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Archive for September, 2009

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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Saving for a wedding is tough. We try to live a low-cost life, but we’ve been spending a lot on stuff for other people’s weddings lately, plus I just finished grad school which means someone’s going to expect me to start paying back loans pretty soon (despite not making any more money!).

And on top of that, all these stupid little things keep coming up. For instance, one day last week both Mike and I were driving rental cars. Why? Oh because did I mention STUPID LITTLE THINGS KEEP COMING UP? And they all cost us money we’d rather not spend.

I was in a car accident a couple weeks ago, and my precious Hyundai is in the shop until later this month (money!). Then Mike had to get his car fixed (money!) and had a loaner for a day. We laughed endlessly at his giant white truck, joking that we should run some stuff over and move a couch or something. Just because we could. Meanwhile I’m in a no-frills Kia, crank windows and all, for a month.

The point is that we’re having a hard time putting any money aside for the wedding. Despite our pretty low budget, we still have to come up with that much cash, and so far it’s been a challenge.

Anybody have any good money-saving tips? I don’t mean how to spend less; I mean how to actually save the money, put it away, create a nest egg if you will. I’m thinking we need a plan—like put away [blank amount] from each paycheck. Or maybe rob a bank.

What did you guys do?

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