Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The long hiatus and why it may continue

Well, it's been a few months since my last post. And there has actually been a deliberate, conscious reason for this. The more involved I was with my blog, the more involved I was with other wedding blogs. Which is perfectly reasonable and understandable. But the more time I spent in the wedding blogosphere, the more things I felt I "needed" to do with my wedding. And even if I just wanted to add a little project here, or a little project there, the money would add up. And when I would decide not to add these additional projects, I began to wonder if the wedding we were planning was somehow inadequate. Which is not how I wanted to feel about our wedding, so I've pretty much just limited myself to visiting a couple of blogs which deal more with the philosophical issues of getting married and being married.

I also stopped blogging because I was becoming a very boring person. All my free time revolved around wedding stuff. I didn't read anything unless it was related to the wedding. But I've got other interests. Travel. My obsession with Jane Austen. Improving the instruction I provide my students. And there are other things I want to do.

So I'm not saying that this is the end of blogging for me. But the hiatus is probably going to continue, at least until I figure out what I want to do. Maybe I'll just be a commenter on my favorite blogs while continuing to lead my life. Or maybe I'll find a way to balance life with blogging. Who knows. But I just wanted to explain why I haven't been around.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

2000 Dollar Wedding answer

I’ve been out of town this week, visiting my lady of honor. And I missed the post from 2000dollarwedding that I’d been looking forward to, Sara’s response to my question!

Yes, the wedding word continues to up the price of everything. I called one bakery and told her the size of wedding cake I wanted and she put the price around $100-110 (including extra decorating). The bakery’s wedding specialist then called me up and said that the pricing would begin at $250. For the same cake. For another illustration of this, take a look at this great video that Miss Fancy Pants’ mentioned.

But, as Sara and many of the commenters have said, I am now telling vendors from the get-go that it’s a wedding. Because to be perfectly honest, I do have a twinge in my conscience saying that it is dishonest to mislead someone about the type of event we’re planning.

And I’ve decided to go with a barbecue place as our caterers. They post their catering packages, so it’s the same price for everyone. We’ll have them deliver the food and then we’ll hire people from our church to keep the buffet going and clean up afterwards (either members of the youth group, or ladies at the women’s shelter the church sponsors, or some Americorps volunteers who live at the church).

Thanks Sara and all of her commenters for your opinions and advice!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I can see clearly now

The rain is gone. So is the fog. We now have a distinct vision of what our wedding reception is going to be like. And how did this epiphany come to us? We finally made a decision on the caterer.

Of course, it was sort of a default decision since the other caterer bailed on us, but it was so reassuring nonetheless. By figuring out what type of food we are having (barbecue) we've been able to figure out the other elements we want in order to set the right type of mood. Since we're going with more casual food, we know we want to do linen tablecloths and real dishes so that the feel doesn't become too informal. But it's also gone a good way to set the mood as a sort of laidback but classy function, making sure that some don't think of the wedding as too "snooter" while others don't think of it as too "low class."

So now that we've got the vision, full steam ahead on making decisions!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Winning people over to my vision of a dress

My idea of what type of wedding dress I'd like has evolved as I've aged. It's gone from a poufy ballgown to a sleek Grecian sheath to a 1950s-inspired dress. And when I started wedding planning, I thought about how cool it would be to have a dress like the one above. And my sister (MOH) totally dug the idea. But my mom seriously disliked the idea (she didn't say hate, but I don't think that emotion was far off). And my grandmother wasn't a big fan either. So I thought to myself, well, I'll look at other stuff.

And the other stuff was tried on. But my grandmother and mother weren't a big fan of the trains since there are so many issues the day of when wearing one (bustling, sitting...peeing). And I would mention the 1950s dress idea again, and could tell that Gram was warming up to the idea. It had no train. It would be easy to move around in. I could dance in it! By the time I showed her my inspiration board, Gram was fully on to the idea. In fact, she's even started hinting to Mom that my mom might want to sew my dress (as she's an expert seamstress).

Mom, though, still required some warming up. I purposefully wore some dresses I own with the same silhouette. And showed my enthusiasm for their danceability. And she's now open to the idea (though hasn't signed on to sew anything). So I'm not sure if I'll end up with a 50s-style dress or not, but I have learned a few things. If you want to sway people to your way of thinking you might want to follow these steps:

1) Be enthusiastic

2) Show pictures

3) Be persistent

4) Work on people one-on-one and bring them to your way of thinking

5) With these new people, keep on persuading the naysayers!

