Thursday, May 31, 2007

#11: tea time!!!

#10: an oldie but goodie.

i must must must file this site away as an all-time favorite of finding one-of-a-kind dresses. not only for my closet, but also for...dum dum dummmmmmm...the wedding dress.

on the left, $365.

on the right, $165.

one drawback: i don't have a 21-inch waist but apparently a lot of women in the 50's did.

#9: you'll never get bored.

what a great idea to load up and give to the parents after the wedding!

#8: crafts.

i heart crafts. i really do. but it's hard to find projects that fit. here's an idea that's fun, fabulous, and totally manageable.

stenciling (miss lemon of weddingbee):
Step #1: Find a design, print it out, and tape it on a piece of cardboard. Place a piece of transparency on top of the design and cut out the stencil using an Exacto knife.
Step #2: Place a piece of cardboard in your shirt, and position the stencil on the shirt and secure it firmly with tape.
Step #3: Apply the ink. I used Speedball screenprinting ink in gold ($4.45 at Dick Blick) and a simple craft paint roller to apply the ink. It made the design come out with a fun graffitti look to it that I really liked.
Step #4: Remove the stencil, wait for the shirt to dry and then secure it with heat (iron it on the opposite side). Ta Da!

she used this project to stencil motifs on tanks for the gals and 'team bride/groom' shirts for everyone to wear to rehearsal. cute!

#7: ok fine, maybe not 200.

this is a common occurance with asian weddings: have a HUGE wedding, pay a HUGE sum to pull it off, and then receive HUGE buckets of cash gifts that will *cross your fingers* help cover the cost. if you're really lucky, you will break even. if you're seriously blessed, you'll have money left over net of cost to buy furniture from crate and barrel or help pay for the honeymoon.

the *cross your fingers* concept of paying a invite a lot of receive a lot of gifts...makes a lot of sense. especially when the parentals are involved. but with my $10,000 (imaginary) budget in tow, i think i'm going to have to head in a different direction.

in my industry...and in any sales-oriented industry,'s said that the top 10% of your book generates 80% of your revenue. so...why spread yourself thin to include peeps you don't really care about and who could really care less about you? instead, the hubs and i should concentrate on focusing on the people who matter, right? right! so fine, maybe the guestlist doesn't HAVE to be 200 people long.

besides, i came up with '200' only because i was really considering the 'rents. and also because my family alone will be 70 people. anyways, why they gotta be so popular? bottom line: we are not pawns! if i don't know you, please don't expect an invite.

when i 'joke' around with mom (and also to sneakily get a feel of how she'd really take it) and tell her she's allowed to invite 20 peeps, the direct quote i get is: "do you know how much i spent going to weddings?!" sucks to be you mom but i don't think i can factor your past into my budget. ten thousand only, woman!

so having made the argument...uh, against myself...i think i'm going to opt for a small wedding (120 max??) and stray from the *cross your fingers* method. i want to spend my own dizzo and don't want to stress about having to make it back. i feel like a lot of brides have those expectations. and that's not what i want to focus on for my own wedding. i don't want to think about whether we're getting back as much as we're giving to our guests. i just want it to be a lasting experience shared by our close loved ones. i never in a million years thought i'd say that (and mean it)...but it's starting to really make sense to me.

and ten thousand? that's a figure i'm comfortable parting with.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

#6: it's all about me. and YOU!

personalization is one of the key elements i'm going for. hence, all the DIY projects i have in cue, sort of (fingers crossed yes indeedy.) i don't want anything to stand out in a negative, cheap way...but i've been to enough weddings to know what is memorable and what is totally forgettable...and i want to make sure mine is completely memorable. and memorable not only for the guests, but especially for the wedding party.

one of the things that gets me all excited is when i can tell that an exhorbitant amount of time was spent on detail and execution. i loooove detail. and fortunately for all of us, it doesn't always have to take the form of stretching the budget. really, it could simply involve having the support of your best friends...those who care enough to carry out your ideas with a lot of TLC. true story: of the 5 weddings i attended last year, only 1 had real working ushers. by real working ushers, i mean i was greeted with a huge smile by a friend of the groom's as soon as i entered the church. he gave his arm for me to hold (so cute!) and guided me to the bride's side of the church...with the bf trailing behind us (hee). it. was. awesome. the other weddings, i wandered around for a bit, having to eventually tap an 'usher' on the shoulder and ask "um, where do i go?" it was uncomfortable and weird. and why didn't they help me? because they were busy playing amongst themselves and ignoring the guests they didn't know. lame ducks, i say.

