Wednesday, October 27, 2010

wedding on pause

So last week was a freak-out week.  Which I'm not proud of.  But there it is.  For those of you who are still reading after all that mess, thanks.  I appreciate the notes and input.

I spent so many weeks trying not to freak out and to stay calm and keep it together that I think it really built up.  And yeah, there are issues.  And I think that H and I should see somebody but that's not really an option when I don't know how I'm going to come up with the money to pay the water bill and there are already old doctor bills and parking tickets and credit card bills piled up.  I just keep reminding myself that if I can get a full time job, a lot of these problems will be solved quickly.

In wedding news, my mother called me Sunday morning with a venue she wants me to check out.  It sounds great but I really don't see the point in looking right now.  It feels like just picking at an infected wound to even think about planning right now.  Even if it is a reasonably priced venue, even reasonable is out of my budget (which is currently $0) and I don't know why my mother would even bring it up when she has so many qualms about paying.  I don't want to look at something that I know I can't have.

So I haven't called.

I'm supposed to back to FL to get my dress.  But I don't have the money for gas to get there let alone the $125 or so that I need to pay for veil and alterations.

All the money issues in mind plus, there is just nothing else to say about this whole wedding thing right now.  There's no moving forward right now.  Not even in superficial ways.

I guess I just always thought my life would be better by this age.  I'd be getting less broke, more focused, successful, etc.  This sudden backward mudslide is really fucking with me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

anybody know a therapist?

I can't even make a turkey sandwich without losing my shit today.  Sobbing like a frickin' lunatic over a jar of mayo.

I'm officially unfollowing all the wedding porn sites.  No more dresses, flowers, inspiration, blah blah blah.  Nothing with tons of pictures of cool weddings that I'm not going to have.  I'm not even trying to plan a wedding so why pretend that reading those blogs is doing anything other than making me angry and depressed at a time when I've got a lot of important things to be angry and depressed about.

What's worse is that I think I'm actually beginning to agree with my mother.  That we're not really engaged.  No ring, not real.  I'd be crazy to plan a wedding.  We're a damn mess anyways, constantly fighting and snarking and flipping out because I don't have a job and I keep getting rejected and holy shit how are am I supposed to pay all these bills and why am I still home everyday with nothing to show for it?  I can't believe that I'm being that girl.  I can't believe that I let this turn so bad.

H and I were joking the other day that our engagement doesn't really count.  That we should have a do-over.  Except that I don't think either of us was really joking.  I think our engagement ended when I called off the January wedding.  And I think I really fucked up and I'm totally trapped by it - just spirally down this bottomless pit of bad decisions and bad timing and bad luck that's become self-perpetuating.

I missed my appointment for my second dress fitting to test the bustle and pick up my veil.  And I haven't rescheduled officially (tentatively November 16th) because I don't know if there's a reason to pick up the dress.  I don't want to put it on again and pretend that I'm planning a wedding when I know that I'm not.  The dress has become my own personal symbol for everything that I can't have and can't give to H.  I can't imagine our wedding anymore.  The idea doesn't make me happy, just like a failure.  I've been a pretty shitty girlfriend this year and an even shittier fiancee.

We don't need to plan a wedding.  We need a therapist.

Or at least I do.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

unemployment blows, so does wedding drama

You'd think that with a month of unemployment I'd have found plenty of time to write and ruminate over wedding stuff.  Sure, there's been ruminating but obviously no writing.  It's like my brain completely shuts down when I don't have a job.  I forget how to function.  Whole days go by with very little to show for them.  I get snippy, bored, lazy, and totally lame.

I keep thinking that, hey, it's not like I'm actually getting married any time in the foreseeable future so who needs a frickin' engagement/wedding blog anyway?  But then I think that I need to hold onto this so that I stay focused on that eventual future.  So that I don't fall into a deep, dark cynical whole (which might happen anyway but one must try).  So that I can hash out all this ugly mess that keeps churning away anytime anyone asks me if we've set a date or when I hear that people who've gotten engaged after me will most definitely be getting married before me or when I think about where the money is going to come from to have a wedding that lives up to H's expectations and mine, too, I suppose.

Despite a whole lot of no progress, there has been a fair amount of talking about maybe making progress.  Someday.  It's been really, really, really stupidly difficult to get on the same page about what WE want because we (being H and I as separate people) have different expectations and wants and WE (being the two of us as a unit) haven't really gotten much further than, "We're still getting married, right?  Right.  Good."

So what happens when someone asks us when we're getting married?  H says Spring 2011 - I say Fall 2011.  It's not that I don't want to get married sooner rather than later, because I really wish that I could still say that we're getting married in January and be looking forward to that and looking forward to moving life along.  But we're stuck and it's all waiting on me to find a stable, decent-paying job.  Because until then I am in survival mode just trying to pay the bills, trying to catch a damn break.

With unemployment in mind, there has been an ongoing "who's paying for the wedding" discussion/argument since nearly the beginning.  Lots of resentment - but what's new?  But after lots of tension and difficult talks, it seems clear that the only way we can do this thing is it to do it ourselves.  I really don't feel comfortable asking for money from either set of parents for various reasons, especially as its become more clear that my parents are happy to pick and choose which wedding traditions are essential based on who-knows-what.  I knew I had to give up on them paying for anything when my mother reminded me that my family is totally freaked out that I don't have an engagement ring ("It's a sacrifice he should make for you!") but doesn't want to help pay for the wedding ("Why doesn't his family pay for their guests?").  Serious wedding double standards and I don't want anything to do with that crap.  And his parents?  We've already been through the money-with-strings-attached drama once this year.  I'll pay for my own damn wedding, thanks.


