We’re just under six months away. The e-mail inquiries have started trickling in. The reality has begun to attempt to set in. The fact that the stuff that’s piling up on the corner of the dining room table, the area of the house known as “Weddingland,” is actually going to be used for something, is becoming clear.
As a result, I’ve begun compiling a more concise mental (and physical!) checklist … and have realized just how far we’ve come. Seventeen months of being engaged. Seventeen months of trying to figure out what in the hell my brain wants, what Aussie’s brain wants. What in the hell we’re doing. And we’re doing damn well.
It all started with a general idea of where. Somewhere easy (or difficult, all depending on how you look at it) for everyone. Somewhere that won’t be a total ass-pain to get to, or if it is, it’ll be an ass-pain for everyone. Fair’s fair, right? Right. Ok, so Hawaii it is. Where in Hawaii? The Big Island. It’s kind of off the beaten path, there’s a ton to do there and it was my personal favorite when Dad, Ro and I went. Done. Ok, but where SPECIFICALLY? I began by looking at the Hilton Waikoloa, the Fairmont Orchid and a few others, but I kept coming back to the Mauna Lani. I’m not sure what it was, but something (Honu Independence day? Quick and concise communication? Willingness to work within the budget?) about it that drew me in. So we booked, a mere three months into our engagement. Our coordinator is/was very willing to work with us financially, which was a huge burden off our chests.
Then we began figuring out what we wanted. The first half of 2009 was very difficult, emotionally, mentally and financially, for us, which I think helped us simplify. We figured out what we wanted (color! Booze! Food! Friends! Family! Awesome photographer!) and what wasn’t super duper important (Flowers? Videography? Sit-down dinner? Cake-cutting?) and began working from there.
In May, as you can remember, I was stuck in Hell in Utah, (aka: Salt Lake City) for some rather somber shiz. But it was during this time I was dragged out to go dress shopping. Reluctantly, I acquiesced. Good thing, too, or else I wouldn’t have found my stunnah of a dress. And it was all mine for around a hundo (thanks Janice!). Good, got that down. Little would I realize (though I should have figured it out, because that’s precisely how my brain works) that The Dress would set the bar for how much we would pay for anything else, save photog/lodging/booze/food.
And so it began. We began collecting items bit by bit, never paying any amount disproportional to The Dress. Rings? $25 each. Aussie’s outfit? Shirt: $30. Shorts: $30. Suspenders: $10. His hat will be about $50. But that’s his ENTIRE outfit. For around $110. Huzzah! Guestboard? $12. Save the Dates? Cost of postage (Thanks Lauren!). Our decorations are partially being handmade, partially being bought to be assembled later, because it’s cheap. We’re also trying to be eco-friendly, so we wanted decorations we wouldn’t hate putting around our house later. This means NO FLOWERS. I don’t like them enough in the first place to spend an exorbitant amount on them for one day. Also, it’s Hawaii and the need for actual decoration is pretty minimal. So, done.
Our focus is on being with our friends, family and one another. It’s our vacation, it’s our wedding, it’s the first time we’re meeting most (if not all) of one another’s family and friends. There’s no need for us to go overboard on this, or spend money we don’t have. So when we’ve had the money to get something, we’ve gotten it. There, done, out of the way. If we don’t have the money for something, we decide if it’s really that necessary, if we can save for it later or if we can figure out a viable alternative. This trend has continued, and still does, throughout the planning process. It’s a daily assessment. Where are we at? What have we left? Do we really want/need/care about this that or the other? A few things have been scrapped, a few have been added. There are still things I have NO CLUE about (hair? makeup? hairpiece? pineapples? flags? signs?) that I’m sure I’ll figure out in the coming months.
In all, I’m really happy we’ve done things the way we have. It ensures we’re able to afford it all without going into debt and it enables us to really figure out what’s truly important to us. And it’s a reflection of how we live our lives … just like the many times where we’ve only had so much money to make it through a month, we buy what we can when we can and don’t worry about it until we can do something about it. I think in this way, our wedding is the best show of us, as individuals, as a couple, as a baby family.