Financial, Personal, and Professional Growth

I just spent a little time reading some of my past posts on this site.  It’s amazing how much has changed since I began this endeavor, and yet much remains the same. 

I still have credit card debt, but I’m making progress towards eliminating it, and I paid off one of my student loans earlier this week (hooray!).  Matt has some debt of his own, but it’s much less significant than mine, and we’re working on a plan to pay that off together. 

Between wedding gifts of cash, holiday money, tax refund, and our meager bonuses, Matt and I have managed to save nearly $10,000 since we said ‘I do’ in October.  We need to invest some of that money into our house if we’re going to list it within the next month, but hopefully we’ll be able to unload it for more than we put in, and perhaps even make a bit of a profit.

Before the wedding, I had a minor case of cold feet and some serious money/role issues, but I’m happy to report that my feet warmed nicely in the weeks preceding the wedding, and I feel silly about ever writing about my breadwinner hang-ups.  I’m not saying that getting married magically resolved my psychological issues, but putting my concerns into words and getting immediate feedback from readers was hugely cathartic.  What I have come to realize is that this is no such thing as a ‘normal’ American household.  Matt and I are finding our own way and figuring out how to make it work for us.  We’re a team and that’s all that matters.

I wish I could write more about what’s going on at work - its providing fantastic case studies for my students (I’m still teaching evening classes at a local university), but I’m afraid to put anything that may identify me or my workplace on the interweb, especially since more budget (and likely job) cuts are coming down the pipe.  I will say that our marketing department is in crisis mode - all hands are on deck - crafting new savings recovery messaging for each of our many audiences.  Employers are worried that their employees aren’t going to be prepared for retirement.  Retirement plan participants and individual investors are (surprisingly) already past the freaking-out stage and have accepted the reality of this market - they are looking for solid advice and strategies that answer the question everyone’s asking: “what now?”  Advisers are getting back to basics and are trying to convince their clients who bailed for treasuries and bank CDs that now is the time to get back into the market and that stocks are on sale.   Banks are trying to figure out where they can invest all of the cash that’s rushing through their doors for a hint of a profit, and good old MBS (mortgage backed securities) are the institutional investment of choice.

Concerns about job security and worries about some strained work relationships are the things that keep me awake at night lately.  In the past year I’ve learned so much about corporate politics, strategic planning, and the value that smart marketing can bring an organization.  I recently discovered Cy Wakeman’s “reality-based leadership” theory and have been working on putting my own ego and career aspirations aside in order to be a more helpful strategic partner.  I’m hopeful that my eagerness to take on some extremely challenging projects at work will be enough to secure my job through this trough.

In other news, I’m further diversifying my sources of income through a bit of consulting work.  I’ve been doing some pro bono strategic planning with a couple of non-profit boards I’m on, and recenlty an actual for-profit organization offered to pay me for my services.  Matt’s been doing some freelance graphic design work as well, and we’re thinking about finally writing a business plan and launching our own markeitng and business consulting firm.  We’ll see.

What personal, household, or career break-throughs have you experienced as a result of our current ‘economic downturn’? 

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BankerGirl Updates

I’ve recently received a few requests for updates via email and am feeling guilty for my absence.  Here’s the latest on me and mine:

Marriage: better than expected

I’m happy to report that the wedding went extremely well and Matt and I are happily married.   Marriage hasn’t changed our relationship much, but I do feel that it’s cemented our commitment to each other in a way that brings me a certain simultaneous joy and peace.  An unexpected benefit: having a “husband” makes me feel a bit more legitimate in identifying myself as adult, which means I’m more open to taking on other kinds of responsibilities.  

Work: lucky to have a job

Matt and I have both managed to hold onto our jobs, in spite of recent reorganizations and layoffs.  I’m still working in marketing for a Fortune 500 financial services firm, and my organization is doing what it can to weather the current storm.  It hasn’t been pretty - the past six weeks have been especially brutal - but the recent market activity has kept me on my toes.  We’ve had to be responsive to the press, The Hill, and the analysts, which is giving me an opportunity to illustrate how I provide value to our organization.   I won’t be getting a raise this year (all salaries were frozen back in November), but I’m feeling extremely fortunate to still have support staff and a budget at this point. 