Someone else might ask why we don't just get married.  Clearly, money is an issue but you love each other and want to get hitched so get a $35 marriage license and walk the two blocks to the courthouse and get married already!  Which is all well and good for some folks but for us, that is a total fucking let down.  And I'm beginning to think that making a wedding happen whether it is next month or next year or even a couple of years from now - making that wedding happen is what we need to do to be ready to be married.

'Cause right now I'm a hot mess and for all the living together we've done, we haven't done a whole lot of actual working/functioning together in a particularly meaningful way.  And we're learning that we butt heads when we do and that's got to get straightened out before all this "I Do" stuff happens.

So it still sucks and makes me hate and want to cry when I see other people getting married and I still can't believe that I'll ever be there even though I want to be there so bad.  But there's so much shit to dig through before we get there, so don't rush me.  In the immortal words of Journey - don't stop believin'.

Monday, August 30, 2010

a long overdue update

oh, hai.

i suck at blogging.  mostly because work came up and bit me in the ass and then work vanished.  for the most part, wedding continues to idle at the "when is your wedding?" stage.  i'm sick and tired of trying to answer the question but i'm without a job for the second time this year so planning is kind of out of the question.  which isn't to say that nothing has happened, but what progress has been made hasn't been relevant to nailing down a date.

first item of wedding business: the dress is in!  bonus - no alterations required.  the dress fits perfect and doesn't even need hemming with the right size heel.  the only thing that is being done is the bustle because it has a small train and the shop is doing that for $45.  this includes steaming the dress, though by the time i wear it it will probably need steamed all over again.  normally, considering the simplicity of the bustle being done, my mom and i could probably knock it out ourselves for the cost of the notions (less than $5) but i'd rather not worry about it.

second item, i decided on and ordered my veil.  i didn't think that i would do this for a couple of reasons.  first, i was hugely undecided about traditional veil or birdcage and i was having hair issues so i couldn't really picture how everything would go together.  also, when i went to try on the dress, i wasn't sure how i was going to pay the balance due let alone have and extra $100 - $150 for a piece of netting on my head.  turns out, however, that my mother picked up the balance on my dress and the price of a custom-made birdcage veil from the shop is $60 (half what i was looking at on etsy for a very simple birdcage!).  seriously, this lady is awesome.  it will have light beading to match my dress and some red feathers to match my shoes.

at the same time, my sister delayed her return to school for a day so that she could check out the dress and mom and i made her try on bridesmaid dresses.  so there are some ideas there, but i won't settle on anything for a while.  my best friend since 7th grade (and maid of honor) will likely be visiting in December or January so i'll wait until she's here to do serious dress shopping on that front.

otherwise, we are still at a standstill.  H and i continue to have very different ideas of who constitutes "just immediate family and close friends" because my idea of immediate family is mom, dad, sister, grandma and his idea of immediate family is people-who-come-to-christmas which is at least a dozen people, half of which i don't really feel like we need at our wedding (this is, of course, if we go the small wedding route).  but if we are going to invite them, then i'd like to go ahead and invite my whole family, too so why don't we just invite whoever the fuck we want and figure out how to make it work.

so, that's that.

despite the dress, i can't say that i feel engaged.  all the initial "we're getting married!" is gone and i've kind of settled into this limbo where i don't even believe that a wedding will ever actually happen.  we'll just be in engagement purgatory forever.  one day people are going to stop asking when we're getting married and i wonder whether we'll just forget to ever get around to it.

we're going to a wedding in atlanta this weekend.  i'm kind of dreading it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I'm on a little bit of wedding blog detox due to overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and a bad case of fuckwe'renevergettingmarried poor-me syndrome.

But I caught this link of a tattoo engagement session and I had to drop a note.  I think engagement sessions are kind of stupid (indulgent anyway) and I hate seeing them on wedding blogs but I think this is the one and only exception.  I'm always prepared to make exceptions.

H and I have been discussing matching ampersand tats for a few weeks now.  He has none at all and I have few and am hankering for the next one.  Not sure if he'll ultimately commit to ink (have taken him with me a couple times), but I'm game.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


As much as I've hashed some things out here on the interwebs, blabbing freely via keyboard, that is not real world.  By which I mean, all thought of discussing wedding things with anyone is absolutely terrifying.  I get tense if someone else brings it up in conversation.  I feel irrational pangs of jealousy and rage at the mention of someone else's wedding (past or future).  And I freeze up at prospect of starting the wedding conversation back up with H and the family.

 I think I need a deadline.  Wedding silence ends on such-and-such a day OR Wedding date must be set by XX date.  Just to be able to say "we're getting married then" and the wheres and hows and other logistical issues can be sorted later.  But whatever they are the time will be set.  Otherwise, I can spend a lot of time thinking about all the reasons at that everything is not right yet and why we should put things off and excuse after excuse.

Deadlines are good.

How long is too long?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

on the back burner

Hot damn.  I feel like I keep getting kicked in the pants by life.  Wedding aside, it's been really difficult to get my finances stable lately and try to find some balance.  With the added pressure of "when/where are you getting married?" it's been hard to get priorities straight and not lose my mind.  Just when I feel like I'm stable, some new issue comes along and everything falls apart again.  After this past week, I'm in serious doubt as to whether I'll be in financial shape to even begin wedding planning any time this year.

When we first got engaged, H and I didn't see the point of being engaged forever - 9 months to a year should just about do it.  Then winter 2011 got moved to spring 2011 and now spring seems unattainable but fall seems so far away.  Maybe we just don't have a wedding.  I've brought this up - we just want to be married.  The rest is just extra.  Which sounds fine when you're frustrated and tired and just want to tell everybody to fuck off.

But then, I feel cheated by life.  It's not that I don't want a wedding, it's that I feel like we're not in any shape to make one happen.  I know that I'm not in any shape to make a wedding happen.  And I don't want to "just get married" out of desperate frustration rush ahead into marriage without being ready.  Sometimes I wonder what the hell we're waiting for - who am I trying to keep happy here?  But what it really comes down to is this: I'm so not ready to be married.

