Aug 272014
 

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Aww wedding planning. An overwhelming, stressful, sometimes fun, sometimes annoying process. I kind of went into this whole thing with a naive outlook and I’ve learned so many things along the way that I wish I had known before I started planning.

I was listening to this podcast (Bridal Rebellion Podcast) recently and t he topic was “Why questioning wedding traditions can lead to a greater bridal impact”. It was a really interesting interview with a woman talking about how her and her partner disregarded the “outdated” and “sexist” wedding traditions. They had a “non-public engagement” meaning no one knew about the engagement unless they got an invitation and they asked guests not to mention it on social media anywhere.

It was a really interesting interview reflecting on just how absurd and expensive weddings are now these days. They discussed how Pinterest has changed the wedding industry and made everything so cookie-cutter.

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One of the suggestions was to make a “must haves list.” I knew going into our wedding planning that there were going to be frivolous things I didn’t want to do. For example, I knew we didn’t need favors. They are unnecessary and a cost that can easily be cut without impacting the wedding in any way. Another thing: I didn’t want to do the garter removal thing (I think it’s creepy) and the garter toss (what is the point)?

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I wanted to share one tip that I read early on in the wedding planning process that was a brilliant life-saver. Number the RSVP cards you send out so you match them up to the person when you get it back. I kid you not, I got several RSVP cards back without names on them or completely illegible. A few of them I recognized the handwriting and knew who they were, but the ones I had zero clue about, that number saved me. Exhibit A:

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Thank goodness I numbered the RSVPs!!!

I wanted to pass on some tips and lessons I learned to other brides because I really wish someone had told me some of these things. You go into a big event like this thinking everything will run smoothly and it really doesn’t. Before we got engaged and throughout the engagement I subscribed to various wedding websites and read the articles in Feedly and some of the tips I read a long the way were great! But there was also a lot of stuff no one mentioned…

What I’d Do Differently

Because my family is so big, I knew that having an intimate wedding was out of the question. For years when I pictured my wedding day I imagined it would be in a forest or park somewhere–very casual, very “earthy.” But when the time came to book a venue and such, I found myself drifting away from what I originally wanted. It happened for a number of reasons: the comfort of the guests and the possible weather issues (that I knew would stress me out)…But when it comes down to it, the wedding is supposed to be about the bride and groom, so don’t dismiss what you REALLY want because you get caught up in the excitement of planning. Things can get out of hand quick!

I would reconsider the destination wedding. Seriously. Michael and I had both considered doing a destination wedding with just immediate family on a beach in Hawaii or in Vegas. Then have a party later with the rest of the family and friends. Unfortunately we did the math and realized it would cost the same as a regular wedding to do that. During all the planning I considered a few times changing my mind. :) The idea of a destination, low-key, quiet wedding sounded so nice when I was dealing with the stress of finances and annoying wedding vendors and unnecessary drama.

Venue. All-Inclusive. I thought we were saving money by choosing a venue where we could bring in our own booze and vendors. What I would do differently is to consider a venue that was inclusive (the food, alcohol, etc). Everything adds up so fast and suddenly you aren’t really saving any money by trying to do it yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I love our venue–but I wish we had chosen a place that didn’t have a list of “preferred vendors” we had to choose from. Having the freedom to figure out the catering on our own would have been nice (and probably would have saved some money.)

Avoid Pinterest. Pinterest kind of took over my life for a short bit. I finally had to cut the cord and stop looking at wedding websites and pinterest boards. So much of it is UNnecessary and adds up fast. So many things I thought I “had to have” wasn’t really needed. Thankfully I didn’t actually purchase anything I saw on my pinterest board and I’m glad I waited to buy stuff. After the initial rush of getting engaged and excited to start planning, I think I was a little dazed. It was a good idea to WAIT to buy stuff!

In the end, Pinterest started to just annoy me. Type in “Wedding” and you will see all the same looks, same dang pictures and fads and I just got sick of seeing it. It definitely cured me of wanting to do something I saw on Pinterest.

