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Polly, I got married in Chicago for about $7500, with 130 people. Granted, this was six years ago, but still. Here's how I saved a bunch:

*I ordered my flowers from a wholesaler, $300 total, and I did them myself. My bridesmaids and mom helped me make bouqets, boutonnieres, and we had plenty left for decor. It was extra work, but it looked just as good as my best friends' wedding flowers, which they both paid $4000 or more for
*I found a hall that was all-in-one -- we paid $37.50/person and it included four course dinner, four hours of open bar, wine at all the tables, champagne for the head table, decorations/linens, valet parking, cake and gratuity. The only thing we paid at our reception is namecards, and that was not a big deal ($30). There are a lot of places like this; it means looking around but you'd be surprised. We went to Monastero's, and they were awesome. We still have dinner there and they always recognize us, and comp us dessert.
*We did have a DJ (and if you want people to actually dance, sadly, a DJ or band makes a big difference vs. an iPod) and I think we paid $750 for him. He was the son of the man who owned the restaurant we had our reception at. He did a great job.
*A family friend performed our ceremony for free
*I rented my chapel from the place where I went to grad school at a discount
*I didn't get a real satin dress. My dress was $500 including alterations, and I still think it was too much. It was pretty and I loved it, but it's a lot of money for something I only wore for nine hours. And I couldn't go to the bathroom in it. I mean, you should get the dress you want, but you might be surprised by what's out there, in addition to the one you've looked at.
*We bought plain bands. Ours are gold. I know platinum is the new hotness and all, but we saved hundreds of dollars. Also, we bought ours from our neighborhood jeweler, who gave us a 25% discount for living nearby. Check with the smaller, family jewler near you. (I also have a sapphire instead of a diamond; same thing.)
*Something else to keep in mind, you can rent park district space for dirt cheap. The disadvantage is you need to bring in food, linens, tables, etc., and that can run costs up.
*You could also have a courthouse wedding and use the money just for a big party. Given that you two aren't very religious that might be a good way to go.
*I had a friend who's a graphic designer make my invites and create our wedding website. Printing cost $300 and I gave her a $100 gift certificate to a steakhouse as a thank you
*I made programs myself and printed them out on my home computer the day before.
*My mom hired a family friend as our photographer. There was some blurring of the lines that was a little weird and I didn't get all the photos I'd hoped for, but I did have some nice ones and I got all the negatives and proofs (for a grand total of $500). Unfortunately, she didn't make an album or do prints, so I had to do that. I made albums as gifts for my parents in the inlaws for Christmas one year, but still haven't bothered to do them for me. Now, my wedding was predigital, so I have to just suck it up and hire someone to scan and clean up my negatives. (I, uh, haven't done that in six years, so clearly, not a priority.)
*Our favors were bookmarks ($25 for 150) because we like reading and mix CDs we made personally.

Sorry this is so long, but those are my tips. Our friends all still talk about how much fun they had at our wedding and I don't think it seemed like I cut corners at all.
Sidecar, we chose gold bands, too. Platinum has been the trend for a number of years now, but I wanted something more classic. When I think of wedding bands, I always imagine simple yellow gold bands. Sheff agreed, so that's what we have.

I think we saved a TON of money by having the whole thing - ceremony and reception - at a B&B. First of all, it was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be. Plus, it relieved a ton of stress. We did not have to do any decoration at all except for a few small flower arrangements because the location was so beautiful all on its own. They provided tables & chairs, linens, and all of the plates and glasses and cutlery we could need (and we had multiple designs and colors to choose from). They had an in-house chef who did the food for us & an in-house wedding planner who made sure that the day went smoothly.

I really feel for people who rent big, empty halls. I think it seems cheap on the surface, but there's so much extra work involved & so many more vendors to hire. If you have the time for that, then best of luck to you. We only had a few months to throw together the whole thing and, because of my job, I had ZERO time to do all of the things I might have wanted to do on my own (like arranging my own flowers), so I'm glad we found an easier option.
Rose, your description of the B&B is how my experience at the restaurant was. They even provided flowers for the tables and I had an in-house consultant who handled all the details for me. It made it so much less stressful. (And if I were getting married now, I'd just have my ceremony there, too. They were able to do that for an extra dollar per person).
OMG sidecar! We had our reception at Monastero's in 02! Small, small world. Our experience was just as fantastic. I couldn't believe how reasonable their prices were for how much was included; we looked at so many overpriced shit-hole banquet halls. The food was so good, too.

