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Megan & Malcolm’s Living Eulogy


Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

How can I not fall head over heels with a woman who describes her wedding ceremony as, “a living eulogy” and her reception as, “a lovely afterglow” to the ceremony? How, I ask you? And then when you add in the midwifery, favors that incorporate marriage equality, and impromptu shadow puppets, and pies? You get magic. And the funny part? When I first saw these pictures, I literally gasped over the beauty of Megan’s dress. So, I was delighted to hear a story of how she wasn’t sure she loved her dress at first. (Exactly like Lauren!) So with that, here is some flat out magic from Megan.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

First, let me start with four things that helped ease the stress of wedding planning for me:

1) An alternate preoccupation: I was in my last year of graduate school as a nurse-midwife so I was too busy catching babies, staying up all night, and studying for boards to obsess (much) about the wedding. Whenever people asked me how wedding planning was going I would feel a little bit guilty that I didn’t have much to say beyond, “Fine, I think,” and I would wonder if there was something more I was supposed to be doing. In the three weeks before the wedding I was just too finishing school and packing to move to be overwhelmed with the wedding details, and that, surprisingly, was a good thing.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

2) Limited choices: We chose to get married in a small town that we know well, so our choices were limited and we more or less knew what they were from the outset. I was able to ride my bike to just about every possible wedding venue over the course of one weekend and they all recommended the same caterer so done, and done.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

The value of limited choices certainly held true for my dress, which was the first one I tried, off the sale rack in the Nordstrom Special Occasions section. $140 later I had a dress that I liked, not loved. My sister (a romantic, who thinks that all momentous decisions should hit you like a bolt of lightning) was lukewarm about the dress, which deflated my thrill at finding such a good deal. I had to remind myself that, for me, the weekend wasn’t about falling in love with the perfect dress. So, permission granted not to loooove your wedding dress! It’s just one part of a many faceted weekend. I never really did fall in love with the dress until the day of the wedding when I was just in love with everything and everyone and very happy to be completely comfortable in normal underwear and a bra, and a dress that fit me without any tugging, and after Malcolm (honest to a fault and with some surprisingly strong opinions about fashion) had seen it and I could just tell by the look on his face that he thought I was beautiful. Even my sister thought the dress was perfect the day of.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

A final note about limited choices, when overwhelmed by the plethora of beautiful and thoughtful choices in the fast growing indie wedding blogosphere, it was helpful to remember that while I had perused just about every indie wedding blog, website, and magazine I could find, our guests had not—sure bunting flags and wild flowers in antique milk jugs have been done, but our friends and family weren’t at those weddings!

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

3) An artistic and talented intended: Malcolm is the DIY engine in our relationship and he applied his considerable artistic talent to making the invitations and the simple decorations with much more style and skill than I could have managed. One of the best comments about our wedding was that it truly reflected both of us and not just the bride’s “vision.” Only once did I have to reign in his DIY enthusiasm when days before the wedding he decided making a piñata from scratch was a good use of his time.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

4) Supportive, but not meddlesome, friends and family: My parents were generous with their time and money and his parents and our friends were generous with their talents. Neither set of parents made any demands or suggestions beyond the guest list. While I appreciated this hands-off approach from my parents with whom I was in close contact and therefore had no doubt about their excitement surrounding the wedding, the same approach from Malcolm’s parent’s felt dismissive and unsupportive. It wasn’t until the weekend of the wedding when Malcolm’s mom and her best college friend spent hours sprucing up our yard and an equal number of hours baking pies that I believed she truly was excited about the event. People express their enthusiasm and support in different ways.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

On Friday morning Malcolm, his mom and a crew of helpers went off to bake the wedding pies, while my mom, brother, friends and I went to a local farm to put together the wedding flowers. These opportunities to work and laugh alongside our friends and family in the time before the wedding set the tone for the weekend as a celebration of our community as well as our relationship. On Friday night we hired a Taco Truck to serve our guests at a local park, and the morning of the wedding, as is Malcolm’s tradition with his college friends, we hosted a 5K fun run.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

I loved spending the night before the wedding together, and waking up the morning of the wedding in our house. It was very intimate and grounding to be with Malcolm at that time and to recognize that the night before this “big event” we were still the same people. Why, exactly, should the bride and groom be sequestered away from one another? How much better is it to share those few moments of alone time during a busy weekend.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

We puzzled over how to acknowledge our commitment to marriage equality in our wedding. We decided in lieu of wedding favors to create favor cards printed with photos of us on one side and a few words about our donation to Freedom to Marry and our commitment to marriage equality on the other side. Each place setting got a card and it felt great to celebrate our values in this way and ruffle a few of our more conservative family members’ feathers!

