Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Our Labor of Love 
I'm pretty much over reading wedding blogs, but today I clicked over to this via Simple Lovely, and was astounded at these gorgeous images.

To be wed in Marrakesh, amid camels, candles and loved ones... now there's an adventure! More here.

Oh, and: the bride didn't wear white! Check it, Sera.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not what I expected

Our first anniversary, in my imagination: us, together.

A funky-chic B&B in the redwoods.  Fancy clothes, frozen cake. Sipping Champagne on the deck, watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.

Our first anniversary, in reality:  me, myself, on a plane, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, headed for Asia.  Delay-plagued Skype calls home.  Meetings into the evening.

Remembering the words of advice friends shared at the wedding:
"Love does not consist of gazing at each other (one perfect sunrise gazing at another) but in looking outward together in the same direction."  (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, A Gift from the Sea)
"... And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."
(“On Marriage,” from The Prophet, Kahil Gibran)

This is the lesson I learn again and again:  It won't look like you expected.  It may not bear any semblance to your imagination.  It may be better than you ever imagined.  It takes audacity to shape a marriage into your own.

(The redwoods and frozen cake can wait...)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A honeymoon 'du

Suppose you were to go on your honeymoon to Nepal.  You would choose autumn, of course, because the skies are the clearest, and the chance of rain the lowest.  On good days, you would glimpse the snow-covered high Himalayas from Kathmandu Valley.

Before trekking around Annapurna or up to Everest Base Camp, you might choose to stay at the Godavari Village Resort, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where you would find splendid views of idyllic rice paddies and hills, and possibly the high peaks glistening in the distance.

You could go for a morning walk through the mist, as farmers prepare for their day's labors in the fields.

On such a walk, you might come across a fertility temple, where Shiva lingams bless those hoping for children.

Making your way back for breakfast, meandering among the rice paddies, you could marvel at the mysterious placidity of the landscape...

And wonder if you might stay a bit longer to savor all the delights of a magical land.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I do, I do, Kathmandu!

Newly-hatched ducklings fall for the first thing they see - mama duck or not - and will follow whoever, or whatever, this being is wherever it goes.  The ducklings imprint on the first being - dog, duck or human - they lay eyes on, and that becomes central to their understanding of the world.  

Or so I learned in high school biology.  This theory may have been overthrown by now, but at the time I was fascinated by the idea that one brief experience could so profoundly shape the trajectory of the duckling's life.  

I think it's the same with international travel.  Wherever you go first, as an impressionable young thing, shapes all future approaches to travel.

Oddly, my first significant overseas trip (beyond the family jaunt to England when I was six) was to one of the least developed countries, half a world away.  It now seems strange that growing up in a midwestern suburb, I would set my eyes on Nepal for my college semester abroad.  Couldn't I ease into foreign travel, like my friends who studied in Florence and London?  No, my rationale was that those places would always be there, but I would only be young and adventurous enough for the remote corners once.  
I dove into the deep end, a distant place, foreign to my experience in every way, that expanded my brain until my ears were ready to pop off the sides of my head.  The city was green, cows and bicycles vastly outnumbered cars, huge smiles lit the faces of everyone I met.  I was in the thrall of the exoticism of the place - fragrant smoke from temples and kitchens hung in the air, around every corner lay a surprise, some curiosity I had never dreamed of - and being so far from home for the first time.

Since then, returning to Nepal, and especially to Kathmandu, feels like a sweet, crazy reunion, like re-meeting an exotic, jet-setting spinster aunt, whose bracelets jangle and whose sentences never quite make sense.  

More than a decade after my college experience, a research fellowship granted me a year in Nepal, during which I kept a flat in Kathmandu, and spent months in the mountains.  I fell in love with the city, even as it had grown choked with villagers fleeing Maoist rebels in the rural areas.  

Car and motorcycles clogged the streets, the two-stroke engines causing a thick pall of pollution to fall over the bowl-shaped city in the winter.  White shirts were grey by the end of the day, and a trip into the city center would result in hacking up black phlegm. 

