Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let them eat cake!

Have you noticed the lack of blog posts?  You might say it was on purpose. 

When people asked us, so what are you doing after the wedding?  Doing something special? Going somewhere?  Our answer was the same - Yes we have plans.  Plans to do nothing.  Plans to sit on the couch.  Plans to clear off stuff from the DVR.  Plans to have no plans at all.

Well, the plans didn't happen quite the way we planned.  We had some fun things we decided to do.  WE had some friends who had some drama with a side of drama and as much as we said we didn't want go get in the middle of it - we found ourselves there. 

After about 3 weeks we realized that it was about that time.  It was time to go grocery shopping.  It was time to do laundry.  It was time to clear off the pool table with all the odds and ends from the wedding that haven't moved since they came into the house on the night of the wedding. 

As of today we're at 1 month and 4 days.  I've got the shopping done for the house, for groceries and almost everything we need for Thanksgiving (except the fresh stuff you get the day or two before).  Kandi has done most all of the laundry.  It's nice to have fresh sheets on the bed and more than one clean towel in the house. 

We meant to have a special time on our one month anniversary but between one thing and the other - it didn't quite happen.  So yesterday, our One month and Three day anniversary in case anyone was keeping track, we decided to do something special.  We at our wedding cake!

We had completely planned to freeze the top layer of the cake.  But no one told us how.  And when I internet searched it I heard sooooooo many different versions of what to do.  And no one said "i did this and it worked really well".  What I heard most of on the bridal boards was "we did this and it tasted awful" or "we tried this so I'll let you know how it works in a year" which of course doesn't help me.  SO many decisions to be made on something so little - and I was SO not in a mood to make a decision. 

Ever wonder what a wedding cake looks like after a month in the fridge?  Like this

We didn't say it would be pretty.  But it was a nice memory.  We figured we'd give it a shot and see how it tasted.  So Kandi cut a few pieces.  We figured we'd nibble at some now, and pack up the rest.  After all, one of the issues was that we didn't have space for the whole square in the freezer - but in pieces, we knew we could keep up a space for awhile.  And ya know what, it didn't look too bad.

Ok, to be honest it looked really good.  We got so excited about it we boxed up all of the cake before we even tasted it.  We decided to go with each chunk wrapped in saran wrap and in a plastic container.  Then we could thaw just a portion of it to nibble on again later. 

I'm thinking maybe one piece can be shared at the 6 month point and if it isn't horribly disgusting, then we'll see if we can save the last piece for our official 1 year anniversary.  From what the boards said, most folks only ate a bit or two of the year old cake anyhow since it usually tastes bad, so that big chunk should be more than enough of the cake.  We looked at it and we were proud of finally getting it done.

Then it hit us. We hadn't tasted it yet.  Gotta say, the cake wasn't too bad.  The whipped cream frosting - not so good. 
But obviously, it wasn't that bad.

So there you go.  Now we just need to clean up all the gunk on the pool table so we have a place to eat on Thanksgiving.  If you're wondering how we eat on a pool table, you obviously haven't been to our house for Thanksgiving.  We might have to post some pictures of it.  After all, it is part of our adventure!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's not over, but just begun!

How could we ever count all the blessings?

It was an amazing day.  It was overwhelming.  It was a blur.

We knew it would be so there were certain moments where we just squeezed each others hands and reminded ourselves that this was one of those moments we would want to remember forever.  And so far, we still do.

It's kind of crazy to think about all the work that was done, all the people that were involved and to see it all pass by.  There were things that went exactly as planned.  There were things that weren't quite as planned, but all worked out just fine.  And there were a few things that were lovely to the average observer, and yet were shockingly not what we had planned.  But in the end those things were completely unimportant.  In the last few days when we've talked all about the ceremony and the reception - no one talks about those things. They are just in the background.

There are so many memories.  And yet - we know how many things we missed.  So for the last few days we've been asking everyone for two things - their photos and their memories.  For the photos we have created an "album" on a site called which is specifically made for groups where a large number of people are all taking pictures at the same event.  Everyone can drop off their pictures, and if you see one you like that someone else took you can download it and have it as your own.  No need to pay for a thing or get a print.  Just download and it's yours.  Have some pictures and want to be a part of the party?

To view or post to the album, go to

To email over your pictures, send them to

And as for the stories - why don't you post some of them here?  We would love to see your comments with memories, stories and some of the fun details that we didn't get to see!

Over the next few days we'll post some of the things that YOU didn't get to be around for - background info, behind the scenes pics as well as the much requested meditation that Pastor Barb did during the ceremony.  But first - let's see those pictures and hear those stories!  We're all eyes and ears!


Friday, October 14, 2011

T-minus 31 hours

One day.

That's all that's left.  Just one day.

Where did all the time go?  What happened to all the vendors and planners we talked to who said "October of 2011?   Heck, you have plenty of time!"?  Where did the time go?

So, at 2pm today our coordinator Shelly is coming to pick up all the big stuff for the big day.  Really excited for that as right now there are so many piles and boxes it looks like we're moving out.  Almost every room that was cleaned, now looks half a wreck with half completed projects here and there.  And we have just less than 6 hours to complete most of them. 

But I had to take a moment and actually jump on here to chat about where we are in all of this. 

We will love each other forever but have mutually decided that writing vows sucks.  Too much pressure to say and do just the right thing. And trying to write vows while downloading music and working on seating charts and packing boxes is really not a good thing.

We love having friends and family around us, and we love how helpful they can be.  But sometimes as much as we'd love to talk about old times or answer more questions about how excited we are - we really just want to get stuff done.  And yes, it's awesome to be able to plan a few things where you step away from the madness and escape for a few.  But it's even better when a group of folks work together to get stuff done.  We had so much fun at our Wedding Craft-a-palooza and it will be on of our great pre-wedding memories.  (I wish I'd taken some pictures that I could actually share pre-wedding, but they are all day-of goodies so unless you were working on them - no sneak peaks!)  My personal lesson from this is that in the future I need to be better at volunteering to help others and not waiting to be asked. 

We have amazing friends and family. So many folks have stepped forward and done amazing things to help us.  We are so amazingly thankful.  And the pre-wedding gifts have been absolutely out of this world.  Writing about them is almost like having to write vows - so I'll put it off a bit longer...  

Planning a night of bowling the night before you are going to have many pictures taken of your hands was not good planning on our part. Lots of others aren't interested in breaking a nail before the big day either.  So with about 10 hours to go we are back to the drawing board on what to do tonight for reception dinner and event.  It sounded like a great idea - but apparently, not so much.

While Hobby Lobby is an evangelical Christian owned company who would not be supportive of our Holy Union - we have grown to love their store.  And their employees have been supportive even when we shared what it's all about.  There are so many stories in corporate America where employees don't live up to the high levels of their corporate service model - but in this case I think they have officially exceeded it. 

We have no concept of how long it will take to complete tasks.  Can't tell you how many times we started a "15 minute" task and were still working on it 2 days later.

As I was writing this, Kandi walked over and I asked her if she had any special thoughts or memories to add.  She asked what I said so far.  When I read it to her she said what a great job I did, and what a great job I've done on so much of this.  And as she looked at me, being so loving at supportive on something as small as a blog post, I was reminded that the thing I did the greatest job on was in finding and keeping her. 

Forever and ever, baby.  And ever. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Single digits

I have no time to post anything. 

I can not do it with a fox, I can not do it in a box, I can not do it here or there, I can not do it anywhere!

I am behind on EVERYTHING!

But when we woke up this morning we said, "Nine days."  Oh my goodness.  Nine days. 

Nine days until I can spend a whole evening without being on this computer.  Nine days until I've promised Kandice she doesn't have to go shopping with me again for a whole year because in the last year she'd done almost as much as the last 10 years combined. 

And in nine days we will have one of the best days of our lives.  Even if all the details we're planing for don't happen quite the way we planned.  It will still be amazing. 

