Archive for February, 2010

In my pursuit of a culinary degree, I have to take a class in banquets and catering, which I started last week. On our first day, we discussed different occasions that customers might seek to cater with a plated banquet or buffet. This discussion naturally progressed to weddings, at which point the Chef asked if anyone was getting married. I raised my hand dutifully, and was asked where we were going for catering. This is where it got interesting.

I took this discussion of wedding catering as an opportunity to shock and amaze my classmates with our nontraditional take on the wedding, especially the food. Not as a chance to point out that our idea was better than anything else, but to offer up an alternative in an environment that was decidedly traditional. With a smug sense of self-satisfaction, I proclaimed that we were, in fact, not hiring a caterer at all. We were calling on friends and family to cook for us, and serving up a taco bar with ice cream sundaes for desert. Chew on that (pun definitely intended)!

I was less than pleased when the Chef’s response was to skip over my comments all together, and to immediately ask, “who else?” Why didn’t the class gasp at our plan, and demand more details? Why didn’t they recognize our brilliance? I think it was because, in my excitement, I failed to realize that I was also excitedly announcing that I was taking money out of my classmates’ pockets.

What’s this? Another perspective? Let’s discuss.

By catering our own wedding without hiring a professional, we’re saving a bunch of money. But we’re also refusing work to an industry that I am training to become a part of. I honesty hadn’t thought of it like that. In a round-a-bout way, we’re taking money out of my pocket, and then sharing the details with the internet. That had not occurred to me. However, by cutting out the middle man, we’re saving money. So, it’s an interesting conundrum for someone in my profession.

Do I regret our food plan? Absolutely not. I’d love to support my fellow culinarians, but the bottom line is catering is expensive. If you can get food catered for a wedding at less than 12 to 15 bucks per person, you’re doing great. Most people will pay more like 25 to 30. I’ve yet to do the final pricing for our wedding, but based on the help we’re getting from our amazing families and the savings we’re experiencing by doing it ourselves, we’re probably going to pay about $5 per person.

What does all this mean? First, it means that we’re saving a bunch of money that is making our honeymoon possible. More importantly, it means that our families are incredible. Their help is a blessing. Without them, we’d never be able to pull off our meal, and we’d have to buy into the catering that is expected and accepted by so many in the world of weddings.

Thanks everyone.

Read Full Post »


As I mentioned before, I’m about 10 pounds heavier now than I was when I purchased my dress over a year ago. I got a bunch of slips and shapewear (I figured out that’s the technical term for “sucky inny thing”) from my friend Robin (who got them all free somehow), but none of it fit quite right. So I went on the hunt for something else.

I already have a strapless bra that I love, so at first I considered something like this that would suck in my thighs, hips and tummy, but as one of the reviewers pointed out, it would be a bitch to try to use the bathroom with those things on! Ruled that out really quickly. I looked at a lot of options, things that sucked in this and emphasized that, but nothing that I felt quite met my needs.

Eventually I gave in and ordered this:

It was on sale for $25. I liked that it shaped from my thighs up through my boobs, but what I didn’t count on was such ill-fitting breast cups! (Yeah I said. Breast cups.) Anyway, they have no padding and that seam through the middle is bumpy and rigid. Unfortunately I can’t find something exactly like this but without the bra part. Plus, I worry that without the bra, the elastic at the top would tend to roll down. I read that happens a lot with shapers that come up to just below the boobs.

So, here was my genius solution: I put on the shaper and removed the straps (the top of my dress is transparent lace), then put my strapless bra ON TOP of it. Oh yeah, it is tres classy, believe me. But it worked. My mid-section was shapely and my boobs looked great. With the dress on, of course. Before the dress I looked like a frickin’ clown.

Read Full Post »

After the fight-causing hair dilemma of last week, I vented to my friend Robin who generously offered to come over on Saturday and help me figure something out. She’s no hair expert either, but we were confident she could do a better job than I managed on my own.

