Going the Distance: A Long Distance Marriage

Going the Distancew

Going the Distance: Long distance Marriage

Earlier this week, A Practical Wedding wrote about living apart during a marriage.   Their post hit home, as this week was the first week of my out-of-state summer internship.  Next weekend I will travel back home to get married and celebrate with friends and family.  And then – you guessed it – I am right back here, out-of-state and back to work.  Which means that my soon-to-be husband and I will spend the first 3 months of our marriage choosing to live apart.  

We were both lucky to receive our dream internships for the summer – and, it just so happens that they are plane ride (or long car ride) apart.  As for the future, there is a strong possibility that are two careers will keep us in separate zip codes for the foreseeable future.  This uncertainty and unconventional living arrangement has caused many of my friends and family to raise their eyebrows and express concern.  A few have even implied that perhaps I shouldn’t get married, or wondering why I would choose to get married now, when so much is unknown.  

But, on the eve of our wedding, here is what I have come to understand: Marriage is much, much more than having a permanent roommate.  While most of us want to live together with our spouse, my decision to get married wasn’t contingent upon that.  My decision to get married was contingent upon our love for each other and our mutual support for each other’s dreams.

I am not going to post-pone marriage simply because there is uncertainty about where those dreams will take me.  Nor will I sacrifice my dreams simply so that I can live every minute of my life with my husband.  Life is full of uncertainties, and I think sometimes we get into a pattern of thinking that we have to have everything “right” before we can possibly get married.   We have to graduate, we have to have a certain income, we have to wear a certain size.  All the ducks in a row, and all the p’s and q’s crossed.

But marriage isn’t about certainty.  At this point in our lives – married, single, or engaged –  most of us really don’t know how our careers will turn out, if we’re able to have kids (or if we even want kids!), or even where we will live.   If we wait on all of those things materialize before seeking out a life partner, then we might miss out on the joys that partnership brings.

I think of marriage as this big, quantum leap of faith into the unknown, and choosing a partner to take that leap with us.  It’s about staring into the unknown and grappling with the uncertainty, knowing that our partner is supporting us.  And, yes, it’s about building joint dreams that are bigger than you could have imagined as an individual.  As Obama would say, it’s the Audacity to Hope.


How-to Make your Rose, Hydrangea, & Peony Bouquet

Happy Wednesday! I apologize for my absence and since last writing I have successfully moved out-of-state and started a new internship.  Before I left, however, I took my bridal portraits.  (Bridal portraits are a southern tradition of doing a photo shoot with the bride and her dress prior to the wedding.)  

Using leftover centerpiece flowers from here, I created a large bridal bouquet with about $25 worth of flowers.  Similar, smaller bridesmaid’s bouquets could be completed for about $10-15/each as well…I actually made one and then gave it away to one of my maids before taking a picture!

I love this project because it gives you so many options to save money and still have floral bouquets for you and your girls.   You could opt to have the florist do centerpieces and you do the bouquets.  A florist will typically charge $125-250 for a bridal bouquet and $50-100 for a Bridesmaid bouquet.  Depending on your number of bridesmaids these bouquets could be completed the morning of the wedding in about a half hour and save $100+ per bouquet.  To save even more you could choose to only do floral bouquets and use non-floral centerpieces.  

Easy 2 Step Bouquet Tutorial

Step 1: Buy your Flowers

I actually used the flowers that I purchased for a wedding the previous Saturday.  In the professional pictures below, the flowers were 4 days old and had already been through a wedding, made into a large living room arrangement, and then turned into a bouquet.  Moral of story? Don’t let anyone convince you flowers are too fragile to do yourself.  They weren’t refrigerated, the water changed once before the wedding and once after, and they turned out great.  Seriously, check out the pictures – does that look like a $25 bouquet?

Here’s a picture of the flowers and my initial arranging:

Easy Bouquet Tutorial

Easy Bouquet Tutorial

Step 2: Group Flowers into a Ball

Once you have taken excess leaves and initially trimmed the stems of  your flowers, you should start grouping them together.  This is more of an art than an exact science.  As I tried to illustrate, I simply kept adding flowers to my “bouquet” until it resembled a sphere.  I then took a look at what it looked like when I held it in front of a mirror and rearranged a bit.  Now, the real secret:  simply use rubber bands to secure the blooms.  Three rubber bands to secure the top, middle and bottom of the stems will work well and is much easier to handle than floral tape.  I placed my bouquet into a vase for transport and tied the ribbon on once I arrived at the photo shoot.  

That’s it!  Here’s the professional pictures – what do you think?

