Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Making Customized Wedding Posters with Photoshop

Matt and I are heading to a wedding in Indianapolis soon. The reception is taking place at a theater, so the bride and groom asked Matt to photoshop their faces into some famous movie posters. I think he did an amazing job! I'm excited to see how our friends use them...

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Saturday!

Is it perfect kite-flying weather where you are?

Matt was flying his kite at Hermann Park, and Hoss was flying his.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

DIY: Fabric Leaf Centerpieces

I've been a little obsessed with Amy Butler lately.

First, there was the Blue Sky Hat I need to make for our upcoming honeymoon (er, "Annual Adventure") to Paris and Greece.

Then Matt and I bought a mid-century modernish chair off craigslist and want to reupholster it. I've been stalking Amy's website in search of the perfect home decor weight fabric. I've been annoyingly indecisive about the whole thing because I'm convinced that whatever fabric we choose for that chair will set the tone for our entire house (since we also need to buy a new rug because of Hoss's incessant diarrhea a few weeks back and we need to make new pillows for our couch--all of which will need to coordinate with the chair...).

Anyway, long story, short: While on her site, I came across some free downloadable patterns. Lots of them, in fact! This pattern for fabric leaves seemed particularly relevant for anyone looking for a crafty centerpiece or decoration idea (no pressure to craftify your wedding; we skipped the centerpieces and decorations altogether)...

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Song Makes Me Happy

"Come on Petunia" by The Blow (thanks for sharing, Matty B.)

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Awesome Wedding Gift

My ex-boyfriend (of four years) gave us a super-awesome wedding gift: a $500 credit toward any eco-improvement we want to make to our house.

We just took him up on his offer and purchased a rain collection system. Did you know that one inch of rain over a 1,000 square foot roof produces 623 gallons of water? Woo-hoo! Our soon-to-be garden will be happy.

With shipping, we paid $181.50 (well, Jeff paid...). We ordered it from eGutter, and all proceeds benefit the Phoenix Montessori Middle School Project in Huntersville, NC.

We haven't set it up yet, so I can't attest to its efficacy, but it looks amazing!

Happy collecting!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm So Glad We Stayed Out of Debt While Wedding Planning

Money is a little tight right now for Matt and me. Nothing serious--just a lot of expenses are piling up.
  1. We decided to refinance our mortgage. We brought our interest rate down from 6.375% to 4.75%. It will take us about two years to recoup our closing costs, but after that, we'll save $188 a month, which adds up to $2,256 a year. It seems worth it in the long run (although it sucks to fork over thousands of dollars for closing costs!).
  2. We are finally getting a fence put in. Our poor bloodhound has to be tethered to a long cord every time he's in the backyard. The cord is usually stretched between his two legs, which makes him waddle. I think he's starting to get a complex. We're having a company put in an iron frame, and then we are going to attempt to attach wooden slats (like the fence above). We'll see how it goes.
  3. Matt needs to get a new car soon. His car has over 100,000 miles, so we're getting to the point where it doesn't make much sense to keep putting money into repairs. He wants to get a Honda Insight, and there's no way we can fork over $23,000 in cash, so we'll have to take out a loan. Our plan will be to repay it as quickly as possible to avoid paying a lot of money in interest. I hate interest.
  4. We just spent approximately $1,500 to repair the aforementioned car.
  5. We need to get a new rug for the living room. Hoss had diarrhea on my old Swedish one from IKEA. Sorry for being so graphic. We're going to get a flor rug, so we can take out one panel at a time and wash it in the sink. Very dog-friendly.
  6. We want to get a used leather couch, so we can simply wipe off Hoss's dog hair and bloodhound slobber. We're looking for a used one on craiglist, but it will still be a hefty chunk of change.
  7. We want chickens! And the coop I want is really expensive. I know it would be more budget- and eco-friendly to make our own from used wood, but I'm really compelled by the concept of "easy clean" surfaces. I think our first forray into raising barnyard animals should be as simple as possible.
  8. Oh, how could I forget our big annual trip abroad? Oy vey! That trip will be about $6,000.
  9. And I need new running shoes. I've been wearing mine for a year and one month. Aack!
Phew. Thanks for letting me vent! I feel a little bit better getting it out of my head and onto paper.

