MOH guest post!

Hi, Debbie here. I am Min's older (though, not necessarily wiser) sister and her maid-of-honor. I preface this post with a disclaimer. I am not my sister, my soft-spoken, well-mannered sister.

I should start off by saying that I handle surprises in a couple of ways: 1) the bug-eyed silent way, best demonstrated by this emoticon, o_O; and, 2) I make a choking sound and screech "Bitch, whaaa?!"

Interestingly enough, neither of those happened when Min came through the door at 3 AM Christmas morning and said "I'm engaged!"

Clearly, a "Bitch, whaaa?!" would have been appropriate, seeing how she's my younger sister and I can still remember vividly when she used to put bandaids on her bruises. But all I said was "I EFFIN' KNEW IT." And, I did, you know? Like every one of her close friends did. Maybe they don't have a certificate, but they're married in every other sense of the word.

My a-hole (ex)friend went as far as to say that she was wasting her youth. "She should be dating different people before she settles down." Coming from a bitter, pretentious manchild who doesn't date, this statement is quite laughable but he poses a valid point. She is young.

But if you think about it, Min has already achieved most of what anyone can even hope for in a relationship. The fact is, dating is easy when you're young. You go into a bar, say hi, and you exchange numbers. A second or third date, maybe slightly harder. But its goddamn hard to find someone you actually want to wake up with every day for the rest of your life. If she believes she found that then maybe everyone else should mind their own business.

Rant aside, the wedding planning has been fun but it's only in its infancy. Bargin hunting and vendor shopping isn't exactly a day at Disneyland but the exciting stuff is going to happen soon, I hope. Whee, dresses!


Min and Brandon request the honour of your presence

Finalizing a guest list is tricky business. We wish we could invite everyone and their moms to share this special day with us, but that would just be impossible.

Each guest just means that we would have to dish out an extra $50-$100 per person. It's an extra plate of food, slice of cake, thank you gift, beverage, invitation, program, etc.

Our guest list has expanded from about 70 to 90 people, despite the fact that we cut down on allowing certain people to have a "plus one". We decided that although the polite thing to do would be to address all of our invitations to "Ms/Mr. X and Guest", it would be too costly to allow people to bring strangers into our wedding. Most of those who are invited have at the very least two other friends to keep them company at the ceremony and reception. Only those who we feel may be a little left out will be allowed to bring a date. We hope that everyone will understand and resist the urge to call me and ask to invite someone else. If I receive such phone calls, I will have to refer them to Groomzilla because he is the only one willing to put his foot down.

Yes, I have dubbed my handsome fiance a Groomzilla. He is very particular about what he likes and doesn't like, which makes my job easier since I cannot make a decision if my life depended on it. Since he is the one paying for the majority of the wedding, he has every right to say when enough is enough...to a certain point, anyway. After all, I wouldn't be a true Minzilla if I allowed him to get everything his way.

Brandon has an exceptionally large family, and they have treated me as one of their own for the past four and a half years. I hate that I cannot send out invitations to each and every one of them, but that is the reality we must face. I don't want to step on any toes before I even offically join his family.

The list of family on my side is sparse, but it has been filled with people my mom would like me to invite, despite the fact that they have no significance to me personally. Even so, we don't really expect all of them to show up. It's more of a courtesy invite than anything else. But that's tricky too. We don't actually know if they are going to show up or not. If they do, then we will have more people than we want there.

How do you know who you should and shouldn't invite? If you invite this person's brother, then do you have to invite this other person's sister? It's a slippery slope, my friends. The boundaries are limitless.

What about children? Is there a polite way of saying, "We don't want your sticky, monkeys of offspring terrorizing our wedding and spilling juice on the pretty bride's expensive dress?" Only directly related children will be permitted to attend.

So basically if you do not receive a Save the Date card by the end of March one of the following has occurred:
a) We were too lazy, and decided to forego sending STD cards (which will not happen).
b) You didn't make the cut, and will just have to live through photographs.
c) We really did forget to add you to our list, but hopefully we catch this mistake in time for when we send out the formal invitations.

If you really want a ticket to the show, you can promise not to eat a thing and opt for an Evite instead.

Hopefully none of this will matter in the end. At our wedding, I doubt I will worry about who we missed. It will all be one massive blur because I am sure that I will only be focused on my loving husband and the pure happiness that I will be so lucky to experience.


Money, Money, Money

I hate that money is such a determining factor in every aspect of our lives. Well, the lack of money anyway. Right now both of our bank accounts are sparse. Tuition and paying off Bella's surgeries have sufficiently emptied out our pockets. It is the reason why I didn't go to Cornell. It is why Brandon and I can't see each other for Valentine's Day. It is also the reason why I am heading to work in an hour, despite the fact that I have food poisoning.

So how are we supposed to pay for a wedding in December, you ask? My unbelievable thriftyness and mad saving skills of course.

Growing up Chinese has taught me several things. Don't wear shoes in the house (although that rule has been broken because of a certain dog who leaves our floors filthy). Eat every grain of rice or else your face will grow a crater for every grain you leave in the bowl. Anything less than an A on your report card is unacceptable. Don't bang chopsticks on the tables or else you'll disturb the gods. And most importantly, always shop in the clearance/sale section. Never pay full price for anything.

