We're Married!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | | 0 comments
First dance as husband and wife :)

On June 9, 2012 me and my man finally got hitched!! I kinda abandoned my blog the last few weeks as wedding madness really caught up to me and we quickly left on our honeymoon, but now that I'm back I will be posting details about our day very soon :)

Photo Credit: Allie Bell — taken during our first dance :)

Feeling "Famous"

So remember me talking endlessly about engagement photography? And whether or not to have an engagement session with your photographer? Well as you may recall I went a little overboard and had not one but two sessions, and I'm proud of it! Well luckily it paid off and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that our engagement session with the talented Delbarr Moradi was recently featured on Brooklyn Bride, one of my fave wedding blogs. I gotta admit it was pretty cool seeing our photos on the blog and their choice of photos was also interesting. Some of the ones they chose I wouldn't have previously named as a favorite but after seeing it in the post I realized how much I liked them! Check it out:

Images via Brooklyn Bride & Delbarr Moradi

A Year Ago Today

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | | 0 comments

...this happened! The love of my life asked me to marry him! As you can tell by the expression on my face I was definitely surprised and of course said yes! Now we are just a few short weeks away from being MARRIED. My how time flies! The anniversary of our engagement is probably not one we'll always remember, but for this first year just a short while from our wedding day, I wanted to look back on that amazing day :) Thank you kochanie, can't wait to spend my forever with you

 Photo via our sneaky, co-conspirators Mr. & Mrs. Stachowiak :) 

Living in The Moment

Thursday, May 10, 2012 | | 0 comments
When we first began wedding planning, I remember vowing to myself that our wedding would be "timeless". I was so hellbent on having this "timeless" affair that I didn't realize I wasn't being true to who I really was.

Looking back, I'm so glad that I decided to live in the moment and choose things that reflected who we are right now rather than trying to predict the future. As we all know, nothing remains in style forever. Fashions come and go, people change — life goes on. So who was I to think that our little wedding can be the huge shift in the time-space continuum and remain stylish, chic and beautiful forever? Yes, it will be a wonderful memory that we'll always cherish but will it stand the test of time? I mean who the hell cares? Luckily, not me anymore!

This was especially true when it came to picking my dress. I was down to two very beautiful but very different options and was torn between which one to choose. But eventually something clicked. I stopped trying to envision myself 50 years down the road and what I'd think of my wedding photos and instead pictured myself right now, in this moment of my life and how I felt. Because really isn't that the beauty of it?? Who cares if in the future I laugh out loud at the style of dress or the type of cake, flowers, etc., that we had at our wedding. What I'd rather remember is the FUN I had and the JOY I felt in marrying the love of my life.

So my advice for those planning a wedding now is to be present and live in the moment. Make decisions that complement your life as a couple today, not your life years down the road. You'll be a happier person because of it :)

Image via DeviantArt

T-Minus One Month!

So my posts have tapered off quite a bit as we near only one month till wedding day eek!! But I thought I'd take this time to sit down and reflect a bit...

I cannot believe how fast the time has flown, and yes I know everyone says that and it's incredibly cliche but it is so.damn.true. It seems like only yesterday I was getting the surprise of my life when my then-boyfriend proposed to me. And now here we are, just weeks away from becoming husband and wife.  The year has brought with it many changes, lots of ups and downs to navigate through while we also journeyed through the pains + joys of wedding planning. As everything slowly but surely comes together I sometimes forget all that went into making our day a reality: The hours upon hours of research, the printing and the cutting and the painting and the sewing, oh and of course the cooking (that hasn't happened yet but will, come wedding weekend!) And of course the time + money our loved ones will be dedicating to join us on our big day has already filled me with an indescribable amount of gratitude and the wedding hasn't event happened yet! (Man am I gonna be a crybaby at this shindig I can already tell lol)

As I sit back and think of all this, I can't believe that OUR
new life, OUR little baby family will come into existence in just one month. Everything and everyone that has helped shape us will all be present in some way on our wedding. After all, we wouldn't be who we are today if it hadn't been for the experiences that we've gone through. Lucky for us, our paths did somehow cross in this big ol' world and now we're getting ready to make a permanent impression. Come June 9, 2012 I will be a wife to an awesome guy that I'm honored I get to spend the rest of my days with :)

Images via Jason+Anna Photography

Happy Anniversary

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | | 0 comments

Happy 31st Anniversary to my Mom & Dad, who have shown me an amazing example of what a marriage can be — compromise, determination, dedication and most of all the love you have for one another and your children. Love you guys!

