I found a great list of things that every bride needs to do in order to plan a wedding. The list is from MN Bride, a magazine and website that is published locally. I've found that these local resources often have the most up to date and relevant information, and this is a REALLY good one.
The list is located at: http://www.mnbride.com/feature1.shtml but I'll give you an idea of what is involved.
It breaks down the jobs by the time remaining until your wedding. I like these types of lists because it helps me to see things in a countdown-style.
My favorite to-do was item #69. It reads:
"Have a big, tension-relieving fight with your mother. At issue should be something unrelated to your wedding, fiancť, or marriage. You're both stressed out. She thinks she's losing her baby. You think she's losing her mind. A fight is inevitable. I only include this item here because as long as it's going to happen, you might as well have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list. "
At least that's one item I know I will get done in time.
Call us crazy, but we want to have Tiramisu as our wedding cake. I am CONVINCED that it can be done!
Some of our family have politely tried to shy us away from this idea. Maybe they think it isn't traditional enough, or maybe they think its weird. I don't care....I LOVE Tiramisu and if there is a way to form it into a wedding cake, by God, we're having it! (By the way, Derek wants it too....this isn't a Bridezilla moment!)
In case you aren't familiar with the dessert, it's a layer of ladyfingers soaked in espresso, and then layered with Marscapone cheese (which is like a creamy, sweet, fluffy cheese and sugar concoction spiked with a little liquor) and then dusted with cocoa powder or a little cocoa and espresso powder. Every place makes it a little differently, but we seem to like it everywhere we have it.
I found a great site (with a strange title) all about Tiramisu. They have a recipe for a Tiramisu wedding cake, so I guess I could pass that on to a bakery if they didn't already make their own version.
People ask us, "why Tiramisu"? I don't know...Derek and I always split a piece whenever we go to an Italian restaurant. It's sort of a tradition with us, so it seems appropriate to share one REALLY BIG piece with everyone at our wedding.
One of the issues that we haven't yet dealt with is who will do what in our wedding. We sort of decided that we would do "three and three", with his three attendants being his brother, and his two best friends, and mine being my sisters and Derek's sister.
We also need to find ushers, personal attendants for me, and flower-girl/ring bearer-type people.
We have only given one person a definite job. Kameryn, Derek's niece who is now 4 but will be 5 at the time we get married will be our flower girl. Derek has another niece and a nephew so we also need to find jobs for them too.
My two closest friends from high school will probably be personal attendants since we only have three spaces for bridesmaids, so hopefully there won't be any hurt feelings. I wasn't a bridesmaid in either of their weddings so it should be fine.
The big issue is who will be the Best Man and Maid of Honor. We kind of decided not to do that, and just make all of the attendants equal, because he would have to choose between his friends and his brother and I would have to choose between my sisters and my new sister-in-law. It's just too hard, and the role is mostly ceremonial anyway without a great deal of meaning. We care about everyone and just want things to be equal, even, and simple.
We went to a wedding last summer where Derek and one other guy were the only groomsmen and there wasn't a Best Man, so the idea to do this came from that experience. It was nice and simple.
I have to admit that one of the things I am looking forward to the most about planning our wedding is registering for gifts.
Now, don't go calling me greedy, but the idea that I can walk around a store, scan things with a little gun, and actually receive a great deal of them for free is very appealing to me.
Derek and I are registering at Target, Marshall Fields, and probably one other place. That "other place" is still up for debate because we are trying to bridge the gap between being practical and downright frivolous.
We probably should register at some place like Home Depot for our house stuff (we have a house but we are planning to buy a fixer-upper). But I like the idea of registering at a cool place like The Sharper Image for really fun, useless things.
Since we already have a house and most of the stuff that goes into one, we don't need all new kitchen stuff or the other things that other couples typically register for. We just need nicer versions of the stuff we already have.
Take towels for instance....Derek's towels that he brought into our relationship are bright orange and a weird tan-ish-brown. They are clearly from the 1970's and were handmedowns from his parents. We could use a few less of those and a few more nice white towels like the ones I brought with me. That must just be a girl/guy thing....the standard by which we judge our towels, but I like the idea of having fresh new towels every three or four years or so, not every thirty years.
Ok, this is actually the third time Iíve tried to write a post about my search for a wedding dress. Every time I publish the post, it somehow disappears. I can only assume that this is some cosmic way of telling me that either the dresses Iíve chosen so far are too ugly for public display, or that talking about the dress and putting pictures of it up on a blog where my fiancť might see them is bad luck.
Tempting fate, here are two dresses that are serious contenders. The one above is a more elaborate version of one that I found in a wedding magazine a few months ago. Itís might be a bit too much for my 5í 2Ē frame, so the one below is also a possibility.
What I like about both of them is that they arenít all flouncy and frilly looking. I hate that. I hate going to weddings and seeing brides covered in lace and tulle to the point where they look like they were caught in a marshmallow fluff explosion. I like dresses that are more simple and elegant, with no a whole lot going on. Thatís why the first one could be a little too much.
