Monday, October 31, 2011

Barbie's Wedding Advice - Also Known As "Things That Make Barbie's Eye Twitch About Weddings"

Barbie's Wedding Advice - Also Known As "Things That Make Barbie's Eye Twitch About Weddings"

I have seen a lot of weddings in my life, and there are some mistakes I see over and over again.  I decided maybe I would share some things I have learned over the years.  And if you are in the market for a wedding planner, check out my website  ;)

1.        Buy the dress you love.  This bears repeating, buy the dress YOU love.  This is your wedding day, and not getting the dress you wanted will forever be a regret.

2.       Spend the money and hire a good photographer.  I can’t stress this enough.  Hardly anyone will remember in 10 years what kind of food you had or what centerpieces you used.  But if the pictures are bad, you will never, ever be able to replace them.  Your wedding is a day you will never get to relive again.  Do yourself a favor and make this a priority.

 3.    Don’t pick your wedding colors from paint samples.  I know, going to Home Depot and grabbing tons of paint samples to find that perfect shade seems like a great idea.  But keep in mind, it will be almost impossible to find that exact color in a fabric. 

4.       Choose a smaller venue.  I don’t care if you are sending out 1000 invitations, don’t have your reception in a stake center.  Choose the smaller building (if you are in Colorado, the Stonegate building in Parker is ideal for receptions).  A basic rule of thumb is, for as many people that you invite (and that are in state), cut that number in half, that’s maybe how many will show up.  The thing to remember about Mormon weddings is that no one comes and stays for the whole time, they filter thru like an open house.  If you expect 180 people and set up seating for that many, you will have maybe half of the tables sat at.  This leaves a lot of unused space and makes the room look empty, plus you double your budget on centerpieces.  Instead, set up seating for 80-100. 

5.       Rent colored table cloths!!  Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t stand white table cloths.  They make every wedding look like every church dinner I have ever been to.  Not to mention, if you are borrowing them from the stake, they can be stained and take forever to get the wrinkles out.  By renting, you can pick your colors and even different fabrics.  This will change the whole look of your reception and will cost less than $200 (normally).  Not to mention that they come pre-pressed, and at the end you just throw them in a bag and return them.

6.       Don’t have any of the guys wear off white shirts.  Even if your dress is cream colored, still have them wear white shirts.  Off white dress shirts just look dirty (I actually heard someone make the comment once that it looked like the groom was wearing a shirt he'd had since the beginning of his mission).  I promise, white will look better in photos and no one will notice it isn’t the same color as your dress.

7.       Have a receiving line!  I know, so many people hate the idea of a receiving line, but I still think it is a must, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.  At Mormon wedding receptions, people come in and out throughout the whole time.  If you are trying to go table to table, people will get missed.  Maybe I am old fashioned, but if I am taking time out of my life, and buying you a present, I expect to at least personally say hello to you and tell you how happy I am for you.

8.       Don’t put your wedding party in the receiving line.  No one really cares who your bridesmaids are, and they don’t care about meeting the guests.  Let’s make this less awkward for everyone and just let them enjoy the reception.

9.       Have 2 receiving lines.  My friends Michelle and Jaci both did this at their receptions, and I recommend it to everyone.  Have a line when people first come in for just the parents.  That way people can stand and talk as long as they like (because we all know that’s where the line gets backed up is at the parents).  Then in a different spot, have just the bride and groom.  Those of us from the singles ward could just bypass the traffic jam and go straight to the people we knew.  I can’t tell you how great this worked!

10.     Hire a wedding planner (I work for cheap, hint hint) or at the very least, have someone be the designated person to answer questions.  A few days before every wedding, the bride and groom get what I call “wedding brain”.  They literally stop being able to form a thought besides “I just want to get married”.  Don’t expect them to be able to answer any questions or give opinions about anything, I promise, they just don’t care anymore.  Have one person who everyone can go to with questions, and leave the couple alone to be in their zombie like state of love.

So there you go, some basic, but I think good advice  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can't Make Him Party.....

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him party….

