Archive for September, 2009

How to do the do

I want this chica’s hair:

(I don’t know where this photo came from! If it’s yours, let me know so I can give you credit.)

Her hair is obviously longer and pinned in this interesting way, but I’m wondering if I could accomplish something similar without growing my hair out.

(This is my hair now.)

I don’t want to grow my hair out, and I want to work with my natural waves. I flat iron them out on a normal day, so it might be fun to play them up when I’m playing pretty.

My dress is vintage, so we were thinking a subtle vintage feel might be cool, which lead me to think maybe I should play on a 1940s or 50s do. So of course I turned to Google Images, and I’m thinking maybe something like this, this or this:

What do you think, could I pull off a variation of one of these off?

Also, anybody know how to do hair… for free?

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There are four sisters in my family (actually five, but one is only 8 years old, so I can’t really include her in this post). As of Saturday, two of us are recently married (Andrea in August, Kelli in September) and two of us are engaged to be married next year. Within 12 months, all four of us will have gotten married. And all four of us have very different rings and engagement stories:

Clockwise, from top left:

Kelli’s ring: Kelli proposed to Kevin one day over dinner. Rumor has it she had salad all over her face when she asked the big question. She gave Kevin a ring, and then Kevin quickly got a ring cleaned and sized to give to Kel. It’s an antique family ring, Kevin’s grandmother’s. White gold with a diamond and lots of intricate metal detailing. She is not wearing an additional wedding band.

Emily’s ring: For a long time, Emily wanted a pearl engagement ring, and wasn’t shy about telling Drew as much. But he had other ideas in mind. This is an antique family ring, Drew’s great-grandmother’s. It’s gold with a solitary diamond in a unique starburst-esque setting. He surprised her one day by telling her he was having it cleaned, and a few days later he proposed. I’m not sure if Em is getting a band.

Andrea’s ring: Andrea and Blake never officially got engaged. They think it’s lame. They just started planning a wedding, and eventually Ann started wearing a simple silver-colored band. At the wedding she received the second, smaller, band and now wears both.

Shannon’s ring: You know the story. Mike and I mutually and simultaneously decided to get married, and shortly thereafter both bought rings. Mine is white gold with a cushion cut green amethyst, set with tiny diamonds. I plan to get a wedding band, but I doubt I’ll wear both rings together. On fancy-feeling days I’ll wear the amethyst, on casual days I’ll wear the band. And on days when my fingers are sick of rings (as often happens), I’ll probably wear neither.

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Mike and I talked a lot about wedding food over the weekend. We know this is potentially one of our biggest costs, so we brainstormed ideas about how to keep costs down. I was talking to my step-mom about it for a minute this weekend, and she kept saying, “Why don’t you have it catered?” Because it’s so expensive! Instead we’re going to plan the food ourselves, buy it ourselves, make some of it ourselves, and call in some favors.

Mom, you make a kick ass pasta salad. What do you say?

Des (step-mom), you know how your tacos are the bomb? Well…

We’re still working on the details, but I started yet another Google Doc today, this one called “Wedding Menu.” It’s broken into main course foods, side dishes, desserts and what I called snacks (other stuff that will be available, including s’mores in case there’s a bon fire at some point!). Then I have a column next to each item titled “Who’s Buying” and one titled “Who’s Bringing” just in case the two aren’t the same.

But you guys, we still have a lot of ideas and nothing actually official. Mike already put out one plea, but I’m trying again. What are some fun/easy/cheap food ideas for a backyard party?

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My baby sister got married on Saturday (9/26/2009). They threw their wedding together in about two weeks, so it was small and casual. They invited only parents, siblings and really close friends. The ceremony was short (and sweet), and the reception was just an informal hang-out, basically.

Venue: Groom’s mother’s house
Dress: Charlotte Russe
Bride’s Shoes: Target
Bride’s Necklace: JC Penney
Bride’s Earrings: Kohl’s
Food: Burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fruit salad, cheesy potatoes, finger foods
Cake: Rice Krispie Treats and ice cream cake
Photographer(s): Family and friends in attendance
Officiant: Sister of the bride

Congratulations Kiki and Kev!

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If all goes according to planned (when does that ever happen?) Shan and I will be getting married next June. That’s a lifetime away. By then it’ll have been fall, winter, spring, and almost summer again. I’ll graduate from culinary school. Birthdays will be celebrated. We have time, right?

Wrong. I realized today that our wedding is in less than 9 months. Shan has done a lot of brainstorming and we’ve talked a lot about what we think we want, but we haven’t done the kind of concrete planning that would make it seem like we were on top of our game. This wedding is sneaking up on us…Sneaky Pete style.

I made this realization in relation to a thought about our reception menu. I’m planning our menu myself (with Shannon’s help) and plan to do a lot of the preparation and cooking, at least ahead of time, on my own. It’s cheaper this way, and I know we’ll be getting a meal we will love. Hopefully a meal everyone else will love too. I think we have a basic idea about what we want, but I’m not sure, especially when it comes to side dishes and things like that.

In that spirit, what have you all had at weddings that you thought was great? What food stands out in your mind?

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Wedding planner

So far our wedding planning has mostly consisted of several Google Docs. Right now we have Docs called:

  • Wedding/Reception Guests – it’s a work in progress
  • Wedding Budget – our 2,000 dollars in line-item form
  • Wedding Ideas – just a smattering of random thoughts and maybes
  • Invitation Wording – I’m working on something fun

And I’m sure that’s only the beginning. I like working that way though because everything is online and easily accessible, and Mike and I share all the Docs. We never really planned on buying an actual wedding planner, but my friend Robin had one that she got for free and never used (she gets married on Oct. 3!), so she gave it to us.