I won't say too much about our wedding since polly was one of my bridesmaids smile.gif, but we also had it in Chicago with around 120 people and paid for it ourselves and spent under 10K. I did have some help: my grandma bought my dress, my husband's parents paid for passed hors d'oeuvres at the reception, his brother was the sound man for a wedding band, so we got the band cheap(er), my mom was friends with a woman who owned a flower shop, so we saved a lot there. We went with an independent photographer (as opposed to a studio) and spent around $1K for 8 hours and kept all the proofs (prints were extra). I also did a lot of DIY stuff to save $: used an online printer that did our invitations, programs, and place cards all for around $300, but I had to assemble and address everything myself. I can't say enough about ebay - all of my bridal ensemble accessories, favors, bridal party gifts, even our wedding bands (white gold - you'd surprised how many people think they're platinum). Also, I can't tell you how much money this book saved me.

Overall, I was really happy with our wedding. The only time I wished for more $ was the ceremony. I really wanted an outdoor, religion free ceremony, but the cost of renting all the crap you need just put it way over the top. We ended up taking the path of least resistance and getting married in a Catholic church (we're both technically Catholic) for just a few hundred $ between the "donation" to the church and paying the musicians.

We did get some very generous gifts, so in the end our wedding paid for itself and the honeymoon.
It is a small world. One of the two weddings I went to last summer was at Monastero's. It was lovely with great food.
Allo all! I'm coming out of hibernation and *lurking* to say thanks for posting all yer tips on budget weddings! They have been very helpful and affirming as I have a budget of $5K solely from my parents...

Question (s): Has anyone looked into very simple public or private beach weddings to save $? How far is too far to hold a reception from the ceremony location? Has anyone asked a family member with some photography experience to do the honors (Mr. Luv has a fancy camera) or thoughts on disposables?

Sidecar: Mr. Luv can do the invites with his graphic design background, but your printing costs still seem up there? What was it that pushed up the price? I doubt I'll have a turn-out of more than 50 so....
Great Tips!

RoseV: I live close to quite a few B&B's, so thanks for your tips... I really really want a beach wedding, but if I can get all that you mentioned all wrapped up in a quaint B&B.... then....that could change my whole vision and concept. Did you hold everything outside in a garden of sorts? I like the vintage appeal a B&B holds. : )

Sorry Im so all over the place... Poop on a Stick! We haven't even gotten the engagement ring yet!!!! laugh.gif

Now that's a whole other thing....

Moonpieluv!!! is Mr Luv the same guy from the crushie thread so long ago???? do tell!!! (perhaps in that thread so we can all hear... wink.gif )
I had it done professionally with a nicer ink in 2 color, and it was shipped from Madison to Chicago. Also, I had 200 invitations printed, so that probably had more to do with it.

Prophecy and kitten, that's crazy! It's such a hidden gem. We also looked at a lot of crappy banquet halls, so walking into Monastero's was so nice. We knew right away.

Incidentally, while we got some nice gifts, it wasn't overwhelming -- we got enough cash to cover one month's rent and some nice housewares. I was stupid and didn't register for anything fancy (or much at all -- we didn't register for sheets, towels, or pots & pans bc both of us had some and figured what we had was good enough) because I felt bad asking people to buy me stuff when most people were already traveling to Chicago from a great distance. I sincerely regret registering for an offbrand mixer instead of a Kitchen-Aid. That was so dumb.
QUOTE(Moonpieluv @ Jun 17 2008, 05:13 PM) *
RoseV: I live close to quite a few B&B's, so thanks for your tips... I really really want a beach wedding, but if I can get all that you mentioned all wrapped up in a quaint B&B.... then....that could change my whole vision and concept. Did you hold everything outside in a garden of sorts? I like the vintage appeal a B&B holds. : )

We chose to have the ceremony and sit-down dinner inside of the B&B for multiple reasons. First of all, we were worried that it might rain (we were married in early April which is certainly the rainy season 'round there). Secondly, I know that if you're outside, you have to be louder. I've done outdoor theatre so I know from personal experience that you have to really force your voice or work with mics if you're performing outside. Well, Sheff is a quiet guy & I had no desire whatsoever to make him feel like he had to yell his vows (and I certainly didn't want to have to project my voice that much, either). And I definitely didn't want to have to deal with the extra expense and nightmare of a sound system. We had less than 30 people at our wedding and we really wanted to create a feeling of intimacy. Thus, an indoor ceremony.