Nine days.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Surfing the wave

I think I can say that it's official. The tiny little tasks that I've referred to as the Chinese water torture parts of wedding planning have officially become a tsunami of need and the crest is rising higher and higher and I'm surfing that puppy as fast as I can to make sure I'm not under it when it crashes.  Yea, no pressure.

That said, this is exactly the time I wish I could be writing every day to talk about what's happening and what we're thinking and feeling so we could look back on it and remember all the little details.  But who has the time?  Kandi has been out shopping for one pair of shoes for the last 5 hours. I've been working to finalize some of the details for the wedding ceremony itself and I promised myself that I'd get a good start on the program details before I turned in for the night. 

This weekend our friends Mo and Felicia have put together a night of festivities for us to go out and celebrate.  We start with dueling pianos and we end with strippers. We're starting the morning at the church doing a run through with our pastor.  What a great beginning and ending to the day.  So, before all that happens I have to finalize the ceremony and I really, really, really want to have a good start for the program.  And of course it would be nice if I could get out the evites for our pre- and post- wedding events too...  Definitely pushing my task surfing skills - but it's possible.

So, I'm leaving you with a video.  We received a gift in the mail the other day, and we are so thankful.  For this particular gift though, Kandy was extra thankful, and I had to run to grab the video camera. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feeling a little bridal

A bridal dress store can be a very intimidating thing.  Even a strong and centered woman who feels that she doesn't need to do anything just because "that's the way it is done" has to catch her breath for a moment when she sees this as she opens the door.

This is bridal.  This is how you should look.  We are giving you so many options that are versions of the same options and we hope that you won't notice how similar they all are.  Look - it's a colored sash - that is a completely different dress than the one that was all white.  And this dress - it has flowers on it.  The other dresses are totally different.  And this completely different but identical dress has lace.  That is completely unique.

It can be tough to wade through all the silk and taffeta and tulle to get through to the other side.  That other side is where you see it all and have to make a decision.  Is this me?  Is this what I want to see in pictures 30 years from now? 

I found one that worked for me, and it's been hanging largely at our neighbor Stephanie's house since that day.  (Kandi didn't know if she could hold back from peeking.)  Well, no longer.  It is now back where it came from at David's Bridal awaiting alterations. 

While being pinned I was next to a matron of honor also named Kristin.  She'd been married a few years ago and was now going to be in her friend's wedding.  She shared her wedding stories with me and tried to pass along a few good ideas.  It was nice having someone to chat with while standing there for so long.  My next visit is in just a few weeks, about a week after that - the big day! 

Kandi wasn't someone who walked into the bridal store and even flirted with the idea that what she wanted could be found on their racks. Kandi is working with a seamstress and 2 weeks ago she had her first meeting with her to review what could be called a Version 1.0.  As I wasn't there, I can't share much more than that.  Perhaps Kandi will tell more when she decides to finally do a post!  :) 

The outfits are getting ready.  Most of the RSVPs have been turned in, or typed in considering they are electronic!  So many of the details have been taken care of - and it's still a little scary how many are left!  I know they'll all get done eventually, but the sooner the better!  This week I have meetings with the florist, and someone for this hair which is not a meeting I look forward to as I still feel half clueless when it comes to that whole "What do you want" question!

That said - I guess it's time to go get to it.  Those email aren't going to write themselves!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

31 days and counting!

Tonight we had our pre-wedding photo session with our photographer Nicky with Mint.  She is fun and we are so looking forward to working with her!  We're even more excited to see the pictures from tonight's shoot.   I wore fake eyelashes that I put on myself.  And I hadn't tried any practice runs.  It was a bit scary but I didn't get anything stuck together that wasn't supposed to be there, so it all turned out ok.  I was able to get some good advice from my buddy David.  20-something years ago he taught me how to apply liquid eyeliner, and now he steps me through fake eyelashes.  THAT is a good friend to have!  :)

It almost feels that we have more things to do now than we did - but it's just because all the decisions really have to be made!  I go for my dress alterations tomorrow which means I have to make the commitment to the shoes that I purchased a few months ago.  This means that during the ceremony I will likely tower over Kandi, the heels are high, but she said she's ok with that for a few hours. 

We need to make the programs.  And while we plan on DIYing those, and have bought some of the materials we haven't finalized a few of the things that would be going into the program so of course that has to happen first! 

We need to finalize the layout of the reception space, but to do that we need to know how many tables we will need and for that everyone needs to RSVP (cough, hint, cough).  And we have to finalize the layout so we can make sure we get the right rentals which we need to get pretty quickly.  And of course, we need the RSVP's to get to the caterer - but everyone knows that, right?  (hint, rsvp, hint)

And then there are the decisions like hair and make up, undergarments (oh my!), transportation, accessories, song lists, and all the other tiny little details that go into making the big day awesome.  When exactly are we suppose to have time to do laundry?  Or get the house ready for all the out of town guest?

We know it will all work itself out somewhere, but my goodness it keeps us busy! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We're alright. No lie.

Today we got a letter in the mail.  It came in a cute envelope and I saw it was from my family out of state.  The next thing I noticed was that the stamp they used is one of the post office's official wedding stamps.  The one on the envelope is called Wedding Roses.  I thought - how sweet that they would reply to our invitation, even though we knew that they wouldn't be able to make it due to other family obligations - and they even used a wedding stamp!  I was excited to open it.

I agree that it is great to have close female friends.  I have several of those that match that description exactly.  Those friendships have maintained through things like distance, motherhood, drug treatment, unemployment, prison, and other issues that would test many of the strongest friendships - but ours have survived.  I value those strong friendships very much.  That is not what I have with Kandice.

Kandice and I do have a great friendship.  I believe that friendship is one of the important building blocks of a healthy long term relationship. But that is one aspect of our relationship.  When she makes me dinner she is not my cook and when I trim the trees in the front yard I am not her landscaper.  She is my partner.

A bit of a technicality now.  You were not invited to a marriage or a 'wedding'.  The invitation was to our Holy Union ceremony.  At our church.  Performed by our pastors.  Pastors ordained by the United Church of Christ.  Pastors who are actually pretty excited about it.  And we are pretty excited too.

I'm sorry you can't rejoice at our happiness.  While it makes me sad for you, it doesn't change my happiness.  As for a "lie that same-sex marriage is alright" - I'm not sure what you mean.  I don't believe I was lied to.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized by our state.  No one lied to me to say that it was.  Our Holy Union ceremony is between us, with the help and blessings of God, our family and friends.  No lie.

But if you really feel that a commitment to God isn't a enough for you - though it is for us - we can shows you our piece of paper with our signatures on it that was authorized by the state just like a wedding license.  It's our domestic partnership papers.  No lie. 

No one lied to say that same-sex marriage is alright.  When done properly - it's awesome.

And one day same-sex marriage won't be alright - it will be A right.

No lie.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kandi loves shopping. Really.

We have been talking about how much we really needed to "fill out" our registry.  Not that we need a ton of things, but for those who are asking, we want to give them some good options.  

We are using which let's us link up the registries from all the stores into one place.  It also let's us scan items from our phone (but only if we are using wi-fi -so strange!) and let's us select any item online.  Kandi has loved using the phone scanner and the store scanners.  But today Kandi discovered the online option.  I wish I had a video camera on her at the moment she realized she could add anything from Home Depot to our registry with the click of a button.  

By the second click she was so excited that she decided we were leaving the house to go shopping.  Let me say that again.  Kandi proactively asked about going shopping, and was excited to do so.  And she high-five'd me.  Three times before we left the house.  

So now we are on our way to Bed Bath and Beyond and whatever other stores she finds along the way.  It may take a few weeks to fill it all out but I'm excited to say that we are on our way.  But not as excited as Kandi.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Awesome weekend

Two posts in one week?  Amazing, right? 

