Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I Have Accomplished Since Last Friday

  • Finalized the food menu - It's super yummy, and now we just need to figure out the booze!
  • Did a reception location run-through with JCakes and our parents
  • Created a test centerpiece - and did lots of research on where to find moss on the cheap (Thank you WeddingBees!) and liter-size mason jars.
  • Met with our new DJ
  • Met with a possible flower vendor
  • Finally tracked down the Fun Zone guy for a photobooth quote
  • Emailed our photographer for follow up
  • Researched wedding rings
  • Researched wedding shoes
  • Picked wedding fabrics for dress with designer
  • Helped my mom pick out a dress for the wedding
  • Helped JCakes locate enough ties for all the guys and himself
  • Found an invite designer, went through three rounds of edits in no time flat (Monday-today) and have them ready to go out to the printers today! MAD PROPS to Megan at Silhouette Blue!
  • Went through 10 pages of forum suggestions on Indie Bride's Kvetch "Vows" forum thread and narrowed our ceremony readings down to 30 - now to choose three!
  • Shopped and purchased honeymoon clothes & under-stuffs
  • Emailed a possible hairdresser/makeup lady - Suzy please email me!
  • Coordinated with the bridesmaids on Bachelorette Party #1 and #2
  • Researched flower girl dresses
  • Researched bridesmaid gifts
  • Researched DIY non-denominational wedding ceremony scripts
  • Bought some reception decorations
  • Looked for wedding hairpiece DIY stuff - Sadly, all three craft stores left me coming up empty-handed
  • Looked into wedding hairstyles
  • Looked into making my own birdcage veil
  • Booked the honeymoon!
This was all in addition to the normal work-week, chores stuff too and it doesn't include the help I've gotten from family and friends. It may be lame to write it all out, but I'm feeling pretty good about the headway here.

Still, there's so much to do though that I am actually having nightmares.

I wish I had a coordinator for the timing on all this. I know I can do a ROS on my own, but it just helps to know there is someone out there thinking it out.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Official Guest Website Is Up!

Hey folks,

If you are reading this as a Save-the-Date card-carrying, official guest of our wedding, please email me for a link and password to our official wedding website for guests only. Site is a work in progress, but as of now, it does include key information about booking hotels, directions and other fun stuff.

Also, if you are still looking into hotel accommodations, you may want to hit me up sooner than later. The Notre Dame homegame situation is making it increasingly difficult to find a room on the cheap and we have a few rooms blocked, but not a ton.

Just want to make sure everyone has a place to stay and doesn't have to camp outside Johnny's parent's house ;)

Candace & Johnny

Friday, July 30, 2010

Keeping it Woodsy, No Matter What

Man, I have been the worst about keeping up with the blog posts, but I'm happy to report that this crazy-planning train in back on track, and BIG thanks too all the lovelies who've stumbled across my blog and shown a little love by way of comments or re-tweets.

This week's goal was to accomplish at least two wedding-related tasks and I'm happy to report that I actually did three. Hoping to maybe even round out a few more as soon as JCakes is off work and can meet me at Knockbox Cafe (by the way, Knockbox is Humboldt Park/Logan Square-local, wi-fi ready and has incredibly friendly people working there).

Anyways, the wedding is something like seventy days away, so no time like the present and with all the crazy that's been going on, figuring out centerpieces have sort of been wayyyy down on the priority list. Largely because I've been having some trouble figuring out how we are going to make the new wedding location fit with our theme:

Theme: Woodsy, whimsical, nature-lovin'
Old Location: Humboldt Park
New Location: Knollwood Country Club in Granger, IN.

Note: We're not hating on Knollwood. While it's true that there's nothing about me or Johnny that really screams country club; the location is great, the coordinator is very professional, the chef flexible and the space is big enough to handle our big ol' guest list.

Anyways, my aunt has been gracious enough to help out with centerpieces and lean some of her keen decor skills to our reception space, so I should probably knock something out idea-wise since we'll have to come up with enough to cover 25+ tables.

Idea #1: Manzanita branches
Originally, I had some pretty kick-ass plans involving Manzanita branches, moss, wooden boxes, fabric fall leaves and ever-popular tea-lights. Sort of like these (Photo Source: The Knot)...

...but turns out Manzanita branches are pretty pricey. Wedding idea, expensive? Go figure.

