Carrie and Jami

Ohh… you guys are in for such a treat! First of all, Carrie and Jami’s wedding is the exact kind of simple wedding that was such an inspiration to me in planning. It was the kind of wedding that I’d send excitedly to David, saying, “Look it can be done!” But beyond my shallow love of these ladies’ style, is my love of what they have to say. I love how Carrie re-visits the idea that all weddings are somehow traditional, because having a wedding is traditional, and that is wonderful. I love her honest discussion of what mattered, and I love their grinning selves. So let’s do this thing (whee!).

In a lot of ways I suppose our wedding was untraditional. We were two women getting married for starters, the wedding was small (total guest count: thirty people), we were older than the “average” brides (31 and 32), I wore a short dress, my wife wore a suit, the ceremony wasn’t religious, the list goes on… But the thing is, when I think back on it, it seems so traditional to me. We stood up in front of those we loved and pledged our lives to each other. We got married! What could be more traditional than that?

I knew from the time we started talking about getting married, that we would have a small wedding. Both of us are “hate to be the center of attention” people and we get nervous about big social to-dos. Also, we knew we would be paying for the wedding mostly ourselves (although our families did help), and limiting size is a good way to limit budget.

I know small weddings aren’t for everyone, but if you think it’s what you want, then I highly recommend only looking at venues that have (small) size limits. This helps a lot with the inevitable guest list creep. As much as I was committed to and wanted a small wedding, I hate to disappoint folks and it was easier to say, “I’m so sorry, our venue only holds X people, so we are having to limit our guest list.” Everyone seemed to take that really well.

The other thing that really worked well for us, in terms of the guest list, was making rules (i.e., If one cousin is invited, all cousins are invited.) I didn’t want to start any family drama (especially with my new family) and I thought the best way to do that was to make sure that everyone was treated equitably.

I used to get frustrated reading wedding posts that talked about using “friendors”. Not everyone knows an awesome photojournalists/cake baker/letterpress whiz, I would grumble! And that’s true. I don’t know any of those folks. But I ended up knowing more helpful folks than I thought. A good friend of ours arranged our flowers (bought for $50 at the Whole Foods that morning!), another made the playlist for our reception (especially meaningful because he had been DJing the night we met), and everyone wanted to help however possible. I actually felt slightly guilty the day of the wedding when I had to keep telling folks, really there’s nothing left to do.

Weddings are about love, of course, and as giddy and in love as I felt marrying Jami, the love that overwhelmed me on our wedding day was the love of our friends and family. All of these people had traveled from all over the country because they loved us and were excited to celebrate with us and share our joy. Our wedding made me realize how much people want a chance to feel happy for you. Everyone has amazing people in their lives of course, but we are so often stuck in the day to day that we don’t get to show people how we feel about them, how important they are to us. I hope that we were able to make the folks who attended our wedding see what an important part of our lives they were. I know they did that for me.

Wedding planning wasn’t easy, but it was a good challenge for us, a chance for us to work as a team. It surprised me what things Jami really cared about – she really wanted us to have favors, for example, something I had filed in the “do not need” pile. And you know what? I loved them. She took such care finding something that she loved, that was handmade and meaningful to us, that by the end, I couldn’t imagine not having them. They were perfect.

Jami also selected the readings for our ceremony and I was surprised to find myself tearing up when our officiant read them. After all, they were the one part of the ceremony I knew was coming! I had read them before (without crying even). But to know that Jami had picked them, had read those words and thought that these readings reflected us, reflected our journey, reflected her feelings toward me, well, it felt overwhelming in that moment.

There were details that mattered: those favors, for example, and our Quaker wedding certificate (I was raised Quaker and this was one of those things that I really cared about. It now hangs in our bedroom), and ones that didn’t (although I still liked them): the Maine beers and Virginia wines we served to reflect where we are from. There were things that I had totally forgotten until I looked at the pictures (how incredibly hot it was for May for one!).

Almost a year later, the things that I stand out to me about our wedding are: looking at Jami throughout the day and saying “holy crap, we are doing this” (and “holy crap, we did it”), feeling generally calm except for the half hour before the ceremony when I thought I would puke (total stage fright), teaching our relatives the “Individual Medley” and the “Librarian” (dances Jami created), playing Bananagrams with my sister and other guests, the toasts by our friends and family (which I totally thought we didn’t “need”) that made me laugh and cry, that feeling of love, and just feeling overwhelmingly happy (I am grinning in all the photos). It was a good day, one of many good days to come.