Long story, short: I am so, so glad we didn't go into debt while trying to plan our wedding. Debt is the worst because you end up paying more money for things you've already purchased. Yuck.

How are you doing (or how did you do) with staying out of date to have a wedding?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Sad Day in the Fight for Marriage Equality

The Courage Campaign is fighting the good fight out in California, despite today's setback in the state Supreme Court. They've updated their advocacy video to include these opening lines:

What if we could vote...to pay you less because of your gender.
...to deny you medical care because of your age.
...to deny you housing because of your race.
...to stop you from marrying the person you love.

That's exactly right. It's a civil rights issue. Regardless of what individual religions think about marriage between same-sex partners, we can't continue to deny people the civil rights that accompany marriage. It's the responsibility of the state to provide equal rights to all its citizens.

I think I better go donate $25 of my allowance money to the cause.

Go to their site if you want to watch the updated Fidelity video or to donate.

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Contest: Enter to Win Handmade Flowers

How fun!

Robyn of Craftivist fame is offering some handmade goodness from her new business: Petal to the Metal.

You can pick one of the following prizes:
  1. A handmade wedding bouquet
  2. 20 loose flowers
  3. Boutonnieres for your entire wedding party

She is also providing free shipping + handling, so your prize is completely free. You just need to follow the parameters listed in her shop (e.g., select from available fiber colors, choose from the sizes offered, etc.).

To win, please enter your first name and the first two letters of your last name in the comments section by Tuesday, June 2 at 11:59pm EST.

From Robyn's Blog:

Craftivism: coined by Betsy Greer in 2003, her favorite definition states, “craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite.”

From her Etsy Shop:
Petal to the Metal brings with it a commitment to global love, using recycled yarns in many of their bouquets, choosing animal-free products whenever possible, using recycled packaging when available, and never using underpaid or undervalued labor in the making of its bouquets.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Marriage for All

As the fight for equal access to formalized commitment continues to rage across our country, I wanted to take a moment to share the names, faces, and story of one couple who is at the forefront of that movement.

Mary and her wife, Kerry, were married on November 4. At the time, they were working on the "No on Prop 8" Campaign, and they realized that they needed to "jump in head first" and get legally married before California squelched their right on November 5th.

Mary says:
We booked the last possible appointment to get a marriage license in San Francisco and planned a quick wedding in 1 1/2 weeks. Two friends and our minister were in attendance. We made our rings in our friend's kitchen kiln. I carried a single flower from a bouquet my mom sent us from Michigan. My crying mom attended the wedding over the phone because she wasn't able to book a last-minute ticket to make it for our big day (plus, she had to stay home and vote).
Now, they are in the process of planning a wedding celebration that brings together all their friends and family. You can check out their wedding website for more information and photos.

To Mary and Kerry: May the wind of liberty and justice for all come sweeping through our country and find its way into every state, city, and home.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Love Love

Ooh! My love dove just told me about these amazingly free stickers (or you can order more and the money gets donated to the fight for equality). Here's the info from the website:
Here at CREDO, we want everyone to know that we support marriage rights for all couples - you can let everyone know that you do, too with one of our awesome stickers! You can get one sticker for free. Buy 5 or 50 stickers; we'll donate the profits to fight for marriage equality. For $5 we'll send you 5 stickers; for $25 we'll send 50 stickers. Stickers are 4.5" x 6" (about the size of a postcard) and may take 3-7 weeks to arrive.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Know You're Living in an Economic Recession When...

I'm sure they didn't have $1 plastic body scrubbers during The Great Depression, but if they did--and they completely unraveled--I'm sure they would have sewn them back together and kept on using them.

That's what I decided to do with our unraveled body scrubber, although it wasn't about the money. I just figured it would be super-easy to fix, and I might as well keep one more thing out of the landfill for as long as possible.

Surprisingly, it took about two minutes to gather back together and put a few stitches right through the center. I even made a new loop from which it can hang. Hooray!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

More Insight into The Wedding Industrial Complex

Sometimes the Wedding Industrial Complex feels like an amorphous and ethereal thing, and other times it feels very concrete and real, like in this newest message from The Wedding Report, which provides "Wedding Statistics and Market Research for the Wedding Industry." It's designed for businesses within the Wedding Industry, and it's creepy to get a "backstage pass" into their conversations with each other.

