Saturday, June 20, 2015

For Dad

The older I get, the more I consider my father to be one of my best friends. 

No, not in that way that he'd disapprove of -- parents that try to be all buddy-buddy and cool with their children and then let them get away with stuff. I consider him like a friend in that I tell him everything, talk to him almost more than I talk to anyone else, and he lets me rant and joke about people and other things. Not only is he like a good friend, but he's also the best father I ever could have asked for. I'm lucky for that.

Over the years my dad has always been supportive of me. He also gives really good advice, which I always ask for, because I always need at least a second opinion on everything. He's taught me the importance and meaning of hard work, love and determination. 

He's also done things that I can't even begin to express my appreciation for. 

My fiancé has never met his own father, which used to be a sensitive subject for him. However, since he's become part of my family he really looks up to my father and sees him as his own. My dad has always been kind and supportive toward my fiancé, which I think has kind of put some trust toward father figures back into my fiancé. When we first started dating he didn't think he wanted children because his father walked out on him. Now he wants to be a father like mine, and other men in his life, and do right in the world.

My dad is a great role model.

It would be crazy to think that a simple blog post could put into words how much my dad has done for me throughout my life. It would be crazy to put into words how much he means to me and how much I think about him every day. But I do. He's silly, he's annoying, he's a hard worker, he's loving....he's my dad. And he's my hero. I think fondly on the times he took me on trips with him in his semi truck, the phone calls that run over an hour, and the nights we spend listening to country music. I'll always hold on to those memories.

Happy Father's Day to the best daddy in the world. I love you and I'll always be a daddy's girl. Thank you for always being there for me.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

And We're Gonna Get Married...

We set a date.

After being engaged for six months, we set a date. It took us a while to get to this point because we realized one horrifying fact: Weddings are expensive. It won't take long for you to hunt down the statistic that the average cost of a wedding right now is $30,000. Well, with my student debt and the fact that we just started our careers...we don't exactly have anything close to that just lying around. So we thought we'd wait it out, maybe be able to save a chunk of change, and we could get hitched -- party and all.

Well, after browsing countless wedding sites, talking to family and friends, and most importantly, talking to each other, Chris and I decided the most important thing is the fact that we're marrying each other. After being together for more than five years and living together for two of those, we're ready for the next step. We're ready to be married. So we put our dreams of a fancy DJ and trinket guest favors aside, and decided on a much simpler occasion.

And we were finally able to set a date because of it.

We're getting married this October at a local chapel venue, which has a gazebo, chapel and beautiful grounds. The grounds will have orange and yellow trees by then, and our town thrives in fall. Literally. We even have a fall festival in town that weekend that brings in more than 100,000 people annually. We chose that weekend for the specific date, and because fall, in this town, is absolutely incredible. We've already started dreaming about our anniversary falling around this time of year, every year, for the rest of our lives, and the celebrations we can have with our children and grandchildren; seeing decorated pumpkins on the courthouse lawn and watching the big parade. It's small town life at its finest, and we love it.

So how are we cutting costs? Our ceremony will be incredibly simple, short and sweet at the gazebo, with less than 25 guests. We'll have an iPod hooked up for our music. We were also able to book a photographer I absolutely love. Our ceremony will be so small and intimate, he gave us a great deal.

Finally, our reception. Usually this is the bank buster, but not for us. We opted to rent a room at a local restaurant. The decor not only fits our fall theme, with dark colors and some twinkle lights, but the food is good, too. We can bring in a cake and hook up our iPod. And considering how important music is to me, you can bet I'll be carefully selecting each and every song for the evening. We also plan to rent an arch. We'll decorate it and set it up in the corner for photo opps. We plan to invite a few extra friends to the reception, which should bring our total number of guests to a whopping 40. Considering I'm one of few people who has less than 100 friends on Facebook, it wasn't difficult for us to determine who is really important to us.

This obviously cuts our cost quite a bit, but it also ensures we have time to devote to each and every person, especially those who are coming from across the country just for our big day. By making it intimate, we can show each and every person how much we appreciate their time and how much they mean to us. 

Other things, like outfits and flowers, aren't too big of a deal to us. Yes, we want them, and we are excited about them, but we realize they're simply details. This is a day we are going to remember for the rest of our lives, and we want to remember it as one we spent laughing, smiling and crying with family and friends, not one that forced our marriage to start in extreme debt. I think we've made the right choice for us.

How did you save on your big day?