The Wedding Series…Big vs Little Kids

The age-old debate…

Should we invite kids? Should this shindig be for the over 21 crowd? What will my friends and family think if I say “no kids?”

Our families didn’t like it. My mom was pissed and argumentative. Some of them didn’t show up because they couldn’t bring their children.

I felt bad for all of 5 min.

It was OUR day.

There was no true Bridezilla moment involved, but there is something to be said about people respecting your day and wishes for something that is truly about YOU and YOUR SPOUSE-to-be.

Don’t get me wrong. I love kids. Both my nieces and nephew were in the wedding.

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What I loved more was actually being able to look back on that all-important day and being able to remember it and not trying to read lips because someone is fussy and screaming during the ENTIRE ceremony. Think I’m over exaggerating? Check out these stories.

This is something about which I feel/felt very strongly: the wedding day is supposed to be a reflection of you and your intended. If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. I’m not knocking anyone for having children at their wedding, but due to different factors (read: expensive food we didn’t want picked over and/or chucked across the room) we decided to just keep our guest list age 12 and up.

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I must admit…this may be a bit Bridezilla, but I know my people…

So how did we handle the backlash?

We hired a babysitter. A real, professional caregiver with a license, references and everything!

This may seem a bit unconventional, but man, it was a life saver…

Especially since we had a relative show up with a kid (who we’re not entirely sure was even hers) at the last minute , whom she proceeded to try to sneak in.

Being that we had our ceremony and reception at a local hotel, we spent the extra money to rent a room and have the babysitter be upstairs from all the action. This allowed us to 1. have our special day be what we wanted and 2. alleviate fears of parents who (naturally) worried about their little ones.

To keep it as fair as possible, we paid for our minis to be with the babysitter and let other parents know that if they absolutely had to bring their kids, that the service was available to them. Our minis didn’t care…they were actually quite excited to be able to play with each other freely and be out of those fancy clothes 🙂

The fabulous Martha Stewart even put her 2 cents in on this topic. And of course this is an appropriate response, because, ya know…it’s Martha!

If you do want/have to have children at your wedding, here are some ideas on how to keep them entertained:

  1. There is an entire website dedicated to keeping weddings kid friendly,
  2. Find ways to include them and keep them content,
  3. Set up a corner or table just for them during the reception, have kid-friendly food and activities available!

No matter what you decide, remember that this is about you and your S.O. Yes your family is important, their opinions matter, but it’s not about them in the end.

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In the Storms of Life

Wow.

There exists a lady named Eunique Jones Gibson and she is a phenomenal artist. She has been doing a photography series called Because of Them We Can. Her series started as a tribute to Black History Month, but has expanded to so much more! I found her through another friend, who is also a big fan of her work. The point of her series is to encourage our youth through the lives of those who have blazed the trails before them.

It speaks not only to African American children, but to all of us who live with hope and purpose.

I’ve been inspired and in awe of everything she’s done, but this morning, it was definitely worth me taking the time to say something to others.

This morning, she shared this piece of work:

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“We must teach our children to weather the hurricanes of life, to pick up the pieces, and rebuild.”

Wow.

In the wake of all that is going on in our society…racism, sexism, bullying, sexual discrimination, suicides…I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to teach our children. I won’t work under the assumption that everyone knows who Emmett Till was, but the lesson shared by his mother in the wake of the crime committed against him is amazing.

I don’t think it is at all acceptable to tolerate any injustice, discrimination, or any other hardships that come our way, but it is so vitally important that we teach our children (and adults) how to cope with what life will inevitably throw at us.

Teach them that the world owes them nothing and that they are not entitled to anything. You have to work hard, and diligently, for the things you want in this life.

Teach them that when someone makes them feel bad, it’s not the end of the world. No matter how bad a situation is, it could always be worse.

Teach them that part of a successful life is forgiving others, especially when it’s the hardest to do so. Holding a grudge lets them keep a hold over your life.

Teach them that people are different, and those differences are what make them unique and interesting. People hate what they fear, and fear what they don’t understand. Make a friend and/or have a conversation. You’ll be amazed at what you learn when you just take the time to talk to someone.

Teach them that it’s OK to love everyone, even if you don’t necessarily like them. Agape love is the strongest love around. It means humbling yourself to be more concerned about another person than you are of yourself.

Teach them that violence, hatred, and discrimination are NEVER the answer.

I could go on for days about this, but I won’t. I think Mrs. Till-Mobley’s words are more than enough to build a strong foundation to weather the storms of life.

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The Wedding Series…The Invitation Part 2

The last post talked about deciding on who to invite and began to discuss how we stuck everything into one invite. Continuing on from Part 1, we’re discussing 2 major elements, usually designed and bought/mailed separately, that we added to the main invitation.