The editor talks about the threat of the DIY movement to the wedding industry. He introduces and explains the Do-It-Yourself approach to wedding planning:
If you are not already feeling it, then you will soon. The explosion of DIY (Do it Yourself) in the wedding industry is hurting many businesses. When I say DIY, I’m talking about DIY invites, friends and family digital photographers, iPod DJs, wholesale flowers etc.
His solution to combating the damaging effects of the DIY movement on the wedding industry is to "promote the profession." He goes on to explain:

It really boils down to: what is the benefit and value of hiring a professional over DIY? It could be cost, time or any number of things. Any marketing expert will tell you, if you show the true benefit and value of what you offer and it is greater than the perceived cost, you can charge whatever you want, and get it.

He's right. If the perceived benefit is greater than the cost, you'll probably pay for it. The really sick part is that the wedding industry tries to tap into our psyches by feeding us crap about our weddings being "The best day" of our lives and our one chance to have "The perfect day." With that kind of pressure, of course we're going to think that the benefit of hiring profesionals outweighs the cost. We become convinced that we need a professional to write our friends' and families' addresses on invitation envelopes or to put flowers in a vase or cover the chairs at our receptions.

Suddenly, all of these things that would never seem necessary for a regular party feel like non-negotiables for our W-E-D-D-I-N-G-S. We start to doubt our ability to have a meaningful and memorable wedding if we can't afford all the professional services (or--gasp!--choose not to use them).

I'm not criticizing anyone who chooses to use professional services at their wedding. People can elect to use professionals for a variety of totally valid reasons, like saving time, decreasing their stress, or supporting local businesses--just to name a few.

However, I am criticizing an industry that feels threated by the DIY movement and therefore decides it needs to promote itself by convincing you that your wedding needs to be "professional" rather than homemade or handcrafted. They are literally starting a "campaign" to promote "the profession."

All of this means that we have to be conscious consumers. When we need or want something, we have to stop and ask why. Is it because we're falling prey to the Wedding Industrial Complex's rhetoric about what is required to have a real wedding? Or is it because it makes the most sense given our individual budgets, values, and goals?

Answers to those questions look different for every couple, but the questions are worth asking.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Emily + Greg

Emily shared her wedding with me, and I'm very excited to hand it over to you, so you can hold it in your hand and peek at it.

Here's the hitch: she and Greg haven't gotten married yet.

You don't often see blogs featuring weddings that haven't happened yet, but I figure, why not? Emily and Greg have so many great ideas to share, why wait until July to share it with you?

So, without further adieu, here is Emily to share her and Greg's story:



We're getting married July 4 on the North Shore of Lake Superior, in Lutsen, Minnesota. We originally wanted to get married in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a place where we both have spent lots of time camping and canoeing, and we wanted to have a wedding that was not only outdoors, but also outdoorsy.

Unfortunately, there aren't any easily accessible cabins in the Boundary Waters. We looked long and hard for a reasonable place to hold our wedding - I wanted everyone to be able to stay in the same place as the reception, so there would be no drunken driving and everyone could just relax and have fun.

We wanted a place that was a) beautiful, b) inexpensive, and c) allowed dogs (we have a lab/shepherd and a newfie). And even though Greg is from Minnesota, he had no contacts up in the North Woods. So we ended up with Lutsen resort, which is definitely beautiful...Since it is a 3-day weekend, most people are staying the full weekend with us, and we are providing food for the whole weekend (with only the actual wedding dinner being catered). So there will be a lot of communal food preparing.