Seems a little crazy to pay that much for branches, with so many readily available and ripe for the pickup outside, so we thought about going a different route...

Idea #2: Hurricane-jar-filled with acorns + tea-lights.
Turns out, there has been a shortage of acorns for the last two years. Even if we could locate enough to fill all those jars, I couldn't bear the thought of stealing food from squirrels and the other little guys who rely on acorns as a food source.

Luckily, my friend Laura Rupp, event planner at Classic Party Rentals and all around bad-ass, found a couple cool ones and shared them with me today...

[Photo Source: Totally Tabletops/The Invisible Hostess -]

This one I had actually started playing around with on my own. You can score a wood burning tool and the smoothed out wood slices at Jo-Ann's on the cheap (or free wood slices if you know anyone cutting down a dead tree). Alternatively, if you fear the wood burner part of this craft you can pick it up online from Etsy seller BraggingBags:

[Photo Source: Etsy -]

Kinda liked the idea of poppin' a few tea lights and planting these guys around the reception space...

[Photo Source: Etsy -]

And then adding a few carved ones here and there...

[Photo Source:]

What do you think? Too much wood? Is that even possible?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

100 Days Away!

Um, I haven't been a really good blogger lately, but I have been kicking ass with bartending and my daytime freelance work.

There will be more posts. I just have to get a few minutes to make it happen!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Postage Hell

A little note about STD's.

If you are planning on going the ever-popular postcard route the way we did, opt for a 4x6 card size or less and avoid the 5x7. We failed to think that through before ordering from and ran into a little problem...

4x6 in. (or less) = $.28 per card.
5x7 in. = $.44 per card.

Might not seem like that big of a deal at first, but then multiple that number times 200+ and you've got yourself a big fat extra expense for no good reason.

In an effort to see the silver lining, I think this was meant to be a little lesson before the big invite mail out. Our original idea was pretty kick-ass: Since October, we've been collecting old paper towel tubes from family and friends. The plan was, we would make our own mini silkscreen 10x16 in. poster prints and use the paper towel tubes as mailers. To reinforce the tubes, we were working with our designer friends on making a tag board overlay that would look like birchtree bark, complete with the return and mailing addresses having a "carved out" effect. To seal 'em, we were going to buy some tube ends from Uline at bulk, and then create a sticker to look like the inside rings of a tree when you saw it, and have that sticker cover each end. Once completed, it would look like a little branch and fit really nicely with the whole outdoorsy-whimsical feel we were trying to go for.

Apparently no creative effort comes with some sort of aftershock. After some estimated calculations on the USPS web site, it appears our idea would really run us up on shipping costs. We could try UPS, but it's still gonna be up there. Not sure this is going to pan out how we hoped and it looks like we're going to have to figure something else out.

To all our friends and family, regulars at work and perfect strangers who have been helping us collect paper towels tubes: Thank you so much for thinking of us and sorry we won't be able to use them. I promise we will do our best to find a creative use for some of them and recycle the rest.

Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Australia, some day I will see you, I promise.

Le sigh.

Where to go on our honeymoon had such a simple answer back when we just got engaged (doesn't every part of wedding planning). Whilst daydreaming, we forgot to factor in those tiny details...

a.) Australia will cost a crapload and b.) it will take a lot of time up just with travel.

Reality really does bite sometimes.

Anyways, in our quest for alternatives, we've been considering the following locations:

The Greek Isles
Costa Rica

Obviously, this is not as cheap as staying local, but we haven't had a proper vacation in two years and we both really, really need one. I did some research and to par it down for travel junkies like ourselves, the suggestion is to consider what kind of honeymooners you'll be and match it with location. Simple enough, although we would be down for tons of different kinds of adventures, I suppose we'll be pretty beat and ready for some fun and relaxation. We talked it out and basically, here's what we're looking for:

  • Very warm to hot weather
  • Beaches and those drinks with the little straw umbrellas
  • A swim-up room (that was my idea, I also thought that was so cool and to me it equals total big-shot status)
  • Lots of options for surfing, boating, fishing, hang-gliding, hiking, swimming, etc.
  • Maybe a tour or two of the area
  • A hotel with a nice spa so we can get massages and stuff
  • Not crazy expensive
  • Not somewhere during hurricane season
We contemplated cashing in the idea of big, luxurious honeymoon suites for extra time somewhere and backpacking, but I think after all this figuring out logistics will be kind of annoying. Besides, I don't know when we'll take a trip like this again.

