Saturday, March 31, 2012

BBQ: My Favorite Acronym

So, as the caterer's were disappointing me left and right, I decided to come up with a Plan B. Lucky for us, Luling is the Bar-b-q Capitol of the world. Well, at least Texas.

With a barbq restaurant literally on every corner, the possibilities were endless. And with time ticking down to July 14th, I felt like I had to start narrowing down the choices.

There was the obvious to the locals, Luling City Market. Best bar-b-q in town hands down. You walk thru the doors and the grill is right there inside. You order your meat & sides, and they serve it all to you on butcher block paper! It's awesome. The price however, was not. *womp womp

Luling Bar-B-Q was right across the street. It seemed like a good alternative. And it was about 2/3's the price of City Market. We could get a two meats, two sides plate served buffet style in our budget! They even had my favorite side: New Potatoes!

Another option about 15 minutes down the road came with pretty good street cred. All of my Grandparents said if I wasn't going to choose City Market, then I should go with Chisholm Trail BBQ in Lockhart, TX. One of my friends had also used them for her wedding. She said the food was great, and service excellent. Now, they didn't offer my favorite side of new potatoes, but with recommendations like those, they were very much in the running.

But all these options were not to be. My Mom threw a wrench in my plan, and mentioned a man who USED to own a restaurant but now catered on the side. I asked around, and people said good things about him. Turns out (**small town disclaimer for what you read after this), my uncle’s boss is married to his sister and he had catered my uncle’s boss’s son’s wedding, and the boss man said it was good. My mom knows him, so as an extra incentive, he'll do pretty much whatever we ask of him, all at an affordable price.

We basically decided by figuring that since my mom had offered to pay for the dinner, and she felt more comfortable with him, then we would go with him. They all offered the same service at the same price, so I didn't feel like we would be missing out on anything by not choosing one over the other.

We'll be eating brisket, sausage, beans, and potato salad. He's going to set it all up, with people forming lines down both sides of the buffet. He has also agreed to provide the tea for my drink bar (more on that later)! As this was the last major decision we had to make, I’m so glad to finally put it behind us. We literally made this decision just last week, only a little over 3 months before the wedding! We are cutting it close when it comes to booking a caterer, but I’m glad it’s finally taken care of and we can check that box as complete!

How many Plan's did you have for catering? Did Plan A fall thru and you had to go to B? How many weddings have you been too were they served BBQ?

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Wont Tolerate It!

“I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.”(Best western movie ever made!). I don’t understand what goes thru a person’s mind when a person requesting their services says “I am ready to sign a contract and pay a deposit” and then you never hear from them again. I’m sorry for jumping right in, but if I owned my own business, I think I would bend over backwards to make sure my customer’s were happy, especially when they’re ready to sign a contract and give me money.

I had at one point thought of going the all inclusive route. I thought, hey, it might cost more, but peace of mind seemed more important to me then $$. And that’s probably the last time you’ll hear me say something is more important then money. By all-inclusive, I was talking linens, place settings, food, cake, possibly alcohol/bartenders, chairs, the whole shebang. I had two local businesses in mind.

The first business, we’ll call it Cant Talk Civilly on the Phone Catering Company (or, CTCPCC), was very rude when I called. They just weren’t nice. They demanded that I do this and do that and I couldn’t have this without doing that, and after talking with them for 10 minutes and being close to tears, I said “thank you” and hung up. This wasn’t my first encounter with a rude vendor, but this one had for some reason hurt the most. I couldn’t understand why they would treat me this way when I had made it clear that I was willing to drop some dough on an all-inclusive catering deal for them.

Needless to say, I didn’t call them back. And after this, I decided I “wouldn’t tolerate rude behavior in a man”, and moved on. I made it my mantra moving forward that if a vendor didn’t act like they would at least be civil towards me, then I wasn’t going to deal with them. My wedding day would probably be nerve racking enough without having to deal with some self-centered, arrogant caterer.

