Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My little bride elves...

image from here

The wedding is... wait for it... 68 days away!! YIKES!! That means the PhD defense is 58 days away... OMG!! Ya, some things have GOT to get done asap!! I have been feeling a bit like a drunk Santa these days... my thoughts about gifts are blurred by the intoxication that is finishing a thesis, planning a wedding, and oh ya, training for a marathon (honest, more to come on that soon!). I can't keep track of which little kids have been good this year, and which ones deserve coal in their wedding-sock! Every time I go to talk to my elves about who's been naughty or nice, I seem to be nursing a hangover... I need to splash some water on my face, gargle with some Scope, and get on with things... I have got to make a list and check it twice...

OK, we know for sure that my girls have been nice... these bridesmaids have been my saving grace, mostly on an emotional level since they live 3 hrs away and aren't exactly involved in the planning process. I have told you about the photo books I plan on giving them... well, the second part (not sure how many parts their will be in the end...) I have been swooning over for quite some time... say hello to Jewels of Luxury!! Shout out to etsy... the ultimate elf headhunter!!
(all images are from the etsy store... check it out!)

I found these amazing vintage timepieces-turned jewellery that I knew I had to give to my girls... to me, these vintage watch-rings signify our years together. The time between the four of us is like gold, and I wanted to give the girls a piece that resembled our years together... these vintage timepieces really spoke of history, years, countless memories... plus, let's face, they are edgy and different!! I hope the girls will love them as much as I do! The three rings are for, in order, by sister and maid of honour, my cousin and bridesmaid P-ah, and my cousin and bridesmaid JB.

The next name on the list (ok... let's face it, he is right up at there at the top of the list!!) is of course my man! I had really hoped to be able to find a way to afford him a gorgeous Tag watch... they are his favorite!! But let's face it, after 10 years in university ladies, the purse strings are tight enough to suspend an overweight tight-rope walker carrying huge buckets of water!! I simply can NOT afford a $2-3000 watch!! So, I was hoping that the vintage charm of these cuff links will show him my intent, and look down right sexy on our wedding day! Yes, these cuff links will be part of his wedding-day-present, in honour of his Tag watch that he will get as soon as I can afford it, and also in representation of our journey, because, as we say, for us it was all about timing!!

And since we're shopping, I know that these cuff links are the PERFECT gift for my brother-in-law, who is our DJ, catering equipment guy (he works in restaurant equipment sales and is hooking us up HUGE with dishes, etc... to save us major $$), our slide show mixer, general go-to guy on the day of, and jokingly, our ring bearer (ok, not so jokingly... we had really wanted him to officiate for us, but in Canada this really isn't possible, so then we told him he could be our ring bearer... my nephew -his son- is a bit young for the job, but we might have him walk him down the aisle with the rings... yet to be determined!). Bottom line, he is a big help, and I know these cuff links will rock his world!!So, to recap... this etsy elf has helped me cross off portions of my man's gift, my bridesmaids gifts, and crossed off my bro-in-law gift!! Yay for me!!

What elf have you gone to when checking your list twice?? Who's been naughty and who's been nice?? Is it hard to keep track of who is getting gifts??

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remember that little trip to New Orleans

So it took a while to get the pictures together, but I have finally created a thank-you book for my mom and my sister (this one is for my sis... but it's only the first page that is different from my momma's). Check out our awesome weekend in New Orleans... oh, and ps, can you tell I am loving inkubook??

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Spiked or virgin?!?!

Signature cocktail that is!! Our wedding ceremony starts at 4:30pm, immediately followed by a cocktail hour on the deck of our lodge, leading right into dinner and dancing at 7:00pm. That leaves us a good hour to hour and a half of cocktailing (our ceremony will be no longer than an hour), and we want it to be as simple, fun, casual as possible... and one thing that makes me nervous in cocktail hours or house parties is punch bowls! I am THAT GIRL, that ALWAYS spills, dribbles, splashes red beverage over myself, a white tablecloth, or, in the worst case, white carpet! So, while these look amazing, they make me nervous... (pictures from oncewed!!)