Suggestions and links to hotel and vacation web sites are very, very welcomed! Let me know what you got, people!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

STD's and Indiana (haha, I know)

With 192 days to go, the wedding is basically 6 months away we have decided to make one tiny, little change... the wedding is now officially going to be held in Southbend, Indiana.

It's just that, with everything going so smoothly we thought, "hey, let's change that." Chicago wasn't enough of a challenge!

In all seriousness, the big determining factors were the following:
  • With over 250 guests, finding a caterer for less than $9K (estimated before tax and without) booze wasn't seeming as though it would be likely to happen. I have some great recommendations if you're realistic about how much you intend to spend. Email me for deets.
  • October 9th is marathon weekend in Chicago. Hotel rooms are around $300 and up.
  • With one of the highest sales taxes, adding that to every bill was beginning to add up.
  • This will make it easier and hopefully less expensive for all the guests. For Ohio peeps, the drive was cut from 6 to 4 hours. For Chicago peeps, there's a direct train and it's not too much of a drive if you have a car or a friend willing to make the trek in their car (we're also working on getting a friends and family pickup system in place for non-car owners) and for Indiana there's no commute.
  • We can (hopefully!) have the "backyard"/low-key wedding style we've been dreaming up without trying to replicate it for a lot more money in Chicago.
The plan is to scope out the venue in question next week. Until then, we're still in the land of TBD which is honestly pretty unnerving at this stage in the game.

On a much brighter note, JCakes and I were able to collaborate on a very sweet little midwest-centric save-the-date design. There was some changing since the back was supposed to have an Illinois outline, (I am now really appreciating the fact that I did not call this blog something other than "awesome MIDWEST wedding," with the location changes and all) but ultimately, we both love it. Here's a preview...

It's not at all stuffy, it makes sense for us and it's just the right amount of cute. Pretty awesome.

Our good friend Christyl Uhan did the final editing and sent it out for printing through (My friend Rachel over at 10.02.10 ties the knot can vouch, it's the way to go if you're going DIY) and Christyl was also able to score us a discount on the printing costs. The only downside on the site is that you jump from ordering 100 to 250 and the next up is 500. Not too hard to work around if you have a lot of people living in the same household. For us, 100 was just a little too shy of enough to cut the mustard. Honestly, I'm just glad we got them out. We should be receiving them in the next week and then it's just a matter of getting them all out to our nearest and dearest and on to the next task.

Whew! I'll be so relieved when we finally this stuff locked down.

P.S. If you were hoping to snag October 9th at Humboldt Park, hit me up. We're sad to see it go because it has a crapload of potential.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

West Coast Food Envy

For the last few JCakes and I have been working on how to crack the catering issue. It's be said (and read) in every bit of wedding budget advice -be it blog, book, glossy or otherwise - that you can expect to spend anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of your estimated wedding budget on food, drink, service and rentals alone.

Fair enough, when you consider that is pretty much the bulk of big day spending. However, despite our efforts to cut back wherever we could and with an uncompromisable guest list at this point (fixed at 268 and more likely to rise than drop) the catering proposals we've found have been around the 9K mark. Kind of a lot when your entire budget is 15K and the figure suggested doesn't include the alcohol.

That said, we've been trying to wrap our brains around how to skirt the issue without going so DIY that we're overwhelmed come the day of the wedding.

If I lived in Portland, Oregon or somewhere in California I know exactly how I would solve this issue - Food Trucks!

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Not so affectionately referred to as "roach coaches" by some party-poopers and ill-informed individuals, the food truck has come a long way from solely slingin' late-night pizza and ice cream trucks, (at least, in places where Daley isn't the mayor - oh snap, I said it!)

Tasty, kitschy and cheap, trucks boasting meals on the move have been popping up and creating a following for the last few years. Toting everything from truffle french fries to creative curry concotions, living in a food truck-friendly environment would definitely solve some troubles and add a more interesting take on "something new" for weddings. had the right idea with the taco truck.

GreenWeddingShoes has a slew of food truck-friendly couples. But this one in particular struck a note with us.

If only Chicago and the rest of the Midwest could get on board!

