Cindy & Julia

Today, after sharing some of her wedding service yesterday, we get wedding grad Cindy (she’s the one in the strapless dress)! Cindy hosts APW meet-ups in Chicago, leaves awesome comments, and is in general, awesome. So I was pretty excited for her post from the get-go. But then I started reading it, and she talks about my favorite things: marriage equality (it’s Pride month, y’all!), writing words for a ceremony that mean something to you (with examples), and wedding stage managing (you can’t do it all! But you should be organized). So needless to say, I’m delighted. Let’s do this thing!

Here’s how we planned our wedding: one hot summer afternoon, we were chilling on the beach, five blocks from our condo, talking about what we might want our wedding to be like. I can’t remember which one of us noticed the pier to our left, but we decided to go check it out. And it was perfect. The pier was V-shaped, which meant we could each have our own aisle, with guests on both sides, and meet in the middle to get married with the Chicago skyline in the background. Hello? This is the stuff that fantasy (lesbian) weddings are made of.

Next, we needed a reception spot, so we kept our eyes peeled as we started to walk home. Half a block from the beach was a restaurant we’d never been to, offering a 3-course prix fixe menu for $18 everyday. So we ate there that night, loved the food and the wine selections, and pretty much decided on the spot that it was the right spot. This is pretty much how all of our planning went – something or someone seemed perfect for us, and it was. From an awesome photographer who specializes in LGBT events/theatre/weddings (um, we were lesbian stage managers getting married, so he was pretty much perfect) to an eco-friendly florist willing to work with our tiny budget to the shocking ease of Chicago Park District permits, everything just fell right into place. And we all lived happily ever after. The End.

(Just kidding.)

While the paragraph above is totally true, not everything was quite so simple. Here are my biggest takeaways:

You will be joyfully overwhelmed and surprised. We knew that our friends and families were excited about us getting married, but we never imagined the magnitude of love we’d feel from them on our wedding day. It was indescribably awesome to have so many people we love in one place celebrating with us.

When I think back to how I felt on the day, the morning seems twice as long as the afternoon and evening combined. We actually had a lot of down time in the morning before we needed to get ready, which you’d think would help get the wedding zen going, but I got antsy and nervous. Once I started actually getting dressed and doing my makeup, that’s when I got really calm and just felt READY. After that, the rest of the day flew by in a whirlwind. I was so excited that I sped down the aisle, and then had to awkwardly wait for my bride to meet me in the middle. The ceremony seemed to end almost as soon as it started. Before we knew it, we were cutting the cake and dancing and toasting and falling into (our own bed at home – woot!) exhausted.

On (the lack of) marriage equality. When we became engaged in 2007, our plan was to wait until we could legally marry each other in the state where we lived before throwing a wedding. When the Prop 8 fight started and gay marriage politics heated up across the nation, we dared to hope it might even be pretty soon. But after nearly three years of engagement, we were tired of waiting (and extremely sick of correcting people who assumed our fiances were male) and we really, really just wanted to be married!

The words matter. We asked a good friend of ours to officiate our ceremony, and his wife (who is a writer) to help me write and edit it. (Can I just say it rocks to have someone who knows you so well leading you through your wedding?) Creating our ceremony from scratch was no small undertaking, but it forced us to really think about what we wanted the foundation of our marriage to be, and how we wanted to incorporate our community into it. It was so worth it. I highly recommend it if you are at all inclined towards writing.

As part of our ceremony, we decided make our own marriage license, since we couldn’t get a legally-binding one from the State of Illinois. Borrowing from Jewish and Quaker traditions, we created a contract that included our vows along with the signatures of all our guests as witnesses. We took it with us on our Boston honeymoon, and after our legal ceremony there, we had our Justice of the Peace sign it too. It may be our favorite part of the wedding. We’ve got it hanging on our living room wall, where we can see it all the time and be reminded of our vows and all the love and support we have from our community.

I’d like to share a little bit of our ceremony here, because I think it says a lot about the character of our wedding (and it’s my favorite part and I’m really proud of it!) The first paragraph was written entirely by our friend, and brought us to tears.

