Category Archives: Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

Marriage is always Sunshine and Rainbows. Duh.

One of my Weddingbee friends wrote yesterday about realizing how damn hard marriage is, and that post went up around the same time other people were discussing how marriage changes your relationship.  Turtle and I were sitting on the couch together, my eyes glued to the screen, my mind deep in thought, so I turned to her and said, “What do you think has changed the most since we got married?”

Trust her to be in the same mental place I am, right?  Um, no, wrong.  She looked at the dog at our feet and the cats, one on either end of the couch, and then at me: “Uh, our animals started getting along better?”

true love/mild tolerance

For us, so far, marriage hasn’t been Super Especially Hard, or at least not harder than we expected.  But I wonder how much of this is because we sort of expected marriage to be really hard.  Several months before we got married, someone on APW (I can’t find the exact post) mentioned that she’s been told marriage isn’t about getting through hard days or hard weeks – marriage can be about getting through hard years.  And at our premarital counseling stuff, our minister sat across from us and laughed and said, “Sometimes you really just don’t even like each other.” She laughed like, you know, she knew what she was talking about, like she’d been there.  “Sometimes,” she said, “You just want your mom.”

moms will help you fight the world, if you need them to.

And then the other part of it is that so much of what sealed our decision to get married was the Hard Stuff.  It was that Turtle could handle my sitting in the kitchen, just sobbing and not being able to stop; it was that I could handle her losing her job and subsequent depression.  It was that we figured out how to talk about the really big stuff or how to say “we need to talk about the really big stuff.”

The third part of it that I’m toying with is that there has also been so much other life stuff happening; if we needed something to be angry or anxious or stressed out about, let’s try job stuff or family stuff or sick and/or neurotic animal stuff.  I think that maybe all of this circumstantial difficulty has given us the option of falling apart or deciding How Our Marriage Is Going To Work.

The answer, again, is goats. Goats help our marriage work. (honey, can I get a goat?)

Guys, I am super duper for sure NOT saying we have it all worked out.  I am not saying we have answers or that our marriage is winning (though, ahem, it is winning for us!).  I am just thinking about why it hasn’t been as hard for us as other people (or as easy for us as some other people).  It sure hasn’t been sunshine and roses… but instead of waking up and being (as we saw on Mad Men yesterday) all, “WOW, someone is making me dinner and it will be waiting for me when I get home! Marriage is awesome!” we’re all, “Wow, this hard thing is happening but there are arms to hold me and ears to listen when I get home because that’s what it means for us that we are married.”  That, and also we are silly a lot.  There is a lot of giggling.

Has marriage been harder than you expected? Easier?  Are you expecting sunshine and roses or big changes or no changes at all? Who had a honeymoon period beyond their honeymoon? ANSWER ALL MY QUESTIONS.  Just kidding, you can answer just four of them.

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Bookstore Experience: The Wedding Sanity Edition

As it turns out, Barnes & Noble is a pretty hopping place on a Saturday night. According to a friend who works at the cafe there, B&N is really The Place To Be – which makes me feel a pretty good about admitting that our Saturday night date was at a bookstore. Not only are we true to ourselves and owning our nerdiness (yay bookstores!), we’re also the cool kids (I think this is a yay… hm.).

Anyway, I’m not writing to tell you about how awesome we are (pretty awesome). I’m writing to tell you what was supposed to be a story about how I got enraged at the bookstore, but I think that’ll be a post for tomorrow.  Today? Good wedding deeds:

We had our cocoa at the tables in the cafe, read through some magazines. Had to get through some trashy ones to learn about Katie’s Holmes’ apparent drug problem and bratty daughter (but Suri is oh so cute) and then continue on my quest to find a magazine that 1. doesn’t make my brain rot (Katie Holmes already did that; thanks, Katie); 2. Is interesting (sorry Runner magazine, you’ll just never be mine); 3. and doesn’t make me hate everyone (hello, every women’s fitness magazine ever). The quest was largely unsuccessful.

