Monday, July 30, 2012

Prepare to be Showered

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-My sister is an artist- a really amazing artist
-She's also my MOH
-I like vintage things (even though my hair doesn't always agree with the sentiment)

So, I received this in the mail the other day...

ugly blackouts to protect the innocent // {personal photo}
That right there is another original sketch by my awesome, wonderful, and amazing sister!

Oh- and it's also a bridal shower invite!  Woohoo!

You probably can't read it but at the bottom it says "Please wear your best pearls and dress for a 1950's housewife themed party!"

...okay so confession time: I kind of gave her that idea.  Tacky, right?  I hope not >.<  There have been countless retro housewife bridal showers to grace the interwebs, so I sent one I found on Offbeat Bride to my mom and sister just to say "Hey wouldn't this be fun...?"

But they ran with it from there :)  I've bought an adorable vintage-inspired dress from ModCloth (because, you know, I'm obsessed) and I cannot WAIT for this party.  I hear wooden spoons will be involved, and maybe even aprons...yay!

Did your bridal shower have a theme?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, July 27, 2012

Making a (Stylish) Getaway

Somehow, when we started planning this thing, I knew I didn't want to rent a limo for our wedding day transportation.  Yes, it would be super convenient to get the wedding party from the church to the reception site and would ensure that nobody lollygagged, but, aside from being an unnecessary expense (or at least a low-on-the-priorities-list expense), limos...well, they remind me of prom.

senior prom with my friend D // {personal photo}
Not that prom is a bad thing to be reminded of, it's just not the sort of association I'd like to make on The Big Day.

But there are other options for schmancy transportation!

image via Low Country Carriage LLC
Horse-drawn carriages are super romantic.  However, while I'm sure there are no shortage of horses in Alex City, finding a ride like this one would be much more difficult.  Plus, there's no way we'd fit the whole bridal party in this thing, which kind of defeats the purpose.  (Well, our purpose, anyway.)

photo by Jessica Velarde // image via Juneberry Lane
I love love LOVE the school bus trend, and I honestly considered this for a while.  However, I don't know how easy it is to acquire an old school bus, or to rent one from a school district during the fall, and again- transportation for the bridal party isn't much of a priority, budget-wise, so in the end, we passed this one up.  Besides, it's not on theme.  (That's how I convinced myself to stop lusting over pictures like this.)

So it looks like the bridal party will be carpooling in vehicles belonging to significant others, my parents, and/or my sisters.

And us?

Well, you already know that we'll be driving ourselves from the wedding to the honeymoon and then back home.  But guess whose car we're driving...

{personal photo}
 Meet Suzi, the first car I've ever purchased.  Ain't she a beauty?

driving Suzi to Alex City for the Week of Wedding Work in May // {photo by Mr. Geek}
Suzi is about a year and a half old now and has quite a bit of miles on her, but she's younger than Mr. Geek's car, Holly, who has seen juuuuuust a few more miles.

Does this mean I'll be the one driving us away from the reception...most likely, yes :D  Brides are totally allowed to drive the getaway car!  (I just hope the groomsmen keep the decorations tasteful.)

photo by Emilie Sommer // image via Ruffled
Do you have any creative transportation planned for The Big Day?  How are you making your getaway?  Do you name your vehicles like we do?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Pissing Each Other Off

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-Fr. Ninja (the priest marrying us) doesn't live in NOVA- he's just moved to Harrisonburg to be the campus minister at JMU!
-Pre-Cana is what Catholics call all the stuff you do to prepare for marriage (which, it should be noted, is separate from all the stuff you do to prepare for the wedding).  And it's fantastic!
-Until about a year ago, Mr. Geek and I were in a (very) long-distance relationship

As I've mentioned before, Pre-Cana involves not only a formal class taken with many other couples throughout the diocese, but also some one-on-one time with the priest marrying you.  Some of that time is spent doing wedding-planning things like choosing readings and hymns, but that doesn't come until the end.  First, you have to do some preparation for the marriage.  In many dioceses, this means taking a test like the FOCUS survey to pinpoint topics where you either disagree or just haven't discussed yet, and having a series of follow-up meetings to talk about those areas.  Since it's not very convenient to meet with Fr. Ninja on a regular basis, as he's lived at the other end of the state for most of our engagement, he paired us up with his sister and her husband to do the FOCUS follow-up discussions, as well as some little exercises to encourage conversation on mindsets for a healthy marriage.  They live in the area and do marriage prep with couples at their parish, so this was actually very convenient for all of us!

Our last meeting was a short one, but we covered a topic that I think is an important one- annoying each other.

The exercise had us sitting on opposite ends of the sofa with a note card and pen, and we were given a few minutes to write down 3 things about the other person that we find annoying.

"Only three?" I quipped, earning me a stuck-out tongue from Mr. Geek.

