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Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding


Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingSo. This post only ran a year ago, but since I’m revisiting the very best of APW, this is a MUST. When Christina first sent me her wedding graduate post I remember just sitting in the kitchen and crying and crying. Not like, a few happy tears, but just sobbing. It was just after Prop 8, so we were all a little emotionally raw, but I think the REAL reason I was crying is that Christina gave me full permission to do it our way, in a deep down raw sense, not in a indie-trend way. She showed me that I could throw out the wedding model, and end up with something even more wedding, something that really mattered to us. You’ll remember Christina as the inventor of the bridal brigade, and you can see more pictures of their stunning wedding on Snippet and Ink. Since this post first ran, I’ve had the chance to get to know Christina and Patty a little bit, and hang out in their crazy, now-blessed-by-a-wedding backyard. And yes. They really are as great as they seem… well, better, really.Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingOh. And ESB would want me to tell you: you should be listening to Wild Horses and Tangerine while you read this. Really-for-true rockstar weddings require such things.Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingOur Own. When Patty and I decided to get married, it wasn’t legal. But it didn’t matter. When I talked to a friend of mine about the whole “wedding thing” she said: “We need ceremonies and displays of strong commitments in our community too. Make it your own and celebrate your love. It doesn’t have to be about the whole ‘wedding thing!'” Wise words that essentially guided me through the entire process. Since I didn’t have many models of weddings {like mine} to draw inspiration from, or to compare to, I really let go of all “wedding expectations.” I asked a good friend of mine, Georgia, to be my “wedding planner”–partner in crime, really. She was the only one of my friends who had been married before, so I asked her to help me out. That decision was one of my smartest moves. Georgia was able to handle all the minutia of the day, delegate tasks to the Brigade and really let me enjoy it. More on that later…Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingCommunity. Next step: assemble the Bridal Brigade. I only had one week off work to get married, so I knew I needed help! The idea of the Brigade didn’t come overnight. Again, I didn’t really feel like I had to follow the “traditional wedding model” and I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of “bridesmaids.” What I did know: I wanted my friends and family involved, so the Brigade happened organically, really. It all started with the cupcakes: one day I was sitting with my friend Moore & I told her we were getting married. She immediately offered to make our cake. She’s an amazing vegan baker {I’m allergic to dairy & eggs}, so it was an amazing offer–I couldn’t refuse. We decided cupcakes would be more fun. Patty’s favorite baker, Danny, offered to make more cupcakes–her favorite flavor: pecan chocolate! Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingThe rest just grew, we talked about details that would be fun to diy {the cupcake tiers} and we asked our friends if they would help out. We scheduled “Project Brigade” craft weekends about once a month: we thrifted, crafted, hung out, went to vintage expos to look for wedding attire, laughed…It was loads of fun and really made the wedding a community effort. By the way, even though it was the “Bridal” Brigade, everyone involved were both friends of mine AND Patty’s, so it felt like our friends really knew us as a couple.Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingSimplicity. Since we really wanted to keep the wedding as green as possible, I focused on vintage, reducing, and innovative ways of re-using. That focus for me also eliminated many common “WIC” details: there were simple favors–traditional Italian Jordan almonds wrapped in vintage lace; there were no cut flowers except for my bouquet–which was locally grown; no disposable plates or serveware; no extra decorations except potted plants; no driving {the ceremony & reception were all in our backyard}; and our registry included some household items, but also our favorite charities. That simplicity saved us in the budgeting process and kept me sane. We decided to focus our budget on a few large items. Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingFirst– a photographer, we thought it was important to document the day. We met
with our photographer, Chris, through Georgia. Turns out she used to live down the street from us and we had several friends in common–she just felt right. Second: valet parking. This was really important to us because we got married in our backyard. Our street is pretty busy and parking is sparse. Not only did we not want our guests walking blocks & blocks in the heat {it was August in LA, after all}, but we didn’t want to upset our neighbors by snarling up the neighborhood with a bunch of cars. {We also invited our neighbors to come to the reception.} The third big ticket item was food. Initially we decided to do a pot luck, not only to save money, but to continue the community effort of our wedding. However, my dad offered to pay for the catering {upscale Italian picnic}–a really generous and huge step for him. He was always a uncomfortable with the idea of a same sex wedding, so this was a huge show of acceptance for him. So we decided to allocate some money for music. Since Patty is a musician, she was in charge of the music. She hired a string quartet, but made it really reflect us. In addition to playing the classics, they played string versions of some of our favorite rock songs for the ceremony: I walked down the aisle to Rolling Stones “Wild Horses,” Patty walked to Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine” and our exit song was AC/DC “Shook Me All Night Long.”Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingPresent. The day of the wedding, I really turned it over and let the day unfold as it may. “Steady Happy” was my mantra. Our dear friend, Roz did my hair and make-up and Patty’s grooming. In the morning, I took it easy, and let the day unfold. This is where Georgia and the Bridal Brigade became absolute gold…they really handled the nitty gritty of the day and shielded me from any worry. I relaxed and enjoyed my time with Roz doing my hair and make up…I visited with friends and family from out of town… I drank vegan smoothies that friends got me from the restaurant down the street. I really completely let it all go & tried to stay present throughout the day. I just enjoyed my friends and family and focused on what was important: getting married to the love of my life and inviting our friends and family to witness our love.Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingLoving Support. We decided not to write our vows together, because we wanted them to be a surprise to each other. We both took the same “model” and wrote our own vows. We asked our dear friends, P. David & Todd, to officiate our wedding. They have been thrice married to each other, so they have loads of wedding experience {a commitment ceremony before it was legal in 1999, again in San Francisco in 2004–I was their witness!–and a third time after the June Supreme Court decision in 2008!}. They wrote the most amazing ceremony–it was spiritual, funny, smart, moving and just right for us. I’m so grateful that our dear friends were able to officiate, it made the wedding so much more personal and fun and since they knew us both so well, it really reflected us as a couple. Two Brigade members, Craig & Danny, opened the ceremony with the Serenity Prayer. We also asked two dear friends, who were in the Brigade, to do readings. One friend, Melissa, interviewed both of us and length, then she wrote the “Christina & Patty” answer to Tom Robbin’s question “How to Make Love Stay.” Another friend, Antnoia, chose a variety of love poems, rock lyrics and some of her own writing that made her think of us. It was just right. Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical Wedding After the ceremony, more Brigade friends shared their talents in song… Linda sang an Operatic Aria and Romy sang Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is. The rest of the evening, we ate wonderful food {organic & locally grown}, visited with our friends and family, watched the sunset from our backyard, and danced to a mix of music we made on our ipod. It was the best day ever.Classic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingClassic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingClassic APW: Steady Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingSo if I can boil the whole thing down to a few words it would be: Make it Your Own, involve your Community, keep it Simple, be Present and let your friends & family be a Loving Support.

