Finding A Wedding Venue

When starting to plan for your wedding one of the biggest choices you have to make is the venue. Venues come in all shapes and sizes and determine when, where, and how you get to celebrate your wedding day and reception. When picking a venue Richard and I knew we did not want to break the bank but since we were going to be inviting about 60-70 people we knew we needed space. We also knew that cost was our greatest concern. To start we definitely, for s’s and g’s, looked at your more traditionally utilized spaces for weddings. They were: $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and often they didn’t include everything unless you want to pay even more!

*Dead*

So, once we reinforced our gut feelings we sought out alternatives. We knew that we were not looking for an all-inclusive venue because food, alcohol, decorations, cake, flowers, ect. we could and wanted to do ourselves; besides knowing we could find it much cheaper than if we had it included in the venue. We went with a basic, bare community center in Texas knowing we could turn it into something all our own. All for the great big price of, $350. There are many community resources out there that offer spaces indoor and outdoor to hold your event and for a fraction of the cost of most wedding venues.

Before: Venue

Some alternatives can be, depending on size and what you are wanting to do, are:

1.) A local or even destination park – You can often rent spaces at community parks for almost nothing. You might not even have to pay if it is super small.

2.) A beach – Just do your research early on for potential permit requirements or restrictions.

3.) Community centers -They offer spaces that are sometimes really basic and bare and other times quite beautiful. They almost always will be many times cheaper than a true wedding venue.

4.) Have a backyard wedding – If you, family or friends have a nice house that wouldn’t mind offering up their home for your big day you could make it an extremely budget friendly wedding.

5.) The great outdoors – Even some National Parks offer the ability to hold your event in beautiful locations. Check out some of these suggestions, here.

6.) Have your wedding on an off-peak day (during the week) or during the off season.

7.) Use your creativity! You can get married almost literally anywhere! Use venue search terms that don’t include “wedding” and you might find something perfect that you may have missed otherwise.

The greatest key here is start doing your research early. Some of these ideas fill up swiftly like normal wedding venues so getting the process started early is important. Some don’t require as much prep or any permits but you should make sure you find out ahead of time so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Find out the requirements and restrictions when you are researching so you know what you can and cannot expect from a particular site. You don’t want to have paid for particular elements like a band, decorations, alcohol, ect to find out the day of they are not allowed. Know what you want and what you are willing to do without. Not every THING is as important as it may seem. Save money and just enjoy spending time with the people you are sharing this all with.

Remember it is supposed to be an experience of a life time not an experience you end up paying for for a whole life time. What are some unique ideas you have for a wedding ceremony, reception, or both? How were you able to save money planning your wedding? Let us know in the comments; we love hearing about your experiences. Til next time Pengminions!

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Hubris

“It’s often foolish pride that tells us we’re not wrong” – What If I Was Nothing? by All That Remains (one of my favorite hard rock love songs, who says headbangers can’t have feelings too?!)

When it comes to relationships I feel pretty confident in saying that this one thing more than almost anything else is the killer. Yes your ex’s of the past may have been slobs, or didn’t show they cared, or were too controlling, or any other slew of problems. But, peel back the layers however and I’m willing to say that a lack of true consideration for the other person stemming from an inflated sense of ego is at the root of it all. Even in my relationship with Kristen, which I think we work pretty well together most of the time, I see the telltale signs on both ends of arguments.

Acknowledging this lurking monster has been one of the greatest challenges of my adult life. Looking back I can see how this one thing has torpedoed past relationships with people, and strained others with family and friends. So what exactly have I been doing and how can it maybe help you?

  • For starters it helps to try to keep a level head before the real argument even starts, once things begin to go red it’s too late. Understanding that in most cases the other person isn’t genuinely trying to be mean, it’s just a matter of how you’re interpreting the situation that is leading you down this path. Back up a little bit and try to understand where they are coming from.
  • If you find yourself getting agitated during a conversation ask yourself why is it that you feel that way? Exploring the rationale behind your emotions is a powerful tool to not only understanding the situation better but understanding yourself.
  • Learning to take criticism (even about small things) is pivotal. People don’t like feeling like they’re nagging, but if something is out of place or unclean there is then good reason to bring it up. General cleanliness can make items easier to find for future use, and can lend to a general sense of well-being. Not helping the other person feel good about their living situation is selfish to say the least.
  • On the flip side of that one, learn to let some small things go. Not every blanket, shoe, and cup has to be put back 100% of the time. Much in the same way that letting go of your ego about not needing to “keep everything perfect” isn’t helpful; insisting that everything be in it’s perfect little place isn’t either  and can be just as selfish. Balance is sometimes found in the grey areas.

