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