2. The Save the Date card:

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My biggest concern, with having a truncated planning period, was the save-the-date. I mean, how else would people remember how important it was for them to be there?!?

There is a huge trend to send out these reminders to people. Calendars, separate invitations/notices, the prequel to it all…it can get expensive! We decided that we would include this in the main invitation, since we’re already on a roll with this booklet thing…

When adding this element, we had to make it practical for our guests. We told our printer what we wanted and had this page in the passport perforated so that it could be torn out! We also added magnets to the back of it so that once it was torn out, all the guest had to do was use it to hold up something on their fridge!

Voila! Save-the-date card is a success!

3. The RSVP Card:

rsvpcard

There are so many things to worry about with this part…will they lose it? Will they remember to send it back? Will they actually fill it out?? As simple as we made this, some people still forgot to actually fill it out. I didn’t learn about this trick (see #4) until months later *shrugs*

What we did followed the same mindset of making things practical. The cards were pre-addressed and pre-stamped, so people LITERALLY just needed to drop it into a mailbox. Adding the stamps was a little bit of an extra expense, but so worth not having the hassle of trying to track down responses and hearing the excuse “I didn’t have a stamp…”

On the RSVP card, we also let the guests know how many seats would be held for them. We still followed the rules of etiquette and allowed for spouses/significant others. We took additional steps to make sure that we kept it for the adults only; that will be discussed in another post.

The cost of this? Patience and approximately $350 to print about 100 invitations…we were able to send everything they needed for our big day and it mailed at the regular postage price…no extra shipping fees 🙂

That breaks down to about $3.50 per invitation, but it’s personalized, really showed OUR personality, set the tone for our big day, and let our guests in on the fun from the beginning.

You don’t necessarily have to put everything in a booklet form, but be sure to communicate with your printer and local post office to remain mindful of guidelines…find out exactly how much you can cram into an envelope and still ship it out with an infinity stamp…

Next on the series: No kids allowed?

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The Wedding Series…The Invitation Part 1

Ahh, the invitation…

This piece of paper (or booklet, in our case) sets the tone for your entire event. Elegant, laid back, themed? The invitation lets your guests know what to expect when they come to celebrate your union.

Or eat and drink for free. Whatever. You know your friends better than I do…

But the invitation is the first thing people will see when they are introduced to your big day! You don’t necessarily have to have a theme, but use your invitation to let people know what colors your wedding will be, the things you enjoy as a couple, how you like to celebrate, etc, etc.

We had a travel themed wedding. It’s a theme that a lot of people do, but we actually love to travel! I picked the theme and my hubby picked the colors; it was a fall event, so the chocolate and burnt orange worked out perfectly! Since this was the theme for the wedding, we researched passport invitations…it allowed us to put in all of the information that needed to be disseminated and it was lots of fun for our guests…fun like us!

The other issue…the guests themselves. We made the decision to have an adult-only wedding and reception…and to make sure guests didn’t just bring everybody and their cousins…

Before you can send them out, you have to decide who gets the “golden ticket.” Unless you’re loaded, your guest list will affect your budget…

One of the many arguments I had with mom involved inviting people that I didn’t know to witness such an intimate event. I took serious issue with being encouraged to invite someone who used to babysit me when I was 3 years old instead of one of our friends who supported our relationship from the puppy love phase. Harsh? Maybe…but some people would agree with my stance on that one…

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a quick and concise guide

There are certain things that you should and should not do when sending out your invitations. One of my favorite wedding websites, theknot.com, has a wonderful list of invitation etiquette rules to follow.

To save money, we figured out how to skirt those rules just a bit… Planning a wedding in four months doesn’t typically leave room for a lot of spending (or spreading funds out over time.) Depending on the location of the wedding, you will need to give anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months notice for your guests to get themselves to the event.

1. The passport (booklet):

book

Our invitation was one-stop shopping for our guests. We were able to include the actual invitation, with the essential details, add the hotel and reservation information for our out-of-town guests (the wedding was held at this hotel,) and include the information for our wedding website, which included our GIFT REGISTRY! Etiquette rules say that you shouldn’t include your gift registry in your invitation, but letting people know where you website is located is totally PC!

The next post will continue detailing how we designed and executed our invitation/design…

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The Wedding Series…Seriously, You Can D(o) I(t) Y(ourself)

Hey there!

I figured that since this was a DIY business, I should probably start sharing how to DIY some things? It could help, I suppose…

I don’t do a lot of weddings, but they happen sometimes. This whole business got started in the aftermath of planning my own nuptials in November 2011…that process was 4 months from engagement to ceremony…

Yes, it can be done.

The big, busy wedding season is winding down, but people are still getting married during the non-peak months and are even planning for next year. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the tips that we used to pull off our affair, as well as some tricks that I’ve learned since that fabulous day! And the great thing? These tips aren’t reserved for weddings only, but can be used, edited and updated for almost any event!