Not in the way that I don't want to marry H ('cause I do) but in the way that I just feel completely unprepared to deal.  We're still hashing out all sorts of issues and I feel so unstable just being myself lately that I don't feel like I've been a very good partner.  Part of me really, really hates not being able to make all my decisions independently, not being able to do things the way I want them done all the time.  I'm a pretty stubborn type - I don't like change - and there has been so much change and upheaval in the last 6 months that I just want to be left alone most of the time.  I have to remind myself not to take all this out on H, to support him sometimes too even when I just want to be selfish and do my own thing.  As stupid as it sounds when you're brand new engaged (being engaged means you're ready now, right?), we need some time to prepare for being married.

So as much as I would like to say that we can start wedding planning again or that we can just elope and move on with our lives - I know I'm not ready for either of those routes yet.  I have to get my proverbial ducks in a row.  Otherwise, my next meltdown will be epic.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

happy birthday, H!

I bought all of H's birthday presents on a theme (can you guess?) and at the last minute decided to embroider this on a black napkin I had.  Still needs a little gooey brainz action, I think, but at midnight last night when he still had work to do into the wee hours of his birthday morning I presented him with this kick-off present.

The more I think about it, I totally want napkins like this to use for parties (possibly a wedding-type party?).  I will make more - better than the first!  (Except that H's reaction to the first will still be the best.)

Dear NOLA Wedding Industry:

I would like some options.  Not a choice between one fancy hotel and another fancy hotel or a choice between hotel or pitching a tent outdoors.  When you say that your venue is "affordable" that doesn't mean $35-$50/person not including the booze.  If you want to talk about $35-$50/person WITH booze - you might convince me.  That doesn't mean charging me $750 just for the 1 hour ceremony (oh, but rehearsal is included! if we can fit you into our busy wedding schedule...) or limiting me to a measly three hours to party with my best friends and family that traveled 1000 miles to see me get hitched.  Also, I live in the city - I don't want to have to travel out to the frickin' 'burbs and make all my friends and family travel out to the 'burbs to have the wedding at some cheezed out wedding venue where you'll charge me buttloads of cash to be safe from the dangers of the city.

I just want a space to have a party.  Doesn't have to be fancy.  Just affordable (by REAL PEOPLE TERMS).  And in the city.

Otherwise, NOLA WIC, I will not be participating in your wedding nonsense at all.  I will not get a cake or a caterer or pay any ceremony fees for a pretty gazebo/backdrop.  We won't rent tuxes for groomsmen or buy dresses for bridesmaids.  I won't invite all my family to come stay in your fancy hotels or have rehearsal dinner at one of your most fabulous restaurants.  I know you want our money - I'd like to give it to you!  But if my wedding has to cost more than half what I make in a year just to get the wedding basics then you can stuff it all where the sun don't shine.

We'll pay our $35 marriage license fee and get married at the courthouse.  Then I'll buy a round for my friends at the pub down the street and we'll be trashed and happy for less than you wanted us to spend on a 1 hr ceremony.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

anti and un ?

I'm sorry, internets, but I completely fail to see what is so un-bridey about The Unbride.  I guess I really wanted it to be all in-your-face, alterna-wedding realist about weddings.  Instead, I see the same perfectly styled, "indie" wedding pretty-faced self-indulgentness that I've come to expect.  Which isn't to say that I won't scour the site for ideas and burn with wedding jealousy over the featured so-called unbrides.

In my mind, if you are truly the unbride type then you don't give a crap about inspiration boards, so why would I submit one to "become and unbride"?

Like I said, I will admit that I like scouring fancy wedding blogs and sites for ideas that I will probably never have the cash or will to execute and The Unbride is no exception.  But when I went googling some for some anti-wedding industry comfort in the early stages of our engagement, let's just say that the title is misleading.  Even Anti-Bride falls short for me.  My idea of anti-bride is someone who tells the WIC to fuck off and gets married in her blue jeans, maybe goes out for a drink or just gets on with her damn life.  Anti-bride or unbride may not even be a matter of choice but just of circumstance.

You know what strikes me as anti-bride or unbride?  I think my mom was a pretty good example.  She got married in an orange dress because it was the only thing she owned that fit when she was five months pregnant with me.  She had some flowers sent from her own mother stateside that matched the dress.  She and Padre got married by a judge in (from what I gather from pictures) his office with a friend present as witness.  No family, no wedding shower, no big family get-together, no party, no bridesmaids or groomsman - just a civil ceremony.  Married and done.  If I remember correctly, Madre said that they went to McDonalds for dinner afterward.  Would she have had a wedding if she could have?  Probably, but at the time they were overseas from home and broke and not getting much support from the home front.  They wanted to get married so they did it.

So even though my mother would really like me to have a nice wedding, she doesn't really see why we have to spend a ton of cash and she won't be upset if we just elope tomorrow (okay, maybe she'd like a little notice so she can drive to town in time).  The point is to get married, not to impress anybody.  It doesn't even have to be some deep expression of your individual personalities and growing love.  It can just be some vows to stick together and that's okay.  And that kind of attitude about weddings (and a lot of other things) rubbed off on me.  (Which is why I'm really surprised that there's so much no-ring drama from this side of the aisle, but that's another day.)

While H's family has a history of traditional church weddings with nice receptions in nice hotels (or whatever).  I think there is somewhat more importance placed on the party, of the parents being good hosts and making it worth everyone's trouble to be there.  Money should not be an object (though my future FiL loves to haggle and get a good deal).  A wedding is largely about the bride and inviting all your family and friends and business partners.

