Wednesday, November 30, 2005

To iPod or Not to iPod

Sam says he's gonna get me an iPod for Christmas. Yay!

iPods are so popular nowadays that I heard of a recent trend with budget-bound brides. They're using iPods to "DJ" their weddings! And I think it's a pretty good idea. A common complaint about weddings is that the music's always really bad. Or that the DJs are too cheesy. But if we were to create our own playlists, at least we could be sure that we like the music. Wouldn't it be horrible if they played rap followed by Britney Spears followed by Cher? *shudder*

So I'm kinda considering having an iPod reception. It's much cheaper than a DJ. It's way cheaper than a band, and with more music variety. Sam and I could buy one of those iPod-compatible stereo/speaker sets for still less than a DJ, and we'd have something to keep for ourselves. Guests could occasionally go to the iPod to pick a song they like. I even read a cool idea online: with the RSVP, guests could write in their favorite song so we could download it and put it on the playlist. And it's all pre-approved by us, so we won't get any songs we hate or possibly vulgar songs or whatever else.

Really, the only thing that I'd want a DJ for is to read the mood of the party. You know, if people wanted to dance all fast and crazy for a good long while, he'd keep that up, but if people suddenly wanted a slow song, he could accomodate that too. He could also catch people's attention for cake cutting, toasts, special dances, bouquet tosses, etc. And I had thought that maybe people wouldn't dance if there wasn't that party energy that people get from DJs and live performers...

Still, I've been to enough house parties (well, okay, only at Sam's house) to know that you don't need a DJ to get people to dance. And sometimes even if there is a DJ or band, sometimes people don't dance. Like at the Cage in Iowa City. Or really any non-clubby bar in Iowa City. And DJs who double as MC can be annoying. I could get one of the bridal party to announce toasts and bouquet tosses. I think my mom has a karaoke machine we could use for a microphone. I've heard that some people have done that. And I'm trying to get out of the mindset that getting a professional to do something means it'll be classy. Cuz that's not necessarily the case.

I guess I really am leaning toward having an iPod reception. I think even if money wasn't an issue, I'd lean toward it. It makes a little more sense to me than a DJ, and it's more personalized. But I think if I didn't have to budget so much, I'd like to have a band. An Irish band would be so much fun.

There are too many choices in wedding planning! Doesn't bode well for an indecisive person like me... =P

Monday, November 28, 2005

To-Do List

There's so much we need to be doing, and it's overwhelming to think that we'll need to get it done soon. I think part of the reason we haven't gotten a lot of this stuff done yet is because thinking about it is so overwhelming. We're also notorious procrastinators. 5 months feels far away, but I know that it's actually a really short time for planning a wedding. We don't want to be doing all of this at the last second. That would be really bad.

So here's a list of the things we need to do, kind of in order. Unless I don't know where it goes. Oh dear.
  • Book reception location
  • Book caterer (and bartender, if not provided)
  • Shop for/Buy wedding dress
  • Shop for bridesmaid dresses
  • Create/Send Save-The-Date cards to out of town guests
  • Work on DIY projects (ongoing)
  • Book photographer/videographer
  • Book DJ/Band
  • Shop for/Order cake
  • Order test flowers (if needed)
  • Fill out wedding gift registry
  • Get dress alterations (if needed)
  • Order flowers
  • Order Sam's tux (I have no idea where this goes)
  • Create/Send invitations
  • Track down guest RSVPs
  • Confirm details with vendors
  • Get marriage license from court house
  • Get final headcount
  • Pay vendors
  • Rehearsal

Catholic wedding requirements (I'm not sure where these go):

  • Questionnaire
  • Pay deposit
  • Obtain baptism, communion, & confirmation information
  • 3 meetings with Deacon John
  • Call wedding coordinator
  • Call Dominic (music coordinator)
  • Have Jay get with choir friends and wedding music people
  • Pick songs
  • Marriage retreat/class/counseling
  • Marriage "test"
  • Get witness forms filled out
  • Pick wedding ceremony readings
  • Give wedding coordinator marriage license

See what I mean about 5 months being a short time? Yeesh. And I'm not even sure I remembered everything. Hopefully we'll be able to get some of these things done at the same time, like if our reception location provides inexpensive catering.

