Archive for January, 2010

Someone asked me this question this week and I have to say it was a very good one. It got me thinking.

The answer?

Yes…So far.

As discussed in previous posts Brandon and I are on a very tight budget and so I have been very diligent in researching every single aspect of our wedding and figuring out how we can get the most for the least. So far that has amounted to countless hours of  comparing prices, researching, and asking around. The catering (preliminary approval), venue, dress and photographer have all been arranged. According to everything I can find that accounts for about ½ or a little more of the budget (usually). If that turns out to be completely true than Brandon and I are just about right on target. However, I am still trying to figure out the ballpark estimates on things like decorations (all DIY), floral arrangements, dinnerware, invitations, rehearsal dinner etc. Those things are not the biggest ticket items but can certainly add up fast.

I want to make sure we are tracking every single thing we are spending. I have been keeping every receipt. Last week, Brandon and I quickly put that information into a spreadsheet. I am writing down EVERY SINGLE THING. This includes things I find “here and there”. I don’t want to miss the $5 purchases. I expect our spreadsheet to continue to be refined and grow. I would like to have it at the end as a keepsake. LOL. I know that is silly but I feel like that will be my biggest accomplishment for all of the hard work and months of preparation that is going into this event.

In preparation for wedding spending Brandon and I opened a wedding “savings” account. A few months back we got bank accounts at the same bank. For the record, we each have our own bank accounts and also a joint checking account. (This was a personal preference as we are both extremely independent and stubborn. Again, it was what was right for US!) This system has worked pretty well. Once we really started planning we could see we needed somewhere to store some extra wedding funds. I am hoping that we can pay for most of the wedding as we go. I want to avoid putting things on credit cards although I have a feeling that will happen toward the end. No lectures please.

That is where we as far as budget. With 8 months left to go  I have plenty more time to spend money.


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Okay, now is when the tough stuff starts. We have come to a cross roads. It’s big. Real big. Brandon and I can’t decide so we are leaving it up to friends and family to help us.

I know you’re excited…

Centerpieces! Intense. I know.

We are trying to decide between two different centerpieces. Below are two samples or inspiration pieces. I will list some “things to think about” for each of the considerations. If you have any suggestions or opinions comment on the blog or through Facebook.

Choice Number One

Harvest Wheat

1)      Little more elegant and less rustic.

2)      They can be made in advance.

3)      Could require more skill

4)      May call for smoother fabrics (i.e. linen, muslin and satin) and muted colors

Harvest Wheat-Photo Taken From http://www.marthastewart.com

Choice Number Two

Flowers and Pumpkins

1)      More fresh, fragrant and traditional

2)      More rustic and country look

3)      Will require prep no more than a couple days (and day of) wedding

4)      Brighter colors and rougher fabrics  (i.e. burlap, cotton, and linen)

Flowers and Pumpkin-Photo taken from http://www.marthastewart.com

I have not been able to compare pricing on both of these options. The flowers are going to be mostly in season and local. Another thing to take into consideration is the rest of the decorations. I believe these centerpieces will “set the tone.” We still have a lot of other decoration decisions to make but I would like to decide on these in order to create a timeline, “to do” list, etc.

Let us know what you think!

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The show must go on!

I wanted to do a quick post on wedding shows etc. Everyone who has even come into close proximity to me since I got engaged knows I am super excited about this wedding and getting married. I also have been known to stress and obsess in regards just about everything so how could my wedding be any different? Ha. This is of course why I would HAVE to attend some bridal shows. Why pass up the chance to meet other equally obsessed and excited brides? Forgive me, I know already I am going to ramble in this post.

After going to my second though, I have mixed reviews. I have read countless blogs and combed through hours of ideas, vendors, and articles. I have already spent probably 100 hours on my wedding. I am for all intents and purposes, the kind of girl every single vendor is trying to reach.  However, when I attend them I feel as though I am taking part in a giant wedding “machine” designed to get you all hyped about spending money and not caring at all for the meaning and real celebration of the day. It reminds me of the importance of putting significance and thought into the day. It reminds me to continue to build the bond with my fiancé even after we continue to plan this very important celebration.

I also have one other bone to pick. Wedding vendors pay attention! Do not be rude to anyone. No matter how great you think your product is, it isn’t cool if you’re a jerk!

I think about all of the negatives but then I get caught up in the girly chatter, pretty colors, and yummy cake samples! They are a lot of fun. The first one Brandon and I went to was really small in Murfreesboro right after we were engaged. It was awesome having him there because he got so much attention for being only one of a handful of grooms. (Guys, you are missing out!) The most recent show I attended with Anna and it was awesome to learn what she thought and get ideas now that I have a much better idea of what I want.

Anyway, my final take on the giant wedding show industry is this. 1) They are fun because they let you be a girly, over the top bride to be. 2) However, you can’t get caught up in the wedding buzz and forget the real reason why you are there.

