regrets, i’ve had a few

I’m a lazy bride. And I’m not just talking about the fact that I’d rather rent burlap table runners than make my own.

I don’t so much actively seek out our vendors as I trip and fall into them. Our photographer? Was the first person I emailed after seeing her work on a website. Our caterer? Was recommended by my hair lady and was on the list of venue-approved vendors. Our DJ? Was within our budget and is dating our caterer. We didn’t bother doing interview after interview or obtaining quote after quote. Things just sort of haphazardly fell into place.

I’m not saying we went around signing contracts blindly, of course. We met with each of our vendors first, got a feel for who they are and what they do, and made our decisions based on our gut feelings. And so far, the serendipitous approach has worked out fairly well for us. We’ve allowed ourselves to be one with the universe and let the karma flow freely and the chakras do… things. Or whatever. My point is that our relationships with our vendors have by and large been pure rainbow-studded, greased-lens, sunshine-meadowed bliss.

But.

We met briefly with the DJ today, and the resulting conversation was fascinating. He made a scrunched-nose face when I mentioned walking in to the same song our wedding party walks in to, because OK, that’s weird, right?* He made a joke about how I put everything that everybody likes to listen to on the do-not-play list. When I lamely protested that all I remembered banning was John Mayer and Jack Johnson,** he was like, yeah, exactly. And specific preferences aside, I had intended to hire a vendor who could at least semi-appreciate our musical tastes. Someone who could see through to our souls. Does that kind of vendor even exist, or is that just the wedding industry warping my expectations again?

Friends, I am scared. I am scared that I effed this one up big time. The music was one of the wedding things that was important to me, because music is important to me. And now I’m like oh holy shit, our wedding music is going to suck and it’s all my fault because I didn’t try to find the right vendor hard enough and now I can’t take it back because I already paid the deposit and he’s dating my caterer and that would be entirely awkward and I’m not good at breaking up with people in the first place and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

[sharp sucking in of breath]

I don’t know why I’m unloading this here. I feel like it’s, regrettably, a bit too late to go scrambling around trying to find a new DJ – not to mention that I’d worry our caterer would maybe spit in our food out of spite. My only hope right now is to schedule a meeting with him again and attempt to establish a common ground and a nice friendly rapport. Maybe get him to see where we’re coming from; get him on our side. Maybe that will help assuage my troubled mind? Then I can go back to all meadows and chakras and rainbows, all the time.

Have any of you experienced vendor remorse? Did you act on it?

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* Apparently the bride walks in to a special, different song? This is the way it’s done, I hear.

** I also banned “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, because I clearly have no taste.

hurdles

Tell me something. Have you ever looked at foundation undergarments online? Perhaps you have. And if so, have you ever noticed that there is a dearth of regular-looking women on these websites? Really. Most of the product models are, well, model-sized. Which is to say: Hey, lady, you don’t really need to firm and shape, do you?

However. If you look hard enough, you can find so-called “normal” women sporting these undergarments. Do you know where they are? In the before and after section. Sometimes they are tucked away under a button, like so:

And sometimes they are right out in the open, like so:

You know, there is something pretty fucking twisted about companies using models who don’t even need their products to sell their products. This is not a surprise, really — rare is the product marketed to women that isn’t based on an unattainable ideal. I get that the premise of these garments is to help a person look better in certain clothes, but I disagree, vehemently, with the fact that these models are held aloft as the ultimate end goal. Is that even a woman in the last picture, anyway? What is happening there? How is this remotely desirable? Her entire body appears to be the size of my thigh. Provided that is the actual model and not the wonders of Photochopping, I’m assuming she was rushed to the emergency room immediately after this shoot wrapped.

The very fact that these companies aren’t willing to show normal-sized women wearing the product — except in the context of “look how awful before, and look how much improved after!” — insinuates that to be the size you are is to be bad. Shame on you for looking how you do! This is how you can hide it. Now, no woman actually believes that purchasing a shaping product will magically turn her into a size zero. So why the ludicrous double standard? What is the unholy point of hiring two completely different sets of women to model the same undergarments? How are any of us taking this message seriously anymore?