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

From the beginning we knew we wanted the ceremony to be central, not just a peripheral excuse for a party. Not being religious, we still wanted a ceremony that honored our commitment and our community and didn’t feel as if we had just pulled it out of thin air or the new age grab bag. A Quaker-style ceremony in which all of the wedding guests have the chance to speak seemed like the right fit. I’d been to two such ceremonies and they truly stood out as the most moving, inclusive, and meaningful weddings I had ever been to. Those ceremonies seemed to invite friends and family to sincerely invest in the partnership. It also required the least orchestration as all we had to do was compose our vows and leave the bulk of the ceremony up to our friends and family. As one friend said, you really have to trust your friends and family to open your ceremony up to whatever they choose to say.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

For me, the ceremony really was the highlight of the whole weekend. Throughout the ceremony I felt totally present and joyous and connected to Malcolm and to each of our friends and family who spoke. I was impressed with just how articulate everyone was. Maybe it’s morbid to say it like this, but a Quaker wedding ceremony is the closest you will get to being present at your own funeral—a living eulogy—as one friend put it, “How often do you get the chance to tell the world what’s so special about your friends?” I was gratified when one couple thanked us for sharing our ceremony with them because it gave them the chance to truly reflect on their own marriage. My hope was exactly that—that the ceremony would be truly ceremonial, a time for introspection, reflection, and joy, rather than a hollow ritual during which people are really thinking how uncomfortable everyone looks to be dressed up and “on stage.”

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

The party that followed—amazing food from a local caterer, the homemade pies, the home-brewed beer, the contra dancing, the champagne, the sparklers, the amazing brunch our friends hosted at our house the next morning—seemed to me the afterglow of the ceremony. A lovely afterglow to be sure, but it would not have been nearly as wonderful if not imbued with the meaning and sentiment of the ceremony that had preceded it.

Megan & Malcolms Living Eulogy  | A Practical Wedding

Photos by: Matthew Zimmerman

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  • Rachel

    This is without question my favourite wedding graduate post to date (not that the others haven’t been wonderful too! This one just resonates with me specifically a bit more). I don’t even really know what to say beyond that, I love this, and it resonated with me in a way I can’t really articulate. Thank you for writing it.

  • http://militarywomenspeak.wordpress.com Kelsey Mackay

    So, so lovely… This is a wedding I wish I had been at!!! The pictures are absolutely beautiful, but even more so are the words Megan used to describe her wedding. Congrats, and very well done!!!

  • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

    Contra? Contra?!? That’s it, I think I am officially miffed at not having been invited to this wedding ;-)

    Absolutely lovely, and a beautiful way to make and honor a significant commitment. My hat is off to Megan and Malcolm!

  • Emily

    What a gorgeous wedding, and thoughtful, insightful post. We’re planning a Quaker ceremony, too, as it resonates with us for many of the reasons Megan described. Megan, I’m hopeful that you might provide some advice (either here or through email: emilylillywhite[at]gmail.com) about the legality of it. We’re having trouble figuring out how to have the ceremony we want in Virginia (where our ceremony and reception will be) – allowing our guests to sign the marriage certificate, etc., without having to go to the courthouse in Brooklyn (where we live) a few days before. Thoughts?

    • Megan

      Thanks, Emily! We’re lucky that one of our friends is an ordained minister in another tradition so he is legally able to marry folks. We had him act as MC for our ceremony–saying a few words before we exchanged vows, letting guests know what the format of the ceremony would be, and saying a few words before we exchanged rings. For the record I think his role was crucial in helping everyone feel comfortable with the “non-traditional” format. He was also able to sign the legal marriage certificate.

      If you don’t have such a friend, make one! Anyone can get “ordained” online in a matter of minutes for a nominal fee through the Universal Life Church and as far as I know that is legal in all 50 states. Or, you could try calling the local Quaker Friends Meeting House to ask them how they deal with this issue. If in the end it works better for you to get married legally at the courthouse before your actual ceremony, awesome! You get to extend the joy of the whole experience.