These are only a few of the tools I’ve employed, but much of it comes down to self monitoring. That in itself is another crucial tool for life but here it has such a profound impact, if you are honest with yourself and allow yourself to grow out of it.

The next time you find yourself approaching argument territory in life pause for a moment and ask yourself why? If you’re honest I bet you’ll find a completely different way to navigate the situation in a much more positive way! If you have any other tips feel free to leave them below! Until next time Pengminions.

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Your Wedding Day is YOUR Wedding Day

Your wedding day should be just that, YOUR, wedding day. A day for you and your future spouse to celebrate however you deem appropriate. Your day is NOT to please other people. In my opinion it should be a reflection of your love for each other and what you value. Not what your parents, your future in-laws, you other family, your friends, or anyone else believes it should be.

My #1 piece of advice for you is to set your ground rules or share your plans early on in the process. Let those involved know how you feel and what your plans are, especially if you know that their opinions about your wedding day differ from what you plan to do. This helps to alleviate some of the potential blow ups during the process. Not to say that family or friends might not get upset but they should understand that it is your wedding and not theirs; you are inviting them to celebrate your union in a way that represents the two of you. They need to support and respect that. You also want to avoid surprises in the process especially “on the day of” revelations if at all possible. Luckily they don’t all end in disaster but heading them off ahead of time can save you a potential catastrophe.

Richard and I chose an extremely nontraditional route and it took us some time to figure out what exactly we wanted to do. We ended up having what we called a “Soiree” as our reception where we dressed up in fancy steampunk garb and celebrated our coming commitment to one another with family and friends, as a send off of sorts. This was on a Saturday and on Sunday, the 13th of April, we celebrate our anniversary and the day we chose as our commitment day. Spring forward 2 months and that is when we finally got around to filling out paperwork and having an officiant sign our licence for the silly government.

What is usually the ceremony part, our commitment day, was about us and no one else. We felt that at the end of the day no one comes home with us to make our marriage work and we wanted that to be our private event. Yes, family and friends are important and they influence our lives but they don’t live our life and so that is why we chose the reception as a way to include them in our union.

What did you do or are you planning to do that is a little or a lot out of the ordinary? Let us know in the comments section below. Next, we will take you on our journey of how we only spent about $4,000 for our whole shindig! Til next time Pengminions!

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Alyssa Was Here!

alyssaIn the spirit of sharing more YOU, I thought I would share a song with you all that I changed some of the lyrics to. For those of you that do not know, my little sister, Alyssa, died in a car accident at the age of only 14 in 2009. It is one of those things you don’t really think about until it happens. For me especially, I was the older sibling and we were both so young, death would come for me most certainly before her, so I never imagined out living her/living without her.

The call I got from my dad that day was and could possibly be the shittiest phone call I ever receive. I was living 9 hours from home at the time and was asleep when he called. At the time my dad never really called often so him calling so late was weird. I still remember, in a sleepy fog, the rush of thoughts that came flooding in as he started to talk. It is amazing how fast our brains can move. He was quick and direct which is the kindest anyone could ask for in that situation. I was on the next flight home. I didn’t know what or how to think about everything and the tears just wouldn’t stop. After the initial shock, as time kept moving as it does, my thoughts and feelings seemed to settle on the frame of mind that yes she is physically gone but I and everyone she ever encountered that are still here she is a part of us; she lives on in the lives that we live.

Which brings me to this song. The original song is by the country artist Cam and the song is called Village. She wrote this song to her little sister telling her what she would want her to remember if she ever died. It was inspired by the death of a best friend’s older brother who was like an older brother to her also. When I first heard the song I simultaneously fell in love with it and hated it. I hated it because it didn’t reflect my reality. I am not the one who is gone so it didn’t sit right with me the way it was written but the message of everyone we know living on inside of us fills me up! So I rewrote the song and recorded it for those who miss her and need a reminder that though she is not here; she is still here. As the song says, “The world outside seems different” and it definitely is but I think we can bring her on our journey and allow her imprint on our heart to be shared with others in choosing to live our lives well.

