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

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Best of 2000 Dollar Wedding

This picture encapsulates the idea that I have too much on my plate

It's time to hunker down! I have my first book deadline coming up on August 1 and then the rest is due January 1. Simultaneously, I'm running an e-course called Purposeful Conception: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy; revising a friend's manuscript about effective teacher organization; selling our house; moving to Austin to start a school and an intentional neighborhood; raising Henry; brainstorming my next book idea; doing educational consulting about reading instruction; going on a road trip from New Mexico to Colorado; and maintaining my personal blog. Blah, blah, blah.

Frankly, it's too much. I need to take a little vacation from weekly posting on this blog, so I can focus and consolidate all of my wedding-related thoughts into a super-useful and insightful guide to wedding planning. But those of you who stumble upon this site, don't worry! There's lots of juicy stuff to dig into, such as:

I'll definitely still be popping in from time to time (I know myself and know that I won't be able to stay away! Weddings are a chance to share our values and lives with our nearest and dearest and to start our new families off on the right foot!).

P.S. To those of you who submitted guest posts that haven't run yet, don't despair! I plan to run them when I return. You've sent in some really good stuff! Mille grazie!

Another P.S.: I'm still updating Feeding the Soil four times a week if you're interested in staying in touch!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Write Your Own Wedding Ceremony Script

Every once in a while, I like to post my ongoing collection of wedding scripts for your reading pleasure! (If you want to share yours or you've read an interesting one online, please e-mail me!)

  1. Sara & Matt of 2000 Dollar Wedding
  2. Ariel & Andreas of Offbeat Bride
  3. Kat & Justin of Weddingbee
  4. Jen & Shell
  5. Peonies & The Boy of Peonies and Polaroids
  6. Katie & Paul of A Backyard Wedding
  7. Hope & Ben of hippie dippie bebe
  8. Katie & Katie
  9. Colleen & Jay
And here's a play-by-play of how Matt and I wrote our own ceremony, in case it's helpful.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guest Post: The Bridal Party

by Catfish of Light Green

You know that old saying: “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”?

I have been a bridesmaid many times. I have never been a bride (and don’t plan to be any time soon). If you pay attention to pop culture (like the trailer for the movie Bridesmaids) that means I am:

  • an uncool spinster
  • high-maintenance
  • seriously lacking in anything that might attract a man
  • conversely, desperately willing to couple with any available man, especially if he’s wearing a tuxedo.

Sheesh. If you consider those stereotypes, “always the bridesmaid” seems pretty lame.

Luckily, pop culture doesn’t represent my experience of being part of a wedding party.

In my experience, being asked to be a bridesmaid is an acknowledgment of sisterhood. It’s a statement that a family can be made up of all kinds of people.

However, it’s not always easy.

Western theme wedding! This was the ultimate in comfy bridesmaid wear - I've wore every single part of my outfit multiple times.

These are a few of my take-aways from the bridesmaid (or bridal party – since now, bridal parties can be co-ed – yay!) experience.

For the Bride and Groom

  • Get clear about what you expect from your wedding party. My friend was telling me the other day that as the maid of honor at a rural wedding she had to shovel horse manure from the ceremony site. This is the kind of thing that people like to know ahead of time, so they can pack their manure-shovelin’ outfit. Ideally, you should clarify these expectations before you ask people to be part of the gang. Do you expect the members of your wedding party to hold showers? Crazy bachelorette parties? Is your wedding a DIY affair, and you hope everyone will be cocking the hot glue gun? No matter whether your vision is traditional or avant-garde, knowing what you want is key. There was probably a time when everyone had the same vision of what it meant to be a bridesmaid, but that time is not now.
  • Don’t be a slave to symmetry. I’ve heard friends say, “I have to have six bridesmaids because there are going to be six groomsmen, but I don’t know six people I want to ask.” This is never a good situation. My friend Kelly had six in her bridal party (five gals and a guy) and her husband didn’t have any groomsmen (we’ll get to that in a minute). The other way to avoid symmetry? The dreaded bridesmaid gown. Giving your gals and guys some options about what they’ll wear will endear you to them forever.
  • Honor your friends by knowing them well and letting them share their talents. You don’t have to ask a friend to be in the wedding party to show you love them. Remember my friend Kelly, the one whose wedding didn’t have any groomsmen? One of her husband’s best friends was asked to officiate. A few times, I’ve been asked to give a poast at weddings. What is a poast? It’s a poem-toast, which is a tradition in my family that my friends want to share in. There’s no reason why your friends have to stand next to you holding a bouquet.
No matchy dresses here! We were allowed to pick from a whole bunch of cute pink dresses for this wedding.