I probably don’t need to remind you that you’ve come here on Independence Day weekend. We stand here on the Third Coast of America, on the banks of Lake Michigan from which the land stretches west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic. We have the unique perspective, here in the middle of the nation, to see America for what it is, laid out before us. Amidst all the fireworks and BBQs and running from here to there, what is the freedom that we’re celebrating? Because freedom for some is not freedom at all. But that’s ok. Because to those who might oppose why we’re here today, I have one thing to say: you’ve already lost. Our generation doesn’t care. Despite all the sham and drudgery in this world, we realize that love, where it can be found, should be revered, protected, and consecrated. Period.

So, although the state and federal governments will not recognize it for a few more years, we pronounce you married now. Today, we are the legislators who will issue the marriage license, by the power vested in our Commonwealth, and we are the enforcers of the law who will hold Cindy and Julia to their vows in the years to come.

(Here we signed our license, followed by our officiant and our two best people.)

By the power unlawfully seized by me, in defiance of the State of Illinois’ laws prohibiting marriage equality, it is my great pleasure to declare you MARRIED!

And I have to tell you, although I most certainly felt married after our wedding in Chicago, when our Justice of the Peace in Boston declared us legally married, I was overwhelmed with the power of that statement.

You need a wedding stage manager. Even (or perhaps especially) if, like us, you’re two stage managers marrying each other, a wedding stage manager is not optional. Not because you need someone to plan your wedding for you, because, duh, you can totally do that all by yourself. But because it’s the best thing ever to hand over the schedule and the guest list and the bag full of just-in-case stuff to somebody else, who you trust to deal with whatever, so that you and your almost-spouse can be really present in every moment. Get one now!

Some people suck, and they don’t suck any less just because it’s your wedding day. This is an oft-repeated bit of solid advice on APW, so I’ll skip the preaching and get right to our personal stories. When my sister got married two years before me, my parents and I had a knock-down, drag-out fight about me being gay, which ended in my mother telling me that under no circumstance would she attend a wedding where I married another woman, and my then-fiance kicking her out of our condo while wearing only a towel. (It was a seriously film-worthy scene there that we really should write down at some point.) So, we were fully expecting that they would not be in attendance at the wedding. We sent them a save-the-date and an invite anyway. They failed to RSVP. About six weeks before the wedding, my mom (a calligrapher) sent me a Facebook message (right?!) to ask how my invitations were coming along and offered to address them for us. Which obviously threw me for a big loop.

I let my mom do the lettering (which was beautiful) and asked if she might want to do our license as well. Big mistake. She showed up the weekend of the wedding without having done it. Luckily, I know my mom pretty well, and had a backup plan for printing it at Kinkos. After all that, my parents were well-behaved (though my dad was sorely underdressed), and seemed happy for me, but chose not to sign their names as witnesses to our marriage. Suffice it to say that the drama around their attendance was stressful at best.

Meanwhile, Julia had her own drama going on. Her best person failed to plan (financially) for attending the wedding or to ask us for help getting her to Chicago, and after a pretty big fight, we ended up asking her not to come. Another friend stepped in and on we went.

I suppose it was our decision not to let these things upset us on our wedding day. But honestly? We were wrapped up in so much love and joy that we hardly spent a moment thinking about it.

But most of your people are awesome, so don’t underestimate them. We were fortunate to have lots of support from Julia’s parents, and that was crucial in dealing with the lack of support from mine. My best friend and my siblings were also there for me, and that was really important too. They hovered around us and refused to stop helping. They fed us, ran to the grocery store for more cake ingredients, did my hair, helped put finishing touches on our dresses, and generally kept us sane and relaxed all weekend. A professional stage manager friend of ours managed our wedding; others saved us an insane holiday delivery fee from the chair rental place by loaning their cars and selves to schlep them about; my brother-in-law took over the grill at our welcome party while we dealt with an irate neighbor; a cousin who used to be a club DJ manned the iPod at the reception; my sister volunteered to be our designated driver; an out-of-town friend sat in our living room making white knots for us on the crazy dress-finishing/cake baking day; the list goes on and on. Your friends and family love you and they want your wedding day to be awesome almost as much as you do. When they offer to help, don’t say no!

