Archive for February, 2009

The downside to having children

Yes, I know, there are actually lots of downsides (hello, sleep deprivation and non-existant social life) – fortunately outnumbered by the upsides.

But the downside to having children when you’re planning a wedding is that it makes deciding the guestlist very difficult. Because when you have kids, you spend time with other people who have kids.

We’re planning a pretty small wedding, partly because that’s just what we prefer, partly to contain costs and partly because there’s only so many people we can fit in our backyard. But if we invite the children of everyone on the guestlist, we’d have more than 30 kids!

Considering we were kind of aiming for around 60 people all together, you can see that that poses something of a problem. Even if we wanted to invite every child of every guest, we can’t really afford to and we definitely don’t have the space to. We also want guests to be able to kick back and have fun without having to spend the night running after their kids. There’s plenty of time for that at the two billion birthday parties we all attend each year.

So what to do?? We can’t exactly make it a kid-free wedding when two of the kids are our own, plus we know that at least a few of the little ones will be *very* little – probably too young to be left at home. And some of our guests will probably be travelling a long way so they can hardly leave their kids behind.

Basically, we’re left with three options: we say no kids except our own, and accept that a fair number of our guests won’t be able to make it; we invite everyone’s kids and blow the budget, and get crammed in like sardines; or try to find some middle ground.

At the moment, we’re thinking we will invite the children of those guests who are travelling. We’ll also extend an invitation to parents to bring along their young babies that are too little to be left with anyone. And we’ll hope that our other guests are able to find babysitters. If they can’t, we’ll do what we can.

I’m hoping this might mean about 10 kids on the list, but we may end up with a few more if guests have problems with babysitters. I don’t want any of my friends not to be able to make it because they have no one to watch their kids.

We’re still thinking about this and haven’t made any firm decisions yet because I am worried about offending people. But I don’t think I’d be offended if we were invited to a wedding and the kids weren’t, so maybe I am over analysing things (hard to imagine, huh?).

Anyway, one to work on.

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More things ticked off the list

We’ve been making some more progress on the wedding front. These are our latest achievements:

– confirmed and booked the venue for the ceremony. It’s in an area of Parramatta Park that is not usually available to be reserved but I asked nicely and they agreed

– confirmed with the caterer. I called them on the weekend after waiting two weeks for them to get in touch after we submitted our booking form online. A very casual woman advised that yes, she had received our booking and had been planning to call us but had not got around to it yet. That makes me ever so slightly nervous, but they had the best catering package so I’ll just cross fingers on that one.

– started really thinking about a photographer. We met someone great at Fair Day who has packages starting from $900. That’s more than we want to pay (doesn’t include any prints) so leigh emailed her and said we just wanted two hours at a single location. She emailed back saying “no problem! that will be $900!” so we have been looking elsewhere. Turns out a couple of my friends know some photographers so we will hopefully have that sorted in the next week or so

– narrowed down the search for the right shoes. I know it’s a long way off but this has been bothering me. I want shoes in the same colour as the dress I plan to buy but have hardly found any at all in that colour locally and none at all that I like. I think I am just going to order from overseas and hope I get the size right. I have found a beautiful pair that I think are reasonably priced for a special occasion, but postage alone will be US$60 (more like AU$90 at current rates) so I may need to see if I can have them shipped to someone in the states who can post them on for me.

– figured out how we’re actually going to get from our house to the ceremony. We don’t want to hire a wedding car – we both think that’s pretty much a waste of money for two five minute trips. But our main car will be with my family since they’ll be getting the kids ready and our other car would simply be hilarious as a wedding car. But we think we might ask leigh’s mum to drive us. Her car is nice and matches our colour scheme!

I think that’s it for now. That’s most of the biggies knocked off and we’re almost up to the fun bits – making invitations and writing vows and stuff like that.

And if I could just lose four kilos I could go buy my dress but those pounds are being very persistent and seem to want to stay put.

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A Much Fairer Day

On Sunday we went along to the Rainbow Babies’ 10th annoversary picnic and thankfully we were greeted by far better weather than we endured on Fair Day.

We were also greeted by a far bigger crowd than we had expected. We thought there might be a dozen or so families but there would have been at least 150 people there. I am pretty hopeless at estimating crowd size but I think that’s a fairly conservative guess.
It was a really great day!

The Homotones were there playing music, which really gave the event a great atmosphere, and there was stacks for the kids to do.
There were free pony rides, crafts, painting and a bunch of play equipment.

We took our kids’ scooters with us as they’ve been a popular accessory at other Rainbow Babies events we’ve been to but there was so much happening that they didn’t really get a look in this time.
We did almost lose Hugo’s scooter, though. We left it against a tree while we went for a look around and when we came back it was gone. Fortunately we spotted it and leigh just went over and collected it. I might have let it go home with a stranger rather than risk a confrontation (there wasn’t one. I think someone else’s kid probably just rode off on it then abandoned it).

We caught up with some people we have met before, and met another couple who have a seven year old daughter. We chatted a bit with other families, too, but not really all that much – we’re both a bit backwards about coming forwards so tend to only meet new people if they introduce themselves to us.

At any rate, we had a really nice time and are looking forward to the parade. Only two weeks away now!

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Not-so-Fair Day

Yesterday was Fair Day, one of the major events on the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival calendar. It’s one of the few events that really has broad appeal across the community with stalls and entertainment and lots of groups picnicking in the park. Over the past few years we’ve spent most of our time in the Kidzone area with other members of the Rainbow Babies group. There’s play equipment and activities and it’s fenced off so you can let the kids go off and do their thing (more or less – there are openings at each end that Hugo kept darting for).

