Oh, Holy God:

 

I have four days before our wedding.

Yesternight’s Workout:

 

Oof.

It’s been a while.

We’ve been kinda sporadically doing Crossfit,
what with crazy 12-hour workdays and all.
I’ve been doing my own workouts every day at the office–
tricep dips, knee balances on the yoga ball,
pushups and situps and handstands when no one’s looking…
But I really miss doing Crossfit regularly.

 

x4

(Rotating stations for first three exercises)
5 pistols (each leg)
10 20# KB Swings
45 Single-Unders (for the life of me, I can’t get the rope to go fast enough for a double-under)
10 toes-to-bar
20# KB 100m Relay (FUN! And soooo tiring!)
5 Single leg balance extensions (each leg)

 

That last one is *awesome* because it challenges
your balance, coordination, and it strengthens your back muscles,
which we all need.

 

I had a breakthrough in handbalancing on Monday night,
which was good, since the rest of class was PAIN and JOINTS and PAIN:

I finally got a solid one minute belly-to-wall handstand,
AND I was able to kick up into a handstand and forward roll out of it,
on my own!

*phew*

Thought I’d never get through the mental block I was having for that latter bit–
I’m always afraid that I’ll fall on my face,
break all my teeth,
and end up dead and homeless.

(All disasters end this way for me: Bounced a check? Dead and homeless.
Didn’t get a lunch order right? Dead and homeless.
Forgot to feed the dog? Yup. Death and also homelessness.)

 

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, lately.
The new job, which I am grateful to have, mind you,
is eating me alive.

Usually,
by the time I come home,
I just head straight to bed.

I’ve been forcing myself to work on wedding stuff when I get home,
which means I haven’t been enjoying it very much–
instead of being a welcome, creative escape,
it’s become just another thing that I have to do,
just another task that is keeping me from collapsing into bed.

I miss my friends.
I miss my fiancé.

We cram everything into the weekends now,
which also diminishes how enjoyable those are.

I’m not going to lie–it sucks.

However,
our friends have been amazing with the wedding stuffs–
coming over on a Saturday last month to help cut out dozens of felted leaves,
helping me think through logistics and delegation,
flying to LA before the wedding to help with anything that needs helping,
taking over tasks–we are surrounded by truly incredible friends.

I just wish I had a little more time to be with them.

 

This gig ends in May.
I think some serious changes will be afoot for me after that.

And that’s a good thing.

Today I:

 

Feel completely and totally behind the ball.

Knowing that I’m not
(we have our site, our photographer, our rentals, our officiants, and I’m starting to work on my dress with the Amazing Amanda)
doesn’t really help,
because I feel like I should have EVERYTHING DONE.

I kinda figured this might be my particular problem.

*le sigh*

Back to it, mates!

It’s a Good Life:

 

Every once in a while,
I am just struck by how lovely life can be.

In spite of how hard bits of this week were,
there was a moment Saturday night,
when The Boyo and I came home after the 20th Wedding
(Titus and Staci Gee!),
collapsed on the floor,
Corgi between us,
and there was just this…contentment.

There was a Christmas tree.
A warm house.
A boy.
A girl.
Their dog.

And it was good.

 

The Best Dog in the World.

Looky who I found wandering around Disney!

Staci's Bouquet

Number 19:

 

The Roommate,
my friend,
my chosen sister,
Jessie Jones,
got married on Saturday.

 

There were wine bottles
and Jurassic flowers
and roses and peonies
and a very small dinosaur on her bouquet.

 

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Rouse

"Rawr" means "I love you" in Dinosaur.

 

Jurassic Bouquet - Photo Courtesy of Laura Jane

Protea, Thistles, Peonies and Roses, Oh My!

 

There was a brief rain shower,
during which we all stayed blessedly dry.

There was laughter and dancing
with far away friends,
home with us just for a little while,
and two of the best toasts I have ever heard–
they couldn’t help but be that way
because?

Jessie and Mike have made their lives around people who are wonderful,
just as they are.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Greenholt - Photo Courtesy of Amanda Rouse

Mr. & Mrs. Greenholt

 

Making a wedding happen is always hard work–
I’m home sick for the second day in a row because of it.

But every once in a while,
I get to be a part of a day that is so special,
I would do it all over again tomorrow if I had to.

 

Mike, Jessie.

I love you both.
Thank you for Saturday.
May God smile on all of your days together.