I'm probably over-simplifying, but I just wanted to illustrate the difference between our two families' expectations about how this wedding planning will go down.  And I'm in the camp in the middle: I like pretty weddings and I want to have a great wedding with everyone there and have them think my wedding is great, but I can also think of a lot of other things that $10,000 (or more) can be used for in our lives.  The thing is, all the husbands started teasing H about "what he's in for" on the wedding planning path and all the wives started volunteering their wedding planning expertise to me.  We've got a couple friends who just got hitched without the fuss and loved it, and we've got some who wished they'd had a wedding.  Even a couple friends who said they wished they'd skipped the big wedding and just eloped.

So I'm torn between being a bride or the anti-bride.  Do I shut up about the money and the stress and do my bridal right-of-passage?  Or do I just grab my dress and my fiance and get a damn marriage license at the courthouse down the street and be done without the fuss?  We could even go find someplace fancier than McDonalds to eat for dinner.  Am I going to be the girl who regrets having a wedding or not having a wedding?

Of course, occasionally the thought crosses my mind that maybe I'm just not ready for this right now and maybe I should just shut up.

Deal Breakers

Word of advice, from someone who learned the hard way, don't make a deal (even in outrageous, far-fetched jest!) with your fiance that you may regret.

For instance, if your fiance's family really wants to buy property and move to a neighborhood that you do not want to live in EVAR while your parents want to host a wedding in a place where he does not want to get married EVAR...then it would probably not be a good idea for you to (jokingly) say that as long he doesn't agree to move to Neighborhood X then you won't agree to get married in Location Y.  Because, even though you're nearly 100% positive that you don't want to get married in Location Y either (and he's almost 100% positive that he doesn't want to live in Neighborhood X either), you might just end up having a conversation with your mother that convinces you that Location Y is actually a really great deal and good place to get married while he might have a conversation with his parents that convinces him that moving to Neighborhood X is actually not a bad idea either. 

And then the two of you will fight.

And then his parents will be all upset with you & your family and your parents will be all upset because with him & his family and then you two will fight more because it's really stressful to have both sets of parents accuse the other side of being controlling and unreasonable especially when both of you kind of agree with your own parents.

Yeah, don't do that.

Better that you discuss wedding expectations and budgets and introduce the families BEFORE all that craziness has a chance to brew.  That way, if there is any craziness, at least you know that you and your fiance are on the same side: your own.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

stuff that's cool

Best save-the-date ever.

Actually, our friends did a pretty sweet Luigi/Princess save-the-date for their wedding that was way cool.

Now could someone please tell me how to mash together Alice In Wonderland (his favorite) and Wizard of Oz (my favorite) in a way that makes any sense?  I mean, are mock turtles and flying monkeys appropriate for a wedding theme?  Should I care if they're not?

Because H is the designer in this duo so he gets hung up on this stuff like theme and color (by which I mean, he will stay up all night perfecting every tiny color detail in photoshop).  I merely execute clever crafty plans (by which I mean, I'll stitch together some random fabric and some yarn and some buttons and some wire from the stash and hope it looks good, as long as I'm asleep my midnight).

Also, we both dig vintage and retro and we both like comic books and steampunk and doctor who and other science fiction.  So if we have to pick a theme and make our wedding all individualized and full of cute details then the wedding just might look we puked nerd all over it which will just confuse most of our guests.  Probably best we just boil some crawfish and drink a lot of Abita and rum.

Time to think about making a decision maybe soon...

So I'm actually semi-secretly trying to hash out something that might resemble a plan.  We're getting wedding inquiries again, H & I, and we are even starting to figure out what the hell kind of wedding shindig we want (this is tentative and discussed in tiny 3-sentence chunks so I guess it doesn't really count as "discussion").

I had a weepy stress-over-wedding day about a month ago and suggested (via email - because I'm a wuss) that we just have a teeny-tiny wedding in January and be done.  By teeny-tiny, I mean 20-25 people which would basically be immediate family, grandmothers, a few close friends who would've been wedding party if we had a big wedding, their spouses.  We could get gussied up, take pretty pictures, and go have a fancy dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  For about two weeks, I was in love with this idea.

But we'd also talked about a park wedding in the spring which could be easy on the budget and allow us to do a lot of DIY projects and invite just about everyone we would ever want to invite.  One of the first things we both agreed on at the beginning was that we wanted to have not only our family but our friends as well.  The enormity of both our families, however, made inviting most of our friends impossible if we went the traditional venue/catering/WIC route.  I didn't really want to be at a party where I'm obligated to be a good hostess but I don't even get to share it with ALL the people I want to party with, not just my family.  The friend factor would really liven things up, make it feel more like a party for us and less like we planned a wedding because our family expected one.  That's me anyway.

Oh, I should also mention that the park wedding came up because H saw this awesome wedding somewhere with chandeliers hanging from trees and furniture everywhere and he thought it was the best plan ever and has pushed for that theme ever since.  I liked the idea except for the whole outdoor-wedding-in-January thing.  Also, Mardi Gras is late this year so if we want to wait until spring it would have to be the weekend of March 19th.  That's the only date - one because of family conflicts, two because of Mardi Gras, three because of St. Pat's day, and 4 because I will not suffer through monster-pillars on my wedding day no way, no how.  The only other way to do an outdoor wedding is to wait until October or thereabouts which neither of us want to do.

There are big budget and planning concerns on my parental side regarding a New Orleans wedding so I am trying to figure out how I can present a wedding idea so that we can enlist a little financial support (oh, crap, I still haven't gotten into the meat of the whole Budget Fiasco).  I think we can do a big (150 ppl) park wedding for $10,000 or less.  But I don't have, nor can I save, 10 grand in any reasonable amount of time.  I already put out more than I could really afford on my dress (and have to come up with $400+ to pay it off in another month or two).

I should also mention that if we chose to get married at my parents' place in Florida the wedding would be mostly FREE.  That's right, paid by someone other than myself and H.