Photos By: Eva Russo

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  • Beautiful post! Although I feel shallow for focusing right in on your outfit – short dress? Blue shoes?! Amazing!

    • Zan

      Oh Meaghan, thanks for starting the shallow train so that I could jump on in:

      Blue shoes! Want! Tell us Carries, where oh where did you get them?!

      • Karen

        The shoes! The shoes!

        I mean, I loved the whole post, but I did get temporarily distracted by the shoes….

        Congratulations, Carrie and Jami!

        (Love that you got to play Bananagrams at your wedding, by the way.)

        • blue shoes!!!!


      • Aw, thanks! They were from Rockport. So comfy.

        • eeek I had the exact same wedding dress and wore blue shoes with it too! & I was a May bride (saw you in the anniversary post) You look stunning! That was really exciting to me for some reason. Now to read your post.

          • Oh my gosh, we are bridal twins! How cool!

          • Wait, *I* am getting married in May 2012 and I also have the same dress! (In fact, I’ve had this dress for a while but have been waffling about if it was wedding-y enough or something. But it’s GORGEOUS on you, and you inspire me to rock it out, and also congratulations and I love this post.)

          • AND I was raised Quaker. Dang we really are wedding twins. That is so awesome. Love your post!

    • LOVE the blue shoes!!!!! Also love the obvious love in these pictures. Beautiful.

    • The simplicity of the whole ensemble is breathtaking gorgeous. It’s a good reminder to me that I want to pull off a similar look (over the last week, I’ve been thinking about adding and adding and adding). Carrie you looked so pretty.

  • I’d like to say something intelligent, but I’m still swooning over that first photo.

  • Kathleen

    You played Bananagrams at your wedding.

    That is SO awesome.

    • Great game, great company! They donated to my nonprofit word game olympics event :)

      • Kathleen

        Word game Olympics!? Can I play?

        • I wish! It doesn’t exist anymore :( But do play at home!?

  • Jo

    I want to learn the Librarian!!

    I’ve been hoping that you would write a grad post. For me, this touched exactly where I needed it to. This is exactly what I’m hoping ours will be, exactly why we’re doing it. We want a chance to slow down and appreciate the people in our lives, and to let them be happy for us.

    Your pictures had me giggling and oohing.

    • Thanks, Jo! The Librarian is pretty awesome. It involves typing on a computer, shelving books, pointing directions, and thumbing through a book. Jami is really the best one to teach it. :) We’re both librarians so it’s especially amusing to us.

      • Class of 1980

        I demand a music video of The Librarian immediately! ;)

      • That’s awesome. I think I need to invent a museum collection manager dance now.

        • Oh, you really, really do.

  • Sara

    The third picture is my favorite — what a sweet moment! I’m planning a small wedding too (also 30 people), and it’s great to hear from someone who did the same with a great outcome.

  • Mallory

    Love the dress. Love the shoes. Love the small wedding. Perfect.

  • What a lovely day (and post)!

    So true, too, about invitation “rules” being helpful. All cousins or no cousins = no (or fewer) hurt feelings.

    Also, I gotta ask: which Maine beers? :)

    • Jami

      We had Geary’s Pale Ale, Allagash White and Peak Organic Amber.

      love a Maine beer…

      • coco

        Ohhhh Allagash White is my *favorite* beer everrrrrrr.

        Hoping to get that for my wedding!!!!!

  • It was a good day, one of many good days to come.

    I think so, if those smiles are any indication. I agree with Meg–so good to see simple yet beautiful. Funny how a radiant smile transcends just about any wedding detail one can buy or make. (Except, maybe the blue shoes!)

  • Midwest Lantern

    I love all your pictures but I want to mention the lovely picture of an older woman signing the guest book. Yes. This is what wedding are like, and that is a good thing. I think sometimes too often we focus on the fun youthful parts of weddings, but in planning my wedding it was really important to think about what would be comfortable for elderly people who I loved who were attending. During the wedding, it was so amazing to see not only the different parts of my life coming together in terms of people mixing, but also so many different age groups mixing. Cool wedding, thanks for sharing!

    • That’s my Grandma! She was the total life of the party. Jami’s family had adopted her by the time the weekend was over. It was awesome.

      • Rachel

        I also loved the guest book picture… it looks like your Grandma has a secret service agent behind her watching out!

  • I loved the photos because they show what a truly happy day it must have been – the joyfulness just radiates from them! This is what a wedding is all about. :)

  • I love this post. Everything about your wedding Carrie & Jami fills me with heart warming happiness. Many congratulations to you both!

