Saturday, December 11, 2010


For the past few months, I've been subscribing to an increasing number of wedding sites to gather inspiration. Last night, when I loaded up my Google Reader and the umpteenth washed-out photo of a bride in a white dress topped by a birdcage veil appeared in the list of waiting posts, I realized I was done.

I no longer need to consider each photo, trying to decide if I want to add certain types of shots to our list for the photographer. I don't need to scour the details of the decorations, trying to see if there's yet another thing I should think about incorporating into our wedding. I don't need to contemplate whether an idea I see will fit in with our overall aesthetic.  Morgan and I have got our vision, and it's about as crammed full of ideas as it can be. Everything we've decided on is us, and that's all we need, ultimately.

Maybe soon, when I feel like most of the work is actually completed, I'll be able to enjoy looking through the photos again. But for now, it just feels like so much clutter, and I'm enjoying scrolling right on past.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Am I Losing My Mind Yet?

Well, the wedding is starting to feel close and, while we have a lot of things taken care of, there still are some big items that we haven't really figured out yet. And I think I'm starting to panic a little.

So, most of the big things are done; we have a photographer, officiant, and a cake lined up. Ursula has ordered her dress and another for the maid of honor. We have the venue taken care of (thanks Mom), and the catering (again, thanks Mom). But I haven't really figured out my suit, and it has me a bit worried. Also, there are a lot of little things that I know deep down will fall into place (and we have put some thought into them), but it is starting to feel like a ton to do over the next three months. And of course, these next three months include Christmas, which kind of screws everything up in terms of getting stuff done. At this rate, it feels like I might be getting married with no clothes.

Of course, even though we will be in California for a few weeks, we will be able to take care of a lot of wedding related stuff like getting our marriage license, making honeymoon plans, (hopefully) getting my clothes, and figuring out some decorations and menu items. With some luck, it will feel a little less stressful after that. As it is now, I'm just really happy that I have Ursula next to me; it is a big comfort having someone who is so on top of everything working with me and keeping me motivated.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Looking Forward

It's easy to get caught up in the details of wedding planning. Everything is focused on that one day, trying to achieve the vision we both have of what it should look and feel like. That day is very important to us - we want it to reflect our personalities and our relationship, and just generally be an occasion we will both look back on with pleasure.

At the same time, the wedding day isn't the end. Although from one point of view it's just a day in the continuation of our relationship, from another it's also the beginning of our new married lives.

I wonder what other people see when they look past The Day and into their futures together. A new house? The same house, but with new plates and a new blender? Our future is oddly nebulous.

Looking ahead to the time after the wedding, we'll come back home to Denver and start focusing on preparing for the next big change - a school year in Beijing.
金台夕照 北京中央商务区 CCTV/TVCC/Word Trade CentreIII CBD Beijing
Beijing by Flickr user Dennis Wu
March to September will be all about paring down our belongings and sorting them into Things to Take To China (mostly clothes and personal items), Things to Store (housewares/furniture/other possessions worth keeping), and Things to Get Rid Of (everything else - and I suspect there will be a lot in this category). Once it's all properly allocated, we'll say goodbye to Denver, hopefully for good. (I'd just like to take a moment to point out that Beijing has an Ikea, while Denver isn't getting one till the end of this year.)

Looking even further forward, we'll come back from China to a storage unit of stuff and a life ... where? Who knows where we'll end up?

Lighthouse Sunsetwollestraat, Bruges, Belgium  6:15 am
by Flickr user Wolfgang Staudt
AustinMadrid Cuatro Torres Business Area02
Austin, Texas
from our trip there
Los Cuatro Torres of Madrid
from Wikimedia Commons
As much as it's a little strange looking forward into an unclear future, I'm honestly thrilled about it. I like the idea that we are going to be embarking on a completely different life somewhere in the world. It might be somewhere great; it might be somewhere I can't wait to leave. But wherever that life takes us, we'll be together, and what more could I possibly want?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday, with the extended family or without. We spent the day with just the two of us, and two dogs (dogsitting for a friend, boy was that exhausting). We had some good turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green beans. I think it's hard with just two people, but we managed to make a good variety of things without having an ungodly amount of leftovers (although there is a lot of turkey in the fridge). I think dessert was the best, though; we ordered a pumpkin pie and ice cream from a local shop (Sweet Action Ice Cream rules! Dulce de leche and salted butterscotch ice creams were soooo good!). It definitely made everything a little easier to juggle, I don't know how we would have found space and time to bake our own pie in our kitchen along with everything else.

