House Beautiful

Why I Decided to Freeze My Eggs

{photo by Nick Knight, via Time to Chill? Egg-freezing Technology Offers Women a Chance to Extend Their Fertility on Vogue.com}

…or “putting chickens on ice,” as I prefer to call it – just to make it seem less daunting and more lighthearted. I swear I feel like I just got boobs last week, so it seems *insane* to me that I’m in a situation where I even have to consider the possibility that by the time I’m ready to have kids, I may not be able to. Because while being 15 feels like 15 minutes ago, in real life, I’m 38 years old and I’m going to be dangerously close to 40 by the time I’m in a place to start trying to have a family. Which – in the land of chickens & eggs – is not ideal. Sometimes I do better with pictures, so here’s a snapshot – this is what a woman’s fertility looks like in her 30’s and into her 40’s.

Here’s a fun fact: as a woman, you’re born with as MANY eggs as you will ever have. Ever. At birth. Roughly 1 million. And then the count goes down from there, and you will never produce more. By puberty, you’re down to about 300,000 eggs. In your 30’s, you may have somewhere around 50,000 – but I’m speaking in super general terms. That may seem like a lot, but unfortunately your eggs have a shelf life. As you get older, the quality of your eggs decreases making it more difficult to get pregnant, and also increases your chances of having a miscarriage.

And here’s another fun fact: at 38, I have about a 65% chance of having a healthy baby if I freeze my eggs NOW.  If I wait 5 years until I’m 43, that chance waters down to just a 15% shot at having said healthy babe.  Yikes.

So, about a year ago, I went to a local OBGYN to have my AMH and my FSH evaluated through a simple blood test. AMH and FSH are hormones that can help indicate the number of eggs you have left and can give you an idea of how easy or how difficult it will be to get pregnant. I just wanted to see a snapshot of where I was so that I was armed to make some solid decisions for myself, if I needed to. The OBGYN kinda pushed back when I told her what I was coming in for and said: “Normally I don’t test these things for people until after they’ve been trying for a year” – which was baffling to me. Howsabout a fence at the top of the cliff instead of an ambulance at the bottom, sister? But I insisted and had her run them anyway. I figured those blood tests would cost me about $300 between the doctor visit and the lab work (it was more) and after the results came back, my local doc basically told me “not to worry” and that I was “normal”… HEH?  I was like, um, please tell me someone can give me something more than that to go on. I also realized that they hadn’t tested my FSH on the proper day of the month, so those results didn’t mean anything (FSH numbers aren’t helpful in measuring your fertility status unless they’re taken on Day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle). So that was a bust. I should’ve just gone straight to the big dogs instead of lighting that $$ on fire.

{image source unknown}

Enter CCRM: the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, the nation’s leader in fertility science, research and treatment. Why CCRM? They have 11 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and their Mothership is in Denver – which is 4.5 hours from where we live in Crested Butte. While I’m currently seeking treatment in the form of egg freezing, CCRM specializes in all of the most advanced fertility treatments, with deep expertise in in vitro fertilization (IVF), fertility assessment, fertility preservation, genetic testing, third party reproduction and egg donation. Their world-class fertility specialists even invented techniques and protocols that are widely practiced in the industry today. They pride themselves on being a partner in fertility for life – their physicians partner with each individual patient to create custom-tailored treatments to ensure the best outcome.

{photo by Shaheen Khan of Lows to Luxe, who shared her own experience with CCRM via this blog post}

On a sidenote, I have a friend from out of state who first did 2 unsuccessful IVF cycles at another fertility clinic. then thought, “why am I even bothering elsewhere – if we’re going to invest this much money, we might as well give ourselves the best shot possible and go to (the Mothership)”… fast forward a few years, and they now have 2 healthy kiddos, after 2 successful IVF rounds at CCRM. They were also in their early 30’s when they started… so this gig isn’t just for 40-pushers like me. Everybody’s body is different, and my biggest lesson in all of this is that it’s important to know yours.

Having CCRM in such close proximity seemed pretty fortuitous – so last November, I scheduled a consultation with CCRM founder and medical director Dr. Schoolcraft to chat through what the egg freezing process might look like for me.

