Monday, May 30, 2011

Money of a Non-Wedding Variety

I have often said that nothing is really going to change once we're married, and for the most part, that's true.  However, there is one really big thing that will be different once we're married, and that is the sharing of funds.

I'm pretty sensitive about money.  Part of this is just that I don't have much of it, but I can also get obsessively thrifty sometimes.  Not something I'm proud of, but it's better than the alternative, the alternative being my parents.

My parents are pretty much the opposite of savings.  Whenever they acquire money, it is spent quickly and effectively, and when they don't have money, things aren't much different.  They cannot save.  Don't get me wrong, they spend money on cool stuff like vacations and my brother and I, but they do have a tendency to spend money they don't have.  Now that they're getting older, this is becoming more and more of a problem, and they know it.

I'm pretty much the opposite of them.  I'm thrifty, I save, and I hate the idea of being in debt.  You know how when children's parents have problems (say, alcoholism), the children often emulate them or overcompensate?  I'm the latter.  I admit it freely.  I care too much about money (or rather, the lack thereof).  Which is especially stupid because I always thought my dad was an idiot for stressing out constantly about money (read:  my mother's spending habits).  Oh look, I emulate them AND go too far in the opposite direction!  Awesome!

Anyway, the idea of sharing everything monetary with someone else, even someone responsible like Daniel, terrifies me.  Legally, we will share earned income, debts, payments--everything.  And since neither of us has much money at the moment, and my husband-to-be has over $200,000 in student loans to pay off, I think my worries are legit.

But I am starting to be less concerned.  We've had lots of conversations about money and problems with shared money, and I think Daniel understands my concerns, and I understand why he doesn't share them.  The thing that really helped me realize how much this wouldn't change though is that we basically share funds already.  Not like we will when we're married--we have a very exact expense sheet, and we balance out how much each of us has paid for shared items every month, something we will not do when married--but when it comes to the big things, like one of us needing a little help or making decisions based on what we can afford, we already think of money collectively.  We based our ability to move the last few times on how much we could afford together, we haven't bought a second car because neither of us can afford it, and we based our rent options on what both of us could afford.  We've been making financial decisions as a couple for years.

I'm still a little nervous about sharing everything, but at least getting married will not make me legally responsible for Daniel's student loans.  And in all likelihood, the biggest change will be that we don't make sure everything is balanced out 100% equally, which really isn't that big of a deal.

And if I'm perfectly honest, I stand to gain more from shared funds in the long run anyway.  Marrying a lawyer does have its perks (btw, Daniel passed the bar!).

So I'm feeling better about it, but it's still an area where we'll have to tread carefully at first.  We'll fight about it and we'll try things out and figure out a system that works.

And hey, that's what marriage is all about, right?  I supposed there had to be something life-changing about it.

Were/are you worried about changes getting married will make to your finances?  Would you consider a pre-nup?  I thought about it, but, eh, I don't really feel the need.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Coolest RSVP EVER!

Soooooo, I may or may not have invited two of my favorite authors to my wedding.

I may or may not have written them notes with their invitations saying I wanted them to know that without their books, Daniel and I probably never would have met.

And I may or may not have received a response from one of them last week.

If I did, it would look like this:

Honestly, Who Better to Fill One of These in Than an Author?
Personal Photo

It also would have included a gift of an entire book series, signed to us specifically.

The Great Tree of Avalon
Personal Photo

If that had happened, I might say that the author was awfully kind and thoughtful.

So why would I invite two famous authors to my wedding?  Well, when I started middle school, I was kind of over reading.  I loved books when I was little, but I was a lot more interested in cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics by the ripe old age of 10.  It was not until I read The Seven Songs of Merlin by T.A. Barron that I regained the love I had once had for reading.  After that, I was unstoppable.  And when I finally gave in to the hoard's demands and saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in theaters, I was in love, and that love was slow to ebb.

