can’t WAIT to be married!

this is the worst blog ever. why? because it’s updated every bajillion years. and i’m not unrealistic enough to believe that this blog is read everyday nor do people anticipate an update. so i guess that is the reasoning behind my lack of updating? (i’m horrible, i know)

as you can imagine, there have been some significant progress with wedding planning! a lot of cool things coming up that i will definitely want to update about! up until now, it’s been more of the waiting game since the big things were already done… and it seemed too early to start making things for the wedding… but now that we are 118 days away (EEK!), things are becoming more real! ideas for center pieces and crafts and such are coming together and my wonderful mom is so helpful.

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this is how my mama and i do crafts. we don’t like the idea of sitting and painting things and being feminine, apparently…

 

it’s sunday here and i’m actually visiting the fiance for the first time at his school!

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seriously. could i get any worse? i’ve never visited him before because he always wanted to visit san diego… but it’s been nice being around him while he studies. since it’s also finals week for me, i got a lot done and felt obligated to actually update this thing :)

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this is a side note, but while we were studying, he was getting sick of it and was saying how he wasn’t motivated and didn’t want to study anymore and such… and he turned the page and…. yea. that’s not very nice, fate! haha

 

so while i was here, i got to see my good friend form undergrad who is also in medical school where daniel goes. i love love love her (hi debbie!!) and we got to catch up and talk. she got married last august at a beautiful venue over in san juan capistrano. as we were talking about marriage, wedding, and married life, she said something about how happy she is to be married. not in that lovey dovey unrealistic way… but where there is such stability and grounding that feels so secure from knowing that you are married to someone and will come home to them and you will be theirs and they will be yours for forever.

now that might scare some people. but i totally agree with her. as much as i like having my independence and like doing my own thing, i find myself getting more and more excited to be a married person who is with someone not just because they are so adorable and wonderful in all they do… but because being married brings that sense of security that goes beyond even just committing to someone and them committing to you in words or even in action. marriage is not just biblical… but it’s for life. and that doesn’t scare me at all. actually, it really really sounds super exciting!

i could be bias because i love doing things like cooking and sitting at home reading and doing my work and going grocery shopping. i do all these things all the time regardless of bun is there or not. but when i’m married to bun, it’s like i will get to share doing that with him and for him and enjoy it even more than i already do on my own. he doesn’t define me and my happiness, but boy, does he add to it in immeasurable ways. and just by existing!

i’m reading a book called “One Way Love” about how we have a grace that goes beyond our comprehension. even though we believe that we are unconditionally loved in our heads, we still act as though we aren’t. we try so hard to receive grace or create conditions. and as i get closer to getting married to daniel, even though i think i’m too young and immature for such commitment sometimes, this book keeps reminding me that faith is trusting in that type of grace. and i want to be someone like that unconditionally.

so i do have a lot of updates. but they will come slowly and more regularly as spring break approaches :) until next time, happy planning!

stuff happens

this past week, daniel and i have had multiple incidences that occurred that were… inconvenient. 

first.. we found out that our contact at our reception venue… quit. yes. QUIT. i mean, that’s not in anyone’s control. but our point of contact is no longer there. if you really think about it, it makes sense. even if someone is a veteran of a location, anyone can leave anytime from anywhere.

then, i found out that the person i had booked for make-up and hair had to leave the country. again, out of my control. but things happen. i’m sad i won’t have her, but what can i do?

so what is the advice/point here?

1. be aware of how your vendors respond. with both incidences, i had quite different responses. the first place, i found out she quit because of an automated response. i had to reach out to the new person, who wasn’t very responsive. this is worrisome. but eventually, they responded and gave us the information we need. the second vendor was very professional. they offered profuse apologies, explained the situation, offered free cancellation, offered better service options… because of their professionalism, i feel great about working with them. much more than the first vendor, at least.

2. be prepared. you can never know if someone is going to quit or leave. be prepared to explain things that the new person may not know. have everything organized and in order the instant you receive information so that you can pull it out if something like that happens. 

3. have backup. it doesn’t have to be a set place or anything. but have a few ideas of places/vendors/people that you can reference or go back to. someone you like. someone that you know you’d get along with. someone you’d likely would have chosen if not for your current choice. 

