Archive for the ‘Hair’ Category

When we first got engaged, Mike and I determined our budget to be $2,000. My dad and stepmom provided all of the beverages and most of the food, and a few others contributed food as well. We borrowed as much as we could, and bought cheap on everything else. We also decided to include our Family Meet and Greet Slash Shower in that budget, so we had to get creative about how to keep our estimated budget at $2,000. In the end, our total estimated budget was $1,985 but our total expenditures were only $1,488.63. Pretty damn good I’d say!

Throughout the last year we’ve detailed how we saved money on everything from my dress to decorations to invitations. But here’s how the budget actually broke down:

Item                          Proposed      Actual
White Knot donation       10                   10
Gifts                               40                  41

Save-the-date                  0                    0              (electronic)
Invitations (+postage)   75                  56.3         (design & printing by friend)
Marriage license             20                  23

Dress                             50                   50             (vintage from Etsy)
Alterations                     0                      0             (fixed a small tear myself)
Shoes                           40                    40             (vintage from Etsy)
Hair piece                      25                      0              (gift from friend)
Jewelry                          0                      0              (borrowed from mom)
Makeup                         0                      0              (did it myself)
Hair                               0                      0              (done by my sister)
Mani/pedi                     0                     0               (did it myself)
Bra/underwear              0                     25             (bought slip)

Something to carry      30                     0              (decided against it)

Pants                              0                     0              (wore pre-owned pants)
Shirt                             50                   25              (JCPenney)
Shoes                             0                     0               (wore pre-owned shoes)
Jacket                         100                 100             (JCPenney)

Chairs                            0                     0             (borrowed folding chairs)
Location                        0                     0             (at my dad’s)
Officiant                        0                     0             (my sister officiated)
Photographer               375                 375             (hired a friend)
Wedding bands            350                355             (Rogers & Hollands)
Love Letter Box               0                    0             (hand made by my dad)
Unity Quilt                    30                  34.53        (for back fabric and tie string)

Decorations                 150                133.11
Food                            100                 20              (we had a lot donated)
Beverages                     20                   0               (for water we didn’t buy)
Tables                          150                   0               (borrowed instead of rented)
Chairs                             0                   0
Plates/cups/cutlery        75                 41.25          (all plastic and paper)
Music                              0                   0               (used an iPod and iHome)
Favors                          75                  91
Photo booth                 50                   0

Room rental                 50                  0                (used Mike’s mom’s work)
Food                           50                36.35           (had a lot donated)
Decorations                 20                20.85
Invitations (+postage) 30               25.84            (Snapfish)
Thank you cards            0                 0                  (used some I had on hand)
Postage                        10                 7.84

Thank you cards            0                 0                   (used some I had on hand)
Postage                       20               15.4

TOTAL                    1,985       1,488.63

(Sorry if that’s a big effing mess – I’m too lazy to figure out how to make a table.)

We kept track of all of this in a Google Doc. On one sheet, everytime we bought something we wrote it in and categorized it (decorations, food, favors, etc). Then when everything was purchased in a category, we added up the total and put it in the second sheet that had our master budget. Using some Excel-like magic, Google added everything up for us as we went.

A wedding for under $2,000? Actually, under $1,500! I can live with that. Especially because it was an incredibly awesome wedding!

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Getting myself ready for this wedding was so much fun. As I’ve mentioned, my sister Andrea did my hair. She and I set up in the big bathroom – me on a stool, her poised behind me. And Photographer Erica in and on top of the tub getting the perfect shot. While Ann worked on my fro, my mom and sisters were in and out of the bathroom, alternating between helping Dad with the To Do list and gushing over how amazing my hair was turning out.

Have I mentioned that I LOVED my hair? Yes, I think I have. I don’t remember exactly, but I’d guess it took about an hour to get my hair perfect. It was such a peaceful, relaxing time though. I got to be away from the scramble of setting up, and I felt like I was in a little sanctuary. It was just about me for that time. Other than the few times someone popped in to run something by me, I didn’t know what was going on outside the bathroom, nor did I care. Turns out, a bunch of people showed up while I was in there, and I had no idea until I emerged!

In all honesty, the whole day was very chill. I never felt stressed or nervous or overwhelmed. But that time I spent getting myself ready was really nice.

After Andrea finished my hair (gorgeous!), I did my own makeup. I have one way I do my makeup, and I do it that way every single day (except on weekends when I avoid wearing makeup as much as possible). I don’t think others know how to work with my face, so I was totally comfortable doing it myself.

I did it the same way I do on an average day, only slightly amped up. I added a little more shading to my eyelids, a little mascara, some lip stain and Erica insisted on a little color on my cheeks (I don’t normally where blush because my cheeks turn quite rosy all on their own if I’m hot, warm, cold, nervous, sick, happy, etc).

(That photo on the bottom right is one of me looking at my camera. The photo on the screen is me posing burlesque-style in my slip. Sex-ay!)