I don't have the time to say much but I just have to say what an amazing weekend it's been.  We met with our photographer, Nicky with Mint, and are working on finalizing our time for doing our pre-wedding session with her.  She hadn't clicked a shutter for us yet but we know it will be awesome.  We met with our florist Michelle of Crazy Daisies and we had basically scrapped 50% of things we've planned before and revamped our floral plan.  We love her creativity and are so excited to see how it looks on the big day.  Also, she's just pretty cool in general so it's always nice to hang out with her.  Today though - we tried to keep it brief as she really should have been at the emergency room and instead she came to our visit.  I won't get into the details, but how's that for dedication?  :) 

We finished up the invites and we are super excited to get them in the mail on Monday.  No turning back now!  :) 

We have started a few registries, have bought some things for the bar and for our special little favors.  We've shopped for shoes, for supplies, and for the heck of it.  It was awesome.

We have gotten many things done, and have may things started.  It's amazing to think about how much still needs to be done.  But I know we'll make it all come together. 

Amazing weekend.  48 days until the big day.  Have to remember to breathe deeply and enjoy the ride. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Where did the time go?

I got back from traveling for work for a few weeks.  While I was tired, I was excited to get back to the routine of work, and follow up on all the things that had come up during my travel.  What did I come home to?  Well, I looked at our checklist on and promptly freaked out.  Where did all the time go?  I thought everything was still several months away.  And now, we didn't. So - I made appointments.  My first full week back we had an appointment every single night.  We saw the list, and we began to check it off.  Cake tasting and design.  Check.  Final tasting with caterer. Check.  And check and check and check.  Ok, so they weren't all the same size check marks, but there has definitely been a large forward motion since I got back. 

This weekend we are meeting with our photographer at both venues to get her creative juices flowing, and we're going to set up a time to do a bit of a late engagement session.  At this point it's more of a pre-wedding session, but I think it's a great idea to be able to meet with her at least once before the big day to learn more about each other.  And as girls who in more than 10 years have never had professional pictures taken, we're all about making up for it now!

Some surprises from the journey.  Who knew it would be so hard to figure out how to do your hair?  So many considerations.  So many tiny differences making it a completely different style that you have to chose between.  So NOT my kind of an area.  My way of doing my hair every day is combing it, and then in an hour or so when it's dried - sticking in an barrette to keep it out of my face.  Almost worse than that is finding someone to professionally do my make up.  I mean, seriously?  My version of daily make up is tinted lip gloss. And yet - I get that it's important for the make up to be good, and to last all day. 

Another surprise - picking songs for the wedding ceremony.  We both love music, and we know how important a good song can be.  We want a great song.  I have no idea where to start.  Seriously.  There are SO many great songs.  How do you pick which one is going to forever be "the song you played at your wedding".  When my mom got married I was almost 5 years old.  I still remember hearing my aunt sing the song she sang, and I will always think of my mom's wedding and my aunt when I hear the song.  I need to pick just one song with that kind of meaning?  Too hard.  Kandi is on song detail.  Her favorite way to search for songs is on YouTube.  This has led to some awesome songs for the reception, but nothing yet for the wedding.  It's tough.

It's been an exciting journey, and we know it's not over.  51 days to go, lots of errands to run this weekend including helping my mom find a MOTB dress, the photographer, the florist, and of course the invitations will be going out by this weekend. 

Oh.....Did I just leak that information?  Gee, I guess I did.  :) 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Save the Date story

Now that we are working on all the fun details for our Invitations, we can share the pictures and story for the making of our Save the Date's. 

Our first plan was that we would use these fun "business cards" we had made with all of our info for the ceremony.  It would be super simple - the card WAS the Save the Date.  And we had pre-bought some stamps to use to help personalize some of our DIY creations, so we'd put a stamp on the back of the white business envelope.  Super duper simple, right? 

Well, imagine sending a business card in a white business-y envelope.  Now imagine being the person to open that envelope and think about how lame it looks to open a practically empty white envelope and see just a business card.


So, I thought hey, let's put in one piece of paper that gives slightly more info, bigger font, and generally takes up more space in the envelope than just a business card.  And Kandi decided to not make them just business cards, but magnets - so she applied and hand cut a magnet to the back of every business card.  But then we thought - white piece of paper and white business card magnet in business looking envelope?  BORING!  So I figured if I could get some fun colorful paper we would be set. We contemplated taping the card to construction paper.  We contemplated doing some fancy multi-layered paper thing.  In the end we decided that it was going to be all about going to the store and getting inspired. 

So I did.  And there they were.  Envelopes that exactly matched our green color.  It was so exciting!  I'd thought I might find colorful paper but had never thought we'd get anywhere close to our color in an envelope!  Then I found acceptable paper - acceptable because while not an exact match, they are "cousin colors" coming from the same family. 

Heading home with that and many other ideas we played with what it would look like and what we would do.  My favorite discovery was the glue dots so those "cards" could actually stay in one place!  As someone who likes to know how something is going to end before it begins, I loved that we would know exactly where that card would be when it was opened up!  We thought it looked pretty good after an hour or so of playing around with it, but then Kandi came up with what I thought put it over the top - the stamp on the orange paper.  It was perfect! 

And so we began the assembly line!  I folded. She applied the card/magnets.  She stuffed.  I sealed and stamped. 

Don't we look happy?  Ok, there was some cheesing for the camera, but at the same time we WERE so excited!  While there have been checks written and decisions made, this really made it feel "official".

In addition to the original cards we'd planned to use, I'd tested out an idea with putting our picture on a card.  I didn't get a lot as I was just trying out the idea.  Kandi decided that we would include what we had on some of the invitations.  So if you didn't get one - sorry!  I only ordered a few!  We had no idea how we would use them when I got them or I would have gotten more!  So here it is our final product...

And once all the work was done, the pile was ready to head out to the post office.  

We hope you all enjoyed them as we enjoyed putting them together.  Speaking of which...

Time to go back to work on the invitations!  :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Checking in from the road...

2 months, 11 days, 12 hours.

Why did I get that app again?

But that is certainly our reminder that time is a-ticking.  Kandi has been working to decide who will officially make her bridal outfit.  As someone who grew up with a family full of seamstresses, she was a bit surprised by the costs but she has gotten used to it.  We both know the basic concept of what the other is wearing, but don't know anything in particular.  We won't officially see them until the big day.  Only the seamstresses and our neighbor Stephanie will know for sure as she is the official "holder of my dress" since if it was at our house Kandi knows she couldn't quite control her curiosity.  Who knew that dress holder would end up being a flower girl duty? 

Our coordinator Shelly has been a great resource.  While she hasn't done any "work" she has been a great reference, resource and general sounding board for some of our ideas.  Knowing that she and her team are going to be there for the big day has been a nice relief.  She also came up with a few new ideas when she took her to see the reception space. She is so good about understanding what we want and understands exactly what we're going for - we're happy to have found her! 

I'm traveling now and Kandi has the house to herself to be able to do any and all wedding planning where she doesn't want my help.  Who knows what I'll be heading home to find?  :) 

Once my work related travel is done it's officially (bum bum buuuuummmmmm) time to order the invitations. Such a big step - and one we're so excited about!  It should be amazing. 

Time is ticking on by and I can't believe how soon it's going to be here! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Starting to check off the list

It started as a concept.  And then that concept sprouted an idea.  The idea grew and grew until it had so many leaves that it no longer bore much resemblance to the initial concept, because it was so much better.  And yet - it seemed to be exactly what it was supposed to have been all along. 

Some seemingly deep thoughts about creating our save the dates!  And yet that's how it really happened.  We look back and almost wondered how we got there, and yet we can see how and when each of our ideas layered on one another to create the final end product.  It was a perfect coming together.  Just like us.

