February 25, 2010

The solidity of life

Posted in Reception at 5:06 pm by Andrea

“Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.” – Phyllis McGinley

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m sure we all learned early on that compromise is the stuff that relationships are made of. This isn’t exactly a revelation. I was definitely reminded of this fact though last night when a certain nasty topic reared its ugly head again: the first dance song.

Long have I hoped that we would use one of my favourite songs, Lost Together, by Canadian band Blue Rodeo for our first dance. The lyrics just seem so…us *swoon*.

Give it a listen:

So shortly after we started all this wedding planning rigmarole, The Guy, out of nowhere, decided that ALL the reception music needed to be his domain (His words, “I don’t want all the music at the reception to be Norah Jones!” My response: “The only Norah Jones music we have is the music YOU downloaded on YOUR computer!” Hilarious!). I was cool with that, thinking I’d still get to collaborate a little. Then he went further and said, no, in fact, he wanted to be 100% in charge of it because I was in charge of everything else. HA! Yes, I’m in charge of pretty much everything else, but only because he said, up front, “I want you to be in charge of everything.”

You can imagine the eye-rolling that ensued after he raised that bone of contention.

So, dear The Guy, what first song then would you like? He said he had three in mind, but he only told me two before the whole conversation devolved into something that wasn’t going anywhere.

Here were his two choices:

Read My Mind, The Killers

Rebellion (Lies), The Arcade Fire

Le sigh.

While I totally appreciated The Guy’s sentiment (both these songs have special meaning for us in the context of our relationship) and understood where he was coming from (he clearly wanted to use a song with which we had some history), I really didn’t want the lyrics of my first dance song to include, “People say that you’ll die/Faster than without water/But we know it’s just a lie/Scare you son, scare your daughter.” Not to mention neither song has a tempo conducive to a slow dance. Gah!

But. Well. Here’s the compromise part:

Last night we were discussing the ceremony. And forever and ever I’ve dreamed of including the Blessing of the Hands in our ceremony. I finally showed it to The Guy. He read it. And he didn’t like it! He thought it was “too much.” (I hastened to point out that a wedding ceremony is SUPPOSED to be sentimental)

So, dear readers, I made a compromise that I may come to regret: I traded any say in the first dance song for the right to include the Blessing of the Hands in our ceremony!

In fact, I even told The Guy to keep the first dance song a secret and surprise me at the reception. His response? “I chose a good ring, right? So I’ll choose a good song.” Um, right, prior evidence to the contrary (The Killers and The Arcade Fire songs) notwithstanding. My ring is lovely though….so maybe he has a point?

If not, I’m thinking it will at least be worth a laugh.

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February 24, 2010

Making marriage work

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:27 pm by Andrea

First I was sick, sick, sick. Then I had what may have been the busiest work week of all time. And then I celebrated with a weeklong tropical vacation with The Guy. I’m back though. Feeling relaxed. With a tan. After seven days of total relaxation it’s hard to remember where you left off in your “real life’!

It was a pretty quick reentry to reality though. We got home (well, to my parents’ home, as we were staying at their place this weekend) from the airport at 3:00 a.m. and started Marriage Prep at our church promptly at 9:15 the following morning. After about 4.5 hours of sleep I felt strangely awake. That, kids, is what we call adrenaline!

I think we had both been viewing the Marriage Prep course as a bit of a hoop that we needed to jump through to get where we wanted to go. In reality though? It was awesome! Both The Guy and I really enjoyed the weekend and the opportunities it provided to get to know eight other couples, learn more about making marriage work (more on that in a second), and learn about the structure of our ceremony (*happy dance*).

I love researching. So, it cams as no surprise when, shortly after the ring was on my finger, I started researching marriage. After much searching on Amazon, I finally settled on The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.

It was an easy read and I have been (secretly!) applying some of the strategies from the book in my day-to-day life with The Guy for the past several months. Dr. Gottman is the foremost academic researcher in the area of what leads to successful marriages. He flouts a lot of the conventional wisdom that’s out there (e.g. Happy couples can have enduring disagreements. They just handle them well.) and provides really practical strategies. It’s basically common sense, but sometimes we forget to use our common sense…especially in emotional situations like relationships.

