Friday, October 5, 2012

the ceremony (or, what a quaint tradition!)

From Style Me Pretty

Wedding planning has sort of been put on the backburner for the time-being. Probably until next year (by which I mean January 2013, not next October!). People don't often talk about the Whys of why wedding planning can be so difficult, only that parts of it will be difficult. And trying. And exhausting. And, frankly, utterly discouraging. Because beyond All The Things and Wedding Elves and Endless Lists...the real people causing stress are often our loved ones. That is a post that's been percolating with me for awhile, now but I'm not quite ready to go there yet.

Instead, I've been avoiding wedding magazines like the plague but keeping with a few of my favorite blogs, which got me thinking about what it all means, and why we put up with it at all. When one of my sister's got married two years ago, she proudly exclaimed that her ceremony was going to be ten minutes, tops! And then it was going to be all party-party-party. At the time, I was relieved, and didn't question this. Woohoo! I thought. I don't have to stand up in front of about eighty people in heels that were comfortable for the first half an hour but quickly killed thereafter.

Likewise, I'm in the wedding of two friends coming up in a week and a half, and the bride also had this nonchalant attitude about the ceremony. This, let's get it over with and be done with it! Ceremonies are boring! Ours will be 15 minutes IF THAT! And when she first mentioned this, I didn't think twice. Nobody goes to weddings for the ceremony! Of course it should be short. It's courtesy, isn't it? To not make your guests sit in uncomfortable folding chairs when all they really want to do is chow down on your awesome finger food hors d'oeuvres and take serious advantage of the open bar?

And today, it dawned on me: this mentality, for me, is...well...decidedly NOT for me. The ceremony IS exactly what it's all about. The reason for the reception is to celebrate the marriage of two individuals, a marriage that most often (though not always) occurs in a meaningful ceremony prior to the crazy party.

So why is it becoming the least significant part of the day? Why are people eager to rush through this *once-in-a-lifetime experience?

From Style Me Pretty

I'm planning on keeping our ceremony around 25-30 minutes, and our guests will just have to deal with it. This is what it's about, this sharing of vows and love between two partners, the birth of a baby family, the support of our families of origin, friends who are like family, and everyone inbetween.

How long was your ceremony? What was your favorite part?

*even if it's not your first marriage, it's likely your first marriage to a particular person, and that in itself is a novel experience

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

i contain multitudes

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then - I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. ~ Walt Whitman

Isn't that just an elegant concept? I love it. It would make an excellent tattoo, I think. Might have to shelve that one for later!

I think one of the reasons I'm not overly-enthusiastic about posting is that my enthusiasm for all things weddings is only one small glass shard in the mosaic of Me. And since it's not something I'm thinking about all the time, it's not something I want to blog about all the time. Indeed lately, it's been far from my mind. Most of this is intentional on my end. It seems like every time I make a decision, suggest an idea, or solicit opinions, I regret it. It's like there's this little orb of wedding light glowing softly in my chest, and every time someone in my life makes this process more difficult, it grows a little dimmer.

And I'm worried I don't have enough energy to sustain it right now. I texted my fiance just today, declaring that I no longer wanted a wedding (we're still over a year out, for goodness sakes!) and frankly, it just sucks to feel that way! Especially when it's the people whom you love most stamping out that little light, the people whom you least expected it from.

So! What can we expect from here on out? In addition to wedding talk, there will be Geek Speak. I'm into video games (currently Star Wars: The Old Republic) and Dungeons & Dragons, as well as table top strategy games. There will probably be Ink Speak. I love tattoos. I have three (...four, technically I suppose!) and am going to get more. I love to read, though I've read precious few books this year. I hope to remedy that, and maybe brush up on my book review skills. I think it's important to really be able to articulately express why I liked a book, instead of just fangirling until I'm breathless. There will most likely be talk of my cats, who are my fur babies, less talk about my family and friends, and perhaps a bit here and there about what I'm doing to get healthy, physically and mentally.