For the member of the wedding party

  • Be flexible. If you’ve been a bridesmaid several times, inevitably there comes a time when you have to hold up your friend’s dress up so she can pee. Just think of it this way: if you weren’t loved, you wouldn’t have this privilege. Sometimes, weddings get a little cray-cray, as the modern kids are saying. It’s best to be able to go with the flow.
  • but don’t compromise your values. If you’re a vegan and your best friend has been planning a Doctor Zhivago-themed wedding since age 6, you don't have to wear an ermine hat! If you’re thinking about objecting to a request, ask yourself: is this really something I’m not OK with, or is it just an inconvenience? If it’s just an inconvenience, you can probably go ahead with it. But there are lots of wedding traditions that might not align with your values, and a true friend will understand your point of view about them.
  • Have fun! Weddings are big parties. Yes, if you’re a member of the wedding, there may be a lot of expectations of you (things I’ve done for weddings: made vegan cupcakes, fetched Starbucks for the bride even though we were in the country, worn Western gear – twice!, played quarters with people I just met, woken up at 4 a.m., spent hours trying to figure out the seating chart) but the rewards are great (things I’ve done for weddings: gone to a catering tasting when the bride couldn’t go, written poems, danced to a funk band, had my own hotel room for the first time in my life, felt like one of the family).
A friend and I during another Western theme event - this one a rehearsal dinner. Who knew that being a bridesmaid leads to linedancing!

Best of all, it's an opportunity to be there for your friends during one of the most important times of their lives.

Catlin is a former teacher who now works to attain educational equity for all children. When she's not busy training new teachers, she is blogging about sustainable living, knitting, and reading on her Kindle.

A huge thank you to Catlin for sharing her story with 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirits! If you have an idea for a guest post you would like to write, please send me an e-mail!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Book Deal!

I feel about as happy as Henry looks!

Did I just give away the punchline or what?

Seriously, you guys, I have been sitting on this secret for a long, long time. Too long, if you ask me!

First of all, I don't like secrets. I prefer living out loud and sharing authentically. But it wasn't up to me. You see, I started sharing the process from the very beginning when I announced that I wanted to write a book and that I was looking for an agent. I was also looking for kindred spirits to provide feedback on chapters I was working on.

As I looked for an agent, I continued writing the book--all 65,000 words of it. I worked with many of you to revise big chunks of it (I'm indebted to you!). I got my first nibble from an agent in the summer of 2009 (after many, many heart-wrenching rejections!). She helped me to revise my proposal (all 21,000 words of it) and get it to the place it needed to be. I signed a contract with her company at the end of 2009. She asked me to keep our relationship on the down low (which nearly killed me because I wanted to shout it from the top of the Houston high-rises!).

She began her diligent work of looking for an editor at a publishing house. We had many ups and downs throughout the process. We would find a super-passionate editor who would want to champion the book, but then her sales team would shoot down the idea. More heart-wrenching rejection (it strengthens the soul, right?).

Finally, the stars, sun, and moon aligned and we got a real, live contract from Voyageur Press in December of 2010.