so this may be wishful thinking but i too want my wedding to be something i experience together with my closest friends. i appreciate such acts as the real working usher...acts that deliver the message that your friend cares as much as you do about your special day.

so as you can imagine (and i get smacked around some for this but)...i'm a sucker for 'sappy'. and this, ahem, 'heartfeltness' also applies to gifts. i appreciate gifts that have obvious meaning. gifts that admit that the person knows you. oh yes. i love those. i love getting those, i love giving those. i'm really not a giftcard or money girl. i definitely have friends who prefer those things which is fine...but i'm not big into receiving a giftcard or money as a gift and if i can help it, i'd prefer not to hand out wads of cash. because folks, in the end, money is just money. instead, thoughtfulness rules, i say! side note: unfortunately for the bf, the criteria for gift-giving is first 'thoughtful'...but then veryyy closely followed by 'blinged-out' (woe is he.)

when i get married, i want it to be about me and my hubs but also about the people who will be supporting us throughout our lives together as a couple. i intend to include them and be mindful of making them feel special and appreciated during the process. uh, for the wedding i'm not yet really planning for...


so that said, you'll notice that i've allocated 10% of my 'ideal budget' on gifts. as far as bridal party gifts are concerned, i really want to be as generous as i could possibly be. and at the same time, true to form, i want the gifts to be especially meaningful. moolah obviously isn't the most important factor here but i'll definitely be giving the hubs and myself decent and sizeable budgetary room to play around in. my favorite gift combo would be 1) non-DIY and 2) personalized. and i came across an item today that i thought could fit the bill for the coffee lovers in our lives. this website actually inspired this post:

**on the flipside, i've always wanted to help friends with the details or even just engage with assembly (i can tie a mean ribbon)...but i never got the chance to experience that. (hm, can you tell i haven't gotten my wedding fill...i'm writing a blog about wedding things and i'm not even engaged.) i mean really, i've gone to weddings aplenty, and done did the whole bridesmaid thing...and was never once commissioned to dip more than a toenail in the entire process. and from what i hear, i shouldn't jinx myself and complain about it (because bridezillas abound!)...but still. there are times when i wonder why i'm a bridesmaid other than to plan parties, give gifts and pay for things. where's the depth in that? would you agree?

#5: i love spending money.

though i'm being crunchy about spending the dizzo on my wedding, don't peg me as a penny pincher. i am not even near the top of the ladder when it comes to controlling the spendage. however, the wedding, a one-day affair, though just one day in my not worth all the pricey marketed consumer shabang in my opinion. it's not to say that it shouldn't be special. it should. but spending money is easy. like if such a thing as a budget didn't exist, i know i could create the perfect wedding for myself. i have a vision...and with coordinators in tow, no doubt i could execute it with minimal stress. but there's a need for a budget...and there's a need for budgeting in other areas besides a one-day party (hi louis vuitton) so...that's why i'm taking this journey. i hope to make this planning a lasting experience...with funds left over to boot. (side note: miss snow pea of weddingbee fame constructed a 'planning' photo book and i think it's brilliant. i am soo going to jump on that bandwagon.)

without having done any real research about anything yet, i thought i'd share my ideal budget. it'll be fun to come back afterwards and see if my budget allocator was on target or totally out of whack. as someone who knows nothing, here goes.

$300 my dress/shoes
$50 groom's stuff
$400 bm dresses/shoes ($100/gal)
$200 gm stuff
$7,000 food, booze, venue ($35/person)
$200 flowers
$225 whatever i'm forgetting
the DIYs:
$200 centerpieces (20 tables/$10 per table)
$200 invites (buck a piece)
$200 favors (buck a piece)
$25 programs
$1,000 gifts to bridal party
$10,000 TOTAL

even as i look at that list, i'm thinking...mission impossible. how the heck do you get booze/venue/food for $35/head? HOW. i suppose that's the task at hand. to cut where i can without making it obvious to the guests. good luck to me. geez.
it's been 5 minutes later and here are things i remembered i forgot.
-PICTURES!!!!!! that's $$$ right there.
-parental gifts??

