Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bachelorette Party, You Were Not Supposed to Be This Complicated

Half of the 478390789543 emails I sent my bridesmaids the other day were about the bachelorette party.

The bachelorette party has always been kind of problematic because no one I know lives in the same area.  My lady friends are spread out all across California and beyond, and none of them live near me (closest friend invited to the wedding is an hour away).

I wanted to do something that would be doable for everyone (at least everyone in California).  That meant doing the bachelorette party in Southern California but ideally north of LA so that I and the other NorCal residents wouldn't have to drive as far.  Once I started thinking about it that way, the "where" was easy to decide:  Santa Barbara.

I freaking love Santa Barbara.  If I was going to pick anywhere to settle down, it would be there.  It's the perfect compromise between NorCal and SoCal, both for our lives and for this party.

It would have been a whirlwind weekend of wine tastings, beach lounging, and the requisite karaoke bar (karaoke bar = love) with a kind of "Sideways but less depressing" theme.

However, finding a time to go became problematic very quickly.  My work schedule is extremely unpredictable, and I had to wait to figure it out until I got my summer schedule.  That left only one weekend when I could go with all of the other crap that's going on this summer, and my MOH couldn't do it that weekend.

Saying I was disappointed would be a pretty intense understatement.  I didn't want to have my bachelorette party without my MOH, but I couldn't see another way to even HAVE a bachelorette party.

So I sent out a tester email, trying to get an idea of how many people would go the one weekend I could do it.  The results were staggeringly disappointing.  Despite my assurances that we would do this as cheaply as possible, very few people were willing to go, and money was the main deterrent.

I get that this is my big day and not theirs, and I get that a lot of my friends don't have a lot of money right now.  I'm in the same boat finance-wise, so I really do understand their situation.  But I was heartbroken to see the overwhelming lack of enthusiasm.  I tried SO HARD to find something that would cause as little inconvenience as possible to everyone, and still my "friends" couldn't be bothered to even try to work it out for the most part.

All of the bloggers I read seem to have such awesome friends.  They expound on the amazingly thoughtful parties their friends and families throw for them, tell us how impressed and touched they are by the effort they put into their bridal showers and bachelorette parties.  Seeing that and having my friends not even bother to show up.  Or even try to show up.  Or even say they're really sorry that they won't be able to make it.  That stings.  And makes me wonder what I did wrong in my life to not have the amazing thoughtful and devoted friends that other bloggers seem to have.

This happened the same week that my not bridesmaid told me she was not coming to the wedding, that I called my MOH 3 times and left urgent messages that she decided not to return before leaving for the Cayman Islands, and that I was reminded that I have been in San Jose almost 4 months without making any real friends.  I really was not feeling the love last week.

There were a few exceptions.  A couple of people were actually excited, and a couple of people said they would try their very best to be there for me no matter what.  That was reassuring.  But on the whole, the response was so underwhelming that I gave up on my dream bachelorette party.  Definitely not worth excluding my MOH, taking off work, driving down there, and spending money when no one wants to go anyway.

So I was back to square one.  Square one was not teeming with options.  For a week, I went over every possibility until it finally hit me.

You see, the only other time I could have a bachelorette party in SoCal was when I went down to visit my family at the end of July.  I would be at home for one day during which I already had to have my bridal shower and hair trial, and I had to be at the airport at 4pm.  I figured the only real option was to combine the bridal shower and bachelorette party and have 2 hours for each.

Obviously, this was not a fantastic option.  After my epic bachelorette weekend plan, having only 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon really sounded lame.  Plus, none of the NorCal people would be able/willing to come down for that (which I definitely cannot blame them for).

But that's when I realized there was only one option that could actually work:  I would have 2 bachelorette parties!  The short one for the SoCal people, and one for the NorCal people whenever I wanted!

At least this way, I'll be able to have my friends and a real bachelorette party.  True, I won't have both at once for the most part, and I'll probably have to plan the NorCal one myself (L.A.M.E.), but it's better than just having a SoCal or NorCal one.

And so I have passed off responsibility for my party to my bridesmaids and other willing helpers.  I am relieved not to have to worry about setting a date or planning (much) anymore.  And while I still wish I could do something bigger, the current plan is at least a decent one.

Please tell me I am not the only one.  Please tell me your peeps disappointed you too at some point during the wedding process.  Please share your stories, so I don't feel so alone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rings: Kind of Important

So...remember how rings were supposed to be the one thing we got done while we were still in Chicago?  As in, way, way in advance?  Actually, you probably don't remember because it's been so long since I mentioned it that most of you weren't reading this yet.

Yeah, we procrastinated.  A lot.  In fact, rings are probably the big thing we've lagged on the most.