If all else fails, remember, you're an adult and can make your own decisions without others' approval.

Picture from Emily's Junk on

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Famous last words

Just two posts ago I was talking about how our guest list was done, and we were just deliberating over the save-the-dates. Well, nix that.

Last night the boy said that one of his co-workers was talking about getting us a gift, and that we should add this co-worker to the invite list because he might feel badly if he wasn't invited. And though I haven't told my fiance yet, I'm not exactly thrilled about this.

To be totally fair, my side is inviting far more people than his side. As it stands now:

Me: 65
Him: 32

But when we get down to the number who are likely to attend, it changes a bit.

Me: 38
Him: 26

So yeah, I'm likely to have more people than him at the wedding, but it's not nearly so lopsided.

Partly, the issue is that I envisioned (and shared the vision with him) that I wanted the wedding to be for family and the very closest of friends. So my side of the list is all siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins from my mom's side, two family friends for my dad who are unlikely to attend, and four close personal friends of mine. His side is siblings, aunts/uncles, and two close and personal friends. Then he started added some of his current co-workers. First it was the boss and another supervisor (one of whom I've met briefly). Now it's another co-worker who I've seen for about 30 seconds total.

When we first did the list and added his supervisors I justified it that since his side was so much smaller it was only fair, and it was a good way to draw a limit at his workplace (since once you start inviting coworkers it can be a complete mess). And if it's only just this one more guest (plus his family) then I suppose I'll suck it up as a form of compromise with my future husband. But if he starts inviting every person who starts asking him about the wedding and/or registry, then the wedding is going to completely lose the feeling we were originally going for. Because unlike appeasing my dad about his close friends, my fiance's coworkers are likely to attend since it would be a less than a 10 mile drive, not a 1000 mile drive. So it's a lot harder to appease someone when it's going to be more than just an invite through the mail.

Now it has me rethinking the guest list, seeing if we can't get a smaller wedding out of this. But when I had talked about a smaller, more intimate list my fiance said he wanted to keep all of his current invites (this was before the co-worker). (I could cut my invite list by around 40, but it would only decrease then number attending by around 15). But it doesn't do anything to help keep the close and intimate feeling from getting marred by random extra people being added to the list.

Grr, why do guest lists have to be so difficult?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How much does it cost to save a little money?

One of the most common tips to save money is to tell potential caterers that you’re planning a family function in order to avoid receiving the wedding upcharge. And in contacting caterers, that’s the line I used.

After contacting various people we finally found a strong contender. When I met with the caterer, they repeatedly talked about how they would treat this event like a wedding. And during the course of conversation I admitted that the meal would be served at our wedding reception which would be the concluding event of what will essentially be a family reunion. The next day they e-mailed me and said that they were withdrawing their proposal because they didn’t want to work with someone who would perpetrate such a “deception.”

I was totally flummoxed. In fact, I still kind of am. How does not specifying the type of family function equal a deception? At the same time though, I know I would have felt uncomfortable leaving our in-person meeting without them knowing that it was going to be a wedding, particularly since they kept mentioning how they were going to treat our event like one. So was this a sin of omission (by not saying family wedding rather than family function)? Or was this just the way for the caterer to not work the event because they’d have preferred a higher profit margin on a wedding?

As someone who likes to think of herself as taking the moral high road, I can’t fully tell why I’m feeling argumentative about this. Is it because I truly think I was in the right, or is it because I hate being caught in a lie? But was it really a lie?

I’m obviously still working through this issue, and I’m looking forward to hearing the take of others. And Sara Cotner of 2000 Dollar Wedding found the issue interesting and is planning on covering it in an upcoming blog post. I’ll let y’all know when that happens. But anyone care to share their perspective on this in the meantime? Have I lost some of my ethical standing because of this, just to save some money?

Image from Microsoft Office.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Keeping the A-listers separate from the B-listers

Guest lists are supposedly one of the biggest problems that arises during wedding planning. Thankfully, that is now pretty much past for us. We have his side, my side, our parents' sides. The trouble is, save-the-dates.

Now, we're not actually doing real save-the-dates. There will be no cute photos or magnets or other such things going through the postal system. Instead we're planning on sending out an e-mail that includes our wedding website's address.

