Category Archives: Wedding

Financing a wedding

D’Oh! The Dough!

I’ve had this post sitting on the side for a while now and I got a big kick in the pants last night that is directly related to my thoughts here. Hope you enjoy it.

One of the things that I read on all sorts of relationship and finance blogs is that if nothing else, establishing financial goals is paramount to success, especially in marriage. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but a vast number of marriages are plagued with financial woes and that is something I never want to deal with.

How we’ve done it so far:

Since we are not married we have everything separate still. She does control the purse strings when it comes to the wedding spending, but we are planning it together so I do have a significant say in where that goes. For the most part isn’t my money anyhow. (Thank you Eric and Joy, and Mom and Dad! We are truly blessed to have you supporting us!) The costs of weddings are absurd to me. I regularly claim to know we would save money by not inviting anyone and heading down to the courthouse, but then I get a face full of “This has been my dream since I was little,” or “Why don’t you love me,” or, my personal least favorite, “No you can’t get the family sized bag of chips.”

So looking beyond the wedding, but backtracking to several months ago, I insisted that Jess attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class with me. If you are unfamiliar with it I cannot recommend it enough! He teaches a Biblically focused, common sense approach to money management through a “Baby Steps” program. While we are not following it to a ‘T’ now, we will when she is making money instead of hemorrhaging it.

The precipice is relentlessness attack on debt and slowly building wealth. He suggests making a zero-based budget and sticking to it. Easier said than done! Since this is not a finance blog I am just going to say a quick blurb on this: Take all the money you earn and assign it to some aspect of your life: bills, savings, spending, etc. My final word about budgets comes as an anecdote told by Mr. Ramsey, abridged by me: You cannot save for retirement if you eat your life’s savings at restaurants every month.

The short story on the baby steps is to have an emergency fund of 6 months of spending, paying down debt, saving for retirement, paying off your home (or saving for one), and building wealth and giving to charity. So here is my attestation to the power of the baby steps.

I have a meager emergency fund saved up; I am terrible about sticking to my budget so it isn’t as high as it should be. It would also be higher if I wouldn’t have spent so much on a certain piece of jewelry… Anyhow, yesterday evening Jess and I were at the local organic grocery store when, with no warning at all, the battery in my car died. My first step was to call AAA and get a tow truck sent to me. I called and talked to them while Jess went looking for someone that could jump me. Unfortunately, the good Samaritan and I were not able to get my car to start. I think I might have not grounded the black cable correctly, so inexplicably I could not get my car started. Once she left and the tow truck hooked up his jumping kit, my car started immediately.

I dropped Jess off at home and made a beeline for the auto parts store. The clerk tested my battery and it didn’t even have enough power to make the horn honk or lock my doors. Trying to get it to honk was the only fun part of this whole adventure. I ended up spending $154 on a new battery and didn’t bat an eye. Not only because it was something that I really needed for my day to day life, but because I have that money in the bank for a situation like this. I got home and wasn’t even in a bad mood over the whole thing. It’s a blessing to be able to not worry about “little” things like that.

On very happy news, I am writing this post on the heels of recently receiving a raise at work and getting a notification of my first payment from this blog. ($10!! Guess who’s going thrift shopping!) So I graciously thank everyone who has read this and continues to come back! Maybe some day I won’t need those raises and can just live off of this!

I am also working on a little section for the site of things that I am reading now. More updates on that to come.

Never Long Enough

With Labor Day having past yesterday, it seemed to usher in, with little room for doubt, the Autumn of 2013. Thankfully, it also ushered in a holiday from work! But as the title of this post suggests, even long weekends are never long enough.

While Jess and I didn’t take much time for “just us” we did get to spend the weekend doing several wedding related things. We spoke with my parents about a couple things or as Jess put one particularly candid conversation with my mother, “I want to talk about alcohol.” We met with our caterer again and I believe we have most of our menu figured out. The biggest problem before was the price point was far to high, now the only problem is going to be guests not having enough room to enjoy it all!

