Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wedding Planning Advice

So now that I'm a wedding pro (I'm just kidding, I swear!) I wanted to share some of my wedding planning advice thus far.

* But first, a disclaimer: This advice is based on my planning experience. Everybody does their planning their own way - some hire a coordinator, some are all DIY; it's whatever works for you. *

With that disclaimer stated - let the advice begin!

1. ^ I'm starting with this. Accept what you cannot change. This is going to include things like the weather, guests arriving late, and the traffic. Do your best to plan around these things, but don't let them lead you to a mental breakdown.

2. Don't ask your wedding party until the LAST POSSIBLE SECOND. We had a bit of drama in our wedding party, because let's face it - you can't please everybody. Plan all your wedding details so you know when you need to choose your wedding party. For example, if you plan to have your girls order dresses and then possibly have alterations, find out when they would need to order and ask your ladies a little before that point. (And like I said - my own experience here. Some people ask way in advance and have a great time, so do what is right for you!)

3. Compare, compare, compare. It's great to find things that you like, but before you go into "MUST-HAVE-THIS-NOW mode," take a second to shop around. You might find that those paper straws you MUST HAVE can be found for less at another store or online. (And yes, I'm having paper straws. ;) Just sayin'!) Same goes for vendors, dresses, and etc.

4. Make a realistic budget. Sure, you may change your budget here and there to accomodate things. Maybe you care about photos, but not so much about flowers - then you can cut cost on flowers and spend more on photos; a good change! But don't allow yourself to get sucked into the wedding world and think you have to have everything you've seen on Pinterest or a wedding website. You have to prioritize what is important to you and your fiancé.

5. And on that note, remember: marriage is a union. That means that, while the day is probably going to be more of what the bride wants than what the groom wants (because, let's face it, a lot of girls know what they'd like their wedding to be long before they're engaged), you still need to consider what the groom wants. If your groom is hands off and doesn't care - great! But make sure you talk to your groom and find out what role he wants to play in the wedding!

6. I said compare, I said wait on asking your wedding party, but to make my point very clear - make your decisions and do your best to stick with them. Some decisions are easy to change, some aren't. So step back, take some time, and make decisions carefully.

That's it! ....For now, anyway! Married ladies - what advice would you give those of us who are currently planning?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day of Transportation

Okay Hive - let's chat about transportation. This is a subject that, during my short time interning at a wedding venue, I saw overlooked COUNTLESS times! People would be at the rehearsal the night before trying to figure out who would take the fall and be the DD for those who drank throughout the night.

Now, while we won't have that issue (still planning on no alcohol at the wedding, as of now), we definitely will need some from of transportation for the big day. Actually... we may need MULTIPLE forms of transportation.

Here's why: the girls and I will be staying at a hotel the night before the wedding, and we'll be getting ready there for the day. The guys are going to be staying (as far as I know) at our apartment and then getting ready when they're actually at the venue; let's face it, I can totally see these boys getting dirty in the ten minute car ride from our apartment over to the venue. :) So we'll definitely need either a giant bus for the girls and two cars for the guys, or three cars for the girls and two for the guys. That's a lot of carpooling!

But throughout this thinking process, one thing came to mind - no limo. Now, if this is your favorite thing - go for it! By all means! But when we take photos with our car, I wanted it to be something different and unique.

.......And then I saw the always lovely Mrs. Fox talk about her transportation. A BUS! How cool is that!? 

Image via Mrs. Fox \ Photo by Exclamation Imagery

So now, I'm thinking a bus. Or at least something equally as cool to the bus. Because after our first look, we'll be doing something similar to Mrs. Fox and her group (depending on how set up at the venue is going) to move around and take photos at different locations.

For our getaway... well, that's still up in the air, but my brother and dad have quite the collection of Camaros, so it's only fair that they share, right!? ;) 

What kind of transportation did you use for your wedding? If you decided to carpool, did it go off without a hitch?

Monday, September 24, 2012

We placed an order...

for our STDs! (If you laughed, don't worry - I did too!)

But really - we ordered our save the date cards! I had been wrestling a little with when we should actually send the cards because, as anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows, everybody has an opinion and all of them are different. I decided early on that we would send our invitations mid-January. Sending them then would ensure they didn't get tossed out over the holidays, and it would give our OOT guests plenty of time (right around four months) to plan their travel and hotel stay.

But that left me with another question - when is an appropriate time to send our STDs? I thought that six months would be a good timeframe, which means I need to send them in October. Umm... it's already October!? Boom, another reality check for me! Between ordering the STDs, waiting on them to arrive, AND addressing them all, I came to the realization that I needed to order them like yesterday. So order them I did.