So, we took many pictures and I promise that I WILL share them - but I'll be waiting about 2 weeks to post the picture to make sure that anyone who actually reads the blog as of right now (I think it's up to 3 or 4 of you now... Howdy!) will have actually looked at their mail before they see it all on the blog. 

Today Kandi met with the first of the seamstresses we have met or been referred to for her outfit.  This woman seemed really excited about her ideas (again, not sharing yet - a girl has to maintain her mystery...) when we shared them with her at a bridal show.  We also have one seamstress that was referred to us by our wedding coordinator Shelly and by Aunt Cynthia who gave a glowing recommendation of someone she has used before.  That's Kandi's big task in the next week or two as she knows she needs to budget a bit of time to have something crafted completely from scratch. 

We recently purchased a few items for the reception venue that we're excited about.  Another mystery until October 15th of course.   These were some of the last of a group of items we've been gathering for some time and with this last purchase we are officially DONE there!  With so many items on the old to-do-list it's so nice to be able to officially check somethings off.   I have two big things that I really need to check off in the next few weeks.  They've both required so much research to make that final decision, and I think I'm getting really close.  I'll be meeting with an adviser shortly (Thank you Brian.) to go over some of the options and make some final decisions.  It's SO exciting!  And these are things I can immediately share here so yes, I'm being vague right now - but not for long!!!

And on that note - time to go put the RSVP's in a container for Kandi to drop off tomorrow!  One more thing to check off the list.  One more step towards making it feel oh-so-official. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th thoughts of freedom

Today is one of the days when everyone remembers the birth of our country, and they thank all of those who keep the country free.  I agree with that, but I sometimes think the common scope of who we're thanking is a bit small. 

I will never forget how it felt to stand in Arlington National Cemetery and look at the thousands of white headstones against the green rolling hills.  To see all of those who have died in fighting for this country, and know there were many more who never made it home, or are elsewhere is really stirring.  I will always appreciate everything done by the armed services of our country. 

A few weeks ago something else happened in the country that was significant to many.  New York's legislature voted to give allow same-sex marriage in their state.  It was a close vote.  They weren't sure it would make it.  It took one brave voted official to change his mind, to go against what he said he stood for when he was elected, and to truly look not just into his heart but into the laws and legal rights for thousands of other people around the state.  And he did.  All of those who voted in the affirmative helped to move our country one step further to freedom. 

In Arizona we voted twice on making same-sex marriage banned within our constitution.  The first time my side won and the vote was denied.  It was the first time in the country that it hadn't immediately won.  We were so happy.  We thought just maybe, one day, we might be able to get married after all.  Then, a few years later they tried it again.  This time, our side lost.  It's practically impossible to remove something from our constitution so unless we move to another state, or country, we knew that we would likely never be able to legally marry unless something was changed at the national level.  We hoped.  We prayed.  But then we decided we really wanted to do it.

Then Pastor Barb came forward, our ball got officially rolling and everyone in our world is talking about our big day.  It's exciting.  And we love every minute of it.  But now and then I have to admit that there are times when we wish it could be just a bit more. 

We're missing more than 1400 rights that our friends could get via a drive-through in Vegas.  We've been together more than 10 years, share a loving home, and we are committing to our love in a church in front of God, family and friends.  Shouldn't that give us something?  50 rights?  100 rights?  If we're only half the citizens, give us just 1/2 the rights.  Or maybe we should only pay 1/2 the taxes?   After all, a recent law passed here makes it even harder for same sex couples to adopt so maybe gay people shouldn't have to pay for schools?  Right?  Honestly, I feel just the opposite.  If there are people so ill informed about the world and the plight of those children who want homes, and couples who want to do nothing but show each other love then really we need to be paying a lot more attention to our educational system.  I need to ensure that the future generations are smart enough to get us out of this mess.  Ensure they are smart enough to see through past bias and fear and can keep their focus on the intent of the laws and the freedoms of the people. 

So today, on July 4th, I'd like to send out a special thank you.  Armed forces often share most of the well wishes on this special day, and of course the fighting they do for our freedom can never be forgotten.  But also we should never forget those who fight for the freedoms of those in our courtrooms and in our legislatures.  They may be forgotten in some circles, but their works impact each of us on a regular basis.  Thank you to the teachers who are often the only ones who will ever share civics lessons with children in homes where these things aren't discussed at the family table.  Thank you for lighting that fire within our students to make them better citizens.  Thank you to the respectful protesters.  Those who have important messages to share and do so without feeling that a "certain" mustache applied over someone's face is an appropriate image.  Thank you to the police force who work hard to keep the city safe and ensure everyone has the right to live a peaceful life.  And finally, thank you to the educated voters.   Those who don't just vote the way someone told them to, or because the names have the right letter next to their names, but because they have looked into their options and are truly going with the person they believe will best deal with the issues that are important to them.  If 10-20% more of the population did just that, we would have a terrifically different country indeed. 

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." Abraham Lincoln

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." William Faulkner

Let freedom ring.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

There's an ap for that

One night we were out and I was watching Kandi play spades with friends, which I really enjoy.  I was messing around with my phone, checking Facebook, looking at our wedding email address and then a thought popped in to my head.

"I wonder if they have any Wedding Aps?"

So I went to the little marketplace and typed in Wedding.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds.

I was impressed.  I figured I'd just look for fun.  See if something jumped out at me.

Wedding countdown calendar?  Sure, that could be fun.  Downloaded it and while it was downloading I went back to watching the game.

A few days later we were meeting with a potential wedding coordinator and she asked how long until the wedding (instead of just asking for the date) and suddenly that ap popped into my mind.  There is was.  Just one click of a button and I could tell her exactly.


As of this very second I we have 3 Months, 28 Days, 9 hours, 22 minutes and 37 seconds.


I don't need to be riveted as I watch the seconds tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick by.  And then, it's gone.  For every second you watch slip by, another minute is right behind it.  And soon the days are falling past us and we wonder where the time went.

I haven't deleted the ap.

I know, call me a masochist.  Tell me I'm crazy. 

But you know what - I can't get rid of the hope that there is going to be a time when I see that time and instead of thinking "oh crap!" I get excited.  When all of the planning is done.  When there is nothing left for us to do but get our hair done, put on something pretty and pledge our love forever and ever in front of folks who will hold us to it.

That time may not come until we're down to less than 12 hours away.  Down to when our new wedding coordinator Shelly are firmly in control of the reins and we can just sit back and enjoy the moment.  And at that moment I will be more and more excited for every little tick, tick, tick.

PS. Want to be similarly riveted?   Scroll to the bottom of the page...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where did the time go?

How is it 3 weeks have gone by already???  Time is fly fly flying by - and that is NOT a good thing when you are trying to do so much planning.

One reason for the time slippage is that we went to Ohio for the Memorial Day weekend for a graduation celebration for Kandi's cousin.  It was really great to be able to catch up with friends and family.  And of course, talk about the ceremony.  Lots and lots - which is always fun for us!  We have many folks who are going to try to make the trip and it would be great to get to see them.

We officially received the contract from our reception venue.  That had a few bumps in the road that we needed to work out but as of yesterday we got the confirmation that it should be smooth sailing! Woo hoo!

So as of today we have deposits/contracts out on our florist, photographer, bartender, venue and by the end of the week we will have one out for our caterer as well.  Then hopefully in the next few weeks we can make a decision on a "Day of Coordinator" because we realized that no matter what we want to do or wish we could do, we just can't be in two places at once.  We can't be at the venue making sure stuff is getting ready AND be at the church at the same time.  We even have a really strong lead on a seamstress for Kandi's outfit!

It's exciting to think that the "major" planning will soon be over!  Of course, this means that the really major planning it still to come.  We've been looking into doing electronic RSVPs and we need to figure that out before we can send the invites, but of course before that we have to send the goodies we got for Save the Dates. All the tiny paper goods details can be almost mind numbing.  And then there's the details of what the ceremony itself will include.  What DIY projects we've been looking at that we will decide to undertake.  All of those little details that don't seem like much, but when applied consistently could be like Chinese water torture - IF you weren't doing it with someone you love so very much and laughing about it the whole time. 