I am also happy to say we have a cake picked out and ordered. I would love to tell you all what it is going to look like, maybe post a few drawings, possibly tell you what each of the layers will have on it or in it, but I doubt that would be approved for this post. Guess you will just have to wait for the wedding! My least favorite part of the cake tasting was that we only went to taste at one place. I might keep going to the other ones I booked and tell them Jess couldn’t make it… I might not be a huge cake fan, but I am a huge fan free cake and enough free cake makes me a huge… uh… fan…

The other big thing that happened this weekend was it was the first that Jess came to see me. It may not sound like a big deal, but after driving down for 7 straight weeks, it made a huge difference to me. I know that part of my frustration from before was that I felt like I was the only one exerting effort into our relationship. I know that we did stuff together while I was in Athens, but there was nothing that I easily saw as something that was an inconvenience or sacrifice for her. Sure she did do things for me, such as make me meals, but she would be doing that anyhow, or I helped, or I bought the ingredients, or something else that, to me, diminished the value of the act.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying that there needs to be some cosmic scale in a relationship checking to see who did what with one person being better than the other. For me, it is not about being equal, but it is about knowing what each other is doing for the other. I know that I only experience half of the emotions in this relationship, however, empathy goes a very long way.

As Jess was driving home she called and said, “I better understand what you do every week driving down here and it means alot to me.” I didn’t ask for her to understand but the moment she said that there was a sense of relief and realization that hit me.┬áI wanted her to know what I had done and acknowledge it and I should be working on the same. Maybe I am just now discovering some innate sense of need to feel valued but I hope that I can reciprocate it instead of being turned off to her when she is busy. I hope that I can look at all the time she does give me and say, “I am thankful and blessed to be a part of your life when there are so many other things that could be taking up your time.”

That is all for now but if you want to come enjoy this gorgeous start to fall with me I have an extra chair on my porch and would be happy to share a beer.

Now that We are a Few Weeks in

So here we are a few weeks into medical school and I think I am getting into a rhythm with Jess and her schedule.

Monday night through Friday afternoon I lead this dreary existence filled with molting rabbits, dirty dishes, and inadequate amounts of sunlight. Loneliness consumes me while I wade through another seemingly endless week. My zest for life dwindles until I happen upon the glorious appearance of Friday night. As I painstakingly navigate the nauseating curves and tremendous hills on the country roads I steadily grow more jubilant. With the knowledge of what trophy awaits me how could I not? Who wouldn’t be overjoyed by a weekend full of the love of their life?!

“Full” could be the incorrect term here. Maybe, “A weekend in the company of the woman who is too busy ‘becoming a doctor’ to play Call of Duty with me.” That’s better. ­čÖé In all honesty, it is interesting to see the degree that our relationship has changed. Essentially it has reverted to near identical way it was while I was in KC and she was studying for the MCAT. The convenience of weekends is a total blessing but the weeks are 15 minute talks here and there while she learns her life away. No real complaints here. Gives me time to focus on my goals.

One of which, before the ever increasing pressure from a certain unnamed fiance, was to get a Master’s degree (or Doctorate if she has her way). So I decided it was time to get my act together and after years of shoulda, woulda, coulda, I am taking the GRE and GMAT. I won’t be able to start the Master’s in Public Health program I found until at least next summer, but I have the months between to work on my applications to business school. Yay for that one!

On to the wedding stuff! I have started scheduling cake tastings for the end of the month! How awesome is that? You go eat cake. Really think about this. Someone makes cake for you to eat and has to listen to why you do or do not think it is good enough to be a part of a day that you will remember the rest of your life. I don’t even like cake that much and I am excited for this.

I think the biggest things left on my list are a limo and videographer and I am looking forward to booking neither one of them. I accidentally told my wallet how much the couple quotes I got were and I swear it let out a whimper. Maybe I will just write a phone app that lets everyone video the wedding and compiles the videos… And suddenly a position opened for an app developer at a startup I am founding.

