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Musings & Life

Musings & Life

In You I Crash Cars

Driving into the night

Northern Ontario has turned once again into a real life Narnia during the reign of the White Witch. Doesn’t hurt that I have an old time-y looking street lamp in my front yard either. Mr.Tumnus however is a no show. Bloody Faun’s, always running later than a White Rabbit.

With winter has come a crushing anxiety every time I get into a car. I hate it. I’m trying to just accept it and laugh it off, but ever since we rolled over off the highway last March during a snowstorm I’ve not felt secure in a car. My Dad assures me it’s just be a matter of time, having had a massive truck t-bone him when he was in the passenger side, an event I only just learned of as well.

the Highway BrideThe whole thing feels so weird. I’ve been writing bits and pieces of a larger story for the past few years, the catalyst of the drama being a car crash and the death of a young married couple. And going through paper work, I found a comic I started working on, separate to the other story, sketched out desert landscapes and a dream of crashing and dying which turns into reality.

Red Shoes - the BrideBlack heels turned red with blood. Again, another couple in a car. Losing what you love the most.

This was well before any of the events of last March, and the thing that unnerves me the most is how accurately I captured the emotions and the experience of such a crash, yet having never gone through it myself before. Maybe some of it was drawn from having seen such events in film and tv over the years, but there were details in my writing about this that would have been hard to know unless one had gone through it themselves.

Maybe it all stems from Sarah’s death.

the BrideI feel such a sense of guilt sometimes that I’m still here and she isn’t…

Oh my, this is turning all LJ now isn’t it? Well, life isn’t always fluffy velvet coats and lipstick posts.

So, I’m still trying to work through and process all these feelings which are being dredged up again now that the winter has returned.

I’ve also been rather obsessed this year with Bat For Lashes latest offering, which hi, WTF, is a concept album “that follows the story of a woman, whose fiancé dies in a car crash on the way to their wedding. The album follows her as she decides to go on the honeymoon alone and her emotions as she deals with the tragedy.

The videos are beautiful and full of desert, neon landscapes and Vegas vibes. I feel so strange viewing and listening to this album given all that’s happened, and where my own marriage was held just last October.

One day I might finish that story. For now, I’m just thankful.

2016 has taken a lot this year, from a lot of people, myself included.

But it didn’t take him. And every time I get into that passenger side, I look over at my love and think how bloody lucky I am to have him still, and hope that the accident last March is the only one we ever know.

Images by Neil Krug for Bat For LashesThe Bride‘.

Musings & Life

Don’t Tell Mama: How To Plan A Destination Elopement Part 2

Rock N Roll Bride magazine

?A DIY Guide to Planning a Destination Elopement for Alternative Brides?

So part 2 in my series on how to plan a destination elopement couldn’t have come at a better time, as Issue 8 of Rock N Roll Bride’s print magazine has just hit stores across the UK (also available to order online for those worldwide) AND our elopement is featured in it!

Eiii!!!

Dreamy Desert Elopement - Rock N Roll BrideA copy arrived in the mail today, and we’ve been seriously kirking out over it. Very surreal to see in print and quite an honour to be featured, given how much Rock N Roll Bride’s blog and magazine inspired and helped us with planning our own day.

So – get yee to WH SMITH‘s or Sainsbury‘s for a copy if you’re in the UK or order online 😀

Now onto Part 2 of How to Plan a Destination Elopement!

Finding Inspiration, Research, and Spec’ing Out Your Trip Options

finding inspiration for your destination elopement

INSPIRATION

By now, you can probably guess where we turned to for a lot of our wedding inspiration, and that was indeed Rock N Roll Bride. Kat’s blog is an absolute go to for alternative weddings. A wealth of information, inspiration, guidance, and just a plain old fun in general can be found within it. Kat’s an original, and has been at the forefront of offering up a different viewpoint than that usually  found in the conventional wedding industry. A champion for unique weddings, reflective of a couples individuality, if you’re looking for somewhere to start from I highly recommend Rock N Roll Bride.