So far, I have not paid full price on anything purchased for the wedding. Let me break it down for you.

Stationary (e.g. invitations, save-the-dates):

Adorable, no? Too bad letterpress invitations like this can cost over $1,000. This set from Costco is $964.50 for 100 invitations, RSVP cards and envelopes. After discovering this, I made the executive decision that we were not going to spend $1K for some paper. We are taking on the task of making the invitations ourselves. I'll describe that long process later when I actually start assembling them.

I am going to make my own STD cards and emboss them with powder and a heating gun. I bought my supplies all for 40% off at Michaels. The total for everything was $24.86. I saved $16.60.

We needed some nice card stock to print our invitations on, and we found some at my favorite store on earth: Target. Target began selling invitation kits containing 50 invitations, 50 rsvp cards, and 100 envelopes for $34.99, which is a steal as it is. My MOH found a design that would fit perfectly in the look we wanted and in our color scheme, and it just happened to be on sale for only $6.10 each. I grabbed three boxes and jumped for joy. I saved a whopping $84.87. What sweetened the deal was that a few weeks later they were back up to $34.99 per box.

The envelopes in the invitation kit from Target were not up to my Minzilla standards, so we purchased some gorgeous ones made from "beautiful well bred Italian paper, in a pearlescent dark, rich red" from Paper Source. They also happened to be 50% off. We paid $22.63 for 70 high-quality envelopes.

Total savings on stationary thus far: $124.31. When I get the chance, I will visit a local company that is going to print our invitations for about $60 or so.

We even booked our reception and ceremony site at a discount rate. Due to their own lack of communication, they offered the site to us for $500 less than the usual price. Score!

I've also purchased bits and pieces of gifts for my ladies (nothing for Tony yet). I have saved $136.78 on these fabulous gifts, which is fantastic because it allows me to buy more for these deserving people. I think they will appreciate my deal-hunting ways, especially since they are just as thrifty. I won't be able to post on the gifts until December though. I'm glad I got a head start!

Debbie has just about convinced me that I should buy my wedding dress from Ebay, but that one is up in the air. I really can't picture myself spending so much money on a single dress that I'll have on for maybe eight hours at the most. Maybe all of the money I'm saving can be put towards my dress. After all, if I'm going to splurge on anything, it's going to be my wedding dress.
Next up:
Must have pictures
Bridal fashion
Guest list politics


Age is but a number

I apologize to my maybe four to five readers out there for the delay in posting. I have been busy with work and school. Let's not forget the fact that I can be incredibly lazy, too. I hope you will accept my apology in the form of a cute video of Bella:

Our dog has issues. She doesn't like it when a blow dryer is pointed at her, even if it is turned off.

Now, back to wedding stuff.

Brandon and I are a young couple. I am turning 21 years old in July, while Brandon will turn 22 next month. We used to joke that if we got married after his graduation in May like most cadets do, I wouldn't even be old enough to legally drink champagne.

When people heard that I was engaged, those who did not know me well were less than happy about the news. Debbie's friend went so far as to claim that I was "wasting my life."

According to divorcerate.org:

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America
Under 20 years old
Women: 27.6%
Men: 11.7%
20 to 24 years old
Women: 36.6%
Men: 38.8%
25 to 29 years old
Women: 16.4%
Men: 22.3%
30 to 34 years old
Women: 8.5%
Men: 11.6%
35 to 39 years old
Women: 5.1%
Men: 6.5%

The statistics for young marriages look grim. There is a significant decrease in the divorce rate for those who marry after 24. It doesn't help that the divorce rate in this country is already a miserable 50%.

We both come from divorced families. Brandon and I were exposed to broken marriages, and yet how are we so amazingly confident in ourselves?

Truthfully, I have absolutely no idea. We love each other. That should be enough, right? Well, that can't be the case because our parents were in love once, too. So how are we supposed to know that we will last?

We don't. But we do know that we have something so great, so magnificent, that we do not want to lose it. We're taking a chance. We're gambling. We're making a leap. We're doing all of the overused metaphors you can think of. What is important is that at least we're doing it together.

I have always been more mature than my peers. I suppose you could call me boring and lacking a sense of adventure. Either way, I feel older than I actually am. I have been told that I look and behave much older than 20. The general agreement is that there is something about the way I carry myself. I never found the need to climb on monkey bars or imagining that I was a princess in a faraway land. That was just silly nonsense and a waste of time. Instead, I was the kid who organized the toy section at Marshall's or Ross while waiting for her family to be done shopping.

I know that I am ready to be Brandon's wife.

We have already made it thus far against all odds. Upon his graduation, Brandon and I will have finally joined the 2% Club. Only two percent of cadets make it through all four years at West Point with their high school girlfriend. As a couple, we have already encountered more stress and tribulations than can be expected out of anybody, and yet we powered through.

So all of you doubters out there, please just relax and trust in us. We know that you are concerned, and we appreciate it, but we know what we're doing.