At that point, I was allowed to mention it, but I didn't. I was getting oh-so-close to having a baby, and I was busy with stuff. Like getting this blog ready for my maternity leave (I'm indebted to you for all your help AGAIN!), designing a Montessori nursery, preparing myself for birth and the life-changing process of bringing another life into the world--you know, stuff.

But now it's time to get going folks. My first deadline is August 1 (finalized outline and first chapter), and the rest of the book is due January 1. Although 65,000 words of the book are already written, I have lots of revising to do. Significant revising. I need to reorganize it and incorporate even more of your insights and experiences.

That's where I could use your help! If you have a second, would you mind filling out one of the surveys below? I divided them into two, so they wouldn't be so overwhelming (but feel free to tackle both if you're looking for an excuse to procrastinate from your real work!).

Survey I: Focuses on Budget, Wedding Industrial Complex, Engagement, Save the Dates, and Mainstream Wedding Elements.

Survey II: Focuses on Registry, Alcohol, Wedding Showers, Ceremony, Decorations, and Last Names.

Why write a book, you might ask?

Because books have changed my life. Because books have been my companion through so many life transitions. Because books help me set new goals for myself and work toward them. Because books show me what's possible and inspire me to strive.

I want to take our story (and all of your stories that have been shared in bits and pieces throughout the years) and consolidate it into a helpful, insightful, and concise companion. I want people to be able to pick it up off the shelf and carry it with them as they navigate the sometimes treacherous seas of wedding planning.

I'll keep you updated!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Power of Two: Judith and Soeren

I have a special place in my heart for couples who dream big and then work together to make those dreams come to fruition.

Remember when I wrote about Krista and Steve who had the dream to buy a Volkswagen Westfalia and drive across the U.S. and Canada for three months? (By the way, I actually got to meet them!)

And of course there's John and Sherry of Young House Love who work together every day.

Well, two of my good friends--Judith and Soeren--have designed a "flexible, individual and colorful solution for storage" and I offered to use my blog to help them conduct a bit of market research. It's the least I can do to support their dream!

So, here's what they need from you: Your Honest Opinion.

Each cube is 12 x 12 x 12". All sizes fit into each other, so that cubes can be flipped, stacked and individually rearranged. They are made of 1/2" baltic plywood and finished with matte laminate, that they would offer in eight colors (see picture). It's even possible to change the color of just one side within a cube.

What a playful way to find your personal colorful piece of furniture, e.g., bookshelves, coffee table, sideboards...

What do you think? Could they find a market for this idea? They are considering $25 per cube. Please be honest in the comments section. They don't want to invest too much in this idea unless it really could work.

Thank you!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Post: My Feminist Partner

By Allyn K. Milojevich

I absolutely love my name. It’s two names that look ridiculous on paper but are super easy to say when they are spelled out phonetically:

A-lin Mil-loy-ye-vich

See, easy peasy. Ever since I was little, I knew that I would never, ever give up my name. Maybe it was an easier conclusion for me since I grew up with a mom who kept her maiden name upon marriage to my father. And the decision was solidified when eleven days before my sixteenth birthday my father, of whom I have a spitting personality (thankfully I got my looks from my mom), had a surprise heart attack in the middle of the night and passed away moments later.

So perhaps it never was a “choice” for me. It was a fact; I would be a Milojevich forever.

I had just started the second year of my Ph.D. program when I met Chris, a high school teacher who was taking a few years off from teaching to get a Ph.D. in chemistry (the logic still baffles me). Little did I know that twenty-five months from when we met we would be writing our own vows to read to one another along the banks of the Tennessee River.

We moved in together after four months of dating and he finally said it: that we should get married and have the same last name. My defense mechanism kicked it and I avoided the marriage subject all together for a few months longer. However, he did finally pop the question (while I was teaching general chemistry lab) and we did have to address the issue.

See, his last name is Bennett. But after listening to my feminist diatribes for months, he pushed for a long time that we change our name to Bennojevich. To be pronounced:


I tossed this around for a little while, but eventually vetoed it because A) I thought it was stupid and B) that’s not *my* name.