Finding inspiration, was my favourite part of planning.

A great way to dip your toes in, is to see what other people have done, and there’s a vast array of wedding blogs out there that help you do just that.

A few of my favourites are listed below:

WEDDING BLOGS

Now, don’t get too bogged under with this though! It’s NOT a competition. This day is about *you* and *your partner*. Comparison can kill, draw inspiration and get ideas but leave it at that. A positive of eloping should be avoiding the stress of trying to live up to other peoples wedding expectations. So don’t turn around and stress yourself out with trying to one up someone elses wedding or shooting for absolute perfection.

With this in mind, get digging into some wedding blogs to see what  other non traditional weddings have entailed to help brainstorm possible options. You might surprise yourself in being attracted to a few traditional options as well. And for as much inspiration as you’ll  find in other weddings, you’ll also probably dislike a number of thing as well. And that’s fine! Knowing what you don’t like is as useful as knowing what you do. This’ll help you begin to get a clear idea of what you and your partner want and what really resonates with you.

Gather & save things to (yes I’m going to say it, but it’s true and does help) a Pinterest board. After a bit you should start to see a theme beginning to emerge with what you’ve been drawn to pin.

And inspiration doesn’t stop at wedding blogs either – look to your favourite music, films, art, personal interests – hell anything and everything can help inspire you in crafting a day all your own.

Research your destination elopementRESEARCH

You’ve begun to gather inspiration and are now starting to get a better idea of what you want your day to look like. You’ll want to put this to the side for a little bit now and start doing some logistical research on the options available in your top 3 destinations (see part 1 on this).

Doing this will help you now in two regards.

1. You’ll discover what’s available to you in each location for your day.
2. From this, you can begin to narrow down where you want to elope.

My suggestion first and foremost is to look at the available Wedding Photographers in each location and start to make a short list of the ones whose work you like.

Talented Wedding Photographers are in demand and can be booked up well in advance. Reach out to the photographers you’ve short listed with your wedding date (be sure to advise if your date is flexible or fixed), and also enquire as to pricing at this time.

And as with researching photographers in your top 3 locations, also take a look as to what’s available for Hair & Make Up Artists, Florists, Transport, Venues and anything else specific to the day you’re wanting to plan at this time.

Search for wedding blogs specific to your location options. We found this *incredibly* useful in helping to decide where to elope and with the actual planning. The Little Vegas Wedding blog was so helpful in spec’ing out all the different options available in and around Las Vegas for our day from officiants to venues to hotels to other super useful information from someone on the ground.

our destination elopementTRAVEL OPTIONS

So apparently 54 days before your trip is the best time to book your flight.

That doesn’t stop you from checking out what the current prices for your dates and locations are though.

Do a comparison of your three and take note of the prices. Also start to scout out potential hotels.

Have a play around with your dates a bit and you may find prices drop drastically give or take a day. Also when booking optimal days of the week are supposedly Tuesday, and also over the weekend as there are less business travellers looking then so prices can be lower. We booked the main part of our trip through Expedia and because we bundled our hotel and flights together the price was discounted.

Airbnb is a great alternative as well for accommodation. Often it can be a lot less expensive than a hotel, and you can find some truly unique and intimate places to stay.

Now’s also the time to make sure both your passports are up to date and won’t be expiring within 6 months of your trip. The last thing you want is to have to be rushing a passport renewal so get it sorted now.

As well, depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you may need a Visa to enter a different country. Factor this in and make sure you allow ample time to apply and for the visa to process if this is the circumstance you find yourselves in.

Additionally, everywhere is different, so you might also need to be physically present somewhere for so many days before the actual wedding to be allowed to get married there. Find this out in advance and plan accordingly!

Don’t forget about vaccinations if you’re going somewhere which requires additional shots than you might already have. You definitely don’t want to be sick on your wedding day.

