just some small stuff

A much quieter day and not much done, looked at or decided. It has been very nice. I love planning this wedding but I realize I also love not having to think about it at times. Yesterday was one of our 'no wedding talk' days and it was very relaxing. I actually found myself looking forward to our trip to the Michigan Women's Music Festival in August, something totally non-wedding related.

We had dinner with some friends who insisted on treating us in honor of our engagement. Very sweet gesture. I was smiling to myself thinking 'it's like our engagement party' [we didn't have an actual one, so it was very nice] fiancee keeps on adding people to the guest list. I have to really wonder how many people we are really going to end up having... We will probably need to discuss this and how we can be sure to keep our list around 80 like we planned. It seems like if you count on a certain percentages declining that will bite you later and you'll get %100 acceptance. Rather fun really.

I am thinking about asking my nephews to be ushers. Basically pass out the programs and seat people. Perhaps having matching ties and boutonnieres. My nephews are all adults and are coming to the wedding. DF also has 2 nephews in their early teens. We are guessing that they would be appalled to be ushers and would rather stay in the background. I hope this won't hurt any one's feelings on Fiancee's side. Weddings do seem to be loaded with mine fields at times. I'm hoping my niece will sing as well. DF's sister and niece will be her attendants. So I think the families should feel fairly well represented.

I can't wait until my mum and sisters visit this summer and I can share more of the plans and details with them face to face. It is a shame we all live so far apart when there is stuff we would enjoy sharing. All in all though I am still feeling good about it and really enjoying being engaged. I'm also getting plenty of opportunities to let go. And if the last 12 or so save-the-dates don't go out for weeks or ever because DF's hasn't gotten the addresses; well it won't be the end of the world. Now working on letting go over the honeymoon in Victoria that DF is planning that may take a bit more work... but it's doable. Really I have plenty of things I need to get done myself.

starting on cakes

We had our first cake tasting yesterday morning. Everything everyone has ever said about Buttercream is true. Their cakes are delicious. Wow. Their prices are reasonable, they deliver and set up. They are always fresh not frozen. We are seriously considering them.

Why didn't we choose them? Well a lot of their flavors like amaretto have actual alcohol in them. While we are not having a dry wedding there will be a lot of people there who don't drink including one of the brides. So no alcohol in the cake. We are planning on having a fabulous cake with more than one flavor but that is the only dessert [maybe ice cream?] so everyone needs to be able to eat it if they want. Also my goal is to have a cake that I can enjoy as well. Although Buttercream's cakes are not too sweet, they are right on that line. If they had been too sweet for me they would have tasted bad to me They are not going to create a sugar-free, no artificial sweetener recipe just for me. They are a very nice, large operation. So basically they are probably our fall back. The other option is to get a lovely cake for everyone from Buttercream and get me a lovely cake from the Wedge that is more to my taste and low sugar needs. We'll see what happens. We have several other bakers to visit.

We had time before our pre-marital counseling so we dashed over to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Our only goal was to decide if we wanted to register there. I was impressed that they were clearly use to dealing with gay couples. We have china and stainless flatware over at Bloomingdale's but we wanted another national option. I love the fact that they sell Dysons there. DF loved the massaging chair pads. She questioned whether we needed to register else where but just wandering through the kitchen department she realized there are actually a lot of things we need. Like pots with lids...towels, sheets for the double bed, blankets to replace those that are dying. So 40 minutes was enough for us to decide to do it. I set it up last night online and next Monday we are going to go to another cake appointment and back to BB&B and put things on our registry.

Today and Thursday are our wedding free days. We do our best to not talk about wedding plans unless an emergency comes up. I am looking forward to the break since this past week+ has been quite wedding heavy. That doesn't mean there will be no blogging though, even though I am not talking about it with my fiancee. I find that for me with a project this big it runs through my mind fairly constantly. This is one of the reasons I want to step up my meditation practice. All in all though with most of the major decisions done I feel like I can kick back a bit. I would really like to get those last dozen save-the-dates in the mail though.

