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?