Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Been Awhile ... again

I'm terrible at keeping up with this blog.  Sorry folks.  It gets a little harder once Life starts picking up.  I'm going to try to keep this quick n' dirty ;) Although, you all know that I am not known for either of those things.

Personally: going good.  Lovin' life.  Having some back problems though.  Spasms that hurt like hell for a couple seconds.  My whole body freezes when that happens.  But it is getting easier to live with it; as long as I don't irritate my back too much.  Not easy.  Aside from that, everything is pretty good!

Job: I've been busy.  In May I started by directing a show at Long Lake Theatre.  It was a little odd, adjusting to the new place, but it was fun too.  Great show - 'Over the River and Thru the Woods'  - there was a lot of heart and laughs in that show.  But, I had to leave the show a week and a half before opening because I had to start my job at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.  So, I had two shows opening on the same day!  Yes, I am back at the Playhouse again, and I am so happy that I am.  I'm SMing the first 4 shows of the season, and doing props for the musical (Suessical!!).  At first I was a little apprehensive about everything, but I feel wonderful about it now.  While I love Props, I am so happy to be able to Stage Manage this year.  I'm loving the job, and I have found a confidence that I never seemed to be able to have before!  I'll be a busy girl this summer!  By the way: if you ever get a chance to see 'The Spitfire Grill: the musical' - DO IT!  I've fallen in love with this show, and it is quickly becoming one that I would love to direct myself someday.  It has absolutely gorgeous music!  (we have a cello & a violin in our orchestra - I was ecstatic when I found out!)

Birthday: it was great.  A little nerve-racking in the morning, getting everything ready for opening at the Playhouse and worrying about the opening at Long Lake.  Fortunately, everything went well on both ends.  Ahren was there to celebrate with me all day, and he gave me the best present: a charm that says "i create"  The words have a very special meaning to me, and he used the gift to boost me up when I was the most nervous and anxious about the show.  I love it, because it will be a constant reminder.  I never think I contribute to the world, but when I really think about it, I do.  I create.  "i create" will also be the name of my theatre company (if I ever am so blessed to start one).  My cast also gave me a gift - one of the best gifts EVER!  A blinged out tape measure!!!  No kidding - it's green with pink and silver rhinestones all over it!  Seriously made me giggle like a little kid!

Wedding:  Things are starting to fall into place, but I just realized the other day that I only had 4 months to go!  Now is the time we have to crack down and make final decisions.  I also have to start asking for help, which we all know I am terrible at.  We've got a list of "to dos" that isn't too terribly long, but it is full of some pretty important things.  So, it's crazy, but the very fact that we are planning our wedding makes it a labor of true love.  It's the little details that are becoming the most fun now.  I found this vintage hat at an antique store that I have strangely become quite attached to, and the girls' gifts make me really happy.  Soon, Ahren and I will focus on decorating more Mason Jars.  I'm looking forward to that!

Ahren - couldn't be more amazing!  Every day with Ahren is a reminder that life is good, that miracles exist, and that God loves me.  According to all the people at the Playhouse, we are the most adorable couple (one even mentioned to her friend that we were as adorable now as we were last year!).  Everyone thinks the world of Ahren, and I think everyone has seen his positive effect on me.  Everything really is a little brighter because of him.  Someone said to me "everyone needs another person to pour their soul into" and Ahren is that person for me.  I'm so happy, it seems unreal!

I think I have written too much already, so alas, it is time to stop writing.  More to come as the summer progresses, I am sure.  If I can find the time to sit and write a blog!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Poor, but I Wanna Get Married: Actually, I'm rich, and other updates

I know, its corny, but as I sit here working through my insomnia, I look to my right and there he is: my fiance.  Snoring.  And even though its not the most pleasant sound in the world, I'm filled with love.  In this string of blogs I talk a lot about money and cost and balancing that with inspiration.  The one thing I think I failed to mention is that my biggest inspiration is by wonderful fiance.  So for all the brides out there, everywhere, I want to say this: money doesn't matter as long as you have love.  I would much rather have a cheap, tacky, meaningful wedding than the most fashionable event in the world without a bit of heart. 