The friendliest people in the world were now suffering a deep depression as a civil war wracked the country and the throngs of tourists stayed home.  No one wanted to take a vacation in the middle of someone else's war, much to the detriment of the Nepali economy.  Despite the violence, pollution, curfews, and demonstrations, Kathmandu was still magical, the colors of saris and salwars a delight to the somber Western eye, the juxtaposition of religious monuments with urban squalor a constant reminder that enlightenment would not happen at some future place or time, it had to happen in the midst of the chaos of life.

Mt. Everest, the world's tallest peak, viewed from a plane.
A few years after that, I returned again, for a winter holiday break from my Himalayan research.  Kathmandu, with its cosmopolitan tourists, banana pancakes, North Face gear, and trendy restaurants was the best approximation of home I could devise. I meant to attend a friend's wedding as well, though, confusingly, information about the date and time never materialized. These things happen in Kathmandu.  Time is a malleable concept when living in the present.  On New Year's Eve, the streets were packed with revelers from all over the world. 
New Year's Eve, 2007, Thamel, Kathmandu
A week in the big city, receiving the ministrations of an ayurvedic spa, eating good food and shopping for gifts left me considerably restored and ready to return to work after the holidays.

Now, once again, my bag is nearly packed with two methods of water purification, a voltage adapter, an unlocked cell phone, sunscreen, layers, long pants, and plenty of books to keep me busy on the 14 hour flight.  Kathmandu, here I come!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wedding Guest Hat-astrophe

The latest wedding invitation calls for "Kentucky Derby hats" in honor of the bride's home state.  Hmmm.... I haven't been to Kentucky since I was a kid, and have no idea what's stylish at a horse race.

A quick Google search reveals that
1) Kentucky Derby hats are the size of UFOs
2) They are best worn with sundresses or linen suits,
3)  It's hard not to look matronly in a huge hat unless you're British, and
4) All the best Hats are made in the UK.  When we threw off the yoke of monarchy, we also lots a fair bit of our style.

I quickly concluded that I would not be purchasing a full-on Kentucky Derby hat that would get worn once and gather dust in the closet.  Maybe a fascinator is the way to go, but the ivory one I wore nearly a year ago screams wedding.

I turned to my best friend Etsy, which did not disappoint......  For brides who embrace color, some of these could be fun.
 Amazing!  And British.  Like I said....
 Oooo, even more fun!  I love the wild festiveness of this one!  But, with a week before the wedding, I don't think it will get to California from the UK in time.  Maybe for the next party....

The closest thing I found stateside was this lovely from Pegasusmaiden.
Flowers could be nice...
This would be lovely for an ethereal forest nymph style wedding.
Finally, I remembered that Satanica was all over the Interwebs when I was looking for wedding finery.  And not everything they make is white.


In a similar vein, for only $13, I like this headband from WeeGardens.
More peacock feathers at LovMely.
The Disco Flower is always fun, too.

Handle & Spout
What about you?  Are you wearing fabulous headwear?  What's your favorite source?  Have you done the hat/ fascinator look for a night out?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why can we walk barefoot on beach and not on mountain?

This search query made me giggle, so I wanted to share it. 

I'm not sure that the author of that question could find the answer on my blog.  In fact, I would advocate walking barefoot on the beach, on the mountain, wherever your wandering feet take you... as long as there's no broken glass or hypodermic needles.  Some of the best rock climbers climb barefoot.

Just for the record, I don't advocate walking barefoot at work (except in the privacy of your own office, or maybe at an off-site, outdoor retreat).  Nor do I suggest walking barefoot on public transit (though I've seen it done), in crowded dance clubs and bars (smashed tootsies), or in restaurants (against health code).  You can probably get away with it at the symphony, though, if you wear a long down/ floor length pants.

Here ends today's public service announcement.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The dilemma of the modern wife

With the light slanting to indicate autumn, and the Bay Area temperatures finally approximating summer, I am transported to this time last year, and eagerly anticipating our first wedding anniversary six weeks from now.

During that week, Eric and I both have work-related travel scheduled.  I was adamant that we should be together at least some time during the weekend on which our anniversary falls.  He'll return from the east coast a day before I have to depart for an annual departmental retreat.