I did a little digging, and managed to actually find a few food truck listings beyond the ones I usually see parked in Humboldt, among these finds - Three J's Catering and The Pasta Bowl. Having never tried either place, I decided to call to at least get a sense of what would be the deal. Never did reach anyone from Three J's to answer my questions, but the guy from Pasta Bowl was really helpful if you're considering this option and the food comes to being something insanely affordable like $9 person. (Please note: The pricing depends on whether or not you're having guests approach the cart for self-service or having Pasta Bowl set up a buffet. There is no option to have it fully catered, but you're crafty you could figure something out).

And, if you'd go for the food truck feel, but not necessarily the food, Honest Foods catering has a food truck and is happy to cook on-site, with a tailored customized menu.

If you're into the idea but would rather keep things traditional for the reception dinner, there are also a slew of food truck fans who are using truck as a quirky way to include the increasingly popular "late night eats." Basically, the truck is hired to provide greasy or sugary goodness as a surprise snack for guests later in the evening. Think ice cream, tacos, pizza and more.

Veggie Taco Photo Credit:

So jealous of the West Coast right now.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Yesterday I spent the day out with JCakes, Jenny and Ali and came home to a care package of homemade bread on my doorstep. All tied up in a ribbon, I knew it had to be from Jenna & Jason, (we're the kind of building neighbors that actually like to hangout and share a few drinks from time to time), so I went up to thank them. Jenna's mom was visiting, so I got a chance to meet her and was told this funny story...

Jenna & Jason, newly engaged, were thinking about possibly holding their ceremony/reception in Humboldt Park, and without knowing we're neighbors, Jenna's mom had sent our blog address along as a helpful link to Jenna.

It may sound silly, but I found it really nice to know that other people may find this blog to be helpful. I started writing about all of this wedding business as a way to keep our ideas in order and our friends and family in the loop. I had hoped that maybe other people might find some useful link here or there or get some ideas, but it was really nice to hear about it firsthand.

It got me thinking about all of the wonderful people I know who are currently working on their own wedding plans for this year, and though it's been said, Congratulations and Best Wishes again to:

Jenna and Jason
Lisa and Joe
Rachel and Conor
Eileen and Brandon
Kaye and Chris
Amy and James
Brenda and Steve
Jen and Nathan
Aaron and Meghan
Stephanie and Jeff
Emily and Rachel

...and to anyone we missed and any readers.

If you've got some killer ideas or advice on what not to do, feel free to pass it on, and good luck with all your planning!

Annnnd, if you just got married or have friends who have had recent midwest weddings, lemme know. I'd love to feature them on the blog for a little real deal inspiration.

Best Wishes!
Can and JCakes

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 226: Photography

Did I mention we're back at Humboldt Park for both the ceremony and reception? Yep. We changed it back. After a few visits we realized Logan Square Auditorium was not going to be the right choice for us. Luckily, after a painfully long wait, we were finally able to sign on for Humboldt Park for the ceremony and reception. It was all very exciting.

Since then, I've been working on flower ideas, searching for a DJ, talking with different vendors about catering, and the list goes on and on...

Anyways, I am proud to say we have another official contract - our photographer, Alix Klingenberg!

According to everything I have read about wedding planning - be it blog, book or otherwise - they all seem to recommend that couples determine the most important detail to splurge on before diving into the details. For some people, blowing it all on the day-of threads is absolutely fine, for others it's food. For us, it's photography.

From a soon-to-be-wed couple standpoint, we're spending the most money we will probably ever spend for one single event (technically, there's also the honeymoon). Long after the dress and suit are dry-cleaned, the cake is cut and the hangovers have worn off, we'll still have our photos to hang-on to. With all of the hard work that's going into setting up all the details, having the right person to capture the moment seems more than crucial.

So for us, it's really important for our photographer fit the following criteria:

Live local.
It supports our city and cuts down on additional travel costs.

Know all the fun editing tricks.

Filters can go along way in making the most of a photo and all those editing tricks are what can make a sunny outdoor ceremony look like a wedding straight out of the '60s. As huge fans of vintage prints and artsy photography, we wanted to make sure our photographer could make it our shots look more "vintage romantic" and less "senior portrait day."