But that isn't going to happen for many frustrating and irrelevant reasons.  So I've got to elope, wait a really long time to have a wedding, or hit people up for $$.  I'm unhappy with all of these options.  But if I can show that I can plan this shit for under $10,000 I may be able to find the cash somewhere and then maybe I can move on the stressing about a real wedding that is actually going to happen instead of the hypothetical wedding that's been driving me crazy so far.

Friday, July 9, 2010

oh, hai.

Oh, hello there, black diamonds.  Where have you been all my life?

Weddings & Zombies

You know what I'd like to see more of in wedding trends?  More zombies.

For serious.  More weddings should recognize the impending zombie apocalypse and its effect on the institution of marriage.  Even if it is merely an acknowledgement in jest such as this zombie rendering of the couple on Rock'n'Roll Bride.

No really, one of the first things that H & I did early in our dating career was create a Zombie Plan.  Actually, our plan has multiple back-up plans.  We sat down over dinner at some restaurant or another and we spent the entire meal hashing out the best methods of escape and survival.  As seasoned hurricane evacuees and disaster specialists (this is New Orleans, after all), we developed many schemes for various scenarios including river escape, upward evacuation (holing up in a hotel/office building), how to fortify his condo/my house.  We even discussed various zombie apocalypse types.  Are they living dead who've risen from the grave a la Romero's Night of the Living Dead or is this a more likely brand of infectious zombie plague?  Are they slow zombies or fast zombies?

All these things must be considered, people.

Especially if you're going to commit to marrying someone until Zombie Apocalypse Do Us Part. which we obsess about hair...

This is completely stupid, but one of the first things that came up on the List of Things to Worry About when H & I got engaged was whether or not I should grow my hair. This seems to be a common bride-to-be concern: oh shit - what's my hair gonna look like in pictures? Most girls I know have opted for growing it out for the length of their engagement so that they can have curls or some fancy up-do (usually the latter). And then shortly after getting hitched, they chop it off.


I used to have insanely long hair. Down to my butt, neck-breaking hair. In college I got sick of it, went out for a cheap $10 cut and had the lady chop it off to my ears. Since then, my hair has never really been longer than chin length and when I moved to NOLA and got myself a permanent hair stylist lady, she encouraged me to get the pixie cut that I'd always flirted with. And I did. And I loved it. I even went bleach blonde for several months (and it was hott - yes, with 2 t's) until my wallet and my scalp couldn't take the beating anymore. And then I started to keep my hair just a little longer while we fixed the color back to my natural brunette. I continue to waffle about going back to my pixie cut. When I brought up the wedding and the inevitable hair dilemma with Stylist Lady she reminded me that if I grew my hair out it wouldn't really be very me to have long hair. She knows how much I hate having to actually do anything with it to make it look good. How about a bob and some finger curls instead?

So I've been kind of sort of keeping it long (chin-length & off my neck) with this idea of finger curls and a pretty birdcage/flower in my hair on my still-imaginary wedding day. But it's irritating me to blow dry it every day and deal with longer bangs and keep it looking awesome in the southern humidity especially when I sweat my ass off multiple times a week at derby practice in an un-airconditioned building. Gross.

And then, while wedding porn often makes me all jealous and spiteful, I stumble across this bride with super short hair on Polka Dot Bride and it makes me want to go back to Stylist Lady and demand she cut it all off again.

I need my punk rock back. I might even dye it red again and have my punk rock pixie hair for my wedding day instead of trying to look all classic and vintage-like. My mom already hates that my dress shows one of my tattoos and I'll probably cover up with make-up to make her happy and avoid grandmother tears. If I can't have my tats, I might need my funky hair just to feel like myself.

Can you tell that I like to distract myself from Big Wedding Issues by obsessing over meaningless ones?
Thank you, interwebs, for reminding me that if you persist and search endlessly you will find someone in the same boat as you. Well, maybe not the exact same boat. But wedding delays do happen and I'm not a total freak for being engaged but not really. Other people do it, too, and it is not the end and all's cool.

I guess this reminded me that people's ideas about what an engagement is can be complicated and might not even match up. I thought the engagement was the easy part. But some people see it as a promise to get married eventually and some people see it as Wedding Immanent (sp?) and that can cause issues. Or not. Or whatever. But I feel a little better now.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

lolz at your wedding's expense

I honestly can't remember which blog it was, but I was looking through pictures of a wedding the other day and the pictures were actually of people at the wedding, not just the pretty stuff. So many wedding photos on the wedding blogs show all the table settings and the flowers and the shoes and the rings and the bunting and the cake and the yadda yadda yadda but hardly ever show the actually people who created and attended the wedding. You know, doing wedding stuff like...oh, I dunno...having fun.

Which is why I got such a laugh out of this post from HitchDied. Add that one to the list of blogs that don't make me hate on weddings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a little wedding awesome

Despite my wedding bitchiness, I'm a sucker for pictures of wedding awesomeness. And the other day I came across something on a non-wedding blog of a friend of mine.

Seriously nerdtastic stuff.

H says: "Take a note of that for future reference."
Em says: "Done."

Engagement Story

I don't want to be a total downer about this engagement thing, but it's been hard to find a new way to think about it. Just the whole state of Being Engaged has been so uncomfortable. Does it come naturally to anyone? I guess it's just kind of weird to have, in a way, backed out of being engaged while remaining engaged.

Which brings me to common wedding universe terminology: The Engagement Story. Every couple has an engagement story - it should be romantic and sentimental and memorable and unique and sweet and blah blah blah. They meet, they fall in love, they have some cute little quirk or whatever, boy presents girl with beautiful ring (bonus points if it belonged to someone's grandmother), she plans the perfect wedding (bonus points if they overcame personal tragedy/hardship during engagement) which leads to a perfect wedding day filled with family and tradition and unique details and pretty pictures.


