Photos courtesy of Selina Zhong Tamon and I got married almost two weeks ago. Even though we’ve lived together for more than a year now, I feel a change — a good one. I still use my maiden name by accident … Continue reading
Only 80 or so days till the wedding. Gulp! I realize it’s only taken me about two months to update this blog. And what a crazy two months it’s been! People who haven’t planned a wedding think a year is enough, or that it’s too long. But you really can’t do most of the important things until the last four months anyway. Everything before that is in anticipation of the four-month long period of madness. You can try to tell your vendors what you want ahead of time — and they’ll still end up asking you for the same information over and over again. Now my baker is emailing me on a weekly basis. Whoohoo!
Today I just dropped off the invitations at the post office. In retrospect, if you’re not working with a tight budget like mine, the invitation is something I highly recommend that brides and grooms outsource. You can spend about $200-$300 more and have someone else via a website like Vistaprint.com do all the manual labor for you. Unless you yourself are a graphic designer or have a very close friend who is willing to do free design work for you, go with convenience. Don’t get me wrong. Since I loved how my invitations turned out, the effort was well worth it. My bridesmaid Katherine Chiu is a really amazing graphic designer. Because of her, I was able to save a lot of money and end up with a beautiful product.
Wah! I loved how they turned out. But I could not have done it without a designer friend.
Now if you decide to go the DIY route out of necessity, here’s my advice:
- Get to know your paper: 100 lb feels so much nicer than 80 lb. Just because you’re DIYing doesn’t mean it has to feel cheap. The weight makes a difference.
- Look for cardstock sales on websites like LCI Paper Co during holiday sales. During Christmas and New Year’s Eve, those kind of websites usually offer free shipping. Paper is heavy so the shipping fees are no joke ($8 or more for a ream).
- Compare prices for invitation kits at Target, Michaels, Joanns Fabrics, etc. I was able to buy my kits on sale because I shopped around.
- Unless you’re comparing it to your friend’s fancy embossed invitation, printing from your laserjet or inkjet printer looks good enough. And you’re spending $800 less than that friend. So embrace your home printer.
- Try to keep your invitation under 13 ounces. I was able to do that and ended up having to spend only 49 cents on postage per envelope.
- Embellishments are nice but can increase the price of postage. Stick to confetti and ribbons if you want to be festive and avoid metal or other rigid materials.
With this said, I’d like to point out some observations I’ve made during the course of wedding planning. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I’m not trying to call out anyone. But since most people I know seem slightly interested in my updates about wedding planning, I just want to point out some of the comments that have stuck with me. I’m not pointing out these comments because they are inspiring or helpful but rather the very opposite. I guess this could be one of the chapters of my future “Wedding for Dummies” guide book (this is for you, Eddie and Paul), “What Not to Say to the Bride.”
Telling the bride not to stress out.
Weddings are stressful. There’s really no getting away around it. Shy of taking over the wedding planning or subsidizing the wedding, there’s no way you can remove the bride’s stress for her. So implying that she is stressing out over nothing is unproductive. Instead of downplaying her feelings, why not inquire about the source of stress? After all, you’re the one who opened up the can of worms. If you really want to ask how wedding planning is going, prepare to lend your ears.
Telling her that no one will notice.
Considering that the bride is putting so much thought into her big day, the worst thing you can say to her is that no one will notice the details. After all, she’s pulling out her hair and spending half a year’s salary on this wedding. The last thing she wants to hear is that any of her efforts are in vain. I know that a lot of people have a hard time just listening to the bride complain, but telling her that she should get rid of her problem by forgetting about it is somewhat dismissive. If you can’t say anything nice…
Asking the bride, “How can I help?”
This is a sticky one I know because I know how well-meaning people can be. But asking someone how you can help is not quite the same as telling the bride how you can help. Of course, the bride is grateful that you offered. I’m not calling out anyone here because my friends and family have been tremendously helpful. But I really wish that instead of just asking, “How can I help?” that people would specify, for instance, if they are good at flower-arranging or picking wines or putting together wedding song lists. So although that’s great that you’ve offered to help; if the bride doesn’t know you intimately, most likely she won’t take up on your offer.