Whichever dress I choose, I need to do it soon because I read that itís a good idea to order your dress at least six to nine months in advance. Since I havenít yet lost my pre-wedding weight, Iíll have to order it small so that Iíll be forced to lose the weight in timeÖbut thatís a whole other post.
Our search for a church is continuing. Derek is Lutheran and I am Catholic, so we are trying to find a church, officiant, and ceremony that will satisfy everyone. The church I went to as a child (picture above) is located near my parents in the Saint Croix Valley, so its location is not ideal for us. Derek's church that he attended when he was a kid is located close to us, but it is so big that I'm not sure it will have a cozy feel that we are looking for.
The "church or no church" debate always comes up when we are trying to make definite plans. Even though I am Catholic, I would have no problem getting married at our reception site by a Lutheran or non-denominational officiant. What is surprising about this is that I am the one that actually attends church sometimes, and Derek is the one who doesn't, yet he is the one who wants to get married in a church.
At this moment, we have not attended a single church together, which presents a problem because we pretty much need to nail down the church and reception site in the next month or so if we want to be able to relax and feel confident that some of the big decisions are out of the way. In my old Catholic church, we are required to give them notice of at least one year, and attend several counseling sessions and a couple's retreat. Derek is not thrilled, and neither am I.
By contrast, if we get married in some Lutheran churches, we are only required to meet with the Pastor and possibly attend one seminar. Much more do-able....
So, the church search continues. Hopefully we will have this part figured out in the next few weeks so that we can select our reception venue and other vendors. It's making eloping seem all that more attractive....
The College of Liberal Arts offered some free computer classes last Fall to anyone who was a CLA student, so I decided to take their Intro to Excel just for the heck of it. While I don't know everything there is to know about Excel, I do know how to do three things for our wedding:
*How to Maintain the Guest List
*How to Organize the Budget
*How to Tick Off the Boyfriend
Items one and two should be self-explanatory, but item three is something that I gained from the class that was completely unexpected. Who would have thought that in a short three-hour class I could learn how to drive my intended absolutely up the wall?
I'll explain: I am highly-organized and even considered a career as a professional organizer...really. I love having access to information at my fingertips. Derek, on the other hand, is not terribly organized. In fact, the first time I came to his house he said, "Don't come over until 4 o'clock because I want to straighten up the house a bit first". I came over at the instructed time and, I kid you not, the house looked like a bomb went off in the middle of the living room. There were magazines, unopened mail, old Christmas presents (we met in March!), baseball hats, water bottles...you name it, it was on this floor!
By September of that year, I had pretty much done the best I could to help him out, but it was clear that drastic action would have to take place. I told him that we should have a Vikings party to celebrate the beginning of the new football season, but that in order to do that (and provide places for people to even sit) we would have to clean up the house. I volunteered my services.
I cleaned, I scrubbed, I opened six-month-old mail...the place looked great, and has more or less stayed organized since then. The other day, our friend Steve came over for a barbecue and said, "Jen, you moved in just in time...this place was a disaster before you came into the picture".
But I digress....Excel....it's caused a few problems.
I get teased alot about being nerdy, too organized, too rigid. But since I've started using Excel for the wedding planning, I've been teased even more. Call me crazy, but I like having our guests' full names in the database, not their fraternity nicknames. Maybe I'm wierd, but I like to know exactly how many groomsmen there will be, not "a couple, I don't know". I ask for too much detail apparently, and Excel, with its rigid parameters is to blame.
I think Derek just doesn't understand how liberating it is to know that at any moment you can visit your system tray, click on your Excel Workbook and see your wedding at a glance. The only system trays he pays attention to are the ones that have "CounterStrike" and "Half-Life" in them (video game reference, ignore please).
So while I plan the most expensive 24 hours of our life, I'll let him continue to ridicule me. After all, she who has the knowledge has the edge right? Maybe we will have enough money left over for our chocolate fountain at the reception after all!
Derek's fraternity brothers are all married...yep, every single one of them. Every time one of them gets married, all the brothers fly in from wherever they are living as a show of solidarity (or for the free beer, who knows). Therefore, our wedding will be the last of the great bashes until one of them gets divorced and does it all over again...kidding.
As a result of this fact, our wedding reception has to be unbelievable, as all of the brothers are sent off into wedded bliss.
One small problem...where to have this blowout.
I personally like the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights. It's not far from where we live, it's in a somewhat central location for everyone who lives here in town, and it's accessible by many freeways. Besides the practical aspects, it's just plain pretty. The pictures on their website show it decked out in fall decor, and we are getting married in October.
We haven't actually looked at any places yet, but both my parents have attended functions and meetings at the Mendakota, and they've given it a big two thumbs up.
When I called the Mendakota a few months ago, they said that if we agreed to get married during the deer hunting opening weekend, they would give us the place for $750 less than any other weekend. Hmmm....give up peak colors in mid-October for deer hunting weekend? As tempting as the offer was, I decided to stick with October, and let someone else get the "deer hunting discount".
Whichever place we decide to have the reception, we're trying really hard to plan a party that is fun and meaningful for us, but also memorable for all of our friends and family. We could probably do that anywhere, but the search continues....