Archive for August, 2009

A Bee’s Life: Cheese edition

Posted on August 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hey, y’all.  I have to tell you, I’m really excited about this series because I really had no idea how this WB blogging thing worked when I applied, so I hope you get some insight into how it all works.

It all started with the blogs

I don’t remember when I started reading blogs or how I found Weddingbee, much like I don’t remember learning how to walk or when I ate my first french fry.  I do know that I spent too many hours Googling things like “a simple wedding” and “minimal wedding” and “second wedding.”  I kept finding sites on etiquette (apparently face veils are the prerogative of first-time brides), dealing with children (we had none) and eloping.  But I didn’t want to elope, and I didn’t care about veils – I just wanted the straight story on how little you could do for a wedding and still call it a wedding.  I wanted insight, answers, how-to’s.  I wanted bullet points.

So I started blogging.  My first attempt was called “A Simple Wedding,” but it didn’t really work. I wasn’t sure I wanted a wedding, wasn’t sure I was ready to get married, wasn’t sure why people were even engaged.  Who was I to tell anyone else how to plan a wedding I wasn’t sure I wanted?  But I kept writing, and soon I found my voice.  I scrapped my first ten posts and launched a new blog when I wrote this post.  For the first time, my words got away from me and helped me find myself.  For the first time, I understood that my perspective would be about the emotional journey of a bride, and more specifically, how you can fail at something once and still try it again. 

My tagline became: “I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.”

Applying to Weddingbee

So I decided to apply to Weddingbee.  I read each post but never commented, and while I loved the DIY aspect, wasn’t much on DIY myself.  I never expected to be accepted.  I mean, c’mon.  I was a divorced non-DIY-er planning a super-cheap wedding at home.  And I wasn’t sure how I felt about weddings.  My budget was vague and tiny, my projects were more home-related than wedding-ish, and my perspective wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies.

When I got the email from Pengy, I honestly didn’t know what to do… because I hadn’t actually gotten around to telling my fiance about this blogging thing I was doing.  Oops.  By that point, my posts had touched on my previous marriage and my own ambivalence, and I was concerned that he wouldn’t want all my honesty out in the real world.  Lucky for me, when I asked him to read my posts (while I glanced over his shoulder and bit my nails nervously), he agreed – and didn’t mind as long as what I wrote was honest.

On honesty and other people

In fact, I get asked pretty often if he reads all my posts, has editorial control, ever gets upset.  While he gets every post in his email (I signed him up), he rarely reads them.  If I write about a topic I’m a little unsure about (like this one on s.e.x.), I will ask him to read and offer to edit, but he’s never taken me up on it. 

Strange, right?  If someone wrote about me, I’d want to read and review.  But when I asked him just now if he ever minded my blogging so honestly about our lives, he replied that he understood early on that blogging was part of my emotional process, that it helped me understand myself and my choices, and if it made me a happier person, he was all for it.  Between you and I, I don’t think he had any idea how many people read my posts and how connected we’d all become. 

I’m also very careful to keep a tight perspective and not offer judgment on anyone but myself.  I’m sure I’ve made mistakes, but if you read my posts, they’re all about me – my thoughts, feelings, screw-ups.  My descriptions of him and his actions are usually pretty balanced and (hopefully) not unflattering.  I’ve never wanted to make anyone feel bad or use this blog as a way to unfairly vent my feelings, so when I write about ANYONE, I imagine reading those words to them myself.  And, like when I called Mrs. Meatball a really cute freaking fairy, I often check with them to make sure they take it in the spirit I intended. 

I may be honest, but I try not to be a jerk.

On why Weddingbee rocks

I found my voice by blogging for this site.  Without it, I wouldn’t have known the comfort of not feeling alone, the value of friendships made online, the power of the written word to unscramble my brain and make other people feel less alone.

I’m an emotional woman and I’ve found my outlet.  I value every comment you’ve ever left me, even the ones questioning my decisions.  I’ve often thought of those of you who have shared your stories and concerns and challenges, wondering how you’re doing and if it all worked out well.  And if the embarrassment of putting my own failings out there has made even one of you feel less alone, as you have done for me, it’s all worth the time (oh, gawd, the HOURS we spend blogging as volunteers… I could have made a fortune at minimum wage by now!) and effort and carpal tunnel (I kid, I kid… mostly).

On finding your own voice

Just try.  Over and over and over again, write about what’s on your mind, and eventually you’ll find yourself.  Write with readers in mind and your writing will improve.  I know this is hard to believe (um, not), but my journal blog was long and meandering and oh, so full of words.  Believe it or not, when I write for readers, I write fewer words, remember to make a point, and keep from spiraling into negativity.  You’re good for me.

And if you’re looking for honesty, accept discomfort.  Not once have I published a raw post and not dreaded reading the comments.  Not once.  Some days I literally cringe and hide my face when I see my post go up (like this one on doubts).  But not once, not one. single. time. have I regretted putting myself out there.  That’s the thing about fears – they dissipate in the light of honesty.  So try it.  You might like it.

One more thing: putting yourself out there doesn’t mean people have to agree.  And if they don’t, that’s okay.  You might learn something, might find a different way of looking at your life, might just close the browser and walk away.  Don’t apologize (unless you were misunderstood), don’t get offended, don’t take it all too seriously.  You live the life you live whether you blog about it or not, right?  If you want input, say you want input, and if you don’t, make that clear.

If you get comments asking you if you know what you’re doing (like this one), don’t assume it’s snark.  Ask yourself what they are really wanting to know, and then answer.  The comments on that post were one of my favorite online conversations.

In closing (finally!)

I didn’t think I’d be accepted to blog at Weddingbee, as a divorced unwilling bride-to-be, but I’ve learned that you just never know what might happen, so you might as well try.  Be honest, be brave, be yourself.

