Celebrating life

It has been a while since my last update, so I got a lot to share with you!

First some exciting news, my temporary contract got replaced with a year contract per the 1st of October, so that means at least another year of job security, YES!

That also meant all of my saved up leave was going to be paid out at the end of my contract, so we decided to take leave instead of having it paid out. So in the last week of September we rented a lovely place in Friesland, a part of the Netherlands with lots and lots of nice lakes. We brought our small dinghies there and had a super nice week of no people around us, no computers, no work, just us and some sailing. I really recommend you staying there! The weekend we got back, we also visited a place that had just opened, like, that day, and as they are also an official wedding venue, we asked for a quote. This is the Lake House Rotterdam.

Despite a reminder after 2 weeks, I still haven’t received a quote (we are talking about a month lead time as I’m writing this).

Only a week after we returned to work, we had a meeting with another wedding venue on Sunday but that morning I felt horrible, my skin was aching, and I had a bit of a temperature. Within 3 hours, my temperature rose to 40.7 degrees C, at which point we called the venue to cancel our appointment. Luckily within 2 hours my temperature came back to normal, but I still felt horrible. It turned out I had a stomach flu. I had to call in sick from work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, I felt slightly better, so I returned to work but on Friday I was out again. I was so relieved when it finally finished on Saturday! Having lost multiple kilograms in one week means I now need to gain weight to still fit in my wedding dress! The struggle…

During the week I was so ill, M. had his birthday, he turned 32. We did go out for dinner that night but let’s put it like this: I was glad it only took a 10-minute car ride to get home, I wouldn’t have made it otherwise 😉.

While I was upstairs in the bathroom being super happy to be home again, the doorbell rang… M.’s parents! OH NO! What a timing from their side. They had not let us know they wanted to come and visit that evening. Luckily after only an hour they left again, as this was the first time we saw each other after we announced our engagement in July (which they didn’t like too much, to say the least).

As our birthdays are only 13 days apart we wanted to celebrate them together, to keep it simple for the family and to keep the number of cakes to a minimum. We had decided on the 20th of October, one of the Saturdays between our birthdays. But as his parents already came on his birthday, we saw the friends on the 14th and my grandma also couldn’t make it the 20th, we only had a birthday with my parents, brother and his girlfriend. It was nice though, you at least get the chance to talk to everyone.

For dinner we served a very nice taco with salmon, not our own recipe but I’ll link it here. It is super nice and easy, also great for summer. We only replace the sour cream with mayonaise.

On Sunday we retried to meet with the venue we had to cancel some weeks ago and it was a very nice place. It is called Wet ‘n Wild, because it is next to a small lake with a water skiing system in it. Only 3 hours after we got home we already got the offer for our wedding, that was the fastest so far, by far! (and it also was a good offer).

Yesterday we met with the caterer from our first venue, to see if we could do anything about the price as this is still our preferred location (Wet ‘n Wild is in 2nd place). We managed to decrease the cost by 2000 euros just by choosing some simpler options and the vendor will check some more things like what it will cost to serve our own wine and stuff like that. We are hoping the new offer will come in just under 9000 euros, still a ridiculous amount of money I think but that would mean we decreased the price by 25%. Also, we noticed the vendor was willing to work the prices a bit because we come from the same town (his in-laws are our neighbors). So, fingers crossed!

Something else:

I am never allowed to guess what my gift(s) will be because I usually get it right, M. hates that! This year, I didn’t ask for hints or anything but I still guessed it. He was furious… It was so funny!

Let me tell you a bit about the background of this gift:

We recently (1,5 week ago) cleaned up our garage, which still had an old kitchen in it. We took it out, end capped the water pipes, put some wheels under an old cabinet and screwed an OSB plate onto the cabinet. When we were finished, we had a work bench at our height (we are tall) and lots of storage space underneath. On the side there was room for a vise, which we didn’t have at the time. 3 nights ago, just before we went to bed, I was thinking about this vise, and found a nice one online so I showed Maarten. He was like: No I don’t want that one…

But I didn’t get it because it really was a great deal, it was super cheap and of good quality so I continued: why don’t you want this one? What is wrong with it? You won’t find a better deal soon!

After a long time, he finally whispered: because I already have one….

I waited for a few seconds before I burst out into laughter: IS THAT MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!?!? A VISE??? HAHAHA

So, I again found out what my present was before my birthday… LOL!

I got to open it this morning as today, the 23rd, is my birthday. I turned 28, which oddly feels very different from 27. Maybe because 27 is closer to 25 than 30…

M. was so kind to already install the vise today, as he was working from home today so I got to admire it this evening. M. seems extremly happy with my birthday gift 🙂

I really enjoyed the past month, despite being so ill. Having our birthdays made me realize once again how fast time is passing and that we should appreciate it more. It is time to spend some more time with my friends. I haven’t seen them in ages.