4. be calm. things will work out. if the vendors suck, you can leave. things will come around. you’re getting married, which means people who love and care for you will help you as needed.

there are many many things out of our own control. the quicker we can this, the better we can respond. 

6 more months!

It’s been a while and I swear it’s for a good reason. Sort of.

Today, I’d like to talk about time management! I know this is sort of an obvious as people are stuck to wedding planning calendars that tell you what you should get done when. There are timelines for these things. DUH.

But let’s talk about time management in another way. MOST of the time, those getting married are not just planning their wedding 100% of the time. I will use me as an example (because I’m just that awesome :P). I am a full-time student, I have a job (internship) that I work 24-32 hours a week, I’m applying for jobs post-graduation, and I am heavily involved with my school’s student board. Not to mention, I have family. And friends (or so I like to believe…)

Wedding planning is an additional thought to everything else you’re already thinking about. So what are my practice steps and advice?

  1. DON’T call it stress. I know that’s moronic sounding because… of COURSE it’s stressful! But do you know that our brains are actually very convincible? No matter what situation you’re in, the word “stress” has a negative connotation. So WHY associate a negative word with such a happy affair?! I like to just say “There is a LOT on my mind! But they are all great thoughts!” And honestly, I feel so much better and more energized.
  2. Prioritize! People who have trouble with time management don’t always just procrastinate. They don’t know what to do first. I am SO guilty of doing this at times. I have a notebook called “CRAP I HAVE TO DO/BUY” and I fill it up with… well… crap. I find that if I put it in the order of importance (think deadlines or feasibility), I will go straight down the list. I know this sounds like too much work. But it’s a new year. Reform yourself ;)
  3. PICK A THEME, LIST OUT ESSENTIALS. Pick a theme. Pick the items you NEED/WANT to get that theme accomplished. Write it down. Keep it safe. Seriously. And add to the list as you go. What a LOT of girls do is get over-excited, try and do a million bajillion projects, buy materials for them, and in the end, they are unable to do it all. Pick the essentials FIRST. Get those done. THEN add.
  4. PIN IT/SAVE IT IN YOUR CART. More and more weddings are DIY now. Pinterest will literally save your day. Everything is RIGHT FRIGGIN THERE. Just. Do. It. If you have items you need to get, put it into a cart on amazon or whatever other site you’ll use. Keep it there. That way, when you decide to buy items for projects or what not, it’s already saved for you.
  5. Get it EARLY. Ok. This section has MULTIPLE ways to be applied. If you KNOW you’re going to do a certain project for sure, there is NO reason for you to not purchase the necessary items when you can. My mommy is currently storing all wedding related items and projects in one section of the house. It’s all there. I won’t have that project just IN MY HEAD for the next several months or so. It’s there. I just have to START it. Which goes with…
    1. START IT EARLY! DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Seriously. You can make things ahead of time (non-perishable, obviously) and just leave it there. You are BOUND to have a million things to do the month before, 2 weeks before, the week before and DAY before the wedding. Get that crap out of the way 

I want to focus on point five in non-project/wedding related ways. Because this is a HUGE deal for a lot of people I know. Once you’re married you have to think about…

Shared accounts, changing names, apartments, jobs, location of residence, moving, eating, breathing, cooking, decorating, furniture-ing, AHHHHHHH!!!

 

It’s a lot. I truly believe that it’s NEVER too early to start searching for these things. People typically take around a year to plan a wedding. During that year, you can accomplish a lot for the wedding. But you can ALSO accomplish a lot for the REST of your life. Remember the end goal :) and you will be MUCH more at ease, I promise :P

thoughts in israel

i was in israel from about 10 days, which sort of explains by absence.. but not since i tend to have long periods of absences. prepare for a long(ish) post!

i have had a wonderful trip and am so excited that i got to spend time here. i will likely reflect more on the things i’ve witnessed, the talks i’ve heard, and the memories i’ve made. but for this entry, i will be writing about things i’ve reflected upon during my trip there.

i came here with other students from my MBA program. unfortunately, there were some events that came about that helped me re-evaluate some of my thoughts and also re-establish some of my morals of proper behavior. i shall list them out now:

1. don’t be mean.
simple. or so i thought. apparently, it’s easier for people to say discouraging things than encouraging things. it really blows my mind when, at this age, people can say things that are just flat out mean. i know that i’ve probably said some mean things in my life, and with huge regret. and from my conscious behavior, i don’t think i’ve ever said anything mean to someone since the age of – i dont know – 15 or younger. as people get older, i thought that being mean would diminish. we aren’t BORN mean. yet… with maturity comes the ability to withhold mean comments. don’t be mean. don’t say mean things. don’t call someone something to their face. it’d be better if we didn’t talk behind people’s backs as well… but saying it to their face is just tactless, rude, and unnecessary.

2. your mood doesn’t define everyone else’s.
this one also blows my mind. i’ve had plenty of angry and sad days. but my natural instinct has been not to share that feeling with everyone around me with no regards to my audience’s feelings. obviously, there are exceptions. i wouldn’t expect someone who just had an extremely sad moment in their lives to just perk up. but when someone is in a bad mood because they’re cranky or sleepy or hungry or something of the like, it makes NO sense to me that they’d feel the need to express it to everyone else. my 7 year old baby cousin wakes up cranky and will maybe act cranky. but even my 10 year old baby cousin doesn’t wake up cranky and act cranky to everyone. he gets over it. why? because why the hell would anyone want to experience what you’re experiencing. my 10 year old cousin gets this concept. makes sense that 20+ year olds would get it, right? this comes back to that whole statement of “the world doesn’t revolve around you”. yes. the world does NOT revolve around you. please stop.

3. THINK before you talk.
this sort of connects to the “don’t be mean” one. but it also goes for other things. there are individuals who do not know what is appropriate or inappropriate to say at certain times. or those who don’t think about what they are saying, and say too much. words can be dangerous. the more someone talks, the more opportunity there is for that person to say something they don’t mean. i’m obviously not perfect, but it blows my mind when someone doesn’t recognize the importance of thinking before speaking. 

4. what you see first is not what you get in the long run.
now to connect this all. i wouldn’t be surprised at ALL if someone reads this and thinks, “christine… this is YOU”. but with confidence, i can say it’s not. because most people associate my hyper and mostly happy bahaviors as being immature and loud. yes, the volume of my voice can get quite high. that does not immediately translate to being overly wordy or being mean or being cranky. i’ve learned to deal very well with people stating opinions about me. but the older i get, i realize that this is exactly what separates friends from acquaintances. my natural instinct has been to ignore someone who says “christine, you’re so loud” or any comment of the sort. i know that my parents have raised me much better than that. no one recognizes that i am observant or a good friend. they recognize the external. and this happens SO often to SO many people. (i’m just using me as an example). over the years, my friends have been those that have been slow to judge and quick to observe my character. not what they see first. (let’s be clear… i’m not saying i’m the best person in the world. this is an example for anyone. we often miss the positives of people. people can definitely live without me or without having a relationship with me. that’s not the point. the point is that i am using me as an example. yes? yes :P)

 

to be clear, points 1-3 are not for just first-glance type of situations. they are characteristics that people have (maybe innately). i may need to work on number 4 by not assuming that a mean statement from a person isn’t actually a mean person. or maybe that someone who talks too much isn’t thinking before they speak. but an overall consensus is… it’s typically a characteristic of that individual or else it wouldn’t happen over and over again.

 

funny how i had these thoughts during my trip to israel. i’ve obviously experienced MUCH more, which i’m sure will be reflected in future blog posts. but these were the thoughts that i wanted to express because i had such great conversations during the trip about relationships and the experiences we were having in the country. and ultimately, these relationship discussions concluded these 4 points:

1. being mean doesn’t get you far in relationships

2. being moody can push people away from you. which is the opposite of having a relationship.

3. having no filter can ruin relationships as well.

4. everybody knows that nobody really knows. (listen to everybody knows – john legend) don’t be quick to judge.

