The Happy Nappy Bride

About weddings. About relationships. About the first year of being married.

aaahhhh…organization December 22, 2009

Filed under: Details — Happy Nappy Bride @ 1:27 pm
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As Baloo (from The Jungle Book) says, it’s all about the bare necessities.  And these are my wedding planning necessities.

At top left, the organizer and budget planner.  Essential at the beginning of this process as I tried to wrap my brain around just how much we could spend.  Also, it’s full of questions to ask vendors…and I ask all of them.  Sometimes I feel badly for them…but I still ask.  Not only is it an organizer and planner, but its got file folders built in (!) so that I can keep all receipts together.

Top right, the book that makes my mom happy…my Emily Post etiquette book, or how not to piss people off and write super authentic thank you notes.

The bottom book is my baby…my idea book.  Though I love Mt. Bridal Magazine, I can’t (and I don’t want to) do everything, so I clip ideas out of magazines and put them in there.  It’s helpful to keep me focused on what my vision for our wedding is and it’s also nice to show to people so that they know what’s going on.

For whatever reason, my employer is still requiring that I work during the planning process, so organization is key and these help me a bunch.



Filed under: Black weddings — Happy Nappy Bride @ 11:43 am
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That’s Princess Tiana…the first Black Disney princess.

I’ll bet that a lot of folks didn’t understand the significance of this…it’s just another cheesey Disney movie (FYI…I love cheesey Disney movies), right?  Well, when you grow up playing with Barbies (that are White) and dolls (that are White) and watching Disney movies with (White) princesses…you start to think that this “princess” thing isn’t for Black folks.  Maybe even this “pretty” thing isn’t for Black girls.

This is kind of how it feels with the wedding industry…you don’t see Black ladies getting married, getting to be a princess for a day, so…?  It’s like that old cliche, if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear…did it really fall?  How about: if a Black couple gets married and there’s no record of it…did it really happen?

According to most experts, our nation’s about to become a lot browner and blacker…can the wedding industry continue to pretend as if we don’t exist?  As if our dollars aren’t still green?  As it we’re insignificant?


side effect December 21, 2009

Filed under: Community — Happy Nappy Bride @ 9:55 pm
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One of the cooler things about getting married is how excited others are for us.  People are always asking me how things are going, guys mock sadness for The Mister…it’s pretty fun.  I love hearing other ladies’ wedding stories and getting all sorts of offers for help.  It’s a very cool thing.  I always make a point of asking married folks about their secrets to success…it’s never what you think it is!  I haven’t gotten the same piece of advice yet.

We want this wedding to be a community endeavor.  It’s about the two of us obviously…but also about the family and friends around us who’ll be our support system.


reception centerpieces December 20, 2009

Filed under: Details — Happy Nappy Bride @ 8:53 pm
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As I’ve said before, I enjoy my wedding magazines.  They’re an addiction, maybe one day I’ll put up a picture of Mt. Bridal Magazine.  I can justify it though, because I got this idea for our centerpieces from a British wedding mag so that totally makes my magazine consumption worthwhile.

Anyhoo, these cute little containers are representative of what I’ll use for our centerpieces.  I’m ordering flowers wholesale, but I really wanted real flowers and I want a lot of flowers…so wholesale is the way to go.  It took me a few trips to antique shops (where the owners would without fail ask why I was buying so many of these things), Goodwill & Salvation Army stores to get enough for all of the tables.  And since they’ll double as favors for the guests, I needed enough for them too.  After one of my (many) trips to get more of these, The Mister was finally like, don’t you think you have enough?  I have, well, a lot of them.

What’s that I hear?  That’s the voice of reason…stop going to the store Dawn.  But I’m excited about these cute, little containers.  I like that they’re all different and not all matchy-matchy.  I think that they’ll look beautiful (bee-you-tee-ful!) in the old Victorian mansion where we’re holding our reception.

Anyhoo, I’ve got two major DIY projects.  One is for the ceremony and we’ll talk about that later and the other is doing flowers for the wedding and reception.  That means bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, and ceremony site.  A wonderful do-it-yourself with the bridesmaids!  There are lots of wholesale places online…and I’ve heard that Sam’s and Costco also have fresh flowers.  I haven’t checked into it, but I’ve also heard that they’ll special order flowers as well.

I love flowers.  They make me smile.  I know that’s stereotypically female, but it’s true.  So I decided early on that it was worth the expense of getting nice, real flowers.  Then I saw how much florists were charging and I put my thinking cap on.  I realized that I didn’t need someone to make the flowers look pretty…they’re flowers!  They’re already pretty!  I just needed flowers…and lots of them.   So I’m doing the wholesale route and the flowers (with those snappy-looking containers above) will be the only decorations for the reception site.