The second business started off slightly better then the first. We’ll call them Ignore My Emails and Phone Calls Catering (IMEPCC), and I’m guessing by now you can tell where this is going. It started off good with a phone call of me telling them what I wanted. After talking to her, I felt pretty good. She had listened to all my ideas, could do what I wanted, and would send me a quote. So I waited….and I waited…..and then I waited some more. I emailed/called a few times in between with no reply. After about 6-7 weeks, she finally got back to me with a quote and contract. Michael and I discussed it, were willing to spend the extra money to have it all taken care of, so I emailed her back. I said we would be in town next weekend; could we meet to sign the contract and pay a deposit? *crickets. Never heard from her again.

Enough was enough. I was not going to chase somebody down to give them money. If they wanted it, they were at least going to have to email/return a phone call for it. By now I had had enough, and during the 6-7 week period had decided that if the last catering company fell thru, we were going to go with bbq. Between waiting on emails and phone calls from the above two business’s, I had made some other phone calls to local BBQ restaurants to assess my other options. Their prices and services were starting to far outweigh anything the other two could do, i.e. their food was good and their prices were cheap. So with the caterer’s falling thru, so did our plan for all-inclusive. This, in the end, will probably be for the best since the bbq options are looking tastier and tastier (as well as cheaper and cheaper) with each passing week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bedspreads and Bridesmaid's Dresses

I know you’re thinking, 200 napkins? How can this chick decide on a napkin when she doesn’t even have colors for her wedding yet? Honestly, picking our colors was probably one of the easiest things we did when it came to wedding planning. It was even a team effort! Most girls I'm sure agonize over their wedding colors. This shade of pink or that shade, pastel peaches or vibrant, eye popping purples and reds. I, on the other hand, looked at our bedspread after being engaged for about a week, and said "those colors look nice". Michael replied with "I can live with that", thus our "wedding color palette" was born! Riveting, no? (warning, crappy iphone pic ahead).

The original colors of pale blue and light green looked fine to me, but didn't seem quite right. But hey, it looked nice and who am I to rock the boat? I really tried to love those colors, but all I could do was like them. They were too pale, too boring, too uninteresting in my books. There just wasn’t any personality. But, I could live with them. They would look nice come the big day. In case you haven't figured it out yet, we're very easy going people. Michael more so then me, he would probably argue. Occasionally, I can be a little high strung.

But I let it go. I mean, nothing was exactly written in stone just yet, and I figured I could just use pops of color in the flowers or something to cover up the mundane-ness of it all. Then, it appeared. There were no whispering angels or ray of sunshine shining thru the clouds forming a halo of light around it, just the click of a mouse button as it opened the web page ( on the below bridesmaids dress. The color is the one actually shown below. It was perfect! It was fun, it had ruffles, it would be comfortable, and it had personality! It was just so different from anything else I had seen online. With our evolving wedding slowly turning into a country chic showdown, I figured the below dress would be perfect with cowboy boots! And I loved the color! Which is good since there were no other shade’s of blue alternatives.

After adjusting the green a little to mesh with the new aqua/turquoise color, we had a color combo and a bridesmaid’s dress! Winning!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Learning to Sew (aka DIY #1: Napkins)

In retrospect, diy’ing 200 napkins probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. But I was determined *cough* stubborn, and wanted to do something. Anything, to get this wedding planning started. I knew I could do. I had the skills: I had learned to sew when I was probably in the 7th or 8th grade. And I had the tools having asked for a sewing machine for my birthday the year before. After a short refresher lesson from my FMIL and gaining some confidence, I went to work! **Disclaimer: I don’t know sewing terms, and none are used below! If you need some additional help, google “sewing napkins”, there are tons of tutorials.

First, I decided on the size of my napkins. My aunt had found upholstery fabric from hobby lobby with a print that would go great with the overall “vibe” of the wedding. It incorporated stripes, polka dots, and paisleys, all my favorites! Since it was rather on the expensive side of things, I decided that even though typical napkins are 18”x18”, I wanted to utilize as much of the bolt as possible so I made my napkins 15”x15” when cutting them. You can make yours whatever size you want. I decided that I would try to make my hems as tiny as possible, as in ¼”. I also cut off the corners so that when folding the hems, it wouldn’t bunch and make a thick layer on the corner. See below:

Next, I turned over the first hem of approximately ¼” around the entire napkin. I put about 3 pins in each side to hold it down. And, as much as I hate ironing, I ironed each of the sides down. I tried cutting this corner by experimenting, but ironing made everything else soooooo much easier. And luckily enough, my fabric had stripes running thru it so at least two of the sides were straight as I tried to follow the lines whenever I could to keep a straight hem.