      If anyone is interested in the wording we used on our wedding website, program, and ceremony to introduce all our guests to the Quaker format I’d be happy to share.

      • Chris

        Megan- I’d love to see the wording you used. Could you send it to christa(dot)and(dot)ethan(at)gmail? Thanks! (I’m then same Quaker Chris as below, but I missed your generous offer the first time through)

        • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

          Wording for me too, please, Megan! linseyis(at)gmail(dot)com.

          What a beautiful day–and new marriage–it seems you’ve created. Congratulations!

      • Katrina

        And me too, please! Katrina.Allen at gmail com

      • MsMurgle

        Me too please Megan! aimeedaigle at gmail dot com
        Thanks!!

    • Jackie

      I’m not sure if it makes any difference that you live in Brooklyn, but I live in DC and got married in Virginia, and it was very easy. My best friend got ordained online and performed a ceremony that I had written. My husband and I just had to go to the courthouse (within 30 days of the wedding I believe – although it may have been more) to get our license. Our officiant then signed it and mailed it in within a week of the ceremony.

    • Chris

      In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Colorado, there are exceptions to the normal marriage license procedures for Quaker-style weddings. (It’s a called a self-uniting marriage). The specific rules vary. but basically all that is required are witnesses, not a clergy. I don’t know the rules in Virginia, sorry. However, I do know that more signatures on a marriage license can’t change the legality no matter what state you’re in- you can have as many as you want. (I was born and raised Quaker, but we’re negotiating exactly how Quaker of a ceremony my Methodist fiance and his family can handle)

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

      I think the legality of any type of marriage certificate or officiant varies by the state. In Michigan we had to have one person (officiant) and two witnesses sign the official marriage license. I called the County Clerk’s office and asked a lot of specific questions which they tried to dodge at first, ending up with “So if there are no checks on the legality of the officiant, basically just anyone can marry us?” To which they responded, “Well, um, I guess, but it’s supposed to be a minister!” So my uncle, who had been ordained “online” with the Universal Life Church since the 70s, renewed it online just in case and signed the marriage license as “Minister”, and no more information was required besides his name and title.
      I imagine that if your state has similar rules, you could have one person sign the legal certificate and then have a pretty/artistic one made for everyone to sign.

  • El

    Thank you for sharing your wedding story! It’s beautiful–I’ll be coming back to this one when it’s time to do my own planning.

    Also: Congrats on finishing school and becoming a nurse-midwife! What an accomplishment!

  • Charm City Vixen

    Amazinggggg wedding, beautiful dress, and absolutely wonderful ceremony description!

    I’ve thought a lot about the reception, but the ceremony has always been something that sort of terrifies me — as a spiritual (but not religious) person living within a family of athiests, Jews, Catholics, and Jehovah Witnesses (woah!), it’s difficult for me to think about what ceremony I should have that will be meaningful and thoughtful (and not offensive) to not only myself and my FH, but to my loved ones as well.

    Congrats on graduating! And on your marriage!

    • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

      Quaker ceremonies are BEAUTIFUL. I’ve never personally attended one, but I’ve heard nothing but glowing, beautiful stories about them.

      I’ll also put in a plug for Unitarian Universalist weddings. They are spiritual, as non-denominational (or denominational!) as you’d like, and very flexible. If you find a UU minister near you, they would probably sit down with you, talk about your spirituality and what matters to you in a ceremony, and help construct something that would be wonderful and touching for you, your FH, and your families. (I’m about to start seminary to become a UU minister, so I’m a little biased!! But UU weddings are awesome.)

      • Stephasaurus

        Just wanted to chime in – I’m considering a UU ceremony! We aren’t religious, but I’m pretty spiritual and for people like us, a Unitarian minister seems like the way to go. His dad’s family and my dad’s family are Catholic, so I think having a Unitarian ceremony would be just the right about of religion and God to make them happy but also not make my fiance uncomfortable. :)

        • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

          Absolutely!! We had a mix of people attending– spiritual, wiccan, earth-based, Christian, Catholic, Jewish, agnostic, atheist… They all loved us, and we wanted the ceremony to be touching and authentic to us and to our community. Our ceremony was amazing. My minister was able to give it the authority and gravitas of a religious ceremony, without beating anyone over the head with religion (my husband is agnostic). My very Catholic grandmother told me it was the most beautiful service she’d ever attended!! I chalk that one up for a win.

