Before we decided (again) to keep it simple, I got really excited about a "brunch wedding." If you're looking for inspiration, here are some of the ideas I had pinned:
A mimosa bar? Um, yes! I think I was the most excited about this idea. (I also thought of having a Bloody Mary bar.)
What's better than French toast? French toast on a stick!
Once upon a time I tweeted that I wanted a frozen yogurt bar at my wedding. This would be the next best thing.
A coffee bar is pretty much necessary for a coffee-lover like me.
I wanted this mostly because just look at it! (Also, it would be delicious.)
I've seen weddings that had jam as favours and I always thought, why? They'd actually make sense at a brunch wedding.
"It could have facts about us!" I exclaimed to my co-workers.
I love me some bunting.
The only reason I'm not sad we're not having a brunch wedding is realizing that any of these ideas would also be great for a birthday party or a bridal or baby shower. I've got the rest of my life ahead, right? Plenty of time for mimosa bars!
I haven't written much here on the blog about our upcoming wedding, only to post this and this. So, all in one post, here's my experience and thoughts (so far) on wedding planning.
One of the first things I did after getting engaged was buy a wedding magazine. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I remember thinking, Now I can buy wedding magazines! As I flipped through it in the backseat of my grandparents' jeep, I remember being excited, but also thinking, Wow, there's a lot of ads. Why are there so many ads for engagement rings? If I'm reading a wedding magazine, shouldn't I already have a ring? What makes wedding dresses so expensive? It's just a white dress with some fancy, sparkly details.
I turned down only a few pages: an ad for registering at Target because I thought, Yes! I'd much rather register for board games than kitchen appliances! (Target, please don't leave Canada!); an ad for a fancy wedding dress, only because I liked the neckline; an article about changing your last name; and a tip for wedding dress shopping if you're "busty." Other than that, there wasn't much that interested me.
And yet, I bought two more magazines because I was newly engaged; isn't that what I was supposed to do?
I have yet to read them.
Once I came back to China, I didn't really do anything wedding-related except tell people that I wasn't excited about the wedding, a statement usually followed by worried looks and a hurried explanation, No no! I care about the marriage, just not the wedding.
And it's true, until a week or so ago, I wasn't excited.
Early in October, I created an account on theknot.com, something my friend had been encouraging me to do for a long time. I entered my information—wedding date (Uhh, sometime during summer vacation), wedding colours (Uhh, I don't have any?), style (Oh good! This I know! Oh... there's so many options... okay, I'll check "offbeat," "outdoor," and "DIY")—and then was given a list of a hundred-something things I needed to do before the "Big Day"—34 of which were "overdue."*
Until a couple weeks ago, I had searched Pinterest for wedding things exactly once: I typed in "backyard wedding," got excited by the results, and then quickly became overwhelmed.
All along, I've said that all I wanted was a tiny wedding. Ideally, we'd be married outside, by a tree or something, with only family and a few friends. Then we'd have a reception more like a small family gathering. A BBQ, maybe (heck, I'd be okay just ordering Dixie Lee), Picaroons and Blueberry Ale, twinkle lights, and later, a bonfire and s'mores. And laughing, lots of laughing.
Finally, a week or so ago, I started to get excited about wedding planning. I asked for location ideas on Facebook. I searched "wedding" on Songza.** I started pinning things. I went from wanting a "barbecue reception" to a "picnic reception" to a "brunch reception." And man, there are a lot of cute brunch wedding ideas. Mimosa bar! Coffee bar! Crossword puzzles about the couple!
Melissa came over this past weekend. Our plan: to watch Parenthood (I can't stand that it's almost over!) and plan a wedding. We spent 6 hours on wedding planning Friday night. I picked a date. I called 3 locations. I emailed 2 photographers. I called Service New Brunswick to ask if there's anything different required for getting a marriage license if you're marrying a foreigner (This was a laugh and a half. Not.). We searched and pinned and pinned and searched. Through it all, Melissa took notes, and we laughed. Ohboy,didwelaugh.
And we came up with a plan: Wedding ceremony in O'Dell Park, 40-ish guests, a BBQ, a bonfire and s'mores, twinkle lights. I went to bed excited and happy.
And then I woke up the next morning and felt stressed. Even a small ceremony in the park would be stressful. Even a small BBQ reception with 40-ish guests would be stressful. And it would all be expensive.
