The Wedding – Part Two

(All photos by Erin King – see Part One of the wedding here)

I think in the end the bulk of my planning went into the reception, because although us getting married was the most important part of the day, we always wanted to focus less on ceremony and more on having fun. We envisioned a really cool dinner party – intimate enough to feel like a family dinner, but with our absolute favourite food. We wanted it to be luxurious and a bit fancy, but still really relaxed and personal… and I think we nailed it. I suppose writing all these details down here is mainly for me – I don’t want to forget a single thing.

At 6pm, we all met at Supernormal in Flinders Lane and went downstairs to their cozy but simple private dining room. The decorations were relatively stark, which is how I wanted them. Three tall vases of japonica blooms, and in the center of each table, a fishbowl full of sparkling lights and paper cranes that I had spent forever folding with Mum. At each place, there was a laser cut wooden name for each person and a box of four LuxBite macarons, each one a flavour to represent me, Nathan, Posie and Rupert (the flavours were rose & lychee, kopiko, sour strawberry and salted caramel).

We all had canapés and cocktails for a while until everybody got settled, and then the banquet began. And oh my god, the food. Supernormal has been our favourite restaurant since I dragged Nathan there for our birthday a few years ago. I always make an excuse to go there whenever I’m in Melbourne – even though I know I should branch out, it’s just always so good that I can’t resist. And it’s such a unique restaurant in the way that it bridges the gap between fine dining and something trendier and more casual – the food is amazing, but it’s not pretentious at all, which we love.

It was also a bit special to both of us in different ways – last year we went to Japan just before Christmas, which was such an amazing adventure, and I grew up in Taiwan (and went there mid-last year as well). It was really cool to have food at our wedding that incorporated inspiration from both of those places, among other countries. We are both really into Asian food (or any food, really) too, so I think we were always going to go a bit non-traditional in this aspect.

Anyway, I can’t remember the exact canapés that we had, but this was our menu:

  • Pickled vegetables
  • Moonlight flat oysters
  • Sea bream, white soy, pickled wakame
  • Smoked beef, mustard leaf, clam mayonnaise
  • New England lobster rolls
  • Prawn and chicken dumplings, black vinegar and chili
  • Duck leg bao with plum sauce and vinegar
  • Szechuan lamb, spring onion pancake, coriander paste
  • Cosberg salad, mint and ginger vinaigrette
  • Steamed white rice
  • Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel, soft chocolate
  • Wedding cake (the famous Lolly Bag cake from LuxBite) and sesame cookies

There were some variations for the people who didn’t eat seafood, which even Nathan’s notoriously picky grandmother ate and loved. We really wanted the night to be special, so we chose about seven cocktails to add to the already super extensive drinks list. It was really fun at the end of the night to look at the invoice and see which cocktails were most popular – everybody loved the espresso martini the best, it seems! I had spent days laboriously choosing songs for our dinner playlist, which went down well too.

We had a little guestbook situation set up with a polaroid camera but unfortunately I forgot to mention it in my speech, so only a couple of people signed it, but… c’est la vie.

I was always determined to make a speech. I write for a living, I have a degree in writing, it would seem odd to me not to write a speech. I lovingly went through a long list of people, thanking them individually. Nathan took his turn to tell stories about how gullible I was, soliciting more than a few laughs. We didn’t want anybody else to have to go to the trouble of making a speech, so we didn’t ask anybody else, but our dads surprised us on the night by offering a short but sweet toast from the both of them – it was so unexpected and so lovely.

We also had two special drinks arrive at our table, courtesy of Posie and Rupert, whose names were etched into the glasses!

A person who shall remain unnamed later told us that she was worried when we said our reception was going to be in a function room at a restaurant, and that she couldn’t see how it would feel like a wedding. But upon arriving, being led into the beautiful space and being given a cocktail, all her fears were blown away. She said that it redefined what a wedding could be for her, and now she wonders why everybody doesn’t do something small and personal instead of the huge things that she was used to.