Everything in moderation. Even weddings! Now, if I can just keep telling myself that…

Above are two solid ideas I got from the show this month. The first vendor was  a florist that really did a fantastic job. Her set up was different from the rest and really rustic and woodsy. I was so excited as it was just what I am looking for. She also had awesome burlap bows and used wood for amazing centerpieces. The show definitely put my creative brain cells in high gear. 

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I have been meaning to post a blog about our wedding photographer and engagement photos for quite some time but have never quite gotten around to it. That, however, is no indication about how I feel about this subject because it was actually the thing I was most concerned about when we got engaged and the first thing I started researching. It turns out I was able to find a great, talented photographer who is just starting his business. He is already off to a great start and I know will soon become a Nashville favorite. If the engagement photos are any indication of what the wedding photos will be, I am super excited.

If there is one piece of advice I have for budget and DIY brides it has to be to ask questions. Seriously! I  have been able to get so many resources and ideas from just asking people I know. When Brandon and I first started thinking about engagement photos I asked him to send a few emails to friends who were getting married or had just gotten married regarding photography.

Photography is one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding but also one of the most important. I wanted someone who could work with our needs but was also talented. I knew I was asking for a lot. Surprisingly I found that person. Jamie was great to work with and I am really forward to seeing what he comes up with for the wedding. He listened to what I had to say and understood our vision for the engagement photos. We wanted to go really modern and urban because the wedding is going to be really rustic and seasonal. The photos were taken in downtown Nashville last October on a crisp and cool Sunday afternoon. It was so much fun and I am really glad we chose to have engagement photos done. I know Brandon and I will cherish them for many years to come.

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“My car is on fire! OMG! My wedding stuff!”

This, folks, is not from a movie. This, folks, was screamed from my mouth less than one week ago. Most of you now know that my poor little 1987 Nissan Stanza caught on fire and burned to the ground. But more on that later, we are going to talk about the wedding stuff first.

Last Saturday I began searching the trusty ole craigslist. I love craigslist so much. It was like the most genius idea ever! Anyway, I found a couple in Murfreesboro who were selling 24 chocolate brown polyester tablecloths. For those of you don’t know a single thing about events. Those are the fancy ones that they use at events and get this…weddings. And guess what else? OMG! They were five dollars a piece! I know! That is cheaper than they are to rent folks! I was so excited.

After a stop to pick up Maggie we headed out to this people’s house. It turned out they had a lot of things for sale and I ended up adding 28 ivory colored Japanese style lamps to the mix. I had been pricing both items online and I know I saved a load of money buying them off the couple who had gotten married only a few months earlier. The best part though, is that they were very eager to share their DIY wedding with me and show photographs. I was so excited when I saw that they had gotten married at the same exact location as Brandon and I. They were so nice and showed me all of the decorations and set up they had used. Earlier in the week I had been questioning whether or not I could pull off a total DIY wedding on such a tight budget but they showed me it was completely possible. I felt so great about their draping, set up of tables, bar etc that I knew I could do it too! I excitedly purchased the items and put them in the back of my little Stanza.

Maggie and I had plans to head to Emily’s housewarming party that evening so we headed on our way. The rain had been going all day and by the middle of the night had settled in quite nicely. It wasn’t going anywhere. As a result, we left the tablecloths and lamps in the car. In fact, they stayed in their all night and all day.

Brandon hadn’t even seen them yet when I called him screaming into the phone, “I think my car is on fire. I saw flames.“ I had been on the phone with Emily when it began smoking driving over Donelson Pike and I-40. I was leaving Anna and Tony’s house. I pulled over as soon as I got over the bridge and hanging up with Brandon grabbed my purse. All of this happened so fast I can’t even describe it. Within seconds, a man was opening my door and screaming at me to get out of the car. It was on fire! As I stood on the side of Donelson Pike shaking and watching my car burn I remembered the linens and even though I hadn’t been crying before, I was now. Turns out the man who pulled me from the car (guided me out really) was an off duty fireman named Josh. When his wife, Katie, found out about my linens she asked him if there was any way we could save them. Quickly, he began throwing the boxes on the ground as Katie and I tried to grab them and run. It was a miracle people! They were saved with no damage whatsoever. However, my car was not. Even though the airport fire responded within 5-7 minutes the whole front of my car was engulfed in flames. Brandon had been at the grocery store and was hauling a** down Murfreesboro Rd. and Donelson Pike and his parents were coming from the other direction. They were both blown away by the smoke and flames. They got there soon after the fire department.

Besides shutting down Donelson Pike and scaring me really badly everything was okay. It could have been much worse. Everything worked out in that I was able to stop in time and get to the side of the road quickly. My car was only worth a few hundred dollars and turns out….my future in-laws came through on that one. Better yet, my wedding stuff was saved thanks to a passerby who saw and stopped to help. At the end of the night, as I was hugging Josh and Katie, I was grateful for their help. Nobody wants to go through something like that but if you have to it is great to have people step in and help.

