Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Big Daddy

My Father is definitely coming through. I felt so much worry and stress over details, but it's been so encouraging for my heart to see my Daddy taking care of me.

I know most earthly dads want to throw their girls a big, dreamy wedding. I know my dad would if he were able to.

I didn't think God was into that. Now, I'm not saying that I think God is behind spending excessive amounts of ridiculous cash on this. But, I do think God does recognize the importance of the occasion and will provide for what we need.

Case in point: Just met with the videographer. He is our neighbor and he is giving us a great deal. Amazing. Half price. I am actually under-budget for this.

Another testimony: I have been searching like crazy for invitations. I could do the DIY, which I'm not opposed to at all, but I just worry about what they will look like, for all the time invested in it. Still an option, but I finally found a site that got good reviews - and the prices were extremely reasonable. It is called Very cute invitations! Not that an invitation is an important part of the day...but I don't know, I guess I just wanted to do the best I could do, without sacrificing some of the aesthetics. It looks like that might be possible.

I am learning not to worry and just trusting that things will come together. And that God will help. I'm starting to believe that God is actually excited about the occasion and planning it, right along with me.

Finally, wedding planning is starting to become fun. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Learning Curve

That is what I am finding out about this process - it is a huge learning curve. It's not like you can prepare for being a bride before you actually are a bride. I mean, you can maybe get some ideas, but it's sort of on-the-job training. A one-shot deal.

I tried not to think too much about it before I got engaged- even while I was dating. I don't know, maybe I was superstitious, but I didn't want to jinx myself. I know I didn't want to distract myself with what wasn't reality know, me being the practical girl, not so much the romantic dreamer, if only due to necessity.

So, like in the dress scenario, I sort of went in there without even having a good idea of what I wanted. I have been looking at dresses since then, and I realized I should have gone in with a better idea of what I wanted. And there it is - the learning curve. What is done is done - David's Bridal is no return/no exchange. And I'm just not up for trying to sell it on Ebay and going through the whole process of finding another dress.

I had a little bit of a meltdown a few weeks ago about the money. I am trying so hard to be economical, but on Long Island, it is just so hard. You just can't do the cake and punch thing here (much to James' disappointment). And everything is so expensive! Even when you are trying to do it cheap. So, it's not just trying to find quality vendors, it's trying to find quality vendors in your budget!

And then, is it OK to go a little over budget, because it feels impossible just to cut those corners? Is the stress worth saving that little bit? Or, should you try to do without those things because it is only a one-day event?

I'm sure there are better ways of doing things, but by the time I figure it out, the planning will be over and done. I'm doing a lot of reading and research, but I still feel a little unprepared to handle every scenario that comes up. And seriously, if I let it, planning this event could become a full-time job. I guess that is where a wedding planner would have been handy - just someone who knows how to do all this stuff. But then, it is back to the budget issue.

I really don't think I am a bridezilla...but it is a significant day. I'm letting go of perfection, but at the same time, I'm not just planning a Saturday afternoon BBQ either. James and I will be a making a covenant. Before God. That's a big deal. And it should be celebrated. With fanfare. It should be one of the biggest and best celebrations I ever have in my life.

Not that I am one to give bride advice, but here are a few lessons I've learned:

1. Stick to your guns - especially when it comes to family advice, especially if you are the one paying. You should feel good about your choices.

2. It is good to bring an older and a younger set of eyes when you try on dresses.

3. Try to think through, as much as you can, what you would really like in a dress, what feels like 'you' - style, material, train length. Even if you don't get your ideal dress, you still can probably find something close to it. And then if you veer from that, at least it is a conscious choice to. (In retrospect, I should have gone to dress shops, tried on dresses and seen what I liked, and then checked the internet to order it more cheaply. Grrrr!)

4. It is OK to cut corners on things that aren't a big deal. For me, the invites, favors, bridesmaid dresses, centerpieces are less of a big deal to me than reception location, ceremony program, dress and photographer. Decide which are priorities and put your money there.

5. You can find out a lot via email and internet. Lots of research and price quotes can be done online. It saves a lot of time in phone calls. For LI, has been pretty helpful for vendors. And and are good for pictures and ideas.

