Wedding of epic epicness

Holy crap. I feel like I blinked and the wedding was over. It seriously went by so fast. Everyone told me to take a deep breath, go slow, and take it all in, but it’s just so hard when the day is as busy, hectic, exciting as it is. There are parts that I remember vividly, i.e. Mrs. Ninja walking down the aisle (yes I teared up) and parts I don’t remember at all, i.e. what song played when we cut the cake.

There are so many things that I could write about in regards to our wedding, but I’ll try and narrow it down to just a few things.

Dollar Dance:

Do you remember the little debate I had a few weeks back, asking whether the $$$ dance was tacky or reasonable? Well, you can call me Tacky Ninja ’cause we totally rocked the dollar dance hardcore. I’m quite glad we did because it gave me dedicated face time with many of our guests, but more importantly we walked away $600 richer at the end of it! Can you believe it?! Six Hundred Bones! Totally legit and I never got the vibe someone was dancing with me out of obligation or pity.

Wedding Cake:

If you recall from Mrs. Ninja’s guest post about our wedding, she shared that we were having a quasi-fake cake. The bottom three layers were all Styrofoam, and the top two layers were actual cake. Our cake ended up only costing $90 (instead of the $500 quotes from the bakery), but we definitely got what we paid for. The fake layer did not match the real layer. They were slightly different colors and the design was off. It wasn’t what we had imagined, but with a little bit of craftiness, Mrs. Ninja’s aunt was able to make it look half-decent. Fortunately, the wedding cake is not really something people remember about weddings.

Vows:

I don’t know if it’s weird to post up my vows to Mrs. Ninja here, but they are obviously a huge piece of the ceremony as it is a commitment of my life to hers. We both customized our own vows, so hers are different than mine. Here’s what I promised to her…

Mrs. Ninja, today in the presence of God, I give my life to you.

To be your husband, and your friend,

and to stand by you as we share our life together.

As Christ is to His church, so I will be to you,

a loving and faithful husband.

I will walk with you daily

and grow with you in mind and spirit,

When you cry, I will comfort you.

When you laugh, I will share your joy.

I promise to lead us towards Christ

and guide you according to His Word.

That through His grace,

we might grow together into His likeness

for as long as we both shall live.

Pictures:

This was the most important thing to me when it came to our wedding. We had seen our photographer shoot a few of our friends’ weddings, and knew we had to have him do ours. We paid a pretty penny for his services, but his pictures aren’t just photographs, they are ART!!!! We will get all the pictures in about 6 weeks, but he gave us a “sneak peek” of 34 pictures. Here are a few of ’em….

So there is just a glimpse of what my epic wedding of epicness looked like. I wish you all could have been there, but then again, I don’t. ‘Cause if you were at my wedding, that would be really weird, and kind of creepy. Maybe I can twist Mrs. Ninja’s arm into giving you a more detailed wedding play-by-play in the future. What went well at your wedding, and what didn’t? Any regrets? Any “must-dos?”

Super Tacky or Super Smart?

If you didn’t know, this is my last week as a bachelor. Sunday I marry Girl Ninja and I’m pretty freakin’ excited for it. She has been in Seattle for the last two weeks making all the final arrangements before the big day. I, however, have stayed in San Diego so I could play video games and walk around my condo naked work hard and earn a little more coin.

Girl Ninja and I have spent the last few weeks tying up all the loose ends. I made the slideshow, she made the programs. I figured out Rehearsal stuff, she figured out wedding stuff. All the big things are done and we only have a few small decisions left to make.

One of those decisions is should we have a dollar dance?

If you aren’t familiar with the dollar dance, it’s a chance for guests to dance with the Bride and Groom while also contributing a few bucks for them to spend on the honeymoon. The dollar dance, although pretty common, can be a source of controversy. Is it tacky to ask guests to put a couple bucks in a hat for a few seconds on the dance floor? Or is it assumed the people that participate did so because they wanted to make our special day even better? Talk about some potential drama.

I’m sure you can guess my response…. SHOW ME THE MONEY! I’ll bump and grind dance with some women I may not know that well for a couple hundred extra in spending money. Many of our friends have also had dollar dances and they averaged between $300-$700 after the dollar dance. Heck, maybe I’ll have five or six dollar dances throughout the night. Kidding…kind of.