Home: thinking about a move

We live in a charming little brick and stucco Tudor, which I bought back in March of 2006 with a five-year ARM at 5.85%.  We started shopping banks to refinance into a 30-year-fixed mortgage, and ended up looking new houses.  Long story short, we’re thinking of building a new house.  I question the prudence of this decision, especially considering that one (or both) of us could potentially be unemployed at any time, but it’s also an excellent time for us to make a move.  Mortgages are cheap, builders need work, and materials are on sale.  We want to build a smallish home that is more energy efficient, but first we have to sell the one we have.  As I type this entry, my husband and a friend are putting in a new patio door (finally!). 

Finances: stagnant

The wedding was a big expense at an inopportune time (right before the market collapsed), but I’m still teaching and trying to save when I can.  I haven’t made any real headway on my debt for awhile, and I haven’t calculated my net worth since my 401(k) lost 60% of its value, but I’m not creating new debt, so I suppose the battle isn’t entirely lost. 

So, that’s the quick-and-dirty.  I’ll provide more information on how the wedding budget turned out and the housing situation in upcoming posts.

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Personal Update & New (Satirical) Topics in Retirement Planning

Due to the current market conditions (Aside to new readers - I work as a marketer for a Fortune 500 financial services firm), I’ve been putting in some pretty long days at the office over the couple of weeks.  That hasn’t left much time for wedding planning or blogging.

This is what I’ve been up to lately - in 300 words or less:

Wedding

Evidently, I’m getting married in two weeks. 

Matt and I still have a lot to do before we say “I do”.  This weekend we’ll be finalizing the menu, printing our programs, putting together the playlist for cocktail hour, and cleaning (the combination of the afore mentioned long work days and the stream of wedding-related package deliveries has left my house in ruins - my dining room is like an obstacle course).

And if a bailout deal is hammered out over the weekend, I’ll also be spending even more time at the office. 

Work

Thanks to recent market volatility, many workers between the ages of 60-65 who planned on retiring in 2008 or 2009 are reconsidering.  Earlier this week, I was in a brainstorming session for a marketing piece on delaying retirement.  Here’s a list of some of the titles we decided against:

Why Working Until Age 98 Isn’t So Bad”

“Second Careers for Seniors”

Headlines considered on the topic of stretching retirement savings:

“How to Guilt Your Children into Asking You to Move In With Them”

“The Art of Panhandling in Retirement”

“Supplementing Your Retirement Income Through Roadside Recycling Programs”

We also discussed the social correctness of lobbying against the development of pharmaceuticals and advances in medical technology intended to increase longevity.

Maybe you need to be in the industry to find that last bit funny, but I thought it was hilarious (and a little sad) at the time.  

Have a satirical market- or retirement-related article idea?  Include it in the comments and I’ll share it with my colleagues!

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Things that make you go hmm

I don’t intend to appear ungrateful, but I just have to relate the following:

The RSVPs for the wedding are coming in.  One of my family members checked “declines with regret” on the response card, and enclosed a personal check. 

No note or personal message written anywhere on the card.

Just a check made out to “Mr. and Mrs. Matt HisLastName.”

Is this a common practice? 

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3 Sanity-saving wedding planning tips for soon-to-be brides

Our wedding is now just one month out, and I’m feeling pretty good about where we are with our planning. 

It’s taken a while for me to get to this place.

I really wanted to be a different kind of bride - I had fantasies of being a cool, laid-back anti-bride, but there have been moments when I’ve let a bit of bridezilla creep out. For example, immediately after my best friend’s wedding in August, I had a bit of a meltdown (there’s just so much to do!).  And when someone in my wedding party asked me a question I wasn’t prepared to answer, I actually cried (So out of character!).  And just this week I snapped at my mother while she was advising me on the whole program/menu thing (don’t even get me started on this one).  

To all of those I have been snippy or sassy towards in the past several weeks, I apoligize.

A few days ago I had a moment of zen, and I came up with the following mantras to help me keep my sanity (and hopefully less catty) during the final four weeks until we say ‘I do.’

1. Don’t be afraid to delegate

I can be a bit of a control freak, but after interviewing three different caterers, I came to the conclusion that food service people are just too flaky for me.  Matt and I created a draft of what we wanted the menu to look like, then we turned all food-related responsibilities (from the hors d’oeuvres to the late-night s’mores) to my mom. 

Similarly, my future mother-in-law has taken the lead on the bouquets for the wedding and centerpieces for the reception.  She volunteered, and I happily accepted. 

It’s been such a relief to have these details off my plate, and I’m pretty sure that our moms are really happy about being able to help.