And it's really the announcement of the wedding website that we're more interested about, because all the people who are really important to us already know the date. But we want people to know about the website because we already have those in-crowd members who are booking flights and looking at hotels, and we want them to know about the great hotel rate we got for them as well as about the weekend of events we intend to have. Heck, there are even uninvited people who want our registry info so they can get us a gift! (And no, we haven't registered yet.)

So, what's the problem? Well, there are some people on the guest list that we don't anticipate coming. Particularly some of the relations that we haven't seen in 20 or so years, and are really only inviting because this event is also important to our parents. Our fear is that in sending everyone on the guest list a save-the-date, that some people who wouldn't ordinarily come might start thinking about it and decide to come anyway. Because we're getting married in the awesome city of New Orleans. At a time of year when most of our guests will be starting to have frigid temperatures in their own locations, but we'll probably have very temperate weather. So they might decide to make a little vacation out of it, with the pretext that they're coming for my wedding. And this we do not want.

Though our families realize that not all invited guests will attend, it might cause quite a bit of drama if some people receive an e-mail notification and others do not. Some think we should just send a save-the-date to the A-listers now, and then a second one closer to the wedding. Except for the fact that many A-listers are related to B-listers and they are bound to talk about the wedding and find out that some have received the e-mail while others haven't (as in some are parents-children, or siblings). So then do we exclude A-listers who are likely to talk with the B-listers? Or do we just send the e-mail to everybody and expect that people who wouldn't ordinarily come still won't come just because they've received 7 months notice?

Note: though we're talking A-list and B-list, everyone is on the guest list.

Getting with the program

Alright, I've been a bit lax about posting anything lately. There have been instances when I'm just overcome with so much wedding stuff that I don't know where to start writing. Other times there's been such deep turmoil about various issues that I just hunker down and stew about an it, without writing. And then there's been life, with nothing at all to do with weddings.

But I'm resolving to do better. I plan to post three times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. And I'm even thinking about having a type of subject for each day of the week. Tuesdays would be about things specific to my wedding, Thursdays about more global wedding issues, and Sundays would be more like an idea brainstorm. Of course, I'm more concerned about posting regularly than making sure that each post fits the theme for that day of the week, so we'll see. Anyway, get ready for another post, because one's coming soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Father knows best?

Okay, I've never seen Father Knows Best. But I was talking to someone tonight about the wedding planning, specifically, talking about my indecision between using paper/plastic table products (tablecloths, tableskirts, dishes, silverware, etc) versus using real stuff (i.e. linen tablecloths & napkins; real plates and cups, etc). And though there's a history of informal weddings in my family, I want to make sure that the wedding is tasteful. And though I've had family members use the paper/plastic products before at a wedding (the one I know it happened at was a 2nd wedding...can't remember about three first weddings if they were used or not), I'm still not sure about it.

Which brings us to Father Knows Best. Because most of my family is very easy going, but my dad has more particular tastes. And he is contributing to the expenses of my wedding. So I figure I'll ask and find out if he even cares what I use. If he does, then I'll go with what he chooses. If he doesn't care, then I'm back in the land of indecision. But for all the brides that complain about meddling parents in wedding planning, here's one place where I don't mind getting some extra input!

Picture from

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Will you please shoot me?

After a lengthier process than many brides go through (my anal ways don't allow me to not research every, single option) I have reserved my photographer. She's wonderful. In addition to photography, she majored in peace and global studies in college (how cool is that?). Besides shooting weddings, she also goes down to Central America and shoots some amazing photos of the people down there). She goes to my church (which we didn't realize before we met). And because she just recently moved down here from New York City, her prices are a steal. Her name? Jennie Aleshire. All photos in this post are by Jennie Aleshire. (And yes, she does shoot in color. But these are two of my favorite photos of hers, and they just happen to be in black and white.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Catching my breath

Things are finally beginning to settle down a little so that my life is no longer so hectic. And when I say things, I mean wedding planning. Before getting engaged I thought about all the things that would be cool to do for the wedding, and had various ideas, but it wasn't getting down to the nitty gritty, as that was supposed to be for when we were actually engaged. I thought the nitty gritty stuff would be pretty easy since I had done some research beforehand. I was wrong. Okay, my research probably did help me over all the completely clueless brides who hadn't given their wedding one thought, but not as much as I thought it would.

First there was the stress of trying to find out the wedding budget. This involved developing a tactical plan of how to assuage sensitive personalities and work diplomatically through the landmines that are family politics.

