Tag Archives: engagement

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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Fitting in the boxes

One thing that has been on my mind as of late is taxes.  Partly because of all the election stuff that’s been going on…

…and partly because we are now legally married – in Massachusetts.  But, haha, funny story – our marriage is not federally recognized.  And this makes filing our taxes oh so confusing.  I was filling out a W-2 the other day and had to check the box about how I’m filing: Single, Married, or Married Filing as Single.  Um, I left it blank.  Ask me later? I have no idea what the right answer is.

BUT! This is a great time to show you some boxes that I sure do know how to fill out! The boxes on our marriage license application:

 

Party A and Party B! We picked which we were by going alphabetically. Fun and easy and had nothing to do with our genitalia (unlike Male and Female, in case you were wondering what I was implying), yay!

The whole process was easy, welcoming, and comfortable.  And then we picked up our license a few days later!  I felt incredibly lucky that we have this option.

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Lesbians Getting Married: The First

One thing that felt super important for me in all of the wedding planning was seeing other lesbian couples out in WeddingBlogLand.  I’m still not sure exactly why this felt important.  Maybe because it affirmed that I belonged?  I am someone who likes to throw myself into whatever my *thing* is, which means thinking about it a lot, researching it, talking to people about it, and probably way over-analyzing it.  In the case of roller derby, this means watching a lot of derby videos, wearing ankle weights all the time, and doing a lot of visualizing (thanks Dread!).  In the case of getting married, it has meant stepping up my stances on the political aspects of same-sex marriage, reading a lot of blogs, doing a lot of crafts, and being really, really involved in creating our wedding.  More on wedding creation later… now, I want to show you some things.

I found few sites out there that occasionally featured lesbian weddings, and so when it did happen, I would look at the pictures a lot.  Like, really, a lot.  I picked the parts I did like, and the parts I didn’t like, and tried to figure out what I might want to do in my own wedding.  It’s not that I didn’t do this with heterosexual weddings; it just seemed somewhat distant, like a different culture or something.  Anyway, just in case anyone else has been experiencing something similar, I bring you… Lesbians(/Queers) Getting Married.  Click on the image for a link to where they were originally found.

Emily & Ali, from 100 Layer Cake

 

Amber & Karen, from Jenny GG Photography

Amber & Karen again, Jenny GG Photography

 

Mary & Kerry, from 2000 Dollar Wedding

Sarah & Megan, from A Practical Wedding

Holly & Sari, from 100 Layer Cake

I hope that this can be a continuing series.  If you are queer or a lesbian who is getting or got married and are willing to share your pictures, please send them along! If you are someone who just found some awesome photos (and can credit whoever took them), please send those along, too!  I know that sites like SoYou’reEnGAYged exist and are awesome, but sometimes I just want to look at pictures… so that’s what I’m hoping to do here.

When you are looking at (other people’s/stranger’s) wedding pictures, do you find yourself looking for people like you, and in what way?  What are your thoughts on this? I’m still trying to articulate it for myself, and I would love to hear what you think!

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On being involved

The other day, a friend of mine said, “people are pretty involved in your wedding, compared to other weddings.” I was actually completely perplexed when she said that. How are other people involved? We’re planning everything, we’re paying for (nearly) everything, and every single artsy DIY “party” turns into my personal art project with occasional Turtle help.

Then we talked a little bit more, and I realized that she’s right. We are asking a lot from our guests, and not just in terms of requesting their presence at our wedding – not to mention the various pre-wedding parties (engagement, showers, bachelorette). We are asking them, if they’d like, to make pies for the reception, to make squares for our quilt, to come to our post-wedding events, even to draw us pictures or write us a nice message on the back of our RSVP cards. This is our wedding, and people cannot just show up for it!

Turtle and I were talking about this a little more recently, and we agreed that while we didn’t set all these tasks up with the specific, conscious goal of forcing people to be involved, it has evolved nicely that way.

Here’s the thing: if our wedding was just about us and no one else, then we would just go to town hall and be done with this whole thing.  It would be much less expensive and involve far less planning, and I’m sure I would spend a lot less time stressing out about music or the diameter of hair flowers (can you tell the hair flowers are still on my to do list?).  But, for us, the wedding is not just about us.  Yes, it’s about our marriage, and it’s about the creation of our new family.  But an enormous part of that, and of our family, is the recognition and support that our community of family and friends give us.  And, yes, they can show us that they support us by just showing up, but they can also show their support – again, if they want – in making pies or squares or funny little pictures on RSVP cards.

We are incredibly grateful to be able to legally marry each other in just 31 days. In our happy little Massachusetts bubble, we can often convince ourselves that this is something everyone can do, that of course you can walk around your own town holding hands and kissing each other and tackle each other in the grass in public.  But, of course, this isn’t something everyone can do.  I’m not sure if any of you have been following the Prop 8 trial in California, but essentially the judge voted that marriage is a constitutional right that is being violated if same sex couples aren’t allowed to marry.  Hooray! It was decided through some legal process I don’t understand that everyone could marry starting August 18th – that’s tomorrow.  And then somehow the 9th Circuit did something (again, I don’t get it) and now there’s a wait at least until December.