6. Word of mouth is good. Ask people you know who have been married recently who they used and who they would recommend and who gave them deals.

7. Trust God. That has been a lesson for me, too. I didn't think God would approve of me spending this kind of money for a wedding (and believe me, for NY standards, I am definitely the conservative, budget-bride), but I'm realizing that He is a part of our day, too. He cares about this - He brought us together. And it is a big deal. And He will provide, even for this. Not that it is license to spend extravagantly, but, as always, He has my back.

8. Try to have fun and not stress out. Don't let 'the perfect wedding' be your standard. That is maddening. Accept what you have to accept, imperfections and all. And by the way, my dress came in, I tried it on, and I like it now. If I had more time, I think I would have ended up with this dress - or something close to it. Which brings me to my final bit of advice:

9. It all works out in the end.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I should have known better than to go dress shopping with my mom and Nana. I was very sincere in thinking that it would be a good bonding experience. You know, three generations of girls picking out bridal dresses....It sounds beautiful. And not that we didn't have a nice day, but I should have realized from past shopping experiences, that Nana is a tough woman to say no to.

We went to David's Bridal on Columbus Day (without an appointment) and they were able to get me in at 12:30...about an hour and a half later.

No problem. We hit up Cheesecake Factory for a quick bite to eat (salad for me...who wants a puffy stomach when trying on wedding dresses?) and then went back.

David's Bridal is an off-the-rack place, which I like. I browsed around a little bit but then I was told to pick out a few in the catalog and then Mandy would bring me those dresses.

So Mandy brought over a few and helped me into the first one, along with the undergarments and the big slip. I walked out with the first dress (which I didn't need the slip for) and I could tell by their faces that they loved it. 'Oooohhh, oh, Kate, this is you.'

Mandy went to get more dresses, and I got myself into the next one. Definitely less enthusiasm than the first one when I made my appearance. The way the routine went was that their faces were kind of blank when I walked out...then slowly went sour..."It's OK"....or "Not you."

I tried on a preview dress, which was beautiful (Mom and Nana nixed it). The one after that I loved (Mom and Nana didn't), but it was about twice what I wanted to pay. And so it went. Nowhere near as much enthusiasm as the first dress.

Finally, at the end, I put the first dress on. Again, smiles from the viewing committee and they just kept saying, 'Kate, this is your dress. Just get it. It's totally you.' 'Well, I don't know...maybe I should sleep on it. The sale is until tomorrow.' 'Kate, just get it. You are so indecisive. For once in your life, just do it.' And this went on for about 15 minutes.

OK, I'll just do it. I'll bite the bullet. 'I'll take it.'

Mandy happily rang me up and I was chewing on my nails when we left. We drove in silence and I was wondering why I wasn't feeling better about this. It was a good choice, definitely a beautiful dress...why was I feeling uneasy? Nana's wise words to me were, 'You shouldn't regret what you do, only what you don't do.' (Hmmm, not sure about that advice, but anyway...)

Then I realized I had been bullied. It wasn't that I didn't want the dress or didn't like it, but I guess I felt forced into making a decision on the spot and that is not how I operate. Maybe I need to learn to stick to my guns a little more, even if the big matriarchal voices are saying something else. Or maybe I need to learn to be more comfortable in that on-the-spot-scenario, but, even so, I didn't like the feeling of being bullied - like I wasn't being give a choice in something that, for all intents and purposes, is a pretty big deal to a bride. I guess I wanted that feeling of 'I LOVE this dress. It's PERFECT for me.' I didn't feel that way. But I just don't have the time (or money) to shop all of Long Island for the perfect dress.

It's beautiful, but maybe I have this fantasy of EVERYTHING being perfect. I am seeing how that has been getting in the way a little bit, even in the planning stages. I want a perfect-world scenario and that is just not possible. Maybe it's OK to be OK with less-than-perfect.

So, even though bullying is never a good thing, maybe there is something to be learned after all.

