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Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall


Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

We’re back, and it’s 2011! Wowie! I’ve got news to share with you, and reflecting on what’s next for APW, but I wanted to start that conversation next week. This week, we decided, was all about the newly engaged. The WIC calls today Matrimony Monday (because their alliteration department needs to hire new monkeys with typewriters) because 40% of people get engaged between Thanksgiving and New Years. But, when I joked about Matrimony Monday last year, I found out that 40% of APW-ers also get engaged over the holidays. So this week? It’s all about you.

We’re kicking off the new year with Kimberly, who hands down has the best one sentence quote I have ever read in a wedding graduate post ever. Now. I know what I should be saying about Kimberly. I should be saying how much I love international wedding graduates (I do), how gorgeous she is (it’s true), how much I love getting to feature diverse weddings (it’s not just skinny white girls getting married), and church weddings (because I love me some church). But when it comes right down to it, here is why I love Kimberly so much I want to kiss her: she said about her wedding zen, “I honestly just gave it up to Jesus. I mean, WWJD, anyway? He wouldn’t stress about anyone handing out some program fans, I’ll bet you that much.” And how can I not LOVE a girl who says that? So lets hear it for 2011… the year of giving it up – to God/Jesus/The Universe/Whatever Will Be (Will Be). And with that, I give you Kimberly.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

I’m a wedding graduate. And a fraud. Let me explain.

My husband and I have been married for one year, two months and two days. Our wedding was two months and two days ago. I’ve been a newlywed and a wedding undergraduate planning a wedding for the past year without telling anyone about the former. And let me tell you, it’s been a pain in the hoo-ha.

Truth be told, we brought it on ourselves. We met in 2001 and got together on a whirlwind trip to Dublin in 2006. We did long-distance for a couple of years, and then decided to put all of our eggs in one basket and move in together — although things were complicated a bit by the fact that he’s from one country, I’m from another country, and we decided to move to a third. Still, things were just humming along, and in the summer of 2009 we decided to start making some plans to get married. And then, you know, life happened. Just a few short weeks later, due to immigration issues, we were married. As in, to-the-chapel-with-some- borrowed-witnesses, grab-a-bottle-of-champers-on-the-way-home married.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

I was really pleased a few months ago when a post on APW spurned comments from people who had gotten married earlier than planned because of visas/immigration reasons, and discussed how they chose to tell their families/not tell their families/have weddings/not have weddings. For us, the wedding was the way to go (although like Wedding Graduate Marchelle, it ended up being three separate occasions: the legal ceremony, the traditional wedding, and the cocktail party in E’s home country of Ireland).  But, let me reiterate, it’s been effing hard. Trying to plan a wedding is stressful enough, and we were also trying to navigate our first year as a married couple. I’d been fighting against myself, fighting against gender roles, fighting against the shoulds and shouldn’ts of weddings and of marriage.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

I’m learning though. And we’re learning. In fact, when my head is about to explode (as it gets), that’s what I say to myself. We’re learning — not just how to be there for each other, which we’ve been learning for a while, but also how to be accountable for (and to) someone other than ourselves.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

Even after we were married (the first time), we were still 100% all for The Wedding — it was never even a question! We’d each met each other’s families but our families had never met, and we had always looked forward to getting all of the people we loved in one room, at one time, in order to celebrate such a fantastic occasion. Everyone came in, everyone celebrated with us, everyone spent the guts of four days socializing, catching up, drinking, dancing, playing music, and drinking some more. To witness the difference between the night one Welcome Dinner and the night four whoever-was-left-in-town dinner, to see people hugging and making plans to meet again after just a few days in each other’s presence, to see all of this happening around us and because of us was uh-mazing.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

To reaffirm our vows in the presence of our loved ones, to have it out that we’re husband and wife, to wear the rings, to have been encased in the experience as a whole was uh-mazing. We literally shared all of the time with our community of friends and family, and we feel that we got the best of both worlds: the small, private ceremony that legally bound us, and the more traditional celebration that allowed us to share that bond with others. For a year, we had a secret, and whenever we were stressed out about our legal status or about the wedding, we’d say to each  other, ‘We’re already married. It doesn’t matter.’ and things would be better. It was awesome, but now it’s even more awesome. Granted, it’s different for everyone, but for us, publicly declaring our commitment felt different. I don’t know why, but it did. Because now, NOW, it feels as if we’re finally free to flip that switch and look ahead.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

