Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Because apparently people want stories about the girl side of my life ;-P

So I've been informed that wedding planning is to be blogged about ;-P   Apparently, there's an entire industry based off it.  But if that's so, I really shouldn't need to should I?   Sadly that logic didn't hold, and since I do print my blogs, some day I imagine I'll want to look back and read about it…  So without further ado…

Let's see…  So far we've got the engagement, which was amazing, but already has a post. (Rereading it still makes my heart race!).  We had the dress shopping, which is done.  And in the end my awesome mother bought my amazingly gorgeous dress for me.  One that wasn't even *in* the original dress shopping blog.  hahaha I took Mum to see the "top two" -- and in both stores they recommended others.  This was one of the others and I'm actually super excited about it -- still seems so surreal.  Alas, it has not yet arrived… :(  My bridesmaids both have theirs though (or rather, Steph does.  Jen's is still in my closet waiting for me to mail it to her.  Oops. That'll be on Wed.)   Chris has the guys under control (as far as I know).  So really, what else is there?

Right.

Have you ever planned a vacation before?  How about a party?  Remember all those stupid little details…  Now try a vacation party for 25 of your closest friends and family and 25 people you've met once ;-P   I am not even kidding.  Picking the location was easy -- of our short list of two places each, Costa Rica was the one both Chris and I wanted to go to.  Picking the hotel was slightly harder as we wanted a price range that would allow most of our friends and family to come.  While the resort we chose probably wouldn't have been our personal first choice, it did let some people we really care about come who otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford it.  It also looks all kinds of civilized and had really good reviews -- including from our travel agent who's actually been there.  We've since met a surprising number of people who've stayed there and have yet to hear anything negative, so getting super excited about the whole thing!

As for the date -- well a beach wedding should really be in the winter.  And two of my closest friends work in the Greenhawk marketing department, so we had to time it around their calendar so they'd be able to come.   Ummmm yeah -- or we can go with the idea that it's Chris' birthday.  And his parents got married on his father's birthday.  And that was just all sorts of cool.  But, you know, whichever option works for you ;-P   Regardless, the date was set.  The only catch is, it's a Monday -- and we have to be in the country three working days before the wedding.  So we'll be leaving the Wednesday before.  Which, it turns out, all sorts of people are happy about because apparently it's easier to schedule vacation mid-week to mid-week than for a normal Mon-Fri.  It gives the appearance of only being away a couple days.  All-round win!

So we have a date and a location -- all we need is invites.  Right.  Google "wedding invites" -- I dare you.  In fact, go one better and Google "beach wedding invites".  Thousands of options and none of them quite right.  Even harder when Chris and I had to agree (I tell you, if you can plan a wedding when both partners have strong and often opposing opinions, you definitely earn a sticker. A big sparkly one.)   And then there's the fact that we're on a fairly tight budget.  Remember I *just* got reemployed…  So things that were nice enough were too expensive.  Finally I found one that was *almost* right.  Suited both of us, was from a company in California (they should know about beaches right?), and in our price range.  So I contacted them to see if the changes we wanted could be made (very simple changes -- with the original file I could make them in Photoshop in about a minute).   Yes, no problem.   Sweet.

Right.  Sure enough the design changes were no problem -- they did a great job of that.  However, that company in California?  Yeah, they were outsourcing somewhere on the other side of the world where English might someday be a second language for the people I was communicating with.  Which meant getting our text sorted out was a nightmare.  I just wanted a couple simple changes (we're talking text here -- it's not complicated).  They'd change one and not the other.  Then they'd change the other but revert the first.  Then they'd make up something entirely different.  Every change with 24-48h turn around.  It. Was. Atrocious.  Eight revisions for the original two-word change.  I was seriously ready to bang my head against the wall.  But eventually we got them.  And they were lovely.   
Not positive if this was the final draft or not, but close enough!
Now you can't just send invites…  Oh no, even though you can RSVP online (oh yeah -- we had to create a website too!), you still need to send RSVP cards.  And for those who don't know how to use the internet, a self-addressed, stamped, envelope.  Seriously.  Chris had an idea that the RSVP should be a boarding pass.  Actually I think originally that the wedding invite should be, but it morphed into the RSVP.  This I found some examples of online as well, but I didn't like any of them.  Not even close enough to ask for changes.  And, well, I was a little gun shy after the last round.  So I designed them myself.  And, tbh, was really happy with the results! 
This was way more work but significantly less stressful
So on a nice spring day, we spread a blanket outside and assembled all our invites.  Who was on the list?  Anybody we or anybody else really wanted to be.  One advantage of a destination wedding is that we didn't have to restrict our invitations.  It's a big beach :)

Now part of the package we purchased includes the service of a wedding planner.  She, unfortunately, seems to be rather useless.  Enough that she's about to earn her own post.  But since in the end the hotel does everything I figure worse case I'll spend the first day of the trip tracking down the onsite wedding person and arranging things the way we want them.  We've got the day, time and location booked.  Everything else can be negotiated if necessary.

Let's see, what else…  There was the not-shopping-shopping.  I think I wrote about that before -- registering for gifts.  Which seems both awkward and particularly pointless since with a destination wedding we're not expecting gifts. 

Although people do still give them, which meant thank you cards.  My design abilities were used up and fortunately it was a quick and painless search that found the ones we bought.  We even agreed reasonably quickly.  Simple and clean.  The only thing is, online it looked as though it'd match our shade of red just about perfectly, whereas the ones we got don't.  Boooo.  They're still okay though so we're good to go there.

So some things still aren't planned which is pretty thoroughly frustrating.  There's also all the trip stuff too -- trying to remember to buy everything we'd need in the summer for the trip since beach stuff in February is hard to come by ;)   I got the vacation time from my new job, so that's one stress gone.  Hahaha  So that's where things stand.  The key details are settled.  The small details are nagging me, but I'm trying not to stress too much.  Still need to figure out jewelry - hmmmmm…  But I actually have shoes ;)   Wanted to get married barefoot, but by all accounts the sand's too hot.  Mostly though, no matter the details, so long as Chris and I are both there we're good to go.  Can't wait!

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