I still blog most days.  You can follow my ongoing battle with myself and my quirks at www.notquitebettycrocker.com.

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Yummy Yummy For My tummy

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: wedding recaps |

Hi, remember me? *waving* I used to blog here, but then I got a serious case of the Recaps and I’ve been fighting it ever since.

1992

Much like my predecessors, I’m struggling to finish them, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret: recaps aren’t nearly as much fun as I once thought they’d be.  We love you guys, our supportive and fantabulous readers, and we sometimes have a hard time trying to live up to your expectations… and our own.  I want to find the words to make you feel like you were there, to make you understand that “it was the best day” is completely genuine, to give you hope and peace and help you get through the meltdowns that we all go through.

2000

And it’s hard, because we are, after all, ourselves.  Like you, we have doubts and regrets and an unwillingness to knock the glitter off.

1955 BW

Oh, yea, and we’re also married. Life on this side of our wedding day is both low-key and busy as all hell.  While my husband and I don’t have this big event looming anymore, we do have friendships to catch up on, dinners to enjoy, neighbors to meet.  Not spending every moment thinking about your wedding frees up some serious time — and a long list of stuff we set aside to get ready for our wedding — and it’s hard to go back to even the best of days to find the right words.

2001

So, forgive us if we don’t always recap as quickly as you’d hoped.  Much like getting married, writing about getting married is an emotional rollercoaster.

On that note, let’s talk about food!

1966

I’ve wanted to write about food since the first moment my Weddingbee application was accepted!  See, I love food.  Love, love, love food.  I’m that person who bounces when my food arrives, the one who learned to cook solely for the eating, the friend who tells you all about her favorite cities by describing the restaurants she loved.

1986

While I confidently and somewhat recklessly declared caterers to be an indulgence we didn’t need, my friends and family held the line: leaving the food up to someone else would be money well spent, they assured me.

Then our good friends, the owners of one of our favorite restaurants, mentioned that they cater.  And the decision was made.

1963 BW

See, we’ve never eaten one. single. thing. made by Marty that wasn’t absolutely incredibly fantastically good.  When inspiration hit, I didn’t hesitate to trust my idea to Marty and his wonderful wife Demi, and boy, did they deliver.

Our menu? South meets Southwest by way of pulled pork and toasted bread.  We offered two sets of fixings: jalapenos + guacamole = torta, or coleslaw + barbeque sauce = pulled pork sandwich.

DSC_1867

Marty smoked the pork butts from Thursday until Sunday and thank goodness we’d already invited our neighbors or they would have followed their noses to our party.

DSC_1868

Yummy. DSC_1862

More importantly (can you believe I’m saying something about CATERERS that’s MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FOOD?), they were absolutely amazingly supportive.  Really.

“The caterer wants to know if you have cake plates.”

DSC_1876

“Yea, and the cakes are on them, remember?”

{Sidenote: $6.99 cakes from Sam’s Club. Coconut – wedding white —  to make my mama happy, super duper chocolate to make my man happy, and lemon because it’s happy all by itself. And hilariously, we got asked multiple times who we used for the cakes.  “Sam’s Club, $6.99”  The tortes were a gift from our neighbor and they are TO DIE FOR.  Oh, and the cake stands were DIY courtesy of $10 worth of plates and glasses from the Goodwill and some super glue.  From the Dollar Tree.  Because that’s how I roll.}

DSC_1923

“No, plates for serving the cake.”

“Oh… sh*t.”

And then Demi ran out and bought cake plates.  And a serving set.  And gave me a hug and told me not to worry. Now that’s a fabulous caterer.

DSC_1924

Oh, and one more thing: see the egg sandwich Marty’s giving Joey, and Joey’s expression?

1957 BW

Every Saturday we went to their restaurant, Joey ordered a BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato)… which was not on the menu.  For months he called my husband “IHOP.”  It was a joke between them, and not only did Marty remember, he brought an egg, slice of bacon and two pieces of bread in a little container so he could surprise my hubby.

Did you catch that?  THE MAN MADE SCRAMBLED EGGS ON A GRILL JUST TO MAKE MY HUSBAND LAUGH ON HIS WEDDING DAY.  In that moment, they became my people too.

1958

I could not recommend them more, either as wonderful people, or as amazing chefs.  If you’re looking for a really great caterer who makes real food, the kind of food you can’t wait to eat and enjoy every bite of, even (especially!) on your wedding day, contact Marty and Demi Smith.  You won’t be sorry.  Tell them IHOP’s wife sent you.

And, lest you believe we went booze-less (bite your tongue!), I will admit that the beauteous containers of pretty liquids you see here are, in fact, spiked.  Margaritas (with Blue Curacao intended to make them something blue and instead ended up looking like pool water but nobody cared while drinking them happily), vodka punch and vodka pineapple lemonade.  Despite my numerous reminders, my sister did not label them as alcoholic, leading me to chase down elderly neighbors to warn them they might be imbibing only to be told that they knew this, thankyouverymuch, and were planning to enjoy themselves.

1939

Well. If that’s not a successful party….

Next up: the Cheese’s dance.

2033 BW

Yes, it was seriously cheesy.  See my guy checking out my dance moves?  Yea, more of that.

All photography by Angela Herzog of Angela Herzog Photography (www.angelaherzogphotography.com) unless otherwise noted.  Asterisks (*) indicate that post-processing was done by me, and thus, should not be held against her.  See this post for more details.

Late to the party? See previous recaps here:

Part I: And It Begins

Part II: My People, Part I

Part III: It’s Time

Part IV: Our Ceremony

Part V: My People, Part II

Part VI: Celebrate Good Times, COME ON ALREADY!

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    About

    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.

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