QUICK RECAP & TO DO’S:

  • Get inspired – check out wedding blogs, discuss with your partner what your ideal day looks like for both of you, what you both envision wearing, what themes appeal to you, and start saving visuals/collecting things which resonate with you.
  • Research – find photographers whose work you adore in your destination options. Go through their portfolios and read up on them to see if they’d likely gel with your style and what you’re envisioning for your day. Start to reach out to them to enquire about availability and pricing. Do this as well with anything else needed for your elopement in your location options.
  • Cost out your travel – take a look at your dates and how much it’ll cost roughly to get you to your destination options. Look at what you need to get there (passports, shots, visas etc). If the prices are astronomical for one location that might knock it out of the running depending on your priorities and flexibility of your budget.

TIPS & TRICKS

Again – stay organized and keep track of everything with Google Docs & Google Sheets.

Get yourself a Pinterest account, start exploring and pin away!

Try making a mix of songs which remind you of each other. I love using 8tracks. Listening to this might help further inspire you as to themes for your day. It’s also pretty sweet and romantic to put together.

UP NEXT IN THE SERIES: Elopement Style.



Musings & Life

Speed of Life

wee haus

Since the car accident, I’ve found myself rather distracted (yes, yes more than I normally am). Life is simultaneously crawling at a snails pace and speeding by.

In less than a few weeks we’ve found ourselves as new car owners (gah) and home owners. I miss the European lifestyle of not needing a vehicle, something which is a near impossibility living in Northern Ontario with how spread out things are and of course with our winters to rival those in Game of Thrones.

So wheels are acquired, and I find myself nervous and bracing when other cars cut us off or we turn sharply, painfully aware of my own mortality and how quickly (and easily) something could happen. I need to get over this, or through this, or whatever the hell – summer is coming (see what I did there?) and with it road trips which I’d once be so excited for, but now feel a sense of dread and impending doom in the pit of my stomach as they approach.

A matter of time, I suppose.

And while my wee head is still reeling from that, we’ve also just bought our first home! Something I never thought would really be possible, but with housing prices so affordable in the North and enough for a down payment saved, our mortgage will be even cheaper than renting here!

So while this is fantastic, waiting to move at the end of the month is driving me nuts.

It feels like our upstairs neighbour has amped up his weeknight partying and random clomping about, like he almost knows we’re going and is revealing in the fact with making our walls shudder and waking us up at ass o’clock during the work week.

I don’t sound very “Rock N Roll” here I’m aware, but seriously, I’m really envisioning something like this going on upstairs:

It’s not that their music or talking is crazy loud, all of that is pretty muffled, and we can drone out, it’s the jumping which is making our light fixtures and ceiling shake and our cats freak out. Like is there some intense Wii-playing going on up there? Wrestling? It certainly isn’t Dance-Dance-Revolution or amateur Stomp (not rhythmic enough). Just…WTF?

We opted to be passive aggressive instead of going upstairs and knocking on the door at 2am (I don’t think I’m quite ready for that). We can tell said neighbour probably has little speakers attached to an iPod or something vs…well Jeff’s a nerd and we have a proper sound system, so we threw on some aptly named ‘Death From Above 1979 (all bass and drums) and played the album in it’s entirety really loudly. It’s quite a beauteous thing to hear coming out of a pair of decent speakers I have to say.

Are we childish? Maybe, but it got the point across that we can ‘party’ as well, and equally if not more so, louder. The stomping ceased and we didn’t have to go upstairs and feel like Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in Neighbours. They’re still having wrestling sessions from the sounds of it at times but at least it’s not at 2am. Still bloody annoying.

Man I am so ready for us to have our own home. And not just because of of the neighbours.

My adult life has been rather nomadic, always packing up and unpacking somewhere new it seemed. I think I’ve moved 19 times in the last 15 years, so this is a change I’ve been wanting for some time.

I’ve started going down a DIY blackhole – binging on HGTV – the tiny houses, the home renos, house hunters, and OMFG LOOK AT THAT KITCHEN BACKSPLASH!*)(@&#) Uhhhhhhh….so…very strange. I feel like I need to detox from that stuff for a bit now.