I think a holiday like this just reinforces why we are happy to be getting married. I'm so thankful to have Ursula here with me to share everything with. Our kitchen is pretty tiny, but even with two dogs in there, I'm always happy to have her in there with me too. And there is no one I'd rather eat turkey with, or share pie and ice cream with. It makes me happy to think that all of our holidays are going to be spent together.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Something Old

I might have come across as completely anti-tradition previously, but I'm really not. Some traditions just don't suit me. But I don't have a problem with "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." I didn't know what the origin was, so with some trepidation (you never know when a wedding tradition is going to have come from completely icky origins), I looked it up. According to the Wedding Bee wiki, the various items just reflect connection to family and luck in marriage, essentially.

I've already decided on my "something old."
1910 Coin     1910 Coin
It's a 1910 gold 2 1/2 dollar coin, known as a quarter eagle. My nonna had it made into a necklace for me shortly before she died in 1991. The older I get, the sorrier I am about all the events in my life that she didn't get to see. She would have absolutely loved Morgan, I know, and I'm equally positive he would have gotten a kick out of her. I wish she could be here for the wedding, but she will definitely be in my thoughts, and wearing this necklace is a good way to honor her.
Nonna, Grandpa, Nonno
My nonna and grandpa with her father in 1943

Friday, November 19, 2010

A weekend on the coast

We've been putting a lot of thought into what we want to do after the wedding. While we don't really have the money or the vacation time to take a honeymoon in Tahiti, we did want to do something special immediately afterwards. After looking around at some places on the coast, we decided that Mendocino would be an awesome place to spend a few days. It's a gorgeous small town, and as luck would have it, we have a friend that works at a bed and breakfast there. It might not end up being sunny beach weather, but it should be great for a low-key getaway. So, we figure we'll spend the first night close to home, and the next day take a drive out to the coast. We're hoping we'll be able to stay at one of the cliffside cottages, which will be perfect for us.
A lovely view. (source)
Really, the idea of spending some time near the ocean with nothing else around just sounds like a perfect start to everything.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things You Won't See at Our Wedding

Not that there's anything wrong with these things ....
  • A flowing white dress
  • Tuxedos (unless you're planning to wear one)
  • A line of bridesmaids (or groomsmen)
  • A groom's cake (I didn't even know these existed until about a month ago - I still don't really get the point)
  • Flower petals scattered on the aisle
  • An aisle
  • A priest/pastor/other religious figure (unless Jesus, Allah or Buddha shows up (they'd be crashing the party though; none of them are on the guest list))
  • Throwing bouquets or accessories into a crowd
You will especially not see a white, flowing Hello Kitty dress.
(source: Hello Kitty Hell)
Uh, yeah. A picture is worth a thousand words to describe
why this is not going to happen at our wedding. (And this,
believe it or not, was from a photography site describing
how to get "sensational bouquet and garter toss photos.")

What will you see? Two people who are thrilled to be getting married to each other.

What was that - you want more specifics? Oh, I think we're going to save that for a little later!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What is a wedding, really?

I think planning a wedding is an interesting challenge to me, because every time I have gone to a wedding I have been bored to tears. For the two of us, the question really becomes "what does a wedding mean to us?"

I think that, from seeing weddings on tv and in movies, the overwhelming perception is that a wedding is supposed to be this huge monumental event. A white, $3000 wedding dress with a huge train, in some cathedral with 200 guests, a whole lineup of bridesmaids and groomsmen, a honeymoon in Tahiti. We can't afford that, for one, but I really don't think that would be what either of us would want.

Okay, maybe a honeymoon in Tahiti would be nice. (source)

The big thing is that neither of us is religious. We don't need to be in a church, married by a priest. In fact, we would be happiest if there were no mention of God in our ceremony. And, speaking of the ceremony, let's keep it short. Let's keep the vibe of the wedding like a party, and not invite anyone we wouldn't want to party with. And we really don't need to spend a lot of money on clothes we are never going to wear again.