We're trying to involve everyone as much as we can without being obnoxious (though this is a finer line that I would have guessed).
  1. We're making a wedding quilt from squares decorated by our family and friends (this is a long-standing tradition in my family, and I can remember as a child admiring all the different squares in my parents' wedding quilt, and asking about the people that made them, learning about our family's history).
  2. My sister is performing the ceremony, and my college roommate, cousin and aunt are providing all of the music (it helps that my roommate is a flautist and my aunt has a Ph.D. in choral conducting). One of the pieces of music is "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennys, which has four verses: This is the sound of "one voice", "both of us", "voices three", and finally "all of us". We emailed the sheet music to everyone, and will print it in the program, and hope that everyone will join in on the last verse. The only parts of church I ever really loved were the hymns - there is something truly magical about a large group of people all singing together that we're hoping we can capture.
  3. The end of the ceremony will be a handfasting (an old celtic tradition where you tie a rope around the couple's hands to symbolize their joining together - from whence "tying the knot" comes from). The plan is to have everyone bring a piece of ribbon, or cloth, or string with them, and then at the end of the ceremony, everyone will form a circle and tie their strings together, then my sister will tie the ends of the giant circle of cloth/love around our hands.
  4. We wanted to do a planting, where everyone brings a bag of earth from their home and you combine them all in a pot and plant a plant in it, but that idea seemed too messy. We're having a quaker wedding certificate made, so everyone can sign to endorse our marriage. Many of my friends are quaker and I love the idea of a quaker ceremony, though without the silence.
  5. And another aunt (who is a folk dancer) will lead a folk dance on the beach.
The flowers are going to be organically grown, potted native plants that we will take home to plant in our yard in Ann Arbor afterwards as a lasting reminder of the wedding.

We're making our own wedding rings at the Wedding Ring Workshop in Chicago. The prices are a little steep, but since we never did any sort of engagement ring, we figured we could splurge on our wedding rings. And how fun to have your wedding ring made by your partner.

We're thrifting all of the dishes for the weekend (except for the catered dinner), so as to not have to throw anything away. A family friend volunteered to make cloth napkins for everyone out of old fabric she had lying around. Then we will put grommets and tags on them so everyone can write their name on the tag and hang them on hooks so they can use them the entire weekend. We're also going to have thrifted mugs for everyone, so they can pick a unique mug that will be their beverage container for the weekend, so we won't need to wash all the mugs all the time.

Instead of favors, we're donating money to Heifer International.

Oh, we also designed our own invitations, and printed them ourselves on 100% recycled kraft paper using a used Print Gocco that we then passed on to someone else. The theme was "How to Tie the Knot", and the invitations were tied with hemp string. It took us two solid days of printing, plus a day of assembling to get them all done, but there are few things I have been more proud of (especially given that neither of us have any artistic abilities whatsoever).

Our Budget:

My parents have $10,000, but that needs to cover the lodging for everyone in my extended family (which is about $3k right there), my parents' and siblings' flights, and food for 100 people for an entire weekend. We're hoping we can come in at around $8k since they've lost so much of their money in the stock market recently and anything we don't use will be most appreciated, but we shall see. I guess that doesn't include any clothing or the rings, since we're paying for all of that, or the honeymoon, since Greg's parents are paying for that.

Our Website:



Thanks for sharing, Emily! I especially love the communal hand-fasting ritual. I hope others are as inspired by your ideas as I am.

Sending well wishes your way for a meaningful and memorable wedding and a lifetime of loveliness with Greg!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eco-Friendly Fabrics

At the Summit of Awesome a few weeks ago, I attended a session called "Crafting a Green Craft" with Urban Fauna Studio, cosa verde, and Glue and Glitter.

They got me thinking a lot about the materials that crafters use. I bow down to hand-crafted goods because they aren't mass-manufactured using questionable labor and questionable processing techniques.

But then I had a "duh" moment when I realized that oftentimes hand-crafted goods are made from materials that are mass-manufactured using questionable labor and questionable processing techniques.

For example, there are tons of depressing statistics about cotton fabrics and how much pesticide goes into producing them and how many people get sick from preparing them for mass consumption.

That's why my preferred modus operandi is upcycling: using old materials to make something new. Matt and I tried to upcycle as much as possible while planning our wedding. For example, we cut up an old dress and turned it into a tie, a sash, and flower pins for our wedding party. An added benefit of upcycling is that it's usually budget friendly!

Upcycling is not always a feasible option. As far as I can tell, the next best option is using more eco-friendly fabrics (like the ones on sale at Harts Fabric right now!).

When I went to High Fashion Fabrics last week, the eco-friendly selection was disappointing so I opted for Amy Butler's regular cotton (oh, Amy, when you are going to produce an organic line?). I didn't beat myself up about it too much because I'll probably wear that hat for the next ten years (I'm not the kind of girl who needs a new wardrobe each season).