And for some reason this all feels very much like yesterday’s news. I have an acute sense of deja vu. Didn’t we already do accceptance this and love your body that and the celebration of beautiful women of all sizes? I thought we had, but apparently the message hasn’t really reached everyone yet. Not the undergarment companies, that’s for sure. Not even me. Why is it that I can say all these things, rationally, about how the widespread cultural adulation of unnatural body sizes is unhealthy, yet in nearly the same breath moan about how unsatisfied I am with my own body? Why do these images of bone-thin women — while visually unappealing — still manage to incite a rainstorm of negativity about myself?

Body image is a messy, messy thing. Many of us are just starting out on the road to self-acceptance. Maybe we’ll never quite fully arrive.

But here is a good place to start.

the view from the top

Early on in our engagement, we sat down and tried to dial into what we were looking for in a wedding venue. What came out of that session was this list of priorities.

Lately, I remembered this list, and I got curious. How does the venue we chose stack up? Let’s see.

  1. have a space for us to get ready onsite (if not stay there altogether)
    Yeah, hmm, non-applicable. Although this was back when I thought that we’d be getting married hundreds of miles from home, not a mere four blocks.*
  2. feature a gorgeous spot to hold the ceremony in the sun
    Check and mark. Now if only the sun will cooperate.
  3. possess an indoor/outdoor reception space nearby
    Well, there’s nothing indoor about it, but the reception space is indeed just a few steps away.
  4. permit liquor on the premises
    HELL to the YES.
  5. allow us to supply our own booze
    Thank ye gods. Money saver!
  6. agree to let us to select our own caterer
    Not so much. We had to choose a caterer off of a list of approved vendors. Bah. You win this round, venue.
  7. be within reasonable walking distance to a range of hotels and motels
    Fortunately, yes. We really didn’t want to worry about guests getting home safely, because our guests drink like fishes. If fishes drank alcohol.
  8. be within reasonable walking distance to a cool bar for the after party
    Yepper. Score!
  9. be freaking unique and awesome in general
    Sure. I mean, it doesn’t have teams of waterskiing squirrels in the fountains or a human cannonball attraction, but I guess it does all right for itself.
  10. oh yeah, and of course be affordable.
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *sob*

Okay then. Seven out of ten. Not bad, not bad.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on just how instrumental our early decisions were in crafting the wedding we’re having now. That list of priorities became the foundation on which the whole house of hitching was built. And after all the months of searching up and down the California coast for the right venue, the list finally helped us know when we’d found it. Not the “perfect” venue, no, because those don’t exist. The venue that matched our priorities the best.

Yet even within those parameters we could have had it a hundred thousand ways. A cabin-in-the-woods wedding. A retro lounge-style wedding. A backyard picnic wedding. A city rooftop wedding. I think I was in love with all of these places a hundred times over, but none of them met enough of our needs, or our guests’ needs for that matter. And so our museum courtyard wedding is what we got. I don’t regret that, but I still wonder what could have been.**

What were your priorities when choosing your venue? What was non-negotiable, and what did you compromise on?

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* Sidebar: Funny thing is, even after we finally booked our venue here in town — months after I made this list — I clung to the idea of staying in a hotel the night before the wedding for a while. I was worried the wedding day would feel less than monumental if I woke up in my own bed, in my (presumably) messy, disorganized house the morning that I got married. And um, I finally decided that answer is: No.

** Will this ever stop? Hopefully after the wedding? Please tell me it stops after the wedding. Please also tell me that after the wedding I will never have to think or talk about weddings ever again. Please?

looky-loo

Because I did that thing with the invitations recently? And they have finally arrived at the homes of the approximately four people I know who read this blog? Of course I am going to have to show them to you now. As a refresher, this is the part where I go LOOK AT THESE and some of you kind of nod sympathetically and pretend to like them. Then you turn to your friend and go, “I don’t know WHAT she was thinking.”*

Because my computer is powered by magical unicorns, I was able to change our names and other pertinent info in the source file before making it into a picture. Which is disappointing, because I so wish my fiancé’s name was Beau Beason. Oh well, now I can pretend!

invitation_forweb

I decided on a typography-based design pretty early on in the process, namely because I had all these FONTS and I LURVED THEM and I WANTED TO USE ALL OF THEM OMG. What? I think that’s a legitimate artistic motive.

