June 2011

Wedding Day Timelines are for Schmucks

by Melissa on June 29, 2011

Here’s something I have learned.  You, as a bride, do not need a wedding day timeline.

You know who does need one and therefore makes you think you need one?  Your vendors.  Your vendors are lost without the timeline.  The deejay needs to know when to introduce the happy couple and needs to know what time the first dance will take place and when you’ll toss your bouquet.  Your caterer has to know when to serve each course, when you want to cut the cake, and what time they have to break down the bar so you don’t get charged extra.

Guests probably like timelines too.  They can figure out the best time to leave.  Hmmm, okay, if they cut the cake at 8:45, we can bolt right afterwards!

This makes me sad.  We all know that we live in an overly-scheduled world.  Kids don’t just go out and play.  They have scheduled playdates.  We all claim that we’re so busy and so stressed that we don’t have time for anything else.  We’re so busy on our wedding day, that we need to schedule things by the minute.

So, instead of having a planner shuttle you from one scheduled event to another, focus on spending time with your guests.  Try to eliminate as many vendors as possible that way you don’t stress about time overage charges.  Try to get a venue that will allow you the freedom of renting it for a few days, like a private residence or a campground.

The last thing you should feel on your wedding day is rushed.  And the only reason you’d feel rushed, is because other people will be telling you where to go and when.

Wait.  Me, the compulsive planner, is advocating NOT PLANNING?  Dude.  Well, no.  In the end, I know I’ll have some sort of rough timeline.  But most of that will be for pre-wedding activities (when to wake up, when to shower, when to get hair done, when to start “first look” photoshoot, etc.)  But, for the ceremony and reception, I’d rather just go with the flow.

Just a thought.  We’ll see how that works out!



We’ve had a relatively calm wedding planning experience so far.  But, the creation of my detailed wedding to-do list did make me a little queasy.  We’re now just under the five-month mark until our wedding, and, although I’m hoping I can avoid all the madness that seems to afflict most brides, I’m certainly aware that I can find myself going crazy in the next few months.

So, partially inspired by this post by a fellow DC blogger, I am creating a list of five non-wedding activities to complete in the next five months.  We have 20 weekends between now and the wedding, so I think this is definitely doable.

1) Go to an amusement park for a day. I haven’t been to an amusement park in forever!  I love roller coasters and rides, but I just haven’t made the effort to go to one recently.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, I would go to Kennywood or Cedar Point at least once a summer.  But now that life gets in the way, it’s harder to make an effort.  So, at some point between now and the wedding, I definitely want to hit up an amusement park, such as Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens, both of which are within two hours of the DC area.

2) Visit the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. The 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is just a few short months away.  Although the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon opened a few years ago, I still haven’t been to it.  Unacceptable.

3) Have my family visit in DC and take my 5-year-old nephew on a few fun outings. Like swimming at our neighborhood pool, going to see a summer movie (Cars 2 or Pooh perhaps?) and taking him to the newer Air and Space Museum in the DC area, the Udvar Hazy Center.  I haven’t visited that museum yet, and my nephew definitely liked the original Air and Space Museum when we took him there.  So that would be a great combination.  Seeing a museum I haven’t seen yet, but also taking my nephew out for a fun afternoon.

4) Go to one of the summer-only outdoor events in the DC area. I’m keeping this one vague because I don’t care which option, because they all seem like great ideas.  Jazz at the sculpture garden, screen on the green, Crystal City outdoor movies, or a concert at Wolf Trap.  Some sort of outdoor summer activity will do.

5) Visit at least one of the following places that I have never visited: The Library of Congress (lowers head in shame), the “new” Newseum (I had been to the old one in Rosslyn and loved it, but never to the new one downtown), The Crime and Punishment Museum, and/or go to the top of the Washington Monument.

Since I despise the heat, I think that doing the museums in the peak summer months will be great since they’re air-conditioned, but some of the outdoor items, like the amusement park or visiting the 9/11 memorial should wait until September or October.  But, things like the outdoor summer events will have to be done heat and all.

I also pledge that, when participating in the above activities, I won’t lament how I could be getting wedding stuff done instead.

