Somewhere Ever After

traversing the road to the rest of my life



Save the Dates

As everyone who actually lives at the address provided has received their “save the date” I can play show and tell without spoiling the surprise.

There they are in all their glory. Bookmarks. Bookmarks that took WAY longer to make than I expected. I found the tutorial here.

As the tutorial wasn’t intended for bookmarks, I had to make some alterations. For one, they were too flimsy, so I had to use a layer of cardstock between two layers of linen. And I had to do two colors of paint on the edge. And the circle bit, and the ribbons, and draw my own picture, and pick the perfect font. Yada yada yada. I know. My fault for being artistic and picky. I can never keep things simple. In the end, though, I am satisfied with them, despite their imperfections (and that’s a BIG deal for me).

And, of course, phone calls of delight from relatives and friends and soon-to-be in-laws didn’t hurt either.

I included a little card reminding those who don’t know what a “save the date” is to do just that (and let’s be honest– I had never heard of them until the last few years when friend’s weddings led to *ahem* passive browsing). We didn’t want worried phone calls from grandmothers asking for details we don’t have yet.

Envelopes were stamped by hand (and printed with the help of my wonderful techie fiance, who also did the printing on the bookmarks). Bookmark and card were carefully wrapped in pretty pearlescent tissue paper and tucked into their pretty envelopes. Last but not least, postage is placed. Did you notice the Mark Twain stamps? Perfect.


Breaking Rules in our Wedding Planning

Despite the fact that, in most ways, I’m actually quite old fashioned, I’ve had a hard time swallowing the majority of the wedding etiquette I’ve encountered. “I have to do what?? I don’t think so.” For me, the wedding is a very personal occasion, and if something doesn’t ring true or doesn’t seem like it will add to the day, I’m cutting it. Or… pleading to cut it, and then leaving it in only as an act of love for my fiance because it means something to him. Maybe it’s that I’ve spent too much time on Offbeat Bride, but I don’t adhere to traditional ceremony just for tradition’s sake. It has to mean something.

Now that the save the dates are in the mail, I am trying to get materials and final plans together for the invitations, and found it’s just not proper to include RSVP cards without postage. Inside, I was sputtering in protest. But… why? A good 3/4 or more of those people probably won’t mail them back anyhow! And we’re including an online RSVP option– which we’d prefer guests choose  as it simplifies our lives too. The only reason we are including cards at all is for those relatives eligible for senior-citizen discounts who currently don’t own or even know how to use a computer. And yes, I have some. I have great grandmothers already well into their 90s, and short of unexpected illnesses, they will be coming. In fact, they might even come anyhow.

After some agonizing, I decided “so what if it’s ‘proper?'”It’s a waste to buy 100 stamps that will likely end up in the garbage. Either I can include the RSVP cards sans postage (assuming most will choose the online option anyhow) or I can include postage for the few I’m convinced will actually use the cards (the aforementioned great grandmothers, chiefly. Perhaps an eccentric uncle on my fiance’s side.) Or, perhaps even better, I can eliminate both postage and bitty little envelopes and provide a phone alternative. My fiance can easily set up a phone number just for that purpose through his company. So there– silly etiquette circumvented.

Some other traditions and etiquette I’ve cut or intend to cut:

  • Option of bringing a guest: “And Guests” are limited to spouses and engaged couples. Those we personally know are invited by name, but there’s no need to have complete strangers present on such a personal occasion. This is more for my sanity and preserving the meaning of the day than for expense, but I’ve heard of this being a common choice in order to limit cost too. It might seem snooty and exclusive, but it’s really not about that. It’s just what’s best for the emotional tenor of the day.
  • Flower girls and ring bearers: Rather than desperately search for small children to employ, we decided to just cut this one. There is one adorable girl at church that we’ve recently grown close to, but she’s very young, and sometimes very shy, and would likely have a hard time day-of. Not to mention the wedding is in January– it could be cold.
  • No children: For some of the above reasons, we also decided not to have children present. We both love kids, but kids typically get bored at weddings, and their parents oftentimes are unable to enjoy the wedding themselves. If we had enough prospective child guests, we would just have a kids table and it would be fine, but we don’t. For whatever reason, there are only like… 5 children in the families we have invited. All others are teens or grown. The facility itself wouldn’t really work to hire a babysitter. In the end, it’s just easier to have the little ones stay home. They’ll likely have a better time.
  • Dancing: Only one dance, and that only because I love my fiance. I do NOT like people watching me, and even less so when I have to “perform.” We aren’t really including dancing as an activity, I don’t enjoy dancing (unless we are all waltzing or some such, but I don’t think I can convince all my guests to take lessons) and I don’t approve of most modern dancing– or of the music that often accompanies. And the father daughter dance– sorry, but no. I conceded to my soon-to-be husband because it’s his wedding day too, and I love him, but I’m not terribly close with my father, and being that I hate dancing in general, it’s not happening.
  • Walking down the aisle with my father: Altered “walking down the aisle” plans. Rather than having my father walk me all the way down the aisle and leave my mother to walk in with…someone (I don’t even know who she’s supposed to walk with) I plan to have both parents walk me down the stairs along with bridesmaids, then proceed to their seats together before the rest of the bridal party. Let’s hope my father doesn’t have a conniption fit over this. He’s not always open to alternatives.
  • Isolation of bride and groom prior to the ceremony: Both for my sanity and for the sake of photo expediency, we are throwing this one out the window. Not terribly uncommon in the present day, but yet another change. Besides, have you seen some of the “first look” photos? So sweet.
  • Highly formal listing of parents names in invitations: Our invitations are being handmade to fit our theme (yes– by me, once again. I know, I’m crazy) and the traditional wording of invitations just isn’t going to work. We will honor parents in the invitations, and I promise, they’ll be tasteful and classy, because I wouldn’t stand for anything less, but I am doing things just a little different. You’ll see.
Listing all those (and knowing there are likely to be others) really makes me feel like I am trying to overturn weddings in general, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to make choices true to our relationship and our needs, and leave out anything that doesn’t fit or that detracts from the day. I believe, as odd as my choices might seem to some of my more traditional family members, the day will be a good one in the end.