There will be stuff that doesn’t go according to plan. Try not to lose your sh*t about it. I made our wedding cake. It was three tiers (chocolate/mocha, vanilla/berry, and pumpkin/ginger) and it took about 10 hours to make on the day before the wedding. After having a near meltdown about uneven layers, and baking two extra ones to even things out (I am really anal about some things, ok?), the cake was looking good. But at some point during the five block drive to the restaurant, the entire cake had shifted and was smooshed up against the side of the box. For some reason, my imperfect layers had caused tears, but I found the fallen cake hilarious. We planned to fix it the next day, but when we arrived to do so, I was too thrilled about getting married to give a damn what it looked like anymore! Julia and I figured no one would care as long as it tasted amazing (and it did), so we said “Eff that!” And we still think it’s really, really funny.

I could write a whole post about the projects we took on for our wedding, but I’m just going to say that we each made our own dresses; I also made a corset to wear under mine. I designed our save-the-dates, invitations, thank you cards, and website; we self-catered our welcome party; and (obviously) I made our wedding cake. (And then broke it.)

Your wedding will be exactly as awesome as you decide to make it. Make the decisions you want and then own them. Relax, find your wedding zen, be in the moment, and bask in the love. And then? Enjoy the party!

The InfoThe Venues: Ceremony Venue: Pier in Loyola Park, Chicago Park District; Reception Venue, Food, & Drink: RoPa RestaurantChairs: Halls RentalDresses: Designed & Made by us, Crafty Broads (our very new custom clothing & wedding SM business!) or see our blogPhotography: Starbelly StudiosFlowers: Pollen Floral

Photos By: Starbelly Studios

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  • Jo

    This is wonderful. I’m so sorry about the people who suck, so grateful you were surrounded by the helpful and supportive and witty (power unlawfully seized?! YES!) and loving.

    • Have to admit I found that last bit in another ceremony on the Internet and stole it because it was so awesome.

  • Cass

    This is where I don’t see the differences between a “gay” wedding or a “straight” wedding. I feel like my wedding experience mirrored yours in so many ways.
    I especially felt this : “This is pretty much how all of our planning went – something or someone seemed perfect for us, and it was.”
    This has been a source of guilt for me. Wedding planning is supposed to be hard, right? Then I am reminded that this is something I should rejoice, not feel guilty about, since it saved me time and energy which I could spend on my marriage, and not just my wedding.

    • I felt a little guilty too! But all the pieces fell into place, we went with the first vendor we met for pretty much everything, and the friends we asked to do things like edit, officiate, sing, kick people off the pier, and haul chairs totally came through for us and seemed thrilled to do so. It was perfect.

    • Let go of your guilt ladies! I also had that sort of a wedding planning experience. And it was wonderful.

  • Samantha

    What an awesome and heartfelt post. Your pictures look like they’re filled with so much joy and love. Thank you so much for sharing your day with us.

    P.S. The cake really does look fantastic, even the smooshed part! It gives it character :)

    • That’s what we decided, and that’s why I didn’t fix it!

    • I agree. Even after I read that it had been smooshed, I saw the picture and said, “Wow, what a great cake!” Then I noticed the smooshed part and just giggled a little, because it does look good even with that. I bet all of those flavors were fabulous, too!

      • The other reason why you should make your own cake? You will make WAY too much, and spend the week after your wedding eating the leftovers instead of making actual dinner. And the extra bonus? You already know how to make good cake, so instead of freezing a layer, you just make a new one for your anniversary… or at least that’s my plan.

        • Kayakgirl73

          a new cake sounds delish.

  • Lethe

    Congratulations! This is a beautiful wedding and from the pictures it’s obvious that you were enjoying every minute of it.

  • While this post is chock full of wisdom and love and great advice, I have to say, you made that cake? It’s beautiful! AND you both made your dresses? Woo! There’s some skillz in this marriage! Congrats!

    • What can I say? We’re crafty. And we had a really good, and relatively stress-free, time doing it! So much fun we’re starting a custom clothing business together.

      • Um, wow! Awesomeness!

      • AH

        Will you be making wedding dresses or regular clothes?

        • We’re doing all custom work, so whatever people want that we are confident we have the skills for is what we’re making! Our blog and website are linked at the bottom of the post if you want to check it out.

  • Stephasaurus

    The setting of your ceremony is beautiful. I love how in the summer, the Chicago shores of Lake Michigan don’t look any different from ocean beaches. That blue water is such a great backdrop for your lovely ceremony!