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Sour Grapes among Brides?

by Melissa on June 21, 2011

I’ve noticed an interesting trend among bride bloggers: 

Budget Brides always say something like this: We didn’t want a big wedding with lots of expensive wedding centerpieces in an impersonal location.  We wanted to do something that was truly “us” and just invite our closest family and friends.

Platinum Brides always go something like this:  I know it’s a lot of money, but it is the most special day of our life so we wanted to invite everyone we could and make it an elaborate affair that no one would ever forget!

What if both sides are just spewing bullshit?  (I’m not saying it is, because, as a budget bride myself, I definitely wouldn’t want to trade places with a platinum bride, but, what if it was actually bullshit.  Or maybe I’m just fooling myself?)

Call it “The Grass is Always Greener” or “Sour Grapes” or whatever you want, but I wonder how many times people really believe what they’re saying.  As often as budget brides lament their DIY trials and tribulations to save money, platinum brides lament interference by their presumably wealthy parents and in-laws and say they just wish they could have a small, more intimate affair.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post.  But I guess it’s just that you should always think about what you’re annoyed with and what the alternatives are.  If it’s interference from family, just think if you were paying for it on your own, the other ups and downs you’d have to deal with.  And if you’re complaining about your recent DIY project, just remember that you could be having some huge formal affair where DIY elements would be inappropriate.

So, today’s motivational tip?  No matter what your circumstance, you’d likely be annoyed with other options too.  So, suck it up and deal.


Lego Ring Bearer Box

by Melissa on June 18, 2011

And this is why I love my fiance.  My nephew is scared to be ring bearer in our wedding.  (We recently discovered that he thinks bears are involved).  So, we were trying to come up with a different title for him to make him feel better about the whole thing.  One of the potential titles was “Wedding Lego Boy.”  My fiance, who LOVES legos, really liked this idea, and went to work using the Lego Digital Designer to create a box that can hold our rings, and that my nephew can carry down the aisle.  So fun!  (Design inspired partially by this flickr user)

Our custom designed lego box for our wedding


Our Detailed Wedding To-Do List

by Melissa on June 15, 2011

Time for the detailed wedding to-do list. 

Back in January, I created an action plan for the wedding.  It contained the broad things that we could do, stretched out over a manageable period of time, from January to July.  In fact, I attribute a relatively calm wedding planning experience thanks in part to that list. Then, I expected, that by July, things would get much more nitty gritty, so the list ended there.  And I was right.  Things are getting nitty gritty now.  So it’s time to create a detailed wedding to-do list.

Here’s what it looks like now.  It hasn’t been populated entirely, but it was very helpful to just get all that stuff on paper (err, computer screen).  I blurred out some things that I’m keeping a secret for now, like the invitations!  I’m also sure that things will get even more detailed as time goes on.
Detailed Wedding to do list for supernovabride

I’m trying to determine the best way to approach this.  Should I just start to do the things I can cross off right now just to get them done?  Like picking up brochures for the welcome bags and buying paint supplies for our guest “book?” Or should I do it more systematically on a timeline?

Although I don’t like the idea of having things cluttering up the house, I’m thinking that I should just start to take care of those types of things now.  Less to worry about later, right?  And, if I already have it in the house, hopefully I’m less likely to change my mind about what I want to do for the wedding!

So, what do you think?  Am I missing anything major?

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Wedding Guestbook Artwork Idea

by Melissa on June 13, 2011

So, I have been having some really good, creative ideas for our wedding.  In a blogosphere filled with mason jars, burlap, and vintage chic everywhere, I have been really torn about whether to share my ideas.  Because I want them to be mine and not part of some wedding trend.  But, maybe that makes me a not-nice person.  So, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, here I go with one of my original ideas.  A creative guest “book.”

Initial Ideas

When I travel, one of the things I like to buy are tapestries.  I have several throughout the house, including these two.

photo (1)photo

The one on the left is from Egypt, the other is from India.  I have another one from South Africa, but it is HUGE and haven’t been able to find a good spot for it.  Anyway, initially I liked the idea of guests signing pieces of fabric, and then making a quilt out of it.  I had seen this idea a few places in magazines and on blogs, and I liked it.  But I had a few issues.  1) I don’t know how to make a quilt, and 2) I think signing fabric may be annoying since it’s really difficult to keep it taut as you write on it.