Here is my version of the song Village you can listen to and the lyrics below.
Lyrics:
Hey there, don’t you dare believe them
She’d never leave us alone
I’d been watching over her like older siblings do
Since the day she was born
I know it feels like She’s been left behind
But She’s still around

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope its a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Streets lined with cottages and cabins
The skies are always blue
She spends her days with ghosts who all love us the most
But no one quite like she does
And there’ll be days we need her by our side
And that’s alright

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Oh man, the world outside seems different
But one thing will never change
She knows who we’ve been and who we’ll become
And Alyssa is here with us always

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And She’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well
And She knows we’ll live our lives well

I hope my sharing all this encourages you to live your life to the fullest with the time you have on this Earth, whether or not you have lost someone dear our time is limited and we never know how. Maybe it even inspires you to spend more quality time with those that matter to you. The comments are yours to share what you wish; we love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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YOU Can Be the Key to Innovation

It is not always easy to be different but it

is important to embrace your different. No one has your exact story or your experiences in life. You should bring those with you on any project or any job that you do. You have a unique story so don’t forget to utilize your differences to bring something new to the table no matter what you do. We are all different but our experiences aren’t so far removed from someone else’s that they aren’t relatable on some level.

You could also be bringing a perspective that a particular group had not thought of, based on their individual histories, but would be important in order to reach more people or create a better idea overall depending on what you are pursuing. Innovation cannot happen without a ‘different’ thought.

Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products…”

You have to be willing to put yourself out there in order to help the collective. No one can share your story but you. No one knows your perspective if you do not share it with them. This can be in art, business, relationships, ect. In art, theatrical arts for me, we are story tellers. If we are not willing to give of ourselves the stories fall flat and become a hollow shell of the power that they could have had. Or we could miss out on creating the next Hamilton because we were unwilling to share our unconventional ideas. In business, that new product or service may never be thought up if we are not willing to change things up or share our experiences. In relationships, with any and all people we encounter, we could be missing out on new or deeper connections.

I know we talk about innovation in terms of business often but really I think the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of your life is endless and we are the key if we are willing to put ourselves out there and share who we are. I challenge you to stop doing all you can to blend in and not makes waves; MAKE WAVES and share your thoughts. Where do you plan to start sharing more of YOU? Let us know down in the comments. We love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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She said , “We don’t want to have kids…”

At least that’s the thought right now. Kids might be cool…One day…Maybe?
We often get the “Oh, you will want kids one day” or the “Kids are the best thing to every happen to you” cliches. I am not so sure. We have time if we change our minds and right now I know I don’t want them; possibly ever.
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We can hardly take care of ourselves let alone children.

Why? Because my thoughts on the subject have changed over the years. In a previous blog you found out that I was the oldest of five kids to young parents. All of my aunts and uncles have kids too. When I was younger I figured, I’d end up with kids also, most likely as a youngin rather than later in life. I got older those ideas changed. As I went off to college and started thinking about what I wanted my life to be I started to realize the responsibility that came with having children; it takes away the freedoms that I have and am enjoying as an adult. My aspirations with art and travel are not financially nor time conducive to the commitment that raising a child(ren) requires.

No one, or rather most people, don’t talk about the challenges and down side to being a parent. The cool thing to me is that it IS optional. In this day and age the number of childless men and women has been increasing and the decision process is usually a rational one.

Over the years I have put a LOT of thought into what having children does to an individual and family. As a woman I have come to realize the psychological and physical tolls having kids can have on your being. No matter how much your partner chimes “We’re having a baby!” truly the woman is the only one who undergoes a number of dramatic changes to her life not for nine months but forever. Is it worth it? I’m not sure I believe it is. The physical changes your body endures is more than just superficial.  There is also no way to know whether or not postpartum depression will effect you and to what extent your brain changes. It is not selfish to not want to purposefully affect your being in these possible ways.

In many relationships, more often than not, child rearing disproportionately ends up falling on women in a heterosexual relationship. It takes great effort to keep this from occurring. This can prove difficult when your own upbringing was as such, which was the case for us both. This can be detrimental for those women who have other aspirations than just child rearing.