2. Your delegates are not your employees

If you have no problem with number one, then number 2 may be a bit more of a challenge.  I found out in a hurry that I cannot treat my moms and fiance like they work for me.  At the office it’s my job to create artificial deadlines and make decisions without soliciting feedback from every team member with an opinion.  At home I have to be much more sensitive to other’s feelings and schedules.

The lesson here: once you have delegated a task, you have to trust the person you’ve selected as your proxie and let it go.

3. Pick your battles

The biggest surprise for me in this whole wedding planning thing is how engaged Matt has been in the wedding planning process.  I knew my mom would have opinions, but my future husband also felt pretty strongly about a few things that I may have done differently if left on my own. 

So, he gets his live band and expensive photographer, I get a fancy dress and a man who loves me in spite of myself.  Not a bad deal.

Got any other tips to help a soon-to-be bride keep her cool?  Please leave them in the comments section below.

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Carnival of Personal Finance at BankerGirl

I’ve been unforgivably absent from the personal finance blogosphere lately.  In between planning the wedding, launching a new initiative at work, and teaching I haven’t had much time to read all of the great content my contemporaries are putting out there.   Hosting the 169th Carnival of Personal Finance has been a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up on what other bloggers are publishing.

Here are the highlights from this week’s batch of submissions:

BankerGirl’s Picks

Not the Jet Set proves that it really is who you know in Extravagantly Frugal - Friends in High Places.

In Forget About Tipping After Service, j.money at Budgets are Sexy suggests that we should tip your waiter prior to dinner.  Interesting concept, but those who always tip a straight 10% regardless of service would be in for a rude awakening when their water goblet is no longer promptly refilled.

This piece by Eden at Finance and Fat clearly articulates why it’s so difficult to stay the course.  All things that require discipline get boring or stale at some point, and Eden offers some great ideas for pushing through the monotony.

I really admire Bob at ChristianPF - he’s in the process of converting his car to a water-powered hybrid.  This post includes photos and links to a related video.  Sweet!

Retirement

Quest For Four Pillars - 4% Rule Revisited - I want a raise!  I have been interviewing financial advisors who specialize in wealth distributing strategies - there is a certain segment of financial professionals who agree with the approach recommended in this submission.

Moolanomy -  Should you delay your social security benefits?  Here Pinyo makes a case for not putting off taking social security benefits.  He makes some good points, but as commenters point out, there are situations when it makes sense to be thoughtful about when you choose to take your government-administrated pension.

Money and Such - Over-Contributing to Your 401(k).  I congratulate those of you who are contibuting to the extent where this may be a concern.

Harvesting Dollars - Do You Really Think You’ll Spend Less in Retirement?  I know that the corporate assumptions at my firm are asking pre-retirees to plan to save enough so that they can spend at least 80% of their pre-retirement income once they reach benefit event (retirement).  Based on lifestyle choices (more travel, purchase of second home), retirees may spend more annually after they retire.

Tight Fisted Miser - How Much Should You Save for Retirement?  My answer to this question: as much as you possibly can.

Retired at 47 - 5 Easy Steps to Kick Start Your Retirement.  If you’re thinking about retiring, this is very good advice.  I would add “create a budget and try to live on it” to this list.  Living on your retiree income for several months prior to leaving full-time employment can provide some relief to retiree budget anxiety.

Investing

Cash Money Life (guest post by Hank) - Top Eight Characteristics of a Great Mutual Fund. Good advice for those getting started with investing.

Steadfast Finances - Why Index Funds are Bad Investments.  A different point of view on a type of investment vehicle that’s gained favor with several PF bloggers.

Dividends4Life - Inverted Yield on Cost Curve.  If you can use this ratio to accurately predict which stocks are bargains and which are just plain troubled, you may be the next Warren Buffet.

Dividend Growth Investor - Introduction to Currency ETFs.  Interested in foreign currency investments?  Check out this piece on FOREX.

Saving & Budgeting

Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck - How Saving is Like Football.  Love this analogy.  

Prime Time Money - How to save like a madman.  Fun take on serious savings.

Squawkfox - 50 Ways to Save $1000 a Year.  The Fox provides a ton of ideas to help readers sock away cash.

Think Your Way to Wealth - 25 Smart Budget and Money Saving Tips for College Students.  Several of these tactics can be utilized by anyone living on a tight budget.

Living Well on Less - Working an unexpected raise into the budget.  My solution to this “problem”: pretend it never happened by increasing 401(k) contributions and having the rest direct deposited to emergency savings.

Can I Get Rick on A Salary - The Lady Whose $50,000 Emergency Fund Wasn’t Enough?  I found this to be a good reminder that standard financial perscriptive formulas don’t work for every situation. 