It feels like bragging, but I am just so damn proud of the wedding that we managed to pull off. It was elegant, it was fun, it was intimate, it was like a really cool dinner party. It was small enough that we got to actually have some conversations with everybody who was there, and there was lots of seat-hopping between the tables, even between our families, which was nice to see. Everybody who came was somebody that we would happily go to dinner with for any occasion. It was so cozy, and we felt so completely and utterly enveloped by the love in the room – it was small, and there were definitely people we missed, but it was so personal and so romantic. It also says a lot that my dad said to me on the night, “can I live here?” and Nathan’s dad has been scheming for a reason to go back as well.

At the end of the night, I couldn’t stand my heels anymore, so Sarah lent me her flats and we walked up Flinders Lane until Nathan and I caught a taxi back to the apartment. Our amazing dog sitter/chaperone handed over his very tired and well behaved charges, I took half a million bobby pins out of my hair and we threw our wedding clothes on the bed in the second bedroom to be dealt with the next day. The dogs were so exhausted from their little adventure and their wedding night sushi dinner that they slept soundly until 7am, then after a quick jaunt outside, went straight back to sleep so we could lie in until 11am – bliss! Then we got Pancake Parlour delivered for breakfast, Nathan fell into a sugar coma and we both napped with the dogs for the rest of the day – double bliss!

It was such a good day/night. So many people have said to Nathan that it’s really quite rare (at least, this was guys talking) to feel like you actually had fun at your wedding. But we did. Even up until the day, I was feeling so unsettled about the whole thing and so indecisive about what it was that I truly wanted for the day, but once it was over, it felt perfect. Like I couldn’t have wanted anything better, and I got exactly what I wanted. We had the best time and even though it was four weeks ago now, we are still harping on about it… it was just such a good day. I understand now why some people feel the need to renew their vows – if a vow renewal could replicate how good that day felt, I’d do it every anniversary, for sure.

So there we are! Now back to my scheduled newlywed bliss.

The Wedding – Part One

(All photos by Erin King)

I’ve been putting this post off for over a month. Even though we’ve talked about the wedding endlessly with our families, it feels so hard to sum it up. I always thought it was hopelessly cliché when people say “it was the best day of my life”, but so far, it really was. No, not everything was perfect, but when I ignore those bits, all I can remember is wonderful.

Okay, so, I’ll try to keep it semi-chronological.

We chose a bridal party of six, long before the day. I chose my two sisters and my best friend to be my bridesmaids, Nathan chose his brother, my brother and his best friend to be his groomsmen. Neither of us wanted to choose a maid of honour or a best man because it felt wrong to elevate certain people instead of others, so Posie was my Dog of Honour and Rupert was Best Dog. They are, after all, our treasures. We did ask Sarah and Scott to sign the certificate for us though. The decision was fairly easy, because although Nathan only has one brother, we have four siblings altogether, and it seemed wrong to ask some but exclude others. We had one friend each, so that was perfect.

We rented a dog friendly apartment in Fitzroy and stayed the night before the wedding. Due to some disorganization on our part and a total failure to plan for peak hour traffic, we made it up to Melbourne at almost midnight. After getting into the apartment, getting settled and finally getting the dogs under control, I got about 4-5 hours sleep before kissing each other goodbye and heading for my Mum’s apartment on Flinders Lane.

We got ready, ate fancy chicken sandwiches and drank champagne. Something not very good happened that I might talk about later in the post**. One of my bridesmaids who shall not be named forgot her dress and had to make up an excuse to sneak back to her hotel to get it. There was a minor panic when a coat hanger left black lint all over my white dress, but it was fine.

One of the highlights of the morning was when the bouquets arrived. I know that every bride likes to think that her details were the best, and everybody will back that up when talking to the bride, but these bouquets were incredible. I’d been deeply involved in the planning process for these bouquets, and extremely specific about the exact flowers and colours that I wanted. Ranunculus, garden roses, dahlias, lavender, frilled tulips, sweet peas, hellebores, blushing bride, freesias, camellia leaves and sprays of gorgeous andromeda hanging gracefully. I wanted a palette of peachy pinks but with a lot of light and shade, and pops of raspberry. I also wanted to incorporate hints of yellow and lavender as highlights. And it all worked so well. I was so glad that I totally micromanaged this detail, because everybody loved them, and honestly, they were more gorgeous than any pinterest inspiration that I’d found.