Careful what you DIYMan oh man, did I regret doing DIY on this one. The save the dates were kind of a nightmare. If I had known I would NOT have done postcards. BRIDES PAY ATTENTION TO THIS. Sure it’s a cute idea, and you THINK you’re going to save money by doing postcards but you really don’t. I could not find postcard paper that was thick enough. I searched everywhere–in paper stores, online, everywhere. What I ended up buying was the thickest I could find and it still wasn’t thick enough. As a result, they got kind of beaten up (some tore in the post office) and I regret not just doing something I mailed in an envelope. Lesson learned.

The invitations were DIY and while I’m happy with how they turned out, it was a humongous pain in the ass and had I known, I would have just ordered them from a professional printing service.

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I hope some of my lessons can help other brides avoid certain annoyances that made this process less fun. I don’t want to complain because there have been some things that were kind of fun during this process…but I have to admit, I went into the whole thing with a very naive pair of glasses. I thought it was be endless fun! So much fun and something Michael and I could do together and…did I mention fun?

Yeah, most of it wasn’t fun. It doesn’t take long to feel completely overwhelmed and burned out on making decisions. That was the harshest reality. I was so tired of making decisions I found myself freezing up in simple situations–something as simple as “what restaurant should we go to dinner at?” And suddenly I couldn’t decide on ANYTHING. That was hard. I mean really, that’s not a life or death situation, why can’t I make a decision? I’m usually a very organized, very decisive person that doesn’t waffle when making decisions. What happened to her?!

In a few weeks Michael and I will be walking down the aisle together…there are still a lot of pending things on our to-do list and more decisions to make (like what our first song will be) but I’m starting to get excited and despite the many (many) times I wanted to cancel and elope…I am truly happy that we stayed the course. So many friends and family are traveling from afar (Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, California…) to come and I cannot wait to spend my day with them!

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Aug 182014
 

My friend Star came over for dinner and to help us write our wedding ceremony. She’s the officiant and we both have been working on the ceremony and vows for a bit now on our own. It was time to come together and make it all fit.

Since she’s a vegetarian, I wanted to make a recipe that was veggie friendly and that also used up some of the zucchini from our garden. I found a few different frittata recipes and decided to make one of them. I used two different frittata recipes to make my own. I liked the spicy ingredients in this recipe, but I also liked that the other recipe called for ricotta cheese (which I needed to use up).

Zucchini Ricotta Frittata Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Calories per serving: 410

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/zucchini_ricotta_frittata/

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, or one larger one, washed and sliced into thin rounds (about 3/4 pound)

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan and beat to combine. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper, basil and thyme and beat to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof stick-free skillet on medium high. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the zucchini slices. Stir so that the zucchini slices are all coated with some of the oil. Cook, stirring only occasionally (if you stir too much the zucchini won't brown), until the zucchini slices are lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove zucchini slices from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cool for 30 seconds or so, and then stir the zucchini slices to the egg mixture.
  3. Reheat the skillet. There should be a couple of tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not, add some. When the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Do not stir it. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the egg mixture cook. Run a spatula along the edge of the frittata, separating the cooked edges from the pan. Let the egg mixture cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is beginning to set, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Set the top rack 5 inches from the heating element in the oven. Preheat the oven broiler. Once the top of the frittata has started to set in the pan on the stove top, remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven. With the broiler on, the door of the oven needs to be open. You can let the pan's handle stick out from the oven through the open door. Cook under the broiler until the top starts to become lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Alternatively, instead of using the broiler, you can place a plate face-down on top of the skillet. Flip the skillet over to release the frittata on to the plate. Then slide the frittata from the plate back on to the skillet. Let cook for a couple of minutes more until the bottom side gets browned.
  6. Slide the frittata out of the skillet onto a serving plate. Let cool for a minute or two and serve.
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The recipe called for 6 eggs and said it fed 2-3 people. I think it actually fed more like 5 people. We each had a fairly large serving and there were two more servings left over (which I had one for lunch the next day). I put most of the spicy jalapenos on one side of the frittata and used the banana peppers on the other because they are less spicy and that was for Star.