By the by, the weather was gorgeous on our wedding day. We still had the ceremony indoors (and everyone heard our vows just fine). Then we spent most of the reception hanging out in the garden of the B&B. We came back inside around sunset when it was time for our sit-down dinner.

We hired a 3 string quartet for the ceremony (and for 30 minutes before & afterwards), but we didn't have dancing at our reception so we didn't worry about other music. The ladies who owned the B&B had some nice CDs of soft music that played in the background during dinner. We knew no one would really be listening to it anyway, so I didn't worry about that aspect. The wedding planner played whatever & it was good enough for me. So that saved us a nice chunk of change. If you're going to have actual dancing, I think it's worth it to hire a DJ (one who does NOT speak, thankyouverymuch). A DJ is going to be far more flexible to changes in the time schedule than a CD or ipod will be. Plus, I know of too many people who've had disasters without a DJ ... like the wedding where the groom forgot to bring his ipod so there ended up being no dancing whatsoever at the reception.

If I were to change one thing about our wedding, I think we might not have done a sit-down dinner with assigned seating. Originally we did it because we had so many family members flying in from England and we wanted to treat them to something extra special. However, it meant that we all did not get to mingle and chat as much as we might have liked. We got to talk to them during the early part of the reception, but only for about an hour & that didn't feel like nearly enough time. I think hors d'oeuvres encourage mingling and conversation much better (and they're cheaper so it's easier on the budget!). Luckily, we also had a post-wedding party planned at my parents' house the following day. Everyone who came to the wedding also came to that party, so we were able to mingle and chat more there.
Rose---Thank you for all your tips! That's sounds so lurvly. I do worry about the needing to project your voice (I've done outside theatre, as well)were we on the beach, but I like the idea of the bagpiper piercing thru the air.... we are to have a casual scottish wedding.... With all that you described, I think an intimate B&B wedding could really suit the both of us... and still do the bagpiper outside. A compromise. We would really like to play a choral recording of "The Gallant Weaver", so having the ceremony in closer quarters could enable the song to be heard without having to blare it over the sound of the waves and wind.
I know that his side of the family likes to throw down.. so a party we must have. I shy away from DJ's cause they may not truly play the music I want to hear or even OWN the music I want to hear, they can be pricey, and I'm with ya on having one that does NOT speak at all. I want to be the playlist composer. I guess I roll those thoughts around for a while, see what works for the $.

I like the idea of a buffet or hor d'ouevres, budget wise... put more $ into the drinks. My mom wants a brunch wedding with mimosas, and the like... but, i know his family may want to extend the party into the night.....
Still a lot of factors for me to take into account. In the end, I'll do what I want and according to budget.
Post-wedding throw down sounds like a possible avenue!

I really appreciate you telling me your details... helps bring in alternatives, etc. Thanks!!!
I've been engaged for two weeks now and going between totally excited to totally overwhelmed. Thank you to girltrouble for posting the link to this thread in the Community Forum.
Serial lurker sez: Helloooooo you fantastic fiancees!

I'm enjoying reading about all your creative and clever plans - some great tips there.

November 22 is THE date - the thirteenth anniversary of the day we got together!
We are having an extremely simple wedding on a beach near our home. I'm wearing a knee-length cotton beach dress & no shoes.
It will just be us, our parents, our siblings and their partners and the ceremony will be followed by an a-la-carte meal in a restaurant (right on the beach).
We booked a planner to force our parents to chill out / back off and because we are both mega-busy - and she has been very good value, I think.
All we have to do is write our ceremony, buy our rings and turn up. I am loving it. And it's CHEAP. I am also going to make our own invites and info-mailouts on the computer using photographs I have taken of the area over the years. I'm having some simple flowers but no beautician & whatnot. It's the beach for god's sake.

There are a few friends we would dearly love to have there but the line is hard to draw between friends and close cousins, and then between those dear cousins and other cousins, and then their parents and children and blah blah.. So we drew the line close and our friends, because they are real friends, get it.