I thought I looked quite lovely, and I’d like to thank Erica for using her editing magic to make me look nearly flawless. Even before I put on makeup, when I usually look like I could use two-weeks of sleep, she made me look pretty.

I really can’t speak to how or when Mike got ready, but I know his process was much simpler than mine. I’m imagining him slipping into his clothes and checking himself in the mirror 15 minutes before showtime. I know that’s not quite true because he was dressed and ready to go before I even got into my dress.

Speaking of getting into my dress, I’ll save that for next time.

(All photos, except the first, by Photography by Arika Reed.)

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Le coif

Remember when I freaked out about my hair? Well, in the end, it worked out beautifully. In fact, I was absolutely IN LOVE with my hair. Like I mentioned before, my sister Andrea decided to mess with it Friday night and came up with something I really liked. Loved, actually.

So she recreated it on Saturday. Andrea and Erica (my photographer) were in the bathroom with me, and my mom and sisters were in and out. It was a lot of fun.

I don’t have any great pictures from the front somehow (though I’m sure Erica will provide many), but you can kind of see the whole thing here.

This is the side people saw during the ceremony.

Here you can kind of see the front. I also just love this picture because it looks like I’m lecturing my tiny little grandma!

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I took the Friday before the wedding off, but Mike had to work in the morning. While he did that, I went grocery shopping with Des, my stepmom. We bought WAY too much food, as Mike has already detailed. By the time we got back to the house, Mike arrived with a bunch of borrowed chairs, trash bins and the ice cream machine! Slowly others in my family started showing up, and we banded together to set up the yard and the garage. We also made tissue paper poms and paper pinwheels.

I was pretty chill and relaxed on Friday. I got a little testy a few times when I was trying to “manage the work,” if you will, and others were distracted by, what I considered at the time, less important things. I tend to get like that though on any given day. I like people to FOCUS! (I yell that a lot) and get things done before they run off in a million directions. I pulled the “this is MY day!” card a couple times, but only as a joke.

(Setting up chairs.)

(Setting up tents… just in case.)

Somewhere in there we ordered pizza for everyone. A très chic rehearsal dinner if I do say myself. After all the setup, we ran through the ceremony with my sister, the minister. It was a relatively short ceremony, but we arranged and wrote the whole thing (except for a very sweet part Emily wrote), so it was special to us.

(This photo is completely unedited. It really was that green and bright in the yard!)

Then we practiced my hair. My friend Robin was going to do it for me on the big day, but my sister Andrea wanted to try something. She and I had a similar vision for my hair so she gave it a go. We mostly focused on the front Friday night, and she did a great job. But on Saturday she really made the whole thing stunning. I loved every inch of my hair, and I love that it came together last minute, and I love that someone close to me did it, and I love that it was free!

(This is Friday night. You’ll be able to see some good ones of Saturday later.)

Then, because I hadn’t tried it on in a long time, I made sure I could still fit in my dress. Thank God, it fit. I had kind of decided, if I needed to, I’d just improvise. Wear something else maybe. But I was relieved it fit because I love how it added to the overall look of… well, everything.

Because my dad was playing a small part in the ceremony, we wanted to practice once more when he got home (he took all the kids to a tee ball game and got them out of the house – bless him). So, we rehearsed again!

And then we finished up a few odds and ends and peaced out. It was a really good day-before-the-wedding.

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One of the best ways to save money on a wedding is to beg, borrow and steal. Well, maybe not steal. But we have begged for asked plenty of favors, and we’re borrowing several things from friends and family. Off the top of my head, here are all the ways our dearest are helping us:

1. Making the majority of the food.
2. Providing all the beverages.
3. The location.
4. Very cheap photography.
5. Free invitations.
6. Unofficial videography.
7. Providing officiant duties.
8. Lending jewelry.
9. Creating my hairdo.
10. Bringing all the chairs and tables so we don’t have to rent them.
11. Helping with setup and cleanup.
12. Helping with several of the decorations.
13. Contributing to our Unity Quilt.

I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting, but that list alone is pretty impressive huh? That’s a lot of talents and materials being offered up for free. We’re pretty confident we’re going to come in under our ($2000) budget with this wedding, and the only way we’re able to have a great wedding with the people we love is because of the people we love.

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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!

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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.

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My friend Lindsay suggested that we break down the wedding traditions we’ve been detailing in our Wedding Traditions Explained series from our own point of view. We thought it was a good idea, too. So here it is:

Tossing the bouquet and garter
We will not be doing either. In fact, we won’t even be having a bouquet or garter. I might carry something down the aisle, but it will likely not be flowers. So no tossing.

Including bridesmaids and groomsmen
We’re not having either. We decided it was unnecessary and it would save us some time, stress and money to forgo a wedding party altogether.