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

#4: something borrowed.

thank you iris for your comment on my previous post. you are SO RIGHT! looking into affordable secondhand 6-hour necessities is a must.

so first up...the dress.

do. not. kill. me.

but today, whilst trudging into work, i came up with a brilliant idea. i did a quick mental rolodex and thought about each of my ex-bride friends. and as i thought about her wedding, i thought about her dress. and as i thought about her dress and imagined it on me, i thought about how she'd react if i were to ask if i could borrow it, uh, for my own wedding. GASPPPPPP! i know. borderline ghetto, huh? and executed incorrectly, i know this whole idea could easily come undone and have me thrown into the super tacky bin. i know.

it's strange but i feel almost sacrilegious writing it down on paper as evidence...that i'm really just not interested in spending several grand (or even upwards of $500) on a heap of (albeit beautiful) fabric. i can't bring myself to throw that much money into something i'm going to wear once. people do it all the time and if i could without any qualms, i would too. but i can't and so i don't want to.

that said, i could also see how some brides could take my idea and mark it stupid and thoughtless. if i spent $3000 constructing a perfect gown for myself and a year later, a friend asked to borrow it for her own wedding...i mean, yikes. i wouldn't have the heart to say no, but i'd wonder why i had to suffer through blood and tears and spending moolah building a once-in-a-lifetime gown, only to then have someone else end up recycling the gown. without the effort. for her own wedding. for free.

but as someone who cares less about the dress than other details, i'm sure there are other brides out there (and some, my friends) who wouldn't get all bunched up at the notion of someone (a dear friend, natch) borrowing her wedding dress. so then the question could i present this idea to everyone while making sure not to step on anyone's toes...boundaries...and egos?

and this is what i came up with: send out a mass email, explaining my goals and intentions...and leave it out there in the open for *her* (the one who doesn't really care about letting someone else wear her claimed duds for 6 hours) to step forward. that way, i'd only really start a dialogue with the brides who are actually a-ok with me borrowing their dresses. and those who cast me off as gross? well, then i guess we'd both be in the clear because they wouldn't have to reveal any nasty feelings and i wouldn't get hurt. koombayah! some people are more sensitive about this stuff than others and i get that. so what do you think? is there a better approach?

oh. but actually, there are only a handful of ex-bride friends i'd even feel comfortable approaching about this. so...chances are, i'm going to have to search for my own dress anways.

so here are my runner-ups if somehow my grand plan to make my dress my 'something borrowed' never comes to fruition. preference in order:

1) ivory or white bridesmaid dress instead
2) anyone?
3) (back story here is that my friend's friend got an amazing dress on ebay. so i'm down.)
4) rent a dress (kinda heeby jeebied about this one though...)

and then...with the money i don't spend on the dress, i think i'd genuinely consider investing in a more longlasting heirloom, like jewelry or hairpieces. something safebox worthy...i soo wouldn't mind dropping some coin on something like that. because personally, i'd rather hand down something sparkly...than something cloth. but that's just me.

Friday, May 25, 2007

#3: is secondhand good enough?

hell yeah!

when i moved into my first apartment after college, i was furnitureless. save an old futon and a lamp. but i wasn't too worried because there just happened to be an antique furniture store across the street. i was amp'd because i thought antique meant 'vintage' and 'cool' and 'marked down because it's already been used'. little did i know that antique also often means 'expensive'. i was so turned off by the idea of really old stuff costing a gripload of moolah, that i refused to ever really consider buying secondhand. ever. again. oh, except for stuff off craigslist. i heart craigstlist.

but a lot of blogs i've been visiting lately have been rooting the use of secondhand items to bring out personalization in otherwise common ideas. and i think that other than furniture or designer clothes (which can be uber pricey), affordable vintage 'other things' are definitely out there. so i think i'm going to start having an open mind about visiting secondhand stores and flea markets. afterall, when what you don't have is money and all you do have is time...searching for vintage, one-of-a-kind AFFORDABLE frills could be the best solution in creating an event that reflects you.

