Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Menu (Part 1)

OK, so I have already mentioned our differences in menu ideas... I wasn't even joking about the pot-luck!! Ian is very casual when it comes to menu planning. A typical evening sounds like this... "heh babe, what would you prefer for dinner, Thai or pancetta wrapped sea bass?" to which he replies... "um, sure!". When we go out for dinner, there are generally two qualifying questions we ask when choosing restaurants: 1. Do they use quality ingredients and have healthy options? and 2. Do they serve generous portions at reasonable prices? These questions have somewhat limited our options, but trust me when I say that we have our short list of reliable stand-by restaurants which we frequent on a regular basis, and on those rare occasions that Ian likes to get adventurous and try something new, I undoubtedly have a LONG list of places I've been dying to try!! In fact, I have almost every page of John Gilchrest's "My Favorite Restaurants in Calgary and Banff" rabbit eared for those very occasions!

How does this all affect the wedding menu? Well, as you all know, in planning the wedding meal, you have to add in a heavily weighted third question: 3. Can we afford to serve this to 120+ people?? Oh, and if you have read this, you know how I feel about the pressure to find a menu that represents you as a couple!! What represents us in one word... dichotomy. So this is how our wedding menu evolved:
  • How does the food relate to the overall feeling we want on our day (ie. relaxed, family focused, un-fussy)?
  • How can we maintain our main priority of down-home FUN with food?
  • Do we want mountain food, or theme food?
  • Heh, remember that cajun mean we had for my going away party... that was good right??

As a bit of background info, we are really trying to create a 'house party' feel, or more specifically, a cabin party! We spend countless weekends out at our family cabin, and food, as you can guess, is always a central theme, whether it's shrimp and crab or Costco hamburgers! Here is an example of late night snacking at the cabin: (yes, that's chicken out of a box!)

BUT, we of course want this to be a special party, with amazing food... so a bit of class is required! Here's a teaser of the compromise we have come up with...

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is it too early to be over it??

So the thrill of the engagement, and the excitement of our future together is NOT getting old... in fact, I am loving it even more than I thought I would. I mean, I have been excited about getting old together for a while, but it really has gotten even more sweet. Ian is soaking it up even more than I am I think, which seems to instill giddiness to the most mundane planning moments... he's like a little boy. I love it!

But, I have to admit, the whole planning process is already getting a bit old for me. I do not do well being stuck in planning... I am a doer! I like to plan, research, organize, and then... EXECUTE! I am goal oriented... so wading knee deep (or head deep, depending on the moment) in a swamp of planning-themed ideas, inspiration (thanks blogger brides!!), photos, advice, and more photos, I feel bogged down and over-whelmed. My to-do lists from all the websites I have convinced myself absolutely crucial to join, tell me that I really don't have anything to do right now (we are about 8 months down, and before getting engaged officially, we had venue, photographer, dj, caterer, hotels, shuttle, dress, and veil all secured). So does that mean I am supposed to sit on my hands and look at wedding porn to pass the hours of this planning process? According to The Knot, I need to inform my MOH what is expected of her... somehow I just don't agree with that one. She is married, and was a crazy-organized and effective planner... she knows what she is doing better than I do! So sit on my hands it is??

NOPE, that's not gonna work. So, yesterday, even though we have no idea who our readers will be, what songs we will use, or for that matter, exactly what our ceremony is going to look like, I started designing our programs. As far as I am concerned, this is a detail that mostly gets overlooked, so why do I continue to search, painstakingly, for that 'perfect' program, when really, it serves a simple purpose of informing our guests who is in the wedding party. That doesn't seem to carry a lot of weight on the stress meter if I sit back and consider it realistically. Plus, by biting the bullet, making a decision, and getting started on it, I quite seamlessly shift from planning to executing... productivity is a dream!! I will post pics of my relatively non-descript programs when I get closer to being done, but for now, I am happy to have accomplished something, rather than just thought about something!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When Opposites Attract

image originally posted on

For all the non-brides out there, or at least for the non-bride in me, it is excruciating to hear brides talk about their wedding being "so us"! "We did golf tees for favours because we both love to play golf", sounds more like "what do you mean you and your fiance don't share all the same hobbies?". "Our wedding menu was just perfect because fillet Mignon is OUR most favorite dish" sounds more like "maybe you should start cooking new things cause it's strange that you and your fiance don't like the same things...". "We both felt so enamoured with our venue the minute we saw it, we knew it was just PERFECT for us" sounds just a bit too much like "if you can't find a venue that is representative of the two of you together, you might as well not have a wedding!".