Then, I repeated the above step and turned the ironed edge over again. This made the fabric about 3 layers deep. It also made the underside not look so bad. The second pinning and ironing covered up the raw edge that otherwise would have shown thru. I only have one picture for the two steps above. Sorry, wasn’t blogging when I made the napkins so I didn’t think to take pictures. The hem on the left, is pinned only once. The hem on the right and side closest to you, is rolled twice.

Finally, I sewed around the edge. As I got to each corner, I would wait until the needle was stuck thru the fabric and sewing foot, and then rotate the fabric around to sew the next side. This made it so I didn’t accidentally so off the edge, which is what I didn’t want to happen.

I got to where I could sew about 25 a week, but it was rough. And I know some of you are thinking, 200 napkins? That’s 8 weeks/2 months of sewing napkins! Well, all I had to do was make some pitiful faces and my mom as well as my FMIL both offered to help. Thank goodness!!! Even with only doing 75, I was wondering if we could cut the guest list down (kidding, kidding). The other 125 look way more professional then mine. Oh well. With it being my first diy, I probably could have finished it myself, but then again, it might have not made the cut. But then I look at the below possibility of what could be on our tables, and I’m so glad we finished them. I can’t wait!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Circle of Trust

This weekend we drove the hour to the suburbs of the DFW metroplex to visit my fiance's family, or rather, my soon to be relatives. We try to always get together for major events and holidays like birthdays and whatnot. This weekend's major event included my future SIL's bday as well as drum roll..... We had tickets to see The Hunger Game's! Now not everyone was a participant in the viewing. The women of the family were the only one's who chose to go, while the men stayed home and watched the youngest little man in the family, my future nephew.

The reason I'm writing this is not too talk about how great Hunger Game's was and recommend that everybody should go and see it, but to talk about my future relatives. I keep using "future *acronym" to describe my "future" relatives but I can't wait to be able to drop that part of their title's. They already feel like family to me and I think I'm so lucky to be included in their "circle of trust" (sorry, Meet the Focker's is on tbs).

I realize that not everyone is as lucky as me as far as relationships go with future relatives, and that there can be many dynamics that come into play when combining families. Notice that most of the issues arise when the MIL is around (Sorry E if you ever read this! You know I love you!).

Some in law relationships dynamics are so bad, it drives a wedge between the family and they never talk to each other. Or, like Kitty Foreman in That 70’s Show, they take up smoking during visits to ease the stress.

Some are middle of the road where they annoy the crap out of each other but when push comes to shove, they have each other's back.

And then some relatives can all live happily together under one roof with little squabbles that once resolved, just bring them closer.

Haha, but seriously. We're somewhere between the last two, but only because we're not going to experiment by putting us all under the same roof. This is something that I can really appreciate coming from divorced parents myself. In a way, it makes me look to the future and how it will be for our kid's. Holidays for me and my siblings have always been a little rough since our parents divorced about 8 years ago, driving from one house to another, trying to fit everybody in. I have yet to actually spend a major holiday with Michael because I haven't felt like putting him thru any of my whirlwind holiday weekends just yet. Since his family lives about 5 hours north of mine, we have celebrated separately since we started dating.

It's nice to know that as the "new" Pierson family grows in the future, that the Original Pierson's circle of trust hasn't been broken, but has been lovingly expanded to include all who wish to join.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Small Town Pros and Woes

Small town pros and woes seems like an perfect name for this post. It’s mainly to discuss our various vendors, our limited options when it came to vendors, and how we found them. The woe of living in a small town means that there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to things like catering, flowers, photography, and cakes. The pros of living in a small town are that you know who the good ones are, and you don’t have to waste a lot of time searching.

Pro #1: Cake

We have a cake lady. That’s right. My family has a cake lady who they call to make cakes for various parties. My little cousin has had one of her cake’s for his birthday for year’s now. When my other cousin got married, the lady did her bridal shower cake, and when my friend’s and I threw a baby shower, we had her make a pink camouflage cake. She can do anything as in you show her a picture and she can do it. And they taste soooooooo good. Luckily for me, she also does wedding cakes. One phone call, a meeting, and $50 deposit later, we had a cake!