20 SECOND TIMEOUT: I have to say this out loud before I continue – I do realize this is a pretty personal thing to be spewing through a megaphone and into the interwebs.  But, I also think this is something that SO MANY WOMEN are dealing with… maybe they’ve settled down but want to wait a few years for kids. Maybe they need to bust a few more years in their career before they’ll be ready to start a family. Maybe the person they want to have a family with hasn’t come along yet. Whatever the case may be – I can tell you this: whenever I’ve told any close girlfriend that I’m getting ready to freeze, they scoot closer to me and in a super hushed whisper say: “OMG, tell me everything because I may need to do it too.”  Like it’s something too seemingly frivolous or taboo to say aloud.

{photographer unknown, image via Wal-Mart}

I think it’s something that a LOT of women are curious about… and something that a lot of my friends who didn’t do it sooner are now wishing they did.  And that’s just not a position I am eager to find myself in. I’m so grateful that CCRM has an aim to shift the cultural narrative around fertility and family planning by empowering their patients to make informed decisions that can positively impact their future.  This quick video talks about the sharp uptick in the number of women in America going the egg freezing route, and walks you through the process:
 

BACK TO MY MEETING WITH DR. SCHOOLCRAFT (who btw is one of the foremost fertility docs in the world – how I fell into his care I have no idea): I drove down to Denver in late November last year to meet with him. I had my list of questions prepped, and before I knew him, I was pretty sure he’d rush me through and be all: “Anything else? Kthanksforcomingtakecarebye” – like some doctors we know tend to do.  Plus, he’s a BFD. Instead, he got me right into Ultrasound – which wasn’t planned, but he knew I’d come a long way and knew it would be helpful to see a snapshot of my follicles / situation downstairs before we sat down to chat. Then a few minutes later – once that was done and he had (well, pictures of my uterus) in hand – he sat down with me for almost an hour and talked me through the entire thing.  I wrote down a million stats & facts & things he said that day – here are a few:

  • I learned that I have GOBS of follicles (the average for someone my age is around 7 follicles in each ovary, so maybe 15 total.  I learned that I have 15 follicles on one ovary and 20 follicles on the other ovary…. so more than double the # most gals do).  The more follicles you have, the more eggs you have that can grow.  So, from what I understand, that’s a good sign (or as Karrie says: “Congrats on having the ovarian reserve of a teenage girl!” – bahahhaa) – BUT –
  • Dr. Schoolcraft reminded me that that a huge quantity of follicles isn’t always indicative of good quality. I actually have polycystic ovaries.
  • We won’t actually know their quality until we go to fertilize them, which was a surprise to me.
  • My AMH is 5.6 – they look for anything above a 2.  So that’s good.
  • My FSH is a 3.2. – at my age, levels under 8.4 is considered normal, so I’m good shape there, as well.
  • We also chatted through freezing eggs vs. embryos… basically, freezing embryos tends to be about 15% more successful than freezing eggs, but Dr. Schoolcraft felt like the # of follicles I have would help offset that differential. Freezing embryos tends to be more expensive (b/c you’re involving your significant other and therefore double the tests and basically almost double the cheese)… and also, freezing embryos can put you in a legal sitch down the road if – heaven forbid – the rug gets pulled out from under your love life. It’s not a pretty thought, but I appreciated his candor.
  • But – of everything we talked about that day – the ONE thing he said to me that resounded in my head after I left was this:

If you’re going to start trying in the next 6 months, I would say don’t spend the money. But anything beyond that, and I think it would be wise if you’re planning on having a family someday.” 

GULP.

So, that was November 2018.  It’s now August 2019.  Why in the SAM HILL is it August 2019 and I’m just now getting around to going through the retrieval process?  The (lame) truth is probably partly that I was scared – overwhelmed about the investment, so I stuck my head in the sand.  This is generally what the cost range is to do a retrieval and egg freezing cycle… so anywhere from just under $10,000 to $22,000.

Also… work. Equally lame. (I’m an Interior Designer and travel frequently for work, for those of you who are new to this blog)… But it’s hard to tell a client: “Hi, I’m so sorry, I can’t actually fly to (wherever) next week to work on your house because I have to go harvest my eggs.” It’s been easier to push it off to next cycle, or next month when I’m not traveling as much, etc…. but at this point, I just need to GSD (get sh*t done). I think I had an epiphany one day when I realized my ability to have a family trumped someone getting a custom sofa made in time for Labor Day.

