Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When Wedding Planning Stops Being Fun.

I adopted the following motto at the beginning of our wedding planning:

When it starts being not fun, we stop.

This suits both of us well, because he gets easily overwhelmed with all the wedding stuff, and because I easily become a detail-obsessed perfectionist. Not this time. We've been lucky to see this event clearly from the start: it's a day to have fun and celebrate our love in a meaningful way. Obsessing about details will suck all the fun out of it and turn the wedding into this thing that takes over our lives and leaves us disappointed and broke when it's all over. No thanks.

Here's how this plays out in real life:

We decided to find vintage plates and glassware to create our own cupcake stands. Part of the fun of this is the hunt for the perfect antique/vintage plates. But after only making our way through half of one massive antique store, we were mentally exhausted. There were hundreds of types of plates in there! And even more glassware to use as a base! We found plates we liked, and narrowed our options down to one set of glasses that were a bit more expensive than we wanted to spend. My brilliant man points out that our time and sanity is worth more than a few dollars saved, and that we were not going to have fun scouring booth after booth for countless hours. So we grabbed the glasses, paid, and have our vintage cake stands before it became un-fun. Perfect outcome!

cake stand inspiration from pinterest.com

I get so frustrated reading wedding blogs where the bride is bashing her groom for not caring or caring too much about the wedding details, or disagreeing/having an opinion about the playlist of photography budget... ladies, a man is going to vow to love and honor you forever in a few months. Either you need to decide if you can love a man eternally who clearly disagrees with the amount of importance you place on napkin rings, or you need to CHILL.  

I recently stressed a bit too much about a wedding detail, and the outcome was not good. An email from a wedding website informed me I should be addressing invitations already, and I hadn't even ORDERED any yet! After too many hours scouring websites, we came across an invite that we thought was cool, so we plugged in our info and sent the order. (Because, as the motto says, it was time to stop. I was no longer having fun looking at the 45978615 options for invites.)

In our panic of being behind schedule, and expecting the invitations to take weeks to arrive, thus pushing us back farther, I rushed a decision. I neglected to let a friend give me a quote for handmade invitations which made her angry. We forgot to consider that our minimalist invite didn't include enough info for the less tech-savvy wedding guests, which added work for us since we now have to create something else to send them. We got our invitations in three days as opposed to three weeks like anticipated, so now they are just sitting here. I should have ignored the stupid wedding website that made me freak out for no reason. (I still really like the invitations though!)

Here's my point, people: If it's not fun and exciting and romantic and meaningful, don't do it. If a wedding website tells you what to do, don't listen. If part of the wedding planning makes you want to scream at a future relative or stop speaking to your future spouse--STOP doing whatever part of the planning that is and get your act together! No one will care about your napkin rings, but they will never forget it if you are a bridezilla.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Wedding: invites

Narrowing the guest list was something we thought would be easy. It wasn't. But we got through.

Invitations were another thing I wasn't worried about until it was time to order.

Having a wedding for 30 people is generally pretty easy. Until you have to decide which 30 to invite, and how much money you can justify spending on 25 invitations.

After spending far too much time on the bargain websites, finding nothing we liked, I headed over to a more expensive site just to compare. And of course, we immediately found an invitation we loved. My ideal budget of about $50 was gone, because these were going for almost $4 a piece! I spent a long time debating, and finally decided that, since I saved a lot on my dress, we should just go for the invites we loved.

After a coupon I found online, I spent $100 on 25 awesome invitations. That's almost as much as I spent on my dress, but they spoke to us, and really, that's priceless.

After those were ordered, we headed to the jewelry store and found his ring, which I paid for out of my savings account. While this was a large sum of money, it felt AMAZING to just pay for it, without stressing about financing or bargain hunting. He loved it, and will wear it forever. Not like invitations, that will get thrown out.

Our marriage will not be invitations or centerpieces or a dress. It will be commitment that we will display on our hands forever. And I won't be bargain-hunting for that. He sure didn't. :D

Friday, February 10, 2012

My behind-the-scenes Super Bowl Experience.

Indy Super Bowl! 
When Indianapolis first found out the Super Bowl would be held here in 2012, I signed up as a volunteer. I'm not a big football fan, but everyone knows that the Super Bowl is a big deal. I wanted to be a part of it.

My fiance and I both signed up as volunteers with the Indiana Sports Corporation. Since we wanted to be ready to snag the best Super Bowl jobs, we also signed up for the NCAA Final Four so we'd know the ropes of volunteering before the BIG event.

Several months ago, we got the most important email: the call to register for positions! Matt and I immediately got on the website to find the amazing volunteer jobs we would get that would place us inside the stadium on game day!!

Except, there were no game day positions inside the stadium. There were no shuttle driver positions that would allow us to pick celebrities up from the airport like there were at the Final Four. There were just a few jobs, mainly working outside in Indiana in February doing crowd control or as a mobile information desk, or inside the Convention Center at the NFL Experience.  NFL Experience it was!
My Super Outfit

Volunteering was cool.  We had fancy credentials, Super Bowl coats and shirts and SUPER Scarves! We got to get in for free. We were served all the free Papa John's pizza we could eat! And we were able to see the NFL Experience as an insider.

