Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pray thee fill me my glass...

I have had the pleasure of attending three bridal showers, two of them I have helped to plan, and frankly; I'm bored. Each shower had one or two cute things that they did at them, otherwise it was gawking at the Bride, who babbles about the wedding and the groom, and then opens presents. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the presents, I'm not ashamed of that. Wedding gifts have got to be one of the perks of the modern wedding traditions. But, how can that be fun for the guests. My wedding shower is a long way off, like more then a year, but I want to do something more interesting then inviting all my female friends, relatives and in-laws over, dressing them up in toilet paper dresses, and thanking them all profusely for their thoughtful gifts.

I love the wine tasting idea, though I'm not sure all my family would go for it.

What fun and unique ideas have you heard for bridal showers?

I'm happy just to dance with you...

One of the tasks that I've started on slowly, is building the play list for our reception. We're doing the iPod and speakers thing, and then hopefully our friend who for years was a wedding DJ will keep an eye on things and keep us organized. Anyone who knows me knows that I have rather eclectic music tastes. Put my iTunes on random and you'll get Alkaline Trio, Billy Joel, The Chieftains, Flobots, Frank Sintara, Mozart and Broadway. Something that is important to Luke and I both is that the reception be fun. We want people to dance and have fun. But we want to be able to dance to, real dancing. Swing, Cha Cha etc. So finding a balance of stuff I like, and stuff our friends nad family will like is definintely a challange. I haven't spent too much time on it, but every time I'm listening to music and I come accross a song or two that I think will be good, I just add it to my play list 'wedding'. In my surfing through wedding sites and articles I came accross an interesting list of 'first dance' songs. I don't think we'll do a first dance, but regardless, I think these are good songs to consider having on the play list. Alternativly, these are probably songs that a DJ would be familiar with, so if there are any songs on this list that you DON'T like, make sure to put them on the don't play list.
First Dance Songs, thanks to Marth Stuart

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What do we want... Brains...

The penchant for Zombies that many of my friends and acquaintances have, I must say I do not share, but I couldn't pass up mentioning these sweet, touching undead words that officiant Leslie Light shared at a wedding highlighted on Offbeat Bride.

"Together, they will defend their humanity and their home with all the wit, grace, and power of any spunky heroine or over-sized hero.

Together they are an example of what is possible when two people set their sights on the same star. They cut through our 21st century cynicism and prove that, in fact, zombification is not inevitable — that friendship, love, and desire, when held with both hands, are the only weapons any of us need to stay human.

With the zombies held at bay by their mutual promises, Michelle and Matt are ready to face the other monsters of life – defending against the Frankenstein coworkers, the Soul Vampires of false friends, and the Mummy of age itself.

The adventure they are about to embark on has all the magic of any Hollywood movie and all the terror of true Lovecraftian horror – dread Cthulhu has nothing on balancing family Christmases."

This is just a sniped from the ceremony, I can think of quite a few couples or individuals for whom this type of reading would be just perfect!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Choosing your wedding party

The task of choosing our wedding party has been more difficult then I anticipated. There's also all sorts of baggage associated with it (as we all know I'm sure). This post at A $10,000 Wedding really sort of got me going on this topic.

At my friend's wedding last summer, of which most of the helpers were theater folk, we kept joking about the wedding as if it were a production.
"Two hours to curtain!"
"So, which songs do you want for the pre-show music?"

And while we were joking about it, I think that it is a valid comparison. You have the cast: Bride & Groom, parents of the couple, officiant, attendants, MC etc. You have a Stage Manger: Wedding planner/Day of Coordinator (whether you pay someone or not, or if it is even the bride doing this, you have someone...) There is tech help: Ushers, sound guy, DJ, some times lighting help, and of course your costumers, make up artists, set builders/designers, props etc.

To follow the metaphor even further, when you are casting people for a show, or choosing your tech crew, you consider their talent for the position (do you love them/ like them, want them to stand up next to you or are the creative/talented/artistic/organized) but you also think about their professionalism. You would never hire someone in a vital position if you couldn't trust them to show up on time and do their job responsibly, to take direction from those in charge, and to work well with others. So why would you ask someone to work on your wedding if you can't trust them to do the same thing?

I have seen, in friends weddings, a situation where a bridesmaid was chosen because she was like a sister to the bride, even though the bride has a history with the girl of her being flaky and/or selfish as well as committing to things, and then dropping them later when it became 'too much'. She picked her because she loved her, and just hoped that the lack of professionalism wouldn't come into play. Sure enough, not long after the planning started in earnest, this girl was problematic, and causing stress for the bride. In the end, we were all scrambling to make up for the responsibilities that the bridesmaid hadn't done, the morning of the wedding. Retrospectively, the bride may have chosen to give this close friend a different role, where less was at stake, perhaps greeting guests, manning the guest book, helping to set up day of etc.