Actually, though, it took us both a while to complete a list of three.  I thought of the question as, "In what instances do I find myself thinking, 'Gosh, that's annoying!'" and he thought of the question as, "What habits does Miss Geek have that annoy me?"  This might sound like the same question, but they're actually slightly different.  (That's one of the things I love about us- we think about things in different ways, which makes us a good problem-solving team!)  When we were finally finished, we took turns sharing the things we wrote down.  What I thought was interesting was that we each prefaced our explanation with, "Now, I understand why you do this, and most of the time it's not a big deal, but sometimes, it gets annoying"- acknowledging that most of the time, if one of us is frustrated with the other, it has just as much to do with the mood we're in or our attitude that day as the annoying thing the other person is doing.  We also both acknowledged each time that we were aware of that particular quirk in ourselves and are working on fixing it.  (SPOILER ALERT: We passed this test with flying colors.  Not that it's a test, or graded in any way...)

Sometimes, Mr. Geek doesn't know when to let a joke die.

I'm just sayin'.  // image via All Story
 Most of the time, if I get annoyed with Mr. Geek for telling the same joke / repeating the same funny phrase / pulling the same "prank" a million times, it's because I'm just not in a good-humored mood and it's not (entirely) his fault.  And honestly, the only time this really, really bothers me is if the "joke" is him mocking me for something stupid I said or did.  I should be used to that kind of teasing as I spent most of my life with my family, where you'd better not quote something wrong or it'll be the only thing anybody ever says to you for the rest of your life, but sometimes, if I'm in just the right emotional state, this kind of teasing can hurt, coming from Mr. Geek- the man who is supposed to make me always feel positive about myself.  But he's really been working on noticing if his humor is being received well, and lately he's been leaving those poor dead horses alone.

Miss Geek is rather bossy sometimes all of the time.

I'm not bossy, I just have better ideas! // image via Canstralian
...guilty as charged.  I can get rather annoying in my tendency to tell other people what to do, including Mr. Geek, and it's something I'm honestly trying to work on in my life overall, not just in our relationship.  I've sort of always lived by the mantra "If you want something done right, do it yourself," but sometimes it's necessary to let other people do things- in which cases, I tell them how to do it!  :D  Mr. Geek acknowledged that I am getting better at asking him to do things instead of outright telling him, and at holding my tongue when I have opinions on what he's doing, unless he asks for help.  It's a work in progress, but I'm getting there!

Mr. Geek sometimes doesn't understand the concept of personal space.

image via I Can Has Cheezburger?
 I know what you're thinking- if this really annoys me now, it's only going to get worse, because in marriage, there's no such thing as personal space!  But honestly this isn't that annoying- remember, I was having a hard time coming up with things to write down!  Sometimes, though, Mr. Geek will want to snuggle on the couch while watching Law and Order while I'd really rather have some space to myself, or (more frustratingly) he'll try to be sweet and put his arms around me or kiss my neck while I'm trying to cook- most of the time, that's really sweet and I like it, but you probably shouldn't touch me while I've got a huge knife in my hand, dude.

Miss Geek nags Mr. Geek like a professional sit-com wife/mother.

accurate representation of us.  // image via Sitcoms Online
 I know I know I know I know I know!  Urgh!  I am making an honest effort here- I'm at the point where if I say something nagging, I immediately regret it and wish I could unsay it.  The next step is to actually stop saying these things.  Mr. Geek says this is really only annoying some of the time- most of the time he thinks my maternal nature is adorable.  I've always always always been the mom-type- at the summer camp when we met, I was nicknamed the "Team Mom" of our group- some of the guys even chipped in some money to buy me a shirt from the college where the camp was held that said "MOM" in big letters, like the kind an actual mom of a college student might wear to football games.  My need to take care of people gets kind of ridiculous sometimes.  Take a recent example:

Scene: Mr. Geek has a sore throat and has been sucking on cough drops while we sit on the couch watching a movie.  He decides to shift positions and lays down with his head in my lap so I can play with his hair until the movie is over.

Miss Geek: Do you have a cough drop in your mouth?
Mr. Geek: No, I finished it.
Miss Geek: Okay, good, we're on the same page.
Mr. Geek: (bewildered) What page?
Miss Geek: Well, if you were still sucking on a cough drop, I was going to tell you to sit up until you'd finished it- you shouldn't lie down with something in your mouth, you might choke on it.
Mr. Geek: So what you're saying is, it's good that I don't have a cough drop in my mouth anymore because you had a lecture planned which you gave anyway?
Miss Geek: (sheepishly) Um...yes.

I swear I mean well!

To be honest, I don't remember what our third things were- but on each list, all three were slightly similar.  Basically, Mr. Geek is only annoying when he's doing something he thinks is funny and I think is not-so-funny, and I'm only annoying when I'm nagging the hell out of him.