Luckily, we are.  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A TV Wedding rant

You know what we're sick of?  We're sick of people on wedding shows talking about how they have to do everything cheap and DIY because they have a budget of JUST $25,000.  And then we hear they only have 50 people coming.  We're sick of the girl who is complaining about how hard it is to plan her wedding when she has hired professionals for most every part of it, daddy is paying the insanely high bill, and she quit her job so she could focus on the wedding.  But it's SO hard.  And we are sick to death of the bridal shows that have carving stations and sushi and stir-fry asian food, and build your own mashed potato bars and more food that some families see in a month FOR THEIR HAPPY HOUR and the guests say that happy hour was "just ok". 

Seriously people. When did it become socially unacceptable to have a simple wedding?  When did everyone decide they had to be a princess?  When did we decide that we would just all go into debt to the bride could have "her day"?   When did this become the norm?  Heck, when did it become remotely acceptable to blow that much money and have that much waste for one fricking day?  Not even a whole day.  Most weddings last less than half of a day.  In less than half of a day you are blowing through more money than many of the folks working your event make all year. 

Listen, I'm not saying that everyone who spends a ton of money or complains about their wedding is a bad person.  Really I'm not.  Sometimes I feel like my complaint is to the companies who want to charge you $60 a plate for a meal at a wedding, when the same meal served at a seminar would be $40, and the same meal served at their restaurant would be $19.  And those Chiavari chairs that everyone is shown sitting in during the ceremony for bridal shows on tv - to rent them costs $10 - $15 a chair.  That is $1000 - $1500 for chairs that folks will likely sit in for half an hour. Those chairs are getting so much per hour a company is going to look to outsource that job to overseas.  Sometimes this process has me thinking I'm in the wrong business. 

And that is why I'm so happy when I meet people who want to work with you.  People who want to make sure that while they are easily getting all their bills paid, you aren't having to skip a bill to pay them.  People who have clear websites and details so there are no questions or fine print.  Folks who are in this not just to take advantage of all the barely 20 something's with a hand in daddy's wallet, but to help your average person have a wonderful and special day. 

While this may have seemed like a rant to the "other people" it's really a thank you to all the good ones out there. May you all stay in business, and may you give me big discounts.  :) 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Surprise! It's wedding week!

Last week we made the decision to really get some things done towards the wedding this week and next.  We figured one thing here, one thing there.  Instead it has become "Wedding Week".

Monday - Email, email, email!  It was all about sending out email to get updated with all of our contacts.  We have a few contracts pending so looking forward to getting those resolved.
Tuesday -While not officially wedding related, we had an event at the Phoenix Mercury where we got to pick up our season tickets.  While there we did chat about several wedding related events. 
Wednesday - Met with the suggested "rentals" company for our reception space. 
Thursday - Going to our monthly wedding show put on by the The Big Picture, from whom we won the free engagement session, and where our florist will be hanging out as well!
Friday - Meeting with Pastor Barb for our very first Holy Union counseling session.
Saturday - I have to work.  Doesn't sound wedding related?  Oh yes.  That overtime $ is going right for wedding stuff! 
Sunday - Two, count them, TWO Wedding shows including one that is hosted by the first wedding cake place that Kandi fell in love with - Bamboo Bakery.  Looking forward to those cake tastings! 
Monday -  Having our second meeting with our potential caterer!

It's amazing how many things we know right now.  It's also surprising how often I question some of the decisions.  For example, we said fairly early on that we weren't going to do a bridal party.  We figured we'd have a nice VIP section of friends and family with special things to do during and around the ceremony and all would be good.  No need for obnoxious outfits.  No needing to decide who's side each person would be on when we've had the same friends for 10 years.  Nope - we know we aren't going to do it.

And then...I see pictures like this and I just really, really, really want to have fun pictures like this. 

Ok, I don't need pictures EXACTLY like that, lets be honest the flipping off the camera thing is much more in Kandi's territory, but it's so fun!  I want fun group pictures.  And matching outfits.  Or at least vaguely similar outfits.  Sort of.  Maybe.  I don't know.

It's not as easy as I thought. And the more I look at some of the cute bridesmaid pictures on Off-Beat Bride, one of my favorite web haunts, the more I start to question that decision.

So many questions so little time.  If anyone was counting, which The Knot has been doing ever since I registered there, it's just 155 days until the wedding.  Yikes!

Let the wedding madness continue!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Forever playing catch up

On this happy Mother's Day I want to start by giving very special mention to our Moms.  We wouldn't be here without you.  Literally. 

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur, and yet while much of it was wedding prep, nothing was actually prepping for the wedding.  No, instead it was preparing to PAY for the wedding.  We've been doing garage sales.  Yes, last weekend we did both Saturday and Sunday, and this week just Saturday.  Our total cost, since our awesome Neighbor/Flower Girl pitched in for the cost of the ad in our local paper as she also had a house full of stuff to sell, was less than $8.  We made more than $500.  We are super excited about that.  It's cleaning the house AND making money at the same time! 

Unfortunately it kills your entire weekend, and several days prior to the first weekend in prepping, and you feel you have no time for anything else.  After the first garage sale we realized we'd been out of the swing of wedding prep for too long.  So that, along with an upcoming trip and just our general long term want inspired us to go buy a laptop.  I've so often had one for work we never felt the need to have  personal laptop. But now we have one!  We know that it will be in high demand as we get closer and closer to the big day!

We planned to have it out and working on some emailing and Excel spreadsheet-ing, but there really wasn't much time to do it with the folks coming by.  We were able to do some, but we're definitely feeling a bit behind on it.  Hopefully we can get a bit more caught up this week.  We made initial plans and tentative plans with several places so we should quickly get back in the swing of things.

We have 2 bridal events next week, and 2 bridal events planned for 2 Saturday's from now.  One is with a place we'd like to have do our cake if we can swing it.  And who doesn't like a chance to eat some cake?

We are also planning to do a meeting with a company that we were TOLD was the preferred rental company for where we are having our reception, but when their representative returned by call last week I found out they do SO much more!  She was supposed to send me some info for us to review so I could have her email address, but haven't gotten it yet.  If they can do a few of the things it could be great for us to have one group coordinating it though in the end it's all about three things; Price, Product, and Personality!  Fingers crossed it will be a good option!

Also, on Saturday we met someone - a friend of a friend - who is an amazing singer and is up for singing a few songs at our ceremony/reception.  And this was all great until we start talking with her and realize we basically have no idea what we would want her to sing or at what time we would want her to sing.  We've been working so hard on some of the "big" details we haven't spent much time on the little ones like that.  But we realize we're getting to that time.

Finally, on Saturday we got the cards we're using for our Save the Date's.  Kandi has one more add on to get to make it a "complete package", but hopefully we can have those sent out by the end of the month. It will be nice to sort of make it official in that kind of a way.  The first mailed item. It's a big step. Just one more big step of so many we've had on this journey!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A lovely "normal" Easter

Easter was lovely.  Nice break from thinking about wedding details.  Went to church.  Had friends and family over for a nice Easter dinner.  It was absolutely perfect in that absolutely normal kind of way. 

And that got me thinking...

One thing that I keep thinking about, but haven't chatted about is the absolutely normal way it's all gone.  That may sound strange but let me say it's really not what we expected when we started this process. 

We thought the church might say no. For year's we'd wondered, scared to find out what they would say.  Instead they came to us before we could even come to them.  There have been nothing but loving open arms. 

