Friday, August 28, 2009

So long, and thanks for all the fish!*

After kicking around a few different ideas, I've answered that difficult question of what to do with my wedding blog after the wedding.

My answer is: move on.

I've loved writing this blog -- it let me rant about my dislikes and squeal over things I loved without inflicting yet another call about weddings on my poor bridesmaids. And I can honestly say that wedding blogs often kept me sane -- not the ones with the glossy magazine-worthy photos, but the ones by all you wonderful ladies who were also planning your weddings. In your blogs, I found much-needed reality checks, great ideas, and most of all, the knowledge that I wasn't alone and that I was still pretty normal, even when I thought I was going nuts!

But, I do love writing, and reading, about life and marriage and everyday issues (and, of course, wine!). So I'm opening the doors on a new blog, this time on Wordpress: . I would love to see you over there if you're interested!

* Bonus points if you know my geeky reference :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One more little story

As my husband and I look through our photos, it occurs to me that I'd really like to tell the story of my mother's dress.

It begins back in November of '08. I had ordered my bridal gown from a store on the East Coast, and on a visit out to see us, I took my mom to the bridal salon to take a look.

We walked through the first floor of the bridal salon, and the owner, seeing a potential sales opportunity, said cheerfully, "and THIS is our mother of the bride section!"

"Horrified" would be too mild a word to describe my mom's expression. We were surrounded by taffeta, satin, sequins, Dynasty shoulder pads, and matronly skirts cut straight from hip to floor. As we ascended the stairs to the bride's section, my mom whispered to me, "I don't have to wear ... uh ... floor-length, do I?" ("Floor-length" being the most polite way for her to explain what was wrong with the frumpy formalwear downstairs.)

"Of course not, we're getting married outside in the summer," I replied.

Not really my mom's style. Image from

Thus began my mom's quest for a dress for our wedding. From my own vantage point, 2000 miles away, I could tell it wasn't an easy one. She soon learned not to tell anyone at the store she was shopping for her daughter's wedding, because she'd be led straight to the sequined taffeta jackets. And just as I was nervous about everyone looking at me and wanting to look my best (oh so vain and shallow, I know), my mom was feeling the "you're the MOTHER of the BRIDE" pressure and was second-guessing her desire for a pretty, brightly colored sundress -- was that formal enough? Fancy enough? Would people judge her for not choosing the traditional MOB regalia?

But finally, one day in Macy's, she found a royal purple dress with a faux wrap waist and bright coral, white, and black flowers on the hem. It was pretty, and bright, and just her color, and comfortable cotton instead of non-breathing polyester satin. She bought it. And she looked fabulous.

So mothers of the bride out there, if you're like my mom and your reaction to the MOB section in a typical bridal salon is "ugh ... really?," don't let anyone (especially anyone standing to make money off your transaction) bully you into thinking that this is the only acceptable way for the MOB to dress. Work your own style, be comfortable, and you'll be radiant. My mom's non-MOB dress is one of my favorite "wedding details" from our photos.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Denver Vendor Reviews

Now that I’ve finished wedding “recaps,” I’ve decided to write another semi-obligatory post-wedding post: vendor reviews. The business side of the wedding is not nearly as much fun as the wine or the dancing or the food or the wonderful pictures of your family members hugging post-ceremony. But at the same time, I know how helpful local recommendations were to us in our wedding planning (especially given that we really didn't want to have to interview 20 different florists, DJs, and photographers), and I like to pass along props for people who did good work for us.

I’m not going to go into much detail on each of these vendors because let’s face it – that’s kind of boring. But if you’re a Denver bride or groom considering any of the following companies, leave me a note in the comments with your e-mail address – I’m happy to tell you more if you’re curious! I'm sorting them by category -- Highly Recommended, Recommended, and Not Recommended. (We didn't really have anyone who fell into the "Neutral" or "Maybe Recommended" type categories.)