Real Estate

Millionaire Mommy Next Door - Fannie Falls Down and Freddie Comes Following After.  How Can We Pick Up the Pieces?  I agree with the ‘coffee conclusions’ in this piece and wonder if our national appetite for consumption will ever taper off?

Miss Thrifty - Dream home: a girl can drool, can’t she?  I have been lusting after a $1.8 million tudor near my neighborhood for years, so I can totally relate to this post from across the pond. 

My Dollar Plan - Myth Busted: $7,500 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit is Not a Credit.  This is helpful information for people thinking about buying a home because of the ‘credit.’

Banking & Loans

No Debt Plan - A Six Step Guide to Asking for Fee Forgiveness.  Great advice for first-time fee offenders.

My Two Dollars - Qualifying for a Mortgage as a Freelancer - An Exercise in Patience.  Takes a look at the challenges of qualifying for a mortgage without regular, varifiable income in today’s lending environment.

Student Scrooge - Student Checking Account Options.  Students can get great deals as banks try to build relationships with young clients.

Blueprint for Financial Prosperity - Top 5 Online Banks.  Jim lists five banks that are paying over 3% on savings accounts! 

SoCal Savvy - The 1950’s house wife.  Sadly, the experience SoCal relates doesn’t surprise me at all.  Love her husband’s response.

Be This Way - Shame on You, Citibank.  I hate reading about banks taking advantage of customers, and here’s another example. 

Greener Pastures: Personal Finance - Credit Scores: How They Are Determined May Surprise You.  I learned something new about FICO by reading this post.

Frugality

Chicago: Cheap! - Is your thrift costing you money? A lesson in practical frugality.

Learning the Ropes - Frugality is not about being cheap, it’s about the choice! Another look at frugality and value.

Living Almost Large - Why aren’t we honest? Advocates more financial transparancy in our relationships.

The Wisdom Journal - 3 Money Decision Traps and How to Avoid Them. This piece reminded me of my college debate team.  Oh, the mental games we play.

Free Money Finance - One Thing I Want My Kids to Know About Money. Wish I would have been more mindful of this one thing in my 20’s.

Family Matters

MiB Smarter Money - My Friend Just Got Offered $290k to Work In Iraq, Would You? A look at the tradeoffs we make (or don’t make) for money.

Sound Money Matters - Don’t Fight About Finances: How Couples Should Talk About Money.  A nice reminder for me as my wedding is less than five weeks away.

Money Smart Life - Joint Checking Accounts for Married Couples: The Great Debate Over Joint vs. Separate Bank Accounts. The debate in my house rages on…

Free From Broke - What We’re Doing to Adjust to One Income.  A glimpse at what one couple is doing as they go to a single household income.

Gather Little By Little - Teen Money Management Mistakes. Sounds like a lot of adults I know!

FiveCentNickel - How Much Should You Pay a Babysitter?   Sitters have come a long way since I was watching kids for $3 an hour.        

Career

The Digerati Life - Best Company to Work For: Money and Perks Like No Other. Google has been number one on Fortune’s Best Place to Work list for years - this piece explains why.

Everyday Finance - Top 10 Places to Work for New Grads in 2008. Find out where the jobs are for this year’s grads.

Funny About Money - What’s an Intellectual Worker’s Real Overhead? Do you include your education in your overhead calculations?

Potluck

The Red Stapler Chronicles - It’s the Energy, Stupid. The title of this piece says it all.

Frugal Fu - Discourse from the Throne: Thoughts on Toilet Paper.  Another great title - and a thoughtful post about t.p.

Mighty Bargain Hunter - Why does my 10-ounce silver bar weigh more than 10 ounces? When is an ounce not an ounce?

Blue Jeans Millionaire - All That Glitterstakes a look at gold hysteria.

Amateur Asset Allocator - The Best Financial Advice I Ever Received and  How I’ve Applied It. Good advice for everyone starting out (or ending up).

Broke Grad Student - Tackle Half Dome, Tackle Life, Tackle Debt. Lovely piece about how physical challenges can help one tackle emotional ones.

The Happy Rock - What is Your Purchase Personality? Right now I feel like I’m on full spend - what about you?

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Thanks for visiting BankerGirl - if you’d like to know more about me, please explore my archives or check out The Best of BankerGirl.

The Carnival of Personal Finance is currently looking for Q4 2008 hosts.  Be sure to check out next week’s carnival at The Personal Financier.

