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Hiring vendors outside the box February 2, 2011

I want to hire a day of wedding coordinator really bad.  It would be so wonderful to have someone to take care of any last minute set up so that my mom and other family members aren’t stressing out getting everything ready before the ceremony and between the ceremony and reception.  But honestly, there’s no way to squeeze a professional day of coordinator into my budget.  It’s just not going to happen.  So I’m faced with either accepting that the hours leading up to my wedding are going to be incredibly high stress for me and all my loved ones, or thinking outside the box to get the extra help I so sorely need.

I’m not hiring a professional.

Instead, I have contacted the Hospitality, Tourism and Events department at my school to ask if there are any students who might be interested in being my day of coordinator in exchange for a meal, a small payment, and an awesome reference.  I am also hanging up flyers around my school that say

JOB OPPORTUNITY

Day Of Wedding Coordinator for August 2011 wedding

You:  A student on the Auraria Campus with interest/knowledge of event planning.  Possibly a Hospitality, Tourism and Events student, looking to get experience in event planning for your resume.

Me: A Metro student planning a wedding on a budget, hoping to find some budding talent amongst her fellow students and help that person grow in skill and experience.  I can’t afford to pay a lot, but I can pay some.  In addition to payment, I will be happy to provide you with

  • A Glowing Reference – I will write letters of recommendation, serve as a professional reference, and you can certainly list my wedding on your resume and job applications as previous work.
  • Food and drink for the day – You will be welcome to enjoy the same meal and drinks as the wedding guests, which will include options for meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and gluten free.  Lunch will also be provided before the reception.
  • A fun working environment – Opportunity to mingle, network, flirt, whatever.  It’s a party!
  • Trade?  I’d totally be willing to negotiate trade instead of or in addition to payment.  I have a large garden I could probably give you fresh organic produce out of, or I could teach you a skill I know like knitting or cheese making, for example.  Let’s talk!

If you think you’re up for being a day of coordinator for a wedding, please feel free to contact me so we can discuss it further!

There are thousands of people at my school all looking to enhance their careers and make a little extra money.  Chances are pretty high that someone at my school could offer my the services I want and I could give them a little something in exchange.

You probably have a school near you with a hospitality department, but you never know where you might find someone able to be a day of coordinator.  Schools are good bets to look for people, because there are lots of people with really diverse interests and experiences gathered there, but you could put fliers up anywhere, the grocery store, bridal salons, you could even post an ad on Craigslist.  And it doesn’t have to stop with wedding coordinators either.

  • Culinary schools could provide you with an awesome caterer or baker.
  • Photography students could make kick ass photographer, or could man a DIY photobooth for you
  • Videographer students could do your videography
  • Beauty school students could do your hair and makeup
  • Art students could be hired to provide entertainment like charicture drawing
  • Theatre students could provide live entertainment like a comedy routine or a magic show
  • Music schools could be a place to find a low cost band or musician for your ceremony or reception
  • Dance students could provide entertainment with a dance performance during your wedding ceremony
  • Floral design schools could be a place to find a low cost florist

And who knows what else you could find if you probed for talent in and around your own community.  The point is to get creative.  I’m thinking about seeing what kind of talent I can bring in for entertainment, maybe a juggler?  A balloon artist?  Who knows what I could find.  And people remember the wedding with acts in it.  My only concern is overwhelming my guests with too much going on.

Of course, hiring students has it’s risks.  They may not be well versed in everything that needs to be done for your wedding project.  You don’t want to hire a student caterer who will forget about how to transport your food to your venue.  But there are risks to hiring professionals too, everyone screws up from time to time, and the thing about the wedding industry is that you don’t always have to worry too much if you screw up and piss off a client, because in theory, you will never have repeat customers anyhow (although I’m sure the divorce rate makes all the outstanding vendors a little happy inside, from time to time).

Another option is finding someone experienced in the general field, but who is looking to expand into the wedding market and needs some experience in that department.  I found a professional photographer skilled in portraits and weddings, but she was looking to move into boudoir photography.  She offered to do boudoir photography for me at an amazing rate so that she could get some experience in doing and build that portion of her portfolio.  I’ll be her first boudoir shoot, but at that price even if it’s not very good it’s still a deal, I could still go else where to get more done.  But judging by her other work, I think she’ll probably do a pretty good job. (No one spoil the secret for Jeremy about what he’s getting for his wedding gift, shhh!)