Actually, except for the whole aftermath, I think H and I have a pretty cool little Engagement Story. I imagine telling the grand-kids at the beginning of every NFL season how Papaw proposed to Mamaw when the Saints won their first Superbowl. It's kind of fucking awesome. Will I tell them about how our wedding planning imploded almost immediately? Probably not, though I may advise my progeny to elope for their own sanity.

I find myself thinking about our tentative date and wondering whether I should just stick to it and put together some small little wedding. Seems like every wedding anything that I want to join wants to know my wedding date and I'd love to give them one but until then, I'm kind of out. Tried to join the Offbeat Bride Tribe today, but I don't have a wedding date. Almost said January 19th, because that was our working date when we first started planning. But that'd be a lie because nothing is for sure.

The real Engagement Story should talk about the fights and the stress, the breaking away from old family habits and expectations, the pain of realizing that even though you've been out on your own for years you aren't really grown up until you stamp out the beginnings of your new family. Laying out the boundaries and building up the protections around the sacred places where only this new bond belongs - no parents, no siblings, no childhood friends - just two. The others, they try to assert their dominance, their power. They try to pull the strings and push the buttons and follow all the old, familiar patterns to leave their mark on your lives but this isn't about them until you invite them back in. On your terms.

We're still trying to figure out what those terms are.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Jealous Kind

This is completely shallow and ridiculous, but I had a twinge of jealousy and dress-doubt when I was looking through a local photographer's portfolio earlier today.

Some other chick was wearing my dress. In Jackson Square. Going to a reception at a venue I looked at, liked, and can't afford. FUCK.

I know I've got no exclusive rights to my dress, so I'll get over it. But I didn't even purchase it here in the city! Not even the same state! What are the odds? I totally superficially hate the unknown woman who stole my dress. Just because it is the one piece of wedding stuff that I have settled upon and it's awesome and mine. I damn well better look better in it than she did.

Just a little Tuesday afternoon wedding envy. Don't mind me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ring Hype

I'm not big on jewelry even though I'm pretty traditional in my expectations. But seriously, what is up with the engagement ring obsession? Why does it have to be gaudy and sparkly and big enough to gauge an eye out? Why do you have to have one anyway?

When H proposed, I was not thinking about jewelry. But it was one of the first things that everyone brought up. EVERYONE. Where is it? Can I see it? And a change in tone and expression with the realization that there was no ring to fawn over. And there had to be an excuse - assure people that the ring was coming. Well, that's okay then. As if I might somehow be less engaged without a sparkly thing on my finger.

Like I said, I'm almost just as traditional as the next girl in that I was kinda hoping that I'd have something to squee over but I certainly wasn't going to raise a big stink over it if none ever materialized. The very idea of ring shopping really just made me nervous because then I'd know - I'd know what a chunk of cash H spent (or didn't) and I did not want to know.

We went to one jewelry store in the weeks after the engagement. I got funny looks when I insisted that I did not want a big sparkly, elaborate ring. Just a stone please. Nothing fancy. They still found the highest-end rock they could possibly sell us. I had a ring on my finger. It was shiny and I got all girly and squidgy inside and suddenly I wanted something ridiculous that I'd never really wanted before.

How stupid.

The feeling wore off. We never talked about ring shopping again. I accepted that the money would be better spent on something useful and an engagement ring was not a necessary item and I moved on with my life.

I wish that was the end. But now the ring (or lack thereof) is ammunition. It's proof that H doesn't love me enough to sacrifice for me. To some anyway. To which I have to say: Seriously WTF?! I've had to defend him against this craziness.

Am I honestly expected to believe that shit?

I do, occasionally, get caught up in the wedding website frenzy of pretties and pine for a simple vintage number or maybe a lab diamond. Because I think spending several thousand dollars on a little ring is a little ridiculous when you've got pricey house repairs and a potentially expensive wedding coming up.

But does no ring mean it's not a real engagement? For real?

If I decide to tattoo my wedding band on my finger instead of buying a physical band, will my marriage be less valid?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

blog subscriptions

I just counted up the wedding blogs on RSS feed reader : more than 45! And that's after purging Martha Fucking Stewart Weddings and a couple others that weren't doing it for me. I sense a few more are on the chopping block soon, but it seems like as soon as I cut one wedding inspiration blog I find some other more realistic wedding blogger to read.

I am all for sanity in wedding planning.

Engagement Mistake #1

A part of my challenge here is that I tend to freak out about everything all at once. If I panic about one thing, all other issues are quick to follow until everything is overwhelming and awful and I call it quits. (Hence, no wedding plans.) H likes to call me out on this one when I'm being a stubborn grump ass who hates the world (lately, pretty damn often).

Really, I just need to be able to break things down to a more managable freak-out size, try to focus on what I can really accomplish.

The good news is that I'm starting to feel like I can start talking about the wedding again. I've started reaching out to potential venues here and there to test my comfort zone a little. So far it still feels scary and impossible but I remind myself that this is just research and I'm under no pressure to commit to anything. There are still so many other things going on outside of the engagement that H and I haven't discussed much about potential wedding plans and find that its still too sore when it does come up. So we'll get done getting settled in the Haus (so many boxes!) and working out our personal budget issues and employment issues and home repairs before we take on another financial obligation.

Also, there can be no moving forward on the wedding until the parents have officially met. Okay, the parents have sort of met each other but only briefly and never at a time when they could just hang out. This lack of an official meeting led to a lot (a lot!) of miscommunication and misunderstanding that left me and H in the middle of what felt like an old-fashioned shoot-out. I don't even think my parents think that me getting married is even a good idea anymore so I have to tread extra careful and try and mend things. Also, I'm trying to avoid becoming the super bitch controlling fiancee to H's parents (long story) so there will be compromises just to keep the peace even though it will probably cost us money.