And you know what?  I'm completely lucky.  I have this wonderful person with me always, who puts up with my love of weddings, and my crazy DIY projects, and constant conversations.  Poor guy, he's not a wedding enthusiast, but he tried so hard for me.  I love him very much for being such a good sport.  Another thing to remember, dear brides: an interested and involved fiance is better than any amount of money.

As for updates.  Well, we got a lot done.

First was the confirmation of the ceremony site.  (I can't remember if I already covered this, so I'll do it again)  The church we have been attending was going to be busy on our date, so we went with our second choice: the Historic Chief Theatre.  I've worked the past 7 summers during the Paul Bunyan Playhouse Summer Stock season.  Some may say it is a little tacky, but I know and love the place.  Theaters are like churches to me, and when I see an empty stage, I see a blank canvas.  So I called upon my dearest friend, Barry Nelson, to help me out with lights and sound, and I think we can make this work to our advantage.

Next was the Cake Consultation.  Hmmmmmmm!  The meeting did not go as planned, but we got to eat cupcakes, so everything was fine in the end.  When we scheduled the consultation, we got to pick 4 flavors to try.  Ahren is in charge of the cake, so he chose Triple Chocolate Fudge & Peanut Butter, Chocolate with Salted Caramel, Red Cashmere, and French Vanilla with Madagascar Vanilla Bean.  I was hoping he would branch out more, but hey - the man knows what he likes, and you can't fault him for that.  I think we really threw the company for a loop because we told them all we wanted was a "Sweetheart" cake.  One layer just for me and Ahren to cut.  We did not plan on feeding all of our guests with the cake.  But they took it in stride.

I will say that I learned a lot from this consultation.  #1: don't be surprised if your expectations are not met on a first meeting.  I watch too many wedding shows, so I was expecting someone with a sketchbook and an artistic soul.  Nope.  She took copies of some pictures that I had of cakes I collected since I started planning this wedding (which, now that I think about it, was not an accurate representation of what AHREN wanted)  #2:  Don't get me wrong, I love cupcakes, but I don't think they are an accurate portrayal of a cake.  For one thing: obviously the actual cake part is usually much more compact.  And, with frosting the way it is these days, they pile it high on stop.  Which would be great except, I have a BIG problem with too much sweetness.  So, you can't really get a good feeling for what it is exactly like.  Oh well.  #3: You NEED to be PREPARED!!  Ahren was running the show, and, try as I might, I don't think I prepared him enough for all the things he was going to be asked.  #4: Prices will always shock you.  I had no idea that some bakeries charge by the slice.  NO WONDER cake prices average around $1000!  I was floored!  So our little one layer cake is looking to be around $100.  #5: you can't be intimidated.  Poor Ahren was so over his head with this appointment that he got nervous, which made him very quiet, so I had to step in, which I was not prepared to do, which I think made the consultant probably think that we didn't know what we wanted.  #6: stick to your guns.  Don't feel bullied into doing something you don't really want.  #7: do your research!  Come to find out 2 of our choices don't make great wedding cakes. (see, I was right with #2!)  Caramel only works drizzled on top of a cake, not inside it, and the cream cheese filling can be a problem if it gets too warm.  And did you know that blue and purple in fondant is hard to do?  Apparently it is, because in our contract, they specifically state that they are not able to guarantee those colors. 

In the end, they suggested that we come in for a follow up meeting a couple of months before the wedding.  So, by then I will put all of this new knowledge to good use, and Ahren will come in with more definite ideas.  Let's hope everything goes okay!

Next: reception venue.  We went to check out a couple sites when we were in for the tasting.  A couple store fronts down from the tasting was the (technically) 4 level Elks club.  It's not a fancy venue, but the bartender who was in really sold us in the place.  The only down side: no elevators.  But the 4 levels are that bad, the longest jot is from the entrance (level 1) to the first lst floor (level 2).  It's like a split level home, except it's a dining room, a lounge/bar, and a ballroom.  We're having a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make this all work, but I think, in the end, it is going to be just perfect for us.  The rental is amazingly cheap, and they were so adaptive to just about anything we would need.  We called to place a hold on the date today.  So YAY!  We've finally got BOTH venues set!