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The recipe called for cooking the frittata on the stovetop for 5-6 minutes. I ended up cooking it for more like 10 I think. It was really jiggly and a little too wet still. This was the first time I made a frittata so I used some of Michael’s experience to figure out when it was ready to be baked. Perhaps using a cast iron skillet is why it took longer…? Who knows.

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It was looking much better. I put it in the oven under the broiler. Again, the recipe called for 2 minutes. I did more like 3-4 minutes. I took it out twice and tested it with toothpicks to see if it was done. It was pretty obvious when it was done. Here was the finished product:

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Star brought over  a loaf of olive ciabatta bread from New Seasons. It’s A-MAZING. Oh my gods, between the three of us we almost ate the entire loaf of bread. I can’t remember the last time I had this bread–maybe a year ago? It’s not something I eat very often and usually when I eat bread it’s the Costco gluten free stuff. So this was quite a treat! I also brought out some of the pickled red onions I made. Star LOVED them. :D

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We sat outside on the deck and listened to the kid’s football (or soccer) game going on in the distance. The crickets were singing nearby and the there was a lovely breeze that cooled down the hot day. I had a glass of the Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc wine (it’s fabulous) with dinner and lots of water. Dinner was good but Michael and I both agreed that it needed a meat. Chorizo would have been nice. I think diced ham would be great, too. The dish would definitely be better with some salty, flavorful meat in it. Despite that, it was a decent vegetarian meal and Star loved it so that’s what counts.

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After dinner we worked on the ceremony. We ended up getting it done, a rough draft that still needs a little tweaking, but it’s done. One more thing to cross off the to-do list!

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I also printed out a bunch of poems I liked. One of my friends will be reading a poem during the ceremony. I narrowed it down to four and Michael read them all and picked his favorite. The runner up, that I still love, is this one:

TITLE UNKNOWN
~ By Carl Sandburg ~

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.

Isn’t that wonderful? Still love it. We ended up choosing something else for my friend to read. TBD. Star is Najavo and we are including a Native American blessing in the ceremony as well as some other elements that mean a lot to me. Michael seemed more interested in the words, as I was more interested in the symbolism, and he picked out things he liked for the vows from various print out examples. I liked all the ones he picked, as well as a few others. Despite what he says, there will NOT be the words “obey” in our vows. :P

On Sunday I went to yoga and then spent some time in the yard pulling weeds (god it’s been never ending this summer!). After that we went to Cartlandia for lunch. I got a buffalo chicken wrap in a spinach tortilla from the Good and Evil Wrap. I love that place and was craving it lately.

lunch

SO GOOD. After lunch we had a dance lesson. The DJ we hired for the wedding also teaches dance. I brought the shoes I am going to wear for the ceremony (my grandmother’s shoes) and also my favorite pair of heels just in case. They had converted their garage into a dance studio. It was pretty nice. The private lesson was an hour and we got a discount due to hiring them for the wedding.

I have some dance experience. I took ballroom dancing classes but it was over a decade ago. At that class I learned the basics of ballroom dance–tango, salsa, box step, etc. I remember it being hard and a  really good workout. I was hoping some of that would come back to me once we started but…not so much.

dance

Lynn and her husband Mark taught us how to dance to our first song and showed us a few choreographed moves. It was so hard! It just didn’t come naturally like I thought it would and I felt like Michael and I were out of sync often. I also noticed that *I* try to lead too much. It’s just not in my nature to follow. LOL. We spent an hour with them and when we switched partners and I danced with Mark or even Lynn, I was impressed with how good they dance. I also noticed that I danced better with them because they were confident leaders. I think Michael and I need a LOT of practice still!

We may end up doing the typical prom dance sway if we don’t practice…

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