Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A lovely "normal" Easter

Easter was lovely.  Nice break from thinking about wedding details.  Went to church.  Had friends and family over for a nice Easter dinner.  It was absolutely perfect in that absolutely normal kind of way. 

And that got me thinking...

One thing that I keep thinking about, but haven't chatted about is the absolutely normal way it's all gone.  That may sound strange but let me say it's really not what we expected when we started this process. 

We thought the church might say no. For year's we'd wondered, scared to find out what they would say.  Instead they came to us before we could even come to them.  There have been nothing but loving open arms. 

We thought looking for vendors would require lots of explanation. We expected to have our "Actually there isn't a groom - this is my partner Kandi" to be followed by the dreaded - "oh.....<silence and judgmental stare>".  You know what we got instead?  "Really?  That's awesome!"  or "That would be so cool - I haven't done a same-sex ceremony before and I really wanted to!".  I'd say that we've been shocked, but there was nothing shocking about it.  It all felt so...normal.

And let's remember - this is Arizona.  Just a few years ago my state, that I love so much, voted though a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to only Man+Woman.  It was the same election cycle that passed Prop 8 and elected Obama.  Talk about mixed emotions. We actually went to a protest the next day.  I think Kandi's sign said it all...

We are happy to fight for our rights, but we were not looking forward to the "fight" for our catering rights.  Or the "struggle" for photographic equality.  But we were ready.  And then...

It was easy.  It was normal.  Everyone loved us.  Everyone wanted to work with us. 

Now don't think I'm so in the wedding haze that the thought is ever lost on me that of COURSE they want to work with us.  Gay wedding $ spends just as good as straight wedding $ and when times are tight, as we all know they are - business is business.  And I know that the folks we're talking to live and die by their ability to make couples feel good.  Make them feel happy and cozy and loved so they'll fork over their hard earned (or Daddy's hard earned) cash.  But at the same time, our B.S. meters are pretty high.  We can normally detect a fake comment.  And we have.  But those were the "I say this to all the brides because it makes them happy" kind of comments.  Hard to fault someone from a few of those when they do this over, and over, and over again.  

But just as there is something wonderful about a holiday with family and friends that goes so smoothly you might call it the "same old boring thing" when you loved every minute of it, this process has been the same old boring wedding planning thing.  Go to bridal shows.  Taste cakes.  Try caterers. Try on dress.  Same old.  Same old.  No one blinks an eye - unless it's a positive comment.   How amazing they think it is that we've been together 10 years.  How they think it's so stupid it's not legal in the state.  How generally awesome they think we are. 

No struggle.  No push back.  Just love. 

Just a normal wedding.  For two fabulous "normal" girls. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A showing-our-Pride kind of weekend

It almost feels like a slow week until I remember everything that's gone down! A few days of putting off an update here and I feel like I'll lose more of the details - so time to post!

Thursday we met the florist to check out both a florist and a "hard goods" place.  Yea, we didn't know what that meant either.  It's the place that sells all the stuff that won't die.  Vases, ribbon, aisle runners, tulle, candle holders, sparkly things and a wide assortment of dried and silk-ish flowers.  It was awesome.
Amazing, right?  Each bundle is 25 roses and there were more than the 6 I got in this picture.  Wow. 

I love these.  Their name escapes me right now, but I can still like them.  :)
Not sure how or if we'll use this, but I thought it was a "different" kind of option for filler.  Very natural. 

Aren't these cute?  Such a great color punch.  The florist said she's even pulled off the little colored ball at the end and strung them together to make a garland.  I said that's likely too rich for our blood, but I like the idea.  For someone else.
While we were at the hard goods store I felt like I was on some fantasy shopping trip. I had to remind myself that whatever I liked - I paid for. So I tried to remember that - but you know me.  I like it all.  I may have held back, but most folks never would have thought I was!  While we found some great ideas, I also saw something that I thought was SO ugly I couldn't help but make a comment.

In the back there were some large manzanita trees that had been spray painted a bright red.  These beautiful natural trees now looked like red lacquer.  Icky.  So I said so.  More than once.  Ok, so I said it a lot.  They were just really, really ugly to me. Ugly.

This weekend was Pride.  Yea Pride!  Another chance for a parade and free beads.  We really love a parade.  At one point, early on, I really tried to think of how I could incorporate parades into the wedding as that is one thing we've done consistently since we got together - and are really known for doing.  We have such a great time. 