Oh and groomsmen. I need to add them to the list of things to get too. If you know of any upstanding gentleman who like a good party and are free in just under a year let me know.

PostScript: A note on the rabbits I mentioned at the top – If you have any need for rabbit fur let me know. They are shedding and I have a very large amount of it sitting, floating, collecting around my place. Don’t tell Jess. She hates when the buns make a mess.

Our Catering Experience

Sorry everyone! I took another hiatus from writing and did not tell you. With work travel, moving Jess into her place, and travel between her and I taking so much time this blog got lost in the shuffle. Now that everything has kind of settled down I am ready to write again. Truthfully, I had a post written, but it was so outdated I decided it was time for another one. So here we go, brand spankin’ new…

Just after the Fourth of July (yes I started this post that long ago!) We met with our caterer and it was pretty awesome. We went in with the intentions of talking to him for maybe an hour and giving him a rough idea of what we wanted to eat and that was about it. Whoa boy were we wrong.

My mother has worked with Jason several times for both mine and my little brother’s graduation parties, so I am at least familiar with him. And I know that my mother has a certain level of expectation and she would not deal with poor service on a regular basis so I was already sold on him before we sat down. As it turned out we talked with Jason for over 2 hours about virtually every aspect of the wedding.

He isn’t just a caterer. He is a coordinator that just happens to make great food.

Let me start with the important part. We talked about the food. Oh man did we talk about food. Jess and I were already set on some things and with the venue having a full kitchen it made everything just that much easier. We ended up with one menu below and one above our price point, so still some things to hammer out. All in all we got most things worked through. I’m not going to spoil the menu yet since it isn’t finalized, but I do want to share my favorite part that may or may not happen, “Late night loaded nacho bar.” Let that sink in for a minute.

After we got through the food we talked about all the other loose ends we still have. Jason recommended a DJ, (Whom we booked.) florist, limo driver, and cake maker. He also talked about the other services he helps coordinate that are much less thought of, such as linens, tableware, bartenders. I am paraphrasing, but from his perspective, and I am a huge fan of this, he is the centerpiece of the evening so as much as possible should go through him. He deals with tons of vendors and I am very grateful for his input and expertise.

By mere happenstance, we also met a potential cake maker in his office, but since we haven’t looked into him at all I won’t write about it. Needless to say, I am super excited to start the cake tastings…

If you happen to be in the New Philadelphia area check out Jason’s restaurant Bistro 131.

That’s all for now and, as I nearly always say, the next post will come sooner than this one did.

The countdown is on!

 

We are both so excited! Less than a year until the big day!

Not a whole lot new on the planning front. We got everything out of the way so quickly that all we have left is to make deposits places. And since Jess starts school in 2 weeks, we are trying to wrap up as much up as we can.

We are both a little bummed that she is starting so soon because for the past 4 months we’ve been able to be together nearly all the time. We have both had similar thoughts concerning her involvement with her studies vs. her involvement with me. For me it boils down to the fact that if we could make 800 miles work for a year and a half, we darn well better make 40 miles for two years no matter how much time we get together! (I’m going to ignore the years she isn’t in Athens for now. :)) We only saw each other once a month, maybe, so why would an hour drive be worse?

This coming week should be a nice retreat as I am being sent to Chicago for work and Jess is riding along. I’ll be working a lot, but we will have the evenings and she is going to be putting together things for the wedding. After that we have the 4th with my family and the 6th with hers. (And we meet with the caterer!)

I’m hoping to get a few more updates out this week. They have been a little sparse because I’ve started writing about 5 posts and not been able to finish any of them. I’m trying to do the good thing and have sources and real thought behind the ideas I’ve been having so please hang tight.┬áWeaving literary masterpieces takes time.

On more technical fronts, I’ve started figuring out a whole lot of the word press platform so my blog will probably be changing shape soon. If you’ll notice on the top-right content bar there is a link to the┬áFacebook page I created to go along with this. If you like it you won’t miss any updates and you can give me suggestions on things to write about there.┬á