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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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Father Daughter Dance Songs January 30, 2011

Filed under: Dancing,Reception — Rockingthehomestead @ 5:54 pm
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I’ve been thinking lately about a good father daughter dance song for me and my dad.  My dad and I have not always had the closest relationship, for several years I didn’t even speak to him.  But we are close now, maybe not daddy’s little girl close, but we’re like friends, which I am really happy about.  I’d like to find a father daughter dance song that reflects how our relationship really is, rather than trying to make it look like the I’ve-always-been-your-little-girl-and-we’ve-always-been-uber-close relationship that every daddy/daughter dance seems to want to portray.  I don’t feel like there’s any reason to try to pretend my relationship with my dad is something it’s not.  I like what my relationship with my dad is, I am grateful for it, and to try to pretend we have something else would be, in my eyes, a declaration of shame about what our relationship is.

So I’ve been doing a little of research into father/daughter dance songs, and I have to say that I am generally horrified at a couple of songs I see come up over and over and over again; Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison and Daughters by John Mayor.

Okay, Brown Eyed Girl is a kick-ass, fun song.  I love it, who doesn’t love it?  But it’s a song very clearly written for a romantic lover.  I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t want to dance with my dad to the lyric “Making love in the green grass behind the stadium with you”.  No thank you.

And then there’s Daughters.  Has anyone ever actually listened to the lyrics to that song?  Because what it’s about is a girl John Mayor dated once, and he really liked her, but she had emotional issues that prevented a real relationship due to her neglectful father.  So yeah, if you want your father daughter dance to say to the world “I don’t really love my husband because I’m incapable of attachment because my dad was a dead beat” go ahead and dance to John Mayors Daughters.

John Mayor sucks anyhow.

 

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.

 

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!

 

 

Things are coming together now December 20, 2010

It’s almost Christmas and I’m about to put wedding planning on the shelf for about two weeks.  I’m feeling pretty comfortable with where I’m at right now and happy with how things are looking.

After much searching, I found a photographer I just love, Clara Images.  They do fantastically artistic and unique work for a really reasonable price, comparatively, I am actually able to purchase their unlimited package, which is more photographic coverage than I ever dreamed of when I started planning, and sure to be the number one thing that will make me feel like a princess all day, and help me to be happy with my wedding for the rest of my life.  Pictures are the one part of the day that lasts.  Oh yeah, and the commitment we’ll make to each other.

I also had someone from Butler Rents out to look at our yard and estimate what we’ll need.  We’re getting an assortment of tables, some with umbrellas for the sunny parts of our yard, and we’ll be getting tables for food and cake and bar and just to place around the dance floor (our patio) for people to set drinks and whatnot on if they’re standing.  We’re also getting keg coolers, how cool is that?

Jeremy is excited to build a small deck to place the head table on.  We’re using the deck to cover my son’s sandbox, and we’ll place the head table on top of that.  Meanwhile, I am excited to start cheese making, which I will probably do tonight when I start my gouda.  Gouda has to age 6-9 months, and I will be making several batches over the next few weeks, because I’ve never made hard cheese before, and I think making a few batches increases my success chances.  If we have too much, well, then we’ll be eating cheese for a while after the wedding.

Tomorrow we are going to try on wedding dresses.  This is my second trying on of dresses.  I’m being sort of secretive about the dress thing.  I’m not sure why.  Rest assured, I will never, ever share pictures here.  Okay, maybe I will after the wedding.

 

Guest Lists December 9, 2010

Filed under: Planning,Reception — Rockingthehomestead @ 1:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Now that we’ve chosen our back yard for the reception location, my guest options are truly limited.  I am saddened that there are about 50 people I’d like to invite but can’t.  I am not going to be inviting most of the people I was in the Army with, for example.  I haven’t even seen Jeremy’s family’s guest list yet, but they assure me it will be no more than 30-50 people, and they didn’t think more than 30 would show up.  Now, however, they’re saying that just about everyone wants to come.  Off of my guest list, I expect about 75-90 to show, but God help us if they all do!  There’s not enough room in our back yard!

 

Overhaul! December 6, 2010

After speaking to my mother and Jeremy about my wedding concerns, we have decided that since I have not signed any contracts yet, we are going to move in another direction.  First of all, we are going to move our wedding forward a month or two so that it will be warm enough to have an outdoor wedding, which is what I always dreamed of.  We are considering a few outside locations, but if none of them work, we’re probably just going to hold the reception in our back yard.  So this year, I’ll be gardening with a purpose.  I guess I always have a purpose, but I’ll have even more purpose this year.

A back  yard wedding will save fantastic amounts of money.  We pretty much will only have to rent tables and chairs, which is about $1100 cheaper than the reception hall was.  We also will be able to let people serve themselves out of kegs, vastly reducing our alcohol costs.  We can bring in our own caterer without issue, and our patio should make a decent dance floor.  We can decorate the day before, or even days before.  Because we’re saving so much, we’re going to switch our wedding to a Saturday, meaning we can start earlier, and get more partying in before noise ordinances are an issue.

The only things I’m concerned about is parking and how the neighbors will feel.  I think I can appease most of my neighbors by inviting them.  As for parking, I think the best option will be to encourage people to car pool (which is green!  I’ve been worried my wedding isn’t green enough).  I’m thinking we may have 130 or so guests (apparently, a lot more of Jeremy’s family is going to come than we originally thought), and they’ll probably be arriving in 50 to 60 cars.  Anything we can do to cut that down will be great, because parking isn’t exactly abundant in our neighborhood.  I should also verify with our HOA that this is going to be cool.  Or maybe I shouldn’t.  Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission sometimes.  There are things about our yard they don’t know about, and I don’t want them to (our beehive, cough, cough).

So as it stands right now, we’re probably going to be doing a back yard wedding.  I feel much better about this.