Goodbye, Wedding Dress

I bought my wedding dress on my first official wedding dress shopping trip. Everyone was in love with it. I felt like a princess.

If only all the photos could have looked as good as this one...

If only all the photos could have looked as good as this one…

Gorgeous, impractical, soft and embellished, the dress was irresistible.

Unfortunately, I can barely look at any of my wedding pictures without cringing a little.

You see, the dress was beautiful, with a heart shaped neckline. On me, that neckline was a little lopsided. I was assured that it would be easy peasy to fix and it…wasn’t. Balking at the $500 price tag, I opted for the simpler fix of making the dress into a halter top.

It didn’t fix it.

The halter was put on lopsided, which just accentuated the problem. I was assured by my entourage that it looked fine, no one would notice, and maybe that was true at first. But after the dress had settled a bit…it’s all I can see in nearly every single picture.

It is a beautiful dress. I thought I would treasure it and want to keep it forever.

But I don’t. I don’t want to put it on to remind myself of the day. I don’t want to keep it just in case my future daughter wants it. I want to remember how wonderful that day was, and hopefully, with time, I will forget that little wardrobe malfunction…or at least find it humorous.

So today, my dress will be posted to The Brides’ Project — a fantastic charity that sells dresses at reduced cost, and all proceeds go to cancer-related charities, which is a cause that is dear to my heart.

It’s the best use for it I can imagine.

I just hope the next person who falls in love with it isn’t “lopsided” like me.

What did you do with your wedding dress?

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The Name Change

There are two common questions one receives shortly after getting married. The first is, “Are you going to change your name?” and the second is, “When are you going to have kids?”. Actually, I was asked both of those questions months before we got married, but that’s beside the point.

Ignore the winter man hands, please...

Ignore the winter man hands, please…Just focus on the pretty rings.

The name issue has been on my mind a lot lately. Why? Well, my passport expires in 1 month. So I either do the easy renewal process and keep my name for the next X years, or I do the full application now (as in, “I’ve never had a passport before” kind of application). After, of course, changing my driver’s license, care card and sin card. Can I get all that done in a month? Not likely.

In an ideal world, I’d change my name to use both last names. But that requires a full legal name change. Which is expensive, and requires surrendering my birth certificate. It means I have to give up my last name retroactively. And more than anything else, that bothers me. I did not spend my whole life waiting for this marriage, and it is just one part of my life. But I either have to give up my past, or keep my last name and have multiple last names in our little family, or take his last name now. What kind of choices are those?

It’s time for a change, oh big government. It’s time for people to be able to easily use both legal names after marriage. Also, it’s time for you to have a unified government body to help us with these changes, because honestly it’s looking like at least 6 months to get all this done. Not too excited about that.

I’m not left with many choices. I have 2 priorities here: one is to share at least half of my last name with my husband and future children, and the other is to not waste a year of my life and give up a big chunk of my past to do so.

Currently, I am inclined to legally take my husbands name, and in all non-official capacities, use both last names. But I must admit, half of me just wants to keep my last name because I don’t want to go through the gigantic hassle of changing it. However, the other half of me knows that isn’t a good enough reason not to do it.

Wish me luck?

Did you or your spouse change your name after marriage? Why or why not?

Wedding Wrap-up: The DIY

Today is the last of the wedding posts. I had a lot of fun making things for my wedding, and I certainly learned some new skills as a result. While these pictures were all seen before in a previous post–this time, I’m going to talk about all the details in depth.

The gift table - which had to be pulled under the tent when it started to rain. We made the guest book ourselves, and the guest fish was a wonderful idea from my new mother-in-law (photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole)

Photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole

The gift table was anointed with a card box, which was simply our wedding-colour ribbon glued around the top edge of the box. (Thanks to my Auntie Jo for that idea!) We also used coloured cardstock as a backing for signage, like the day’s schedule. They were held up by flower wire and tape, nothing fancy.

And lastly (for this table, at least), is the guest book. It was a 1 x 6 of poplar, cut to size and stained blue, then a couple of holes drilled into it. The inside was cut up pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper. It was all held together by 1″ binder rings. It was really simple, and turned out really beautifully. It also means there don’t need to be any extra pages hanging around in there!