We could have our service staff pre-pour our signature cocktail (just want to clear things up about this whole signature cocktail thing... as trendy as it is, we think 'punch' is a great way to cut costs during cocktail hour, and if we put a wedding-ish name to it, a punch becomes a signature cocktail!), which looks really great, but still seems a bit fussy for me... looks nice though! (picture also from oncewed)

So... the best solution, that I can tell, are these gorgeous drink dispensers (these pictures were found at snippet and ink, top one from here, and the second one from here)

Perfect right?? Well, I found some beauties on ebay... and while some were pretty prices (think $80-ish), I found this one for $20...

We bought two of these glass drink dispensers, one for a spiked version of the punch, and one for non-alcoholic!! Sooooo excited!! What are you doing for cocktail hour? Self service? Bar staff? Are you doing punch, or something special?

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive

image from here

Hi All!! I am a bit more upbeat today!! After my complete frustration with the flower industry, I knew I had to get creative... heh, I've been a student for 10 years, THIS I know how to do!! So, to Kijiji I went (craigslist didn't turn up a lot for me). What did I find? Well, to be honest, not a lot. Most of the flower service/wedding flowers/florist hits were for silk flowers. But, I did find one lady, Miss Karen, who works with fresh (and high quality) flowers. What I found out when I met her last night was that she used to be a big player in the flower business here in Calgary, but when she sold her shop in 2006, she had to sign a non-competition agreement... but, she is now able to work again, and compete she is doing! I sent her the correspondence from my previous consults (which I posted for your benefit too here), and of course all my inspiration photos, also found here, and she responded with this:

Bridal bouquet hand gathered and tied loose with natural look stems 1/2 wrapped with burlap and lace. Finished with silver pins.

To include:One Bloom of Kayle in purples
3 stems yoko ono mums
3 stems white spray roses
3 stems of eryngium
2 stems of misty blue
3 stems of trachellium
5 small bunches of 3 wheat stems trimmed
7 stems of lavendar
3 stems of heather
herbs of rosemary and thymeseeded euc greens
one no charge throw away bouquet

3 Bridesmaids
similar style as bride finished the same way (No Kayle)
to include:
3 stems yoko ono mums
3 stems white spray roses
2 stems eryngium
2 stems misty blue
3 bunches of 3 wheat trimmed
5 stems of lavendar2
stems of heather
herbs of rosemary and thymeseeded euc
$75 each

I supply all needed materials and I deliver everything to you at no charge. I hope I hear back from you soon. Karen Thank you for your interest.

That's a total of $335 for the EXACT SAME flowers the boutique floral shop sent me... AND she provides all materials (I was going to have to bring in the burlap and lace I wanted to wrap the bouquets in), and oh ya, a wee little throw away bouquet (which I will probably use to decorate the dessert buffet table or something!). That's HALF THE PRICE!! Ummmm, kijiji, I love you!!

I met with Karen last night, and she was great. I felt very comfortable leaving it in her hands, and I trust that she will not take advantage of me (we discussed this problem at length when I told her I was already feeling pretty jaded about the industry, so she was getting the skeptical customer... she understood completely, and told me what I needed to hear to lighten up!!). I told her I am flexible on flower choices, and if lavender or heather are going to push the budget up, let's just forget them. She told me she will try to stay under $300, and she knows her work will speak for itself.... hello referrals!! Already, I am thinking of who I can send her way!

After we met last night, she sent me this picture of a bouquet she just did... she thought I would love it...

... and I do!! It is a bit blue for my palette, but I love the texture and whimsical feel of it! What do you think??

My bottom line... ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT, and even when you feel a bit intimidated in an arena that you are not the expert, you can get what you want at the price that you can afford! Of course everything must be within reason, but when you are on a tight budget, you don't need to feel bad when you hear "$300, well, that's not a lot of money".... ya, I know, thanks WIC!! That's because I have a whole wedding to spend $$ on, and I am a budget-conscious bride!! Whatever your budget, just remember, there is always someone who will spend waaaayyyy more than you, and brides that will spend less! Your request is reasonable, and as long as you stay flexible (and more importantly, creative), your vision will become your wedding day reality, and, yes, you can do it all ON BUDGET!!

