Let’s Get This Show on the Road!

Wedding Recaps

After more than two years of planning, saving, and crafting the Road Trips are really getting married!

The last week has not been the relaxing, restorative pre-wedding week I’d hoped for, instead it’s been a series of long nights wrapping up all the things I couldn’t get to while under the weather for the previous three. Not everything got done, but the important things did, and now everything has been handed over to the DoC for her to deal with. (Don’t worry, I gave her plenty of notes.)

Speaking of the venue, they seemed to want to test my sanity this week with some oh-by-the-way potholes in our path, but there wasn’t anything I could do but worry and I really did try not to do that too much. (I won’t say more until we see how things turn out.) We just barely beat the rain during the rehearsal and followed it up by a raucous (if a bit waterlogged) supper at the same restaurant Mr. Road Trip and I had our first date at 6 years ago.

As I sit here finishing up my vows (yes, we totally left those until the last minute), I feel none of the nerves I woke up with on Friday morning and I’m looking forward to greeting our guests in the morning–rain or shine.

To Mr. Road Trip: Thank you for your constant love and support. I look forward to our time together with anticipation as we decide which mountain to tackle next.

To the Hive: Thank you for following along on our journey to the altar and for your support, ideas, and encouragement.

And to my fellow Bees: It has been a supreme honor to be counted among your ranks and I carry my bees down the aisle, today, with great pride.

Bees by way of Mrs. Campfire (most recently) as my something borrowed, next to my something old: a ring my great-uncle brought back from Italy in WWII.

Bees by way of Mrs. Campfire (most recently) as my something borrowed, next to my something old: a white sapphire ring my great-uncle brought back from Italy in WWII.

Tales of Fails and Fixes

Wedding Planning

Nobody’s perfect, least of all me, and while I have quite the success record behind my beaded belt, the last few weeks have turned up a few fails that I’m glad happened now and not closer to the wedding day!

Guestbook Fail

I figured our guestbook was all tied up with the proverbial bow ages ago, but one of the things on the still-too-long to-do list was to actually get everything in one place and box it up to take the to the venue. The only thing I was missing were the pens for people to sign the corks so I picked up a couple of purple Sharpies on the way home from work–even wrapped them in purple washi tape to make them “fancier”–and was just about to put them into the bag with the corks when I decided to test said pens.

Am I ever glad I did! They both dried up before each could write my name once.

So I set about testing every pen we had in the house (and since both Road Trips are rather fond of writing implements, that was quite a selection) and found a few things to be true:

  • Felt tip pens of all sizes and brands get sucked dry when applied to corks.
  • Small-nib pens are tough to read over the texture of the cork.
  • Ball-point pens are your best bet.

Which pointed to this pen in particular:


PaperMate Profile bold tip | image via Amazon.com

Of course, that’s on UNUSED corks.

I had one of those right-before-sleep thoughts that wondered if my results were what they were because I wanted to use fresh corks so that I could make something out of them afterwards. So I grabbed a used cork to give it a whirl and the Sharpie worked just fine on those. And smaller-nib pens didn’t skip over the surface, probably because of the compression the corks got in the neck of the wine bottle.

So the fix for this fail is either new pens or old corks, or maybe both just to be safe.

Favor Fail

Favors rock. I always thought it was one of the worst things about getting older is that party favors seem to go out of style after you hit double digits. Which is why I make favors a priority for all of my parties–why should kids have all the fun?

A good favor needs to be more than just a tchotchke, it needs to be functional or–better yet–edible, to make sure they don’t get left behind. My first choice was to make small jars Champagne Jelly and things were rocking right along until the first dozen failed to gel.


I’ve made preserves before (specifically marmalade) and had no problem getting it to gel. And the actual processing went flawlessly with every jar sealing tight. But this time the jelly just didn’t go beyond a syrupy consistency. But the canning experts say there are ways to rescue batches like this so I gave it another shot. Even tested it before jarring to make sure that it was going to gel and all signs pointed to success.

So much for tests!

Now, I can be pretty stubborn and if this had happened a few months ago I’d probably plug away at it until I got it to work. But it didn’t, so I made a made the call to find a back-up favor just as tasty and just as appropriate to our theme without breaking the bank.

Enter Brix.


Brix is a measure of the sugar in a wine, fruit juices, and other liquids. Brix chocolates are made to complement wine. I first picked up a larger brick of Brix at World Market years ago, so when I needed something edible and wine-themed and relatively inexpensive, they were my first thought. Thankfully their smaller “bites” can be ordered in bulk, and in less than a week 3 pounds of Brix bites showed up at my office, ready to be packaged up and set at each place setting.

In fact, I think this might actually be a better favor as most people enjoy chocolate, and those willing to try Champagne jelly may have been fewer. I’m thinking my excess Champagne sauce might go well over brie…

Health Fail

This last fail, well, it’s a little tougher to fix than a stop by Staples or a few clicks on a website, but I’m working on it.