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Besides, our fur~baby family makes us pretty darn happy!

The happiness that people talk about with their “bundle of joy” also isn’t the case for all parents; some people are really unhappy after having kids and the stresses it can cause. I am quite happy with the life that Richard and I have been building and having kids just doesn’t seem to fit in with our plans as of now. We have plenty of time to reassess as we go on this journey together. Currently I like that our time can be spent only factoring in each other’s respective lives. We are able to focus on our goals and aspirations; not to mention the traveling we are able to do that would potentially be cost and time prohibitive if we had children.

Another reason having kids does not seem right for me is the number of children that are without a home. I have thought if I were to have children that comes with the caveat that its a two for one deal; I would have to adopt as well.  If I’m going to bring a child into this world I am going to take in one that is already here and needs a family. To me it feels wrong to bring another human into this world when there are already so many people that go without. That is twice as much time, energy, money, ect.

Whether or not we have children is to be determined and only time will tell but as for now our reasoning together points toward no. We are completely OK with that because we know that it is a choice and a responsibility not to be taken lightly. What are your thoughts on having kids? Let us know in the comments below. Til next time Pengminions!
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He said, “We don’t want to have kids…”

By Richard Furleigh

If there are a small handful of choices we have made in our lives that truly define us as questioning everything it is our decision to not have children. While the number of children per family has declined over the last few decades the general attitude is that couples will end up having kids together. Separately both of us had even wanted them ourselves when we were younger but the times they are a changin!

Growing up I had assumed that I would have two kids, and my wife and I would split work/home duties and raise our little loving family. As I got into college and toward graduation I wanted to make sure that if I did have kids that it was under circumstances that would be conducive to a good upbringing; then Kristen and I got to talking…

It’s not that either of us changed the others mind, rather our thoughts had been shifting on their own for some time before we sat down and discussed what our potential family would look like. As we talked we realized that our life plans seemed so chaotic already, full of ambitions that take an exceptional amount of time and dedication, that we LOVE to travel and see the world. These things, while not impossible with children, definitely become much more difficult and not to mention costly (because unless that 4 & 6 year old have jobs they aren’t contributing to that trip to Disney that suddenly doubled in price). We also recognize the monumental effort it takes to actually be a good parent (shout out to Mike and Tracie Furin for being that!), to raise children in the best way possible becomes your #1 priority, everything else falls to the wayside when that bundle of joy arrives. This means your life, goals, and ambitions now play second fiddle.

Beyond these is also a harsh reality that people have ignored for a long time because the subject of unhappiness and children is too taboo: having kids is incredibly stressful. According to a recent study, the drop in happiness experienced by parents after the birth of first child was larger than the experience of unemployment, divorce or the death of a partner. So Kristen may actually be better off if I keel over dead than if she has a child with me.

At the end of it all what it boils down to is that I love my life with Kristen, we have a pretty awesome thing going. There are significant ambitions that having children would massively complicate in terms of artistry, career, and travel. Not to mention the costs in terms of monetary, mental, and physical health are enormous and understated. In many ways I feel that I just don’t want to give up the life I have with her, the things we are able to do with relative ease right now that would become giant undertakings with even one child. If it happens, then hey, I will welcome the little Furleigh. I hope I would make a good Dad, and I know Kristen would be a great mother. For now though, this is the last thing we are trying to make happen in our lives, and we are just fine with that.

What’s your take on kids? To have them, not to have them, maybe you already have a couple and could shed a little more insight on the topic? We’d love to have a conversation with you about it! Just let us know in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

Also read Kristen’s take here!

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Identifying Hypocrisy

by Richard Furleigh

Hypocrites.

Everyone claims to hate them, yet not a single one of us (myself included) are free from this title. Our intentions may be one thing however time and time again our words and actions betray us as hypocritical. The book “Building The Bridge As You Walk On It” by Robert E Quinn details this as one of his core tenants for leadership, but it is up to us every single day to examine this about ourselves in an honest way.