          UU services are great for people looking for something more spiritual than a Justice of the Peace, but are concerned about having a ceremony in a specific religion, or are looking for an interfaith ceremony.

          • Stephasaurus

            Sounds about right, based on what I’ve read about UU ceremonies. I appreciate the input, big time — it really solidifies my appreciation for Unitarianism (and it’s super cool that you’re about to start seminary to become a minister!)

      • Edelweiss

        Sarah,

        I’ve played with the idea of becoming a UU minister, and I’m so impressed you’re doing it!

        Good luck and Congrats!

        • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com the Sarah formerly known as Sarah K.

          Thanks!! I’m really excited. It’s a crazy journey! Good luck with your own discernment, as well!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

      We had a non-denominational ceremony that we wrote based on my UU faith that mostly left out anything religious (my partner is Catholic in name only, but both of our extended families are (or think they are) still pretty religious). I’d be glad to share it with you if you’re writing your own and looking for a place to start gathering ideas. Otherwise (or in addition), totally contact a local UU minister about officiating and see if they can help you write something that works for everyone involved. Email me at RegularlyAmazed at gmail.

      Sarah, congratulations on deciding to become a UU minister! Good luck with the journey, and let me know if you end up in San Francisco (even temporarily) so I can come to a service!

  • http://engineerbaker.blogspot.com Caitlin

    Okay, a 5K on the morning of the wedding? AWESOME. I wish we could have done that! And I’m with you on being so busy with life that you just don’t worry too much about the wedding. It really helped me to be starting graduate school while planning, because I just didn’t have the time to stress about wedding planning.

  • Megan

    Yowzah! Contra-dancing, and pies, and homebrewed beer sounds a LOT like the wedding we just had. When do I get to hang out with you? We were just married 3 weeks ago, and I had the BEST time at my wedding, but yours is a wedding post that makes me think: “Dude, can we do this throw-an-awesome-party-and-share-our-love-with-others thing over and over again, in a million iterations?”

    What a lovely event. Also: I was happily surprised as well by the fact that none of my family or friends had ever heard of mason jars or thought of thrifting our own china. They thought the idea was so novel and creative and quirky. I decided to let them think that and enjoy it!

    • Megan

      Thanks, Megan! Yeah, Malcolm’s first comment as we walked away from the ceremony was “That was AWESOME!” And it was! I wish we could do it over and over, but happily there’s not much I would change.

      • Molly

        Megs!
        So sad Sean and I weren’t able to tend the festivities as I was still drowning in school and life and who knows what! But your first anniversary is quickly approaching and maybe we can recreate some magic and you can pull out that lovely dress and we local folks can do another pie-off and flowers in jars and some BBQ to celebrate a union of such special folks! Glad your wedding is getting the recognition it deserves which is that it is the *marriage* that is the focus not the *wedding* and then look at the beauty that automatically follows! And I will be definitely getting ceremony tips from you guys when Sean and I start designing ours this year.
        Big hugs!!
        Molly

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

    Ooh, I love the idea of your ceremony with everyone getting involved to bless your marriage! It wouldn’t have worked for us (lots of stoic introverts in our crowd, as well as lots of people who only know one of us individually), but I think it’s such a beautiful way to incorporate your guests into the whole celebration and emphasize the community aspect of a wedding. Also, I love your dress! And your hair! And it sounds like it was an incredible party!

    • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

      Haha! I was just about to say this, a Quaker Ceremony was right up there on my list of things I wanted to do at our wedding, but it would have made our buttoned-up families so uncomfortable there was no way we could do it. I’m so glad it worked for you guys though, it sounds great!!

      Also — yeah for your dress!!

  • Hypothetical Sarah

    Beautiful! I love that you viewed the party as “the afterglow of the ceremony”. And “invit[ing] friends and family to sincerely invest in the partnership”? That’s the main reason we’re planning this whole shebang. Your description of your weekend strikes me as a mix between the wedding that I’m having and the wedding I wish I was having. I’ll have to mull that over more. Thanks!

