Sunday, July 26, 2009

moving on

So DHL(?) came yesterday and 25 boxes of ours are slowly making their way west. I am already missing my cookbooks, and I know that David is missing his library, but there we are. We still have the rest of the place to sort through and pack, which I’m not looking forward to, but with a little organization it should be ok.

Looking to the future, I got another evening gown the other day. I got it at work so I was able to use my 50% discount on it, making me quite happy. It’s in pretty good shape and I only need to do a little seam stitching. It’s light green chiffon and has an asymmetrical chiffon wrap on the front that has little clear beads sewn onto it. It’s good quality too—has nice boning in the bust. So instead of taking my black evening gown to Cambridge I will be taking this one. It fits better and is a little more cheerful. I’m thinking of finding a dark green wrap to go with it for when I need to cover my shoulders. I’m quite happy because I wanted to ensure that I had a good formal dress to take as it could come in useful. Besides, with the number of dress clothes David has I have to compete!

We are both really looking forward to being home in just over a month. There is so much wedding stuff to do while we’re back—fortunately I feel on top of what there is to do and have a bit more time now than I did last time I went home (when I was dealing with health problems and term papers the week before). Thanks to my wonderful MoH and our friend Harrison I got an excellent tip on a photographer in Victoria and I’m really looking forward to setting up an appointment to meet with her. We have other photographers to meet with as well, but this woman is a little cheaper than other quotes I’ve seen while still managing to take beautiful photos in the style I want. So I’m really, really looking forward to meeting with her.

On the cake front, mum is now talking about baking our wedding cake herself (and getting a friend of hers who does cake decorating to decorate it). We are still going to go look at other cake options but I’m thinking of going this way, because it will be special and delicious! I was worried it would be too much work for her but she says she has a plan. So if she’s cool with it I’m happy.

I also asked someone to sing at our wedding. We’ll be discussing it more when I’m home, but it looks like a wonderful thing. It’s so great to have talented friends and family whom we can have participate in our day and make it extra special.

I’ve been browsing wedding bands. My e-ring is such a non-traditional setting that it is going to be hard to find something that I can wear with it. This leaves two options—get a ring custom made that fits around it or wear it on my other hand. Not sure what I’m going to do, and I’ll probably go talk to a bunch of different jewellers. I really like the idea of having an antique-style band, probably art deco, or something that incorporates stones and filigree work. I can’t get anything too expensive, of course, so getting a custom ring may be out. David has no idea what he wants, but I’m hoping he gets something fun.

So that is all that. So looking forward to moving, and to going home for a month, and for just getting on with life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

calm spots

i've been having a good summer but I have been feeling a little stressed with all the things going on. if i were more disciplined I'd be going to bed earlier to compensate for the two mornings when I have to get up at 6:30, but as it happens I usually end up getting 5.5-6hrs of sleep on the nights before and being tired. Fortunately those days are at the job I like where my lack of sleep makes me look a little slow but is still manageable. I try to go to bed earlier, but when I'm working until 10pm other nights (and subsequently not eating dinner until 10:30) it is hard to manage. Plus Value Village is full of the annoyances of working in a place run by barely competant management, which causes its own stress. And of course moving, moving, moving... but I swear this isn't about complaining!

It's about the wonderful evening I had with David on Saturday. Between our various stresses and busyness having fun together tends to slip by the wayside. Not that we don't do stuff, just that it isn't always easy to put stress on hold and just relax. Saturday, however, worked out perfectly and was one of those nice moments of reconnecting. I had worked until 4pm and had then gone over to a friend's house for tea and wedding chat (she is also getting married, about two months before us). So I didn't get home that day until about 8:30, and when I came in there were chores to attend to and the usual little things one does when arriving home.

David was making dinner, and it happened to be ready in time for one of our favorite shows--Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. So I was looking forward to just relaxing with David while we ate dinner, but he surprised me with a magnificent feast of snow crab legs and his homemade bruschetta. It was soooooooooooo good. We couldn't figure out a good way to divide the crab legs between us so we just piled them all on a plate and sat down on the living room floor with that and a dish of melted butter between us, sharing the plate and eating this incredibly delicious meal and just relaxing. It was delightful and different enough from the usual dinner routine to feel really special.