So you have to pick and choose where you’re willing to take risks and how much risk you’re willing to take.  I was not willing to take risks with wedding photography, and only medium risk with boudoir photography.  If I hire a juggler who gets lost and never shows up, I’m not going to be heartbroken that there was no juggling routine at my wedding.  But if he shows up and rocks the world of all my guests, I think it was worth the risk.

And wouldn’t it be cool to discover someone awesome before they are famous?  Wouldn’t it make you feel good to help a hard working, talented student grow in their education and improve their career success?  I don’t know about your community, but my community could use a few more people willing to take risks on each other, a few more leaps of faith in humanity, a few more investments in each other.  Since I want my wedding to be about communities coming together and valuing human relationships, I can’t think of anything more fitting.

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Molas! January 10, 2011

Molas are a type of folk art from Panama!

I knew when I started this planning I wanted sort of a Central American, Latino feel to my wedding.  I’m serving Mexican food.  I plan to play Buena Vista Social Club and other Cuban music during the cocktail hour and dinner.  I picked out bright, bold colors.  My signature drink is going to be margaritas.

But I didn’t want to do a Dia De Los Muertos thing (even though I LOVE Dia De Los Muertos) because I see that done SOOOO much lately.  So I wasn’t really sure how to tie the whole thing together.  I’ve been feeling like no one understood my vision (except my co – maid of honor, who, upon hearing my colors – and no other details – said, “Are you going for a Mexican theme?”).  My mom, who is doing my invitations, had this idea about pressed flower invitations since before Jeremy even proposed.  I keep saying that it sounds too stuffy, formal and girly, but she wouldn’t let it go.  She’d say “flowers aren’t formal” (no, fresh ones aren’t, but to me, pressed flowers say dusty old Victorian stuff) or “weddings are formal”.  Well, not mine.  My wedding is going to be fun.

The other night, my mom asked me again, “What do you want to do with your invitations?”.  My mom has been a graphic designer for over 20 years.  She’s won tons of national awards, and she’s done an amazing job at designing paper stuff for our family in the past.  She’s done wedding invitations, baby shower invitations, birth announcements, funeral programs, you name it.  I have every confidence in her abilities to make some kick ass wedding invitations.  I just haven’t liked her vision so far.  She brought up pressed flowers again, which I shot down, and she looked disappointed.  I tried explaining “Look, I’m wanting to do a sort of Mexican theme.  We’re doing Mexican food and margaritas.  I want to stick to that one theme, and not be mixing stuff up too much.”

She looked perturbed, but un-muted the tv and stared at it for a few seconds.  Then she pressed mute again and laughed “I just got an idea!  What if we did molas?”

Molas are a type of folk art created by the peoples of the region from Panama to Columbia.  My family is familiar with molas because my father grew up in Panama, and my grandmother and grandfather have a great deal of mola artwork around their house.  I loved my grandmother’s mola pillows as I was growing up, and her mola jewelry.  This seemed like a marvelous idea to me!

Molas aren’t Mexican, but I don’t feel the need to stick to one country.  It’s the entire culture of Central America that intrigues me, and what I’d like to showcase during my wedding, even though neither myself nor my fiance has a drop of Latino blood in us (my father grew up in the Panama Canal Zone because his father piloted ships through the canal as a Merchant Marine, not because he’s Panamanian.  The Stones are very likely Irish, though we don’t know for sure – that’s a whole other story for another day).  All my life, I have felt drawn towards that world, I can’t say why.  But I spent a year in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and I grew up hearing stories of Panama in the 60’s, and I was born and raised in a state with a huge Mexican influence, so maybe it’s natural.

Of course, mola invitations would be hard to make, we’ll be doing a lot of paper cutting, but I think it’s well worth the work.  I love the mola idea so much, I think I’m going to use it throughout my decorating.  Maybe a mola ring bearer pillow?  Mola placemats at the tables?  Mola purses for my bridesmaids?

Now, traditional molas are quilted.  It’s very intricate quilting done with little strips of fabric, which I don’t think I could do (especially not with my old sewing machine), and I don’t think I’d want to take the time to do if I could.  I can purchase molas pre made on fabric, which I might do for my ring bearer pillow, but that would get pricey if I did that over and over again for all the placemats, fabric, etc., that I might want to use a mola on.  However, I think I could easily paint or batik molas onto paper or fabric.  Though they wouldn’t be a true mola, I think that they would still be beautiful and compelling.

