Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thirteen Months Out

I've decided instead of doing the mass email thing where I force my blabbing upon everyone, I'll just distribute this link to everyone and people can follow along/chime in as you like. Or not. :)

So far, here's where we are. Our date is tentatively March 20, 2010. It's actually Zach's parents' anniversary, so I'm hoping they will agree to let us do something special for them during our ceremony or reception. They're just really amazing people and I would love to have a chance to honor them and their marriage in a meaningful way.

My bridal party is decided, Zach is still narrowing his down I think. Here's mine:

Maid of Honor: Mary Czarnionka (York, ME)
Bridesmaid1: Sarah (sister) (Portsmouth, NH)
Bridesmaid2: Marnie (sister, technically matron Tao but whatev) (Dallas, TX)
Bridesmaid3: Kara McCulloch (soon to be matron Kowalik) (Arlington, VA)

I'm taking suggestions on a new titling system for the bridal party. For some reason I'm just not in love with "bridesmatron." It makes my ladies sound so.. well, matronly. But I may not even print programs so it may not matter.

Budget: Zach and I are paying for the wedding, so our budget is Le Small. It's... basically impossible for us to have a big wedding in this area, or even a small wedding with all the traditional weddingy stuff. We want somewhere around 100 guests, so just the open bar would be around $2,000 (minimum, unless we found a place we could bring our own booze). Plated meal, let's estimate low, would be $3,500.
Thaaat's pretty much our budget and doesn't cover site rental, ceremony (officiant, site fee, etc.), attire, rings, photographer, decorations, blah blah blah. However, free booze and food for guests are my top priorities so I Will Make This Work.

I'm just going to have to get rill creative.

Invitations: We're thinking bookmark save-the-dates (recycled paper, soy inks, what what), and then we'll post our wedding website on the save-the-dates and say Hey we're not mailing invitations so send me your email address plzzz! And then for those who really don't do email/Internets, we will call them. It's partly a money-saving thing but also a world-saving thing. I love love love stationery/paper products of all kinds, but I would like to make this wedding as sustainable as possible and this is one of the easiest things to cut out.

Photography: We think we may have a couple friends of the family who have some amateur photography skills so if they agree to help out that will cut out a big expense. I would love to get a $2,000 photo package buuut I'd rather put the money into having a good time at the reception. I want to have a photo booth (not necessarily a real one, just like, a digital camera set up by the guest book so people can take pictures of themselves to go with their note in the book), hoping lots of guests will be taking their own photos, and then if we have someone with a Real camera taking some pictures of the preparations,
ceremony, reception and a few poses, we'll be good.

Flowers: I haven't settled on the idea yet but I am seriously contemplating scrapping the flowers idea entirely and doing BUTTONS. I found some great ideas on etsy.com, I'm going to try to paste them in here, hope it works.

Ok I'm not sure this is working how I want it to, forgive me if the formatting is totally messed up. I'm such a blog noob!

Anyway these are some button bouquets that have inspired me. My mother brought me 2 tins full of old antique buttons, most fun
I've ever had going through them with her, sorting by color and texture - I want more!! Please if you have any old buttons, I am taking donations. I'm thinking of doing this for my bouquet and the bridesmaids, but haven't figured out how to incorporate the idea into boutonnieres without going way over-the-top tacky. So ideas would be welcome.

Venue: I love the idea of having the reception at the State Theater.They put your names on the marquee! Unfortunately they haven't responded to my inquiry, and I'm just pretty sure they're out of my price range. They can fit like 300+ people so just having 100 might feel dumb anyway. We toured the Columbus Club (yes, the club for Knights of Columbus).. We only went because it's So Affordable, it was tempting to consider, even though we're not catholic and don't know anyone who's a member. The event director there is really nice, the space really wasn't that bad, I just.. can't do it. That gigantic light blue sign over the main entrance blaring KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, along with the super 60s dated architecture.. was just too much for my vanity.

We haven't really started thinking about the ceremony venue.. I have no idea what we're going to do. We will not be having a church ceremony, I don't know who will officiate, I just don't know. I like the idea of an outdoor ceremony except that we're shooting for March 20 so it's a biiit chilly outside still. Maybe an art gallery or a club or something... It'll depend on where we have the reception. I'll post some ideas for that later.

One thing we may do, to get around the high food cost/open bar problem, would be to have a brunch reception. I don't think Zach is super crazy about the idea, but I think we could make it fun. I mean I would really prefer a Saturday night affair, but I'm trying to keep my mind open. I'm thinking brunch reception with mimosas and bloody marys, maybe a pianist or something, no big entertainment would really be necessary, people aren't going to get all crazylike drunk-o and dancing at noon (I'd hope), so that would cut down our costs a Lot - and then maybe we could host an after-party at a local bar/club that evening, for whoever wants to come party with us. So that's an idea.