Oh, and expect a lot on fantasy football. This is my first year as an owner, and I've completely embraced it.

That's still not the entire mosaic, but it's sure a start!

Not me. But if she was shorter and a tad less curvy, with a pixie crop...well it could be close ;) So Pretteh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Treasures!

Wherein I attempt to force myself to post more frequently and consistently under the guise of a corny theme.

While I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about our wedding, I've not done much to actually plan anything. Partly this is because every time I mention making any kind of decision, my parents overwhelm me with "IT'S OVER A YEAR AWAY WHY ARE YOU RUSHING??!1?" and partly because I just haven't developed a cohesive "wedding vision" yet (whatever the heck that is).

And frankly, partly because I feel like I have some elements so under control ( my head, anyway) that I'll run out of things to plan six months out (which intellectually I know is unlikely, but emotionally is hard not to fear).

So I backed off. I made a conscious effort at first, and then just became naturally distracted by other things. Things like Fantasy Football and Star Wars: The Old Republic and moving four buildings over, within the same apartment complex (we WAY outgrew our teeny one-bedroom of the past two and a half years).

In looking back through some old wedding magazines, purging for the move, I've found that they don't interest me at all anymore (who knows how long THAT will last). They bore me to tears or frustrate the bejeezus out of me, and I don't have time, patience, or money for that. I used to buy them frequently (both pre- and post-engagement) for the advice columns (which were always so fun and illuminating at the time, but which now I rarely agree with) and for the featured weddings, viewing the thousands of advertisements featuring shiny lush fluff as a bonus.

And it dawned on me that what I love about wedding magazines truly is the real weddings they feature. More and more recently, those sections are where I turn first. But even those "real" weddings in the magazines are rarely ever what I would consider practical weddings. They're hardly ever the type of wedding I would want to go to, and even less often are the type of wedding I actually want.

When they do feature decor or flowers or a neat little quirky favor and I source it, inevitably the total cost is astronomically more than I can afford to spend (and sometimes, as is the case with the two caterers I'm comparing, is just plain more than I'm willing to spend. A crucial distinction).

And that's ok in the realm of wedding magazines. Wedding magazines for me, up until now, have been a lush chocolate truffles dusted in gold glitter (chocolate and sparkle. COME ON). The "inspiration" within was never really something I considered practical or feasible. But I've only just recently been able to begin understanding what that truly means.

For the time-being, I'm swearing off wedding magazines. Instead, I'm going to turn my attention to wedding blogs that feature REAL weddings. And I'm also going to focus on pulling my own pictures from real weddings - the ones that are featured in portfolios of the wedding photographers I've been discovering on a regular basis.

And I am really, really excited to see where this takes me in terms of my "wedding vision". I'm by no means There yet, but I'm on my way!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Plunge Project

Exciting news! I was accepted as a contributing blogger for The Plunge Project! And, my first post went live today! Check it out!

The Wedding Registry Round-Up

I know I've been horribly neglectful of my poor little blog, but I intend to remedy that soon. Long story short, work has been frantic, we've been booked solid with social obligations over the past few weekends, and to top it off, we moved apartments this past weekend.

Now that we're mostly settled in, I hope to get back to blogging regularly.

Upcoming topics include, but are not limited to, Wedding Colors (or Why They Make Me Want to Pull My Hair Out), The Dress, and Fantasy Football.

See you soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I have to post this now, because if I don't, if I sit on it any longer, I don't know that it will get posted. At least, not with the solemnity with which it deserves. I don't think I've fully been able to articulate my feelings yet...but...well.

I have experienced some pretty deep self-loathing over the past couple of weeks. I look at my engagement ring and I love it. It takes my breath away. In certain light. When the normally gorgeous, bright, blue topaz doesn't look fazed or cloudy. And when the beautiful, matte finish yellow gold band doesn't look brassy.