{photo by Karrie Kuruzar}

I’ve heard allllll the comments from allllll the people who think I’m nuts. They are as follows:

  • Psssht, c’mon, you’re so healthy!  You have NO wrinkles!
  • People have babies well into their 40’s.  Just look at Halle Berry!
  • That seems like a waste of money.
  • You’ll be fine!  You guys are getting married soon anyway.

And to those I say:

  • Yes, I’m healthy and my skin looks decent because I bathe in coconut oil and swan dive into a jar of SPF every day. But I’m preeeeeeeetty sure my uterus doesn’t care how young my skin looks.
  • (*Snort* – seriously?  Halle Berry is a genetic anomaly. Look at her. She’s obviously not normal.)
  • I hear you – freezing your eggs is not inexpensive… the financial part of it is a serious consideration.. Insurance doesn’t typically play ball either, which means most of the time, you’re completely out of pocket.  I do recognize that I’m incredibly fortunate to even be in a place where I’m considering freezing as an option, because I know it’s off the table for a lot of people.  Even so – everybody’s got their somethin’… and it’s a REALLY inopportune time for me to be doing it right now because I might as well be approaching the Bermuda triangle of financial terror: besides the chickens-on-ice expense – which could be $10k or it could be $22k, we’re planning a wedding (which sadly will not be cheap, since my plan of a simple beach wedding with a taco stand catering it has disappeared like a fart in the wind) and we’re also trying to buy a SIMPLE piece of land (not so simple in Crested Butte) so we can build a house someday.  It’s all so scary and there have been SO many times the last few months where I’ve thought: “I’ll be fine, right? Meh – I can roll the dice.”  But this is what I always come back to: I cannot stomach chancing it.  We want to have a family. I can ALWAYS make that money back, but I will never be able to rewind time.  It’s a doodle that can’t be un-did.  How could I ever put a cost on preserving my ability to have a family?
  • Yes, yes, the engagement. We’re getting married next April.  Which is so fun (!) But again – pretty sure my uterus isn’t like: “Oh cool – omg your ring is so pretty! What colors are you doing?! K so I’ll just hang tight for you until you’re back from your honeymoon – take your time.”  By the time we get hitched next year and start trying for a family, I’ll be 39.  I just feel like at my age, I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that every month really does count.

So, there you have (most of it).  The other huge piece of this is this: even if I get busy right after the wedding (that’s a pun, my friends! LOL), I could maybe crank out the first kiddo the old fashioned way (without IVF) right around age 40, which is great!  But a huge part of the motivation to put the chickens on ice is actually the SECOND kiddo.

{photo courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel, via this great article on IVF from Goop.com}

If we’re talking closer to 42 for #2, then I feel like that’s where things get real tricky… and I start running the risk of not being able to have a child at all, or to be running a higher risk of having a child with severe complications. I learned from Dr. Schoolcraft that prior to every ovulation cycle, your eggs go through a chromosomal division – and that division becomes abnormal more & more often as you (and your eggs) get older.   So I knew the longer I waited, the higher my risk of having a child with chromosomal errors.

A lot of people refer to freezing your eggs as an insurance policy – and so do I, but I also think of it like an investment in my future. The expense is a consideration for sure – but it’s just not something I’m willing to roll the dice on.  It’s true that there are no guarantees – but (are there with anything??)…  At this point, I feel like the best I can do is to do everything in my power to put myself in the best position possible to be able to have a family, when we’re ready.

Because I guarantee if I didn’t do this now and got a few years down the road and found that it wasn’t physically possible for me to have kids anymore, a) I would be heartbroken, but b) at that point I would gladly give anything to be able to turn back time and have the opportunity again that I have right now to preserve my fertility.  I mean… look at this sweet muffin.

{this beautiful image by Rad Wild Love Photography *remind me to hire them someday*, via Hippie Kids Mama Blog}

SO – my retrieval is set for next week at CCRM in Denver.  Since this past Sunday, I’ve been carefully giving myself shots twice a day of meds to grow the eggs.  Don’t worry (!) I had to do my first one at 8:00 a.m. in the comfort of an REI tent, because we were camping last weekend (#colorado). NBD.