On Sunday, M. will have his first trail run, of 10km and it is super close to my best friend so we will definitly be visiting her (and I need to bring cake so that will be my main task for Saturday).

Stay positive and celebrate life!

Love, Laura

5 tips for a bride from a bride

Congrats! Your engaged!

Now what? It is probably overwhelming, all the attention, well-meant advises and the whole idea of organizing your own wedding.

Don’t worry, thousands of brides do it every year, (this year I am one of them) and I’ll take you with me on my journey full of lace, satin, flowers, cake and I do. Here are my first 5 tips for you, so you don’t have to make my mistakes.

As mentioned in my previous blog, we got engaged in New York, in June 2018. Our wedding date is May 11th, 2019. We have had many discussions about the date for our wedding. We fixed our date only very recently (like this week) and I wish we stuck with my first tip.

1st tip: Pick a date (provisional is fine) before you tell anyone you’re engaged!

The 2nd question (after: OMG! How did he/she propose!?!?) will be: When is the wedding?

Trust me, having to tell everyone: oh, we don’t have a date yet… can become pretty annoying after the first 20 people. Everyone will understand you don’t have a fixed date, but wouldn’t it feel way better to say: Well, we are planning on the first week of June, so you better block that weekend in your calendar!

About that date you are picking…

2nd tip: Get married on any day of the week except for Fridays.

Lots of vendors will have discounts when you get married during the week, so you can really save on that. But a big one not to forget is the venue. At our venue we found out that getting married on a Friday would (just for the rent of the venue) cost 3 times as much as a Saturday, not kidding, this really happened. Just because the venue also rents out spaces for business meetings and they get so much revenue from that, if you want to rent the entire venue, they’ll to compensate for that. So keep that in mind when shopping for a venue. Everything else is cheaper during the week than during weekends but do you really want everyone to take a day, or two, off from work just to be at your wedding?

Everything you want to plan or organize is depending on your date! Getting quotes from vendors, the style of your wedding (Winter-wonderland theme? Cozy indoors? Summer-BBQ-in-backyard-vibe, beach wedding) and the timing for getting a dress (it can take 5 months to get a dress, better start early!), just to name a few things.

3rd tip: Pick your most important items for the wedding.

I’ve read it so many times, on so many blogs: set a budget and stick to it. These blogs just didn’t mention the endless discussion about which items within that budget are more important for the both of you.

Please do so, have that discussion. Life will be so much easier. We set a budget, a very realistic one. But now my fiancé keeps saying: 1250€ for a photographer? But what if it costs 2500€ and we love the photo style? Same for the location + catering (he had his mind SET on a location, I loved it too so that was easy), we plan on it to be 5000€ but I had to ask him: what if the price comes out to be 10000€? He responded with: I still want to get married there. To avoid this discussion AFTER you set your budget, start with it. Do you want perfect photos, or do you really have your mind set on that specific location on a specific date? You’ll have to make choices and you better make them together as a couple (a bit of practice never hurts right?).

So my tip is to discuss in advance (before setting your budget) really well which items are super important for you both and which are way less important and can even be skipped if your top items come out a bit more pricy.

4th tip: Set your budget and stick to it.

You knew this one was coming. Setting your budget can be very scary, because you need to get a feel for all the costs. But you know, the budget isn’t set in stone (yet). If you think you can get a photographer for 500€ but it turns out the cheapest around starts at 1000€ you will have to change your budget. As long as you can still get the money together in time, no problem.

On the other hand, if you go dress shopping, stick to your budget! Don’t try any dresses over your price range, there are so many, yours will be there with the right price tag.

What I’m trying to say is that for items you really guessed wrong when setting your budget, you can always change that, but to alter your budget just because you were stubborn enough to look out of your price range… just don’t do it! This day will be expensive enough as it is.

Don’t forget to include 10% contingency for unexpected thing (you know they will be there).

5th tip: Try to stick to one venue.

When we met with our caterer earlier this week, he was over the moon to hear we wanted to organize everything (ceremony, reception, dinner & party) all in one location.

But not only your vendors will love you for this.

Think of all the guests that need to move from one place to another, in a town or city they might not be familiar with. They don’t know that a specific road will be blocked due to roadworks and they need to take a detour through the city center and end up lost in the middle of nowhere, arriving late for the next part of your day. You just don’t want that.

Think of all the decoration for 2 or maybe even 3 venues? Budget wise that could be costly and who is going to decorate and clean up? You need to rent all those venues, again: budget. You hire a photographer for a certain number of hours. Do you really want this person to be in a car during that time or would you rather have a few more wonderful photos?

And after all, this is your day. Do you really want to be traveling for half an hour, multiple times, while you could also spend that time chatting with your guests or enjoying some quiet time with your partner?

I hope you enjoyed this blog and keep these tips in mind when going through the same process. More tips will following so subscribe to avoid missing out!


Love, Laura