    • As a fellow Midwesterner (SE Michigan), I laughed when I noticed you were careful to add “in the summer” to that sentence!
      I have a cousin who tried to convince me to move to Chicago by saying, “I’m not going to lie, it really sucks for about 8 months out of the year. But the summers are so worth it!” And it’s true that Chicago in the summer is a wonderful place (especially for a wedding on the water!), but personally, I’ll take the relative stability of San Francisco’s weather over winters so cold it actually hurts your face…

      • Don’t tell my wife (one of those secrets good to keep, you know) but I kinda want to move to SF…

        • Stephasaurus

          Just don’t move there before the next book club meet up…I wasn’t able to attend the last one at your place and after reading your post you seem like a really awesome lady. :) Looking forward to meeting you at the next book club!

          • Not to worry. We have zero tangible plans to move anytime soon. See you at the next one!

      • Stephasaurus

        Oh believe me, I was very careful to add in “summer.” It definitely does NOT look like a pretty ocean beach in the middle of February when the waves become frozen in place, lol!

        I would love to move to SF, it’s such a freaking beautiful and amazing city, and it’s probably one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to…but I don’t want to be around when the next major earthquake hits. It’s not something most people think about, but with my geology background, I always take natural hazards into consideration when I’m thinking about where I want to live next. It’s a blessing and a curse!

  • I love this post – totally made my day. And happy almost anniversary!

  • Cindy, I love your ceremony and will be thrilled for the day when the defiance won’t be needed and all couples are allowed to be married. And your dresses, wow.

  • YAY CINDY & JULIA! I love you two and this wedding sounds perfect for you! (And happy anniversary very soon!) :)

  • clampers

    I love that pic of you two dancing! Gorgeous!

  • Congrats to you both. What a wonderful post. I bow down to the wedding dress making. I just worked with a bride who made her own dress (it was gorgeous, and had pockets!) and I can’t imagine the stress (and I consider myself a really crafty DIY person).

    The cake still sounded delish – smooshed frosting or not – and I am glad that you figured out what was really important to you.

    • That cake was delish! Julia brought leftovers into rehearsal the next week. You are an amazing baker Cindy!

  • I’m thrilled to have Cindy as my wedding stage manager on Sunday! Woot! Also, Cindy, you got married over Independence weekend? Ha, sound familiar?

    This entire post was brilliant. Hurrah for your friends and family who came through for you. Good reminder about the fact that some people just suck (everyone’s got them). My big take away is “Your wedding will be exactly as awesome as you decide to make it. Make the decisions you want and then own them.” I need to hang onto this line this weekend.

    • Well, I can repeat that in your ear all day if you like. =)
      Our 1st anniversary is on Tuesday, we got married on the holiday Monday last year, so yes – Independence weekend wedding in Chicago? Very familiar!

      • Yes please, whisper it in my ear. Especially when I start worrying about how the choices I made affect my grandparents.

      • That’s my parents’ anniversary! Great minds!

    • Yep, that part is SO true. Stay positive, hang on to the overwhelming feelings of love and joy, and your wedding day will be amazing no matter what happens.

  • Julia

    Beautiful wedding, Cindy! It was so great to meet you and your Julia at the last book club. For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of attending the Chicago book club, let me just tell you: Julia and Cindy’s dresses are AMAZING.

    • ellobie

      Agreed! Absolutely gorgeous. And even prettier ON. My favorite pic is the two of you swishing across the street. What a fun lovely couple & wedding!

    • GAH YES.

  • Cindy, I love this.

    I cried when I read that your parents didn’t sign your “license.” You are a more calm, levelheaded woman that I could ever be, because my graduate post would have started out with “my parents didn’t sign my marriage license, those effers!” You rock at focusing on the joy. And this looks like SUCH a joyful wedding.

    And Lynn from Pollen did our flowers too – how awesome was she?! Everyone use Pollen for your Chicago weddings!

    • Lynn IS the best. Chicago ladies, seriously, call her now.

    • I tried to use her but she said our wedding was too small!

    • Thanks, Kerry and Cindy! I’ve been very lucky to have such awesome clients!

    • I was also very impressed with your ability to not focus on the negative, Cindy. I’m sure it was difficult, and I commend you for it!
      And Kerry, you’re not alone—I do sometimes start descriptions of our wedding with “It was great! His sister didn’t come, but everyone else was so wonderful!” (She attended the reception her parents held in her country, but didn’t bother to join her parents (who offered to pay for it) and come to the actual ceremony+reception in my country.)