That photo of the rings is so cool, but it’s actually a bit misleading – Nathan actually ended up getting married with a stand-in ring! He ordered an amazing wedding ring from America with three layers – dinosaur bone, meteorite and sparkly blue opal – but he ended up leaving it too late and it didn’t arrive in time. I’ll post another photo of his actual ring some other time. As for me, I loved the idea of mixing metals, especially because I love rose gold so much. My rings are different, but they work together really well – the little twist in the wedding band sits perfectly under the stone of my engagement ring. I love them… which I’m glad of, because I want to be wearing them for a very long time.

I always wanted a shorter dress – not exactly tea length, more like ballerina length, to show off my amazing shoes. I also wanted a pink satin sash, inspired by a line in the movie Hook (Peter Pan did not come to the wedding, that I know of), and a pink petticoat. I wore the sparkliest shoes in the world, a pearl necklace and earrings borrowed from Mum, and a beaded/bejeweled/pearl hairclip. Whether to wear a veil or not was a dilemma right until the eleventh hour, but I’m glad I skipped it – it felt like too much of a costume piece on me.

Sarah walked me to Treasury Gardens and we saw a brick red jacket in the distance, so we hid behind trees until we got the signal from my photographer. Then I walked up to the JFK Memorial fountain where Nathan was waiting for me. It was such a relief to see him – not because I thought he wouldn’t show up, but it had been a rough morning and sometimes you just need your person that is ‘home’ for you. We took some gorgeous photos with the puppies before they got too overstimulated and eventually walked to the registry office.

Then Dad walked me down the aisle and when I saw Nathan waiting at me and everybody turned to watch me, I cried. I never thought I would, but it just happened and it was so sweet. The ceremony was very short, which was exactly what we wanted. The three songs we included were “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys as I walked in, “Playground Love” by Air while we signed things, and “Roam” by the B-52s at the end. We laughed and kissed and hugged and both of us said afterwards that it really felt like we were the only ones in the room. We were in such a happy, loved-up bubble. And Nathan totally teared up on his vows.

We had written our own vows, and I’m so proud of how much work we put into them. They were so personal, and although they had lighthearted moments, I really felt like they were the truest distillation of everything we were promising on that day. We both took the vows extremely seriously, and will forever, I’m sure. Right now, it feels too intimate to post them online, even though we read them to a room full of people… maybe in a while, maybe in another post.

Afterwards we took photos in Treasury Gardens again, this time with family and our bridal party. It got a bit exhausting. Especially after what had happened earlier in the day. I ran out of emotional energy and kind of crashed a bit. I wish I had been smiling more in some of the shots, but our photographer Erin did the most amazing job of making me feel at ease. And she got the dogs to smile like the little stars that they were. Photography was always a high priority for me in the planning process – I didn’t know at first that Erin did weddings as well as pet photography, but before I figured that out, I had probably looked at over a hundred photographers’ websites and wasn’t completely happy about any of them. I’m so glad we went with Erin.

My bridesmaids wore navy dresses of their choice. I was extremely easy-going about the whole thing – I had no stipulations whatsoever, except that it was navy and that they wore metallic shoes, because those are items that you are guaranteed to be able to wear again because they are practically neutrals. As it happened, they all looked amazing together, and I promise there was no micromanaging on my part! Our guys wore black suits that they already owned and we picked some pale blue non-matching ties for them, and some sprays of feathers to wear as boutonnieres. I think they all looked pretty dapper, especially my brother Patrick!

We said goodbye to the dogs just as Rupert was about to crack it from too much time outdoors in the cold. He got wrapped in a blanket, placed in the pram and driven back to the apartment by our incredible dog sitter/chaperone Rob, who stayed in with them all night and fed them sushi for their special wedding dinner.

But for us, then came the reception… (next post, which you can read here!)

** So, the Very Bad Thing that happened… well, I don’t even want to dwell on it too much, because I’ve already spent too long feeling upset about it. Basically my makeup artist supposedly got sick, was completely hysterical and attention-seeking about the whole thing, ended up running out of time and spending half as long on my face as she had on my bridesmaids. And what she did was definitely not what I had asked for, or what I’d had at the trial. On the day, I was devastated and it was too late to fix it, so I had to go with it. I got quieter and quieter until somebody handed me some valium, which unfortunately made me a bit dazed-looking in some of the photos.

