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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Updates (22)


Once Upon A Time.....

....there was a Thirty-Something Bride. This is the story of her wedding day.

I woke up early that day, but not too early as I had dosed myself the night before with two (count 'em TWO) Tylenol PM's (for those of you not in the know, The Thirty-Something Bride has serious sleep issues). The house was quiet as The Candyman was staying with his brothers. I got out of bed and walked over to the window. For the last 2 months Nashville had been plagued with torrential downpours, much to my planning chagrin as October is historically the driest month in Nashville. Keeping this in mind, crossing my fingers and squeezing my eyes tight, I grabbed the turny-thing on my blinds and opened them. I opened my eyes. I started to bawl - from sheer happiness! There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. I prayed to myself, "Dear God, I freakin' owe you one. BIG TIME."

I had planned for my mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law to come over for coffee prior to the start of the wedding day madness. I just wanted to spend a few minutes with the people who know me best. I wanted to be free to freak the fuck out, if need be. Happily though, I was calm. I was in need of some waterproof mascara though (what if I cry!) so made an early a.m. run to Kroger. I also swung by the drive-thru Starbucks and ordered the usual: Grande Skinny Hazelnut Latte, extra hot, no foam (it took me a about a year to figure out how to order it). I proceeded to tell the drive-thru barista of my pending nuptials. Um, duh. Like, I'm not going to freakin' tell every single person who doesn't already know?

As I was driving back to the house, a car flashed it lights at me for some reason. It was early in the morning, we were on a nearly deserted road - what the hell? I slowed and saw why: to my far right was a large group of deer. They decided to cross and were coming around the bend to do so (which is why I didn't see them and why the other driver "flashed" me). About 9 of them picked their way across the road while we waited. The last, a doe, paused right in front of my car and turned and stared right at me for about 3 seconds, then followed her team into the forest. It was like she was saying, "Yeah, I know it's your day, but you still have to wait for me. Have a good time." Seriously folks, I'm not making this shit up.

I had a lovely, but brief time having (more) coffee with my family. They calmed me, in their own weird way. I knew I had to be at the hotel to pick up my MOH at a particular time. For some reason, I equated the time I needed to be there, with the time I left the house. Um, duh! Already late! Happily, it was Sunday morning pre-church time in Nashville (trust me folks, you do NOT want to get caught in post-church traffic - it blows!) and I hauled ass to the hotel in no-time flat. My MOH was waiting outside (God love her!) and she hopped in and we were off - right on schedule!

We arrived at J. Bangs Salon and Julie arrived a few minutes later (yes, I was slightly worried for about a nanosecond) and we got to doin' the 'do! Jonathon, Sharon and Tabitha arrived shortly thereafter and we were off and running!

I had a slight amendment to the up-do from the trial and was just slightly nervous. No worries, Julie knocked it out of the park!

Hair done, sans make-up.

I just LOVE Julie's expression here!

The MOH in her active role as Social Historian.

DIY hair toys? Check!

Sooooooooooooo relaxing!

Julie's palette.

Once we had our hair and make-up done, we sent Tabitha (my planner) on a quick run across the street to Bread & Co. to grab us some grub! Seriously ladies, you MUST eat. If Tabitha had not insisted, I probably would have passed out from hunger later during the day! With to-go sammies in hand, we jumped in the car and headed back to the Hilton to finish getting ready!

Jonathon rode with us!

We look like a couple of hippies! Love it!

I know I mentioned this once before, but I felt so pretty the day of my wedding. I highly recommend a make-up artist if it's in your budget. As y'all know, I blew my budget in the beauty area. I. Don't. Care. I didn't care then and I don't care now. I was just soaring I felt so pretty.

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me tonight.

Sorry. Channeling my inner West Side Story fantasy. Stay tuned for more!

Sportin' my Wedding Chicks t-shirt!

I will say this and I will keep saying it. I LOVE MY PHOTOGRAPHER.


The Ceremony, Part I

This is an auto-post. Just so you know. When you read this, I will educating others on the beauty and splendor that is my January 2010 release (home decor is like, so much later than RTW fashion). We can only hope that it's a smashing success.

In the meantime, there are things I have yet to share about the wedding. Big, beautiful, lovely things that you simply must know.

Our ceremony, if anything, was totally lifted from a host a resources. The Candyman, being the wordsmith in the house, had final say over the vows and I completely trusted him in this endeavor, even though I did fight with him on some things. With time, I saw he was right.