I look at other people’s wedding websites and they’re doing/building/creating all sorts of stuff…surely we can put some flowers in containers and make bouquets and whatnot.  Right?  Right? So, in my efforts to have a sane, practical, and fun wedding…this all seems to fit that criteria.



Filed under: Details — Happy Nappy Bride @ 8:13 am
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Discussion from yesterday:

Dawn: Oh my God, the paper’s here!

The Mister: What?

Dawn:  Paper! Paper! Paper!

The Mister: What are you talking about?

Dawn: Paper! Paper! Paper!

The Mister: *shakes head*

Dawn: *dancing* *jumping* *clapping*

Before July 25th (the big ask), I promise I wouldn’t have been so fired up about a package filled with blank paper…mostly because I wouldn’t have ordered a package full of blank paper.  Now it’s cause for dancing, hooting, and hollering.  We’re having a frugal (but classy, thank you very much) wedding.  That means we’re doing a lot of the details ourselves.  But not in a true DIYer way…because I have neither the time nor the inclination to be cutting and pasting invitations together.

I’ve got a graphic designer friend who’s designed all of our stationary for an incredibly cheap price and we’ll order nice paper online and print it at a Kinko’s or something like that.  It’ll save a significant amount of money without skimping on the niceness of the stationary.

Just last week I’d gone through this routine.  Got the paper, took it to Kinko’s, they printed off the samples for me, and I brought them home to show to The Mister.  He picked his fave (he’s got surprisingly good taste) and all was well with the world.  Or so he thought!  I was like, well if he likes that one…why don’t we order five more that are just like that one (but different!) and make him choose again?!  Ah…the joys of wedding planning.

Anyhoo, though I don’t have the finished product yet, I’d totally recommend this way of doing things.  I had the designer create save the dates, invites & reply cards, thank you’s, programs, and maps…very cheaply.  The paper and envelopes can be found online at any number of websites and you can go to Kinko’s or Staples or whatever and have them print & cut the paper for you.

For you brides out there who want things done well, want them done nicely, but want them done frugally…this is a great option!


the loneliest number? December 19, 2009

Filed under: Black weddings — Happy Nappy Bride @ 2:24 pm
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I’ve heard it for a long time and I’m sure that other Black ladies have heard the same:  Black women have a crappy shot at getting married.  For myriad of reasons:  Black dudes are in jail, they’re gay (“not that there’s anything wrong with that.” –Jerry Seinfeld), or they know they’re in high demand so they don’t want to go and ruin it by getting married.

Here’s a link to an article titled, scarily enough, “Marriage Is For White People“.  It’s from the Washington Post and was written in ’06…here are a couple of quotations that I’d like to chat about:

“In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites.”

“A woman who takes that step (marriage) is bold and brave,” one young single mother told me. “Women don’t want to marry because they don’t want to lose their freedom.”

First, I hope you go and read the article.  I read some of it to The Mister and he turned into a maninist (what’s the male version of feminist? Mascunist? Maninist? *shrugging*)…all about men’s rights.  It was a little bit funny.  Second, I’ve heard these numbers for a long time in my life and while it’s certainly true (the numbers don’t lie), it’s the wrong way to look at things.

Black women, and women in general, need to get rid of this phrase:  what the man’s “bringing to the table”.  This isn’t high stakes betting!  Shouldn’t it be about having someone with you through thick and thin? When you’re killing it at work and when you’ve just been fired?  Isn’t it about building something together?  And doesn’t that building assume an ebb and flow?  Sometimes you’ll carry more of the load and sometimes it’ll be his turn?

Anyhoo, I’m not marrying The Mister because I need him to buy a house (already have one…and so did he, by the way), or to have kids (I suppose that could be accomplished without becoming a Mrs.)…it’s because I believe we’re better together than apart.  Good or bad, up or down…I’m a better Dawn with The Mister.

Surely we’ll dig into this more later, but what do you guys think about the article?


sanity December 18, 2009

Filed under: Conspiracy theories — Happy Nappy Bride @ 10:40 pm
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I was kinda hoping that by having this blog, that I’d be able to keep from driving The Mister crazy with all of my wedding talk.  You see, right after he first asked me, I got super busy with work.  So I wasn’t able to properly obsess over wedding deets and whatnot and I’d promised myself that I’d obsess when I had more time.

But then when I had more time, I really didn’t need to obsess.

I mean, let’s keep it real…there’s no way to have a cheap wedding (believe me, I tried to figure it out!), but I don’t really need to be in full crazy, obsessive mode until May.  My heart can’t take it and I’m sure The Mister can’t.  We’ve got the ceremony place, we’ve got the reception place, I’ve got a dress…

Okay, he doesn’t have a suit, nor has he given me his addresses for the save the dates…but a few deep breaths keep me from worrying about that too much.