  • Stephasaurus

    This is definitely one of my favorite wedding grad posts as well. It really hit home for me because I’m struggling the most right now with planning our ceremony. I’m very spiritual, but neither of us can identify with any organized religion, and, at least to me, that poses a problem when trying to figure out what to do for our ceremony — especially because we don’t want just some random person showing up to officiate. I had never even considered the Quaker ceremony idea, but now I see it as an option. A very unique, awesome option. :)

    • Sara

      I’m right there with you…I’m spiritual, but feel nothing even close to a connection to organized religion, and the fiance is an atheist. We were both raised Catholic, which makes planning a ceremony easier, and harder, and far more confusing, all at once. Because it means that the only wedding framework we and our families know and understand is a framework that neither of us is comfortable with for our ceremony.

      I love love love the Quaker ceremony idea…but I’m worried that it will be too far away from “normal” for too many of our family members, and as much as we want the ceremony to be true to ourselves, we also want our families to be there sharing in our joy…not feeling confused and uncomfortable, especially if we’re asking them to speak.

      What we’ve decided to do is mirror (loosely) the basic structure of a Catholic ceremony, with 3 secular readings, the vows and rings, and a (non-religious) blessing. And since we also weren’t comfortable with the idea of a stranger/acquaintance officiating, my fiance’s brother will be the officiant. We’ve asked our sisters to do the readings and blessing, so the whole ceremony will be conducted by our siblings.

      The idea I love more than anything else is self-solemnizing (after all, the goal is to marry each other, it seems a shame to let someone else do it!) but unfortunately Illinois law doesn’t say you can do that, and as much as the almost-lawyer in me likes coming up with crafty legal arguments, I don’t want to have to litigate the status of my marriage down the road.

      I do still like the way we’re doing it, creating a ceremony that’s meaningful to us, in a format that’s familiar to our families, and I like the idea of our siblings doing the whole thing, but I’m also INCREDIBLY jealous of everyone who can legally self-officiate…that really speaks to me as the perfect way to marry my fiance.

  • Hillary

    Thanks for your thoughts on the dress (mirroring Lauren’s recent post). I’m getting married in October. While I am very into fashion and style, I am not interested in spending a ton of money on one dress for one day. I tried on a few dresses at White Chicago (where Lauren near-panic-attacked) but I didn’t like any of them (I also didn’t have a panic-attack, so, you know, go me). Then I bought a bunch of non-traditional dresses and returned all but one.

    My fiance liked it but didn’t seem too teary-eyed about it. One friend was definitely underwhelmed while one said she liked it more than she thought she would. Most people seeing the photos say it looked “like me” and is pretty.

    I became singularly obsessed with the idea of the perfect dress, spending entire days searching online for dresses. But I wasn’t finding anything in my price range that I liked better and finally decided that it was “the dress.”

    I still am not 100% sold on it but have come to believe that the dress is only one small component of my wedding, not the major one. I tried the dress on recently after a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress and liked it more than I had previously. I expect to feel the same way that Megan did, loving it on the actual day of the wedding, once it’s fitted and everything is in place (both emotionally and sartorially).

    Well, and my fiance already thinks I’m beautiful, anyway.

    • Denzi

      I actually do love my dress, but it wasn’t my partner’s favorite when I was searching for dresses, and when I called him to say “Oh my god I found the most GORGEOUS dress,” he said “That’s nice. You should probably call my sisters and tell them. They’ll be way more excited than I am.”

      I had about a one-minute breakdown where I sat there and fumed that I was marrying a total *sshole, and then decided that the part where I freaked out about dresses for a month and he kept telling me I would look beautiful no matter what overrode the “Eh, it’s just a dress” reaction. I’m sure there will be rituals that he goes through that make him think “Holy f*ck, I’m getting married! No seriously, F*CK!” that I will go “Eh” about as well.

      And, like you, Hillary, I am completely sure that he thinks I’m beautiful. The pretty dress is just a nice extra.

  • http://libudgetbride.wordpress.com Ariella

    What really resonates with me is how Megan’s wedding is something that her family hasn’t been to. I tell my mother all the time that there are thousands of girls crocheting their own flowers, but everyone in my family has yet to see one. It has brought on a little stress, but it’s been great planning something that my family finds a little off. I nearly died with I read this, ” ruffle a few of our more conservative family members’ feathers!” because that’s exactly how I felt about our favors to our local NPR station and a cat shelter. We were honoring causes that we felt strongly about, but the the added feather-ruffling just made it fun.