Th template we used came from our wonderful officiant, Minister Ralph Griggs. Minister Griggs is a wonderful, non-denominational minister. Since The Candyman and I don't belong to a church here but wanted to marry in a House of God, the combination of Minister Griggs with Owen Chapel was personally, the best for us. We could not have asked for more or better.

Minister Griggs has a wonderful (and easy) Ceremony Planner that covers the basics of any Christian ceremony. If he performs the ceremony, the guide is free. You can edit the guide at will to meet your religious and commitment needs (that sounds like a commercial, "to meet your commitment needs, call us!").

He also has at At-Home Marriage Preparation Course that comes free with his services. The Candyman and I found this course very interesting! If you take the course, you save $60 on your TN marriage license. Since The Candyman and I believe in counseling, we didn't have to complete the course, but we got through most of it anyway because it was so interesting. It asks really interesting questions that you don't normally think of. For instance, there was a question that asked us what we would each do if we won a million dollars. Like, for real. Don't be all, "Dude, I'd totally go to Vegas, and then Prada and then buy a phat crib." If you both say that, then um, you might have some issues later in life - I'm just sayin'. What was cool is that we both had the same answers - just allotted differently. My plan was to save most of it, pay off law school loans and help family members with the rest. The Candyman had pay off law school loans, help family members and then save the rest.

For some reason that small activity gave me a huge feeling of being bonded to The Candyman in a new way. It gave me such a comfort to know that while we may not have agreed on percentages, our priorities of what was important to us was similarly sound. The entire course was laid out in much the same way. Simple activities that gave you pause to think and compare. As I have mentioned before, I think counseling either by a priest, minister or counselor is always a good idea.

WEDDING TIP #9 - If you do decide to go to a counselor, therapist, shrink, guru, minister, priest or shaman - know this: if either of you are unhappy or uncomfortable with the individual chosen to assist you in your couple's training, you should choose another.

The Candyman and I had started counseling with an individual who was horrid. HORRID. I cannot and will not tell you the things this woman said to us. "Bu-bye" was what we said to her. Do not feel you have to stick with someone who makes you unhappy, simply because they are a professional in their field. Properly trained people in the field of therapy should make you feel positive after a session. They should encourage you to look inward, seek resolution, practice new behaviors and to be open and honest without being hurtful or unkind. Sometimes these practices are painful and difficult to work through. However, the person who is trained and who you pay to give you sound advice should prove trustworthy to you and your partner. I'm just sayin'....

Anyway, I can't gush enough about Minister Griggs. He performed our ceremony with feeling and with intent. Several people commented on the ceremony and how they liked how we incorporated certain elements. We are just so thankful that we were able to find a minister who was willing to give us the ceremony that The Candyman and I dreamed of having. We both had a little concern about that, living in what can sometimes feel like the buckle of the Bible Belt. The Candyman and I were raised with Christian backgrounds, but neither of us has ever found "home" in a particular church, so we don't go. The churches in Tennessee can often be a little conservatively aggressive to our more liberal thinking. Knowing that we could honor our God as well as ourselves and our beliefs was such a wonderful relief to us, a very natural and obvious choice.

Thank you, Minister Griggs for a wonderful service. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your role in our wedding celebration!

Coming soon - The Ceremony, Part II or How The Thirty-Something Bride and The Candyman Lifted Their Wedding Ceremony from Fellow Bloggers. It could go either way. Stay tuned!

P.S. I had some pictures planned to post with this, but Blogger is uploading black squares at this very moment. My apologies for lack of visual stimulus.



Back to Budgets

Seeing that it's Monday (blech) and I have a cold (sniff/cough/wheeze), I thought I'd get back to the nasty task of budgets. So far we've determined this:

1. I was on/under-budget on the venue because I am an idiot.
2. I was over-budget on my dress because gown preservation is effing expensive.
3. I was under budget on flowers. Hooray!
4. I was over-budget on beauty because I am a vain, vain woman.
5. We were over-budget on transportation, but there were LOTS of factors that screwed that up.

Here are some quickies:

We were slightly under budget on the ceremony. Why? Because we saved $60 on our marriage license that we got by going to pre-marital counseling, which cost us $35 a visit. Hmmmm, wait a minute.....

WEDDING TIP #8: GO TO PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING! There is no shame in it. There is no admission of guilt that your relationship sucks. It means that you are a caring, thinking, committed individual who wants to have a successful relationship. Period.