Errands done and the guest list grows

A bunch a little things got done. DF wrote a out a bunch of the save the dates. I was amazed that her printing can be readable if she wants. She thought of several people she wants to invite that weren't on the tentative list. It will be interesting to see how many people we end up with. 30 save-the-dates got mailed and more postcard stamps were bought. Total for the whole project still under $20. At least 10 addresses need to be gathered though.

We stopped in at Bloomingdales to look at flatware. We registered at Bloomingdales online because there are only 2 places to register for Villeroy & Boch Cellini china which we both love. Me especially. We found a stainless flatware that we both like, DF especially so we went for it. It is really pretty. Surprisingly it is also by Villeroy & Boch. Septfontaines Satin. I added it to our registry online tonight. We are also in need of linens, those that we have are on their way out, so we will probably register at Bed, Bath and Beyond for stuff like that. and maybe a Dyson... So that is good. I'll let my family know and if people ask then they'll hear about it. We will not be sending any information about registries in any mailing or invitations. We'll act pleasantly surprised and thrilled with gifts and everyone will get a handwritten thank you, darn it.

We stopped at DSW so that DF could try on the same shoes that I bought in her size. I had to laugh, she was walking around with one copper one and one pale gold [champagne] one too. She ended up buying both to try with her dress. I love the copper too so I understood her pain. When we got home it was obvious that the champagne ones just looked smashing with her dress. I wish I had an outfit that needed those copper ones.

Next we start on cakes. I hope I don't need to do any shopping for awhile now.


So the save-the-dates need to get in the mail. The wedding is only 195 days away! Why does 195 days sound like so much more time than 6.5 months?

Well a lot of guests are coming in from out of town. I also know that a lot of people need to be reminded to put things on their calendars. A few friends may not have heard about the engagement, at least not directly from us. So whoever invented save-the-dates did a great thing in my opinion. Since I am one of those people who actually like writing xmas cards I wasn't too daunted. DF is willing to help but really has atrocious handwriting. She can write the thank yous to her friends and family but since these really need to legible I have been plugging away at them. I have 34 done so far and not too many more left to do. DF can be the official stamper.

One thing I was concerned about was saving money. Yes, I did think we needed them but I didn't want to drop a bundle. We both liked the idea of a postcard. I found a fun, happy picture of the two of us from New Year's Eve 2006. I sized and cropped it and pasted it 8 times into a 12x14 word document. The copy shop at work does personal orders. I asked them to print the page 8 times on heavy card stock and cut them apart. I got 80 save-the-dates color picture postcards for 6.71. I got a lot extra in case I make a ton of mistakes. We'll probably mail about 40 of them [more will be hand-delivered], in stamps that will be 9.60. Bringing the total to well under $20.

The wording was a bit tricky. We didn't want to be cutesy. We settled for 'please save the date-DF X and Me Y -are getting married - on October X 2007 - in minneapolis, minnesota - invitation to follow.

I was extremely skeptical about needing the 'invitation to follow' line. Surely I thought everyone either knows or can figure out what a save the date card is? Isn't it self-explanatory? Nope, they can't. I hand delivered one to a close friend when we had lunch. It was one of the first 3 I had written, and I forgot to put the last line. Sure enough she asked 'is this the invitation?' Do yourselves a favor add that last line no matter what! My fiancee still has a few addresses to collect but we are almost there.

Our first cake testing is Tuesday, we are certainly looking forward to that. I know we will find a cake that I can eat!

Shoes for the wedding and more dress delerium

A lot of shopping has been done this week. Three of the four attendants have tried on the dress and liked it. It may not be something that they would have chosen for themselves but they feel comfortable wearing it and more importantly think they look nice in it.

I went to a different branch of Macy's to see their range of sizes for the dress and found out that Macy's is having a special 3 day sale this week. I also found out that there is another slightly different style of the same dress from the same maker with the same fabric available. Just the beading is a bit different and the jacket is taffeta instead of the satin. So the maid and matron of honor are wearing the first style [sale price $70 down from $220] and the other 2 attendants are wearing the second style [$94 down from $210]. It's a newer style, that's why it's a bit more expensive apparently. The second style is the same plum/bronze iridescent satin, v neck, sheath dress with beaded applique leaves on the dress from the left shoulder to the right hip. The taffeta jacket has more of the leaves beaded on it. Both styles are gorgeous.