Giving away the bride
For awhile I thought if anyone was going to walk me down the aisle, it would be both of my parents, not just my dad. But then I decided the whole escorting down the aisle thing was silly. At least for me. Mike and I will be walking in solo and leaving together. Symbolic eh?

Bridal veil
Skipping it. I’ll wear the pretty lace hair adornment that my friend Katie bought me, and that’s it.

Wedding rings
We will have wedding rings. I like the symbolism here. We both had engagement rings, and we’ll both have wedding bands. And we both split the cost on all four.

No final decisions, but I don’t think there will be flowers. Other decorations, yes. Flowers, probably not. No real reason, except we want our decorations to be fun, simple and sort of whimsical, and other ideas seem to work better than flowers.

Bride on groom’s left
We’re not sure yet what we’re doing with placement. We’re not having “sides” because my family is so much bigger than his, so we just want people to sit wherever. I think which side we stand on will depend on what looks and feels right. When we were in the backyard once, getting an idea of how things would be, it seemed like one side was sloped a little more than the other. Being 15 inches shorter than Mike, it makes sense for me to not stand downhill from him.

Wedding cake
No cake. But we will have an ice cream bar and a cupcake bar! Aw yeah.

Something Old…
I will have something old (dress, shoes), and something new (hair piece, rings), and something borrowed (earrings), and maybe even something blue by then, who knows. But none of it is to fulfill the ‘requirements’ of this old saying.

The “wedding”
Yes we’re having a wedding, but there is no purchasing of brides or whatever.

White dress
Nope. It’s green and ivory.

First kiss
Yes we will be having a first kiss. Except we’re trying to think of a good alternative to “you may kiss the bride.” Maybe something like, “You may now take your first kiss as a married couple.” Or something. Thoughts?

Carrying the bride across threshold
Um no. There will be no carrying of the bride over anything.

The honeymoon
Yes yes yes! We’re on a serious budget for the wedding so that we can have enough money for a honeymoon. Nothing fancy though. We’re thinking maybe a short cruise or something. But we definitely want to get away after the wedding.

Bridal shower and bachelor party
Rather than a shower for the women only (god I hate that!), we’re going to host a family meet n’ greet slash shower. Basically we want our families to meet before the wedding, so we’re going to host our own big get-together, and instead of having separate showers, the meet n’ greet can second as one. Then I guess it will be up to our friends if there are any other showers or bachelor(ette) parties. No expectations there.

Wedding march
This relates to our aisle walk above. No wedding march. And as we explained awhile ago, there will be no music either.

Taking hands during the ceremony
I’m sure we’ll hold hands at some point. Right hand to right hand though? That seems a lot like a handshake…

We haven’t given this much thought actually. Maybe? But our reception is going to be more like a casual backyard party, and formal toasts might seem awkward. Or not. I’m not really sure. I have a feeling unless someone speaks up strongly about wanting to do a toast, we’ll probably skip this tradition.

Throwing rice
Definitely not. We won’t be departing in any big fashion, and in fact we’ll probably be staying later than most of the guests in order to clean up. So rice throwing or bubbles or sparklers… pretty obsolete.

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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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Total, Mike and I have budgeted $160 for our wedding wardrobe. That includes my dress, shoes and accessories and his entire ensemble. Some people spend that much on the bride’s shoes alone. And the dress? Hoo boy, don’t get me started.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

My dress: $50
My shoes: $40
My jewelry: $0
My hair accessory: $20
Mike’s pants: $0
Mike’s shirt: $50
Mike’s shoes: $0

My dress: My dress is vintage and was purloined for the bargain price of $50. I’ll have to mend a small tear in the seam, but as long as I don’t lose or gain weight before June, it shouldn’t need any alterations.

My shoes: I bought some fun shoes that I thought would be great with my dress, but now I think I want to go barefoot or wear something simple like pretty flip-flops. I’ve budgeted $40 for shoes, but I hope to spend significantly less or nothing at all.

My jewelry: I’m borrowing earrings from my mom, and as much as I love necklaces, I like my dress better without one. I’m not big on jewelry anyway, so earrings and my engagement/wedding rings are plenty.

My hair accessory: I hope to either make my own hair accessory, use something I already have, or buy one for no more than $20. Unfortunately, most of the ones I love on etsy exceed my budget. Any great suggestions?

Mike’s pants & shirt: Mike’s not wearing a tux, and not even a suit, so that saves us some cash. I think he’ll end up in pants (black, brown, grey, khaki?) and a button-down shirt. No tie. Once we find a shirt we like, we can determine which pants make the most sense. And if we shop right, hopefully he can wear some he already owns.

Mike’s shoes: Mike has giant feet, so buying a nice new pair of shoes would practically require half our budget. So instead we’re going to select from the shoes he owns, depending on how the rest of the outfit comes together.

And that’s it. A bride and groom dressed for $160 or less. More on wardrobe coming soon.

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