However, my head is starting to crack trying to figure out what to do about an engagement ring. Yes moonie this really is a whole other thing and is causing me more angst than the wedding! We've been engaged for 9 months now. We were going to have a family friend custom make one and I know exactly what I want... but I don't know if I want it for the right reasons or because I am vain and greedy. I don't really philosophically agree with spending $5000 on a piece of jewellery, so where does this desire for the ring come from then??? It's either this particular ring or nothing, really. What are your thoughts on the mix of legitimate and stupid reasons to want 'the ring'? Also, we're saving a house deposit and just bought a kombi, so this would be a bit of a savings setback. Whatever decision I think I'm gonna make, I beat myself up....

Also, some of you must have some good hen's party ideas. I'm not really up for the whole pub crawl, crazy outfit, penis sipper straw look, but keen for a great girls night at my bestie's. Was thinking about cocktails and massages but initial forays into this show that this is v. expensive. Bestie is organising it but wants my input. Any great ideas????????????
your wedding plans sound lovely, and exactly along the lines of what I would have liked to have had. Sadly, plans have gone south, if you will. So I won't be much help or support here on out....
I think your reasons for wanting the big ring is well...this is your first time being engaged, no? I think it's normal to want the fancy ring. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it, though. Do take into consideration insurance, monthly payments, the ring's sturdiness (prongs especially). But, seeing as I was never given the chance to really ring shop.. that's the extent of my knowledge. Maybe one day....
I think that you could get a reasonable ring perhaps for now... and upgrade later down the line when you feel more comfortable financially...say on an anniversary?
Potentially Legitimate reason for wanting the big ring=first time princess syndrome that happens to most of us. the fact that most of the big rings are just totally dazzling. it exemplifies the committment your fiance feels for you?
Potentially Stupid= because you wanna show it off to people? It may be your first fancy piece of jewelry, so therefore you want it nice and loud? haha...who knows..
I don't think you should worry about your reasons for wanting a fancy ring. I think all reasons are normal. Just go with your gut, talk to your fiance about what you two can feasibly afford, and come to a compromise. If you do it together, the ring will be and feel special no matter what.
that's just I think... but again, I've never done it.
Sorry for the sob story, but
I wish you the very best and congrats!! smile.gif
ellenevenstar - I helped a friend arrange a massage-type bachlorette party. I worked as a massage therapist so I knew a few friends who woould work under the table. We had chair massage and simple, relaxing accupuncture. The therapists set their own prices ($15 each, for about 15 minutes on each client) and the guests paid for the sessions. Is there a massage school near you? I have no idea what the rulesa re where you live but they might be able to connect you with some students.
But some booze and a cocktail recipe book and have fun.
Ellevenstar, here's what we did on my bachelorette night.
1. Indian food! My best friend reserved a space for us at our favorite Indian restaurant. I said "no gifts" but a few people gave me gifts anyway. We opened them during dinner.
2. Gaming arcade! We played the games where you earn tickets (skee ball and such). Then the girls took all of the tickets & picked out a gift for me from the case. Wouldn't you know it, but the gals had earned enough tickets to get a little electric vibrating massage thingamy that fits on your finger. The photo on the box showed the woman holding the little massager to her temple because it "stimulates relaxation" or some silly shit, but we all know what it's really for.
3. Drinking. We had a favorite restaurant that stayed open late & had a bar. Because it wasn't the typical bar atmosphere, we could still sit together and hear one another talk while we drank. Luckily this place was within walking distance of my BestGalPal's house, so after drinking we went to ....
4. BestGalPal's house to recover. We thought about turning it into a slumber party, but changed our minds. As people sobered up, they went home. I think everyone was gone by 3am.

I know the arcade idea seems a little odd and, honestly, if someone had told me that's what I would do on my bachelorette night, I would have been disappointed. But it was much more fun than I expected it to be! We had a blast!

As for the ring thing? I think MoonPieLuv broke that down really well. I have a diamond engagement ring that Sheff gave to me when our engagement became official (one year before the actual wedding). I know that my desire for a ring was influenced by marketing and societal expectations, but also tradition. My mom has a diamond engagement ring & a gold wedding band. I found that, for me, that is just the way wedding rings look. Anything else didn't look right to me. Lord help me, but I wanted a diamond ring and a gold band just like Mom's. So that was mixed up with all of the princess fairytale crap.