Have wedding experience.
It's great to know how to make things look pretty, but finding a photography with wedding experience is important. Even though we know we want to have more than a few not-so traditional photo poses, we also know we'll want a few the family will appreciate and having someone who knows how to shoot both with patience and creativity is crucial.

Be affordable.
It kind of goes without saying that finding someone to work with our budget is important, but figuring out what's reasonable can be tricky. Photography can run a couple anywhere from free, with a close friend doing the shots to $10K and up, for the crazies and rich people. This post on gives a good starting off point if you're just diving into planning and not sure what to expect. (Added Bonus: The comments bitching back and forth can give you further insight on the great value debate if you wanna kill some time).

Share copyrights.
Kind-of a must these days with all the digital photography. This way you can print, share and pretty much do what you want with your images.

All of those important components considered, Alix is definitely the perfect photographer fit for us. When we met with her in person, she was flexible enough to meet at New Wave Coffee (nice little coffee shop in our hood), she was super friendly and very professional. She patiently sat through all of our many, many questions and with one look at her Web site, it's easy to see she can master a range of shots. From adding artsy touches to engagement sessions to really capturing reception detail shots (stuff couples may labor over but might otherwise go unnoticed by guests), she does it all and she does it very well.

I first came across her work while doing some PR work and stumbling across the infamous Taco Bell wedding. I loved the shots, and I loved the quirky couple that stuck with what felt perfect for them even if it was unusual by other people's standards. They came out looking really lovely and smart and I think Alix had a lot to do with that. Here's hoping she can do the same for us (may have her work cut out for her there :)

Here are a few of my favorites from her site, but there's a lot more if you wanna check it out:

I can't wait to see what kinds of shots she comes up with for our wedding!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love, by Many Other Names

Lately, it feels like every wedding element we feel we're warming up to, we have to question later.

One minute, we're completely, totally sure that this venue or that vendor has got to be the right one for us, but give us a few suggestions or a couple days of blog-stalking later and we're singin' a new tune. It's not enough that there are a million different ways to personalize your wedding day, it's also a matter of streaming it all together nicely and combating all of the many, many pop-up problems that can present themselves along the way...

(P.S. The Chicago Marathon is apparently taking place the exact same weekend as our wedding. We're in hotel-booking hell right now and if you're a guest and just now reading this, welcome to the seventh circle).

With all of the work to do and things to plan before the big day, I find myself focusing more and more on what happens after the vows have been said, the confetti has been cleared and the honeymoon has ended.

It goes without saying that the post-wedding parts of life are obviously more important anyways, but when you have a million different things to consider and you want your wedding be nice it can be hard not to get caught up in the details. There's a lot to think about to be sure, but the one really big detail that needs to be addressed is how you plan to be addressed when your little union goes legal.

I'm referring to the big name change (or, - in some cases - the big name unchanged, added-on or hypenated) and it can be quite the dilemma. Keep your name and face the possibly wrath of staunch traditionalism. Change it, and you have a whole new mess ahead. It's not a decision to take lightly and it couldn't be more personal, so what to do?

As a little girl, I would sometimes "play wedding" at my Grandma's house. My five-year-old self would drag my mom's old wedding dress out of the attic crawlspace and parade around my Grandma's house clutching her silk flower centerpiece like a ready-made bride bouquet. Fast-forward 15 years later, and my teenage self is fed-up with boys and other real-world bullshit. I proudly refer to myself a riot grrl (I think I even still have the old AOL screen name to prove it) and I hold the belief that while a boyfriend might be nice, marriage is nothing more than a prison sentence.

So, you know, I grew up. And while I still consider myself a feminist, I can definitely say that I don't see spending the rest of my life with JCakes as a prison sentence and my present-day outrage is more reserved for our government's inability to recognize every person's right to love and marriage. Problem is, there are a lot of pros and cons. So many, that there are dozens of forums voicing their own complaints and concerns (including over 13,214 comments on the subject of "Changing Your Name" in IndieBride's kvetch forums).

As my own rule, I vehemently oppose being called Mrs. HisFirstName HisLastName. Its the one title I have no tolerance for and if anyone sent mail addressed to us like that, it would probably just go straight to the trash without an obligatory opening. Aside from that, I can see the pros and cons pretty equally in all of the options, and there is a lot to think about. This article from Elegala sums it all up very nicely if you're looking for the full rundown...