Picture taken by my lovely friend Nicole

Picture taken by my lovely friend Nicole

We used the rolls and rolls of our wedding colour ribbon as table runners. I can honestly say, I bought way too much, and now I have ton of ribbon sitting in a bag at home. Fortunately, I have some ideas for it already! (coming soon, hopefully!) The pompoms took up their final home on the ceiling of the tent. My partner tied each pompom to varying lengths of cord, then tied all of those to more cord that was draped from side-to-side in the tent. In the end it looked like coloured stars hanging from the roof. Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos that captured this phenomenon, so I hope you can picture it based on the snippet at the top-left corner of the above photo.

Most of the effort ended up at the head table. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I realized that the head table should probably look unique, and not be just a plain, floor length table cloth. After some brainstorming, I realized it was the perfect spot for the tulle flowers, and we bought some sparkly tulle to drape between them. (I also added a bead for the center, and some green tulle “leaves”.)

Behind the head table was The Ribbon Wall. Not just any ribbon wall, as this one was 18 feet of luxurious double-faced satin ribbon, in 4 different colours. The idea was discovered on pinterest (don’t they all?) and I knew I had to have it. I was more excited about this project than any other I took on! Which is good, because it wasn’t an easy one. It took about a month to find a place that would sell us enough ribbon (400 yards!) at a not-too-expensive price. With shipping it came out to be about $140.

Each piece of ribbon was cut to 10.5 feet, just half a foot longer than the height of the tent. I was concerned that if the wind picked up, they’d whip around and would have to be anchored down, but instead, they simply fluttered (beautifully) in the gentle breeze. What you can’t see is the piece of fabric at the top that was sewn to keep all the ribbon perfectly spaced, as well as have room for a rope running in the middle. It was designed to keep everything as easy to set up as possible on the big morning. The thanks for that goes to my sister who sewed together that fabric, despite my mediocre-at-best pinning job.

It was perfect because, not only was it beautiful, but it also allowed people to dip in and out (like the photographer), without sliding in between a tent wall, or having the not so lovely view of the house behind us.

Were all those details worth it? Definitely. No question, yes. It made it so much more us, because we both love making things with our hands. Was it cheaper? Well, that’s debatable. I didn’t really keep track. Maybe a little. But it was full of love, from the things we made, to the people who celebrated with us, and that, as they say, is priceless.

And that’s a wrap! Are there any details or posts you especially loved from this series?

Wedding Wrap-up: The Big Day

The weather was forecasted to be partly cloudy with thundershowers in the afternoon. It was concerning, and unexpected. August weather is usually reliably sunny around here. I knew there was nothing I could do, but I worried anyway. And checked weather reports constantly.

The day dawned cloudy. I cringed. The weather forecast hadn’t changed. It was at this moment that I chose to ask my mom, if she could, to give us good weather for the day. I envisioned sun and bright blue skies with few clouds. That is not what I received.

The view from where we got married when it is sunny -- you can see why I might have wanted that! (Image taken by my lovely friend Alison)

The view from where we got married when it is sunny — you can see why I might have wanted that (Photo taken by my lovely friend Alison)

The clouds did not dissipate for the late-morning ceremony. Fortunately, my worry did as I walked down the aisle under bright grey skies. We said our vows–I could barely comprehend it was happening, it seemed so much like a dream. There are at least a couple pictures out there of me looking like a deer trapped in headlights. I just wanted it to sink in so that I could appreciate it. (Luckily for me there is a video of the ceremony for that)

After the ceremony, there were hugs and tears with our treasured guests, some of whom hadn’t been seen in over 9 years. It was hard not to be overwhelmed with the love that was present there.

We took a few group photos, and then everyone piled under the tent where the reception was to be held. It was then that the first few drops of rain began to fall. The rain continued to fall lightly, sporadically, during the wedding party and couple photos. Enough to frizz my hair (sigh), but not enough to really cause any damage.