My mom really is a great visionary when it comes to creative stuff.  I’m very excited about this new development.

 

Bridal Shows

Filed under: Money,Planning — Rockingthehomestead @ 4:28 pm
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I am officially done going to bridal shows.  I went to my second one yesterday and I think I’ve seen enough.  Not that it was terrible, I love expos really, so I had fun.  But I can’t imagine seeing or learning about anything new or interesting anymore from these shows.  Most of it is stuff that is WAY outside my budget anyway.  Sure, its kind of fun to learn about the company that does dueling pianos at rich people’s wedding, and to taste that tuna sashimi served in a tiny ice cream cone, but I will never purchase any of this, so why did I spend $7 to go look at it?

 

DJs and DIY January 7, 2011

Well, I found a DJ I like better than the home birth woman.  Okay, I don’t know if I like him better, I like him about the same, but he charges significantly less, so we can afford to have him during the entire reception.  It just goes to show that it pays to put out feelers on Facebook to see if your friends have any recommendations for vendors.  I asked about DJs and got a few suggestions, including one from a friend from high school who suggested a local DJ who spins regularly at area gay bars.  I wasn’t going to contact him, because I had my heart set on the home birth DJ, but I have another friend getting married next year, and she’s looking to hire only LGBTQ friendly vendors, so I thought about this guy.  After looking at his website (and learning he recently graced the cover of Westword!), I knew I just had to see how much he charged.  So I gave him a call, and found out he was far more reasonably priced than the home birth DJ, or any DJ that responded to my Craigslist posting.  My friend is also hiring him!

I like that I too am hiring and LGBTQ friendly vendor.  And I secretly, deep down inside, like that this pink mohawked, makeup wearing DJ is likely to freak out the more conservative members of my family and Jeremy’s.  I feel bad about not going with the home birth DJ, but I have to think practically.  I can hire this DJ for a longer period of time for less money than what the home birth DJ would have charged.  I wish her all the best, but I’m going with Rockstar Aaron for my wedding music.

Other than that, I am compiling a list of DIY projects I want to create for my wedding day.  I made my first wheel of cheese two weeks ago, a simple gouda that is aging in my basement at this very moment.  Currently, I am working on a banner that will read “Jeremy and Jessica, 8-13-2011”, out of scraps of fabric in our wedding colors.  It makes me feel so happy to be crafting for the wedding.  This is the part of wedding planning I’ve been looking forward to!  This is the part that’s going to be fun.  I’ve got tons of decoration ideas for my yard, and I’m thinking about little bridesmaids accessories, maybe little purses?  I can’t wait to start learning about flower arranging.  I looked into making my own cake, but decided that I’m probably going to be better off having a professional do that.  I’m so, so, so excited!!

Here are a few projects I’m thinking about for my wedding

Fabric Flower Garland

I really like paper and fabric flowers, I don’t know why.  They’re so bright and cheery, sort of like if flowers and stuffed animals had babies.

DIY Pinwheels

Who doesn’t love a pinwheel?  They’re so fun and whimsical!

Rock Candy Chandelier

Oh man, I can think of about a million cool things I could do with rock candy on a string.  Not only that, but it will be a fun science experiment for me to do with my son.

Pom Pom Vines

Can you see these hanging from all the trees on my property?  I can!

 

 

Wedding Investments December 30, 2010

As a former photographer myself, I like the way so many photographers talk about what your investment in their services are going to be, rather than the cost.  Photographs are an investment.  They are physical preservations of your wedding memories.  You’re going to be spending a lot of money on your wedding, and all of it is just going to be hazy memories in a few years without photographs.

This is partially why I’ve been so picky about choosing a photographer.  Yes, I am on a budget, but I still want something nice (despite the belief some people have that unless you are forking over 30 grand or more for your wedding, you don’t deserve good pictures).  This is an investment.  The rest of my wedding is going to end up in either the recycling, the compost, sold/donated or in storage, and I’ll never see the most of it again.  But I’m going to look at my photos frequently, I’ll probably have some on display.  I want them to be good.