And although I’m happy to look ahead, it feels totally appropriate to share the things that I’ve learned about the wedding process and about being newly married.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

On the day of the wedding, I felt really calm — oddly enough, exactly the same way I felt the day that we legally got married. Maybe it’s because our wedding was a four-day long event and we weren’t trying to cram time with everyone into one five-hour time period, but I felt that I was able to be completely present during the day of the wedding, in the moments from the ceremony to the tour of the catacombs (yes, there were catacombs), from the last dance of the night to the after party. (To the after after party.) And because of this, the “It goes by so quickly!” thing that you hear all the time wasn’t true in our case. Everyone says to that the day flies by and to try and enjoy the moments, and DEFINITELY DO THAT, but hear me out. We had a fantastic time, but when it was over, we were ready for it to be over, and we moved on to the next thing.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

For me, a non-procrastinator who has to have things done before she can relax, it was super helpful to have a no-more-stress deadline. Mine was two days before the wedding — after that, if something wasn’t done, it wasn’t getting done. And I honestly didn’t give a sh*t. And it wasn’t that kind of I-don’t-care-on-the-outside- but-I’m-stressing-out-on-the-inside. I honestly just gave it up to Jesus. I mean, WWJD, anyway? He wouldn’t stress about anyone handing out some program fans, I’ll bet you that much.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

I did a lot of the planning leading up the wedding, and wanted to see through a lot of projects. (And I’m really anal about some things.) But after my no-more-stress period began, I was MORE than happy to give people things to do and let everyone help. “Anything you need,” was something I heard a LOT of over the weekend, so I took a (small) leap of faith and actually told people what I needed. And . . . items appeared without me lifting a finger. Things got done. It was magical. I was really surprised by how smoothly things went without my having to freak out about anything. And I’m a little sorry I didn’t let people help sooner. Ah well.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

During wedding planning, E and I just weren’t that kind of DIT couple, lovingly folding paper products and stuffing OOT bags together over a glass of wine. Nuh-uh, didn’t happen. In our case, DIY was almost always DIM (do-it-myself). I tried to force the issue, but if it didn’t happen, I stopped pouting. If something was important to both of us, then we both did it. If it wasn’t, then I did it. And you know what? If I had forced it, then both of us would’ve been miserable.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

I can’t say this enough — bring plenty of deodorant (cruelty-free, all-natural, spray-on, roll-on, whatever, just put it in your kit and reapply as needed). Just because you’re wearing a gorgeous dress doesn’t mean you won’t smell.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

And . . . I wasn’t going to mention this part, but it has to be said. As a person who struggles with Missing Mother Malady, I felt her absence heavily in the days leading up to the wedding, almost more than the day itself. While I missed her physically, I also had her there, in words, in photos, and quite literally in myself. The joy that enveloped me was greater than the sorrow that often tugs at my consciousness. I grabbed E’s hand and I squeezed and I teared and I made it through. In the end, I was okay. I was better than okay. I’m loved. A lot.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

It was kind of fantastic that our wedding was actually on our first anniversary. It was more than just a celebration of our coming together; it was a celebration of the fact that we hit the ground running and have already made it through an entire year. (Isn’t it funny how a period of time can feel both incredibly short and incredibly long?) I look back at the wedding itself and hope that the rest of our lives are like those four days: full of family, true friends, hospitality, laughter, great food, free-flowing beverages, hugs and dancing. Lots and lots of dancing.