What was LIFE CHANGING was this hot tip I got from a friend: if you rub an ice cube over the injection spot for about 5 minutes before you stick yourself, YOU CAN’T FEEL A THING.

…and over the last 7 days of shots prior to the retrieval (for which they put you under), I’ll have to go in almost daily to be monitored… which means I’m camping out at a hotel down the street from CCRM starting this Thursday for about a week.  If I’m guessing, I’ll probably feel like I swallowed Jabba the Hutt (because while my ovaries are currently the size of walnuts, they’ll swell to size of lemons prior to the procedure)… also, chances are the hormones will make me psycho-hose-beast-level emotional (sorry Chris!). But it’s also all good and it’s an itty bitty means to what will hopefully be a great (itty bitty) end.

{photo courtesy of Fresh Farmhouse}

With 35 follicles, the prediction is that they’ll be able to get about 15 eggs during this retrieval, which would be HUGE… but of those, they have to sort through and still determine which are good quality / mature and which ones are (well, lemons).  I’ll circle back post-op once I get the skinny on how many chickens we got to put on ice!

xoxo,

 

Wedding Planning 2.0: All Roads Lead to La Jolla!

Um, where did we leave off? …oh right. I wanted a small, intimate, laid-back wedding on a remote beach catered by a taco joint. Like this:

Welllllllll – what did Bud used to say? “Honey, wish in one hand & sh*t in the other and see which one comes true first.” BAAAHAHAHAHHAAH #snort

So many of you have asked how planning is going, and if I’m “so overwhelmed” – and the answers are great! and not at all… (though there are a bajillion more decisions and a bajillion more dollars involved than I realized).  I haven’t done a post or an update since this one right after we got engaged, and a LOT of planning has gone down since then. I’m stupid excited about the wedding and it will be SO FAB – but it’s def shaking out a little differently than I’d imagined. Probably all for the better but we def got funneled (in a decision flow chart sort of way) from said-remote-exotic-beach wedding w/ tacos to a slightly larger affair in La Jolla, California (where I lived when I met good ‘ol Chris Driscoll). WHO KNEW THIS QUOTE WOULD EVER COME TRUE:

HOW WE LANDED IN LA JOLLA

1. Passport or No Passport? Well… as anyone who knows us knows – it’s really all about Gus. Any wedding in Mexico, the Caribbean or anywhere outside the U.S. wouldn’t be somewhere we could bring our right hand man, so that meant we needed to find a venue stateside. #gusgusforpresident just became #gusgusforbestman.

2. San Diego or Charleston? Doing a beach where it’s warm (and in a place where I have enough connections to manage a lot of the planning) gave us an east coast option (Charleston) and a west coast option (San Diego). I lived in San Diego for 4 years and Charleston for 10, so I have a leg up in either place.

The weather on the left coast, however, is just so much more temperate and SO much more predictable. 68-72 and sunny with no humidity and a snowball’s chance in h*ll of rain is basically what you can expect out of San Diego 362 days out of the year. Whereas Charleston is HUMID – swassy, if you will, about 9 months out of the year. And there are also hurricane seasons and higher chances of rain to contend with, which doesn’t give me any warm fuzzies when it comes to an outdoor wedding. Plus, the thought of sweating through my clothes or my hair looking like Whitesnake on my wedding day was not too appealing, so San Diego won out. Not that this wouldn’t have been super hot wedding hair.

Also… you can obviously always make your wedding whatever you want, but when I was researching venues in both places, I just felt like Charleston (one of the most fab cities on the planet) inherently lends itself to a little more fuss & formality – cuz it’s the South. And I just don’t want ANY of that for this particular day. Also, everyone + their mom + their mom’s brother’s uncle’s cousin gets married there. For good reason, because it’s a beautiful, charming place, but give me laid back SoCal crisp air that smells like saltwater or give me death.

3. November or April?  Um.. exsqueeze me who knew venues book out LIKE TWO YEARS IN ADVANCE. It is insanity. I swear that betrothed toddlers the world over lifted their little legs and peed on some dates. For example, as of today (July 17, 2019) this is what the 2020 calendar looks like for one of the venues we considered. Geesh, good luck with your Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmastime nuptials next year folks!  Cuz those are just about all the Saturdays that are left. Forget 2019 – it was booked in 2016. Fer Fox sake.