The point of the exercise was not really to point out flaws in the other person or even to acknowledge flaws within ourselves- the point was to realize that when you get married, things don't necessarily change.  Yes, your relationship is different when you're married compared to when you're not (no matter what other people might say) and yes, people grow and change over time, but for the most part, if there is something about your future spouse that pisses you off to no end and you think you can make it go away once you marry can't.  If any of the annoyances on our list were things we just absolutely don't think we can live with, then perhaps the answer is simply- don't get married.

(Don't worry, we can definitely live with these minor annoyances.  Mr. Geek's sense of humor is what first attracted me to him- that and his ridiculous good looks- and he seems to think my nagging nature will make me a good mom one day.  But I'm working on it, I swear!)

So, readers, fess up- does your SO do anything that annoys you?  Are you aware of your own habits that your SO finds annoying?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, July 23, 2012

Say Cheese! Part 2

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-We have a reasonable photography budget that may be considered small to some professional photographers
-We don't want most of what is in your average "package"
-We took to an unconventional method for hiring a photographer

When we last left off, we were trying to hire a photography student to shoot our wedding.  The head of the photography program at University of Montevallo (where MOH is studying art) gave us the name of a former student of hers who graduated recently, along with his university email address.  We sent him an email, and...he never responded.  So we tried contacting the professor again to ask for a new suggestion, but as the school year had ended, she didn't respond either.

So what's a bride to do?!

...procrastinate, that's what.

Truth be told, a ton of other things piled up on my plate and for over a month, I let the issue of a photographer slip a little on my priority list.    Of course, even as I plan and blog and make things for this wedding, I'm still reading other wedding blogs.  And one day, one of them was promoting a website called Thumbtack:

image via Thumbtack
It's kind of like a Craigslist for "service pros", as the website calls them.  You fill out this form stating what kind of professional you're looking to hire, where you are, and other relevant details, and then they post your request, and within 24 hours, you have people sending you quotes and descriptions of what they can offer.

What the hell, I figured- might as well give this a shot.

I selected "photographer" and filled out the information with a detailed description of what we were looking for- and what we were NOT looking for.  A handful of local photographers submitted quotes, most of which were obviously new businesses offering low rates to help build their portfolios (as would be the case with a student).  A few well-established businesses responded as well, a couple of which had a nice big well-established price tag- and interestingly enough, their responses did not address what I'd written, but, rather, were a list of packages copied-and-pasted from their websites.

I immediately ignored the quotes that were out of our budget, and opened up the websites of the rest.

I gotta say, readers, you get what you pay for.  Some of these places were offering super cheap packages, well under our price range, and a quick click through the galleries of previous weddings they'd shot revealed why.  I hate to sound snobbish, but we're going for a more "photojournalism" style (like everyone who blogs about their wedding)- not a "high school prom photos" style.  And who still does cheesy Photoshop tricks like giving everything a 70's haze or pasting one image on top of another?

I had ruled out nearly every single offer on the list without even needing to show any of them to Mr. Geek.

But then I saw One Photo Gallery in Atlanta.

Charming Whitney had me at the photos on her blog, before I even fully read the offer!

photo by One Photo Gallery // image via Wedding Wire
Her offer includes EVERYTHING we're asking for (plus some prints, even though we don't need them...but hey, I'll take it!), comes in (slightly) UNDER our budget, AND includes a second shooter!  Wow!  We don't necessarily need a second shooter, but there are DEFINITELY benefits to having one, and it's included in a price that's within our budget!  Eeek!

I asked if there would be any travel fees or additional fees for the second shooter, and she explained that since Atlanta is only ~2 hours from Alex City and the wedding is in the daytime, they won't be needing a hotel room and therefore won't charge travel fees.  And all she asks by way of additional fee is that we provide a meal for both her and the second shooter.  We will definitely make sure to pick up breakfast for them when we feed the bridesmaids as the getting ready begins, both photographers can chow down on as much finger-food goodness they can scarf at the reception, and with the handwritten thank you note we give them afterwards (because we're Southern like that), we'll be including a restaurant gift card so they can grab dinner on the way back to Hotlanta.  Boom!

Mr. Geek was on board before I even finished reading Whitney's offer- and then I showed him the website and he got even more excited!

We have signed the contract and put down the deposit- now we just need to schedule a face-to-face meeting when we're back in that neck of the woods in early September to talk a little about the logistics of the big day.  I'm hoping we can get her to meet us at SpringHouse the day we do our food tasting so she can take a look around and we can talk about some specific shots, but we have yet to hash out the details.

We're so excited to have a photographer!  While we won't be working with a student, as we'd hoped, we're definitely getting a great deal from a talented artist- and most importantly, we're getting exactly what we want.  Doesn't get better than that!

