Monday, November 23, 2009

wedding rambles and a bit of christmas chatter

Haven’t done as much wedding stuff as I’d wanted to this past week, namely because I am at one of those “waiting for everyone to get back to me” stages. Also in a “waiting for my job to start” stage, because until then I don’t want to court the idea of things like spending money! We are one step closer to our marriage prep, which is nice—at our church they do it one on one, instead of as a group, so we just need to email the contact name we were given and see if he has time for us. So that is good, and David will be doing that today.

On the Save the Date front, free postcards turned out to be not quite free. Excited as I get about things like that, I like to do my research as I believe that very little in this world is actually free. And although I was willing to brush aside complaints about quality, I read one too many warnings about a semi-legal form of credit card theft to trust my details to the company. So it is back to the drawing board, literally—just waiting for some printers to get back to me with quotes before we decide if our postcards are going to be printed as postcards or printed as photos! And we still need to ask someone to design them... ahem. But as I see it, there’s no great loss without some small gain, and having to rethink options usually leads to a better solution. So other than being annoyed last week that you just can’t trust people, or at least internet businesses, that’s that.

One thing that is a weight off my mind is a veil. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a veil and then having to worry that it won’t work. One of my mum’s friends gave me the very kind gift of her wedding veil. But when we took it down to try on with my dress our consultant was very worried that the veil was ivory and the dress is white. And in the pictures the veil does come out looking very yellow, but as it’s taken under yellow light in a room with yellow walls, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a problem or not. So when it’s sunny, sometime in the spring I guess, mum is going to haul my dress and veil into good light and take a picture or seven so that we can see if the contrast is too great. The reason I’m not stressing, however, is that I just found some veils that are almost as good as the one I love on ebay and the prices are very reasonable. So it is a weight off my mind! And yes, I am girly enough to worry over my veil!

I’ve got a warm fuzzy feeling about getting married, most likely because David and I were talking about actual wedding stuff the other day. It is so nice to get his thoughts on things, because they bring me back down to earth and make me focus on what is really important, and it is just really exciting to know that he is excited and involved in wedding planning, even if he spends most of his time working on his thesis instead of fussing over invites.

Christmas is coming up and I’m starting to look forward to it. The one thing I’m really hoping is that neither of our mothers starts getting all teary about how we’re away from home for Christmas, because that will make it hard again, instead of just a fun experience. I wish we could be home, but I don’t want to focus on what I’m missing and instead just focus on what I’m getting—my first Christmas (ever) with David, a chance for us to start setting our own traditions, and a chance to spend Christmas in another country. It is so magical here already—when we go downtown there are pockets of carollers, lights strung up everywhere, and church bells tolling in the distance. Because the city is so old you really feel caught up in an Olde English Christmas play or something.

I am taking part in carolling and going out with the Saint Vincent DePaul society to sign some carols and hopefully raise some money. It is a good start to the Christmas season! We haven’t done much here yet, for one thing because I refuse to start Christmas decorating until advent, and because until I work we’re not going out to buy superfluous stuff like a tree and decorations. We’ve received one Christmas card already, but it was from Royal Mail advising us of extended post office I’m hoping we get more than that! I’m not going to do much baking, if any, baking this year as I don’t have an electric mixer or any pans (and the grocery store sells delicious cookies and shortbread and pies). We did get our chocolate advent calendars, however, so the sitting room is a little prepped for December. And that is that!

A somewhat poor quality photo of our advent calendars. David has chosen a retro design, but I went for the brightly-gaudy Cadbury's calendar, because I trusted the chocolate quality more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

flowers sorted out, maybe

Thanks to time browsing on the internet, I think I solved my bouquet dilemma. Originally the plan had been to make bouquets with silk flowers. See, I love flowers. I love to see them growing, and I love to have vases of them in my home to brighten it up. I love plants too. But somehow I just wasn’t loving any bouquet idea aside from ones that weren’t going to easily work for our wedding/budget. Partially, I think, because everything just seemed too boring and expected, or on the flip side too foreign looking for what I wanted. Hard to please. But while browsing for instructions on how to make butterflies, I found some pictures and instructions for DIY organza flowers. And these organza flowers exactly capture the kind of look I’m going for. That ethereal, otherworldly look:

Not only do they have “the look” but they’re also ridiculously easy to make, and after doing some quick internet browsing, also look like they’ll be really inexpensive to make. So I can probably make them just by using some of my weekly spending money. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to make them into bouquets, but I’m looking forward to playing around with different ideas.