I feel kinda guilty about one thing. I really wanted a diamond that was of excellent quality. And those babies are expensive. Luckily Sheff could afford it at the time, but 2 months after we got engaged he lost his job. It would have helped him a lot if he'd had that extra cash then. Luckily he had additional money in savings so he got through it and he didn't starve so it all turned out well in the end. But during those many months when he was unemployed, I felt pretty shitty.

Now that I've actually been married for a number of years, I still wear my engagement ring every day (with my gold wedding band). I think it's beautiful & I love the way it catches the light (I think of it as my own personal disco ball). I don't show it off to people or anything like that, but it's extremely rare that anyone asks me about it anyway. That's just the life of a married lady. Newly engaged people are flooded with those sorts of questions, but they fade away in time. That's why you really need to focus on what is right for you and your fiancee. No one else matters. You don't need to prove anything to anyone else. Just make sure you're doing what's right for the two of you.

Personally, I think if you've gone this long without an engagement ring, you can go longer. If I were you I'd just focus the money towards a beautiful wedding ring. Then you'll have the memory of the ceremony tied to the ring.
That sounds like a faaaabulous bachelorette night, rose! If I end up having one (or having one thrown for me *cough*) that sounds like a good time!

Since going to LeSister's party a few years ago, I decided I was opposed to a bachelorette party. Her party was totally cliche- penis-shaped everything, party bus down to the nightclub area of Chicago, drunk fratboys playing suck-for-a buck....yeah, not my idea of a fun time, even though she did make $135 off the suck-for-a-buck!

I was thinking of doing an adults-only, co-ed dessert and booze party at The Cheesecake Factory....yeah, it's a big corporate chain restaurant, but they do have good cheesecake and yummy dessert-y drinks.

Re: engagement rings- it doesn't have to be a big honking diamond- you could do another gemstone; I'm requesting aquamarine; I think sidecar has a sapphire. Pick a color or stone you like and go for it. Or skip the engagement ring- my mom never had one and since they didn't have a whole lot of money, she used a sterling silver Cladaugh ring that she already owned as her wedding band for a long time.

Humanist's bff is getting married and we went dress shopping this week. We think we found the one:

It's amazing what the dress does for her posture- that upward rouching just makes her look so statuesque and shoulders back! There's little strands of clear sparkly beads on the top and it's just the perfect amount of bling for that dress. I love how the bodice twists into the straps. For anyone that's interested, it's made by Casablanca Bridal and it's style #1831. It's about $800 in stores, but we found it online for $600.
Holy crap, that dress is gorgeous!!!! Spectacular! Love it! If I had stumbled upon that dress during my gown search, I probably would have bought it. Wow. Did I mention that I love it?
Just after posting, she sent me an email saying she went and bought a dress this morning "like the one we saw on Wednesday"....I'm not sure if she got that exact one or just similar, but it is an amazing dress. It flatters just about anyone. Humanist's friend is sorta built like a 12-year-old boy, and she went in thinking she wanted a super-simple, straight dress, but she has no hips, so it just sorta hung on her. She has the tiniest potbelly and was really insecure about it rolleyes.gif and so the saleslady suggested an a-line dress with some rouching to mask her belly, so she picked this one. It was truly stunning.

I found other pictures of it online with women in all sizes and shapes wearing it and it just seems to look good on everyone.

Makes me question my choice.
omg - you can probably imagine what I thought "suck-for-a-buck" meant before I googled it! I was really concerned.

It's probably a few years off yet but for my bachelorette/hen's I want a spa day with my mum, the boy's mum, his sis and the bridesmaids (maybe a couple more friends depending how many bridesmaids I have) then a dinner with some more friends included and lots of wine.

It's a stunning dress.
I love the idea of a spa day for the 'hen' party... that's probably what I'll do, although we may well do cocktails the night before. You have to have something to detox from, right? tongue.gif

Just adding 2 cents on engagement rings: we didn't get mine until almost 2 years after we got engaged, but then ours is a long engagement (by both choice and, it turns out, some extenuating circumstances as well). I wasn't in a hurry as I could not for the life of me decide what I wanted, but now I have my ring I'm very happy with it in ways I didn't expect. It makes me feel closer to the mister, especially if I'm travelling and far from him. Saying that, I am now convinced the world is divided between people who immediately scan other people's hands for engagement/wedding rings, and people who don't. It's bizarre.