I talked it all out with Melissa.*** I blathered on and on, spilling all my thoughts, I do want my aunts and uncles and so and so there, but I can visit them and celebrate afterwards; it isn't a big deal. I do want twinkle lights and a bonfire and s'mores but I have the rest of my life to have parties with those things. Etc, etc, etc.
Finally, Melissa said something like, It sounds like you do want all of these things so why are you trying to talk yourself out of them?
And I had a lightbulb moment: Yes, I do want those things, but I want to save money and be less stressed more.****
So, the current wedding plan: 12 guests. Small wedding ceremony in O'Dell Park. A picnic "reception" and/or beer and food at a restaurant. (I'm really excited about drinking Blueberry Ale on my wedding day.) That's it. Small, simple, fun. We'll be married and happy and there will be lots of laughing.*****
*As of the writing of this post, I have 52 overdue tasks.
***I know, you might be thinking, Um, where is Tony in all this? Don't worry, I asked him for his opinions and talked it out with him, too, but the reality is, my friends and I care more about the wedding than he does. Don't worry. He cares about the marriage.
****It was nice to realize that although we could afford a $10000 wedding, we don't want one. We don't even want a $5000 wedding.
*****I still want some traditional things: I'm going to wear a white dress. I and the bridesmaids will have bouquets. I want to send Save the Dates. I'm still going to Pinterest cute ideas for photos and other miscellaneous stuff.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make any for this year?
In last year's recap, I said "I kind of made a couple of resolutions to myself, in my head" and I don't know what they are now, so either I didn't keep them OR I stuck to them so well, that they just became part of my life.
5. What countries did you visit?
Cambodia! Canada! (It's still weird to think that I visit Canada.) Within China, I went to Henan, Datong, and Shanghai.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Self-confidence was the first thing that came to mind. I'd also like a healthy dose of a "fuck it!" attitude, as in, fuck what people think.
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
July 29th, because it was the first time I've ever been proposed to ;)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Is it sad that nothing comes to mind here? I was pretty proud of myself for reading 8 novels during my two-week Christmas vacation, though.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I think I'm gonna have to go with the same answer as last year: Getting caught up in the little things. Gossip, small arguments turned into small fights, overthinking everything.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, although I did get a respiratory infection a few days after my birthday. And I had to get a cyst removed and it was gross and Tony almost fainted. Haha.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tony's plane ticket to Canada? A bigger TV? A coffee maker? A mattress pad? You'd think the first option would be the winner, but I'd have to say it's a tie between the last three.
12. Where did most of your money go?
My dang old student loan. But! This will be the last time I have to say that! It'll be paid off relatively soon-ish, knock on wood.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Bringing Tony home to Canada. Seeing The Lumineers. Smaller things like realizing I still had a gulp of coffee left in my cup, going to bed early, and Tony buying laundry detergent and toilet paper when they weren't even on the grocery list. Do I know how to live life or what?
15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
As far as I can tell, these three things haven't changed much from last year. (I did get a substantial raise, but I'm putting more money on my student loan.)
16. What do you wish you'd done more of?
It's the same as last year and the year before that: Read and slept and exercised. You'd think I'd learn something, eh?
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying, yelling, being impatient.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
On a beach in Cambodia.
19. What was your favourite TV program?
As always, I loved Girls, The Newsroom, Parenthood, Orange Is the New Black, and Downton Abbey. I got to rewatch The West Wing with Tony (his first time watching) and loved it as much, if not more, the second time around. 2014 was also the year that we finally watched House of Cards and I am waiting (only a little bit) patiently for the new season to be released. Honourable mention to How to Get Away With Murder.
20. What were your favourite books of the year?
According to my Goodreads account, I read 35 books in 2014 and gave 11 of them 4-star ratings: The Invention of Wings, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Unbroken, Fangirl, The Giver, All Fall Down, Eleanor & Park, The Book of Negroes, Me Before You, The Goldfinch, and The Kite Runner.
21. What were your favourite films of the year?
If I don't remember any of the movies I watched, I probably don't have any favourites, right?
22. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I hung out in my PJs, drank a latte, bought my own domain, ate dumplings, played Cards Against Humanity, and cried. Womp, womp. I turned 25.
23. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Patience, I'm sure.
24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
I didn't have one, unless you count me yelling, "I have nothing to wear!" and "I hate all my clothes!" as a personal fashion concept. And also, if I'm being (probably too) honest, I went commando as often as possible because comfort trumps all.
25. What kept you sane?
Can we give a slow-clap to Tony? I'm marrying up, for sure.
26. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Nothing is as bad as it seems. Or maybe, "This, too, shall pass."