51 Comments

Spending From Savings

Matt and I have spent the last year or so saving for our wedding.  We’ve deposited our bonuses and tax returns, socked away our “extra” paychecks, and saved all cash gifts for the last 14 months.  Now the wedding is about six weeks away, and we’re tapping into our coffers to pay for the associated expenses.

It sucks.

Every time I have to transfer money from my savings account to pay a wedding-related bill, my heart breaks a bit.

And yet this is exactly what we’ve been saving for. 

I have rejoiced in seeing the balances of our savings accounts go up, up, up.  The next time I log onto my ING savings account, the numbers won’t fill me with joy - instead they’ll be a reminder of the trade-offs I’ve been willing to make to have a certain kind of wedding.

I hope that when this is all over, I’ll look back on the photographs (the very expensive photographs) and think to myself ‘it was all worth it.’  My mind is still reconciling the fact that we’ve basically made a choice between having a great party with of our friends and family vs. having a new deck and fridge

I can talk myself into an appliance or pair of shoes that’s a good value, but I’m having a more difficult time with the wedding and honeymoon.  For those of you who have gone from spendthrift to frugal (or have always been the saving type), how do you decide when it’s ok to spend your savings on an experience?

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Simple & cheap ways to prepare summer vegetables

Midwest farmers suffered through a rough spring, but the past two months have been ideal for growing things.  Our CSA shares started out small, but we’re now getting more vegetables than we can eat in a week. Here’s what I’m doing with the vegetables in my weekly share.

Lettuce

Naturally, lettuce makes great salads - my favorite is a BLAT salad (also works on a sandwich).  Start with a big bed of greens, top with a bit of homemade balsamic vinaigrette, add some crumbled bacon, sliced avocado, and chopped tomato.  Finish with lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Serve with warm, crusty bread. 

Tomatoes

Red, ripe tomatoes are a treat this time of year.  I have been known to eat an entire garden fresh tomato with nothing more than some salt and pepper, and of course there’s the classic BLT, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes is in caprese salad.  It’s super-easy to make and so refreshing. 

On a large plate, alternate slices of fresh whole-milk mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and sliced, ripe tomato.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and finish with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.  Serve with crostini or grilled slices of French bread.

I also make raw tomato pasta dish with Neman Ranch Italian sausage.  Prepare penne according to the directions, reserve a little pasta water.  Toss hot pasta with chopped heirloom tomatoes, fresh torn basil, and the reserved pasta water (if I have red peppers, I’ll blister them on the grill and add those to the ‘sauce’ as well).  Add salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese, top with grilled sausage slices, and enjoy. 

Potatoes

I love to cook potatoes on the grill.  We’ve been getting small, yellow-skinned potatoes in our share lately.  To prepare these, I simply scrub well, slice (leavings skins on), and throw in a buttered aluminum foil packet with sliced onions, salt, and pepper.  Grill sealed packet for 20-30 minutes and enjoy.  Don’t care for onion?  Try sprinkling the potatoes with dry ranch dressing and dill.  Yum!

Green Beans

My favorite recipe that features green beans is from my mom. Place a few strips of chopped bacon into a large frying pan with fresh green beans and sliced onions.  When the onions are translucent and the bacon is done, add a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Cook for another minute or so, remove from heat, hit beans with a bit of salt and pepper, and serve.

Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, and Broccoli

Matt is a huge fan of Asian-influenced dishes.  I make a simple stir-fry by marinating diced chicken breast in soy sauce and lime juice (I just refrigerate it in a Ziploc bag for an hour or so).  Cook marinated chicken in a large, hot oiled skillet or wok.  Add carrots, peas, broccoli, water chestnuts, and onions to pan and cook until veggies are crisp-tender (add the veggies in this order: carrots first, then the onions, then the others).  I create a sauce out of whatever I have in my fridge - typically some combination of a few of the following:  oyster sauce, honey, teriyaki, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, peanut sauce, lemon or lime juice, rice vinegar, Thai chili sauce, hoison sauce, etc.

Other ideas

At the end of the week, if we still have lots of veggies sitting around the house - I’ll chop them up, drizzle them with olive oil, top with salt, pepper, parmesan, and fresh herbs (any herb will do - dill, thyme, parsley) - and then roast them on a jellyroll pan.   This works especially well for eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, onions, potatoes, and firm tomatoes.

