Tuesday, November 25, 2008

#436: an essay.

i was asked to talk about my motives for starting the blog, about me, my fiance, and my personal process as it's been thus far. i responded to the person but thought it'd be fun to share the story with you as well.


i was working a finance job in l.a. when i met my fiance. 9 months into our relationship, i was promoted and offered a position in SF. and i decided to take it. future fiance was actively looking for another job at the time and decided to explore his options in SF. he ended up getting a great offer and we decided to move to SF together.

i happened to be a bridesmaid in 3 l.a. weddings that same year and ended up flying to l.a. at least once a month for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. i had also attended 7 weddings the year before. and i was starting to feel a bit like bill murray in groundhog day.

i witnessed a lot of the same things at the weddings - expensive dresses that looked the same, guests leaving pricey favors behind, bridal parties looking exhausted, rooms clearing immediately after dinner at the reception, and couples talking about their budgets and how much they did/didn't recoup through gifts.

and i made a few decisions.

1) i decided that i didn't want a cookie cutter wedding
2) i decided the fiance and i would pay for our own wedding
3) i decided i did not want any of our budget decisions influenced by how much we thought we would recoup
4) i decided i wanted the planning process (and day of) focused around the right things

in my gut, i knew my wedding would have to be different. not spectacular-over-the-top-different. more like...i-will-not-do-something-just-because-it's-standard-different.

without knowing much about the cost of 'all things wedding' other than knowing that my friends had spent upwards of $30,000 for their weddings, i decided that i would be comfortable with a $10,000 budget. i convinced myself that if i had the time to research and be creative, i could really make it happen. i knew there wouldn't be any obvious or easy solutions and i knew it would especially be a challenge because i'd have my own standards of satisfaction to meet...but i also knew there were a lot of things on wedding-checklists-as-of-late that i just didn't care about.

i kept these thoughts floating around in my head and never really talked about it.

until i moved. the move to SF is what really brought TTO to life. when i moved, i didn't have much to do other than my job. it was cold so i never wanted to leave the apartment, my family and friends were in l.a., and the fiance worked much longer hours than i did. i know. cry me a river, right? so i turned to the computer and began the research i had always wanted to do. i had known about weddingbee.com and read it religiously and through that site, linked to others in search of anything i thought would help me with my goal. i had the time. and no. i was not yet engaged.

TTO was supposed to be more of a journal than anything else. a place to help me keep my eye on the prize and organize all my research in one place. but, as you know, it's become much more than that. it's become a forum for me (and hopefully others) to gain support, face constructive criticism, and receive advice. and since TTO, i've gotten engaged and learned even more.

if you've read my blog for a while, you'll know i have an affinity for fashion, food, and travel aka i like expensive sh*t. and at the time when i started TTO, i was working really hard to spend really hard. meaning...i didn't not have the means to spend more than $10,000.

but it's funny how things work.

2 months ago, my fiance was offered a job opportunity in l.a. and we decided he should accept it. knowing we'd be moving back to l.a. from SF, i tried to transfer within my company but...as you know, the great world of finance isn't doing so hot and there wasn't a spot available for me. so with the fiance's support, i quit my job and we made the move.

i decided to take the opportunity of being unemployed (for the first time in my life!) to explore one of my 'passions'. and so now i'm in fashion. i'm clinging to the bottom rungs of the industry along with a 70% paycut, but still completely grateful to be experiencing it. *finally*

point being, the 'budget' aspect of our budget has become more prominent all of a sudden. and i appreciate TTO now more than ever.

have some of the choices i've made been a direct result of having TTO? i'd say most of them have.

and am i glad? i'd say i'm thrilled.

do i sometimes want to yell at people or hesitate about my choices when asked about "white wedding shoes" or "favors" or "flower girl dresses"? i'd say fo sho.

but then i remember that it's not about right and wrong. it's about what's right for you.

and what i've done so far in my wedding planning (both mistakes and successes) has been completely right for me.


Broke-ass Bride said...

You're an inspiration in so many ways. You follow your heart. You follow your dreams. You follow your own compass. Its not always easy, but you do it. That's awesome.

maggie said...

Kudos to you for making conscious choices, in life and as a result, in your wedding. I think consciousness is the most important thing of all.

Also, couples actually plan weddings based on recouping expenses through gifts?! Really?!

Mary Michal said...

That's awesome that you're doing what's right for you...in life and in wedding planning. At the end of the day, you're the only one that has to live with the decisions you make.

Emily said...

I've been reading this blog for a while but I think this is my first time commenting. Sometimes I feel that engaged women who go against the grain, who shun the WIC, come across like "I'm so much better than you because I'm being DIFFERENT!" I love that you never come across that way. To me it feels like you understand that some people can afford the grandiose wedding and some people want to be over the top, and you respect that...it's just not for you. I applaud you for being witty, authentic, honest, and respectful. I've loved reading this blog and will continue to follow you along your journey.

Molly Jean said...

Thanks for sharing! Love the blog!

Anonymous said...

I have been a huge fan of your blog for at least a year. I followed it religiously as I was planning for my May '08 wedding. I continue to read it because I find it really entertaining and I love following your story. You are a wonderful writer with such an authentic voice. It's truly a pleasure to follow along.

I am rooting for you the entire way!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for keeping some realism and sincerity in the wedding planning process. I keep thinking to myself and telling people who ask about the wedding, "as long as we're married by the end of the day, I'll be happy". Of course I'll gladly enjoy some good company, delicious food, and frosty beverages too, but it's not on the top of my list.

Amber said...

fascinating to read...

mel said...

SO well said. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I adore your blog, and I'm in the beginning stages of planning my own $10K wedding, so I really enjoyed hearing the back story for someone else's choice to go with the same budget. I'm rooting for both of us!

amber {daisy chain} said...

So great to learn about you! That decision to quit your job was a bigee, but I'm glad you followed your dream. I took a paycut for a career switch years ago, too, and the experience alone made it all worth it.
You're wedding plans are awesome, you really don't need to spend a fortune, just get a little creative, that's all.

Danno said...

It makes sense, good luck on you planning process! I will be following your blog. My own wedding is in June 2009 and I don't have a lot of time for planning b/c we have a 17-month old + I work full-time. However, we are older than an average marrying couple and as a result our budget is a little more flexible. You blog helped me not feel guilty for not DIY'ing anything.

Eliza said...

Cool to get this insight/backstory.

Miss Trini said...

I'm late.
And ditto what Emily said.
And I'm stunned by the recouping through gifts bit. Do people really think that way? How sad...

Wedding coupon hunter said...

i totally agree with you. i also want my wedding to be simple, not too costly, but it still has the right element. so now i am looking for wedding coupons, anyone know where i could find them?