Up to my eyeballs in Wedding

Ok, so I’ve rambled on my odd discovery of “grown-up” sentiments, and you found out I am an unhired teacher and an artist and longing to be organized and so on and so forth. And, most importantly, engaged. You’re going to hear a lot about this part– in part because I don’t have time for anything else.

Don’t get me wrong– this is wonderful. I LOVE my fiance. Truth be told, I’ve been waiting 3 years to be where I am now. I can’t wait to be married to him, and despite a gaping hole in the history of my childhood wedding dreams (my dreams somehow skipped the wedding and landed me firmly in “already married”) I am actually looking forward to the wedding.

That said, wedding planning is HARD. (And all you that already knew this can just shush with your told-you-sos). It’s especially hard if you are an artist with particular tastes. Wedding dresses that are not modern and va-va-voomish are not easy to find. (Not looking forward to dressing my bridesmaids from what I’ve seen out there…) Wedding venues without palm trees almost don’t exist. What a nightmare it was to find one! If only I lived in England. Or the midwest. Or the South. Or New England. Or even just Northern California, where REAL trees grow. Ahem. Anyhow…

Similarly, an artists temperament interferes when you discover DIY projects that take you a month to finish. Yes, a month. You hear that, wedding guests? I hope you appreciate that I loved you enough to spend all this time. (Or at least, my fiance loved you enough to talk me into spending time with the promise I will likely love you someday…) Yet another reason I would have liked a small(er) wedding.

The logical rationale is “make compromises” or “scale things back,” but I can’t do that. Because I’m me.

Good news is, I am putting the save the dates in the envelopes tonight, and by morning, most will be in the mail and on their way, even if 2 or 3 weeks later than I’d planned. Once they’ve arrived, I’ll post pictures, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise in case any wedding guests magically discover this brand new blog. (Stalkers!!)

State of (my) Being

Somewhere, in the last few years, I stumbled into “grown-up” life. How I managed to do this while still unable to get a full time job (thank you California education system for spiraling downward just as I arrived fresh and ready to teach. I can still hope!) and thus still living at home, I don’t know. It just crept in.

I wondered some in high school, when I started getting addressed as “ma’am” in stores. Not that I had a problem getting old. Truth be told, minus the requisite years of unrequited love, I was a rather poor excuse for a teenager– and I liked it that way. Who wants to be a teen in today’s world anyhow, ruled by trends and passions of the moment and countless reckless (downright stupid) decisions?

I am a 20-something now. I have passed the threshold after which I cannot place myself in my “early 20s.” I planned to be a bit further along in life by now, but so it is. I thought I’d be happily married, either teaching full-time or happily balancing stay-at-home mom duties with a successful career as a children’s book writer and illustrator. Not so much, but I AM engaged to the most wonderful man of my dreams, so perhaps it will come. Better late than never.

All the same, this “grown up” thing snuck in. My interests suddenly seem… banal and a bit pedestrian, and yet I am thoroughly exited. I have Pinterest boards chock full of home decoration and organization and housewifery and even mommy related topics. I daydream about these things. I blame wedding registries and the general coolness of the stuff the world at large posts on Pinterest for that. Does Pinterest automatically filter what I see to my interests, or is there just a refreshing lack of teenage angsty attitude and bling? Is Pinterest a grown-ups only land?

To be fair, I think I daydreamed about many of these things long before Pinterest. Mommy things like packing lunches and car rides to school were inevitable– nearly every weekday of my college life (and since) included some interaction with or plans for interaction with preschoolers and early elementary students. I was surrounded by them. What else would I daydream about?

Back in my Hotmail days, the msn homepage was a guilty pleasure. Above all, I enjoyed (believe it or not) the articles on organizing. Yep. The grown up was hiding in there all along. I’m sure the aesthetic pleasure of a neat and color coordinated space appealed to the artist in me, just as it does now, but part of me craved to be THAT together, and now, I am longing to organize. Home magazines that previously struck me as beyond boring are a temptation outside my budget, but one I indulge in almost compulsively for those few (or many) moments in supermarket aisles.

Speaking of supermarkets, I have a newfound interest in food. Yes, food. Previously, my interest was limited. Was it cheap? Was it tasty by my standards? Sounded good enough. I was never into junk food really, but most of my cooking interest seemed disproportionately cookie-shaped. Now, I am interested in casseroles and crock-pot meals and whatnot. See? More trappings of grown-up land.

I think all this was already there, really. My situation by necessity did not allow me to dwell too seriously on any of these things. I don’t think I hit a magic number and ceased to care for childish things. It’s been an ongoing process. However, if there was any one trigger, it was my fiance’s apartment.

We were engaged shortly before he graduated, and, thankfully, he had a job waiting for him (unlike me) and found an apartment immediately thereafter. Though shared with a roommate for just a bit longer, we’ve been planning, buying furniture and arranging our future in this space– and with the imminent departure of said roommate, it will be that much more ours. We are choosing flatware and matching color schemes (well… I’m mostly doing that part) and budgeting (that’s more his strong point) and laying out a future.

What was previously so far off into the future for me is now very real, and is no longer a closed-door. Like the wedding chests of old, I’ve had all this folded away, just waiting. And now, as we are counting down the days, I can see it just across the river.


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