Not the cutest thing ever (always with the hearts and flowers wedding industry!), but that doesn’t matter. Because FREE! It’ll be nice to have something to keep notes and ideas in, all in one place. It’s mostly blank pages separated by tabs labeled Guests, Ceremony, Reception, etc.

So there’s not like forms to fill out or questions to answer, just blank pages to fill with whatever. Mike and I are both very organized and listy type people, so I hope the wedding planning is cake for us. Speaking of cake… nah, save that for another time. I think the combination of the Docs and the planner will work out well. Thanks Robin!

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I went wedding dress shopping with my sister K on Saturday. Sort of. We made plans a long time ago to hit up bridal shops for fun. She didn’t want to spend a lot on a dress and I already have one (more later), but we wanted the fun bridal shop experience.

But that was when K was planning to get married next summer. A couple weeks ago they decided not to wait and instead they’re getting married Saturday. THIS SATURDAY! And the girl needed a dress. So off we went, checking discount and department stores.

The things she was trying on were not even remotely close the typical wedding dress, and I can’t wait to share with you what she decided on. But I promised I’d wait until after the wedding.

Since this outing couldn’t be the bridal shop experience I was hoping for, my other sister E and I are going to try again another time. She really is getting married next summer. We both have our dresses already, but it’s not often you can get away with trying on big poofy white gowns. Even if you don’t plan to buy.

(Not me. Clearly.)

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I’m pretty sure Mike and I have decided not to have a wedding party. At all. Here’s how that happened…

Whenever I thought about my wedding (before it was real), I imagined having all of my siblings stand up for me. Actually I imagined eloping Jamaica or San Marco, but when I occasionally imagined a ceremony involving other people, it had my three sisters and my brother standing next to me. Mike more or less assumed he’d include his brother and a friend or two.

When the two of us first discussed the potential wedding party, it was going to look essentially like we had imagined. We weren’t worried about making “both sides even” or anything, so I’d have four people, he’d have two. Great. Except wait, if I’m having my siblings in the party, I want ALL my siblings, and that includes even those under age 10. My half-brother and half-sister—I wanted them up there too. No problem.

But then! At my sister’s wedding this summer, well, it was just a lot. Without details, I’ll just say it was overwhelming (ie: The seamstress screwed up ALL of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Badly.), and it made us reconsider. We want this wedding to be as stress free and easy as possible, and I think the fewer people involved, the easier that can be.

These people are special to us, but we had to ask, what is the point of bridesmaids and groomsmen? What is the history? And do we want any? I think lately it has become a way to honor those close to you and to maybe rope people into helping you with all things wedding. Idea I certainly can appreciate. But our guest list is small and we are essentially honoring all of those close to us by inviting them to join us. As for help, I know we can count on siblings, parents, grandparents and friends to help even without a wedding party title. Because they’re awesome.

For us, this whole process is one of questioning traditions and norms in order to find out what’s really important to us in a wedding. In this case, what’s important is for us to focus on each other and celebrate with what we’re calling our “network” of people. Selecting a few to stand up next to us seems obsolete for our purposes.

So, unless something happens to change our minds, no wedding party.

(A bonus of this, we realized, is the saving of a little time and money. No wedding party means no time figuring out what they should wear, what they should carry, etc. And it also limits the number of thank you gifts we’ll buy.)

Interested in reading more about weddings sans wedding parties?

Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ezine article
Life123’s take on it

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Ring around the canyon

Cheesy, we know, but we did it anyway.

Dang my ring looks huge here. I don’t think it seems so giant in real life, which for me is good. Also Mike’s ring looks huge ON him, but that’s because he has to get it over his giant manly knuckles.

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I promise that this blog won’t turn into a financial advice website, but we have a little more to say on saving money.

Life doesn’t stop while saving for a wedding. Last week Shan and I went on vacation. We had the opportunity to drive a friend’s car out to California for her as part of her cross-country move, so we turned it into a little road trip of our own. We saw the sights, visited the national parks, lived it up in Vegas (sort of) and took the week off from work and school.

Naturally, we had to save money for this adventure. We sat down, wrote out a budget (just like our wedding) and started saving. We recently set up a joint checking and savings account to make our mutual expenses easier to manage. We used the vacation as a trial run for saving, budgeting and spending as a couple. We each put money into the savings account, accrued about 58 cents (whoa!) in interest, and transfered the money to our checking account before the trip. We then used our debit/credit card to pay for the trip. We didn’t have to keep track of who spent what, split checks or any of that nonsense. In the end we spent about 75% of what we had budgeted and saved for the trip.

The moral of this tedious and (I’ll admit it) boring narrative is that we spent less than we budgeted. When does that ever happen? Seriously, has it ever happened to you? Now that we know it’s possible, we are a little more hopeful about staying within our budget for the wedding. It’s also nice to have this joint account set up and ready to roll. Since we live together, we have joint expenses in the form of rent, utilities, groceries, keg parties (just kidding). Having the joint account makes it easy to pay for these without worrying about who’s paying more, who owes whom or whether checks are going to bounce.

Budgeting is essential, and we’ve just proven that we’re capable of it. Hopefully it wasn’t a fluke.

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