Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take a Breath and Put Down the Doilies, the Vintage Suitcase, and the DIY Handbook...

*Warning-rant post, long, with no pics-but if you're wondering what the heck my problem is lately, this will tell you! 

Doesn't make sense to you? Ahh, you must not have planned a wedding in 2011. In a horrible economy, where it looks like everyone is trying to save money by doing everything DIY (Do It Yourself) the wedding industry is currently driving brides (aka me) bananas by making us feel inferior if we don't go out in search of vintage everything and make your own crap-and get this, spend thousands of dollars on a 4 hour party (what happened to the bad economy issue people???). Sound cynical? Well at this point I am certainly getting there. 

When we got engaged back in August, we had a simple plan. Or so we thought. We'd get married at the beach in Duck, NC where we met. We'd rent a beach house and invite our closest friends and family. We'd marry on the beach and have an intimate reception following at our beach house. Sounds simple, right? We actually thought it would be so simple, that we could go ahead and marry by the end of October (aka, now). We set our sights on October 22, 2011 and off with the planning we went. Why so fast? We just want to be married-and we thought it would be simple! We started researching right away-we knew right off that we'd have Hollie D. photograph-we love her! We knew it would be in Duck, NC. We were interested in the same pastor my good friend Ashley had for her wedding. Then came looking for the beach house. Figuring out the food. Figuring out who would get to stay in the beach house. Random issues came up immediately-you have to have "event insurance" to even have a reception at a beach house, even if you're only having 30 people there. You can't really get around it, because someone will notice the 30 cars blocking up the street around your rental. Catering was more than we wanted to pay. Everything became more than what we wanted to pay. I spent hours and hours scouring wedding and photography blogs looking for ideas-and all they gave me were feelings of inadequacy. Countless brides having a $20,000 budget for their DIY wedding. Excuse me, if you are doing everything yourself and making your decor out of doilies from the dollar store, then why is your wedding still the price of a decent car? What the hell is going on here? 

The anxiety continued to build. Not only was the stress of just the planning becoming too much, but very little of our friends and family even seemed excited or the least bit interested...making us wonder why would we spend thousands of dollars on something very few people seemed to care for in the first place? There have been more nights I can count on my 2 hands where I've been up until 5am reading blogs and researching ideas. Beach wedding. Photobooth. Caterer. DIY decor. Tick-tock, tick-tock. With time not on our side, we pushed the date back again. April 21, 2012. That should be enough time right? Well it's now late October-we have a photographer and my dress, the rings are on order (they have to make mine in my size, it wont come standard and they can't size it...) and this is all that is done. That's it. We have no place. No idea who would be there, who would perform the ceremony, what we'll eat after...BAH! Now we are starting to get the questions-where will it be? What do you guys have left to plan? (um, everything?) We also hear things like "I can't wait till your wedding, it's going to be sooo fun!" only to think in my head, we only planned on inviting 25 people at the most, what about all these other friends and extended family that thinks they're coming to a big shindig? How do we tell our friends and family that are looking forward to a big party that we want nothing more than to elope? 

GASP? Did I just say the "E" word? Yes I did. I've thrown it around countless times in the past month or so to friends and close family-and the response is usually not pleasant. We are met with a lot of "you can't do that! You have to have a party" What people don't realize about Darren and I-we are not party people. I like throwing events for other people. Don't get me wrong. You need a baby or bridal shower? Call me, I'll throw it for you and do a darn good job. Throwing a party for myself-especially a wedding? No thanks. The issue here isn't that I don't like weddings. I LOVE WEDDINGS. I've been obsessed with this wedding stuff since I was about 12 years old. Yet, the older I get, the more I realize, the big wedding with the fancy flowers, huge cake, 200 guests, expensive reception-they're just extra. They're just fluff. Unnecessary. In the midst of this planning frenzy there have been a few times when I have an epiphany at 4am and think, I don't want this! This freaking out all the time is for the birds! This is not what our wedding is supposed to be about! This is not what I care about. What I care about is Darren. I want to be with him, forever. All that matters to me is we set aside a day to express our love to each other, get married, and have a few pictures to document the day. That's it. I don't need 200 people there. There only needs to be two people there. Darren + Jen. Hollie too, since she has the camera. The rest? That's just extra. 