I made it so that the big blue word “wedding” is jutting out and attacking the column of information on the right. This is probably some kind of subliminal message about how the wedding is like a dagger stabbing into the heart of my life. Or something.

We saved a bit of money by printing out fewer RSVP cards than invitations and sending them only to the older people on our guest list who aren’t as computer-savvy. We made them postcard-sized, slapped a stamp on the back, and sent them on their way. Here’s the front:

And the back:

I kind of went back and forth about including more information, like the addresses of the venues and a map and directions and a list of hotels with room blocks, but you know what? 90% of our guests are traveling from out of town, and from all different directions. We can’t possibly cover each of their bases. So we just made sure that everything is clearly spelled out on the website, and we let the rest go. No hand-holding. Most guests can fend for themselves from here on out. This is the digital age, after all. All they have to do is click on our Google wedding map and they can build their own directions in a snap. The rest can be helped out by family members.

I got a lot of pushback about this from various people — one told me that assuming her guests would actually bother to visit the website was her biggest mistake. She said she spent the last few weeks before her wedding fielding phone calls from guests who needed basic information. Me? I’m just hoping that our experience is different.

So there it is, folks. Thank you once again for playing along as I show you things you can’t possibly be remotely interested in.

Did you or do you plan to do your own invitations?

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* After I mailed out the save-the-dates, I asked my mom what she thought of them, and she said, “Well… they are… interesting.” Yes, mom. They are incredibly interesting. Thank you for noticing.**

** ALSO: OMG, the invitations look nothing like the save-the-dates! I am surely going to wedding aesthetic hell for this.

fun with printers, or how to lose and regain your mind in just a few short days

We have a friend.* I’ll call him Dewey.** Dewey is a visual artist. Dewey owns a fancy printer. “You should come over and print photos on my printer!” he used to tell us enthusiastically, and repeatedly. Then after we got engaged, it turned into: “You should come over and print your wedding stuff on my printer!”

Fine, Dewey. You convinced us. Saves us from having to pay to print our invitations and RSVP cards, right? And so recently we commenced Project Printington: The Printness. What follows is the project’s trip report.

ROUND ONE

We pack up our preordered paper supplies and booze and head to Dewey’s house. Look out kids, WE ARE ABOUT TO PRINT SOME SHIT.

6:30 pm: We’ve arrived. This is going to be fun!
6:51 pm: Install printer driver.
7:05 pm: Test print!
7:06 pm: No? No test print? You want me to download a driver update first? Eyeroll.
7:29 pm: WOOOO! Finally! Test print!!!!
7:32 pm: Hmmm, the color is off.
7:37 pm: Adjust color.
7:44 pm: Adjust color again.
7:49 pm: Wait, why are there lines running through the text?
7:52 pm: Clean print heads.
7:54 pm: Um, it came out sideways. And there are STILL lines.
7:56 pm: Adjust color.
8:02 pm: THIS IS SIDEWAYS.
8:06 pm: THIS IS SIDEWAYS, TOO.
8:07 pm: How the #@*% does this thing work?
8:13 pm: Fine. There’s nothing we can do about the lines. Yeah, okay, you can only see them if you look really close. I know nobody is going to look that close. Let’s just do this thing already.
8:14 pm: Send batch of ten to print!
8:28 pm: BURRITO. MORE BOOZE. It’s a celebration, bitches.
8:35 pm: Another batch of ten! We’re rolling!
8:54 pm: Okay, next batch of ten. Printing slowly. Ever. So. Slowly.
9:12 pm: Wait, these ones are coming out super streaky.
9:17 pm: Clean print heads.
9:24 pm: Ooh! Better! Let’s do another ten!
9:41 pm: #$@&*$ LINES.
9:49 pm: Clean print heads.
10:07 pm: MORE. #$@&*$. LINES.
10:28 pm: Admit defeat. 24 more invitations need to be printed, not to mention all of the RSVP cards. Plan to regroup tomorrow. Maybe the ink just needs to be replaced?
10:36 pm: Home. Feel dejected. Eat ice cream bar in hopes that it will solve all of my problems.
11:11 pm: Problems apparently still exist. Screw you, ice cream bar.

ROUND TWO

Hey! Maybe I can print the rest of the invitations at work! And the RSVP cards too! In the middle of the day, without anyone finding out!