I realize that most people won't even realize that there are 2 styles up there, but I am really happy to have the cohesion without everyone looking like they were stamped with a cookie cutter. And of course some people may choose to wear the jacket and some may not. It just seems like a miracle to find a dress that comes in a large range of sizes that everyone looks fine in and have it be on super sale.

I went shopping with one of my attendants yesterday and she found a pair of Bandolinas bronze, wedge heeled, sling backs that she loves [on sale $43] that go perfectly with the dress. Today my matron of honor took me shopping and she found this incredible pair of Ann Kleins leather flats with bronze leopard skin print with bronze buckles [on sale $43] that she loves. She is worried about them not looking formal enough but I think they are adorable. I hope she decides to wear them.

She suggested I start looking for shoes myself. I was interested in finding metallic copper shoes with 3" heels, that were comfortable and not too pointy. I found them [Caparros], and I loved them. Then I found the same shoes in ivory and I thought they looked even better. I worried I was experiencing some sort of bridal fugue in ivory but then my friend volunteered that she thought the ivory looked even better on me than the copper. I have never tried on ivory shoes before, who knew they would look so good? I bought them. I may go back and get the copper some day for other times.

There was a lot of successful shopping this week. I am grateful but tired. My fiancee and I certainly need to concentrate on the finishing the save the dates tomorrow. I also need to finish my long letter to my mother detailing all the latest. I am so sorry she lives so far and has to miss so much of this.

Time to think of flowers

Well we have our florist. We got two fabulous recommendations and we liked the first one so much that we went with her. I'm kind of disappointed to not meet with the second though.

We both really like flowers, and wanted live ones so it is a fairly important vendor for us. At the same time we have pretty fluid ideas. DF likes things a bit more formal and traditional than me. I like nosegays to be looser with lots of ivy, herbs as well as flowers. I like lots of texture. I don't like calla lilies or orchids really. I like roses ok, but I love carnations. I had no idea that martha stewart slammed carnations years ago and that's why you stopped seeing them. I love them, I always have. We are both having bouquets as well as our four attendants. I am also wearing flowers in my hair.

Since they are all wearing the same dress we want everything else to be as individual as possible. I want them to choose their own shoes, accessories, do their hair how they want and their bouquets will all be different with some kind of underlining theme, like ivy and hypericum berries. One will have orchids, one champagne roses, one dahlias and one gerbera daisies. I think they will be beautiful. I may buy a sample of my bouquet and one of the bridesmaids just so I know we are on the same page ahead of time. Also, that way I'll be able to get ideas for the other centerpieces, which we are probably going to do ourselves. I kind of want the centerpieces to all be different yet somehow tie together. The bouquets will double as centerpieces during the reception.

It really is fun being engaged. And all this planning is fun. I'm going shopping in a couple of hours with one of my attendants. She is going to try 'the dress' on and it's on sale even more today so that is great!

Mostly dresses

So much has happened the past couple of days wedding-wise I haven't really had time to blog about it.

Tuesday DF and I went shopping. We saw a iridescent satin, long dress [plum/bronze] very like one I saw in Mesa early in March. It has a jacket, some beading around the v neck and on the lapels. It is quite a simple 'sheath', no waist, a-line and lined, it comes in both women's and misses sizes and would look nice on various figure types. It is on sale. We both really like it. In fact DF liked it so much that she almost bought it to get married in but we went and looked at Nordstrom's since I just had a 'feeling' about going there.

DF found the dress she is going to get married in at Nordstrom's [also on sale]. It is champagne in color. Tea length. The dress is scoop necked, empire-waisted with dull satin bodice and sleeveless. The jacket is collarless with 3/4 sleeves. The skirt of the dress and the jacket are champagne peau de soie with a layer of lace on top. She looks beautiful in it. She seemed sure when she tried it on that she wanted it. [and that she wants to work out more] It just all worked out beautifully. and I am so happy I will not be alone up there in ivory, I love it that DF also decided on a pale dress.

Especially when we realized we could use the plum/bronze dress for our attendants. My matron of honor tried hers on last night. She looks great in it, and it fits beautifully [except for needing hemmed]. DF bought one for her maid of honor [sister] today. Hopefully the fit will work fairly well. MOH saw it with me in Mesa and liked the look of it then.