Anyhoo, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders of the wedding industry needs brides to obsess about details that aren’t vital.  Nice, perhaps…but vital, no way.  What if, and I’m just wondering out loud here, but what if those folks that are making whoseits and whatsits for wedding favors are in cahoots with the wedding magazine people?  I mean, the magazine people need ads right?  And the whoseit and whatsit people need a place to sell their stuff right?  Could it be that they’ve thought up this whole “need” to have certain things at your wedding.

I’m not saying…I’m just saying.

I’ve got nothing against favors, we’re gonna use our centerpieces as favors, that was just an example…insert “vital, necessary wedding whoseit” in there if you’re fired up about favors.  The idea is that when you read those magazines, they make you feel like your wedding will s-u-c-k if you don’t have their stuff.  That’s just not true.  What would s-u-c-k?: your fiance not showing up, the officiant not showing up, forgetting to put on your dress and walking down the aisle naked (but if I had a body like Beyonce, I’d seriously think about it!)…I’m sure I can think of more things, but you get the idea.

I will continue to buy the wedding mags, because I can playa!  I’m gonna be a bride!  But I’m on to you crazy wedding folks and while I love your super pretty pics of super pretty people having super pretty weddings, I’m not drinking the kool aid.



Filed under: Details — Happy Nappy Bride @ 12:58 pm
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I know that everyone’s gone through the same deal:  The Mister asks, we scream/cry/holler “yes”, then we say…well, now what?

Since all of us ladies (contrary to popular belief) aren’t born with some sort of wedding gene or haven’t spent our entire lives planning a wedding and then just spend our time trying to hunt down some poor soul to fit into a plan that’s been in place long before he was even a thought.  *deep breath*  Whew, now that was a run-on sentence if I’ve ever seen one, but you get the point.

I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until he asked.  After chatting a bit after, we both quickly realized that an open bar would be an essential part of any wedding that involved the two of us.  That one bit of information had a surprisingly limiting effect on our reception venues.  If you do the whole hotel wedding/reception deal, then liquor is crazy expensive and since I’m cheap frugal, I couldn’t imagine paying thousands for a some cocktails.  So before I’d even taken time to think about how I wanted the wedding and reception to feel (which is highly important!), I knew we needed a place that’d let us bring our own drinks.

It’s pretty amazing to think how that one choice (a very important detail for The Mister and I) led us to the most amazing Victorian mansion where we’ll hold our reception.  I thought just by the looks of it that it would be well out of our price range, but the manager guy (good ole Ray) said, “we’ve got a Friday in May left…and it’s $1000 cheaper for events on Friday or Sunday.”  Wha?!  And I can choose my own caterer?  Yes.  And I can bring in alcohol?  Yes.  And all of the guests will be bowled over by how beautiful this place is?  Yes.

So there it is…how we’ll end up getting married on a Friday:  because we want our friends & family to be able to drink to their heart’s content without silently adding up drink prices in our heads the whole night.

Plus, the venue will provide tables, linens, chairs, and setup (*clapping*)…yay!!  Plus, plus:  the place is decorated so beautifully that I can keep those pennies that would’ve gone to decorating in my pocket.  Seriously, we’re not decorating.  No, really. Nothing.  Except for flowers, but I’m a little nutty about flowers…I’m sure there’ll be more about that later.


6 months to go

Filed under: Black weddings — Happy Nappy Bride @ 11:29 am
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So that’s me.

I’m Dawn and I’m getting married in May.  That picture is from the day The Mister and I were getting our engagement photos taken.  I was nervous about the hair and using my phone to send my sis-in-law a preview of “the look”.  Plus, you get an extra special peek at our bathroom here at work…isn’t it nice?

So The Mister asked me to marry him in July and I immediately went to the bookstore and bought lots & lots of wedding magazines (after I said yes, of course!)…why?  Because I could that’s why!  I’m getting married and it’s finally kosher for me to buy wedding magazines, so I’m going to buy me some wedding magazines thank you very much.

But oddly enough, though I know Black people date, fall in love, and get married…there were virtually no Black people in the wedding magazines.  Then I found the wedding blogs…nope, no Black people there either.  Hmmm, what a quandry?  Now, I don’t want you to think I’m a militant Black Panther or something (please, I’m like the female version of Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air…I’m all Banana Republic and J. Crew), but it seems that something is amiss.

So this space will be a place for indie brides (I just heard that term on another blog and thought it sounded cool) of all shades to come together to talk about our weddings, the lives we’d like to create, and the details…because if you know me, then you know the deets (details) are important.

I intend to write everyday and I hope that you read everyday.