Friday, July 27, 2012

Uh... so... *hangs head in shame*

I distinctly remember talking about catering. How it was the last "big thing" to do for the wedding. The last big decision, big vendor, the last big thing to figure out.

...............well, here I am Hive, head hung in shame, because uh... I forgot a kind of big thing. You know, um... that person that actually marries us? Yep, forgot about that.

Image via She Finds / Featured in an article about choosing a wedding officiant... tips that I clearly need, *uh hum*

You see, I totally had our officiant picked out LONGGGG before we were engaged. It was one of the vendors I worked with during my internship - he was hysterical, prompt, fun to be around/work with, and spent a lot of time working with the couple on their vows. Another bonus: he only included the religious elements that the couple asked him to include.

Now, I'm not speaking for Mr. Otter here, but I'm not a believer in God. This wedding is absolutely about the two of us, but when it comes to the vows, it was a simple decision. There wouldn't be any religious talk happening, because it's not something I believe in. Knowing that this vendor understood that, and would still be hilarious to work with made it an easy choice.

But alas... like most ministers (oops, forgot to mention that, right?) he can only perform ceremonies for the members of his church. Okay, understandable... except that I won't attend church. My interest level also drops considerably when you add in the fact that the church I'm speaking of is now an hour and a half away. So, with that, he was off my list.

Leaving my list at exactly zero possibilities. 

Help a girl out - I don't have any friends I'd want to marry us (except possibly one, and that person is already in the wedding party) sooo... what do I do now?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet the bane of my existence...

Catering. We meet again. The last of the "big things" to get done. The last piece of the puzzle as far as comparing prices, meeting with people, and figuring out deposits/payment schedules/etc. After this - decisions are already made (for example: I know who I'll be using for makeup, but I haven't booked them yet) and now I just need the corresponding deposits made and I'm done.

But that is not the case with catering.

Image via Just Wenderful / Photo by Becca Rillo Photography

With catering... I'm at a standstill. You may ask why? There are a ton of caterers! We can bring whoever we want! So why am I still on the caterer search? Well, it's complicated.

I met with one caterer that I really liked. They were fun to talk to, they got exactly what we were looking for, and they got me the contract quickly. In my mind - booked. But my mom had a friendor (friend/vendor) in mind and wanted me to give her a chance to get back to me with a quote. Understandable - but I hadn't gotten a response from the friendor for just over a month, which scared me a little. A lot of communication comes with the wedding, so it was important to me that whoever we went with was quick to respond to emails.

I finally got the quote from the friendor. It was more affordable than the vendor I liked, yes, but it also wasn't from the friendor. It was from a local cafe. That confused me. To be quite frank: it also led me to feel a little deceived. I had been told this was something that friendor was doing "on the side" and "outside of work"... but the cafe is her place of work. So now, I'm talking to a cafe that I've never ate it or been to, which definitely isn't my preference. (As it turns out, we found out later this is something that her place of work had been doing quite a bit - essentially stealing her side work - but at the time, we weren't aware of that.)

But this is my major issue: we're spending a lot of money on something that I don't place a huge amount of value on. The meal is just one part of the evening, and while I do want the guests to enjoy it, I just didn't love the price tag. The photos? Worth spending a good portion of the budget on because we will have those forever. The venue (ie: setting for the photos) is also worth a good chunk. The food? Not so high up on the list for us.

So I'm at a crossroads. As far as I can tell, I have a very limited range of options:
-  Go with the friendor, because it's more affordable, even though when I did eventually eat at their establishment, I wasn't thrilled.
-  Go with our first choice, even though they're more, but know that they have AMAZING food and a great staff who all have worked at our venue before.
-  Go back into discussions with a wide range of caterers (please, no!)
-  Start thinking far, far outside the box and consider doing just appetizers, just hors d'oeuvres, something like that.

Was catering a big ticket item for your wedding? Up next... we do actually make a decision!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Great Debate

Today, I'm sharing an article that I came across on Twitter some time ago and absolutely fell in love with. The article, In Defense of Marrying Young by Julie Shockley, was one I just felt I had to share. Now, I could leave the article as is and just say I agree but instead I'm adding my two cents.

Below is the original article, with my comments added in bold. And for informations sake, we will both be 23 when we get married this April.


For every person who gets married at 23, there are three people who complain about people who get married at 23. (A point that drives me especially crazy considering that having children as a teen is celebrated by some people in my small hometown...) I’ll tell you upfront: when I got married I was 22. My husband was 28.

One of the first arguments a young engaged couple will get is that you, being a young pup in your early twenties, aren’t even a “you” yet, silly! You aren’t even fully formed! You don’t even know who you are! Although most young marries find this statement to be condescending, I respect and understand what they are trying to say. I hope, though, that I am never done changing, never done growing. I would not wait until I reach a point of stagnation to commit to another person – if I did I would be single forever. Instead, I look forward to growing and changing with my husband. That is the beauty of a wedding vow — that you promise to love the other person through all of life’s changes – even the ones that occur within you.