Thanks Karen! And thanks kijiji!!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

But aren't they filler flowers??

Well ladies, I have had my first major jaw-dropping wedding consult... FLOWERS?!?! I have no idea how much flowers should cost, but I do know one thing for sure... brides get SCREWED OVER!! I have been postponing the whole flower consult thing for a couple of reasons: they are NOT my priority; I know very little about flowers, so I was intimidated to go; I don't like getting screwed over by the WIC; I don't have a big budget for flowers... and even worse, I have no idea what I should have in the budget. BUT, suffice it to say, the meetings had to get started, and I had to start figuring out what I was doing about my bouquet!! I set-up two appointments in Calgary, one with an off-the-beaten-path florist, and one with a more trendy downtown florist. I came prepared... along with pictures of my dress and my girls' dresses, I brought a whack-load of floral inspiration gathered around the bridal-blogs! Of the stack I brought... this was my short list:

top row (L to R) from here, here, and here; second row (L to R) from here, here, and here; bottom row (L to R) from here, last two pictures... can you help me with the source? Sorry, these have been in my inspiration folder for so long... can't remember where they came from.

My first appointment left me pretty underwhelmed... to start, the lady doing my consult was late?? The lady who ended up sitting down with me (not the one I was supposed to meet with) was an older lady who had certainly been in the business a long time, but unfortunately I did not really connect with her. I found her educational and professional, but for some reason, I left feeling a bit let down. The quote for 4 bouquets was ~$400. Now, this where my complete lack of knowledge in this area is messing with me... I gasped at that price!! I didn't want to spend more than $300 for the 4 bouquets (you'll remember we already got our gorgeous bouts and corsages from Myra). When I asked my lady if I could get a copy of the worksheet she had filled out (with all the names of the flowers, etc.) she told me it was against store policy to do so unless I had put a deposit down... um thanks for nothing!!

OK, onwards and upwards... on to the 2nd meeting. I LOVE this flower shop... have received a few very special bouquets from here!! I immediately connected with my young, chic consult lady, and really felt that she knew what I was looking for. She had great ideas, but more importantly, she listened to my thoughts, even though I am admittedly uneducated in this arena! I was more prepared to ask questions at this meeting, and really wanted to get to the bottom of the pricing... since the first quote seemed to get pulled from thin air! She told me that they do up a detailed order sheet, add up the per stem costs, and mark-up the total by 30% for wedding orders... yup, that's right ladies, 30% more than anyone else would pay because why?? Because we're brides, and we should pay more?!?! When I asked her for a guess-timate, she told me she couldn't off the top of her head, but she would send me a quote in a few hours. She reassured me though, since most of the flowers I wanted were "filler flowers" (her words, not mine), it wouldn't be very expensive. No callas, peonies, hydrangeas, orchids, etc... yes, ladies, I want filler flowers!! Here are the details we worked through (which she sent me with her quote, copy and pasted directly from her email):

Bridal Bouquet
Style of Bouquet: posy, gathered-look of ‘wild flowers’, loose structure.
Colour of Bouquet: More purple/blue flowers than white to contrast bride’s gown.
Bouquet to include: yoko ono mums, misty blue, trachellium (purple),
white spray flowers (only white flower in bouquet), single kale (purple veins), eryngium (blue sea holly), lavender, heather, herbs (such as rosemary), seeded eucalyptus, wheat (bunches of three, trimmed) a bit of greenery.
Open-stems (approx. 2” at bottom). Stems wrapped in burlap with lace details and finished with silver pushpins.
Bride will be bringing in burlap and lace for stem wrapping.
Price: $195.00
Bridesmaids Bouquets (3)
Style of Bouquet: same as Bridal bouquet, but smaller scale.
Colour of Bouquet: More white flowers to contrast the bridesmaids’ gowns.
Bouquets to include: Same flowers as bridal bouquet, but no kale, no trachellium.
Open-stems (approx. 2” at bottom). Stems wrapped in burlap WITHOUT lace details and finished with silver pushpins.
Price: 3@ $140.00
Total for Flowers $645.75 (GST inc.)