      • I usually start with, “It was perfect!” followed by, “and I totally smooshed the cake.” And then maybe later, we talk about my parents.

        • I can attest that this is absolutely true. Both Cindy and I tend to say “It was perfect” when describing the wedding. She usually follows up with “I smooshed the cake,” and I tell about how my mother made us start really really late because she looked for parking on a holiday weekend despite our strict warnings of “do not drive.”

          • Ah, yes. I was *sure* since we were stage managers and had a stage manager that we would start within 5 minutes of the set time. HAHAHHAHA.

  • Love love LOVE the part about writing your own ceremony. My fiance and I aren’t religious by any stretch of the imagination and instead of having some random Justice of the Peace who we’ve never met before conduct the ceremony, we’re leaning towards having one of our closest friends marry us. Any tips on where to start the ceremony planning?

    HUGE congratulations on your wedding. And happy early anniversary :)

    • I scoured the internet for all kinds of ceremonies (religious and secular) and then made a giant document where I copy-pasted anything I liked, either in wording or concept. I made a second document where I did a general outline of the ceremony structure. Then I copy-pasted the bits I liked into the sections I wanted them in, added my own stuff, and with the help of our officiant/friend and his (amazing writer) wife, edited the hell out of it for two months. I’d be happy to email you the whole thing or post it on my blog if you’d like to see it in it’s entirety.

      • We didn’t write our own ceremony, but we did write our own vows, and that is exactly how we did it.

      • We did our own ceremony and that’s exactly how I did it, too. Unlike Cindy’s Julia, my partner did want to see the ceremony ahead of time, so he helped select the sections and then the text that we wanted to include and edit the whole thing. It was a lot of work, but obviously worth it!

        Cindy, I’d love to read your ceremony if you don’t mind sharing it. If you don’t want to put it online, would you email it to me at RegularlyAmazed\gmail ? Thanks! I know a recently-engaged lesbian couple in California who might benefit from reading about seizing the power!

      • bec

        I would love to see the whole thing on your blog if it isn’t already there. I am always looking for great wording ideas and I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you posted here. I felt a great big “eff yes” deep in my gut when I read it. Awesome!! My sister-in-law and her girlfriend are getting married in Seattle this weekend and they are going to LOVE this article!!

        Happy Anniversary, too!!

          • I feel like I should defend myself a bit about not wanting to know what was in the ceremony beforehand (other than the vows. Cindy was insistent that I agree to those before swearing to them ;)). I only did this because I know myself.

            One of the things that Cindy did not mention in her post, is that I was missing my very first day of work on our wedding day. As a stage manager, you for one, don’t get days off, and for another, cannot miss any days. So the stress of being prepared for the job and *letting it go enough to enjoy the wedding* were my biggest issues in the days leading up to it.

            Also, I work in theatre. In the job I have I get very used to hearing the same beautiful words over and over and over and over again until I’ve completely memorized them and they’ve lost all meaning to me. I know my wife and how anal she would be about writing (and rewriting and rewriting) the ceremony, and also that I would unconsciously memorize the whole thing and find bits of it that didn’t sound right and it would take me out of the moment. I knew that I needed to be in the moment that day, and being surprised by my wife’s beautiful writing (especially the part she included here, and the part about how we met), would be enough to allow me to see only her and us and the lake and our perfect day, and not care that I was crying or needed tissues, or any of the other things that are auto-pilot when you’re used to managing everything.

          • Ah! You’re the greatest, thanks so much for posting! You’re the greatest! Heading there now.

  • Love, love, LOVE the part of your ceremony you shared here. And the v-shaped pier sounds SO PERFECT. I cracked up at “this is the stuff that fantasy (lesbian) weddings are made of.”

  • Kayakgirl73

    Beautiful wedding. This post really contained some great advice for all weddings.

    I wish I hadn’t lost my shit crying over a broken stem on a toasting glass. The glasses were a wedding present to my grandparents and my parents had used them on their wedding day. At least only our parents, wedding party, my aunt and uncle and the DJ saw me lose my shit in an ugly cry. We went on and somehow the DJ and my hubs made me smile and laugh again. I forgot about the darn glass when I saw relatives in Halloween masks during our entrance. I didn’t know about the masks and our wedding was on Halloween. In the end my husband used the stemless glass so we could still toast using the special glasses.

