One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Love-filled inclusive holiday with a wedding thrown in for good measure.
Posts Tagged ‘Non-white wedding dress’
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: The most amazing, loving, laughter-filled, close-knit, uniquely special weekend ever!
*Dianne Callahan, Deputy Executive Director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society a.k.a. Fundraiser & Chuck Callahan, Sr. Systems Analyst, US Defense Media Center a.k.a. Nerd*
Today’s post is profoundly overwhelming in an Everyone Has To Read This way, and also in a Not At All Safe For Work You Will Be Bawling At Your Desk way. But for me, it’s way more special than that. Dianne has been reading APW since the very beginning, and in my fourth month of blogging, I wrote about her $10,000 wedding in reverse, where she worked to raise $10,000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night Walk. But it’s more than that. At the LA book tour stop, which was my true hometown stop (more on that tomorrow), I started by saying that I’d founded APW because nothing I saw in wedding media bore any resemblance to the backyard weddings that happened where I grew up. And Dianne lives just a few blocks away from the house where I spent the first twenty-two years of my life. So, I’m proud to bring you a wedding from my hometown and from a woman I deeply respect. Now, I’m sure you’ll all join me with a love intervention for Dianne and Chuck, and you will send them your good wishes and/or prayers. I hope this makes all of us think about what our marriages really mean.
Last September, my amazing husband, Chuck, and I celebrated our third anniversary. Actually, we put off celebrating it until November, which is our tradition. We put off our anniversary celebration each year because we chose to combine our 2008 wedding with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night Walk, and since I’ve been working for LLS for almost three years now and am in charge of the Light The Night campaign, our anniversary falls in my busiest time. So Chuck helps me by serving as one of our lead volunteers for the event so we can raise lots of money for this precious mission, and we wait a couple of months to celebrate our precious anniversary. Except for this year. This year, instead of getting away for a sweet weekend together, we were getting the news that my aggressive cancer had returned and once again I would have to fight for my life.
Which brings me to “…in sickness and in health…” You need to know that Chuck knew what he was getting into when he said those words during our traditional wedding vows. You see, Chuck actually proposed to me in a hospital room the night we found out that I had an aggressive form of stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We had only been dating three months. That night, I told him he should run, that he deserved to be with someone healthy, someone who wasn’t going to lose her hair and maybe her life. His response? “When God gives you a gift, you don’t give it back.” He told me he was not going to run and that he already knew that he wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, however long that might be. He said he didn’t ever want me to worry that he would leave my side through whatever we faced. He asked me to marry him that night, knowing that my cancer was incurable and would, undoubtedly, come back.
I suppose it is natural that the thing I remember most about our wedding is standing beneath the tree in our backyard in front of our family and closest friends as Chuck and I repeated those age-old vows. Promises to love and honor one another in good times and in bad, in richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. The promises my parents made to each other that carried them through almost sixty years of marriage before my dad’s death just six months before our wedding. Promises that even today seem to echo back to us from all of the couples who went before us into this sacrament called marriage.
There were many things about our wedding (the second for each of us) that were not traditional that I loved. I wore an aqua dress and a white flower in my hair (that had grown out to almost 3 inches!). We greeted and mingled with our guests before the ceremony. We walked together down the aisle as my sister sang “When You Wish Upon A Star” (the music for the recessional was from Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade). Our attendants were Chuck’s son and daughter—my dream of being a mom answered at last! Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Dianne & Chuck
The Info—Photography: Christina Richards (APW Sponsor) / Venue: Morris County Golf Club / Officiant: Erica’s brother, Douglas / Invitations: Designed by A Printable Press (APW Sponsor) and letterpress printed by Mercurio Brothers / Programs and Menus: We made them! / Flowers: Bloomers Designs / Band: Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra / Dress: Ann Taylor / Hairpiece: BHLDN / Pin: Family Heirloom / Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender / Hair & Makeup: Plaza Salon and Spa / Suit & Shirt: Michael Andrews Bespoke* / Tie: Pink / Shoes: Mezlan
*Yes, my husband had his clothes custom made and I bought my dress on sale off the rack less than a month before the wedding
Other cool stuff: We wrote our own non-religious ceremony. The readings were from Margaret Marshall’s decision in Goodridge v. MA DPH and Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit. The ceremony and vows were based on Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet on Marriage.
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: We worried it would be “country club stuffy” but it ended up feeling relaxed and joyful, maybe a tiny bit elegant, for the first really sunny day of spring.
Favorite thing: I thought it would be the food, or the dancing, or the photographs (and I loved all of those things) but it was actually the ceremony. I had thought of the ceremony as something we were doing for our parents (I would have been happy to elope at the county courthouse) but it was solemn, and funny, and beautiful, and completely us and I’m so glad we actually got married in front of as many of our family and friends as we could.