Did you use an unconventional method to find your photographer?  Did you have to compromise your vision to get a price that worked for your budget, or were you willing to go over-budget to get the best of the best?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, July 20, 2012

STILL Not Meant to Be?

I know we were in the middle of a discussion about photographers, but a much more pressing issue has arisen.  Tune in next time for the gripping conclusion to Mr. and Miss Geek Search for a Photographer!

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-Our colors are inspired by fall leaves- purple, red, orange, and green
-My dress is second-hand and rather old [Mr. Geek, clicking that link may be hazardous to your health.  I cannot guarantee your safety, should you click that link.  Continue at your own risk.]
-After much consideration, flats seem to be the way to go, shoe-wise

So, I gave myself a bunch of rules for choosing a shoe, remember?

-Comfy enough to be worn all day
-No exposed toe
-A strap
-(At least) one of our wedding colors
-$60 or less, if possible

image via Team Starkid's merch shop.  // you should buy this shirt

This weekend, Mr. Geek and I were at the mall BUYING WEDDING BANDS, Y'ALL.  WEDDING BANDS.  THIS MAKES IT OFFICIAL.  (more on that later) and we wandered into Charlotte Russe because I just can't pass up a sale on cheaply made slightly trashy clothes.

They were having a "buy one get one for $12" shoe sale and as I am STILL in the market for a pair of shoes, I figured I'd look around.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the most epic glittery ankle booties EVAR.  Do they meet any of the requirements?  THEY MEET THE AWESOME REQUIREMENT!

{personal photo}
Mr. Geek actually convinced me to try them on- they are, he insisted, so me, and what better time to wear slightly ridiculous shoes than your wedding day?  They're pretty kick-ass, but there's just a couple of small problems.  First off, the height:

{personal photo}
You can't really tell in this shot, but those heels are probably a good 3" high, if not more, plus the front is sitting on a platform.  Mr. Geek kept saying it's not a big deal if they're comfortable, but then I told him to stand up and kiss me.  He didn't have to lean down.  Um, weird.  That's about the time he started backing off on his enthusiasm...

The only way I could describe them when wearing them was, "They're so...Ziggy Stardust!" to which Mr. Geek replied, "...and David Bowie is the definition of awesome.  What's your point?"

image via Fishbowl NY
Of course, my generation might be more apt to think that these boots are so Lady Gaga.  And they are- in that Lady Gaga tries too hard to be "cool".  I mean, I definitely have a thing for boots...

My "combat boots", worn most often with a short floral-printed dress // {personal photo}
yes, I am a "tuck my jeans into my boots" kind of girl // {personal photo}'s just that the combination of an unconventional shoe style, loud, sparkly color, and crazy height makes these boots just a liiiiiiiiiiiiiittle too much.

So I didn't buy them.

I did, however, buy a nice pair of flats from that online shop I adore so much- ModCloth.  (Along with an adorable dress to wear to my upcoming bridal shower!  Eek!)  Only...I'm not sure I like them either.

{personal photo}
They meet all the requirements...except perhaps the awesome part.  I mean, they're adorable, but...I don't know.  I think there are more negatives to these than positives.  First, there's the material:

disregard the jumbled mess of wires in the background // {personal photo}
So they're made of this flexible rubber-y stuff which is super comfortable but also not very supportive.  Methinks my feet might grow weary by the end of the reception.  I have an adorable pair of flats to change into at the reception if I end up going with heels, but I'd feel silly changing from one pair of flats to another pair of flats.

Then there's the shape- they're kind of narrow, and my feet are kind of...funky.  I have really narrow ankles and a really wide "box"- I'm not sure what you actually call it, but the part of your foot where the toes connect.  In a pointe shoe, the area at the toe is called the "box" and I always had to go with a wide box (and a narrow ankle).  Hooray for Gaynor Minden!

disregard the marks on my feet from the shoes I was wearing all day // {personal photo}
See how funky they make my feet look?  You can tell where the area around my arch appears to bulge out past the cut of the shoe.  Plus I have toe-cleavage.  Trashy.

I have 30 days from the day they shipped to return them for a refund which means I have...not a lot of time to decide if I want to keep them or not.

Finally- those cute flats I talked about for changing into?  Those would be these puppies- my oxfords:

{personal photo}
If I do end up using these as reception shoes, I plan to change out the laces with a brightly-colored ribbon.

I really, really like oxfords.  I think they're adorable.  I've been searching for oxfords in the wedding colors (and also the budget), but I haven't had any luck.  I've found silver ones, but my bridesmaids are wearing silver shoes, and I want to wear a bold color to stand out (because, you know, being the bride won't be standing out enough).

So folks, here's where you come in.  Vote quickly, because if I'm going to exchange the ModCloth shoes, I need to do it fast!