But still.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Q & A: Asking Wedding Guests for Money

Reader Question: I am a law student in Portland, Oregon, and my fiancee is a PhD student at UCLA. After our wedding, I will be moving in with him; that is, into a one bedroom apartment in L.A. I am actively trying to get rid of things that most people would consider necessities! Our wedding will be in Portland. I can only bring with me to L.A. whatever I can fit in my Ford Taurus (yikes!). I know that some folks will want to buy us items from a registry, and that's cool. But what we really need - is money. We are planning a very budget wedding, and a very awesome honeymoon in Germany. We are planning to stay in hostels, but any extra money we get at the wedding will help us upgrade our stay! Neither my fiancee, nor I will have any spare time to do much of anything but work for the next several years, and we know that after the wedding is the only time we can travel for a while. So.....after this long winded explanation, the real question is....how do I ask for money, or a contribution toward a honeymoon?

We were in a similar boat (for different reasons). First and foremost, we really just wanted our friends and family to join us for the wedding. When we said "Your presence is present enough" on our registry, we meant it!

But we also knew that some folks would insist on giving us presents. In that case, we really, really wanted money for a down payment on our house. We used My Registry to create a customized registry. We were able to create a request for contributions to our down payment.

Honestly, that strategy wasn't particularly useful for us. The most useful strategy was simply telling our close family members about our preference for money, and then they spread the word when the opportunity arose. For example, if a cousin came to them and said, "What should I get Matt and Sara?," they were able to explain that we really just needed money for our first house. The vast majority of the presents we received came in the form of money.

You could also create a special registry for your honeymoon. There's a great discussion about this option over at Wedding Bee.

Enjoy your trip!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Handwritten Fonts for Wedding Invitations

We're in the process of refinancing our house (s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l-l) in order to lower our interest rate from 6.375% to 4.75%. It will help us save $188 a month, which will quickly add up to thousands the longer we stay in our house.

As I was filling out the new loan application, I realized that we had to check a specific box to keep our mortgage company from selling our address to their business associates. I'm positive we didn't see that box the first time we applied for a loan, which explains the large amounts of junk mail we receive.

It's funny to watch Matt get tricked by the junk mail that seems to have his name handwritten on the envelope. I explained to him that it's a computer font. He still didn't believe me. I told him to lick the envelope and try to smear it. If it stays put, it's a computer font. If it smears, it's handwritten.

He finally believed me.

It's good for those of you who want the look of handwritten invitations without all the hassle. Just do a mail merge from Excel for even more efficiency!

There are lots of cool fonts on www.dafont.com, like my new favorite: Jellyka.

Happy typing!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Goodwill Goes Online

Huh. The Goodwill now runs its own Ebay kind of shop. Interesting. I imagine the selection will grow with time. The prices definitely seem reasonable. It's worth checking out.

Here's what the site says:
shopgoodwill.com is the first Internet auction site created, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. It was created and is operated by Goodwill of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA). Participating Goodwill's from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from these auction sales fund Goodwill's education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Honeymoon Hat

I went to High Fashion Fabrics with my new friend, Sarah from Sew Crafty, last week to lay our hands on some lovely fabric.

I picked up two Amy Butler fabrics to make my Amy Butler Blue Sky honeymoon hat.

I got the top fabric for the outer layer and the bottom one for the inner layer. With those two fabrics, the pattern, the canvas to give the hat some sturdiness, and coordinating thread, I spent about $50. In this case, going handmade is not going to save me money. Oh well. It will be fun to make it (assuming it turns out okay!), and the hat will forever have special meaning.

I'm not letting myself start the project until I clean my craft/office. It's a disaster zone.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Balloon Wedding Garland

Ooh la la.This image from TiaraMia via my friend Shyla's blog, Cupcakes & Curry, makes me smile. I think balloons like these should make a comeback.

What a fun way to say, "Happy Friday!" (Or, "Happy Love + Wedding!")