Last thing to cover in updates is the veil.  I liked ... correction, LOVED the idea of wearing a veil from someone in the family.  I really, really, am hoping for my mom's veil.  It would be so perfect for my wedding gown, but its kinda MIA right now.  My grandma says that my mom has it, but my mom has no idea where it would be, and has no memory whatsoever about having it.  So, I am hoping beyond all hope that it is in storage somewhere.  If not, I did ask my sis-in-law if she still had hers, and she's pretty sure she does.  It is not as perfect as my mom's is, but it still is a part of the family, so I am thinking it will be perfect either way. 

So, next topic to be discussed at length: the Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in Your Shoe.  This is something VERY important to me!  So, I am on the lookout for the perfect things for each of these.  I have some options, so I am going to try and make it all work.

But enough for now, because I think I'm actually getting tired!!

Hugs and Kisses from the Future Mrs!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm Poor, but I Wanna get Married: 1st finished DIY project and update

They're finished!!

First off, how do you like my Ring Bearer Pillows?  I guess they're not much, but I'm a little proud of them, even though I know I really don't have a right to be.  Like I said, they're not much.
Well, at least my first DIY project is complete.  And I did this one on my own!  Woot!

Let's see, what else???  Here is the updated Save The Dates designed by Ashley Masias.  Ashley is my dear friend from college, and she has been gracious enough to do the Save the Dates for us as well as the invitations.  She's ridiculously talented, and she knows me so well.

Let's see, what else???  Oh yeah, I bought a wedding dress.  This might be a cautionary tale for other brides.  So, you know about most of the drama from the last blog (which I would like to take this time to apologize for.  Sometimes you just have to let it all out).  Part of me wants to re-hash all of that, but I don't want to go there, so read the previous blog for full details.  I figured I would buy my 2nd favorite dress online because it was only On Sale online.  So, it comes down to the time when I have to make my online purchase and I CAN'T FIND THE DRESS ON THE WEBSITE.  It's gone.  Completely!  I checked to see if it might have moved to the Outlet section, but no.  It's just gone.  Thinking about it now, I don't understand why I didn't have a small heart attack.  The good thing was that I had a couple other options, which I quickly narrowed down to 2.  It ended up being me and my mom discussing my two options in the kitchen, and making a decision before we all gathered to play pinochle.  Here's the scary part: I have not tried on a sample of the dress.  This is a big "no-no" for brides.  It's a huge risk.  So, I am a little nervous.  But there is something I do feel really good about: I know that with this dress, I am going to feel like a bride.  That was a fear of mine from day 1.  When I was looking at really cheap and simple wedding dresses, I was always concerned that I would not feel the part on that day.  But with the dress I chose, at least on the fashion side, I know I am going to have that feeling.

On the ceremony front: we had it narrowed down to 2 possible locations.  Admittedly, it has taken way too long to get this nailed down.  And a number of things were depending on the choice.  I feel terrible that Ahren did not get his wish on the location.  He really wanted an outdoor wedding, but once we had to move the date of the wedding, we decided that inside would be safer.  October is a little ... unsure, as far as weather goes.  So, we narrowed possibilities down to either the church we have both been attending, or the theater where I have worked for 7 years.  Well, I called the Pastor today, and he told me that the church will probably not be available.  So, location number 2 it seems to be.  We'll email the reserve tonight and meet with someone soon to book it.  So, crossed fingers all, and hope nothing goes wrong.

Well, one last thing: Ahren decided he wanted to book Althea's Cakery to make our wedding cake, so we've got a testing coming up on March 10th!  I'm excited!  If you're around Bemidji, I highly suggest swinging by the Cakery and trying their cupcakes.  TO DIE FOR!  So, I will probably dish on that afterwards!

Until then: hugs and kisses from the future Mrs!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm Poor, but I Wanna get Married - Guilt

The topic for this entry is one I have REALLY been struggling with.  It is also one that I have discovered no solution to, yet. 

Guilt.  No one ever told me that in planning your wedding you will get a bad case of it.  I guess maybe this doesn't happen for all brides, but I would think it would happen somewhat often for brides like me.  What do I mean, like me?  I mean girls who have, indeed, been dreaming of this day for as long as they knew wedding existed, and who happen to be broke. 