12:23 pm: Printer error.
12:37 pm: Printer error.
12:50 pm: Printer error.
12:51 pm: $%@* !&#$%!@*&#@!$*#@!&*%$@*&#@!$
12:58 pm: Printer error.
12:59 pm: [redacted]

ROUND THREE

Back to Dewey’s house, sans beau. He has rugby practice. Printer, I shall battle you alone. And boozeless.

5:57 pm: Printer has brand new ink. Print heads have been cleaned. Prepare to submit to my will.
6:02 pm: Test print. Okay. Not perfect, but not bad. Let’s roll.
6:20 pm: First round of ten done!
6:44 pm: Second round of ten done!
7:03 pm: Third rou… wait, there are more lines than EVER. On ALL of these.
7:06 pm: Clean print heads.
7:12 pm: Now the lines are multicolored! It’s like they are all having sex and giving birth to little baby rainbow lines!
7:16 pm:  Okay. Maybe it’s just tired. Maybe the printer is revolting against its suffocating lot in life. Let’s change it up by test-printing an RSVP card.
7:25 pm: Sob.
7:31 pm: Wail.
7:35 pm: Give up. Pack up. You win, printer. So long, you miserable bastard.

ROUND FOUR

Duck out of work and go to the local copy shop.

2:34 pm: Check out available paper. Choose one.
2:42 pm: Hand over PDF files.

*** next day ***

12:10 pm: Check proof at shop.
12:12 pm: Hmm. Color is way off. Can it be adjusted?
12:13 pm: Do I wanna come back and look at a new proof? No. You know what? Just do what you can. At this point you could change it from teal and yellow to red and purple and I would probably just shrug.

*** next day ***

11:20 am: Fork over $79.
11:22 am: Leave with invitations and RSVP cards.
6:47 pm: Assemble invitations, RSVP cards, stamps.

*** next day ***

7:59 am: Deliver finished envelopes to post office.

SO. After being a week late getting out the invitations, we managed not only to extend the lateness several more days with our printer woes, but to also pay more for our troubles. What a privileged bunch of jerks we are.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Start earlier.***
  2. Don’t trust a fancy printer.
  3. Be suspicious of people named Dewey.
  4. The color on the screen will never look remotely like the color on the paper.
  5. Ice cream doesn’t solve anything, but I will continue to eat it anyway.

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* Shocking, I know.

** I’ve begun watching syndicated episodes of Malcom in the Middle at the gym every morning. Sue me.

*** Story. Of. My. Effing. Life.

yes, please

As we keep plugging away at our task list, I’ve discovered the only parts of wedding-related planning that really get me hot and bothered anymore are the parts that are entirely unrelated to the actual wedding. Namely, the bachelorette party and the honeymoon.

I’ve made some real strides lately in planning both of these little nuggets of sheer, unadulterated fun, and let me tell you, they’ve been a welcome respite from the kind of wedding stuff that makes me want to lie down on the floor and pitch a feet-kicking, eardrum-piercing fit. Since the anticipation of the bach party and the honeymoon is currently making me feel like frolicking around the room in deranged ecstasy before making out with a total stranger* from the sheer joy of it all, I want to TELL YOU ALL ABOUT THEM. You cannot stop me!

THE BACHELORETTE

The bach party will be in August in Palm Springs. PALM EM-EFFING SPRINGS. In what is probably the only wedding blog industry-related thing I will ever do, I am going to attend The Flashdance’s once-monthly Sunday night dance party at the Ace Hotel. Yeah, THAT Ace Hotel.** I am beyond giddy about this. I started following The Flashdance’s blog before I even got engaged, and I love the mixes he puts up on his site. So this dance party is truly going to be one of the highlights of the weekend.

Other than the dancing, I’m not sure what else we’ll do besides drink and lay next to the pool. Except go bowling. And get dressed up in the ugliest, cheesiest thriftstore bridesmaid dresses we can find and go out on the town at night. Holy balls, I think I’m in heaven.

THE HONEYMOON

I’ve mentioned before that we’re going to Vancouver. We were mainly able to do this because the beau used his frequent flier miles accumulated at work to purchase our plane tickets to the tune of $42 each. I know. We totally deserve to be punched in the face.