Lastly, despite being aware of the fact that some readers might take this post the wrong way, I felt that this needed to be written because future brides and grooms, and all human beings, need to know that it’s okay to have negative feelings and not let other people project what they perceive as proper modes of behavior on you. It’s hard for some to understand what a large endeavor a wedding is and how difficult it is to do even when you don’t have other things on your plate. For instance, I nod and smile when well-intentioned acquaintances ask me why I’m planning a wedding and trying to buy a house while finishing up my master’s degree and working full time. What can I say? I’m superwoman. Or at least I pretend to be. I’m not going to let a wedding stop me from living and fulfilling my goals. Instead I laugh and tell them that I’m also freelancing because frankly, how else am I going to pay for this darn wedding unless I have at least two jobs? (Then they probably look at me like I’m crazy.)
Call me crazy then. If we all did things the way people tell us to do them, this world would be so boring that none of us would want to live on it.
This post is all about gratitude, folks. 🙂
Okay, so you may be thinking, Isn’t like a wedding already a treat for the bride? I mean, she gets her makeup and hair did, dresses up like a princess, doesn’t lift a finger all day and marries Prince Charming and gets the spotlight on her for 8-10 hours. For one day, she’s a movie star.
Yes, imaginary guest, your hypothetical thinking is correct. However, planning a wedding is no piece of cake. In theory, it sounds really fun and validating for the narcissistic types. But when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of planning/budgeting/compromising from the moment you realized you’re getting married to the day of the wedding it can become stressful and tedious. I mean who knew you needed to pay for all these things just for the venue? Or that you have to have two garters, one to keep and one to toss? And that some flowers are seasonal and just not available when you have your wedding so you’ll have to come up with a Plan B (I’m not a botanist)? And let’s not even go in to what happens when a bride-to-be hears about a natural disaster in or around her venue on her wedding day…
I think this goes for any bride but I’d also admit it’s especially hard for those on a tight budget because having a little cash to throw around and outsource menial tasks usually helps ease the pain. But I don’t want to say that if I had a $40,000 budget it would make it any easier. During the course of wedding planning, most brides-to-be probably get that tunnel vision in which they become so focused on the big day they forget to enjoy themselves in the present.
Here’s where I make my appeal to all other brides-to-be. Treat yo self. My bridesmaid Katherine Chiu introduced me to the phase via a necklace she made for GlamKat www.etsy.com/shop/GlamKat. The phase, taken from the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” is hilariously brilliant and appropriate for my current situation.
Budgeting is like dieting — if you crash-budget you might end up going cray cray. I know because Tamon has had to deal with my moments of crazy at least three or four times last month (I’m a first-time extreme couponer and it hasn’t been pretty). I appreciate the fact that he hasn’t run away yet when he catches my eyes taking on that glazed look of poorly contained rage when I don’t get my 10 percent off discount.
One thing he has been particularly good at is reminding me to reward myself for sticking to the budget. We’ve both been carefully saving up a future down payment on a house and this upcoming wedding so it’s hard to justify splurging on extras right now. It’s also harder and slower to save extra because of the fact that we’ve both moved out of our parents’ houses and are now paying rent.
Instead of feeling constrained and stressed by these restrictions, I’ve been encouraged by Tamon to reward myself in little ways. Since I shouldn’t drop $4,000 on a trip to Amsterdam, I’ve opted for some more manageable presents like summer clearance shoes or a sweetheart dress from my coworker’s online boutique http://www.sincerelysweetboutique.com/.
Buying something heavily discounted but functional like shoes and clothes creates small but everyday moments of happiness. And supporting your entrepreneurial friends’ budding business serves a wonderful dual purpose. As my dance instructor Sienna Spalding points out, When you feel beautiful on the outside, it makes it easier to feel beautiful on the inside. So ladies (and gentleman), instead of focusing on making your wedding day the most beautiful, happiest day in your life; strive to make every day just as special.
TREAT YO SELF.