And I had a plan. We had our wedding bands all picked out.

It's Aldine by Bario Neal. I was going to get the thinner version, and he was going to get the regular. I love the symbolism of my blue gem (true blue, and all that), as well as the symbolism of the braids (though our lives are entwining and tangling with each others', and we're starting a new baby family, we're still individuals, and our roots are still tangled within our own family trees). Besides, since no band would sit flush against my bezel-set topaz, the braids were a fabulous solution, because the bezel could nestle in the braid grooves.

And yet...

And yet.

I tried not to seek out pictures of other engagement rings, but inevitably, in flipping through magazines or blogs or wedsites...there they would be. And slowly I realized: though it's against much of what I believe in (practical spending, ethically and environmentally-friendly sourced materials), I wanted a diamond.

I couldn't - or rather, I can't - get a white gold diamond engagement ring out of my head. And I hate myself a little bit for this. Because it's become clear to me that it's a need*, not a want. I've been reconciling this for the past two or three weeks, at least.

Because we have an open, honest relationship, when I first suspected this was something I couldn't get past, I mentioned it to C. And he was sad, because it's what he wanted to get me in the first place; he was sad, because I told him not to; he was sad because to him, it was what I was supposed to have, what our friends and family expected him to get me (to provide me, what I deserved), and it's what he originally wanted me to have - it's what he's always wanted me to have.

And I was crushed, naturally, because I don't like being the cause of his sadness. But this is one of the many reasons why I love him: he let me speak. He let me reassure him that he did nothing wrong, and let me reiterate that he actually did everything right. He listened to me, for Pete's sake, when I said I didn't want a diamond! He heeded my preferences in light of what the WIC tells us. And he listened when I said we could proceed with however he was comfortable. We could tell everyone that I changed my mind and decided that, because now we can actually afford to buy a diamond ring, we did (I reminded him that, had he waited to afford a diamond originally, we probably still wouldn't be engaged, and as a result we wouldn't be getting married next September, and THAT's the important thing).

Or, we could tell everyone that he couldn't get a diamond engagement ring out of his head, so once he was able to afford it, he got me one and said "keep it or don't, at least now it's your choice" and I was so overwhelmingly touched by the gesture that I of course kept it.

And he's...relieved, I think. Relieved that I finally came around to what he wanted me to have (and what he knew I secretly wanted deep-down, apparently) in the first place. We ordered the diamond two weekends ago. It's a stunning .5 carat, cushion cut, sparkly little thing, and I now have to decide on a setting.

He's actually thrilled, I think.

Sometimes I wonder if we made the right decision. I'll be outside, and the light will catch my little blue topaz just so, and it will look just brilliant; just beautiful; just breathtaking. And I'll be sad that I gave in. Sad that I couldn't be satisfied with it. Sad that I will be replacing it within the next couple of months. Because it's me; it's him; it's us.

I think ultimately what I'll do is get my current engagement ring re-sized and wear it proudly on my right hand. It will absolutely be my "something blue" at our wedding. And C likes that I so desperately want to continue wearing it, in some fashion or another (we had talked about getting me a thin golden chain to wear it around my neck, but I think I like the idea of getting it re-sized better. Then I can see it all the time!).

It's been rough. But I think we're figuring it out :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wedding Wit & Wisdom: Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding

The first wedding-related book I plowed through was Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding. Mostly because when someone inevitably offers their "opinion" on something, I wanted to be able to say, "Well actually, Miss Manners says this..."

Because you don't argue with Miss Manners. Period. While the book is chock-full of good advice - and as such, I highly recommend to everyone, even guests - here are some portions that really gave me pause, and made me rethink my initial perspectives.

