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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 …. ).

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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!