I accepted a partial refund and decided not to post negative reviews because I think just the act of writing them would have made me more upset. But for any brides reading this post, email me if you want to know who it was so you’ll know who to avoid.

A part of me is still really upset about it, but I’m trying my hardest to forget about it as much as I can and focus on all the amazing bits of the day. Because really, 99% of what happened was wonderful. And to make me feel better, we’ve decided that we’re going to take some fancy one year anniversary photos, and next time, I’ll be doing my own makeup.

 

Wedding Advice, From Somebody Who’s Been There!

Photo by the amazing Erin King.

Wedding post (or maybe posts) is still coming – I haven’t gotten my photos back yet, and even though it’s been three weeks, I am still exhausted from the lead up. I have sent out my thank you cards though, so that’s a win. I’ve mentioned it before, but planning a small wedding has almost exactly the same quantity of planning that goes into a big wedding – it’s just that the numbers are smaller, and you probably have less people annoying you about inconsequential details. I have discovered that I am an extremely detail oriented person though, so there were probably a lot of things that I took upon myself that wouldn’t have been considerations for more easy-going brides.

However, I am proud to announce that I didn’t go Bridezilla at all, through the whole thing. I might have cried my eyes out more than a few times, but I tried my hardest to not put unreasonable demands on people, and to always accommodate everybody where I could. Because I’ve been to enough weddings where I’ve had to stand around for hours outside in the freezing cold in the dead of winter, or have seen people across the table served food that they just can’t eat but were too scared to say anything, or shelling out for an expensive gift and never receiving a thank you. Stuff like that. I wanted everybody there to feel like our special guest, rather than an audience that we felt obliged to feed.

The most ironic thing about planning a wedding though is that (if it’s your first marriage) you are going into it with absolutely no experience. But you learn as you go, and by the time you are done, you’re an expert… with absolutely no cause to plan a wedding again anytime in the near future. It’s kind of like putting years of work into a university degree, having a graduate job for one day, then retiring for the rest of your life. It’s odd. I’m definitely in a good position to give my sisters advice when it’s their turn, but then again, they could opt for something entirely different and then my skills will be useless all over again. But I suppose I can bask in this sense of personal achievement – I learned something new, it was hard, I got through it and I did a damn good job, and I should be proud of that.

But there are little bits of advice I can pass along here, for anybody who might find them useful. No situation is the same, but if it helps anybody, it will be worth it!