Now if we can find ones for our other attendants that would just be super. I don't think anyone will really hate it. It is very reasonably priced $110 for a dress, so if it really isn't something you want to keep you can pass it on to charity with a clear conscience. At least it isn't something people will cringe when they look at it. It is so dear of our friends to humor us like this.

my Mother and invitations

My mother seems to be really getting into the wedding groove. It's been over 20 years since her other children got married. I know she wishes she wasn't so far and that she could do more. But really just talking to her about it is fun. She was a florist in the 60's and 70's and did a lot of weddings. This was before a lot of places had coordinators so she frequently ended up being the on site ceremony coordinator for a lot of brides.

She is hard of hearing so we can't talk much on the phone. We write. My parents usually can't get their email to work, especially the sending. I know she has typed me out 2 letters in email over the last 10 days but they haven't managed to send them to me. I get a lot of empty messages from them. I know it's frustrating for her and it sure is for me.

Luckily her hearing aids were working fairly well yesterday because she wanted to talk to me about stuff she didn't want to get lost in email. I wish I had the conversations on tape, they were so cute.

'Will you tell me who you are inviting to the wedding?' Mom asks.
My mind went blank, did she want me to start reciting my whole list?
'Do you mean from the family?' I asked. She said 'yes'.
'Well, my sisters, their children....'.
'no, no, I don't mean them, [her children, lol] my family, are you inviting your aunts?'
'well, I was thinking about it, I think I should'

I think I'll give up the quote battle...

Then she went on about how my aunts all love me, they have always loved me.
And naturally they all know I am gay, but they are all very conservative. But they do all love me and they did meet Carolyn almost 2 years ago but they are conservative [many more reps deleted]. I said that of course I am not expecting them to come all this distance and I pointed out that if I was marrying just any guy I would be inviting them, and not inviting them seems a bit like lying. I mentioned I was also planning on inviting my Aunt G and Aunt A [from my Dad's side] she brushed them aside with an 'of course'.

She saw my point... Why don't we think it over for a week and talk about it next Sunday? I agreed because really I am not sure how much of my extended family I want to invite. About an half an hour later I was talking to Dad about his continued email problems and Mom wanted to talk to me.

"I was cleaning the kitchen and thinking about what you said. I think you should invite your aunts. of course I am not trying to tell you what to do, it is your wedding I realize that. but you should invite Aunt J., Aunt M., Aunt B., and Aunt K, all my sisters. Though of course it is up to you. it's your wedding. But don't invite your Uncle H. [who I had basically forgot] there's just no point and Aunt R will just go on and on about it." I agreed meekly and we said good bye for the week.

I can't begin to say how funny and sweet my mom is being. I'm so touched by her thinking about the wedding, dealing with any homophobia she may still have, being willing to share with her family and so on. I just love my mum.

It just scares me sometimes that she is so elderly, she is 80 now. How I hope I have her for a good long time because I really like having my mother around. I'm glad since I am getting married that she is still here .

Buying a dress - looking back

Perhaps one of the reasons I am enjoying my engagement so much at this point is that the buying of my dress is out of the way. No, I haven't finalized my outfit or gone through fittings or bought shoes but the dress is bought.

It was certainly something I was not looking forward to....first of all I never wear white. I just don't feel it is my best color. I have a pale olive skin which I just don't think goes with white. Also I am a size 16/18. I was skeptical about buying something that would make me look bigger in pictures and let's face it there are a lot of pictures at a wedding.

It's true that the only thing the bridal magazines are good for are so that you can rip out pictures of any dress that may have some element that you like. By doing this I was able to narrow down the type of dress I liked and thought could work on me. [v or scoop neck, not strapless, a-line, chiffon, not too much beading, draped bodice, sweep or no train, dull fabrics, chiffon]

Armed with these and my week day off I went to an actual bridal shop [Brides of France] with my fiancee. I really didn't want to go, in fact the only way I got myself to go was to assure myself I did not have to buy anything. I went on a Monday at lunchtime. I choose a shop that had sample sizes in something else besides 8, and nothing over 999.00.