I was actually uneasy about buying an actual gem... my dress style is fairly minimal and I've never been a big jewellery person. Saying that, I did want a conflict free diamond and that's what we got. My ring is very simple, but my little diamond is of a high clarity, so like RV I love to see it sparkle (okay, now I feel cheesy).

(RV, that's so funny, I referred to my ring as 'my little piece of vegas'!)

I do feel it's somewhat inbalanced that I have an engagement ring and the mister doesn't: however he insists (as I'm earning less) he's happy without; also he's quite traditional and was, I think, more worried about getting me a ring than I was.

Anyway, enough about me/us! Ellenevenstar, think about what you want for a while before you decide, if you can. I really like the idea of custom designed rings and of other stones beside diamonds. I think I just went for a diamond because it seemed classic to me.
I got just the ring I didn't know I wanted. My mister is much more traditional than I am and it was really important to him that I have a diamond ring. We started looking and I ended up finding one that met my childhood fantasy (which was a bezel setting) and today reality. It's 3 small diamonds in white gold low in the setting so nothing sticks out or snags. I just fell in love with it and he went and got the exact one a few months later.

I was thinking the day we got engaged about how lopsided it is, here I get a beautiful ring, and what does he get (besides the bill?) So I decided he needed an engagement present and asked what he wanted. That night we went and got him what he'd been wanting and I proposed back to him with a set of tools :-)
I was with you for a few seconds there, bunnyb, on "suck for a buck." Horrendous.
Thanks all. I relate to what you've all said about the ring and I feel reassured about my decision to go ahead. It has been very much a joint decision between the two of us and we've been totally open and conscious about many factors. Of course social expectation does play some role in the decison, as does family tradition (which is just occasionally a positive and valuable thing) and personal significance & meaning. I have realised that the reasons for this decision aren't all one or the other but a blend... and that that is OK.
Really, as we hope to be having children soon, this is probably a better time than any in the forseeable future for affording it - perhaps it will be our last indulgence! Mr. has conceded that he is happy with the Kombi for his engagement present which I am happy about too: our kombi that he drives, our ring that I wear.

Incidentally, did you know that working in an office is one of the most damaging environments for rings? Handling lots of paper really affects the metal, apparently. I am a teacher - so not really an office job but I handle a shitload of paper. An argument for platinum... but I don't think THAT is going to happen!!

As for the party - I don't think that the arcade idea is odd, but I do know that a certain number of beverages at the meal beforehand would make all the difference there! Still keen for massages and cocktails... I'll let you know...

That dress is FAB pollystyrene. Statuesque is the word.. and FLATTERING!!!

Here's mine. The photo makes it hard to see, but you get the idea. It's cotton voile. Beach, here I come.
Christine Nectarine
*jumps into thread*

ellenevenstar: love the dress! i'm not usually into white, but it's a nice break from the traditional mirengue.
i'm not getting married, but one sister just did Aug 1, and my other sister will be Sept '09. when each announced their engagement, i was all about planning the bachelorette/hen night.

my sisters are both just graduating, as are their friends, so money is extra tight. the one that just happened we did with an "America's Next Top Model" theme. We got together at my place for drinks, there was a "challenge" and a photo shoot - we had a blast! it was cheap and fun, no gifts since she also had a very traditional shower, and suited the bride, as she's not the bar-hopping type.

the next one i think will be an evening cocktail party, and i want to hire a psychic to come a give the bride a love reading! also, the girls will likely all chip in for some nice lingerie for the bride, as i don't think she wants a shower.

just a couple ideas i though i'd share!

Christine, those are great ideas!

Ellen, that dress looks perfect for a beach wedding. What will the groom be wearing?
Well (of course) he doesn't know yet. This may be where he and I are most different!! He likes things in progress, not fixed, flexible, unfinished, whereas I like to make decisions and finish things in order to feel I have achieved. He'll probably wear knee length dress shorts and some kind of relaxed, button-up light-coloured shirt. He'll probably get his outfit in the week before the wedding. I don't mind as long as he's comfortable on the day.