So one day while I was cooking dinner, he walked in and announced that he was taking my last name and was in the process of submitting an academic article with Hisfirst Mylast. I tried to talk him out of it at first, realizing that when we moved on from our graduate school home, everyone would just assume I had taken his name. I tried to convince him that it was okay to be married and not have the same name, even if we did have kids. Having the same last name absolutely does not mean we are any less committed to one another. But he was having none of it.

He explained that even two years prior, he could never imagine marrying someone who wouldn’t take his last name. He explained how now that he knew me, he couldn’t imagine it any other way. I eventually caved and didn’t tell anyone unless the woman marrying us pronounced us Chris and Allyn Milojevich.

People were surprised at first, but not really in the end. Most of our friends and my family assumed we would keep our individual names but loved our decision in the end. A week and a half after our wedding his first academic article was published with his first name and my last name. I mean, *our* last name. Yikes.

We were married last October, but we couldn’t take a honeymoon until spring break (what with school and all) and decided to visit Russia. However, the visa process to get into Russia is long and somewhat complicated and started even before our wedding. So we had to keep our respective last names because our visas had to match our passports and so on. We just got back and are starting on the name change process. In eleven states, men are able to change their names as simply as women with a marriage license. But not in Tennessee! It’s a complicated, expensive process. I’ll be sure to write an update in a few months when all is said and done!


Allyn is a graduate student who spends most of her time reading and writing about interest groups and science funding. When not doing school work, she puts that master’s degree in chemistry to good use my working on her homemade cheese making skills. She lives with her partner and two cocker spaniels who keep her busy.


A huge thank you to Allyn for sharing her story with 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirits! If you have an idea for a guest post you would like to write, please
send me an e-mail!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Home Tour

Created by Ben Becker

I've been wanting to do a virtual tour of our house for a while now (perhaps to help me feel like a bona fide blogger?). However, I never seemed to muster the motivation to do it, probably because I don't feel like our house is finished.

But then I got a request in the comments section of this post from WilderMiss to post a tour of my house. And then I got an e-mail from reader Emily letting me know that she's moving to Houston and would be interested in looking at our house.

After Matt and I organized and cleaned our house for Emily's visit, I asked my professional photographer friend, Ben, to snap a few shots for our MLS listing. He was coming over anyway with his wife Sarah and their daughter Ellie Cate to get a mini-lesson about how to do Montessori in the home.

Ben took our little request ("One shot of each room will be great, Ben.") and proceeded to inject it with growth hormone. We ended up with tons of photos and a video to boot!

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Comes Love, Then Comes Links: Ideas for Sheridan's Bright, Summery Wedding

Donut and Coffee Bar from Somewhere Splendid

Sheridan wrote in about her “early-summer outdoor wedding. I am going for a very natural, casual, whimsical feel.” She mentioned wooden picnic tables, a white gazebo, and distinctive colors I knew I could run with: “pink, purple, yellow—very bright.” Here are a few ideas for Sheridan’s celebration:

Wedding Flower Finder

With its basis in the truth that plants are at their most beautiful and most affordable in season, RealSimple’s Flower Finder offers suggestions based on your time of year, color preference, and desired bloom size.

Paper Lanterns

For paper lanterns in every shade from moss to blueberry, stop by Luna Bazaar. A mix of fuchsia, lemonade, and plum could be perfect to add a splash of your wedding colors to that gazebo.

Wedding Donuts

All jokes about the Royal Wedding Donut aside, the donut seems to have joined the cupcake in dessert prowess. They’re just as fun, and in many cases, they’re more affordable. Check out this adorable donut and coffee bar—sub in lemonade for coffee if it’s too hot or the wrong time of day for coffee, though I have many friends who would be quick to tell me there’s no such thing.

