What I realized nearly 3 years later.

Hello, and welcome back! I was watching our wedding day videos and couldn’t help but get teary eyed. It was so magical – marrying my best friend, seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, dancing, laughing, etc. And for those few minutes while I was oo-ing and ah-ing at the video, I was reminded of what I struggled with during the planning process.

Wedding planning can be daunting, but it was something I LOVED so much. Even with that passion for it, I had my share of tears and sleepless nights. What’s the best decision to make? What if someone gets upset? Do I really have to follow traditions? What’s the ‘right’ way to do this?

And so, now after nearly 3 years, I’m left with what’s most important – memories and an awesome husband. Do whatever you want. Break the mold and traditions and follow what you truly want. Because trust me, it’s not worth the fight, tears, or stress. At the end of it all, the planning will be as fun as you make it. You have to remind yourself that whatever issue you have or whatever decision you’re stuck on, it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

What matters is love, since that is what you are celebrating after all.

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Sincerely, Love

Destination Weddings

Hello gorgeous!

Picking the perfect wedding location can be a challenge, so exploring all your options will ensure you pick the ideal spot for you. Many people prefer a local venue, while others are into destination weddings. There are lots of pros and cons to both, so let’s get to it!

PROS

  • Vacation anyone? A destination wedding is an instant vacation for people coming. Sure they are coming for the wedding, but they can stay a week longer and prolong their vacay.
  • Limited/choosy guestlist. Not everyone can take time off work for a week to travel for your wedding. This will most likely reduce your guestlist which can be good and bad at the same time. This isn’t always the case, but if someone truly wants to be there with you on your special day, they will attempt to travel no matter how far it is.
  • Great deals. Depending on your destination location, there are plenty of wedding packages to fit your needs. Taxes may also be cheaper and overall cost of the venue can be slashed in half. Pick accordingly and really explore your options.
  • A forever vacation place. Any time you and your husband want to take a vacation, going back to your destination location will be so nostalgic. Who doesn’t want to go back to where wonderful memories were made?
  • Gorgeous scenery! It’s much easier to have a beautiful wedding on the shores of a beach with bright blue water in the background for instant beauty. Because it is a destination wedding, it’s most likely unique and different than your every day life. Imagine the effortless beauty you will see, besides your groom at the end of the aisle.

CONS

  • Somewhat difficult to plan. You won’t be able to drive by the venue on your way home from work. Most of the planning will be done remotely so your level of trust needs to be at an all-time high. Most venues are very accommodating and will help you with every step.
  • Limited guestlist. Just as much of a pro this can be, it can be the complete opposite. If your grandma is unable to travel, what do you do? A smaller guestlist can be great as long as the most important people to you can attend. This should be your #1 factor in deciding to have a destination wedding.
  • Cost. This is highly debatable – if you play your cards right and do thorough research, you could save or spend more. It’s not just the location, dress, flowers, etc. that go in to the wedding budget. With a destination wedding, cost of flights and hotels will bump you up a few thousand dollars, so be sure to look at all your options. Check out taxes and fees at your preferred venue and negotiate every step of the way.

Whether you get married in your hometown or dream destination spot, the location will always hold a special place in your heart. After all, it’s where you became husband and wife for the first time.

Sincerely, Love

DON’T DO THIS!

Hello, and welcome back! Boy have I been failing at posting more, but that’s okay. I’m going to shake it off and keep it movin’! Back to the topic.. Wedding season is right around the corner. There are tons of resources where you can find wedding to-do lists, but what about WHAT NOT TO DO! As usual, all of these tips are purely from my experience/what I’ve seen and the after thought of my own wedding planning. Let’s do this!

  1. DON’T let opinions dictate your heart. When planning a wedding, there will be lots of moments where you need to seek advice. It’s very common to ask for help when you’re feeling stuck or unsure about a decision. But don’t let unwarranted opinions change your vision and what your heart desires. Everyone has their own ideals, and there will never be a decision that will be 100% perfection to everyone. That’s just life; it’s nothing bad, and nothing to take personally. Often times, regret comes from not doing rather than going for it!
  2. DON’T go crazy with to-do lists! This one is crucial, and oh so helpful when followed accordingly. My biggest organization faux pas was having too many to do lists in random places – post its, notebooks, wedding binder. Too much randomness will overwhelm you, and make you feel more stressed than you really should be. What should you do instead? Have a wedding planning binder and stick to that. If you prefer a notebook instead of a binder, do that. Whatever you do, have 1 place where you keep your ongoing contact information, to-dos, and detailed wedding plans. Trust me, this will take a huge weight off your shoulders!
  3. DON’T forgo your partner’s opinions. Regardless of who’s more involved with wedding planning, there will be a decision or two that you’re partner will want to make. Don’t knock this down. Planning a wedding is a sneak peak into future decisions you’ll be making together, so remember to listen and compromise. Weddings are primarily female focused events, but that doesn’t mean men don’t care just as much. Yes, it’s about you bride, but it’s also about your groom. After all, if it wasn’t for the both of you, this great event wouldn’t happen.
  4. DON’T go crazy with wedding trends, and DON’T forget who you are. With social media blinding us with the hottest wedding trends, fashions, etc., it’s easy to conform and go with the crowd. But why? Every year, there’s a new hot wedding trend – some fit the mold of who we are while others are the complete opposite. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because it’s the new ‘it’ trend at the moment. Be sure your entertainment, songs, ceremonial aspects, reception decor, on and on, represent who you are as a couple. There are plenty of ways you can customize your wedding without simply presenting an instagram photo to your planner. Allow trends and hot topics to inspire you instead of deciding FOR you.
  5. DON’T forget to ask for help. Just as excited as you and your future spouse are for this big day, there are plenty of family and friends who are just as ecstatic. Reach out and ask for help. Most of the time, people are willing and even feel honored to help you. Whether it’s going with you to a fitting, picking up misc items, etc. asking for help will (a) relieve the stress off of you, and (b) create a special bonding moment. Also, having a wedding party means help is a phone call away. Are you getting nervous a week before the big day? Call your bridesmaids! Do you need to vent? Call them again! They are there to help you and since you chose them to be by your side ON YOUR WEDDING DAY, why not turn to them even before the day arrives.