It took awhile, a couple different tries and about a thousand bobby pins, but eventually we came up with something I’m happy with. I think my favorite part is the back:

She curled my whole head with a one-inch curling iron, sprayed the crap out of it with hairspray, then started pinning. She pinned up much of the bottom layer to make the overall look shorter. And I love how shiny it looks!

I also like how it’s kind of messy and imperfect. I did NOT want a perfectly coiffed bouffant. We were a little concerned about the front view, but once I put my lacy headband in, it looked really nice. Unfortunately we didn’t take a picture of that. I also put my dress and shoes on, so other than the makeup and jewelry, I was in my full wedding getup. Mike was pleased, Robin was pleased, and most importantly, I was thrilled with the look!

(No pics. Not because I care if you see, but we just didn’t think to take any!)

Robin has agreed to do my hair for the wedding, so that’s one more thing I don’t have to worry about!

Read Full Post »

I had yesterday off, so in a fit of inspiration, I decided to try to make paper pinwheels, thinking if it was fun and easy, I could make a bunch to decorate our FMGSS. We aren’t doing much in the way of decor because it feels like a waste of resources, but these pinwheels would essentially cost us nothing since I had all the supplies on hand. I used a tutorial that made it look so easy. Hers turned out so pretty!

I had some red and blue polka dot gift wrap from christmas that I thought would translate well into funky decorative pinwheels. So I whipped out my cutting mat, my fabric cutter, the paper and some glue, and went to work. One pinwheel later and I gave up. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but this is how my pinwheel turned out:

I’m sure I could have worked out the kinks, but it’s just not how I want to spend my day off – making pinwheels for a party that doesn’t really need decorations to begin with! Call me lazy, but… well let’s just call me lazy.

Read Full Post »

First of all, yes…I’m still alive. I’m finishing school, and as a result have 16-hour days right now. I’m sorry for my lack of presence in cyberland. There. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

Speaking of school, I’ve been talking about our wedding a lot at school. My classmates have been intrigued by the non-traditional aspects of our wedding. You’re doing a taco bar?!? No bridal party?!? There won’t be cake?!? So, when I got a voicemail the other day to let me know that my clothes had been delivered and I shared that good news with a classmate, I was amused by his response.

“Oh, your tux is in?”

“No…no tux. I ordered some clothes from JC Penney.”

“Oh, you’re not wearing a tux?”

People often expect a groom to wear a tuxedo, which is probably because that’s what they’re used to seeing.

I also recently saw a commercial for Men’s Warehouse advertising their tuxedo rental. In the commercial, a beautiful bride in a white dress is walking down the aisle, looking toward the altar. The commercial states that, “while everyone is looking at her, she’ll be looking at you.” But when they pan to the groom, he’s wearing a plain black, traditionally cut tuxedo. He would be indistinguishable from any other person wearing the same tux. Lame.

My attire is much less traditional. I’ll be wearing brown casual pants and shoes with the following shirt and blazer:

It doesn’t look too much like I’m shirtless does it? It’s actually an orange gingham print that is perfect for the back yard in June. The shirt was $25 and the jacket $70. I already owned the pants and shoes, so less than $100 for my wedding attire.

And that’s it. No tux, no tie, no shiny black shoes, and no late return fee.

Read Full Post »

We got in our first wedding-related fight! I’m just going to go ahead and admit that it was all my fault. Poor Mike didn’t do a darn thing, and I made it seem like all the problems in the world were his fault.

It all started when I tried to put hot rollers in my hair. I do my hair one way, and one way only, and I have for the last three years. But in an attempt to save money for the wedding, I decided I could come up with a cute style on my own without paying a professional, and last night was my first practice run. Oh what a disaster! I couldn’t get the rollers to roll right, and by the time I got them all in, I was already steaming mad. Then when I took them out and my head looked like something a bird might want to lay her eggs in, I was prepared to yell at anyone within shouting distance (which, as it were, was only Mike).