So that’s where I’m finding myself currently, counting down the days till we’re finally in our new home together, and listening to Death From Above 1979 ;>

Musings & Life

Time Out of Joint

divergent timelines

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog for the past few days. I’m afraid some posts I’d planned to get up (March Link Love etc) have been a bit delayed.

Trying to process some recent events that have had me feeling really out of joint. Jeff and I had been heading to Ottawa via North Bay last Thursday for Easter and my Birthday, when the weather got bad very quickly. Snowstorm with white out’s and poor visibility to say the least, we hadn’t expected it to hit so soon, and based on weather reports it wasn’t even forecast to hit us at all.

But it did, and it felt like it was just us and huge transports on the highway. There wasn’t anywhere immediate where we could pull off, and when the highway curved around we hit an icey patch and lost control of the wheels. We started to fishtail, the jeep spun around as Jeff tried to regain control to no avail. I remember him calmly saying to me “Hold on, we’re going in”. And then the next thing I knew we were upside down rolling.

Everything slowed down, we just locked eyes while we and everything in the jeep was tossed around as though we were in the inside of a tumble dryer. Mini cream eggs and large glittery plastic eggs escaped from the baskets we’d put together for our nieces. Our practically full coffee cups departed their cup holders and I remember Jeff trying to grab them and knock them away from me so I wouldn’t get burnt.

So many things went flying through my mind.

And suddenly we landed and normal time started again.

We stayed calm, confirmed neither of us were hurt or bleeding, looking around while strapped in and trying to quickly ascertain the situation.

It’s weird the little things that never would occur to you about car accidents, like turning the car off – there was an insane whirring sound, and it took a moment after we landed to realize it was the engine and the wheels were still going.

We landed on the passenger side, windows against the ground, in a ditch off the highway. I unbuckled and got back in the jeep so Jeff could get down as he was held in by his seatbelt hanging sideways. The back window in the jeep had popped open so we got out that way, gingerly stepping on the windows, a sideways world and finally out into the open air.

We were unscathed and walking away from a complete roll over off the highway. No oncoming traffic, no broken glass. I didn’t know what to do next, we stood there with our cellphones out. My initial thoughts given we were ok were: Was this an emergency? Do I call 911? I don’t want to be a bother! My friends Califia and Diana have since said that it was the most Canadian/English reaction ever. The answer is yes, of course, call 911, report the accident to the police.

A retired Officer was driving by and pulled over, called the accident in and helped us. Stayed with us and drove us home as he was going into the city. The incredible kindness of strangers just staggering.

We opted not to retry our road trip when the weather got better but to just have a staycation instead. Since the accident some stunning bruises have appeared and we’re pretty sore, but I think that’s the extent of it and it’ll just take a little bit of time to totally feel better.

We always have music going the whole time when we’re driving, usually mixes, but this time had thrown the radio on. We lost the signal shortly before we crashed. A little thing, but as music nerds we’re thankful not to have a soundtrack for this event.

And the other weird thoughts that passed through my mind before we even left…all the snow had melted and was gone, but I thought I should still wear a winter coat “in case”, and even changed out of a fancy dress into more practical yoga pants and a Part Wolf graphic tee and hoodie. Sure you could argue that it was just sensible given we were about to hop in the car for several hours, but I’ve never been the best at being a practical dresser.

I keep thinking about how it could have gone…and about my friend Sarah who died three years ago in a crash in San Francsico. I feel guilty that somehow I’m still here, and she isn’t. Which I know she would smack the shit out of me for even thinking that, so I’m trying my best not to let those thoughts creep in.

Since the accident, I’ve been reading a bit about time perception, slow motion time distortion, and tachypsychia. I’ve experienced time slowing down once before when I was 4 and almost drowned. I always just assumed that was part of the sensation of near drowning until this car accident. As cliche as it might sound, everything did slow down and was hyper vivid. It’s pretty fascinating stuff –

When a person is scared, a brain area called the amygdala becomes more active, laying down an extra set of memories that go along with those normally taken care of by other parts of the brain.