The First Dance

Ahh the first dance. The time when literally all eyes are on you — no pressure right?! I wish...
So the thing is we don't have first dance yet. Or rather we don't have a song to dance the first dance to. No fancy choreography, no surprise break dance. Nada. I was stressing about this until I realized once again, why do people put so much emphasis on this? Who even remembers their first dance? OK I think girls will probably remember, but I asked my dad what his and my mom's were and he laughed and said he couldn't remember for the life of him. lol I'm not sure if back in those days in Poland they did these things or not but it reiterated to me how much we as a society are influenced by THE WEDDING INDUSTRY and also the damn internet. Nowadays, your life is just seconds away from being uploaded for all the world to see. Watching all those couples bustin' a move on YouTube has made me nervous — I keep thinking, "maybe we should do this? Or how about this?" or "Damn I need to learn how to do THAT!" I try to not let myself get too crazy and worked up about this and remind myself that just because other couples do this or that, doesn't mean we have to. I'm sure in the end we'll choose a song, we'll dance a dance and all my worrying will be for nothing. ;P

Photo via Olivia Leigh Photographie

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | | 0 comments
You've heard me say this before, but it's such an important point that I have to highlight it yet again. Throughout the planning process you are going to have to make a lot decisions. From your wedding date, to your venue, your dress and everything in between. Unless you're a professional planner or have been in many weddings before, the process will be a totally new, unlike-anything-you've-ever-done-before experience. So there is a pretty big learning curve. I can't believe the kind of stuff I'm now practically a pro about that I didn't even know existed a few months ago. (It's actually kind of ridiculous, what the hell am I gonna do with this knowledge once I get married?? lol) As you near the tail end of your planning like I am, (6 weeks to go eek!!) it's hard not to look back and think of things you should have, could have or would have done differently. But alas, the past is the past and what's done is done. I had several moments when I wished I'd made a different decision, and if you asked me several months ago what I thought my wedding would look like, I'm sure the picture I painted would be very different than the reality. But in moments of regret, I simply swallowed my pride and realized that there was NO WAY to predict certain things that came up. How was I to know I'd find a cheaper vendor a few weeks after signing a contract and paying a hefty deposit on one? Sure, I could waste time beating myself up about not researching enough, and yada yada but what's the point? Realize that there will always be things that come up. When you're in the moment, in the throes of the madness that is wedding planning you just have to go with your gut (and of course your budget) and make the best decisions you can at that time. Instead of looking back and wishing you'd done this or that, focus on the PRESENT and the upcoming wedding and more importantly life that you'll share with the one you love.

Image via evvangeline.deviantart.com

Staying Sane

Friday, April 20, 2012 | | 0 comments
As our wedding date gets closer and closer I find myself getting truly crazier and crazier. Before I would roll my eyes at brides that obsessed over the small things and I am horrified to realize that slowly I am becoming one of them! Gahh how did this happen?? When did I go from mellow, level-headed bride-to-be to a detail-driven crazy lady?? Well, I suppose the first step is acceptance right? At least I see that it's happening and I'm trying to zen out and step back from some of this wedding stuff to keep my head clear. (Side note: while Googling crazy bride images, yes I'm that lazy and picked pretty much the first one that popped up but I also found this gem of a blog, written by a seamstress who deals with brides on a daily basis haha a must read! crazybridestories.blogspot.com

So in an effort to keep myself relatively sane, I try to limit my wedding thoughts/talk throughout the day. Crossing things of our checklist is also helping me feel more at ease. But most of all, I think it's realizing that hell I'm getting married in about 6 weeks so I think stressing is a normal part of the process. Keeping the end goal in sight and getting more and more excited each day as I think about the life I have in store with my future husband is also helping tremendously! :) So for those brides out there, I think we should quit apologizing for being "bridezillas" (I've asked friends and family they say I'm not one of them so either they're lying to me or I'm really not lol) Planning a wedding is a BIG deal, it's an extremely important day in your life that you'll remember forever, so again I think a tad bit of crazy is allowed. Just as long as you don't let it completely overwhelm you, remember to drink plenty of wine throughout the process and at some point just let things go. Whatever will be, will be — and you'll be married! :)

Image via www.jeetesh.net

What Is Your Wedding "Theme"?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | | 0 comments
There's no question I hated more during wedding planning, other than maybe "what are your wedding colors?" I'm not a very decisive person, so narrowing down some sort of theme was next to impossible. I got even more frustrated when I'd read blogs or magazines and brides would say that weddings with no set color scheme or theme were "messy" and "unorganized." Can I just make that a theme? The unorganized, slightly messy + chaotic but full of love theme. There. That's ours. Haha.

I honestly didn't realize wedding themes were a thing but apparently boy was I wrong! Google "wedding theme" and you will turn up more than 374 million results! Including some pretty interesting ones. Love Hello Kitty? Well then you'll adore this wedding:

Or Christmas theme on a beach, in Hawaii, in April (why not?!):

Luckily for me, our venue pretty much set the general idea of our wedding without me having to make any decisions. It's an old airplane hangar converted into a winery. So bam! The wine idea was born. I've steadfastly refused to put a specific label on our wedding with any sort of overwhelming theme or color palette. It's just not my thing and however it comes together, it will happen in an organic, natural way. You don't HAVE to have a super detailed down-to-every-last-detail theme, just like you don't HAVE to have a whole bunch of other things that wedding industry people say you do. Maybe a wedding theme will help you, but for me it felt like constricting my ideas into one little box and that's not something I wanted. A slightly messy combo was more up my alley :)

Going Shoe CRAZY

Thursday, April 12, 2012 | | 0 comments

To say I went a tad shoe crazy while searching for my wedding shoes would be an understatement. But let me back up a little bit. When I purchased my dress, my consultant told me if I found 2-inch heels I wouldn't need to hem my dress at all. No hemming=less money spent on alterations so I was definitely game!