We thought looking for vendors would require lots of explanation. We expected to have our "Actually there isn't a groom - this is my partner Kandi" to be followed by the dreaded - "oh.....<silence and judgmental stare>".  You know what we got instead?  "Really?  That's awesome!"  or "That would be so cool - I haven't done a same-sex ceremony before and I really wanted to!".  I'd say that we've been shocked, but there was nothing shocking about it.  It all felt so...normal.

And let's remember - this is Arizona.  Just a few years ago my state, that I love so much, voted though a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to only Man+Woman.  It was the same election cycle that passed Prop 8 and elected Obama.  Talk about mixed emotions. We actually went to a protest the next day.  I think Kandi's sign said it all...

We are happy to fight for our rights, but we were not looking forward to the "fight" for our catering rights.  Or the "struggle" for photographic equality.  But we were ready.  And then...

It was easy.  It was normal.  Everyone loved us.  Everyone wanted to work with us. 

Now don't think I'm so in the wedding haze that the thought is ever lost on me that of COURSE they want to work with us.  Gay wedding $ spends just as good as straight wedding $ and when times are tight, as we all know they are - business is business.  And I know that the folks we're talking to live and die by their ability to make couples feel good.  Make them feel happy and cozy and loved so they'll fork over their hard earned (or Daddy's hard earned) cash.  But at the same time, our B.S. meters are pretty high.  We can normally detect a fake comment.  And we have.  But those were the "I say this to all the brides because it makes them happy" kind of comments.  Hard to fault someone from a few of those when they do this over, and over, and over again.  

But just as there is something wonderful about a holiday with family and friends that goes so smoothly you might call it the "same old boring thing" when you loved every minute of it, this process has been the same old boring wedding planning thing.  Go to bridal shows.  Taste cakes.  Try caterers. Try on dress.  Same old.  Same old.  No one blinks an eye - unless it's a positive comment.   How amazing they think it is that we've been together 10 years.  How they think it's so stupid it's not legal in the state.  How generally awesome they think we are. 

No struggle.  No push back.  Just love. 

Just a normal wedding.  For two fabulous "normal" girls. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A showing-our-Pride kind of weekend

It almost feels like a slow week until I remember everything that's gone down! A few days of putting off an update here and I feel like I'll lose more of the details - so time to post!

Thursday we met the florist to check out both a florist and a "hard goods" place.  Yea, we didn't know what that meant either.  It's the place that sells all the stuff that won't die.  Vases, ribbon, aisle runners, tulle, candle holders, sparkly things and a wide assortment of dried and silk-ish flowers.  It was awesome.
Amazing, right?  Each bundle is 25 roses and there were more than the 6 I got in this picture.  Wow. 

I love these.  Their name escapes me right now, but I can still like them.  :)
Not sure how or if we'll use this, but I thought it was a "different" kind of option for filler.  Very natural. 

Aren't these cute?  Such a great color punch.  The florist said she's even pulled off the little colored ball at the end and strung them together to make a garland.  I said that's likely too rich for our blood, but I like the idea.  For someone else.
While we were at the hard goods store I felt like I was on some fantasy shopping trip. I had to remind myself that whatever I liked - I paid for. So I tried to remember that - but you know me.  I like it all.  I may have held back, but most folks never would have thought I was!  While we found some great ideas, I also saw something that I thought was SO ugly I couldn't help but make a comment.

In the back there were some large manzanita trees that had been spray painted a bright red.  These beautiful natural trees now looked like red lacquer.  Icky.  So I said so.  More than once.  Ok, so I said it a lot.  They were just really, really ugly to me. Ugly.

This weekend was Pride.  Yea Pride!  Another chance for a parade and free beads.  We really love a parade.  At one point, early on, I really tried to think of how I could incorporate parades into the wedding as that is one thing we've done consistently since we got together - and are really known for doing.  We have such a great time. 

Saturday morning was the parade, then after some errands and lunch we went into the festival.  This was their second year for having a wedding tent, and it was our first stop.  The first thing we noticed was the Air Conditioning.  When the day was a high of 96 degrees, these things matter.  Then we started checking out the vendors who were there.  The third vendor we saw was in fact the hard goods place that we'd just visited a few days before.  Then, as we're going to the next booth, I see it.  Or shall I say - them.

There they were.  The ugliest trees in the world.

Up on stage where the fashion show was about to begin.

It was awful.  And hilarious.  All I kept thinking was, "You know, we're not all THAT gay..."

But apparently - someone who organized this really is. 

After the Pride festival we went to dinner with my Mom - who was so sad she had to miss all the festivities but her friend's wedding started the same time as the parade.  There will always be next year's parade, but hopefully that will be her only wedding so of course we understood.

We went home to change clothes and have a good 15 minutes of quiet time on the sofa as there wasn't time for a disco nap and then we went to the club.

I like the idea of going out. I like dancing, being with friends, drinking my water with lemon and being the designated driver.  I really do.  I enjoyed where we went, and they were even playing good music.  But dear HEAVENS I think I may have either babysat for some of these kids in the club - or for their parents.  While I'm sure I wasn't the oldest person in the place, I was clearly in the top 10%.  So what's a girl to do?

Close the place down.  Oh yea - we were there until the bar was closing up, the last song played, and until - in the words of Prince - the ugly lights came on.  Take that 22 year-old's. 

Then, Friday I got a text and then a call from Kellie at The Big Picture who took our engagement photos.  We had such a busy weekend I didn't really get to see them until Sunday.  We've been waiting to see all the shots that she gave us since our shoot a little over two months ago.  She let us see some teasers - but it's been a long tease!  Now, we have almost 300 to chose from.  Still haven't heard anything about pricing (we never did know what came with what we won when we won it so we've just been happy for everything we've gotten so far!) to get some of the pictures. But since she has given it all to us for free, we wanted to return the favor and share some publicity her way so we're posting the info on Facebook and here for others to see.  About 24 hours after posting it we have 10 likes, 16 comments and 2 re-posts - one of which will be sharing her info with a friend of hers who is looking for a photographer.  The more you get, the more you give back, right?

If you aren't one of the many who saw the pictures, you can check them all out at her View the Big Picture blog.  Well, actually she did a cute little write up on us that included some of the pictures and then she included a link where you could see the other hundreds of options.  As I said on Facebook - enjoy the cuteness!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I said yes

My most important Yes was to the girl.  The yes everyone has been asking me about ever since then is the dress.  And on Tuesday I found one that made me say yes. But first, a few other updates.

On Wednesday we went to Atlasta Catering and had a really amazing tasting with my mom and Kandi's Aunt Patti. We just tried 5 things from the menu that we liked the most online.  Things weren't as good as they sounded - they were better.  And, we found out that they do all sorts of other things including table/chair/linen rentals which means if they were doing that too we wouldn't need to pay for a day-of coordinator to make sure the stuff was all set up - they take care of it.  It could be a nice savings. As a bonus, they are familiar with both our site and in using 8-person square tables.  Of course it doesn't hurt that the woman we worked with was also awesome. 

Sunday we scheduled to meet our florist.  Yes, it's official now that Michelle from The Crazy Daisies will be our florist.  We had that special moment of bonding when we met, and it was destiny.  Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  So often brides come to her and say, I want this, this and this, and it has to look like this.  I find that to be boring.  I liked Michelle's outside the box creativity and I wasn't about to stifle her with all sorts of boring rules about what we wanted.  Her only limitation is our budget.  We're having to stretch it a bit (my goodness flowers are expensive!) but we know that Michelle will work to keep that number as low as possible.  She loved the reception space - and who wouldn't?  It definitely inspired her.  I think after getting to know us after all this time and then seeing the two spaces she has a really good idea of who we are and what we want.  We're totally on the right track there.  She wants to take us to a floral wholesaler to see what flowers and hard goods we love so we just need to find some time that we can randomly take off in the middle of the day to make that happen since it's only open from 6am-2pm M-F.  Yikes!  We'll find a way!