But wait!  I've been invited to a week-long planning meeting for a really interesting project in Asia the same week.  Participating in the meeting would mean missing the departmental retreat, and leaving the US two days before our anniversary.  This, after I insisted that he get home in time to celebrate! 

The timing feels like a cosmic joke:  take the romantic route, choose to celebrate your anniversary on the actual day; or take the professional route, and jet off to Asia instead.  To be clear,  Eric is absolutely fine with me grabbing this opportunity now, and celebrating our anniversary with a long weekend up the coast later in the fall. 

I'm the romantic here: we have a first anniversary only once, and I'd like to eat thawed wedding cake and dance around in my wedding dress on the actual day.  The practical and ambitious side of me knows this is a great opportunity, and I'd be foolish to pass it up.  Still, do they have to be on the same day? 

What would you do, oh recent wives and brides-to-be???

Sunday, September 12, 2010

If you must give wedding favors....

A Green Revolution wedding might forgo favors to prevent unnecessary waste - how many people really eat those little almonds wrapped in tulle???

Or, you might show your good taste with gifts that can be used again and again...

A brightly-colored reusable tote, and fresh local organic produce will counteract too much cake and boozin', and remind your guests of your thoughfulness every time they go to the supermarket.

Thanks to Stephanie for the photo!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Telling stories

When I started teaching, I was alarmed to learn that a female student had been dissuaded from particular areas of study by a senior professor who suggested that women were too enmeshed in the pragmatics of daily life to do the abstract theorizing necessary for higher scholarship.  All my years of egalitarian experience slammed into the brick wall of outmoded attitudes about bodies and gender.  As if living back in the Renaissance, scholars were supposed to be disembodied minds, removed from the material world, while women were consigned to the material world through the necessity of their bodies.

Apparently, this professor hadn't heard of the theorizing that arises from personal experience.  Somehow, the notion that the personal is political had not infiltrated that particular ivory tower.

Fortunately, though, the blogosphere gives us a broad platform for telling women's stories - not only of weddings, but of marriages, careers and daily lives - and showing,through concrete example, how the personal and political intersect and shape one another.  Telling stories is a concrete form of activism, a way of taking up space, giving voice to our experience, and saying that it matters.

Today, there are two spectacular stories about power, and change, and women's lives.  You must read How Love Can Heal and Anna (of Accordians and Lace) on Idiosyncratic Skills.  These are stories of the hardscrabble lives of women who probably have more useful, world-changing wisdom and insight in their little fingers than that ivory tower professor accumulated in countless years of theorizing.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What a difference a year makes!

Psyche!  This is not a wedding anniversary post.  For that, you'll have to wait a couple more months.

This is a doctorate anniversary post.  Equally significant in my mind.*  The last academic hurdle: now I get to learn to be the expert.  Sure, there are other hoops to jump through:  tenure/ contract renewal, The Book, this #@$)~*%# article that's been torturing me all summer.  For now, it's nice to know that I've got the Seal of Approval, entitling me to take on such projects.

Last year, I didn't even know it was summer.  The only evidence of change was the creep of the afternoon sun up my office walls, where I was cloistered, 12-18 hours a day, pounding away at the dissertation that I had rashly promised my future employers I could complete in a year.

That hasty promise, made months before I began writing, before I even began analyzing the data, while I was, in fact, still in the field collecting data, came back to bite me in the butt** last summer as I typed furiously to meet a deadline that my advisor had initially said was impossible.  I met it without a day to spare.

As 18th century author and lexiographer Samuel Johnson said, the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.  Indeed.  I've always been deadline driven, and the biggest writing project of my life was no exception.

But, I missed some of my favorite things in life: ice cream on warm evenings, chatting with friends over cold drinks, travel, mountain hikes.  All was put on hold for the tyranny of my final academic deadline.  The constant panic and anxiety I felt spurred me on to work harder - when it didn't paralyze me. I was happy to have wedding planning as a constructive distraction when the dissertation felt just too weighty.

