Tag Archives: Wedding

[Wedding Wisdom] The Name Change Game

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Just imagine – it’s the most wonderful day of the year, or  more accurately one of the best days of your entire adult life: you’re married! You did it! The two of you did it:  you tied the knot, threw the bouquet, did that dance, celebrated with your loved ones – and by now, you should have a shiny new marriage license to prove it.  So, now what? Ah, yes – for some the next steps are simple: go on, keep living and keep loving.  But for most others, there’s a litany of legislative shit to take care of before you actually have a new last name. Most things in life, we want to learn and retain for a lifetime – but when it comes to planning weddings and anything related to it – you gotta figure you’re only doing it once, but when it comes to following the rules – it’s important that you do this one right.

As soon as you bring your signed marriage certificate back to the county of your choosing, make sure that you retain enough copies of your official wedding license so that you don’t mind momentarily parting with one for a few weeks.  Most courthouses will let you get multiples for a discount from the get-go, so score a few for good measure – you never know where else it’ll come in handy, or the multitudes of reasons you’ll need to have it at your disposal.

First thing first, updating the most legal version of your name in the eyes of the government: dealing with the social security administration; this is the one that matters the most, closely followed by your drivers license. The good news: it’s free, and you don’t really have to go into their office (unless you want to). The bad: You’ll be without a copy of your marriage license and a government issue document with your old name on it for verification purposes, like your drivers license, state identification card or passport. Or, you can wait in a 2+ hour line.  The choice is ultimately yours, but I’ll give you a hint: I mailed mine in. Within 2-3 weeks, I had a new SSN card – and within 2 more weeks I had all my documents back in my little paws. Next, either make an appointment or brave the queue of your local DMV with a copy of your wedding license and your old drivers license.  As a warning, you’ll have to forfeit your old ID with your former name so kiss it goodbye so you can say hello to your new moniker.

Before you even have your signed document in hand, you can give your auto and home insurance a call and let them know that your marriage status has changed – most likely you’ll start seeing a discount in your fees immediately (cha-ching!).When it comes to your employer,  know that most companies and their health insurance programs have a 60 day window where you can add your spouse to your current coverage if you’re looking for an upgrade in that regard. Then make sure you reach out to your bank, your utility accounts and your employer and make sure that your new name has been updated in their systems; sometimes they’ll ask for a copy of your marriage license, others all you’ll need to do is send them a scanned version.

Last, but not least – your social media accounts!  At last – on to the fun part!  If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, you can add a “Mrs” in front of your name, if you use your last name – time for a little upgrade, and on Facebook there’s an option for people to search for you by your former name as well.

Or, maybe all that hullabaloo isn’t really for you – you’re digging your old name, it’s been tried and true – and that’s beautiful! Over the last decade, there have been couples here and there that have defied the conventions of marriage and created their own traditions: hyphenated names, the husband taking the wife’s name, and even creating a brand new last name that means something to the couple.

The name change game affects all married couples, simply because choosing to not update your name is still a choice; either way you play it, it’s an adventure you choose for yourself.  So, what are you going to do with your last name?

 

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[Traveling Tales] A Double Date of Drinks at Block15 and 4 Spirits

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In what’s become a tradition of sorts, several times a year I venture off to Corvallis to visit my family, reconnect with nature and reset my personal frequency.  While the school year brings a hearty amount of hustle and bustle to the mostly agricultural community, the Summertime brings sleepy months of stunning sunsets mixed with fantastic weather; and the food and drink? Thanks to the Oregon maker spirit and an influx of former California natives, they live up to the state motto ‘Alis volat propriis‘, and they’re getting better all the time.

