Decision is made!

The decision has been made, and I will match!

Ultimately what it came down to was this: I like the unique band better. If I was wearing it alone, it wouldn’t have even been a competition. But with my engagement ring? It just didn’t cut it. The bezel set stones looked dull in comparison to my pave set engagement ring setting.

So now it is official: I have my wedding band! (And I only have to wait 9ish months to wear it… oh boy..)


Rainbows and Puppies: The Venue Search

Alternate title: Add it to the list of stuff I didn’t know before I got engaged.

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while (um… 6 months… but whatever). Our venue search? Sucked. No need to mince words.

Before I got engaged I thought that every part of wedding planning would be OMG-SO-MUCH-FUN. (I was dumb). I think I actually said something to B during our trip that an additional awesome element of him proposing… aside from the wanting to spend his life with me thing of course… was that I got to PLAN now. And I LOVE planning. SO MUCH FUN. (anyone who is engaged or married is now laughing at me).

My very first thought was the Franklin Park Conservatory. It has the best of both worlds: an outdoor wedding, indoors! Beautiful plants and flowers without spending a cent on decorations, and no need to be concerned about rain, wind, or snow. Yea… they charge for that kind of awesome. Way, way more than we could afford. Goodbye, beautiful botanical gardens.

Disappointing but I really wasn’t that surprised. So I moved on in the search. Our requirements weren’t (in my humble opinion) outrageous:

1) comfortably fits around 100 people
2) able to have both ceremony and reception in one location
3) all indoors (we were thinking fall or winter, then decided on winter)
4) not a banquet hall
5) About $5,000 or less including food, drink (beer and wine only), rentals, tax, gratuities, etc.

I quickly learned that I could find the first four items on my list without too much trouble (although indoor non-church ceremony in the winter was a bit challenging)… but that last one? Impossible.

To me, it SEEMED reasonable. $5,000 is a LOT of money and this would just be for the venue/food/drink… not even the decorations or wardrobe or rings or honeymoon! This was before I discovered the one undeniable rule of wedding planning. For any given element of the wedding:

reasonable price x 3 = actual cost for wedding

Sigh. We looked at a LOT of venues. If you count the ones I looked at online, probably over 100. In person we saw about ten. And we had the same experience every time. I would speak to the person on the phone and tell them my five requirements. I would ask, specifically, “Our budget is $5,000 for (all the stuff listed above), CAN YOU WORK WITHIN THAT BUDGET?”

The answer? Always yes.

Then we would get there and talk about the actual cost, and it was NOT possible to work in our budget. At all.

Plus, I really wanted non-traditional wedding food (i.e. not chicken, potato, and veg on a plate). And no place really seemed willing to work with us.

We had had ongoing budget talks. It was time for another. We sat down and talked again, what is REALLY important to us? Well… getting married in a venue we were excited about was really important to us.

So we redid the budget. Suddenly our $10,000 wedding was an $18,000 wedding (and then a $19,000 wedding).* And as frustrating as it was, we decided to be okay with it. And to restart the venue search.

The very next venue on the list I had VERY high hopes for. It was a newer venue, recently converted from some kind of warehouse or factory. It was most definitely “different,” not your typical ballroom. Plus, it was owned by a caterer and it was right downtown….

Up next: A tour of our venue! (hint, it was the the one!)

*A lot of people are funny about talking money/budgets. I’m not. Maybe I would be if I was spending more than average (or even average!) amounts on the wedding? But the crazy thing is that my wedding is still considered “low budget” (INSANE). My hope is that I’ll pull off an above average wedding on a below average budget, and document just how that happened so maybe someone else can get a few tips!

Making a Quilt: Cut, sew, iron, cut

Okay so at this point you’ve either designed your quilt, found a pattern online, or decided to use mine. Time to get to the making!

You obviously first need to pick out whatever fabrics you’ve calculated for in your design. My pattern required five fabrics. In terms of picking fabrics, its mostly personal preference. The biggest mistake people make, though, is picking fabrics that are too similar. It is tempting to just grab a few fabrics that all go together, but then you won’t be able to see your pattern! When in doubt, go bold. Note: When I’m picking out my fabrics I pin a note on them indicating which color on my pattern they go to so I don’t get confused.

So now you have your fabrics and your pattern, time to start cutting! You’ll need a cutting mat, a big clear ruler, and a rotary cutter. Seriously don’t try cutting an entire quilt with scissors. Seriously.

For my quilt I need to cut three of the fabrics into seven 3″ strips each, and two of them into six 4.25″ strips. Aren’t they pretty?

Now we’re going to sew all of the fabrics into strips according to if they’re in block A or B. For the three fabrics that will comprise block A, sew them all into long strips. Then do the same for the 2 fabrics for block B.

Please excuse my weird looking fingers… and also make sure that the right sides of the fabric are together!

Once all of your strips are sewn together, its time to iron. A lot of people skip this step, but it is really important to help your fabrics lay flat when you’re cutting and sewing them. Quilting is all about making blocks line up and working with wonky un-flat fabrics makes that 10x harder.

What you want to do is place the fabric right-side down and iron the seam to one side or the other (doesn’t matter). When you’re done it should lay very flat.

Now that all of the fabric is ready, we’re going to cut it into squares. Lay each strip out onto the cutting board and make sure that one edge is straight, and then begin simply cutting 8″ lengths from all of them. You’ll then have all of the secondary squares you need for the quilt!

Trust me on this one… doing it this way takes significantly less time than if we’d cut out each individual piece of fabric for each secondary square then sewed them all together. I forgot to take a picture of this stage… but you’ll see lots of pics in the next post: deciding on a layout!