Can you imagine, two days ago realizing you could maybe, possibly, finally marry your person tomorrow and then get an “oops, never mind” today?!

A portion of our families who are invited and who are coming do not approve of same-sex marriage, and their reasons are theirs.  They are our family, and we are theirs.  And honestly, it was hard to decide who to send invitations to – who would come? Would people still recognize us as ourselves, as their family? How many people have to deal with this question when putting together a guest list? Count your blessings, guys.

Well, it turns out that even the family members who don’t necessarily approve of what we’re doing love us, and want to support us, and are doing their best to do just that.  They are coming or they are sorry not to come, and they are supportive.  And this, I think, is an enormous part of what the wedding is about.  It’s a time for your family to say they love you, that they support you, that you are their family.  It’s a time to be surrounded by your community and hear them show their support for your relationship, even if your stupid state refuses to do the same.

I am so excited to stand up with the woman I love and make promises to her about our life together, and then to be a legal family*.  But just as much as that, I am excited to feel the love that I’m sure will be there that day with our friends and family.  And I hope that our asking them for little contributions can be seen as our weaving them into our day.

*at least in the state of Massachusetts, recognized by a few other states

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A taste of the crazy, or Woo hoo! Wedding planning!

Whoa, guys, we’re in full-on wedding mode.

Things to talk about, for your previewing pleasure and my own accountability:

  • Favors! Delicious, yummy, aromatic (in a good way), growing favors. Can you guess what they are by that description? Probably not. Though I may have already told you.  Is it wrong to give it away on my blog? Are these things supposed to be surprises? Since when do I do “supposed” to? Interesting things to ponder.
  • Invitations. Dude, the amount of work that goes into one piece of paper (oh, wait, wedding invitations are actually like 20 pieces of paper) is ridiculous. That said, I am in love with our invitations.  Also in love with the fact that regular stamps will work for them, no fancy stamps for us!  Also I am very pleased that friendly helpful people work at the post office and are happy to talk to me about 1. my blog, 2. my wedding, 3. cute places in Arlington, and 4. cats and dogs. What more could you want in a post office (hi Tess!).

Um, I guess that’s it.  But we’re doing stuff, like, all the time. Writing vows and maybe at some point thinking about ceremonies.  I feel like for the past few months I’ve been wanting to plan our wedding but trying to do so without being that crazy girl who’s planning her wedding way ahead of time.  Now it feels like the right time frame to be doing the things we’re doing, and I’m kind of enjoying it.

Also, taking a weekend off of planning is helpful and makes me much happier to plan afterwards.  Things we still need to work on:

  • Rehearsal dinner. We think we need one, we want one, we have no idea where to have it or how to pay for it. Fun!
  • Honeymoon. What? You mean study for organic chemistry right after your wedding, but in a pretty place? Okay.  But seriously, we should probably plan our honeymoon.

And for your entertainment, here are some before and after pictures of our apartment, because it is fun; I like the insides of houses and maybe you do, too?

the study/2nd bedroom, BEFORE

study/2nd bedroom AFTER

If you come visit, you can stay in here! We’ll replace the big ol’ chair with a futon. When we get rich. Soon, yes? Of course.

main bedroom BEFORE

Turtle is thinking, “Hmm… I’m not sure about this color.”  Don’t worry, Turtle, we’ll fix it!

main bedroom AFTER

empty dining room

FULL dining room!

Hmm I feel like comparing the full to the empty makes it look cluttered. But it’s cozy, not cluttered, I swear.

empty future living room

cozy living room

You so want to come visit, right?

Lastly, I am hella stressed out/anxious/pretty much freaking out all the time with a million different things that are happening in our lives.  Oddly, I am in a rather good mood… it just feels like I can’t breath. No biggie.  But seriously, I am sort of crazy right now so if things seem disorganized and chaotic, it’s because they are.  Enjoy!

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I vow to stay calm while writing our vows

Phrase of the day:

This is so hard. Have I mentioned that this is hard?

Guess what we’re doing?

anxiety

Writing our vows.  You know, doing just the most important part of wedding planning, in my humble opinion. Or not-so-humble opinion.

This process has, I think, been the hardest part of this whole wedding planning experience, and also the part with the most pressure.  We have to represent ourselves and say it all in a way that other people will understand.  And while a wedding is not a show – I think most of us can agree on that – you also have to keep in mind that there will be people watching and yes, I do want to bring a tear to an eye.  Not the most important part of the whole thing, but I want our vows to be meaningful and moving – first to us, but also to the people who are at our wedding to see the transformation from two separate people to one little family.

No pressure, no pressure.