If you want to see my less-than-perfect-but-very-beautiful-dress, click here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Official: 3.26.10

The Wedding of James and Katie

It's official! March 26, 2010
6:30 pm

Finally, an official date.

Such a relief.

I was getting so discouraged because without a church, you can't set a date.

We picked the weekend before Easter because A) weddings that are not summer weddings are much cheaper, B) it wouldn't be a winter wedding, therefore no threat of snow ruining things, C) I already get a week and a half off from teaching because of Easter Break, and D) we really just didn't want to wait longer if we didn't have to.

There are more reasons, but those are the big ones. All that to say, that weekend really worked best for us.

However, finding a church proved to be a huge challenge. We couldn't use our church because it is all decorated for our Easter Passion Play. As it turns out, many other churches also have Easter cantatas - or Friday evening services - or Easter egg hunts (yes, Easter egg hunts. One church said no because their sanctuary would be filled with ... Easter eggs?. It's fine - it's their church. They are allowed to do what they want. Regardless, neither James emerging from Jesus' tomb nor a sanctuary full of eggs was really the effect we were going for.

Then it was no because of other scheduled church events, other wedding rehearsals, only if we used their organist.... Some said yes if we could use it at 3pm or 4pm, but we wanted it later to give people a chance to get home from work.

So, I was very discouraged.

I ran into my friend Naomi on Sunday and told her my dilemma. She said her former church might be available - it was a brand new building and her sister had just gotten married there. She'd check.

Well, that week was our school's Spiritual Emphasis Week, and I had just prayed with another teacher about all this wedding related stuff. Just knelt at the altar and laid it all out before God - He knew the beginning from the end, how it all worked out.

We said 'Amen, I walked out, and I ran into Jerry Margiotta, who just 'happened' to be doing some work on the building. And I just 'happened' to still be at the school at 4:30 pm, which I never am unless I have to be. He, too, asked how the plans were coming and just said, 'Katie, God wouldn't bring you this far and just leave you there. Have you thought about..." And he went on to name a church and pastor. I said no, and Jerry said he knew him well and would call him that minute.

About 3 minutes later, Jerry walked into my classroom and told me that we had a church. Ahhh! So excited! Not even so much that I had a church, but that God was so faithful to arrange that meeting, right after we prayed, just to show He was with us and would provide. Awesome.

Well, we had an appointment at Miller Place Inn the next night, thanks to Taryn, who had spoken to the banquet manager over the weekend for us ...and then, I read an email from Naomi. Didn't I get her voicemail? (No. No voice mail. Weird, but true.) Her church was available, at 6:30 - and they said we could use it! And, it was only 15 minutes from MPI. It would be so perfect if it worked out, I thought!

So, James and I went to MPI and LOVED it! James was the harder sell about this whole reception deal, but he thought it was perfect, just the kind of place he could see himself getting married in...and he was really starting to get excited. Awesome. (It's funny, because I had stopped at MPI over the summer and thought, 'Definitely no.' But when I went this time, I felt like I was looking at a totally different place. It was perfect. And the cocktail room is named 'The James Room.' He liked that. A lot, lol ).

They gave us an AMAZING deal...totally affordable for us and really just what we were looking for. It's quaint, cozy, warm...perfect for a March evening wedding.

After our meeting, we went to our 'Feasts of the Lord' class and the teacher had us all worship under the succot, a place of dwelling to remind us of thanksgiving and the reality of God's presence with us - and in us. I felt so grateful for how the Lord has just provided - and to be able to worship under this special tabernacle, together with my future husband. It was a beautiful moment.

The next night, I met with Tom of Thomas Paul Photography who Taryn also hooked me up with (After Jesus, she is the second hero in this story). She spoke with him (she helps him with weddings on the side), and he gave me an amazing deal as well. So much better than I thought I could afford.

So, in about a day and half, we had a church, a reception hall and a photographer. The 'big three' were done.

Things are under way... and it is starting to feel real now.

James has been spending a lot of his energy with the preparations for our marriage rather than just the wedding, and I'm so happy to have someone who cares about our future the way he does.

So grateful to God for how He is blessing us in these ways...