  • A wedding can look however you want it to look. Don’t get sucked into the idea that you have to do it the way that everybody else has done it, because at the end of the day, it’s about two people getting married – that is it. That’s the common thread in all weddings. What happens before and after that moment is completely up to you and there are no rules. Well, there are a couple – I would advise that you should feed your guests, especially if it’s at a meal time, but that does not have to mean a beef-or-chicken alternate drop three course meal. It could mean tacos, or a brunch buffet, or cake and punch – whatever you want.
  • You do not have to go with a wedding reception package at a wedding reception venue. For a small wedding, lots of restaurants have private dining rooms, and some don’t even charge a hire fee (just a minimum spend). Don’t think that it won’t feel like a wedding, because with the right decorations, the right music, the right crowd… it will. Simple can be special too. And an advantage of picking a restaurant is that, if you are foodies, you can pick something really good or unusual instead of standard wedding food where you often don’t have a lot of choice or variation. And you avoid the wedding tax**.
  • Registry offices can be lovely, so don’t write them off before you’ve had a look. The one in Melbourne has an open hour once a week where you can go in, have a look around and talk to the celebrants. Many of our guests commented that they thought a registry office wedding would be plain and dingy, but it was anything but. The room has gorgeous architecture, high ceilings, antique furniture and floral arrangements already there. We got to pick our own music and personalize our vows. The ceremony was very quick and to the point, but it never felt rushed or procedural.
  • You do not have to invite every person you know. Nathan has a Catholic family on one side, and I got a double dose, which equals a LOT of aunts, uncles and cousins. Some of whom we are close to, others who we could pass in the street and not recognize. We were faced at first with a situation of inviting all or none, but I didn’t want that either, so we just invited a very special few. If people love you, they will understand – I got messages from aunts and cousins who weren’t invited who were just so thrilled for us and sent nothing but love and wishes of happiness. Some people will be petty about not being invited though, other people will consider it a tit-for-tat thing if you went to theirs, but it’s just not the way things should work.
  • Pay for it yourself, if you can. I cannot stress this enough. One of the reasons we chose a small wedding was because we wanted to fund the thing ourselves without taking out loans. As generous as it is when parents offer to contribute, it does give them certain rights to decide how that money should be spent, and how many of their friends should be invited. They basically become a shareholder. We got to make every single decision for our wedding without any interference, and I honestly don’t think I could have dealt with the stress of having to navigate other people’s extremely different views on what our wedding should look like.
  • In terms of budgeting, I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach to this. We ended up actually doing a retrospective budget for ours. We researched all the things that we wanted to include and made a ballpark figure as our absolute maximum total, but we definitely didn’t assign arbitrary amounts to different aspects and try to make them fit regardless of whether or not we actually liked those choices. But we were mindful the whole way through – if we spent more than we had imagined on one thing, then sometimes we would find a way to get a better deal on another thing. There were a few things that blew out significantly from our initial projections, but other things that were surprisingly cheaper. When we added it all up after the wedding, we were happily under our maximum – Nathan especially was thrilled with how I managed to throw together so gorgeous and fun for so much below the average cost of a wedding (plus he thinks I’m super smart… 🙂 ).
  • Figure out which things are your non-negotiables and which things you don’t care that much about – do this together, and it will give you a better idea of where the bulk of your budget should go. Our priorities were amazing food and an extensive cocktail list (Nathan), beautiful flowers (me), gorgeous photography (both of us) and pretty stationery (both of us) – so that’s what we focused on. But we had absolutely no interest in spending money on fancy cars for the event – we ended up walking and catching a taxi at the end of the night. Likewise, we could have easily spent a thousand dollars on an amazing wedding cake, and I’m sure it would have been beautiful. But instead we went with a extra-large size of what was essentially a party cake from a boutique bakery – it was definitely not a wedding cake, but it was so cute and so different and so tasty and it was definitely our wedding cake.
  • Realize that something is inevitably going to go wrong on the day. Something tiny and something much bigger went wrong for us, but you cannot get through a wedding without something falling over. Try to keep your cool and realize that when it’s all over, the main thing you will remember is how wonderful it was. Do not fixate on one of your groomsmen forgetting their tie or having a chipped nail or the celebrant mispronouncing your name, it’s totally inconsequential and nothing can be a hundred percent perfect.
  • Make sure you eat breakfast or at least snack while you are getting ready. It’s a long day, especially for the bride, and you don’t want to crash mid-afternoon like I did because I’d been too nervous to eat much.
  • Order extra invitations and save the dates, especially if you have pretty stationery. I have put away a bunch of them so our future hypothetical children can have a copy of their own. I’m also thinking of framing a copy of the invitation, a la Father of the Bride, for the house.
  • Brides – make a speech! It’s your wedding too, don’t just leave it to the guys. It turned out that I wrote the big heartfelt thank you speech, and Nathan just ended up (lovingly!) roasting me, but I’m so glad I spoke.
  • Do book a honeymoon. Even if it’s just something tiny and local, even if it’s just a weekend away – wedding planning is stressful, you deserve it. So many people say that they will do a honeymoon later, but life will always manage to get in the way. After all the stress of the lead up, it’s so nice to have some time together as a couple to completely de-stress, drink champagne and giggle over calling each other “my husband/wife”.
  • Write thank you cards as soon as you can. Please, please, please do this. Your guests have arranged babysitters, got their hair/nails done, bought new outfits, traveled long distances, potentially booked hotels for the night just to see you get married AND probably given you a gift too. It is the very least you can do to thank them for it. Emily Post says that personalized and handwritten is best, but a mass printed thank you postcard is better than nothing at all, which is what I’ve gotten from a lot of weddings lately.
  • Have fun on the day! Be present. Remember why you are there, what it means, and how much it means. Put aside any fights you will have inevitably had in the stressful lead up, and enjoy each other. Let yourself be excited. Look around the room at all the smiling faces of all those people who love you and are thrilled to be witnessing one of the most important milestones in your life, and be grateful for them.