My point? Choose people to stand with you that you love and want to be with you on your wedding day, but also consider their level of professionalism, because if you wouldn't hire them to do the job, you shouldn't ask them to be part of your wedding party.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bump in the Road

Right off the bat I knew that one of the big challenges for planning this wedding was going to be my FH's expectations. He simply has no basis for knowing how much Stuff costs. For instance, his only experience with photographers is the guy who does photos for the theater company we work for (incidentally also our wedding photographer, who's amazing btw. Michael Brinkerhoff). Since he sort of got his start with our theater company many years ago, he continues to give us a dirt cheap rate for shooting our shows. FH didn't know this, he just knew how much we paid him per show and figured "A wedding is smaller then a play, so it will cost a little less then that right?" So when I showed him Michael's website where the bottom tier was just over $1000 he flipped. After explaining the situation to him, he understood that he had made assumptions without actually having any info, and now realizes that things cost more then he thought they would, however, he's still definitely wants to find the least expensive ways to do things, as do I. He's just a bit more optimistic about finding things for cheap, then I am.

With that background knowledge, here is our hiccup. We finally got in contact with the location we wanted, the Long Tom Grange. It's pretty, and woodsy, more or less just what we want. We were anticipating a very inexpensive price, about $200. And we were right, it's $200/day. However, for weddings (and I KNOW I shouldn't have said that it as a wedding) they make you rent it for three days. One day for the rehearsal, one for the ceremony, and then clean up the next day. To me, this is reasonable, and they even give you a $50 break, and charge $550 for the three days. I think this sounds great. FH, wants to see if we can find somewhere cheaper.
The Long Tom Grange

The other issue is alcohol. I know a girl who got married at this location and they had a kegger. So I figured it would be no problem, but when I asked about alcohol, the woman said no alcohol, except for a champagne etc. toast. So obviously my friend was a bit dishonest about what they did at their wedding... Now we aren't having a bar at all, open or cash, but we are planning on supplying two or three bottles of wine per table, enough for people to drink it with dinner. I told her this was out plan, and she seemed to think that that might be ok, but we're looking into different insurance options (insurance is the reason they don't allow alcohol). So with the potential added expense of extra insurance, FH really thinks we should keep looking. Whereas, though I am willing to keep looking (and by we keep looking, that really means I keep looking) I am also pretty satisfied with the options laid out.

One thing I was thinking about last night was that if we had our ceremony at like 2pm, and then served a wide variety of hors d'ourves (sp?) with a small amount of wine, and then, at 9pm had a party back at our house (we have a huge back yard and a July wedding) for our friends, where people could party more, and drink more heavily if they wanted. I really like the idea, although I also recognize the issues with it, like paying for a location that we aren't using to its fullest extent, travel/driving time from the first location(for the ceremony and reception) to our home (about thirty minutes away), as well as the logistics of throwing a party in two different locations, the second of which we would be supplying minimal amounts of food and drink.

So what do you guys think? Anyone find a venue that wasn't a private residence for less then $550? (There are a variety of reasons we can't use a private residence which I'm happy to outline if someone wants me to) How about running into issues with alcohol? Any experience with event insurance that covers alcohol consumption? How about after parties? Especially of the BYOB&F variety. Thanks for any advice, and kudos for making it through my whole narrative!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More progress on dress selection.

I've decided to make my own. I can sew, I can sew pretty darn well if I do say so myself. All the dresses I like are expensive. Like $400 or $500, which I know isn't expensive in the wedding dress world, but it's a lot when we have an $8000 wedding budget and plan to feed 300 or more people dinner, and honeymoon in Europe. Plus wedding dresses are almost always the dreaded POLYESTER, which not only means it doesn't feel as nice, but it means that I can't dye the dress after my wedding.

I was at Joann's purchasing last minute accouterments for my Tudor gown (inspired by this portrait of Elizabeth I, only green) and I noticed that McCall's patterns were on sale for $1.99. I paged through them and lo and behold, they had a pattern nearly identical to the dress I liked so well (the orange one from my this post).

Evening Elegance
The key differences are that I will have shoulder straps, and a more scoop shaped neckline, instead of the sweetheart. I was so stoked. I proceeded to buy clearance linen/cotton blend and the rest of the materials I needed and I will make a mock up, I can't wait! Look for pictures in a few months, I have other projects to finish first!