Why Kristen and I Almost Didn’t Get Married (For a Good Reason)

by Richard Furleigh

The decision to get married is a big one; one of the biggest of your life. The decision to spend the rest of your life with one person is daunting to say the least. Now, Kristen and I love each other (a lot) but when talking about the rest of our lives we had a serious debate whether we wanted to get married or not. We definitely wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but the question was the paperwork behind it.

It wasn’t until more recent history when governments at a local and state level began requiring licensing for marriages; starting around the mid 19th century.  Prior to that announcements in newspapers or by word of mouth in communities was accompanied by a simple ceremony without all the lavish trappings of modern weddings.

For Kristen and I it came down to a few things. One, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and didn’t need a piece of paper telling us that. Two, those pieces of paper do cost money to get in addition to the time required to go get them processed. So in many respects it just felt like an unnecessary step in our lives.

The United States however thinks otherwise in many respects. Unless we wanted to jump through a ton of other legal hoops at various points in our lives, being married is one of the only ways to ensure life with your chosen partner is smooth in the legal sense. End of life care, life insurance, health insurance, taxes, offspring rights, even renting an apartment all become massively more difficult to navigate if you are “together” but not married. On top of that, with our name change we would have had a harder time convincing a judge to allow it.

In the end we did get married in Harris County, but only for the simplicity of legal processes throughout our lives. I really wish the US and it’s states made unmarried life for committed couples a little more accommodating in this respect because, as I stated, it really just feels unnecessary. We love each other and choose to be together and we don’t need a document to tell us that.

We do know there are couples out there who have chosen to go without that paper, and we would love to hear from you so some of our other readers can be informed too! What issues have you run into and how have you overcome them? Do you have any recommendations for others who may think about doing the same? Let us know down below and thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge! Until next time Pengminions!!

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Your Wedding Decor For LESS

What seems to be the most daunting task is also in my opinion the most fun when it comes to weddings. The decor. From picking colors to theme to the little details. These things can also often come at a hefty price. It doesn’t have to however. If you plan enough in advance you can actually do most if not all of it yourself. I know there is the dreaded “Pinterest Fail” but fear not; there are plenty of easy to do craft ideas that will save you money.

When putting together your wedding remember that all inclusive or renting might seem like an enticing option and my guess is, it is easy, but I have found out that when purchasing the items you need like chair covers, table runners, decorations, place settings at a similar price as renting would be it is more cost beneficial for you. When you are done with those items you can turn around and sell them afterwards. The awesome thing about that is even if you don’t sell every piece after your shindig you could effectively not pay a dime or at the very least much less than had they been supplied for you. These items you could even save for later use. Maybe you like to host brunch or a party; you would be all set. The best part is you spend less on your wedding!

a centerpieceLet’s talk about flowers. Most brides can’t wait to have fresh flowers throughout but we all know that those truly cost an arm and a leg. If you can’t live without and are determined to have fresh flowers for your wedding I suggest finding simple arrangements that you could do yourself or just a couple single flowers for your table settings. Rather than calling up your local florist try your grocery stores or budget stores that do fresh flowers, Sam’s, Costco, just to name a few. You should go ahead of time to order the flowers in bulk for the day you need them. Discuss with them the state (bloomed or not and how long before they do) that your flowers will arrive so you can make a decision on when you need your order to arrive and the care to take so they will be beautiful for your big day. This one thing alone will save you hundreds!

The decorations throughout don’t have to be lavish. If you are willing to have similar but not identical set pieces thrift stores are your best friend. If you haven’t figured it out yet; I LOVE THRIFT STORES! Have an idea for theme and you can find some great pieces at fractions of the price that will fit your style. Craigslist is another great resource. Like you will hopefully be doing, other brides will sell off their pieces after their big day. Another fun personal thing you can do is place tiny photos of your relationship on the tables; this adds a nice touch to let your guests into some of your adventures as a couple. It is also relatively cheap to do at Walgreens. You can even make your own table ornaments by saving glass sauce jars and fashioning them to fit your style.

Each of these are things that Richard and I did for our wedding and it came out beautifully. What have you done to save on your wedding decor or have you tried some of the things we did? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments! Til next time Pengminions!

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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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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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It’s Wedding Season!

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Not my actual wedding dress

It is that time of year, spring/summer, when the weddings seem to be never ending. Every where you look there is another white dress by a costly designer, extravagant venue, artistic masterpieces for cakes, guest lists that go on forever. Bridal magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram all perpetuate this idea of what we “need” for a perfect wedding. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $35,329! You read that correctly. That is minimum $10,000 more than the cost of my Subi!