The Info— Photography: Little Bat Photography / Dress: ABS by Allen Schwartz (2008 graduation gift from older sister, Jessie) / Veil: Little Bat & Bride DIT / Shoes: Something Bleu via Bhldn / Suit: Express Men / Ceremony: San Francisco City Hall / Wine: Arlequin Cafe / Cupcakes: Miette / Ring Bear: Kennedy Space Center
Other cool stuff: We decided to elope the week before, to be married on the anniversary of our engagement. We live in Wisconsin and our county requires birth certificates and has a waiting period for marriage licenses, so we ran away instead to somewhere with simpler policies. I tried to make a dress in that week and gave up on it just 5 hours before getting on the plane to SF. Eloping brides—just use a dress you have, or buy something you like. But seriously, instead of sewing, get a massage. Little Bat Photographer Jillian (APW Sponsor… they are full service, y’all) made my bouquet, helped whip up my veil, and was so incredibly amazing on every front. We had gotten rings in December… just in case. My something borrowed was a hairpin from my friend Kim who I got to see the day before our wedding for the first time in well over a year for sushi and beers. Jesse’s timepiece was his engagement pocketwatch (our initials are engraved on either side of the hunter’s case). The lace at the top of my veil was from the wedding dress I’d planned to wear to the big wedding that wasn’t. Jesse was super cool in every regard.
One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: An entirely personal and vivid day.
Hardest thing about the wedding: Val: Getting ready alone. I didn’t expect to feel so lonely on my wedding day. I’d been planning it since girlhood (I have two sisters; Vanessa the younger was going to be my Maid of Honor, and I’d helped my older sister Jessie into her wedding gown two years before). Or even eloping with my favoritest person by my side (like, how can you feel alone when you’re with your best friend?). But suddenly I remembered that all brides are essentially alone in that particular liminal state. It was my transition to make. And then I felt brave enough to go on. Also, there was definitely fallout afterwards, but it is dissipating with time. Jesse: Nothing. It was awesome.
Favorite thing about the wedding: Jesse: Val’s smiles. Val: We had each other.
You want a perfect wedding? Well. I think today’s wedding might be as close as it gets. It’s not perfect in a single traditional sense (no white dress, no big party, no details to speak of, only a few weeks to plan), but it’s perfect in the ways that matter. They decided they didn’t want to live without each other, they braved multi-national legalities, they planned a wedding in a few weeks that reflected them. Plus, I have a huge soft spot for the ladies who thought they would never marry and then decided they could rock marriage in their own damn way, just like everything else in their lives.
I had never given much thought to a wedding, or even marriage. I pictured myself as one of those mature women who wears red dresses and big floppy hats with large sunglasses and sips wine on sidewalk cafes with a book by her side, with lots of cats waiting at home, or perhaps making time before she meets with her current and not permanent beau. But married? Nope.
Half a year before our wedding, my boyfriend of four years and I decided to split up after I moved to Costa Rica, when we realized that traveling back and forth was completely out of our budget. He had mentioned the option of marrying in a Mr. Darcy way—not the “I ardently love you” proposal but the “against my better judgement” one. I was in shock at first and then shot it down as more trouble than it would be worth and had a dozen different reasons as to why it didn’t make sense when neither one of us has ever been “the marrying kind.” A couple of months later we discussed the more realistic possibility of him traveling to Costa Rica on a tourist visa, finding work and a way to make his stay more permanent. We even joked about getting married to buy time while they sorted the paperwork out. Two weeks later when his visa application for Costa Rica was rejected, we had to think fast and plan. And then it became crystal clear to me, in a way that it hadn’t before, that although I could live without him, I didn’t want to. He made my life better, and I wanted him with me. So I proposed and he said yes. It might be good to mention that all these conversations took place on an instant messaging client while we were sitting miles and miles away from each other.
I told my parents, he told his. Due to study and work issues, I could only take a month to go to Colombia, plan the wedding and get married. Getting married in Colombia requires quite a mountain of paperwork and I had to be there in person to hand it in and then get approved to schedule the wedding date. We had to jump through legal hoops and over hurdles, but in the end, I got him some papers so my fiance was able to act in my name, and we had a wedding date. We also had less than six weeks to plan.
Planning this wedding had very little to do with the fluffy bits: decorations, food, flowers, dresses, cards and invitations, engagement photo shoots or gift registries. It had to do with practicality, with simplicity and a lot with boring things like running around the city getting paperwork signed and stamped in different offices and then getting them mailed off. We had long conversations over skype and through chat about our personal goals and expectations of married life and one of the important items had to do with money. We decided two things: we would pay for the wedding ourselves, even if that meant having a really small wedding, and we would not get into debt to have the wedding. Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Juliana & Joan