Hopefully, she can recreate something like this:

Pro #2: Photography

This one was slightly woe as well. I was amazed at the photography of the blogosphere wedding world. I thought it was amazing and awesome and that if I didn’t spend $3k+ on a photographer, my photos would be crap. Until I started looking at a photographer located in my small town, and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between her and the other’s. And she was only a 1/3 of the price! So once again, a few emails, a meeting, and a relatively larger (but still cheaper then the deposit for a $3k photographer) $500 deposit later, we had a photographer! *Small town disclaimer: she has a 2nd shooter for the wedding who I’ve known since I was little! His MIL is even invited to our wedding.

Sneak peek at engagement photos:

Pro #3: Flowers

This one was difficult in theory, mainly because I’m difficult. I honestly didn’t even try to look into this one, but mainly because my aunt said her friend (who I also know) was great with flowers/decorating, and would do our wedding if we wanted. I said: done.

And this is how we checked the box of 3 out of the 5 major elements (cake, photographer, flowers, caterer, venue). I personally hope it was as easy for everyone else in this process as it had been for us. This pretty much set us on cruise control for the next couple months, however, trying to find a caterer would prove to be relatively difficult. That is, until my stubborn self put my foot down and said enough was enough! But more on that to come later….

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dessert Decisions

I’m not going to lie. I was this close to doing a dessert bar. A lot of our people (yes, I call our guests our people) are not from a small town. I am always receiving grief about my “small town” ideas and musings so I kind of wanted our wedding to be a showcase of small town greatness. How awesome, I thought, if some of this was done in the dessert bar. We could have pecan pie, butter milk pie, all kinds of cobbler’s cooked chuck wagon style (yes, cobblers taste WAY better cooked over a fire, and yes I know people who could make ALL of these desserts for us), homemade cookies, and maybe even some homemade ice cream!

But then I started thinking, what would we cut? I mean, traditionally bride’s and groom’s cut their wedding cake, and if we didn’t have one then there would be no grand cake cutting event. Googling, I found that most people who have dessert bars try to have a one layer cake that they use for the cutting ceremony. Well, that makes sense, but to me it was cheating. A having your cake and eating it too situation *pun intended. When I weighed my options, it was have a cake and cake cutting ceremony, or these great desserts and no fluff and fanfare. There was no middle ground(yes, I am that stubborn friend who see’s everything in black and white and doesn’t understand why you wont just do what I say).

So, I went with cake. After evaluating a few things, logistically it was easier and monetarily, for us, the cake was cheaper. I know its hard to believe, but sometimes practicality DOES win out when planning a wedding. But I’m so glad it did for this particular element at our wedding. When I started looking at pictures of cakes, I was blown away! These were not your mom and dad’s cakes anymore. Out were the cakes from the 80’s that had bridges leading from one tier to another, and in were the amazing textured cakes that could have anything from polka dots to stripes to….wait for it…. even ruffles! I loved these new cakes that could have anything from an intricate design, to a simple, understated polka dot icing outside.

When I met with my cake lady, this is what I had compiled for my inspiration:

I had decided that I really wanted something with texture, I wanted it round after toying with the square cake idea just to be different, and I didn’t want any flowers on it. I know some of the pictures show flowers, but I really just like the cakes that they are decorating. And eventually, I settled on this one as my favorite:

But our whole cake will be ruffles, and we wont have the plain fondant tier in the middle. Now the hard part is deciding on 3 or 4 tiers. I guess once again, it will come down to practicality. Do we really NEED 4 tiers? Maybe….guess we’ll have to see how much it costs 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The 2nd Big Ticket Item

Once the venue was booked, we moved on to our 2nd piece to the puzzle that we both new we wanted: a LIVE BAND! We just couldn’t imagine our wedding without one. I’ve been to weddings where there were dj’s, and it was great. But once again, for my wedding, I knew it just wasn’t going to work. I understand that a wedding is about joining two people together, for the rest of their lives. However, after the ceremony, I want a rockin’ party to celebrate. I want everyone to just let loose and have a great time. But I also new it was going to cost us a pretty penny, so other areas were going to have to be skimped.

