- 4 years ago
- Wedding: July 2013
My SO and I are both women, have been together for 16 years, and have a four year old. Over the years we talked vaguely about having a “commitment ceremony”, but it was hard to get too excited when what I wanted wasn’t a commitment ceremony to celebrate a commitment — I wanted a WEDDING to celebrate our MARRIAGE.
Well, the world finally caught up with us! Our state legalized same-sex marriage last November, and we immediately started planning a big bash. Giant princess party, fluffy dresses, dancing, the works. We were going to have it for spring of ’14, just to give us plenty of time to do it up right.
And then the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, which had massive legal and financial implications for us. We looked at each other and said “What are we waiting for? How dumb will we feel if while we’re waiting and saving for the giant Princess Party, one of us gets hit by a truck? Screw it. Let’s do this.”
The Supreme Court overturned DOMA on June 26. It took us a week and a half to think about what we wanted to do, and on July 5 we decided we were going to get married on… July 20.
The next two weeks were, of course, sheer insanity. We started by calling our very nearest and dearest. Miraculously, almost everyone could make it even on such ridiculous notice (many of them had to travel hundreds or thousands of miles). My BFF even came out from California with her 3 month old! I was truly moved by how many people dropped everything and came out to see us get hitched. We ended up with 21 adults, two preschoolers, and an infant.
It soon became clear that given our budget (not a lot) and time (not a lot) and tastes (fancy-schmancy) something was going to have to give. The best compromise ended up being a restaurant that had a private room with a surprisingly low minimum. They gave us the room for the entire night and didn’t mind if we had the ceremony there as well. Done and done!
We DIY’d the following:
Cake. We did cupcakes and decorated them with icing flowers I bought from Etsy. We baked the cupcakes the morning of the wedding and my bridesmaids decorated them in the early afternoon. They were pretty much perfectly what we’d imagined. I made a tiered stand by gluing (with silicone aquarium glue) thrift-shopp’d glass cake plates. Total cost: $40.
Flowers. An order from Globalrose.com yielded armfuls of roses. We got 100 stems of spray roses and 100 long-stemmed, all assorted colors. We did one long table, which was quite narrow and therefore needed small and low centerpieces — we did small bowls of monochromatic roses, with dollar-store glass vases and pebbles. For my bouquet we picked up another $40 or so of hydrangea, snapdragons, and greenery. Total cost: $220
Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). I’m culturally Jewish, and my partner is not, so I was pretty much in charge of this department. I designed the ketubah myself in Illustrator and sent it to a local print shop for printing on poster-sized archival paper. They did a beautiful job. Other than the fact that I managed a whopper of a typo (wrong date!) that demanded last-minute reprinting, this came out utterly perfectly. Total cost: $90 (would have been $45 if not for the typo!). We had everyone present sign the ketubah, including our four-year old and his adorable scrawl, which makes me feel sentimental.
Chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy). Four flagpoles from Home Depot and a shawl I bought at a thrift store ages ago for $2. Just what I wanted, although if I’d had more time I might have gussied it up more. Total cost: $27.
Favors. I wasn’t much bothered about favors, but it turns out that my darlin’ felt strongly about them. So: dollar-store plain white boxes, ribbon, and chocolate covered figs, hazelnuts, and almonds from the local gourmet grocery. Total cost: $60 (for 24).
Dresses. My partner used to be a seamstress, so decided to alter a dress that I already had and one she thrift-shopped. We had some antique gold sari trim that she used to embellish the top of my pink silk chiffon slip dress. Hers was a very simple champagne-gold satin slip. Total cost: <$100.
Invitations. When you invite a lot of out-of-towners with two weeks’ notice, you must necessarily inform them ASAP so they can make travel plans. So… we asked everyone verbally and then sent out invitations, only because I love fonts and was dying to make invitations! I used heavy gold-edged cards (vanilla pop-tone) from cutcardstock.com. Total cost: around $20. West coasters didn’t receive them until they’d returned, but I regret nothing.
Officiant and vows. A dear friend got ordained online and performed the ceremony. We did not want to write our own vows; we wanted the time-worn ones, so that was dead easy. My partner always said that she’d never feel really married if she didn’t say the classic Church of England wedding vows: With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, with all my worldly goods I thee endow. So we did.
We splurged on the following:
Food. The restaurant we used was wonderful, and the food was exquisite. My partner is a foodie, so this meant an awful lot to her. With alcohol and service we ended up at $100/head, which I think was cheap for what we got.
Um, that’s about it. Didn’t do that much splurging, I guess!
We got flippin’ married! And now we’re married! For real, forever! This is really the very best part.