Oh, another thing I need to do is apply for a high-limit credit card. I need to do this for several reasons:

  1. Since we won't have our full budget saved up until May, we need a way to pay for things until then.
  2. We can pay one bill gradually rather than a billion bills all at once.
  3. If we have problems with any of our vendors, we can contest the charge and not pay until the issue is settled.
  4. If we go over our in-the-bank budget a little, it won't be a huge deal.

I hope my credit is good enough for a spiffy new Capital One card. I have a small limit one already, and it's been pretty good to me so far.

Okay, I should really get back to work...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ring Around the Rosey

Sam and I love roses. They look and smell so lovely. So we're having them for the bouquets and bouttonierres. You can get inexpensive, high-quality roses from online wholesale stores like or I've heard great things about, so I'm leaning toward getting the roses from them. But offer free shipping on orders over $150... I might order from samples from them beforehand to see about the quality. Sam's Club and Costco also sell wholesale roses, so there are a lot of options.

Here's what I'd like my bouquet to look like:
It's a hand-tied bouquet using Black Magic roses. I think the deep, dark red is beautiful and romantic. But I don't know if it will match with all the blue I want everywhere. I probably will go with them anyway. I'm taking a "do whatever the hell I want" attitude toward the wedding since I'm paying for most of it. So I figure, if that's what I want, who cares if it matches?

Here's a sample of a Black Magic rose from

Anyway, I think around 25 roses for my bouquet might be big enough. And then maybe 15 roses for the bridesmaid bouquets. I was thinking purple for them. Here's a sample picture of a Lavon rose:

I was also thinking about a cream colored rose for the bridesmaids - or for me, if I was feeling more "bridelike" - but I'm not sure about it. But I really love the color of this Sahara rose:

Isn't it pretty? Just a touch of peachy pink. But I want the wedding to be very colorful, so I probably won't go with them. They probably wouldn't dry very well either, and I want to preserve my bouquet.

Sam's bouttonierre would match mine, of course. Then his groomsmen would match the bridemaids. I think we'll make bouttonierres/ corsages for our parents and for our brothers too, but overall, we won't need many flowers. I don't want to have fresh flowers for the centerpieces, cuz I'd like to get as much done way in advance if I can. My bridesmaids and I would make our bouquets and the bouttonierres the night before the wedding and probably store them in my refrigerator. If we did the centerpieces too, I wouldn't have time or know how to transport that many flowers. But I will buy a lot of rose petals to scatter on the tables.

I was thinking about making beaded roses to add to the centerpieces, since paper flowers might prove to be a fire hazard. Beaded roses catch the light really well, and I could make them in all kinds of unique colors.

The problem is that they're so time consuming to make, and I'd need to make about 40 or 50 of them. I suppose I have time between now and then, but I want my projects to be as simple and easy as possible. Blue twinkly roses would be so cool, though...

Once again, comments would be happily received. ^_^

Friday, November 25, 2005

Need Better Reception

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm trying to update this journal at least once a week, but hopefully I'll get into updating it twice a week or more.

So the most pressing order of business right now is finding a place to hold our reception. Since I have to have a church wedding ceremony, I was really hoping I could have our reception outdoors. Trees and flowers around us while we eat and dance sounds pretty and romantic. Especially since it'll be mid/late spring. But so many of the places around here like that are so expensive! Some of them have site fees for $2000 or $3000, and that's not including anything like tables or chairs or gazebos or what have you. Ridiculous! So I'm looking for more inexpensive alternatives.

There's a botanical garden here in Camarillo (who knew?) that sounds nice online and hosts weddings, but they haven't returned our phone calls. We might stop by there this weekend just to poke them and find out some information for ourselves.