 

ps (i miss you, jess.)

 

Jones and Rea - Photo Courtesy of Laura Jane

The Pink Hair. The Redhead.

Advice from a Wedding Coordinator:

 

The Care and Keeping of a Wedding Guest

 

A Wedding Guest is a unique creature.
You and your partner have culled your guest list down to the few,
the proud, the relatives who don’t have access to your embarrassing baby pictures.

Most guests understand small budgets.
Most guests won’t be offended by cracker and cheese plates from Costco,
nor will most guests be offended by a cake and punch only reception.

All guests need a few things, however, to maintain that lack of offense:

 

1) Seats for the ceremony. If this is impossible, for whatever reason, have your officiant cut the ceremony down to 15 minutes maximum.

2) Comfortable temperature.

a) Outdoor ceremonies HAVE TO HAVE SHADE. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you put your guests in the sun, no matter how pleasant the day is, they will be hot, they will be squinting, they will get sweat on their nice clothes, and they will be grouchy. One memorable event I attended had the guests facing into the sun as it set because the bride thought that sunsets were romantic…

In Palm Springs. In 100 degree heat.

Please don’t do this to your guests.

b) Outdoor receptions must have heaters after the sun goes down. You may only need one or two, but if there is no place for guests to get warm, they will leave.

c) If you are going to have dancing indoors, please have fans and/or air conditioning. And crank those bastards up. Everyone will dance longer if they can cool down in between rocking it on the floor. And you really don’t want to get pit stains on The Dress, do you? 🙂

(Addendum to the Temperature Clause: If you are having an outdoor wedding, and the ground is soft, please let guests know so they can wear appropriate shoes.)

3) Water, water, water, water. Have a lot of it. Have it easily accessible at all times. If you don’t have a waitstaff, ask a relative or a friend to be specifically in charge of this.

4) It is normal for guests who are flying in to rent a hotel room.
Please let them do this if they wish.

If you offer a private home for those guests to stay in, basic consideration for their needs must be met: A bed or a *comfortable* couch to sleep on, sufficient blankets for those beds; towels and washcloths, shampoo and soap for showers; and basic breakfast foods must be provided. If you have pets, make sure no one has allergies. Additionally, said home should be clean and welcoming.

Remember that out of town guests don’t necessarily know where to get food quickly and easily–avoid inconveniencing people who have dropped hundreds of dollars on plane tickets to get to your wedding.

5) A word about family members or friends who are coming in to help before the wedding:

They are guests, too, and should be treated with courtesy. Remember that if you didn’t have their assistance, you would be paying a great deal of money for the services they are giving you out of love. Express your gratitude often and publicly…even if Aunt Ida is a loud-mouthed, opinionated blowhard. She set up your tables and took out the garbage after your reception. Smile and act grateful–you can bitch about her later.

6) Apologize when things (inevitably) don’t go as planned–even if you weren’t responsible. Someone will end up covering for you–driving out to the grocery store to buy another cake because yours fell into the dirt; pulling flowers from a neighbor’s yard at three in the morning because your florist didn’t adequately prepare the flowers for the ceremony, etc, etc.

If you take the first step of apologizing, people will be *much* more willing to continue covering for you.

7) Try to greet and thank every guest individually. Think of the weddings you’ve attended, and how nice it was to know that the bride and groom took the time to thank you for coming–it’s just a good gesture.

8 ) Favors aren’t necessary, but they are like the individual thanks above–a good gesture. Especially if the favor in question is tasty.

9) If you don’t have a lot of experience with planning events, parties, or haven’t been an integral part of making a wedding happen, please find someone who has this experience, ask for their help, and act on their advice. Your wedding vision may be beautiful, romantic, and meaningful to you and your partner, but if it means making your guests uncomfortable, you will need to adapt that vision.

10) Adapting your vision for the comfort and love of your guests does not mean you won’t get the wedding of your dreams. Keep your guests informed, demonstrate your gratitude, provide shade and water, and your wedding will be remembered with joy.

Advice from a Wedding Coordinator:

 

Caveat:

I am a Wedding Coordinator.
This year will close out with my 17th wedding.
These posts are not meant to be rude or condescending (pinky swear!);
I just want to share a bit of what I’ve learned along the way.

There are things that I find common sense at this point,
which aren’t to a lot of folks because, hey, most of us
only plan one wedding.

So, from Becca’s Basket of Common Sense,
“The Comin’ to Jesus” Post.