Kimberly & E. Baltimore Wedding at Westminster Hall | A Practical Wedding

Photos by: Jennifer McMenamin of Roman Grinev Photography

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  • http://woodenhouses.tk/ Kinzie Kangaroo

    Oof, I apparently need to get up earlier now, because I didn’t have time to read the entire post. My new years resolution is to be on time to work now, so I need to get it in gear. I’ll come back and read the rest later. But (BUT!) what GORGEOUS pictures! And what awesome wisdom, and what a beautiful couple. Hooray for APW 2011!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    This was so wonderful to read this morning! It’s so well written, hilarious and touching. And that no more stress deadline? I think that’s something I’ll have to borrow. Maybe for a lot of events in my life.

    Kimberly, this was gorgeous!

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      I really need to enact a no stress deadline. About a lot of things in my life.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Aww, thanks . . . I’m working on applying that no-more-stress deadline to other areas of my life as well!

      • Sarah

        Did you tell your family’s at some point that you’d already been married a year? My boy and I are facing some decisions (not immigration thank goodness) but the idea of getting married (before the planned, wearing white momma’s sobbing shindig), and just not telling anyone has been bandied about more then once….

        • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

          Nope, we’ve never said anything to our families. If it ever comes up down the line, we probably won’t lie about it, but at this point, all anyone needs to know is that we’re married. I can completely understand the feeling that you would need to tell your families — or at least parents — so that’s only a decision that you can make, but the dust has settled now, and we don’t really think all that much about it anymore. (Okay, we do, but not too often!)

  • Lisa

    I couldn’t have said anything in your post better. We too had the small private ceremony exactly 6 months before the wedding and although it was (and in some ways, still is) hard keeping the secret, I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved the calmness I felt entering the day and having the opportunity to embrace the joy of all of those around us in our second ceremony. I don’t know how many times we said “we’re already married, it doesn’t matter” during those six months and how much that made the ugly stressful moments become so much better. Congrats!

  • http://anaturalblonde.blogspot.com Jenny

    Such a gorgeous wedding! I love that APW features weddings that aren’t typical and yet are still fabulous, full of love and enjoyable to read. Congrats on making it to one year and I hope you have many, many more years to celebrate!

  • Jo from Reno

    This wedding looks awesome. I love the open mouthed, singing for joy, head back with laughter photos!!! Good advice here – thank you!

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Almost all of my favorite photos include someone’s mouth wide open! Singing, laughing, about to shove pie in . . . wide open.

  • http://modernspartan.wordpress.com Nadine

    Okay, I’m one of those 40%-ers! I’ve been reading APW for a while and I sorely missed it over the holidays when I was starting to deal with telling family and gently impressing the idea that we would have a very non-traditional wedding upon them…but I had the archives.
    Thank god for archives.
    And what a great post to start the new year with!

    • Sarah

      Congratulations, Nadine!!

  • IJA

    Thanks APW & Kimberly for sharing this! My fiance and I got married in a small, private, and secret ceremony last June. Like Kimberly, our 2010 wedding is also exactly one year before our “big wedding” with all our family and friends. We LOVE being married! And sometimes we love having a secret, but other times, it is so darn hard! Sometimes, I just want to shout for no apparent reason, “we’re married already!!!” But of course, I don’t :-)

    I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on eventually telling people about the first wedding. To do or not to do? Which anniversary to celebrate? Also, our first wedding was secular, our second will be Jewish-ish. When we sign the ketubah, which date to use? Two members of our bridal party and our parents/sibs/grandmother know (because they amazingly scrambled to be there last minute when we made the decision)…otherwise, all other friends/fam are in the dark. Thanks!

    • IJA

      I just realized that I’ve trained myself so well to say “fiance” that even in this post, I wrote “my fiance and I got married” as opposed to “my husband and I got married”!! One of our great pleasures is calling each other “husband” or “wife” at home or quietly in public :-)

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      You know, I actually had the idea that we tell people at the wedding . . . you know, as a “surprise! It’s an anniversary party!” type thing. Himself, however, was adamant that we not, because he thought some people’s feelings would be hurt that they weren’t told/included the first time, especially given how emotional the occasion is. (And he’s undoubtedly right.) So we’re just keeping it under wraps for now . . . if it comes up down the road, then we’ll probably spill the beans. As for our “anniversary,” we actually had the occasions on the same date, so that one’s easy for us!

