November 30, 2009

Wedding Centrality Syndrome

Posted in General wedding at 3:12 pm by Andrea

Your wedding plans sound really interesting to you

What is it exactly that happens the moment that shiny, sparkly engagement ring on your finger that seems to cause the world to believe that the only possible thing that could be on your mind for the next 12 months is your wedding? I have been trying so hard to resist being “that girl,” the one who talks non-stop about dresses and fondant and card boxes, and I have been succeeding on the outside at least, but based on my dreams of this past week, my subconscious has fallen prey to the ubiquitous Wedding Centrality Syndrome (my name for the condition that seems to make so many brides think that the issue of utmost importance is not stopping nuclear proliferation in Iran or ensuring that the world economy gets back on track, but rather that the lavender tablecloths are a perfect match to the lavender bridesmaid dresses).

Yes, last week I had the first two (that I can remember at least) wedding dreams/nightmares. The first involved a reception sans music, groom (although we had gotten married, he just somehow hadn’t made it to the reception) and wedding party. So it was pretty much just my family and me standing around in total silence. The second dream involved time fast forwarding 11 months to the week of the wedding. The fast forwarding meant that I hadn’t done any planning other than what I currently have done (church, reception venue and photographer booked), so the wedding was very sparse (and I was HUGELY disappointed) to say the least.

It’s funny, I make every effort in “real life” to not be overly bride-y. I don’t talk about anything wedding-related unless asked, I try to fill my time with much more than comparing bridesmaid gowns and wedding blogs, and yet my subconscious is still plagued by WCS.

Anyone else experiencing involuntary WCS? What are you solutions to keep it at bay?


November 16, 2009

“We’re not having that”

Posted in General wedding, Planning, Reception, Tacky alert! at 7:44 pm by Andrea

So goes the motto of our wedding. Romantic, isn’t it?!

Here’s the thing: our number one goal with our wedding is to pull together an event that is representative of us as a couple. And what we’ve discovered is that “us as a couple” seems to have less in common with “cookie cutter wedding” than we thought. Let’s be clear: our wedding isn’t some revolutionary affair comprised of interpretive dances and mime performances or anything that “out there”; in fact, on the surface, it’s thoroughly traditional: church ceremony, country club reception, dinner, dancing, rinse, repeat. But as we’ve gotten more into the planning process I’ve discovered that a lot of the traditional wedding customs just aren’t our bag.


No thank you.


We’re not having that #1: Head table. No, we aren’t having a head table. We will sit at a round table like everyone else. We will sit with some of our wedding party, and we will ensure that our wedding party gets to sit with their spouses. Those long, rectangular head tables remind me of, I don’t know, Medieval Times or something. And why would I not want to be able to look at all my nearest and dearest? And furthermore, why would I want to separate them from their partners, all for the sake of being on display? Yeah, not us. We’re not having it.


Undeniably pretty, but does not maximize flavour options!


We’re not having that #2: Wedding cake. Don’t worry! There will be cake! To not have cake would be shameful and saddening (aside: I LOVE cake and The Guy learned very early in our relationship that we are never, ever to leave an event until cake has been served. Cake is sacrosanct), but we are not having a wedding cake of many tiers. I’m planning on having a cake buffet of sorts, which will involve different cakes of different flavours on cake stands of varying heights and designs. In my mind it is beautiful. Why have a couple flavours of cake when you could have MANY flavours of cake? I’m just sayin’…


Fun? Not so much when you're being singled out for being single.



This requires no explanation.


We’re not having that #3: Bouquet/garter toss. Nor are we substituting anything in their place (like an anniversary dance or lottery ticket toss). These puppies are 100% off the program. That is all I have to say about that.


Just not us.


We’re not having that #4: Videographer. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the incredible, cinematic work that some videographers do. What don’t I love? The price tag. If it’s something that is totally you and means a lot, then yes, go for it. I just can’t justify spending as much on a videographer as I will on my photographer. And, again, many of the videos I’ve perused online have been nothing short of artful, but some of them border on self-indulgent and just kind of ridiculous, and that’s not us. Instead, I have a cousin who coordinates digital/video exhibits for a major museum, and I will ask if he can video the ceremony and the speeches. No fancy effects or music, just the actual moments captured for posterity.

kissing game

Um, no.


We’re not having that #5: A stupid kissing game. So, here’s what clinched this one for us: last year we were at a wedding at which they had taken the names of all the couples in attendance and put them into a hat. Then, over the course of the night, they would draw couples’ names and that couple would have to kiss as provocatively as possible,and the bride and groom would have the imitate it. This caused me to break out into a sweat and desperately want to flee to the bathroom every time they were going to call a new name. Luckily, we dodged that bullet, but it made me incredibly uncomfortable. We decided that night that at our wedding we won’t kiss for clinking glasses, or songs with the word love and certainly not for the sake of humiliating our guests. At our reception, if you want us to kiss, you can come up to the podium and tell a story (nice, funny, silly, whatever) about The Guy and me.