“In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories,” Eagleman explained. “And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.”

Eagleman added this illusion “is related to the phenomenon that time seems to speed up as you grow older. When you’re a child, you lay down rich memories for all your experiences; when you’re older, you’ve seen it all before and lay down fewer memories. Therefore, when a child looks back at the end of a summer, it seems to have lasted forever; adults think it zoomed by.”

The past few days have felt like a weird, divergent time line.

I’ve been waiting for Tuesday to hit, because in this “alternate reality” of us not crashing, this is when we would be getting back home.

What a crazy ride. I’m just so damn glad we came out of it ok. Now to rejoin my proper timeline xx

Musings & Life

Big City Girl, Little City Lights

little city lights

For most of my life I’ve been a big city dweller or lived within very close proximity to a major urban centre. Born in Calgary in Western Canada, I grew up in the suburban sprawl of the nations capital – Ottawa. At age 18 I moved across the Atlantic to the UK and spent the next ten years there hopping around London and the Southeast, always 10 minutes away from a city at most. And when I finally headed back to Canada, my destination was naturally Toronto.

I’d always assumed I would live in a really large city, yet here I am in a much smaller community in Northern Ontario. The closest city with a population over a million is 8 hours away, and the next biggest city with a population over 100K is just under 4 hours from here.

big city aerial viewSo what has it been like to move to a little city?

It’s been an adjustment getting used to living somewhere smaller. After the initial excitement about being somewhere new passed, I was struck by how much I missed certain aspects of city life that I’d taken for granted. Sure I expected to miss my friends, but I was surprised by how much I associated who I was, with where I lived.

How could I be me, if my identity was tied to the lifestyle I led in the city; a city in which I no longer lived?

As ridiculous as the above concern might seem, it bothered me. Was I defined by where in the world I was? It took a bit to work through but I eventually got there. Simply, I am who I am, no matter where I might rest my head. It’s strange how something so seemingly trivial can weigh on your mind, and what a relief it when you figure it out.

Small city, big city, suburb, whatever – my interests are the same, my core self the same. Sure I might not be able to go record shopping every weekend with a plethora of brunch spots or dive bars to choose from, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fundamentally different person.

Big City Girl in the Wild - The Move To A Small CityFinally recognizing this has helped me to relax a lot more. That energy previously spent questioning my identity in a small town can now be spent on simply enjoying the moment and my surroundings. After so many years of a pressure cooker existence, I don’t think I really knew what the hell to do in a calm environment. My hyper active mind just overthinking everything.

So why did we opt to move so far away from a major city in the first place?

Well, for as much as I love a lot about city living, we were getting really fed up and burnt out by all the negatives that go a long with it. The high cost of living and the overcrowded commutes of doom were especially adding to this sense of wanting “to get the hell out of dodge”.

One of the major reasons leading me to return to Canada was the opportunity to be able to afford my own home. Something I couldn’t even begin to dream about doing in London. Frustratingly the housing market in Toronto over the past few years has blown up, prices have surged and the likelihood of being able to afford a house in the city are now next to nil for us. It’s a challenge many are experiencing, so we started to look at several possible options:

  1. Stay in Toronto and resign ourselves to renting for the rest of our lives.
  2. Stay in Toronto and buy a condo.
  3. Buy a house in Hamilton, commute into Toronto.
  4. Look to relocate elsewhere in the country.

We quickly crossed #1 off our list, as owning a home for both of us has always been a dream. Going the condo route in Toronto, though still affordable, rising condo maintenance fees on top of a mortgage are a cause for concern. Commuting in from Hamilton seemed like a solid possibility. Then I started to remind myself of how much I hate commuting. Living in Hamilton would mean I’d be looking at 2.5 hours of travel time twice a day to and from work – and that’s on a good day without delays.  Also looking at commuter images on This Crazy Train had me cringing and raging at the same time. So…relocating?