Photos don’t have to be the only part of your wedding that is an investment, though.  Probably the number one thing you can do to have a green and cheap wedding is to make as many aspects of your wedding permanent or reusable.  In other words, more aspects of your wedding should be long term investments than not.

How can this be done?  Well, for example, since I am holding my wedding in my back yard, a good deal of my decorating budget is going to be spent on fixing up my back yard.  I will be investing in some grass seed, to reseed my yard and make sure it is extra lush, organic fertilizing service for my lawn, and lots and lots of flowers for the borders of my yard, to make not only the yard pretty, but to provide the flowers for arrangements on my table, and maybe even a good portion of the bouquets.  All of these things are investments in my mother and mine’s property (even though after the wedding I will be moving into Jeremy’s house and this yard will no longer be mine, I will still be spending lots of time here, I’m sure).  We will be able to enjoy this money spent for many years to come.  Furthermore, all the extra flowers will provide more food for our bees and hopefully boost our honey production.

We will also be decorating with LED Christmas lights, which we will of course reuse for holiday decorating in the future.  I plan to use mason jars for vases, which I will then be able to use for canning for years to come.  I have done what I can to make sure that my bridesmaids will pick out dresses they will wear again, and I will be reusing as much of my wedding attire as possible.

Many women choose dresses that they will wear again, which I think is awesome.  I however, chose a princess dress that would not be very practical anywhere but walking down the aisle, or perhaps costume events.  However, dresses can be donated (for a tax write off), or used to make new things in the future.  On Offbeat Bride, a bride told the forums how she intended to make prayer shawls for herself and her husband out of her wedding dress when she was done.  In my family, we have discussed making christening gowns for babies out of my mother’s wedding dress (which didn’t happen for Elijah, but hopefully it will for the next baby), and I suppose the same could be done with mine.  Or, as another woman on Offbeat Bride said, there’s always the option of being zombie bride and groom for Halloween next year.

Parting with money for a wedding isn’t quite as painful if you feel like you’re making a long term investment, and not just blowing money for one day of frivolities.  Even if you could care less about the environment, it’s worth considering making more of your wedding purchases into long term investments.  Unless, of course, you really hate money, and are looking for whatever way you can find to part with it (in which case, you can make checks out to Jessica Stone, and my address is …. ).

 

Things that really got under my skin while searching for a photographer December 29, 2010

When I was searching for a wedding photographer, I posted an ad on Craigslist stating what I was looking for and what my budget was.  I got well over a hundred responses (and I’m still getting them, albeit at a much slower pace, maybe only one or two a day), and I sorted through all of them.  Some of them were good (although most of them who were good were still way outside my budget – I put my budget in the ad, why respond if you can’t meet it?  Why waste my time and yours?), but the vast majority of them were just terrible.  Here are some of the pet peeves I ran into while looking through all these photographers.

Grip and grins. A grip and grin was a term we used in the Army for any photograph of two people standing, looking at the camera.  Usually, they are shaking hands or both holding some award one is giving to the other.  These photos are posed, forced, awkward and worst of all, boring.  Most of the wedding photography I saw was basically nothing but a bunch of grip and grins, only instead of hand shakes, it’s arms around each other in a insincere hug, or people standing in a row.  Any twelve-year-old can shoot a line of people standing on a church altar in fancy clothes and turn it black and white in Photoshop to make it seem more ‘classic’.  I know some of this is going to take place at every wedding, but if these are the only photos you’re posting on your website, there’s something wrong.  I wouldn’t pay a penny more than $20 for that kind of work.  Unfortunately, most photographers do just that, then have the audacity to charge four digits for that quality of work.  Please, I did higher quality stuff in the Army and didn’t make in a month what some of these photographers charge for eight hours of coverage, even when I was deployed.  I lived in a tin shack for a year and ate out of Navy chow halls (which, to be fair, are at least significantly better than Army chow halls), and I was constantly subject to sexual harassment from 400 New Jersey infantry men, and about the same number of Detroit MPs.  But even under these conditions, at pay that equaled out to $7.50 an hour after tax, I still did better work than some of the photographers I looked at.  And I was not the best photographer in my unit either.