Should I:

-Wear the ModCloth shoes, so I can be done shopping
-Go back to Charlotte Russe and get the David Bowie shoes, because it's my wedding day and I deserve to be an absolute diva, even if it will look a little silly
-Keep looking for something that meets the requirements, especially the awesome bit
-Wear some awesome oxfords you have found for me on the interwebs at a link you will provide in the comments


Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Say Cheese!

You may recall that we had Mr. Geek's friend Emile shoot our engagement photos- I've only mentioned how amazing they are about a million times.

photo courtesy the AMAZING Emile Frey
So clearly choosing a photographer for the wedding day was easy, right?


As I said, Emile is Mr. Geek's friend.  They survived engineering school together- a friendship like that runs deep.  Their bond cannot be broken.  To paraphrase the immortal words of Lady Gaga, they have a Rad Bromance.  (They even LOOK like brothers!)

Emile and Mr. Geek learning to SCUBA // {Mr. Geek's personal photo}
We can't hire Emile for our big day!  We want to invite him to the party!  And he is so important to Mr. Geek that he'll be standing up with him as a groomsman- so his only duties that day should be to show up, look nice, dance with a bridesmaid or two, and enjoy the food and booze!

Soooo a photographer.  Hmm.

We budgeted what we feel is a reasonable amount for photography- and what feels like a lot of money, to me, anyway- but it is admittedly below the national average for wedding photography.  However, we're not interested in the usual photography package.  In fact, our list of what we DON'T want is longer than the list of what we DO want:

We DON'T Want:
-a pre-wedding shoot (we've already done the e-shoot and I don't have time for a bridal session)
-an album (I'd rather assemble my own, less expensively, from a photobook site)
-prints (ever heard of Wal-Mart photo?)
-we don't necessarily need all-day shooting- as in, the photographer doesn't have to stay until the end of the reception

We DO Want:
-pre-ceremony shots, ceremony coverage, and then a limited amount of post-ceremony "formals"
-a cd of digital images
-A PRINT RELEASE so we can print as many copies of we want into albums or large prints (and so I can put them on the blog, of course!)

Most professional photographers have a list of packages, and while they say they can "customize" one for you, what they really mean is you can re-arrange the features of one of their pre-set packages- you can do an engagement shoot instead of a bridal shoot in the "Diamond" package or you can have 4 5x7 prints instead of 2 8x10's in the "Romantic" package.  Add to that our seemingly modest photography budget...we really didn't feel like professional photography was in the cards.

Enter: college students!

A great tip I picked up from a wedding blog- probably Budget Savvy Bride- is to scout out local art schools for photography students starting up their own businesses.  In exchange for professional experience, portfolio filler, and, well, cash, a student is more likely to accept lower prices than a professional.

Remember how I said my sister is an artist?  She goes to this tiny school, University of Montevallo. 

Go Falcons! // {personal photo}
The school is very close to Alex City, so, naturally, I started sniffing around their website!  I found the professor who runs the photography department and shot her an email with some details about our big day and what we were looking for in a photographer.  I asked if she had any students that would fit the bill, and crossed my fingers.

Well, she got back to us...with exactly one candidate.  A candidate who had apparently graduated a couple of years ago, and the only email address she gave us was his school email.  Nonetheless, I shot off an email with the details and our offer, then moved on to the other items on our never-ending to-do list.

And then it was May, the school year was over, and he had still not replied.  I tried emailing the professor again for other suggestions, but apparently she doesn't check her Montevallo email address, either.

What's a bride to do?!

You'll have to tune in next time to find out!

How did you find your photographer?  Did you have any "friendors"?  Would you ever consider hiring a student?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, July 16, 2012

Be Our Guest(book)

Ladies (and gentlemen?), I'm not gonna lie- at the past two weddings I've attended, I...don't think I signed the guestbook.  I don't remember SEEING a guestbook, so maybe there weren't any, and that wasn't a mistake on my part.  But it's more likely that the guestbook was, in fact, there, and I just missed it or otherwise forgot to sign.  Apparently a lack of guestbook signing is not uncommon in weddings nowadays- as documented over on Weddingbee by Mrs. Unicycle in her post "You Can Lead a Horse to Water...(but you can't make it sign your guestbook)".

So it's gotten me thinking:

Do we really need a guestbook?

This looks like a job for a Pro-Con List!

Having a Guest List
-it's another way to use our beautiful engagement pictures, aside from posting them on Facebook and using them to decorate our website
-it will keep a nice record of everyone who attended
-it will be a nice keepsake of well-wishes from everyone who attended
-it's tradition

-it's ANOTHER project that has yet to be started
-if no one actually signs it, it's kind of a waste of money
-how many people actually write anything heartfelt in a guestbook?  most people scribble their names and get on with the dancing
-having one opens the door for giggling, drunken boys to write inappropriate things that will last a lifetime
-"it's tradition" is not a good reason to do anything you don't otherwise feel strongly about

Hmm.  Well, let's operate under the assumption that we're going to have one.  If we do, there are two possible options I'm looking at.  (Yes, I know there are a million different guestbook options out there, but I'm only attracted to two of them.)