I can think of a lot of things a bride might need 3 weeks before her wedding: a personal assistant, spa appointment on standby, and unlimited vacation time top the pie-in-the-sky wishlist of many I would imagine.

Pneumonia wouldn’t have made the top 100 and yet it has decided to pay me a visit 3 weeks out from the wedding, all-but killing a week or productivity as far as wedding tasks go so far and looks to kill another one before we’re done. Thankfully it’s a minor case, I should be right-as-rain in time for the wedding, but it did make me take a harder look at that long list of projects and start crossing things off that I wasn’t as invested in. Things like out-of-town bags and bathroom baskets, cute invitations to the rehearsal dinner, and some other decorations that wouldn’t have a huge impact on the day but would take more time and effort from me than I have to give.

What remains is mostly quiet work: stuff that can be done largely on the computer (our playlists, signage, etc.) or small projects that don’t have me doing any standing or heavy-lifting.

Here’s hoping this got all the fails out of the way and the next couple of weeks will be smooth sailing!

Our 2 Year Engage-iversary

Wedding Planning

When Mr. Road Trip and I made our engagement official, 2 years ago today, November 2013 seemed so very far away. We’d already been doing some planning “under the radar” for 4 months prior and knew that the next 2 years would afford us (literally) the opportunity to make the wedding into just what we wanted, and not what we’d have to settle for with a shorter engagement.

This time last year we spent the day in a car, driving back from a comics convention in middle-of-nowhere Mississippi. Today is, in many respects, just another day: work, dinner together, and whatever else we can squeeze out of the evening. And while our engagement anniversary isn’t something we plan to observe each year, it is nice to mark the day as, this year, it also reminds us that we’re only a smidgen over a month away from the wedding!

In some ways, we’re exactly where we planned to be two years ago. We’ve continued to meet our savings goals each month and have kept at least the big things within the budget (smaller purchases coming out of our regular spending); going into debt for the wedding was definitely something we wanted to avoid. On the other hand, I thought I’d be much farther ahead on the DIY front by now, and not still staring down the barrel of a really long to-do list.

Some things I did get done far ahead, like my cardigan and a boatload of beading. We settled on our venue early on and made some plans, but there was a very big lull when I wish I’d be working on other projects. But now the ‘oh, we’ve got plenty of time’ tune has changed to ‘holy cats, we’ve got 5 weeks!’ Four, really, since I hope to have everything that’s going to get done, done by the week before the wedding. Having a week to decompress is really important to us.

Luckily, the main things are done. The biggies left on the list are things like creating our playlists for the various parts of the day, getting our marriage license, and finishing our vows (why we keep putting that off I don’t know!).

Thinking back, I don’t see any major changes in our relationship from then to now: we’re still the same goofy couple with a tight-knit friend group. We like to stay home over going out, and we’ve yet to have our first fight. Yup, nearing six years together and we vaguely remember this one time that we disagreed on something but apparently it must not have been important because we can’t even remember what it was that we agreed to disagree about! Part of that is that we both had such combative partners in the past that there’s very little we’re willing to go head-to-head over (life’s too short to live in strife and all that) and part of it is that we just generally see eye-to-eye on all major issues. Makes for a peaceful household if nothing else.

Hindsight being what it is, aside from wishing I’d gotten more done earlier, I don’t regret having a long engagement. I’m ready for the wedding to get here so we can move onto other projects both together and individually, but I’m glad we made the choice we did.

Would you have preferred a longer or shorter engagement?

Wedding Nightmares: Both Real and Imagined

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

I guess I’ve reached that point in the wedding planning process where my brain has become so over-saturated on wedding everything that it was time to let some of the flotsam out by way of a good old fashioned wedding nightmare. This weekend’s saga included:

  • 30 or so wedding crashers (well-meaning celebrants all, but nonetheless an awkward result of a sudden ceremony venue change to an active church who announced the wedding in their community bulletin);
  • us fast-forwarding 2 months so that, apparently, no other projects were completed and only about half of the ones we’ve finished were delivered to the venue;
  • my dress not fitting–though at least it was too big and that was the easier problem to fix;
  • and the sky turning pitch black at 2pm because a hurricane decided to take a right at the panhandle and pay us a visit.

All of which I direct a mental side-eye to my psyche for rolling all of that (and more!) into one bizarre dream.

Still, I remember being more confused and ‘eh, whatever’ about the events instead of waking up in a cold sweat or anything. Unlike the wedding nightmares I had almost 2 years ago before we’d even announced our plans to friends and family. Go figure.

Chances of any and all of that happening? Slim to none, obviously.