Packing yesterday also reminded me once again of how happy I am with David. Happy to be with someone who turns an afternoon of packing into a fun adventure instead of something stressful, and who manages to stay relaxed and organized and in a good mood the whole time. Happy also to be with a man who does his fair share and more around the house and who is almost always more than happy to help me with stuff (even if he grumbles when I make him kill spiders). In the evening we just relaxed--David made salmon steaks and baked potatoes and we sat amongst our sea of boxes watching Excalibur. I also worked a lot on my latest embroidery project (pillowcases) and am about 3/4s done. Hooray!

Also making plans for when I'm back in September. So much to look forward to--making perogies, doing wedding stuff, visitng people, and spending lots of time with my Grandma. It is going to be a major adjustment to be an only child again tho with John off at college. Everything is changing, and I'm glad to have bright dreams on my horizon instead of being stuck while everything moves on around me.

David: hair cut so he looks presentable for Cambridge and practicing packing the Gang into his new bag of holding. Look out UK!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

photos and such

So today we went to get our engagement photos done. We got them done portrait studio style, instead of an outdoorsy shoot. We may end up getting an outdoorsy shoot if it comes with our wedding photography package when we get a photographer, but that is for another day. I wanted something for now that looked timeless and elegant, and I feel that is what we got so I'm pleased. Out of all the photos we only ended up choosing one shot to do for all our prints--David is apparently really picky with how he's posed and tends to go for the more traditional (no kissing! no crossed arms!). Anyway, now we have something nice to give out to our family members and a really beautiful portrait to hang on the wall.

In other news, my mum has been full of sweet wedding surprises of late. She is talking about baking my favorite cake as a wedding cake (more on this later once we figure out for sure what we're doing, but it's looking like a good option), she's been slowly picking up brightly coloured dishes/cups for the reception, brainstorming DIY decorations with Sue (so I think we've figured out how to do strings of butterflies!), and...

and... the other night David told me that he wanted a traditional kind of caketopper bride & groom that we could keep as an ornament after the wedding. So I started looking around to find something appropriate, which was slightly harder than hoped for due to our taste and most people's taste. At one point I found these really cute Ukrainian toppers, but the groom was bald so that was nixed. And then I found it: a folk art style bride and groom with folk motif designs on them, hand painted, and by one of my favorite mass-market artists (if such a thing can be said to exist).

So we both fell in love with them, but for prudence sake decided to put off buying them. But we showed them to mum and I guess she thought they were perfect too because she decided to surprise us by buying them for us to make sure we wouldn't miss out on them! It's no longer a surprise because she started worrying I'd go and buy them and then we'd be stuck with two sets, but!!! BEST AND MOST AMAZING MOTHER EVER. So I'm just waiting for her to order them and then I will know for certain that they are ours.

Anyway, we are both really touched by her ongoing generosity and meaningful little contributions. Thanks mum!

Also, I cannot resist sharing our second choice--Ukrainian Bride & Groom:

Friday, July 17, 2009


My annoyance has faded a little, but this was the response I got to my email to our church about doing marriage prep:

Unfortunately, our marriage prep course is only available for those who are parishioners who will be getting married here at Newman.

I realize that as a university church they are kind of stuck doing something like this, because so much of the parish is transient. But it still bothers me on some level--we've been going to the church fairly exclusively (aside from when I had to be at the Cathedral for a friend's RCIA) and have participated in various events, that's where our offering money goes etc. So it is irksome that we don't qualify to do our marriage prep there. Keep in mind the marriage prep course is a prereq to having a Catholic wedding.

I have a few options:
- contact the Arch Diocese and see about doing it in Toronto in the short space of time now before we leave
- contacting the church in BC where we are going to get married and see what they say
- waiting until we both move to the UK and doing it there

I think the last two options are my best. I'm going to ask david what he thinks, but I think we may just be better leaving Toronto out of the equation. In my experience most places are only interested in you if you're physically present, and usually not interested at all when you're leaving.

I also think it might be less of a hassle going through it in the UK and getting "permission" to marry back home than it would be to go through it in Toronto and getting permission to marry on the other side of the country. But still! I realize that our circumstances seem a little more "special" to me than they do to some random secretary, and that most of the world is not still trying to grasp the concept that yes, David did win a scholarship for three years to do his PhD at Cambridge, and subsequently our plans of the last couple of years of settling in Toronto for at least five years have had a huge wrench thrown in them, but!