Then I attended a bridal show where I was practically the only bride getting married in 2010 as everyone else was planning a wedding in 2011 or 2012, for crying out loud. And nearly all the vendors were horrified at how little time I was leaving myself to get the planning done. Panic started to set in.

I had to multitask. I had to get save-the-dates because I needed enough people to respond so I could have a ballpark number of attendees while talking to caterers . But how tacky is it to not have the save-the-dates coordinate with the invitations? So I was looking at all my invitation options and comparing the costs.

I had to figure out if I was really going to do a fellowship hall reception, or if it wouldn't be a better deal to have it somewhere else. So an investigation of reception sites ensued, as well as caterers, to see where I would be better off.

And at the bridal show there were already several photographers who were booked up on the day of my Sunday wedding in November, 9 months away. So I had to research photographers whose work I loved at a price I could stomach.

Lastly, if I was doing save-the-dates then I would want to put down our wedding website's address. But what would it be? Would we pay for our own domain name or use one of the free sites? Which wedding website hosts had the best services, or templates that worked well for us, or...? Again, one more thing added to the list of things to accomplish NOW.

But now that I've made some decisions, things can slow down and I can start to appreciate the process. I'm not doing stationery save-the-dates (more on that in a different post). We've decided to use the fellowship hall. We're this close to signing our photographer. And our wedding website has been born. Not bad for being engaged for 3 weeks. Now I feel as though we can relax a little and make decisions with less pressure on us.

And this will be my last post until next week because tomorrow I head to a wedding in New York and won't get back until Sunday evening. So have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

When do they find the time?

You would think that once I became engaged that the posts would just start flowing. And frankly, there's a lot of stuff I could be talking about. But now that I actually have to do the planning, I have no time to write! No time to cogitate and reflect back on everything that's going on. Because there's a certain number of hurdles I've got to jump over in a rather quick amount of time (or so WIC seems to tell me) and between my job, and my life, and all this searching, I just don't have time to post. So how do all these other bloggers find the time to do this stuff? Or do they just wait until they're later in the process? Or do they just take longer than 9 months to plan a wedding?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's all official now

Okay, no great post here, but I'm no longer rehashing old ideas about what I thought I might do with my wedding. Instead, I'll be talking about the real thing. Because now I really need to plan a wedding. Because I'm ENGAGED!!!

So from here on out I'll be discussing real issues as I encounter them in wedding planning. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Farewell, theme #2

This theme was my most generic. The one that my hypothetical fiancé would choose if he wasn’t inclined to have a very theme-y wedding. In fact, this theme really has no theme. It’s just a typical wedding. Good food, lots of dancing, and fun. Since I live in Louisiana the food would include the classics: crawfish etouffée, jambalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo, shrimp remoulade, the whole nine yards. For favors I’d use containers of Tony Chachere’s spice mix (God’s gift to quick and flavorful cooking) with little tags saying, “Thanks for spicing up our wedding,” or some other corny saying. And if I really wanted to focus on Louisiana, we might have a little fais-do-do for the rehearsal dinner, a time of Cajun dancing. Basically this whole wedding would be a time of bright sunshine and lots and lots of dancing. So what’s the problem, you ask? My boyfriend is not a big of dancing. So, off with your head, theme #2!

Monday, February 8, 2010

So long, theme #1

Before I ever met my boyfriend, I already had various ideas and themes for a wedding going on in my head. I had it narrowed down to three different scenarios and figured that whenever I became engaged that my fiancé would say, “I pick option A (or B or C),” and then I’d just roll with it from there. And I suspect that my boyfriend would still be okay with that. (He’s already said that I should just plan whatever I want and let him know when to show up.) But I’m already trying to come up with a plan that better represents the two of us. Yet I’m still attached to some of my previous scenarios. Aaagh!

Since I may have to say farewell to some of these ideas, I figure I’ll at least let them see the light of day before they die away (from my wedding plans). So, without further ado, here is option 1!

A swing night. The rehearsal dinner would have a swing lesson, with a possible refresher class and/or some professional dancers doing a show during the reception. A live band would be ideal, though a DJ could get us by in a crunch. But I would like it to have the feel of a 1940s dance hall, just bursting with energy. A cocktail from that era would be the signature drink for the evening. I’d like more traditional, classy flowers like calla lilies, tulips, roses, etc. Tables would have names like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, etc. And the wedding favor could be a cd with tracks played during the reception.

