Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good-bye 2010 and Hello 2011!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

While our family grew up celebrating Christmas in very different ways, over the years we've created a few new traditions in how we celebrate the day. Our immediate family and an occasional friend come over on Christmas morning for breakfast, stockings and presents. We have kept my family tradition of opening gifts one at a time, youngest to oldest. While this slow pace has driven Kandi crazy over the years she has been great about accepting how important that is for us. We're still working out how to ensure everyone's traditions are incorporated - or if there are new traditions we want to start - but we have a lifetime for that!

Sadly, we found out on Sunday that our wonderful Pastor Barb will be leaving the church for a 6 month position with another church. Frankly, our church is struggling financially and she and her husband Pastor Rich were already sharing what would be less than half of one salary in most churches. This is a great opportunity for her financially, but puts a few questions into the air for us in terms of our ceremony as she may be asked to stay after the 6 month position expires which would mean that she was technically the pastor of another church during our planned ceremony time. Pastor Rich will move from a co-pastor/support role at our church to being the sole pastor, and while he is great we have a special bond with Pastor Barb and really want her to lead our ceremony. We'll have to make sure this can all work as planned when we see them next weekend.

Getting married in our church is so important for Kandi and I. Before Pastor Barb we didn't even know it was an option to have a Holy Union Ceremony at the church so it would be strange to even think about doing it without her. Just when we thought the pastor and the location was the one thing that was finalized and could never change...

We don't get the opportunity to really make any decisions about our big day until I'm employed so I'm not only feeling the pressure, but I'm also SO frustrated to not be able to make some decisions so we can start moving forward in planning. We've been engaged for 2 months and we're "saying" that the ceremony is 10 months away so of course folks keep asking about it, and I love their hopeful curiosity. It just makes it a bit tough harder on me because every conversation is a reminder that I don't have a job yet. When someone asks, "So, have you set a date yet?" with nothing but love and interest in their voice it's tough to answer, "We can't make any decisions until I have a job." Talk about Debbie Downer. We try to talk around it a bit. Mention that we've looked at quite a few places but just haven't made a decision. But when they start asking quite a few questions or talking about how we better nail down something soon I have had to explain that we would love to - but just can't until we know more about my future employment. Unfortunately, many folks that we have ultimately had to explain that we're at a pause point until I secure a job, will continue to ask again next time we see them. Yep, still can't make any decisions because I'm unemployed. Still can't get a job. Thanks for bringing it up. I know they certainly don't mean it that way and it's certainly not their fault. But it brings a bit of sadness to something that we want to just feel so happy and excited about.

January will be here soon. Three places have said that they should have some "movement" by the end of January so my fingers are firmly crossed.

Here's to the end of an amazing 2010 and to a wonderfully blessed new year to come!

Monday, December 6, 2010

New friends, new opportunities!

This weekend we went to a "Bridal Expo" this weekend that was organized by the amazing Bamboo Bakery. We have seen them at 2 other events and Kandi is head over heels for their Red Velvet cake. I loved their Banana - and love the idea as it's not your "standard" cake. As soon as I heard they would have 15 different cake flavors available for testing I knew we had to be there.

Rather than having to pay for entry because they were renting out some hotel space as many other events do, this event was held right in front of the shopping plaza where Bamboo Bakery and several other celebration themed vendors all have their retail homes. When we pulled up to the strip mall we initially thought - "well, it's small but at least there's cake" but boy were we wrong. There were more vendors at this event than any others we've gone to so far. We got there at 3:30pm and didn't leave until almost 7pm - just as the fashion shows were about to start. At that point we'd seen everything and were hungry so we had to go but we did get to see some of the models lining up as we walked to the car.

We found a florist that we really clicked with. The name of the company is Crazy Daisies Flowers and Gifts. Michelle, the owner/designer, and her husband were there and while she was chatting with us he was actively creating some arrangements in the background. I liked some of the ideas she had and they both liked one of the big ideas I had for the big day. Her husband even joked that they would be stealing that for a future event. She was almost finishing my sentences by the time we were done - we just clicked. While we haven't gone down the road of figuring out our budget yet for floral (again, job kinda comes first...), and we didn't ask Michelle much about her pricing, I think it's quite possible that we may have just found our florist. :)

We also met a really nice photographer. His company is SJA Studios. When I started talking to him he was just thinking "normal wedding". After Kandi walked back over from looking at another booth and I introduced her as my partner he got SO excited. He mentioned he had never done a same sex ceremony but he has 2 gay sisters. I think he was pretty excited about the idea. Heck, I think he was MORE excited about the idea of having us/me as a customer once he knew it was a same sex ceremony than he was when we would have just been a "normal" event. We will definitely put him into consideration when deciding our photographer.