Really, I think that was one of the biggest mistakes going forward. Our family's are very, very different in the way they interact and they have different expectations and both our sets of parents are strong-willed and opinionated. We never gave them a chance to find common ground before we let loose the Wedding Monster and got torn to shreds. I'd really like to know what others' experiences with the family dynamics have been post-engagement. Does this happen to everyone? Does anyone out there have sane family relations during the wedding planning process?

Which leads me to The Mothers - but I'll save that for its own post, wherein I can tell you all about how I effed up my relationship with both my own mom and my future mom-in-law all in one go!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wedding Lesson Number 1

Less than a week after H & I got engaged, the pressure was on to decide on a date, make up a guest list, and start finding an appropriate venue.  We had lots of ideas about what would be awesome wedding venues and no idea what to expect as far as costs.  Also, the way my family deals with money is different from the way his family deals with money - so The Budget was the crippled purple imaginary mutant elephant in the room that was begging to be put out of its misery.

At first, the venue search began as a broad search that we approached with the "it can't hurt to ask" attitude even if I was sure that I wouldn't feel comfortable with the price and the excess and the prettypretty debutante bridalness of it all.  I didn't expect the sticker shock that I got for every venue we researched.  This is where things got messy.  When one of our favorite venues came up to a nearly $17,000 minimum (this includes catering) for 100ish people I nearly called off the wedding then and there.  But I didn't get the all-stop signal from my mother or any indication that such a wedding would be out of my price range.  I had no idea what my price range was but I got told to keep searching.  The cheapest venues I could find (all including catering because this is New Orleans, after all, and food is everywhere) would run me $9000 - $11,000 at the cheapest.  This is before the dress or the cake or tuxes or the anything else.  I kept getting the okay to get proposals and hash out details still with no idea of what my budget would be.

Let me pause to say that this is partially my fault.  I knew better than to assume that my parents would pay out a penny and our conversations about who would pay for the wedding where vague.  I was clear that the wedding I knew that I could afford with no financial help would involve a keg, a crawfish boil, and a sunny afternoon in the park (I still kind of want this wedding) with no frills.  I believe the conversation with my mother went something like this:

Madre: Who do you expect to pay for this wedding?
Em: I don't know.  I certainly don't expect you to pay for anything but if I'm paying it'll be a crawfish boil on The Fly because that's all I can afford.  (Aside: and this is before I left my job.)  I'd appreciate any help I can get.
Madre: Okay, well, keep researching.

Insert crickets here.  That's the thing, my mother is a researcher.  She likes to know her options before she commits.  My parents are careful with their money.  They've taught me to be pretty careful with mine.

So I researched.  I found venues I really liked.  I found venues my fiance really liked.  I found venues my mother really liked.  We all seemed to agree that these were great venues.  They would make for an awesome New Orleans wedding.  I kept sending pricing and proposals to my mother.  At some point during our wedding conversations, she told me that she and Padre wanted me to have the wedding I wanted and that they would be willing to pay for the reception at the venue of my choice but nothing else.  The money fights began in earnest.

The Wedding Let Down had begun.  To my family dropping $20,000 on a big wedding is pretty ridiculous.  They had an idea of what they could afford / would be willing to spend but I didn't know what that was and I was too big of a wuss to talk about it directly so I ended up disappointed and fighting with my fiance over whether it was fair or not.  (He thought that I should have whatever I want - I couldn't justify demanding that kind of money.)  For H's family, money wasn't an issue.  It's a wedding and the bride should get whatever she wants.

So why did it make me so miserable that people wanted me to be happy?

I would like to reiterate for the record that my guilt over wedding spending has nothing to do with feeling like I don't deserve a nice wedding.  Everybody deserves a nice wedding.  But I certainly felt guilty about the idea of blowing a lot of money on a big wedding with all the fixings because it felt extravagant and I'm not extravagant.  It felt like I was planning someone else's dream wedding and it was making me feel like crap because of course I want a nice wedding and of course I want pretty flowers and of course I need a sparkly ring and of course I deserve a designer gown and of course I want to get married in a mansion on St. Charles Ave because anything less would be less than I deserve and anything less would not be a nice wedding.

Except wait - I don't want any of that stuff!

I sat around at my fiance's apartment one night while he was at a friend's bachelor party and I read wedding magazines and watched bad wedding TV shows.  And I felt like shit.  I hated everything in the magazines and I didn't have anything in common with the brides who bought $10,000 wedding dresses.  I couldn't afford all that stuff and what's more I didn't even WANT that stuff.  So why did I feel like such a lame-ass out to spoil my own party?

On the one hand, I'd feel guilty if I spent too much money and on the other I'd feel guilty if I didn't have enough money to spend.  This is all depending on which family (read: his mom or mine) I spoke with that day.  So now my family thinks H's family is unreasonable and H's family thinks my family is unreasonable and I'm sitting in the middle wondering when the hell my happy little life with H was blown to fuck all and why we shouldn't just get married next week and tell everyone else to bite our shiney metal asses.

Believe it or not, it was more complicated than that - but if I have to sit here and hash out the whole story again I might just kill something so we'll leave it there.  Which brings me to this:

Wedding Lesson Number 1: Don't start planning your wedding until you know what you want and what you can afford.  If you need to take a couple days or a couple weeks or several months to calm down post-engagement and get your brains in order then do it.  And don't let anyone tell you what you should want or what your wedding should look like or dictate how quickly you should be planning.  Immediately after announcing our engagement, relatives wanted to know where and when we were getting married.  Honestly?  How on earth is anyone supposed to know that stuff a week into their engagement?  Props to those who have that figured out so fast but for the super-spazzes like me who freak out over stupid crap take my advice: take all the time you need.  I didn't know what I wanted and I definitely didn't know what I could afford and it led to sadness and let-down when I started imagining the wedding we would never be able to have at venues we would never be able to afford.

