Wedded Bliss: How I Planned a Wedding in Two Weeks and for Less than $1000

This month we did a thing. We got married! We have lived together for over three years now and have been talking about getting married for about 1 1/2 years , but something always comes up or makes it too complicated to set a date. We finally decided that for financial reasons it would be best for us to get married before the end of the year with a very simple ceremony where only parents were invited and later on plan a big party with all of our friends and family, kind of like a belated reception.

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So, when Jason’s parents told us they were coming down for a weekend this fall, I called my mom and told her that we wanted to plan to have a wedding in two weeks. She was able to find flights for her and my grandmother so that they could be there and I got started planning.

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We ordered rings. On Amazon, of course, since we buy everything on Amazon including our household furniture and beds! Diamonds are not my favorite stone (I actually prefer my birthstone, rubies), so we were able to find me an engagement ring for under $150 and I managed to find a wedding band that matched the engagement ring perfectly for less than $150 as well. My husband decided to order a silicone wedding band for around $40, since he uses his hands so much at work and at home. I told him that I will get him a nicer ring for when we go out and for special occasions for one of our anniversaries. Boom! Rings done, and on the cheap too!

Next we went to go get our marriage license. It only cost about $45 for our county. Once I had that I was found a notary who would come do there ceremony at our house for about $125. We had Ms. Sonita Leaks perform our wedding. If you live in the Greenville area of South Carolina, I highly recommend her. She was very professional, submitted our paperwork in a timely fashion, and was very accommodating with our pup being so exuberant during the ceremony. She even stayed after the ceremony to take a few photos of us all. She was very sweet and made our special day perfect.

All that was left was the food. We ordered from our favorite barbeque place, Henry’s Smokehouse. I spent about $90 on pulled pork, baked beans, mac and cheese, cole slaw, and iced tea for 10 people. And everybody enjoyed the food.

As far as my dress, I had an off-white dress that had not been worn yet that looked fantastic with my cowboy boots. Jason wore his favorite button down shirt, nice jeans and his going out boots. We didn’t have to spend any money at all on special clothes since it was just our parents and us in our backyard. My aunt and grandmother took care of a boutonniere and bouquet for me. They also arranged a few vases for our dinner table. Other than those few flowers, we didn’t have any other décor since it was a beautiful fall day and the changing leaves were more than enough color. We also decided against hiring a photographer since everyone who was there had a camera and could take pictures and share them with us.

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Our wedding was exactly like us: simple, intimate, and fun. I am so glad we went this route instead of a big, stressful wedding. I will make sure to post once we have the “reception” with family and friends and how that goes.

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Why I decided to join the Y

Since moving to South Carolina and starting a relationship three years ago, I have steadily been gaining weight. Now, I am not overweight by any means, but I have had to buy new clothes every year and that can get expensive. Plus, I am worried that if I continue this trend, eventually I will become overweight and that is just not an option for me. I am not vain, but my body image does have a direct correlation with my self-esteem and confidence.

After purging my closet and drawers of all the clothes that did not fit me anymore, I got a little depressed and pissed off at myself. I have always been one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted and exercise sporadically if I wanted and be just fine weight-wise, but it seems that the older you get, the less that is possible, especially when you have a desk job that leaves you pretty inactive all day. So, my current health goals include maintaining my current weight by exercising more often and making better choices when it comes to eating.

I decided that, in order for me to meet my health goals, we needed to get active this year. We have been trying, but being active on just the weekends isn’t enough. Especially when the weather makes it impossible for us to get out of the house and actually do active things like hiking or biking.

I tried working out with workout videos at home, but I just have a hard time staying motivated when nobody is doing it with me. And I mean like right next to me. I crave a social situation in order to work out. So, I finally took a look at the gyms in my area.

I have never been good at going to the gym. I am not good at independently working out, and I haven’t been able to find a gym buddy. Also, I usually feel really out of place in the gym. I always feel like people are watching me and judging me.

One of my friends recommended that I get Jason to work out with me, but that just wouldn’t work for me. He work out completely different than I do because his needs are different than mine. I need people with like-minded health goals and interests to work out with. Some of the gyms closest to where I live didn’t offer any kind of group exercise classes. Others were just so far outside of my price range (I am on a budget here after all)!

After a lot of searching I finally decided on the YMCA close to my job. I had been there before when I first moved here. I went with my aunt to a Zumba class and had a lot of fun. I like the atmosphere there; it doesn’t feel as much like a meat market like some of the other gyms I have been to. Also, the locker rooms are nothing fancy, in fact they remind me of the P.E. locker rooms in my high school! I figured it is the most comfortable I am going to feel. It’s in the mid-range for prices I was willing to pay for a gym, they offer classes, and have a pool to exercise in. Plus they waived my joining fee!

In my usual planning fashion, I grabbed the group exercise schedules and color coded classes I was interested in in three categories: completely available, available for lunch break, and not available unless it is a holiday. I figure that this way I will know what my options are each week and I can pick at least three classes to go to each week. I love that there are so many options and I can switch up the type of exercise I’m doing so that I can stay excited about it.

