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.