So all this time, we’ve been sort of talking about how we should write our vows soon.  We’ve been collecting sites with vows on them, looking at examples, taking snippets from here and there.  We spent a day by the lake doing a little exercise for our vows, writing down what we loved about the other person, and then writing down what we wanted to promise or bring into the marriage ourselves.

fun vow setup at the lake

This was all well and good.  And then we sat down together to try to put all of these ideas and phrases and all of this love into a coherent paragraph or two.

And that conversation ended with both of us yelling at each other.  Because of course we had different ways of doing it – we’re very different people, even though we have the same goals for our relationship and our marriage, and we approach writing and editing from very different places.  So my surprising lesson was that before we could write our vows, we had to figure out how people do that in the first place.

how we felt after trying to express our love together

Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find much information on this.  I have found lots of peoples’ vows that they have written, places where people said, “we wrote our vows together,” but no one is really talking about how they did that.  Did one of them sit down and write them?  Did they pass something back and forth?  Did they do it together?

We are far from done, but here is what we have done:

  1. The exercise mentioned above.
  2. We sat down together and read out loud phrases we each liked individually – if we both liked them, we put them into one Word document.
  3. We went through the document and made everything we really liked bold.
  4. Turtle spent some time on her own writing some things – her own words, not just these other peoples’ words – and then we went through it all again, bolding and discussing.
  5. We realized that we just couldn’t collaborate in real time without getting frustrated with each other about the process.  And trust me, it’s extra frustrating when you’re arguing about how to say you love each other.
  6. We each sat down at the same time in the same room with our own computers with the same document, and are writing our vows.

It turns out that I had been thinking all along that we were going to have the same vows.  Part of this is is because we want to have a Quaker marriage certificate/Ketubah.  Basically, we want a big, beautiful piece of paper with a pretty picture on it and our vows written at the top, and then to have everyone at our wedding sign to say they were there and that they support our marriage.  It’ll be something like a combination of these, English only (no Hebrew), and with lots of lines for signing:

click on image for source

click image for source

Today, though, was the first time we talked about possibly not having the same vows.  Our ketubah/certificate/big-pretty-thing could have sort of a combination of our vows and cover all the major things we’re trying to say to each other.  So now we get to each write our own vows and figure out how to put them all together! Fun!

But seriously, how would you go about this process?  And do you ask people to edit your vows? Doesn’t that seem a little personal?  And now that we’re each writing our own, do we share them? Are they secret? Someone please answer my questions and fix everything for me!

“This only feels like the most important thing that will ever be written or read.” – Turtle

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I woke up and wedding stuff was everywhere!

Oh, hello there! Long time, no see!

We did this cah-razy thing and went on vacation.  Some people might consider it “a  weekend” but I say if you leave early Friday and don’t come back till mid-day Monday, you leave the computer at home and sleep a lot, it probably counts as vacation.  Plus I want to pretend I’m all luxurious and can do things like take vacation.  So we went up to camp, spent some time with neighbors, spent some time with my mom and brother, slept, and read books. And napped. Did I mention we slept? I was apparently suffering greatly from being awake for too long, but don’t worry! Problem solved!

assuming the position

Daphne understands the importance of a good, solid nap

I guess while I was busy sleeping, wedding things began to happenOne, if you read this on my actual blog – isn’t the new header pretty? – take a peek over at that lovely little countdown clock on the right.  I thought it was really cute and that I was being funny back when it said 100+ days and it said, “Uh, plenty of time.”  Haha, oh Bird, you so funny.

getting married in days

Right.

Anyway, we are now in the window of time that constitutes as close to a month and half away as two months away, and we should probably do things like mail our invitations. All one of them. Hahaha more funny jokes!

Two, we are in the under-sixty-day window of time, which means we could apply for our marriage license any time now!  I have no idea if this is actually exciting or just theoretically exciting.  Either way, our town hall is pretty and fun to visit, so that in itself is exciting.

Three, Turtle got her wedding ring! And oh, it is pretty.  Mine is still being made… story coming someday, if you’re lucky.

Four, we have an invitation!  A friend is designing them for us, and once they’ve been sent out and people can see them, I will tell you about their glory, their struggles, and our debate over what texture the belly band should be.

Oh Bird, there you go again. Hilarious.

AND THEN! Guys, I’m up to number five here.  Look at all this wedding stuff I haven’t been blogging about! Lots! Five – we had our dress fitting yesterday.  And it was pretty great.  A whole post in itself.

So that’s what has been happening.  I have loved my computer vacation, but I hope someone missed me (yes? was it you?) because that would make me feel special.  I have not enjoyed being overwhelmed by catching up on blogs since I got back, but it turns out that the world doesn’t end if you click “mark all as read” and move on.  A tinge of guilt for a portion of a second, but then you’re fine! Moving on to the next big thing.

I’m sure I have exciting things to say soon, especially about dress fittings and invitations (did I mention I’m in love with the one invitation we have? I am. In love.).  In the meantime, how are you doing? What did you do this weekend?  What was the best not-really-a-vacation-vacation you have taken?

my perfect vacation (yes, rereading Harry Potter)

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