This summer, though, this summer... it's SUMMER!***  Though Eric had his own major deadline this summer, we've made the most of our freedom from strict schedules.  We started out here, in May, following a work-gig that took Eric to Milan:
Bonus points if you know the locale.
Hint.  (They clearly have great taste!)

By early June, we were soaking in art in Florence.

On a tour of a Tuscan castle winery, surrounded by a bunch of 20-something honeymooners from the States, we realized that it wasn't too late to consider our trip Part III of Multi-part Global Honeymoon Tour.
Former family home to the namesake of the Verrazzano Bridge

Next stop on the Global Honeymoon Tour was Seward, Alaska, where the food didn't exactly live up to that of Italy.
 The best and biggest dinner around.

We earned our dinner by hunting the ever-elusive Loch Ness Monster...
(Ok, you got me.  It's really a mother and baby humpback whale playing.  Nessie prefers the Atlantic.)

....communing with friendly marmots (which apparently could grow to super-size with climate change)...

and visiting yet another receding glacier****...
Where it was in 1926
The Seward Exit Glacier today.
One of my work projects this summer took me to this spectacular spot, where people live off the grid, dependent on the sun for all their energy, and the mountain snowmelt for their all their water, including for the organic gardens. I was able to unplug from internet and gaze at the Milky Way each night for an entire blissful week.  What a treat to have work that requires being in these beautiful mountains!
Lama Foundation, New Mexico
Finally, back home, we took in some local nature, at the awesome National Seashore just north of our wedding site.... more on that tomorrow.

* And all the sweeter (and way more bearable) for having someone to share it with.  I cover my ears when he makes noises about getting a PhD.  Does he really want to enter that special hell???

**Quite literally. I developed a tailbone injury from spending so much time sitting!  My one break from the desk chair was to see the physical therapist who insisted that I get more exercise.

*** You'd never know it from the foggy, chilly weather here in the Bay, though.

**** The cynical among you may be asking what my contribution to climate change is, with all this flying around.  This issue continues to vex me.  My work and family life are both international in scope, and it's hard to reconcile keeping up with my family and my field while being worried about climate change.  When I'm home, I rely on my bike and hope that it offsets my plane travel a little.

Friday, August 20, 2010

From the land and back again: A Virginia farm wedding

Let me present Exhibit A in my case that weddings can be gorgeous, green and environmentally-conscious.  Marisa, who blogs at Park & Belmont,  responded to my call for stories and inspiration about planning a consciously sustainable and eco-friendly wedding.  Oh boy, did she ever succeed!  The flowers for the wedding, and much of the food, were grown on her family's farm, where the wedding was held.  Even better, the biodegradable cutlery and plates went back into the land as compost after the wedding.  Talk about coming full circle.

We spent about $12,000 on our wedding for 250 people which took place on my family's farm in Rappahannock County, Virginia.

The Place:  A family tradition

Padua is an extremely important place to our family. It originally was owned my great-grandmother and my grandmother, and though my parents are the primary "owners" of the house and the fields, when I refer to "our family" I'm also including my father's 8 brothers and sisters and their children (my cousins). It is an important and wonderful place to all of us, and I hope a few of my cousins will decide to get married at Padua as well.

While the venue was taken care of, it look a lot of sweat to get the farm in order. We spent many weekend planting and seeding the garden and building rock walls. Getting the farm in order was hard, but it was also a moving experience as both sides of the extended family came to help on several work days.
Jon and I are up there quite a bit (though not as much as we were prior to the wedding).  It is a small farm, but it is functioning. My mother sells her produce, flowers and pies at the Charlottesville farmers market every weekend and we have six cows which roam the numerous acres at their leisure and which will eventually become organic grass fed beef.

The Wedding Vision: "Local, seasonal and beautiful" [and clearly a ton of fun!]
Our primary goal, was that our wedding be local, seasonal and beautiful. We also wanted a wedding that was laid back, fun and inviting.  

My dress was J. Crew and came from OnceWed. It was a steal ($58!!!!).  

My mother, her two best friends and my maid of honor created all 11 bridal bouquets, all 28 table centerpieces, and "aisle" flowers for the wedding. 

