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 :)
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