The most irritating argument I’ve come across is, “You haven’t even lived yet! Go out there and kiss a few frogs! Your twenties are for dating around and partying!” What’s most striking is the assumption that we all want what you want. (I don't assume everyone wants to get married young. Why is it assumed that as a young 20-something all I do is party? I don't! In fact, the most wild I've been since college was upwards of four glasses of wine - at home!)

At a young age I met one of the good ones. Not a creeper, not a liar, not a player, not a loser. We dated for three years. According to your rules of how my twenties should be spent, I should… what exactly? Break up with a person who treats me well, makes me laugh, has intelligence and ambition, who has the same values as I do — I should do this so I can date around? So I can struggle to find guys worthy of spending time with? So I can wade through the dating scene? As much as I sometimes romanticize that phase of life and how passionate and exciting it is, I also know that it’s full of frustration, anger, jealousy and insecurity. According to you I should break up with a good man so I could go search for a man just like him?

Not all of us want to sleep around and have casual sex. (Not getting into this in detail since family reads this, but let's just say I've never done the casual sex thing - just my personal preference!) I was a little too neurotic and insecure for that game. Many of us date because we are searching for someone to be our partner in life. To create a family with. We enjoy the security of a relationship that has permanence. A lot of people shudder at those things — permanence, commitment, family. I don’t. I want those things, and when I got it, I kept it.

My parents married young and have been together 37 years. My husband’s family married young and have been together 42. (Both of our sets of parents actually got married younger than we are. My mom had me at 24. Both sets are still together and happy.) I’ll be the first to admit that I view marriage through rosy goggles secured with unicorn hair, but as biased as I may be, equally so are the critics of marriage in general and young marriage in particular.

We have all seen couples who anticipate their wedding more than they do their marriage. (Error number one here. I can't wait for the wedding but ultimately? As long as I wear a pretty dress and come out of it with Mr. Otter as my husband, we can cancel everything else!) We have seen couples fail to grow and change together, so they change and grow apart. We have seen divorces after a few years, months or days. But these occur at all stages of life, with all ages of people. Even if you feel that it’s a mistake to get married so young, it is not your mistake to make. The increasingly pervasive ideology of “if I don’t agree with it then it’s wrong” has got to stop.

I do not claim that marriage is for everyone or that family is for everyone. So please don’t claim that young marriage should be for no one.


I definitely don't advocate marrying young for everyone - I think it's all about when you and your SO are ready to make that commitment. Heck, I don't even advocate moving in together quickly like we did! But for us, this is the right choice. How old were you when you decided to tie the knot?

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hi Hive. Today I am here to admit a guilty pleasure. Well... not so guilty, because now that I'm actually engaged, I feel totally comfortable with watching a million wedding shows each day. ;) My favorite show to marathon? You guessed it -

Image via WE TV

My obsession with this show is actually a little disgusting. Waiting on new episodes each week is TORTURE. For those who don't obsessively watch this show like I do, here's a need to know fact - they show half of the featured bride's story each week - so they start a new bride's story, then they show the ending of the bride's story from the previous episode. So to see the featured bride's story, you have to watch the show for two weeks in a row. THUS DRIVING ME TO THE BRINK OF CRAZY BECAUSE I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW NOW NOW!

Okay..... I've calmed down... I'm moving on. I want to share some of my favorite lines, because really - they're priceless gems.

You're kidding right? In her VOWS she said that he was a one night stand and proceeded to LAUGH about it. Crazy, crazy woman. After that, they go to the reception and the husband dumps her. Not kidding. His family was elated - and understandably so, based on the way she behaved during filming.

This episode was especially insane - first, the bride demands that one of her bridesmaids pays for the cake. Then, after making her demands to the baker about how the cake should look and finding out it would be around $600, she flips out when her bridesmaid plans to pay with food stamps. Hey crazy lady - it's your wedding. If your BM is paying for your cake, let her pay how she wants to pay! (Or pay for your own cake, you know... whatever!)

Oh, another great one - this bride demanded that her BMs sign a contract to be in the wedding. Not kidding. In fact, when a few of her BMs came in from out of town and refused to sign the contract, she kicked them out of the wedding. But oh, no worries, because eventually she gave in and allowed everyone to be part of the wedding.

* All images are personal screenshots with information removed for the privacy of other Twitter users!


Okay, so there's my not-so-guilty pleasure. I have admitted it. Do you watch it too? Because if so, I'd LOVE to hear your favorite lines. ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A DOC update

Okay, so I know that I already talked about hiring a day of coordinator to ensure our wedding weekend runs smoothly. But with the decision to hire a day of coordinator also comes the commitment to pay someone some serious cash for my peace of mind. Now, I was all for it, but I'm not the one paying for this component of the wedding so I spent a ton of time researching potential day of coordinators.

Image via IMDB / And don't tell me that you didn't think of this movie when you think of a "wedding planner" because I will totally call you out for lying!