In the meantime, here's where we are with all this:

The Maiden in the Middle
The Maiden Name in the middle was definitely my go-to idea on how to handle this business. I figured: hyphens are messy, we'd both rather not deal and it's a nice way to honor each other and recognize each other without one person or the other having to lose anything. On the other side, I really like my middle name and his is a family name (which he also really likes) so now what?

The Maiden Name as a Future Kid's Name
Works out fine for some people, but as two people who aren't fully diggin' names that require numerical add-ons, I can't imagine wanting to work in either one of our last names as a first or middle name for our future unborn children. Actually, we both really love our middle names and the family history there so much that figured if we decide to have kids, we can work "Decker" and "Annelie" into there somewhere. Still, this is a lot of pressure to put onto something that doesn't exist yet. What if we don't have kids, or we have one and it's so painful that the idea of two seems insane? Point is, it's nice to think ahead, but maybe banking on that is a bit intense for us.

"The Mullet" of Married Names
This is the idea where a maiden name as a professional name and the spouse's name is used socially. I feel you can really equate this to the mullet, with the whole "business in the front and party in the back" thing going on. It might work very well for celebrities or other very well-known people who can seemingly do whatever they want with their names and still be recognizable, but for people with less glamorous lifestyles it may just be more confusing.

The Married Name Mouth-full
Why not just tack another name on? Your parents gave you a middle name and you probably hardly use it, why not add another one on. Well, depending on your state, the add another middle name option may not be available to you, but even if it is, how long do you think it will take until your maiden name gets lost in the midst.

The Hyphen
Plan to have kids? If so, then adding a hyphen is definitely a one-time solution. Future sons and daughters finding the love of their lives to also be from a family of hyphens will have even more issues to tackle should then later wed. It's also a lot to tack on if you're both from families with really long last names. One more con? This combination can be pretty hilarious (ditto on the funny and the long name part if you go for the Maiden in the Middle or The Mullet options).

Make-Your-Own Names
Is there a part of your name or their name that you don't like? Well, just Frankenstein them into something semi-recognizable of the two or pick a new name altogether. It's fun, it's a compromise for both people and you'll get to ride on the whole "we're starting a new life chapter of our life thing" if that's what you want.

Honestly, I really like this idea, but I'm far too much of a traditionalist when it comes to family. I'd rather save the new name idea for when I get really famous or something. However, I will admit that JCakes and I considered making our last name Danger, just because Johnny Danger would be cool as hell and Candace Danger doesn't sound too bad either.

Keeping your Current Name
Yep, that is still an option. Among the mess of other ways you can express yourself, you can also just opt to go into the marriage the way you came into each-others lives - with the names you already have.

On the plus side, there is no real additional paperwork, no fees for name changing and no fuss over giving into one side or the other. If you don't really like your name, bonus.

On the other side, if there are plans to add in future family units (you know, have kids) then what? Everyone goes by one name and not the other? I would become the renegade maiden-name keeper of the family crew? Kinda sucks.

The Mr. Takes on the Ms.'s
This might be a grand idea for some people, but since my whole argument for not wanting to just take JCakes last name alone is that I feel it's representative of all "property" parts of marriage from long ago. If I feel close to my name and he feels close to his, why should I ask him to do something I wouldn't want to? Next!

Just Take His Name
While reading the Elegala article, (scroll up for the link I put up earlier) I noticed that last option seemed to be the least objective amongst the bunch. At least, it was the only one that included a statistic ("Take his name – and join the ranks of 90% of women getting married today...").

So if everyone else is doing it and it's easier, why-not? If I followed that logic I would also be having a $30K+ wedding and putting us into major debt along the way. Because, that's the way it goes when you follow the norm and the majority.

For the record, I agree. It certainly is among the easier options since it's been happening for a very long time. It also makes sense to not have to explain your relations to strangers or have to get into discussions when you're dealing with your kids (assuming you're going to have some someday). There certainly are pros, and I fully support the idea that you shouldn't NOT do it because you feel like you'll be perceived as dependent. However, it just doesn't seem like the right option for me.

Damn, I was kind of hoping at the end of this the right option might just pop out at me, but now I just have a headache...