 

as i head back home and start preparing to go to hawaii, i will definitely have more wedding related posts. my family, daniel and i are going to kauai and i will be forcing daniel to do wedding planning with me. yes. forcing. hehe

have you noticed…?

that i am NOT blogging daily?! haha DUH. i don’t think everyone will notice such a small detail, but i took out the word “daily” from my subtitle. WHOOHOO me.

another reason? i have come up with a couple, actually:

1. i don’t think about the wedding everyday… *GASP*
2. i’m busy
3. i’m tired
4. i’m lazy. sometimes.

and in 1 day… i’m going to ISRAEL! yes, ISRAEL! one more time in all capital… ISRAEL!!!! I KNOW! im going to new york for a layover and will see a college friend or two. or three :) im very excited. as of now.. i’m just SO BUSY i can’t think. since i’ll be out of the country, i don’t think i’ll be able to write nearly as much as i want. maybe if i get the chance, i’ll update about israel and my experiences there. not wedding related…

BUT… i WILL write about something very very cool. very…. i think it’s my favorite organizational tool for the wedding thus far…

one thing we have started doing is sending out a form to our friends via email to get their addresses for both the save-the-dates and invitation. this… is an awesome tool:

Google Form

what it does is help you create a template where people can fill in information. all responses will save into an excel sheet for your convenience! so daniel and i had a section for someone to write in their name, a section to get their address, and a section to write a comment. once we check our excel sheet for responses, we see their name in one column, their address in the next, and any comments in the next!

even if the person doesn’t have a google or gmail account, the link created for the form will open from any server. daniel even went on his cell phone to see if the mobile view was convenient… and it is! i strongly suggest you use it for collecting any information. it could probably be used for surveys, information collection… ANYTHING. be creative. be fun. be spontaneous! …but don’t be annoying.

and… for those who know me, i love my excel sheets for organizing everything :) so this really is perfection.

 

… i was about to end the entry, but i forgot to mention that hopefully, i will have a lot more updates and insights after israel when i go to hawaii! my family and daniel and i are going to hawaii the day after israel. and yes, i do plan on forcing daniel to do some wedding planning with me while we’re there because we are never together. vicious? i know ;)

guestlist :)

The guestlist can be one of the most stressful parts to create during wedding planning. On average, a couple will spend over $150 per guest at their wedding which includes venue fees, food, rental, desserts, etc. As guests, we often underestimate how difficult it can be to come up with a guestlist that 1.) is affordable and 2.) includes everyone the couple would like to invite.

When coming up with the guestlist, I assume that you already know your budget and also know the maximum number of people you can invite according to the costs of everything else. Here are some things to consider when making your final guestlist:

1.       Write down your family that you will need to invite first.
2.       Write your wedding party and their significant others
3.       You do NOT need to give everyone plus ones!
          a.        HOWEVER! Don’t expect people to be happy if you invite them and not their significant others. Case and point: if a friend has been dating someone for a while, or is married, or is engaged, their significant other should be in the guestlist. Random plus ones, I understand that you may not want them there unless you have money to toss… but don’t expect happy feelings if you invite a friend but tell them you don’t have space for their boyfriend/girlfriend or fiancé.
4.       Make a separate list of people you’re not sure about. You can always add them in if you hit under what your number is.
5.       Your list should include (depending on how big your wedding will be) a handful of people more than you’d want. 100% attendance is never the case. So if you plan on having a 200 person wedding, you can invite up to 225 safely.

 

Personally, I always thought I wanted a huge wedding. I thought that the more people that attended my wedding, the more loved I would feel. We all want to feel loved, for goodness sakes! But as I grew in my relationship with Daniel, even BEFORE getting engaged, I found that dream fading away. But it was peaceful. It was different… but comfortable.

I have come to this conclusion: the guestlist should consist of people that love you, love your significant other, and will likely be (in some shape or form) a part of your relationship post-wedding. You don’t need to invite the whole world. Heck, you don’t even need to invite people who’ve invited you to their own wedding! Invite those that will bless your future. Anyone that feels like an obligation, is probably someone you should put in the “maybe” list.

Remember: marriage is forever. Marriage is sacred. The wedding is the beginning of that sacredness. Those who will be witnessing such a sacred union should be somewhat important in your lives.

VENUES! and CONFIRMATION!

As some of you may know, I am still helping other people plan their weddings. One particular incident happened recently that I want to talk about: confirming your venue.