I’m getting David to email the priest about marriage prep so hopefully we’ll be doing that soon. I’m really looking forward to it. After almost six years together I think it’s time for a tune up, to break us out of any bad habits we’ve fallen into. So I am hoping it’s a little more on the thinking-questions side, and less on the “this is how you share a bathroom” side. Ye gods!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

on names, mostly

This has been a good week so far. On Monday I got a job! I am not working yet, as I had to have a background check done, so I am spending this week in limbo hoping that everything works out and I can start work soon. Yesterday I had a job interview at a printing company, but the interview only last about 2 minutes (they were dealing with a printing emergency) so I don’t know if that will lead to anything, but is nice to feel like I may have two options. Unfortunately the job I just got may not start for up to two more weeks, which is frustrating. I need money! So I’m praying that all the paperwork for me and the others starting at the same time as me gets here quickly. I haven’t worked since August, and while most of that chunk has been vacation I am at the point where work would almost be welcome, and money would definitely be welcome. So, prayers are appreciated. I, personally, would like to start on Monday or something. Until then I’m enjoying my time off, of course, but as I said it grates on one.

Yesterday I also discovered that we can most likely get our Save the Dates (STDs, get it??) printed for free! I am so thrilled about this, as we are of course trying to save money wherever possible. One thing I should make clear—saving money for me does not mean compromising on what I want. That’s not how I roll. It just means being creative and coming up with something that I like/love equally to other options.

Because of that, and my desire to get all this stuff printed, I’ve been working on the address labels for our invitations. Because we’re having them printed in Canada, they need to be addressed in Canada, and I am too nice to put my poor father to the task of hand-addressing them all. So I figure Miss Manners is rolling over in her grave (is she dead?) because I dare to send out invites with, shock & horrors, printed labels! But then, no doubt, when she sees how these are addressed there will be more grave-rolling and shocks and horrors.

I get so mad when I find myself reading the “proper etiquette for addresses” sites. “If a man and woman live together but are unmarried, the names go in alphabetical order” BUT “if a man and woman are married and have different last names, the woman’s goes first”. Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that if you happen to live with a man, but aren’t married, you don’t really count as far as common politeness of ladies first. PARDON ME. Then, on the flip side, I am also irked by “Mr & Mrs MAN’SNAME Lastname”. Damn male ego.

All that said, I’ve decided to take David’s last name. I’ve given this a lot of thought. I don’t agree with doing tradition for tradition’s sake. If I believed that I’d have never converted! So I gave a lot of thought to the reasons why I’d like to keep my own last name vs taking David’s. My biggest, well only, quibble with his last name is that it is too English! But can you blame me? My own Grandpa with the Scottish last name was someone I never met, never had a chance to know. All the grandparents and great grandparents and relatives I’ve known have been Ukrainian or Mennonite, with Ukrainian or Mennonite traditions. And changing my last name feels like losing the last little bit of instant connection with that tradition. I’m not a practicing Mennonite, I don’t have a particularly foreign first name, but damnit that last name is a connection.

And then I thought some more. Thought about the negative stories I’ve heard about long dead family members. And I thought—no more. This is my statement, long dead relatives, that I am choosing to take my fiancĂ©’s last name, because I am saddened by the stories I’ve heard about you. Maybe they’re coloured by recent bitterness and the passage of time, maybe they’re true. But I state that negative cycles of behaviour are stopping here, and as a sign of that I am changing my name so that you can have no claim on me unless I choose to claim it myself.

I’m proud of my father, and I’m proud that for 26 years I’ve born his last name. I’m proud to be a Mennonite, and I’m proud of the values I learned growing up. There is absolutely no way I would renounce that. But now it’s on my terms. You see, with a little thought all things to do with weddings can take on great significance. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not one to ever think people should get married quickly! There is too much to consider! Everything has significance, and thought must be applied to it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

back on track

I feel myself beginning to plan for the wedding again. It’s only been a month or so where I haven’t wanted to think much about it. You can chalk it up to the stress of moving and settling in and all the ten million little insecurities that come with this. So today I forced myself to sit down and tally up the wedding budget of absolute “must haves”. You know, the things that are actually required in order to get married, instead of the things wanted in order to have a nice wedding. It’s at the point where we need to see if we can actually do this next year even if we save nothing between now and then. And the verdict is...YES!