A Good Old-Fashioned Scrapbook (with removable note cards for signing)
image via Scrapbooking Pleasures
 -Scrapbooking is really fun!  This could be a chance to get creative- I haven't done a scrapbook since my senior book I put together for high school graduation
-Filling the book with blank note cards scattered throughout could solve one of the reasons nobody signs guestbooks- they have to wait in line for the book!  We could have blank cards stacked on tables, along with pens, and then a collection box for them, and I can go back after the honeymoon and stick the signed cards in the empty spots.
-This could be an inexpensive option- all we'd need to buy is the scrapbooking materials and then prints of our photos

-This is a rather labor intensive option
-People STILL might not sign the cards, and that means a lot of gaps/empty cards
-Define "inexpensive".  When I put together my senior book, I spent most of my time and Bojangles paycheck at The Scrapbook Store buying pretty knick knacks for the pages because IT'S SO PRETTY.  It might end up costing just as much as option 2 (and obviously the cheapest option is forgoing a guestbook entirely...)

A Printed Photobook (with matte pages)
image via Picaboo
-Much less work!
-Should people forget/otherwise neglect to sign it, we could design the book such that empty spaces don't look quite so awkward
-Basic photobooks are offered from tons of companies for not-very-expensive

-...ok but there's still SOME work involved- you have to design the page layouts, which means more decisions...
-Again with the "define inexpensive" route- the nicer ones come with a pretty hefty price tag

So, readers, I need your help!  Should we go with:

-The scrapbook option
-The photobook option
-Neither.  Who has physical photo albums anymore?  Besides, as noted above, nobody will sign it.

Do you use pro-con lists to make big (or not-so-big) decisions?  Do you ever sign the guestbook at weddings you attend?  Did you use a more creative option for your guestbook?  Do you still have the guestbook from your wedding, or did it turn out to be not quite the keepsake you had hoped?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, July 13, 2012


No, we haven't gotten anything off our registry yet.  (Does it sound bratty to say I can't wait until we do?  Does it sound Bridezilla-y?)

But we did get a present!

Okay so it was intended as a birthday present, but still.  Presents is presents!

Remember our amazing engagement session?  We ended up with some beautiful shots.  One of those shots really stood out to my younger sister and MOH:

photo by Emile Frey
My sister is an artist- and an amazing one at that.  One of her art school projects was to enlarge an image using a grid, and to create it using only dots and hash marks.  The result?  An AMAZING birthday present / early wedding gift!

{personal photo}
Eeek!  Isn't that gorgeous?  This beauty is framed and hanging on the wall in my (soon to be our!) apartment so that when you open the front door, it's one of the first things you see.  She's told me she may have to steal it next year for her senior show as it's one of her proudest pieces...I may be able to part with it momentarily, but only if she promises not to sell it to anybody else!

I love my super talented sister! // photo by Mr. Geek
Did you receive any handmade wedding gifts?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Place to Party, Part 2

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure,

-My mom is awesome
-The internet is your friend, especially when researching wedding stuff
-Did I mention my mom is awesome?

Last time, I hinted that our venue hunt ended a la Goldilocks- one venue was booked, one venue was just not our style, and one venue was juuuuust right.  So exactly how did things pan out?

photo by Micah Jones
Sterling Castle, while beautiful, was already booked for our date :(  That's probably for the best, however, as initial inspection of the packages offered on their website suggested they are slightly out of our price range.

photo by BM BabySis

photo by Mom Geek
CreekSide Lodge was really cute on the outside, but on the inside...meh.  I don't know, between the carpet and the generic "Italian bistro" paintings, it just didn't have that charm we were going for.  Plus, it seems that the main room is so small that you really have to host most of the reception outside- and we didn't want to bank on an outdoor reception in case the weather is crazy.

For those folks playing along at home, you'll know that this means...

photo by Mom Geek
SpringHouse is juuuuuuuuuuust riiiiiiiight!  I mean look at this place- the exposed stone walls, the wood floors, the comfy-yet-modern's charming, it's kind of casual, and best of all- it's within our budget!

photo by Mom Geek
 Normally, when renting a place for a reception, you pay a fee for the actual rental of the building and then pay for food and beverages on top of that.  When renting a restaurant, you pay the rental fee, and then the contract entails that you have to purchase a minimum amount of food and beverage- to ensure that the restaurant doesn't actually lose money by hosting your wedding.  However, we're having a daytime wedding-and SpringHouse makes most of its profit in the evening.  As such, we don't have to pay any rental fee at all, just a minimum amount of food and beverage- at the very reasonable price of $3000.  With a planned ~200 guests, it definitely won't be hard to hit that minimum- we'll probably go over that and still stay within our budget.  Plus, they have an on-site baker that will make our cupcakes- a fee which can be factored in to the food and beverage minimum.  Plus they have a well-stocked bar, built-in sound system, wait staff, dishes, silverware, and plenty of room...all built in to the food and beverage minimum.  Score!  So my mom headed back out to SpringHouse, put down a deposit, and signed the contract.