I decided to go with Vistaprint*, in place of MOO cards. When it came right down to it, I had to consider that most people aren't going to actually KEEP our STDs. More than likely they're going to note the date somewhere and then toss them. So we went with Vistaprint. One side is our STD, the other has lines for me to write the address and use our fancy pants return address stamp (details on that coming soon!).

Our total for the STDs came out to $114 for 200 cards (and envelopes, not that I plan to use them) - a great price!

Now, I'm not going to reveal our STDs until they're actually dropped in the mail, but I will reveal the two designs that we didn't use. (And trust me - it wasn't an easy choice!)

Just look at those beauties! It was very difficult to choose one of the three designs that Valerie sent over. And yes, for those of you who are observant - that is the same Valerie that is doing our photos!

So now - for some advice, when did you send your STDs? And... I'm afraid to ask... but how long did it take you to address them? 

* I have no affiliation with either of the aforementioned companies, I chose Vistaprint of my own free will and paid full price for our STDs.
** And for anyone wondering, Mr. Otter's name only has 1 L. That was fixed before I ordered them. ;) 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ring Talk - Part 2

So we already talked about Mr. Otter's potential ring - I was surprised at the insane price difference! Now let's talk about my pretty, shall we!? :)

* All photos are personal (thus the quality... sigh.)

This is my pretty, pretty baby. Now, unlike some people - I can't tell you anything about this ring other than the price and (obviously!) the story of how I got it. I have no idea how many carats I have or how big the diamond is. In fact, I didn't know the total price until I took over opening the mail. (I won't say why... but there may be someone in this household that brings the mail in, sets it on the counter and never touches it again. Again, I won't say who... but only two of us live here.)

So I guess according to most, I'm a little backwards in that I know the price and not any of the details. Oh well! 

But moving on: the band. Prior to purchasing the rings, I had about a million ideas in what I wanted in my ring. First I wanted one of the bands to be a different metal - vetoed, because we all knew I would get tired of it. Then I wanted one of the bands to cross - again, vetoed, because I realized no matter what kind of rings I got (exception being custom rings, of course) that the two rings would never sit flush against each other. Finally, I decided to go with the matching band to my engagement ring.

It's not as yellow as I photographed it - bad photo!

But even with the gorgeous rings (!!!) there are still decisions to be made. The big one? To solder or not to solder.

The pro is obviously that my rings would be permanently fixed in the perfect, aligned position. The cons are more numerous. There would be damage to my ring, and once you put them together, you can't ever really get them apart. Another issue - I know some people choose to wear their rings separately on occasion. I don't foresee myself doing that any other time than being pregnant and even at that, I wouldn't wear the band alone because it's cut to match the e-ring.

BUT... that's a big foreseeable thing - because I do see us having babies. So if I'm pregnant and my rings are soldered, they may not be wearable. A big concern for me since we're paying quite a chunk of change for my beauties.

More cons than pros, but of course that doesn't mean I can make up my mind! ;) If you have an e-ring and band, what did you choose to do? Solder or not? 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ring Talk - Part 1

Ah, rings. Before I talk about my bling again (and trust me - it's killing me to wait!) - let me tell you something about the groom's ring vs. my ring - the price difference was insane. While we browsed men's rings when we looked at engagement rings, we didn't look at PRICE TAGS. So we were very pleasantly surprised to see the price tags on the men's rings.

The designs though... let's just say some of those weren't our style.

If one of these rings is the one for you - awesome! They definitely aren't Mr. Otter's style. He has a way more laid back personality and enjoys clothing that is more timeless than up with the trends. (The man would dress in a suit DAILY if he could.) That's what lead us to these rings as possible options for him:

These rings? Both less than $200. Crazy! Especially in comparison so my much more expensive set.

What do you think about groom's rings? And another question - did you take your groom to try on rings? I know we'll have to for sizing, but do they do the same as women and try on different styles?

* All photos here courtesy of Kay Jewelers

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


^ Yes, this totally deserves all caps.

Here's a fun question: what do you do when you're planning a wedding (along with, you know, living a life which involves paying bills, saving for a home and future children, etc.) and you lose your job?

Well, if you're me - you look something like this...

Image via The Young Female Professional / Except I would be blonde and crying along with that rage face, obviously. 

...and then I declared that I was canceling the wedding. (An important note, not canceling the wedding as in not getting married, just making it considerably smaller or getting married at the courthouse instead.) I called my mom to tell her that I was canceling the wedding, and she told me that I wasn't. I also was double-teamed by Mr. Otter and my momma, telling me not to make any rash decisions so quickly after finding out that I lost my job.

