Wedding Update: 10 Months to go!

A little less than 10 months to go! As much as I would like to write about all of the things we got done this past month, there honestly hasn’t been many changes since my last post. But with good reason…

Long Island knows how to do weddings. I mean, it’s like a wedding factory down here. And not in a bad “get in, get out, bring on the next one,” wedding-a-minute type thing. But down here, it’s so competitive that they are all ready to offer you as much as they can, all in one place, to make your wedding and life easier. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Some of my friends that have gotten or are getting married upstate were/are so stressed dealing with so many different vendors because each aspect of their ceremonies and receptions was being taken care of by a separate entity. Our venue is our ceremony and reception site, is our caterer, and will be taking care of linens. So it was so exciting getting to check multiple things off the to-do list just by booking our venue.

Plus, down here most venues are partnered with photographers, cake bakeries, florists, etc. whom they have worked with and trust enough to recommend. We have an appointment in a couple weeks with the photographer they recommended, so hopefully they fit our vision. Since they have worked at our venue many times, they know all the good spots for pictures. Bottom line: nothing corny. Like these.

Pricing down here makes much more sense, too; at some of the upstate venues I looked at, it was if you were casually eating out at a restaurant and had to pay for everything separately. And I mean everything. You want chicken? That’ll be $5 per person. Steak? $9. Choose your sides: you want potatoes? That’s going to be another $4 per potato-eating person. And so on, and so forth.

I realize that’s not how all places are up there, but there is nothing that complicated down here. You get a menu that lays out every single thing offered: you get to choose 8 hors d’oeuvres from a list of 20, then you get to choose 3 entrees (usually you choose chicken, beef, and fish) which all come with sides, you choose whether you want an open bar or just the beer/wine/signature drink choice, and so much more…and you get all this for one flat rate per person depending on what month you are getting married.

Note: June-October are the most expensive. Obviously. If you’re looking for a bargain, get hitched in December or January – it’s about $30 less per person! But personally I would not want to be trudging around in the cold with the possibility of snow.

So needless to say I’m extremely happy to be saved from all the stress that I’ve heard and seen others go through when planning their weddings. The biggest thing on my mind lately has been my dress, but I guess I wouldn’t say it has been really stressing me out. Of course I want to look amazing on my wedding day, but I knew I would find one that I liked. Plus, we have 10 months; I was told to find one no later than 9 months before the wedding in order to allow time for fittings, alterations, etc.

I have been scouring websites and building up my ‘Love and Marriage’ board on Pinterest with dresses for a couple weeks now. Plus, my friend and maid of honor Courtney had been planning to come down this week so that we could go dress shopping with my future mother-in-law, so I wasn’t too worried.

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And I’m happy to say that I found my dress!!!!!!!!

There’s an awesome story behind it, but I think I’ll wait awhile to tell you. It’s actually one of the dresses on my Pinterest board, so that’s fun! I thought it was pretty when I saw it online, but it’s so hardto know how a dress flows and what it feels and looks on you until it’s actually on you.

All I know is that as soon as I saw it on me, I was so overwhelmed with happiness. And there were tears. I didn’t get this way with any of the dresses the first time I tried some on, and I was kind of unsure as to whether I would have a teary reaction at all. But I know myself and if there wasn’t a tiny bit of water works, it wasn’t the dress.

And it happened. I cried. Mrs. Harrigan cried. Although she had tears for pretty much all of the dresses I had tried on previously 🙂 But that’s to be expected.

I originally wasn’t much into the idea of a veil, but when the lady at the bridal salon put one on me, it all just fit together. After awhile of ogling at myself, she asked if I wanted to try other dresses on. I was kind of unsure. I figured since we were already out, why not? But when she asked what style I wanted, I just looked at myself, still wearing the dress, and said, “This.” She smiled and said, “So is this your dress?” And I said, “Yes, I love this.” And that was it!

The biggest thing for this next month is to get the wedding website all set and looking pretty so that people can actually start using it. I’ve been putting content on there and trying to make it look nice, and Tom has to do more functionality stuff to make things work better and so that people can RSVP on it. Other than that, this month has been smooth sailing.

It’s been nice without added stress of having to take care of so many things this past month. Especially since I wasn’t with Tom (other than short Skype chats here and there) for 3 of the last 4 weeks. With work, school, my friend visiting from out of town, and Tom going to Amsterdam for a weeklong work trip, it was very hectic for both of us. But then we got to spend last weekend (and it was a long weekend for me with Columbus Day!) together, and it was wonderful. ♥

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Wedding Update: 11 months to go!

Wowee what a crazy couple of weeks. It’s insane that I’ve been engaged for almost a month now! We just went to a wedding 2 weeks ago, so it was nice to get ideas for our own. And it was fun getting to dance together…for the first time since we met almost 3 years ago!

Annnd of course I don’t have a single picture of the two of us from that night. I know the photographer got at least one, but I don’t know about getting my hands on one. If I can find one somewhere (anywhere!) I will insert it here.

In these quick 4 weeks, we’ve made progress on our own wedding! We were able to check off the most important thing: the ceremony/reception venue.

Deciding where we wanted the ceremony/reception was a big decision. No, not what building to hold them in (that was super easy for us, actually), but what part of the state. I’m from Batavia (between Buffalo and Rochester; “practically Canada” I tell most downstaters) and Tom is from Stony Brook (Long Island. And, no, that is not considered part of New York City), so it was a tough decision to make since most of our respective families live close to where we each grew up.

One of the biggest factors was my mom; if we held it in Long Island, there’s no way she would be able to make the 6+ hour trip by any mode of transportation (I realize a plane would be shorter, but then you have to think of getting there early and going through security, and then trying to get her on the plane in her motorized chair…). Plus, the stress of all that would do her in. Then, when she got down here, what would happen if she needed to use the bathroom? We would honestly need to hire a nurse or something to do all that.