My wonderful friend was able to find a venue that she found perfect. She loved everything about it… the design, the space, the price. She found this place about 3-4 months ago, which gave her at least 10 months or so before her wedding day. Perfect, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately, the venue (ironically, a church) was and continues to have some internal problems unrelated to her wedding. Though she filled out her paperwork and sent in what she needed, they eventually could not confirm her date. They asked her to wait until the new year for them to reset their calendars and make reservations.

I will be the first to say this: unless you KNOW that the venue will be able to be accommodating to you and your significant others’ big day… stray away. When a vendor is unreliable in the beginning, they are not telling you that they are reliable on the day of. As perfect as everything seemed, she couldn’t even confirm her wedding day. Scary? Scary.

I advised that she find a backup place… sadly. We both knew she loved the place, but I could only imagine how much worse it would have been on the actual day or even a few weeks before if things were not set.

Be smart. ANYTHING could happy at any time even if someone seems SUPER reliable. That’s life. But why put yourself in a situation where you have a higher chance of having a negative experience. If the probability is high, don’t risk it. (OHHHH MBA-like terms going on here! :P)

CATERING!

Daniel and I got the perfect caterer for our reception. Perfect on so many levels! It SCREAMS Daniel for anyone who knows him well. Because his palate is simple, we didn’t want to be too hoity doity about the type of food we got for our reception. WE.ARE.EXCITED! 

BUT there’s a problem that we are facing now… the catering company that we have decided to go with don’t provide linens and plates and utensils. So we are in process of deciding if we want to hire another company to set up these things for us, or if we want to buy everything and ask the venue to assist in the table setting. 

There are several options when it comes to table setting. You can hire a company that specializes in renting these items. Some of these companies will offer set-up for a flat fee. If you are just doing this type of rental, often, the company will pick up their items the next morning or night of. Lots of pros. What are the cons with this? Well, it can get expensive. It’s another cost on TOP of your food and other costs. The biggest con, I think, is that someone needs to collect everything and hold on to it until the rental company comes and picks it up. You will probably want to wash the utensils and plates and such too… but either way, you have the responsibility of collecting everything when the event is over 

You may be thinking: but… BUY everything?! That’s what I thought too. However, there are actually quite a lot of wholesale options that might make this a worthy venture. I am doing research to see if it’s cost efficient, and if it’ll work with our theme.

Linens: You can easily buy linens for a very low cost. With the vintage type wedding being popular lately, people will use burlap or just keep wooden tables the way they are. Either way, you can buy linens without spending too much.

Plates/Utensils: This is where your options are endless. If your guest list is smaller, you can go to antique shops or even salvation army or similar to get cheap plates and cups that are all different and unique. The option I’m most intrigued by is disposable plates and utensils. I thought they would be too ghetto… but look!

There are green options:

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Most are made from fiber, bamboo, and other renewable items. Doesn’t that cup look so cool?!

There are options where the utensils/plates and such LOOK real:

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They don’t look fake at ALL and are made of plastic. 

I like both of these options, particularly because they won’t give the guests the feeling that we are being cheap or overly frugal with such items. The best part is, since we have people that can help us set up, all that happens afterwards is a quick toss in the garbage!

My research is not quite over. I want to create an excel sheet that compares the prices of the services of both. Remember, with disposable items comes the extra cost of paying either your coordinator or asking someone else to help you set up (which is not an option for us).

 Be creative! Be fun! People want to celebrate your togetherness. And true friends will be grateful no matter what J

so far…

this week:

i spent an hour looking for parking at school. i missed my exit on the way to school after work, making me sit in my car for an hour through traffic. i’ve had a headache for 4 days straight. my back hurts. people have disappointed me. i’ve woken up every night from having dreams about school and work. i haven’t eaten more than 800 calories a day. on my way home from school, a traffic light was out so it took me 40 minutes to get home (2 miles). i’ve also been unable to breathe, which has made me use my inhaler beyond what my doctor recommends. i got called on in class and couldn’t respond because my brain can’t function quickly enough. fiance’s phone also completely died, which meant i couldn’t talk to the one person i trust to understand me. i miss my family. my car is very low, and i drove too far while parking and scratched the bottom of my car. twice. OH… and also, i had at least two confrontational moments this week… one where someone couldn’t trust me, and the other where someone questioned by integrity. both… sucked. i never cry in public outside of a movie or something touching. i NEVER cry for personal reasons in public. today… apparently, i was so… who knows… i had tears coming out during class. DURING class. i judge myself.

