Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Artist's Blog

   I'm working on promotion, trying to expand my reach so that people can find my art, so I created a new art blog.  << clicking the link will take you to it.   I thought it would be better to make a new blog just for my art promotion efforts, while keeping this one more diary like, I think..

Friday, December 01, 2017

I Upgraded to Premium Membership on Fine Art America

    Well, after uploading several photographs to Fine Art America in my attempts to sell prints of my photography, I discovered that they only allow members to upload 25 images unless you pay them $30 a year, and with that upgrade you also get what they call artist's site, so I'm going to upload my paintings and other artworks I made.

I used my own domain name instead of the pixels.com subdomain, so now I have www2.litakelley.com going to the FAA Pixels artist's site.

I'm going to work on building my profile, portfolio, uploading my artworks and photos, as well as figure out some marketing and branding stuff.

With a lot of work and effort, I should be selling prints soon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

I Just Got my Domain Name at 1and1 for .99 cents

   Since I'm working on developing my brand and name for business as a model, a photographer and artist, I decided to buy my domain name LitaKelley.com .  I got it through 1and1.com for only .99cents + tax, so it came out to $1.07 total for me, yours may be different tax amount though because every state and country, etc is different.

Next year when it's time to renew it, it'll be $14.99.

I guess I'll have a website very shortly.  I'm taking things slowly so that it does not become overwhelming.  I'm also contemplating on becoming a paid member of Fine Art America so I can upload more images, as well as get the artist's website offered, so I'll need my own domain name for that even though I could just use their subdomain on pixels.com.

Friday, November 24, 2017

I Joined Fine Art America

   I first heard about Fine Art America through a fellow Boston photographer I follow on my Twitter, but I didn't give it any real thought or looking into until learning more about it from my cousin Linda who is also a photographer.  She sells prints of her birds, wildlife and nature photography, and so I thought perhaps I will try my luck with selling art prints as well.

  I just started uploading some of my photography there and will see how this all works out.  Come check it out.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Finally Married

There's so much more I wanted to share and write about on our wedding, but,, it's been a long past few days and I am completely exhausted.

I loved the ceremony and Lama Sonam was amazing,  I'm happy my daughter Tori walked me down the aisle and that both her and my maid of honor got to present a khata offering to Lama-la.

Unfortunately the sound system malfunctioned, so we had no music going down the aisle, but it all worked out well enough anyway.

I loved how our shrine come out and it was a lot of work and effort to bring it all from home to the venue and back, but it was worth it.  What an unforgettable, memorable experience.

Our Tibetan Buddhist Shrine at our Wedding

Everything before the ceremony was chaotic, so Amanda and I ended up on the opposite sides that we planned out ahead of time.  I wanted to be facing my own family & friends, so that I could see their faces, but it didn't happen the way we planned. Oh well.  Can't do it over

This iss the only photo I have of the ceremony right now until I get the rest of them from our guests, which I will be sharing on my facebook, hopefully soon.

Amanda Rose Kelley & Lita Xú Líng Kelley Tibetan Buddhist Wedding, led by Lama Konchok Sonam of Drikung Meditation Center

So, that's all I have to say about our amazing LGBT Buddhist wedding.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Om Mani Padme Hum

Amanda I have been spending a lot of time listening to music so we can put together a music playlist for our wedding.  While also doing a playlist for general music for the reception, we also wanted to choose the perfect song to walk down the aisle and we decided to go with Imee Ooi's Om Mani Padme Hum.   I absolutely LOVE her voice and find her music to be so relaxing, and since we're having a Buddhist wedding ceremony, it's just a perfect fit, and I also have an affinity for Guan Yin / Avalokitesvara, which is also one of my two yidam.

Imee Ooi's Om Mani Padme Hum is the most beautiful musical of the six syllable mantra I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, and I LOVE it.  OMG I'm probably gonna have tears in my eyes as I walk down the aisle, lol..

Saturday, September 02, 2017

I'm So Happy That My Most Beloved & Cherished Friend Will Be My Maid of Honor.

     My friend Martha is an unbelievably amazing, wonderful, beautiful, kind, and loving woman and I adore her with all my heart.  I love her more than words can ever tell, and she's my most beloved and cherished friend.  She is very dear and special to me in so many ways, so I'm very happy that she's happy and excited to be my maid of honor at my wedding.

  I couldn't ask for a better friend than her and I feel like her being my maid of honor makes us closer friends.  I first met her when I moved back to Beverly in April 2013,   She's among the first very few friends I made after moving here, as well as one of my first post transition friends.  She has shown me so much loving kindness and compassion, something I never truly experienced with anyone  until I met her, and being around her always fills me with so much happiness.    I love every moment we spend together, no matter if it;s just chilling on the beach with the kids, because her daughter and my daughter are also best friends, or when we would hang out and shop at the Beverly Farmer's Market every Monday during the summer and oh so many other fond memories I have with her...  Oh how much I truly miss those days, because we don't get together as much as we used to before, because she moved out of Beverly, but we still do see each other once in awhile when we can.   I am so blessed to have a special person like her in my life, and I am so honored that she's agreed to be my maid of honor.

  I love her with all of my heart and soul..  I always have.  If there's one person I truly want in my life for the rest of my life, it's Martha.   

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'm Happy To Have The Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam For Our Wedding Ceremony

U.S. Jowo Rinpoche Statue: Drikung Meditation Center at Jokhang Temple, Arlington, Massachusetts
I'm blessed with so much joy and awe after my visit this evening with the Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam at the Drikung Meditation Center at Jokhang Temple., Arlington, Massachusetts.

 I'm very happy that he has agreed to offer us blessings, purification and puja ritual for our wedding. 🕉️.

Lama-la is a lovely and happy, kind human being with a beautiful heart and I'm so excited about the wedding ceremony.  It's going to be beautiful and amazing.

. Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam is the Spiritual Director of the Drikung Meditation Center. Born in Lhasa, Tibet, Lama Sonam began his Buddhist training when young within the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. At the age of 18, Lama Sonam took full ordination and became a monk (Gelong). Lama Sonam then went on to complete a retreat on Ngondro (Common and Extraordinary Preliminaries) and the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra under H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and Gelong Yeshe. Lama Sonam received teachings and blessings from more than twenty-five great masters, including Nyedak Rinpoche, his beloved main teacher, and the Most Venerable Pachung Rinpoche, the renown scholar and retreat master at Drikung Thil monastery. Lama Sonam served as disciplinarian at Jang Chub Ling monastery, in Dehra Dun, India. This difficult position required an extremely vast knowledge of the Dharma, and inspirational deep inner qualities. Lama Sonam has also served as the personal attendant to H.H. Chungtsang Rinpoche, H.E. Drubwang Rinpoche, Tongkar Tulku, and H.E. Thritsab Rinpoche, and tutored American tulku Thadag Rinpoche (Jack Churchward).

On June 9, 2003, Lama Sonam arrived in Boston to be the Resident Lama at the Drikung Meditation Center. Lama Sonam has shown himself to be expert in both the theoretical and practical aspects of training the mind through meditation and Vajrayana methods for awakening our Buddha Nature. In the fall of 2005, Lama Sonam started the Jowo Rinpoche Statue Project to benefit the Boston area, the United States, and the world. Lama Sonam began to realize his vision of bringing the blessings of Buddhism, from Buddha Shakyamuni and countless other enlightened masters from the East- India, Nepal, and Tibet, to the United States by creating a pilgrimage site. Arriving in May of 2008, the centerpiece of the pilgrimage site is an eight foot tall gilded, jewel-encrusted bronze, the U.S. Jowo Rinpoche Statue. The magnificent U.S. Jowo Rinpoche statue is a replica and spiritual emanation of the most revered Jowo Rinpoche statue that was made at the time of the historical Buddha and brought to Lhasa, Tibet in 641 AD.

OK, so Lama Sonam isn't a Gelugpa Gesha like we initially originally thought we we're going to have do our wedding, but is of Drikung Kagyu lineage, part of the red hat schools of Tibetan Buddhism, whereas Gelugpa is yellow hat, the lineage of His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV.  I love learning all these new and interesting different things about Tibetan Buddhism, and I'm so blessed for all of the teachings and many things I'm learning along every step of the way.  I love Tibetan Buddhism, It's enrichening my life and teaching me so many wonderful new things.  I love this so much and I am so grateful to Tenzin and Sangpo from Tibet Arts & Healing for putting me in touch with Lama Sonam.  This is very special and I'm so blessed for the all the experiences had thus far, and for those yet to come.

Oṃ muni muni mahāmuni śākyamuni svāhā Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuni svaha

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Fiancée & I Went Out Shopping For My Wedding Dress

      Amanda & I took the train into Boston today to get on the subway ,so that we can get to Somerville & Cambridge, Massachusetts for a shopping trip to find the perfect wedding dress for our wedding.  Amanda already found hers, and she loves it, and we also found a beautiful all white dress for my daughter Julia.  She's not into dresses because she's only 11 and is an active girl, but she absolutely loves her new dress and is so excited to wear it in our wedding in October.  I however, have not gotten my wedding dress yet.

    I did browse around online for several months, from traditional wedding bridal dresses to the exotic, I checked out a huge variety of styles and although I found so many beautiful dresses, I just could not make up my mind, nor was I confident about buying online, because, what if it doesn't fit, what if it doesn't arrive in time, what if it needs alterations and so many other what ifs drove my anxiety through the roof, and to say it was fairly overwhelming for me is a huge understatement.

     While shopping for wedding dresses online, I came across an Indian bridal shoppe called Chabra Bridal located in Cambridge, so that's our first stop after we visit her cousin David in Boston.

  I loved meeting Amanda's cousin David and we all had so much fun on the roof and that gorgeous Boston rooftop view, wow oh my, it was so amazing. 

  Here's some low res, low quality panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks, from high above Canal Street on a beautiful mid August summer morning.   Clicking the photo will open it to the larger image so that you can see it better.

 panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking the Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks while high above Canal Street.
 panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking the Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks while high above Canal Street.

     The beautiful woman on the far right of the second photograph is my beautiful wife to be, Amanda.  I'm so blessed to have met her, and I'm so happy that she wants me to be her wife.  She has brought so much love into my life, and I'm looking forward to our wedding day, but I'm also scared too, because I never had a wedding before, nor has she, so, we're both on edge a little with our own anxieties and concerns, the list goes on, and I'm 100% sure that almost every single ever bride to be can attest to it, it's stressful planning a wedding, especially if you're on a shoe string budget.

    In an earlier post discussing wedding planning, I mention briefly some of the reasons why I don't want a traditional wedding dress.  I'm unique, far different and out of the realm of societal norm, I'm different, in many ways, with a vast amount of different interests, so, my dress should reflect that, as well as my personality and style.  I want to be colorful and bright, not plain.  I'm anything but ordinary, I'm extraordinary. I want to look and feel like a princess. Our wedding is going to be fabulous, our own special day, in our own unique ways.

        I love Indian fashion, among many other things to do with India, but I also love all about everything throughout the nations and people of the Himalayas, and Asia in general too.  I'm a complex, not so easy to define kind of girl, with a long and complicated life experience that I'm learning to share, one page at a time.  If you read enough, you;ll get to know me better.

  To get to Chabra Bridal we had to endure a lengthy, but amusing adventure underground in Boston's subway system  We took the trains from Boston's Haymarket station to Somerville's Davis Square, and we walked from there. to Chabra in Cambridge, and yes, it was a nice, long walk.    Once we finally arrived, I was happy, full of glee, browsing around with a smile inside the shop, I was overwhelmed with color and glitzy shiny things abound, I was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to try some dresses on, and the staff were so helpful, but in the end, I didn't buy a dress from them. 

      Chabra's dresses are absolutely AMAZING, and so colorful too, and I fell in love with this beautiful maroon lahenga choli bridal set with matching dupatta, but there was no way in hell I can afford a dress that costs $1400+, and although there's a huge selection of various styles and bright colors, I just didn't find what I wanted in the price range I could afford.   My heart was set on orange, or maroon, or saffron yellow.  There was a beautiful saffron yellow skirt I liked, and it fit decently, but it was around $700 just for the skirt, and although Amanda said she has $700 in the bank, there was just no way I could do something so stupid like spending that much money on just a skirt.  That's absurd!

  We decided to walk from Chabra down Massachusetts Avenue,  to explore the amazing variety of international markets and shops.  Just to explore and see the all the various sights, enjoying the beautiful day together, taking photos and having so much fun..  Our plans were to visit some Tibetan shops I know of,  One of them associated with Tibet Arts & Healing in Salem, a Tibetan Buddhist shop I love very much and visit very frequently.  That's where Sangpo & Tenzin work, they're the ones that put me in touch with a Tibetan Buddhist monk to do our wedding for us.

    On our walk down Mass. Ave. I was in awe over all the variety offered, having an amazing time with the woman I'm beginning to spend the rest of my life with.    I loved stopping in the shops, one of them a Bengali market, and wow, so many various Asian restaurants,  Cambodian, Thai, Chinese & Japanese, and all the different ethnic markets, oh my, this is a multicultural mecca and I'm loving every single moment of it, and I really think I would LOVE to live here.  This is my kind of place, and because I love cooking Asian, Indian and so many other kinds of international foods, this is just so perfect for me and it would be so much more convenient than having to spend hours traveling by grueling and cumbersome trains to get into the larger metropolitan cities.  Yes, someday I hope to live here, and hopefully soon, although it may not happen, and even so, if it does, that too will be temporary, because I have other plans as well.  Everything is always a constant state of change, but I still have other plans for the future, and I'll eventually write about them here, just not now.  You'll have to stick around to learn more.  

I'm running on and on with all of this, so I'll dwindle down to the end.  We ended up walking the entire length of Massachusetts Avenue from Davis Square station, all the way to Kendall Square.  Along the way, we visited each of the few different Tibetan shops and picked up some items for the wedding ceremony among other things, including an off white skirt from India, and a maroon dupatta.  Utso Tibet had a beautiful maroon lahenga skirt that I thought was just so gorgeous, and within my price range too, but, unfortunately, it didn't fit my fat ass..  All the beautiful, , happy, wonderful people we met at all the shops we visited.  Today has been an amazing and beautiful day.

So now I have a pretty skirt that matches the off white top I got awhile ago in Sangpo & Tenzin's shop, and this beautiful maroon dupatta adorned with beautiful brass toned threads, sequins and shiny glitz.  I'm so excited, I can't wait to put it all on and see how it all looks.... but you're gonna have to wait until after the wedding to see it.  Nobody's going to see my dress except for Amanda and Julia.

Love and happiness, and I'll write more again soon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Wedding Invitations Arrived

Our wedding invitations arrived today from the printer and I'm so happy with how they came out.  After several days of browsing around and looking at wedding invitations online and printers, etc, I decided to make my own design, using a photo I created at home of one of my Buddha statues and a sunflower, and chose Uprinting.com because they were the lowest cost I could find.

The paper and printing quality is superb, and it only took about a week from order date to receipt of product.  I'm very pleased with this. :)

Buddhist Wedding Invitation

I'm considering licensing the image, perhaps via one of the stock images companies online   It's exciting to see my own work in print.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 North Shore Pride, Salem, MA

Today I went to Salem, Massachusetts for the North Shore Pride parade and festival.  I recorded video of the parade and took several photographs afterwards at the "festival".

I had a great time and met a lot of nice and interesting people.

Photos are in an album on my Facebook profile, titled: Diversity, Love, Acceptance, Community.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Model Photo Shoot with Lightboxx Images

  I've been anxious and eager to do more modeling work, so I was excited when I was contacted by a photographer I only know as Dan who goes by the name Lightboxx Images on Instagram, and I'm so happy that I did this shoot with him yesterday, because not only did the photos come out amazing, I got to do a few shots with my fiancee Amanda.   I absolutely LOVE these photos.

All the photos were taken at the Beverly Common, in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Beverly, Massachusetts

Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Beverly, Massachusetts Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Beverly, Massachusetts

Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Beverly, Massachusetts Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Beverly, Massachusetts

Of all the photos I have from doing modeling and model photo shoots, these are my favorites so far.  I loved doing this photo shoot with Dan.  It was so much fun and well all had a lot of laughs doing it..

I'd love to do some more modeling, so if you're a photographer , wardrobe or fashion designer or model agency, you can contact me via any of my social media links shown throughout this blog.

You can also like my page on Facebook and I'm also on Model Mayhem.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wedding Date & Venue Confirmed

Amanda & I changed our wedding date to October 7th since we feel like August 5th is too soon, and we paid for the venue, so, our wedding is now officially set.    I'm excited, but also nervous.

We're having a Buddhist blessing by a Tibetan Buddhist monk prior to our vows.  I'm very excited about this. :)

We agreed on sunflowers and lotus pods for our flower arrangements and are making our own vases, etc out of logs.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Had My Gender Affirming Surgery Today

I'm so happy that I have finally made more progress with my gender affirming medical transition today.

I originally had a consultation with Dr. Robert Oates at Boston Medical Center in January 2016, for a bilateral orchiectomy, the only surgical procedure available to me in Massachusetts at the time, since there were no doctors in Massachusetts that do vaginoplasty, etc, but, because my daughter was home from school sick, I couldn't make it.

When I tried to reschedule, I was informed that Dr. Oates now does the vaginoplasty and that I should get on the waiting list, which I did, however, it did not end with me being able to get vaginoplasty since hair removal is required and I have yet to find a single electrolysis practitioner in the state of Massachusetts that will bill my insurance even though it is a covered procedure.

I did try for laser hair removal, but because I am blonde, laser will not work for me, so, rather than waste time waiting around for hair removal, I chose to get the bilateral orchiectomy in order to cease testosterone production, and to allow the estrogen from HRT to be more effective.

Fortunately I will be able to return for a second surgery, the vaginoplasty, as long as I have the hair removal completed and am able to get the surgery within the next 2 years.

I'm so relieved and happy about this.  I am not complete, but on the road to where I should be.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Model Photo Shoot, This Time As The Photographer

   I not only enjoy being the model for a model photo shoot, but I'm also a photographer, although I have much more to learn, so, in order to work on my skills and develop my portfolio, I put an ad on Craigslist to find people to photograph for my photography portfolio so that I have examples of work in shooting models and/or portraits.

This beautiful woman is Siobhan Smith, an agency represented model, and it was a real pleasure working with her.  Of course I took many more photos than just these two, but I'm not going to post them all since I only need to show a few from each session for a portfolio.

Portrait Photography by Lita Kelley, Beverly, Massachusetts  

You can check out my photography portfolio on Facebook and/or Model Mayhem, both of which are fairly minimal right now until I get out there and do some more photography.

If you're from Beverly or Salem, Massachusetts and would love to do a shoot with me, send me a message through Facebook.  I'd love to work with models or anyone interested in some free portraits.

I work on what's called TFP in the modeling and photography industry.  This means there's no charge as it's a trade for portfolio...  used to be called trade for print back in the old days before digital.

I'm working on developing a more complete working portfolio in order to go into business as a photographer and in order to be able to charge a potential customer for a portrait session, I need more examples of my work to show off my skills and capabilities.

Although I studied photography for 3 12/yrs as a student at UMass back in the mid 90s, I didn't do much with it after college and have just recently got back into doing photography about a year or two ago, although mostly as a hobby.   

I at some point decided that if I was not getting a lot of model shoots as a model that I would try shooting models as a photographer, so, we'll see how this all works out.   Eventually I'd love to earn a living with photography.

Friday, April 07, 2017

$60 A Cup Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh Tea
I was browsing around on Amazon for some pu-erh tea and I came across this 1960s Guang Yun Beeng Cha Pu-erh Tea, but HOLY COW, that's some really expensive pu-erh.  It's $4500 + $20 shipping

 I love tea, but no way I will pay $60 per cup for it.. that's insane.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Model Photo Shoot with Ray Bernoff

Yesterday I had another model photo shoot and I'm very happy with how the photos turned out.

Ray Bernoff is a film student at Tuft's university, as well as a photographer.  We met in Kenmore Square in Boston for our photo session.  I had a lot of fun working with Ray on this shoot and hope do more shoots soon.  I love modeling.

Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Boston, Massachusetts
Lita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Boston, MassachusettsLita Kelley.  Transgender Model.  Boston, Massachusetts

I can't wait to do another photo shoot. You can see more from this shoot on my modeling Facebook page.   You can also check out Ray Bernoff photography to see more of Ray's work.

If you're a photographer, wardrobe or fashion designer, or agency and would like to work with me, please contact me via any of my social media accounts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Poem from "The Journey Continues", by Amanda Rose Brennick

  I'm helping my fiancée Amanda get word out for her second book of poetry called "The Journey Continues", so, since spring is right around the corner, I decided to share with you a selection from her poems, titled "Spring"

The Journey Continues, by Amanda Rose BrennickSpring,
Spring is finally near,
We have waited far too long
The Earth is almost ready,
To hear that joyful song

Birds return North,
Babies are born
A feeling of rebirth,
Bidding farewell to winter's mourn

The sun will say hello,
Once more he will rise
That radiant warmth & glow,
Will pause life & mesmerize

Oh sweet season,
I feel you ever so near
For you are the season of change,
Of birth, of joy, of cheer.

© 2015. Amanda Rose Brennick

"The Journey Continues" is available at  Amazon.com

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Model Photo Shoot with Lightwork Photography

  It's been awhile since I've done a model photo shoot, so I put myself out there again to build my portfolio.  Hopefully I'll do more modeling again soon, but I just had a shoot last week and since I got some of the photos from the photographer, I'm sharing them with you.

Here's a few of the photos from my photo session with photographer Mike Slurzberg of Lightwork Photography, Littleton, Massachusetts.   The photos were taken at Beverly, Massachusetts Lynch Park.

Transgender Model.  Lita Kelley.  Beverly, Massachusetts

Transgender Model.  Lita Kelley.  Beverly, Massachusetts Transgender Model.  Lita Kelley.  Beverly, Massachusetts

Of course there's several more photos from this session, but these are the 3 photos I like the best and I hope to work with Mike again in the future, as well as other photographers.   Mike is a great person to work with, Very pleasant and professional. 

You can check out my minimal model portfolio on my Facebook Page, and/or on Model Mayhem.

If you're a photographer, fashion designer or talent agency and would like to work with me, please contact me.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wedding Planning

   Amanda and I have been planning our wedding and so far it seems that virtually every idea we come up with, there's always something that gets in the way that makes it impractical or impossible.

  We thought about an outdoor wedding and reception on the beach, however, this also seems like a complete pain in the neck to actually accomplish without any unexpected problems coming up, so we cancelled out that idea.

  Then we thought about a picnic blanket style wedding at Lynch Park in Beverly, that is until we found out that the City of Beverly does not allow weddings on ANY park or beach, with the exception of the Rose Garden which costs $300 and only allows 2 hours and NOTHING is allowed but chairs only.   So, that idea went out the window, because who the hell has a wedding with no music, decorations, sound, etc.

So now we're contemplating on renting the Beverly Cove Community Center, that is if they ever answer their freaking phone and/or emails.  We're working on August 5th for the date and have been discussing with a friend from Tibet on having a Buddhist Gelugpa monk perform wedding blessings and rituals, followed with our vows to be led by our friend Rachel who is ordained through the ULC.

  Our wedding will be non traditional, and custom tailored to our own way.  We have a lot of planning to do and very little cash to do it with, so, nothing is set in stone yet until we have it all figured out, but so far, we're pretty sure that the maximum amount within our financial means is around $1100, $350 of which is for the venue, but we get to have it for the entire day and evening so that there's time before and after for setup and cleanup, etc.

We're also going to need friends and family to step up and volunteer to help with things like setup and cleanup, etc

  I found a beautiful dress that I would absolutely LOVE to wear for our wedding, but whether or not I can actually afford it is another matter, but more importantly, it must be a perfect fit and look good on me.   Amanda wants to wear all white, but I am more eccentric and can't stand the majority of traditional wedding dress styles, so am opting for something different and with some color.

If we can manage financially, this is the dress I want.
I love Indian Lehenga and want this dress so bad, however, would change the top to the same off white color of the skirt and longer so that my midriff isn't exposed, and perhaps a corset lacing in the back.   Another option I have considered is a black wedding dress, or if all else fails, a white lace dress with orange sash, or perhaps a medieval renaissance style dress..  All I know is that I can't stand traditional wedding dress styles and I just want to be different.

For flowers and bouquet, were pretty much set on sunflowers mixed with some orange and white flowers.

I'm also debating on whether or not we should put together a wedding website too.