Monday, November 7, 2011

thrifty thinking

I love books.

I knew one of the first things I would buy once we were engaged (although I doubted print books would still be around by then) were wedding planning books.  I always had to resist the oodles of wedding planning manuals in the bookstore.. they just seemed so pretty, and helpful, and organized...
Every thing about them just called to me...they were spiral bound, with tabs.. and little ribbon bookmarks.  Chapters on ettiquette and dress selection and the proper punch for a bridal shower. Plastic pockets for loose files, expandable folders attached, cute fonts and fun layouts..

But I always resisted.  I promised myself I wouldn't indulge... until the time came.

Well, lovebirds-- the time has come!  I can now buy wedding planning books with unbrideled abandon!

....and then, I realized just how EXPENSIVE those lovely books are...


The Man told me to pick some up anyway-- he knew, he saw the longing.. how I salivated over the pale blue, mint green and macaroon pink of the covers..  but I couldn't.  I wouldn't dare.

$40 for a softcover spiral bound that might not even be The Manual? $35 and it doesn't even have laminated tabs?  I think not.

My solution was simple.  Do what I always do when it comes to buying books-- hit the thrift stores.  Two stops and $5 later on a sunny afternoon after work, and I had three glorious books to flip through:

The Knot complete guide to weddings in the real world: the ultimate source of ideas, advice, and relief for the bride and groom and those who love them [Book]Bridal Bargains Wedding Planner: The Dollars & Sense Guide to Planning Your Wedding [Book]The Everything Wedding Etiquette Book: Insights and Advice on Handling Even the Stickiest Wedding Issues [Book]
the knot: Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World ($2; retail price $19.95)
the Bridal Bargains Wedding Planner ($2, retail price $24.95)
the Everything Wedding Etiquette Book ($1, retail price $9.95)

Of course, I still plan to pick up a few more when I'm out thrifting.. and possibly even score some used from Hastings with a gift card (from reselling books I've already read).  I've also tapped into the public library's resources and have a few books checked out with post-it tabs waiting for some free time and a secret rendezvous with the copier at the office..

Now to find a thrifty way to score some bridal magazines.. those cost about as much as the books do!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

our love story -- a bit abridged

Let's get a little sappy, shall we?

I think I've told everyone our "proposal story" but since this blog is all about planning our wedding, I figured it couldn't hurt to tell the tale all over again.

First, a little backstory... let's get a little lovey-dovey:

The Man and I met because I lost a bet.  Probably if you wanted to look at the technicalities of it all, we would have met one way or another both living in a small-ish town, being "meant to be" and the destiny of it all....but I still attribute our "finding each other" to my bad betting skills -- or a few sneaky co-workers.  The wager was that if I didn't wear my mother's ring (which to that point I had worn on my left hand since I was in 7th grade) and was asked out in the same day-- that I would "put myself out there more" in regards to dating.

I lost due to a conspiratorial co-worker and a sham of a coffee date.  :) In mild adherence to the terms, yet without being too "out there",  I posted a profile on one of the multitude of free dating sites.. to be specific.  A few weeks later, right before I was scheduled to leave for Canada for a three-week work trip, the Man messaged me.  Thankfully, even though my internet connection was a bit fritzy, I got his note. 
His note made mention of how I said I was nerdy, and he was said he was pretty nerdy too.  We clicked and email addresses were exchanged (and Yahoo chat handles created.) We emailed, chatted, and talked over VOIP the entire time I was in Canada.  I don't think we missed a night without at least a quick conversation.  Did we miss sleep?  Yes.  Quite often, actually.  Let me tell you, a Kingston sunrise was not a foreign sight to me.

We planned our first date for the first night I was back home.  I was exhausted after leaving early in the morning and being stuck in airports all day, having my luggage lost, and anxious to see if we had the chemistry in person that we had over the phone.  Long story short-- we did.

We spent as much time together as we could over the three weeks I was scheduled to be home, before going back for another 3 weeks of Canadian goodness.  Some of our first dates were a bit atypical to say the least:  I met his best friend and family on one which included shootin' guns, a haunted hayride out in the middle of nowhere (with some very COLD water, very drunk teenagers, and a shouldn't-be-so-funny-but-it-still-is angry best friend), and some Mexican food with a vengeance. But our courtship had to go virtual again while I learned how to scrape ice from a rented PT Cruiser, discovered that when the weatherman says "snow" he means it, and indulged in the amazingness that is poutine (all while working and missing the Man back home.)

the Man routinely discussed the need to boycott Canada during this trip..
After round two of Canada, I think we were both pretty smitten and there was no turning back.  I came home right around Thanksgiving.  We had a few snow days (in Alabama!), lots of time with family, and many nights of low-key movie watching on my teeny television at the apartment.  A few months later, the television was massively upgraded when the Man moved in. 

Granted, the move-in process was an experience.. especially considering he considers giant black trash bags as proper moving materials (and still does.. the argument continues..)

Shortly after our one-year anniversary of dating, we decided it was time to buy a house. The decision was pretty spur of the moment, but it felt right and we never looked back.  A month later, we had found our dream home and were in a competitive bid over our nest.  By November 2009, the nerdy nest was officially ours.
on a snow day in 2010
Two years later, after home improvement projects, surgeries, surviving a year of graduate school, and all the other fun things life has to offer-- the Man decided the time was right to propose.  Apparently he'd been planning it for quite a while (unbeknownst to me!)

In early September, he asked me to go get sized for a ring or bracelet.  I didn't think much of it because he had always joked about having Alzheimer's before we would wed.  I genuinely believed it would be a few more years. but I couldn't help getting a little carried away when I went to our jewelry store of choice.  The salesperson, Santana, was so helpful and funny.  I had a blast just flitting around from counter to counter pointing out things I liked and didn't like about all different types of rings.

Apparently, she took good notes.  The Man came in the next day and ordered my ring to be custom made (since I always want things that don't exist -- like an 8 ft tall waffle weave cotton shower curtain with satin nickel grommets-- or the perfect engagement ring.)  Over the course of the next three weeks, I routinely made a fool of myself by joking about how long it would be, if ever, before we got married-- to family, friends, and my co-workers.  Little did I know, his family and my Dad had to stifle a laugh as I told the tale of us one day walking down the aisle -- me in my walker and he with his Depends.

The day he'd been waiting on finally arrived, October 4th, 2011, and on our three year anniversary the Man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  Stunned as I was, of course I said yes! (Obviously, or you wouldn't be reading a blog about planning our wedding.)

So here we are...
two nerdy birds, one surprise proposal, a very custom ring, and some nerd-tastic nuptials to plan. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

hi, hello and welcome!

For starters, if you found this blog through thenerdynest-- welcome friend! I'm sure you are aware of the recent news around the nest..(our recent engagment!!)  which brings me to the creation of this little blog.

Here I'll be sharing the steps all along the way as we work to plan our nerd-tastic wedding on a teeny budget.

I've got a lot of ideas (you know how I love to plan ahead, how much I love a good soiree, and how much I love the Man) to make our day special and so-very-much US.

Since we're footing the bill, I hope to share some tips and tricks I'm learning along the way to stretch our budget, be frugally fabulous, and save money on almost anything without sparing any of the details we love so much.

So thanks for joining me (and the Man.. on the rare occassion) as we share ideas, plans, and inspiration for our big day.