Off to Craft Night!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Roadblocks...and How We're Dealing with Them

I may have been laying low on the posts lately, but that doesn't mean the wedding workload has eased up much. Unfortunately, most of it has felt pretty overwhelming and our external hard drive crashed and looks to be a very costly replacement, so I've been throwing myself into finding a job and working extra hours at the bar and brainstorming wedding stuff on the bus rides to and from work.

Officially, the wedding is less than 261 days away (I have the Facebook countdown widget, I swear I'm not that crazy) and my little wedding tracker/planning thing at is telling me I have 361 more items to work on and 54 overdue. I'd happily whittle that list down, but there's a few HUGE roadblocks in my way right now, so I figured I blog it out and consider ways to get past 'em.

Problemo #1: Shower Setbacks
To make it easier on family and friends, we figured we would have one wedding shower in Indiana and one in Ohio. We mapped all the dates out months ago, but due to another wedding in JCakes family we might have to change our shower date in IN and since everyone in the wedding party and our families were clued in on the important dates, it's another headache to map out.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
Just have one shower in Ohio. With all the other details to worry about, I'd just as soon have one shower and maybe do the honeymoon registry thing for people who can't make it.

Problemo #2: Ceremony Crisis
We've been checking in since May '09, but still need to make things official so we can figure out the planning in it's entirety.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
Contacting our Alderman. I don't know what else to do, this is getting pretty crazy.

Problemo #3: Catering Conundrums
We have a pretty limited budget and a pretty big guest list and have been very upfront with caterers about everything, but quotes so far for food, service and rentals have been almost as much as our total budget for the entire wedding.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
With over 200 guests invited, JCakes and I have been re-assessing the list over and over. Self-catering isn't really an option with that many people invited, but there has to be some kind of way to get around estimates being $15K+ just for catering. I've been looking at tons of DIY books and blogs for info on this, but if you have any local, Chicago ideas on who to work with or how to make this happen, please let me know.

Problemo #4: Officiant Issues.
In a perfect world, we would love to have our friend who introduced us lead the ceremony as our officiant, and as a nod to our family, have a Catholic priest (friend of JCakes famil) say a small blessing. I've read about this being a possibility (depending on the priest's views), but our request has been denied.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
Still not sure. Like I mentioned, ideal was to have our friend do the ceremony with a blessing so we can honor both our families and our own views and backgrounds. As a second option, we really wanted to find someone who could be a premarital counselor and our officiant. We found a great guy (contact me if you want his info) but he's much too pricey for us. We want to have someone meaningful and not piss off our parents. I have no idea what to do.

Problemo #5: Musical Obstacles
A few friends offered a long time ago to assist with the ceremony music and having met at a friend's concert, JCakes and I thought there would be no better way to honor that than to have our friends play at the reception. We've been keeping in touch, mentioning how important it is to have things locked into place, but nothing concrete has cemented so far. To have a working knowledge of the run of show for our big day with details to pass along on invitations, to the caterers, DJ, photographer, etc., we really if this is gonna happen.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
JCakes has been doing his best to stay in touch about this, but I guess if it comes down to it, we'll have to say screw it, and just roll with the punches. Sucks, but not much we can do here. Maybe we'll just use an iPod for the ceremony music.

Problemo #6: Decoration Dilemma
In the greater picture, this is definitely amongst the least of our worries, but it's still something we need to consider. Having a cohesive theme for everything not only makes everything look nicer, it's much easier to budget for and plan ahead with DIY projects and hit up sales if you know what you're looking for. Most of the ideas JCakes and I have collaborated on and discussed actually fit better with a spring/summer wedding so taking our "backyard wedding" ideas and changing most of the details (including the backyard part) is kind of hard. Achieving the same feel in a different season may be more difficult than we originally thought. I keep looking for examples of fall weddings on Brooklyn Bride and other sites, but none of them so far have evoked the same feel the summer ones seem to.
Possible Solution We're Tossing Around:
Being way too late to change the date and location, I've been brainstorming ideas with my Aunt Glo (as a former windows display visionary, she has a total knack for this kind of thing). Still not sure how it's all gonna form together, but I'm hoping some of my favorite bloggers post more real weddings from the fall to help us gain some inspiration.

I guess it doesn't all seem so bad when I write it all out, but I've been dying to work on the detail stuff. The fun stuff, like drafting our first screenprint for the invitations, but all of the business stuff needs to be taken care of first.

Oh man. 261 days feels so close.