    • Stephasaurus

      Oh my gosh, LOVE the idea of donating to a local NPR station. Love. Such a great little “Suck it” to the gov’t lame-os who think NPR isn’t important enough for funding.

  • Class of 1980

    I’m do darn busy today that I just scanned the photos.

    I love your dress! Go Nordstrom!!!

    • Rocksy

      Agreed–the dress looks fabulous on you! I also picked out a non-bridal wedding dress from the special occasion section at Nordstrom. They (and other department stores too) have a good selection of white dresses around this time of year, especially if you’re looking for something that is comfortable yet pretty, a little bit different, and more affordable than most traditional wedding dresses. When searching for a dress you like, it doesn’t hurt to go off-the-beaten bridal path, if you would excuse the bad pun.

  • Linda

    This post is the exact reason why I read APW. Great to hear that I’m not completely alone in not wanting the cookie cutter wedding that everyone else has had. I find so many people, even when they say they support us no matter what, they still want to put us in a “wedding box” (ie think inside the box) and assume we’ll have the same type of wedding that they have attended before. People have blinders on when they hear the “W” word!

    And can I say that I love the cardigan with dress! I told my mum I was thinking of wearing a cardigan for my October wedding and she said “That would be too casual.” but I couldn’t disagree more. Comfortable is the word I would use, but still looking lovely. Thank you Megan for your truely inspiring words and for making me feel less alone with my thoughts. And I would love to hear more about your wedding website, etc and how you got everyone onboard with your Quaker-style weekend. Congratulations to you both!

  • http://weddingplannerchecklist.blogatyourservice.com Kate

    This wedding and this post is fantastic! A dream wedding…

  • marbella

    pies and a tractor…. it must have been a great day!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com Jenny

    Thanks for sharing about your lovely sounding wedding. This part cracked me up:

    “Only once did I have to reign in his DIY enthusiasm when days before the wedding he decided making a piñata from scratch was a good use of his time.”

    Love it. :)

    • http://lowehousecreative.com/ Elizabeth @ Lowe House Events

      That post gave me chills, in the best possible way. Just…. yes. yes, yes, yes. That’s exactly what it’s all about. (also, I’m dying with love over both your dress AND your hair. so yes to those as well.)

  • http://lowehousecreative.com/ lowe_house

    this post just gave me some major chills, in the best possible way. Just, yes, yes, yes, yes yes. That’s exactly it. (also: love your dress AND your hair. yes, yes, yes to those as well)

  • http://youngsandinlove.blogspot.com valery

    “The weekend wasn’t about falling in love with the perfect dress… It’s just one part of a many faceted weekend…I never really did fall in love with the dress until the day of the wedding when I was just in love with everything and everyone and very happy to be completely comfortable in normal underwear and a bra, and a dress that fit me without any tugging.”
    Thank you for articulating exactly how I feel about my dress and how I felt on the wedding day. I saw a picture of me from a not-so-great angle and thought “oh, I wonder if I should’ve considered Spanx or something??” and then thought about how GREAT it was to be in normal underwear and be completely comfortable without tugging up at a heavy or uncomfortable or too-tight dress. THAT’s what I love about my dress. Thank you for putting words to it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

      I wore a pretty simple dress (the J. Crew Sophia in long ivory), with regular underwear and bra under it, and I did actually get Spanx just to see if they made any difference. And then the best thing happened: because the dress is not-too-heavy silk, you could see the seam of the Spanx up the front of my stomach (and that’s weird), and you couldn’t see anything with just regular underwear. Perfect–the dress was comfortable and fit my style, and the Spanx decision was made for me so I didn’t have to “suck it in” all day!

  • Allie

    Wow, thank you so much for this post. If I’m honest, a lot of grad posts make me worry about my upcoming wedding and panic that I’m never going to get everything done but yours made me feel so calm.

    Like you I’m finishing my grad studies this year whilst working full time and also like you I bought the first dress I saw, which I’m now worried I don’t love *enough*. I’ve been having a lot of worries that my wedding won’t be perfect ir that people will feel let down so thannks for telling your story. I hope my day is half as pretty as yours

  • http://thejulymrs.blogspot.com/ Emily

    Perfect. First, the pictures (and you!) are beautiful. Absolutely stunning. Looks like you had the perfect day!