Easy Budget Bridal Bouquet

Easy Budget Bridal Bouquet – only $25!

Free Wedding Photography Contest!

Today I am busy packing and preparing to move out-of-state for my summer internship.   I want to share with you another awesome opportunity for those getting married in 2013 – North Carolina wedding photographer EmilieCarol Photography is hosting a contest for free wedding photography.  I featured EmilieCarol Photography as an already affordable, great photographer, and her wedding giveaway  All the details are found here, and you can see even more pictures here.  Good Luck!

EmilieCarol Photography

EmilieCarol Photography


How to Make a Wedding Seating Arrangement Chart

Wedding Seating Chart

Heavenly Hydrangea Seating Chart 18×24 $70 by TypeandLovePaperie

With 17 days to go, I have been thinking about the seating arrangement.  First, I am proponent of having a chair for every person and an assigned seat.  I know that this is not always the case – I have been to a couple of weddings this past year in which seating was more limited and unassigned to encourage mixing & mingling.  I do, however, think that assigned table seating gives guests a place to store their coat or purse, prevents hoarding of seats by those that arrive early, and adds a bit of formality to the wedding.  Over the past week my research has discovered a few seating “rules.”   These include:

  1. The Bride & Groom sit together.  They can opt to do a sweetheart table or sit with their Bridal Party.  I strongly prefer sitting with  the bridal party, but to each their own.  Additionally, I also believe in inviting any of the bridal party’s partners or significant others to sit with us (even if this means we need 2 tables).
  2. Parents sit together.   Here, I have seen the Parents of the Bride and Groom each have their own table to “host” or, in the alternative, they both sit at the same table.  Because our parents live in different parts of the country and have barely met each other (our dad’s will meet for the first time at the wedding!) I plan on sitting our parents together with a few close relatives. 
  3. Children sit together.  If they are old enough to attend school, they are most likely old enough to sit at a children’s table.  Ideally, this table is near the side of the room and close to the restroom – and far away from the cake, where kids might be prompted to help themselves early. 
  4. Be cognizant of disabilities.   If your guests are elderly, perhaps reconsider sitting them directly under the DJ’s speakers.   Similarly, if they have limited mobility, then they may prefer to be close to the bathroom facilities or closer to the entryway.    
  5. Common Interests and Friends.   At this point, there is usually a large group of your parent’s friends, college roommates, coworkers, and classmates that have yet to be seated.  Typically, I advocate to sit guests who know each other together.  I assume that guests will mix and mingle during the dancing and will feel more comfortable sitting with people they know during dinner.  Of course, sometimes this is not possible – there will always be a couple or two who really only know the bride or groom.  At this point, I would sit them near other guests with common interests. 
There are different opinions out there, of course.  The Bitchy Bride has a great post about wanting to sit guests by common interests first, so that people could make new acquaintances.   What do you think? As a guest, do you prefer assigned seating? Do you prefer to sit with those you know?

6 DIY Peony, Rose, and Hydrangea Centerpieces for $50 Tutorial

This past weekend I created all the floral arrangements for a friend’s wedding.  The arrangements were classic and very easy to pull together.  

Step 1: Buy your Flowers

On Saturday I purchased the peonies from a local farmers market for a $1.50/stem!  I then found Hydrangea, Spray Roses, and Spider Mums at Whole Foods.  I love working with hydrangea because they are so big & fluffy – they easily fill in space in an arrangement.  In total I had 12 hydrangea stems, 5 spider mum stems, 9 peony stems, and about 10 spray rose stems.  

I left everything in extra vases/containers and on Sunday these stems were evenly divided among 6 dollar store vases to create classic ivory arrangements.  

Purchase your flowers & Gather your Vases

Step 2: Arrange Flowers

Start with your fuller blooms first.  Here, I made each arrangement sequentially, starting with one large hydrangea bloom.  I then placed another fuller bloom on the opposite side of the vase.  Each vase had 5-6 stems that filled in the sides and middle.  While the arrangement was small, I think you’ll agree that it brought a nice presence to the table.  Doubling the stems (and the budget!) would create additional fullness.

Place stems one by one until the arrangement is full

Step 3: Transport Centerpieces and Set-up!

I packed all the arrangements into a cardboard box and used bubble wrap to secure.  At the venue they were placed on the table and surrounded by crackled glass candles – beautiful once lit.  The crackled glass candle set is available here for $14.   My friend lucked out – I am actually using these in my wedding, so she was able to borrow them beforehand.

Hydrangea Rose Peony Centerpiece

Transport your flowers & Place on tables!

What do you think? Would you consider tackling DIY flowers with the help of a friend?