Once we arrive in Canada, we’ll drive to a tiny town called Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The cabins we’re staying at have a “bear aware orientation” at check in, and despite delusions to the contrary, this process apparently has nothing to do with familiarizing guests with the full list of Care Bears characters.*** Additionally, these cabins have adopted a green cleaning program in which they use only biodegradable citrus cleaner to sanitize the rooms. I like that.

We’re spending three full days on Vancouver Island, for which I’m grateful. I’m sure that after the whirlwind of the wedding all I’ll want to do is find the nearest horizontal surface and collapse upon it, which is why a quiet, remote setting with a view will be bliss. Something like this, perhaps.

Yes, I believe this will do nicely.

I’m optimistic that by the second day I can find the strength to remain upright for more than ten minutes at a time, so that we can go kayaking around the inlets and enjoy the natural splendor of the outdoors. After we tire of the outdoors, we can retreat indoors to our 2-person Jacuzzi tub overlooking the water. OH YES. THE JACUZZI TUB IS THE SOLE REASON WE CHOSE THIS CABIN.

The yellow hutch may have had something to do with it, though.

After our time on the island, we’ll travel back to the city of Vancouver for four full days of sightseeing and eating very, very well. And ziplining! And eating some more. Seriously, this town has some good eats. The beau and I started a shared Google Map and whenever we find a new restaurant or bar that looks good, we just add it to the mix. So far we’ve got a bunch of Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Indian joints on the map. I cannot wait to stuff myself full of delicious, delicious food.

Holy lobby, Batman.

When we’re not out roaming, we’ll be cozying up in the L’Hermitage Hotel. We love this place because 1) it’s right downtown within walking distance of tons of activities, 2) it has a pool and free internet, 3) it has an in-room washer and dryer set,**** and 4) we are not paying for it. That’s right. The beau’s parents offered this place to us as their wedding gift to us. Yeah. Feel free to punch us in the face again. Seriously though, when they gave us this gift, we were floored. Not only is it incredibly generous, it enabled us to splurge a little on our cabin on Vancouver Island.

So yeah. That’s it. I am so. Freaking. Excited.

What’s floating your boat these days? What are you planning/did you do for your bach parties and honeymoons, respectively?

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* Awkward. Sorry, beau.

** Hipsters ho!

*** My parents, as I imagine parents are wont to do, still make jokes involving the cartoons I obsessively watched when I was a kid. I remember one visit home after college when we went for a drive out in the West Virginia countryside, where we proceeded to be ogled by the locals as if we were circus freaks. My mother declared that they were giving us the “Care Bear Stare,” and immediately followed it up by shouting at the passenger window, “Care Bears, prepare to stare!” I’m sure it must be a survival strategy; a way of dealing with all the inane children’s television programming to which they were exposed. I mean, as opposed to outright lunacy. Right?

**** This is INSANELY VALUABLE for longish trips. Insanely!

die. i died.

“Fauxhawk lives in mortal fear of dancing and I am a complete spaz, so I had to talk him through a series of awkward white person moves while everyone gathered around us. It was like watching a Stevie Wonder impersonator drag a corpse around the dance floor.

– From What Possessed Me’s most recent wedding recap post.

Yes. This is going to be our first dance exactly. Now that I have accepted that, perhaps I can embrace it with open arms. FUCK YEAH, WE ARE GOING TO BE TERRIBLE.

potential

Tuesday was the beau’s 30th birthday. We’d already gone skydiving on Saturday, so we kept the “real” celebration mellow. We stayed in with our best pal and brigadier,* and I made a special dinner of tator tot casserole, like the white trash we apparently aspire to be.

I was also supposed to bake something for his birthday. Oh yes, this was a big fat deal, because I like baking, and he loves it when I bake. So I always make this big production of having him pick some new dessert, and then I whip it up all special-like. This year the beau had his sights set on a chocolate caramel pecan pie. I’d never successfully made a pie crust from scratch, but damn if I wasn’t going to try. I even found a recipe for vodka pie dough, which according to reviews was supposed to produce the most tender, flaky pie crust on the face of the planet and make you weep with sheer joy. That or win the lottery. Probably both, actually.