The gift table - which had to be pulled under the tent when it started to rain. We made the guest book ourselves, and the guest fish was a wonderful idea from my new mother-in-law (photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole)

The gift table – which had to be pulled under the tent when it started to rain. We made the guest book ourselves, and the guest fish was a wonderful idea from my new mother-in-law (photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole)

It was minutes after I returned to the tent post outfit-change that it began to pour. But everyone was under the tent, so it didn’t matter. Lunch was delicious, and also raw vegan. Many people were very impressed and told us so–which was especially nice since it was a worry point with me, that people wouldn’t like it.

Since it was still raining when it came time for dancing, the tables were pushed aside, chairs put in a ring and the dance area was in the middle. We had our first dance surrounded by wonderful, lovely people. Which, I must say, was way better than the original plan.

Soon after that, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. The foosball table was dragged out and a tournament was arranged. People kept dancing. We had unbelievably delicious vegan cake. The 90’s kids rocked out to Backstreet’s Back. Oh yes, we did that. And it was one of my favourite moments, I have to say, everyone suddenly getting up to dance again, belting out the lyrics.

It was sunny for the rest of the day, even as we left. There was probably a beautiful sunset from our hotel room, although we were still so buzzed on the rest of the day, we didn’t really notice.

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The end result of the head table, after all the hard work. I’ll do a breakdown of these decorations in a future post! (Photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole)

With the clouds and rain, initially I thought that my mom hadn’t heard me, or didn’t have enough pull with the weather gods to pull off the change. But then I realized we had the perfect weather. The cloudy ceremony was excellent for pictures, I didn’t get too hot in my mountainous dress, and I wasn’t all squinty (I often wear sunglasses in cloudy weather, my eyes are that sensitive). The sporadic and then downpour of rain kept the wasps away from the snacks and then lunch that was out. And, of course, caused the awesome move of the dance floor to inside the tent. Then it became sunny after all the food had been cleared, making for the perfect finish.

So, she was there, and she did hear me, because, like any mom would, she gave me the weather I needed, not the weather I wanted.

And, that realization was really what made it the perfect day. That, and I got married to the most wonderful man in the world.

Thank you to everyone who has been going on this wedding journey with me! Just one more post to wrap up all the DIY and then life really will be back to normal! Did you enjoy these posts?

P.S. Did you vote in the poll yet?

Wedding Planning: Lessons Learned

Having survived planning and executing my wedding, I feel that it is time to share some of the wisdom I have gained through the process.

Do

1) Hire awesome vendors — don’t waste your time or money on vendors who are wishy-washy or ignore your wishes. We were told by one vendor that they couldn’t make a vegan tiered cake–it just couldn’t be done! Instead of giving up, we found another vendor that said, “Of course we can do that!”, much to my joy and admiration. (I may have had a crush on that particular vendor. She always gave me the best news.) It turned out to be an amazing cake! It was so amazing that I am mostly looking forward to our first anniversary for the cake.

As you can see, the cake is tiered. (Photo by Julia, my new sister-in-law)

As you can see, the cake is tiered. (Photo by Julia, my new sister-in-law)

2) Go in with a clear idea of what you want — this stems from the previous item. We did sign on with a flower place, and I was very uncomfortable with our conversations up to that point. It felt like I was being ignored. But the truth is, we’d gone in there expecting someone to bring our dreams to life…without telling them what those dreams were. The next time we met, we had a better conversation where we were more firm in what we wanted and envisioned. The end result was totally amazing.

3) Don’t DIY just to save money — take it from someone who spent a LOT of time making things for our wedding. I made those things because I wanted to, and while there were a few moments of “why would we buy this when we could make it?”, the majority of it was a labour of love. In the end, I’m not entirely sure how much money we really saved–I doubt it was enough to cover the loss of sanity if you weren’t doing it out of want.

4) Make a schedule — if you have an event planner managing everything for you, then you can ignore this one. But if you’re doing this yourself, definitely, definitely make a big ol’ spreadsheet with a schedule. One sheet per day, as long as before and after it is relevant. Our wedding was on a Sunday and we had sheets for the Thursday – Monday. The key points are “When”, “What”, and “Who”. On the actual day of, you want those “when” boxes to all be filled in–so that the person who is managing the schedule for you understands what is supposed to be going on. (Don’t do it yourself!) If you can do this, then it actually becomes possible to let go on the day of.