As we got up to leave, we noticed that the girl at the table behind us had a wedding magazine on her table. And next to that, a stack of about 15 wedding magazines. And, you guys, she looked a little stressed out. “Turtle,” I hissed, “should I tell her it’s going to be okay?”

approximate size of *one* of her stacks of magazines. poor girl.

Turtle gave me a look that said, I married you and I bring you out in public and yet I’m still surprised when you ask me these things – why? I should know better by now. You can tell we’re married because I can get all of that from just one look. But she answered, “See if she has a ring – you can only say something if she’s actually engaged.”

So I leaned over to pick up something that I, ahem, dropped (um, a piece of trash on the floor? A cup from someone who’d been sitting there before? You know, something I would have otherwise ignored), and confirmed: a ring! So what did I have to lose? I took a deep breath, leaned over, and said, “Excuse me, I just noticed all of your wedding magazines. If you’re looking for some sanity, you should check out A Practical Wedding. It really is wedding sanity.”

And she looked at me with sort of crazed eyes (I mean, I think? I don’t really know her, so maybe her eyes are always like that. But she did look a little panicked.) and said, “Oh my goodness, thank you so much. I definitely could use some sanity.”

I feel like I’m a happy little wedding fairy.  Why aren’t more people telling people it’s going to be okay?  Instead it’s “YOU NEED THINGS.  YOU NEED MORE THINGS! THEY. MUST. MATCH.”

If I weren’t as shy as I feel and I knew her a little better, or if she’d said, “tell me more!” I then would have listed off every website ever that has the sanity (hi all you readers who also write!).  But I am kind of shy and I didn’t know her and mostly I felt awkward.

What would you do?

Coming soon, the story of my bookstore experience: The Enraged Version.

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Across the Shoreline: You came for me in fast forward

After making our way up slopey beaches, leaping into the air, and leaning on the people who were there for us to lean on, my brand new wife and I go some time to ourselves.

Sort of.

One very vivid memory I have of the day was finishing our pictures with our brigadeers and suddenly realizing I could take off my dress.  You guys, the dress was pretty.  It satisfied whatever need I had to wear a dress, and whatever need other people had for me to wear a dress.  I liked how it looked.  And I was ready to get the eff out of it.  And then?  All comfortable and still dolled up, it was time to spend some time with my wife.  Oh yeah, and our photographer.

Check out the rings on those fingers!  These were some of the best moments of a day full of best moments.  It was just the two of us, and the instructions we were given were essentially, “Act like you just got married and you’re happy about it.”  Um, no problem.

After a few photos outside the building and out by the water, we wandered into the woods. At this point, I was just on a strange, thrilled, calm high. I couldn’t believe we were married. I couldn’t believe there was still so much of the day to do, and I was excited about all of it, even though I could hardly comprehend that there was more of it. It all felt surreal –

– and what better way to ground yourself in the craziness of all of that than to find your new wife and remind yourselves of each other? So, unprompted, we had our first dance. No music, just the two of us, spontaneous-kitchen-dancing-style.

You guys? I for serious love her.

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Our Vendors

A few people in my life have gotten engaged recently, and I just want to tell them and everyone else who is possibly interested: our vendors were freaking awesome. If anyone is interested in finding this list of our vendors and what we thought of them, I’ve also posted it under Gay Wedding What?

But! It’s here for you today as well:

Caterer: Cuisine Chez Vous

Yes, we loved our caterer. Every meeting we had with them was amazing, they really worked with us within our budget, and seemed really excited that we were getting married and having this awesome party. They accommodated our perhaps strange requests (“we have the pies, but can you heat them up and make them look pretty?), and were just fantastic every step of the way.

Flowers: Melissa’s Flower Farm

Yes, we loved Melissa and our flowers! I wrote a post on it here. Melissa was fantastic to work with, we got a million compliments on the flowers, and she also worked in our budget. I can’t say enough good things about her. If you’re not sure who to talk to: talk to her.