It was pretty great. Once I knew I didn't have to buy anything I relaxed. I showed the saleslady my pictures to give her an idea. I tried on a white dress, the vaguely Grecian style dress was not bad but the white was horrible. I tried on a more elaborate one, I barely remember it, but we didn't like it. I tried on the third, it was ivory and this small change of color looks way better with my skin.

It has a v neck, it has a draped bodice, it is dull satin with a chiffon over skirt and chiffon shawl, it had lovely beading around the front and back of neck and delicate beaded vines on the over skirt. It had a long train, but it needed to be hemmed majorly any way. The satin part of the train could go. The chiffon/beaded part of the train could be draped up in an endearing bustle. It was my size but would of course need alterations since I am one of the shortest waisted people alive. It was on sale for under $500. I looked beautiful in it. I worried about how I would look in a pictures [ivory sausage?]. I bought it. I am really glad that I did.

I accept that white/ivory/cream is just not the best color for most people and I made it work anyway.

I wasn't counting on finding a dress that day. In fact, I always figured I would probably have to have one made. But I went in with an idea of what I wanted. I went at a time when the shop would be peaceful. I went with just one other person. I was open to trying things on just to see. Heck, I even tried on a veil, which I was pretty sure I didn't like. I don't. But I tried it on standing there just to see.

And now it is done. The rest of it like shoes [maybe dark red], flowers in my hair, accessories that will all come together just fine. It really feels like it is all a fun ride downhill from here.

all those checklists -looking back

The first thing I turned to when I started planning our wedding was a variety of wedding planners and they all contain checklists. There are checklists everywhere, all different.

We got engaged in January and the date was set for October, according to all the checklists, by February 6, I was hopelessly behind

There are an intimidating number of things you are suppose to do 12 to 8 months before your wedding date.

-set date -book reception site -book ceremony site -book caterer
-book all other vendors [florist, baker, photographer, musicians etc]
-ask your attendants -insure engagement ring
-decide on wedding planner -get hotel room blocks set aside
-finalize guests lists -set budget -choose officiant -choose outfits
-choose theme? colors

it goes on and on and on and on, all of this [and more] before month 8!

So the first 2 weeks of my engagement instead of basking I was trying to get caught up. It was a horrible, stressful, overwhelming feeling that sucked all the joy out of being
engaged. Being told that October is as equally busy wedding month as May or June in Minnesota did not help either. The fact that we choose a Saturday so that out of town guests could make it more easily increased the challenges.

After feeling ill and sleepless for 2 weeks my common sense and my sincere desire for a enjoyable engagement period woke up. We set the date, booked the sites, and just started prioritizing. It seems if you start chipping away at it, the rest starts looking easier or do-able.

Part of the credit goes to the wonderful book by Laurie Sue Brockway, Wedding Goddess. Her ideas, affirmations and rituals really help me focus on what is important to me and to DF. I can't use everything in her book, so I just take what I like and leave the rest.

Here it is March 17 and we still haven't chosen a florist or baker and I am totally ok with that. I know we'll probably get it done this month and it will all work out fine.

And we are ecstatic about the caterer we found. That helps a lot. Because at least for my family [Italian] the food is of extreme importance.

I know we will have a lovely wedding. Not perfect, not the happiest day of our lives and I am fine with that.

Finding engagement rings and officiants--looking back

DF and I agree on many things. It's quite lucky really. 
We knew from earlier discussions --
~that if we were in a primary relationship we wanted to get married
~we wanted to get married in a 'spiritual' way
~we would wear rings

We also agreed with ease on these specifics when we started to plan.
~time of year
~size of the wedding [around 80]
~wanting to serve a meal afterwards if at all possible
~flowers on the wedding cake
~real flowers not silk
~yes to engagement rings
~her Dad[retired baptist minister] taking part of the ceremony.

That first week we started looking for engagement rings in antique stores.We both departed from our original ideas once we started looking. DF found a lovely emerald in swirly yellow gold. She says she loves it more everyday. I surprised myself and fell in love with an antique marquis(e) cut diamond in white gold. I was thinking iolite....no matter.
It's beautiful.

