Well, let’s see. I’m a week or so away from my six-month anniversary, so I think it’s high time to write about my wedding! I am, as usual, a blog-tease because I proudly began a post series about wedding traditions, and stopped after one post. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually followed through on a proposed blog post series, so I don’t know why I kidded myself that I would that time. Anyway! The wedding happened, it was excellent, and I’m here to tell you about it.
I was very afraid that I would have to settle with spending more than I was happy about on a location I wasn’t particularly pleased by. Then I found that our city’s LGBT center has a large ballroom that they rent out for functions, for an insanely reasonable price. This was SO exciting to me, because I’m pretty sensitive to the fact that I’m exercising a privilege many of my friends don’t have, and so to be able to show my support for their rights, both symbolically and financially, was awesome. Also, that center and even that room have been used for several other activities and functions I’ve gone to. Growing up, I assumed I’d get married in my home church, which would hold community significance to me and be a place I’d return again and again to keep living my life. I didn’t imagine I could find a secular equivalent, but in many ways, the LGBT center is just that.
In keeping with our plans to have a small wedding, we just had one attendant each, best man and maid of honor. One of Shaun’s good friends led the ceremony, and Gina and Lane signed the marriage license as witnesses. We wrote our own vows: Staks, the officiant, said a few words about marriage, and asked us a couple of “I do” questions. Shaun and I had also each written a couple of vows specific to ourselves, things we want to promise each other unique to our personalities. Joy, my maid of honor, asked Shaun his vows, and Jordan, Shaun’s best man, asked me mine. I liked the symbolism of our old and close friends sort of querying us on how we were going to take care of each other, and giving us their support in a more concrete way than just standing there.
Gina’s wonderful band provided the music throughout, and I think they enjoyed it almost as much as we enjoyed having them. We had SO much fun sitting with Peter a few months before the wedding and coming up with an unmanageably long list of songs for them to cover (which they then managed!) The best part was when I remembered, about five days before the wedding, that I’d really really wanted to sing “Power of Two” by the Indigo Girls. Shaun had said, very early when we were talking about our wedding, that he’d like it if I sang something, and that song was so perfect and I knew Gina and I would sing it together really nicely. So it was one of the things I’d been most excited about, and then all of us forgot about it until, as I say, less than a week before the wedding. I wrestled for a while with whether to let it go or see if we could still make it work, since I knew that a) Gina was already stressed, and b) Gina would move heaven and earth to get something done if I wanted it done. I decided it was important enough to me to ask, and amazingly, we pulled it together! Seriously, Arcati Crisis is amazing to work with, and I’m not just saying that because they’re friends/family (I think we all know how strained it can get working with friends no matter how much you love them, and the point is it didn’t, at all.)
I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my dress, except that I didn’t want to spend more than $300 on it, and I didn’t want it to look so wedding-y that I couldn’t ever wear it again. Gina and I spent an epic day looking at thrift and vintage stores, and what that excursion taught me was that I did want it to look kind of wedding-y: light-colored and wide-skirted, at least. I then turned to Etsy, and since I tend to look good in 50s-style dresses that’s what I searched for first. I found a terrific-looking dress, but I’m not linking to the shop because when I got it it was actually sloppily made on a few counts: nothing that showed on the outside, but I had to do a little fixing before the wedding and I’ll have to do more before I wear it again. But I love how it looked and I will indeed be happy to wear it again sometime.
I had begun working on my veil before I met Shaun — actually, about a month before, which turns this into one of those inspirational stories for people who are frustrated that their future spouse hasn’t come along yet (aka: me for most of my 20s). And I came to hate those stories, but I do like what I did with my veil, which was this: I’d been feeling frustrated that my future spouse hadn’t come along, and had just come out of trying to kid myself that maybe I didn’t even ever want to get married, and after seeing many beautiful lace shawls, I decided to cope with my frustration and general emotional upheaval around the issue of Lifelong Love by knitting my wedding veil. Every time I got upset or discouraged or whatever, I’d work on the veil, and I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t think about any specific person while I was working on it, because I’d already planned to marry SO many people and I didn’t want any specific disappointment attached to it. Anyway, it was a good solution for me, and I worked on it quite a lot before Shaun met, and in the several months after we met. Then I stopped working on it almost entirely, because we were getting serious and I didn’t know if it would be possible to not think about him while working on it. Then we got engaged and I had a lot of lace knitting to do. It turned out beautifully (except for one glaring mistake that I didn’t see until it was bound off and blocked, and still at nights I think sometimes about how I could fake a fix, since I’d love to pass it on to a child someday.)
Our decorations leaned toward “bright and slightly whimsical.” We made button trees based on this concept, but with bright multi-colored buttons on thin stems, in wine bottles we’d painted with silver and gold paint. We’ve still got one at the house, and my mom took one too. We also had wedding pigs, which is nearly impossible to explain in a way that makes sense to people. What happened was, Gina went to Wegmans’ around Valentine’s Day and found these sweet but rather sober pigs earnestly bearing the words “I love you” on a heart, and we all went spontaneously insane and began dressing them up in little costumes and decided they HAD to be wedding decorations. So they were. Also, they light up with excellent color-changing lights. Plastic costumed light-up wedding pigs: you either get it or you don’t. We loved them (and the bride and the groom are still sitting on a shelf in our room.)
We’d planned to have a potluck, but Shaun’s mom was anxious that there wouldn’t be enough food, so she hired us a caterer to supply a couple of main meat dishes. It was quite delicious, and many people still brought food which was also delicious. I had some last-minute anxiety about the change of plans, which happened less than two weeks before the wedding, but it all worked out well. In fact the only thing that didn’t work well was the tablecloths, which I’d ordered from a linen rental company before the caterer plan was hatched, and which for complicated and mundane reasons didn’t arrive (the evening before the wedding! I might have started to panic a bit!) Gina and Wes saved me by buying replacements, and now we have a number of quite nice tablecloths in the basement, in case we ever throw another party for 60 people.
The morning of the wedding I went to Joy’s hotel room to get ready, and two other dear friends came down to have mimosas with us while I tried not to fret about whether Shaun had woken up in time, and whether he and Lane would have trouble getting everything over to the community center, and whether it was possible for anything to go right without me there (which is silly, because Shaun is much better at logistics than I am.) And then we had trouble with the cab that was supposed to take us to the community center: the first one couldn’t take us because he wouldn’t take the case of champagne Joy’s fiance got for us, and the second one apparently didn’t know his way around downtown. But we made it there, and when I got up to the ballroom and saw it all set up and everybody looking happy and Shaun all dressed up, I was so tremendously relieved and happy. And then for the next half-hour, every time I turned around there was a friend or relative that I hadn’t seen in ages, and I gave SO many hugs and smiled SO many smiles.
We wanted the whole atmosphere to be a party with a marriage in it, so there was lots of milling around and chatting and the band playing until all the essential people were there. Then we walked up to the front and had our little ceremony, then was dancing and eating and toasting. It was really nice, and just how we’d both wanted it to be. And afterward we strolled hand-in-hand through the streets, and evidently it was obvious we’d just gotten married because people kept shouting “Congratulations!” and it was awesome.