I was very lucky to work with reliable, honest vendors, but others aren’t so lucky. I just found this article about preventing wedding scams. Those of you planning a wedding should take a look.



Finally Hitched

Boy, it sure has been a whirlwind these last few weeks, which explains why I haven’t written a blog post in a while. But I am happy to say that I am now Mrs. Carl Martin!

 Well I am stress free now, I certainly wasn’t in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Sure, planning a small wedding seems simple, but I had so many things left to do in the weeks leading up to the BIG DAY that I simply had no idea how I was going to get it all done, but I managed to pull things together the last few days, after several unplanned trips to Michael’s.

 I was also very concerned about the people who would be attending my wedding. My new sister-in-law told me that nothing brings out the worst in families like a wedding. I was concerned that people would forget that the wedding was about me and Carl starting our life together, not them. I was also worried that our families, being so different, wouldn’t get along well.

 And despite the numerous emails that I sent to the venue, I was still uncertain of so many details. I was worried the day wouldn’t run smoothly, details would be forgotten, and the whole day would seem unplanned.

 With all of this on my mind, I was an emotional wreck in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding, so much so that the littlest glitch in my plans would send me in to tears. Apparently Carl was worried until a friend assured him that I would be back to normal after the wedding.

 Yet after all of the worrying, the day was great. Of course there were things that didn’t go according to plan, things I wish would have been a little different, but that is to be expected. But we had a beautiful day surrounded by the people that we love.

My advice to you…register!

Carl and I originally weren’t going to register for wedding gifts. We figured that since we are having such a small wedding, registering wasn’t really necessary. Also, Carl was uncomfortable with the idea for asking specific gifts. (Maybe that’s why he can never seem to give me ideas for Christmas and his birthday?)

Anyway, so many of our wedding guests had been asking us what we would like for a gift, and we were unable to come up with an answer, that we decided to head to Khols late one night and register. Only problem with that is that we register weeks after the wedding invites were sent! A little backwards, I know!

So register, not so much for yourself, but for your family. Many of them may want to help you start out your new life together by buying you something that you need. You’ll make it easier for them if you register. And it will be a lot easier then trying to tell several different friends and family members what you would like.

Registering may be difficult, at least it was for us. You don’t want your friends and family members to run all over creation for the things on your list, so you will probably only register at one store. But not every department store will have what you want. And not every store in a chain will have the same merchandise. So just add what you can, don’t add anything you don’t think you will need just to fill-up pages. The nice thing is that many stores will let you add and subtract items online once you have started.

Another thing that I found difficult was the price of some items. For example, I have had my eye on a set of dishes for a while now. However, they weren’t on sale at the time that we registered. I am sure that they will be between now and the wedding, but I felt uncomfortable registering for something that I that costs more then I would pay for it if I were buying it for myself. I don’t know about many other stores, but Kohls gave us coupons for all of our guests. To bad we didn’t have them when we sent out the invites! But keep try your best to keep the budget of others in mind when you register.

 Bottom line, use your best judgment with what you need and register!

Last Sunday, Carl and I had our first session with our mentor couple through church. The couple has been married 43 years, have children and grandchildren, and love to help soon-to-be married couples start out on the right path. In fact, the husband used to be a pastor and still conducts weddings.

While it has only been one session, I liked the format of the mentoring so far. I think it will be helpful to have both a man and a woman assisting us with this so we get both perspectives. And they were upfront about the topics we will be discussing. Plus, the husband and Carl both have a Mennonite background, which I think will help them relate to each other and may also help me understand Carl better since he had a more conservative upbringing then I did.

Prior to the session, we completed an extensive on-line questionnaire. In this first session, we compared our answers to each others and also compared them with the desired answers per the publisher. I was happy that there weren’t many surprises so far. Our answers didn’t match-up entirely but I understood Carl’s perspective on the matter. I am hoping that as we continue to review our answers it will stimulate conversation that we wouldn’t have had otherwise and help strengthen our relationship.

The only problem is that we have homework and I have no idea when I am going to do it or if we will have time to complete all six recommended sessions!

Well, time to start that homework. We were given the book Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts to read together.