Then the quest began. Or rather the obsessive, endless seemingly impossible quest. Us ladies know how many cute, adorable shoes there are out there. But unfortunately for me, all these "cute, adorable shoes" have a heel height of a minimum of 3 inches up to the sky-high 6-inch range. Just a bit more than what I wanted. I searched online, in department stores, thrift stores, and literally anywhere else I could think of that sold shoes. My endless quest sent me into a tailspin and a momentary lapse of monetary sanity after I purchased a very expensive pair of shoes that I decided I just "had to have." Thankfully, the overpriced pair was a) not 2 inches as advertised and b) not comfortable in the slightest.

In the end, much to my surprise but also relief I chose a pair that I already owned and can comfortably dance the night away in. The heel height wasn't exactly 2 inches but when tried on with my dress worked perfectly. It goes to show you, sometimes you don't have to look further than your own closet. Just because it's your wedding doesn't mean you can't stick to something that you already own and love! :)

Photo via shoeloving.files.wordpress.com

Nixing Traditions And Making Your Own

A touching "first look" of a bride & groom
During wedding planning you often hear the phrase "because that's how it's done" or "every wedding has to have this." I questioned this line of thinking from the very beginning? Why do I HAVE to have a "surprise" bridal shower? Or have to do a bouquet toss and garter throw, or any other "tradition" associated with weddings. When did these so-called rules come into place and most importantly by who?? Ask an average person and they'll have no clue as to why showers have to be surprises or brides have to have "something blue" and any other tradition that wedding sites + magazines tell you are essential. Do what works best for your wedding. If a father-daughter dance or mother-son dance isn't your cup of tea? Skip it. If you'd rather see your groom before the ceremony rather than waiting till right before you get married, then do a first look. I chose to do some things differently and I'm a happier bride because of it. (I helped with my bridal shower planning and the world did.not.end. Imagine that?) Screw what people think. And yes some people will think you're being controlling or bossy so remember the saying "those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." Though we are including many "traditions" into our wedding, we are doing so because we want to not because of the pressures of the wedding industry. So do things your way, everyone's got an opinion and you'll never please everyone. So why not make the most important people happy on your wedding day? You and your partner! :)

Photo via Simply Bloom Photography

Just Because

Thursday, April 5, 2012 | | 0 comments

Photo by Delbarr Moradi

The Clock Is Ticking

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 | | 0 comments

Our wedding is only t-minus 66 days away!! Cannot believe how fast the time has flown. And what everyone says is true, the last few weeks really are crunch time. Guess I better enjoy my last few weeks as a Ms. and pull everything together in time to say "I do." :)

A Newfound Respect And Understanding

Planning a wedding has taught me a lot of things. Patience, decisiveness, the importance of timeliness...the list goes on. It has truly given me an intimate glimpse into the world of event planning. But most of all, it has helped me develop an incredible amount of respect for anyone that has ever planned or is planning a wedding or any type of event. I now know how difficult it can be and how much thought goes into each and every decision. Especially when planning such an emotionally-charged day like your wedding! I also know that sometimes there are things that the people planning can't control. So the food takes a bit longer than expected to be served, who cares?! Just shut up and eat once you've gotten the food! Or there is a time gap between ceremony and reception and you're wondering why. As someone who is currently planning a wedding I can tell you that the couple tries to cover ALL the bases and account for almost everything when making each and every decision. But alas, you can't please everyone and nothing is perfect. So sure, there may be some things that seem like glaring mistakes to you but what you don't realize is how hard the couple has worked to ensure that each guest has a fabulous time.

I have never been one of those people that is nitpicky about details or super critical of people's personal style choices. But I'm not completely innocent. I've definitely had my moments at events I've attended where I've rolled my eyes at certain things. However, I now look at things completely differently. Knowing how much blood, sweat and tears it takes to pull off a wedding, I vow to remember that feeling the next time I want to pass judgement on someone's color choice or other trivial wedding detail. If you want to have a wedding on a Wednesday afternoon at your house because that is what works best for you, then more power to you! If it's not in your budget to do an open bar and instead opt to serve a signature drink, then by all means DO IT. Throughout this process, people have repeated to me that it's OUR day and we should do what WE want. And you know what? They're absolutely right! So the next time you're at a wedding and are about to pass judgement, remember you are there because you love and want to support the couple and take part in their special day, not be a wedding critic. So smile and cheer on the happy newlyweds, because though you maybe be peeved about one or two silly things, they've planned for months to throw a beautiful and emotional day that they'll never forget.