We haven't been through Daniel's and my origin story in a while, so let's recap, shall we?  Berkeley has a program called Decal that allows undergrads to teach full-on courses to other undergrads, and everyone can get credit for it.  Within Decal is a club called BookWorlds which teaches exclusively on fantasy and sci-fi novels, specifically on worlds that exist only in books.  My freshman year, I searched obsessively for a class on Harry Potter and found one my second semester through BookWorlds.  Our officiant, Nicole, was the lead teacher for this class, and since she and Daniel were friends, Daniel hung out in our class a lot.  We'd noticed each other, but it wasn't until I decided I wanted to teach that we actually got to know each other.  Three days of obsessive facebooking, AIMing (yes, it was that long ago), and emailing later, we had our first date, and the rest is history (some of it fantastical).

So you see, if I hadn't read Harry Potter, we never would have met.  And if I hadn't read The Seven Songs of Merlin, I probably wouldn't have read Harry Potter.  I feel like I owe the authors something for that.  I probably owe as much to J.R.R. Tolkien since BookWorlds would not have happened without The Lord of the Rings, but he's dead, so getting him an invitation would be tricky, and honestly, who has the time for that kind of thing?

The response/gift I may or may not have received from T.A. Barron was not completely out of the blue.  We've met.  Actually, he's met Daniel too though he doesn't really remember.  The first class I taught was on his Lost Years of Merlin series, and I asked him to come and speak to our class.  He obliged by meeting with us privately before a talk at a book store (in San Jose, funnily enough), and we've been in loose contact ever since.  We met up when he had an event in San Francisco, I told him about my sorrow of never getting to see Stonehenge up close (damn preservation attempts!), and I spoke in a documentary he was doing about kids and books.  He's a very cool person, just the sort of man I expected from reading his books, and it is entirely possible that I am actually his biggest fan (family excluded of course).

Now if only J.K. Rowling would get back to me... smiley emoticons.

Did you invite anyone famous or someone neither of you really knew to your wedding?

P.S.  Rahm Emanuel was so getting an invitation before he left the White House.  Daniel is actually related to him, and while he's not really close to the family anymore, I was hoping to get White House M&Ms out of the deal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I gave up on my principles and got alterations at the bridal salon

Everyone has a wedding issue that they end up throwing money at.  Mine is alterations.  Actually, I guess mine is my dress since I now own 2 of them AND am going to pay way more than desired for alterations.

Originally, I was like, "Pshaw, I don't need to get alterations at the bridal salon!  There must be somewhere good that does them cheaper!"

Of course, when my dress came in a size too big, things became more complicated.  Now, if you remember, I had a choice between getting alterations at the bridal salon and having them fit the bodice to me or having the bridal salon alter my dress down a size and getting the other alterations somewhere else.  If you'll remember further, I was not too happy with said bridal salon the last time I spoke about this.

But in the end, the only thing that made sense was to do the alterations through the bridal salon.  Having them fit the bodice to me means I won't have to further alter the bust which will probably make up for the added alteration cost.

But the thing that really sold me was when I started looking into alternations alternatives (hardy har har), the only places I felt confidant taking my dress were just as expensive, if not more so.  The dress is still really important to me, and I want to make sure it looks the way it's supposed to.  A shotty alteration job to save money really isn't an option.

I also feel a bit better about it because I'm not really going through the salon, just using one of their recommended places.  In fact, one of the places was already on my list of potential alterations places.  Knowing I'm not giving any more money to the salon is definitely helpful.

And so the moral of the story is alterations are fucking expensive.  Budget a lot for them, or you will be sorry later.  Oh, and buy a dress with a corset back.

What did you do about alterations?  Were you able to find a way to save money without compromising your dress?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I've talked before about my views on changing my name (summary:  I don't like my last name or his, and I'm going with his because it's easier even though I'm not too happy about it), but there is a part of the name issue that is much more problematic for me than changing my name, and that is gaining the title "Mrs."

Full disclosure:  I'm still a little meh about getting married so young.  Though to be honest, my job makes me feel a lot older.  I may be getting married at 23, but at least I don't have a kid (Er, if any work peoples are reading this, no offense, I'm just so not ready for that)!

But I digress.  To me, "Mrs." = "old," and I have enough trouble with giving up feeling young as it is, and adding such an old-sounding title is just, bleh.

But that's not the worst of the problem for me.  My inner feminist has a problem with the word "Mrs."  I always hated that "Mrs." was just an extension of "Mr."  I mean, there is no other reason to abbreviate "missus" with an "r" in it.  And when I think of "Mrs.," I get flash-backs to fifties housewives instead of warm, fuzzy feelings about being Daniel's wife.