ENJOY THE PROCESS, and DON’T forget this list!

Sincerely, Love

Oh, Baby!

Hello and welcome back!

Let’s talk babies! A few months after the joys of your wedding are winding down, the next stage of life is having a baby! Uh oh.. you might be thinking “Not yet!” or “We’re not ready!”. Welcome to our life. So why do people keep asking when and what should you say?!

First of all, I must say that it’s a natural, sweet question for people to ask. They are excited for the next progression of your life and curiosity leads them to ask. Don’t let such an innocent question change your life plans. Of course it’s nice to keep an open mind and think about having kids sooner or later than you originally intended, but don’t let it create friction in your relationship.

When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to wait a couple years before having kids. We didn’t see marriage and kids bundled into one package. Instead, enjoying married life with just the two of us was our primary focus. When our 1 year anniversary came, so did the baby question. ‘Happy anniversary’ and ‘when are you having a baby’ was compressed into one message. It was sweet, but it immediately put me into baby mode. I’d push my husband into starting a family. When the dust settles down, it’s clear to me once again why we decided to wait. But often times, it takes weeks to be to snap out of baby mode. Suddenly a 2 second question “When are you guys going to have a baby?” is stuck in my mind on repeat.

Now our reasons for waiting are typical I’d say – buying a home is our main goal. Once we are settled in, having a baby will be ideal in our minds. But with life comes changes so as time goes  by, so do our ideologies. At this moment, we are planning for a baby sometime next year. If things don’t go as planned and stroller shopping comes earlier, we will be just as ecstatic. Having babies is a huge step that we both want. It’s just a matter of time. The phrase “we’re not ready” is common, although you’re never really ready right? So instead, I say “I’m not ready to stop being selfish for a little longer”. These few years are the only time in our lives we can truly focus on ourselves – work, marriage, traveling, nights out on the town. So we’ve decided to embrace this moment of life.

Are you ‘going through’ something similar?

Don’t allow external pressures to alter the internal mind.

Sincerely, Love

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Hello there! With January quickly winding down, it’s the perfect time to start planning for Valentine’s Day but with so many options out there, how do you even get started?! Not to worry, I’m going to break down some helpful tips and suggestions that might make this day that much more special.

1. How do you and your partner feel about celebrating Valentine’s Day? It might sound like a silly question, but it’s important. Personally, my husband and I love Valentine’s Day, but we won’t throw our budget out of the window. The cost of flowers, chocolate, and dinner are hiked up increasingly because of the demand. One thing that deters us from celebrating it to the max is the fact that if you’re out to dinner, all the couples around you are celebrating the same exact thing. It doesn’t feel sacred or intimate like how anniversaries do. Still, I love love, and having a day dedicated to expressing your love is a-okay in my book.

2. What are your interests together as a couple? Since it is a day to celebrate your love, you should spend it doing something you both enjoy. Whether it’s something you’ve done a million times before or a new activity, it should be a fun experience. Has your partner been hinting about going to a particular restaurant/show/fill in the blank? Why not surprise them with reservations? My husband and I have celebrated 10+ Valentine’s together and through the years our interests and desires as well as our budgets have changed, so we plan accordingly.

3. What is the perfect gift? Heh, no such thing as a ‘perfect’ anything in life! I will do another post on my ideas and suggestions on gift giving for any love filled occasion.

4. Choosing a great restaurant. We live in Chicago, and there are thousands of restaurants to choose from. It can get overwhelming trying to pick the perfect spot. What’s your style as a couple? Do you typically enjoy low key places? If so, stick with that. It’s always nice to try something new, but don’t feel the need to conform if you won’t feel comfortable. Since it’s Valentine’s Day and you might want to do something more special than your typical date night, look into those restaurants. Yelp is an amazing service that will undoubtedly help you find a great spot!