The Registry

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | | 0 comments
I had mixed feelings about registries. I was nervous about choosing items and then asking people to buy them for us — it just seemed like a weird and unnatural thing to do. That is until I read somewhere not to think of it as material items but rather the things that will help us build a life together. So every time I use a bowl that someone got me, I could think of that person as being a part of the life I'm building with my husband. (My future mother-in-law still has a strainer she received as a wedding gift almost 30 years ago and it remains her favorite!) Thought it was a cute and thoughtful way of looking at it :) But it still didn't make it any easier! Though registries aren't done at all in Poland, this is another tradition that we've picked up from American culture and decided to incorporate. It turned out we started on the registry game kind of late (I had seen people with registries a year before their weddings! Umm definitely not us!) As we walked hesitantly to the registry counter at our local Bed, Bath & Beyond we had no idea what to expect. What came next was a bombardment of checklists, information, long-winded explanations and a dramatic entrance into the world of registries. We learned the difference between fine china and casual china, or rather that there even is such a thing. We learned about cookware, bakeware, serverware, dinnerware and any other -ware you can think of. We learned that you should register for gifts with different price points and a wide variety for your guests to choose from, etc, etc, etc. It turned out to be quite the learning experience! (And I'm sure quite the torture for Patryk lol)

Our consultant was very helpful and listened to all our registry-novice questions. Not doing too much research beforehand (I didn't set up anything online prior to going to the store) left us feeling completely exhausted after the first whirlwind trip. I was surprised to find that we were literally physically tired from the process. Needless to say, it turned out to be a good thing that we got so much done that first day because our attempts at registering after that were always halfhearted at best. There was such an overwhelming amount of choices we didn't know where to begin! Not knowing where we'd be living post-wedding also made it difficult to narrow down many things.

All in all, after much hard work and thought we have pretty much finalized our registries. After being unsure about them from the get-go I realized that they can be very helpful for two people just beginning their new lives together. We currently have about three plates and two bowls to our name so it will be nice to add some to the mix :)  Another benefit that ultimately sold me on the registry process was the post-wedding discounts you get! Most stores host special sales for all the registry items that you didn't receive so you can purchase whatever else you'd like on your own. Another plus? You would be surprised how much you learn about your significant other and their style and aesthetic preferences in an aisle full of fancy plates. But that is a whole other story :)

Image via YumSugar

Keep Calm

Monday, March 26, 2012 | | 0 comments

Ha! This image totally cracked me up :) Though I have to agree, if you can afford it then definitely hire someone to help! If not, try to wrangle your friends or family into taking over this role so that you can sit back and relax on your wedding day!

Image via The Bride's Butler

Gettin To Work: Wedding Crafting Time

Friday, March 23, 2012 | | 0 comments
This weekend, I plan on rolling up my sleeves and gettin to work on some of my long-awaited wedding projects. I'm trying to remain optimistic, here's to hoping I can get a lot done.

Either I'll end up looking like this:

Or be feeling like this:

 Wish me luck! :)

Images via candeefick.com and singingbowls.biz

The Wedding Dress Fitting

In less than three weeks I will have my first wedding dress fitting. After months and months of waiting, I will finally get to try my dress on again. As you may recall, the whole dress buying process was pretty tough for me. There is so much expectation with the bride's dress and this coupled with my incredible indecisiveness made for a difficult dress buying experience.

But alas, I made a deadline and I stuck to it. And with the help of my mom and sisters bought a dress. In crazy wedding world, if you buy your dress from a traditional wedding dress retailer you have to do so at least 6-8 months in advance. Yep, six to eight months or else you'll be stuck paying a rush shipping fee that can run you another couple hundred bucks.

So I bought my dress in October and will finally see it in April. In those six months in between, I've been going back and forth between nightmares of my dress not fitting, having second thoughts about buying it and excitement about finally getting to try it on. Whoever thought of the rule that there has to be SO MUCH TIME in between purchase and actual pick up of the dress is obviously evil. Don't people know girls will try themselves insane?? As Kanye would say "that shit cray." It's times like these that I wish I were a guy. Just gotta get sized for a tux and they're done.

Image via women24.com

Wedding Planning: Why Blog About It?

I've been a little embarrassed to tell people that I'm blogging about planning my wedding. I mean how cliché and cheesy is that? It seems all the rage nowadays to blog about anything and everything but wedding planning is quite a popular choice. Well I decided to say screw it and throw myself in there among the millions of wedding blogger wannabes. My reasons were this: I'm a writer and I love to write so why not? At the time I decided to embark on this little blogging journey I wasn't working in a writing-heavy atmosphere so I figured what better way to polish up my skills than to write often?

Number two, I was feeling pretty lonely in the wedding planning process. Almost all of my friends and family live in different states so I don't have anyone nearby to do all this wedding stuff with. Plus I also just didn't want to annoy people by constantly talking about the wedding (it's like word vomit I still have to stop myself sometimes) so the virtual world was the most appealing route. I can safely write about my frustrations about venues or excitement over accomplishing things on my to-do list without boring my friends and family to tears. (At least not in person haha)

Number three, I really wanted to have a written record to remember all this by. It's true what everyone said that our engagement would fly by and it has! We have less than three months till our wedding and sometimes I still feel like it all just started yesterday. Luckily, I just have to go back in my archives to remember what I was feeling or how planning was progressing.

And finally, when I started planning a wedding with a cultural emphasis I didn't find a lot of resources or advice from other blogs. Maybe my little blog can be helpful to some other brides out there, or at the very least give them some comfort in knowing they're not alone and have some laughs along the way :)

Image via Pieces of Me

Wedding Porn

Monday, March 19, 2012 | | 2 comments

Wedding and porn aren't two words you'd normally find together. But alas, it's a sickness. A sickness that mainly bride-to-be's endure.