 

 

Your wedding will cost more than you think.

What number are you thinking of?
Got more than 100 guests?
 

Yeah.

Double that.
 

Now, now. It's gonna be all right.


 

See,
weddings are *like* great big parties,
except they’re not.

Weddings involve photographers,
and venues,
and large groups of people,
and the smooshing together of two (or more!) families,
and the solemnity and joy of two people pledging their lives to each other,
and the traditions and expectations of everyone you have ever known,
and the wrangling of small children,
and the feeding and drinking of all of these groups.

Are there cheaper alternatives?

Hell, yes.

There’s the county courthouse,
for example.
 

Seriously, though,
there are cheaper ways of doing things:

1) Potluck reception.
(but remember that hot food needs to be kept hot,
cold food cold–there are expenses here, too)

2) Skip the flowers.

3) No booze.

4) No dancing.
(This avoids the cost of renting a dance floor, and/or hiring a DJ)

5) Non-professional photographer.

6) Costco cake (not a bad option, actually).

7) Afternoon wedding so you don’t have to worry about lighting or heating.

8 ) Have a long engagement in order to save up for the wedding.
(If that’s not feasible, how about getting married in a civil ceremony,
and have the Big Bash later when your budget can handle it?)

9) Cake and punch only reception.

10) No reception.

11) DIY DIY DIY DIY.

12) Call in favors–do you know someone with property who can rent it at cost? How about someone who rents chairs and tables? If you *know* people, you can often get costs seriously reduced.

Getting married outside in a public park saves a ton of money–
but what about inclement weather?
If it’s an evening wedding, you’ll need to rent heaters and lights.
If it’s a day wedding, you’ll either need to have shade on site,
or you’ll need to rent a tent.
Do you want folks to hear your vows?
You’ll need extension cords, speakers, and a mic–which many cheap outdoor sites do not provide.
Does the site provide adequate bathrooms?
If not, you’ll need to rent port-a-potties.

 

 
But above all?

Shrink that guest list.
Below 100.

In California,
specifically Southern California,
I can almost guarantee that if you have a guest list of over 100,
you should expect to pay between $8,000 to $10,000 for your wedding…
IF you’re doing stuff on the cheap.

Average wedding cost for this area?

$40,000.

Everything adds up–
most couples completely forget about the costs of purchasing or renting tables, chairs, tablecloths, napkins, silverware, plates, bowls, cups…

Even if you went to Smart and Final
to purchase disposable paper plates, cups, and plastic forks,
you still have to purchase at least twice the number of your guest list.

(Unless you tell your guests up front
to hang onto their disposable plate because they can’t get another
because there *aren’t* any more. UGH.)

I did flowers for one wedding
where only crudites, cake and punch were served.
Cheap solution, yes?

Except…
There wasn’t enough cheese and crackers for
even one serving per guest.
Folks who didn’t arrive to the reception site first
didn’t get anything to eat until the cake was cut–
an hour into the reception.

A lot of people left early because of this.

My point is,
even if you’re just serving cake and punch
(and boy, please put that on the invite,
so your guests know to not come hungry),
expect it to cost more than you think it will.

Ask friends for favors,
ask them if they can use their varied talents to help you and your fiance/e.

I’ve been doing flowers and coordinating weddings
at cost for friends for seven years.

The Boyo has designed wedding invitations at cost.

One of my friends made a dozen small cakes in different flavors for
LauraJane’s nuptials.

Another friend is doing photography for The Roommate.

But?

You cannot expect your friends to cover those costs *for* you.
(If they volunteer to do so, well and good.
But please please please don’t be the person who expects this.)
Flowers still cost money (if I’m lucky, I can keep it between $500-700 for a small bridal party, and little centerpiece decor–but if you choose to get married on a holiday weekend, flower prices double and sometimes triple).
Photography is eight hours on-site, and countless hours of post–
if you want prints of *anything*, that gets hella expensive in a hurry.
The ingredients for enough cake to feed over 100 people aren’t cheap.

It’s also polite to pay transportation costs for those who are volunteering their services to you. Not required, but polite.

 

You absolutely can get married on a tight budget in California.
Absolutely.
However, you will have to give up a great deal of “extras” in order to do so.

I know this is a stomach twister,
but I am not exaggerating:

A wedding on the cheap in Southern California for over 100 guests
is going to run you around $10,000.

 

For serious.

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