We have an excuse though!  For months, we tried to get a hold of our jeweler without success.  Normally, this would have caused us to ditch him, but he knows Daniel's family, so we held on, hoping for his discount.

In the end, after pushing people in the family who know him better to get him to talk to us, he did finally respond...saying that he couldn't do the rings we wanted.

So we finally gave up on him and went with a jeweler we found on Etsy.  They are called Minter & Richter, and they are based on the East Coast, so we not only have never seen their work in person but have communicated completely over the internet.  I'm still a little bit nervous about that, but we had such a hard time finding a design that we liked, that I'm willing to risk imperfection with them.

They fit all of our requirements:  the bands match while still catering to what each of us likes, and they are completely unique.  Our rings are also as close as you can get to opals while actually being durable (or so they say...).

We're happy with them.  They're not perfect, but they're close, and after all of the searching we did for the perfect rings, we're both too tired to care about perfection anyway.

So without further ado, here are the rings that will symbolize our union forever (and here's hoping they work out the way we think they will).

The inlay will be this color:

Here is the style of Daniel's band:

So, his will have the metallic color and be about that width and style.

And here is the style of mine:

My style is the smaller of course.  It's made to be much smaller, with more inlay than metal.

I'm glad our rings will be the same color and similar styles.  It just feels so much more unified to me that way.

We're also engraving them, but the engraving is too personal/embarrassing to publicize on the internet, and it would take too long to explain anyway.  Yeah.

I really hope we don't have to rush order them.  Though they may not ship for 6 weeks which is dangerously close to wedding.  But whatevs, we'll figure it out.

How did you pick your rings and ring maker?  Did you go for unity or just pick what each of you liked?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Shit Done

I just spent the last two hours sending out emails about the wedding, haha.  My poor bridesmaids!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

______ is _______ to decline

Well, it's finally happened.

Do you remember my potential fourth bridesmaid?  Long story short, we've been friends for ages despite vast distances between us, and I really wanted to ask her to be a bridesmaid but didn't because I didn't think I could rely on her.

Apparently, my instincts were dead on because she's not even coming to the wedding.

I wish I could say I was surprised.  That would hurt, but the fact that I saw this coming, coming almost inevitably, makes it so much worse.  Our relationship has been tenuous for a while now, and I've suspected that she doesn't really care about being friends anymore for a long time, but I held on because on the rare occasions that we do get together we get on so well, and it's just as great as it used to be.  There's no catch up, no awkward silences, just pure friendship.

But no more.  I'm done always being the one to get in touch.  This is the last straw.

It's not so much that she's not coming to the wedding.  With the proper remorse, that would be OK.  She lives far away; I understand it's hard to get here from Utah.  A nice phone call or letter explaining would have been fine.  Hell, I'd take returning her RSVP card.  But a one-line email that she didn't even initiate (it was a response to an email I sent about the bachelorette party) really shows how much she cares, especially when marriage means a lot more to her than it does to me.

I've found that weddings really show you a lot about yourself, your life, and the people and things you care about.  The people who care about you will make it one way or another, or at least be genuinely sorry if they can't.  The people who care about you will genuinely want to be helpful instead of just offering on a whim.  And the people who don't care about you tend to show it in one way or another.  Some people have really gone above and beyond to show they care, and to them I am eternally grateful.  I guess it was inevitable that someone would disappoint us, and to our guests' credit, there hasn't been anyone else who has so far.

I've definitely seen things about myself, about Daniel, and about some of our guests that have surprised me since the wedding got going.  I guess not all of that was ever going to be good, but I don't like having my life and my relationships laid out so clearly in front of me.  Because sometimes it hurts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


My mom just sent me the following email:

"Can you send me a picture of your wedding dress?  I can't tell you why . . . a surprise.  You don't have to put it on, just a pic of front and back."

And I have no idea why, and it's driving me nuts!  Any idea on what she could be doing?

Lately, my family has been a little more engaged in the wedding process which is nice.  For the longest time, they didn't really seem to care about it, which I think is because they didn't, which is totally understandable.  If you'll remember my parents' wedding, you'll see that our wedding, despite our relatively relaxed attitude, is much bigger and more formal than theirs was.  They just don't really care about this kind of stuff.  And the only other family member I have who could care is my 19-year-old brother.  'Nuff said.  His girlfriend is more engaged than he is.

I don't really mind.  Not caring means I don't have to deal with their opinions being forced on me like most people do.  That has been such a blessing.  And it's not like they don't care at all, they just don't care about any of the details or being involved in the planning.  Still, it's nice when they show a little excitement.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hurry Up People!

2 months until the wedding today.

And 2 weeks until RSVPs are due, and we're still missing about half of them.  Peoples need to get their shit together FAST.

Ugh, I am not looking forward to coming after people.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shakespeare was full of crap. Names are important.