We also called the local Park District. They had a nice sounding park in Camarillo Springs, but we'd have to be out of there by sunset because of coyotes. There's another one near the church that we could use, but I know that park and it can be very busy. I'd like it if it were more private and if there were no chance of soccer balls and pooping dogs disturbing us. Still, I haven't been there at dusk, so it might not be as bad or busy as I imagine it might be.

We're also going to look into Camarillo Ranch, which I hear has nice grounds. They charge a lot for their wedding packages, but I'm wondering if we have to have a package, cuz we don't need a lot of that crap. (I don't need use of their bridal changing room or a wedding arch or 250 chairs. Yeesh.) They also have different (cheaper) rates for use of the grounds, which is all we want, so I was thinking we could just not mention that it's for a wedding reception. Businesses charge an arm and a leg for wedding stuff because some brides can be so twinkle-eyed and naive and dead-set on everything being just perfect that they don't care how much it costs.

And then there's a place in Ventura, which is about 20 minutes from Camarillo, that sounds like it might be relatively inexpensive. But I'm wondering how out-of-towners will get over there from the church. It's not very far, but I'd like to save our friends and Sam's family some monetary grief if I can. I was thinking about renting a bus or something so fewer people would need to rent a car, but I don't know... That's added expenses, and we've gotta be careful with how many expenses we add up. I'll look into it, though...

But you know, if we end up having an indoor reception, I wouldn't mind too much, I guess. But I might bring out the "building trees from scratch" idea again. My brother Jay works at Lowes, so we could get the materials at a discount... I just don't know what we'd do with them afterward. (I'm not sure if I'm entirely serious about the trees. It'd be so cool, though!)

Any ideas on other things I could check for? I think I'm covering all my outdoor reception bases, (botanical gardens, nurseries, parks, traditional wedding sites...) but I'm running out of ideas.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Budget Just Won't Budge!

Even though I've been working for nearly a year and a half, I haven't been able to save up much money until recently. It's the bills that sucked me dry, really. Things got better after I got promoted in May, cuz now I'm making a lot more money. But we had to use a lot of our money on our security deposit and rent for our new apartment, so my saving actually started around August or September. Bleah.

Anyway, I think I'll be able to save about $3000 more between now and our wedding day, if I'm good. That doesn't include what Sam will contribute, and he says that his mom wants to give us some money for the wedding too. So, I think we'll probably have a cash budget of around $5000 or more (credit will enter into it, but I'll explain that later). $5000 is a lot of money, but it's actually a really small budget. Weddings cost around $20,000 or more on average.

In order to save money, Sam and I will be having what my cousin called an "arts and crafts wedding." I'll be doing a lot of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, which is fine by me, cuz I like doing craftsy stuff. Here's a list of projects I'm thinking of doing:

  • Flower-shaped lanterns to hang up - made from tissue paper, wire, small jars, and light sticks
  • DIY bouquets and boutonnieres - order flowers online and assemble the night before the wedding
  • Frosted lanterns, paper flowers, and rose petals for centerpieces - lanterns made using etching cream on small glass vases; paper flowers made following a Paper Flower Kit from; rose petals orders from online flower place
  • Paper/tissue paper butterflies and paper flowers for church decorations - butterflies made from either wire and tissue paper or using a kit from; see above for paper flowers
  • DIY Save-The-Date cards - I haven't decided about what I'd like to do with this. Magnets? Plain ol' card? Hrm...
  • DIY Invitations - cardstock, vellum, and paper. I have ideas for this, but I can't find the example anywhere... I'll post it later, I guess.
  • DIY veil - bridal tulle from Jo-Anns, plastic comb, fake pearls or crystals. If this costs me more than 5 bucks to make, I'd be really surprised. People pay $50+ for these things??
  • Small homemade soaps for favors - I've been really interested in soapmaking lately, and I think these will be cute, simple, and useful.
  • DIY Unity candle - There are candlemaking kits in crafts stores that I can use. (I'm not really sure if I want to have this little "ceremony" in the wedding. I like the symbolism, but it seems unnecessary.)