Highly Recommended:
These are vendors who went above and beyond for us, who delivered exactly what we wanted, at a great price. If we had friends ask us who they should use for their weddings, we’d rave about these four vendors.
  • Dana Dunphy, Revel & Bloom (day-of coordinator)
  • David Wegwart, Photocraftz (photography)
  • Sue Kimball, Kimball Floral (flowers)
  • Mulberries (cake bakery)
Recommended: These are vendors who did a good job, maybe with a few minor snafus along the way. We’d recommend all of them to friends.
  • Three Tomatoes Catering (food)
  • Butler Rents (rentals)
  • Argonaut Liquor (wine, beer and hard alcohol)
  • Applejack Liquor (wine – yes, we purchased wine from 2 places. Yes, we’re nuts.)
  • Grant-Humphreys Mansion (venue)
  • Musictainment (DJ)
Not Recommended: (that one's pretty self-explanatory)
  • Unnamed string quartet (ceremony music). I don’t want to bash them by name on my blog (although I did post a lukewarm-to-negative review on Honestly, their mistake on the processional wasn't that big a deal, but it annoyed me because they refused to come to the rehearsal, citing their "talent and experience." Also, I didn't care for the disdainful way they treated my dad (a church organist with 50+ years of classical music training) in the weeks leading up to the wedding. It was pretty clear that they slapped together our music at the last minute and didn't take weddings very seriously. So if you're looking for a string quartet in Denver and would like to steer clear of this group, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll get back to you!


Guess what arrived in the mail yesterday? A DVD with our photos! Naturally I ran right upstairs to put 'em on my computer, and then surfed the web right to Blogger to show off ... er, I mean share ;-)

Let me say before I continue how highly I recommend our photographer, David Wegwart of Photocraftz. The shots here barely scratch the surface of his talent, and he was absolutely wonderful to work with. We couldn't be more in love with our photos -- my mom said she cried all over again! So if you're here because you're a Denverite looking for a photographer, go to David's website and get in touch today!

I mentioned a while back that I didn't feel comfortable posting too many photos of our wedding. I've kept my wedding blogging fairly private from my family and friends, and I don't want to put our loved ones' images online without their permission. So the selection of photos below represents, in many ways, the shallowest parts of the wedding -- the "details," the things that made it pretty. You won't see our relatives singing along to "Shout!," my matron of honor holding hands with her husband and laughing with her whole body, the moment before the ceremony when I kissed my mom on the cheek and she smiled, quietly, taking in the knowledge that it was the last-ever kiss she'd get from a single daughter. But those were the moments that Econo Boy and I remember, the ones that make me tear up, the ones that made having this darned wedding worth it in the first place.

But I did promise at least a look. So, without further ado, some pictures of our wedding! All images are by David Wegwart, and are not to be reproduced or posted elsewhere without his permission. (David, if posting these here doesn't fall under "personal use," let me know and I will take them down ASAP!)

My bouquet:

Our table settings:

Our cake, after we cut it. (We kind of did a hack job on the cutting, so don't blame the bakery for the little gaps in frosting on the second tier, that was all us! And oh my lord, was this cake yummy.)

I will probably take a break from blogging (but not from reading or commenting on your blogs!) over the next few weeks as I decide what to do with this blog. I may start a new blog, or simply surrender this one to the wide-open spaces of the internet as a relic of our wedding planning, or keep on with this site and write about life as a wife in exile, bouncing back and forth between my husband in Boston and my grad program elsewhere. Thank you all so very much for your support, advice, and ideas on your own blogs -- it's meant a lot to me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wine Wednesday: Booze breakdown

A while back, I promised a reader that I'd do a breakdown of how much alcohol we ordered, and how much we had left over. And I like to keep my promises, so, here we go!

