Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ring for Him

I just bought my future husband's wedding band. . . on Ebay.

B enjoys supporting me through the planning, but doesn't get really excited about much on his own. Two exceptions: cigar bar for the rehearsal dinner and his ring. Last month he decided he needed to get used to wearing a ring so he tied a ponytail holder around his ring finger for a few days.

We've casually looked for his ring. He has an extra large ring size so most white gold and platinum rings were very expensive, which he wasn't interested in. As a man, he just didn't understand why we would spend a significant amount of money on his band. In all honesty, because his size is so large his band would have been almost expensive as the ones we're looking for me. . . with diamonds! B then decided he wanted Tungsten because it was durable and more affordable.

Today he emailed and texted me because he was so excited he had found his ring. He did an online search and found this ring on Ebay. I admit to being skeptical. . . a wedding band on Ebay? It was very inexpensive, but the Ebay store has positive feedback and a return policy.

Why not? He was so excited about it I just ordered it. So, in 3-6 days we shall see if purchasing a wedding band from Ebay is a good or bad life choice.

Have you ever made a major purchase on Ebay? What was your experience?


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Making a List. . . Checking it Twice

Lessons from our registry:
1. Advice to all brides: Your fiance will love the scanner. Be gracious, share or even give him all scanning duties. However, beware of letting him loose with the scanner. . . .

2. Registering early gives you flexibility to change your minds. Our wedding is in July. We started our registry in February (on Valentine's Day to be exact). This was a good life choice for us. We knew where we will be living after the wedding, but had no idea what colors we really wanted and what style we wanted our home to reflect. Since then I've visited our registry online many times to change things.

3. Have an idea of what you want. Target sent us information that included a book of popular registry items that we were able to discuss and bookmark before visting the store to register. This was a good starting point for us. Friends of ours who recently got married admitted their biggest "engaged fight" was over which plates they would register for. We tried to be prepared in order to avoid these conflicts.

4. Make a list. Like most couples, we registered a number of locations. This was much harder than I anticipated it being. We tried to equally distribute our registry over two mass stores and the only way to keep this straight was to make a list. I'm still afraid we'll end up getting only half of what we need, but at least we didn't register for two of everything.

5. Have fun! I admit that I got stressed out during the process. We are just starting out so we pretty much need everything and it's overwhelming. Overall, we had a blast! We got to pick out everything to start our first home together and we laughed along the way. The picture is B making sure the towels are big enough for him.

6. Beware of bridal guilt. Yes, I think the registry has been the greatest source of my bridal guilt and B felt it too. We know that we need lots of things to help start our home, but we also felt very guilty for asking so much of our guests. We tried to register for things in a variety of prices, but we still felt the guilt of the registry.

7. Check your registry. We had been warned to not register for too many items on sale (as much as it hurt my heart to avoid the sale items) because those often run out very quickly. Since we registered so early we've had to make some minor changes. I check our online registry and we've printed it out in store to make sure that our registry items aren't all "out of stock" or "limited availability."

8. Home Depot does not have scanners. Lesson learned the hard way. We're renovating a house and B's church threw us a "home improvement" themed shower. So we registered at Home Depot. . . except they no longer have scanners (or online access) for their wedding registries. We had a pen and clipboard and copied the UPC numbers from each item. No fun.

9. Wear comfortable shoes. We were able to get most all of our registry done in one very long day. We had to since we live in a small town that's not close to any of the stores we registered at, but many couples break this down into many days. Do what works best for you, but wear comfy shoes.

10. Remember what it's all about. These are gifts that will be given to start your life with your future husband.

What lessons did you learn from registering?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Somewhere between teen mom and grandma. . . .

Most Mother of the Bride (MOB) dresses fall in two categories: teen mom and grandma. There doesn't seem to be a lot of MOB dresses that are in between. . . and that's where my mother falls.

It was very difficult to find a dress that pleased my mom. She's in her mid-50's and wanted something that was tasteful, but also age appropriate. She also had all kinds of "rules:" not too long, not too short, not too low, does not show off her arms, and hid her "problem" areas. She wanted a magical dress, but this we came close.

Meet Tadashi's Off-Shoulder Silk & Satin Gown from Nordstrom! My mother's favorite color is green and it's also a wedding color so she was excited when we found this dress in 'celedon' (it also comes in brown and ivory). Since we live many, many hours from the closest Nordstrom we took a chance and ordered online.

