is not as cool as Catalina....but it would cost a lot less, allow us to have a lot more options, and have excellent food and cake for CHEAP.

And yet...Catalina still really appeals to us.

What should we do?  What would you do?  I don't know what to do.  Someone just tell me what to do.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

World of Color*

I have not talked about our theme in a while.  This is because our finalized theme was highly dependent on our destination.  However, now that we have our venue, it is time to get a real vision for what this thing will look like.

As our wedding is going to be on an island, the island theme pretty much created itself.  Catalina has a very distinct vibe that will creep into our wedding whether we like it or not.  We're down with that, but neither of us really wants a super casual, beachy wedding.  We both want our wedding to be nice.  Not necessarily formal, but still elegant.

The best way to do this seems to be through wedding colors.  For those of you who were not around for my anti-wedding colors phase, neither of us was originally very enthused by the idea of wedding colors.  It felt restricting and kind of lame, too ordinary and generally meh.

But now that we have the island theme and just need something to tie the actual wedding together, colors don't seem so bad.  I think, and Daniel agrees, that having common colors for the reception will help the wedding seem more formal in a thoughtful sort of way.

Now the real question:  which colors?  We were always going to do blue.  We both like blue, it's neutral, and it's an easy color to agree on.  Plus, ocean.  So blue is going to be the main color.  But I have had major inner battles about secondary colors.  Originally, we were thinking blues and greens for the oceany theme, but I never really got on board with that idea, and it would not work for this venue anyway.

I've gone through all sorts of colors in my head and in discussion with Daniel, but in the end, it was something Daniel said that brought us to the colors we're actually going with.

While telling him about my colors tie it together theory, he mentioned we should do island colors as our colors.  When I started thinking about it, I realized that the main island colors are yellows, light browns, blushy reds, cactus green, and obviously ocean blue.

This allowed me to have a vision that I had secretly wanted for a long time.

You see, I love blue, but I don't like blue flowers.  I have tried to like them.  I scoured the internet for blue flower arrangements, and while I liked some things better than others, nothing impressed me.

But I love pink and yellow flowers.  I tried to shy away from pink at least because I knew Daniel didn't want the decor to be too girly, but I kept coming back to those two colors.  And I think blue with pink and yellow accents works really well and would look nice and happy without overdoing the girly bits.

So when Daniel started talking about island colors, I pitched my color scheme.  He was a little cautious about the pink, but when I explained that my vision would basically be blue big stuff with pink and yellow flowers only, he got on board.  We'll probably also throw some greens into the arrangements to keep it toned down, and that will incorporate all of the island's colors while still creating a loose formality.

But what can you really imagine without pictures?  Here is an idea of what I want the wedding to look like:

This picture is actually from the island.  I'm pretty sure I remember the coordinator saying that these blue linens were not extra, so I definitely want to use them if they're not.  Though this will not be our space, I really like the way this area is set up and will probably try to emulate it.

This is from the island too.  I promised no pink napkins, but I like the way these tables are set up with multiple colors and lots of greens.  We would probably aim for a similar look though with some different colors.

These are not the colors we're looking for at all, but this is the inside of our reception space.  Not the best picture, but it should give an idea of the space we're working with.  Very islandy interior.

I've always loved both of these bouquets, and I think I just may try to combine them.  More like the first one, but with yellow, pink, and yellowish pinkish roses.

However, this bouquet should give you an idea of what most of our flower arrangements should look like.  Pink and yellow dominating but filled with greens and maybe just a hint of blue thrown in.  Don't those colors look good together?  I love them.

This is probably the best example of what our wedding as a whole will look like.  These particular bouquets are a bit frouffy for me, and I'm not digging the lack of greens, but I do so like the pink and yellow as flowers with blue as the main background color.  And yes, Megan, this means that you will be wearing a blue dress.  You're welcome.  Not that you're reading this.

OK, you get the idea.

How did you decide on your theme/colors?  Did your venue choose them for you?  From what I've seen, it seems like the bride is often the one to make the decision about colors (not that the bride isn't the one who most often makes the decision about anything, but this particular thing seems even more the bride's area than other stuff).  Was that how it was for you?  Or did the groom have an opinion also?

*All right, who's been to California Adventure lately?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pushing Deadlines

OK, it's November, time to revisit "Things that really must be done before the end of October"

Book a venue
Open a joint bank account
Obtain money from contributor(s?)
Figure out my own money contribution situation
Finalize initial guest list
Create and send out STDs
Obtain contact info for everyone who will receive a STD
Finalize wedding theme
Figure out my dress situation
Finalize wedding party and officiant
Choose official date, haha

Ughhh.  In my defense, venue and date would have been done by the end of October if the coordinator wasn't on vacation, I should be able to finish most of the rest of this by the end of the weekend.

How screwed am I?

Classy Wedding by the Sea