I am amazed at the amount of money people spend on their weddings. Why? Why are we spending so much money on these one day events? What does putting yourself in debt to start this brand new, beautiful adventure do for you? What is the meaning behind all of it? Are we really thinking about these things before we do them? In most cases I don’t believe we really ask ourselves these questions or give them much thought. This brings me to one of my favorite shows, Adam Ruins Everything, and I would like to share with you his comedic historical based video snippet on weddings.

When planning your wedding I implore you to question what you are spending your money on, ask yourself why, and whether or not it truly is important to you and your significant other. It is just one day, a special one but it shouldn’t put you back monetarily or be about things that don’t matter to you both. Spending more on your wedding makes it more likely to end in divorce, according to researchers at Emory University. Maybe think twice about the extravagance or pleasing others and focus on the things that are most important; the two of you.

These next few blogs I write are going to be about some of the decisions we made for our wedding day that might help you save or think a little differently and creatively when planning your special day.  Til next time Pengminions!

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Penguin DIY bonanza!

Greetings one and all my favorite Pengminions!
Richard here with your new delve into the deep complex inter-workings of a bird brain (more penguin puns, I know. I’m so good at them).

First off we have some lovely glass jars created by the misses.

painted glass jars done by the misses

painted glass jars done by the misses

Through the magic on Pintrest she found an exceptionally easy way to make these using the following

Gloss Mod Podge, your color food coloring, and a paintbrush!

Gloss Mod Podge, your color food coloring, and a paintbrush!

This is it!

Simply pour a little Mod Podge in the bottom, but not too much, this stuff goes a LONG way as she found out early on. Just dip your paintbrush in the bottom and pull the color up the side in straight lines. Don’t worry about a little clumping at the edges of the brush, it actually turns into slightly more tinted color after it dries which adds to the tinted glass effect. Make sure to give it plenty of time to dry too since any left over paint in the bottom will take a while to completely dry.

If you want to take it to the next level and really turn it into a Moroccan lantern, you can take a metal color of fabric paint and dab it onto the top and bottom to create a hammered metal look.

Just dab the fabric paint right on the jar and let dry

Just dab the fabric paint right on the jar and let dry

She’s pretty crafty for sure!

On my side of things I have spent many evenings over the last couple weeks cutting out gears of various sizes and shapes for use around the venue. One of my more interesting projects in this area has been creating cardboard negatives for use in spray painting a mass amount of gears on various surfaces.
To start out I would hit a tack with a pencil tied to it into the center of a piece of cardboard.

A little duct tape at the end means you don't have to tie the end onto the pencil, making it easier to adjust the length

A little duct tape at the end means you don’t have to tie the end onto the pencil, making it easier to adjust the length

From there just hold the pencil as horizontal as possible while keeping the string taunt. In my case I also had to spin the pencil slightly to counteract the string winding around the pencil and shrinking the circle size (great for a spiral, but not for circles). Repeat this process a few times with smaller circles each time, depending on how large you want the gear teeth, spokes, and center.
circlesOnce here you can pull the tack out, from here create a X in the center. An easy (but not 100%) method is to line up a ruler over the hole in the middle. From here eyeball, or use a carpenters rule to find a right angle and finish off your X. Now that you have a starting point you can go a couple different directions depending on how many teeth you want your gear to have. The easiest way I’ve found to get accurate spacing for everything else is to measure the distance between the two points on the outermost circle. simply divide it in half and make a small hash mark. Repeat this process in between each mark. When done simply place your ruler across the middle and line it up with opposite hash marks. This will give you all the marks you need for a basic 8 tooth gear. For a 12 tooth, take the measurement between the X and divide it into three equal parts and repeat the process of matching up hash marks and marking lines across the center. When done it should look something like this

This is marked out for a 12 tooth gear

This is marked out for a 12 tooth gear

Should you want any more teeth, simply continue to measure the distance between the closest lines and make a mark at the halfway point. Match hash marks across the center again and make another line.