Do not worry that you need devote a year of your life to planning a festival that will showcase your personality and squander everyone else's vacation time and resources...Do not worry about developing a "theme" for your wedding; the theme of a wedding is marriage. And nobody notices or cares whether the postage stamps on your wedding invitations pulsate with love. (pages 11-12)

This, I think, was the first time it really clicked that I don't HAVE to choose colors, or include the same pattern/symbol/font on every single bit of wedding paraphernalia. In fact, I realized I had become so stressed with trying desperately to think of a theme, that I was losing sight of the whole point. Beyond "end-of-summer-relaxed-chic" we don't have a theme. We'll include little personal touches here and there, and yes, our invitations will probably match the rsvp cards and the thank you notes, mostly because I'm neurotic like that.

Miss Manners hates that bridal canard about My Day - as if getting married, of all things, gave one the right to suspend normal consideration of others. Here you are contemplating using My Day as an excuse to dis-invite guests or to rate your friends and relations on whether they will be able to produce suitable facial expressions...(page 69)

I never understood the revulsion towards the My Day mentality until I became engaged. Don't get me wrong, it's not something I'd ever say to anyone ("Well, it's MY DAY, so screw your opinions and feelings!" - Incidentally, my sister used this on me once prior to her wedding, and in addition to wanting to throttle her, I've never looked at her quite the same since), but there's a definite assumption in the WIC that it's ok - encouraged, even - for the bride to completely disregard everyone's opinion, including and perhaps especially the groom's. I realized that it's not just Our Day, it's a day to celebrate both of our families and friends as we become the two common knots tying this wide circle together. It's sort of equally empowering and humbling when you think of it like this.

Exactly what I'm going for!
**This one is copied from my Pinterest Board**

It is not Miss Manners' function to save people money they want to spend. So she would happily ignore this attitude were it not for the accompanying insinuation that the driving force behind such spending is poor old etiquette. Etiquette thus becomes the villain - the handmaiden of commercialism, whose insidious ceremonial and emotional arguments always favor the spending of extravagant sums of money. It is called rude to ask prices for commercial services and incorrect to limit wedding expenditures, even when they include planting tulips in the snow and making live swans waddle across the lawn. Miss Manners is outraged. Etiquette does not practice extortion. Etiquette loves simplicity. (page 119)

Take that, WIC.

Why, instead of drawing on the power of the ritual, do officiants as well as bridal couples now use the wedding ceremony to summarize the love story, roll the credits, and supply biographical material? Why do they undercut the formality with colloquial chatter and kill the solemnity with jokes? Why do they think that ti is fitting to go public with the kind of love patter that should be whispered in private? (page 251)

**This one's from The Knot**
This really resonated with me. I am mainly responsible for crafting our ceremony, and originally there were going to be some inside jokes and some intentional levity, because I wanted to make sure our ceremony was entertaining.

Full stop.

I was confusing wanting it to be entertaining with needing it to be meaningful.

If she still doesn't sound like a fit for you, consider this: Miss Manners actually defends tattoos. She opines that unless they are utterly obscene or offensive, we have her stamp of approval to wear them out and proud.

I, for one, cannot WAIT to tell my step-mother THAT little tidbit :)

**All other pictures courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

what we accomplished this weekend

Booked our venue and set our date! Our ceremony and reception will take place at the Stone Mill Inn on September 8, 2013!

Decided to start making time for a walk together every weekend. On today's walk, we brainstormed logistics for the rehearsal and for who could potentially be responsible for getting us to the airport after the reception.

Uploaded the addresses of all my NM invitees to my guest list spread sheet.

Tweaked our budget a bit, allocating more money for the photographer, after speaking with my mother.

Applied to be part of Offbeat Bride's Tribe (YAY) and think I submitted a pretty kickass application, if I do say so myself. We'll see what happens!
*eta* WOW that was fast. The ladies at Offbeat Bride already approved my application! Woot!

Created our wedsite. Whee!


Played catch-up with a couple good friends.

Played a round of Dominion with C. I have no idea how I won. WHOMP WHOMP.

Enjoyed the weekend at large. It passed too quickly. Why does the workweek never pass as fast?