This reception style would not be that great if there are a large number of uncouple people as it is difficult to dance to this style of music without a partner. And since the whole point of this wedding would be the dancing, and my boy’s not much of a dancer, I don’t see this in our future. Goodbye swing wedding!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You have got to be kidding me

In the article entitled "Have a Luxe Wedding For Less" they post this picture of a lovely floral centerpiece made of carnations (one of the cheapest flowers available) and roses (which can also be surprisingly inexpensive). And how much does this budget-saving idea cost? $250. PER CENTERPIECE! We've obviously got different ideas of what is considered a budget price. Gotta love WIC.

Photo by Robert Mitra for Modern Bride/

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How early is too early?

Visit almost any wedding-related website or browse through the wedding section at your local bookstore. You are bound to find timelines of all the things that should be accomplished by a certain time. If you’re lucky the timeline is starts with 9-12 months out, but there are several that list a variety of things that you should have done more than a year in advance. But what if you’re not planning on waiting a year or more to get married?

On a wedding related forum I read about a girl who started contacting venues and finding out availability before becoming engaged. Though she and her boyfriend discussed what month they wanted to marry in, the boy hadn’t asked her the question. So most of the responders told her to hold off on the wedding planning until they were officially engaged.

I agree with most of the people who commented. The girl is getting ahead of herself. But when a couple doesn’t plan on a super-long engagement, there should be some kind of planning already started unless it’s to be a rather rushed and chaotic feeling directly after the engagement.

Like many women, I’ve thought about what kind of a wedding I would like to have. I’ve thought about colors, and first dance songs, and food, and themes, etc. I’ve got my own little “binder” of inspiration ideas I keep in files on my computer. I’ve looked into the pricing for various photographers, venues, etc. Basically, this will give me a head start on the thinking that should occur before the planning actually begins. Sort of like the backward planning idea that’s so popular in education. Think of the end goal that you would like to accomplish and then make sure everything you do builds toward it. But that’s as far as I’m willing to go until I get engaged.

How much planning do you think is okay to do before receiving a proposal?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The ring's the thing: Part 4

This is the fourth part in a series on engagement rings.
Picture of the Rockefeller Sapphire from website.

Alright, so after all this mumbo-jumbo on engagement rings, what about mine? Well, I’m not engaged (yet). But the ring’s been purchased. (Side note: YIPPEE!)

I was leaning towards a colored stone for my e-ring, though I have no moral qualms against diamonds and would happily accept one. And being the somewhat anal person that I am, I did lots of research and decided that I would love a light blue sapphire or spinel. Sapphire was particularly high on the list. For one thing, it’s the hardest natural stone next to diamonds, so it would wear well in a 24/7 ring. Secondly, it’s my birthstone. But thirdly, its gemological meaning is awesome. From, “Through history, sapphire symbolizes truth, sincerity, and faithfulness in relationships, and to bring peace, joy and wisdom to the wearer and owner.” Who doesn’t want that in their engagement ring?

I actually had to do a little convincing of my boyfriend to do the sapphire rather than a diamond, because he was like, “Isn’t a diamond traditional?” I explained that the sapphire has a far longer e-ring history than diamonds. But basically, he just wanted to make me happy, so a sapphire it was.

Anyway, I had given my boyfriend a document with information about my ring size as well as my likes and dislikes. And pricing started at $14 and went up, with the original idea that he would then go off on his own and choose a ring that was in keeping with some of my wishes. Well, it didn’t turn out that way.

My boyfriend’s not a shopper. And I am. And I’m rather picky (ahem). So once I pretty much figured out what I wanted we went to the jewelry store, told the sales associate how we wanted it customized, gave him the sapphire (a story for another day), and then I browsed the store while my boyfriend did the financial stuff. And I know I’m going to get a ring that I LOVE, my boyfriend’s happy because he’s giving me a ring that I will love, and he didn’t have to get annoyed with his perceived hassles of shopping. Win-win!

I was planning on this being the last post on engagement rings, but it will just be the last until somebody asks me a certain question. Then you’ll see what we’ve created.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The ring's the thing: Part 3

This is the third part in a series on engagement rings.

This post discuses the engagement ring, and what it actually means.

There are the traditionalists who say that an engagement ring represents a man’s commitment to his future bride. He wants her to be his life partner and is willing to outlay a significant sum of money to show that. In this paradigm the large amount spent on the ring also signifies the type of life he can provide for her.

