Journaling your life

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When I first started this blog I intended to document every possible aspect of our wedding preparations and the actual“day”. Blogging turned out to be a lot more addictive than I expected and long after the wedding posts were done and dusted I was still blogging. I enjoyed scripting our lives and noting down details that I would otherwise not remember (bad case of goldfish memory here people). Three years down the line I read the posts in utter bewilderment. Being able to reflect on how we progressed from being a couple and then to being married and now to have a child…there is really nothing like it.

I was recently approached by a leading women’s magazine in Oman with the request to write a page on “Wedding Blogs” simply because I have one. However my “Wedding Blog” evolved over the years to become something of a totem of our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. My best friend always warns people that I am the worst person to talk to about being married because I tell it as it is. All of it. You would probably never hear me say the cliché phrases of “I am married to my best friend” or “I am so glad I found my soulmate” because quite frankly none of that relates to us. I am more likely to tell a bride-to-be that it’s a really long, tough road that will test your patience, courage, love and temper. That there are days when everything hangs on by a thread and there are nights where you don’t even think you will make it till the morning. Marriage is hard work people. You have to work hard to make it work. I agree that three and half years of holy matrimony doesn’t exactly make me an expert and maybe the odds and statistics are against us (every second marriage ends in divorce, seriously!) but I also think the hardest part is behind us and the ride will be a little smoother from now on.

Anyways, I got carried away, forgive me. Here is the article that was published this month:

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Wedding mementos are traditionally kept in the form of sacred vows, entertaining videos and heartfelt portraits.  As time passes more details begin to slip through the fingers until only the brightest and most memorable events of the day can be recalled. This is where journaling has come in to save the day for modern brides and grooms.  Documenting a wedding experience through an online diary or blog has become the new favorite way to recollect and more importantly share the wedding experience with others.

The desire to hang on to every sweet detail is primary reason for the creation of my person wedding blog- Happily Married to a Biker.  The engagement, the bittersweet preparations, the chaotic errands and the thrilling emotions that enveloped the most important day of our lives are all documented in this online journal. Creating a blog helped to cast in stone thousands of details that separately did not seem at all exciting.

A white wedding filled with family and friends and topped with a delicious cake is a direct result of very hard work, hundreds of hours of planning and the unlimited effort many people. It is equally important to remember how the bride’s dress came to be, who helped the groom write his speech, who picked out the invitations and what was on the menu. After all, months of planning go into one single day – the most important day of the couple’s lives.

Whilst planning the wedding I eagerly browsed the internet in search for tips and tricks to everything; from trendy napkin colors to the most fashionable shoes and I was pleased to discover many bloggers who generously shared their wedding experience with anyone willing to spare some time. Reading about the challenges and following the advice of couples who have already gone through a similar experience and learning from their mistakes has in many aspects helped us to make our wedding a success.

Three and half years have passed since the day we said our “I Do’s” and we have just recently become parents to a perfect baby girl. Many years from now when she hungrily analyzes our wedding album and bombards me with questions and I will probably be able to answer every single one of them- because I will remember. When she is old enough she will browse the blog and read entry after entry that will in detail show her how her parents fell in love, how they planned the wedding and every single anecdote of that day. She will not have to listen to me vaguely recall the events of the day or patiently wait for me to remember what flavor the wedding cake was because it will all be right there for her to read.

The actual wedding party is just the icing on the cake. I can boldly claim that we had more fun bringing the puzzle pieces together over the course of three months than we did during the actual wedding day. The wedding was extraordinary and absolutely picture perfect. Wedding pictures may be worth a thousand words but how the picture came to be is worth a million. I strongly recommend couples to document their wedding experience through a blog but they should remember to share both the good and the bad because everything that happened along the way contributed to the beginning of their brand new life together.

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The wedding countdown…

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I recently got my hands on Emirates Bride magazine, which is full of gorgeous gowns and good reads. I came across an article that I wish I had read while getting my own wedding together. It basically breaks down into timelines, all the to-dos…oh the wonders of being organized and in control.

Since I have a few gals in mind that may walk down the aisle this year or the next, this is for you ladies. Feel free to use it, copy-paste it or add your own check points:

After the engagement:

 Choose a wedding date

 Calculate your budget and draw up a spreadsheet

 Decide on the style and the theme of the wedding you want

 Speak to your religious head or registry office to confirm any necessary details

 Decide on and book the wedding and reception venues and note the guest capacity

 Make a preliminary guest-list, including your bridesmaids, best man and full wedding party.

 Choose those taking part in the ceremony

 Create and post Save The Date cards to notify guests of the engagement and wedding

 Discuss menu options, look at estimates for food and drink, then confirm caterer.