Always open to new experiences, we decided why the hell not? If it didn’t work out we could always move back to Toronto, so when job opportunities in Northern Ontario presented themselves we decided to take a chance.

northern-aerial-viewNow I’m not advocating one place over the other, because everyone is different. Had I still been a single 20-something I might not have considered moving somewhere smaller. Given I’m married and my clubbing days are behind me (tacos & tequila at home with a few friends is much more my jam these days) a smaller city was more appealing.

If you’re thinking of moving away from the city, here are a few of my pro’s and con’s that might be relevant to you as well in your consideration:

CONS

  • It can feel isolating when you first move, as it can be harder to break into tight knit groups with a well established history.
  • Where my weirdos at? (I guess the interwebs…)
  • If you’re used to being incognito, ie: no one *really* looks at each other in the city, it’ll seem in comparison like everyone’s staring at you, even if you’re not in full weirdo mode. (interestingly often because they’re actually just trying to see if they recognize or know you to say hi).
  • Limited options for shopping, restaurants, bars, culture etc.
  • Additional travel costs & time as few direct flights.
  • Less job options, whereas it’s easier to jump around in the city.
  • Not as cosmopolitan, as there’s not the same variety of people you’d find in larger centres.

PROS

  • Very affordable housing.
  • So affordable you could own a detached house, and not just a small condo.
  • Incredibly clean.
  • Massive amounts of space in comparison to packed cities.
  • A real sense of community.
  • Little to no commuting time (for me it’s 5 minutes or a 20 minute walk!)
  • Overall a less stressed & hectic environment to live in.
  • Small businesses are supported, and smaller communities can foster an entrepreneurial spirit (with opportunities that could lead you to even open your own business!)
  • You’re closer to farms – fantastic fresh food that is locally produced and excellent farmer’s markets.
  • Nature! Wilderness! Green space!

flying to a small town over the lake
So while in all honesty I miss a lot about Toronto, I’m also loving where I’m living now. In my experience it generally takes two years for a new town to feel like home, and it’s a wonderful feeling when it does.

Musings & Life

Forget the Numbers – Of Weight & Body Image

tattooed legs

I’ve never been particularly thin. My weight over the years has teetered and tottered back and forth, skirting both ends of the spectrum, a constant up and down and a never-ending struggle to maintain.

I wish I could say I’ve always had a healthy and loving relationship towards my body and my looks, but in all honesty it’s been a bit of a battle to get where I am now. And though I’ve always had a loving and positive attitude towards all bodies in general, I never extended those same thoughts to myself.

Some people suffer from poor self image as a result of their up bringing. This wasn’t the case for me. My parents absolutely championed our self worth to be above and beyond the physical, valuing kindness, knowledge and a desire to learn and explore the world over anything. If ever physicality was brought up, we were showered with nothing but positivity.

So what was it then? It’s hard to lay the blame on one specific thing that might have triggered these feelings of insecurity, but I can pinpoint the first time I really became aware of weight and how loaded stepping on a scale could be.

Continue Reading

Musings & Life

Don’t Tell Mama: How To Plan A Destination Elopement

True Romance elopement

?A DIY Guide to Destination Elopements for Alternative Brides?

Last year Jeff and I got married. We decided to eschew a traditional wedding and opted for a destination elopement instead.

It was the right decision for us, and we have absolutely no regrets whatsoever in choosing to elope.

There are many pro’s and con’s as to eloping vs having a traditional big wedding; I’m not going to dig into them in this series though, as my pro could easily be your con and vice versa. Instead I’m going to focus on the logistics of planning a destination elopement yourself (DIY baby!), some tips and tricks to help you have as stress free a time as possible leading up to the day, and hopefully a lot of fun planning too!