    I also second the stage manager, I had an Aunt who was supposed to be doing this role, but she would forget from time to time and start visiting with the relatives she hadn’t seen in a while. So I recommend a someone not directly connected, paid or volunteer.

    • meg

      I mean, y’all, this is why I worried about pride week. OF COURSE this contained good advice for all weddings. Gay weddings are human weddings, and we’re all the same. We’re just spotlighting one section of our community this week… but in a way that should be relevant to everyone!

      • Most of the advice I gleaned from APW, and there was plenty, came from your wonderful straight weddings. As I told Meg, in many ways our wedding was really different, but in just as many – or more – ways, it was totally normal. A wedding is a wedding, and we can all learn from each other.

        • Kayakgirl73

          Your last line, that’s what I meant (was thinking) even if it didn’t come across that way.

    • We had a set of brand new Vera Wang toasting glasses that Julia acquired somewhat coincidentally that we didn’t end up using because the prosecco we were supposed to drink out of them didn’t make it to the restaurant. So we decided to save them for our anniversary. You gotta go with the flow man.

    • ellobie

      Yep, LOVE the idea of hiring a stage manager and wish I’d known/thought of this. I thought my former coworker (who planned all of our fantastic office parties) would do an awesome job. Notsomuch.

  • Cindy, what an amazing post full of such wonderful advice, thank you for sharing. I love the piece you shared from your ceremony, absolutely beautiful and so moving. Happy almost anniversary!

  • That part of the ceremony from your friend? Has me all choked up with the goodness.
    Congrats, ladies, I’m so happy for you.

    • ka

      I know, right? I read it yesterday and cried. And then read it again today and cried. Some of the most eloquent writing I’ve ever read. (And I’m in the middle of trying to write one so I’m totally drowning in ceremony writing.)

  • Shawn

    Just visited Crafty Broads and it is awesome! I love to see people actually taking steps to live their dreams – and finding someone you love who will plan those dreams with you makes it even sweeter. All the best to you both!

    • ka

      Exactly! What an awesome name and concept. You guys are seriously badass.

  • Now I’m missing Chicago, I used to live next to that beach! Such a great grad post, thank you for sharing your wise (and funny) words.

    • I know, this made me miss living in Chicago too! Before I read a word, I saw the first picture and knew- Chicago! :)

      • Anne

        Me too! I saw that first picture and immediately thought: Chicago! Makes me wish I were getting married there…

  • Other Katelyn

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. “Despite all the sham and drudgery in this world, we realize that love, where it can be found, should be revered, protected, and consecrated. Period.” *sob*

    • Edelweiss

      Speaking of stealing bits from other people’s ceremonies for our own – I’m stealing!

  • You two are adorable. I can tell from the picture that the cake was very pretty and this post made me cry. Congratulations!

  • Tegan

    You might find it easier to use the actual spelling of fiancé/e. If it’s a girl, add the extra ‘e’. No one remembers it’s french, so you can be all “of COURSE that’s how it’s spelled… gods…” however, in speech I got no answers.

    Your wedding was beautiful. I love how simply you planned it all out. The V-shaped pier? Amazing! Best of luck for getting legal in your state!

    • I was mainly talking about in-person conversation. Unfortunately, the you can’t hear that accented “e” when you say fiancé out loud. =(

  • In response to Meg’s tweet:

    “Personally, I am very excited about “gay marriage”, or as I like to call it, “marriage”. Because I had lunch this afternoon, I didn’t have “gay lunch”. And I parked my car, I didn’t “gay park” it.” – Liz Feldman

    • meg

      Ha. Oh god, that should be it’s own post.

  • Awesome. Just awesome. Happy one-year!

  • Ophelia

    You two are so obviously madly in love in these photos. Did you ever take your eyes off each other? Amazing.

  • bec

    “Your wedding will be exactly as awesome as you decide to make it.”

    Best. Advice. Ever.

  • A V-shaped pier on Lake Michigan has got to be one of the best places to have a wedding. Well done finding it!

    As mentioned above, your cake was gorgeous, and I love the bit of the ceremony! You two are so beautiful together. Congratulations and happy almost-anniversary!

  • laurabalaurah

    What a gorgeous wedding, and what beautiful reminders about rolling with the things that you cannot change, and those that you have complete control over. Thank you!

