December 2010

Weekly Roundup for a Happy New Year

by Melissa on December 31, 2010

I think that Guest Books are boring too. I’ve been exploring guest book alternatives, and it will probably involve some sort of tapestry.

We’re planning a November wedding. November weather in DC can range from really pleasant to kinda chilly. So, basically it’s a crapshoot. I’ll have some sort of cold-weather wear for the dress, especially since I’m a big baby when it comes to cold weather.

I too am having a great glasses debate. I like wearing my glasses and, after wearing contacts for more than 10 years, they aren’t comfortable now that I have astigmatism too. As of right now, I’m considering wearing contacts for the ceremony and first part of the reception, and then taking them out and wearing contacts for the rest of the reception.

I will add this to my portfolio of wedding photography styles that I do not like. I’ve been seeing this weird, faded photo trend in a lot of wedding photos. What’s up with that? Hideous.

I am totally too cheap for flowers too. What a waste. Many other creative ideas to consider.

The wedding venue we were considering (until recently) also did not allow candles since it was a historical site and part of the National Park Service. I didn’t consider it too much of a downside. Too bad that venue doesn’t look like it’s going to work out anyway.

Oh, my wedding shoes will rock. Thinking of sapphire blue to match my engagement ring.

My fiancé and I have been discussing honeymoon ideas.  I definitely want a mix of relaxing but travel adventure.  So, no Europe (because who can relax while they’re over there!?  So much to see), but I definitely want something else to do in case being a beach bum gets old.  I’m also leaning towards no long plane rides (5+ hours), but who knows.  Right now we’re leaning towards a “minimoon” shortly after the wedding, and something longer and move involved maybe in the spring following the wedding. 


Why I’m not having Bridesmaids

by Melissa on December 28, 2010

Over the holidays, family members brought up my decision not to have a bridal party, explaining all the reasons I “need” bridesmaids.  And these are my reasons why I’m not having one:

Why I’m not having a wedding party

  1. A bridal party adds several expenses to your budget. Ignoring the expenses actually incurred by individuals in the bridal party, having attendants can drive up costs of your wedding.  You buy gifts for the attendants, buy flowers and boutonnieres, you increase your rehearsal dinner guest list, you may need to get a bigger limo or more transportation options, etc.  The list can go on and on.
  2. A bridal party adds several additional decisions you have to make. Bridesmaid dresses, gifts, “will you be my bridesmaid” cards, making sure your bridesmaids get their fittings and the right type of shoes, deciding on the style of dresses, whether to go for all one color but different styles.  Different colors but same style.  A plain old dress they can pick out just in a certain color.  Planning a wedding is stressful enough without all these decisions.  So, by eliminating a bridal party element, I’ve eliminated dozens of decisions.
  3. One word.  Or three.  Drama Drama Drama.  Let’s face it.  Girls can be difficult.  We’re whiny, bratty, and talk about people behind each other’s backs.  I cannot believe how much bridal party drama is documented in wedding forums.  People need to get over themselves.  Ruining friendships because a maid of honor isn’t “doing her job?”  Worrying about not having someone in your wedding party because you were in their wedding?  Worrying about offending a family member or friend by not having them in your wedding?  One of your bridesmaids can’t make it to the bridal shower or bachelorette party and causes all sorts of mayhem trying to reschedule.  Seriously, I hate the thought of all that drama.  No one can be offended or have to worry about ruined friendships if you have no bridesmaids.
  4. No matter, how much someone says they would love to be in your wedding, I think they all secretly view it as a hassle and unnecessary expense. In my opinion, I feel like I’m doing a favor for my friends by not asking them to be in our wedding.  They won’t have to pay for a dress they’ll never wear again, they won’t have to pay money towards hosting a wedding shower or bachelorette party, and they won’t have to waste their time by going dress shopping and to fittings.
  5. Do bridesmaids really help you that much? In books that I’ve read, you’re supposed to “rely” on your Maid of Honor or bridesmaids to help you with planning.  Seriously?  I’m supposed to ask someone to help me tie bows on invitations or whatever the hell else I’ll be doing?  Maybe I’m just a terrible friend, but I would really hate it if someone expected me to help out with something like that.

Some common counterarguments I have heard

  1. Who is going to get the word out about your registries or bridal showers? Who cares!?  The thought of opening gifts in front of a group of shrieking women is just nauseating to me.  And I find opening skanky lingerie in front of others completely tacky and inappropriate.  If my family members want to host a bridal shower, then go ahead.  If not, I’m fine with that.  Anyway, even though you can’t put registry information on an invitation, we can put it on our wedding website and still manage to get the word out about gifts.
  2. Who will hold your bouquet when you exchange rings? I’ll make arrangements to ensure that I can set it down somewhere.
  3. Won’t your wedding pictures look weird with no bridal party? Not a concern at all.
  4. Won’t your friends and family be offended? I hope not.  I will stress that I’m doing this to limit the drama and expense for everyone involved, including them.  Wouldn’t someone consider that a favor instead of an offense?