Ummm, what?? $650 for herbs, wheat, and filler flowers?!?! REALLY?? OK, well, at least the $25 consult fee got me the list of flowers right?? Because I definitely do NOT have $650 in the budget for bouquets!! Where to next?? Craigslist!! I MUST think outside the box, and find someone who will work with me to create flower bouquets, NOT wedding bouquets... because apparently there is a big difference!! Any other suggestions on how to get these bouquets done for a more reasonable price??

help!! please!!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Rock it out!!

If I was a rocker-chic bride I would...

... have a dramatic e-session with balloons and hobo-circus inspired attire

... wear a killer black t-shirt to my rehearsal

... drive myself to my own reception in a rockin pick-up

... then take decidedly chic portraits in that same pick-up

... I would build a pyramid with my best mates... with me on top of course ;)

... I would definitely rock the bloomers, and jump real high so everyone could seem them

and most importantly, if I were a rocker chic bride...
... I would dance till I was good and sweaty!!

all photos from here

To see all the amazement of this wedding, run, don't walk, over to Josh Goleman's site!! I was first directed to this site by Snippet and Ink (PS... thanks for the directions... this was amazing!!)

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bridezilla... or assertive customer??

from here

Help!! I am worried I am turning into that bride!! Here's the situation: I have been convo-ing a certain etsy seller for the past couple of weeks in regards to some custom attire pieces for our wedding party (I don't want to throw this seller under the bus, as I am assuming it will all work out in the end), and she has been very good... timely responses, thorough answers to my questions, etc. etc. I have purchased from her in the past (non-wedding related), and have had no complaints... great product, quick shipping, overall I've been satisfied.

BUT, now I am nervous. She last convo-d me on May 29th (back and forth communication leading up to this last one was daily, up to, at most, 2 days between my email and hers). She sent me the final colors (she was doing a color match) for me to review, and when I expressed a bit of concern, but overall satisfaction (I convo-d her back the same day), it seemed to hit a black hole... NOTHING?!?! Hello etsy seller, where are you?? I heard nothing back from her. So 7 days later, I sent a follow up email, very polite, stating that I hadn't heard from her and just wanted to touch base to see where we were at with the listing... that was June 6th... NOTHING?!?! OK, seriously, WHERE ARE YOU??

Here's the issue I am suffering with... I told my sis about this, and she said "email her again... and again... and again until she gets back to you... you're a bride, you can do that!". Well, ok, so far I haven't had to pull out the bride card (well, between you and I, things got a bit heated over my invite envelope printing when they screwed that up, and the bride might have shown her face a bit). When things haven't gone totally smoothly (and trust me, in the early days, we hit some very rough terrain in dealing with our venue), I stayed calm (in front of them at least), and assertively worked to amend the situation. I really do NOT want to be a bridezilla! I work very hard to not let other people's lack of attention/care/foresight/etc., set off a bridezilla-esque tantrum... thanks Eckhart Tolle. BUT, I am, on a day-to-day basis, a very assertive customer. I expect a level of service from the people who are in the customer-service business (makes sense right??). The old adage "the customer is always right" is something that tends to get lost (we live in an oil city, and the quality of service has been pathetic... but the recession has started to turn things around), but as an assertive (and paying) customer, we should get what we want.

So, this is my dilemma... do I continue to send emails, or even start making demands... or do I trust that she has something going on, and that she will get back to me at her earliest convenience? This is custom work getting done, and while our wedding is still 2.5 months away, I need to know this stuff is getting taken care of. But, most importantly, I need this off my list, so that I can move on to the next item!! What would you guys do??

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today is all about blog-loving!!

SERIOUSLY, you MUST head STRAIGHT over to the Broke Ass Bride's site, and then to her photogs blog... no seriously... go now!! These are photos to dream about now and forever!! And I am not even the bride!! These are just a few of my favorites... but seriously, I could have put them ALL up here!! (All photos from CHENNERGY WEDDINGS) CONGRATS to Dana and Hunter... and thank-you for sharing your magic!!

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Smack it!!