There! That’s all we could think of – I’ll try to add to this list when we’re no longer on a post-wedding high. 🙂

** The wedding tax! There are a lot of things that cost more as soon as you mention the word ‘wedding’. Sometimes it’s necessary to let vendors know that it’s your wedding, so they can put extra special attention and care into their service for you. Other times, it’s really worth looking outside the box. We had our reception in the private room of a restaurant that said they held ‘functions’ – no mention of weddings. And surprise – for something like ten courses plus canapes, it ended up costing less per person than I had been quoted for ‘wedding packages’ of only three alternate drop courses elsewhere. Look around and don’t be afraid to step outside the square.

We Got Married!

About time!

On Friday, the first day of September, the first day of Spring, and our ten year anniversary, Nathan and I finally got married. We ended up going to the registry office (which is gorgeous and not sterile or boring at all), followed by a banquet at our favourite restaurant with just a handful of our nearest and dearest – parents, siblings, grandparents, one best friend each and a couple of others. It was such a great day – both of us cannot stop smiling about how perfect it all was. Planning the day seriously did my head in, but it was so worth it. It’s so funny that almost everybody who has been through wedding planning has told us that it was too stressful and they wished they had just eloped… I guess we are rare then – people who are glad we didn’t end up eloping, because what we had was so wonderful.

Best of all, our darling dogs got to be there with us. It was a long and tiring day for them, and Rupert got a bit fed up when it started to get cold, but I was so glad they could be a part of everything. After all, as much as we were beginning a new chapter as husband and wife, we were also reaffirming the little family of four that we already had. I think both dogs are still tired from the whole thing.

I promise I will write about every single detail – soon. Let me bask in newlywed bliss for a little bit!

Reasons We Are Keeping Our Names

This has been controversial and I’m guessing will be a super hot topic as the day approaches – for me, a hundred times more than Nathan. It’s so regressive that nobody ever asks him if he’s changing his name, it has all been directed at me so far. It’s also kind of shocking how many people are completely shocked that I will be keeping mine, like it has never occurred to them as an earthly possibility. But that’s our decision, which is completely ours to make.

There are a bunch of reasons for what we are doing. Both of us are attached to our names, and they have been a part of our identities for a long time. I have an image in my head of what Johanna HisLastName looks like, and it’s just not me – it would feel wrong. There would also be the gigantic hassle of changing our name records all over the place, getting new passports and Medicare cards, etc. Then there is also the fact that we both have university degrees under our names, and I have writing published under mine.

My biggest objection though stems from something that I have already seen in practice, receiving mail for Mr and Mrs Nathan HisLastName, before we are even married. I cannot even describe how uncomfortable it made me feel. Like I’m a non-entity, not even deserving of even my own first name, completely erased. It’s just a little thing and I’m sure it’s just second nature for a lot of people, especially of a certain age, but it floored me how easily a name could make me feel so irrelevant, so unimportant, like Nathan’s accessory rather than a fully realized person in my own right who is entitled to a name of my own.

We debated the possibility of both of us hyphenating and gave it serious thought. For us, it was a case of… we’ll both do it, or we both won’t, but it wouldn’t be fair for one person to bend and the other person not to at all. We didn’t feel strongly enough about it, and in the end, why fix what isn’t broken? We will still ultimately be just as married with separate last names.

There have been a lot of objections thrown around though (some of which I’ve been confronted with, some I’ve heard from others), so I’ll answer a few.

It’s not even feminist for a woman to keep her maiden name, because it’s just her father’s name anyway…
It may be, but it’s not just my dad’s name – it’s my name. It’s what I was born with. I can’t control whose name my parents gave me, but I can say that I was given one name at birth and I’ve had it my whole life – how does this not belong to me? It may come from him originally, but so did his name from his dad – surely I can say that my name belongs to me just as much as it belongs to my dad.

If you don’t take your husband’s name, it’s like you are rejecting his family.
So, if he doesn’t take my name, is he rejecting my family too? Because it’s the exact same deal. Plus if I did change, by that logic how could I not feel like I was rejecting my own family? I like the fact that we will be forming a new primary family, but retaining our names as links to our families of origin. It would feel so lopsided and unfair to identify solely as members of just one side.

But it’s traditional. 
Lots of things are. Doesn’t mean they are for everybody.