I think that's it for now. I'll post projects as I work on them, which I should really get started on. 5 and a half months sounds like a long time, but most people plan their weddings in at least twice as much time. There's so many other things I had thought about doing (making trees from scratch was one of the crazier ones...), but since a lot of them are really time consuming, I thought I'd stick to ones that would take me a day to complete at most. I also have some other ideas for saving money that aren't so craftsy, but I'll post those later.

Any ideas for other DIY projects?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This Dress: Wanted Dead or Alive

First off - Sam, you stay out of the comments of this post, okay? I want anybody who wants to comment to be able to talk about what it looks like. Thanks, Honey!

Okay, so a couple weeks ago, I found this dress on Ebay, with a starting bid of $150.

Beautiful, isn't it? I really like it, and something like this would normally run about $500 or more. Here are some more pictures with detail:

I love it, and tried bidding on it, but I didn't have much money to spare because I had just paid rent. I was willing to bid up to $180, since the shipping was $20. So it would turn out to be a nice round $200. But someone had already bid on it. And their highest bid was always higher than mine. I even went a little higher than I intended on bidding. But I didn't want to get caught in it and try to buy a dress I could afford, but only just barely, with little money left for going out to eat or gas or if an emergency came up... So I let it go.

But now I've become a little obsessed with finding it. I've looked tons of places online! The seller said it was by Allure Bridals, but I looked on their website and it isn't there. It's probably one of those "last season" things, which is likely why it was being sold for cheap. So that's all I know about it, folks. I really don't want to get too obsessed with it, just in case I don't find it. Whatever dress I end up wearing will probably be very pretty. But keep an eye out for it, okay?

I might end up having it made in the Philippines... I don't really want to because I'm a control freak and would like to know at least exactly what it'll look like... But it would be free. (My aunt offered to pay for it and arrange it.) I've gotta think about it.

I plan on at least going to some bridal stores to see what styles look good on me. (Also to see if I can find my Ebay dress!) Preferrably before January, because I'd like time to have a dress made if I need to... I also need to see if my mom would like to accompany me and Ciara and Nimalee... but that's a whole other issue.

Anyway, watch for this dress, okay? Or maybe something similar? And I'll post more about dresses in the comments, or in another post. Let me know what you think!

Wedding Planning 101

Welcome to my new wedding planning blog!

Yes, I had one before. I liked it for a while, but the format of the Wedding Channel Forums changed, and I didn't like it. Being there also made me want things I don't need for my wedding, and I have neither the budget nor the time to deal with all that.

I'm making this blog in hopes that it won't overshadow or steal thunder away from Sam's Wedding Blog, because his was there first, and I really do want Sam to feel like his perspective on the whole wedding thing is being seen. So I think that if there are any announcements or new developments (venues get booked, final decisions get made, etc.), I'll just link over to Sam's blog. (I'll try, anyway. If I get excited about things, I like to babble about it) That way, you get all the updates, news, and boy stuff from him.

So what will this blog be for? Planning! I'll post ideas for songs, decorations, dresses... mostly all the girly stuff. If you're a bridesmaid, you should really pay attention, cuz a lot of this will have to do with you! I hope you guys leave comments, cuz I'd really like to hear your input on all of this. If you're not a bridesmaid, I'd like to see your comments too! Please comment. Please?

This blog is still currently under construction, but I'm working on making it all pretty and nice. I picked the white for the template, cuz it's all bridal and stuff, but I'm not sure if I like it. I'll be fiddling around with it, so maybe it won't even still be white by the time the first person sees this. Ah well.

Edited to add: After trying basically every blog template there was, I decided - for the sake of my sanity - that I would be entirely unoriginal and use the same template as my Photo Blog. It's pretty, it's not industrial and modern like all the other ones, and I like it. So there.