Music: Nor’Easter

You may sense a theme here: we loved our band. They found the caller we worked with. We sent them some music we liked and they just went for it. We loved all of the music they played, we had a ton of people dancing, and they clearly enjoyed being at our wedding (major points for them!). I would probably hang out with them in real life. And the music was beautiful. My mother has run into them in the Contra Dance circuit since our wedding, and they even remember us! They were awesome, go book them.

Awesome band, willing to play even if it's just the brides dancing.

Venue: Kaleva Lodge at Fort Pond

Our venue was perfect for what we were looking for. The space was beautiful, the booking process was simple, and the price was very reasonable (read: well under $1k). They arranged to have someone clean up after us for a small extra fee, and we didn’t have to worry about a thing. Their kitchen accommodates catering staff and they offered us the use of tables and chairs. They were a wonderful find.

Dress (Turtle’s): J. Crew

You know, J. Crew, it was great, blah blah blah. Turtle’s dress looked amazing on her. It was really easy to order the dresses and return the ones that didn’t fit. We had it altered somewhere local for very reasonable prices. I preferred the dress process at home to the in-store shebang.

Dress (Bird’s): David’s Bridal

What, you’re surprised I’m not linking to David’s Bridal? Please don’t buy from them. While dress prices may seem reasonable, they’re also reasonable from other sources, and David’s will rip you off with alterations. Plus, who wants to buy a DRESS from somewhere named after a man? What does David know about dresses? We were asked which of us was the bride, our alterations were messed up a couple of times, and I left wishing I’d skipped the whole dress thing.

Suit (Bird’s): A.J. Machete & Sons

LOVED my suit, loved working with A.J. and Lianna. The customer service was stellar, I loved how the suit came out, and it blew my mind how awesome it could all be done over email. Amazing.

Jewelry: Turtle’s from an antique shop, Bird’s from Fairbank and Perry

We loved them.  LOVED them.  I think we went into the shop about five times before we decided to buy anything, and they remembered us every time.  When I picked up our engraved rings, Geraldine gave me a hug; I was sad that we wouldn’t have a reason to visit anymore!  Since then, we’ve visited their new location, they still remember us, and we all hugged hello.  Even if these aren’t the people at your wedding, these are the people you want to be a part of your wedding.

Photographers: Ellie Leonardsmith and Alison Abreu-Garcia

These are two really amazing people who take really amazing pictures and you want them both at your wedding.  Because they were too busy being on the picture-taking side of the camera, I don’t have many pictures of them, but here’s what I do have (Ellie the Excellent is the tallest one in the blue dress, and Alison the Awesome is on the right with the snazzy glasses.  That’s right, not only are they really fantastic photographers, they are also both highly attractive):

 

College friends! Including our awesome photographers!

 

We found a lot of our vendors through personal recommendations, Yelp, and just passing them by.  We happened across Melissa’s flowers at the farmer’s market, and we found our (amazinggggg!) jeweler just walking through Concord Center.  My lesson: you’ll find what you need, and go with it only if it feels right.  We talked to a couple of caterers and just didn’t really care for them, but thought maybe that was how it worked – until we found Cuisine Chez Vous.  Amazing.

How did you pick your vendors?  Were you happy?  What are you wondering about in  your vendor search?

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Across the Shoreline: The Brigadeers

Our bridal brigade kind of rocked, and it was superfun spending time with them after the ceremony.

At that point, we were both all kinds of wrapped up in each other, and, as I remember it, drifting through our photographer’s instructions and laughing a lot. These people were exactly the right people to understand that, to get that we were a little out of it, riding on this Marriage High, and enjoying it right alongside us.

Here’s a note: if your photographer tells you to do something that sounds a little silly, like, “Hey, everyone walk towards me up this sandy and possibly dangerous slope and don’t fall!” – she knows what she’s talking about. Some of these pictures felt a little ridiculous while we were doing them, but we were thrilled with how they came out. Let it be known to the world, we love Ellie Leonardsmith.