I don’t have a food processor.** And I knew deep down inside that using a blender to combine the butter and flour would indubitably end in failure, but my tendency toward lazy-assery insisted that I should give it a shot. SURPRIZE, it did not work. Time to try cutting in the butter by hand! I set about scraping the contents of the blender into a bowl, which due to the fact that we have approximately one square foot of counter space in the kitchen was perched haphazardly on the edge of the sink, when SURPRIZE, the bowl tipped over into the sink. That was all the butter I had in the house, sitting right there in the sink. Being the calm, rational person I am, I handled this new development by bursting into tears and sobbing as if someone had died. Aw, look whose hormones decided to come out and play!

After I finally stopped wailing, then started again later while folding laundry because I don’t even know why, my best guess is that folding laundry totally sucks and is something to get incredibly upset about, then stopped again and finally calmed down for good, I decided that there would be no baking this year. Sorry, beau. Yes, I know that thirty is a big deal birthday-wise, and I wanted to do something really spectacular for you, but now I’m just running out of time and oh my god, I’d better stop thinking about it now or I’ll start bawling once more.

IN SUMMARY: That was fun! Let’s do this again in one month, please!

Maybe I couldn’t make my partner a tasty treat myself, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to provide him excessive amounts of sugar somehow. So on Tuesday morning, I marched myself down the block to a bakery, and proceeded to order a dozen cupcakes. Even though I wanted the cupcakes ready that very same day, they let me order special flavors. So I picked chocolate salted caramel and bacon maple pancake. They whipped them up and had them ready at 4:00 pm. Is that awesome or what?

I took these pictures post-birthday, after the leftover cupcakes had had candles stuck in them and their tops smashed in from sitting in a box in the refrigerator overnight. Even at a day old, they were still so very incredibly delicious.

I have about three words to say about that, and they are HELL @$#!%*&#@!*$#% YES.

Are these wedding dessert contenders? Possibly. Very, very possibly. It’ll come down to the price, really — the dozen I bought worked out to $2.75 each, which is spendy for a cupcake. On the other hand, these aren’t your typical grocery store cupcakes, either. On the other other hand, they said they charged extra for “wedding” cupcakes (of course) because they deliver and set up the cupcakes on tiered stands for you. I am doubtful that we actually need that level of service, but then again if we don’t have the dessert delivered, someone will have to leave the wedding and go pick them up. And there is no kitchen onsite, so we can’t just go get the cupcakes in the morning and store them at the venue all day. What if it’s hot? The frosting would melt. Yeah. So I am confused about how that whole thing is going to work out. We may have to just settle on a dessert that’s melt-proof. Like pie. Or Twinkies.

At any rate, the bakery also told me I could pick out three flavors and come in for a tasting, so I need to set that up very soon. We just polished off the birthday cupcakes last night, and I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Never mind the fact that every time I eat one, I feel like running around the block/punching someone in the face/staring very intently at the wall for several minutes. Sugar!!!!!!!11! I hate you, I love you, come back to me.

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* My brigadier moved into our spare room for the summer! At last, my life is one step closer to becoming an episode of Friends!

** OH HAI wedding registry alert!

in which the details escape me

I tried, you guys. I tried to be normal. I walked to the post office, waited patiently in line, and when I got up to the counter I expressly asked for the “King and Queen of Hearts” stamps. The USPS employee looked me dead in the eyes. “Oh, we don’t have any of those,” he said. “We haven’t had them for months.”

Okay then.

He pulled some samples out of a drawer and pushed them in front of me. “Is this for a special occasion?” he asked. Yes, a wedding. He showed me a stamp with two gold bands on them. Eh. He showed me a stamp with some purple flowers and the word “love” on them. Eh. Then I spotted the ones. “This,” I said, plucking a sheet from the pile. “This will do nicely.”

I purchased four sets of “Cowboys of the Silver Screen.”

Do Hollywood cowboys of yore have anything to do with our wedding theme or location? No. Do they have anything to do with our wedding invitation design?* No. Do the beau and I share an interest in old western films? Not in the least. But you know what? They make me happy.

And at the very least, my grandparents will get a little thrill out of seeing Tom Mix on their envelope.

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* To make matters worse, the only stamps they had for postcards had polar bears on them. So yeah. Polar bears and cowboys will be adorning my invitations and RSVP cards. When will the horrors ever cease?