DRESS: I will have to do a separate post about my dress ideas. I'm hoping to find a used one, or get one on a wicked sale or something. Running of the Brides is coming up in Rockville this April, and then there's one at Friendship Heights in July, I think I definitely want to do one of those! Could I be crazy enough to go to both? Depends on how many crazy friends I have haha.

Color Scheme: We've been throwing some ideas around, haven't really settled on anything yet. We like the idea of brown & cream, or brown cream and pink, or brown cream and blue.. I'm leaning towards pink, he's leaning towards blue.. ;) And we might just skip the brown and go with black, I think tuxes/suits would be easier to find in the traditional black? But we haven't looked into it. I would like polka dots to feature in there, but don't want to go too over the top with that. Actually buttons are (usually) round, I think the two ideas go together well.

Cake: we may not have a cake? I think he doesn't care at All, he'd rather not have one, I'm kind of like Sigh I'd like a cake but they're pricey, it's not that big of a deal. I wanted cupcakes but now everyone's frickin doing cupcakes and I'm just not sure anymore. I just had the idea today of doing mousse, served in martini glasses - and the martini glass would be the take-home favor? Probably still expensive.

OK that's probably enough blabbing for now. I literally have ideas swarming through my brain Almost constantly, so I'll try to post them often and get your comments/ideas/etc.


  1. Yeah sustainability! I love the buttons idea. I'll send you whatever I've got, though I'm not sure how cute they are. Polka dots could be cute and I agree that that would work really well with the buttons. Just don't pick strapless bridesmaids dresses K? If you really want to have a cake/cupcakes but don't want to pay for it there's a possibility I could do it. I've always wanted to make a fancy decorated cake and I've got the whole year to practice. :)

  2. ok, here's my 2 cents, let me take it in sections:
    1)bridesmaid/matron question: just call everybody a bridesmaid, who even knows what a matron is these days anyway right?
    2)Budget: Is your budget based on what you have already saved or what you can save between now and then? Because if you really bust it you can save more than you think over the next thirteen months and often things don't need to be paid until the week of the wedding.
    3) Booze Food & Making it work: If you decide to stick with the evening wedding, maybe instead of an open bar you could limit it to beer and wine and maybe one cocktail type drink? I also like the idea of brunch and mimosas because a) brunch food I think is just easier/tastier made en bulk than dinner food, why pay lots of money for crappy chicken and soggy vegetables dinner? I have NEVER had good food at a wedding (except for our reception in San Jose which was a 10 course Chinese meal at a restaurant...) b) you're still paying for booze and food, c) the reasons you already stated, I don't know much about after parties, would this be out at a club or at someone's house or..? CON: This does mean you'll have to be up earlier, but will give you some time to rest, freshen up before the real partying begins...

  3. 4) LOVE everything you suggested about invitations/save the dates. Cool!

    5) Photography: I agree that forking out $2000 for a photo package is painful if not impossible, so definitely squeeze as much as you can from your amateur photography friends. I understand the priority, and the food and booze will make memories, but pictures will help you remember them and share them with your kids, etc... also, you will probably remember very little from the actual ceremony, nerves and all so it's really nice to have good photos of the key parts of that, and video doesn't hurt either. If nothing else, see if you have any friends willing (and at least a little talented) to film the ceremony. You might look into what kind of deal you can get on a professional to do just the ceremony and rely on friends and photo-booth for reception pictures...

    6) LOVE the buttons! My only advice here is to practice making them and see if they are worth the effort, or maybe that's something you can delegate to Mom?

    7) Venue: you might try finding a place that can host both ceremony and reception. sometimes if it's a place with a great hall it can be split in two, one half set up for the ceremony, the other for the reception, and they don't have to be big ugly partitions, sometimes they have nice rich draped curtains, etc. or they may have two ballrooms that can be used in a similar way...within how far a radius are you willing to look, would you go as far as an hour away? You might find some cute spots in out of the way places...

    7) The Dress: Great idea for the battle of the brides thing or whatever, my only thought is - go a few places first to try on dresses, get an idea of your size, different designers and styles and how they look on you. (if you find one you love this way, you can often buy used on ebay, etc.) That way when you have to look fast and furiously with hundreds of other women, you kind of know what you're looking for. Also, one caution is that are you sure you want to make a decision about your dress under that much pressure?