I went to my first class this morning. A Sunrise Yoga that started at 6:00 a.m. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it, because I have a hard time getting up to an alarm clock in the mornings, but I made sure I went to bed extra early. I also think my excitement helped urge me to wake up to.

For an early morning yoga class, it was a lot more intense than I expected it to be, which is probably a good thing. If it had been more relaxing, I might have fallen right back asleep, which I almost did when we got to the Savasana portion of the session. I am almost positive my arms and butt will be sore tomorrow with all the planking and chairs we were doing!

I felt such a sense of accomplishment actually showing up to a class so early in the morning and making it through without falling asleep!

Now I have no excuses to not work out because my gym is right on my way to and from work every weekday. Also, when the weather is crappy I have no excuse to not stay active because I can hop in my car and go take a weekend class instead. I am 100% determined to make regular exercise a routine in my life.

Do you have any tips to help me get the most out of my YMCA membership?

Playing Tourist for the Weekend

Jason’s best friend Gary came to visit this weekend, so we played tourist with him. It is not his first time in our area, but it was his first time visiting since we built the house and moved out to Travelers Rest. 
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On Friday night we went to Birds Fly South Ale Project. This is a cool little brewery that was built by the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It is very popular with the biking community and they have brought a lot of new businesses to the area too. When they first opened at Hampton Station, it was just the brewery and sometimes a couple of food trucks would make there way over there. They have now been there for a while, and a taco place has moved in next door as well as a few other studio type shops in the surrounding warehouses. While we did not get to eat the tacos there, I am really hoping we go back at some point, because they smelled absolutely delicious. One of the new shops that I was excited to to see was the axe throwing bar. After passing it by, I stopped real quick to ask the guy at the desk how much and he said $20 a person. It seems like a good time and something I would come back to do another day.

We decided to just hang out at the brewery and drink a few of there beers. They always have some interesting concoctions. That day the two that I tried were a sour made with local beets and honey that had a very interesting flavor. It was very fresh tasting and on the sweeter side, but my favorite thing about it was the beautiful dark pink color it got from the beets. The other beer I tried was a hefeweizen that had been brewed with raspberries. It was sweeter and had a reddish color from the raspberries (I think I’m seeing a pattern in my tastes for beer lol). This beer was in my opinion better than the beet beer in flavor and I really enjoyed it.

Saturday had us starting at Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve, which is a location me and Jason have been to several times, but Gary had never seen it. It is the historical site of a bridge built back in 1820 that was used to travel from Greenville to Asheville. It is a beautiful spot about 20 minutes from where we live and is a fun little drive through some winding hilly and mountainous roads passing a vineyard and some pretty creeks and forest areas. The last time we were there, it looked like there were some marked trails that might be for hiking. This time I decided to check them out and it looks like they are on private property (possibly belonging to the Camp Old Indian that is next to the site). I will have to do further research to see what they are used for and whether they are open to the public at all. Of course I left both my phone and my camera behind on this excursion, so I couldn’t take any pictures. However, here are some pictures that I took there about two years ago. It really is a gorgeous little spot.

Later we went to Downtown Greenville to see some of the social scene there. Me and Jason don’t make it over there very often, even though I really do love it. It has gotten so much more crowded through the years, and there are soooo many restaurants and bars to choose from.

We started out at Pour which is a taproom where you pour your own beer. They give you a bracelet with a scanner in it and at every tap you go to you scan it before serving yourself and it keeps track of the ounces of which beer you have poured. It is great for large groups since there is such a wide variety of beers and they even have about six wines to choose from also. It was pretty crowded the whole time we were there and we got there early in the afternoon. Apparently there was a taco crawl happening downtown that day and we got to people watch all these people doing the crawl, some of them dressed up in taco costumes or wearing taco hats.

We started to get hungry and went to Carolina Ale House to eat. They didn’t have a wait at the bar so we sat there and got a meal quick. At this point I was at that point before hangry where you are just quiet and zoning out. I would not say that the Ale House is a must see downtown. We go there often because there is enough variety on the menu that everyone is happy and they have a wide variety of beers and mixed drinks to choose from.

By the time we were done eating, the main pub that we wanted to visit was opening, so we headed to Addy’s Dutch Cafe & Restaurant. This little place is a cozy dark little bar/restaurant that has ben around 1989. In fact, it is one of the oldest bars downtown. It is no wonder that it has managed to keep its doors open. It has an amazing ambience inside and an authentic selection of dutch beers. I have heard that the food is amazing although I have never eaten there myself. The bar tenders are always great, friendly people who really know their menu and seem to care about the place. We sat there for a while, talking and drinking, and had a great time.

Me and Jason stopped at a bar/club called DTs around the corner from Addy’s to meet up with an old friend of ours that we had not seen in a while. It’s not exactly our scene and it was starting to get late by then so we didn’t stay long, and decided to head home after that.

All in all, it was a fun, albeit expensive, weekend pretending to be tourists. While we are not the types to go out often, I really do feel like we should go to some of these places more often to be more social. Maybe we will try to mix it up every once in a while and take a night out on the town, or at least to one place out on the town.