Saturday morning was the parade, then after some errands and lunch we went into the festival.  This was their second year for having a wedding tent, and it was our first stop.  The first thing we noticed was the Air Conditioning.  When the day was a high of 96 degrees, these things matter.  Then we started checking out the vendors who were there.  The third vendor we saw was in fact the hard goods place that we'd just visited a few days before.  Then, as we're going to the next booth, I see it.  Or shall I say - them.

There they were.  The ugliest trees in the world.

Up on stage where the fashion show was about to begin.

It was awful.  And hilarious.  All I kept thinking was, "You know, we're not all THAT gay..."

But apparently - someone who organized this really is. 

After the Pride festival we went to dinner with my Mom - who was so sad she had to miss all the festivities but her friend's wedding started the same time as the parade.  There will always be next year's parade, but hopefully that will be her only wedding so of course we understood.

We went home to change clothes and have a good 15 minutes of quiet time on the sofa as there wasn't time for a disco nap and then we went to the club.

I like the idea of going out. I like dancing, being with friends, drinking my water with lemon and being the designated driver.  I really do.  I enjoyed where we went, and they were even playing good music.  But dear HEAVENS I think I may have either babysat for some of these kids in the club - or for their parents.  While I'm sure I wasn't the oldest person in the place, I was clearly in the top 10%.  So what's a girl to do?

Close the place down.  Oh yea - we were there until the bar was closing up, the last song played, and until - in the words of Prince - the ugly lights came on.  Take that 22 year-old's. 

Then, Friday I got a text and then a call from Kellie at The Big Picture who took our engagement photos.  We had such a busy weekend I didn't really get to see them until Sunday.  We've been waiting to see all the shots that she gave us since our shoot a little over two months ago.  She let us see some teasers - but it's been a long tease!  Now, we have almost 300 to chose from.  Still haven't heard anything about pricing (we never did know what came with what we won when we won it so we've just been happy for everything we've gotten so far!) to get some of the pictures. But since she has given it all to us for free, we wanted to return the favor and share some publicity her way so we're posting the info on Facebook and here for others to see.  About 24 hours after posting it we have 10 likes, 16 comments and 2 re-posts - one of which will be sharing her info with a friend of hers who is looking for a photographer.  The more you get, the more you give back, right?

If you aren't one of the many who saw the pictures, you can check them all out at her View the Big Picture blog.  Well, actually she did a cute little write up on us that included some of the pictures and then she included a link where you could see the other hundreds of options.  As I said on Facebook - enjoy the cuteness!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I said yes

My most important Yes was to the girl.  The yes everyone has been asking me about ever since then is the dress.  And on Tuesday I found one that made me say yes. But first, a few other updates.

On Wednesday we went to Atlasta Catering and had a really amazing tasting with my mom and Kandi's Aunt Patti. We just tried 5 things from the menu that we liked the most online.  Things weren't as good as they sounded - they were better.  And, we found out that they do all sorts of other things including table/chair/linen rentals which means if they were doing that too we wouldn't need to pay for a day-of coordinator to make sure the stuff was all set up - they take care of it.  It could be a nice savings. As a bonus, they are familiar with both our site and in using 8-person square tables.  Of course it doesn't hurt that the woman we worked with was also awesome. 

Sunday we scheduled to meet our florist.  Yes, it's official now that Michelle from The Crazy Daisies will be our florist.  We had that special moment of bonding when we met, and it was destiny.  Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?  So often brides come to her and say, I want this, this and this, and it has to look like this.  I find that to be boring.  I liked Michelle's outside the box creativity and I wasn't about to stifle her with all sorts of boring rules about what we wanted.  Her only limitation is our budget.  We're having to stretch it a bit (my goodness flowers are expensive!) but we know that Michelle will work to keep that number as low as possible.  She loved the reception space - and who wouldn't?  It definitely inspired her.  I think after getting to know us after all this time and then seeing the two spaces she has a really good idea of who we are and what we want.  We're totally on the right track there.  She wants to take us to a floral wholesaler to see what flowers and hard goods we love so we just need to find some time that we can randomly take off in the middle of the day to make that happen since it's only open from 6am-2pm M-F.  Yikes!  We'll find a way!

Now, back to the dress.  You aren't going to see if of course.  Kandi is on a need to know basis and all she needs to know is how to match it.  So here's the info.  It's white.  It has silver accents.  Done.  Other than that I have a few friends who've seen it, and Aunt Patti will see it so she can go with Kandi to make sure the outfit she chooses will match nicely.  And just so you know - I'm not allowed to see that one either.  Which somehow, even though I know it is, doesn't seem fair.  Then again, it also was really strange for me to make such a big decision about a dress without my best friend there beside me.  But of course, she's not allowed to see until the big day. 