Inability to focus a camera. What really amazed me is how many professional photographers can’t seem to focus.  I know focus can be a little tricky sometimes, but come on!  For the prices you’re charging, I expect a sharp focus.  And these are the photos they’re displaying on their website, you know it’s their very best.  If their very best doesn’t even have a good focus, what does their average work look like?  Seriously, if you can’t do it manually, at least use the autofocus (not that autofocus always does a good job either, but it’s better than nothing).  And I can tell the difference between somebody who knows how to use their shutter and aperture to convey depth of field or motion in a photo, and somebody who’s just trying to pass off a blurry photo as something they did intentionally.  Apparently the average consumer cannot, however, because there are a lot of photographers out there doing just this.

Overuse of black and white. Sure, black and white can be nice some times, but most of the time when I see it, I think it’s just an attempt to cover up lack luster work.  So many people think black and white pictures are automatically better, and that’s easy to take advantage of.  Black and white does not automatically mean classier or better photos.  It usually means you’ve got a photographer who can’t do color (or can’t do much of anything).  Not always, mind you, I’m sure some photographer is going to find my blog and leave some comment like “I choose to shoot in black and white because it’s more raw and real, but I can kick ass at color if I wanted to” or some other hipster jargon, and that’s all well and good.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I still see an awful lot of shitty photography out there that, once converted to black and white, idiots think is art.  And I know there are a lot of not very good photographers taking advantage of all these idiots that think photography is automatically artful if it’s in black and white.  I’m sure that’s not at all what any photographer who visits my blog does, though.

Not to say all black and white photography is lame, hipster shit (and even if it was, I would be hypocritical to suggest that hipster shit never appeals to me, it most often does).  Some of it is very, very nice.  What I hate to see is bad photography being passed off as art just because it’s black and white.  Even when I saw a photographer do awesome black and white, black and white probably isn’t going to be the best choice for my wedding anyhow.  I am having a bright and colorful wedding that just wouldn’t be done justice if it were shot in black and white.  Furthermore, I think it’s a crime to put beautiful red hair like mine in black and white.  So I need a photographer who does awesome color work, and that is just few and far between.  Why is this?  Because of this stupid, hipster, black and white trend!  Everyone thinks black and white is classier than color in every situation, and that’s simply not true!  Ever looked through a National Geographic and thought “Gee, if only all these pictures were in black and white, then this magazine would be beautiful”?  No!  But very few photographers seem to even bother with color, because all these idiot people think only black and white is classy.  Frustrating!

(Note:  I had the pleasure of participating in a press escort of National Geographic during my deployment to Guantanamo Bay in 2004.  Here is a link to the article.  In the photo “Clear Warnings”, you can see my ear, right next to my former first sergeant.  If you can find the print article, there is another picture of me eating in the community kitchen.  A friend told me, upon seeing it, that I looked like an anorexic getting ready to puke myself.  In actuality, I had just popped a fried plantain into my mouth.  This was my 15 minutes.)

Also, I don’t like the whole, all-black-and-white-except-for-a-single-rose-in-color style either.  I know many people do like this, and that’s a matter of opinion.  It’s not for me.  Maybe some photographer can change my mind about this by sending me some wedding work done in this style that looks modern, but all of it I’ve seen looks really 1992 to me.  It’s just way over done.  Like black and white.  And white gold.  And diamonds.

Out of state photographers. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with being a photographer from another state.  What irritates me is how many photographers from out of state responded to my ad for a wedding in Denver.  A lot of them came in with bids under my budget, but didn’t include travel costs, which put them over budget again.  Furthermore, I can’t justify flying someone in from out of state to take pictures at my wedding when there are photographers right here in town.  To be fair, I didn’t put in my ad that I am passionate about supporting local economies and that I’m trying to keep the carbon footprint of my wedding as low as possible, but I didn’t think in a million years I’d get so many photographers from all over the country responding to my ad!  I thought that my ad for a photographer for a Denver wedding would appear only in the Denver Craigslist listing.  Apparently not.

High prices without offering much. I ran into a few photographers, not many, but a few, who were so outrageously priced I wouldn’t pay for their services even if I had a million dollars to spend on my wedding.  This is because even if you’re very, very rich, there is still a line where once you cross it, you feel like you’re just throwing money away, and any rich person who habitually just throws money away is not going to stay rich for very long.  There is just no way I’m going to spend $2500 to $3000 on 8 hours coverage with one photographer and a disc of photoshopped images, when for the same price I can get similar style and quality, full day coverage by two photographers, wedding albums, prints, and a disk.  I got schooled by a professional photographer about costs of running a photography business the last time I complained about photography prices on this blog, but there are some people out there crossing the line.  Especially ones who I know have full-time jobs that pay well in addition to their line crossing photography business (specifically, a photographer recommended to me who happens to be a friend of a friend).