A good friend of ours who got married last year told us NOT to waste time picking a venue; she said they waited a few months to “just enjoy being engaged” and during that time, a lot of the venues they wanted got nabbed. Between November (only Fridays available, anywhere, but it’s off season and rates on everything are better) and April, Chris felt like November was “too much of a rush” (and on the inside I was like PSSSSHT puh-lease, I have had this planned in my head since birth, give me 10 minutes and I’ll have it together. Wanna see my Pinterest boards???  fjkdl;sjfldjsflkja)… I can write that in this blog because Lord knows he doesn’t read it. And I should probably be thankful for that.

In the end, April won out: so that we could do a Saturday, so we had time to kind of chillax and enjoy being engaged, but in large part so we’d have more time to save more cheddar, because there are few certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and the fact that Weddings are highway robbery.

They just are, and I know everyone who’s ever gotten married knows that, but why was I confused? I’m finding a *few* clever ways to save (ditch the cake! …monobotanical flowers or in season anything… cut the guest listliterally just googled “DIY Milk Glass Votives” 15 minutes ago… and naturally, baking cookies and showing people my boobs….. kidding!!), but ye know.


 
At some point the cost of a wedding with 100 or so people just is what it is, and I actually think it’s tacky to talk about money – BUT – how do you blog about the wedding process and NOT talk about it? It’s such a huge consideration for anyone planning one, and it plays into every single decision. So whatever I can pass along that’s helpful, I will. Everyone else’s wedding blog I read I’m all: “JUST &$^# TELL ME HOW MUCH IT REALLY COSTS SO I KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.”  Who knew a damn chivari chair was $8, a bistro + cushion $12, and a ghost chair $20? …and other mind-numbing insanity. But I HAVE to say this because it’s actually true: I’m obviously trying to be super smart about wedding spending, but I really am completely at peace with the fact they’re just expensive parties to throw. And this one is really important because it is the ONLY time in our entire lives that we’ll get to have all our closest friends & family all in the same place. Yolo, yo.

4. Waterfront Venues? Bueller??  I had this brilliant idea to take a page out of Karrie & Tim’s playbook and rent a big beach house for our families for the week (so chill and so communal), and have the ceremony outside on the beach, and the reception rager on the grounds of the house outside. I found THIS HOUSE – on Windansea Beach in La Jolla (my fave) – which would’ve been so, so, so perfect. Not only a place to save some cheese (cuz you’re killing the place-to-sleep + wedding venue fee birds with one stone), but I also have just wanted it to feel less like a bunch of pomp & circumstance, and more like an intimate REALLY FUN dinner party at our house.

Anyhoosit – I can’t say the owner of that property responded kindly to my request. I eventually resorted to begging, offering a huge refundable damage deposit, to sign in blood that we wouldn’t screw up her house and would put port-a-potties outside, etc etc, but girlfriend was Fort Knox. And I found that to be the case with every property owner: literally no one these days will let you host an event at an AirBNB. If they do, they charge you something like $100 a head just to let people in the door. Otherwise, they all have rules that you can’t even have more than like, 3 guests over beyond the capacity of overnight guests in the house. It’s all nonsense but I guess that deters people from throwing a Jake Ryan-esque train wreck party on their property.

Also, a beach rager like this was out of the question, because no beaches in San Diego allow alcohol, even if you have a permit to post up and throw a shin dig there. Long story (never) short, I was striking out big time.

Outside of AirBNB’s in San Diego or posting up on a beach, I found a handful of really stunning waterfront venues, but many of them (like Scripps Martin Johnson House) were already taken (basically through the end of time). So I narrowed to:

La Valencia – this gorgeous pink hotel perched on top of La Jolla Cove where we could do a ceremony in the sand and reception inside…

La Jolla Shores Hotel – not as schmancy but they’d still let us do a ceremony in the sand outside, and reception here…

…and Darlington House – which is a private, historic Spanish property a few blocks from Windansea in La Jolla.