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My Wedding Mind Map

by Melissa on December 20, 2010

In an attempt to organize my thoughts about wedding planning, I created a preliminary mind-map. This will change as plans become more solidified. Has anyone else created something similar?


I Hate the Wedding Industry

by Melissa on December 16, 2010

With a passion.

The wedding industry has made me not want to have a wedding.


Call me a cheapskate, a pessimist, difficult, or unromantic or whatever, but screw the entire wedding industry.  (except the photographers, they’re the only vendors to call me back).

Our wedding venue of choice has a handful of approved caterers, only two of which are reasonably priced.  After the one would not return my calls or e-mails, my fiancé and I decided to explore other caterers because our two-week hold on the date at our venue was running out.  The caterer, which is a local BBQ restaurant, had a catering menu that ranged from $15-20 per person.  Perfect.

Well, after calling them three times and e-mailing them once, they finally got back to me with a very brief and vague e-mail.

$70 per person.  For BBQ?  Really?  Not to mention the fact that he didn’t respond to any of my other questions (like providing photos of their catering, if they can provide bartenders if we bring our own beer and wine, etc.).  When I finally reached him by phone, he was so flippant and wouldn’t give me straight answers to any of my questions.

Me: “So you said you require a minimum of $30 per person for food, plus an additional $40 per person for service and equipment.  How exactly does that $40 per person break down and how many hours does it include?”
Caterer: “Oh, we don’t really know the specific breakdown of service and equipment costs.  We just know that it’ll be at least $70 per person total.”
Me: “Well, what about the prices listed on your website that say $15-$20 per person?”
Caterer: “OH!  Well those are for corporate events, not weddings.”
Me: “Well, the reason I want the cost breakdown is because we might be able to get rentals cheaper through other companies.”
Caterer: “No, we don’t do that.  We have to provide all rentals.”
Me: Well, that’s why I want the cost breakdown, to make sure I’m not getting ripped off.”
Caterer: We don’t know what the cost breakdown will be, we just not that it’ll be $70 per person, at least, and that’s a below-market price.
Me: “No thanks, I’m not giving you my business.”

And why won’t the other reasonable caterer call me back?  And don’t give me that “we’re busy with Christmas parties” shit.  This has been going on since October.

So, after a lot of discussion today, my fiancé and I are going to ditch our preferred venue and go with one of our original picks.  It’s not quite as unique, but it won’t break the bank either, and we’ll have much more flexibility.  More on that later!

Why is the wedding industry so infuriating for those of us that don’t want to spend a ton of money?


Deciding a Color Scheme for the Wedding

by Melissa on December 13, 2010

How do you decide on a color scheme for your wedding?  There are three criteria that I have in choosing mine:

  • Season-appropriate for fall
  • Not something you’ve seen in a lot of magazines recently (this means no Navy/Pink or Pale Green/Pale Pink or Brown/Pink).  Actually, no pink.  At all.
  • A normal-enough color that I will be able to easily purchase other decor elements to match

Easy enough, right?

I have been playing around on Adobe’s Kuler as well as ColourLover to develop some potential themes.  Knowing that I want a fall wedding, I developed a handful of warm, fall, color schemes that are colorful enough to suit a wedding venue that used to be an amusement park

Fall_Wedding_3 Fall_Wedding_4 Fall_Wedding_Color1

Then, a reconsideration.  It all stemmed from … chair covers (dum duh duh *dramatic music sound*).  Nice, padded chairs come in two colors – white and black.  White seemed like an obvious choice, but I think I’d want cream incorporated into the scheme more than pure white.  So that would mean having to rent chair covers in cream or some other color so that pure white chairs since they wouldn’t make the cream decor look dirty.  So, maybe I could incorporate some black into my color scheme and opt for black chairs?

Is black an appropriate for a wedding color?  And why I am struggling with this so much.  And why, for the love of God, do I not have a favorite color?

And then, like a lightbulb, it dawned on me.  Sapphire blue!  The color of my engagement ring!  I need to incorporate sapphire blue into the color scheme for sure.

So, with that in mind, I went back to Kuler and ColourLover and continued to play.  Sapphire, cream, and black?  Pretty, but not very fall-ish.  What other colors could I incorporate to make it more fall-like (and don’t say orange, because orange and blue looks like a sports team color to me).

This is what I’m leaning towards now.  Neutral Colors with pops of sapphire blue.  What do you think, does it need some sort of accent color?  What do you think would go well?


So, there you have it.  Color scheme ideas for the wedding.  How did you all decide on wedding color schemes?