I still wonder what an awesome rock star wedding we could have had at the House of Blues in the Foundation Room or The Parish.  (And if you can afford it, I totally recommend HoB - they were super awesome to me and my favorite to work with of all our prospective venues.)  But realistically I realized that I'd be putting on a show for the sake of wedding appearances and putting my family on the spot for money they don't feel comfortable spending.  Guilt and uncertainty made me unable to commit to anything.  Don't fall into the same trap.

No Pissing Contests

So I've got a lot of issues I want to talk about over the course of this blog, the most pressing of which are outlined in my first post.  They're issues and common themes throughout weddingverse and nothing original to me or my life.

That said, my experience is my experience.  Everybody has to deal with their own life in their own way and maybe reading about others is helpful and maybe it's maddening.  My number one goal is to avoid Wedding Judgement.  Which will be difficult for me because I've got a big old wedding-shaped chip on my shoulder and I'm good at resenting people for no good reason.  So I've got to work through that.  Okay, so I may continue to have engagement/wedding resentment but please, no one take this personally.  I'm fully aware that I've got my own screwed-up notions of "should be" while I rage against what others tell me "should be."

The only way things really should be for everyone is right for you.

Part of the reason I stopped wedding planning was this overwhelming feeling that I was planning some other person's wedding because it was the wedding I should have.  And while everyone kept telling me that they just wanted me to have a "nice wedding"--that I deserved to have the "wedding I want"--issues arose when my idea of a nice wedding and the wedding I wanted didn't mesh with what I should want.  If I wanted a simple, no frills wedding that was only because I was worried about money and that wasn't fair to me and I should have better than that.  I kept hearing that the wedding that I really did want wasn't good enough for me, that I must be settling.  In the end, I realized that I'd never even stopped to consider what kind of wedding I really wanted and everyone else just assumed that deep down in my secret fairy princess heart I wanted a big, fancy traditional wedding - I just didn't want to admit it because I didn't want to rock the boat.

Three problems here:
  1. I didn't (and don't) know what I want.
  2. This whole bride-centric wedding thing makes me really uncomfortable.  Where's the groom?
  3. Everyone was talking but no one (including me) was communicating.  Communication FAIL.
Hard feelings all around.  And I don't think that's fair or right so I don't want to be a contributor to hard feelings out there on the interwebs.  I don't pretend to know better if I pretend to know anything at all.  And no one else should be making you feel like shit about your wedding either.  If they do, tell them to shut up.

Leave the "shoulds" and "oughts" at the door please.  I am not a fan of the wedding pissing contest.  This game is hard enough as it is without being jerk faces.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Rough Start

I'm engaged.  We're engaged.  (This is usually when everyone goes "squee!")

We've been engaged since January and that first night was great.  The first week was pretty good even.  But since then it's been rough.  "Being engaged" has been the roughest, suckiest part of the Em & H relationship.  Which says a lot about all the crap that being engaged stirs up around a couple and a little about our relationship, too, I suppose.  We'd been skipping along happily for nearly two years being generally awesome so all the drama that brews around impending nuptials was a big disappointment and a really big stressor in an already stressful time.  I thought being engaged meant we were supposed to be even happier - not yelling, crying, moping, unhappy Mr. & Mrs. Grumpy Pants. 

Okay, mostly Mrs. Grumpy Pants.

That's me.

I present to you, the Interwebs, leading causes of the general State of Stress that has been our engagement:

  • The Ring.  Which I really could've cared less about at the time because I was too busy crying.  But it's become An Issue, much to my sadness.  We'll get back to this at a later date.
  • Parents.  They've got their own ideas about how things should be done.  And they're not afraid to guilt you about them.
  • Family Expectations.  This is a separate category because it needs to include people other than parents.
  • Tradition.  You don't think it matters until you're having a fight on the phone at work where everyone can overhear you acting like a lunatic.
  • Money.  Which is tied into a lot of the above.  Assume nothing.
  • Wedding Magazines/Blogs/Shows.  Otherwise known as the Wedding Industrial Complex.
  • Happily Engaged Friends.  I hate and resent them for their rings and their money and their wedding planning ease.  Even if they're only pretending.
There are, of course, lots of other factors contributing to the tough year that has been 2010 so far.  My job was very stressful and I was forced to leave.  Finding a new job was difficult while at the same time managing budget woes, bad renters, and trying to move in together.  I have not felt very wedding friendly even as I've been secretly wedding obsessed.

Wedding planning sped out of control quickly for us.  Our family's have very different expectations of what our wedding should be and what is an acceptable amount to spend and who should be responsible for things and blahblahblah.  Turns out H & I had different ideas, too.  I think our number one mistake was not taking more time to stop and think and talk before announcing the engagement, before jumping into setting a date and planning.

We set a date.  We started planning.  The clashes began.  The situation deteriorated.  I put a stop to the whole process.

Stop the engagement--I want to get off!

No, no - we're still engaged.  I just told everyone that all wedding talk would be nixed until further notice.  I told all my prospective vendors/venues that they didn't need to worry about keeping our January date because the wedding's been put on hold.  There is an official Moratorium on Weddings.  Because our wedding was making me cry and not in a good way.

And this, dear interwebs, has brought me here.  Because my story is different than the fairy tales they tell you on the wedding blogs and in the magazines.  Because reality has been such a big let down.  Because either everyone else is lying or there's something wrong with me and I'm going to set the record right.  And even though I've started to find some good, down-to-earth wedding advice out there I haven't heard from anyone who's had the time I've had.  It seems so easy for other people but I'm not convinced that that's true.  I think it is difficult, it's just that we're expected to make it look easy and happy and fun and marvelous.

So here's my story: engaged but engaged otherwise.  Planning a wedding or maybe not.  Getting married in style or maybe not.  I've got a dress and fiance.  All the rest is just clutter.  Or maybe not.