5) Become A Practical Bride, and ignore all the other wedding related media — the wedding industry is a big money trap. It will try to convince you that you need various things to have a “real” wedding. The truth is, you don’t. Once I stopped reading all those other blogs, I became much more in tune with what I wanted for the wedding. And a lot less panicked about what I didn’t have yet.

Don’t

1) Get caught in the DIY trap — there were a couple projects that I had planned on doing and eventually realized it wasn’t worth the sanity loss. At this point, I can’t even remember what they were, so you can tell how important they were to the overall day of.

2) Expect people to change just for your wedding day — this is an important one. You must embrace people as they are, no matter what day it is. I definitely lost a bit of sleep when I realized that, no, my wedding day was not going to be the magical day of exception. Eventually, you get over it. But it’s really better to just go into things understanding that.

3) Get attached to any one thing — the only thing that really has to happen on your wedding day is to get married. Everything else is just gravy.

4) Skip the honeymoon — it’s a pretty big event, and even just giving yourselves 3 or 4 days afterwards to take everything in is a really good idea. After our wedding wrapped up at around 5 pm, we spent the rest of the evening just going over and revelling in everything that happened. (And eating more cake.) It also took me at least 4 days into the honeymoon to stop freaking out about little things.

That’s it! But I’m sure there’s lots of other awesome advice out there, so…

What’s the best advice you would give, after your wedding? If you’re not married, does any of this advice seem particularly helpful to you?

Place Cards

Safely back from my honeymoon, I am still reeling from going back to work after all that time off. In short: both the wedding and honeymoon were fantastic, and I can’t wait to share them! But I really do need some time to get back into real life, and collect the best pictures to share. So first, as promised awhile back, we’re getting back to the crafty roots of this blog.

Place cards. My plan, initially, was simple. They would be text, on a small piece of paper, folded over and put at each place setting. But then, I was presented by a dilemma–since we were serving wine at the wedding, how would people keep track of their glasses? That’s when I realized that the place cards could do double duty as wine glass markers.

First, I picked up some earring hoops from an etsy store to use as anchors. Although I could have made them myself with some wire and a jewelry jig, I just didn’t have the time and sanity for it.

Image from Forever Rose Designs on Etsy

The rings were about 1.4″ in diameter, which was around the perfect size for a wine glass with a 3″ base.

Then, I printed names on card stock, and left extra room on each one for a stamp from the lovely Etsy store Norajane. I used inks of different shades of blue and green for each one, to keep with the multi-coloured theme. All that was left was a 1/8″ hole punch, and to put the ring through the hole.

The end result exuded a simple, functional, elegance. Which is exactly what I was going for.

IMG_0941

Image taken by my lovely friend Nicole

It’s not the most original idea–although I did come up with it on my own–and I’ve definitely seen fancier versions now. But it is a really simple way to make place cards that are much more functional. My 9 year old cousin liked hers so much she asked very shyly if she could keep hers. That’s always a win 🙂

What’s your favourite simple but elegant craft idea?

Something Blue

The results are in, folks!

That’s right, it was a close one, but the heels did win the poll.

However, I also took the comments under advisement when I made my decision. And so, my dear friends, the winner is…

Aren't they pretty?

The flats!! Don’t worry, though, I will still be showing off those heels for the reception part of the big day. I also shoved some insoles into both shoes, to try and improve them on the support aspect. It will only be a few hours, but even with the extra support, I suspect it may take me some time to recover from wearing such impractical shoes.

This brings the wedding lead-up series to an end. I have something old, something new, something borrowed, and now, something blue. There are just 5 days left until the day that I (plus help) have worked for the past 11 months for. I am quite sure planning this wedding has been like a second job.

I cannot even tell you how excited I am to get back to a normal life and have time to create blog content that is not about weddings. That will only be after I’ve had a lot of fun sharing all the details I crafted, of course–I am so excited for some of these things, especially my pet project, which was officially wrapped up 2 days ago (I know, the suspense is killing me too!).

Sharing this wedding process has been wonderful, and the support I’ve received as a result of these blogs has been incredible and so helpful. So thank you to all of my readers, new and old! I will see you back here on August 27th, when regular posts will resume (and I’ll be a married woman!!).