I mean, a wedding costs money, that's unavoidable. But we can make sure that money goes towards making it fun and personal. I just want it to be a wedding I want to be at, and I hope our guests feel the same.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DIY is my middle name

Picture this: you're at a craft fair, and as the person next to you picks up something from a booth, they say, "Oh, I could make that."  The people in the booth hate that, because the odds are that even if you could make it, you never will.

I'm guilty of doing that as much as the next person, but more often than not, I do actually try to make things. I see something I think is cool, and it's a very short hop from there to the craft store to buy supplies to make it myself. In other words, I've never met a craft I didn't want to try. (Except maybe quilting, which I had thoughts of doing once upon a time, but there is so much precision and attention to detail required that I'm pretty sure my interest is going to go unfulfilled.)

Which brings me to the wedding, also known as A Great Excuse To Try New Things.

The first (I'm sure there will be more) new thing I've tried is beaded flowers. There are a number of tutorials out there, and I also ordered a book with different techniques. I've only completed a couple of flowers so far, since it takes a bit to get the techniques to stop seeming awkward, but I'm pleased with the results.

A blue rose bud and a ... red flower.

The best part is that I can have flowers of any style I can imagine, in any color I want. And when Morgan asks, "what kind of flower is that?" I can answer, "uh, who knows?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'm a lucky guy

As the wedding has been getting closer, I've been really happy with how everything is going. It's been a lot of fun to plan out little details for how we want the actual ceremony to be, in terms of having it be a wedding we wouldn't be bored to be guests at. There are a million cool things to do and think about related to the ceremony itself.

But really, it's exciting to be marrying Ursula. To think that someone I met under pretty random circumstances, while we were living halfway across the country from each other, would end up being the person that finishes all of my jokes and still laughs at them, likes the food I cook, is willing to watch scary movies with me even though she has to cover her eyes, and would end up being the smartest, funniest girl I've ever met is just pretty damn amazing when I think about it. I'm glad things worked out the way they did, and I feel really lucky.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I promise never to complain about your dirty socks on the floor

Wedding vows are something I've not ever thought about, really. The actual ceremony part of the wedding has always just seemed a little like "have and hold, sickness and health, blah blah, I do" to me. But Morgan and I have talked about how to shoehorn some of ourselves into it all somehow. And this is when I realized that I have a problem with writing our own vows.

Disclaimer: This is all just true for me, and I realize that other people have their own ideas of what works for them, and they should absolutely do whatever feels right to them on their own wedding days.

Often when people write their own, they include in-jokes (or just regular jokes). But to me, the idea of writing vows with humor and lightheartedness injected feels like trivializing what is really a momentous occasion. I can't see myself vowing to stop telling him he folds towels the wrong way, or having him vow that he'll always take out the trash. I mean, really? Is that vow-worthy?

So all right, humor and lightheartedness is out (I bet you're shocked). But what about expressing more heartfelt sentiments?  There must be a lot of meaningful things we could say to each other, right? Right. And I can't imagine either of us saying them in front of a crowd.  We're not really a bare-our-souls-to-the-world sort of couple.

Where does that leave us? Good question. We're planning to look at a lot of different ceremonies. Hopefully we'll be able to pick and choose, add and subtract things that will make the vows seem like they're ours and say what we want to say without veering off into either trivia or maudlin sentimentality.

Friday, October 29, 2010

People take pictures of each other

Our latest wedding-related mission has been to find a photographer. This has been kind of a big endeavor for us; we wanted to find a professional whose style meshes with the vision we have for the wedding. And who fit our budget. So, after looking at a few things that showed up in google searches, we decided to look into the internet underworld that is craigslist.

Now, you never really know what you might find when you go to craigslist. We went over all of the information we wanted to put into our post: where the wedding was, the style of photography we were interested in, size of the wedding, our budget. And just like that, within 24 hours we had about 30 responses from people who wanted to shoot our wedding.

Of course, this is where the real work begins. Have you ever looked at a photographer's website? They seem to be universally filled with Flash nightmares, menus that disappear when you want to use them, and auto-playing wedding music. Now imagine looking over 30 of those cluttered, lumbering behemoths. Of course, some of them were easy to rule out. The wedding photography trend seems to be overexposed, washed out pictures, as if that somehow romanticizes the whole affair. Then there were the people who had never shot a wedding, who were actually videographers, or were happy to shoot our wedding for 3 times our budget (seriously, read our post before you respond).