I have met far too many people who think “as soon as I get married, my life will begin”.  This thought scares the crap out of me for a few reasons;
1.        I used to think this way.
2.       It means people are putting any fun and personal growth on hold until they meet “the one”
3.       What an incredibly boring way to live your life.
Now don’t get me wrong.  Having the wish to get married is not a bad thing, that is something I want very much.  But the idea that your life won’t begin until that time is bizarre.  Being single is going to be one of the best times of your life, but only if you choose to make it that way.
I was talking with a friend the other day who was struggling with feeling lonely and excluded.  She said to me something along the lines of “But you can’t understand.  You know so many people and are always doing something fun.  It isn’t that easy for me”.  I want to take a few minutes to tell you about myself, some things that I think you will be surprised to know.
I have not always been the loud, overly enthusiastic, requesting guys to take their shirts off, kind of girl you know me as now.  The truth is, I have suffered from depression and social anxiety for the majority of my life.  Growing up, I was very quiet.  I hated school or anything in groups of people.  These situations freaked me out so badly, that I dropped out of public school in 8th grade.  My mom had to bring in tutors to teach me until she found a small private school I would agree to go to, and when I say small I mean it, my graduating class consisted of 4 people.
Church was always a struggle for me.  I never felt like part of the group or that I had many friends.  I felt strange and like an outcast.  I hated being there (not because of the gospel, but around the people) and rarely went after the age of 12.  I spent the majority of my time inside watching tv with very few friends. 
My mother pulled some strings and was able to get me into the summer session of BYU when I was 18.  This was an interesting experience.  I loved my roommates and remain close with them to this day, but I hated school.  I think I went to church there once, then spent the rest of the time sleeping.  I still felt that feeling of being an outcast and as soon as the semester was over, I headed back to Colorado.
I won’t bore you with the details, but the next few years were a slow process of me figuring out who I was and what talents I had.  I took a retail job and realized I could be good at working with people.  I realized I am naturally a cheerful person.  A huge change came when I started making the decision to come back to church.  This was not an overnight change, it took me several years of two steps forward and one step back.  One of the main factors in my change was three missionaries that befriended me, Elder Zac Engle, Elder Derek Smith and Elder Greg Steele.  It may sound strange, but these were the first guys in my life I had ever truly been friends with.  They built my self esteem in ways I could never imagine, simply by liking me for who I was.
So there I was, back active in the church, but still feeling extremely lonely and out of place.  Our ward felt clicky and I didn’t know what to do.  So one day Crystal Clark was doing my hair and we started talking about how we both felt the same way.  We made the decision that night that we were going to do something about it.  We set out on a mission to make ourselves happy, and to not let anyone feel as bad as we did.

Here are some of the changes we made that made all the difference;

Find a partner in crime.  Going to an activity where you know no one is quite possibly the scariest thing in the world.  My Amazing friend Cassi let me be glued to her hip for about a year so I wouldn’t have to go to things alone.  I am happy to return this favor to people who need it.
Go to all 3 hours of church.  If you show up late, sit in the back and then leave right after sacrament, you cannot complain that no one knows who you are.  Stay for all 3 hours, no matter how awkward it may feel. 
Talk to everyone you can.  I have heard from a lot of people that no one approaches them.  Have you ever stopped to think those people are thinking the same thing?  If all you have the nerve to do is smile at someone, then do that.  Then move up to saying hi.  Choose safe people if that’s easier.  Go up and introduce yourself to the relief society or elders quorum president, I guarantee they will talk to you.  Find someone who is sitting by themselves and ask if you can join them.  Ask them questions and genuinely listen to their answers.  Make sure to repeat and remember their name.  Then the next time you see them, go up and say hi.  Stop thinking everyone needs to approach you, you can do it!
Be proactive!  Ask for an appointment with the Bishop to get to know him.  Let him know you want a calling right away and let him know what you are interested in.  Go to the RS or EQ President and ask them for your home teaching/visiting teaching routes.  Ask what you can do to help in the ward or if there is anyone you can fellowship.
Don’t be a wallflower.  I guarantee, if you go to a dance and stand against the wall looking miserable, or sitting alone in the foyer, you come off as creepy.  People remember the creepy ones and will purposely avoid them in the future.  Instead, find anyone you know and dance with the group.  Don’t worry about looking dumb, people will only remember that you got out there and had a good time.
For one month, go to EVERY single activity.  The only reason you should be missing something is if you have to work or are deathly ill.  Otherwise, go!  That means FHE, institute, sports night and any invitation for a social event you get on FB (and if you are my friend on FB, you know I forward A LOT of invitations).  I guarantee, at the end of the month, you will wonder why you ever felt alone.
The next step is starting to host activities of your own.  Make sure it doesn’t conflict with anything that is already planned.  And the key is to invite EVERYONE.  It can take time to get a good turn out, I have had parties where only 2 people showed up.  If that happens, make the most with the people that are there.  Take the time to get to know them.  And the key is, try it again!

So in conclusion…your singles years can be some of the best of your life!  Make the most of them while you can.  Maybe I am far too aware of this because any day I could get a call saying “hey, you’re old, go to a family ward”.  This idea freaks me out too, but until that happens, I am going to have fun with the YSA every moment I can.