This romp around Central Oregon was absolutely different than anything else; first and foremost, after three years of planning – Danny and I were finally getting married, and secondly – it was fueled with the energy of the Total Solar Eclipse.   Though there were some fantastic moments over the entire week, one of my personal highlights was actually after the weight of the big day had been lifted and we were just left with some key players, including my now husband, my dad, our officiant + best friend and my cousin.  For one glorious afternoon, we enjoyed a double date of delicious drinks and rumpus games at Corvallis’ own Block15 Brewery and 4 Spirits Distillery.  Though I’d been through the former haunt of 4 Spirits, I hadn’t had a chance to visit since their migration. 

Now conveniently located side by side, 4 Spirits and Block15 pack a hearty one two punch of some of the finest beer and rustic whiskey Oregon has to offer.  When visiting, our friend reminded us of the old adage ‘Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear’, so off to 4 Spirits we went!

Boasting a bevvy of Rums, Whiskeys and a signature Vodka, at it’s heart – 4 Spirits is a philanthropic venture, giving back to both homegrown programs from Oregon and initiatives in Wyoming, Montana and Washington. To taste a flight of four hearty half ounce shots, it’s only $5 – and if a member of you group happens to purchase a bottle, then the rounds are on the house. For the whiskey drinkers, there’s the Bourbon Whiskey with delicious undercurrents of vanilla and caramel, the American Whiskey, and Single Malt; for the rum-ophiles, there’s a silver rum, a light rum, a dark rum, and my personal favorite (and take that to heart, because I’m not a rum drinker) – their habanero spiced rum; and last, and least, their vodka – which was great, but that’s not why one goes to 4 Spirits.  To add to their cornucopia of liquor, the new spot also offers a kitchen with munch worthy snacks like Stuffed Tots and fries, full sized fare ranging from burgers and sandwiches to pizza, plus a lawn version of Yahtzee, appropriately called Yard-zee.
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After loosening ourselves up with liquor, we were off to the second stop on our double date – Block15.  Literally a hop, skip and a jump across the parking lot sat Block15’s Brewery and Taproom, not to be confused with their restaurant located in the heart (aka. within the four blocks) of Downtown Corvallis.  For about $5-8 depending on your tastes, you can get a flight of five tasty beverages.  My favorites was Hopnotize, Wandlepad and the Lil’ Dab, a cannabis infused drink – cheers to you, Oregon.  Hypnosis was on the heavier side, so if you’re of the type that likes to chew their beer – this is your best bet. Though their food menu isn’t nearly as deep at the Taproom as it is at their Restaurant, the kitchen still produces some bomb eats including a DIY charcuterie board, hearty sandwiches and a hands down the best bier pretzel I’ve ever tasted.

For anyone who happens across Oregon’s Central region or finds themselves in Corvallis, between these two locations you simply can’t go wrong.  So hop on the good foot, and do the drinks thing.

For more on 4 Spirits and Block15, visit Corvallis – their socials:

4 SpiritsWebsite | Facebook 

Block 15: Website | Facebook | Instagram

[Wedding Wisdom] Do You While Saying ‘I Do’

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Marriage.  It’s the magical union of two twin flames, the serendipitous soul chaining of emotional counterparts, an emotive, extrasensory adventure that tugs on your heartstrings – but for most millennials, it’s just another institution to avoid.  Almost exactly three years ago, my fiance proposed to me – it wasn’t planned, there wasn’t anyone to capture it on candid camera – or even just candidly, hell – he didn’t even have a ring, but we had each other, we had the moment.  The minimalists, pragmatists, and the hopeless romantics will all echo the sentiment that those things are far more than enough. But one thing I’ve learned by simply entertaining a wedding, is that everyone’s got their something about them: traditions, advice, warnings, must-dos, and the like – so while you’re busy saying ‘I Do’, don’t forget the most important tradition of all: doing you.

Traditions, by in large, are important familial and social constructs with a bevvy of history, and from what it sounds like: wedding traditions, doubly so.  Unfortunately, every time I see the word tradition, my mind instantly jumps to the opening scene of Fiddler on the Roof and nothing that’s actually useful for my big day.   With the big day inching closer and closer, I’ve found myself reaching out to family and friends to find out what the hell one is actually supposed to do at their wedding, and what traditions people threw to the wind in lieu of making their own.  And I’ve discovered this: weddings aren’t where you’re forced to embrace past traditions, but where you can forge new rituals – with your new family.  I’m not saying don’t listen to your parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends, Starbucks barista, gas station attendant or bartender – but what I’m saying is that what they want, for their special day, should have no reflection on what you choose to do.