Of course, I never would have dreamed some nightmarish things that really did happen to me had much of a chance, either. Like being called an ungrateful little b!tch by my FMIL just hours before my wedding as I stood in her church fellowship hall simply for asking why the color scheme had changed. The church she insisted she’d be heartbroken if we didn’t get married in (when we’d wanted 50 people on the beach), and offered to take care of everything for us if we’d just *let her* have this one thing. Follow that up with an awkward apology after the ceremony and his promise that I’d never have to see her again (which lasted all of one week) and you have a pretty good picture of the nightmare that was my first wedding day. Or then there was the escalating anger issues my second husband exhibited that went only (thank goodness!) as far as the threat of violence (while he was screaming at me, 6 inches between our faces) before I “overreacted”–his words–and left him. Though, of course, it wasn’t quite so simple as even that sums it up to be.

Those nightmares took a bit more than some sunlight and a buzzing alarm clock to get away from.

I made bad decisions. I paid the consequences. Thank goodness they weren’t worse, but you can imagine how those sorts of things would sour a girl on the idea of marriage for herself. Would contribute to a jaded view of the institution itself and the conclusion that, as the common denominator, I was not cut out for marriage. And why it took a long time and the love of a patient man to change said opinions.

As for us, we Road Trips have weathered our own nightmares these last almost-six years, starting with a long distance relationship and including unemployment, depression, physical health issues, and the first house we rented together being foreclosed out from under us. Fun times (not). And, yet, through it all it was us against whatever, we made it through and were stronger because of it. There may have been tears at times, but for the most part we’ve laughed our way through the difficulties. Not to mention held on to our love for each other. There hasn’t been a moment I doubted his love for me and I feel certain Mr. Road Trip would say the same (though there have been times when I wasn’t sure I deserved it).

So while I still maintain that the details matter, and I still plan to do my damnedest to get all my planned projects complete (because crafting is fun and satisfying to my soul), should something get left behind or just not done, I have hope that it won’t be anything near nightmare-proportions.

Your Presence Is Present Enough…

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Or: Why We Don’t Have a Wedding Registry

As a general rule, I’m a fan of wedding registries. I think they can be invaluable for guests who truly want to gift the bride and groom items the couple want or need. I’m happy to shop from them. I have nothing against the concept of wedding registries.

But I did not want to make one for our upcoming wedding.

Part of this is that, as an older couple, we have many years of accumulated stuff. We have a 2,000+ square foot home’s worth of stuff, to be exact, already creatively crammed into not quite enough space such that our 2-car garage will never hold even one of our cars. Stuff that, when we first moved in together, took more than a single 24′ moving truck to consolidate more than 3 years ago, and we’ve only added more stuff since then! I have a Kitchen Aid, more knives and kitchen appliances than we’ve got space for, and we’re inheriting my grandmother’s china and silver in a year or two from Dr. Aunt (she’s passing down things to the next generation early, not planning on passing away, and let us have our pick several years back).

We’ve got enough stuff, we don’t need any more. And even the idea of asking folks to help us “upgrade” some of that current stuff makes me uncomfortable.

Because that’s the other part of the no-registry coin: I dislike (almost to the level of hate) asking others for things.

The hows and whys of that particular quirk probably go back to growing up without much of anything to speak of and the dual lessons of necessary independence and the pain of being told disappointment. Mama Leadfoot was (technically still is, even though we’re now grown) the single mother of three with no family nearby and barely a high school education. I have tremendous respect for the sacrifices she made for us and the way she raised us. And while she did her best to make sure that we had everything that we absolutely needed plus what little extras when she could, I grew up knowing that it was better not to ask for some things. Because it wasn’t just the ‘no’ that stung, but the understanding of how frustrating it must have been for her to have to tell us that she just couldn’t give us what we wanted or what she wanted us to have.

Even now, decades after all of our situations have improved, when she asks for Christmas or birthday lists I still freeze up, shrug my shoulders, and have a hard time actually making requests.

Sure, we’ve been tempted a few times to start a registry just for the sake of having one, but we never pull the scanner’s trigger because it just doesn’t sit well with us. (Mr. Road Trip does have quite the aversion to ‘the ask’ that I do, but he agrees that we certainly don’t need anything enough to request it from our guests.)

So if any guests ask about it, we’ll just say that we’re happy to have them celebrating with us, and that’s gift enough.

Nice and diplomatic, right?

Of course, some guests may choose to gift us with something anyway, and we’ll happily accept it and send them a heartfelt thank-you note afterwards. We won’t be putting “no gifts” or anything like that on the invitations, because that implies we expected people to send us something in the first place (and, yes, I’m firmly on the side of NOT including registry cards or anything else of that sort in the wedding invitation), which we don’t.

For us, at this point in our lives, it’s enough that our friends and family are willing to give up a good chunk of their Saturday to spend time with us and celebrate.

How do you feel about registries? Does you opinion change if it’s not either the bride or groom’s first marriage?