Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Got my Rental!!!

I finally got my rental car today. While Sean and I have been sharing a car with ease, it's still annoying. He can't get out and do anything during the day, and has cabin fever by the time I get home. I have to drive around with his 50 million burger king bags, because he hasn't cleaned it since finals.

Now, both of those will change. It's supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow, so he'll be cleaning out his car. I'll be driving a sporty new Jetta for the next few weeks, while my car gets mended.

A what you say? Oh yes. I was rented a Jetta.

With heated seats folks. Heated I say.

It's faaaaabulous.

10 Ways to Grow in a Relationship

I was catching up on old WeddingBee posts that I completely missed during Christmas/car wreck mania, when I came across this post by Miss Prarie Dog. She calls it 10 Ways to Reveal the Crazy, but I like my title better :p

I think she has a really great point about it though. You can think that you're being yourself all you want, but your significant other knows who you are when you're happy. He/she needs to know who you are and what you're like when you're not happy. How you fare under the worst conditions - kind of a "expect the best, be prepared for the worst" scenario. We've been together for 5 1/2 years. That's longer than almost all of our friends (married or not). We've gone through a lot, and it's made us who we are today. Each of these things is completely and totally different for every couple, but I really do think you need to experience them.

The List (with our own personal annotations):
1. Get really, really lost in an area you don’t know. Preferably away from intelligible signs and possibly safety. Florida. We drove to Disney without a map or GPS. We argued for about 3 hours trying to get into Disney World, AFTER we got to Kissimee. We're both very hard headed. Despite that, we still had a great time!
2. Wait in a really, really long line (recommendations: amusement park, Christmas Eve shopping, Harry Potter midnight showing). Too many to count for this one. But I think we really learn the most about each other.
3. Get stuck in inexplicable, stand-still traffic. Bonus points if you are hungry or one of you really has to pee. I don't do hungry. I'm a very happy person, but when I get hungry, it's immediate - not gradual - and I turn into a B*tch.
4. Have a restaurant experience worthy of a scathing Yelp review. (How people react to poor service says a lot about them, I think.) We've been fortunate to generally miss this one, but I'm sure we've been forgotten about before.
5. Deal with being sick together. Not sniffles sick. I’m talking flu and incoherent-fever sick, post-surgical-delirium sick, stomach-pyrotechnics sick. Christmas. Three years in a row. The first year we dated, he held my hair back as I retched at Grandpa's. Last year, we were both so sick with food poisoning that we couldn't even open presents. Awful.
6. Meet each other’s extended families, the ones that won’t be on their “good behavior” like your nuclear family might be. I believe the conversation included an argument as to whether or not my uncle's vasectomy meant he was "fixed" or "broken". I'm not kidding.
7. Get embarrassed in front of each other. I don’t embarrass easily, but I have had a few bright-red-face moments with Mr. PD. This doesn't happen very often, thankfully.
8. Experience tragedy—real, gut-wrenching tragedy. Not that I would wish this upon anyone, but the truth is that it happens to all of us. Patty's death was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through. Sean was there when I found out, he was by my side at the wake and funeral, and he's held me while I've cried dozens of times since then. Even though it's been 3 years, I still break down every once in a while. It's nice to know he's always there.
9. Spend a fair amount of time apart. Not like a long-distance relationship, necessarily, but a good week or two at a time. Chances are good that this will happen for one reason or another in your lives together, and it’s good to see how you fare on your own. K, so we've done the long distance part. But since we've moved to our own city, we've done a week apart. It's a lot harder when you don't have friends and roommates, that's for sure.
10. Experience any situation which compromises your sleep and/or cleanliness. Camping trips, road trips, band trips - you name it. 

When you think about it, it's really about spending the worst of your time together. How you make the best out of an awful situation. I think we've survived. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Obligatory Post-Christmas...Post.

Christmas was wonderful this year. At my work, there always needs to be someone available. We're a 24/7 security business. I was lucky enough that Christmas eve and Christmas fell on Friday and Saturday, which are my normal days off. I couldn't get the entirety of Thursday or Sunday off, but I was able to get off 3 hours on each day.

James celebrated all of our Christmases with us, which was awesome. He's truly becoming part of the family. My parents gave him gifts, and all of my aunts went in and bought him something as well.  I don't think he's had a family christmas in a long time, and it's great to see his face at events like this.