I just found this awesome site via a comment thread over at Green Wedding Shoes (another one of my fav wedding blogs!), and boy am I glad I did. Her name is Donna, and her blog's name is Shiny Happy Weddings. A bride who loves old school innocent fun as much as I do... yup, I dig this girl!! Feast your eyes:

Can't you just imagine taking a blind smack at a pinata to get the party started?!?! LOVE IT!! This would be a great way to relieve any wedding day stresses that you weren't easily able to brush off... you know, like a drunken best-man speech, or hot soup served luke warm, or your mother in law greeting your guests like it was her own wedding... yup... smack that pinata and I bet the stresses would just melt away!!

Here's another great shot from Donna's blog... dontcha just love the whimsy in these colorful flags?
And speaking of Green Wedding Shoes, today Jen did an awesome post about one of my favorite topics... bridesmaid dresses of the non-matching varieties... My favorite pic from her post is shown below!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Which way to the... table?!

Seating charts... wait!! Don't leave!! I know this isn't the most glamorous of topics, and probably one of the biggest hassles of wedding planning (especially since it haunts us as the days tick away, when our weddings our just around the corner!), BUT, I am determined to at least make this creative, if not fun!!

Our wedding in the mountains is nothing too formal, uppity, or glamorous. It is really a weekend for family fun, and a little deal called a wedding ceremony. While stationary and calligraphy make my heart melt, let's face it, they really don't belong at our wedding. We have (or will) bucked tradition when it came to our save the dates, invites, dessert, menu, bridesmaid dresses... and well, the list goes on I guess! Some of the amazing seating charts done by the bride-land-famous calligraphers are truly pieces of art, but we are looking for something just a bit different!! Here a few ideas out there that have perked my interest:

all from here... and while I am not personally into race cars (my man is though?!), and even though the airport style is a bit confusing, these ideas really show the personality of the bride and groom.
The next one is, well, swoooon-worthy!! This is from one of those A-list calligraphers I mentioned, Miss Laura Hooper of Laura Hooper Calligraphy, and A Lucky Orchid Wedding.

Dreamy right?? ya, I know!!

Well, to make a long story shot... I contacted Laura, and described my vision of a hiking trail through the mountains inspired seating chart, and, suffice it to say, this was not an option for us!! I'm talking almost as much $$ as my wedding dress... and yes, I bought by dress on ebay, but still. A seating chart can NOT even come CLOSE to the cost of my wedding dress!!

So what's a girl to do?!?! Well, you might remember Sarah from sarahNwonderland (shout out to etsy!!). She created the graphic for our save the date (shown above), and she was awesome (read... totally affordable) to work with!! She is clearly a talented girl (also did some work for my girl Dana, aka. The Broke Ass Bride, shown below), and I can totally picture an awesome, whimsical, unique seating chart created by her... can't you?!

from here

Soooo, I have sent Sarah an email to request (ie... beg and plead for) her services again, for our table seating chart!! I don't know yet if she is on board... but please keep your fingers crossed for me that she will be willing to do such a job (which, sidenote, is way out of her normal repertoire, but heh, it never hurts to ask right?!).

I will update you as soon as I hear from her!!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Inked, then booked, and now... now it's a widget!!

OK, this might be the coolest thing since... well, since animoto movie mixin!! You can flip through our book to check it out!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

inked and booked...

I just couldn't wait to share our guest book with you... so, I took some snapshots off inkubook to show you some of the spreads... I just love them!!

A bit of background... I have been working on a few books with inkubook for the last couple of months, including a book for my man to give him the morning of the wedding, telling the story of our journey so far, books for my bridesmaids, chronicling our 29+ years together, and this one, our photo guestbook. Well, when my girl Jess (Mrs. Budget Savvy Bride) hooked us loyal readers up with a 40% discount code for inkubook, I jumped all over it! The only kicker... I hadn't purchased our e-pic files yet. Well, this was a good reason to do it, since the main purpose of us doing the photo guestbook was showcasing our engagement pictures. So, I frantically called up our boys at 6:8, hoping they could send me the files asap (it was Friday, and the coupon expired on Sunday!!), and they made it happen (thanks again guys!!).