Fortunately, Girl Ninja is down with the dollar dance so it will be part of our ninja-riffic wedding. Some of our guests may think it’s tacky and we are okay with that. Just wait until they see our wedding cake display…

So at your wedding did you (or will you) have a dollar dance? Is it common in your circle of friends? Anyone that thinks it’s super tacky?

p.s. Just think, those of you that are sick of all this wedding chat, only have to put up with it for another week!

You womenz be crazy

I can’t believe all the crap you women buy. It’s unbelievable.

Girl Ninja and I took a trip back up to Seattle a few weeks ago and we decided to only do carry-ons for the short weekend getaway. Well, that apparently ended up being a problem because GN needed to buy travel size products since all of her shampoos and whatnots are over the 3oz regulation size.

Look, I have no problem with GN wanting to be sanitized, beautified, and lotionized, but after the fourth or fifth product it started getting a little ridiculous. I mean, homegirl picked up some travel shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, body lotion, and face lotion. Are you kidding me? Really? Is all that necessary?

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but when it comes to cleanliness I only need one product. Shampoo. Who needs body wash, or face wash, or lotion, or conditioner when you have a bottle of Old Spice? I just rub the shampoo around my head until it gets soapy and then proceed to use that soap to clean the rest of my body. Heck I even use it to shave. Works like a charm, and by my precise calculations saves me A CRAPLOAD of money.

I’m serious ladiez, you need to get your shopping game under control. I’m convinced IKEA would go out of business tomorrow if the female population went extinct. As GN and I discuss our future home furnishings, there are a few things we agree on. We need a bed, a couch, and a TV. That’s where I draw the line. I don’t need 98 different glass vases (filled with seashells) sitting on the bathroom counter. Nor do I have any desire to paint my walls with an accent color. And don’t even get me started on decorative pillows. I mean do we really need to buy pillows that we aren’t actually allowed to use? “What do you mean I have to take them off the bed and put them in a trunk before I can go to sleep, only to wake up and have to put them back on the bed again?” Ahhhhh!

And to close this Friday’s tongue-in-cheek rant, I’d like to bring to light the biggest difference between a man and a woman. Shopping with a purpose. Let’s say John wants to buy a new shirt for work. His wife Tara, also needs a new dress shirt. They both have the same objective, but their process to completing the goal is usually very different. Before John even gets in his car to go to the mall, he already has an idea of what color and style of shirt he wants as well as what store he’d prefer to buy it from. John walks in to Banana Republic and five minutes later comes out victorious. He got his shirt.

Tara on the other hand, drives to the mall with three of her best friends. During the drive Tara forgets that she went to the mall for a purpose… to buy a dress shirt. Instead, she thinks she is taking a “girls day” and after three hours of shopping, two new pairs of shoes, a salad from Cheesecake Factory, a new toaster oven from crate and barrel, and a tall non-fat vanilla latte from Starbucks, Tara heads home. Later that night, she shows John what she got at the mall. It’s not until this point that she remembers the reason she went shopping in the first place. “Oh well” she thinks, “I’ll just go back tomorrow.”

You women are a piece of work.

So men help me out. What crazy quirks of the female species have I overlooked? I would love to hear from some of you married dudes.

And femALIENS, this is your chance to get even. What are some things us men do that irk you? I’m guessing leaving the toilet seat up is pretty high on the list. Bring it on!!!!!

Let it be known, I don’t actually harvest any bitter feelings towards women, but I can’t help to OVER-DRAMATIZE the difference between man and woman. It’s Friday, so I figured I’d stir a little debate for the weekend.

I’m guilty of caring too much :)

Yeah I’ll be the first to admit it: I kind of get carried away when it comes to planning out my future. For the last 24 years of my life I’ve been responsible for one person…me. Now that I’m gettin’ hitched , I guess that needs to change. Apparently, Girl Ninja actually wants to have a vote in all decisions regarding our future… I know you are probably thinking “Wow that’s really selfish of her” and ya know what…I agree 😉

Seriously though, if I want this marriage thing to work out, I desperately need to get comfortable with sharing my life with another person, particularly in respect to planning our future. Girl Ninja may not be as financially savvy as I am, but that doesn’t mean her vote doesn’t count.