5. All Inclusive vs. Standalone Venue. Doing a hotel wedding probably appeals to anyone who wants to make the planning process easier on themselves: Hotels have all their packages all dialed in: you don’t have to worry about renting tables / chairs / linens / all that noise, because they have it all there.  But to me, I didn’t hear “easy breezy decision making” – I heard: “You mean I get to choose between a white tablecloth or an ivory tablecloth? EHMAHGAH DOES THAT MEAN I can’t do mismatched vintage floral plates or farm tables?” Whoops.

If you go the hotel route, you also don’t have to agonize over which caterer to hire because you’re already married to using theirs (for better or for worse). You also have to get all your alcohol from their bar which means buying all their booze at retail – e.g. $15 per vodka tonic times all our alcoholic friends = I should register for the fanciest cardboard box to install under the bridge we’ll live in after the wedding. But what *really* pushed me away from the hotel idea was what one very wise planner said about the lack of privacy: “Both of those hotels are beautiful, but you WILL have beach goers and hotel guests in wet bathing suits traipsing into your event, and you won’t be able to do anything about it.”

And what NAILED THE NAIL in the hotel wedding coffin was when I priced everything out – (via the longest nerd alert spreadsheet you’ve ever seen that included every fork, knife & spoon):

  • All-inclusive (cookie cutter) hotel wedding, vs.
  • Private standalone venue where you have to bring ALL our own stuff – tables, chairs, decor… hire your own caterer, BYO-booze, etc.

And you wanna know the kicker?!  THEY CAME OUT TO *LITERALLY* EXACTLY THE SAME PRICE.

Then the decision was easy: we can not only do the entire thing EXACTLY how we want and bring so much more character in, but we also have more of an opportunity to control the pricing during the coming months while we carefully select and compare the vendor quotes on things like lounge vignettes, caterers, etc – versus being locked into one huge all-inclusive cost upfront. And, the ability to bring your own booze is HUGE. Hello – Costco lets you return unopened bottles of wine (and I think BevMo does too), plus we’re lucky enough to have some hookups in the liquor industry.

Here are some more pics of the little gem of a venue we booked… What I love is that it’s not huge, has TONS of character, and literally will feel like we had a handful of our friends & fam over for dinner in our backyard. DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE MAGIC I CAN WORK ON THIS PLACE????????

5. Tacos? TACOS?? – The first question I asked Darlington House was if I could have The Taco Stand (best fish taco in San Diego!) cater the wedding. They politely re-directed me to a list of 20 or so “approved caterers” for the venue. That right there kicked me from my pipe dream $20 a head for a casual taco bar to closer to about 5x that for a sit-down dinner… But I get it, and there’s something I’ve always loved about a sit-down dinner as a guest at someone else’s wedding. It seems like it slows down time a bit, which is great, because it lets you hang with the people at your table and get off your feet (aka 4″ heels) for an hour or so… As opposed to mingling in circles for hours, standing in a buffet line, etc. The other shocker about buffets is this: THEY ARE NOT A HUGE COST SAVINGS, if at all.  The caterers actually have to supply more food than usually gets eaten. I priced out plated dinner vs. buffet vs. stations and found the price difference to be pretty negligible. I also clung to my taco dreams till the bitter end – and even had a few caterers price out farm to table Mexican fare – which came out the same as Surf & Turf.  So, surf & turf it is.  OH BUT DON’T WORRY! Because these are still getting passed during cocktail hour. Tuna tartare mini tacos + spicy margs. DREAMS DO COME TRUE, PEOPLE.

6. Beach Ceremony dreams, however, don’t always come true. We could have totally done a beach ceremony + a Darlington House reception, because they’re only a few blocks apart. But there ended up being so many reasons why that just wasn’t the best idea.

  • First, all the schlepping. There’s also a pretty steep staircase down to Windansea, and lots of big rocks & tide pools, which makes it not only tricky for the rental folks to drag chairs up & down, but for old folks to drag themselves down.

  • Beyond that, we would’ve had to double up on chair rentals – cuz it’s not like the rental folks would wait for everyone to leave the ceremony, then schlepp the chairs back up said stairs, run over to Darlington & set those up… They could, but as one wedding planner cautioned me: “It’s inelegant.” HA. It’s also just a fuss, but if we’re not moving ceremony chairs –> dinner chairs, then renting double the chairs = a cool extra $1200. No spanks.
  • Windansea Beach is STUNNING – but the waves are huge and therefore loud – so loud that you can’t hear much.  And there’s also really no way for a sound fella or gal to get electrical down there.
  • Probably most importantly, it’s just the timing and the flow. Changing venues would’ve cost us precious time and made for a more disjointed evening, which we didn’t want. We also would’ve needed to hire transportation to move everyone from one location to the next (despite their relative short distance apart). We just want people to come in and be able to relax. So, I resolved to take some pics down on the beach and do the whole da*n thing at Darlington.

