Archive for November, 2009

Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

The Wedding March

A traditional church wedding usually features two bridal marches by two different classical composers. The bride walks down the aisle to  the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s 1848 opera “Lohengrin.” The newlyweds exit to the “Wedding March” from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The custom dates back to the royal marriage, in 1858, of Victoria, princess of Great Britain and Empress of Germany, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia. Victoria, eldest daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, selected the music herself.  Soon this custom was being repeated throughout Britain, and it has since become a Western wedding tradition.

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We bought wedding rings!

It wasn’t on our To Do list to accomplish until March, but I had the brilliant idea to take advantage of the holiday sales instead. We revisited the jeweler that sold us my engagement ring, thinking it’d be nice to have both of my rings from the same place. Convenience for cleaning, etc.

The dude tried to sell us some diamond bands because wow! Look at these great deals! But I only wanted a simple, petite white gold band. We found one I really liked for $130. And then the dude tried to sell us the match to that ring for Mike, but it was like $400. On sale! So I asked what other metals we could consider. Turns out tungsten is much less expensive and much more durable, which is perfect for us because a) we’re cheap bastards, and b) Mike needs a durable ring. When I said we might prefer that, the dude was all, “But then you won’t match!” to which I replied, “We don’t really care about that. I want the ring I like, and he wants the ring he likes. If they don’t match, fine.”

The most simply-designed tungsten ring was only $199, so we walked out with two rings we loved for a grand total of $355. We’re getting some help from family with food, so we were able to move some money out of that budget line and into the ring budget line without disturbing the overall budget. We still went $5 over our ring budget, but I think we did pretty good.

This isn’t the actual ring, but mine looks somewhat similar to this:

Except even thinner, I can’t find anything quite right. And Mike’s is sort of like this:

Except a little thicker actually. So neither of these is really right, but we don’t get the real rings for a few weeks. Well, 1-2 weeks for mine and 5-6 for Mike’s. But rings are done!

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

Bridal Showers

This custom has roots in Holland. If the bride’s father did not approve of the future groom, he would not provide the proper dowry. Instead the brides friends would “shower” her with gifts so she could marry the man of her choice. The showers also helped to strengthen ties between the bride and her friends.


Bachelor Party

Ancient Spartan soldiers were the first to hold stag parties. The groom would feast with his male friends the night before the wedding, where he would say good-bye to the carefree days of bachelorhood and swear continued allegiance to his comrades. This was the last chance before his new wife took over the finances for the groom to gather money by gambling for his own future use.

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Growing up is kind of a hassle sometimes. Shan and I are at that point in our lives where we’re starting to realize we’re not kids anymore. Athletic activity takes a toll on us. We’re tired without the requisite amount of sleep. Teenagers annoy the shit out of us. In most ways, I kind of like it. I could get into sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, sipping iced tea, and collecting frisbees that kids accidentally throw onto my lawn. I’m already working on my fist-shaking, and different ways to lament all the problems with kids today. But it’s not all good.

Lately, we’ve been sleeping worse. Shan has wanted a new mattress since before we met. She has a hand-me-down queen bed, and I had a hand-me-down full bed. So our options upon moving in together were slim. We went with Shan’s queen, with a down mattress topper to soften the concrete slab underneath. I’ve always thought I liked firm mattresses, and the first few months sleeping on Shan’s slab reinforced that, as I would routinely wake up refreshed while she tossed and turned. But now the slab is catching up to me. I’ve been sleeping worse and worse, just as my last year of school is getting busier and busier. We’re not sleeping well, we’re cranky all day, and it’s not good. So, the adult thing to do is buy a new mattress, right?

Maybe. As we’ve made abundantly clear, we’re trying to save money for a relatively cheap wedding, and even that’s a struggle. Blame it on the economy, lack of decisive career moves, professional desires unrelated to salary, whatever. We’re not destitute, but a $2,000 wedding is not a drop in the bucket either. So a new mattress? Frivolous. We’ll just put up with the slab and make the best of it. Well, at a certain point, we realized we had to do the adult thing and spring (get it?) for a new mattress. Enter Black Friday.