Online shopping is always risky, but we tried our best scientific measurements (measured a ribbon then my mom. . . far from perfect). The original dress was too large so I talked to a friendly customer service representative who said we could exchange the dress no problem and promptly ordered the smaller size. He told me it should arrive in five days. . . . . 10 days later we got a postcard notifying us that her dress was no longer in stock. Panic!

So, I did it again. I "opened up a can of bridal" on the customer service department and let them know what a kink this threw in my wedding plans. I was lucky to meet Darcy, Nordstrom customer service representative and fellow bride to be. Darcy contacted Tadashi and requested that they make a special dress for my mother. A few days later she called to let us know that the dress would be arriving at our house shortly. She even gave us an extension to return the original dress just in case.

Darcy said she knew how hard it was for her mother to find a dress too. She went above and beyond to make sure my mother also felt beautiful at the wedding.

Has your mother found her dress? Has someone gone out of their way for your wedding?


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

LA Brides' Shower

Yes, it's true LA Brides had a joint bridal shower! Amore and I are both members of the same sorority and our BM's who are also sorority sisters joined forces to host a joint shower for us. We all came to our alma mater, Emory & Henry College, for another sorority sister's wedding on Saturday, a girls' night, and our shower on Sunday. It was simply an awesome weekend to celebrate together and with some of our closest friends.

The shower was honeymoon and beach themed since we are both spending our honeymoon at the beach. Our hostesses had bright flower arrangements as decorations and sent us both home with a bouquet. Each guest received a pair of flip flops as their favor. How cute!

The shower was held on campus at our alma mater, which was great for both recent alums and current students. Beyond the lingerie the theme was certainly laughter. We had so much fun! Our guests laughed with us too. It wasn't awkward to have two brides-to-be, but I think it ended up making the shower more fun! Forget bridal jealousy for us!

We both got a number of things off our Frederick's of Hollywood registries and enough lingerie to last us throughout our honeymoons, but some creative gifts too. We got a "Honeymoon Survival Kit" in a mini cooler, which included: sunscreen, chapstick, condoms, and lubricant.

We also received a "Honeymoon cake," which isn't a cake at all! It is similar to diaper cakes made out of diapers, but ours included a beach towel, picture frame, flip flops, sunscreen, cups, candles, and tropical flowers. Our friend Meaghan spent tons of time crafting for us! My BM Lauren purchased a serving tray from our registry and put all the ingredients to make "Sex on the Beach" drink on it!

You know it was a good time when we are laughing and our mouths are open in all the pictures posted on Facebook!

What's the most creative bridal shower gift you've seen?


Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Does your Wedding Stack Up?

The Knot recently released their 2008 Real Weddings Survey, which surveyed 18,000 couples of various ethnicities, education, and income levels across the United States.

The average cost of a wedding in 2008: $29, 334 (up 5% from 2007). This is significantly more than my budget for our wedding, but I am lucky to live in a rural area where lots of my costs are significantly lower than the national average. The most expensive cities to get married in were: "Long Island, New York; New York City; Northern New Jersey; Hudson Valley, New York; Chicago; Connecticut; Los Angeles; South Florida; Rhode Island; and Orange County, California."

Are you a DIY bride (like I wish I were)? You're not alone. "More than half (55%) of brides made their own favors and ceremony programs. Other top DIY categories were escort cards, save-the-dates, invitations, and decorations."

Both Amore and I will have fairly casual weddings. We're not the only ones: "Only 20% of weddings in 2008 were characterized as 'formal/black tie.'

I will have a nearly nine month engagement and Amore will have nearly a year. Our engagements are short compared to most couples: "Couples marrying in 2008 were engaged for an average of 15.7 months, more than 25% longer than those married in 2007. A majority of couples (71%) lived together prior to getting married."

So how are "Recession" brides changing their plans? "The 2008 Real Weddings Survey results reflected greater wedding spending overall, despite the growing economic concerns last year.
In a more recent survey conducted by The Knot (in March 2009) a majority of brides (60%) indicated that their wedding spending is proceeding according to plan, while 40% have reduced their wedding budgets by approximately 16%. "

How does your spending compare to the national averages? Are you changing your plans because of the recession?