Anyhow, it turns out that the majority of the Marriage Prep course was based on this book. For two days, we worked together as couples, or in small groups, to complete many of the exercises in the book and share with the group. It was a lot of fun and, I think, a hugely important step on the path to marriage. Even The Guy liked it.

Are you going to do any sort of marriage preparation? Through your church? Independently?

February 5, 2010

Critical Care

Posted in Planning at 4:03 pm by Andrea

When I first graduated from grad school about four years ago, I got a job in Toronto with a well-known non-profit. I handled a lot of their internal and external communications: writing employee memos, handling media calls, organizing media events etc. Since a lot of this work was extremely deadline driven, my boss tried to make sure that we had plans in place ahead of time. One day she came into my office and told me I needed to, “get a critical path together right away!” Being the green, eager-to-please new grad that I was, I confidently said, “Sure thing!” My boss was barely out of sight when I picked up my phone and called my then coworker (and now super cool friend) and in a panicked voice asked, “What is a critical path?!” Turns out she didn’t know either. Ultimately Google provided me with the answer and all was once again right with the world.

A Critical Path is basically a detailed plan. You look at the project you have ahead of you (like, um, I don’t know, a wedding?!) and work backwards to determine all the steps that need to occur between the now and the end of the project. Then you set deadlines for every single task, and these deadlines ensure that tasks gets completed in the correct order and that, ultimately, if you follow the critical path, you will have your project/event/deliverables all ready at the right time. You know, all your ducks in that proverbial row.

So, ever since that fateful day in the summer of 2006, I have treated critical paths as though they are my best friend. I use them for every project and mention my love of them in every job interview. So, obviously, I needed me some wedding critical path action.

So, yesterday, I decided to make use of my sick day to get to work on the wedding critical path on which I’d been procrastinating.

Here’s what it looks like:

That is merely the beginning portion. I divided it into several categories:

  • General
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Decor
  • Attire
  • Flowers
  • Paper
  • Logistics
  • Gifts
  • Beauty
  • Photography
  • Miscellaneous

In total there are 196 items on my critical path (and I’m sure I will add a few more that I’ve forgotten). They range from the most basic (e.g. wrap Bridal Party gifts; make sure there are pens to go with the guest book; ensure Bridal Party spouses have transportation) to the more serious stuff (e.g. write vows; finalize reception seating plan; pay outstanding reception balance). It feels glorious to have it all on paper (er, virtual paper) now, rather than rolling around in my head and keeping me awake at night.

How are you keeping organized for your wedding? I rely on Excel, but I know there are tons of other methods out there too: binders, filing systems, organized chaos(!) etc.

February 4, 2010

Inspiration Board

Posted in General wedding, Planning at 5:36 pm by Andrea

I met with a potential florist on the weekend (more on that later!), and I decided on Friday that I should pull together an inspiration board to provide an idea of the overall feel we want our little (okay, not so little) shindig to have. The fact that I had to blur the names on our STDs pains me to no end, but try to look past that.


I think the board does a good job of accurately conveying the elegant look we are going for in our palette of browns and apple greens. It also really helped me organize my thoughts — I had so many ideas flying around in my head and it was great to see them all documented in pictures — definitely a useful brain dump!

Last week was incredibly productive wedding-wise. I sent my invitation text and inspiration photos off to Kristin at Twin Ravens Press, I chose the bridesmaids’ dresses, we found and booked a DJ, finalized the photobooth, met with the coordinator at our reception venue and met with Pauline at My Bouquet. Whew! I was totally exhausted and now, not surprisingly have come down with a cold (and home sick today…trying madly to blog, keep up with work emails and save time to cuddle with my kitty!). Cold notwithstanding, it was great to cross so many things off the wedding to do list, and for now I think we’re sitting pretty.

Are you on track with your planning? How do you keep yourself organized? (I’m a big fan of Excel spreadsheets, in fact, I think my obsession might be a little out of control!).

Happy planning!