Raspberry Lemonade

Speaking of lemonade, why not have a drink that goes with your color scheme?

Glass Beverage Dispenser

A couple of glass drink dispensers are not only functional, they can add to the casual feel of your celebration. They’re not always cheap if you buy them new—I’ve found them at second-hand shops—but since they’re reusable, they’re more earth-friendly, and sometimes more budget-friendly, than buying individual glass bottles. This one had useful handles and a vintage look.

I hope some of those give you some wedding inspiration! Have a wonderful celebration, Sheridan!


When Anna-Marie isn’t searching the blogs, she’s writing romance stories, cooking for her wife, or freelancing as a cake decorator and floral designer.

Want a few ideas for your own wedding? Drop me a line.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Post: Keeping It Honest

photo by justin visnesky

By Amanda King

We wanted to get married, and we wanted the people we loved to be there. That was really the only "theme" I had in mind, as a bride.

I don't get it. Wedding culture. Spending a down payment for a house on a dress and buying a cake instead of paying off your car. I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to even know if we were able to do that. I just wanted to be married to my best friend and I wanted to be surrounded by happy people who love us.

When everything was finished, mini-honeymoon included, we spent about $1500 on our wedding. However, my friend Avy gave me her wedding dress. She had gotten married the summer before, and she just happened to be 8 months pregnant at the time, and my size. I will forever be grateful for her wonderful gift. Kurt's parents were also generous enough to pay to have the reception catered, as a wedding gift to us. If you include the dress and food in the cost, I'd say that we pulled everything off for about $2500.

photo by justin visnesky

I was adamant about not going into debt just so that we could be married. We chose a free venue for the ceremony on an overlook on top of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh.

We used thrifted linens and sheets for our tablecloths. I bought wildflowers by the bunch at the grocery store the day before the event and cut them myself. I wore sparkly flip flops from Target. My 3 year old daughter, Scout, walked me down the aisle wearing a sundress from Old Navy. We relied on friends and family to take pictures. (Of course it helped that we have a few amazing photographer friends.) We made about a million of these. My friend made about a million of these. We made alcoholic punch and lemonade and people served themselves out of punch bowls, using mason jars for glasses. I hand cut place cards and guestbook cards and seating cards. We made candied apples for favors. It was a lot of work, especially for a 35 week pregnant woman with a toddler. But, we didn't go into any debt and we didn't succumb to the idea that a wedding has to cost a lot of money to be considered a real wedding.

photo by justin visnesky

The ceremony itself was simple and lasted about 15 minutes. The bulk of it being our vows. We wrote the whole thing ourselves. It didn't even include any cheesy definitions of love or the rules of marriage. It only included the things we wanted to say. We don't live the rest of our lives with a lot of posturing and flourish. Why would we choose to make our wedding that way?
photo by justin visnesky

My vows:

You showed up at my door on an afternoon in October and you were boyish and blue eyed and all grown up with a new car. I thought that you seemed maybe just a little bit dangerous and a little bit perfect for me. We spent the next few months growing so big that we blotted out the sky. We might have even raised a little hell.

We don't get into much trouble these days. And as much as a wild girl could love a dangerous boy, which was enough to crack the moon and send it plummeting into the ocean, I love you, the father of my children and the man who works hard and sacrifices consistently to make it so that Scouty, Louise and I can have a good life.

You take good care of your girls and keep us safe and happy. Scouty walks around in a dark and looming world as a dancing pinprick of light knowing that she is loved and protected and valuable because you make it apparent in every moment of her super big girl life that her daddy will always be there for her. That because of her daddy, she can trust that the world is good.

As a partner, you've turned me into a believer, too. My whole life, I never belonged to the world. I never made sense and I wore on every one, dragging around in the muck and the mud for the beauty I'd heard existed in every one of God's own creatures but nobody could see in me. But then, I found myself in your favor and realized that everything had always been perfect. You made me into an open, shining thing. I was impossible because you were impossible and everything was going to be okay, from now on. Every one of your handsome boy movements promised me that.