Which brings up another word I have a problem with:  "wife."  Now, I have no problem with the word "husband."  That doesn't evoke any negative feelings for me and brings only a few uncomfortable ones.  "Wife" on the other hand makes me cringe whenever I hear it.  "Wife" brings on even more fifties flash-backs than "Mrs."

I know it's all in my head.  I know I will never be the kind of wife that the word makes me envision.  And I know Daniel is the last person who would want me to be that kind of wife.

Nonetheless, the association continues.

So the question remains:  what do I do about it?  I mean, it's not like people aren't going to call me Mrs. F--, and I probably shouldn't cringe every time Daniel calls me his wife.

Well, I'm probably going to go by "Ms." at first even though I used to think that was a pointless addition to the many titles for women (btw, anyone else bugged by the fact that there are 3 titles for women when men only have 1?  Doesn't seem fair to me).  People will still call me Mrs. F--, but that's OK.  People have called Daniel Mr. My Last Name, so it's only fair.

And "wife?"  Well, that one's a bit trickier.  The only solution I have is to get over it.  It will probably take a while, but I'm hoping that once I get used to the word, it will be a happy one instead of suffocating.

Thoughts?  Agreement?  Disagreement?  How do you feel about being a "Mrs." or a "wife?"

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Already, response cards are pouring in.  In fact, we got our first couple a mere 5 days after we mailed them!  It's so nice to have such prompt answers.

And yet, I can feel the laggers looming already.  People have told me that they are waiting to respond until they think of a good mad lib, and while that is pretty awesome, I also wonder how long they will wait.  FFIL also told us that he will not be returning his response card because he only has one son and wants to keep the entire invitation suite as a souvenir.  My response?  You owe us 44 cents!  All right, not really, we're going to send him another one, so he will give us his response card.

I'm already glad that we put out the effort to make return address labels because the very first card we got back did not have the couple's names on it.  There seems to be some general confusion about where the names go among that younger crowd, so I'm glad we'll have the return address labels when others forget to write their names.

I'm so happy we were inspired to do Mad Lib invitations at the last minute!  Already, we've gotten some great responses.  Here are my favorites so far (with names withheld for obvious reasons):

'Zooks!  I am chuffed to be invited!  M is barmy to attend.  No one is miffed to decline.

Gadzooks!!! (author's note:  why look!  A trend has started!)  We are titillated to be invited!  D and M are electrified to attend.

Hooray!  We are jazzed to be invited!  Monsieur/Madame are aflame! to attend.

And I have no idea what this means, but it sounds cool anyway:

Coads-nigs!!  We are insangelous to be invited!  We are callipygian to attend.

Once we have them all, we've going to make a scrapbook with everyone's responses.  Should be a lot of fun to look back on years from now.

Did you do anything special for your response cards?  Did people write nice notes to you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Last Pre-Wedding Anniversary

Saturday was Daniel's and my 5th anniversary.  Since it's our last one before marriage and also the first one (including our first date) during which neither of us have had finals, we wanted to do something special.  Unfortunately, neither of us have any money.  Still, we had a good time.

For the past few years, whenever we've needed a hotel and weren't looking for a particular one, we've bid on Priceline.  It's a great way to save money and a better way to get a much better hotel than you would otherwise be able to afford.  If you haven't booked your honeymoon and are looking in a particular area but don't need a particular hotel, I would highly recommend using the Priceline bidding option, especially if you need to save money and/or are doing your honeymoon in the U.S.

Anyway, we spent the weekend in Monterey at the Hyatt which was AMAZING.  The bed was so comfy, and I seriously thought about stealing one of the pillows.  They were so soft.  We enjoyed the heated pool even though it was freezing outside, especially when we could run over to the hot tub when we needed some extra heat.

I love Monterey.  It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and I've spent a lot of time in extraordinary places.  We very seriously considered getting married in Monterey or the neighboring (smaller and more beautiful) Carmel.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and thus was unable to capture our trip, so I will have to make up for it in words.