First up in the series, the all-inclusive invitation! We’ll talk about customization, etiquette, and how to skirt some of those rules to save you money…woot!

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What Will You Do Today?

I haven’t written a Motivational Monday in a while…

Not that I am not motivated or don’t have anything by which I am inspired, but I have a slight fear of boring my readers or seeming monotonous. As I sat this morning and pondered about something to share, I looked up and saw the post-it on my desk:

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Yesterday, we had a guest minister for the entire day. I won’t preach to you, but his sermons were about giving yourself away for God’s plan and purpose in your life. They were about finding your purpose and doing more than just working a job everyday, about using the talents that you have to do bigger, better and more good for the world around you.

As I looked at that stupid little post-it, it took on a completely different meaning today. I have it up because, in my current position, I have to submit a monthly report of what I’ve done everyday and I forget to write it down. Every single day. For almost the last 8 years. And it’s on a neon orange post-it for the sole purpose of catching my attention.

I really suck at organizational compliance sometimes.

But today as I look at it, I am reminded that I have a larger purpose in life, Something much bigger than sitting here waiting for the clock to strike 4:30 so that I can run out of the building like the Road Runner.

What will you do today? Will you identify the purpose that you have in this life? What will you do when you identify it? When you ask yourself the question “What did I do today?” will your answer be something that you’re proud of? Will it be something selfless?

Even if it’s just volunteering at a local shelter or helping someone safely cross the street, there are boundless opportunities to help someone else. Take the opportunities presented to you and do something.

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More Sweets For You!

Good Friday Morning!!

Just a quick update and reminder…if you haven’t entered the contest to give me a good reason to eat that butter stuff, the contest ends on the 17th!

Also, there is a contest to win an iPad mini! The lovely lady at Sweet U Off Your Feet is giving it away and we’re one of the sponsors!

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Head on over for your chance to win! http://m.sweetuoffyourfeet.com/Giveaways.html

Happy Friday and best of luck!

This is My Favorite Thing

Ok, I just had to share this one!

Oh yeah…Happy Wednesday!

So, I got permission to share this party…I’m going to share others’ work more often here…but this has to be my favorite so far. It’s totally unique and original…and certainly what I’m all about!

Please don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful parties and original spins on popular themes, and there is nothing wrong with that at all!! I just tend to be super excited when I see something that I never would have thought of and see that idea beautifully executed, as was done with this party.

Because, really, who doesn't love Julie Andrews?!  image from imbd.com

Because, really, who doesn’t love Julie Andrews?! image from imbd.com

My new friend over at Made by a Princess came up with this Sound of Music themed party for her daughter and it’s fabulous! The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies too (I minored in German…irrelevant, maybe?) and I’ve always been tickled when singing the lyrics that I knew exactly how to spell and understand “…Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye…” I’m a dork. Don’t judge me.

Anywhoo, the party was based on the song “My Favorite Things” and it’s great! Go on over and visit her blog and check out her shop while you’re at it!

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It’s a Sweet Win!

Happy Thursday morning!

Guess what?? I’ve decided to host our first contest and giveaway!

Woot!

So to all of my bakers and foodies out there, here’s your chance!

Why are we doing this? Mostly to help me out. I bought this stuff on our anniversary trip to Savannah, GA and I can’t make up my mind what to do with it…

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contains sweet potatoes, pecans, pure cane sugar, spices, and xantham gum

So far, I want to put it on a sweet potato or top off some Southern corn bread, but I think that it deserves so much more!

Can you help me out? The person who comes up with the best recipe will win a $25 Visa gift card and a recipe submission on their behalf to The Peanut Shop. They don’t currently have a custom recipe for it, which is why it’s been a challenge to narrow down exactly what I want to do with it. I can’t let myself just eat it out of the jar, which is the prevailing option…

The contest will run until midnight CST on August 17th and the winner will be selected and announced August 18th! Add your recipe suggestions in the comments below. Whatever you submit, I’ll actually bake it, take some pics, all that good stuff. I can’t promise that I’ll save you any though…

Good luck!

Prize: One winner will receive $25 Visa gift card. Winner outside of the US will be responsible/billed for shipping costs.

Rules: Contest is open from noon CST on August 1, 2013 until August 17, 2013 at midnight CST. Giveaway  to all participants 16 years of age and older. Void where prohibited by law. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Should they not claim their prize within this time, another winner will be selected. Please ensure that the email creatingawesomenessity@gmail.com is added to your “safe list” so that your notification doesn’t go into the spam folder.
Disclosure: This is an independent blogger giveaway. It is in no way associated with The Pecan Shop, Visa, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media network. Should you have any questions, please contact Katherine at creatingawesomenessity@gmail.com.
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