I take you, forever and ever, to be my friend and my husband. I trust you to be able to fix anything, to make the girls and me happy and keep us safe and to always always want us, even when we're bad and bossy and grumpy. I take you because you're the only thing, besides your daughters, that I've ever been in awe of, that I've ever respected absolutely and been able to marvel at explicitly. I am so proud to belong to you. I swear that I'll never do you wrong. I think it's about time you go ahead and make an honest woman out of me.

Kurt's vows:

Amanda, I remember the first time I met you. And from that moment on, you have acted as a powerful and effervescent force on my life. To the quiet lulls, you brought an elevating beauty and a boiling laughter. To the manic hardships, you brought a serene perspective and an honest wisdom. To where there was nothing but a grey horizon and a hollow clock heartbeat, you brought an overwhelming love, an unwavering devotion, and the missing pieces to a broken life which mended and then flourished under your careful hand.

I now fill the quiet moments of my day recalling all the time that we spent together as kids, or imaging what our time will be like when we’re old and free to share a quiet world together. I am constantly only spending my day counting off the minutes until I can see your face, again.

My love for you can feel as vast and encompassing as the sun, or as simple as a child who just wants to see his friend. Our relationship began as simple as an honest friendship, and grew into something more impressive, important, and beautiful than I knew was possible. I fell in love with you with a realization that my life would not be suitable for living without you by my side. And as you stand before me today, I see somebody who is no more separated from my life than the air I breathe or the blood in my veins. You are the woman I love and the mother of my two beautiful daughters. But through all of this, and perhaps most importantly, you have always just remained my best friend.

I made a simple promise to you years ago that I would always be good to you. I pray that you feel I have honored that promise, and today I renew that vow to you. I will always be good to you, because you deserve it. I promise to always love, honor, and defend you. I will happily care for you for the rest of my life, and I promise to stand by your side, as your husband, from this day forth.

photo by justin visnesky

In the final hours, though, some people started to freak out about our plan. They had a lot of questions about how a bunch of handmade crafts and a made up ceremony at a public overlook were going to add up to being an actual wedding. I admit that I started to succumb to the pressure. I felt suddenly like... what if this isn't okay? What if a wedding has to be a $4000 cake kind of deal? What if our suggestion to wear whatever you wanted was an abomination? Was it a big deal if people got rained on while attending our ceremony? At the last second, I felt so pressured and just wished we had decided to elope.

photo by justin visnesky

If I had it to do all over again, I would have closed myself off to the what ifs and criticisms of our humble approach to our planning. I would have remained calm in my vision, which was just to have a wedding that represented us honestly. To have a wedding that didn't try to claim a lot of things about us that weren't true. We didn't need to be seen as a couple who had it all and could compete in the world of modern wedding culture. I didn't need to outdo anybody with my bridey-ness. I just wanted to feel happy on our wedding day.

We didn't need, or even really want things to be perfect, because perfect things aren't beautiful.

photo by justin visnesky

But everything was very us.

photo by justin visnesky

And we were happy.

photo by justin visnesky

If you're planning to break free of the wedding mold, I encourage you to just do it. Do things your way. Be true to your ideas. Pay off your car. It's really okay. It is, I promise. You'll still love each other without being enlightened about the way a $4000 cake tastes. You might love each other even more.


Amanda King is a 32 year old mommy of two beautiful girls. She can be found baking or biking depending on the weather. She is married to the world's sexiest accountant and they all live happily ever after in Pittsburgh, PA. She blogs, often and with enthusiasm, at Last Mom On Earth.