After the numerous comments I received on yesterday’s post, I had a rude awakening. I’m guilty of over thinking and undervaluing Girl Ninja’s feelings.

Here are two of those comments…

I agree with MattyIce, this should be a joint decision, i think its time to involve Girl Ninja in your purchasing decisions as this will affect her also.

and

I think you are being too ‘planny Mcplannerson’. Allow for just a smidge of flexibility.

What the heck do you mean I have to include Girl Ninja in my purchasing decisions? I’m the one that reads Personal Finance blogs, I’m the breadwinner, I’m the alpha male. Oh wait, what’s that? Those statements are all about me, and once I get married, ME becomes US. Girl Ninja is entitled not only to her opinion in our purchasing decisions, but it is my responsibility to actually LISTEN and RESPOND to her requests. If I put her in a situation where we live in an unsafe/dirty apartment because it “saved us a couple bucks” then I have failed as a husband. Consider this my promise to work harder at compromising and loving Girl Ninja selflessly.

The other comment hit the nail on the head. I’m the epitome of a Planny McPlannerson. Ask me how much I plan to have come retirement, I’ll tell ya six million. Ask me how much I want in the bank before we buy a house, I’ll tell ya $100,000. Ask me how many babies we are going to have, I’ll tell ya 2.5. Ya see, I’m a planner. Always have been, always will be. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t allow for at least some flexibility and spontaneity in our relationship. How depressing would our lives be if everything went according to plan? The adventure of not knowing what the future holds, is something I’m really excited about. I need to temper my desire to figure everything out, and allow nature to run its course.

Basically what I’m trying to communicate is this… I suck at being a husband. Fortunately, I’m not a husband yet, so I still have some time to change my nasty habits.

Thanks to all of you who dropped me a line yesterday and put me in my place. Sometimes I need a swift kick in the booty. I wonder if this is common in most relationships. Is one person usually a planner and the other more free spirited? Is the ability to compromise something that can be taught or just learned over time? Life would be so much easier if Girl Ninja just wanted to give me back massages and make me sandwiches all day (lol for sexism).

A $10,000 decision

I made a bold move last night and decided to transfer $10K from my savings account to my checking account. After much thought, I have decided it’s time… Time to kick Sallie Mae to the curb. That’s right. I’m going to be aggressively paying down my debt so I will be debt free by the time I get married.

I currently have just under $24,000 in my savings accounts. They are broken up in to three subsections. A $10K emergency fund, a $10K extra savings, and a $4K wedding fund. I had been hoarding cash and saving as much as I possibly could because I was scared of the unknown.

I knew I had more money in savings than I needed, but seeing my bank account grow every month really gave me a peace of mind. While there is definitely security in having a large sum of cash easily accessible, there is also security in being debt free. Beginning my marriage with no financial obligations to anyone (but me and the wifey) will be an incredible feeling. Furthermore, I have a responsibility in this relationship to not be a burden. Girl Ninja is debt free, and I truly believe I owe that to her as well. She doesn’t care if I pay the loan off or hold on to the cash, but I think two  years from now, she will be appreciate, and understand, that this was the right decision.

By making this lump sum payment, my student loan balance should fall just below the $5,000 mark. Do you realize what this means? It means the interest I’ll be paying towards this loan is going to drop from $84/month to $29/month.  That makes for a $55/month savings. Booya for savings!

I’m not going to lie and pretend like it wont suck to depart with such a big chunk of change  (I mean, I worked really really hard for that money), but in the end I know it’s the right decision. And if for some reason the crap hits the fan, I’ll still have my $10,000 emergency fund as a first line of defense.

It’s going to feel SOOOOO good to be done with Sallie Mae in just a few short months. I can’t wait!!!!