This gear had the most with 32

This gear had the most with 32

To create the teeth place your ruler perpendicular to one of the lines extending from the center and find measurement that extends a little less than halfway toward the next line (you want to leave room so you can taper the edges outward a little). Make a line along this distance and hash marks on the edge of the line extending up away from the center. Repeat this process for each line.
To create the taper coming down from the teeth I lined up my ruler between one of the hash marks and the edge of the smallest circle on the inside. Go ahead and make a line from the outer circle into the next one down. Repeat this process making sure to measure from the same side of the ruler for each line (made that mistake the first time and ended up with a couple teeth that were REALLY off, lol)
You should now be at this point.

Your gear should look something like this.

Your gear should look something like this.

From here, just measure a couple spokes from the center to the next circle. Now just take your time with your exacto knife making sure not to cut outside of the lines. Once it’s cut, just turn it over, make sure all the cut lines match up, and pop it out!

From here to create the negatives for my project however I had to find a way to make sure the parts in the center would stay put even while moving it from surface to surface. To make sure everything stayed put I decided to attach everything using small craft sticks with glue.

Make sure to attach each piece that isn't the whole gear to each other and to the edge for stability

Make sure to attach each piece that isn’t the whole gear to each other and to the edge for stability

After making sure that each piece could be popped out I reassembled the gear and missing pieces (which I had labeled so that I could match them back up easy) I cut out small pieces of cardboard to provide a little distance in between the bottom and the craft sticks so it would be easier to make sure spray paint would get underneath them.

So there you have it! Two unique DIY projects that we have been utilizing to make sure our little soiree is as well decorated as possible (on an awesomely small budget)

If you have any awesome steampunk projects we could use, or need any clarification on any of the above instructions leave us a comment below!

Til next time Pengminions!!
Richard

APRIL 12, 2014

What is so special about this date?? Hmmm, let us think for a minute…. Well. For one it is so special we in fact forgot to include it in the most important identifying material for the spectacular event that is to be held that day…OUR SOIREE!!!

Yes, we did FORGET to include the DATE in our Soiree INVITATIONS!

So, thank you to everyone who was kind enough to come peruse our blog in hopes of finding out this tiny, little, insignificant detail. In the future we will have 500 eyes check these sorts of things out before we go about mass mailing anyone. Our 4 eyes were obviously not enough with everything else going on.

Oh and since you are here I’ll go ahead and give you a peak into our recent engagement photoshoot! 😉
Thanks again Pengminions!!! Spread the word, April 12th!!!
Leave comments, ask questions and we will be back again soon
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❤ Kristen Burleigh

Crafting Steampunk – aka – we’ve hit 1st gear

Hello Pengminions!

Craftyhands Richard with you today to share some recent developments in two exciting worlds. Kristen and I’s, and creating our handmade steampunk bonanza!

Life has been blazing by at what feels like a blistering speed here in Houston as we’ve adopted a fairly routine schedule of working three days a week and trying to get as much detail work on our crafts/constructions as possible. We’ve been swiftly ushered into the young adult life of come home from work, only to have to work more, not even counting the day to day existence workings (can I just be 11 again?). Progress at times has felt slow as we bog down on specific details, and the infinitely minute amount of details that go into a start to finish wedding reception.

In much more exciting news however I have received in all the major pieces of my outfit for the soiree. YEAH BUDDY!! I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I am one sexy dapper beast. I’m keeping everything under wraps (it’s a clothing pun, get it?!) for now, but I will say that the body of my tailcoat is blue and black. Of course I’m still accessory shopping (because what’s a good steampunk outfit without killer goggles right?) and trying to figure out exactly what needs to get attached where and how.

Of course, no true theme is complete without plenty of ambiance decor. On a tight budget however this can start to become an exceptionally daunting task. In order to fight against the squeeze we’ve thrift shopped, garage sale’d, and clearance rack’d everything we could manage. From Hobby Lobby we picked up a couple large lanterns that were missing a few panes of glass for $9 each, saving us almost $100 for the three. On the walls we have decided to have huge wall hangings, and ended up choosing…. landscaping fabric. Yup, a 4′ wide roll of professional grade landscaping fabric. At only $30 for a 200′ long roll it ended up being only .45 a yard; at least a dollar a yard less than any real fabric we could buy. It’s all about re-purposing! That and scrounging through a ton of Goodwill and thrift bins.

I also have completed the first cut out gear for our soiree! 1st gear

Woo!! It didn’t come out QUITE as well as I would have liked, but it was a great 1st prototype and let me learn more of “what to do” in the future. Side note: drawing perfect concentric circles is HARD. Now only like 300 more to go…..

That’s all for now Pengminions! And hey, thank you for reading. We throw out a lot of random thoughts about our lives and a ton of other subjects and we do appreciate it. So if you have any questions or anything let us know below!