A Wedding Planning Panic Attack. Ack!

by Melissa on December 7, 2010

So yesterday I had a wedding panic attack.  We put a two-week hold on a date next November at Glen Echo Park, and I was infuriated by the fact that only one caterer is within our budget, and I can’t get her to call me back for anything!  I mean, is this sort of thing NORMAL!?  And, even if she is within our budget, do I really want to have her cater our wedding if she’s already this elusive?

That, faced with the constant lamenting over how expensive weddings are, how much effort is involved with planning them, and just how frivolous they are, I came home with only one thing on my mind.  Eloping.  Dead serious, courthouse-type eloping.

I talked it over with my fiance, and after a few hours and some Christmas decorating, my panic attack receded.  I figure, regardless of what decision I make (regular wedding vs. eloping), there will probably be some element of regret.  If we elope, will I always regret not having a big family celebration and wearing a white dress and getting to design fun wedding invitations?  But if we have a wedding, even a “budget” wedding, I’ll still regret that it was the expense that it was and how that money could’ve been used for something else.  And after all, I’m just being unreasonable about the expenses.

Today, I’m feeling much better.  I had a productive day, and while I still haven’t reached the caterer, I’m taking it all in stride.  It will all work out just fine.

Has anyone else ever had a similar panic so early in the process?


Wednesday Weigh-In and Fitness Update

by Melissa on December 1, 2010

Well, it’s the week after Thanksgiving, and I indulged. Big time. Last year I remember I actually did phenomenally well on Thanksgiving. Alas, not this year. *Sigh.

On a high note, I got right back on track with portion control and cutting out junk and soda.

As I mentioned in my DIY Wedding Weight Loss post I lost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers back in 2004. It was a system that really worked great for me. It was in the news on Monday that WeightWatchers unveiled their PointsPlus system, a new update to their tried-and-true points system. I’m not sure how I feel about the change, since it doesn’t take into account calories, but instead macronutrients. However, I want to make WeightWatchers the keystone of my weight loss once again.

So, I’ll update all my old recipes for new points values, and get right back on track by not going over my points. I think the new system will take some getting used to, but I’m confident that I can lose weight following the program.

Here’s my weekly workout summary:


Daily Points Consumed/ Daily Points Allowed / Activity Points Earned


Calories and HR

Sunday November 28 Not tracking 30 Day Shred Level 1
280 Calories
142 Average Heartrate
165 Max Heartrate
Monday November 29 33/ 34/ 3 Week 1, Day 1 of 100 Pushups Workout
30 Day Shred Level 1
276 Calories
142 Average Heartrate
168 Max Heartrate
Tuesday November 30 34/ 34/ 3 30 Day Shred Level 1 (27:48) 286 Calories
144 Average Heartrate
173 Max Heartrate

I weighed in this morning, and I will consider that my “starting weight” for my wedding weight loss efforts. Is it a challenge to start a diet in December? Maybe. But I’m signing up for one of my favorite blogger’s December fitness challenge to keep me motivated.


Weekly Link Roundup

by Melissa on December 1, 2010

After my recent wedding freak-out, I was definitely considering the difference between a wedding and a marriage.  Marriage wins, hands down.  I will try to remind myself of this as planning gets hectic for me too. 

It seems like with every wedding blog I read, I realize that there’s something else I had no idea that I would have to do.  Like wedding programs.  Martha Stewart Weddings has some templates this week. 

I’ve mentioned before that we’re definitely inviting kids to our wedding, and I LOVE the idea of having a kids table.  Although I love these cutely-themed wedding crayons, I think kids will be happy with just plain old dollar-store crayons!

In my efforts to create amazing save-the-dates and invitations, I couldn’t help but smile at these awesome save the dates.  But I wonder how our more elderly guests would do with these?

Amen to Broke Ass Bride about “Platinum Weddings.”  I find that weddings featured in magazines, even so-called rustic weddings, are so staged, so contrived, that it makes me hate weddings. 

I love this card collage idea.  I always like figuring out ways to display memorabilia instead of tucking it away at some scrapbook or box somewhere.  I will definitely keep this in mind as a post-wedding project. 

Call me a bad sport, party pooper, or whatever else, but I despise many wedding traditions, cake smooshing included.  The poll for the post is fascinating.  38% call it tacky, and 35% call it disrespectful.  I’m glad to hear so many people have common sense!  For me, cake smooshing ranks right up there with bouquet tosses, garter tosses, the groom getting the garter off the bride, the hokey pokey, annoying toasts, bridal shower games … hmmm, is there anything about weddings I DO like?

We’ll definitely have a heritage wall heritage at our reception, and may even incorporate previous generations’ wedding photos as part of our save-the-dates.  More on that later!