I’m really excited to bring you wedding graduate Desaray of Dingmoonment today. Desaray and I started blogging right around the same time, so I’ve been waiting for her wedding forever and ever. I love what she wrote here because so much of it echos my experience: gratitude, community, simplicity, and the art and magic of being present. With that, I’m going to let Desaray take it away:
My wife, Lauren, and I got married August 1, 2009 at the Friends Meeting of Washington in Washington, DC. We had a reception for 130 people back at our house and spent around 11,000 dollars. My biggest piece of advice about weddings is just to have one. So many people, especially gay people, are so deeply ambivalent about throwing a wedding and for a lot of good reasons. But, really, it’s hard to understand the power and the purpose of a wedding until you are planning your own.
When it comes to Meg’s practical values of creativeness, thriftiness and sanity, I am also a big fan.
Creative: My wife, Lauren, made 10-15 different collages for our save the dates. Because we have such a diverse group of friends and family, we were able to send STDs that would appeal to the person getting it.
Writing is my art of choice. I started a blog two weeks after we got engaged and kept it faithfully for the entirety of our engagement. The blog kept all the guests informed and connected, help me get organized and motivated, help our families understand what we were doing and find a gay wedding community. Since the wedding, I’ve started a new blog called A Basement about the first year of our marriage. Having kept a journal from the ages of 11 to 23, writing a wedding blog re-kindled one of the things I cherish most about myself.
Thrifty: Six months after we got engaged, we rented a room in a group house where we ended up having the reception. One of my best friends from college works at Charm City Cakes and the wedding cake was her gift to us. We hired a gay wedding blogger, Kelly, who was just graduating from the Corcoran, to take pictures and she charged student prices.
I think passing heavy appetizers also saved us some money. There’s the obvious difference in price compared to a seated meal or a buffet, but then there’s table, linen and dish rentals, centerpieces and escort cards that we just didn’t have to worry about – or make or buy. I also leaned really heavily on the idea that you can save a lot of money in decorations if you find naturally beautiful places. Both the Quaker Meeting House and our townhouse were built circa 1850, so we were able to limit decorations to around 200 dollars.
Sane: At some point in the process, I realized that planning a wedding wasn’t going to change fundamental aspects of my personality. I was not suddenly going to become highly motivated, detail-oriented, budget-conscious, or crafty.
Since we had guests of honor instead of a bridal party, I made a list of every chore I needed help with and sent it to every wedding guest two weeks before the wedding. If the chore got volunteered for — it got done, if it didn’t — it didn’t. In some cases, I got better than I wanted, in some cases I got different, in some cases I didn’t get what I wanted at all, and in others still I got things I didn’t even know I needed. In the end, it was a pretty OK way to get a bunch of stuff done.
Gratitude was also a boon to sanity. We ordered buttons as wedding favors and I made sure to create special buttons for volunteers and guests of honor. I spent quite a bit of time “pinning” people during the reception, which was a wonderful and whimsical way to literally touch my loved ones, look them in the eye, smile and thank them.
Quakerism also kept me sane. With its emphasis on community and simplicity, as well as weekly silent worship, I had consistent, gentle reminders of our real purpose.
Little did I know that the actual wedding day would be so mind-altering. So many of my daily habits of mind evaporated. I felt the way that yogis and buddhas and spiritually enlightened people of all stripes must feel on a regular basis – truly alive, positive and present. It was nothing short of magic. All photos by Kelly Prizel Photography