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Three years ago when Danny proposed to me, he had no ring, and no pomp – just serendipitous circumstance in the Canadian forest.  It was our first trip out of the country together.  After a thousand miles in the car, a sketchy border crossing and being inducted into Shamb-fam – deciding to spend forever together seemed as natural as breathing. Merely hours later, as we danced under the full moonlight with new friends – a carpenter named Bruce reached into his pocket, toying around with a string.  A twinkle flashed in his eyes as he explained he only made five, was down to his last one and was hoping it would fit me.  Giddy to be receiving anything at all, I didn’t bother asking what, instead I put out my hand like a seven year old trick-or-treating through their first Halloween. It was a ring; a wooden ring that only fit my ring finger; a wooden ring that then became my engagement ring, which got me to thinking: why are there engagement rings and wedding rings?  The answer: De Beers.

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It used to be customary to only have one ring, the wedding ring, that is – at least, until De Beers came into the picture. From the early 19th Century, De Beers has a monopolized control over the diamond mines of South Africa – creating illusions of scarcity to drive sales.  Once our Great Depression of the 1920’s and 30’s hit, De Beers believed it had a genius marketing plan to get our consumer nation back on spending track: telling us that diamonds are forever; marketing the idea of love, not a brand – not a product – but the idea. Fast forward to now, and engagement rings are a booming industry, accounting for almost 20% of total diamond sales in the US, and bringing in a whopping $7 billion annually. Roughly a quarter of all purchases at Tiffany’s + Co are derived from wedding bands and engagement rings, while almost half the sales at Sterling Jewlers’ retailers like Jared and Kay are derived from engagement rings.  Overall, engagement rings actually represent about 20% of US diamond sales. All in all, those statistics speak more to a corporate level greed and an ostentatious, ego-maniacal society than they do a forever type of love, but that’s just my opinion.

The wedding registry happens to be another  trend that I’m all too ready to put to rest.  Yes, everyone loves presents – but, weddings are about presence, not presents.  As opposed to only 35% 15 years ago, almost half of all married couples in 2017 have previously cohabitated for an average of 22 months, or almost two years. Let me put it bluntly: you can accumulate a lot of shit in two years.  What was once just “my shit” and “your shit” has now collectively become “our shit”, and “our shit” comes with a lot of redundancy, and no one needs redundant redundancy.  Though wedding dowries have been of historical cultural significance for centuries, a registry and a dowry are two horses of completely different colors.  Much like the De Beers Diamond plot of the 1920’s, up until the Great Depression there was no such thing as a wedding registry – until Macy‘s came along, and other department stores were all too eager to jump on board.

Now, how about the wedding party? Though some people elope, and many do keep it small – it also feels like some people invite everyone to the West of the Mississippi to their big day.  Obviously, the more the merrier and who doesn’t love love, but at a certain level it becomes all sorts of impersonal and not meaningful; almost like you’re getting married for show, not for yourself.  A large party, now sure – count me the fuck in; but a wedding, the bonding of two souls and binding of two lives is such an intimate idea that to me, it begets an intimate ceremony. In my seemingly biased opinion, large weddings more than force you into employing a bridal party – of elevating those closest to you, and imposing stratified levels of closeness.  On the other hand, at a small wedding – you can flip the script.  Our wedding, a destination wedding of sorts, will be small, the kind of small where I have to use small as an adjective to emphasize an adjective – but that’s just the way I like it.  One of my favorite perks to having a small ceremony, is that everyone at the wedding is part of the bridal party; everyone is a groomsman or a bridesmaid, because everyone there is equally important to us.  But, do you know the history of bridesmaids and groomsmen? Confarreatio, a form of wedding from the Ancient Romans, required 10 witnesses for the ceremony to legally binding; these witnesses evolved into the modern bridal party.  The groomsmen and bridal party were also tasked with warding off evil spirits.  Back in antiquity, the maid of honor and bridesmaids wore identical outfits to trick the spirits out of targeting the bride, while the best man was a literal wingman – warding off other potential suitors while the groom whisked away the bride-to-be.