      • abby_wan_kenobi

        I’ve actually been to a wedding where the couple announced that they’d legally gotten married some time before (like Kimberly & E, for very practical reasons). After the ceremony the bride made a little speech and told us how much it meant to them to have all of their loved ones with them as they exchanged their vows and how long they’d been looking forward to this day – however, there wouldn’t be any paperwork to sign because they’d made a trip to the courthouse 8 months earlier. She explained their situation very briefly and thanked everyone for being understanding. They had a photobook with a few snapshots they’d taken at their courthouse wedding and everyone I talked to was fine with it.

        Of course, their parents and siblings were in the loop, so not *everyone* was surprised. She told me later that they hadn’t told anyone because she was afraid no one would come to the wedding if they knew it wasn’t “real”. Hard to say if that was a valid concern, but nobody seemed insulted or betrayed by the secrecy – we understood that they had good reasons.

    • Lisa

      We decided not to tell anyone who didn’t find out- so 5 or so people at our wedding knew we were already married. I contemplated telling my parents, but when I heard them- after already going through weddings with my sisters- talk so emotionally about the day, I knew I couldn’t tell them.

      As to when we celebrate- it was the topic of much debate. We are approaching our first anniversary and decided to celebrate the actual date. We got married exactly one year after our relationship went from being long distance to living together…the day my husband has told everyone he stopped being single, so in a way, it is a cover (although none of our family live nearby). Our wedding was exactly six months after we got married..since our anniversary & my birthday (and V-day) all fall in the same week, my husband has promised to spread the celebration out to include the wedding date.

      • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

        And if that’s not an excuse for a vacation, I don’t know what is!!

    • Memery

      we got married last january for insurance reasons (and thank goodness for that, the amount of money and stress and worry this has saved is tremendous.) So we’ve been technically married for a year now, but our wedding is in September. Our parents know, but that’s it. And I don’t think we’ll ever tell anyone else. To be honest, our day in city hall was not a wedding in our eyes. We really saw it as simply a legal process. It’s the spiritual and family process next September that really means “marriage” to us. It is a little weird sometimes (we’ll be filing joint taxes this year, for instance, and on official forms I have to mark “married.”) But to be honest, we don’t consider ourselves married. Just legally joined. If that makes sense. Until we exchange vows in front of our families, I don’t think either of us will feel married. I would have loved if we could have had a more traditional route, but that was not meant to be, and that’s ok. For the record, we’ll be celebrating the September date. Although I told my fiance that this year we’ll be celebrating 3 times — our original dating anniversary, our city hall date, and our wedding. He asked if we could just consolidate to the wedding anniversary in future years. :)

      • coco

        We got legally married in April 2010, also for insurance reasons, but our Wedding (with-a-capital-W!) isn’t until this coming fall. A few people already know, our immediate families and a few friends, but the majority don’t. I’m glad to see that we aren’t the only ones and I would love to hear more about what others have done regarding telling people or not – I keep going back and forth whether we should just keep it a secret or make some sort of announcement at the wedding!

    • IJA

      Thanks so much Kimberly and everyone else for your perspectives. I really appreciate it. Going into our first wedding, we weren’t sure if we would feel married or not until the big Wedding (I like the capital W thing, COCO!) But we do! Which I think is why it is so hard to not shout it from the rooftops sometimes.

      I’d feel weird *not* telling the other members of the bridal party (I initially only told the two who were w/in driving distance because I had hoped they could come in for it). But I am afraid that enough time has passed that the ones who were out of the loop will feel hurt.

      I was at a wedding once where the bridal party held up poster sized photos of the couple’s (previously secret) legal ceremony and told the story of how it happened. I was a little surprised, but not hurt. They told me later that they were afraid people wouldn’t come if they knew the couple was already married.

      So much to think about before next summer…but thank you all SO much for helping me to realize we’re not alone in this.

  • ddayporter

    well! starting this year off right, crying at my desk over something on APW. congrats on a joyful and beautiful wedding. great advice about the deodorant haha!

  • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

    Perfect start to the New Year. I will try and follow your lead, Kimberly, and leave it up to a higher power more often!