My original reason for wanting to get it done before the end of summer was that I wasn't sure of how/when/if I could get a visa, and thus had irrational fears of being stuck in BC while DAvid was in Cambridge and us being unable to do the prep course and unable to get married. Irrational, I know, and not really an issue anymore. But it's back to the drawing board for marriage prep I guess.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've been wasting way too much time this weekend playing around with/stressing over wedding invites. I know that the invites are rather toward the end of my list of things needing to be done--we don't even have a date set--but I've been puzzling over an affordable way of getting what I want. I happen to have expensive tastes, so even in the DIY range it doesn't really save money.

Anyway, trying to find the original paper I wanted to go with for an affordable price was proving quite difficult via the internet. So I spent some time browsing and coming up with various ideas for a similar effect, and then I thought I nailed it. So I was happy. Until I remembered that because we are moving to the UK I either have to order the paper NOW, which I can't justify doing to my credit card, or making my parents do my invites, which I can't justify doing to my parents, or shipping the paper to the UK, which I can't justify to my budget. So I was back to the drawing board. And more internet browsing. And more time wasting--it is pretty clear from the last couple of days that I do not have enough productive things to do... Like I should maybe be packing and getting ready to move, or something simple like cleaning the bathroom... ah procrastination!

To condense what has turned into more time on the internet than I care to admit to, I *think* that I have finally come up with the invite style I want coupled with a price that doesn't break my budget, with supplies that I can get for a decent price in the UK. There has been the creation of word document templates for the sake of measuring how many of _____ I can get out of a sheet of A4 paper. And, hoping that I don't work tomorrow, I am going to walk to the nearby craft store and throw a dollar or two down on making a mockup in similar style to see if I like the result. Also, because I am ripping the general idea off of a craft site, they had a how-to video showing the basics of assembly and now I am super excited about getting to assemble all this stuff.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mostly Music

Being overtired (I hate you, 6:30am mornings) and with nothing good on TV I seem to turn to wedding planning. So far I'm really pleased with how everything is coming together. Actually, I'm wary about how everything is coming together—am I just deceiving myself? No doubt mum will bring me a reality check when I need one.

So dress and shoes are pretty much out of the way, and my veil is sitting at home nicely wrapped and just needs some tweaking to update to 2010. Mum and I have ideas for decorating for the reception and she is already buy some Very Funky Plates and we just need to sit down and discuss our menu. I have my guest list back from both families and am just mulling back and forth over which friends to invite.

So all that said, this evenings project turned out to be music. Because the wedding will be a mass, there are a lot of opportunities for music. I need to pick a mass setting and make sure whoever does the music can play the setting. I want to have good musicians who can hold their own because I've been to too many regular masses with a congregation that barely sings and music that sounds half dead—NOT AT MY WEDDING. While I can't bank on people singing (although I know Madeleine, Hannah, & I will sing loud enough to compensate, haha) I at least want good music to fill up any empty space. I also want to put good thought into the hymns/songs used at the wedding. While I realize that it is near impossible to find songs about love and commitment that do not sound corny or mushy, if I am going to embarrass myself by having those things played at my wedding they are going to be chosen for the right reasons!

I thought about having Ave Maria somewhere in there. Not sure where—I read somewhere once that it could be sung during the blessing of the rings(?). I *may* also be able to have it as a recessional, but I'm not sure. One needs to be careful where they put Mary in the mass >;)

For the processional I am really, REALLY, hoping to be able to have The Wedding Song (Noel Peter Stookey). Not only is it beautiful, but Dad was the one who found it for me when I was home last. I think it's one of his little ways of being involved, and I just happened to really like the song. And I just picture it being set to some amazing guitar and piano, with the amazing vocalist I'm hoping to have and I melt a little. All that said I'm really hoping Fr Marek doesn't throw a fit like some priests (*cough*stmichael'scathedral*cough*) about me walking down the aisle with my dad (or parents) and meeting David at the front of the church. According to St Michael's this is a superstitious tradition and the bridge & groom are expected to process down the aisle together. I don't think it will be a problem, because i've been to Catholic weddings in Victoria that did it the normal way, and I really don't want David to see me until I'm coming down the aisle so that he will be even more blown away. I think it is much more romantic than seeing me in the narthex before the ceremony.