Okay, so we’d have it upstate. Again, she would have to travel a distance to get to the venue since there’s nowhere in my hometown that I want to get married in. Again, stress would ensue and make matters worse. And again, bathroom situation.

We went so far as to make a pros/cons chart:

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Long story short (too late?), after Tom and I discussed it with my mom and got her input, we’ve decided to have a ceremony and reception down here in Long Island on August 16, 2014. Then, for my mom and others that can’t make it, we plan to hold a separate reception/party upstate in my hometown. This separate shindig might be soon after, depending on how hectic our schedules are; it could end up being a month or two or four after. Who knows?

Although I’m really bummed about my mom not being able to see me get married (and I know she is too), we still have time to maybe figure something out so that she could come. If not, we plan on hiring a videographer so that she can see the whole thing; maybe we can look into hooking up some live-streaming? Has anyone had any success with that?

I did try on a few dresses the other day; I liked a couple, but not enough to commit to one after my first visit. We took a picture of my favorite one on my new iPhone (as in just got it an hour before), but then we had to take it to Sprint and he reset the phone…sooo there’s no evidence at all that I was wearing a wedding dress. Bummer, but oh well.

I think that’s it for updates at this point. Until next time! Cheers.

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Yes, Virginia (and everyone else), I live in New York City

So for those of you who did not know, I have been living in the City That Never Sleeps.

Yes, Virginia, I have been living in New York City for two and a half months now…and I forgot how many people I didn’t tell. I guess maybe they thought I was just working as a substitute teacher and glamorous Walmart supervisor for these last few months. Others, well, either don’t care to know my whereabouts or thought I fell off the face of the earth?

I was actually accepted into Teachers College, Columbia University back in August last year, but coming in the fall was too soon to get everything prepared to leave home. That’s a whole other complicated story (AKA: my life), so maybe one day you’ll hear about it. I’ve always been told that my life would make a good book; I think I should get better at blogging first, then I’ll consider it.

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I applied for two schools: University at Buffalo and Teachers College. I had already been admitted into UB’s Math Education graduate program, and was planning on starting in the fall, so I had a fallback plan if TC didn’t accept me. I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of getting into TC; I mean, come on, it’s affiliated with Columbia! I’m just this small-town (though, technically, Batavia is a city) girl, I never received huge awards from school (high school or college), my grades were good but they could definitely find better people to take my place. It was quite a stressful summer waiting to hear from TC.

And then, on an August evening, I got an email from TC, directing me to the ‘decision’ page of my application. This was it; I mentally prepared myself to read, “We are sorry to inform you…” or something along those lines. So when I read, “We are happy to inform you…” I just about wet my pants. I think I screamed.

As excited as I was, the idea of moving in only a month was terrifying. Like I said, it wasn’t going to be as easy as students who move away to college freshman year and whose parents can take care of all the messy details: house, transportation, the actual moving process, etc. So I knew that if I accepted admittance into TC, I would be deferring to the spring semester to allow me more time to prepare myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.

I only told a select few because I didn’t want to announce it publicly over Facebook that I was leaving town to go to NYC. There are multiple reasons, but one of the bigger ones was due to self-doubt and pride.

Okay, sure, I got accepted into this crazy awesome graduate school, but…What if I can’t hack it in the city? What if I come back after a semester because I hate it there? What if I fail: classes, living far from home, life in general?

And when I did tell people, I would make it seem like I was prepared to fail. Just in case I didn’t like it or ended up not doing well, I would be willing to come home without making a huge scene, reapplying to Walmart (that would make 5 stints there), and assume my old life back home.

If I hate it, no big deal, I’ll just come home.

It was definitely a defense mechanism, but, looking back, it was only defense from myself. Everyone I told was nothing but excited and supportive; we were all people living in a small city in western New York, so just thinking and talking about going to and living in a huge city like NY was thrilling. Absolutely everyone was pumped for me. Everyone but myself. Okay, it’s not that I wasn’t excited. The problem was that I was so excited I was afraid I would overlook the possibilities of failure and end up getting clotheslined by life.

Why do we do this to ourselves? If any of my friends came and told me they got accepted into a prestigious college and/or were moving somewhere, I would be ecstatic for them! A couple of my friends have done this actually (not for school but for jobs) and I couldn’t be happier. And I’m so glad they told me so that I can be excited for them and support them! But when it came to myself, I was so bent out of shape about the negative possibilities, doubting my ability to do well in school or survive a new city, that I wasn’t willing to share it with anyone but those I was closest to.

So to those of you whom I didn’t tell, I really apologize. I was afraid that if I told everyone and made this huge hype, it would blow up in my face and I would end up falling flat on my tush. Then I wouldn’t just be letting myself down, but I would feel as though I failed all the people I told, all the people that believed in me. I felt as though my failure would extinguish any fire in the hearts of those coming from a small city and wanting to explore living in a bigger city. If I couldn’t do it, I know it would discourage me, but would that also discourage others?

I’m glad to say that I love it here. These past two+ months have been exciting, challenging, eye-opening, and amazing. I’ve been wanting to write about my experiences here, but there was still such an uneasiness with letting people know and actually knowing myself whether I liked it here enough to stay. I plan on being here for the next year, and after that, who knows? Maybe I’ll love it enough to find a job here for a few years before I settle down and start a family; I don’t really want my future kids growing up in such a huge, overwhelming city. Or maybe I’ll find a job in another great city. Maybe a different country. Who knows? I do know, now that the cat is out of the bag, that I’m excited to write about anything that may come up.