    Congratulations on your stunning weddings and marriage.

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    Great start, indeed! I love the idea of a no-more-stress deadline; it’s great that you were able to leave things to your community! And awesome advice about deodorant of course!

  • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

    “I mean, WWJD, anyway? He wouldn’t stress about anyone handing out some program fans, I’ll bet you that much.”

    I LOVE this :) It made me laugh so hard today!
    And also love how happy you all look in every photo – huge smiles, singing away, laughing out loud. That’s the kind of joy it is just beautiful to see.

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    This post is a great reaffirmation of why I love APW. There’s something so refreshing about the no judgement zone here that we can celebrate and accept that some people have two weddings — legal and a religious/public one. And that there is nothing wrong with that (Kn#t I’m looking at you).

    Congratulations Kimberly and E! Thank you for sharing your wedding planning process! (Also for the tip about the deodorant.)

    • http://beckybopwrites.blogspot.com/ Becky

      Ha, back before I gave up on that website altogether, I got in quite a few arguments with other brides who thought that having two ceremonies/weddings/celebrations for any reason would make guests feel “cheated”. I’m so glad that’s not an issue here!

  • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

    Beautiful graduate post, Kimberly! I just wanted to ditto your comment about your mother being present in what you did. I felt that way our entire weekend about my dad.

  • Diane

    This is a beautiful post – one that I needed to read. My fiance has been in favor of having a “secret” wedding three months in advance of our “public” wedding for health insurance reasons (I’ll be quitting my job and moving to be with him a few months early because this whole long distance thing is getting really old). Even though it makes sense, I’ve had a hard time giving up the idea of our marriage “officially” occurring on the day of our planned wedding. It was nice to see that the marriage felt different after the public event and that being previously legally wed didn’t take away from the experience. It’s also good to read the comments and see that several people have been in similar positions and everything has worked out so well for them. Little by little I think that I am coming to be in agreement with my fiance. Thanks, Kimberly!

  • http://beckybopwrites.blogspot.com/ Becky

    My wife and I got legally married 6 weeks before our “real” wedding ceremony/reception, and I definitely didn’t feel that it detracted from our big celebration with family and friends in any way. Our legal ceremony was mostly private (just us, the minister, and my wife’s sister and brother-in-law) and felt pretty surreal, but our church wedding and reception were awesome and exactly what we wanted in a wedding. It was also pretty fun to be silly in between and joke about being married but not, etc.We also debated what to call each other during that time and jokingly settled on the term “wifancee”.

    Kimberly, your wedding is gorgeous! Everyone in the pictures look like they’re having an amazing time. And I *wish* that I had implemented a no-stress period. My wedding was great, but I wish that I had just let go of things in those last couple of days instead of stressing so much.

  • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com/ Robin

    I love the groom’s fist pump! Thanks for sharing your awesome wedding, Kimberly.

  • http://www.ohdeerio.com smallwonder

    What a beautiful and joyous wedding! We have been trying to figure out how to do a private event and a public event, so we can have both experiences, but I think we’ve decided to do private vows during our first look time and then say more traditional/standard vows during the ceremony. I’ve always thought that acknowledging the importance and difference in your private and public relationship is a great way to start a marriage, whatever the reason being doing it that way. Congratulations!

  • Cass

    The end of this post reminds me of my favorite marriage blessing:
    May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

    • Trisha

      I haven’t heard that before, but I absolutely love it!

  • april

    Brilliant – just brilliant. And YAAAAY!! for bi-racial couple! And YAAAY! for beautiful bride!

    Thanks for sharing your grad post – really wonderful.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I just have to say how much I love how HUGE the smiles are in all of the photos. So much joy and love. It’s almost enough to touch clear over here in my living room.

    I also give myself stress deadlines. For me it was a week before the wedding because that’s when I left town to go to the wedding. And there were three or four things (including a dress for our family dinner) that just didn’t happen. As a graduate student I do it at the end of each semester as well. A few small papers didn’t get turned in last semester because the stress deadline passed, I knew I’d pass the class without them, and it just wasn’t worth worrying about.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    You are super amazing, Kimberly. And thanks for reminding me of a part of my wedding day that I had forgotten – the calm. Ahhhh, yes, such an awesome feeling of things being good and right.