Last, but certainly not least: the wedding dress.   Growing up, I was taught that the white in a wedding dress was a symbol of purity – but as it turns out,  because of the (a) lack of soap and (b) levels of general filth, up until the 18th century there weren’t many white wedding gowns.  In fact, the white aspect of the wedding dress is primarily associated with well to do Western culture, where many Eastern traditions actually involve a red dress in lieu of the white.  In all honesty, the white wedding dress is one of the few wedding traditions I’ll keep, though it’s definitely not for the sake of my purity.  However, what I find do find ridiculous are people that think a wedding dress is anything other than just a white dress, worn on the wedding. Some dresses range into the thousands, others into the tens of thousands…and to wear…once?  Dios mio! I would rather get a down payment on a house or a car. After spending a day at the mall struggling with the idea of a “wedding” dress, I found the perfect white dress in under ten minutes once I got out of the mindset that it had to come from a “bridal” store. So, now you might be asking – are there any other traditions that you’re keeping?  Yes, duh.  We’re getting married, exchanging vows and rings – and that’s as much of a tradition as I need.

Love isn’t just an idea, it’s an action – it’s a verb, it’s something you do.  Despite what Department Stores want you to believe, your love isn’t a commodity and your marriage doesn’t need to be monitized. Your wedding is a collection of beautiful moments rolled into one glorious day, celebrating with those you hold nearest and dearest to your heart – don’t sell yourself short, and don’t do anything you don’t want to do because fingers crossed, this is the only one you get.  So enjoy, indulge, drink champagne and get excited; say Yes, say I do but most importantly – do you. 

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[Wedding DIY] Say ‘I Do’ to Creatively Customized Invitations

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Plan a wedding, they said – it’ll be fun, they said.  Don’t get me wrong – because this is all sorts of fun; but a kind of detail-oriented, take-charge type of fun where you’re always second guessing yourself because most likely, you’ve never done this before – nor are you planning on ever really doing it again type of fun.  Thankfully, I’ve discovered some clutch resources that have made the initial steps infinitely easier.

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The initial planning stages always seem the hardest, going from the grandiose, umbrella idea of a fabulous wedding to whittling down nuanced details on color, style and formality. Now that your wedding date is tangible, the reality of your ideas have manifested into a horse of a different color where compromise is key, so at the very least get a grip on your ideas with a solid brainstorm session with your significant other.Hands down, Pinterest has proven to be a great resource for both researching and cataloging ideas, especially now that we can have collaborative Pin Boards.  I’m sure there’s a lot of us whose Wedding (and Engagement, and Bridal Shower…) Pin Boards are older than our relationships, but in our defense – it’s not like we haven’t been dreaming of this day since we were little kids, we’ve just been waiting for the perfect way to organize it.

Capture Your Love Story

If you asked me what I thought of Engagement Photos a year ago, I probably would have laughed at you – not that I don’t think they’re beautiful, I just always found them to be superfluous, ostentatious, pseudo-omnipotent views of love. But then I thought about the idea of love, letting it’s truth wash over me like a light rain and I realized that love is supposed to be larger than life, or at least larger than us as individuals, and it should be opulent in all of it’s hidden riches that hide deep in the heart, so – yes, let’s capture it, let’s capture love in it’s purest form. And the more it truly sunk in that Danny and I were tying the knot, the more I wanted to capture this version of our love in a time capsule that I can hold close to my heart.   So, tl/dr – a thousand times yes, invest in your engagement photos because it’s really a gift to yourself.