 This was all great, but not enough for me. And, as luck would have it, my friend Ashley informed me that her company was doing staffing for paid positions AT THE STADIUM ON GAME DAY! Jackpot! She even said I'd get a better job since I was a friend. So I signed up and went to the training.

The training was held on event level (read: extra elite/field level) of Lucas Oil Stadium. I walked past the tunnel where the players enter the field. I walked past their locker rooms. I got a tour of the empty stadium. How awesome is that?

During the training session, they outlined what our responsibilities would be. And everything they told us sounded pretty awful, so I assumed they were just weeding out the weak with their scary story. But almost everything they told us turned out to be true.

They informed us that our shifts would be 15+ hours on game day. They told us we would not get to see any of the game. They told us to pack snacks in our pockets, because we'd be lucky to get a lunch break, and a dinner break probably wouldn't happen. Doesn't sound like the most fun ever.

I arrived with my great friend Harley at 8 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday at the command post for our jobs. Please note, the game didn't kick off till 6:28 p.m. and the gates didn't even open till 2:30.  I wore lots of layers, because it was a bit chilly, and though I hoped my job would be the one they trained me for (pushing patrons in wheelchairs to their seats, and back out after the game), I was afraid I'd be stuck out in a parking lot.

They issued us yellow long-sleeved polo shirts, hats, and HUGE two-layered coats. And then had us stand around for two hours. It gets hot in several layers of clothes covered by another shirt and giant coat. It was not comfy. Not to mention the weight and bulk of the several granola bars that were consuming all of my pocket space since I'd not be getting dinner.
My giant coat and many layers. I'm not really this big.

By the time I was assigned my job (I got to be IN THE STADIUM!) I was sweltering. I went into a ladies room and removed a few layers of clothing, which I had to throw away since there was no place for us to keep belongings, and my pockets were bulging with granola.

The rest of the day went like this, in a nutshell: standing around and walking the stadium and the convention center until the gates opened; waiting at the entries for fans that needed wheelchair assistance; pushing said fans across the convention center, outside, across the street, and around the massive stadium to their correct gate, then walking back again to wait for another trip. Let me tell you, pushing larger men in wheelchairs long distances and up ramps will do a number on an out-of-shape lady like me. Then repeat process from the stadium to the outside after the game. Done with last patron at midnight. That is many hours of standing and pushing.

We did indeed get lunch and dinner, both box lunches, both the same thing. Upside: cool official Super Bowl box lunch. Downside: carried those pocketfuls of granola all day for nothin'.
Official Super Bowl box lunch.

By the time we got back to the command post and were ready to leave, I'd spent 16 hours on my feet. And a good deal of that time was spent pushing a wheelchair. If you were to ask your lower back how he or she would feel about this kind of day, the answer would not surprise you: they'd say it would suck. And it did. My back was not a happy camper.

My final summary: I got to be inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. I got to be the person that greeted fans from other states and helped make their experience better. I got to see the behind-the-scenes  preparation that was put into that day. I got another Super Bowl coat and hat. :)  I snuck a few peeks at the field, saw a couple celebrities from a distance, and got to start using "credentialed" as an adjective.
Field, post-game.

Just so you know, I was eligible for re-entry, able to go inside rooms fans aren't allowed in, and able to enter suites, because I was "credentialed." :) I'm very important.

I'm "credentialed."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Wedding: No pastries, please.

Some girls want a dress that looks like a frosted cupcake.

Some girls need a "princess" dress that makes them feel like Cinderella.

And then other girls, like me, just want an elegant, simple, white-ish gown to feel pretty in on their wedding day.

The third option is harder to find than you might think.

I have scoured the internet, shopped bridal and department stores, and stalked Pinterest and The Knot like it was my JOB. And I came up empty handed.

As an alternative, I started looking at mall and department stores' websites for white dresses, and came up with several options! They aren't necessarily wedding dresses, but they are white or ivory and pretty and fit in with our budget wedding plan. I ordered a lovely, simple gown from a store that the First Lady is rumored to have purchased many dresses. And I got it half off, for $125 with shipping.

I plan to dress it up with accessories and an adorable birdcage veil. And I don't have to look like a cupcake, have a 3 foot-long train, or spend $1000. And the best part, is that if I decide I don't want it, I can return it to the local store and get all my money back.

I love the internet. :)

Light Schedule

my calendar

My sister asked me if I was doing anything big this week. I took a look at my calendar to see what all I had planned. The conversation went a little something like this:

"Oh, I don't have that much on my calendar. Just volunteering with the NFL Experience for a few hours Saturday, and then working that 15 hour shift at the stadium during the Super Bowl. Oh, and my daughter has a choir competition Saturday morning. And of course my parenting class at church on Wednesday. And we are taking the kids downtown to the NFL Experience Tuesday night. But not too much."

I also work a full time job. And this feels like a light week.

Now, most weeks I'm not working at Super Bowl events a couple days a week, but there's something in it's place. Parties my friends are having, other volunteer obligations, kids' events, family get-togethers, random side jobs I find (like working Race expos), the half marathon I signed up for, etc.

I'm blessed to have the opportunity to volunteer, and to have friends that like to do lots of fun stuff, and kids that have school events, and many other things. But if you invite me to do something, and I decline so I can stay home and have a glass of wine on my couch, don't give me too hard a time about it. I probably have a light schedule that week of about 12 events after work.