The less glamorous side of marriage

I’m gonna be completely honest. There are a few things about getting married that kind of stress me out.  I get so caught up in the fantasy of marriage, that I sometimes forget to take a good hard look at the reality of marriage. And the reality is, marriage isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Here are a few of the things that will change once I get married, that I’m not super excited about…

Cell Phone…

Word on the street has it cell phones can cost a pretty penny. I’ve been fortunate enough to leach off my parents’ family plan, meaning I have never paid for my cell phone. Girl Ninja is also on a plan with her family. Apparently once I get married, Mom Ninja thinks it’s time to give me the boot. She thinks that because I’m old enough to get married, this MUST mean I’m also old enough to pay for my cell phone bill. She’s crazy right? You hear that Mom, you are sick in the head (I still love you though and can’t wait to see what snarky comment you will leave on today’s post). Being that I basically have a huge crush on my iPhone, I couldn’t imagine giving it up. After some intense research, I’ve concluded an iPhone family plan for GN and myself would run just shy of $200/month, an expense I’m not excited about taking on. (side note: family plans only allow 5 lines per plan and GN and my family are both too large to just join on with one of them)

Hair…

I thought it was only dogs that shed their hair, but I’ve learned that’s not exactly true. Girl Ninja has the most beautiful NATURAL blonde hair. I’m talking like real blonde, not dirty blonde. Here’s a picture of the top of Girl Ninja’s head…

While I do love her hair. It seems to also love me. I have black interior in my car and every time Girl Ninja sits in the passenger seat, her hair tends to “stick” around (haha, get it…STICK around!). I don’t know if I’m quite prepared to share a living space with her and her hair. Just about any guy I’ve asked (that lives with a girl) has told me their S.O.s hair ends up everywhere. The shower, the counter, the carpet, the kitchen, the milk carton. Their is no escaping it. Maybe one night, while GN is sleeping, I will replace her shampoo with some super glue. You know, to ensure her hair stays on her head…where it belongs. Ladies, can’t you control your shedding issues?

Growing up…

I guess when I get married I’m going to become something I’ve dreaded for a very long time… an adult! If you haven’t noticed, I tend to be slightly EXTREMELY immature. I still thinking farting is funny. I laugh at really dumb videos on youtube, like this one. And this is a shirt from my closet…

I’m doing my best to face the reality of marriage. I mean, I’m going to be responsible for another person’s well being. That’s a huge freakin’ deal. While growing up is definitely intimidating, I know that I’m at a place in my life where I can do just that. I have a good job (with benefits), a decent financial footing, a desire to provide for my family, and a love for GN that I have never experienced with anyone else. I guess I need to start getting my news from the newspaper and not MTV.

Okay, I think my list ends here. These are a few areas of marriage that I’m not quite yet prepared to face. I have five months left before the big day, hopefully I can figure something out before then.

For the married folks, What are some other “not so glamorous” aspects of marriage you have faced? If you aren’t married, what would be on your list?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weomAnZPLsY

Do I have to change the name of my blog?

What situation would you rather be in…

Situation Uno: You could have $20,000 in savings, but also have $15,000 in mid-interest debt (7%).

Situation Dos: You could have $5,000 in savings, but zero debt.

I’m currently sticking with situation uno. I have $22K in the bank and a little over $15K in debt. I could pay off my student loan tomorrow, be truly debt free, and still have a small emergency fund. I chose not to. Dave Ramsey would be pissed! My blog’s title is Punch Debt In The Face, but by choosing to remain in debt, perhaps I should change the name to Punch Debt In The Face When You Feel Like It. It doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?

I would be all about transitioning to situation dos if not for one small detail. I’m getting married. There are a lot of unknowns at this point in my life. I know I will be paying for a honeymoon (probably around $4K) and will face other wedding related costs over the next few months. Not having to pay for the actual wedding day has been a huge blessing, but I will still have some financial obligations.

I have no clue what to expect for monthly expenses as Girl Ninja and I move in together. I’ve never lived with a girl before, but word on the street has it those things can be expensive. It’s also unclear what Girl Ninja’s income will be. She is a substitute teacher in California, and we all know the California government can’t manage money.

Maintaining a rather large savings account keeps me from stressing out about the “unknowns” of marriage. Personally, if I paid off my student loan, and only had a few grand in the bank, I would be super anxious about our stability. So for the time being, I plan to continue operating in situation uno until, at least, the end of the year. After a few moths of the married life, and once I have a better handle on our future, I will strongly consider paying off my loan.

So what would you do? Does the security of having a large amount of cash in the bank keep you from stressing about your debt? Or does debt overwhelm you, and you would get rid of it in an instant. I have a feeling there will be a pretty even split.