This year, Fair Day also served as the launch of the festival (in the past there’s been a separate launch), so it should have been a bigger and better day than usual.

Unfortunately, it’s been raining here for days on end and yesterday was no exception. Even if it had been dry, the park would have been a swamp from a week of downpours, but dry it was not.

We were there just over two hours and there were two huge bucketings in that time. During the first one, we huddled under our umbrellas under a tree. And by we, I mean me and Hunter. Hugo was not about to let a little bit of rain deter him and he ran off to clamber on all the play equipment while leigh followed doggedly with the brolly. It was a futile effort and Hugo came back drenched and delighted.

After that we decided to get going on a tour of the stalls while it was dry(ish). We bought some lunch and wandered around and had seen just about everything, albeit briefly, when the next downpour hit.

This time there was no escaping it and we all ended up very wet. I have lost one of my boots and so was wearing my ballet flats which, unsurprisingly, did not hold up well.

We stuck it out for another 10 minutes after that but then we gave up and went home. Several of the stall holders were packing up too and I doubt the crowd was even a quarter of the size it was last year, so I am sure the organisers were very disappointed.

We probably wouldn’t have gone except Rainbow Babies had planned a meeting about the parade entry and we didn’t want to miss it. As it turns out, there’s not much to do and there wasn’t much to be said but Hunter got to catch up with her friend Georgie, who she hasn’t seen in ages, and all the kids liked checking out the creepy crawlies at the animal display (mummy kendi was not so keen), so it was not a complete waste.

Next Sunday is the Rainbow Babies 10th anniversary picnic and we are really hoping for dry weather. I’m also really, really wanting dry weather for the parade, not only because it will mean the event will be more successful and popular, but because we’ll be spending at least two hours in the uncovered marshalling area before the parade starts.

Meanwhile, we’re working on costumes. I am not that enthused about the costumes this year (maybe because I am a control freak and last year leigh designed the logo with my helpful input. Nah, that couldn’t be it) but I think we have figured out what to wear so we’re reasonably happy.

Parade is March 7 and will be televised on Foxtel this year – it hasn’t been broadcast for a long time. I’ll have to see if it’s going on any of the Austar channels so mum can record it for us.

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Wedding realities

We’re discovering that many aspects of planning a wedding are more fun when it’s imaginary. You don’t have to consult anyone about the date. You choose the food you want with no regard for the budget or the dietary requirements of your guests. You don’t need to worry about whether your preferred venue is already booked, or, in our case, whether it is part of the local mental hospital.*

Nonetheless, we’re plugging away and making some progress.

Things we’ve achieved since my last update:

– booked the caterer. At least, we think we have. We filled in the online form but we haven’t had confirmation, and I know their email was down a week or so ago, so I will follow up in a few days

– drafted a guest list.

– sent out save the date emails. Well, I have, but leigh still needs to contact her friends. As it happens, most of my friends already knew the date, but few of leigh’s friends know about our plans so she really needs to get onto that.

– made the second payment on the rings we have on lay-by. We could just pay for them but leigh knows once they come home she’ll have a hard time stopping me from either putting mine on or losing them both.

– sort of decided what we’re doing about drinks. We know more or less what we’ll buy but need to think more about quantities. As a non-drinker, I am leaning toward the stingy end of the scale. One beer between three is okay, isn’t it?

– Sort of figured out what we need from the party hire place (tables, glasses etc) but we’re still looking for the best price. That stuff is such a rip off!

The things we really, really need to get done next are booking a photographer and getting a venue locked in. We had originally planned to have some pics taken at a studio and forget about an event photographer but now that we’re thinking of a ceremony in the park we figure we should just pay for two hours of photography there, then rely on guests for the rest of the day/evening. We have quite a few reasonable photographers on the guest list including someone I work with who wrote our current photography guidelines that go out to clients to help them get great shots.

A few people are already asking us about gifts, and more specifically, gift registries, but we’ve decided against a registry. I know a lot of people have them, but we won’t. As much as I’d enjoy trawling through catalogues and ticking off things we would love to have, I am just not comfortable with the gift registry thing.

I think it’s very presumptuous and a bit rude to invite guests to an event and then say “and here is the list of gifts from which you may choose, don’t turn up without one of those things”.

Of course, everyone always says you can buy something not on the registry, and they probably mean it, and they’re probably just trying to be helpful so that you don’t waste money on something they don’t like or already have. But gift registries make me bristle.

I don’t want our guests to feel obliged to bring any gift at all unless they want to, and if they do want to, I want them to feel like they are free to use their own money to buy whatever they like. If people ask us for suggestions, we will try to offer some, but apart from that, we’re staying out of it.

Anyway, that got a little off track. Point is, plans are progressing!

* We liked the look of the Wisteria Gardens at Parramatta Park but have learned that they are actually a part of the Cumberland Hospital and merely back onto the park. Entry is via the hospital. I think there would be a large margin for error if guests were arriving and saying “we’re here for the commitment ceremony”…

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Bushfire tragedy

Bushfires in Victoria have killed over 100 people, and the toll is still climbing. It’s the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history.

We’re just stunned. Yesterday morning we’d heard that 25 were killed and we could hardly believe it. When the newsreader said the toll could be as high as 40 it seemed impossible. Before bed last night it was about 80 and we were shocked. As I write, it’s at 108. 108 lives lost. Incomprehensible.

We hope our friends in Victoria are safe. We’ll be making a donation to the relief fund, and hoping hard that the worst of it is over, though obviously the worst is just beginning for the families of all those lost.

If you’re looking to help out, the four major banks (Commonwealth, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ) and the Bendigo Bank are all accepting donations and have committed to sending all of the donations directly to those affected.

ETA: The death toll now stands at over 130. What a day 😦

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