Thoughts On Wedding Season

I did give some thoughts to weddings this week, as my “ex-second-best-maid-of-honor-to-be-friend” just had her wedding. For a previously broke out argument on who-pays-what for our accidental council tax debt, we have not spoken for almost 3 years. Therefore I was not invited. It was still enough to start the flow.. 🙂

Anytime, someone close to me (or in this case used to be close to me) has a wedding, I myself play with the idea of getting married. What would I want for a ceremony, how would I want it to be? Will it be perfect? Will it be less? What do I expect out of it all?

It might have occurred to you, Dear Reader, that I am not even engaged. This is a tiny little unimportant thing that can be fixed. 😀 I am not worried about staying forever alone or not getting married. I am in a relationship since the 15th of July, 2011. (according to my boyfriends phone it is the 16th, but that can never be correct. Ever.) Well, these are the official dates. We were in love (or at least I was) long before that. The thing is, I have been in relationships before (I have even been engaged for about 2 years), some ended badly, some did not. In some I ruined it all, in some I got hurt. This is how life is. I never worried about staying alone. On the other hand, I lost most of my friends (who volunteered to take sides) on these. I think a relationship should stay between two people. I never understood why do friends have to take sides. If I think about it, I never really had a friend on my side, ever. If I messed up, they stood on the guys side, if I got hurt, they told me off for believing.

I mean, come on, mine must have not really been the wisest choices of friends (okay, and relationships, for that matter).

Or are we all like that? Overly judgmental? And of course do we have to prove how much better we can do? “Oh look, my relationship works and yours did not.” Or “look, your ex boyfriend loves me more than he loved you!”

Why do we have to prove right so badly?

I remember when my friend got cheated on. I did not tell her, that “ I told you” or “all men are like this” or “you must have been doing something wrong”. I just sat with her, as stunned and as heartbroken as she was.

When the guy came back, and wanted her back apologizing the stars down from the sky, I told her the options. Honestly. I told her I would probably go back, and there is no guarantee that the trust between them can be built again. This might drive her crazy in the long run. But if she can not live without him, that will surely drive her crazy, too. I did not say (more than twice) that the guy was a complete ass for doing this, I even helped him pick a nice engagement ring out for her. I think, that’s what friends are for. I’m sure I made some friendship mistakes, too, but I always tried to stay on a “side” where my feelings and my sense of justice pulled me. And of course: family first.

But that’s life, people make choices and judge you for not making the choice that benefits them the most. If you don’t want to pay their debt, introduce them to your ex, do everything so they can have a perfect relationship with your ex or anyone else, then you are indeed a bad friend.

Never have an opinion. An opinion is bad. Also, never mention money. And never ever try to help their relationship. Just stay out of it and make sure they stay out of yours, too. No advice needed, you can never give good advice. And while you are helping one, you are betraying the other. And at the end of it? You will be the one to blame, because it is easier for both of them. Easier than to admit who ruined it. If they need to find a third-party “ruiner” it will always be the one standing  in the middle of it. But that is all for lessons learned and never needed advice giving, back to topic. 🙂

Maybe I can be a little judgmental sometimes, too. Anytime I check out a wedding I tend to rate things. Is the dress well-picked? Is the suit well-tailored? How is the venue?

And when I think of all these I imagine how mine would be. My vision of a perfect wedding is constantly changing still.

I think a wedding is only beautiful when all the small things fall into their places. When everything is in harmony. A wedding should be themed and the theme shall be followed. I think it is best to pick a leading color and organize things accordingly. Saying this, I mean everything. Let’s say the leading color is purple. Then the bride’s make up, a small piece or item on the grooms outfit and on the bride’s dress should be purple, too. The bridesmaid dresses and the decorations should be purple and harmonizing.

By the way, I would never ever save on decoration. You can have your wedding in the biggest and most beautiful castle if you have cheap or no decoration at all.

I have been to a few weddings, not that all my friends are married, but I used to work in a hotel where every weekend was wedding weekend, sometimes even 3 a day. So yes, I have seen a few. Still there were only two, that left the biggest impacts in me. They are very different, as one was a friend and relatives wedding and one I only knew about through social media.

What I learned: a good wedding is never a question of money. I have seen weddings where the venue was brilliant, the dresses and the food was overly expensive, still the musicians and the photographers were provided no food, the chairs were uncovered and dirty, and the decoration flowers were cheap and half dead. Why? I mean, having spent all that money…

A good example of a wedding not short on money but made right is this one. Everything is harmonizing and all the money seems well spent. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and the venue (bear in mind it is a tent!) has been decorated amazingly. Colors were chosen to represent wealth and highness, but it is still not over the top.

garamianett

The other wedding I admire (and attended last year) is the one I call the most creative.

I first had doubts about the venue as it shares a name with a bar in Budapest and picturing that as a wedding was kind of disturbing. Turned out, this was the best chosen venue I have ever been to.

újtündér

More photos can be found here.

The creativity they showed was amazing, still everything was organized. The little things were all in place and decoration was well set. Cards were hand written, which added a lot to it’s personality and they gave some very personal little gifts to every single guest who attended.

Judit

Image from Tromboneart

The other thing I never even thought of in terms of wedding schedule, but now is stuck in the back of my mind, is the day plan they had. Usually, weddings more or less consist of a little upfront gathering at the meeting place for the guests (whether it is the venue or it is somewhere else), civil ceremony, church, meal, party. Now, they had the meal quite late and had a little reception where only some nibbles and drinks were served, but gave the opportunity of networking a little, saying congratulations to the newlyweds and those who could not stay the whole night had an option to go home early. Also, if your “to be invited” list is a lot bigger than your purse, this can be a real lifesaver. You can invite all the cousins you have not seen in 10 years but they are family so they have to be there. Basically, no one feels left out and you don’t have to spend all the honeymoon money, either.

If you take an advice, there is one field I tend to call myself an expert on: meal service. I have catered for wedding meals for more than 2 years. Believe it or not, food is always the hardest part. Suddenly everyone is allergic to everything, and can not have this or that… In many cases “I don’t like mushroom” suddenly translates to “I am allergic to mushroom”. To avoid this, it is better to ask about meal allergies before presenting any food options and always make sure there is a vegetarian and a dairy free option as well. If those are in, usually gluten free eaters will find something to eat, too. In serious cases, a completely new meal can be required, but never offer that option beforehand. If you state food allergy sufferers will have a meal of their choice, you will end up paying for extra food for half of the party.

And finally there is one question I, myself, did not get around answering: should there be a wedding video or only pictures? There are pros and cons on both sides. A video gives back a lot more memories than a photo does, but of course a footage of a whole wedding must be spontaneous, and can not be set all the time. This can result in having those parts recorded of the party you don’t quite want to keep forever. The camera will record the imperfections as well (even though it will be edited to taste), and there will surely be some drunk relative or friend who will give a 4 minutes long marriage advice or speech, while has been divorced twice.

The thing about photos is that they capture moments. If your photographer is good – perfect moments. All the “video footage” will be in your head, and as we all know memories get more and more beautiful as time passes. They fade, too.

I am still contemplating.

While I feel like having a video like the one below would be great, I would not want a whole night video. This, however, can change tomorrow. Or today. Maybe I want it already. Do I?

Our Visit To Cat Café

So we all know cats are great. Not to mention how great it is to be around them. They make us feel better about ourselves and the world, and also help us relax.

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants a cat entitled one. Even though they are stacking up in animal shelters and foster homes many things are there to prohibit us from the sacred animals.

It can be family. Not everyone is cat person, and that needs to be respected. We also live in a world of allergies and many of us are lacking a normally functioning immune system, too. Not to mention certain illnesses, where meeting a cat can be a deadly threat. Imagine if your husband does not like cats at all, or your children are allergic.

On the other hand, many of us can not afford to own a place, and renting with pets can be a tough job to complete. Most landlords don’t allow pets at all, or ask for an outrageous pet deposit.

For this same reason, cat cafés were first introduced in Japan, and went booming soon after.

As we all know the Japanese love cats (they even have a font made out of cats) and the ban on pets in rental units hit them hard. Only until thirty-something years old Norimasa Hanada had an idea of opening a cat café. Hanada’s Neko No Mise (Shop of Cats) was an immediate hit. You can read more about this here.

Since then, many cat cafés have been opened in Japan and throughout Europe. I personally love the idea, as it gives homes for unwanted kitties and also gives a quiet place for a coffee and some cat petting time for the people who otherwise could not be around their favourite animals.

No wonder, when one opened in Budapest I was amongst the first ones to visit.

Arriving to Cat Café Budapest, I was stunned by the fact how clean the place was. I mean, I know cats are clean, and I know health and safety regulations apply, but this place was clean. To double check that, I was actually crawling on the floor in my white trousers when making photos of the kitties. Spotless.

Due to the same health regulations all food has to be kept away from the cats, behind closed doors. This might look odd for the first time visiting, but it is something you can get used to easily.

There is table service for drinks, coffee and some cakes. You can also purchase some cat snacks, but beware – these cats really, really want those treats. 🙂

Waiters were nice, but the place was not stuffed on a Saturday evening, only a few tables were occupied. When I stepped in, all waiters were in the “food room” behind those closed doors, so for a minute or two I had no idea where to go with my booking. One of them shortly arrived and escorted me to my table and took my order.

Children (for the sake of the cats’ sanity) are only allowed in on Mondays, and as I overheard the waiters communicated that to the incoming guests (who missed to read the sign containing this info) in an overly polite manner. All in all I have nothing against the staff, they were nice and they were around enough.

Cats were lovely, too. Out of 16, there are only 5-6 you can see at the same time as they have 300 square metres on 3 floors to rule, and they also have a napping room, where humans can not disturb them.

They were bold and human-centric, some playful, some only there for the treat, but they were all quite sociable.

I could go on about this place forever, but an image speaks more than a 100 words, so please check out my gallery I shot on the premises.

anitabrayer's Story

Help I Am Being Catnapped! – How To Go On A Camping Holiday With 3 Cats

So they say impossible is nothing. I believe in that.

When I told my boyfriend what my plan was for our holiday, he did not even freak out.. And that makes him the only person of this kind, at least amongst the people I know.

First things first. I had this plan of building an outdoor playground for the cats for months now. My idea came from an article I read about the regulations of having cats in certain countries. In many places they are to be kept indoors or in your garden – if you can guarantee they will not be able to escape. Tough job. Through this I found those so called catios which is a short form for cat patios. (Okay, mine did not come out as great as these, but still cool.)

 

To give you more insight, me and my cats live in a flat on the 6th floor in the capital city, so all they know about nature is that flies come in from time to time, and some sand on our shoes, too. I really wanted them to see more of the world, so last year they travelled with us to a wellness hotel at lake Balaton where we had some walks around the lake, experienced what it is like to travel together, how to eat fish and chips when you are sitting in a bag, playing with grass and meeting other humans, dogs and ferrets. Since then, we had a couple of day trips, but nothing special really.

This year I wanted step to the next level and spend our holiday at my Grandparents’ house in the countryside. We even bought a fast set pool for them, so we could enjoy a bit of water, too.

When I told them my plan of building a catio in their back garden, they took it a lot better than expected. We found a little space that is protected from the sun by huge trees, made a plan (which later proved to be not-so-useful), and bought all materials needed.

All in all, it took us 3 days (and about 2 broken nails and 70 little injuries) to build this cube shaped cat-patio, that is 2 metres wide and equally tall. It has a door and plenty of cat furniture. We made sure they are not able to escape and nothing can enter either. Even though it seemed completely safe, protected from sun, rain and other animals, I still felt like I won’t be able to sleep without them. As I respect my grandparents strict rules of “no animals in the house” I needed to come up with an idea for sleeping together.

I have never been camping, so buying a massive tent looked like the best option. So why not?

“Are you completely out of your mind? You are seriously going to camping with the cats to your Granny’s back garden!?”

Well, it may sound stupid, but yes.

So we did.

After only one night, the cats got used to the new situation quite well. They knew they were staying in the catio while we were in the pool, sunbathing, having a barbeque and some chit-chat with our friends. They liked to watch us and the fact they could actually have a good view of the whole backyard. We took them out for walks 2-3 times a day, the rest they spent sleeping, hunting for insects, any moving objects or each other. Oh, and they also enjoyed meeting with other cats who came around to check them out. Some of them sat at the catio during the day, some only came at nightfall. Xeni even had a little lover, some serious wooing was involved! 🙂

The cats slept the whole night through (this never ever ever happens at home) and even if they woke up they were careful not to wake us. They knew breakfast was served in the catio at 9 and they knew dinner time was at 10. At about midnight they came sitting at the door waiting to be transferred to the tent, and as we killed the lights they went to sleep straight away. They behaved a lot better than they do at home. Never tried to escape, and if they somehow managed to go around my back and leave the catio, they went straight to the tent for some “on pillow sleeping”.

 

All in all, we had a great time, they had a great time and seemed confident. I do know that not all cats are suitable for travelling with, but I am blessed with mine. They are also young, so they can get used to this quicker. If you start travelling with them from an early age, they get used to it quickly. Málna enjoys these adventures a lot, Xeni gets a bit frustrated and likes to spend all her time in the tent with pillows and plush animals, but even she got relaxed and made friends with the secret admirer of hers.

The most important thing is to have trust in them and this needs to be mutual. Your cat trusts you when he/she comes and sits in your lap when the thunderstorm comes, they need to know you are able to protect them, and that you took them on this trip because you love them and want to spend time with them. If they don’t feel neglected or left out and you can give them shelter for fear, they will never wander away from you. A trip like this needs a lot a of precautions, but if you know your cats and they know you, nothing can go wrong.

 

xoxo