When it comes to your photos, my suggestions here are twofold. First -pick a location that resonates at the same frequency as your relationship, pick a special place that the two of you find as beautifully unique as your relationship. For our pictures, we spent a weekend frolicking around the stunning Sequoias hand in hand, kissing around every corner – and it reminded me a thousand times over why I’m over the moon excited to be spend the rest of my forever with him.

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Second, and equally important: find a photographer that you can feel vulnerably yourself with, and in effect ‘naked’ in your love for each other.  If you’re around the Southern California, or East Coast Area – I highly and absolutely recommend Juliana Bernstein, better know around these parts as Get Tiny Photography, for any and all photo duties.  I met Juliana back while I working with The DJ List but it wasn’t until my time with The Confluence that I finally had the pleasure of getting to know this sorceress of creation. Even though we got to know each other under the neon lights and late nights of music festivals, what turned me on to her as our engagement photographer was the way she can capture an effervescent moment in time, full of vibrant colors, depth and shadow play. Beyond being a beautiful soul with a keen eye and a mind sharp as a tack, Juliana is literally the cutest, sweetest thing in the entire world and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep her in my pocket, feed her skittles and take her with my everywhere.

For more of Juliana’s work – check our her website and socials:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | E-mail

Be Inviting

There are a few ways you can go about making your Saves the Date and your Wedding Invitation.  First, you could hire someone to take the reigns and do it for you – which I’m sure is nice, but as someone who gets off on the creative process there’s no way I would just give that up.  So, if you’re trying to DIY the damn thing, there are a few great online resources at your disposal.  The lovely folks at Minted will send you a sample package of their wares so you can get a grip on the types of paper and color combinations at your fingertips, while PaperSource has a whole host of links available for the scatterbrained bride-to-be.

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Customize Your Creation

As beautiful as the invitations are for Minted and Paper Source, the only way to have a truly customized invitation through Paper Source is to have their corporate office approve your design to actually be on their website (which is damn cool), but it was a round about process that left me wanting – thankfully, I stumbled across Basic Invite and all my problems were solved.  After getting a feel for the wedding invitations that were already out there, I realized that I saw everything as a wonderful jumping off point; a rough draft that I wanted to paint in technicolor.  I literally caught myself wanting to customize very well every facet of the Saves the Date, the Wedding Invitation – and even the RSVP card. With Basic Invite, you can upload all of your own images to create completely customized creations – yasssss.

Now, I’m definitely not a pro with Photoshop but I’m not graphically impaired, either – so with some ideas in mind, I took things into my own hands, made everything from the ground up.  The biggest issue I ran into was having a file in a large enough resolution and format to be loaded.  After some trouble, I found that saving my Photoshop Files as .TIFF files, and loading them into a private Flickr album did the trick.

After just a few round of tweaks, I’m pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out, but for the record: let’s just say that every meme you see about Graphic Designers and their clients is very, very true.   Now, I don’t want to spoil the surprise until after the New Year when the invitations are sent out, and trust me – it’s worth the wait 🙂

Pro Tip: Flirt with Free Fonts.  To quote my Fiance – all of the stock fonts in Photoshop look like they’re out of a middle school science fair presentation, so if you’re thinking of going all the way customized – I would think outside of the text box.  Of all the sites I found, I would recommend Brushez and Fonts 101.

Stamp of Approval

Sure, regular stamps are cool – but romantic, whimsical, wedding inspired stamps are invariably so much better. Check out the USPS website, or even take a gander inside one of your local Post Offices (yes, those artifacts of buildings still exist!).  If like Kanye, you’re accustomed to customizing – you can always order out custom stamps on Shutterfly.  It was a fleeting thought, but in a moment of pure serendipity last night, my Aunt-in-law sent me the very stamps were were looking for – and they arrived in the mail at the same time as our final invitation prints!  Suffice it to say, we’re set to send.

So, Now We Have These Pictures?