One of the little booths/tables was a sign for "Indian and Arabic Henna". I have been absolutely fascinated by the detailed designs done on brides hands and feet in Indian tradition. Not only are the designs just incredible, but I think it's amazing that they often make it a major event in having this done with family and friends around contributing one more party to the pre-wedding festivities. I've heard that more and more western brides are incorporating something like this into their big day but I've been hesitant to do something like that. BUT - that sign said Arabic Henna... I'd never heard of Arabic Henna before and as someone who is half Arabic, I was intrigued. She showed me several designs explaining the differences in the style between Indian and Arabic styles. Briefly, Indian Henna is filled with tons of tiny little details and designs and is usually a golden to medium brown color. Arabic Henna is often a more organic flow with floral designs or inspiration from art incorporated into the design and it is generally a very dark brown to almost black color. So, she asked if I'd like to try it out. I give into my curiosity and, since I was wearing a long sleeve sweater, give her my hand. About 2-3 minutes later, she was done.

(Hours later after removing the dried application)

About a minute into her design I made the comment to Kandi that I was totally safe in getting this now as I wasn't likely to have any phone calls asking me to come in the next day for an interview.

Monday afternoon I got a call to come in for a Tuesday interview.

If I get this job, henna is officially my new lucky charm.

All in all a really good weekend with lots of new information - and the potential for an even better week! Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving in retrospect

We had a wonderful holiday long weekend filled with some of the best things in life - friends, family and shopping.

Wednesday I made some traditional pumpkin pies and then some rolls that were famously made by my Aunt Mary Jane who hasn't been with us for several years now. I don't make them often because they take SO much time and are never as good as when she made them. But they remind me of her every time as I had her describe to me how to make them and I wrote down every word she said. It cracks me up every time when I get to the line about when to turn your oven on because if you do it any earlier you will run up your electricity bill. Gotta love it.

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, was wonderful. Just Kandi and I cooking, watching the parade and house prepping until late afternoon. Going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is totally on our bucket list. We event talked at one point Thursday about making that our Honeymoon since the timing would be almost perfect but know it will likely have to wait for another year. We had a small group of family and friends that came over about 4 and were there until after 10pm. Late in the night we were able to get some wedding day opinions from them which proved to be very interesting. Got their thoughts on week day vs. weekend, start times, colors, indoor/outdoor etc. It was nice to run them by other folks but at the same time, we later discussed that it was also a reminder of why we are likely to do it on our own for most of the planning. While we like other folks input here and there, for some of the items we don't want to hear that someone else doesn't "love" something we love. It was really great to do at this point in the process.

Friday we'd planned to go to the stores nice and early to get some deals. When the alarm when off that morning we decided that we would actually rather just sleep and save the money. Later that day we went to Pie Party - our friends Kate & John's annual must attend event. Their house is amazing and I've loved it since I first met them 10 years ago and it just gets better. They have done such great things with it. (Though I still miss the 50's style booth in the eat in part of the kitchen - I will admit that their re-do of the kitchen is absolutely fantastic) One day when I was feeling frustrated with the the costs and obstacles in selecting a reception venue I'd joked to Kandi that we were just going to do it at Kate's house and that I'd let her know when we saw her for Pie Party. When I mentioned that to Kate she said that the people who lived there before them actually HAD hosted several weddings in their back yard. I think we'll keep her house off the official list for now, but if I don't get a job in the next few months - it goes on the list. :)

Saturday we decided to do just a little bit of shopping. Bought a few Christmas gifts AND bought a few wedding things. Two small things and one big thing. We bought a wax stamp to be able to put on the back of the invitations with a design we really liked, and we bought matching white hats with "BRIDE" in rhinestone on the front. Then our big thing was a treadmill. Doesn't seem very wedding-y I know, but it is. We've been working on getting healthy over the last few years but have never been great about working out. We know that we both want to be healthier (Not skinny - just healthier than our current weight) by the time of our ceremony so this was a huge step. It was a great sale and we've talked about getting one for years so we decided to take the plunge. We spent the evening with friends playing board games and eating pizza. Not super healthy - but not awful.