Justin Visnesky grew up in a village in Pennsylvania. He makes photographs of the simple, quiet times in life; taking the ordinary and making it something more, something for the keeping. His work has been featured in various print and online publications and has been exhibited throughout the US. Justin lives with his wife and son in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


A huge thank you to Amanda for sharing her story with 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirits! If you have an idea for a guest post you would like to write, please
send me an e-mail!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Authenticity Versus Appearances

Henry's first real birthday isn't for another seven months (although we have been acknowledging mini-birthdays every month around these parts!). Despite how far away his birthday is, I have been giving a little bit of thought to how we want to help him celebrate his birthday. I promise I'm not that much of a crazy planner; it's just that I spend a lot of time breast feeding and therefore spend a lot of time meandering around the internet on my iPhone.

Just like there's a lot of wedding porn (i.e., pictures of perfect weddings) out there that makes one feel inferior, there's also a lot of birthday party porn that can have the same effect. All the details are perfectly creative, perfectly coordinated, perfectly executed, and perfectly photographed.

And while I'm a sucker for fun, DIY details and can get wrapped up in the planning and implementation of pretty flourishes, I also try to force myself to step back and look at the bigger picture. The fact is, our time is pretty much a zero sum game. When we spend time doing something, we are not doing something else.

So if we spend all our time planning the color scheme, arranging the favors, and placing the flowers just right, what are we not doing?

Finn's birthday featured by his mom, Meg, over at Sew Liberated, illustrates this point exactly. There are no picture-perfect shots of a perfectly-themed birthday. Instead, there are pictures of a happy little boy who got to have a special day with his family and a few friends. The focus on meaningful traditions is very evident. There's the birthday ring, the crown, the personal photos, and the book entitled, On the Day You Were Born.

As Matt and I plan celebrations for Henry (and then with him when he gets older!), I hope that we can find a good balance between authenticity and appearances!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dress Connection

Hooray! A dress connection has been made!

Remember when Casandra decided to give away her lovely wedding dress? She said:

I want to give my dress away to a like-minded bride (or as Sara would say, "a kindred spirit"). I'd like the next bride who wears this dress to be a person who is entering into marriage mindfully, by seeing through the wedding industry's hype to make choices that suit her values.

Well, she found that person in Emily. Emily said:

I would love, love, love that dress! Some background on me -- I'm a medical student marrying a Teach For America alumni teacher who's now teaching at an inner-city charter school in Chicago. We were college sweethearts (we met one month into my freshman year!) and I can't wait to marry him.

That being said, the wedding planning is really, really tough. We're committed to having a ceremony-centric wedding, and really want to highlight our faith and our community. For us, this means having lots of things to do during the wedding weekend for out of town guests (I'm from rural PA, so everyone will be out-of-town!), having a reception that is fun and easy and environmentally sustainable, and hopefully booking an in-town band and photobooth, as well as child care options, so that all of our dear, dear friends can have a great time and know that their sacrifice in coming so far away is appreciated and that we are so thankful.

So, all of that being said, in the vein of being sustainable, I was hoping to wear my mother's old dress from the 80s with some minor alterations. I tried it on a few months ago -- it's not gonna happen. There's really no way to alter it to make it work, according to my seamstress. And, based on our really, really low budget -- we have about 100$ budgeted for alterations of a dress, and no dress budget at all.

I would be so excited to win this dress! It's exactly what I was thinking I wanted, and you look gorgeous in it. After watching the "royal wedding" last week, I realized that as much as everyone's advice about weddings and the WIC's ideas of what's "a necessity" annoy me, I still want to feel like a fairy tale that day. And I think, as a medical student in a recycled dress at a cheap wedding going on a donated honeymoon? That's exactly my kind of fairy tale. :)

I couldn't be more happy for Emily and more appreciative of Casandra's donation. Now I'll leave it to the two of them to work out shipping.

Emily, be sure to send us a picture after your wedding!

To Everyone Else: if you have a lovely dress you would like to pass along to a kindred spirit, please let me know! Unfortunately, I can't feature every dress that comes my way, since I like to space them out, but definitely be in touch!

REMINDER: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on June 5. Register today!

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