I’ve made my bare-bones budget. Things that we need, or would be really disappointed not to have, for our wedding. You know, a priest, marriage license (I realise we don’t “need” it, but I think the priest won’t let us get married without it!), rings, photographer, etc. We’re over what we have, but not in an unmanageable way. Then I made my list of things I’d like to have, but don’t need. And these are things that, at least to some extent, I’ll probably end up having by buying them myself at some point. But we’ll see.

One thing I’m mulling over is whether or not I want to carry a bouquet. I’m not really into the whole bouquet idea. My favourite one is actually a cluster of paper butterflies, no flowers at all. That said, I can’t figure out what else to carry, or what else to have my merry maids carry, or if it is necessary aesthetically to have anyone carry anything at all. We’ve already nixed boutonnieres & corsages. Mum and I had talked about doing something with Holland roses and ferns, or one large flower each...but...unsure. Maybe I will have everyone hold a Marian icon! Or rosary! Fortunately this decision can be put off.

We’re having to rethink our invite designs. My original plan was to have velum and mulberry paper. This could still fly, except now we’re thinking of having our invites printed in Canada to save on the international postage. And if we have them printed in Canada, we’re going to go with an image & text design, instead of a textured paper design. I have an idea of what I want, and David thinks he knows someone who can design it for us, so this just might work. The first priority, however, is to do the STDs...

Which is the final bit of news, I suppose. David got the all-clear for our date, and having compiled this last bit of budget the wedding looks set to go. So I’ve decided to try to have my STDs ready to go out by Decemberish. They’ll get lost in the Christmas mail rush I’m sure, but I know some people need to book their vacations in January.

And now I feel like I have a whole bunch of wedding work to do again!
Later: MY DRESS HAS ARRIVED!!!! My parents are heading down island tomorrow to pick it up! Joy!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

a wedding rant (at the air, or the voices in my head)

I’m full of cider and a Yorkshire roast beef wrap. I seem to be mostly over my jetlag and my feelings are turning more positive. Homesickness is leaving as this becomes home, or at least something like home. I don’t want to think too much about Christmas just yet, because with poverty and distance from family it doesn’t yet seem like a promising holiday. That will change in time, I know, but at the moment I am trying to take it one day at a time and not think overmuch of “tomorrow”. I am hoping we can go somewhere to experience a “traditional English Christmas” and get into the proper mood of it, or that some of our friends will also be stranded so we can band together and make a jolly time of it.

But I’m not sitting to write about Christmas or the day to day details of Cambridge life. This is a wedding post, for my somewhat neglected wedding. Since my planning spree in September I haven’t done too much but I’ve been thinking. Thinking, mostly, about the costs of weddings and how this is at odds with moving and looking for work and one of us being a student. Thinking about how, despite my efforts and purpose that it would not become a focus, the idea of The Wedding seems to have superseded the purpose of a wedding—namely to unite two souls into a sacramental bond with close friends and family witnessing this sacred event.

Caught up in the Offbeat world of zany and wonderful weddings it was easy to think that because I too am planning something different I won’t fall victim to the Wedding Curse. Alas, this was not to be. It’s funny how one can get stuck on certain ideas, the motivation from which is not me & David, but ensuring that our guests have a good time (so nothing wrong with that) but also wanting to impress people and make it something memorable and beautiful. Nothing wrong with wanting a nice wedding, of course, but I think it’s too easy to get to the point where the plans become a little more pressing than what the whole thing is about.

I want to get to that point in my head where I don’t care and where I don’t worry about my wedding looking cheap and pathetic. I mean that is really such a lame thing to worry about, isn’t it? I want the confidence to know that if it were just us getting married in a plain ceremony and we still invited people they would come and be happy and enjoy it, whether or not there were decorations or good music or even a reception. I want to know that we are more important to our friends than exotic food and cheap drink. And thinking this way makes me want to cancel my reception or scale the guest list down to almost nothing or..or...I don’t know.

I think I’m coming back to my original thoughts about this whole thing. A marriage is about community. So if you want to come and support this step we’re taking in life, that’s awesome, and I hope you stay for the reception because I just want to kick back and celebrate. And if our money is lacking and our reception consists of music played off the laptop and everyone sitting on the grass because we can’t afford tables & chairs, and no decorations and all the stuff that you supposedly need to pull off a successful wedding, well—if you don’t like it, don’t come. Because if the only reason you want to see me get married is for the reception, to satisfy your idle curiosity over how we’ll “manage” or what weird idea that crazy LeAnna is going to come up with, then don’t bother coming. Because I am not your sideshow.

Close friends, close family, and those with honest good intentions toward us at heart only please.