Sunday was all about being lazy, relaxing and then putting together the treadmill. Successful on all counts. We love lazy Sundays and it was great to have after a busy weekend. Gave us time to really think about our week, and talk about how thankful we were for everything we have and the great friends and family who are in our life. Hope you are still thankful to be in our lives after all the DIY adventures we're sure to have as we get closer and closer to the big day! You didn't know about that? Well, consider yourselves warned. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving blessings

Ahh.... Thanksgiving. A time to be thankful, be with friends and family, and generally stuff yourself. It's also the beginning of the "season of traditions". You know - "my family does it like this..." or "When I was a kid we did this and I want it to be like that for our kids". For new families it is one of the times of greatest stress because each person wants exactly what they want which leaves very little room for their equal partner to have things just the way they want.

Our First Thanksgiving together we didn't really spend together. While we were largely inseparable, we didn't actually live together. She went to her aunt's house and I went with my family. We spoke on the phone a few times during the day of but didn't see each other until that evening.

For our second Thanksgiving we were living together and Kandi came to my family's Thanksgiving celebration. Though the idea of having all the family together was certainly right up her alley, almost none of the food felt like "Thanksgiving" to her. So, she called her family back in Ohio and got them to explain over the phone to her everything that she would need to make a Thanksgiving meal. The next day, when we should have been out enjoying the crush of fellow shoppers, we made Kandi's Thanksgiving. Rather than make a big turkey she did Cornish hens, cornbread dressing, baked macaroni and cheese, and greens. All from scratch. All amazing. Something I was just reminded of this year - she had never made any of these items before, but it was important to her to have them - so she did them. I was impressed.

By Thanksgiving #3 we had a house that we'd rented together and we decided to have family and friends over to our house. I remember we used our dining room table, 2 card tables and 2 TV Trays pushed together. They had already learned that when Kandi cooked - it was an event not to be missed. Kandi fried the turkey in the backyard, we did a coke and brown sugar ham, her Grandmother's cornbread dressing, baked macaroni and cheese, greens with a smokey ham hock, potato salad and her Grandmother's famous pound cake for dessert. And was it ever a hit!!! The turkey was gone so fast I didn't even get a serving. One of my brothers made his second plate almost completely macaroni and cheese and even though he doesn't eat pork, he ate the heck out of those greens. By the end of that meal our new family tradition was set. Kandi makes her "standards" and friends and family bring over their pot-luck sides.

Most years we have had 12-18 people but somehow this year we have a tiny group. Just 9 folks are expected here. We haven't had "single digits" ever before. Ever. But while our numbers are fewer, our food is still big. :) Sure, she cut back on making quite so many pans of dressing and mac and cheese (though she still knew to make 2 pans with my brothers coming...) we still have a ton of options. Everyone can be stuffed and we'll still have a gob of leftovers. Our guest list may be small but our food and thanks are plenty. We've had many blessings this year.

While I may be unemployed now - we are ever so thankful for the temporary job I had last year. Not only did that keep us going as a household it also helped bring a full time job to Aunt Patti and a part time job to Kandi. Little did I know that many of the dollars earned at that part time job were going to the beautiful diamond ring on my hand right now. While we have family that is still struggling to embrace that "the greatest of these is love", we are so thankful for the friends and family and neighbors and practical strangers who have shared love and tears of joy when hearing of our engagement. Those special moments and conversations have filled our hearts in ways you might never have realized.

We are thankful to have almost accidentally found an amazing church filled with history, stained glass, traditions and so much love it's just about bursting from the seams. We've been going about 4 years now and since most of the congregation are senior citizens we've seen our numbers drop more and more each year. That said, they give us hope every Sunday. When celebrating a congregant's 90th birthday last month and seeing pictures of he and his wife when they were barely in their 20's - we saw what we hope to be. Each person is so special to us, and knowing that even in this traditional congregation our love is so embraced and celebrated by folks who came from a generation or two ahead of us is something we never could have imagined - and yet now can't imagine being without.