    8) Colors: I think brown and pink and cream sound great (or blue I guess... ;-) and just because you have brown in your scheme doesn't mean the guys have to wear brown, black will be just fine. You can use brown as the accent color, My friend Summer did that with baby blue, cream and brown, it was beautiful...and polka dots sound like they'll fit right in...

    9) Cake: you could do a candy buffet or sundae bar instead? Or if you decide you want a cake, you could get a small decorated cake, about the size of ours, and just get the rest in sheet cakes, much cheaper that way...

    10) Wow, this is fun! Just remember all of the above are just my random thoughts, to take or leave. love ya sis!

  4. hahah wow I don't think I can respond to Everything you said Marnie, but thank you! Don't worry, I'm definitely going to rope Mom into helping with the bouquets, she's already excited about it, and I'm hoping Sarah will have some ideas about technique, etc., but I guess being far away, might be difficult to actually get her help making them. Anyone interested in helping is of course welcome! I might have a bouquet assembling party at some point...

    Sarah! If you have any interest in practicing making a pretty cake or bunches of pretty cupcakes plz feel free! that would be amazing.

  5. Hi! So many ideas you have! no wonder you needed a blog!

    I already said it but I'll say it again. LUV the idea of having it at The State Theatre. booyah.

    I like the dessert in a martini glass idea! Or maybe a big goblet! Remember those glasses my aunt painted? that might be a more affordable way to personalize them than ordering them from a company or something. Would be time consuming though. And of course, you might also remember their sad fate when put in the dishwasher. Sigh. Hate you SKD.

    OR since ZP is "meh" about cake. You should get a big huge HAM and put little bride and groom dolls on top. I think that'd be reeeeel nice! and he'd approve!

    Also like brunch + after party idea! But then, i'm local and it'd be easy for me to dedicate a whole day to celebrating youz two!

    I wanna know why you want to have a plated meal? Does that mean not-buffet? what's wrong with a buffet? (says the girl who can eat like a bottomless pit)(and will eat your whole wedding)(just kidding)

  6. Oh, also! These girls did Kelsey's pics, they're amateurs, but seem pretty good! might be an option, not sure how much they charge....


  7. Hm, okay it appears that the girls with big cameras aren't doing their photography thang anymore! :( But I think some of them are operating independently? There's a link to one girl who has her own site. And if nothing else, it's some cute ideas for engagement photos in DC (if you were thinking of that!)

  8. Hey Rachel, I don't mind taking extra pics for your wedding. I've taken plenty of 'couple pics' with Sheila and Joe and they turned out purty good. My new camera has pretty high quality images and I can mess around with settings and such.

  9. Hiya Rachel...

    Sounds like everyone is excited and happy to offer help, ideas, etc.! Yay!

    I sent you an email about this, but in the interest of keeping all ideas in one handy spot, thought I'd mention it here, too.

    My friend, Gerardo, is an amazing photographer, and - did I mention - a very dear friend. When he gets back from Venice next week (the dog!), I would like to ask him if he'd be interested in vacationing in DC in March and oh-by-the-way-bring-your-camera! He loves DC and visits fairly often, so I don't think he'd mind coming up. Also, he's interested in doing wedding photography, and has volunteered with a pro a few times, just for the practice. He MAY be willing to do it gratis, or maybe just for travel expenses or something... I won't tell him that I mentioned it to you; we'll just see what he says. IF you're interested, that is.

    In other news, I love the paperless invitation idea!! Brilliant!

    I agree with Marnie, that black tuxes would go with whatever color scheme you choose for the ladies. And... polka dots and buttons?? They were MADE for each other! SO cute!!

    I also applaud the effort to have a green wedding. To that end, I also agree with Marnie about checking out eBay for dresses (craigslist, etc, too). I mean, you don't want anything creepy, but I'll bet there are dresses out there that have never been worn and need a good home. :)

    Re button bouquets... Sarah had a good suggestion; you (we?) should try to make a button bouquet, to see a) how labor-intensive it is, and 2) to see if you actually like the way it looks "in person." You know where to find me if you want my help with that! :)

    This blog is a great way to air out your ideas and collect friends' ideas and suggestions. It will also probably keep ZP from wanting to kill you. LOL.

  10. I think I would really like to make the cake but only if you're sure you don't mind some amateur hack doing something so important :) IF you keep the button bouquet idea, I think it could look really cool if I made edible chocolate/candy buttons from molds to use for decorating the cake. I already found a website that sells button molds. Whatdya think? Too much buttons?