BiE and Econo Boy's Alcohol Breakdown
Estimated number of guests: 150
Actual final guest count: 137
Bar time: 4.25 hours (as specified in our contract with the venue)

What we ordered:
* 12 cases of wine (6 red, 6 white)
* 2 cases of sparkling wine
* 10 cases of beer (Blue Moon and Fat Tire)
* 2 bottles of gin (1.75 L)
* 2 bottles of vodka (1.75 L)
* 2 bottles of bourbon (1 L)

What we had left:
* 4 unopened cases of wine (1 red, 3 white) plus about two mixed cases of unopened bottles, mostly red.
* 8 bottles of sparkling wine
* 3 unopened cases of beer, plus two more nearly-full partial cases
* 1 nearly-full bottle of gin
* 2 nearly-full bottles of vodka (I couldn't believe this one! They must have poured maybe 5 vodka drinks total.)
* 1 half-full bottle of bourbon

Clearly, we over-ordered!

Fortunately, we recovered a full 25% of our total liquor costs with returns to the store. But we still have quite a bit of leftover alcohol sitting in our parents' basements in CO. Some of that is because we had planned for more guests. A lot of the leftovers are almost certainly due to the stunted cocktail hour -- far fewer drinks were poured after the ceremony because of the rain and the need to strike the outdoor bar and move it inside. I also think we would have had a lot less leftover Cava if it had been poured prior to the toasts.

I was, however, very surprised at how much hard alcohol we had left over. I thought it would be gone by the end of the cocktail hour, but not so. And obviously vodka wasn't a big hit with our crowd, while bourbon was. (I went to college in the South, where whiskey and Coke is often the drink of choice, so I think this was specific to our guests -- I don't know if I'd suggest making a point of serving bourbon at most weddings, but for ours, I was glad we decided to offer it!)

So if someone asked me how much alcohol they should buy for their wedding, here's what I'd suggest for approximately 140 guests with 4.25 hours of bar time:
* 10 cases of wine (5 red, 5 white)
* 2 cases of sparkling wine
* 8 cases of beer (2 kinds)
* 2 bottles of gin (1L)
* 2 bottles of vodka, rum, bourbon, or other favorite liquor (1L)

We would still have had leftovers with the amounts listed above, but I think with a full cocktail hour, most of this would probably get consumed!

Remember, this is not a universal checklist -- how much you'll need depends a lot on your guests. Ours was not a terribly hard-drinking crowd (I'd estimate maybe 1 drink per hour per person), and went for the wine and beer much more than they did for the hard liquor (with the exception of the bourbon). If your family eschews wine but loves rum and coke, or you think that my 1 drink/hour estimate is too high or too low for your crowd, adjust accordingly.

One final note: bringing our own alcohol saved us a *lot* of money. The markups on alcohol at restaurants, country clubs, and hotels are significant. Many venues that make you buy their alcohol will try to tell you that you won't save that much money by going with a BYOB venue because you'll over-order and be stuck paying for alcohol nobody drank, but as someone who did have a lot of leftovers, I'm here to tell you that we still saved a bundle. Two friends of ours who got married at a country club last year confided that they spent nearly twice as much as we had on their bar, and they had half as many guests! Per person, they spent roughly four times what we spent on alcohol. So while BYOB is a bit of a hassle logistically, financially speaking, it may be worth it. Just make sure your liquor store accepts returns of unopened cases!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Post-wedding wisdom: advice to future brides and grooms

Much of the best advice Econo Boy and I got while planning our wedding came from those who had been there -- whether in person from friends close by, over e-mail or phone from friends far away, or via blogs. So what advice would I personally pass on? Why, I'm glad you asked! (OK, you didn't ask. But I'm going to tell you anyway. It's a habit of mine and a key reason my chosen career is that of "professor.")

3. DOC? Totally worth it.

Our venue was more or less a blank space. We had to bring in everything -- plates, linens, tables, chairs, caterer, alcohol, the works. That's a lot of moving parts to keep track of on a day when 140 people all want to give you a hug and ask how your dissertation's going. It's also a lot of phone calls to make the week before the wedding in order to confirm contracts and delivery times. I also had a few DIY projects that I really wanted out at the reception -- our menu cards, our escort cards, and our table numbers.

Hiring a day-of coordinator ensured that Econo Boy and I didn't have to worry about any of the event-planning stuff on our wedding day. We also didn't have to keep an eye on the time, wondering if it was time for the first dance or whether we'd cut the cake ahead of schedule. Instead, we relied on our DOC to tell us what we were doing and when. Much less stressful!