We are thankful for Pastor Barb who asked us to be the first Holy Union for the church. It touched us more than you will know. Your sermons both inspire us and make us think. We couldn't have any one else lead us on our special day.

And of course - we are thankful for each other. No one else deserves us and no one else would put up with us. I say it regularly and it's always true - I love you more every day. Every. Single. Day. More.

Happy Thanksgiving to my baby and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something ugly?

The more I look at wedding dresses the uglier they are. Seriously. How in the world does someone create this and think "This will make a bride feel beautiful"?


Lace and ribbon and bows and poofy-ness. That dress is almost everything I don't want to be. I also don't want to be uber uptight where my dress must be without wrinkle or flaw and my train must lay just so at all times and a if a hair were to fall out of place I'd positively break down. That is just SO not me.

Then again, Kandi doesn't have it much better.

She really wants a bridal pantsuit. She's never really been a dress kind of person - which likely goes back to being forced to wear skirts for Catholic school when she didn't want to go there in the first place. Between the nuns with their rulers and being forced to go to Mass when you aren't even Catholic, I suppose I can understand. I think a nice suit is great in theory and I know she could rock it, but it's been amazingly hard to find. So far they've either looked like a) A male white suit - which is SO not what she wants, b) The kind of suit one would see at a black southern baptist church with matching hat and shoes worn by someone 2-2x her age, c) Just ugly. If we could find something like this in white, we could be on to something...

I did find a few dresses that were "ok" and I found a few that I super love - but of course those are through online only venues and since the dresses are custom made for you there is no trying it on first which makes the prospect a bit scary. I'm telling myself that for right now I'm looking at ideas and I won't worry too much about it all until February or March. That gives me tons of time to find new ideas, new dress designers, new dress stores, and maybe a seamstress.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A million little decisions

It's tough for an hour to go by without my mind drifting to some topic related to "the big day". It's exciting and I hear that's fairly normal. I want to start planning things and setting dates and reserving spaces and picking caterers and trying on dresses and a million other things. But as much as I want to do them and feel like I NEED to do them there is one more important thing that I need to do first.

I need to find a job.

Yes, I am happily engaged, but unhappily unemployed. I just finished a temporary job working for the Census that was just amazing. It was such a historic opportunity - and paid well enough that I was able to both save up and work on paying off debt. I was so happy to have even that temporary position as I had been unemployed for 6 months after a layoff earlier in the year. But now.... now I'm back to looking for work. So while all this Ceremony ADD is kind of cute to some folks - it isn't helping me at all in getting a job.

When we talk with folks they ask innocent little questions about what we're planning and I just keep thinking about how I can't even give them a date yet because until we can put down some cash to save a venue, I can't be sure which date we'll secure. And until we have a venue I can't decide on about a hundred other things so no decisions have been made.

It can get a bit frustrating but I'm trying to keep that as motivation and not a distraction. It's helped me keep more focused as I worked on a recent proposal and send out a few resumes. I can't be distracted by something shiny anymore - well, I at least need to cut it down. Maybe next week I can get it down to thinking about it only once every 2 hours? It would be progress, right?

Another thing that we think might help is if we start making SOME decisions. We've started doing things with the guest list so we can get an initial feeling of who will be invited and who will likely be there so we get an estimate. We've toured several venues and have several others we're planning to go to shortly. We are going to look to see what flowers are in season this time of year so we can both start planning flowers and maybe use that to decide what our colors are going to be. They are all little things, but we both think it would be great to have some decisions made.

Then again, we have the important decisions made. I have her. She has me. We have an awesome church and an amazing Pastor ready to perform the ceremony. Everything else is just a bonus.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Facebook official

I didn't even know it was an option, but thanks to Kandi we are now "Facebook official" and have changed our "status" to engaged. Officially moved from "in a relationship with ___" to "Engaged to ____". As often happens several folks commented or "Liked" the status update and every one makes us smile and feel that extra bit of excitement and warmth that we're supposed to feel at this time.

Because we aren't your average John and Jane getting hitched, while those "Like's" are appreciated, we also have to steady ourselves for the Un-likes. Of course we expect to get that from individuals of some circles of society who feel that this is somehow "wrong" and those are certainly easy to take. They can have their opinion and we have ours. We have a strong relationship with our church and our patriotism and no criticism from the outside world will change that.