Wedding Guest “Book” Artwork

So, I had another idea.  A guestbook tetraptych (similar to a triptych, but with four panels instead of three).  I’m going to buy three canvas panels and place them on easels at our wedding (the fourth canvas will be created after the wedding).  One easel will say “Sign Me,” one will say “Decorate Me,” and the third will be a mixed media display.  The fourth canvas, created after the wedding, will be a photo collage.

  • “Sign Me” Canvas Panel – This one will have a variety of colored art markers available for people to sign their names and perhaps leave a brief message.  A more traditional take on the guest book, but we can display it in our home
  • “Decorate Me” Canvas Panel – This panel will be blank, but have a light outline of a grid pattern on it.  Initially was just going to have a blank  canvas, but then when I googled this idea, another post came up (so much for creativity), and they had a really good idea.  Each guest can decorate one of the squares on the grid.  We’ll have a variety of paints, charcoal, and markers available for our guests.
  • “Memories” Canvas Panel – This panel will contain a bunch of items (perhaps decoupaged on it, but I’m not sure), including ribbons and wrapping paper scraps from my bridal shower, our save-the-date cards, the bridal shower invitation, our wedding shower invitation, etc.  There will be a few blank spots on the panel and I’ll add more things after the wedding, like a copy of our favor cards, table placecards, a leaf from our woodsy outdoor venue, etc.
  • Grid Photo Collage Panel – After the wedding, I’ll create a collage of some of our favorite photos and have it printed on a canvas panel the same size.  The photos will include the ones we took right after our engagement all the way up through our wedding day.

Then, there you have it.  We have a nice lovely series of four panels to hang in our home.  This is kind of how I envision it (although maybe slightly wider panels)


What do you think?  What are some other things that I can put on the “memories” panel?


We interviewed deejays last month.  With one or two exceptions, We were seriously unimpressed.  We have a somewhat complicated setup at our venue.  Outdoor ceremony location (no power nearby), outdoor but covered reception location (power is available), and then probably move to an indoor location as the evening progresses and it gets darker and colder outside.  While some deejays  knew right away the type of equipment we would need, others just speculated, and one even said he wouldn’t talk about the type of equipment he would provide until we had provided him a deposit?  WTF?  A top-rated wedding wire vendor?  Shady!

Sidenote: Oh, and just throwing this out there, just like most other vendor websites, deejays websites also blow, but they have the added annoyance of playing freakin techno music on their homepage.  Can we all just make some sort of wedding pact that people NOT HAVE MUSIC ON THEIR WEBSITES?  Photographers are often guilty of this as well.

Alas, I digress.

imageAs part of our April Action Plan, I had been compiling songs for our wedding “playlist.”  Most of these songs came from my fiancé’s massive iTunes library.  I was going to provide a list of these songs to whatever deejay we selected.  Then, one evening as I continued to identify songs, my fiancé said, “What are you thinking about this whole deejay thing anyway?”  I knew right where he was going with it.  We already have all the music we want to play at our wedding.  My fiancé set up our entire tech-savvy house (our house e-mails us every time a door opens and shuts, we have security cameras, we can watch a movie on the DVD player on any TV in the house, etc.)

We didn’t need a deejay.

We already don’t want this to have the normal look of a wedding.  And a deejay is only going to make things more structured and rigid, which is exactly what we want to avoid.

As I started to write this post, I stopped for a little while.  I panicked.  What if everything breaks and we can’t get it working?  We’ve been taking dance lessons!  It would be devastating if we couldn’t show off our new moves because we couldn’t get the audio equipment working!  I had already considered whether to have a Deejay or not a few months ago.  I decided that the only real downside is cost.  Is it really worth it to do all of this ourselves?

However, when I mentioned my concerns to  my fiancé, he assured me that it’s a low risk project.  We have the venue for two days before the wedding, so he’ll have plenty of time to set things up.  I do worry though that if he does run into some trouble with it, that he’ll be frustrated or get in a bad mood over it, which is something I’m sure I won’t want to deal with in the days leading up to the wedding, but I’ll just do my own thing.  Plus, I figure a lot of his other tech-savvy friends will be in attendance at the wedding and will be able to troubleshoot things easily.

For those of you who had an iPod wedding, I’d love to hear specifics about how it went.  Like the type of equipment you rented, how long it took to set up, and how the wedding flowed without a dedicated person to emcee the event.