Another easy way to use up vegetables is to make a giant pot of soup.  I’ll buy some tomato juice and dump it in a large pot (I don’t have enough tomatoes, or I might consider canning my own juice), add potatoes, corn, beans, peas, peppers, onions, celery, carrots, salt & pepper, and simmer slowly for a few hours (this is a great crock-pot dish).  You can also add beef, barley, noodles, or rice to the mix.  If there are extra greens in the house (kale or spinach), I’ll add them right before serving. 

Freezing is another possibility.  We don’t currently have a deep freeze, so we’re limited on what we can ‘put up’ - but our freezer does contain some corn and homemade tomato sauce.  Canning is also a great option if you’ve got the time and storage space.  When I was young, my mom and grandmothers canned everything from peaches to tomatoes to green beans - and I remember freezing tons of corn and strawberry jam.  Maybe I’m just too lazy, or perhaps I’m lacking the Suzy-homemaker gene, but I’ve yet to be tempted to take a stab at canning or freezing huge quantities on my own. 

Waste

I’d love to say that we never waste our CSA share, but I would be lying.  I threw out turnips early in the season because there were just too many, and neither Matt nor I much care for beets (we’ve been meaning to give them to his mom, but have forgotten week after week). 

Have any favorite summer vegetable recipies? Please share them in the comments section below.

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Newsflash: Weddings are a lot of work

I haven’t been nearly as active here as I would like to be, and for that I apologize.  I have been caught off-gaurd by the amount of time and energy it takes to pull one of these wedding things together.  We’ve spent the last few weeks making lots of plans, and it looks like it’s going to be nothing but craziness right up until the blessed event (which is exactly two months from today - ack!).

My best friend was married last weekend and her celebration was fun and beautiful - and a reminder of just how much Matt and I still have to do.  Outstanding deliverables include: reserve the rentals, create programs, choose readings, decide what we’re going to do about music during the ceremony, find a couple of bartenders - oh, the list goes on and on.

I’ve helped my friends and sisters plan weddings, and have been to countless others, so I should have anticipated the effort that goes into one.  I am a planner in my professional life: I have planned everything from new product launches to formal fundraising dinners for 200 - I thought that a wedding would be a walk in the park compared to these.

Boy, was I wrong. 

What I didn’t consider was that the events leading up to the wedding also require planning and orchestration.  This isn’t just a simple ceremony - it’s a multi-day event.

Between the showers and bachelorette party, meetings with the officiant and a couple’s counselor, and appointments with the hairdresser and the caterer -  it’s all I can do to keep my mind focused on work .  It doesn’t help that my job has also been extremely demanding as of late (oh, and I’m teaching one night a week, too).

I don’t mean to complain - we recognize that we’re really fortunate to have so many family and friends who want to celebrate with us.  But as the date approaches, it’s easy to see why people elope or do a simple town hall wedding with the justice of the peace. 

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if it’s too late to hire an event planner.

A question for all of you ‘smug marrieds’ out there: what’s the one element of your wedding that could have been skipped, simplified, or shortened?  At this point, I’m open to any suggestion that might reduce my stress level or bring clarity to the process.  I’ve already started a spreadsheet checklist to organize the chaos in my brain.  Do you have any other ideas?

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AC/DC, Neil Diamond, or Dexy’s Midnight Runner? - You Make the Call

Our wedding is less than 10 weeks away and we still have a lot of loose ends to tie up before we say “I do.”  We’ve finally settled on a caterer (someone from my hometown) and we’ll be finalizing the menu in the next couple of days.  I’ll post the whole thing - complete with budget - once it’s been confirmed.

We’re currently in the process of designing our wedding invitations, and it’s been more challenging than I could have imagined.  After weeks of pouring over various invite language, I think we’ve finally settled on something that sounds like us and yet isn’t too informal for the occasion.

The next big thing on our “to do” list is to firm up the set list for the band.  We’ve selected the song for our first dance, and we’ve put together an i-pod compilation of our favorite music for the cocktail hour, but we’re struggling on our dance tune requests for the rest of the reception.  We know what we don’t want played (The Macarena comes to mind), but I’m not sure what people dance to these days . 

If Matt had his way, the set list would consist of mostly Beck and The Pixies, and I’m more of a Ben Folds kinda girl - but I don’t think that this is the stuff that guests will shake their booties to.  I’m thinking of a mix of 80’s favorites with a few country songs thrown in for the benefit of my dad and sisters, but I don’t have anything specific in mind.

So, once again, I am turning to my readers for advice - what gets you up out of your chair and onto the dance floor?   Post your favorite dance tunes in the comments section below and I’ll forward your suggestions to our wedding band.

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24 Comments