Bad lighting.  Lighting is hard.  The flash is tough to get the hang of, and there is a bit of math involved with getting the aperture and shutter speed just right, especially in challenging lights.  I have sympathy for that because I always had trouble with lighting when I was doing photography.  A lot of times my photos were dark or blown out.  I didn’t usually publish those pictures, though.  I worry when I see a website full of really dark photos (which seems to be more common than blown out), especially if the photos were taken during the middle of the day outdoors.  I worry when I see photos of people with flash face, you know, that really obvious, I-just-had-a-flash-go-off-in-my-face look.  I worry about this because when I see this on the website they’re sending out to potential new clients, I know that the majority of their work is going to be even worse than this.  I mean, I understand that some photos come out like this, and sometimes, it even kind of works.  But if all photos are like this, there’s a problem.

Look, I know that photography is hard, it takes a lot of skill (which must be learned) and an artistic eye (which is a talent one is born with, but can be honed and advanced).  But surgery is also hard, and most of us would not choose a less than good surgeon because we can sympathize with how hard their job is.  When given the choice, we choose the best our money can buy.  I certainly was not the best photographer in my unit, I got into my MOS to write, not to take photos, so I don’t really want to be passing too much judgement on other photographers out there.  If you guys look at the GTMO newsletter, The Wire, from 2004-2005, most of the photos are mine, you will see I’m not a good enough photographer to meet my standards for hire.  I can admit that.  But this is my money I’m spending, and I want the best my money can buy.

This post is mostly just bitching about what I see out there, what people expect me to cough up my money for.  I feel like the wedding industry thinks I’m stupid enough to pay thousands of dollars on things that suck, not just photography, but everything.  It’s not to say that all photographers out there suck.  I had a pretty long list of amazing photographers after sifting through all the responses I got, and I’m really, really excited about and happy with the choice I eventually made, Clara Images.  I feel like it is the best quality for the money, and I really like the women who will be my photographers personally too.  I guess I was just amazed at the ratio of crap to good stuff in the professional photographer world, and wanted to vent about it.

I am very, very glad that I’m no longer looking through photographers.

 

Wedding secrets. Shhhh. December 23, 2010

My sister and I got into it a little bit today when she asked me to send her a picture of the dress I picked out.  I didn’t want to send her a picture.  I didn’t even want her knowing I had bought one.  It was nothing personal, I wouldn’t want to send anyone a picture.  I didn’t want to mention buying one to anyone.  When I picked it out, I swore my mom, future mother-in-law and future sister-in-law to secrecy.  And I wasn’t going to say anything else to another damn soul about it until the wedding.

The best laid plans of mice and men …

Well then my co maid of honor got in touch with me and asked when I was going to start looking at dresses, because she’d love to come with me.  I had to tell her I’d already picked one out.  Then I had to also call my grandma, who I was thinking would make me a dress, and let her know that I had fallen in love with a dress in a store, and that I wasn’t going to have her make my dress after all.  But that was going to be it, damnit.

Of course, I know that when that many people know a secret, it’s bound to get out (which is exactly why the government can’t keep secrets from us for very long).  I should have known that eventually, someone would blab.  Maybe even me.

Well, that’s what happened.  At least two people blabbed, and one of them was me.  Really accidentally, on Facebook.  I’m not even sure what I said, or in what context, but my sister says I did.  So she asked to see a picture of the dress, which I was very, very reluctant to give her.  I even considered sending her a picture of another dress.

She didn’t understand why I had such a problem sending her a picture of my dress.  I don’t understand why it’s a big deal for her to see it.  But what I do understand is that I’m the one behaving strangely.  I’ve been trying to explore why I have this really strong aversion to letting anyone see, or even talking about, the wedding dress I selected.  When it comes to my sister, the answer is simple.  We’re both getting married next year, and I feel like when we talk about our weddings, some kind of competition is starting, and I hate competition.  Especially with her.  I might be imagining it in this case, I don’t know.  I think there’s been a lot of this going on between us all our lives, though.  We are very, very different people, and our views clash a lot.  I think we both feel that the other is judging our every move.  I think we both do judge each other quite a bit.  Sometimes, I would just prefer not to reveal anything judge worthy to my sister, and this is just one of those times.  It is for that exact same reason that I have not looked at her wedding dress.  This isn’t a competition, I’ll just be surprised by all of her wedding elements when I see them, and then can appreciate it.