Then there are those who view the ring as a symbol of his commitment, but don’t believe in the financial implications of it. A $10 sterling silver band or a ring pop, with the appropriate question and intent behind it, serves as the sign of the man’s commitment and desire to marry the woman.

At the opposite end of the spectrum you have the anti-ring people. They may believe that it is some form of bride price with which the man is “purchasing” himself a bride. Or that it’s a sign of brainwashing by the commercial world and that any nod to tradition reflects a mindless follower. (I am not including those who are against the mining of gold or precious gems because of the treatment of many of the workers as these people are against the procurement practices, not against the ring itself.)

Lastly, you have the people who don’t think it has any particular significance, but like having a beautiful piece of jewelry and feel that the engagement is an excellent occasion to get one. These are probably the same people who will upgrade their rings as time goes on, either to get more expensive pieces of jewelry, or just to keep up with fashion trends.

Myself, I fall somewhere in the middle of camp two, with a little bit of either camp one or four mixed in. To me, when a guy asks you to marry him, anything that accompanies that is wonderful. When I gave my boyfriend a list of rings & styles I was interested in, I included a $14 ring from to make sure that all budgets were included. At the same time though, I told him that if I was getting a ring that was less than $50 that I would consider it a placeholder (for however long it would need be) until I got a more expensive ring. I don’t know why I feel as though a $14 ring would not suffice for life for me. After all, I totally believe the sentiment in giving the ring is what counts. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I like the idea of a certain amount of financial sacrifice involved, or if it’s just that I like jewelry and want something pretty on my hand given to me by the man I love.

So, what camp do you fall in? Or do you think there are other camps that I haven’t included here?

P.S. Picture is of the ring that I showed my boyfriend as a possible temporary e-ring.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The ring's the thing: Part 2

This is the second part in a series on engagement rings.

In the last post I wrote about how the jewelry industry has tried to convince everyone to pay big bucks for their engagement jewelry. This one reflects on how so many people have bought that premise hook, line, and sinker.

The proposal scene from Sweet Home Alabama

The subtitle for that clip on the Youtube page is “Every woman’s fantasy.” Unfortunately, lots of brides-to-be are making a big grab at the fantasy. Being somewhat interested in jewelry I’ve found a forum that includes a whole discussion board for “ladies-in-waiting.” And far too often for my tastes there will be some college student posting about how she wants a $15,000 e-ring, plus a $30,000 wedding, plus money for a down payment for a house, but that her boyfriend just can’t pull it all together. Umm, you’re in college! He’s in college! And neither one of you are trust fund babies!!

And should one of these “ladies-in-waiting” decide to be satisfied with whatever ring is given her the first go around, there is a huge number of people in this entire forum who believes in upgrades. Upgrade your ring on your first anniversary, fifth anniversary, or whenever you just feel the itch. Some people don’t even get to the wedding before they have one or two “upgrades.” Is an extra millimeter or two on your diamond really that important?

Though many guys do everything within their power to accommodate their girlfriends, not everyone does. I was speaking with a friend recently who broke up with his girlfriend of more than three years. They were on the marriage-track, but one of the things that broke them up was the engagement ring. She wanted one that cost at least $20,000; he didn’t want to spend more than $10,000.

Though there are some truly wealthy people in the U.S., the majority don’t have the financial resources to pay for the big honking e-rings that many women are clamoring for. Whatever happened to the ring as a symbol that the man you love wants to spend the rest of his life with you? Haven’t they heard about living beyond their means and how that’s helped to bring our country into the recession it’s currently in? And why does it have to turn into some pissing contest to see who can get (or give) the most expensive ring?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The ring's the thing: Part 1

This is the first part in a series on engagement rings. This section is my reaction to the jewelry industry’s attempt to tell us how much to pay.

Once it became clear that an engagement was becoming increasingly likely for me, I got more interested in engagement rings. As someone who reads up and researches before any major purchase it was inevitable that I would do so with this one. And boy has it been interesting.

First was my surprise about the cost of a ring, and also about the expectations of how much a ring should cost. Though I knew of the “recommendation” that a guy spend two months’ salary, I never actually thought about how much money that actually was. Doing the math based on my salary I thought, gosh, I could do some really amazing trips with that money!