Most of the time I find the no money thing a fun challenge, not a problem.  But then you run into a bump in the road.  For each bride it will be different, but for me, it is the gown. 

Trust me, I know, I know; It is incredibly superficial and selfish.

Here was my downfall: I went wedding dress shopping and I did something that I should not have done.  I had no idea what kind of thing would look good on me, so I decided that I would try on, just so I could find out.  Which was fine until I decided to ignore price tags.  No, strike that, I didn't ignore them, I just didn't look at them.  I chose dresses without looking at the tags.  I wasn't looking to buy a dress that day anyways.  I just wanted to try on some to see what would look good on me.  And, on one hand, it was successful because I did find out a lot about what would look good on me.  The problem is: I found dresses that did look good on me.  REALLY good.  I kinda fell in love with some.  Thus began the guilt.  #1: for dragging my family all the way to the nearest David's Bridal to watch me try on dresses.  It was an all day trip for, in the end, almost nothing.  #2: for the wonderful girl who helped me.  She was so wonderful. Really sweet.  A lot of these girls work on commission, so my idea of just going to try on was really just a waste of her time.  For that, I feel really bad.  All I can think now is: was it really worth that trip to discover that Ivory looks best on me, I can wear strapless dresses, and my favorite neckline is Sweetheart?

Fast forward.  My fiance and I were talking dresses over and we finally came to a decision on the budget based on ... just our feelings that paying any more for a dress would be wasteful.  $200.  Well for those of you who know anything about dresses, that is on the extreme cheap side.  Not saying that it can not be done.  But, all the dresses I tried on are now out of the question.  Which kinda made the whole trip almost worthless.  And I feel bad about that.  And I feel bad about getting excited over the dresses I liked in the first place.  REALLY bad.  I got caught up in the moment of looking and feeling good.  And for a little bit there I was not thinking about how much I love my fiance, but how good I could look for him.  I figured on having my dress made by a friend I have, but she's got a toddler and a newborn at home, so it's not like she has a lot of time, and I can't compensate her well for her time in making the dress.  And I feel bad about that which means:

Guilt sets in.  And it stays for a long time.

And not just about dresses.  About everything.  I get these amazing ideas for decorations and such, and I get excited about them.  But then I think about how much it would cost.  Then I feel guilty.  It has even gotten to the point that it doesn't matter how cheap it is, I still feel bad about thinking about those things. 

My fiance's Dad came to talk to us a while ago and he mentioned how little it cost him and his wife to get married.  Granted, that was back 27 years ago, and their wedding was under special circumstances, so it was quick and simple; but it made me feel like we were being too extravagant.  I should say that he didn't say that is what we were doing, he just was shocked that a dress could cost about $500.  Considering that his entire wedding was under that much.  He didn't say anything to make me feel bad, I just read in between the lines.  And now I can't get that out of my head.

So, I feel guilty about this whole thing.  Every time I start to think about making plans for this wedding I get a shot of guilt.  Do we really need to invite all these people?  Do we really need to get married in a church?  Why should I care about what I look like on that day?  Do you really need a photographer?  Why should you waste any money on decorations?  Yeah, you want to have fun, but isn't having a wedding dance a little much?

What is worse is that I feel guilty about the flip side too.  Is it fair to your guests that you are not having dinner, let alone a cocktail reception?  How can you ask them to travel that distance if you're not even entertaining them in style?  If you're not giving out favors, it is really fair that they give you gifts? 


I used to love planning my wedding, but now I just feel guilty all the time.  Part of me says: just elope.  But that is the one thing I WILL NOT do.  I don't want that at all, and I will give up everything I have to in order to ensure that I have at least our families there on that day.  And I feel guilty about that.

It's like this endless sucking vortex of guilt and bad feelings.  I can't seem to get myself out of it, and I don't know what to do.  And all because I went and tried on some dresses.

My poor fiance has tried to help, but I can see him getting a little frustrated with the whole thing too.  I just want to feel good about my wedding again.  I love weddings, and I love planning them, but I just can't handle the guilt.