All of the flowers were seasonal and were grown locally by our family or my mother's friends.  They were absolutely stunning.

The Food:  Regional delicacies
We have large families and good food is important to both sets of relatives.  Having good food was definitely the most important aspect of our wedding. Jon's family is from Wisconsin and so our appetizers were Kewaskum cheese and summer sausagues, driven down from Kewaskum, Wisconsin by Jon's amazing aunts and uncles three days before the wedding. 

We hooked up with a local county caterer who used lots of veggies from our late August harvest in her recipes, thus discounting the total fee and ensuring the food was local.  Rather than serve one main course, we had pulled pork barbque and 20 different salads.  We had pie for dessert, all baked by my amazing and awesome mother, made with apples from Nelson County, Virginia.  

Seriously, so much love went into the food - it was the best part of the wedding and there was more than enough food for everyone.  The beer was Starr Hill, brewed an hour and a half away in Crozet, Virginia, (the brewery provided biodegradable cups), and the Wine was Gabrielle Rausse, a Virginia vinter (and luckily a family friend) located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Special Touches:  Edible, Reusable, Decomposable
We had clearly labled [composting] bins that were obvious to even the tipsiest of guests.  The day after the wedding was spent properly composting the plates and cutlery with my brother in our family's garden. [Eds. note:  Call me a green geek, but this is my absolute favorite detail of the wedding!  I love the idea of the party leftovers returning to the ground to enrich the soil at the family farm.]

Our wedding would have been squat if it wasn't for our family and friends.  They helped us so much- our DJ was a dear friend, and his wife (one of my bridesmaids) made chocolate covered pretzel favors for guests.

 The majority of our guests camped out, but those who chose not to were bused in and taken home at the end of the night, thus reducing the number of cars on the road and preventing DUIs and accidents.

Again, our wedding would have been nothing without the love and support of our family and friends.

The amount of effort that goes into creating a sustainable, practical, local wedding is huge.  Not only was September 5, 2009 the day that Jon and I promised to love and cherish each other for the rest of our days, it was the day that two families came together as one community, and had a rocking good time :).  The fact that everyone participated and enjoyed themselves  added even more value to this already important day. Jon and I felt so unbelievably loved it was incredible.

Our photographer, the wonderful and amazing Denny Henry, is a former co-worker of mine, and did a fantastic job capturing the mood of the wedding.

I asked Marisa what prompted her to plan her wedding with an eye to environmental sustainability.  She said:

I don't think anything really prompted us to take considerations for a green, local, sustainable wedding--it is just who we are, as a couple and as a family.  My parents have always tried to live and create a sustainable lifestyle and it has rubbed off on me...lucky I have married a man who embraces sustainability whole-heartedly. Growing up in Charlottesville, we had a large garden and chickens in our back yard (for eggs), we never had a dishwasher, always recycled, composted and always sun dried our clothes (my mother has never even owned a dryer, and I don't think even knows how to work one).  As a kid, I think I was sometimes embarrassed of how "into sustainability" my parents were, but now that I'm older I'm so grateful that their values have been ingrained in me! The wedding just was the way it was because that is how our family operates, we are frugal, like our food and flowers fresh and local, respect the earth, and are blessed with amazing and creative friends and family.  I don't think Jon and I could have had a wedding that was any other way. It was just us. We felt comfortable, we felt like ourselves. It was beautiful. 

Beautiful, indeed!  Thank you so much, Marisa, for taking the time to walk us through the details of your gorgeous wedding, and for sharing inspiration for other sustainability-minded brides and grooms!  

This wedding has so many wonderful sustainability-oriented principles and practices, not the least of which is giving the guests a place to camp overnight, so they don't have to worry about drinking and driving.  And, composting = love!   