You’ve probably heard the term destination wedding thrown about before, a destination elopement is similar in the sense that you’re going away somewhere other than where you normally live to get married. Unlike a destination wedding however, it won’t have the traipsing of a full on wedding in a different locale. It’s likely to be way smaller and much more intimate with only a few guests (if any) joining you. Most likely you’ll also be combining your wedding and honeymoon together. It can be a pretty wild and truly romantic way to wed!

So where to start for a Destination Elopement?

Depending on what you want, even eloping requires some degree of planning; especially as there’s travel involved. But don’t get a head of yourself just yet – take it in stages and it’ll make things a lot more manageable!

Destination Elopement True Romance You're So CoolBRAINSTORM

Ok this is the part where you can think big and go wild, don’t hold back: what does your dream destination elopement look like? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What do envision yourself & your love wearing? Hair? Makeup? Are there themes or colours you’re drawn to?

Just start writing stuff down or if you prefer create a mood board over on Pinterest.

If you’re big on list making in addition to a hot mess brainstorm page, make a list of all the places you and your partner would consider getting hitched and would like to honeymoon.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy just get it down!

And remember this is just a start, so don’t get your heart set on anything just yet because things will and can change.

BUDGET

Ok, time for the not so fun part, but you need to get this confirmed ASAP before you get too far along in your planning.

What can you and your partner afford? You need to have a frank conversation about what you’re willing and wanting to spend on your wedding and honeymoon with your spouse-to-be, don’t just make assumptions!

Here’s a basic Google Sheet I created (Rarrr! Rock N Roll Google Sheets!) to help get you thinking about some of the things you might need to budget for. Every couple will be different and there may be some things you need to add in or are not applicable which you can ignore, but hopefully it’s a helpful place to start.

destination elopement budgetWhen figuring out your budget, don’t just bank on maxing out your credit cards either. Coming home to a credit card hangover is not a great way to start off your marriage. Some expenditure on your plastic is to be expected, but if you’re looking to pay for your wedding totally on cards you might want to consider holding off until you’ve saved a bit more for it instead.

Setting your budget will affect what you can do and where you can go, so do this early on to avoid disappointments down the line!

BE REALISTIC

Now’s the time to start reeling in your brainstorming a bit. Having set your budget will definitely help with this, but you need to also consider other factors like – how much vacation time do you have to use? How soon is your elopement? Are you trying to cram too much into your trip? And so on (I’m super guilty of that last one, more on that later!)

Timing will play a major factor. For example if you’ve given yourself 2 months to plan vs say a year, you should be prepared to be a lot more flexible as your dream photographer may already be booked, your ideal dress could take 6 months to make, or your flight costs are astronomical because you didn’t book sooner.

That’s not to say you can’t turn around something quickly – you can do anything – but you also have to realize that in doing so you may have to make some compromises, so none of this Bridezilla crap – you’re too awesome for that for that anyway!

QUICK RECAP & TO DO’S:

  • Set a budget – for your trip & wedding, don’t forget all the little things as they can add up!
  • Discuss dates – are your dates not flexible/semi flexible/totally flexible? This will impact your planning time and also vaccay costs.
  • Narrow down your destinations – now that you have your budget set and your approximate dates, take your list of dream destinations and narrow it down to 3 which you think would best suit your budget and dates. Don’t throw away your list, you may have to come back to it later down the line after you do some further research.

TIPS & TRICKS

Organize and keep track of everything with Google Docs & Google Sheets.

I found this super useful when planning. Since everything was stored in Google Docs/Sheets I could edit anywhere and it made it easy to collaborate on with Jeff as he could be editing or viewing at the same time wherever he was as well.

If you’re not sure what to budget for, save a copy of my Destination Elopement Budget sheet to your Google Drive, it’s pretty straight forward but a good place to start.

UP NEXT IN THE SERIES: Finding Inspiration, Research, and Spec’ing Out Your Trip Options.

True Romance Art Image Credit: PJ McQuade also available for sale on PJ’s Etsy store as giclee print.