 Start looking for your wedding dress

 Book your photographer and videographer

 Start a health/beauty regime

Three months before:

 Organize a second meeting with your religious head and venue organizer to confirm timing and other details
 Finalize wedding cake options and place order
 Book transport to and from the ceremony and reception
 Discuss flowers arrangements with a florist, keeping in mind what will be in season
 Book a musical band or a DJ for the reception
 Decide on the honeymoon destination, book a hotel, transport and check passport

 Pick your wedding stationery and order of services and place your order

 Choose your wedding bands and order them

 Decide on your wedding dress, groom’s suit and the wedding parties attire for fittings

 Confirm wedding guest list

Two months before:

 Confirm all of your prior bookings

 Give your caterer the final head count noting any special dietary requirements

 Buy all of your accessories to match your dress including jewellery and shoes

 Speak to a hair and make-up artist and discuss potential looks

 Book another dress fitting appointment

 If you are getting married in a hotel, make sure you have a room booked for the day/night of the wedding for getting ready

 Decide if you are having centerpieces, discuss with florists and order them

 Notify your bank and any other official government bodies that require your change of name status

One month before:

 Book your hair and make-up artist for a trial and arrange timing for your wedding day

 Collect your wedding bands

 Arrange for a trusted friend or family member to bring the cake knife, toasting glasses, ring bearer pillow and flower girl baskets

 Draw up a seating plan

 Finalize the outfits for the groom, bride, bridesmaids, best man and bridal party

 Confirm running order of the ceremony with all relevant parties taking part in the ceremony

Two weeks before:

 Speak to your DJ and confirm a first dance song for the reception

 Have a final fitting of your dress with your veil, jewellery and shows. It helps to practice walking

 Reconfirm the honeymoon arrangements and pack for the vacation

 Confirm the number of guests with your caterer and finalize the seating plan

One week before:
 Arrange a rehearsal at the venue
 Re-confirm your photographer, florist, hair and make-up artist, transport and catering.
 Liaise with your photographer regarding specific shots you want
 Ensure anyone doing a speech has it written and ready to be presented
 Prepare an emergency wedding kit including dress repair materials, essential make up, tissues and other important materials

The day before:

 Help to decorate the reception venue if necessary and make sure all final details are in place

 Arrange for the cake to be delivered to the reception

 Relax and have an early night

On the day:

 Start with a good breakfast, as you will be on your feet for most of the day

 Ensure that you have plenty of time to get your hair an make up done

 Get everyone dressed and ready

 At the ceremony, the speeches rung in the order of father-of-the-bride, followed by the groom and then the best man

 At the end of the evening its tradition for the bride and groom to leave the reception first

Day 48. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

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I have never read that book.

And I don’t intend to either. You cannot textbook men and women. You cannot get marital advice from a paperback New York bestseller. It needs to be lived through, survived through and experienced firsthand. I am not an expert at it; I am a 2 year old amateur. And as any two year old, our marriage has just learnt to put words into sentences and verbally convey what it is that it needs. As any toddler throws tantrums when he is not able to clearly express his needs, we have done the same. Now that we are approaching our second year, we are more adapting. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes we outright fail at being husband and wife. I get asked a lot, what being married is like…I say it’s tough. Its hard work, but as any hard work usually is- it is also rewarding.

I married a no-nonsence kind of guy. No-sentimental-crap kind of guy. Everything is black and white. Engineers are very specific, very tactical. They don’t believe in Valentines Day. They will never remember their aunt’s birhtday. They are also likely to forget their own birthday. They love strongly and completely. He gives it his all, and his all is everything to me. I count the little things. I appriciate the unintended.
He is opinionated, strong willed, adventurous and restless. I am stubborn, sensitive, careful and passive. We are fire and ice when our opinions collide. However on the rare occasion that we want the same thing- we are unstoppable.

I recommend marriage. I am pro-marriage. Everyone should try to achieve the impossible at least once in their life…

On the other side of town the groom was…

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…hitting he snooze button until screams of panic reached from the adjoined room. “Wake up, you can’t sleep through your own wedding” shriked an emotional Liya,who’s boyfriend is Alex’s best friend. She woke them both up around 8:00 am,prepared coffee ad some breakfast to calm the nerves. Alex got dressed and soon his mom reached our aparment. After a few minutes of “Awws” and “Aaahh” she put herself together and began helping with the preparations. Soon after the photgrapher arrived, and began taking pictures of Alex getting ready for the big day. Followed by Kirill and Nadya, fellow biker mates-who all crowded in our tiny apartment.

I was sure to leave good guidelines for Liya, foreseeing the chaotic preparations so early in the morning. There was an A4 paper stuck to the fridge which contained instructions similar to the following:

“Don’t forget the bowtie and the rings. The rings are in a box on top of the TV, the TV is in the sitting room”

The list had a few more vital bullets to help locate the bridal bouquet,the golden cross, the ribbons and balloons and emergency contacts. Liya later told me, that if it wasnt for the list, Alex would have probably forgotten all about the bouquet and the rings, thats how nerveous he was.