Here's what I did, with a few pieces of advice:

The first thing I did was ask for recommendations via Twitter. Twitter is my favorite thing, and I know that often I'm going to get at least a couple answers that way. It also helps to localize what I'm asking about with hashtags like #Indy and by tagging the few wedding websites we have here. I got a couple of recommendations that way... but none of them were quite what I was looking for, so I moved on.

The next thing I did was find a few options and check out their reviews. It's really important to me that whoever I work with comes highly reviewed, for obvious reasons. If you have bad reviews, I have to at least address them when I speak with a potential vendor. Thankfully everyone I was considering had good reviews - only one negative one to speak of and based on my own experiences in the wedding industry, I'd have to say that this was probably an issue that nobody but the bride cared about. (Hey, we all have those things!)

The last step was contacting them (and/or stalking their websites) for more information. The interesting thing that I ran into with a lot of DOCs was the fact that they only allowed a certain number of calls or emails. They would create the timeline, create the contact information spreadsheet, ensure that everyone knew when to be where and etc., but as far as actually answering questions that might come up or working with me? Nope. A lot of them had it limited to a certain number of questions by email or a certain amount of time via phone. Neither of those were okay with me. Since I'm going to be planning the wedding myself, I want to be able to say "hey, based on your experience, is this a good price or a bad price?" or "oh, i have this really cute idea, but is it actually possible?" Unfortunately, a lot of DOCs don't allow you to just email them whenever you need to. I crossed those off my list.

By the time I got done emailing/stalking all my options - I was down to two.

I emailed one of them to get their fee and was told that they started at $4,000........... let that sink in... $4,000 was the starting fee. That didn't include travel. That included minimal communication (with a set limit of emails). Last but not least, this person just didn't seem friendly. Obviously my first priority is someone that is going to be a great DOC and get everything done on our big day, but I plan to communicate a lot with this person AND they're going to be working around our friends and family so I definitely want someone who is friendly.

That email correspondence left me with one option. I had emailed both DOCs at the same time and after a quick exchange with Alison of Aviva Events, I was pretty positive I had found the right DOC/wedding weekend coordinator.

And after meeting her in person, I was completely sold!

Luck just happened to be on our side in that Alison had a wedding in Indianapolis recently and was available before heading back to Cincinnati to meet with me and my FMIL. Not only did I immensely appreciate that she stayed in town a little longer to meet with us, but I also really enjoyed meeting with her - I told her about a few of the tricks the boys have up their sleeves for the wedding and she laughed with us, so that was a good sign. Another good sign was that she was very open to telling us about previous weddings and her experiences with things like hiring a friend as a vendor.

And the best part? Alison will be the one putting together our timeline, ensuring that nobody harasses me on the day of (by that, I mean the boys in our wedding party ;) haha), AND she said I can feel free to email her or call her whenever I want to talk - even if that's just to bounce ideas off of her - AMAZING. And definitely not something I expected to find in a DOC/wedding weekend coordinator.

So my tips for a DOC once you've narrowed down your options? Easy - meet them in person. I can't stress enough how big of a difference that made to me; it had nothing to do with knowing Alison was a great planner, because I could find that out from all the amazing reviews about her online. Instead, it was about ensuring that our personalities meshed. I felt very at ease with her and telling her about the details of our day and I really appreciated her understanding of me wanting to plan the wedding, but not have to be in charge on the day of.

It was a great meeting - I look forward to working with Alison! :) So far I'm feeling extremely lucky in the vendor department... if I could just get the whole caterer thing nailed down, I would be good to go...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Let's talk about favors

Or, the lack thereof... ? <--- That question mark is there for a reason.

I think by now, everybody knows I've interned at a wedding venue. I'm probably going to stop saying that pretty soon because if I'm tired of typing it, then you guys MUST be tired of seeing it. ;) Anyway, working at a wedding venue meant being there first thing in the morning and staying until the wee hours of the next morning cleaning up.

More often than not, part of that clean up was picking up all the favors that got left behind. Sometimes that was a good thing because, let's face it, I wasn't going to complain about going home with 20 chocolate bars or boxes of candy.

Remember this image? It was originally shared by Mrs. Strawberry! / Image via Etsy seller Miss Pickles Press

So after seeing so many favors get left behind, it made me really think hard about getting favors for our wedding. It especially made me think about the cost involved and where we could better allocate those funds... After all that thinking, we still haven't come to a decision.

I love the gesture of giving favors, I really do... but I also understand that a lot of people aren't going to pick up the favors, no matter what they are or where I put them. And those who do pick them up will probably throw them away at some point. I'm just really torn on whether or not to do favors. If we do decide to go with favors, they're definitely going to be koozies. 

Image (and koozies!) by Custom Ink

Seriously. Are these not the cutest thing you've ever seen? (If you don't think so, just keep quiet so I can continue to think I have great taste, haha.) Really though - I love these koozies. The question is, though, should we splurge on them as favors? Or just get them for those who attend the rehearsal dinner?

Obviously I need opinions... if you were in my shoes, what would you do?