I thought for a long time that I'd really like to wear red for my wedding because I love the colour and the white wedding dress is really quite a recent convention with a silly meaning. But I found that dress and liked it and I'm super-happy with it.

We've got an appointment with a family friend jeweller on Saturday - he is going to hand make our ring. Yay! We've also been getting stuck right into planning and have done heaps of work on writing our ceremony and putting together info about the island for our families. I'm really pleased with our ceremony so far.

12 weeks and 6 days to go now - can't decide if this makes it a long way off or really soon!
We finished our ceremony writing and gave an outline to our families. The outline invites various family members to speak about certain things. It moved my mother-in-law-to-be to tears. Mission accomplished.

Hmmm... Every time I pause in my day-to-day activities I am now thinking 'wedding'.
It is exciting, but I'm a bit worried. I have always been a bit of an anti-bride and I don't like the way this is becoming my brain's idle or default mode.
Christine Nectarine
i've just been invited to a wedding in october, and need gift ideas for a very eco-concious couple. any ideas? those of you with experience, any REALLY bad gift ideas come your way?
any tips are appreciated!
If you want to go the practical route, I gave some eco-conscious friends, as a housewarming gift, a bunch of eco-friendly cleaning supplies. I bought a nice bucket, half-dozen cleaning products; I even shredded the paper bag I carried the stuff in and used it as filler in the bucket to make it look more gift-y. They loved it.

If you haven't already, you may want to post in the green living thread...I think it's in As The World Turns.
Etsy also has eco friendly gifts.
The white, the off-white, the ivory, the cream the beige... I've been looking at wedding shoes with my mum all day! Exhausted now, but happy with my purchase. So much tackiness out there!

It was like a book I had when I was a child in which a Berenstein Bear tries to choose a hat: too high, too closed-in, too heavy, too ordinary, too busy, too conventional, too flat, too dark, too middle-agedy, too buckley, too shiny... etc, etc.
I've got my diamond ring!! It is awesome.
I love shoes, but because of my big feet I don't end up buying cute shoes to go along with outfits. Does anybody suffer from this same problem and could possibly give me some of the shoes they like? I usually end up wearing tennis shoes all the time, how gross.
Christine Nectarine
hi melanielouise,
probably a question better put to the "Tread Softly..." footwear thread in this forum.
Psst, Melanie- go to and you can do an advanced search (go to the blue button in the upper right, under "Help") for bridal shoes and select the width!
Congrats Pugs! I know how long-awaited this has been. And trust me, I understand- after 7 years, we finally went ring shopping last week, picked one out and we're waiting for a couple of changes (it was an empty setting, so they had to get a stone- 1 ct. round aquamarine; they had to resize it and we're having a couple of extra diamonds added to the sides of the band)...then it's up to LeBoy to figure out when and how I get it. I'll post back here when it's "official"! biggrin.gif
Yay PUGS!!!! biggrin.gif Congrats!

Polly, that's great too.

Last night I got a credit form in the mail from the ring company. I guess now it's just paying for part of it. The designer told me that she'd have the wax model (with picture) to me in two weeks! smile.gif

Congrats, Pugs!!!!! February, you say? Do you have a venue yet? Started looking for dresses? Give us the scoop!
We made it official yesterday! Pictures and proposal story in Kvetch!

How's it going pugs? Part of me can't imagine planning a wedding in such a short amount of time and part of me wishes I could do it that way. I think we're looking at some time in 2010, either spring or fall. That seems sooooo far away. Part of it is that I'm going to try to start losing weight after the holidays, and I'd like to lose about 60 pounds, so I'd like a fair amount of time for that. But I also feel like I don't want this looming over my head for potentially almost 2 years!

I don't know how we're going to pick a date! I'd love to do it on a Friday to save some money, but then you've got to do it later in the day (like 5:00 at the earliest) to accomodate people who have to work, but I want to do at least the ceremony and pictures outside and depending on the time of year, it's getting dark by 6:30 or so, so pictures are out of the question.

Another thought I had is having the whole thing at LeBoy's parent's house (decent sized house on a big woodsy lot), but then there's the question of how to provide parking for possibly 120 people on a suburban street. Plus, I really want some pictures taken in downtown Chicago and their house is 42 miles away, about an hour drive.

