First wedding-related post!

Andrew is in Charlotte, North Carolina on a last minute trip for work, so he still has yet to make his debut as an author on the blog. But with Andrew away, that just means I have more time to crank out a good post (mainly because I’m bored and the silence around here is already killing me).

I am so sick of all this house stuff, so I’m going to switch gears now and make a post about the wedding! We’ve got big DIY dreams for our house, but that won’t be our first time dabbling in do-it-yourself projects. The entire wedding planning process has been filled with DIY goodness. First of all, we did all the research and booked everything ourselves – no wedding planner(s). Our venue is The Smithville Inn. It’s an awesome restaurant in a little historic village near Atlantic City.

Historic Smithville Inn

Smithville Village

This pretty much sums the place up…

Smithville Village

Here’s the actual Inn all done up for a wedding…

Smithville Inn Wedding

The wedding date is September 30, 2011. Save-the-dates were sent out in March and the invitations were just sent out at the end of June. We’re well on our way. We had our good friend Matt LaRoche take our engagement photos for the save-the-date, so that was FREE! To create and print the save-the-dates thru Walgreens it cost about $40.00. We found some great invitations at Michael’s that we could make and print ourselves. We also got place cards and table numbers to match. For all of that, we only paid about $100.00 because it was all on sale. If you do some research online, you’ll find out that ordering custom invitations can cost almost $2.00 per person (or more)! At about 115 guests, the invitations alone would have cost over $200.00. I’d say we did a pretty good job. Here’s the save-the-date and a little glimpse of the invitation:

Save the Date

Wedding Invitation

Now that all the invitations have been sent, we’re starting to organize our tables. Another little DIY trick for you…we cut some little circles out of paper and got some little sticky tags to write names on. We created a sticky tag for each guest and started placing them around the tables. Now we can drive ourselves crazy, arranging and re-arranging the tables just by moving the sticky tabs around. Here’s a picture so you know exactly what I’m talking about:

Wedding Tables

Our tables look a little lop-sided, but we’re still in the process of receiving responses from guests, so we’ll have a little more re-arranging to do before we lock this setup off.

I swore this was a total wedding post, but just to keep everyone in the loop with what’s going on with the house – we’re sick of lawyers. Our attorney’s paralegal caused some issues for us and basically got the sellers p.o.’ed. Our realtor stepped in, made everything nicey nicey, and now the sellers have completed even more work than requested on the house! We’re also looking at having an earlier closing date. We could be in the house as early as August 12th at this point! We already started picking paint colors. Sneak peek! …

Paint Colors

Our new, old pad

Okay so here’s the skinny…buying a house isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be. It’s really nothing like “House Hunters” or “Property Virgins” on TLC. It’s a lot of hard work! The past few months have been very stressful. We started out looking for an apartment and one week later, we were house hunting. {Stay tuned for our next post about the entire home buying process so far}.

We went house hunting every weekend in the month of June and we saw some seriously awful places. I mean awful. We were so thrilled when we finally found the house we eventually put an offer on. It’s a small, 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom ranch, but it has a full finished basement with potential for a 3rd bedroom (there’s a sink down there too. Bar? I think so)! Aside from being terribly outdated, it’s actually a pretty decent little place.

It’s an estate sale, so the downside to that is, the sellers are doing a lot of guesswork. The age of the roof, heating system, hot water heater and siding were advertised as being just 3 years old. However, after the home inspection, we found out the roof is actually about 8 – 9 years old. The age of the house (seller claims the home was built in 1953) was also incorrect. Because of the older style of wood and plumbing used in the home, our home inspector was able to determine that the house was most likely much older than the sellers were suggesting. Regardless, the new heating system, hot water heater, vinyl siding, replacement windows, storm doors and relatively new appliances were all HUGE selling points for us. As I said before, the other properties we saw were awful, so these were all welcome surprises! Also, did we mention that the back yard is totally awesome? The fences on either side of the house are covered with bushes, vines and trees, making it a very private setting. NONE of the other houses we looked at had proper back yards.

Here are some pictures of the house as it is right now. The sellers did some whacky staging (ie: creepy family photo in the front bedroom, sad clown painting in the master and weird, inappropriate lovers statuette on the dresser). It made it a little harder to see the potential in this house, but we’re hoping once we get some paint on the walls and get our own stuff in there, we will warm right up to it. Pardon the poor quality of the photos – these are from the original listing:

Real estate listing photos of our new house

We will be posting more, higher-quality pictures once we get in the house. Then, the work will begin and before and after photos will follow! First things first…we’ll be applying fresh paint, removing those slightly tacky awnings on the front windows and for our first big project; painting the kitchen cabinets and adding new, modern plexiglass cabinet windows to replace the current, dirty brown-yellow, plastic ones. We’ve also got big plans for the basement with fresh paint and new drop ceiling tiles. As of right now, we’re aiming for a mid-August closing, so let’s just hope that it’s all downhill from here (and that we actually get to start putting our wannabe DIY skills to the test).

Fresh Start

Where do we begin? We’ve asked ourselves this question so many times over the past year, it’s remarkable. Getting married, buying a house, starting a blog about it? We must be crazy, but here is where we plan to hash it all out.

It all started back in 2004 when we met in college. {We both went to Rowan University where we majored in Radio/TV/Film}. Our friendship blossomed into a crazy, fun relationship and we’ve been inseparable ever since. After graduating in 2008, we moved to Collingswood, NJ where we enjoyed short (15 minutes) commutes into Philly where Megan was an Assistant Producer for a TV production company, and Andrew was a Rental Technician for a film and video equipment rental house.

In 2010, Andrew accepted a new job in Secaucus as a Digital Imaging Technician, and that’s when we moved to Ewing (where we are now) to try and split the difference between metro NYC and the City of Brotherly Love. Not long after Andrew started his new job, Megan accepted a new position in Wall Township (at the famed “Jersey Shore”) as a Social Marketing Coordinator.

Knowing that we’d now be able to shorten our now long commutes by moving to the Eastern (arguably *better*) side of the state, we began looking at apartments close to the shore and the Garden State Parkway. Our Realtor suggested we consider buying, so we sat down with a loan officer and, thus, the process began.

Now we’re planning a wedding and buying a house, all at the same time. Yeah, it’s been done before, but it’s like nothing we’ve ever tried! This is where Fresh Nest comes into play. We want to document our process. We are super frugal, tech-savvy, DIY wannabes, the-internet-makes-all-things-possible-believers with a passion for turning our new little house into a super, sweet home. We’ve got tons of dreams and ideas, but can we actually execute them? Here is where we will document the process of finding out!