When I began the planning process, (OK it may have started when my friend got married a few years ago but whatever) one of the first things I did was start checking out blogs and websites dedicated to weddings. And so it began. Now, with less than three months to go till my wedding, I've got a set list of blogs that I check out daily. These blogs can serve as great tools for your wedding planning endeavors. Many provide free printables, templates, not to mention scores of ideas and inspiration. However, brides beware. Sometimes reading these blogs can be a dangerous game.

You start to question every detail about your wedding. "Is this color OK?" "Will our guests like this?" etc, etc. You also start to get insanely jealous of all the pretty weddings you see featured on these blogs and take on more projects than you realistically have time to accomplish because it just look SO DAMN GOOD on the blog. You think "I can do that!" But really though, you can't. So lets knock that "I'm-a-DIY-diva" mindset right out of your head. I say this only because I'm currently suffering through this. I have a list of things a mile long I'd like to craft but deep down I know that not all of these will be realized. As for controlling my wedding porn addiction, that isn't going so well either. Though the blogs I read range in the typical here's the gorgeous wedding of your dreams to sane down-to-earth advice, they still technically count as "wedding porn" since they've all got one thing in common: weddings! I've read that you should stop reading these at least a few weeks before your wedding because you'll literally drive yourself crazy so that may be something I'll have to consider.  In the meantime, here are the blogs I-love- to-hate-on-but-secretely-can't-get-enough-of:

P.S. If you have any more please send it my way and enable my addiction ;)

Photo via tinylibrary.blogspot.com

Marrying Your Best Friend

"Umm you like what??"
After reading this post on A Practical Wedding, I got to thinking. Do we really marry our best friends? In the post, the author writes how her and her now-husband don't think of one another as best friends, but simply as husband and wife. In fact, she even writes that if they weren't married they probably wouldn't even be friends! You often hear the saying "I married my best friend" and her post strikes a nerve in a sensitive area.

When I first met my now fiancé I thought we were the same person. In fact, I even wrote to some friends how he was "the male version of me" haha. It was amazing how much we had in common, all the topics we could talk about, etc, etc. Fast forward to the present and I realize how different we are.

I love to read. Love, love, love to read. In 8th grade I read more than 150 books during the school year. (And not just the easy stuff, War and Peace, Anna Karenina..yes I was a dork ;)  His one completed book in recent years is The 4-Hour Workweek. I'm a music lover, but especially love hip-hop, reggae, rap, etc., whereas his most enjoyable tunes fall into the euro-style, techno category. I love to eat. I'll try pretty much anything you put in front of me and am always open to sampling unique cuisine. Whereas Patryk prefers his rotating repertoire of favorite meals and cringes at the thought of trying something new. We have different political views, different tastes in design and furnishings, and other things on which we "agree to disagree."

But as the author points out, differences in music and food are peanuts if you share the same core values and morals in which you want to begin your family unit. It is this type of heavy stuff that will determine the success of your marriage, not who likes to eat this or that. This is definitely the case for us. We share the same beliefs, values and have common goals that we want to achieve as a married couple. We have plans for our future about the way we want to raise our children, who will manage what in our household and most of all the type of life we want to build for ourselves. However, despite all our differences I do think my fiancé is my best friend; he's my closest confidant, my biggest supporter and the person I turn to for pretty much everything. That being said, I think it's our differences that make us who we are, and give a zest to our relationship that wouldn't be there if we were exactly the same person. Just imagine what a boring life that would be ;)

Photo via Jason+Anna Photography

Planning Ahead And Yet Still Failing

Thursday, March 15, 2012 | | 0 comments

I read a lot of advice about wedding planning when I started on this process and one of the things that was repeated over and over was: DON'T LEAVE THINGS TILL THE LAST MINUTE!
Pretty sound advice. But isn't that the nature of the beast? I convinced myself that I wasn't going to be like all those other brides scrambling around at the last minute and would instead be calm & collected since I'd steadily finished everything. And then reality hit me.

I thought I paced myself pretty well and handled all the big stuff while planning ahead with the rest. However, I couldn't escape the fact that I'm a total procrastinator by nature and as is usually the case, life got in the way. Now some of the "small" projects that I figured I could handle as they come are now looming as we close in on less than three months till our wedding. Damn it. There goes all my "thinking ahead." All that's left to do now is buck up and get going on all the rest — both big and small. I realize that if I forget something, it won't really matter anyway. But right now, all I know is there's a big, fat checklist waiting for me at home.

Image via forwardflorida.com

Bridging the Cultural Gap

As an immigrant, growing up there have been many times that I haven't understood certain American traditions or sayings. (Still can never remember the difference in the use of borrow vs. lend. Or remember I'm standing in line not on line. And I call myself a writer ha!)

But for my parents, who were born and raised in Poland and spent their entire adult lives there, this can be even more difficult. This issue has come up for us several times during wedding planning. Though my fiancé and I are planning a wedding that is big on Polish culture and traditions, there are definitely some American customs that we've decided to incorporate into our big day. For example, in Poland the bride and groom normally walk into their ceremony together, whereas in America the tried-and-true tradition is the father walking the bride down the aisle. (I've opted for the American way of having my dad walk me down.)