The people we love most were all there. This is the next best part. I loved looking around that room and seeing everyone talking and laughing together. Fantastic.
The food and venue were perfect. The service was wonderful, and they seemed genuinely pleased to be hosting our event. I ate everything that wasn’t nailed down. DELISH. We weren’t those brides who never got a chance to eat at their own weddings.
The ceremony was short and to the point and, I felt, just right.
My dad gave an incredibly sweet toast.
The bouquets were gorgeous. My sweetie arranged them and she did a fantastic job.
The cupcakes were adorable and felt very us.
The bridal party was great. They all rallied round and helped with the DIY stuff and were all unfailingly sweet and supportive and just *there*. I had originally thought that, with such a small and simple wedding, we wouldn’t have a bridal party. 24 hours after that decision I realized that I felt horrible about it and that I didn’t care if it seemed silly to have bridesmaids and a MOH at such a small wedding, I wanted my nearest and dearest up there with me. And it was perfect. One was the officiant, two more held the chuppah (along with my twin teenage nieces), and the MOH held the flowers. It was just right. I told them all to wear whatever the hell they wanted and everyone showed up looking lovely and like themselves.
The timing worked out well. Started at 5 and everyone was trickling out at 11. It didn’t feel too short or too long to me.
My looks. Okay, gotta get this off my (hah!) chest now. I chose completely the wrong underpinnings for my dress. I chose an empire dress because I have a medium bust and thick waist, and usually that’s the most flattering line on me. But I also got a super girdle and padded bra, which transformed me into someone with a slender waist and large bust… i.e., someone on whom empire is least flattering. Facepalm. And I didn’t realize it until I saw the pictures. I’m not too thrilled with how I looked full-length, although the front and waist-up views are nice, and I do love my dress. I just wish I’d chosen different underwear.
Last minute DIY stress. We — well, my partner really — chose to DIY some last-minute stuff. The cupcakes were actually fine, but the last-minute flowers were stressful. Guests were invited for 5pm and at 4 she was still making centerpieces. She then tumbled into her dress and out the door sans makeup and stressed. Our drive down to the venue was silent and tense as we were already running late. I know that neither of us felt at our most beautiful. On the other hand, the cupcakes and flowers ended up being two of my favorite things. And once we got there and everything had started and we’d relaxed, the stress flew out the window.
Photography was a disaster. An aspiring photographer offered to do it for free. I looked at her portfolio and it was really nice. And we really had zero budget for this, since we were spending every penny on food, so I figured that it was better than nothing.
Wrong-o. She apparently had no idea which end of her camera was which. All of the pictures came out useless and blurry. It was worse than if she hadn’t been there, since she blocked everyone else taking pictures during the ceremony. I’m going to send a few out for extensive photoshopping to see if we can get something printable, but… ugh.
To give you an idea: I am shy and don’t like posting pictures of myself on the internet. But these are so damn blurry that I feel as if I can post them and preserve perfect anonymity. For example, us under the chuppah:
It’s okay, I knew the risk we were taking, and I have never been one to rank photography high on my list of priorities. We weren’t there to generate pictures or memories, we were there to get married in the presence of our loved ones, and that happened! Saving grace: some wonderful non-“pro” shots by guests. And I’m still waiting for a whole lot of pics from someone who I know DOES know how to use a camera. But still: that was a massive fail.
Seating chart. I left the seating chart at home and my Chief Organizing Bridesmaids (she is frighteningly organized) had to wing it. But she did a terrific job and everyone seemed to enjoy who they were seated with. The only person who complained was someone who, frankly, complains a lot (although I love her very much, I pretty much knew there would be a moan somewhere).
Registry. After some dithering I registered. Only one person bought anything off of it and now I feel embarrassed, like it was stupid of me. Which is just being silly, really — registries are just a convenience for people who prefer them — I often buy off-registry myself. We received four gifts, one of which was from the registry. I don’t mind at all; the fact that people went out of their way to rearrange their plans to attend our wedding is more of a symbol of support and love to me than a gift would be! But if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t register, and I cringe a little thinking about it. I hope no one thought less of us for it. Of course, we didn’t include registry information anywhere, so it’s possible that most people just didn’t know! Not a big deal, but a little wince.
Bottom line: everyone told me they had a wonderful time (true or not, it was sweet to hear!), seriously half a dozen told me it was the best wedding food they’d ever had (ditto!), I have delightful memories of seeing my friends and family talking and laughing, we spent no more than we had to spend, and WE’RE MARRIED WE’RE MARRIED WE’RE MARRIED.
And that was our wedding.