Hopefully I am not the only person who spends hours looking at their engagement ring as it sparkles in the sunlight in a happy daze. Dreaming and planning for change. When someone notices it I ask for words of wisdom or a blessing for my upcoming marriage. I like to think how it symbolizes the transition I am making in my life. It makes me "come out" in ways I never thought of before.

The minister at my church was already booked for our day so we talked about other possible unitarian universalist ministers. We decided on the reverend B. Kellett. A lovely, wise, gentle lady. We are delighted with her and I like to think she feels the same about us.

Telling friends and family--looking back

A fun part of being engaged was telling people. Although it wasn't all easy sometimes I felt very shy and sometimes vulnerable telling people. It is such a personal special thing, and of course you can't control how other people will react. You have to open to the possibility of pain.

Some people very close to us seemed to need time to get adjusted just to the idea. I did my best to let go and give them space. To not take things personally. The results have been wonderful.

I took my best friend out to dinner the next day to tell her and ask her to be my attendant. I was so happy to share that with her. She is the most wonderful friend. She is the most detailed, organized person I know and she has never been a bridesmaid before. She takes it quite seriously.

My sisters I had to phone as they live across the country. One didn't get my voice mail for 3 days while she was traveling for work and I started to worry that she disapproved for some reason. I love how happy my sisters are for me. I also laughed over their different personalities which their responses demonstrate.

My eldest sister after exclamations and congratulations asked 'will there be a shower?' My other older sister exclaimed in delight for me, apologized for calling from an airport and asked 'how did she propose?' There in a nutshell are my sisters. They are wonderful and different from each other. One more practical, she wants to get any parties on her calendar. The other more interested in the emotional part. They are such fun. I am very lucky.

I told other friends personally if I saw them and also sent out a lot of emails announcing it. It was so touching to receive so much heartfelt love and approval.

I bet I am forgetting details of the first few weeks. Too bad I didn't think of blogging earlier.
I talked with my therapist about feeling shy. Shy about announcing it to people, shy of the attention now and in the future. He laughed and told me to get used to it. He's right. It does take a bit of time to get used to it though.

We also drafted an announcement for the church newsletter. I checked the schedule and got it in to the correct person. That was an exciting bit of making it feel real. Even more exciting seeing it in the newsletter in mid-February. I was surprised a few times when I got congratulations unexpectedly -they had seen the announcement.

The first day of being engaged--looking back

It was great, we were engaged. I expected it and I didn't all at the same time. I was surprised, especially by the timing.

A part of me relaxed. Something clicked into place. 'Ah we are both headed for the same destination". I liked that feeling.

Then by the next day my stress levels started to rise. I didn't get much sleep that first week. It was one thing to plan on being married 'some day'. It was another to suddenly have a wedding to plan, an actual wedding to plan.

We talked about a date. We both wanted an autumn wedding. My fiancée like the idea of October better than late September. "More fallish', she said. Not too late in October though, not is Minnesota, because then you are risking cold weather. So we settled on October 6 with September 29 as an alternate date. Great. That was easy.

Our Unitarian Universalist Church was free on October 6, so was the hall. As a member, many fees are waived. I put our names down. Venue chosen

Then, being number oriented, I started counting. That was less than 9 months away. That was not much time, not at all.

Then I wrote to tell my hard of hearing parents the good news. I wanted them to know as soon as possible but I didn't want to be shouting it into the phone. So I mailed a letter the next day and waited. Mail delivery takes forever to their part of AZ. I have been out to my family for years but still getting married takes it to a whole new level. I wasn't completely positive they would come, pretty sure, but not positive. More stress.

Newly Engaged but? blissful

I got engaged on January 20 2007. My girlfriend proposed. I was happy but felt stressed out at the same time. A weird state of 'happy-stress'. It was different but luckily short-lived.

I think engagements are rather fascinating in geeral. They are such finite periods of time [usually]. Our wedding is set for October 6, 2007.

I haven't found much online in the way of engagement blogs, much less gay engagement blogs. And I have been looking for weeks. [since I got engaged] Perhaps most are too busy during this time to blog?

I'm going to try to do it. It may be useful to others. I'm pretty sure it will be useful to me.