I know that personally I have struggled with this in some capacities, but with practice and some humility have learned to give honest credence to others voices when critiquing my choices. It is hard to truly look at yourself and admit that you are wrong or could do something in a more positive way, really it is one of the hardest possible things in life that you can do. No one wants to feel like their choices are wrong, no one wants to admit they are the weak point in a particular chain, yet this is the strongest possible thing you can do.

No growth in life ever comes from ignoring problems.

I have found more positive results to looking critically at my own choices than I would have thought possible. It has opened my eyes to others points of view, methods of execution, and knowledge about myself than I would have thought possible before now. Curiously enough it has also helped make me more confident as a person as well. When I know that more factors are taken into account, more voices heard and processed for their truest guidance, and more alternatives explored it means the decisions I come to are of that much higher a quality.

If there is anything you do to help combat your own hypocrisy, or if there is something in particular you need to be held accountable for let us know. We’re always looking for ways to help or improve our own process! Until next time Pengminions!

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Be Inspired by Your Parents

I don’t know about you but my parents made many nontraditional life choices, starting with me! My parents made many out of the norm decisions that paved the road for me to take on a similar outlook in life. Here is just a small glimpse of their awesomeness.

FB_IMG_1491520720291As a very young “couple” who did not have plans for me to come into this world they chose to keep me, each other, and then have 4 more babies right after me. Within a year, in their early 20s, they met, got married and four months later I was born. To this day they are still together learning to grow with one another over all this time.

They always worked hard and weren’t afraid to try new things. With 5 kids, when I was in middle school, my mom decided to go to school and earn her degree to become a drafter. I learned just because you didn’t do it “when you were supposed to” doesn’t mean you never can. There are no limits when you give yourself permission. She is always giving herself permission to do new things including becoming a florist, to making steampunk clothing/jewelry, to moving half way across the country with my dad. The fact that she is where she is now compared to her upbringing is inspiring as well but that’s a whole other story!

When I was in high school my dad wanted a change and decided to become an entrepreneur; to be his own boss and set his own hours. Sometimes leaving a steady job to pursue your dreams and be with your family is more important than a guaranteed pay check. It’s courageous to take on the unknown when you have a family depending on you. Now, he is pursuing his PhD at 50! Talk about challenging yourself!!

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They choose to do things different. I think that’s awesome! What have your parents done that inspires you? We love hearing from you all; the comments are all yours. Til next time Pengminions.

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Experiences are the Best Gifts

~Kristen Furleigh

The best gift you can give some one is your time. Rather than spending your hard earned money on things that in most cases only offer short term fulfillment why not think differently next time a holiday or birthday come around. We as people remember most the experiences we had and the people we had them with more readily than the gift items we get. Why not give the gift of experiences and/or time when the next gift giving event takes place?

great basin

Around here we prefer just that. Any chance we get we are trying to come up with a meaningful experience in which we can gift our time when these milestones hit. This year was my Dad’s 50th birthday and what we came up with is for me to take him out to a different spot once a month for the whole year and we grab a beer together . This encourages us to make time for each other; which with our busy schedules can get away from us sometimes. For the year we are dedicating once a month to an experience and quality time; which is better than any ol’ tie or bottle of aged whiskey could offer. It’s just two months in and it has been a blast!

If you are looking for some grand adventures or experiences and don’t know where to look try out Groupon. You can get ideas and even try something new for a fraction of the original cost. They have offers in most cities.

snow

Christmas this year was a great year for Groupons, one of my favorite gifts, my parents got each of us ‘kids’ a voucher for go-kart racing! And for my parents I got us an adventure for a group snowshoeing adventure up in Lake Tahoe. For Richard and I we purchased one for parasailing this summer up in Lake Tahoe also. I can’t wait to go on these epic adventures with people I love.

cpAnother place to start when trying to come up with gifts that are more along these lines is to think about the person’s interests and how you can incorporate those into an activity or outing. When my birthday came around last year Richard remembered my love of arts/crafts and weakness for a sweet Moscato and signed me up to spend time with my Mom at Crafted Palette (a local paint and sip establishment) since he had to work.

These are just a few of many ways you can change your gift giving habits that we encourage you to try out. What are some of your favorite non-traditional gifts or some ideas that you have come up with that we didn’t talk about? We would love to hear about them. Having trouble or feeling stuck; lets brainstorm some ideas together! Til next time Pengminions!

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