I'm going to touch on this further. The Candyman and I are still going to counseling. Why? Because we care for each other. And because we totally don't know how to fight. I come from a non-confrontational, southern, white, Anglo-Saxon Episcopalian approach to arguing: never in public, never in private and only behind some one's back. The Candyman has a dad and four brothers: fight it out until some one's bleeding, then call a truce. You can see how our arguing styles differ. Neither is right, but it's what we know so we have to learn our way of fighting. That can be super-duper hard and it clearly takes lots of practice. Our therapist is our coach. She listens, tells us where we made mistakes and we practice again. Even Tiger Woods has a coach and needs to practice.

Groom's attire was on budget - that one was easy. Sadly, because our wedding party was not large, we did not get the groom's tuxedo for free. Whatever.

I guess were over on gifts. Sigh. Over budget again. I knew I would be getting presents for people who played a part in the ceremony, like our friend who read a poem (I'll talk about the ceremony soon, I promise!) and for our "ushers." I also got a gift for our planner. I intended to get her some token something or other while I was overseas. However, I saw an oil painting that I loved and bought that instead! It was the right thing to do simply because it felt like more of a heartfelt gift than some lame earrings or something. Tabitha ended up being such an amazing addition to the planning process and to our celebration, I couldn't have done it without her! I also spent a little more money on The Candyman's gift than I intended, but it was SO worth it!

The Candyman doesn't wear a watch (I have no idea how he does this) and I decided to get him a nice one, for when he goes to court to do his attorney-ing. I was looking all around and found nothing that really was him. Around that time, I was off having coffee with Tabitha and we were walking back to our cars and we noticed that something had moved into the abandoned gas station on 12th avenue. It was imogene & willie. If you are local, you must go here. Must. Cool stuff galore, including the 1974 Bulova Accutron watch. The Candyman was born in '74! Perfect! The version above is just slightly different than what I got him. It doesn't have the swoopy face frame - it's just plain. It does have the original leather band though and it was in perfect condition. It took me all of about 5 seconds to buy it.

What did The Candyman get me? Oddly, he bought my present right next door at Moda! He bought me an original Julia Martin painting. She is my most favorite local artist. The painting The Candyman got me is the second one from the left on the bottom row.

It was the most perfect present ever! Thanks hunny-bunny-puffin-face-schmoopy-pie! He thinks I knew what my present was. How? Because I just happened to run into Julia at my Girl's Night Out soiree. I was pretty sure I had convinced her to give me the last of her paintings in her Grey Garden series as a wedding gift. She was a little tipsy, as was I, so I think that makes the arrangement null and void. However, I mentioned it to The Candyman and he thought I was baiting him! How ironical.

What did you get for your hunny-bunny-puffin-face-schmoopy-pie? Are you giving gifts? No one say ya gotta, just so you know.


The Piggy Bank Effect

OK, before I totally get back into the budget recaps, I'm going to share with you a little Saving Secret. Now, The Candyman wasn't quite on-board with this process until the week before the wedding when I showed him all the cold, hard cash. 'Nuff said after that. As unconventional (or perhaps old school) as this may seem in today's world of ATM's and on-line banking, it really did work. Here's what I'm talking about. I'm going to call it The Piggy Bank Effect.

As I'm sure a lot of you who are paying for your wedding yourselves know, ya gotta save a lot of money. That's hard, especially in today's bullshit economy, right? To save the big dollars, I set up two automatic transfers with my bank that happened once at the beginning of each month and once in the middle. The first transfer was a large one and went along with my mortgage and such. That's always a sparse time of month anyway, so I just made it worse - on purpose. Money is a mind game - make sure you play with yourself. *OK, just typed that, realized what I typed and am totally not changing it. I totally advocate play-dates with yourself.*

The second transfer wasn't as big, so when that payday came around, I felt sorta rich and not so poor. That was nice.

Now here's where The Piggy Bank Effect took place. In addition to the above savings, I played another little game with myself. I took out about the same amount of money I did every week prior to financial lock down (anywhere from $40-$100). I took HALF of that money every time I did and distributed it into envelopes that were going to be the CASH payments that were due the day of the wedding. I had envelopes for the officiant, the DJ, our Packard driver Reggie, the chapel, the ceremony guitarist and Julie at J Bangs Salon.
By not having as much cash in my wallet, I spent less. I gave up Starbucks, pedicures and recreational shopping (this was some what replaced by wedding shopping so I didn't feel deprived at all).