Musings & Life

2015 Year In Review

arriving in Las Vegas

The end of January is almost upon us and I’m determined to wrap up this 2015 year in review post – I will bloody well finish things this year! So before I blink and it’s March, here’s a look at the past year’s misadventures.

WINTER

Winter moon over the riveryear in review - winterwinter riverWinter hit early and was particularly long, cold and, well…winter-y. It rather sucked to be honest. While friends were flying south to get some respite from the cold we stayed put and started saving and planning for our wedding. Purple hues seemed to have dominated when flicking through photos – purple smoothies, presents, vinyl, and morning lights. Winter was one of hibernation – spending the time listening to records, playing board games, and a few online courses; learning tarot with Veronica Varlow and blogging with Sarah Morgan’s Badass Babes Blog e-course.

SPRING

Records - inside Sonic Boom in TorontoSibling Hangouts in TorontoDisgraceland HangoutsDavid Bowie - Changes - RSD 2015Walking by Honest Ed's in TorontoRock Lobster Patio HangoutsRainbows on Church Street

In contrast to the doldrums of winter, I found myself out and about a lot more once spring hit. Traveling to Toronto twice, and spending my birthday in Ottawa playing pinball and hanging out with my good friend Kathleen at the House of TARG (if you’re ever in Ottawa it’s a ton of fun!). Dive bars, cocktails, record shopping, comic book geekery with my brother – who I shall now refer to as “Greg” (thx Starbucks – better than my Jheymey at least), and catching up with dear friends was a theme for Spring of 2015. Continue Reading

Musings & Life

New Year, New Blog

Pacific Ocean

2016 is here and with it a new look and a new name for the blog. Don’t get me wrong – I still love wolves and I still love whisky, but in the end Wolf N Whisky just wasn’t feeling right. I wanted something that conveyed more of a sense of fun while still keeping a darker vibe.

The new name for the blog came out of our recent Los Angeles trip, particularly Sunset wanderings. It’s a play on the name of a nightclub in West Hollywood – the Whisky a Go Go (which interestingly owes it’s name to a Parisian discothèque). Witchy is a word I’ve been using a lot the past while when referring to myself be it in regards to style preferences or interests. So the name felt like the right mix of light and dark, and there we go – Witchy a Go-Go.

With the exception of losing Jasper last year, overall 2015 was a pretty amazing year. Hoping to make 2016 an awesome one as well and take further strides in regularly blogging. So without further adieu, welcome to Witchy a Go-Go!

Musings & Life

As We Go Spinning Wildly Through The Stars

Red Rock Canyon

On October 26th just outside of Las Vegas in the Nevada Desert under some Joshua Trees – we wed. It was a very Vegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement; with just the two us, our officiant, and photographer; with the sky and desert creatures bearing witness.

A brief and beautiful ceremony, followed by our honeymoon on the West Coast.

I never thought I’d find this kind of happiness in my life. And neither did he. But here we are and it’s pretty damn magic.

Just Marriedvegas rock n roll desert elopement cardsVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - Bridal BouquetVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - The Mirage Las VegasVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - Bridal Makeup by Heads Will Roll Las VegasVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement at Spring Mountain RanchVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - Cirque du Soleil's LoveVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - Rock N Roll Bride for Crown & Glory - Just MarriedVegas Rock n Roll Desert Elopement - Flying over the desertI plan to do a proper full post about our elopement once we get our professional photos back, but couldn’t wait to share the news here in the interim.

I still can’t believe a few weeks have now passed since we got back and the first big snowfall of the year is upon us. We packed a lot into our time away for a very Rock N Roll Elopement & Honeymoon, as you can see from a few of things we did below. I’m excited for everything ahead of us and for the next time we find ourselves under a desert sun.

Many thanks to the wonderful & talented Lau of Recspec for designing our elopement announcement! ❤️

Rock N Roll Honeymoon Itinerary

“Oh c’mon baby,
let’s get out of the cold
And give me your precious love to hold”