The guestbook is a combination of casual fun photos of the two of us beside our actual guest book entry pages (I used half/half of traditional name/notes entry page, and a blank page for writing, entitled "words of wisdom" where I hope a lot of our guests will get creative with their entries!), and spreads of our professional photos (courtesy of 6:8 Photography). There are also a couple of spreads with pics courtesy of my sis/MOH, when we did a practice e-shoot in Costa Rica... she got a couple of really cute ones. I will let the screen shots speak for themselves: first up, some of the spreads from our pro shots...

A couple of the casual pics with the two types of guest entries (first shown is the name/notes page, and the second is the words of wisdom page)...

This one is courtesy my sis... love the soft colors in the sunset pics (don't you love us being dorks trying out our angles?!?! I really like the pic on the right... lines, angles, colors... I think she got a great shot!)
The back cover of the book is probably my fav... I was breezing through my sis' pictures and saw this one! We didn't know she was taking it, but I love it, and think it is perfect for the back cover!!

I am super nervous/excited to see how the book turns out. I really hope the quality is good, as it will hold precious memories!! It was a blast putting it together, and for the most part, a pretty easy program to use. There are always quirks, and while I know a lot of people don't love that there are limits to the layout options/designs, I appreciated how easy it was use!!
So, what do you think?!?! I will let you know when I get it so I can comment on the quality of the printing/binding, etc.! Fingers crossed it is beautiful!!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two weddings and a... family feud?!

image from here

Well, in spite of my desperate attempts to avoid wedding-related drama and stress considering my current state of stress at work (sorry to keep bringing it up, but that is my reality right now), we have hit a tiny (ie. HUGE) road block. As the days pass, the impact seems to lessen, but suffice it to say, the long standing issues between my FH and his younger brother (much younger... ie. 13 years younger!!) seem to be surfacing right in the middle of our pre-nuptial stresses. The background on this form of sibling rivalry is that lil bro is the quintessential baby of the family... could never do anything wrong, endlessly protected and defended even (ie. especially) in the face of obvious screw-ups on his part, and quite frankly, is always the centre of the attention. NOW, I am also the youngest in my family, but grew up with a mom who treated us identically... I'm talking Christmas present budgets to-the-penny-equal. So, it is difficult for me to watch my FH struggle to build a relationship with lil bro when he obviously resents him for the star role he has stolen from him, and his sister (2 years younger). Well, lil bro has definitely swooped in and stole the show from us... more importantly, from MY MAN... it pains me to see how this has hurt him.

Lil bro started dating a girl a couple of months ago... I'm talking 2 months ago people. His mom has mentioned that they are just head-over-heels, to which I have responded "lil bro falls head over heels when he meets ANY girl... this will last a couple of months most, just like the rest of them" (that's me, the cynic talking!). We haven't met this girl, so needless to say, we fell off our chairs when FH got a call from lil bro last week, telling him he had PROPOSED?!?! Yup, at the ripe age of 23, knowing the girl for 2 months, never having lived together, popped the question. But the best part... wait for it... the wedding date you ask?!?! 4 weeks after ours?!?! 1st weekend in October!! Yes, do the math dear readers... that means these two kids will be marrying 5 months after meeting. Don't mind me, but I think that is ridiculous!!

My FH has taken serious offense to this news, and is absolutely livid that lil bro didn't even have the decency to ask what we thought of him getting married right after us. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, it's no big deal, it's a month after yours. And to be honest, I personally agree. I know it really isn't the end of the world, but because of their history, and how badly my man has taken the news, I am offended. lil bro knew this would be an issue (he even told his mom and dad that he didn't want FH offended...), and he still couldn't muster up the balls to speak to us directly. The family has FOUGHT about this let me tell you. They won't acknowledge FH's feelings, or validate his concerns one bit, which is causing him to shut down. He doesn't want to talk to them, he says he is hesitant to share things with them at all now, and while we both know what's done is done and it's time to move forward, I can't help being sad that a wedge sits between my FH and his little brother, who is standing up for us, all over the issue of attention.

I understand why people elope... family feuds over weddings... not fun?!?! Help me... are we fair in feeling put out by this? Would you care if your younger sibling swooped in like this for a spontaneous wedding weeks after your own? Any tips on how to not let it affect our emotions about their wedding/marriage??

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