If you’re still having a hard time figuring out what to do, here are some of my ideas to celebrate the day of love, aka Valentine’s Day:

Geja’s Cafe

It’s our go-to spot for a romantic evening. Located in Lincoln Park, the restaurant is on a lower street level. It’s VERY dim-lighting provides a romantic, sort of secretive atmosphere. It is a known spot for proposals. It’s always filled with people, so make sure you have reservations! As far as price range goes, it can cost you a pretty penny, but they often times have Groupons so be sure to check into that! Whenever they offer a Groupon, we tend to buy a couple so we can use them before they expire. It’s a great romantic restaurant offering fondue in all sorts of variations. Tip: When making a reservation, request a booth. It is much more intimate and secluded vs being so close to another party on the table next to you.

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Signature Room on 95th

If you want to make a great impression on your date, check out this hot restaurant in Downtown Chicago. The views are breathtaking and the service and food are great. Like many romantic restaurants, this place gets booked quickly, so be sure to make reservations far in advance. It’s definitely not an inexpensive place, so budget yourselves accordingly. If you prefer to just grab drinks there, go for it. They have a full bar so it’s not necessarily required for you to have reservations.

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Horse Carriage Ride

Enjoying the views of Downtown from your own personal carriage ride makes it a night to remember. Typically, the horse drawn carriages are reserved on a 1 hour time frame but you can extend or shorten it accordingly. The evening my husband proposed to me, he surprised me with a horse carriage ride. It was the first time we experienced it, and it was so much fun. To me, just the romantic element of being cozy while galloping through the streets of Downtown makes it so sweet. Since I don’t really like being in one place for a long period of time, he requested to shorten it to 30 minutes. PERFECTION! If you plan to do this for Valentine’s Day, be sure to bring a small blanket with you. They do provide them, but I’m not too sure how clean they are.

Go back to where you had your first date

When all else fails, why not relive your first date? No matter where it was, if you could go back, do it! You will be reminded of that special day, and it will be so nostalgic for you to experience it again with your partner.

No matter what you do for Valentine’s Day, remember to celebrate your love and all that it is.

Sincerely, Love

Happy love from A-Z

What consists of a happy relationship/marriage and how can you maintain it? Healthy relationships require effort and nurturing. Like anything else in life, you can work towards your relationship goals. Here’s a fun, light-hearted A-Z list of what can make your relationship even better from my experience.

(a)ccept your partners flaws.
(b)elieve in each other.
(c)ount on one another.
(D)ate nights, often.
(E)njoy each moment.
(F)ind your passions together and individually.
(G)o out and explore the world.
(H)elp each other.
(I)gnore the nay sayers.
(J)ump over hurdles.
(K)iss and hug every day.
(L)augh often.
(M)ake each other the priority.
(N)ever hold a grudge.
(O)pen up your mind and embrace change.
(P)raise each other.
(Q)uality time together.
(R)eminisce in your memories together.
(S)upport your partner.
(T)rust each other in all aspects of life.
(U)nderstand your partner’s needs.
(V)oice your opinions and thoughts.
(W)alk together looking ahead to the future.
(X) x out the negative.
(Y)earn for each other.
(Z)ap everyday problems that arise.

 

Sincerely, Love.

Mix It Up!

Now that you’re ready to start the wedding planning process, you might be struggling to come up with unique ideas of how to blend two cultures together (depending on your relationship). From my experience, and from what I have seen, there are lots of unique ways to mix it up! A huge concern is typically religion. Will you be having a religious ceremony and if so, are you willing to compromise? For us, religion was important but not the end all be all. It took lots of thought, but we had a mixed religion wedding. In most Hindu ceremonies, the bride is decked out in lots of bright colors and jewelry. My husband is Christian and the traditional attire is a white wedding gown for the bride. In an effort to blend both, we had an American style ceremony with a bridal party that included bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as a flower girl. I wore a white dress without a veil. Immediately following the Christian ceremony, we re-entered the ceremony site for the Hindu portion. The only change I made to my attire was adding a bright colored veil (primarily red). We had 2 priests (one Christian and one Hindu). It was great and blended together so well. As far as bridal party attire, they wore American dresses for the ceremony and later changed into Indian dresses for the reception portion of the night. It seems so simple now looking back at it, but these decisions were so overwhelming at the time.

You don’t realize how many decisions you have to make until you really get into planning. It might overwhelm and discourage you. Remind yourself that it is only one day and enjoy this moment of your lives as husband and wife.

During the reception, we had a few close family and friends give speeches and perform dances. Indian food was served for dinner, and we had a variety of sweets both Indian and American. Blending the reception portion was much easier than the ceremony since the religious aspect didn’t play a role. For our first dance, we were torn between choosing an english song vs an indian song. We opted for indian – Hum Tum. It was precisely how we felt and it filled the air with love.

There is an endless amount of ideas to blend two religions/cultures/etc. together. Just remember to narrow down what is important to you and eliminate what is not.

If you’d like free advice on how to incorporate ideas into your wedding, feel free to contact me via email! Just click “follow blog” on the right side of the page.