It’s an insult to your husband to not take his name.
Then conversely, it’s an insult to me for him not to take my name (so many of these objections look so silly when you apply logic). Nathan is not insulted that I won’t take his last name because he respects that I am just as attached to my name as he is, and I’m super proud of him for being so mature about it. It’s so unattractive for a man to throw a tantrum about his wife not taking his name without ever considering that whatever he feels about the situation, she’s entitled to feel the exact same way about him not taking her name.

But how will everybody know you’re married / a family?
This one is kind of irrelevant, especially in this day and age of blended families all over the place where there could be three or four surnames among siblings that don’t match their parents either. There are lots of things that women can do to broadcast that they are married – a name, a ring, mentioning a ‘husband’, or just telling people. But even if you do none of these things, it doesn’t mean you are somehow less committed. Nathan and I will know we are married, and I’m sure that our nearest and dearest won’t magically forget that fact because we failed to have the same name.

But surely you’ll change it when you have children?
I’m sure my kids will know who their parents are regardless of our different last names. Besides, we already made plans for that long before ever getting engaged – to be revealed in due time!

Wedding Things

I’m having a moment.

This whole wedding planning thing is starting to feel like one long, drawn out freak out, a silent scream. Despite my history of dabbling in theatre, I have somehow grown into a person that hates being the centre of attention. Being a bride feels like being on stage, except I’m in a giant spotlight, and I’m probably naked. At my most paranoid, I imagine that it’s an opportunity for an audience to pick me apart and critique my every move. My more rational self remembers that we are having a small wedding with only our nearest and dearest, and none of them will be thinking anything but happy thoughts for us. But anxiety isn’t exactly a rational thing. The end is in sight though – less than three months to go.

So where are we so far? Nathan has a jacket but no pants, shirt or tie. I have a dress and Cinderella-worthy shoes, and still no consensus on accessories or jewelry. Dogs will be naked at this point; I still haven’t found ‘formal harnesses’ for them yet. We have picked bonbonniere, we have pretty much settled on the menu, we need to finalize the drinks menu. Bridesmaids are getting measured for dresses that I hope they all like. Accommodation is booked for us, my family, his family. Dog sitter is organized, photographer is partially organized. Invitations are ordered, and man, what a thrill it was to see the proofs! I have picked somewhere to get our hair done. I have made a start on a dinner playlist. I have ordered corsages and boutonnieres.

But there are a million other little things that haven’t even been thought of yet. We still haven’t chosen our rings. We’re still struggling to choose songs for the ceremony. I haven’t even thought of flowers. I still haven’t found ties for the groomsmen, dads and Nathan (and Rupert, of course). We have to write speeches and vows. I have to write a dog sitting guide with all their quirks, routines and commands. We need to figure out what sort of cake we will have. I need to buy/source/get together every single little thing that we have to take with us to Melbourne, everything we could possibly need for that weekend, and find a way of fitting it all in the car. It also occurred to me that I should probably get a manicure, which I have never done before.

There is just so much. And this is meant to be a small, low key wedding, but there is still so, so much. I do not know how people plan gigantic weddings without completely losing their marbles, but I suppose that’s what wedding planners are for.

We’ll get through it. After all the stress, it might even be fun. It might even be one of the best days of my life so far.

Picky

How do you plan a multi-course meal, served sharing style, attended by a group of people that includes individuals who don’t eat seafood, don’t eat pork, probably won’t eat anything not cooked within an inch of its life? Raise the stakes and picture this meal happening at an modern Asian restaurant that serves a lot of seafood and raw food. And now add in a few diabetics, a few allergies, and one person who doesn’t eat: pasta, red meat, pork, seafood, mushrooms, spicy food, unusual food, or Asian food in general. How is it possible to navigate this kind of thing without giving up and going to Pizza Hut (although I’m sure there would still be something wrong with even that)? I feel like legitimate allergies should always be catered for, and after that, people are allowed to just not like one or two things each – that’s fine. I don’t like eggs or coffee, but have been known to consume both to be polite (and try not to gag on the egg) if people who didn’t know served them to me. But we have a wedding menu to plan, and I really don’t see a way through this other than gently planting the possibility that certain people might need to grab a baguette or something between the ceremony and the dinner. Is that too mean? Or is that the only way that we’re going to get through this? Is this one of those wedding things where somebody is going to be offended or have their nose out of joint, no matter what we do?