And while I was at a jeweler, the sales associate gushed about what a beautiful ring combo I was looking at (stone and setting) and how my boyfriend would be so lucky that he’d get away with paying only $5000. And had she not used that only word I probably wouldn’t have been so irked. But my boyfriend and I are both teachers. And to me spending $5000 on something that’s not a car or a house is a lot of money. And each of us earns far above the median income for a family of four. So imagine she makes that comment to someone one of the numerous people who makes far less than us. I’m still going, “Dang!” to myself about that.

Of course, these are expectations created by the jewelry industry. They want you to think that you need to spend a huge chunk of money to be respectable. They want you to think that $5,0000 is mere chump change. And it kind of makes sense because businesses generally want you to spend as much as you possibly can. But why should the rest of us follow their mandates?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why isn't this obvious?

Most people agree that the marriage is far more important than the wedding. But why doesn't it seem that way? Run just about any search on weddings or marriage and you'll get overloaded with soft images of flowers, or retro-styled pictures of funky couples, or mouth-watering photos of food that deserves to grace the cover of Bon Appetit.

Photo from

I guess it explains my whole focus on the honorable estate bit (just replace honorable estate with marriage if that works better for ya). The marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. It's supposed to be the relationship that will evolve with you for decades to come. The relationship that may eventually produce children. In a way this will become your legacy, the way you live your life with this person. So why aren't more people talking about it? Why is it such a hush-hush situation?

Yes, yes, the media have perpetrated a grave injustice on grown women everywhere by filling us with the fairy tale fantasies and movies that all end with the wedding. But you would think that now that we're well into the 21st century there would have been more efforts to shed light on this phase that will [probably] last the majority of our lives, rather than on the small window of when we were single. Of course, I'm just as guilty as the rest of modern America, as I've had thoughts about my wedding ever since middle school and never gave a tremendous amount of thought to marriage life until marriage actually appeared on the horizon. Or have I been so self-absorbed that I've completely missed the cultural products detailing and suggesting improvements for married life? (Which is also a definite possibility.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thank you, techie bloggers!

With this being a new blog, I'm still playing around with the format and layout. And I kept wondering, how are other people getting three column layouts and the only ones I see on blogger are two columns? Well, a quick internet search later, and with the help of techie bloggers, I now have three columns!

I started off at the aptly named blog Three Column Blogger where I had a bit of difficulty with their directions (but the advice on where to find the right place in the HTML was a godsend that wasn't in the second source I used).

But thanks to the commenter, E, I found my way to the Compender whose directions were a bit clearer and actually got my layout doing the right thing. So a big THANK YOU!!!

Getting ready to enter a new phase

We’re still in the first week of 2010 and people all over the blogosphere are talking about their resolutions for the new year. I’m usually not much of a resolutions person, but this year something feels different. Perhaps since I know that I will be entering a new phase of life (marriage…or 30, your choice) I want my life to be as together as possible.

I don’t want to be one of those people who thinks that if I just find the right person and get married then I will live happily ever after. I believe in making your own happiness, and doing what you need to be happy NOW, not depending on someone else for your happiness. When none of my friends or family could travel with me, I decided to start voyaging solo. I bought a house that I may well end up dying in, without waiting for the right man to be by my side (though, incidentally, he had recently entered the picture).

So, what areas of my life do I find need improving? Well, like most Americans I need to exercise more. I want to spend less time on the internet. I want to read more. (And when I say read, I mean read real books, not magazines or stuff online, etc.). I want to work at maintaining and improving my friendships, and making new ones. I’d like to get back into gardening, and actually start my own vegetable garden. I want to learn how to sew. And I’ve decided to start this blog. A way for me to become a creator on the internet rather than just a consumer.

I’m already happy with my life as it is. But if I’m able to accomplish all of my resolutions (or even most, or possibly half) my life is going to be completely amazing. Definitely the way I’d like to enter my 30s, and my marriage.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

An Honorable Estate: Where did that come from?

There are many writers who have written about marriage with great eloquence. But the passage that speaks to me the most, the one that plays over, and over, (and over) in my mind is this one.

(Forward to 1:20 if you’re not as big of a
Pride and Prejudice fan as I am, and if you’re really not a P&P fan you can end at 2:46.)

It is also the inspiration for the title of this blog. Later posts will expound on this theme, but I wanted this blog to encompass not just the preparations for a wedding, but to delve into the ideas relating to marriage and living a life that is as full and blessed as God intended it to be.

Any thoughts, recommendations, questions, or advice is welcome. I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Just to clarify, the words spoken by the vicar are not the creation of Jane Austen.  They come from the Book of Common Prayer.