Now, back to the dress.  You aren't going to see if of course.  Kandi is on a need to know basis and all she needs to know is how to match it.  So here's the info.  It's white.  It has silver accents.  Done.  Other than that I have a few friends who've seen it, and Aunt Patti will see it so she can go with Kandi to make sure the outfit she chooses will match nicely.  And just so you know - I'm not allowed to see that one either.  Which somehow, even though I know it is, doesn't seem fair.  Then again, it also was really strange for me to make such a big decision about a dress without my best friend there beside me.  But of course, she's not allowed to see until the big day. 

While I can't share what did make the cut I can certainly share a few of the contenders.  Well, they weren't all contenders, but they all had their good points. 

This was our top pic after 2 hours at Azteca. I know how happy I look in this picture but we had to "hide" that we were even taking these pictures as they were NOT allowed.  We were such rebels!
This one came in second. There was a LOT of skirt on that dress!  You can also see some of Aunt Patti's hair and her shoulder in the bottom corner.  And you know how she loves pictures...

And then we went to David's Bridal.  We did not have high expectations at all.  We'd heard nothing good.  And yet that wasn't what we found at all.  This dress had a champagne accent and our consultant advised it was perfect then for the mother of the bride to wear a champagne dress to match.  Nice idea, right?

How cute is this?  I have to say it's one of my favorite pictures from the whole dress trying-on process.  I love this hat.  I so wanted a hair piece kind of like this.  And it was the only dress that I found that worked really well for what I wanted.  And yet - I didn't get that dress...
This is a better picture of the dress.  It's cute.  I had to hold the top to get it to sit right on me, but that is a quick fix in alterations.  The gathers are nice, though I'm not totally in love with gathers (often feels princess-y) I do love how they hide a tummy! It had just a tiny little train too. 

The bottom on this is really cute and has great "movement" when I walked.  But even better movement when I swirled around.  :)  Still a kid at heart. 
This dress was the other real contender.  You know all those dreams most girls are supposed to have about their wedding day?  I think it's been established here that I really didn't have many of those.  That said, I remember wishing for a slightly larger version of a collar like this one so I was really excited to try it on.  It had a very cool back with buttons from the tip of the collar at my hair line all the way down to the long train.  And yet this dress didn't make it. 

Curious to see which dress makes the cut?  I'll let you all see it in October.  Until then - it's need to know. 

And you don't need to know.  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The first check is written!

This weekend we officially put money down to hold "our date" for the reception.  We explained the potential need for date flexibility and she was good with that considering we are far enough out on the date.  Thank goodness!

This weekend we went out searching for tables, chairs and other rent-able items.  Sexy, right?  I know.  We could barely contain ourselves.  Poly-cotton linens.  Organza Overlays.  It's like wedding dirty-talk.  Thank GOODNESS we aren't those people.  I'm a basic black chair white table cloth kind of girl.  Kandi is thinking maybe another solid color besides white.  We are so wild and crazy.  So hard to please. 

We also went to a super mega wedding store called Wedding Accessory Superstore. They have wedding, bridesmaid, flower-girl and mother of the bride dresses, shoes and other accessories.  They also have the other basic accessories like cake toppers and ring pillows and all the other crap that every bride "needs".  We spent a really large amount of time in one section - invitations.  We realize now that we have locations and are SO close to having a date, the next big step will be to officially send out invitations.  Well, next step is a funny thing because while that one really matters, we also have to finalize florists, caterers, photographers and every other vendor that we have to pay lots of money to in hopes of having an awesome celebration.  BUT - for the outside world - they just care about getting an official invitation.  So we looked.  And looked.  And looked.  It's tougher than we thought.  Trying to find that something that looks like "us" is hard enough.  But trying to feel like "us" and be under budget - whatever that is... - is SO hard.

As of right now our #1 pick is coming from Vistaprint.  They have some awesome options for invites and all the other pieces related to that.  And because they print so many things, it lets you carry that theme into quite a few other areas which we really like.  Not sure what we'll do for sure, but we know we definitely have more looking to do!

Finally - we've thought a lot about doing a "candy bar" for the wedding favor.  And while there are businesses that do it all for you, we've thought that was one piece we could really DIY.  So we hit a few second hand stores to look for some cool candy holders.  We found a few nice ones to officially start the collection.  And we found out that Goodwill is doing 50% off all items next Saturday.  Who will be right there when they open those doors?  Oh yea - that's us. 

But with this an interesting question has come up.  Where the heck to we stick all the stuff we are going to be collecting over the next six months?  And how much stuff exactly will we be collecting?  And did I include all of it on our budget?

I've come to terms that it will never all be there.  But that doesn't stop a girl from trying to catch it all!  One check down and many, many, many more to go.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's "almost completely" official!!

It just took one phone call and then...

We have a date!

Yes, we officially have a date on hold at the place we recently found.  We talked with someone after hours today to get the details and they were able to hold the date.  We were excited, and began calling friends and family.

And then, it just took one phone call to potentially change the date.  Turns out that my mom's job has 7 days in the middle of October where absolutely no one is allowed to take a day off.  Our originally planned date falls on the first of those 7 days. So, she will be going to work on Monday to do some begging to have the day off, or at least a half day.  If that doesn't work out, we may have to talk about changing the date.  There are very, very few people we would change a date for, but a mom absolutely ranks on that list.  We thought briefly about doing it on November 11th, but Kandi's mom was worried about flying out in November Ohio weather.  So we went back to our original October plans.  Mom's are important.  And, being that less than 10 people have heard the date so far, it wouldn't throw too much off if we had to change it now as long as we know very very soon.  Of course we hope that they will be accommodating at her job - but if not we know that we will have to be. 

Now, on to better news.

On Saturday we had a bit of an adventure.  We took Kandi's Aunt Patti, my mom and brother to go see the reception site.  Neither of them had seen it before so it was fun to see it through their eyes for the first time.  And while we knew it was awesome, it was still a bit of a relief to see that they all liked it too!  And, in the week since we were last there they are building a new structure outside.  It will be ready in the next week or two so we'll have lots of time to think about how we might use it in our grand plans!  While we were there we got to see Emily, who we spoke with at the desk the first day, and she was excited for us to have secured a date too.

We then rushed off from there to a wedding dress shopping trip!  My brother went home, and Kandi came in to watch us get all set up, and get a tour of the huge facility at Azteca Bridal, but walked outside for the actual search and try on parts.  :)  We're so traditional that way.  We figured we'd be about 45 minutes.

We walked out of there two and a half hours later.  We had no idea it had been that long.  Kandi just about killed her phone's battery playing Angry Birds, but at least she had that to keep her busy. Well, that and the handy restaurant bar in the same plaza.  Seriously, the bridal place should give all the future spouses a discount card. When we walked out there were 6-8 guys sitting there staring at the traffic as it went by for lack of anything else to do.

There were some great dresses and I found a few that I was surprised I liked.  One in particular seemed really nice.  The girl trying on dresses next to me said that another shop had it for even less - and conveniently I have an appointment there this week!

On Sunday, we had a wonderful development.  Kandi's mom and Grandma called specifically to ask what colors we were using so they could work on finding color coordinating outfits.  Both of them.  This is kinda huge.  Kandi's Grandma wasn't exactly hot on the idea of any non boy-girl wedding based on her religious beliefs.  Early on, she expressed her doubts that she would be willing to attend.  But more recently, she's talked with Kandi about what she's going to be wearing and even sent her a few catalogs.  And now - she wants to pick out an outfit.  That's the power of positive prayer right there!  :)

So - we know we have a church.  We know we have a reception spot.  We know we'll have our family around us.  Now everything else will fall into place, right?


I hear the laughter already from all the bridal websites I've read before.

Ok, it won't fall into place.  There will be a huge amount of work and a huge amount of money that we still don't know where it will all come from and yet - we know that we have the important pieces.  The rest is just details.