As for the reception, I've considered various ways of getting music at the park. The main issue is that it is a park, so there is no electricity. My brother is convinced that we can ask the caretaker if we can run an extension cord from the caretaker's cottage down to the picnic area, and I am convinced that my brother is nuts and this won't work. Instead I am really hoping that I can get certain Port Albernians who play classical guitar to provide background music. We are not planning to have a dance, but I have one special song that I would like to do a first dance to. And I don't see why I can't! So hopefully the musicians will know it, and if not I will have it provided via laptop or i-Tunes or something. And the song shall remain nameless but ya'll can guess what it is when you hear it at the wedding.

In non-music related news, it looks like our wedding is going to be dry. We're thinking about obtaining a liquor license so that we can have sparkling wine for toasts, but we're not sure. I don't mind a dry wedding—I've been to too many weddings that just turn into a bunch of people getting roaringly drunk and that is *not* what I want. I also don't want people coming just to take advantage of an excuse to get roaringly drunk. That said, I really don't care if my friends want to bring their own liquor and drink it, of course! It's more the "I'm only here for the alcohol" eventuality that I want to avoid. Besides, it's an afternoon reception!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

my mother is awesome

I must take a moment to say just how awesome my mother is being about the whole wedding. So far she's been really supportive of every idea I've bounced off her, no matter how different it is from the norm. Only once has she commented on my wedding being somewhat offbeat but that was in a jokey sort of way. This post is mostly brought about because I sent her a picture of the shoes I'm thinking of getting for the day--royal blue "medieval moccasins". Instead of saying something negative about them looking weird, or unconventional, or being blue, she just exclaimed over how cool they looked and said I need to make sure I got a short dress for the reception to show them off. Even when we went dress shopping, both her AND my FMIL refrained from saying which dress they preferred so that I wouldn't get swayed by anyone else's opinion.

From the day I called mum to tell her that I was engaged she's been picking up things for the wedding. She's slowly getting cans of chickpeas in order to make hummus for the potluck buffet, she's been picking up these crazy blue & white patterned paper plates for us to use at the reception, and she's currently talking about making windchimes from seashells to hang in the trees of the park. My brother says she's also keeping an eye out for small butterflies because I want to hang strings of them from the trees. And instead of ever telling me what she thinks I should do, she just gives nice little suggestions and explanations of her own ideas--no pressure--which helps me figure things out and think about aspects I haven't considered.

I'm really happy to have a mother who is really into the whole DIY aspect of this wedding, and who is actually excited about our unconventional plans (although to me they seem perfectly normal, haha). So, here's to my mum!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

budgets and such

I seem to be joined at the hip to the computer lately, mostly looking at wedding porn and discussion forums on OffBeatBride. Also had a nice chat with mum, again mostly wedding related. And I got the guest list back from David’s mum with their additions. Anyway, things are coming along swimmingly and I feel like I’m in a really good place to be this early. Still over a year away…with all this time on my hands I see how people can go overboard!

The best wedding related thing I did last week was to actually sit down and make a budget now that David and I have an idea of what we want. I accounted for us doing everything ourselves, no help from family, because I am trying to keep to a certain for more than just practicality. I really have a problem with how much weddings cost, with how “wedding _____” means costing ten times as much because of the W word in front. Don’t get me wrong—if you have the money and want a certain thing because it is an expression of who you & your fiancĂ©e are, that is great. It’s the whole idea of getting sucked into the wedding industry’s traps, guilt trips, and threats that should be avoided.

In my mind, having your life peak at the wedding is like peaking at high school. You know the people—“high school was the happiest time of my life”. No different than, “my wedding day was the happiest day of my life”, or “better be the happiest day of my life”! I’m not saying these times should be happy, I just think there’s always more good to come. I mean the day we got engaged was ONE of the happiest days of my life, but I really hope that when I’m 50 I’m not looking back on January 1st, 2009 as the happiest day of my life. I’m hoping I have something more recent to top it!

The point in all this is that by keeping to a modest budget we’re forced to really consider what is important to us, and to make sure that we weigh each thing we have carefully. I’m hoping this will save me from bride-musthave-insanity down the road. Currently I’m over the budget for the day by $256. But I tend to overbudget, so I’m hoping I come in under. I also have a budget including what I’d like to spend on the honeymoon, because I don’t see the point of separating the two.

I am so excited and I’m really hoping we don’t need to postpone it for finances. But I refuse to go into debt for one day!