Until next time!

Richard F

All things Soirée and…..We need YOUR help!

Pengminions!

It is I, Kristen, the lady of this duo you will oh so soon be able to refer to as: The Furleigh’s!
Hello you all. Hope everything in your world is going gloriously. It is going very much so here for us. We are head over feet in planning and work and projects. It is grand. I love being this busy!

It has been a little bit since updating you all on planning and things soiree related. It has been interesting trying to organize everything on our own since this whole thing is a little foreign to us but we are managing it. LISTS are our best friends, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them a.) for life and b.) for an undertaking such as this. It will probably be what saves our butts in the end because if we just tried to “remember it” all we would not have anything to show come April 13th.
We went to check out our venue a couple weeks ago and it is plain but it has potential. They provide tables which actually are perfect for our theme. They are kind of a brushed metal top. *perfect* The chairs we might have to change up somehow but we will work with them. Lately we have been on the hunt, stopping in many Goodwill Stores and thrift stores and just recently started going garage sale shopping, to find the perfect trinkets to put together for interesting centerpieces and decorations around the venue. My parents so graciously and thoughtfully sent us gift cards to Michael’s for our Christmas presents (I can’t tell you how excited I was when I opened it) and got a few things to start the process of Invite Construction!!!

Oh my, oh my. Shame shame shame on me. Did I share with you all that my custom designed dress is in the process of being made…as in…decision made and deposit PAID! Eeps, It all just keeps becoming more real.

A couple of other big things we are working on is food, flowers, cake.
The food we are trying to keep reasonably priced and MAN flowers are EXPENSIVE oh and so are cakes. Which we have been tossing around the idea of making it ourselves. Yes you read that correctly. Home-made-cake for our reception. The key to this decision being made will be based on us deciding we will spend a day in the near future and do a cake test run. We will let you know how it goes. If successful, it will save us so much money.

Some thing that we have to remind ourselves throughout this process is to stop and KISS! Keep.It.Simple.Stupid. A little acting nugget you can take with you and use in all of life. Try it. Please. It works wonders!

And here is where you all come in:
Whilst in the midst of all this planning we have come to realize that we also have to come up with a list of music to fill hours of entertaining. We have started a so far short list with a collection of songs that range all over the music spectrum. For the shindig we would love to know some of your favorites when it comes to music so we might stay ahead of the curve because I am sure we are going to miss some good ones by just not thinking of them. Anything! We would love to hear it. We want some ambiance music but we also wanna get people out on the dance floor when the time comes! What would get you up and on the dance floor? What are some songs or types of music you have heard at a reception that you thought were spectacular choices? We appreciate any and all input from you.

Thank you so much pengminions! This is going to be a most glorious occasion so, many thanks to you for helping make it so special.
So much love,
Kristen B

QUIZ UPDATE: And the winner is……

Pengminions!!!!

The lady here to bring you a short update on The Quiz that the Mr. and I had been working through. It seemed rather close the whole way through. We both learned a lot but there had to be a winner. One of us….was highly confident at the end that they were the winner pf all the fancy prizes and bragging rights. Remember this my friends its never in your favor to jump the gun and parade around your victory before all votes have been counted and the results are in. Going into this 100 question venture we both figured who the winner would probably be (me) because… well, its well known the Mr. tends to take information as it comes much more often than I who asks questions on top of questions.

As we neared the end of our exploration it seemed pretty tight. We went into the scoring and he seemed to have all his counted up and I caught a glimpse of what I thought was the final count for myself and just knew I had not won. When he suggested we place our totals down at the same time I was in. He prefaced the reveal with “Baby, I’m sorry I had to beat you” and with what I had seen I figured he was right, by .5 of a point, and was going to be the graceful looser.

There was a ready….GO! Placing our scores down on the bed….I HAD WON!!!! I even felt kinda bad about being the winner lol
Now I await the contract being fulfilled! A small plethora of lovely things we both agreed on would be the winnings of the victor.
They include a dinner of ones choice, an evening of dancing, junk food, breakfast/dessert in bed just to name a few.
All in fun and sport. And an excuse to enjoy each others company. The real winner is both of us because we made the time for each other to slowly go through these questions, answer and elaborate, and gain more knowledge about each other.

Have any other games we could try? Or excursions you might recommend? We would love to hear them!

Til next time pengminions!!

So much love,
Kristen B