i consciously had to tell myself… that it’s just coincidence. that it’s just chance that all these small things happened at once. nothing against me. during each moment, i’m mad. but… not right now. not later. 

how does all this relate to wedding? well, everyone who maybe slightly knows me enough will ask if i’m stressed. and i will say no. i don’t like people knowing about my personal life. and then those who know me slightly better will ask me WHAT is stressing me. and then automatically ask “is it the wedding planning?” i wish it was. interestingly enough, i am having FUN when i plan for our wedding. but i’m doing everything opposite of wedding planning. 

BUT

everyday… is only ONE of each day. i am happy that i can feel better after the event is over. but now, i want to be able to stay calm DURING the storm. 

“i will praise you in the storm”. IN the storm. the small, insignificant storms i have… i should be able to stay calm. not of myself. 

i am happy. not because i tell myself i am. i’m happy because i realize that everything that happened…. are just events. that’s it. happens everyday. i’m grateful :)

love

As I fail in the world of “daily” blogging, I have had a lot of interesting experiences almost all completely unrelated to wedding planning.

My fiancé turned 28. My brother turned 24 on the same day.
I had midterms.
My daddy has visited me at school since I haven’t seen them in over two months.
My cousin got married in Korea.
I’ve watched Harry Potter several times. And Inception.
Daniel and I finally finished asking all of our wedding party members… to be our wedding party members :] YAY!
I finished reading “The Little Prince”.
I watched the Glee episode “The Quarterback” and cried myself to sleep.
I got a Costco card.

…and so much more.

 Lots of fun things, I know. But today, I want to write about something called love. Yes, love. This is a blog about planning a wedding, so the topic of love seems almost too expected. And to be honest, the topic of love is talked about so much that it’s kind of boring and overplayed. It’s annoying to see those love quotes because it is just that: a quote.

So why do I want to write about love? Because love is so ridiculously misused. It’s misunderstood. It’s thrown around and used to make people think that they have the world figured out. People go around singing about love and what it means to them or how they think it should solve every problem in the world.

 But what is clear? The bible says that love “is the greatest of these” when talking about the fruit of the Spirit. Love is NOT something we give or receive because of our perceptions or desire for it. Love is definitely not something we can constantly do ourselves because (admit it)… we don’t love EVERYONE.

Love is an overflow. Love is a fruit. And like a fruit that can’t grow by itself magically in the air, love cannot just appear because you will it to. It cannot just be given. It cannot just be taken. It needs a root…. a foundation. And from there, love grows. When love grows, then it can overflow to others WAY beyond our own capability to love.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with this topic. I found myself being able to forgive someone because I “love” them, but not being able to forgive another person who has done the same exact thing as the person I love. When I have a relationship that I actually have learned to care about because of reciprocation, I can easily forgive. But the love seems to vanish in both situations. Maybe not vanish… but it’s so much harder to find or express. It’s annoying, frustrating, and it’s so difficult to deal with a situation where it’s someone you actually love because they matter. Love is the difference between the two relationships.

On top of all this, I’ve seen people closest to me misuse love or think they are IN love or OUT of love or NO LONGER ABLE to love in the most secular way possible. And while we all make mistakes, my overflow is choked. I can forgive, but I feel my own love for these people diminishing or hiding… regardless of what it’s doing, I can’t find that love for them. That unconditional, non-judgmental, deeply rooted overflow of love. The people I felt closest to seem lost to me because I can see that there is this fundamental misunderstanding of love. And then I recognize the lack of it in myself. If only I could be an example. If only they could see…

 

So what is the goal here? To have a foundation. To have a root. And from there, produce a fountain… a growth… an overflow of love. Then, and only then, can I fully grasp and fully exemplify what love is. Not a feeling. Not just a commitment. But an extension of a root.