Many.  Many details.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Did someone just flip a switch?

We had the most amazing weekend. We did the annual Art Detour, which is always amazing. It sort of had a wedding theme as several of the places we went, in addition to art galleries, were possible reception spots. Our friend Karen joined us and it was great to spend time with her. When we went to lunch we ran into our friend Brian. Running into friends is not something that happens easily in Phoenix. We are a huge city and folks can be so spread out around town you are quite unlikely to be in similar places. Running into a friend is an awesome treat! And as a bonus - these are both friends that if we were doing a wedding party they would be in it. Wedding planning, friends AND art. Heaven.

After dropping off Karen, we decided to stop by a location that we had contemplated once as a reception site back before there was a ring and we were "officially" looking for anything. After looking around and talking about how cool it could be - we decided to ask if they rented the space. Turns out they do. They have only had 2 other weddings there. We got excited. She didn't have the full pricing details, but she gave us what she did know and let me just say - we were excited! And that is exactly why I'm not giving the name of the place! :) Let me just say - it really is amazing. It's a place that is very us, but isn't a place we've been with anyone else, or that anyone else would even know is very us. So - we've emailed someone there to get more details and will be holding our fingers very, very tightly until we hear back from them.

After all that, we were feeling more positive about the idea of actually having the ceremony this year than we have in a long, long time. We decided to go get some ice cream and hang out in our nearby park to enjoy the amazing weather. Looking around there we talked about how beautiful that spot is, and that we'll need to plan some kind of family picnic there when all the family is in town. We've talked about it before, but this time just felt more "real". Like it wasn't just an idea - but that it was really going to happen.

We met another friend that night in another downtown spot. From there, I went home to spend the next few hours updating our Ceremony spread sheet and trying to get equipment rental prices for some new ideas we had. Kandi spent the last few hours of the night at the casino trying to add to the wedding funds. No such luck that night - but she still had a great time!

Sunday after church we went to a family picnic where I saw some 2nd and 3rd level cousins I haven't seen in a good 15 to 25 years. We had a good time and enjoyed seeing family.

Really great weekend. It was so focused on friends, family and ceremony stuff woven into it all. But what's even better is that it didn't END with the weekend!

Tonight after work we had a questionable dinner - we went to a cake tasting! We planned to eat something great when we got home, but were both too full of cake! We came up with some amazing ideas that we are really excited about too!

Tomorrow I go try on dresses. Maybe I should have planned that before the cake tasting? :) It's at David's Bridal and I'll be honest that my hopes are NOT high! I've heard some really horrible experiences from brides over a size 12. If you can't try on a dress that even sort of fits - it's hard to really make that non-refundable hundreds of dollars custom dress kind of decision. But - I'm willing to give it a go!

Thursday we have our very first caterer tasting with Magic Touch Catering. Their appetizers were SO good at the vendor showcase at Bentley Projects that we've been talking about them since then. We knew we had to make the appointment!

Whew! So much in such a short period of time! Did I mention how excited we are? We're so excited to see where some of the updates from this weekend take us! It's definitely proving to be a fabulous adventure!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baby steps forward

We haven't won the lottery yet - but I did get a full time job! Woo hoo!

My part time job became a full time job and I really do enjoy it. The money is a little well under what I said would be my absolute minimum to pay the bills - but it's a job. I'm starting to look at options for a part time gig now, as is Kandi. And hey - I always thought it could be fun to work at Starbucks. Or maybe Target - I look great in red and I'd love the discount! Either way we're happy to have what we have.

Last week was a small bridal show put on by some of the same folks who did the show where we won the photo shoot. Knowing we were going to attend it, the photographer brought some sample pictures from our shoot. They were very cute. She also was organizing which couples would be participating in some of their "fun" events - and chose us to participate. Some were silly little things like doing a couples dance or trying to catch a bouquet. Those were all to win things, and we didn't, but it was still fun. Another thing that gave no prize except for the experience itself was ... well... I don't remember what it's called but here's how it went down. Kandi was handed a 4 inch round cake covered in icing. I was handed a 4 inch round cake similarly frosted. And then - we were to shove it in the other person's face.

We both had cake everywhere. It was kinda awesome. Wouldn't ever want something that messy, sticky and "make up ruining" like that on the day of - but it was fun to do for the event. Both the main photographer and her assistant were busy snapping away while we were doing it and I'm hoping we can get some great shots out of it.

Another great thing about this event was that my mom was able to join us. It was her first bridal show and a really great introduction to it all. She got to enjoy chatting with all the vendors, trying all the fun appetizers and sampling the desserts. And of course, it was nice to just spend the time together!

The show was at an amazing venue, Bentley Projects. In all honesty, it was one of the first places I thought about when we started picturing reception locations. I didn't even know they would do it - but then once I saw the pictures my next concern was if we could afford it. Sadly, we likely can't afford it - but I'm still requesting a pricing sheet.

Next week we have an appointment for a private cake tasting with a new company we found at the big bridal show called the Lovely Little Cake Shop. And then the next day we both have an appointment at David's Bridal to try on dresses. Yes, I said both of us. At the bridal show you got a $50 gift certificate for each person that made an appointment - so we each did. I haven't convinced her to actually try on any but I REALLY really am hoping I can convince her. I think it could be so much fun.

We also need to sit down and have the conversation we've been putting off a bit. So - now that I have a job - what can we really spend? It's a tough call. Because if we decide based on just the job I have and not any part time jobs we hope to get we might not like the answer we get. We've talked about the idea of putting it off until Spring, or even next year - but neither of us love that idea. So, we'll see. For now - fingers crossed on us or a family member winning the lottery! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The shortest month flew by!

We won an engagement shoot! Well, actually we didn't. And yet we did.

We generally both fall into the "we never win anything" category so when they called my name at the bridal show while we were chatting with the photographer we were both shocked. I walked up and found out I'd won a $25 gift certificate for the bakery that was there. It was really yummy too! So we kept chatting with the photographer and generally getting to know her. Then someone who had won an engagement shoot walked over to talk to the photographer. Not only did she already have an engagement shoot planned for the next day, but she was getting all of her photography for free. The photographer turned around and gave it to us!

Our shoot was the Friday before Valentine's day and it included professional make up - which was fun for us to try. Yes - I said US! :) The photographer is hoping to have the proofs available for us to check out this week, but in the mean time we have this photo that our friend Brian snapped when we stopped by after dinner so he could get a picture of us in all of our cuteness.

And we are cute, aren't we?

I had gigantic fake eyelashes and a bit more blush than I would do again.

Kandi, while not a fan of the stuff all over her face, commented that she really liked her eye make up. Not that she's going to do it again when we go to the movies, but she might be open for trying something like that, though a bit more subtle, for the ceremony.

Ah, the ceremony. The realization that if I want a dress in October I'd have to order it in 2 weeks is very much not lost on me. Even if I got a job tomorrow, is that where we'd want to put our money right now? It's tough. We talked a bit about pushing out the date until next spring. neither of us want to do it, but if we want to have even 40% of the things we've talked about over the last 10 years we're likely going to need to push the date or win the lottery.

You can't win if you don't play, right?

I did take that part time job and I started on Monday. The week before that I had an interview for a position I'd be amazing at and would love to have - and I'm supposed to hear something by end of this week. No pressure, right? Ok, lots of pressure. But I know that I've done everything I can and now it's all in their hands so I can't obsess over it. It will or it wont happen.

Eating healthy hasn't been so good. I made my goals for about 3 weeks but certain "times" have made us really want convenience food and hours spent curled up on the couch. We haven't been at our dietary best to be sure. I'm hoping to bounce back shortly before I we go right back to where we were.

We also went to another big bridal show where we got to take lots of pictures together in photo booths. Our printer/scanner is being icky right now, but I'll post those and share our quickie reviews as soon as we can make it all work! We looked SO cute! But of course, right? :)