Meet Clint Taft and the Buck Wild Band! They’re amazing! They play everything from current country to classic rock, they offer MC services during the reception, and dj’ing services during their breaks. They’ve even played a wedding at our venue so setup there shouldn’t be anything new to them. We’ve seen them play twice now, and each time they’ve been great. They keep the crowd entertained and know how to have a good time.

They play mostly country music, but include some AC/DC, Temptations, Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison. They even have a Lit song! Clint has even offered to learn two new songs for us free of charge. This will probably come in handy when we pick our first dance song, which might or might not be on their set list already, and they will definitely be learning a new song when it comes to the Father/Daughter dance since what I have in mind isn’t already included. But more on that later.

I am so excited, and I know he (Clint Taft) is too.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finding a Venue

I would love to tell you the first thing we did once we became engaged was become organized, create some sort of inspiration board as a jumping off point, start our guest list, and discuss our budget. That’s what an organized bride-to-be would do. However, as organized as I am in real life, in engaged life, I jumped head first into picking a venue. In my head, it honestly made sense. Picking a venue would determine how many people to invite and what sort of wedding we would have; slightly backwards no? Anyways…being from a small town, I knew the one place I didn’t want my wedding to take place at.

In Seguin, large weddings (and that’s what ours would probably be) have always been held at the same place. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Seguin, right next to the rodeo arena and grounds where the local youth stock show is held. The Coliseum has been a staple in my life since I was a kid. It is where my mom and dad’s reception was held. It was where my aunt and uncle’s reception followed about 20 years after that. It has been the home to almost every wedding in Seguin I have attended, along with numerous FFA banquets, community events, Christmas Party’s, and the yearly Buck Fever. With its orange plastic chairs (that the bride in the below picture chose to cover up!), the white drapery that can hang from the rafters for an additional $500, and plenty of open space for seating, I give you The Seguin Coliseum:

This isn’t even THAT accurate of a picture. See that wall at the back? It looks white and tan striped. That’s an accordion wall that conveniently folds out and breaks the room into TWO rooms. To the other side of the picture, the side that the tables are facing, has a huge stage that your band or whatever can perform on.

I can’t fault anyone for picking it. Its relatively cheap, considering the space you get. All the tables and chairs come with it. And if your having a large (200+) wedding, its really the only place in Seguin that you have to pick. But I knew it wasn’t for me.

I don’t know if I was being stubborn, or a snob, or whatever. I just didn’t want it.

I wanted open space. I wanted it outside, to enjoy the great Texas weather! I wanted the green grass and fields to be the background. I wanted something different. I wanted something unique! I had been living the big city life now and as much as I love my small town, I just couldn’t do the “typical” small town wedding anymore. Well, that’s not true. I just didn’t want the Coliseum.

We googled(that’s a real action, I don’t care what spell check says!) everything within a 30 minute radius of my beloved 78155 zip code. Too sum up a month of googling, they were all too expensive.

Then one weekend in Seguin when we were eating lunch with my aunt and uncle, my aunt mentions this new place in Luling called Zedler Mill. All I could think was Luling? Really? No way its that nice. You see, Luling is an even smaller town then Seguin, and hasn’t always been known for having the finer things in life. They have great bbq, but that’s about it. But my aunt tends to know about these types of things so after our trip to Seguin and we were back in Dallas, we googled it . I was blown away! I knew this was it!

The ceremony space was outside with a rock seating amphitheatre.

It was right next to the river!

The pavilion, while it was inside, had huge glass garage doors that let you see almost 360 degrees.

It had greenery! It had wood floors! It had everything!

Best part?!?! The price tag was in budget! Double-score.

We had a venue!

How many venues did you visit before finding the "one"? Small town brides - did you go the more traditional route? Or change it up a little bit?

A Better Introduction

I feel like I kind of skimped on introducing us yesterday.  My only excuse was that I was really excited about starting to blog and wanted to get my first post written as quickly as possible so that we could move onto the good stuff.  But while thinking about it yesterday, I decided that blogging about wedding planning is much like the actual act of wedding planning.  It’s a marathon, not a race.  So if I want my posts to make sense and actually be understood the way I intend for them to be, you need to know more about me!  As well as my significant other! 