    I am so excited about your ceremony. It sounds so fun, and just like everything brides want out of a wedding. To be able to express the love you have for your husband, and share that with all of your friends and family.

    And your dress was stunning. I’m jealous of the $140, but also relieved that you didn’t love it at first. I didn’t love mine, either.

    Good luck in your marriage! =)

  • Verity

    I’ve only just found this blog. I love this story – this is me. I am so busy and everyone thinks that wedding plans must be preoccupying me – they are right down the bottom of the list. I got my dress from a high street dress shop without even taking anyone along with me. And somehow I feel like I must be missing the point somehow. But I’m still excited – 84 days to go…

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    awww so Beautiful! I grew up Quaker and wanted a Quaker ceremony so much, but then I married the son of a minister so… I conceded my lovely quaker ceremony, but was happy enough in the end. Still reading about your’s makes me wistful, and contra dancing? Awesome! (I too am an avid contra dancer)

  • http://ktmade.blogspot.com Katie

    Wow. What a gorgeous and refreshing post, though I have to agree with a previous commenter that I’m disappointed I wasn’t invited! ;)

    After having just written a post about my own wedding planning stress just over a week into my engagement, I was really inspired by how relaxed Megan seemed to remain all the way throughout. And I like to know that even busy people can plan gorgeous weddings!

    And, as a lesbian, I super super appreciate the shout out for marriage equality. Thanks!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    This is absolutely incredible and heart-touching.

  • Claire

    I loved the pictures of your wedding, I loved your dress…! I wish you and Malcolm all the best!

  • KMA(C)

    This was not the point of the post — at all — but : “While I appreciated this hands-off approach from my parents with whom I was in close contact and therefore had no doubt about their excitement surrounding the wedding, the same approach from Malcolm’s parent’s felt dismissive and unsupportive.” YES. Thank you for reminding me that there is plenty of time left for excitement and inclusion from my future in-laws. You give me hope (and a gentle nudge toward rationality.) It is much appreciated!

  • http://www.aweightymix.com Danielle

    Holy cow what a beautiful wedding. These are by far some of my favorite wedding photos I’ve seen on here. so much that I kinda wish I could’ve been at this wedding, haha! Lovelovelove it.

    • Megan

      Our photographer was amazing! He is a photojournalist by trade and does very few weddings and I think that works to his advantage because he doesn’t have any preconceived ideas about what the shots should look like, he just tries to capture the day and all its emotions. Check out his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-B-Zimmerman-Photography/256546468093. Also, we did very few posed photos.

  • Juli

    I was at this wedding and I can tell you all it was all that and so much more – truly truly a beautiful reflection in to the souls of these two amazing folks!

  • Stephanie

    Megan, I was so excited to see these photos because this is where I am getting married this July! We are also having contra dancing! I am also studying for boards, which I’ll take the week before the wedding, so my mom is doing most of the planning. Despite growing up in WW, I don’t know what flower farm you are talking about and we don’t have our flowers figured out yet so I’d love to get that info from you if you don’t mind!

    • Megan

      Yay! Another Walla Walla wedding! We LOVED Mill Creek Gardens. They were so accommodating and helpful. They have thought of every detail and it felt very homey. We got our flowers from Bob Bile’s farm. He sells produce, flowers, and Thai food at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market so you could connect with him there. We brought all our “vases” (ie. borrowed antique milk jugs!) with us to the farm on Friday morning. They filled them up with water and a little flower food. We walked through the gardens and cut the blooms we wanted. We were also able to pick from the cut flowers they had in the cooler. They set us up with some tables in the sunshine and we went to town putting them together. We weren’t super perfectionist about it, and the flowers definitely had a rustic/homemade/wildflower feel to them, but that’s us and that was our wedding so it worked! If you want I can send you some photos of the flowers and the “flower party” so you can get a sense for what the options are from Bob’s farm. Just send me your email!

      • Stephanie

        Aww, Megan thank you so much! Yes, the Filans have been super sweet and helpful so far and I hear they are out there on the day of the wedding helping with everything. (One of the reasons we picked Mill Creek Gardens.) Yes, I would love to see your flower and flower party photos. My email is aubreelynne@gmail.com.

    • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

      I thought I recognized the photos as Eastern Washington! So beautiful.