Christmas Eve started really well. With 4 inches of snow predicted, Michelle was called into work, so our planned early afternoon celebration was nixed. We spent the morning with my family, and then headed over to my aunt's for Christmas with my mom's side. That's when the drama began.

We ate a simple sandwich spread, we enjoyed ourselves, we opened presents. We were just starting to watch a movie, when a knock was heard at the door. We went outside to see this (50 feet from where we parked it, mind you):

My poor car. The quarter panel is entirely busted out, and the wheel is bent. We're hoping to get an estimate and a rental for me tomorrow, but it's still a huge bummer. It's such a pain. I am extremely grateful for the following though: A) The guy stopped. B) He had insurance. C) My dad's name is on the car, so he can handle the repairs. D) Sean's out of school and we can share a car. E) We weren't in it at the time. It's causing some changes to pre-wedding events probably, but we're making it work.

The rest of Christmas went off without a hitch, though we had to have people ferry us around because we only had my car in town. My mom drove us back to Kansas City the night of Christmas too, since I had to work the next day. Oi. 

We got plenty of goodies for Christmas, but frankly, we didn't need much (ok, I needed my tennis shoes). We got what we needed though - time with our families. It's nice to be ourselves and be able to start our lives without the influence of others, but we both miss the close-knit families we have.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crunch Time.

We are 18 days away from getting married. Eighteen. In between that, there's my brother's birthday, Christmas, and New Year's. I work 10 more days. Sean has 2 days of class. I will spend 9 hours driving to and from StP.  And I will probably have a heart attack.

So to keep myself straight, here's my to-do list (at least the big ones):
1. Marriage Certificate
2. Garter
3. Veil?
4. Programs
5. Wedding Party Gifts
6. Necklace
7. Make appointments: lunch & nails before wedding

This doesn't include finished christmas gifts, wrapping them, making dessert for christmas, and a holiday party we have next week. Or the whole celebrating thing. Ya know. 

Some of projects have been scrapped. And it's probably a good thing. It means I'm stressing less, which I am a-okay about.

You know what though? I'm at a really odd state of calm. I've reached that point where I know that no matter what, we will be married in 18 days. It doesn't matter what's there and what isn't. The wedding will be. And love will be.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Bridal Magazines are About...

I saw this picture, and I couldn't help but blog about it. I think it really hits home about what the wedding industry is becoming, and what brides are starting to think about their own weddings. It also gives me a chance to focus in about what weddings really are all about, which, despite popular belief, isn't cake toppers and dresses.

Brides today spend so much time thinking about what others think about their weddings. Do you know what people think? They think about whether or not the food that was served satisfied them (and trust me, I've been to some where it hasn't), and whether or not they had a good time. They don't remember the vows, they don't remember what the cake looked like, and to be honest, they don't even remember what you looked like.

I will be the first to admit that Sean and I have a lot of unnecessary details. And while other people won't remember them, we will. And to be honest, they're things that we love. They're the things that make the wedding about us and for us. This wedding isn't for our 200 guests (though we want to keep them happy, well fed, and entertained as all hosts and hostesses should), it's about us. We've done many hours of pre-marital counseling, which I think was amazing and insightful (and I think every couple should do it, religious or not). We're accepting of each other, and when we do fight, we make it a point to fight fairly - and to NOT bring up things from years past (even if they do still hold a sore spot).

Our wedding isn't to snob unmarried people - hell, do what you want. There are plenty of people that are perfectly happy being unmarried, or single, or whatever. What's the point of being unhappy but married? I think that people should do what makes them happy, and not judge others for not sharing the same goals or happiness.

The wedding industry has really gotten on board with capitalizing on people's insecurities, and it kind of sickens me. There is no need to drastically diet (didn't someone fall in love with you for, ya know, you?!), or get bridalplasty, or anything else. There's no need to be "hot bride" or to invite people that aren't close to you.

I just people would stop thinking about the wedding, and more about the marriage. It's not just one day. It's (hopefully) the rest of your life.

Making it.

Throughout this whole wedding process, money has been a pretty big concern. While each of our parents are contributing significant amounts, there's always a stress around being able to accomodate and entertain large groups of people. Money automatically comes with it - whether it's DIY or not. While our invitations didn't cost a lot of money, we still paid for paper, envelopes, stamps, ribbon, etc.