So who are we?  Well, we met in 2007 while working together for a steel manufacturing company. This is not some fairy tale story people! I had just joined the company and was working in from my hometown of Seguin, Texas. Michael had just taken a job with the same company and was working in Dallas. We were introduced during a "Team Work Week" in Seguin. After several months, I was asked to leave Seguin and move to Dallas to work at the corporate headquarters. While working in the same department, we eventually grew closer and began dating during the summer of 2009. Technically, our first date was the result of bet. I lost and was forced to accompany Michael to a horror movie (and I hate scary movies!). The rest is history. They say you shouldn't date someone you work with, but in this case, it worked out perfectly!  And funny story, but we actually work together NOW, at the same company.  That’s confusing….we work at the SAME company, but its different from the one we met at J  That clear things up?
And I’m going to cheat a little here, and use our descriptions of each other from our wedding website.  I think they’re cute, and if we can use them again, why not?

About Michael (written by Megan):

Well, what can I say about Michael? Just when I think it can’t get any better, it does! He cooks, he cleans, he’s a closet neat freak. Although closet neat freak is misleading since everything is neat and tidy EXCEPT his closet. He puts up with all my crazy ideas (which is not easy), and then usually helps me accomplish them while laughing at me, but that’s ok. He love’s playing soccer, watching the Maverick’s play basketball, and torturing our poor puppy by stealing her bones. He’s hard at work right now finishing his master’s degree at UNT, but should be finishing this summer. He’s a political junky so you will always find Fox News on at our house and his radio station tuned to Hannity or Mark (Levin for those of you who don’t know). He’s an amazing person and I can’t WAIT to marry him!

About Megan (written by Michael):

Megan is one of a kind! She is a country girl at heart who would rather be riding her horse than dealing with stupid city people. She spends most days sleeping as long as possible, drinking iced tea, and watching Criminal Minds marathons. She loves to read and typically blows through 3-5 books a week, which basically keeps in business.  Megan owns several guns even though she doesn’t go hunting, and she's probably a better shot than me! Megan's sense of humor is very unique. While I sometimes don't understand it, she's made me laugh every day since we met.

Oh!  And we can’t forget Sarah! 

The above picture is not an illusion.  That IS one gigantic dog bed.

Sarah is a 60 pound rescue puppy that we adopted about two years ago.  We believe she is a cross between a red heeler and German short-haired pointer.  She does look a little scared in the above picture, but usually she is a very happy puppy.  She has come a loooooooonggggggg way since we first had her.  She was very timid, would run and hide under the bed, we could barely take her on a walk without her jumping at her own shadow kind of puppy.  But now I call her my little social butterfly!  She plays well with all dogs (I usually call her a little instigator since I know she starts things but doesn’t seem to get caught), is getting her fill of playing with kids thru our younger relatives,  and while still timid, she will usually creep back out of the bedroom because she just can’t stand missing out on anything. 

That’s US in a nutshell!  Hopefully you’re not too put off by it…..

Up next, the Venue!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Beginning.....

We are less then 4 months! count them 4 months! from becoming a Mr. & Mrs. although I guess nothing different really changes in his name.  I'm the one that will have to visit the site, cause lets face it, having to fill out all those forms and stand in lines to have my name changed on all my legally binding documents sounds like no fun whatsoever(legally binding = sounds scary!).  Any kind of cheat I can find to help me out with all that sounds like a heck of a good deal.  Not that I'm not looking forward to becoming the future Mrs. Pierson!  But all the "form filling out fun" will just have to wait til AFTER the wedding ;)

I guess since this is the first post, I should introduce us.  I am Megan and he is Michael.  We got engaged May, 2011 on the lovely island of Barbados (we had free miles!).  We are planning a "country chic" wedding in south Texas while living in Dallas, TX.  In case your wondering, we decided to get married where I'm from, which is a small town about 40 miles east of San Antonio called Seguin.  Although we're actually getting married about 20 minutes from there in an even smaller town called Luling because we fell IN LOVE with a venue there, but more to come on that later.  Needless to say, we're very happy to be planning our country chic affair that we new had to involve a live band, beer, and bbq.  The details are slowly falling into place and I can't wait to share it all!  Stay tuned......