While I can't share what did make the cut I can certainly share a few of the contenders.  Well, they weren't all contenders, but they all had their good points. 

This was our top pic after 2 hours at Azteca. I know how happy I look in this picture but we had to "hide" that we were even taking these pictures as they were NOT allowed.  We were such rebels!
This one came in second. There was a LOT of skirt on that dress!  You can also see some of Aunt Patti's hair and her shoulder in the bottom corner.  And you know how she loves pictures...

And then we went to David's Bridal.  We did not have high expectations at all.  We'd heard nothing good.  And yet that wasn't what we found at all.  This dress had a champagne accent and our consultant advised it was perfect then for the mother of the bride to wear a champagne dress to match.  Nice idea, right?

How cute is this?  I have to say it's one of my favorite pictures from the whole dress trying-on process.  I love this hat.  I so wanted a hair piece kind of like this.  And it was the only dress that I found that worked really well for what I wanted.  And yet - I didn't get that dress...
This is a better picture of the dress.  It's cute.  I had to hold the top to get it to sit right on me, but that is a quick fix in alterations.  The gathers are nice, though I'm not totally in love with gathers (often feels princess-y) I do love how they hide a tummy! It had just a tiny little train too. 

The bottom on this is really cute and has great "movement" when I walked.  But even better movement when I swirled around.  :)  Still a kid at heart. 
This dress was the other real contender.  You know all those dreams most girls are supposed to have about their wedding day?  I think it's been established here that I really didn't have many of those.  That said, I remember wishing for a slightly larger version of a collar like this one so I was really excited to try it on.  It had a very cool back with buttons from the tip of the collar at my hair line all the way down to the long train.  And yet this dress didn't make it. 

Curious to see which dress makes the cut?  I'll let you all see it in October.  Until then - it's need to know. 

And you don't need to know.  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The first check is written!

This weekend we officially put money down to hold "our date" for the reception.  We explained the potential need for date flexibility and she was good with that considering we are far enough out on the date.  Thank goodness!

This weekend we went out searching for tables, chairs and other rent-able items.  Sexy, right?  I know.  We could barely contain ourselves.  Poly-cotton linens.  Organza Overlays.  It's like wedding dirty-talk.  Thank GOODNESS we aren't those people.  I'm a basic black chair white table cloth kind of girl.  Kandi is thinking maybe another solid color besides white.  We are so wild and crazy.  So hard to please. 

We also went to a super mega wedding store called Wedding Accessory Superstore. They have wedding, bridesmaid, flower-girl and mother of the bride dresses, shoes and other accessories.  They also have the other basic accessories like cake toppers and ring pillows and all the other crap that every bride "needs".  We spent a really large amount of time in one section - invitations.  We realize now that we have locations and are SO close to having a date, the next big step will be to officially send out invitations.  Well, next step is a funny thing because while that one really matters, we also have to finalize florists, caterers, photographers and every other vendor that we have to pay lots of money to in hopes of having an awesome celebration.  BUT - for the outside world - they just care about getting an official invitation.  So we looked.  And looked.  And looked.  It's tougher than we thought.  Trying to find that something that looks like "us" is hard enough.  But trying to feel like "us" and be under budget - whatever that is... - is SO hard.

As of right now our #1 pick is coming from Vistaprint.  They have some awesome options for invites and all the other pieces related to that.  And because they print so many things, it lets you carry that theme into quite a few other areas which we really like.  Not sure what we'll do for sure, but we know we definitely have more looking to do!

Finally - we've thought a lot about doing a "candy bar" for the wedding favor.  And while there are businesses that do it all for you, we've thought that was one piece we could really DIY.  So we hit a few second hand stores to look for some cool candy holders.  We found a few nice ones to officially start the collection.  And we found out that Goodwill is doing 50% off all items next Saturday.  Who will be right there when they open those doors?  Oh yea - that's us. 

But with this an interesting question has come up.  Where the heck to we stick all the stuff we are going to be collecting over the next six months?  And how much stuff exactly will we be collecting?  And did I include all of it on our budget?

I've come to terms that it will never all be there.  But that doesn't stop a girl from trying to catch it all!  One check down and many, many, many more to go.