I tried to salvage the mess by pinning this section and combing that section, but it was all one giant failure. And when Mike dared to ask me how it was going, I took all the anger that had been building inside me and spewed it all over him. Turns out, according to me, I have been doing ALL THE WORK FOR THIS WEDDING, while he does NOTHING BUT GIVE OPINIONS! Nevermind the fact that he works and has class from 4:00 am to 7:00 pm every day. I’m the one who had to make the honeymoon arrangements, and I’m the one the who has to figure out the premarital counseling, and I’m the one who keeps track of what needs to be done, and I’m the one who has done EVERYTHING SO FAR!

About 16 seconds after this all left my mouth, I realized what an ass I was being and I apologized. Because the thing is, so far the wedding planning has been fun. Truly. Not overwhelming or stressful like I hear so many other couples say. We’ve both really enjoyed putting together our “big day” and it’s stupid to let a little hair snafu ruin all that. So our first wedding-related fight lasted about 2.5 minutes, and hopefully it will be our last.

Read Full Post »

Save the Date

Just in case the short list of people we’re able to invite to our wedding and/or reception haven’t figured out the date on which we’ll be getting married from this website, our FMGSS invitation or word of mouth, we sent an email Save the Date. It didn’t go out to everyone we’ll invite (for various reasons), but most.

We sent it earlier this month through pingg.com and it looked like this:

Ha! I’m glad I wrote this post because I went back to pingg, and I’m not even sure this damn thing sent. That’s just great. Good thing it was kind superfluous. I just sent it again, so I’m sorry if anyone gets it twice.

(And if you didn’t get it, it doesn’t mean we don’t love you. Just means we’re getting married in a backyard with limited space. Or it means I screwed it up again.)

Read Full Post »

Served softly

Mike has secured the most awesome thing for our wedding reception. A soft-serve ice cream machine! Rather than a cake, we’re having cupcakes and an ice cream bar. The sundaes were going to be just scoop ice cream, but Mike’s work has a one-flavor soft-serve machine we can get for free! So yeah, we’re all over that.

Soft-serve vanilla and scoop chocolate ice cream with all the fixin’s. As an extreme ice cream lover, I just have to say, suh-weet!

Read Full Post »

My dress. Oh man. It fit great when I bought it over a year ago, when I was about 10 pounds lighter. When I tried it on again a few months ago, my body fit inside, but I wouldn’t it say it was as flattering as it could be.

This was when I first bought the dress:

And this was a few months ago:

You can see my tummy, butt and hips have grown. (You can also see my black underwear. Oops.) I entered a weight loss competition at work a month ago, but so far I’m only down a couple pounds. Mostly because I’m not trying very hard at all. I like the way I look, and losing weight to fit into a dress is not good motivation for me apparently.

So last night I tried on the dress with (what I intellectually call) a sucky-inny thing to pull in my belly, and a long slip to smooth out my hips (and hide my underwear). Unfortunately I only took pictures on my phone, so I can’t share the results, but it seems to have improved things a little. I think as long as I don’t gain any weight, I’ll at least know that this is a good enough option. Having it altered is a last resort because I think it’ll be difficult to take this material out and maintain the integrity of the dress. Plus I don’t want to spend money on it.

Read Full Post »

One way that we’re able to keep our budget low for our wedding is by getting a great deal on photography. My thinking with photos was that we didn’t need to spend thousands of dollars on them. I know a professional can take AMAZING pictures, but I didn’t need to look like the pages in a bridal magazine. I just wanted to remember the day. I wanted photos, not necessarily works of art. So we were willing to to forego a photographer and just ask friends and family to have cameras at the ready.

But we got lucky. Remember my friend Erica who took our faux engagement photos? Like this one:

Or like the one in our header and the one in the sidebar. At that time she was just contemplating getting into photography for real, so we “modeled” for her and essentially ended up with a free engagement session (even though we didn’t technically get engaged until after). Anyway, Erica had offered to also do our wedding for free, to get the practice. She moved to California last fall, but said if we flew her in, she’d shoot the wedding for free.

Now Erica’s doing the photography thing for real. She recently started a business, she has had some clients, and she, I presume, has even made some money from it! Arika Reed Photography. Check it out.

Even with her budding business, she is still doing our wedding photography for the cost of a plane ticket. Perhaps because it’s valuable practice for her, but more likely because we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years.

Thanks Rico!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »