Fuck it, we’re eloping.

In April 2016, the love of my life asked me to marry him. I was thrilled and we couldn’t wait to jump headfirst into planning our wedding. I wanted to become his wife as soon as possible. I was quickly knocked back a peg or two as I entered the crazy world of wedding planning.

I fell for the traditions like a total sucker. I was in full big white wedding mode. I joined a wedding group on Facebook, started pinning ideas on Pinterest, booked a gorgeous historical venue with in-house catering, stunning gardens, capacity for 100 guests, and even a personal wedding planner. I looked up wedding favors so I could give my guests a tiny trinket to remember our day, booked a photographer, wrote up my guest list, planned invitations, got my dress and then suddenly it dawned on me that the day I was planning wasn’t what I wanted.. I’m a terribly shy person and this is going to be the most intimate day of my life – I want privacy and above all else, practicality.

Wedding planning for those of you that haven’t experienced it, can be a fucking nightmare. People will try to dictate your day, your invite list grows out of control because there are people who you must invite (like a family member that has never met your partner nor seen you for 6 years but because they share blood with you they have to come – WTF?). The cost is nuts too. If I said to you that I was planning to spend $18,000 on my party next Saturday, you would probably think I was a fucking insane, however if I tell you my wedding is only going to cost $18,000 – you’ll probably think “oh, that’s not bad”. For some reason, we as a society accept that the cost of a wedding should be in the realms of a house deposit.

We’d paid a few of our vendors and told our friends and family that we were doing the big white wedding. We had a tough decision to make – we were going to backtrack everything we had shared with our loved ones about our plans. After many long conversations with my partner, we agreed to cancel the planned day because we just didn’t envision ourselves in it. It dawned on us that we were following the normal standards for a wedding because we didn’t know any better. We have been exposed to over the top, expensive, flashy weddings in movies, people we know spend an average of $30,000 on their day and we were just conforming. It wasn’t true to us in the slightest.

We’re now eloping, and I couldn’t be happier.


Here are my few pieces of advice for the newly engaged:

1. Identify what is truly important to you and your partner

What matters the most to you and what are your nonnegotiables? Do you guys have strong bonds with family therefore need to invite everyone? Do you want to do it on the cheap because you’re saving for a house deposit? Do you want to take out a loan so you can afford the wedding of your dreams or do you want to be debt free on the other side? A clear understanding of both of your expectations will make the planning process much easier and it will save you from changing your mind and feeling like a bit of a dick later on.

2. Skip the bullshit

You only need a celebrant and 2 witnesses to be legally wed in NZ. Anything else is just an extra. You literally do not need to have a colour theme, photo booth, 3 course meal, bar tab, heck – you don’t even need to have bridesmaids if you don’t want to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting all of those things, but don’t feel pressured into having your wedding a certain way just because everyone else does. Your wedding, your way.

3. Create a detailed (and realistic) budget

You already know this one. Weddings aren’t cheap. But creating a robust budget and sticking to it will help you stay on track, and keep you grounded. Regardless of how much money you want to spend, identify clear goals and have a plan of how you will reach them. Saving $100 a week quickly adds up to $5200 a year, so work out what you can afford to save and stick to it. This savings calculator is a great tool to see the realistic outcome of what you need to save each week to hit your goal.

4. No matter what I, or anyone else says, do what is best for you and your partner

If you can afford the next Kim K wedding, fucking go for it. That’s sick. If you want to run away to Vegas, or the courthouse – go for it. At the end of the day you are marrying your best friend and that is all that matters.  The rest is just a nice extra.


How is your wedding planning going? Or if you’re married, what was your experience like? I’d love to hear the thoughts of other couples.

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PCOS Awareness Month: My story (so far)


It’s been almost three months since my last period. Three months might sound like a long time but I’m the same girl that has gone years without having a period so at this point, I kinda can’t complain.

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.”

– Healthline.com

It was 2011. I was in my first year of uni and I went to see my doctor as it had been about 3 years since I had a period. She immediately freaked out – apparently my old doctor was very wrong when he said that it was just my body adjusting after a round of depo provera that I had when I was 15 (you’ve gotta love bad medical advice!). I was sent off for blood tests and an ultrasound of my ovaries. The blood test wasn’t so bad, but I am seriously scarred from having a strange man prod a giant dildo shaped ultrasound wand inside my vagina with a bladder so full that I almost pissed myself as he did his inspection. The experience was unpleasant to say the least.

My results came back and yep – she was right – I had PCOS. I was 19 at the time and absolutely mortified. I had so many thoughts running through my mind.. Would I ever get pregnant? Why the fuck didn’t that first doctor give a shit about my concerns years ago? Why me?!.. I was lucky to have a very supportive boyfriend at the time (thanks Johnny – I’ll never forget the way you always cared for me) and friends who were there to figure it all out alongside me. I was given Metformin to help control my insulin resistance and advised to go on the pill to regulate my period.

Now if anyone has ever had to take Metformin, you’ll know how much of a shit time it is. Literally. I followed doctors orders and took my 500mg pills once a day until I built up some tolerance, but then after I eventually got to 1500mg a day and shat myself in the car on my way home from work, I decided that I wasn’t yet ready for medication. Met does awful things to your stomach and I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone.

Women with PCOS have ovaries that create an abundance of follicles each month without producing an egg. PCOS can contribute to irregular periods, depression, excessive weight gain (despite diet and exercise efforts), acne, and excess facial hair.

– Women to Women

A few years have since passed and my biggest struggle has become my weight. I don’t have the hairiness issues, my acne has finally calmed down in the last year or so, but my waistline has increased. I’m not overly fat, but I’m far larger than the girl I used to be. I try really hard to cut down on unnecessary fats, sugars and additives, but as a busy twenty something it can be really difficult to be perfect 100% of the time. I’ve tried getting rid of gluten, and have slowly introduced a larger variety of veges into my diet, but I still have so far to go. I sit comfortably at about the same weight with little fluctuation, so at least I’m not getting bigger.

Fertility is something that I am going to have to take seriously someday soon. I know the stats – I have to reduce my BMI to increase my chances of pregnancy. I’m only 23, but I’m getting married in just over a year and kids are in my 5 year plan. I think it’s been about 4 or 5 years since I’ve properly taken a contraceptive (beyond condoms) and despite numerous amounts of unprotected sex, I haven’t fallen pregnant. It hasn’t really been a big deal to me in the past as I was in no position to have a kid anyway, but as my life is becoming a bit more stable the reality of children is much closer than it has ever been before.

At this point in time, I suffer with PCOS but I don’t have the motivation to fully kick it in the ovaries just yet. I’m comfortable with ignoring my problems for a little bit longer. If you thought this would be a positive and encouraging story about how I overcame my diagnosis, I’m dreadfully sorry that I haven’t been able to give you that today. This chapter of my life is still open and one day I hope to be added to the list of chicks that have an empowering message to share. I’d love to hear your experiences with PCOS, maybe you can motivate me!

 

Finding love in questionable places

Todd and I have been together for a little over 2 years. He’s a few years older than me (he’s 26, I’m 23) and our friend circles have always intertwined. I actually dated one of his mates in high school for 3 years and if you had told 16 year old Shayla that she’d end up with Todd, she would’ve told you to piss off with your ridiculous ideas. I always thought he was way outta my league.

It all started when I took him up on his offer to drink at his mates place one hungover Sunday afternoon in June 2014. I’d just got back from a festival, felt worse for wear and my flatmates were fucking me off so I figured – why not?

I rocked up around 5pm and after a wee bit of awkwardness, we were sitting on a couch in his mates garage sharing stories, reminiscing and joking with each other. He lived in Wellington and was studying down there and I was just about to start a new job in Wanganui. It was all just harmless banter in my eyes because I thought I would never stand a chance with him. One thing led to another and he ended up coming home with me (drunk Shayla clearly charmed his socks off). The next morning we were both extremely hungover so we decided to get a bucket of KFC to eat in bed while watching Disney movies. Everything about him just felt right. Kfry in bed is seriously the way to my heart.

Todd went back to Wellington and I carried on doing my thing but it was too late.. We had started something that neither of us could quit. Fast forward 2 years and we own a house together, co-parent two labradors and are in the process of planning the wedding of our dreams. As ridiculous as it sounds I genuinely found love in a seedy garage, while smashing back a box of vodka cruisers.  How about that modern romance, huh?

Moral of the story: If someone you sorta find attractive invites you somewhere that is a little bit outside of your comfort zone – take the risk. You never know where it might take you.

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We’re a classy duo. I still can’t believe I get to marry this man.

Introducing Shayla

Writing about yourself is super weird. What info do I share? What do I feel best describes me? What defines me?

I’m Shayla. I’m 23, I have two dogs and a fiancé. I work at a bathroomware company and I also study part time (aka I turn in a half assed assignment a few times a semester). I’m planning a wedding, renovating a home, getting shitfaced every weekend and generally trying not to fuck my life up too much – I’m a busy lass.

I am ridiculously lazy, but I also desperately crave an extraordinary future. It’s a stupid combination. I don’t take life too seriously, I tell it how it is, and you can count on me to provide a light hearted play by play of my attempts at adulting.

My life gets a little complicated because I experience every moment with an intense amount of passion. If I love someone, I am a fierce supporter of everything they endeavor to achieve. The flip side of that is my tendency to kind of hate everything else. My sarcastic personality will shine through in my posts but please don’t get me wrong, I am a kind and sensitive soul. 

I have a feeling #ShaylasStories will be a little different to Bridget’s. She has her head screwed on and her goals in sight. I’m a bit more of a loose unit. This will be a fun and contrasting combination. 

Stay tuned for shenanigans!