You are probably wonderig, and where is the best man during all these events? Oh, he was home-sleeping 🙂 he did eventually wake up and flew to our place at the speed of light (or a honda bike…) to help get ready. The most important task, before they were to pick me up, was to tie ribbons and balloons around the bikes on which they would ride to my house. Yes. Bikes. My husband rode a bike to our wedding. In his suite. With my bouquet. Both survived.

Having decorated both the groom and the bikes, the party was on their way to pick up the bride. The camera man traveled alongside the bikes in a rented car, and shot the whole 15 minute journey into an amazing video soundtracked by System of a Down’s “Arials”…

Bride for sale

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There is an absurd Russian tradition to “buy out the bride”. The idea behind it, is to give the groom as much trouble as possible before he reacher his wife-to be. I believe this all originated in some classical ideology of the man demonstrating his strength/wit/masculinity for all to see. In the more modern version-it is just there for laughs. The bridesmaids usually greet the groom, before he enters the house/flat the bride lives in. The “buying out the bride” procedure presents every groom a unique opportunity to show his love for all to see. Whether he will need to scream “Darling I love you” for hundrets to hear, or to say 15 compliments about his bride- this is his opportunity to show that the sky is the limit. The bridesmaids also have a field day, because this one day-they are able to get the groom and his friends to do whatever they please.With all possible tricks and games, they try to get him to pay as much money as possible, in order to get to his bride. Some of the most common dares include:

1) The groom is offered three containers,filled with clear liquid. One of them contains sugar, the other salt and the third something bitter. The one the groom picks and tastes is supposed to signify their marriage-would it be sweet or biter.

2)Every stair has a flower laid on it, as the groom picks up the flower he is supposed to say a kind word about his bride (beautiful, sexy, funny), if he runs out of words he pays up.

3)The groom is supposed to spell out the name of the bride with cash notes on the ground (lucky someone called Veronika, or Aleksandra!)

4) A tub of water is put before the groom, and he is asked to put the that which the bride cherishes the most in it (the groom needs to be smart enough to take his shoes off and step into the tub himself)

5)The groom is required to answer all sorts of rediculous questions, ranging from “what was the colour of the dress that she was wearing when you met” to “what is the star sign of the future mother in law”

6)A poster is prepared,covered in kisses of different colours. The groom must correctly guess which colour lipstick belongs to his bride (or pay money!)

The list of competitions and tricks is endless. They are always fun and make it onboard every Russian wedding. I can assure you my girls had a fielday getting bikers to sing Britney Spears Songs.. 🙂

How we got carried away…

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Wedding preparations are bound to get the best of you. I doubt there is a single couple out there, who had a calm, fight-free,fit-throwing-less wedding preparation. Unless they hired a planner. Or got married spontaneously. In our case, we spend two months getting ready for a wedding, that flew before our eyes in minutes. We were so exhausted from looking at ribbons, choosing baloon colours, tasting cakes, trying on clothes, signing invitations, looking for a place to live… This all sounds like great fun when you read it, and you are probably thinking “Eh, what is she complaining about”, but try joggling wedding preparations, a full time job, and a full time family. It was difficult. And unbearable at times. And that is mostly why we scaled down so much. There were no ice sculptures, no famous singers performing, to wedding album even-we did as much as we could, and we were happy with the result. Some way through Alex concentrated on proving us with a home, and I took care of the wedding preparations, we would meet up daily and discuss what has been achieved. I received a lot of help with the preparations, My Cynthia has organizing the bachelorette party and the wedding in the Bar, My Foosa was responsible for an unforgettable “giving-away” the bride routine, My Lyu was coordinating the above mentioned procedures and made everything as easy as it could possibly be. The moral of the story is; don’t turn away help with wedding preparations, if your grand ma is unsatisfied with the receptions menu and wants to make some of her famous chicken pie-let her, if your in-laws find you a great wedding dress tailor-give her a try, if your parents decide to bring 10 last minute guests in-take it with a smile. They are a part of your wedding to. A wedding is a family affair. It is never about you and your husband alone. That would be too selfish. It is about two families uniting their children and becoming one, and if they want to get lost in the process-so be it. Let them. Enjoy it.

Outdoor weddings…

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are risky business. Tashkent is unforgettable for its ability to be have warm fuzzy morning, and piercing cold evenings in Autumn. However, the first week of September was warm and pleasant, we settled on the outdoors, which were still tented in case of rain. The area was surrounded by groomed trees, flowers and bushes. Hence, the idea of a white and green wedding occurred naturally. I was never a big fan of the colour green, and seeing that it was September, yellow and orange tones would have gone so much better-but for some reason green seemed perfect then and there. We decided not to over do it with the bright green colours, and just have a few accents here and there. We ended up having white,green, and olive baloons around the area,green napkins on the tables, a lot of floral greenery, and green ribbons on the tables. Our cake was also three stories tall, and was decorated with beautiful white roses, and green petals.Everything else was classical white, there was no other theme in the wedding, and guests were not asked to dress any specific way, simply because they were of such different ages and classes.

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