    • http://emilys22.wordpress.com emilyrose

      I think that’s what I’m looking for in our planning process right now. We’ve changed our minds so many times that I’m left feeling guilty for the indecision, and part of that is because I have been waiting for the peaceful calm that comes with “things being good and right.” Except it isn’t happening, and it’s making me crazy, so maybe I shouldn’t wait for it anymore… maybe it’s waiting for me on the other side of this whole wedding thing. I can only hope :)

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        The true calm/zen rarely comes during the planning. Planning is just plain crazy at times. Do your whole crazy thing now, and that calm most likely is waiting for you at some point during the wedding.

  • Kathryn F.

    Kimberly, I know I should be focusing on your wisdom or your beauty or what a great time y’all are clearly having, but I cannot think about those things because I MUST tell you how much I love that MARVELOUS short white dress. I want to marry IT! Any chance you’d be willing to share where you found it?

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Ooooo, absolutely. I bought that dress online from Francesca’s Collections. Have you heard of it? If not, go to the site immediately. Easy peasy and affordable. Swish.

      • Kathryn F.

        Delayed but no less sincere, THANK YOU for sharing! So pretty!

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

    Only 12 days before our wedding . . . I’m literally trying to soak up all the wisdom in the graduate posts like a bridal sponge! I feel calm yet very, very stressed at this point. I ADORE the no-stress deadline! It’s a definite must. Thank you, thank you for the wisdom!

  • Courtney

    I have to say…tour of the catacombs? OMG. Where? How?
    The catacombs, plus the radiant, bursting-out-of-the-photograph JOY on your face in fifth photograph as your husband pumps his fist in the air, makes this wedding one I really wish I could have attended despite the slightly inconvenient fact I do not know you. What a beautiful occasion–thanks for sharing!

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      A tiny, insignificant detail. ;)

      The reception was actually held at Westminster Hall, which is a now-converted church that was built on top of a burial ground. Many people who were well-known in the area at the time are buried there, including Edgar Allen Poe (!).

  • Erica

    Thank-you, thank-you, THANK YOU! This post = the best present ever. I am currently in the maddeningly and (at times, super painfully) ambiguous state of being simultaneously (and secretly) enrolled as a graduate and undergraduate student at the school of marriage. Look, it’s a nice school, but not such a great enrollment status. So I am so, so grateful to hear from someone else in this kind of situation, particularly someone who has made it through to the other side and clearly graduated with distinction.
    My double-status is also the result of a shotgun immigration wedding, which has been the source of enormous stress, both at the time and since, but which I’ve slowly started to view less as a catastrophe and more as something romantic–albeit in a super awkward kind of way. I mean, isn’t it amazing and beautiful that when every hurdle to immigration and staying with the one you love is put up in your path by a system that seems so rigid and inhumane, that the simple act of pledging yourselves to each other can lift you up and over those barriers?
    So, thank-you again for making me feel much less alone, and for being an inspiration to me just at the moment when my planning for the “real” wedding (or the fake, depending on your point of view) has been hitting a rough patch. Kimberly, you are a gorgeous, lovely bride, and I’m so pleased to find someone so cool in my class at marriage school.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      “I mean, isn’t it amazing and beautiful that when every hurdle to immigration and staying with the one you love is put up in your path by a system that seems so rigid and inhumane, that the simple act of pledging yourselves to each other can lift you up and over those barriers?”

      Yeeeees. Rigid? Inhumane? And let’s not forget maddeningly S-L-O-W. But yes, it’s definitely been a real source of comfort for us. Anytime you need to unload, just send me an email. I feel your pain, fo shizzle.

  • Erica

    P.S. Catacombs?! Awesome.

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com ka

    1. catacombs
    2. short white dress
    3. long white dress
    4. deodorant (so true, i will almost definitely smell)
    5. no-stress deadlines
    6. the photo of your husband swinging you around. bliss.

    loved it all! :D

    (and hugs from someone who understands ‘missing mother malady’ – it was wonderful to hear your perspective from the other side. something tells me i will have a similar experience, the planning is looking to be harder than the day itself.)