Another area that has come under scrutiny during our wedding planning is all the pre-wedding activities that go on for the bride, i.e. bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. My mom is having a hard time understanding the whole concept of the shower. What is the point exactly? Why do you do it this way vs. that way? How should it even look like? etc, etc. And there's also the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, flower girls and ring bearers, rehearsal dinner, registries and even the concept of a bridal party (you only have two witnesses in Poland) to add to the list of things that has been thrown their way to wrap their heads around. Just as we've learned a lot throughout this planning process so have our parents, and bless their hearts for being open and understanding to all this new information. My mom has even joked that she should write a book for other immigrant parents planning weddings in the U.S. I think it's a great idea!

Thank goodness we're having a 13-month engagement because it gives us plenty of time to prepare and learn all this stuff along the way :) Kudos to our parentals for being such good students of the American wedding traditions, it will be a breeze for the rest of our siblings!

The Name Change - A New Life as Mrs. G

Along with all the choices you have to make when you decide to get married, changing your name is yet another one. There are tons of options out there today. You can change your name to your husband's, you can keep your name as is, you can hyphenate and combine both your names, you can both change your name altogether or your husband can change his name to yours! (Pretty cool dude in my book.) Luckily, there are many options for those that wish to change their name, whole websites have even sprung up streamlining the fairly complicated process for you! (missnowmrs.com).

However, sometimes the decision to change your name can be a challenging one. Maybe you love your name and simply don't want to change it. Maybe the thought of having a new identity and a new name is just too strange of an option for you. Or maybe you want to keep your name for professional reasons. Every person's reasoning is different.

The whole name-change conversations bring back some old memories when back in our elementary school days we'd doodle on our notebooks with the last name of whatever crush we had at the moment. (C'mon ladies you know you did this! hehe) For me, it was definitely Mrs. DiCaprio (I had an ahem slight obsession with Leo to say the least.) You would imagine your life together and potential children's names that would go well with your new last name. Well fast forward about 15 years and this is the reality I'm facing as I get ready to embark on my life as a married woman. I was raised in a traditional home where my mom took my dad's last name and everyone around me was in the same situation. So for me, though I certainly support feminism and a woman's right to make her name-changing decision, the traditional route is what I opted for. This certainly wasn't a decision I made overnight but I can say that for me and my future husband, this option works best.

I had many personal reasons for doing this. For one, I like the fact that my husband and I would share a name and we'd be taking the first steps in building our baby family. And number two, my name is long as hell. Like longer than the alphabet, 30-letters, mostly-consonants-long. (It's Katarzyna Agnieszka Marciszewska, I wasn't kidding lol) Needless to say, as much as I love my name I am looking forward to paring it down a little. Patryk's last name still isn't the easiest to pronounce for people, but it's certainly easier than mine!

I'm still unsure how I'll handle the professional transition (as a writer your name is everything) but I do plan on embracing my new identity. It will be a bit weird at first but after speaking to women who have been married for many years, they laugh and say sometimes they forget their maiden names. As all these other aspects of my life change in married life, this will simply be another one to add to the list. Here's to my future as Mrs. Grobelny! :)

Weekend Retreat - Marriage Prep Style

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | | 2 comments
This past weekend my fiancé and I took part in a marriage preparation retreat. The retreat was a prerequisite to get married in our church, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I had always planned on doing some form of premarital counseling and this ended up being a great experience. Though our retreat was faith-based, it wasn't overwhelming and really focused more on the various issues your marriage is bound to face, from day-to-day problems to serious, deep-rooted issues you have to talk through with your partner.

I can't emphasize enough how much I recommend couples do some sort of premarital counseling. It doesn't matter where you do it, just do it! As one couple at the retreat pointed out, when is the last time you devoted an entire weekend to just TALKING with your partner? If you're like most of us, probably never. With the constant buzz of everyday life it's hard to dedicate that much time to one another. However, at the retreat with no distractions of TV or internet, we were able to delve into discussion head on and give each topic the appropriate amount of time it deserved.

Even a couple who had been together for more than 10 years told us that the retreat was an eye-opening experience. Sure, if you've decided to get married hopefully you've talked about the big things like kids, jobs, etc. But what about all the finer points of that and your true feelings about them? Especially as engaged couples get wrapped up in wedding planning it's easy to gloss over these issues and hope that they work themselves out post-wedding. Alas as Kim Kardashian taught all of us, that is clearly not a good way to go.

It was really nice to spend time with couples who are going through the same things we are and hear their thoughts regarding love and marriage. Our retreat was led by a husband and wife who had 36 years of marriage under their belt, so needless to say their insights were very helpful! We discussed all sorts of issues and then had intimate one-on-one discussion with our partners. All in all, it was truly a fantastic experience and a great reminder of what the goal of marriage is, a nice thing to keep at the forefront during all this wedding planning madness. ♥

Another photo courtesy of the awesome Delbarr Moradi

Feeling Wedding Planning/Engagement Nostalgia

I can't believe I'm actually saying those words, but I think I'm going to miss wedding planning. Well, maybe not so much wedding planning but rather this really unique time in my life when I get to be engaged and have someone call me their fiancée and when I get to prepare to vow to spend the rest of my life with someone.

It's no surprise that these feelings have surfaced after my fiancé and I attended a marriage preparation weekend retreat. I'll definitely be posting on that in the future (highly recommend this for ALL couples, regardless of how long you've been together you'd be surprised the topics that you haven't discussed or not in enough depth.) But when it comes to wedding planning, I've been focusing on all the negatives that go along with it while forgetting that this is a time in my life I'll never get back, and I may look back on it wishing I'd taken the time to soak it in and appreciate everything.