After a lot of hard work, we have a few photographers who do great work, are in the area, and willing to shoot within our budget. It feels good to be able to find what we were looking for.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brides Are Insane*

In the last month or so as I've been browsing wedding-related sites, I've learned many things. I haven't been to many weddings (three, including my own, which was a go-to-Reno-and-stand-in-front-of-an-officiant-and-say-the-words affair), so it's been very informative.

Some things I've learned:

  • In California, you can have someone deputized for the day to officiate at your wedding.
  • Those flag-type things that hang on a string or whatever are called "bunting."
This may make you think "used car lot,"
but it should make you think "wedding."
(photo from  Blue Moon Studios on Etsy)
  • A lot of people do theme weddings (for a moment, I started to worry that we didn't have a theme. I'm over it now.)
  • To some people, the Chicken Dance is considered traditional.
  • Brides are insane.

The last item isn't on the list because of stories of throwing a tantrum about bridesmaids' dresses or needing to have M&Ms in the wedding colors, oddly enough. No, it comes from reading many pleas for advice and rants about family members/friends/coworkers/people who live on the same block/that one check-out girl at the grocery store planning weddings for the same day/week/month/season/year as the bride's wedding.

I get the idea that it's a big day in your life, but it doesn't exactly preclude anyone else having big days of their own. If someone else has a wedding in the same month, it doesn't mean there's less happiness to go around. I would be annoyed if they were holding it the same day and invited all the same people, but the odds of that are pretty low.  So hey, anyone out there who might decide to get married near my wedding day: more power to you.

*Except me, of course. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting to the fun stuff

We have been making a lot of good progress with the planning. We have a baker lined up for our cake, a girl I know who does some awesome stuff. We have a few really good ideas for what we want it to look like, but are still looking at pictures online to try and refine our vision.
Although this is almost perfect.

We also getting close to having a photographer figured out. We put a post up on craigslist and got about 30 responses in 12 hours, about 15 of which looked good and fit in our budget. We are now in the process of going through all of those to figure out which best fits our style. So things are really exciting; many of the most stressful details seem to be sorting themselves out, leaving the fun details for us to work on. And we are happy about that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Proposal

I suppose something everyone is probably curious about is how the proposal actually happened.

It wasn't a total surprise. Morgan's mom had offered him his grandmother's ring just in case he was thinking about proposing. When the package containing the ring arrived, though, he didn't open it in my presence, and he hid the ring. So then it just became like when I was a kid and I lived with my cousin who loved to hide around corners and jump out and scare me because it cracked her up the way I screamed and waved my hands around - I knew it was going to happen sometime soon, I just didn't know when.

September 12 was a day like any other, pretty much. The weather was nice, and we'd decided that after dinner we would walk down to Sweet Action Ice Cream with Penny. I think I had their Red Velvet ice cream, which was delicious. (I love red velvet - how would you all feel about a red velvet wedding cake? ... I'm kidding. Probably.)

When we got home, I sat down on the couch with my computer and Morgan disappeared off in the other room for a minute. The next thing I knew, he was on one knee in front of me with the ring. He asked, I said yes (I actually think I said "of course" first, and then corrected myself to "yes"), and that was that.


So, it doesn't include a Jumbotron, a path of rose petals, or a 28 carat diamond. But it suits us very well - low key, private, meaningful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Planning Like Crazy

Well the wedding plans are underway; I have to say, it is simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. We are hoping our early Spring wedding will have some nice weather for us, but it is hard to know what to expect. Since the event will be happening rain or shine, the best we can do is keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to do most of it outdoors.

So far, we have been playing with ideas for the invitations, looking into honeymoon locations, researching dresses, suits, and shoes, cakes, photographers, and a million other things. It is sort of a challenge doing this 1200 miles from where we'll be having the wedding, but we have still been having fun so far. It will be great to have some of the basics figured out so we can start focusing on the little details.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And so it begins

There's one thing checked off our to-do list!

Welcome!  Morgan and I are thrilled, and busy. We're looking forward to sharing some of the highlights of the next few months with everyone.

Among other things, we're hoping this blog will be useful for people who are coming, and let people who aren't coming follow along. You can ask questions, and we'll do our best to answer them (reserving the right to keep some things to ourselves!).