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

    Your marriage ceremony sounds absolutely incredible! It must have been magical to hear what your family & friends had to say. Your photos are lovely too! Best wishes to you & Malcolm~

  • meredyth

    I totally agree about the sanity saving alternative occupation. I am just finishing up an extremely busy semester of teaching and it has definitely forced me to put any wedding planning slightly out of mind until final grades are in (um, tomorrow). It has been a little weird when people ask how things are coming too. I mean, it’s not that big of a wedding and it’s in July. I think we’ll get everything done, and in the end we’ll be married regardless. Your wedding looks beautiful and fun. I agree with everyone else, I’d love to have been there!

    Also, hear hear on the dress that is cheap, comfortable and lovely. Mine is $150 and other than a special bra because of the back I don’t think I’ll need extra garments. Hurray!

  • april

    “Why, exactly, should the bride and groom be sequestered away from one another? How much better is it to share those few moments of alone time during a busy weekend.” ~Megan

    YESSSSS!!!! My hubby and I spent the night before our wedding together as well. BEST. DECISION.EVER. Additionally, I sleep better when he’s around so it was probably the most awesome pre-big-event sleep I’ve ever had and we woke up much happier.

    Your wedding looks gloriously happy and you and your hubby are so adorable!!!

    • Hillary

      The only reason my fiance and I might decide to sleep apart is that we are having our wedding at a summer camp and think it would be fun to stay in the bunks with our friends for a night. If it were a more traditional event, I would not let him sleep away from me, I’d be too stressed.

  • http://kittenishblog.com Amanda

    I’ve had this wedding up on my computer screen all day and I keep looking at the photos… everyone looks so happy and the joy is totally palpable! I’m about 40 days out and I just hope my wedding goes as lovely as yours sounds :)

  • http://theaftercath.blogspot.com Cathi

    I was in love with you, your husband, and your wedding already until I came across the contra dancing.

    YES. Awesome. Amazing.

    If you have time, I’d just like to ask how it went. Did your guests know what it was before hand? Did it go over well? My boy and I have half-joked about doing contra at our wedding, but whenever I think about it I worry that our friends and family would be confused and not want to participate

    • Megan

      My mom was skeptical when I told her we were going to do contra dancing, but it was so perfect! We had a great old-timey band with a caller and they walked everyone through some standard contra/folk/square dances. It was so great that everyone of all ages could be involved and no one cared if you were a “good dancer” or not. It also eliminated drunken sexualized dancing (not that there isn’t a place for that, but there are other opportunities to bump and grind that don’t involve your elderly and young relatives!) Many people thought it was the highlight of the evening, especially people who might not have danced otherwise. Absolutely, go for it!

      • z

        I’m a big fan of contra dancing too– I think it would be great to discuss all forms of structured social dancing because I think it’s a real loss that those traditions aren’t part of our culture in the way they once were. And yes, enough already with the grinding of butts against other people’s butts.

        I am just so full of questions. Did you feel you needed a critical mass of somewhat experienced dancers? Did you meet with the caller in advance? Did you tell people about it in advance, and what about appropriate shoes? Are there any pictures?

        • Megan

          Nope and not really. The caller knew ahead of time that people were not going to be experienced and he was really good at teaching and walking all ages through some simple dances. We did have a friend put together ipod mixes for the cocktail and dinner hours, and a handstand contest to Madonna (Malcolm’s tradition with his college friends!) and a little bit of dancing after the band packed up.

          • Megan

            Oh, and, I think we did post something about it on our website and told people to wear comfortable shoes. We got lots of great photos (action shots!) of the dancing. We wouldn’t have won any dancing contests, but I have never seen such a large inter-generational group having such a good time!

  • olivia

    i am in hearts with this wedding and with megan’s whole wedding mentality. favorites include your dress (awesome!, even if you didn’t love it at first) and the Freedom to Marry favors.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    There is so much wisdom here, but I keep getting distracted by all the PRETTY. Especially your beautiful hair!!! Love.

  • http://thisveganhouse.blogspot.com Megan

    From one Midwife Megan to another: congratulations, on your lovely wedding and finishing school!

    -Megan, CNM in Baltimore

  • http://www.unique-wedding-favor-ideas.com Leslie

    beautiful! looks like everyone had a great time!