So my promise to myself from this day forward is to enjoy this time and remember that everything we do is a memory in the making. One of the reasons I blogged about this experience in the first place was to have an account of everything and remember how I felt throughout this whole process. So here's to being a Ms. for a few more months and enjoying saying fiancé the fancy way ;)

Photo courtesy of Delbarr Moradi from our recent engagement session :)

The Endless To-Do List

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | | 0 comments

My fiancé and I sat down to write a list of things we still need to get done for the wedding. Needless to say our "to-do" list quickly grew to over 50 things! As you can tell by the last item, we clearly have our priorities in order hehe ;) 

And yes, I keenly remember this post where I yelled to "burn that checklist' but not to worry, this did not come off any wedding website or magazine, this is our personal list of things we gotta get done. A few days later Patryk thought it would be funny to send this to me:

 According to the above list we are doing awesome. LoL.

Wedding Invitation Envy

Monday, February 27, 2012 | | 0 comments
Wow, is all I have to say after looking at these SELF-MADE, DIY wedding invites. That deserves all caps, I mean seriously?! And more importantly total cost was around $200. They are truly impressive. If I were having a destination wedding and was really, really, really ambitious I just might try to swing something like this. Instead, I will sit and weep. Find the exact details from the talented bride & groom that pulled this off here. And take a peek:

Images via weddingbee.com

Wedding World Lingo

Who knew that basically a whole other language exists out there in wedding world? Words like bustle, chapel length, tastings and registries quickly entered my vocabulary. It's amazing how many things you learn while wedding planning. I'd like to share a few words (and my hopefully humorous definitions of them) that I've learned along this journey.

boutineer — remember those things you gave to your date at prom? Well this impossibly hard to remember how to spell thing is the grown-up version of that. This could come in the form of flowers, buttons, twigs, etc.
chapel length — the length of your dress train and/or veil. according to quick internet search it's about three to five feet from the hem (bottom) of your dress. there is also cathedral length (the super long version) as well as elbow and finger tip length veils. 
chivari — a fancy looking chair that will cost you more than the regular ol' chairs.
centerpiece — the decorations for your reception tables.
deposits — the cash money you gotta pay up so said vendors can make the wedding happen.
letterpress — really expensive but pretty way to print your wedding invitations
registry — where you sign up to ask for a variety of gifts from kitchen utensils to home stuff and more. also where you get to play around with that scanner gun at the store ;)
response cards — the small but very important pieces of paper that let you know who is coming to your wedding and who isn't (if of course they send them!) i've heard horror stories of no responses, so keeping my fingers crossed for ours!
tasting — one of the fun parts! when you get to try the yummy food/desserts that you'll serve at your wedding. schedule a lot of these, I mean helloo free food and sweets!
vendor — the people who will make your wedding happen i.e. photographers, caterers, etc.

hmm, so this is all I could think of for now. This is just a small sampling of the lingo you'll hear tossed around when you're planning a wedding. It's a bit daunting at first, but you'll quickly get the hang of it. In fact, it may get to the point when you'll be having a conversation with someone who isn't currently planning a wedding and/or in the industry and they'll look at you like you have two heads when you bring some of this stuff up. But alas, their time will come ;)

Images via www.itmightbelove.com, www.celebrityweddings411.com, weddingchicks.com, stylemepretty.com

Low-Cost Save the Dates

Ahh Save the Dates. The lovely little reminders you send to your guests to let them know you're planning a big bash in a few months. I learned what save the dates are, along with many other wedding-related terms when I first got engaged. I learned even more about them when researching options. Who knew that these things can cost ya a pretty penny? After finding out the average costs, I was appalled. Who would want to spend that much money on something most people will probably throw away? Well, definitely not us! Once we settled on a Bay Area wedding I decided postcards were the way to go! I found some vintage-y looking ones highlighting various San Francisco landmarks and I thought it was a pretty novel idea. Apparently I was wrong. See below:


Turns out postcard save the dates where all the rage. Regardless I went ahead with my idea since it was a) cheaper and b) a little more fun and c) tied into our wedding since for many guests it will be a destination wedding hence travel and postcards :)
So it may not have been super original but for 9 bucks for a pack of 20 it was the most cost-effective option I could think of. Plus postage for postcards at just 29 cents a pop also saved us a couple bucks. Now, as much as I like the personalized options with photos of the couple it just wasn't for us. I felt a bit weird thinking of our faces on peoples fridges. We did personalize by ordering a custom stamp from Etsy from this awesome seller. Check out how it turned out below (in the late hours stamping away). 

The only downside to my idea was that since it was a postcard some guests missed it in their mail. Regardless, I'd still highly recommend this low-cost yet equally fun save the date idea!
Images in order of appearance via me, Ruffled, Wedding Chicks, The Vegas Wedding Planner

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | | 0 comments

I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but luckily I moved so it would remain close to me 

Keeping Perspective

As we head into the last 4 months of wedding planning, I have to keep reminding myself of this wise wedding mantra, courtesy of none other than Meg Keene in her book —
A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration.