I'm looking forward to sharing other examples of weddings planned with environmental sustainability in mind.  If you've got something to share, please send it my way.  
Green smooches to all!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sustainable wedding, sustaining marriages

Ever since a certain fancy inspiration blog got my dander up by being nominated for best "green" blog, and I wrote a post calling for a Green Revolution in weddings, I've been thinking about 1), why someone would take environmental and social responsibility into account in planning their wedding, and 2), what those terms, bandied about so freely these days, mean, or could mean, in relation to weddings.  These days you can find the labels 'sustainable', 'green' and 'eco-friendly' on the most unlikely of products - just another marketing tool - so it's worth trying to parse the meaning a bit.  There are some good tips around the internet (here and here), as well as many others, no doubt.

For now, I want to take on the first question: Why would someone plan an eco-conscious wedding?

Four reasons occur to me (chime in with more!):

1)  The economic reason:  Economists know that wasteful processes cost more, so businesses seek efficiency with materials and labor.  Applied to a wedding, the economic reason might mean cutting down on unnecessary or expensive items (inner envelopes with invitations, aisle runners, favors for guests, number of invitations, number of guests) to save money, and consequently create less environmental impact.  Cost-cutting measures that decrease the amount of stuff consumed at the wedding (one-time-use stuff - see, e.g. the wedding dress!) are essentially also eco-conscious measures.

2)  The outdoorsy reason:  It's fashionable these days to get married at a spectacular outdoor site that bears some connection to the couple's personal interests - skiing, hiking, swimming, being outdoors.  These outdoor sites often end up providing much of the decor through their own inherent beauty.  If the sites are remote or difficult to reach, it may mean that less 'wedding gear' is transported to the site.  Couples may choose these sites as a statement of their values and interest in enjoying and protecting the outdoors.  Of course, outdoorsy sites can still support the full-on splash-out, with imported flowers and decorations galore.

3)  The values reason:  Though not necessarily separate from the other two reason, this one is the most interesting to me.  Traditionally, weddings were held in houses of worship that represented the couple's cultural and religious traditions.  Holding the wedding in such sacred space, and adhering to the traditions of that space honors the values represented by the religion: faith, hope and charity, and the like. The religious traditions also offer teachings about honoring and caring for Creation: stewardship for the Earth, tikkun olam, repairing the world.  So I'm wondering if any couples are planning sustainable weddings as an expression of their religious values?

4)  The future reason:  Along with meeting my darling nephews, getting married has been the rite-of-passage that has put me most in touch with time unrolling into a distant future.  Suddenly, rather than planning a day ahead (or a week at best), I was making a promise for the rest of my life.  And when I thought about the time stretching in front of us, I really, really wanted to know that the future world we and our families would live in would be just as gorgeous, diverse, vibrant and full-of-life (if not more so) than the one we inhabit now.  But I think we, or our parents' generation (maybe grandparents'?), were the first to have to contemplate that the glorious future we could imagine might not come to pass.  With the unleashing of the atom bomb in the 1940s, our parents and grandparents realized that absolute destruction of life was possible.  Now, with climate change (wacky weather suggests that it's already happening) and the global biodiversity crisis (species are going extinct at 100 to 10,000 times the usual rate in what scientists call the Sixth Mass Extinction), it appears that the world of the future might not be quite as rich and lively as the world of the present.

When I think about sustaining my marriage into that future - whatever it holds, richer or poorer, better or worse, on the local or global scale - I feel ever more called to do whatever I can do right now to make that future more positive.  This for me is the most compelling reason for planning a sustainable wedding: as a solid foundation, and a vote of optimism for a sustaining and sustainable marriage.

Just like I've become better about flossing my teeth since we got engaged - how embarrassing it would be to lose my pearly whites! - I've become better about riding my bike around town (the exercise will keep me around, and prevent the drowning of another polar bear) and seeking out local, organic, whole foods (let's eat our veggies now, rather than deal with a chronic illness in the future).  I realize that none of these steps is a guarantee against calamities that could happen in the future, but it feels better to do something positive than nothing.  And that's what I want my marriage to be about, too:  doing something positive and sustaining.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Notes from the field: Haven't we been here before?

A year ago, I went to Data Monkey and Mountain Man Mike's wedding at the gorgeous, redwood-clad Pema Ose Ling, in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Today, I go to another wedding in the same spot.  I've never been to the same wedding venue twice.  I'm so curious how it will be different.