I've already talked about my opinion of changing my name (spoiler:  I don't like my last name nor do I like his, but I'm changing it because I don't want my last name to be different from Daniel's or my kids'.  I'm not particularly happy about it).  But it's something I've done a lot of thinking about since that post, and I have a theory/observations I'd like to share with you.

You see, I've read a lot of other people's name change posts and talked to a lot of my friends about their feelings on the subject, and there are some trends I've picked out.

Most men (read:  men that I have some respect for) seem to be OK with their women keeping their own last names.  They'd rather their wives share their last names, but they won't put up a fight if their wives keep their names.  This is certainly a step forward, and I'm glad they don't put pressure on women to change their names.

However, it seems most men have an aversion to changing their last names, my fiance included.  It doesn't matter what the change is--hyphenating (though frankly, NO ONE likes hyphenated names), taking the woman's last name, taking a different last name altogether--men won't change their names.

I think changing this is the next step toward name equality.  Although I'm in favor of the couple choosing a new last name altogether, I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect the man to take the woman's last name just as often as the woman takes the man's.  Obviously, we're not even close to there yet, but I think that is what we should be working toward.

Because when you think about it, the current system really sucks.  If the woman doesn't take the man's name, she's the only member of the family with a different last name once the kids come.  And that's a total pain in the ass.  I know.  I have to deal with it at work, and it's just confusing as Hell trying to sort out whose name is whose.  Though I am pleased to say that our gym is almost 50/50 same name vs. different name for the moms.

Anyway, the thing that bothers me is that most men won't even consider a different last name as part of marriage.  Even pro-feminist men like Daniel.  I don't blame them as individuals.  They've been taught that they get to keep their names, and some of their families put pressure on them to keep up the family name.

But if they get that sense of entitlement, why shouldn't we?  Women shouldn't feel like they have to change their names or not be a part of the family.  And why shouldn't we have the option of keeping our family name going?  Keeping your last name isn't good enough for that because the kids won't share it.  And it would be nice if the men shared the name-changing burden.  The paperwork alone is such a monster.  Why should we be the only ones having to make the choice?

In Nicole's perfect world, picking the couple's last name would be a truly egalitarian affair.  Yes, that will make it more difficult, but it is also the only way to make the process fair.

OK, rant over, thoughts?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Stress Has Won

I am officially immersed in pre-wedding stress.

Not that I wasn't stressed out before.  Not that I haven't been stressed out about wedding stuff for months.  Not that I'm not stressed out all the time anyway.  But this is different.  This is constant.  And it's really getting to me.

I had a realization recently.  My experience with blogs has been that when people get stressed out with how much they have to do or they have to give things up for lack of time, they try to make themselves feel better by saying that all that matters is that they're married at the end of the day.  That's not going to help me.  My realization was that this wedding isn't about us or marriage.  I mean, I kind of got that already, but hear me out.  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what happens at the wedding.  It doesn't even matter if we get married.  We can do that anytime in the legal sense, and at the end of the day, Daniel and I will still be together.  The wedding has nothing to do with that.

Instead of making me feel better about things not getting finished for the wedding, this just brings the materialism of the thing into sharper focus.  It's all about the party.

I suppose in some ways that should take the pressure off.  I mean, at least our relationship doesn't rest on the day.  But really, for me it just makes it worse.  It makes me feel like it's a stupid thing to get stressed over.  It's just a party.  The thing is, it's the biggest, most extravagant party I will ever throw.  In fact, it's probably the ONLY truly significant party I will ever throw.  I want it to be good.  I want it to be exceptional.  I have one chance to do this, and I want to do it right.

But I can't think about it without getting stressed out, and I can't stop thinking about it because there's so much left to do, and our time is running out.  I feel guilty whenever I'm not working on the wedding, even when I'm taking much needed down time.  Hell, I feel guilty even when I'm doing something useful like dishes or paying bills.  I feel stuck.  If I try not to think about the wedding, nothing gets done, but if I try to do stuff, I get so stressed out that I can't function, and still the list is never-ending, and it's crunch time for EVERYTHING.

Daniel thinks I'm insane.  I think he's a slacker.  Amazingly, this really hasn't affected our relationship.  But I could really do with some outside help.  Unfortunately, I have a grand total of 2 friends who are invited in Northern California (though to be fair, that's not counting Daniel's side), and we don't have anyone closer than an hour away.  This makes accepting help difficult.  My OCD-level control freak nature doesn't help either.

I really need to see a therapist.  Too bad I can't afford one.

How did/do you cope with the stress?

P.S.  In the interest of maintaining the small vestiges of my sanity that remain, I probably won't be around much for a while.  I promise I'll rally post-wedding.

Classy Wedding by the Sea