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Q & A: Receiving Lines

Reader Question: So, since we are having an outdoor ceremony I am a little unsure as to what we do after the ceremony. I have kind of played in my head how the ceremony will go. After we are married, do we walk back down an aisle kind of thing? I really wanted to have our ceremony in a round, so that everyone could see and hear, but I couldn't figure out how to walk down the aisle. I don't really want a receiving line, just because of time and the fact that everyone should know each other. I'd rather spend more time visiting than wasting time on lines. We are limited with our ceremony at 5 and our reception at 7. We still have to eat and have family pictures in between. So if we don't have a line what is an alternative? How do I let my guest know without it being rude?

Yeah, I hear you. Having an outdoor wedding can throw anyone for a loop. It certainly had that effect on Matt and me. (At one point, Matt was suggesting that we stand on top of a picnic table so everyone could see us. When I pointed out that standing on the picnic table would mean that we had one less table for our guests to sit at, Matt decided that our guests could still sit the table we were standing on. Really? Do I really want people looking up my dress as I profess my undying devotion?)

Initially, I found myself trying to fit our outdoor wedding into the indoor wedding formula: audience facing forward, bride walks down the aisle, ceremony happens, bride and groom walk back down the aisle....

Then I realized it wasn't going to work. There literally wasn't an aisle. I worried about this fact for a millisecond and then realized, "Wait. I don't even want to walk down an aisle. That will make me way more nervous."

From that point on, we just made it up. Instead of thinking about what's normally done, we started thinking about what we wanted to accomplish and what made sense for us. We decided that we would park our car, get out like normal guests, and actually mingle with our friends and family before the ceremony started. We decided that this approach made sense for us because a) We wanted to fit in as much conversation and hanging out time as possible with all of our guests, b) Chillin' with our friends/family before the wedding would relax us and make it feel like less of a performance and c) It solved the no-aisle dilemma. When it was time for the ceremony to start, we had someone switch on our signature song, and the entire wedding party knew it was time to move to the front.

Since we had a very unconventional wedding, we put a lot of specific directions in the ceremony program to help keep people informed about what was happening. Also, at the end of the ceremony, we had our officiant reiterate the directions:


  • Thank you so much for joining us today.
  • Please stay seated where you are so we can take a few photos of the entire group.
  • Those of you who have been asked by Katy to stay for pictures, please gather in your groups over in this area after the whole-group photo.
  • If you would like to recycle your programs, there’s a box over there.
  • After we take the photos, the celebration will continue six miles down the road at Sunshine Mountain Lodge.
  • See you there!

After the group photos, people started clearing out and a spontaneous line formed of people who wanted to hug me. I hugged a few people and then declared to the rest of the line, "This isn't a receiving line! You don't need to wait in line to hug me!" A few people chimed in, "But we want to!" It was perfect.

I don't mean to be self-centered by focusing several paragraphs on our story. My hope is that our process is potentially helpful for you. In short, here are the enduring understandings:
  1. A wedding doesn't have to follow a formula (although it can if you want it to!). Decide what makes sense to you as a couple and go for it.
  2. In order to decide what makes sense, think about what your values, goals, and preferences are. Then work backwards from there to plan the smaller steps that align with your end vision.
  3. Communicate clearly with guests about the ways in which your wedding won't follow the standard formula. We did this on our wedsite, on a piece of chart paper that we hung up at the Welcome Picnic, in our ceremony program, and in our officiant's closure.

So, if you want people to stand in a circle, figure out how to make it work (with or without an aisle). If you want to replace the receiving line with something else, figure out what original purpose the receiving line was going to serve and think of something else that accomplishes that purpose.

Just the other day, Liz from cosa verde mentioned in the comments section that she and her partner are thinking about giving guests a piece of ribbon and asking them to tie it onto the couples' wrists as some point during the evening. That way, they are sure to have intimate contact with every guest and yet no one has to stand in line.

Sometimes we trap ourselves in the details of what we think a wedding is, and we forget that a wedding is plainly and simply about two people and their commitment. It can take whatever form you want it to (and I mean that across the board: If you want to have a super-traditional wedding because it aligns with your vision and values, then go for it!). Each couple can decide for itself what makes the most sense.

So, 2000dollarwedding kindred spirits, what makes sense for you? Are you doing a receiving line?