It will be different for me:  I'm going stag, because Eric has to work.  I haven't gone solo to a wedding in quite a few years.  I thought that was over, now that I have a date-for-life. 

But I'm not about to miss a good party, where I'll get to see some of my wedding gear have a second (or third) life.  So happy to keep the wedding co-op going.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Quite a surprise

Apparently, my little piece o' blog-estate has been noticed readers and a panel of 5 judges*, who have determined that it is one of the Top 50 Wedding Blogs**.

Wow.  Thanks, folks.  I'm honored that someone took time to notice this little blog, and commend it... 'specially since I haven't been so on top of posting lately.

I've added a neat-o badge over there on the right to commemorate this auspicious day in the life of my blog. (We're growing up, honey.  Survived that first year, got past the post-wedding doldrums.  And now our persistence and pluckiness has been recognized. The sky's the limit!)

This is good motivation to get back onto a regular posting schedule, too.  After all, we can't rest on our laurels.  Got to live up to our new rep.  With that in mind, I've got an awesome oh-so-sustainable wedding to share with you, as well as some updates about my jaunts this summer (you can see a lot of the world when you're not obsessed with wedding planning!).

*This award is given by Online Schools, which appears to be a clearinghouse for information about what we in the academic world call "distance education," a topic about which I have mixed feelings, as my department considers how we might expand in this area.  Online Schools also sees "individual blogs as classes, and the posts as courses, and the bloggers as professors."  So, welcome to class!  Although academia doesn't tend to value this kind of informal writing (heaven forefend if my department knew I blogged about something as commonplace as weddings), the Intertubes do, and I'm glad to have this outlet.

**Yeah, even your personally-biased author here knows that's a bit of a stretch, but it's nice to be mentioned in the same breath with the big girls, like A Practical Wedding, Wedding Cabaret, Offbeat Bride and SMP. Holy cow!  Thanks again!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recap #7: From Inspiration to Reality

As I was cleaning out the no-longer-needed wedding inspiration files on my computer and browser, I was pleased to see how the inspirational images I'd saved - mostly, I think, from that bottomless jar of eye-candy, Style Me Pretty* - were born out in reality.  Though I despaired of ever creating a wedding that could live up to the ethereal images on SMP with a down-to-earth budget, these show that a little ingenuity, and a great photographer, can converge to bring on the pretty.

The relaxed, familial, beach-party feeling of this was just the vibe I wanted...


We rented enough chairs for all the adults, and spread out beach blankets for the kids.  They got to have fun digging in the sand during the ceremony.

Oooo... the way the blue flags pick up the moody water of the sea....

Yes, with some bamboo poles from the hardware store, and some flags stitched by Mom (one of our few DIY - or DIFMP [for me, please] - projects), the flags define the wedding space without an altar or other religious symbol.

Sweet, simple bouts.  I'm not so much a fan of roses, and lavender wasn't allowed on the beach because of invasive species restrictions, so we ended up with rosemary (for remembrance) instead.


I'm a big fan of bright, non-matching wedding party outfits.  My Women of Honor decided that they wanted to match.  For the rest of the ushers and readers, we suggested the wedding colors of persimmon, pomegranate and cobalt blue.  They looked great!

Bright, bold blooms would energize the rustic setting, and echo the wedding party's bright colors...

Dahlias were lush, local, and seasonal!


Ok, one big difference between a SMP wedding and a DIY/ DIT one is the bushels of flowers.  I think we vastly under-ordered on the flowers, but they just weren't important enough to spend gobs of money on.


 In the final analysis, though, I like my bouquet even more than the inspiration photo!  Even more so because our florist adapted to the strict National Park restrictions to ensure that non-native plants could not invade the park.  (It occurs to me that I have absolutely no idea what happened to it after the wedding - flowers are so ephemeral.  Against all bridal tradition, we might have composted it!  Hopefully, the nutrients are returning to the soil, so that they and the love of that day can nourish flowers for someone else's wedding.)

*I no longer have the links or correct attributions for the inspiration photos.  If one of them is yours, please let me know and I'll post a link or remove, as you request.