So what ARE we having? More on our priorities and splurges in a coming post.

Are there any traditions that you’re kiboshing at your wedding?

November 10, 2009

Meeting of the minds

Posted in Ceremony, Planning at 2:41 pm by Andrea

This past Sunday we met the minister who will be officiating our ceremony.

First we attended the church service, which was dedicated to Remembrance Day. It was a long service because of the special occasion, but it was incredibly moving. It was great to see that so much thought had gone into the service – it certainly wasn’t the same routine that you would normally see; it was clear a lot of time, thought and work went into it to make it very meaningful. Having been raised in the Catholic Church, this was actually the first time I’d attended a service in the United Church. It really resonated with me. Since the ceremony is so important to me, it was great to discover that I’d definitely made the right decision in terms of the church.

After the service, we introduced ourselves to the minister and, after a brief stop in the church hall for some refreshments, we went up to minister’s study and had our meeting. It was really wonderful. I think it’s human nature that people enjoy talking about themselves, but we don’t get the opportunity to do it all that often (without having to stop to ask about others – darn social conventions!), so it was kind of fun to get to shamelessly ramble on about ourselves. The minister wanted to know everything from where we were born, our mothers’ maiden names and our religious affiliations, to how we met and why we wanted to marry one another. When it came to that last question, I went first and listed all The Guy’s many wonderful and endearing traits. Then The Guy went and, gah!, the things he said! The minister had to direct me to the tissues, because I welled up almost instantly. I don’t think anyone has ever said so many wonderful, kind, thoughtful things about me all at once. It was very touching and meant a lot to me.

We also talked a little about why we had chosen the United Church, and I explained the many personal reasons I have and how I feel the United Church’s values and beliefes best align with our own. Seeing how well things were going, I got up the nerve to mention that I am very sensitive about issues of equality and ensuring that the language at our wedding demonstrates this (e.g. at no point should anyone say anything about marriage being, “between a man and a woman,” for me, marriage is, “between two people”). The minister was extremely receptive to this and said that this is actually the exact language the United Church uses! He mentioned that it’s also an issue very close to his heart.

We left the meeting feeling that we could not have found a better church and minister for us. It was like the stars aligned and we somehow managed to stumble upon the perfect circumstances.

It was funny though, I realized afterward that I had never been asked, or asked The Guy, why we wanted to marry one another, not in that up front of a context anyway. And I think it isn’t a question that’s asked frequently enough. We know we want to marry our partners, we know we love them, but it’s incredibly powerful if you take a moment to list all the reasons you’re marrying your partner. Think about it. Share your ideas with one another. I know, for us, it served only to make us fall more in love with one another.

Yeah, it was a good day!

November 3, 2009

Hurry up! …….and wait

Posted in General wedding, Planning at 11:25 pm by Andrea

I don’t know if any other brides feel this way, but I feel like I’m in limbo, planning purgatory, if you will. We got engaged about a month ago, and in the intervening weeks we’ve booked the church, the reception venue and the photographer. I don’t know what else to do right now. And it’s driving me CRAZY!

I’ve been spending copious amounts of time on TripAdvisor looking at potential honeymoon destinations (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Antigua, Nevis, St. Martin…we can’t decide), but we’re not ready to book that yet, because we aren’t 100% sure on what our honeymoon budget will be/how much time we’re going to be able to take off. Not that that stops me from dreaming about kicking back at the Hermitage Bay in Antigua (my current front runner).

*le sigh*



So, with honeymoons off the table, I turn my attention to flowers. I am currently focusing on two floral designers who look AMAZING: My Bouquet and Vintage Floral Design Co., but is that a littler premature? How soon before the wedding are you supposed to start working with a florist? I feel like it’s too soon. Yes? No?

So then I start thinking about invitations. I am obsessed with paper, particularly letterpress, and have been bookmarking various letterpress designers for longer than I care to admit. So, of course since the engagement, I’ve been revisiting my favourite sites and really trying to narrow it down. Bella Figura? Ephemera Press? Or this great vendor I found on Etsy? Oh, but wait, I can’t really order invites until our guest list is for sure finalized, which it currently is not. Hmph. Okay then.

Is this normal? Should I be a busier bride-to-be than I am? I don’t have any overdue items on my checklist over on The Knot.

Oh well, the next big task on my to do list is a very exciting one: the dress search starts in December!

Until then, maybe I should take up a new hobby. Knitting? Needlepoint? Crocheting? No, I think I’ll just stick to obsessive web-surfing and idea collecting so that when it is time for me to make all those decisions I’m more prepared (or confused) than ever!