Today’s wedding needs no introduction, but, it comes with a really great Team Practical story. Adrienne and Vincent ended up making friends with Anna (and G) of Accordions and Lace on honeymoon in Nicaragua. They all got along right away, and then, when Anna was a wedding graduate (which was about two seconds after they all got back, since I sent Anna the wedding graduate prompt after she had gone to bed on her wedding night, NO JOKE), they had this explosion of, “Oh my god oh my god of course we all got along, ahhhhh!” So, that would be cool enough, but Adrienne also had the coolest vintage dress in the world, AND A WEDDING PINATA. What? EFF YES. Oh, and she’s wise, wise, wise. Take it, lady:
Before we were even engaged Vincent and I had daydreamed much of the whole event, including the location: a historic mill in Adelphi, Maryland— just outside DC, where we live. This spot has a special place in our hearts because it’s less than a mile from where we met when we were 15 and 16.
After picking the location everything else fell in to place– Vincent and I love cooking together (and Vincent is a bit snobby about food because he went to culinary school) so we decided to make our own reception dinner. Neither of us nor our immediate families are religious, so we asked one of my best friends and one of Vincent’s best friends to officiate. The two of us performed a Zombies song when my brother got married a couple of years ago, so we asked him and my sister-in-law to play a Magnetic Fields song during our ceremony. Growing up, my dad would always ask what I wanted on my birthday cake and then he would decorate it with whatever I asked for — a castle, My Little Pony… so we asked him to decorate our carrot cake. It was so gorgeous.I definitely asked for help and delegated as needed. My mom made “scrippy scrap” banners out of my old vintage slips. Various friends helped collage invitations, make paper doily wedding pinatas, arrange the local flowers that we got from a wholesale flower warehouse, and play guitar. One of the early highlights of our wedding day was when I arrived at the mill and saw how our friends had worked so hard to transform it into this dreamy, ethereal wonderland of a mill– just how I’d imagined it in my head, only better.During the engagement process I discovered that I miss having a creative outlet in my life; work and going to graduate school part-time takes up most of my energy. I took summer semester off grad school, and in the two months leading up to the ceremony I reveled in laying in bed with our kittens Saturday mornings while Vincent was at work — watching terrible chick flicks on my laptop while sewing ribbon on my crinoline (I got my 1950s dress off eBay) and boot buttons on ribbon for napkin rings. I got slightly obsessed with vintage doilies, which I purchased in obscene quantities off eBay to make garlands and lacy lanterns. While I had my doubts at times, I now feel justified in that so many of my wedding projects are still being used and enjoyed– through-out my home, and in friends’ weddings and baby nurseries!I also learned the value in speaking openly about the experience: the ups and the downs. I had an emotional engagement experience at times, trying to wade through what getting married really means. Things started to make more sense when a married friend lent me a book called “The Conscious Bride” by Sheryl Nissinen. It can be a bit new-agey for me, but is also insightful and thought-provoking when it comes to why we might find ourselves crying during what is supposed to be “the happiest time of our lives!” I recommend it to my engaged friends, and to any other brides-to-be reading this (until, at least, Meg writes her practical wedding book). Vincent and I also went to pre-marital counseling at an amazing non-profit in DC called The Women’s Center. Meeting with a counselor to have some secular guidance on issues like financial planning, family relations, and communication helped me and Vincent feel like we weren’t just planning a wedding party, but were also planning for our marriage.The most important thing for me about our wedding was the ceremony. I loved that we wrote it together with our officiants and that there were parts we had never heard before, written by our friends and family. It felt organic; it felt spiritual; it felt like distilled happiness. And the seven months of wedding projects contributed to that in a way. While we were on our honeymoon my friend wrote to me: “It was clear that every aspect of the wedding and the setting was intentional, everything bore your special touch — but just like your home, or witnessing the two of you together, it all came together as a simultaneously magical and comfortable atmosphere.” That felt really good to hear, especially while blissing out in Nicaragua.I’ve moved every 2-4 years my entire life because my dad was in the Foreign Service. So when I said earlier that Vincent and I met as teenagers I didn’t mean that we’ve been together this whole time– we actually lost touch after my family moved to Hong Kong when I was in high school, and didn’t start dating again until I moved to DC in 2006. At our wedding we were able to bring together family from across the country, friends from Hong Kong and New York and DC and beyond. It made me want to explode it was so incredible. And the best part — other than getting married — was that everywhere we looked we could see the hands and the love of this community we have built up around us over the past few years.Photos by Nancy Jagelka (who has no website, but hopefully will leave her contact info in the comments? Hint, hint, hint.)