Was it difficult to choose your reception venue?  Did you go with an all-inclusive option?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Place to Party

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-This wedding will be comprised of mainly out-of-town guests.  Including us.
-So I need my mom's help to meet with vendors, like our florist
-We're having a lunch-time reception that is slightly to the casual side of the casual-formal spectrum

This whole planning-a-wedding-from-afar thing is kind of difficult sometimes, but it's those times when my wonderful mom steps up and helps me out in any way she can- most of the time, that has meant meeting with vendors, signing contracts, and putting down deposits.  Like when we were looking for a reception venue!

I think maybe my mom was even more excited when we got engaged than I was- well, almost, anyway.  The moment Mr. Geek and I presented the idea of holding the wedding in Alex City, she got straight to work, looking around for suitable reception venues- before I even asked!  She gathered the names of a few places, and I looked them up online, in addition to doing my own research.  Based on what I could pull from a few websites, Mr. Geek and I settled on three potential locations and asked her to check them out for us.  She grabbed her camera and my sisters and set off to interview these places, then reported her findings.  I compiled the following list of questions for her to ask each location:

1.  Our date is 10 Nov 2012; we're looking to do a reception from about 1pm-5pm.  Is this date/time available?
2.  Our vision is a laid-back cocktail party.  For food, we're thinking 'heavy hors d'oeuvres'...finger food that you can get full off of if you want.  Definitely no sit-down, 5 course meal.  Do you have a package like this?  Can we see a menu?
3.  We also want to provide an open bar, but not necessarily anything too expansive.  Wine, beer, champagne for toasting, and one, maybe 2 'signature cocktails.'  Do you have a package like this?
4.  We really want to take care of the decorating ourselves- basic table linens will be fine, and we'll provide everything else...if that's allowed.
5.  We envision an 'iPod reception'- that is, no formal dj or band, just our own music player hooked to a sound system.  Do you have a sound system that can be hooked up with an mp3 player or computer- one that includes a microphone?  Are these things included in your package?
6.  We're hoping for 100-200 people; how many people does your biggest room fit?  Is there room for a sizeable dance floor?
7.  Do you have an on-site baker, or do you recommend one?  We're looking to have cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake; if you have an on-site baker, is this a possibility?  If you have an on-site baker, is the price included in the package or is it extra?  If we choose not to use your on-site baker, is there a penalty fee for bringing in someone from the outside?
8.  Finally, I need prices for the package that would accommodate the vision I've described above.  Would this package include a "day-of coordinator" who can set things up and take things down the day of the wedding?

I didn't want her to start the conversation by announcing our budget; I preferred to hear a quote for what we were asking for and if it was out of budget, move on to the next choice.  This way I figured we would get an honest assessment of what it would take to achieve our vision without having to choose a package off a menu based solely on how much we are able to spend.

First on the list was Mom Geek's suggestion: SpringHouse.

photo by Frank Couch // image via
 SpringHouse is a restaurant described by critics as "upscale-casual" in the scenic area of Lake Martin.  It kind of looks like a large house on the outside, and the inside feels "rustic" without actually being a barn.  My initial research showed that they have experience with cocktail party receptions and that our vision probably wouldn't seem too foreign to them.

Next was CreekSide Lodge, also on Lake Martin.

image via
CreekSide Lodge is basically a bed and breakfast and is very quaint.  The website boasts an onsite caterer AND coordinator, which was definitely a plus.  Also, the option to spend the night on-site was certainly attractive!

Finally, there was Sterling Castle.

image via Panoramio
...IT'S A CASTLE, YOU GUYS.  I rest my case.

So how did the meetings go?  Which site did we pick?

One of these was already booked for our date...One of these was cute on the outside but stuffy on the inside...One of these was juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust right.

Tune in next time to find out!

Did you have to send someone else to choose a venue for you?  Would you have been able to relinquish control and allow that to happen?  What sort of questions did you have for potential venues?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What's the Worst that Could Happen?

Wedding nightmares are apparently a pretty common phenomenon with stressed-out brides near the end of the engagement.  Night after night, the frazzled bride's subconscious plays out every possible scenario of things that could go wrong on The Big Day, from the slightly improbable to the completely absurd.  For some brides, this serves merely as fodder for a funny story over coffee with a friend, and for others, it convinces them make sure they are prepared for the worst in the off-chance that the dreams are their third eye seeing into the beyond.

Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawney // image via Stellar Path
I have yet to fall victim to these sorts of nightmares.  Sure, I'm crazy stressed out about all things wedding right now, but my stress originates mainly from The List and from rational fears, such as the worry that I won't be able to finish everything on The List.  I haven't quite ventured into the territory of the myriad of other things that could go wrong.

This weekend, Mr. Geek and I made the trip down to Blacksburg for my friend (and bridesmaid) MrsF's wedding.  You may have heard that a slightly interesting series of thunderstorms made its way across the state and the rest of the East Coast on Friday, causing minor problems along the way.  The wedding reception was supposed to be held at the Blacksburg Country Club.

image via
Like millions of other Virginians, guess who didn't have power on Saturday?

Now, never fear- this story has a happy ending.  Turns out the country club did some leg work, and called up The Inn at Virginia Tech to see if they could hold the reception there, with the country club staff doing the work.

image via The Inn at Virginia Tech

The Inn was cooperative, and the phone call that the bride received the morning of her wedding was not, "So...what do you want to do now?" but instead, "We have a back-up plan!"  Apparently the bride originally wanted to host the reception at The Inn anyway, so everything worked out for the best.

the happy couple, thankful to be dancing in an air-conditioned room // {personal photo}
Of course, as Mr. Geek and I are the next in line to the altar amongst our group of friends, dinner conversation at the reception began with the question, "So, Miss Geek, what would you have done if this were your wedding?"

We all generally agreed that I would've freaked out, spent most of the day crying, and sent out an announcement to the guests generally stating, "Just kidding, we'll try again next week."

Thus began a rousing game of Let's Name Everything That Could Possibly Go Wrong on the Geeks' Wedding Day.

Let me tell you, this was a super fun game.  It's my new favorite game.  I'm pretty sure I won.  I mean, I'm the only player who nearly hyperventilated and tried to change the subject several times before announcing rather abruptly that it was time to go dance.  And I've found myself practicing my skills at this game by making my own list of disasters in my head and freaking out about them.

Want to play?

Things That Could Go Wrong on the Big Day

-the Atlanta airport closes, and a majority of our out-of-town guests can't get to the wedding at all, including the groom
-a hurricane tears its way inland and destroys the reception site
-the kitchen at the reception site catches fire and the entire place burns down before we get to eat any cupcakes
-my dress catches fire while being steamed/pressed and I have to wear jeans instead
-I never actually find a good pair of shoes to wear and just go barefoot
-all of my hair falls out and I have to wear a wig even though I am so very against using extensions
-the invitations don't get sent to the printers on time so they get mailed out late, and by the time people receive them, they've already made plans for November 10th
-my fabric flower boutonnieres/corsages look stupid and everyone refuses to wear them
-a bridesmaid forgets to order her dress and has to wear jeans instead
-the florist covers the church in $1 million worth of white roses and when I can't pay in full the entire parish brings a lawsuit against us
-the sound system dies at the reception site and I have to sing loudly, else there will be nothing to dance to
-my makeup causes an allergic reaction that doesn't show up until after months of use, and on the morning of the wedding my entire face is red and swollen
-the photographer wrote down the wrong day and doesn't show up
-something is wrong with the seafood in the po'boys and every single guest is struck with immediate, violent food poisoning, causing them to vomit all over the dance floor
-they run out of Maker's Mark before I get a drink
-the sound system works just fine, but the only music my computer is capable of playing is the Nyan Cat song on a loop for 4 hours and we can't make it stop
-I receive the Blood of Christ at Communion and proceed to spill it all down my front
-the ring bearer does indeed throw his little book down the aisle, and while we've thought ahead and not actually given him the rings, it knocks over a candle on the altar, sending the whole church up in flames
-my dad decides he knows what's best and will be driving us to our honeymoon and then back to NOVA rather than letting me drive my own car
-Mr. Geek farts really, really loud when he's supposed to say "I do"
-I come down with laryngitis and am incapable of saying anything, much less "I do", but I mouth the words anyway.  Years later, the topic comes up in the form of a funny story in an audience with the Pope and he declares the marriage invalid because I never actually made any vows.  Mr. Geek is so horrified that I had never realized this was the case and so decides to not re-marry me officially.
-Mickey and Minnie actually accept our invitation, show up at the wedding, and terrify our two tiniest attendants (my baby cousins).  They proceed to shriek in terror for the entire Mass, refusing any comfort, just standing in front of the altar rigid in shock and wailing at the top of their lungs.

*Phew* I'm really good at this game, y'all.  It's actually quite fun.  At least I'm laughing at the ridiculousness my imagination is capable of instead of sobbing in the corner in sheer despair.

Your turn!  What are some absolutely terrible things that could happen at your wedding, probable or otherwise?

Much love,
The Geeks