Sorry folks, just had to rant about that.  I'm not asking for sympathy, or anything like that, but if you have any ideas on how to beat the Guilt, please feel free to let me know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Poor, But I Wanna Get Married: keeping on track

Actually, this should be subtitled: Keeping yourself Myself on Track.

I have a tendency to get a little carried away sometimes.  I've been planning versions of dream weddings since I was a little girl.  I'm a wedding junky.  I adore weddings.  Mostly because of the amount of love poured into the day, but also because secretly, and deep down, I am a little style diva.  I love good style in any form, though I don't have any to save my life!  So, I would often make up many different scenarios and concepts and colors for weddings and do a lot research a look at a lot of pictures and plan it all out in my mind.  Lots of fun.  But not so good when it comes to planning your own wedding.

Reasons?  #1: Fake weddings have no budget and no limits. #2: there is no one to disappoint when there is no one but yourself. #3: you can pick up and drop concepts like flower petals and, again, no one cares!

So, yeah, I have a tendency to get carried away.  And I am on this wedding.  Looking at the style and contemplating what everything would look like and what everything would cost is starting to take over and I am loosing track of why this is happening in the first place.  So, this blog is my reminder.

Most important: I wouldn't be planning a real wedding if it weren't for Ahren.  He loves me, and I love him, and this wedding is about us getting married.  It sounds so simple.  Sometimes I think people forget that a wedding is nothing without the marriage; the actual act of getting married.  Two people vowing to spend the rest of their lives together.  THAT is why all of this is happening.  And never, EVER, should anything overwhelm that.

What do I want out of this?  Like I said, the most important part is that I get married to Ahren.  But after that, what is important to me?  Why don't I just head to the courthouse? 

The Most Immediate Answer: I would not get married without my mom and dad there.  My Dad HAS to give me away.

The General Answer: I want the important people in our lives to be there for that moment.  Yes, the guests are important.  But it is not about the number of guests and inviting everyone we know.  Honestly, I want the people who don't care to just stay away.  NO ONE should feel obligated to come to this wedding.  I want people to want to be there, and I want the people who have played a big role in our lives to witness that moment.  I want them to be there with us, and for us.

So yeah, I am still going to worry about what kind of decorations to do for the ceremony, and how much a wedding dress costs, and what are our best location options, but at the end of the day, I don't care if people think this was one cheap wedding.  If they think that, then good riddance.  But if they can walk away from all of this knowing how much we love them, and how much we love each other, I will be the happiest bride on earth!

If I can just keep coming back to Love, than I'll be kept on track.

Love and Kisses from the future Mrs!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Poor, but I Wanna Get Married - Changes (and Update and Explanation)

This blog is a little more personal than the rest, but I did find an overall theme that most brides will have to contend with, so let me explain:

Changes. Obviously, they are closely related to compromises, they are going to be apart of your wedding, and while they are sometimes not fun, it's something you will have to learn to live with, and be relatively happy about it.  Here's hoping that the changes in your wedding will be relatively un-stressful.  You just have to learn to go with the flow, take a deep breath, and move on.  But here is something else that I just discovered the other night: No matter what, remember that you need to keep the end product in mind.  Its about your Wedding - the day that you join your life with another.

Moment of rant: forgive me, but this has been on my mind.  I'm a wedding show junkie (I admit it, I love watching wedding shows. A lot,  like a LOT!)  But I noticed something, and it bugs the crap out of me.  It's all about color and theme and look and price.  Never once have I seen a bride on one of those shows say: "I want this day to be about celebrating our love for one another"  Maybe that is because it should go without saying.  But when you are going to be married, why, OH WHY, would you not say that over and over again?  Just something I had to get off my chest.

Anyways ...

My fiance is not as enthused about wedding planning as I am.  He's not un-interested, but at a certain point, his eyes get a kind of glaze and I realize that it has probably become too much and that he has had enough. Poor guy. The two of us are not decision makers by nature.  We're both too afraid to make the wrong decision, and disappointing someone, or do something wrong.  We are almost too sensitive to the needs of others.  This obviously makes things a lot harder.  I mean, I have a hard time convincing myself that planning what I am going to wear that day is not incredibly selfish; We're just more focused on our guests.  Early on, we decided that the most important part of that day was our getting married, but the second most important part of that is having the people we love with us.