*mismatched but coordinated old vases for centerpieces.
*paper for the invites/programs/seating cards/etc.
*favors (nothing edible, of course)

anything else?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

#2: bbq? really?

since this is a forum (a-hem, MY forum) with the ultimate purpose of carving out real ideas over a (really long) period of time, i think i'm going to start turning the wheel by talking about food. oh yes. i heart food.

food options for weddings seem pretty straightforward.

1) style: seated or buffet
2) type: lunch or dinner
3) venue: hotel or church rec room or...somewhere else

and then it's like a matchup free for all. go ahead and choose! and while you're weighing your options, you will also be able to guesstimate how much it's going to weigh down your walleto. for instance, seated+dinner+hotel = NO WAY JOSE for me. with that option, $10,000 probably wouldn't even cover the food.

oh yeah, i should mention here that i intennnnd (fyi i'm happily unmarried and not even engaged *see first post*) to have a 200 people max wedding. 200 is not an extraordinary guestlist but it isn't small, either. kind of just SOUNDS like a good uh, getting sidetracked already...MOVING ON! so exnay on the multi-course dinner at a hotel idea.

which then begs the question...hows about a buffet? for some reason, i'm so open to this idea. no really, i am. because have you ever been to a sit down wedding dinner that just totally blew you away? i haven't. it's all been the same shtuff. like...steak or chicken (mostly steak) with a salad starter and cake for dessert. i'm not saying it's bad...but it's definitely not what's remembered. so what's the point in spending $50+/head to serve a less than stellar meal? and what's the point in me writing about this when zee budget can't even cover it? alright, so back to the buffet scenario which is...i am down with the buffet.

so then...what kind of buffet? one of the posts today on weddingbee talked about an outdoor bbq. mr. bee called it ghetto. i call it...workable. btw, when i said 'bbq', did you immediately think about that scene where steve martin is daydreaming about a backyard bbq wedding for his daughter? ME TOO! but no, that is not what i'm envisioning for a bbq reception. i'm thinking along the lines of...a brazilian bbq station complete with carvers, various salads, yummy carbs, and chests or tubs of ice cold brewskys. you'd have good food, you could provide lots of it, and it's a unique idea.

the things i'd have to consider: would the venue support a cookout and bbq grills on their property? who would man the grill? would there be lots of bugs (i hate bugs)? daytime or nighttime? would the smoke be too stinky?

as for..."what about the vegetarians?" - is it weird that i don't know a single vegetarian?

carnivores. yeah.

#1: oh snap!

why hellooo.

purpose of this blog? well, the main purpose is that i'm determined, soo determined, to scour hi-and-lo for any and all ideas that will help me create a fantabulously amazing and unique wedding...for $10,000 or less. $5,000 from gtb (groom to be) and $5,000 from moi. i want this bad boy $10,000 budget to encompass everything...the venue the food the dress the booze (good luck to us!) the rings (but not the engagement ring, uh-uh, that thing had better be huge...more on this later...) to the everything else. e-ver-y-thing. so i figured i'd bring all the ideas together and organize them in one blog. a blog i can actually access at work (question: could i get the 'bring a box' speech if they find me doing this?). i.e. sorry to xangar, my previous home.

and now a sheepish confession. i am soo not engaged and soo not even close to getting married. dahhhh. or more like...bahhhh...

but i've become an avid fan of over the past year, during which i have also once, twice, been a bridesmaid. and last year alone, i went to five weddings. so. it's time. and call me overeager but i love to plan, list and research. i also love taking the time to really look in crevices where normal people don't bother to look. and i truly believe in the concept of sharing is caring. and i really really realllllllllllllly want to *not* cross that $10,000 finish line. so i'm starting early. still with me?

ok, so on to the other (less important) purpose of this blog. i'm also sheepishly admitting that i've been meaning to create a somewhat anonymous forum, um, for myself. heeeeee. a forum-of-1 to gripe about unnecessary dramas ranging from the padres worrying about my stock dropping with age...drama with the girls...drama with the boyfriend (oh yes, i do have one!)...and just dramas in general. because, let's be honest here, as laidback as you wanna think you are, you really aren't. or...i'm not. geez, another admission! ah, what a pleasure it is to just blurt out my blurt. let's be friends, shall we?