Of course I know I am being a bit dramatic, but the truth is, Ian and I are opposites in so many ways. He drinks beer... and only beer! I love to try new wines, champagnes, and martinis. He likes t-bones and ribeyes, and I am a tenderloin snob. He golfs with his buddies and watches Formula 1 by himself on Sunday mornings, and I water ski with my friends and work-out in the early am Monday-Friday. He plays Sudoku, I read wedding blogs. He thinks a potluck wedding would be awesome, and I think... "are you kidding me?!?!". So needless to say, picking a wedding style and venue was a bit of challenge for us! In reality, we weren't completely sold on the idea of having a wedding until we saw this:
It's completely "us". Sorry frustrated-brides... all I can say is, they were right. All those brides who claimed their venue was perfect, just perfect. They were right. I know it can feel like they effortlessly found their perfect, representative, meaningful venue, but hear it from me, it can be difficult, demeaning, down right frustrating, but your venue is out there. Ours is the Elk View Lodge in Fernie, Canada. Ian and I have enjoyed the mountainous wonder of the Elk Valley together for the last couple of years. In fact, it was the first place we 'vacationed' to together... a 4 day mini-vacation, but our first one together nonetheless. The Lodge will be our ceremony and reception location, our rehearsal BBQ venue, our hotel, our B&B for our family and bridal party, our late-night hot-tub location, and probably our photo location! This means no limos (I LOATHE the idea of spending good $$ on wedding limos!), no travel for our guests between ceremony and reception, no corkage fees or cake-cutting fees, no 'closing time', no scheduling of rehearsals... this means one family filled weekend in the mountains where we, sidenote, get married!!

Check out the splendor:
the view from the hot-tub deck (found here)
ceremony location: image originally posted by 6:8 photography reception set-up idea (found here):the master bedroom (found here):I hope you love it as much as we do! It resonates with our passion for family, casual entertaining, outdoor fun, and if you can believe it, allows us to create a weekend wedding on a budget! Happy shopping to all you new brides, and good luck on stumbling upon "the one"... after you found "THE one"!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

It's Official...

We have always joked that we have been dating for so long-ish. In other words, there was a definite gray area as to when we started dating. Things were casual, they almost ended, then things got back on track. There was a drunken ultimatum of sorts, a nervous dinner at Codo, and then we were just Tiff and Ian. We were together. Well, isn't it fitting, after 2.5-ish years, we were officially engaged on December 23rd... -ish! It was late at night on the 23rd, but could have been past midnight, making it the 24th. I am going to stick with the 23rd, the day I returned from Europe.

Codo has since turned into 'our place', and Ian proposed over Codo take-out, after my flight home from a 2 month work trip was delayed by 12 hours, ruining his planned proposal AT Codo. But, when it was all said and done, it was perfect! It was so... us! Casual, fun, unexpected, romantic, even a bit silly. Bottom line, it was official! We have been planning the wedding, unconventionally and nontraditionally, for more than a couple of months, so the proposal itself wasn't a surprise. This is probably something Ian would wish to change, but for me, somewhat of an anti-surprise-est, it was perfect. We made a conscious, thought-out decision, as adults, to spend the rest of our lives together. This process of making smart, educated decisions, after evaluating options and weighing the pros/cons, is one I am a firm believer in. So it is no surprise to most people in our lives, that I have become a bride, and Ian has become a groom, on purpose. And one thing that's really great about this decision being formalized by an engagement ring, is that we can continue with our wedding planning, out of the closet!! It has been a secret mission for the most part, and now we can have fun with the details, get help from our friends and families, and enjoy the whole process with our wedding vip's (read: me and my girls have that many more reasons to drink champagne while scouring for the perfect pair of heels!!)

Oh ya, and one more really fun perk... looking at my gorgeous engagement ring... image courtesy of

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