That's not to say that it doesn't hurt a bit when it comes from your family.

My coming out process went something like this.
Me: Mom, I'm dating a girl.
Mom: That's nice. Did I tell you what happened at work the other day?

For Kandi it wasn't quite that simple. I'll always remember having to hide in her room when an old friend of her's dropped by or needing to be extra quiet when she was on the phone with family. We were together about 9 months before she told her mom. And it took almost an extra year before she told the rest of the family. I was "her friend" for quite a while but over the years as they've gotten to know me better I became their daughter, their cousin, their granddaughter their niece - their family. It was a slow process - but one we knew would be worth the wait. For those that are on Facebook I was added to their Family Tree. We were Facebook Official family.

Kandi and I imagined that the engagement excitement would pick up on where we are now, but have found that for some members of our family it's the coming out process all over again. I anticipated that quite a bit of my extended family would fall into the "polite but unaccepting" category when it came to our announcement. My side of the family isn't exceptionally close and in our 10 years together they many have seen Kandi, and me for that matter, only a few times. This distance allows me to not be too upset when those "polite unlike" opinions come, but to be happy when true congratulations are given.

Kandi's family is very close. They have the kind of relationship I'd heard of in movies but didn't really think existed until I met her. Aunts, uncles, cousins - they all talk on the phone at least once a week. They call just to say hello. They call to talk about something they saw on TV. They call to talk about things that happened in their home town - as most of the group still live there in a 15 minute range of each other. And of course, they call to talk about each other. It's awesome.

It's been 4 months since she bought the ring and several weeks since I had it on my finger and only two members of her family have really said congratulations. Some have changed the topic. Several others have shared their conflicted disapproval. This is of course difficult. And unfortunate.

I firmly believe that just as the initial acceptance took some time, so will the acceptance that we are having this ceremony and making this commitment. I believe that God works in amazing ways and will help them to see past fears, insecurities and really unfortunate bible passages that some religions pluck out of a group, hold as unbending and then ignore or explain away all others that were part of the same group as if they didn't mean those quite as much. I believe that the greatest of all things is love and with it one can accomplish amazing things.

But -

We are only doing this once. You can only come to this once. I need that warm and loving light to shine on them in the next 6-8 months to ensure that my sweetie has her whole loving family around her on her special day. It may not be easy, but I have to believe it can happen.

Lots of hope. Lots of prayer. Lots of love.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ceremony ADD

Talk about whirlwind!

At the beginning of last week I had put all ceremony thoughts on the back burner and was focused on making our house positively ooze Halloween as we were doing a Saturday night Halloween Party. We've never done one before, but this year my partner couldn't have been more excited about it. Seemed natural enough as we had just done our first "big" Halloween the year before so it seemed normal that she'd take this one to the next level.

The party was going well and everything seemed to be running as planned until she took me outside and I saw this.

She then pulls out a ring and pops the big question right in front of our family and friends, who had all walked outside before me while I was in the other room oblivious to it all. It was the ring I'd fallen in love with when we'd looked long ago. Of course I said yes. Neither of us remember exactly what we said. We remember she said she loved me and wanted to be with me for the rest of her life. She said that we make each other be better people. There were lots of I love you's shared. While the words may not be so clear, I will forever remember that she proposed to me in a banana suit.

I found out afterward that the majority of the crowd knew this was happening. She had also called my mother weeks earlier to officially ask for her permission. My mom, being the mom she is was apparently all tears of joy and told her how she already thought of her as a daughter and of course she had her blessings. I also found out that my partner had the ring IN THE HOUSE since August 4th! I'd been SO close to it so many times and had never known...

So now, my brain is on nothing but ceremony planning. I'm calling it Ceremony ADD. Because no matter how hard I've tried to work on something else - I have no attention span for anything except planning, planning and more planning. It doesn't help that I have the most beautiful ring on my finger shining at me wherever I go.

Not that I'm complaining. :)

I need to be focused on my job searching. I need to be focused for a certification exam. And I'd like to read the last Harry Potter before the movie comes out in a few weeks. But all I want to do is look at my ring and plan our big day. I think I'll let myself be this way for maybe a few more days but then I really have to get back in the swing of things! I really do. I do. I do. I do...