But it’s not just my sister I’m having this issue with, it’s everyone.  Really, the competition issue is just a minor excuse that is probably covering up larger issues I’m dealing with.  What I’ve come up with is this

  • I don’t want elements of my wedding to be judged out of context.  It’s hard for people to understand what I’m doing when they can’t see the whole vision I have in my mind.  I don’t want anyone to see one element of my wedding and get false expectations, or to dislike something and let that impression color their entire experience of my wedding on the day.
  • I’m not confident in my choices.  Well, that’s maybe a little poorly worded.  I am confident in my in my vision, and my ability to make choices that reflect my vision, even if it takes me a long time to do so.  What I’m not good at is defending my vision and choices when someone is critical of them.  I’m also not very good at saying no to things I don’t want.  And everyone has some idea of what my wedding should be like.  Very little of my vision seems to be understood.  So, for someone like me, who isn’t very  assertive, I’d rather not share any more of my vision than I absolutely have to.  Especially since my vision involves going off the beaten path a little bit.  When I start to listen to other people criticize my wants, I end up changing my mind a lot.  Case in point, bridesmaid dresses.  My original plan was for all of my bridesmaids to wear white and then accessorize with my wedding colors.  A bunch of people expressed negativity about that, saying I should be the only one in white (which I’ll address later), so I ended up changing my mind about what the bridesmaids would wear three or four times, until finally I came back to the original idea and I’m just sticking with that.  But now I feel crazy, and I probably look crazy and wishy-washy to everyone in my wedding party.  Ugh!
  • I believe that if I share too much of what I’m doing, I’m not going to like it anymore.  Sometimes when something becomes too familiar, it becomes distasteful to me.  But if I keep an element of mystery and surprise to my wedding, it will stay exciting to me.
  • I want everything to be a surprise.  And I’m superstitious.  I could be extending the superstition that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the dress to everyone.
  • I’m embarrassed about what dress I purchased.  I am quite certain that my dress was sewn by little children in a sweat shop, or something like that.  I’ll bet the companies that made my dress pay  no attention to any environmental hazards they might be producing in the wake of creating my dress.  I feel a great deal of environmental, human rights and anti consumeristic shame over my dress, and I don’t want the world to know it.  So here I go writing it.  Here I go confessing my deep, inner shame.  I bought a dress from David’s Bridal, the puppy mill of wedding dress boutiques.  Shudder.  I love the dress, when I don’t think about where it came from.  I promise, I’ll do something to make up for the horrible origins of my dress.  I’ll donate it.  I’ll make it into christening gowns for my babies.  I’ll sell it for cheap.  I’ll make a donation to Heifer International in the name of the people who sewed it.  Something!  Anything!  Please, oh powers of the universe and all that is good and pure in this world, forgive me!

All of this being said, I’m in this weird conundrum because here I am, blogging about my wedding.  That very same wedding that I don’t want to share any details of.  What am I doing here?  It’s not like a bunch of people actually read this.  It’s more of a diary, really.  Now that I’ve written all this down, I think I’ll stop linking my Facebook page to this blog.  Wow.  Yes, this post just took me here.  And I seriously wasn’t planning this when I started writing it.  That’s the power of inspiration, though, I suppose.

Or maybe I should just get myself a new journal.  My journal mysteriously disappeared over the summer.  The last time I remember having it in my hands was at Jeremy’s house, in his family room.  I was writing in it.  But it didn’t make it home with me, and we’ve looked all over his house and not found it.  I don’t think I realized how much I’ve been missing it.  I never used to keep a journal, but I started this past spring, and I grew pretty attached to it.  Maybe that is all I need right now.

Because I would like to share some of my wedding planning with the world.  For example, I’m making gouda in my kitchen right now.  I’m just writing this while I wait for a clean break.  Which I appear to have now.  I better go cut the curd.  Bye now!