  • Jami

    For those of you who like the pics, there are more at our fabulous photographer’s site:

    I definitely encourage checking them out and if you’re in the DC/mid-Atlantic area and planning an event…. We love Eva and recommend her heartily!

    • Hilary

      I just wrote to her! Your pictures were very inspiring, and I was thrilled she’s in the D.C. region…

      (Congrats, by the way!)

    • AmberGale

      Oh – you ARE in the DC-area — this must be The Tabard Inn!! I thought so, as I was looking at your lovely photos. I almost had our wedding there but we ended up buying a house and getting married in our backyard! Which was awesome, but I was a little sad to not get to use the Tabard, because it was such a fantastic place with nice people. Your wedding day looks like it was fabulous – thanks for sharing with us!

  • Sarah

    BEAUTIFUL! This is exactly the feeling we want for our wedding. So sweet and so filled with love.

  • Amen:

    “I used to get frustrated reading wedding posts that talked about using “friendors”. Not everyone knows an awesome photojournalists/cake baker/letterpress whiz, I would grumble! And that’s true. I don’t know any of those folks. But I ended up knowing more helpful folks than I thought.”

    • Me, too! Yesterday as I was looking at pictures from our wedding (gotta make that album, finally…), I was impressed with the pretty centerpieces that people put together mostly on the fly the day before the wedding. And as a bonus, I have nice memories of my high school best friend stopping by to help with them even though she couldn’t make it to the wedding.

  • Class of 1980

    Funny that you felt so untraditional, because your wedding has a lovely vintage look to me … from your dress to the venue. I love the room that your reception is in.

  • Amy*

    I also had a small wedding (parents, grandparents, siblings, and two friends) and cannot say enough how right it felt for us. When wedding planning was a vague idea, I imagined a big wedding. When wedding planning was a real, concrete force, a small wedding was the only thing that felt like “us.” I felt so surrounded by love and blissed out the entire time. I agree whole-heartedly with Carried, if you are considering a small wedding, take the plunge!*

    • clampers

      We’re having a small wedding too! Just grandparents, parents and siblings. The whole shebang will be about 3.5 hours, start to finish. I can’t wait. You’re totally right about the whole thing just feeling like “us.”

  • Carrie, your graduate post just makes me grin my head off!

  • Look at those big, beautiful smiles! You can tell the day was full of happiness & love simply from the photos, without your words. But your words were wise too & I enjoyed reading what you remember most about your wedding one year later. Best wishes to you & Jami~

  • LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post. Here’s what made it great: your focus on the positive, the fact that your wedding was so clearly you, and the gay factor. All perfect.

  • Congratulations, Carrie and Jami! It looks like you two had such a joyous gathering… you are indeed grinning in every picture. Thank you for sharing with us!

    And no wonder you cried during the readings during the ceremony–I teared up just reading your description of it!

  • Jess

    “Weddings are about love, of course, and as giddy and in love as I felt marrying Jami, the love that overwhelmed me on our wedding day was the love of our friends and family.”

    This, this, SO MUCH this.

    On a shallow note, I’m glad I’m not alone in the love of your blue shoes.

    On a creeper note (apologies), I totally have a crush on you & your wife. There’s just so much love evident in these photos! & you’re both librarians. & adorable.

    Congratulations, & best wishes for a beautiful life together : )

  • I love this post! You two are adorable. We also played Bananagrams on our wedding day and for a good chunk of our honeymoon… now every time we play it reminds me of our wedding :) Thank you for sharing your story!

    • ha! we bought bananagrams on our honeymoon when we realized we had not packed any games. i had not thought of them as particularly queer, but apparently i was wrong! ;)

  • Emily Rose

    “Weddings are about love, of course, and as giddy and in love as I felt marrying Jami, the love that overwhelmed me on our wedding day was the love of our friends and family.”

    I felt this way at my recent wedding, too. In some ways, it was more about everyone else than it was about us. And that made it beautiful.

  • “Weddings are about love, of course, and as giddy and in love as I felt marrying Jami, the love that overwhelmed me on our wedding day was the love of our friends and family.”

    this. exactly this. i totally couldn’t get over it; it was amazing!

  • Carrie, I swear I’m not stalking you, but I followed the link from Lauren’s post today only to find the fabulous Tabbard Inn as your venue! Its my first choice, but I’m not sure the stairs/accessibility issues will work for us. I still have time to figure it out.

    I love your photos, you both look so happy!