"I will not remember what our wedding looked like; I will remember what it felt like."

With emphasis on how it FELT. I know that the wedding will be a culmination of months and months of planning but I truly hope that what we take away from the day is the happiest emotions of love, laughter and fun.

Image via bucketsandbunches.com

Engagement Photos: Yay or Nay?

From the very beginning of our wedding planning, I have stated how extremely important photography is to me. So it was no surprise that the decision whether or not to take engagement photos was a no-brainer! (All these lovely images you see here are courtesy of the crazy-talented husband and wife duo Jason & Anna Photography). I figured if we were going to spend money on anything it would be the photos.

I'm not quite sure when the whole engagement session thing started but it's safe to say that this portion of the wedding industry has significantly expanded in recent years. Every photographer I contacted when initially searching for our wedding photogs all suggested an engagement session. It's a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and most imporantly get comfortable in front of the camera. Trust me, it's a bit unsettling at first and takes a little while to get used to someone snapping away in front of you.

Naturally, it's not super surprising to hear that we'll be having two engagement sessions. Yea, I'm a little of a photo session diva what can I say? (Secretly, I'd love to be a photographer but considering I lack any talent in that area, for now I'll settle on someone else taking pretty pictures with me in 'em.) I initially contacted Jason & Anna to shoot our wedding but they were unfortunately unavailable on our wedding day. Regardless, I decided a photo shoot incorporating the Arizona desert where mine and my fiancé's relationship started would make for some good stories for the grandkids. (OK, I can't take full credit, it was my younger sister who made the very wise suggestion and I'm so glad she did, thanks to her we have some amazing pictures!) We also recently shot with Delbarr Moradi, the super-talented photographer that we are honored will be capturing our wedding day! Both sessions were super fun and really helped us get acclimated to being in front of the camera. I know that on our wedding day I won't be nearly as nervous, especially since I'm confident that the pictures will come out great :)

Everyone has their own opinion on the matter but to me, money spent on photography is quite simply money well spent. What better way to capture this exciting moment in your life than with some kick-ass photos? I mean we're only young once right? Might as well make use of our youthful looks while we still got em! ;)

Images courtesy of Jason & Anna Photography

The Wedding Planning Book to End All Wedding Planning Books

Early into the planning process I stumbled upon A Practical Wedding, a wedding blog that differed from any other. And I'm so glad I did. You will be too once you read it. It offered a refreshing, down-to-earth perspective on wedding planning and marriage in general. Not surprisingly, the blog evolved and its creator Meg Keene recently published a book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration.

I wasn't planning on reading any wedding planning books nor am I planning on reading any more but thank goodness I read this one! You know the feeling when you're reading a book and you can't help but talk during the process? Well that's what reading this book was like for me. Kind of like this:

"Oh my god yes! I totally agree!"
"I thought I was the only one that thought that! It's so nice to hear I'm not crazy!"
"Seriously, who the hell cares about the effin' chairs?!"

Basically, Meg took a very unique approach when it came to writing a book about wedding planning: She was actually NORMAL about it. As in, she reminds us all that the whole point of planning a wedding is the getting married part, not the part about how great your reception is or what your centerpieces look like. So if you are a clueless yet sane bride wanting to plan a meaningful celebration, read this book ASAP. She gets down to the nitty gritty and helps you figure out where to start in an easy-to-understand step-by-step process.

Thanks to movies and media, the prelude to the wedding planning process — the proposal itself — has been exaggerated to such great lengths that it has made most of us forget the point of it all. Meg's insightful and empowering words shatter the typical stereotype.  I absolutely LOVED the quote from the book discussing this topic:
"It's exciting to decide to get married. And scary. But the moment of the proposal is just that: a moment. It moves you to the next step of the process; it's not the be-all, end-all. So maybe you have a fancy candlelight dinner followed by parachutists delivering you a pear-shaped, seven-carat diamond. Or maybe you decide to get married one Sunday morning over the newspaper and a cup of coffee. Either way is fine. The point is that you decided to spend your life with someone you love."
And that ladies and gentlemen is just a small piece of the wisdom you'll find in this book. Another favorite tidbit of mine featured in the book: the genius and oh-so-true tips from Kayce Hazelgrove of shinyprettybits.com and foodiewashere.com titled "The Six Stages of Wedding Planning." Kayce takes you through the various stages of emotional highs and lows of planning a wedding. 

"This stage is marked by feelings of bitterness and frustration. You may feel as though you are failing in some way. This can cause you to swing between feeling angry over all the expectations being placed on you and despondent over your inability to live up. You may find yourself resenting others with friends and family who own a barn, can DJ, or have the enviable ability to craft masterpieces out of bits of random fabric and paper." 
Now I'm not sure if any of you guys planning a wedding out there have felt this way, but I certainly have and reading this book was a nice affirmation of 1) I'm not a crazy person and 2) knowing that it can be done in a sane and gasp! maybe even fun way. As Megan of notmartha.org puts it:

"It’s like having a very cool older sister who went through all this already to help guide you on what is and what isn’t important."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Buy this book and read it now. You'll be thankful you did.

P.S. Listen to Meg's interview discussing the book on NPR's Talk of the Nation here.
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