The venue and date are really what's weighing on my mind right now. And the budget. Eek.
Question for the brides: Is your fiance helping out a lot in planning the wedding? I feel as though I am taking on everything. He says he is willing and wanting to help, but I still feel if I didn't initiate the planning, nothing would get done! I have talked to him about it and he says to just give him certain jobs. So I did, but he still hasn't started anything on them!!
Plus...I'm excited to wanted to share..I purchased my dress today! Here is the link, my dress has a white sash instead of blue:

I highly recommend checking out Sophia Tolli dresses, they're beautiful.
Wow, that's really beautiful! I love the off-the-shoulder sleeves!

I'm going for a vintage/antique-y look, so here's the ones I'm choosing between:


The only problem is that the designer is mail-order only, unless I wanted to fly to Tucson, AZ to try stuff on in their shop. I'm very tempted to do it, though. Just because it's hard to get a feel for stuff online.

We're so early in planning, that he's still kind of excited about it. I think having a good venue with good food is a priority for both of us. I think once we get a date and place set and start moving into the other details, he'll be less interested. I'm usually pretty decisive, so I don't think I'll have too hard a time deciding stuff, but we'll see.
Christine Nectarine
polly, i know at least a couple of people who have married on a Sunday of a long weekend in order to save money similar to what you would on a Friday. of course, you have to know if that would fly with your family and sister did a friday morning this summer, since it was a small intimate wedding with family and student friends, no one seemed to mind taking a friday off, and it was definately worth it, budget-wise.

p.s. love your dress choices, esp the ones with lots of victorian style lace!
I'm thinking of trying to do the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 2010. Some places may charge more, but I think it might be an ideal date for us.
We have our venue. Small dinning room at this place called Hunt Cottage at Back Creek. It's a Golf Club. Very intimate setting with a candle light feel.

Total guest list?? 14!! WOW you say. Yes, we are going very small. My mom, dad, sister and grandmother, his mom, dad, sister and grandmother, his best man and his girlfriend, my matron of honor and her husband and then Mr. Pugs and I.

We are having a small ceremony in front of the big fire place that Hunt Cottage has. Then we are sitting down to eat. Our menu is, Chicken Parm, Filet Mignon, Salmon or Chicken Chesapeake. Comes with either Lobster bisque or a wedge salad. Swedish meatballs for appetizer and desert trays and cake. We are doing a tab bar with no limit.

Going to bring an iPod with a docking station and speaker to do our first dance.

I'm contemplating and actual wedding dress. Going to look for it this weekend at David's Bridal.

Doing white linens and burgundy napkins on the tables.

Going to get small cranberry chutney Yankee candles with name cards as favors.

Since I only have 8 ladies I'm getting them all wrist corsages with burgundy ribbons.

My sister is my maid of honor and my friend Laura is my matron of honor and I'm asking both of them to wear burgundy.

We are contemplating New Orleans for a honeymoon or possibly the Florida Keys.

Mr. Pugs is helping when he's asked and seems to be getting excited.

My mother is driving me crazy and I might kill her before this is over.

Have trouble getting a photographer but we have a few prospects.

There is a small bakery down the street that does wedding cakes. I'm going to stop in there this week.

The lady at Hunt Cottage recommended a florist in town who will give a discount on flowers.

We ordered our rings on Saturday. I love the one I picked out.

I think that's everything so far. I'll keep you updated.
Who are the current brides-to-be around here, besides me? Bottleblack? Elevenstar? Sassygrrl is still waiting on a ring, I think.

Anyone set a date yet? We haven't. For awhile our plan was to get married at LeBoy's parents' house, but we just can't get the logistics worked out. LeMom found us a venue though. I was worried when she said she had a suggestion, but I think it's actually really good:

Byron Colby Barn

It's a little farther out, geographically-speaking, than I would have liked (apologizing in advance to our city friends!), but without seeing it in person yet, it pretty much has everything we want- beautiful, unique, historic location, not too expensive, we can bring in our own caterers and alcohol. We have an appointment to go see it on February 21st. LeMom set up the appointment and they told her that May 2010 is totally available. Woo hoo!
oh, can i be a wedding supporter for you polly?!? that place looks really cool and would totally go with the bbq theme you were thinking of doing. good luck! i hope this place works out for you.
We set a date! For the place mentioned below, for Saturday, May 29th, 2010! Hooray!
Yahoo!! So excited polly! biggrin.gif
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