  • LBD

    Can I just say how absolutely beautiful both your dresses are??? And I love the hair! I’m usually not much of a wedding porn squee-er, but man you two both definitely made me squee!

    And I always appreciate reading posts from people who weathered the storm of unsupportive families. Helps me keep on keepin’ on, and know I’m not alone. People have done this, and I can too.

  • First off, I should say a big congratulations to my bride, Cindy, for compiling – and completing – such a beautiful post. It seems long overdue, as our anniversary is around the corner, but it was well worth the wait.

    As the other bride in these photos, it was thrilling for me to relive the day through her eyes, and to read such warm comments about what was the most perfect day ever.

    So much of what Cindy says is true, but for me, the truth of that wonderful day was about her very first point: “You will be joyfully overwhelmed and surprised.”

    I’m not originally from Chicago or the Midwest, so to get ANY of my family or friends to the wedding required them traveling, and since I myself have been unable to afford to visit my family very often (up to 5 years between visits), I knew it would be hard to get everyone there. Yes, it was heartbreaking when my best friend decided that year’s pride event (which was like every other pride event of every other year) was more important than attending my wedding, but when every other out-of-town friend one by one declined to attend, I started to get really upset that there was no one from my old life who could be there to represent me, and to support me.

    Then came the overwhelming surprise. And joy. One of my dearest friends who was originally unable to come, changed his mind and bought a plane ticket (leaving his pregnant wife behind; I still feel a little bad about that part…), helped with some of the last-minute planning, and ended up being a guide for my brother and my family. And if his visit weren’t enough, there’s a second part to that story – “my brother and my family.” Everyone’s got family issues – my wife has shared hers with you in this post – and mine are no exception. Yes, my parents are incredibly supportive, but my immediate family – my parents and my three brothers, hadn’t seen each other in almost 20 years before the day of my wedding. We’d been estranged, or otherwise keeping our distance, for two-thirds of my life. But that day – despite financial and emotional obstacles – all of them decided this was the time; that this was important enough.

    And though somehow we forgot to take a photo of all of us together (seriously, that was the only regret of the whole day), the fact is that they sat together and met each other again (my youngest brother was only 8 the last time he saw them all; he’s now 28), and they were all so proud to be there. For me and for us.

    The only one who was missing was my birth mother, who was too ill and still too estranged for us to invite, let alone make it to Chicago. But I got to see my brothers again, for an unbelievably perfect and joyous event, and somehow, that overwhelming, surprising joy, made it okay that the next time we’d all be together again would be at our birth mother’s funeral. I don’t know that we would have all been able to be there together for such a difficult time, had we not been able to share in the love of my wedding day.

    • meg

      YAY JULIA!!!!

  • There are some grad posts that make me go, “Wow, now *that’s* a wedding I’d want to attend!” and this is one of them. (Because smooshed cake and twirly dancing and all the joy in these pictures? Yes, yes, yes!) But then I realized that I would’ve let out a completely undignified whoop (probably complete with fist pump) at the bit about unlawful seizure in the ceremony. So it’s probably best for all of us that I just sit here and quietly admire Cindy and Julia’s wedding at a distance. :)

    • No, no. Fist pump away. :)

    • There were some undignified whoops – and they were absolutely appropriate. C’mon, we’re theatre people – even stage managers thrive on audience reaction. I was personally thrilled that our friends and family wanted to join us in giving a big middle finger to those who would dare stop us from marrying.

  • N

    I love the off-handed way you mention that you both made your dresses! Had I made my dress, I’d have put that shiz in the topic sentence. I just can’t get over that you made dresses AND the cake, which sounds totally amazing (pumpkin/ginger!???!).

    • Pumpkin Ginger is the Best. Cake flavor. Ever. And that’s coming from a chocoholic with a baking addiction.

  • Wow, I love that first photo. That’s how I hope my wedding day feels.

  • Sam

    Congratulations Ladies and Happy Anniversary!

    Let me first say how lovely your ceremony sounded and how glad I am that you have a strong community around you.

    Wedding Stage Managers….are the best! I myself am a stage manager and would not have considered having our shindig two weeks ago with out one. We have a group of friends (stage manager brides) that have gotten married the last several summers and have taken turns sm’ing each others weddings. A life saver for sure!

    and…you made your dresses? Beautiful :)

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