So here I am. Planning a wedding and dealing with burning cars. It is a crazy story but one that will be awesome to tell for many years to come. Thanks so everyone who expressed their concern. No wedding goes off without a hitch!

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Well since Brandon got to write all about “the boys” I guess I get to write about “the girls” huh?

I also put a lot of thought and consideration into my choices. Things were a little funky for me based on the fact that I have friends and family in three different states. It was a little awkward. When one moves across the country, relationships change, grow and dissipate. I made my decision based on whom I could see myself being closest to at this point in my life and whom I know would be capable of putting up with my crazy and somewhat obsessed self. The following women are incredibly special to me for a variety of different reasons and are all incredibly different. They each bring a gift and a special touch to my life. I am so thankful to have each of them.


Tonya aka My Baby Sister

The Matron of Honor

Tonya Michelle, as she is known in our family, possesses key knowledge of which others know little of. She has seen me at all (minus the first five years of course) stages of my life and been there in the way only a sister can be. She also happens to be the mother of the most handsome little man ever, my nephew, Stephen. My sister has been through a lot in her life and continues to overcome obstacles every day. She is strong, resilient, and caring. She values her relationships with friends and family and would pretty much go out on any limb to help people. If she were any cooler she would be me and then that wouldn’t work out quite right. She also LOVES sweatpants which makes sense since she is a hard working mama with lots to do. We have been through a lot together. More than either of us can ever fully explain. She was a no brainer as my Matron of Honor.



Maid of Honor

Danyella and I met my freshman year of college when we were pledging for Sigma Lambda Gamma. However, we stood still in that friends, but not best friends, stage for quite a few months even after we crossed and became sisters. Though, once we clicked, we clicked, and the world had to take note. (Okay that was a little over the top, much like the two of us.) We have the same introspective personalities. We can get damn serious and political when we want to be, however, get us out on the town and we can raise the roof. Danyella is confidant, insightful, and passionate. Some may she (and me too!) has a flare for the dramatic. Danyella (like myself) is a fire sign and it shows in everything she does. She is incredibly loyal and always stands up for what she believes in. I call Danyella when I have good news, bad news or really with any news at all. I know she’ll always be there, even when it is to tell me what I don’t want to hear.




Emily is part businesswoman, part social activist, and part artsy creationist (my own word). Emily and I met at Room In The Inn but she has since ventured into the world of Vanderbilt Education(s). She reminds me how important it is to be progressive even it feels like the rest of the world isn’t.  She blazes her own trail. She is open minded, sassy, and big hearted. She is one of those people that you sometimes think you have figured out and then she comes along and surprises you. Did I mention that she seldom takes “no” for an answer? She works hard and is always up for a good time. Emily is adventurous and I don’t see her settling down anytime soon. That’s totally part of her charm and I love her for it. She is a go getter, passionate, and thoughtful. Emily is going places and I am glad we became friends ‘cause I get to share it with her.




First of all, let me say, if you are a hard core street thug with a knife or an incredibly intoxicated, loud and really grabby troublemaker YOU DO NOT STAND A CHANCE. This means Maggie handles anyone who gets drunk at the wedding. Just kidding! Maggie and I met through work at Room In The Inn but became friends with a little quality partaking and hanging out. She can match me curse word for curse word and few people can do that. She also gives everything she has to everything in her life…which is a whole bunch. Maggie is also Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker rolled up into one. I can only hope to aspire to be as gifted as she is in that department. So you see why she is the conqueror. I think she could probably be making desert on one hand and beat down someone with the other. Come heck or high water I know Maggie would be there in a pinch. If I had one word to describe Maggie it would be…real. She is never pretentious and always herself. She is also super genuine, open, fearless, and kindhearted. We have a ton in common and I look forward to many years as friends.




Patricia and I met my freshman year of college as well. Patricia took me under her wing and later developed my passion for Sigma Lambda Gamma and the sisterhood. Patricia defines fun. She can cut a rug like a champ and always make me laugh. She held my hair back the first time I had too much to drink and has given me advice through every step of becoming an adult. She is one part girly and one part beat you down. She loves all things glitz and glam and has the shiniest hair I have ever seen in my life. She is also loving, dedicated, and brave. She pile drives adversity. She is super creative and adventurous. I love that she always has a lot of love to give. Once you get on her good side, she’ll do anything to help. One thing is for sure, I can always count on Patricia to keep it real and make me smile.

My wedding party in a nutshell. Aren’t they gorgeous, wonderful and totally awesome? Planning a wedding has been an wonderful experience with these knowledgeable and helpful ladies in tow. I couldn’t do this wedding without them. Actually, I probably couldn’t do life without them.

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