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.