And I'm right back to thinking about the ceremony. Ceremony ADD. Dang it!

It's kinda awesome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feeling the ceremony spirit

It's October and in Phoenix that means it is the beginning of Wedding season. Wedding season. That's a phrase I hadn't even thought about until recently. I'd always thought of May/June as the wedding season (April showers, May flowers, June weddings) but I should have realized that we aren't the only Phoenicians who like the idea of having the ceremony without the sweltering heat. This means we will be competing with tons of other folks for the same locations since we are looking to have the ceremony in October or early November at the latest. With childhood memories of "knowing" that you are supposed to begin planning everything a year out, we've been looking more and more at the everything that makes up the details of the event. Like a firm date. And a location. Pretty important details, right?

Last week I did something unexpected - I bought my first bridal magazine. It was gigantic, filled with pretty pictures to give me tons of expensive and unrealistic expectations, and most importantly specifically based on the Arizona bride. That's important to me as I don't want to be bombarded with images of brides at Irish castles or in lush forests when I'm in the middle of the desert and don't have any real access to a castle. The magazine is called Arizona Weddings and they also have a pretty robust web site. I'll admit, I've only made it about 20 pages into the magazine in the last week as it all gets a bit overwhelming. At about page 15 there was a list of what you should be doing or have done at the 12 month, 9 month, 6 month, 3 month, etc point down to the day of the wedding. I must have re-read that about 40 times. Every time I felt like we were further and further behind.

But - the show must go on! So, as of tomorrow we are going to a local spot called Venue at the Grove for an open house. This spot is close to our house and not too far from the church which is a huge plus. The pictures on the website look beautiful and almost make me wish we were doing a location ceremony as they have such a great spot for it - but nothing beats getting married in our own church. The big question is going to be - how is the reception area and what are our options for really using that beautiful outdoor space. And the biggest question - is this going to be our reception location???

Scared, excited and more than a little bit "OMG! OMG! OMG!". :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The adventure begins!

It all began with a Facebook comment by my pastor. Though officially, I suppose it started 9 years earlier on our first date - though we certainly didn't know it at the time...

After more than 9 years together, my partner and I had certainly talked about having some sort of commitment ceremony. We both had a general vision of what it would be like and we only would want to do it once in our lives. But, though our relationship gets better year after year, we hadn't quite been able to put together the savings to make it happen.

Where we live in Arizona there is no marriage and there is no civil union but about a year ago they did create a "Domestic Partner" registry. That registry grants one and only one right - hospital visitation. Nothing else. They might as well call it "Hospital registration commitment". So you can imagine that we weren't exactly rushing to the courthouse in white dresses and flowers in hand to sign off on that piece of paper.

Then earlier this year we found out that she was going to have to have a small surgery. There is always that fear that "something" will happen and we might be denied the right to see each other by the hospital administration. So, we decided to make that run to the courthouse. On her lunch break. Wearing jeans and t-shirts we wrote our name on the bottom line and the man behind the counter stamped it and said "Congratulations - you can be hospitalized!". We celebrated the remaining 15 minutes of lunch break by grabbing lunch at McDonald's. Looking at the time we said "I do" need to get back to work, did a quick kiss in the parking lot and went our separate ways. With our work schedules we likely wouldn't see each other awake for the next 3 days. Heck of a honeymoon, right?

In a quick post on Facebook a few hours later I shared that I was now officially Domestic Partnered. There were of course some general congratulations, but there was one that clearly stood out to us both. The comment of my Pastor. We are part of a small historic church with a congregation that has gotten smaller and smaller over the years as it's parishioners have aged and moved - but those that remain are strong, loyal and have some of the best hearts I've ever seen. There are many Sunday's were I'm clearly the youngest one in the room - but I don't mind. I began going there a few years ago and it has become home.

My Pastor's comment was, "Wow! Yea! Congrats! Wanna be our first holy union?"

Yes. Yes we do.

We'd dreamt of getting married in the church. Walking down that historic but humble aisle. We weren't sure of the policy there and hadn't quite gotten far enough in our ceremony plans to even ask the question. But to officially be asked to be the first was an amazing honor. And just like that it became real. We can have an official holy ceremony in the church. I guess we better start planning.

And so we did. And so began our fabulous adventure.