Here’s another note: having a second, secret photographer taking the same pictures from another perspective is kind of awesome. A lot of our photos were fantastic surprises, and it was really fun to see what our guests were probably seeing!

Finally, we got a few shots with our “sisters” – mine biological, and my wife’s as close as you can get.

Next up, I get out of my dress (ooh la la) and the two of us sneak off into the woods…

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Across the Shoreline: The biggest smiles

First of all, my wife is kind of amazing.  I have been dealing with some pretty major anxiety for the last, oh, 13 days, and she has been a rockstar.  She checks in with me, she lets me whine or cry, she makes sure I’m taking the right amount of meds, she reminds me to check in with my doctor.  Ladylove, you are wonderful.

So while we’re talking about the other member of my fantastic marriage, why not show you some more pretty pictures?  After we danced our way back up the aisle, we took off together!  I had heard of couples taking some time between the ceremony and reception to have some quiet time together, to giggle and be excited and take in the enormity of it all, and somewhere along the line we decided that the ideal place to do this was in a boat.

Don’t worry! We do know enough about boats to realize that we won’t go far without paddles or while facing the same direction…

This made for a lot of fun and some pretty great pictures, but we also had a lot of people looking at us.  I didn’t feel like we could go very far (Look! Everyone’s waiting for us! They’re waving! They’re staring! Are they bored?), but it was really wonderful to get out on the water, just the two of us.  There were two guys out fishing and they seemed to get a kick out of us, two brides, out on the water, too.

We made our way back in, took a group picture, and then it was family picture time.

all of our friends and family, except our amazing photographer friend. we know she was there because we have all these amazing pictures without her in them. thanks Ellie!

They say you have to smile a lot, and we did.  The thing was, though, that it wasn’t hard to smile a lot.  We were pretty damn happy.  People kept saying, “Kiss! Kiss!” so we kept kissing and making faces.  It was all sort of whirlwindy and wonderful.

us with our immediate families

us with a portion of my extended family (I LOVE my grandma and brother in this picture!)

I think the prompt was "everyone look at Bird!" How could I NOT make a face? Also, isn't my family beautiful? The answer is yes.

us with Turtle's mom and grandpa. I love this picture.

Next up: our kickass bridal brigade photos!

You know, I used to think that all the family portraits were sort of silly and not for me.  The truth of it all is that it was really fun getting to spend time running in and out of these little groups, and hearing our photographer prompt everyone, and having so many people around us, all being so excited!  The only thing I regret about these pictures is that I wish I had more! I wish I had some with just my siblings or with each of my parents individually, or each of my grandparents.  But I do love what we had.  If you’re on the fence, more is best! That’s my new take on things.  If you’ve done it already, what’s yours?  If not, what are your thoughts?

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Snow day!

Snow Day at the Turtle-Bird Homestead

I have few sassy things to say today, but here’s what I do have:

  • My wife is really pretty and has been the most supportive partner I could ask for over the last couple of weeks/months/years.  I’ve been dealing with some weird anxiety stuff, and she’s 100% here, making sure all is being taken care of.
  • My dog is very entertaining and gives me a reason to get my unemployed ass out of the house every single day.  Thanks, Daphne. (Also, daily posts about her at Flying Dingo. Have I said that already? I’ll stop soon.)
  • We have big plans for today: there’s already 15 inches of snow on the ground here, but we did our Ikea shopping trip last night so we have lots of projects to tackle. Fun!
  • Oh and I’m on APW today!  And I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on boyfriend/girlfriend vs. partner vs. spouse vs. husband/wife.  Comment there or come back here and tell me what you think!

Hope some of you are having a wonderful snow day and others of you are warm wherever you are.  Nothing like 1 foot + of snow to remind me how grateful I am to have a home.

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