One thing that was really important to Sean and me was that we didn't have "friendors" - you know, the people who would rather be enjoying themselves at the party than working for you. Anyone that we invited automatically did not have a "job". This wedding is a celebration and a party, not a networking experience. While we have friends and acquantinces that are extremely talented people, I don't want them to work for us. I don't want to have to set rules and guidelines and expectations for them. I want them to enjoy themselves. This, in turn, drives our cost up a bit. We can't bank on Grandma to bake our cake for free, or our parents to cook the dinner.

Yesterday, we really crunched the numbers. Money is due really soon (or has already been paid, in the case of our photographer) for our vendors, and we needed to double check everything. We're making it. We're planning this gala for 230 some-odd people, and we're going to make it. In fact, we're gonna have a little left over. We could easily pay it all in cash too, though we are going to put a bit on credit cards so we can have some buffer room - just in case. We'll simply pay it off after the wedding.

Even better? My bonus for the month will cover my girls' getting their hair done. It was something I really wanted, so, because I'm "requiring" it, I'm also paying for it. The bonus is just an extra drop in the bucket. It's really nice to have.

So while tonight I'm punching out favor tags and cutting ribbon, I can rest easy knowing that we're not going into debt for this. We've managed to squeeze everything out, and money is no longer a concern.

So what is my biggest concern? Making sure everything gets to St. Louis...and that nothing is forgotten in KC. Which is why our wedding rings are already there, and the dress (and anything else I have done) will be going with me next weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Final Reveal - Invitations!

 This is a super pic-heavy post, but I can't help but brag about my invitations! These babies took forever to assemble, and they're a huge work of love (and sweat and frustration). I'm so relieved that they're finally out - but I love hearing about how people love them. :)

They're totally worth everything. In the end, they still only cost 61 cents to mail, so I spent less than $3 on each of them - which was my goal. The actual total was $2.68 a piece - and that includes the ridiculous amount of adhesives I ended up purchasing. It doesn't include the stamps (I already had them), or the liners (left over Costco wrapping paper!). So, ready for the reveal? Here it goes!!

 When the envelope is opened, here's what our guests first see
 Here's the pocketfold closed and ready to be opened
And here's the pocketfold opened!

The main panel of the invitation

Our RSVP postcard
The map and directions card - I made the map myself (on Power Point believe it not!)

And all of the inserts together
I love the way they turned out! It kind of makes me sad that I still haven't found my camera cord (and therefore still have crappy cell phone pics). At least I have an awesome phone, right? So there you have it folks. The great invitations of the Seanmanda wedding.

It just means that it's that much closer - and the official countdown? 36 days!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Super Ridiculously Awesome Cake Topper.

I love my cake topper. Really, I love all cake toppers. I think they're a great way for people to personalize one little element without thought. It can be as ridiculous or classic as imaginable. I've been keeping an eye out for a great topper for quite awhile, but I hadn't really found anything that really screamed "us". We're not very defined people. There's no game or television show that we're obsessed with. While we're band kids at heart, Sean hasn't really played in nearly 4 years, and it's not as big of a part of our lives as it once was. We're true Mizzou fans, but sometimes I feel like it gets overboard.

And then. Then, I discovered Keren at MudCards on Etsy. She's pretty popular on the Bee front, which is exactly where I found her. Her toppers are kind of expensive, but I fell in love. I adore her custom designed, personal toppers. I think they're adorable and I immediately fell in love.

I bought one.

I couldn't be happier with the results. Keren worked with me to personalize my topper (even to the details of my dress and flowers!). Because we didn't want a theme like most of her others, she put a heart on ours with our wedding date. It's super light, and we won't have any problems putting it on top of the cake (which was a fear I had). And don't those little people look just like us?

I'm so excited to see our awesome cake with this baby on top of it!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

frivolous things and a pretty hanger.

Let's talk about spending money frivolously in wedding planning. It happens. You see one of those things, and all of the sudden its *omgihavetohaveitoriwilldie*. These are the items that don't matter. The things that won't impact your day in the end and that no one will notice if they're not there. They are, for most purposes, completely useless.

But. They are the items you will remember. They're the items you will swoon over on pictures, that others will awe over, and that you will always love.

This is the first of those items. I fell in love with this hanger and I couldn't imagine anything more perfect. You know those beautiful pictures of the dress hanging before the bride puts it on? This is for those pictures. It's also one of the first things (okay the only thing) I've purchased that says Mrs. Byrne. Crazy!!

Take a look at my gorgeous hanger, purchased from Aressa - an awesome Etsy seller :)

I'm super excited to see this baby hanging in the window, with my dress on it, waiting to be worn. Exciting!!
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