We are not day-after-Thanksgiving shoppers. I’ve often said I’d rather pay a million dollars for a CD than shop at Best Buy on Black Friday. But the JC Penney ad caught our eyes yesterday. A Eurotop plush mattress set for less than $500! Interesting, no? After researching what a Eurotop mattress actually is (it’s the same structure as a pillowtop), we determined that this mattress could be the answer to our prayers. Only problem…Black Friday. I actually considered heading out at 4am this morning to buy a mattress. Just for fun, we looked online. The same mattress is on sale on the website for basically the same price. Bingo! We get the savings, skip the hassle, and sleep in. And, of course, by sleep in I mean toss and turn restlessly on the slab for a few extra hours.

But, buying a new mattress meant an adult decision about money. Should we dip into the wedding fund for the mattress? Should we split the cost and skip buying each other Christmas presents? Can we afford to pay cash or should we charge it? Ultimately, the responsible adults in us agreed that we should pay cash and scale down our spending on each other for Christmas. A good night of sleep is all the gift either of us need anyway. So, we bought it. We’re expecting a call next week to set up delivery, and then we’ll be sleeping on a fluffy cloud (the website’s actual description). Sometimes being an adult is hard work. But, sometimes it’s like sleeping on a cloud.

Happy Black Friday everyone.

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

The Honeymoon

There are several legends linked to the tradition of the honeymoon:

– When marriages were done by capture, the groom would take his unwilling bride to a secret place where her relatives wouldn’t find her. They hid while the moon went through its phases and drank a brew made from honey. Hence, honeymoon.

– The ancient Teuton people performed weddings under a full moon. After the ceremony, the bride and groom drank honey wine for thirty days. That time period became known as the honeymoon.

– The honey part of the word represents the sweetness of new marriage, but the moon part represents a bitter acknowledgment that the sweetness, like a full moon, would fade fast.

– The bride was supposed to drink mead brewed from honey for one month after the wedding to encourage fertility.

No, of course, the honeymoon is usually a trip the couple takes together after the wedding.

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I got a big surprise in the mail last night. A package from my dear friend Katie. The little stinker.

It was a card and something wrapped in tissue paper. The envelope said:

Doesn’t she have the cutest hand writing? And the gift?

A lace hair piece! If you recall, I had been coveting something like this for awhile. I loved this look for my hair and thought it would be perfect with my dress. But I couldn’t find anything that fit my budget, and I refused to give in and spend more than the allocated $20.

So I started shopping around, thinking I could just make my own lace headband dammit! I dragged Mike to craft stores with me to find supplies, and he kept saying things like “Maybe you should wait. I’m sure you’ll find something perfect and affordable eventually.” Turns out, he was in cahoots with Katie the whole time! She had enlisted him secretly to keep me from buying anything until she was able to send this to me.

Fortunately the craft stores didn’t have what I was looking for, and I was doubly thrilled to get Katie’s gift. It was completely unexpected and unnecessary. And incredibly sweet. One more thing to check off the To Do list!

Thanks Katie, you are such a brilliantly fantastic friend.

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I’ve hit my first real frustration with this wedding planning stuff. And actually, it’s not even related to the wedding—it’s related to the marriage. We have looked high and low, and we can’t find a good way to get premarital counseling.

The problem is that we happen to live in a conservative Christian part of the state, so every single Google result for every search related to “premarital counseling” is somehow faith-based. We don’t mind a “God is good” or “God bless this union” here and there, but we don’t want our premarital counseling to be based solely on the Christian tenants of marriage. Rather than hearing what God’s place in our marriage is, I want to learn about our compatibility, about skills for problem-solving and communication, about potential conflicts, etc.

I know most people do counseling with their pastor or the officiant marrying them, but that isn’t really an option for us. We thought it would make sense to find a premarital workshop in town, but the only one that we can find is run by a faith-based organization. The description of the workshop makes no allusions to religion, but I emailed them to inquire. This is what I got back:

“The workshop is Christian-based and references to Christian faith may be embedded throughout.  The class usually starts with prayer, but it is not preachy.”

We are certainly not anti-prayer or anti-religion—in fact, I consider myself a spiritual person—but I’m just not sure this is what we want out of our marriage counseling. The workshop costs $100 and runs for two Saturday mornings. That’s a lot of time and money to throw away if it’s not right for us.

There are lots of DIY resources out there, like the Two of Us website, various books, etc. But I’d really like to have a third party guide us through the process.

What can we do? Where else can we look?

What did you do for premarital counseling? Is there any kind of national program that I could search for in our area by name?

We’re really struggling with this, but we know it’s important. Any guidance or suggestions will earn you a special place in our hearts. Or something. Just help please!

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