Amazing photos by Chris Strother LA ladies, I’m looking at you

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06008386302876377978 Lyssachelle

    Oh…this one was just lovely, lovely, lovely. Weddings like these should be reviewed on a weekly basis by stressed out brides, just to serve as a reminder of not only doing it your way (and the importance of having your own Bridal Brigade!) but to remember that at least you get to HAVE a legal wedding. It's NOT just a piece of paper and everyone deserves the right to get one. Damn it.
    (I'd put *stepping off soapbox* here, but honestly? I'm never really off of it…)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02189637917666578405 Allison

    Lyssachelle, please don't ever step off of your soap box!!

    Meg, I really love all of these classic posts, ESPECIALLY this one which had me sobbing in my coffee the first time I read it.

    Sometimes when I'm freaking out about invitations (like sage and cream being cliche and crying at the paper store? WHAT?!). I need to take a break and look at all of these grads that have made it to the other side and remember that I've somehow. weasled my way into a community of AMAZING people with great experience and wisdom!

    • Hannah

      Love this comment. Spoke my heart.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02189637917666578405 Allison

    Also, you know the phrase "no one will ever care about your wedding as much as you do"? I feel like this site is the exception to the rule.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    @Allison
    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…. now you're making me feel a little emotional.

    Yeah. I debated for a half second re-running something lots of you had read, and then I was like H*ll, even *I* neeed to read this one again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11980894946886843896 peanut

    now this is what a wedding is about. I remember reading this post when it first came up and being affected by it, but reading it now after over a year of wedding-world makes it so much more valuable for me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15852620755594677909 Mango

    Wow. this is incredible and beautiful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15103047512463828864 jamie

    yayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayaayayayayayay.

    backyard reunion margaritas

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15103047512463828864 jamie

    i meant to have a question mark at the end of the last sentence.

    backyard reunion margaritas?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06648909402880706542 Mandy

    This is one of my favorites. While I've only been reading APW since sometime in January (I think), I admit that I went through the archives a little bit at a time and read EVERY post, and I loved this one the first time through, too. This has got to be one of the most beautiful, inspiring weddings I've read about.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17780331196723830632 christina

    thanks, meg. love, love, love to you. xox

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17780331196723830632 christina

    @meg & @ desertfete: yes! it's almost a year for OUR reunion! come over! {but you have to wait until this show is over, come to the backyard in may!!}
    xox