Less than six months to go. Very scary.

In a Previous Life

You might remember that I used to make felt flower bouquets for weddings. It was my own little business for a while, but in the end I gave it up – for something that was so labour intensive, there was never going to be a realistic price point that would equal a reasonable hourly rate. Plus it was just not competitive to be sourcing my materials from the US, considering the volatility of exchange rates. I loved it though, while it lasted, and I still have thousands of vintage buttons and huge stacks of wool felt. Here are some of the bouquets I created for brides:

pink and green 3531999307_6b191f0a70_o 3645776549_ec2356cf71_o 4071991162_f3784666e2_o

Now that I’m the one getting married, it has occurred to me that maybe I should make my own bouquet. I have the skills, why not? It would show off a talent that I have and save money, seeing as I already have most of the materials – I guess the main cost would be my time, which could easily run into hundreds of hours if I did all my flowers this way. But then it doesn’t seem like felt flower bouquets are a ‘thing’ anymore – are they still in fashion, or would it look hopelessly pre-2010? There used to be a really strong DIY or crafty movement on wedding blogs, but it seem to have almost completely disappeared in only a few years…  I don’t know. It would also be nice to have something I could keep forever. The other thing is that I love real flowers so much, it’s a really tough decision. Maybe I could have real flowers as decorations, but felt flowers for people to wear and hold – then it would be something they could keep as well? There is still time to decide though, and maybe even experiment with some different shapes and techniques. At this stage, I’m thinking: peachy pinks, raspberry, very pale mint, copper, navy, pearls and sparkles. If I get really ambitious and try to make bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages for my whole squad, that is a big project. I will really have to go hunting for vintage buttons and brooches. But I guess that’s what the summer will be for!

The Process

“So, how is all the wedding planning going?”

I do not know how to answer this question, and despite everything, I am somehow shocked every time it is thrown my way. Maybe because the first half of this year was such a washout, maybe because we haven’t actually had an engagement celebration yet – it just feels like I never got a time to relish, soak up and revel in my bride-to-be status. Or maybe I just don’t have the bride gene, who knows. Anyway, how is wedding planning going?

We have a date, at the very least. And we know that unless we throw in the towel and run away overseas, it will be here (not sure if ‘here’ indicates Melbourne or Geelong). We don’t have a venue or any vendors, we have only a vague idea of what the whole thing is going to be like. I get on pinterest, get overwhelmed, throw my hands up in the air and declare it to be ‘all too hard’ several times a week. The problem is that every idea I come across, I can see it – I can imagine myself in a giant bedazzled powderpuff-of-a-ballgown just as easily as a Mia Farrow-esque crochet shift dress. I can see a tiny gathering of just our parents and siblings at the registry office, but I can also see a huge fairy-lit affair of our entire extended families, dripping with flowers and champagne. I am surrounded by all these competing voices of what constitutes a wedding, of what/how it is supposed to be, but in the midst of the din, I don’t know what I want. All I can hear is what every single person in the world is telling me that I am supposed to want.

There are a few things we have settled on though. I have a very special cake topper hidden away, and I know what our wedding favours (bomboniere?) will be. We haven’t decided on whether we will have a bridal party, but if we do, we know who it will be (which is why we haven’t asked anybody yet). And I have drawn a line in the sand on a very important issue – there will be no white chair covers at my wedding, because I detest them (for me! other people are entitled to like them and use them, they are just not for me).

There are complications though. Things like old people and stairs, wheelchair-friendly parks, who will drive who and where will various groups get ready, the perils of inviting some cousins but not other cousins, plus ones or not for people who seem to change partners like changing their underwear, whether ‘but they invited me to theirs’ is a valid reason for letting a small wedding morph into a giant wedding, whether we should practice some austerity regarding this or whether I will look back in twenty years and wish that we had let ourselves be extravagant just once for such an important day.

So of course, I am procrastinating by directing my planning energies into honeymoon research instead. Less pressure. If I screw up, there will be other trips. It is less forgivable to screw up the planning of our wedding.

So, how is wedding planning going? Tiny things are in motion, but it’s not going, really. There is still time though. When the countdown switches over to less than a year, then I will start panicking.