The Guest List

To be honest, I haven’t wanted to write this post. I was even hesitant to send out my invites, because I know that there may be people who were expecting one who didn’t receive one.

At first, we were going to “elope,” although a few family members were to be invited. Then we were going to have a small ceremony with just our parents and siblings. Then it became a wedding of 25-30 people. Now we have drawn the line at 50 – the most our venue will hold.

Carl and I decided to keep our wedding smaller for several reasons. First of all, cost. Throwing a wedding is expensive. The average American wedding costs $25,000! I just can’t see spending all of that money on one day.

Also, a large wedding isn’t very intimate. You invite all of these people to share in your special day and you barely get to say hello to many of them. If that is the case, was it very meaningful to invite them?
You have to draw the line somewhere. For us that line was drawn because the venue we liked will only accommodate a smaller wedding. But if we didn’t choose this venue, where would we draw the line?

I want there to be people at my wedding who really matter to me. I don’t want to invite people out of obligation. “Well I invited this cousin, twice removed, so I have to invite their parents and their siblings.” So many friends of mine have commented that they had guests at their wedding that they haven’t seen or spoken to since. We want the people who are at our wedding to be a part of our lives afterwards.

With a venue that has such a low ceiling for the number of guests, we not only invited the people who we are closest too, we also invited the people who we feel will actually come to the wedding. We didn’t want to invite 50 people, have 30 show up, and regret not inviting another 20 people who could have made it. Therefore, we didn’t invite many friends and family who would have to travel such a great distance that they may decide not to come. For me, that means leaving out several friends and family members from NY and throughout the Northeast.

With all of this in mind, we have sent out our wedding invites. There are still so many people we would like at our wedding. People we know could have made it that we didn’t invite. People who are really important to us. A wedding is one day. We certainly hope that our friends and family will understand that simply because we didn’t ask you to be part of this day, doesn’t mean we don’t want you to continue to be a part of our lives.

Relationship Insurance

This past weekend Carl and I attended a marriage conference hosted by our church. The speaker, Mark Gungor, was both hilarious and honest. He was also fair to both sexes. The conference, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, was directed at married couples, but the lessons were very applicable to our relationship.

They say that being married is one of the hardest things that you will ever do and that you have to work at your relationship ever day. I think a lot of people forget that. They stop working and go through life on auto-pilot. Or they put on blinders and ignore the problems. I think that is why so many marriages end in divorce.

I am not passing judgment on those who find themselves in that situation. I am sure they never thought they would find their relationship in such condition. They didn’t want that for themselves, and I don’t want the same for Carl and I.

Clearly Carl and I aren’t in that situation, or we wouldn’t be getting married. Yet why wait until things are at their breaking point before you try to improve them?

I went several years without going to the dentist. When I finally returned, I had four cavities. Now, I schedule a cleaning every six months. I don’t want to have to spend that much time or money on something that could have been prevented.

I feel the same way about our relationship. It isn’t perfect, never will be. I can be selfish and stubborn. But our relationship is good, and I want to keep it that way. I want it to improve with time, not get worse.

Something that can take so much time, so much work, deserves a little preventative maintenance, some relationship insurance. That is why we attended the conference. That is why we will be attending pre-marital counseling. That is why I hope we continue to work on our relationship and get help, even if we don’t think we need it.

In the End…

 The other day a co-worker commented that I was very calm for a bride that was about to get married in less than 3 months. She then recounted how another co-worker looked disheveled in the weeks leading up to her wedding. She also noted that her own daughter was very stressed leading up to her recent wedding.  

I think my lack of stress has to do with how simple we are keeping our wedding. Our ceremony and reception will be held in the same location, which is practically all-inclusive. Today I ordered the wedding cake and flowers. All I have left to do is send out invites, assemble my favors and centerpieces, and I have an appointment in April to have my dress altered.

I didn’t have to order linens, chairs, find a caterer. I didn’t even have to look far for the cake and flowers because the venue recommended several vendors.

At one point, I thought I wanted this HUGE, fancy wedding, but in the end, all that matters is that I am married to Carl.