  • Saskia

    We also are having two weddings, the first (Nov 2010) was for visa/immigration purposes but it meant that my fiance’s (oops – husband now!) friends and brother didn’t have time to organise flights etc from USA to Australia, so we are planning on having a 2nd wedding Oct 2011 that they can attend.

    The first wedding took on a life of its own and ended up being much more of an event than we initially planned. This was a lesson to me that while it’s good to let go of some details, do NOT let go of the things that you really, really want (or don’t want) and that are important to you. It was organised within a month and we didn’t really take the time to sit down and decide what was really important to US and while it was an amazing day I have some regrets).

    Now I’m worried that this larger than anticipated first wedding will detract from our 2nd wedding which I really wanted to be the “highlight” so to speak. In my rational brain I know that the most important people will be there regardless and it will be just as amazing 2nd time around, but my silly, insecure brain worries that people won’t bother coming for a 2nd wedding, so it’s really great to hear from others in a similar position.

    Thanks APW!!!

  • Lauren B

    What is going on in that picture with the woman in the purple? It looks like everyone is sitting on eachothers laps an having WAY too much fun. I must know!

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Three words: Rock the Boat. More about it here.

  • Madeline

    I know I’m a little late joining the party, but I’m sooooo happy to see this post! It’s really nice to hear that I’m not alone in the secret marriage thing. We did it for insurance reasons, and because of my grad school and his deployment, our weddings will be more than 2 years apart (Aug. 2010 and Sept. 2012). Until just a few weeks ago, I felt that our situation was too unique, but I’m starting to find more and more evidence that there are people who can relate – so thanks Kimberly! And congrats!

  • Tina

    I tried commenting a few days as well, but life got in the way. I wanted to point out something that hasn’t been mentioned that. I LOVE how Kimberly mentioned some of the realities that went into wedding planning:

    “During wedding planning, E and I just weren’t that kind of DIT couple, lovingly folding paper products and stuffing OOT bags together over a glass of wine. Nuh-uh, didn’t happen. In our case, DIY was almost always DIM (do-it-myself). I tried to force the issue, but if it didn’t happen, I stopped pouting. If something was important to both of us, then we both did it. If it wasn’t, then I did it. And you know what? If I had forced it, then both of us would’ve been miserable.”

    I’m not even planning a wedding and I found this very comforting. I just know that my partner is going to care less about flowers and paper products and lots of things that I love. I know this is a safe space and that we have many different realities, personalities, and ways to make a wedding. However, you often see a lot of DIT couples, and despite all the best of intentions, sometimes you wonder why your partner doesn’t want to sit down and discuss paper products with you (ahem, cool customizable Christmas cards, anyone?).

    It was refreshing to hear a graduate actually state that she cared more about some things than her husband during the planning process and that forcing him to care about those things would have been bad for everyone. Thanks so much for your honesty!!

  • Alexandra

    So beautiful!
    Congratulations, and thanks for all the good advice. Definitely keeping this in mind!

  • Sherlynn

    Kim
    You are Soo Beautiful… Thanks for giving it up too God and including Him in your wedding planning really puts things in Perspective
    Interracial couples!!!!!!

  • Wsquared

    Indeed. First of all, congratulations!

    I’m so glad that you decided to put Jesus first.

    In fact– in terms of wedding zen and in absolutely everything– putting God first is one of the best “shame blasters” in one’s arsenal.

    After getting engaged, I went through tons of the same sort of stress: wrestling with myself, with gender roles, wedding details, etc.

    One of the most valuable lessons that I ever took away from Pre-Cana (Catholic marriage prep) is to always put God first: never put something less than God– What Other People Think (and what you think other people might think), your wedding details, your spouse, the WIC, the Diamond Olympics, your “stuff”– before God.

    By doing so, you hem in the person whom God meant you to be, and the person whom you need to be.

  • Marchelle

    Hurrah for another beautiful and sane, triple wedding, multi-national couple! Love it. :)