Our major goal for the weekend (besides relaxing) was wine tasting.  A couple of years ago, we spent our anniversary in Napa and have been strolling down the road toward wine snobbery ever since.  It will be a long time before we will have the cash to truly experience wine snob culture, but in the meantime, we're trying our best to prepare.  We were surprised by how affordable the wine tasting places in Monterey were.  Even on Cannery Row (the tourist place to be), tastings were only $5 for at least 5 wines (and let me tell you, they pour liberally).  We took full advantage.

We also headed down to Carmel for some cheese tasting at The Cheese Shop.  I love me some cheese, but I really love me some fancy cheese with wine pairings.  We had a great experience talking to the owner about pairings and preferences, and he let us try a ton of extra cheeses.  We ended up buying three types and have been thoroughly enjoying them since.

We decided to put more funds toward our wine tasting experiences than to a fancy dinner the night of our anniversary, but we still managed to make out pretty well.  We actually went to Monterey for my 19th birthday almost 5 years ago and had to skip my birthday dinner because I got sick.  Daniel had picked out the restaurant himself, and I had always wanted to go back and try it.  We managed to find it again while wandering on Cannery Row, and they had a 3-course deal for $15.  Definitely a good find.

All-in-all, a very relaxing mini-vacation.  And now we have officially visited every major destination in Northern California on an anniversary.  Monterey was a nice way to finish off our dating getaways.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

100 Days

I was informed by our registries today that there are 100 days left until our wedding.

My reaction?  Shit!

We're not really behind on the planning anymore, but we're not ahead either, and I would like to be.

And so last night I started working on our ceremony in earnest.  By earnest, I mean actively searching for passages instead of just writing random stuff down when I think of it.

Thus far, I am going through all of my books to see what has wedding-worthy passages.  I also started looking for inspiration on some of my favorite wedding websites (read:  OffBeatBride).  I imagine Daniel will do something similar, but I haven't nagged him enough to start yet, so we'll have to see if he goes about it differently.

We're planning on writing the entire thing ourselves along with our vows, except for an introduction to be written by our officiant (btw Nicole, I'll talk to you about that soon, I swear).  I would really like to have lots of different people who are close to us come up to read passages as the bulk of the ceremony.  It would be great to include all of the people we're really close to in this way, but we'll have to see how feasible that is.  If nothing else, I'd like the parents and the wedding party to be able to participate.

And if all goes well, we'll have it done long before the next 100 days are over.

Cross your fingers.  I certainly will be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Invitations: Check!

Invitations are officially sent!  Yay!

Well, OK, there's still a couple of people who need to give us their addresses, but most of them are out.

It's such a relief to have this over.  Now the tux, rings, and ceremony are the only really big things we have left to do!

I really like the way the invites turned out.  I think tying the suite with hemp chord really added a lot to the look without adding much to the cost.

This is like the epitome of my wedding concept summed up in one small item:  beachy, classy, and cheap (without looking cheap).

Daniel did an amazing job on the envelopes too.  We didn't want to address them by hand because we both have sucky handwriting, and there was no way we were paying for a calligrapher to do it, so we decided to use labels instead.

The return address labels were easy.  Daniel found them on and got them for FREE!  All we had to do was pay $3 for shipping.  Major win.

The individual address labels were much trickier, but Daniel found a label-making program online that we could download, so we could make and print the labels from home.  Then all we had to do was buy blank labels from the label company (Avery), pick a background for them from Clip Art, type the addresses into the label spaces, and print.

OK, having a background made it a little trickier than that.  Daniel spent hours trying to get the spacing right for each one.  But in the end, it probably didn't take much longer than addressing them by hand would have, and they look much nicer.  Plus, the whole shabang cost us about $10.  Take that, calligraphers!

Invitation Envelope
Yes, I'm inviting J.K. Rowling to my wedding.  Shush.

RSVP Card Envelope

*All Personal Photos

They aren't are coordinated as they could be, but they still look pretty good, especially for what we spent on them.  And I kind of like that not everything has the exact same look.

How did you address your invitations?  Did you do anything to spice them up?  And did anyone else invite someone neither of you actually knows (come on, I'm not the only one, right?  Right)?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Really Not Safe for Work Post

Seriously.  Definitely not safe for work.  In fact, not really safe for me to have pictures like this on the internet.  But then, I wear way less to the beach.  Anyway.

Classy Wedding by the Sea