So, that’s wassup and it’s gonna be pretty rad. The venue is super intimate and works best with about 120 guests, so that’s kind of where we landed – which for SURE pains us, because even though we thought we wanted to do something smaller, it’s REALLY HARD to sit down and write out a guest list, hard to tell people that we’re not having any kiddos at the wedding (the most eloquent I’ve seen it on an invite is: “Kindly, this is an adults-only affair“), and it’s even harder to wrap our heads around the fact that we won’t be able to include everyone we love, and everyone who’s had a place in our lives at one point or another.

I also have a different perspective now as a wedding guest – it’s not even the cost side of things, it’s like – dayyyyyuuuummm, this is the MOST important day of your life, and you guys had to sit down and agonize over who to include in it, and you sent US an invitation. Not that I haven’t before, but I will now feel so extra honored and humbled to be invited to anyone’s wedding. And so not offended when I’m not, because I know it’s just not always personal – you never know what kind of budget or criteria someone is dealing with.

That’s enough outta me today, but I have SO MANY OTHER THINGS to kick around another time. These posts will probably be more of a stream of consciousness for me and hopefully a help to anyone else planning a wedding (‘spesh in San Diego). But if you made it this far without a bathroom break or a nap, then I commend you, my friend. Other stuff I would love to dig into another time is:

  1. Where is the “fab rehearsal dinner outfit roundup” post? Oh right, it doesn’t exist. Don’t worry – I’ll make one.
  2. Where are all the non-depressing / fabulous Mother of the Bride dresses?  This is partially a PSA for Jayne.
  3. Wedding Websites: why Zola is so bad ass, and why I don’t have early onset arthritis, thanks to free recipient addressing at Minted.
  4. Wedding hashtags – why they sound stoop and trivial but actually aren’t, and how to come up with a good one.
  5. Catering: what to serve, how many options to give people, and why I got the whip cracked on me for wanting to give options at all (and why she was totally right).
  6. Things you need to BUST A MOVE on as soon as you have a date set.
  7. Rentals – renting aka lighting $$ on fire vs. schlepping things there myself.
  8. WARNING: THERE IS NO VANITY SIZING IN WEDDING DRESSES. I REPEAT: TAKE YOUR REGULAR DRESS SIZE AND DOUBLE IT, AND THAT’S PROBABLY YOUR WEDDING DRESS SIZE. DO NOT BE ALARMED. YOU DID NOT GAIN 50 LBS OVERNIGHT. Just think of wedding dress sizing being in sanskrit.
  9. Wedding Dress Shopping – tips and tricks to save, fab designers, etc. I hit the best ones in Chicago, Denver, LA and Indy.
  10. Where is the objective “review” of all things people register for?  e.g. I should already know, but I need someone to tell me things like which great quality towels we should register for. Not that the tattered beach towels with holes we have aren’t cutting the mustard. I’ll also do a few sample registries (like the one I did for Rent the Runway a few years back). Cuz those are fun. 
  11. Bridesmaid Dresses – how to do something super unique.
  12. Planners – what questions to ask and how to vet them, what they take off your plate that I promise you DO NOT want to do, the ones I met with in SoCal and loved (I was sad I couldn’t hire all of them, though I do love the one we did for month-of, Lisa Friesen), and how to make the decision when it’s a dead lock.
  13. Photography (and videography): The ONLY TANGIBLE THING YOU TAKE WITH YOU. We hired Anni Graham and I am so thrilled I can’t take it. Will also list all the videographers whose style I think is killer.
  14. DECOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is how she’s shaking out so far… and imma tell you all about it one of these next times.

Chris and I are heading to SD this weekend (for legit 36 hours, with Gus in tow) and are BLOWING thru catering tastings and (for me), hair & makeup trials, so I’ll have that to yap about next time too.

xoxo!