Sep 192014
 

You are forewarned…this post is picture heavy!

Wednesday

I am really glad I took most of this week off from work! Not only was I recovering from being sick, I had a lot to do. Wednesday I slept in a little bit and then went to the Warrior Room for a morning workout. I hadn’t worked out in 7 days. I’d been sick for 5 of those. I was on the mend and the sinus infection cleared up but I still felt tired. I probably should have taken one more day off but oh well…I went. And realized about half-way through the workout that it was going to be a struggle! I just didn’t have the stamina or endurance. I took a lot of breaks.

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The rest of the day was spent cleaning the house in preparation for guests and doing laundry. I felt okay and then the afternoon came and I could use a nap!

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Wednesday night I met Michael and his dad at Trifecta for dinner:

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It was the epitome of Portland Hipster but the place was great and the food was outstanding! To start, we got the bread plate with homemade churned butter. Probably the best butter I’ve ever eaten. Michael asked me if I would start churning our own butter after we get married… :P

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We shared two appetizers. The first was the homemade pickle plate. It was pickled asparagus, pickles, beets and cauliflower. I loved it. Michael and his dad thought it was too sweet. The cauliflower and beets had a very smokey flavor, though, so they liked those. I’m a fan of anything pickled. :)

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We also shared the deviled egg plate. Two deviled eggs topped with smoked salmon–probably the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had–and two that had an eggplant tapenade on top. I wish the photos had turned out a little better because the food looked like art!

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Since I’d been sick all week I’ve had zero appetite but have been eating because I know I need to, whether I want to or not. I ordered the house salad with buttermilk dressing and their cheesy grits (one of my favorite food groups). The portions were pretty small, so that was good.

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Even just having a salad and some grits I was stuffed. I ate half of the grits and took the rest home for breakfast. :) Michael and his dad both got the double burger with pimento cheese on it. I had a bite of Michael’s and it was good! The fries were crispy and salty and perfect, too.

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What a cool restaurant. Casual, hipster vibe, several patrons with handlebar mustaches (no joke) and great service! This place was definitely a winner and I will be back for sure. Michael dropped his dad off at the hotel and I was home and in bed by 9pm. I could not wait to sleep!

Thursday

Unfortunately I tossed and turned until 2 am when I finally fell asleep… :( I was very tired on Thursday! Thursday morning I hit the gym for a quick workout. It was short and I took it easy, even though I was feeling better. I did 40 minutes on the elliptical and then spent the rest of the time in the sauna and steam room trying to sweat out my illness!

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Then my brother and his wife and my parents arrived! Most of the day was free. We had some last minute wedding stuff to finish, so they helped with that. Then we just hung out for a little bit. Played with Bella, took them to Powell’s Books. :)

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Thursday evening we took them to Podnah’s Pit for dinner. My brother and his wife live in Philadelphia and he’d seen the restaurant on TV (maybe Diners, Drive-ins and Dives?) and asked if we could go. I was happy to oblige considering it’s the best BBQ in Portland and almost as good as Franklin’s BBQ

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I got the brisket, coleslaw, cornbread with honey and collard greens that were cooked in bacon fat. To die for. Thankfully there was a ton of leftovers so that was going to be my lunch on Friday! Everyone had a great time and enjoyed dinner.

They all went back to the house and I met my friend Christine. I hadn’t seen her in a few years, not since Michael and I went to Tucson on vacation and I was able to meet up with her. She and her fiance met me at Bailey’s Taproom for a drink after they flew in to Portland. It was so good to catch up! Especially before the wedding when I knew I’d have limited time to spend with everyone.

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By Thursday evening I was feeling a lot better and getting my appetite back but I was still not 100%. I had a half pint of the IPA on tap and called that good. I ended up staying at the bar almost two hours catching up with them. It was so great! Bailey’s Taproom was a cool place and had a humongous rotating beer list that was on a big screen TV. Like super digital. Impressive!

Friday

Friday morning I slept in (thankfully) AND slept like the dead–apparently I needed more rest still, then I went for a short run/walk in the neighborhood with my brother and his wife!

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It was nice to spend the morning with them and catch up a little. :)

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Next up: mani/pedis! My mom, my sister in law and cousin/bridesmaid Anna went to the spa and got manicures and pedicures (they were desperately needed too). It was nice to just relax and be pampered. Then off to the venue for the rehearsal! So that was my week. This time tomorrow I’ll be a married woman. ;)

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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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