The other thing I did was steal money from The Candyman. Yes, ladies - it's true. Whenever I did his laundry, I'd check all the pockets for loose change and bills. The bills went into the envelopes and the change into a big glass jar on top of the fridge. The Candyman caught me doing this and started sneaking in money himself! It was awesome! Team effort! The weekend before the wedding, we took all the change down to Publix and put it in that change machine thing. The Candyman and I made a pretty serious bet on the total. He won. I have yet to make due, but I never back out on a bet. I can't remember the total, but it was around $80 or $90! Sweet!

By doing this over the course of 10 months, we saved over $1000 in those stupid envelopes! And, all my payments were ready to go, labeled to the appropriate vendor! I think that made Tabitha, my planner, happy.

Don't trust yourself not to tap the envelopes of the change jar? Appoint a trusted source to hide the money from you, if you can. Or count the money together as a team and promise not to touch it, week to week. That way, you are both accountable. If you need to tap it for an emergency (this does not include the new Jimmy Choo collection at H&M), make sure you talk about it first.

I'm going to guess that most financial analysts would not condone my savings methods, suggesting I transfer that money into an account on a weekly basis. But seriously, I had a lot more fun this way. I could see the dollars adding up and it gave me GREAT pleasure and satisfaction to seal up each completed envelope one by one. Even The Candyman was surprised at how much we had saved by pilfering from ourselves!

The great thing about this now is that we can continue to do it. I'm allowing pedicures back in the mix, but it doesn't have to be bi-weekly, as was my prior addiction. The Candyman and I go out to eat again, versus tuna casserole and my "pasta bake specials" that we seemed to live on during our engagement. We allow ourselves trips to Publix instead of Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart sucks (but damn it, it's cheaper!), we like the produce better and we can dance in aisles to the music. It's fun.


Transportation: Another Budget Blower!

While the spaghetti sauce de-frosts downstairs, I'm going to start my blog about our transportation. If any of you read with any regularity, you'll know that The Candyman was truck-challenged the month before our wedding. You can read about it here, if you forgot.

As y'all know, I was so excited about the sweet ride we rented from Owen Chapel to Mere Bulles. Our man, Reggie Slaughter, owns a 1939 Packard. Our service was what you call a "transfer." A transfer is a one-time fee to pick you up and drop you off. No paying for hours while the driver sits and waits while you dance the night away.

Photos courtesy my friend Scott!

Our original plan was to pay for a transfer with Reggie from Owen Chapel to Mere Bulles. We'd get some hot pics with the car from JCP and have a fun ride as newly marrieds!

Well, as the wedding day continued to approach, The Candyman's truck was still in the shop. It was going to be our "get-away" car after the reception. It's big. It's white. It would be fun. At the time he was driving some little rental POS. I was NOT going to be driven away in that thing. I was sure to have issues getting in the darn thing with The Dress and all.

We were seriously just 2 or 3 days to The Big Show and we had no ride. In a total awesome turn of fate, I happened to get a congratulations card from an unexpected source. That card contained $200, cold hard cash. And, thank you very much for the well-timed cash advance!

What I did was I called Reggie at the last minute about doing another transfer. He agreed and even gave us a discount on transfer #2. So, instead of paying something crazy like you might here, we just paid for the transfer twice. Since he wasn't booked, it was last minute, and we had a fun time on the phone together, he cut us a deal.

WEDDING TIP #6: Be pleasant to ALL vendors you encounter, even the ones who try to screw you. Why? Because you never know. Vent later to the hubs-to-be, but never be mean.

WEDDING TIP #7: It can never hurt to ask, so ASK! I got lucky with Reggie and didn't have to pay an hourly rate for 5 hours.

However, as lucky as I got, we still went over because we needed transportation! I could have sucked it up, but by this point in the game, I was like, "Fuck it. We're spending the money." Seriously, be careful here my beautiful little brides-to-be. That "fuck it" attitude, if used without discretion, can bite you in the bridal booty. We got lucky though and I only really had to pull the "fuck it" card once. Oh, OK twice if you count the Beauty Budget. Sheesh.

We also had another transportation issue that came in a little higher than we expected. We knew for the last half of the planning that we were going to need to rent a handicap van to help out some family members. That ended up being a lot more expensive than we thought, but was a necessary evil that we just accepted and moved on from.

So, all told, we went over in our transportation budget by 25%. Yup. That's right. But, if you don't count the magical $200 cold-hard-cash we got, we only went over 10%. Give me a calculator and I can justify anything! :)