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Telling Wedding Guests What to Wear

Honestly, wedding etiquette is something that eludes me. Well, while I'm confessing, I have to admit that etiquette--in general--is something that eludes me. Sometimes "the rules" make sense and sometimes they seem like arbitrary things that have to be codified and passed down through the generations or else no one would be able to remember them because they don't make sense.

So I have no idea what one is supposed to do when it comes to letting guests know what to wear to your wedding. I'm not talking about requiring them to wear a certain thing (like all white or black--ahem, Posh Spice). I'm simply talking about letting them know how formal or informal the event is.

Matt and I decided to be frank with our guests because we didn't want to leave anyone speculating or worrying. Here's what we said on our wedding wedsite:



  • Outdoor summer wedding attire (summer days in Colorado are in the 80s); khakis, collared shirts or button-downs, sun dresses, skirts, dressy capri pants, etc. (Read: Comfortable!)
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses…and your umbrella!
  • Evenings can be chilly in the mountains of Colorado.
  • Bring your bathing suit if you want to go in the hot tub!


We continued to explicitly state the "dress code" by including this on our ceremony programs:

Reception | Sunshine Mountain Lodge

· Located six miles south on the right-hand side of Highway 7.

· Please park on the shoulder of the road.

· Feel free to change into more comfortable clothes or come as you are, and bring your bathing suits if you want to go in the hot tub.

· Dinner will be buffet style. Appetizers (starting immediately): chips and salsa, guacamole, seven-layer dip. Main Course (starting around 6pm): vegetarian/chicken/beef fajitas, tamales, make-your-own quesadillas. Side: black bean corn salad. Dessert (around 8:15): Cake (vanilla berry, cheesecake, tiramisu, carrot). Drinks: beer, wine, frozen strawberry margaritas, soda, juice.

· Have fun with board games, the campfire, dancing on the patio, a walk in the woods, the video of Matt and Sara, etc. Dancing will start around 8:45 p.m.

· Make yourself at home!

As far as I know, we could have committed a major wedding faux pas. Let's see what I can find on the subject:

"I would not bother with any note in regards to how guests should dress—it is poor etiquette."--My Dream Wedding.ca

"So what’s the easiest way to tell guests what to wear? Simple — choose telling wedding invitations."--Manolo for the Brides

Oops. I'm not surprised. That's why I tried not to spend much time in wedding forums when we were planning our wedding!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Friendly for the Environment and the Budget

Here's my purse chock full with 20 oranges because I was desperately trying to avoid getting a plastic sac from the grocery store (and I didn't have my canvas bags with me...)

When Matt and I were planning our wedding, we were constantly on the lookout for things that were simultaneously friendly on the environment and the budget. Oftentimes, these two values conflict. Our organic, antibiotic-free fajita meat, for example, cost way more than the non-eco-friendly stuff.

However, there's one arena in which things are consistently good for the environment and the budget: craigslist. Matt and I generally try to keep our shopping to a minimum (that's the best way to be eco- and budget-friendly!), but when we do need/want something, we almost always search cragislist first (that's how we got our crock pot, dining room table, bocce ball set, and bedside table).

This past weekend, I hosted a work meeting at my house and desperately wanted a little electric juicer to make freshly-squeezed orange juice (it was a brunch meeting). Our juicer broke at our wedding when we were juicing a butt-load of limes for the fajita marinade.

So, I went on craigslist and voila! There was an electric juicer for $6.

As far as I'm concerned, craigslist is a miracle worker. And they aren't even paying me to say that. I can usually find anything I need, and it's typically cheap! And, since the items are used, they're better for the environment because you aren't contributing to the production of new goods, which requires a lot of resources. Plus, when you no longer want something, you can sell it on craigslist and postpone its journey to the landfill.

As far as wedding planning goes, craigslist can be exceptionally helpful. Katie over at A Backyard Wedding actually found someone to let her pick free roses and other flowers from her yard (Katie ended up losing the address, so it didn't work out, but it's an awesome idea!). I'm still inspired by that story. I love the idea of using craigslist to make connections with people.

Our friends, Anne and Gena, found their photographer on craigslist by putting up an ad for someone who was looking to be an up-and-coming photographer.

It might also work to borrow someone's folding chairs (schools and businesses often have a ton of these on-hand) or folding tables or to buy someone's dishes or vases.

Have any of you used craigslist to work a little wedding magic?

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