So... that sums up how a not-so-long-ago day of mine went. To clarify what happened: I made the decision to stay in Indiana and not move to where the company is, and for that reason, my former job is no longer mine. It (thankfully) was not an issue of my work ethic, but rather that a company culture was being built, and I wasn't there to be a part of it.

Now that I've had the time to think things over and clear my mind, it has really given me some great perspective in that, I'm so incredibly fortunate to be having a wedding at all! A wedding, while often accompanied by a party, is more importantly about the marriage. Losing my job has been a set back financially, but it doesn't change that I have a wonderful man in my life that will soon be my husband. So while I'm fortunate for the celebration of the wedding, I'm even more fortunate for the marriage to Mr. Otter. :)

Did you go through a tough time financially while you were planning your own wedding? Tell me about it - and how you stayed sane - I could definitely use the advice!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Getting Dressed: The Men

Today I'm talking about THE MEN (I want to make them feel important, hence the all caps. ;) Ha!) and their attire today.

So we definitely have a plan: dark grey and light grey. Grey is Mr. Otter's favorite color, so we already decided that he would be wearing grey at the wedding. I want to differentiate the fathers from the groom + his guys, so we decided the light and dark would be the best way to go. 

We're thinking something like this for the groom + guys. 

Image via OneWed / Photo by Brett and Jessica
Something more like this for the dads.

Image via OneWed / Photo by Rebekah Westover Photography
Ending up with something like this for the guys as a group! (Except they'll all be wearing jackets, as of now...) This would be a great contrast, and it will make the dads stand out from anyone else who chooses to wear a suit for the wedding!

The guys are going to be easy - the only thing to figure out are the shoes. What do you think? Should we go casual or dressy for the shoes?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My first meltdown

So... a while back, I told everyone there was a post "coming soon" about my first bridal meltdown. I made it until June (remember, we got engaged in November) before I truly freaked out about anything but when I did, I definitely freaked out.

See, here's what went down. I found these FABULOUS shoes. Really, they were stunning. I wouldn't take my word for it either so here you go, these are the shoes that I just had to have:

Image via Polyvore / Aldo Lafera in suede / no longer on their website :(

So anyway - I thought, okay, the girls are going to be wearing all different dresses, but wouldn't matching shoes look great? My concern was that if I left the shoe situation wide open, I would end up with TOO much variety. I mean, I want the girls to feel like themselves and feel like they look stunning (which they all already are, of course) but I didn't want someone to decide glitter pumps would be a good idea. Instead, I took it upon myself to ask that everybody head to Aldo and purchase the shoe. (And yes, if you're wondering, I did purchase those lovely shoes myself as well.)

Shoe decision made! Easy! We decided to go as a group (sans MOH Cubbie, since she lives in Florida) to purchase the shoes - this way, there could be no error in shoe choice, no salesperson encouraging them to go for the patent instead - basically, I just wanted to supervise the purchase of the shoes. Creepy? Maybe. But it was a good thing I went.

As the ladies tried on the shoe in different colors (because there weren't any of the tan left) we discovered that they were out of size 5 shoes. *crickets* BM Lails needed a size 5. This is when I started to get a little distraught. Then the salesgirl tried to take FSIL/BM T to the register to purchase her shoes....

At that point, I'm pretty sure I very nearly pulled an Exorcist move with my entire body. WHY, oh why, would FSIL/BM T order shoes if you don't have the same shoes for the other person in the wedding party!? (I had ordered mine online before sending them to my girls, so I was all set.) We had already explained that it was a wedding party, and that I wanted everyone to match... so I didn't understand why she was pushing BM T to go order the shoes.

Cat image created on I Can Haz Cheezeburger / I added the commentary. ;)

There. I said it. Or that crazy kitty did. Same thing. I had a mini-breakdown. The salesgirl offered to call around to see if they could locate the shoes somewhere (they were sold out online, of course) and BM Lails gave the woman her contact information in case they tracked the shoes down in her size. Then the girl again asked if FSIL/BM T wanted to order shoes again. I'm pretty sure that was the point I said something about matching and then we just left the store.

After several days with no call, I finally gave up and chose a different (but almost exact copy) of that shoe. Everyone got their shoes and all was well. But boy, I was upset at first. I think it was less about the actual shoes and more about the fact that, though we had made what we wanted pretty clear, she kept trying to sell us on something different.

Did anybody else have a moment over something ridiculous? I know I'm not the only one so come on, fess up!