So, finally – almost three years after we got engaged, two months after we took our engagement photos – we’re ready to ship!  We used maybe 4 or 5 of the 150+ engagement photos for our invitations…and as much as it’s killed me, I’ve basically kept the good ones a secret from almost all of our friends, family – and most importantly, social media.  Not to be a curmudgeon, but I truly feel that the first time someone sees your Saves the Date photo should be when they physically open the envelope; maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe I have a thing for ‘Wow’ factor – but these photos are special, you should really treat them as such. Since we used literally less than 3% of our photos, that means we invariably have a plethora of pictures for other avenues: post them all over your Instagram and feel the love of your love, reuse your photos as Holiday Cards for your friends or framed photos for your family, crop yourself a fancy new LinkedIn profile picture; the options are basically as endless as your romance, so use as you desire!

What are your favorite Wedding Invitation resources?  What creative ways have you reused your engagement photos? Let me know in the comments below!

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[Life Hack] Bring Your Color Schemes and Dreams To Life

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Life is like a canvas, and with each moment we fling technicolor paint onto it over and over again, haphazardly layering abstract vision onto linear paths; the continual result is a personal universe, vibrant and blossoming to the brim with color.  Fortunately, coloring the rest of our lives from our apartments, homes and dorm rooms to websites  and weddings is a bit more straightforward.  While an affinity towards individual colors is a simple formula of RGB, choosing the breadth of a color scheme can become slightly overwhelming – especially, apparently, if you’re me.  Every time I pick two colors I enjoy, then try and settle on a third I’m reminded that two is a party but three is definitely a crowd – so you have to choose right.  Enter: the internet.

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Thanks to some technological geniuses, there are a variety of apps that make the process essentially dummy proof and in the midst of my (re)search for help, I found a treasure trove of answers.  I was trying to paint two birds with one brush, looking to re-do the office in our apartment and wrapping my head around a color scheme for my wedding. Each came with their own monsters.  Back when I was a kid, my mom was redoing the inside of our house and after pouring through scraps of carpet and paint swatches for the living room and her room – she did, at that time, what I fathomed to be unthinkable: let me decide how I wanted my room to look.  Looking back on it, I’d have to say that light blue walls with pink door trim and a lavender carpet still stands as an eccentric expression of my fourth grade mind, a decision that I relive every blue moon when I go back home and visit. As for picking colors for my wedding, let’s just say this – though I’m most certainly a novice at this wedding game, I don’t plan on staying one but I do plan on doing this wedding thing only once – and doing it all sorts of right.

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For the wedding inspired, Wedding Wire has an insurmountable repository of resources – which includes a very simple decision tree for wedding colors.  Personally, I think they’re a good place to start, but beyond being a great jumping off point it’s nothing to write home about.  Instead, I would lean towards a tried and true favorite – AdobePaletton or ColourLovers, well – when they’re back online.  With Colour Lovers – you can create a personal profile, save your palettes and browse for ideas.  On the other hand, Paletton offers multitudes of preset ways to break down the color wheel – Tetrads, Triads, and Adjacent Colors – in addition to Freeform, plus you have the ability to export your information. I have to hand it to Adobe though, their site is beautifully ergonomic and allows you to upload your own images to create an easy breezy color scheme, but Paletton has my attention.

Mobile

The discovery of a stunning color combination is one thing, but an active and informed direction is quite another.   Kiss your interior decorating color woes goodbye because bless their hearts, the good folks at Sherwin-Williams went ahead and made a color app for their collection of paints called Color Snap for iOS.  You can also access the database via Android, or through their website.

For the iPad lovers, go and get your paws on ColoRotate – where you can work with a 3D render of the color scale to find your perfect palette. Even better? It can sync up with Photoshop.

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For good measure, if the curioisity is getting at your cat – try a book on color therapy, or Chromotherapy, and understand the colors on a more intuitive, intimate level.

What sort of ingenious methods have you used to curate your perfect color collection? Let me know in the comments below!