Which brings us to our Change.  We found out over Christmas that my sister is pregnant again!  YAY!  Niece or Nephew #5 is on it's way!!!!  First off, let me make it clear that we are EXCITED for Steph, Chris, Dakota, and Baby Pickles pt 2 (this is my name for future little one).  New Baby, New Baby, New Baby! (You can't see it, but I'm doing a happy dance right now)

Now, for the less fun part: Steph did the math and realized that the approximate due date would be a little too near the wedding.  We can't guarantee that Chris will be able to get leave to come to the wedding, so it could be just Steph and Dakota (and possibly Baby Pickles pt2).  Driving all the way from NY is out, and air travel in the 3rd trimester is a "No."  Train is a possibility, but any travel when you are that far along is problematic at best. So, basically, if we wanted Steph at the wedding, we had to move the date.  :S  Enter our problem.

We either had to move the wedding up to May, or push it back a month or more.  As time is your friend for a Budget Bride, shaving off 4 months of planning and saving was something we just couldn't do.  So we had to move it back.  We wanted Chris there, but the only way we could guarantee that is if we held out until around Christmas.  While it was a bonus for the people in our immediate family, and anyone who would already be in the area, for most others, it would be a major problem.  Most everyone from outside the general northern Minnesota area would probably not come.  Not to mention, that we risk bad traveling conditions, which would make it possible that NO ONE from out of state would come.  If there should be a blizzard, we would have to postpone anyways, and we just thought that it would be too risky.  (By the by, as I write all this, I still feel INCREDIBLY guilty)

Long story short(er), we settled on October.  Second weekend in October.  October 13, 2012!! Which, I came to realize afterwards is my Grandma & Grandpa Gaskill's Anniversary.  Figures, huh?  I mean, we picked the first date and then I realized that it was Mom's birthday, and now we pick a second day and this.  At first, I was worried that people might think we are trying to overshadow their special day, but I was convinced that instead, it would just be a good omen.

I know this throws a monkey wrench in plans for some people, and trust me, I feel bad about it.  But, I figure, more time to change plans is better than less time.  I hope no one gets mad.  I'm trying to maintain the idea that the people who want to be there will be there if they can.  I'm trying to please all, and this Change was a little bit of a wake up call.  I can't please everyone, and maybe I should be focusing more on the two of us.  I still have a hard time with this, though. 

Good news though: this has inspired Ahren and I to make more definite decisions, and this has also led to setting a wedding dress shopping date.  I've been fighting with myself about that.  Being very Budget-conscious, I figured that I would just skip it altogether, since I figured I wouldn't be able to afford a store dress.  Plus, you know how I feel about focusing on myself, even though I kind of want to do it.  However, Ahren has been pushing me to do this, and he and Mom ganged up on me, and we've set a Shop Date!  So, look out Fargo, I'll be seeing you Jan 28th, and we'll be trying on pretty dresses!  I'm getting kind of excited about the whole thing, which has led me to another "moral" to pass on to brides like me:

Have Fun!  It's so easy to get bogged down in the chores and worries that go with planning a wedding.  So much so, that sometimes it feels selfish to concentrate on something that makes you happy.  You and you alone.  I honestly struggle with this. But the thing is, if you don't concentrate on something that makes you happy, you will come to resent the whole wedding.  What Ahren made me realize is that going shopping is not about spending money, it's a bonding experience and its helpful.  Whether we find a dress or not doesn't matter.  It will help me to see myself as a bride, help me decide what I want to look like, help me get excited, hopefully without feeling selfish.

So, please, brides everywhere.  In honor of this, have some happy wedding planning time.  Go shopping with the important women in your life.  Dish about the details with your bridal party. Watch wedding shows with your best friend. Surf the net with your fiance.  Go to as many taste tests as you want!  Enjoy it!

I think that is probably more than enough for now.  More to come as it comes!

Hugs and Kisses from the Future Mrs!