Hollie shared a great blog post with me the other day after one of my many wedding freakouts. The following was taken from Jonas Peterson's blog. If you've read the post this far, you should stick around and read this part, because it is by far the best part. He sums up what I've been screaming in my head for months now, but I've been too afraid to say it. The wedding industry has become a beast that can't be tamed by most, and people are getting lost in the details-and I am here to tell you that I REFUSE to do it. I couldn't have said it better myself:


It’s 4.47am when I sit down to write this. I woke up 30 minutes ago and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve been thinking about this for so long, but a couple of things lately have reinforced what I already knew.
The wedding train has derailed.
Put down those mason jars, store away that vintage typewriter and fairy lights and sit down because you need to listen. This is an intervention. The whole wedding industry has gone detail bananas and we need to clear a few things up.
- You! Over there! Step away from the hay bales and the Vintage Navajo rugs and come over here. Sit! Down! No, you don’t have to put lavender on the plates, you need to wake up!
We’re getting lost in details. The whole wedding industry is drifting away from what weddings are about and we’re all part of the problem – bloggers, photographers, planners and vendors – all hypocrites feeding the detail beast.
Strip it back.
Peel the layers off.
And start again.
At the center of every wedding we have a girl. Who fell in love with a boy. Or a girl who fell in love with a girl. Or a boy who fell in l… you get my point.
The rest is fluff.
If you read magazines and wedding blogs today, you’d think it’s all about the dress, the decorations, invitations or a million other things.
It’s not.
It’s about celebrating love, a manifestation of commitment, a gathering of friends and family.
Because you’re in love.
But if you visit many of the blogs today, you’d think it’s about other things. Heck, there are even themed shoots with no people. As if candles and old LP players on a blanket in a clearing in a forest make a wedding. Just add people. And maybe a groom. Or actually don’t, the wedding is about the details, remember? Details, details, details.
Strip it back.
Peel the layers off.
And start again.
Weddings are about people, it’s about commitment and celebrating love. It’s about you. Build on that and everything else will follow.
I am a detail person, so it’s not that I don’t like details. I love details. Details, details, details. Love them. I honestly do. I’ve worked with some of the best planners in the business and they’ve styled weddings to perfection, made details stand out and it’s always been great, because they’ve built on the couples, starting with who they are. And I actually like shooting details. A lot.
When I was younger I used to record mix tapes and give to girls I liked.
Every detail was thought out, every letter, every scribble, every word on that tape had meaning. I love me some details. I grew up in a house with vintage bottles and mason jars everywhere. That and rocks collected from oceans and fields. So I get the jar and bottle thing, I truly do. Throw in some rocks and I’m there. But remember what the wedding is about, why you’re doing this, that’s all you really need. Don’t stress out about building a fairytale wedding, perfectly crafted, every detail borrowed from somewhere else.
Look away from the blogs and magazines.
And look within.
Why are you doing this? What does it mean to you? Do you really need all that…stuff? And if you want stuff, are you adding stuff that actually means something to you? What do you want to remember from your day? The cake, the flowers, the dress from Hoya de la Poopy?
Or do you want to focus on that moment between you two? The boy? Who fell in love with a girl?
Strip it back.
Peel the layers off.
And start again.
 "Sure, I would have loved for my family to be there, but I knew that they hated how unhappy I was during the planning process. I knew that they'd want me to feel relaxed, sane, and like myself on my wedding day. While we were planning, whenever I was stuck, I'd ask Richie: "What do you want at this wedding?" and he'd always say, "To marry you." And I felt the same way, but there were centerpieces to make! And menus to plan! And people to seat! The week before, though, I got it. Yes, I wanted to look beautiful and get great pictures-- those things would be nice, but mostly, I just wanted to marry him."
So my wedding isn't planned yet. Oh well. Don't be surprised if I post on here one day "I'm Married!" and no one knew it was happening. Let me tell you folks, it's going to happen-the only question is whether it's going to happen with 3 people or 50. Either way, it will be perfect, because I am going to marry the man of my dreams. 

I am hoping this is my first and only public wedding rant. I just had to share it. Just in case there was some poor girl out there right now at 2am burning her fingers on a hot glue gun putting together DIY centerpieces because the wedding industry told her she had to. Sweetie-Put down the glue gun and go snuggle your fiance. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Engagement Photos by Hollie Dyson

*Oops! The original post had the wrong engagement pics in there...that's why they looked so pixelated, so please enjoy the new and improved pics! 


If you've never checked out Hollie's work, um you need to go check it out, Ok you can check out some of it here first. But after that...go to her site! Book her! She is amazing!

We had a great time on this shoot! We started outside a library with lovely willow trees, then went to a field, then walked around Carytown for a bit, it was great!

I feel so lucky to have such a talented friend. We love you Hollie! You're amazing! We can't wait for you to photograph the big day! xo


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