2. You can't please everyone.
If you throw a Saturday night wedding in the summer and limit your guest list to family and close friends, some people will claim you're being selfish by having a "fancy" wedding at the expense of including more people. If you throw a lunchtime wedding on a Sunday for 300 people, including everyone's dates and roommates and pets, some people will gripe that they barely got to see the bride and groom and wonder why you needed to have so many people there. Hire a live band, and you're sure to hear someone complaining that the "real" songs played by a DJ are more fun. Hire a DJ, and someone will tell you a live band is always better. And if you throw the fanciest Saturday night wedding imaginable for 300 guests, have a ten-hour reception so you can visit with all of them, and you somehow manage to have a DJ and a live band, someone will sniff that you shouldn't have "wasted" all that money.

So accept now that whatever choice you make, someone somewhere on your guest list probably won't like it. Guess what? It doesn't matter. It's your wedding, and you get to set the priorities.

I'm not saying you should jettison guest comfort as a consideration and do something like not rent enough chairs or not feed everyone in order to afford the deluxe limo package and a $10,000 ball gown. Just because it's your wedding doesn't give you the right to treat your guests or your bridal party like peons who are lucky to be in your august presence on Your Special Day.

But here's the thing -- however much the media (I'm looking at you, "Bride Wars" movie trailer) tries to ram the Bridezilla stereotype down our throats, most brides and grooms aren't selfish monsters. Most of them are just trying to throw the best party they can for their loved ones, while honoring what they personally want out of their wedding day. You probably fall in that category. So don't let anyone guilt you into thinking you've committed a crime against humanity by having an outdoor ceremony. Ignore them. At their wedding, they can have an indoor ceremony. Besides, I guarantee you that someone else on your guest list absolutely *loathes* indoor ceremonies and would gripe quietly in the pews if dragged to a church for your nuptials.

Remember that aesthetics are not ethics. You are not a horrible person for having a Sunday afternoon wedding, or a Saturday evening wedding, or a Wednesday morning wedding. You are not a horrible person for choosing a cake with chocolate ganache instead of white buttercream. You are not a horrible person for inviting 50 people, or 150, or 500. And if someone really hates what you've done with your wedding, I humbly suggest that they skip the event. That's what the "Decline" box on the RSVP is for.

1. Trust your gut when it comes to vendors.
I was only disappointed in two of our wedding vendors (the printer who did our invitations and the string quartet), and in both cases, I had a feeling that they weren't going to measure up. The warning signs were poor communication, unhelpful or flat-out unprofessional behavior, or (in the case of the musicians) a condescending "we're the professionals here, sweetie, let us do it our way and stop asking questions" attitude.

So if a vendor gives you attitude or isn't communicating with you, and that vendor is in charge of something you really care about, don't be afraid to look elsewhere, even if you'll forfeit a deposit by switching.* You may hurt some feelings, but you're not running a charity for snotty wedding vendors, you're paying a businessperson to do their job. I found, and I think others have also found, that the way a vendor behaves before the wedding is a pretty good indicator of the kind of job they'll end up doing. And if you're getting bad service, I guarantee you that there are lots of great vendors out there who will be happy to have your business. Everyone else I worked with was helpful, kind, responsive, supportive, and professional, and all of those people did an awesome job.

* As a corollary: DO NOT pay in full, up-front, for ANYTHING. Seriously. Learn from my mistake!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Everyone's got an opinion!

We're waiting a bit longer for photos -- the DVD with our images is on its way! And wow, are the ones I've seen amazing.

Just about everyone's got an opinion on wedding planning. Before the wedding, it's hard enough to brush off the people who insist that you HAVE to do things a certain way, or who passive-aggressively comment about how gee, they wish they had the guts to be so "unorthodox," or gosh, "you're really going for the whole white-dress thing, aren't you?" But negativity can be even more upsetting after the wedding -- it can color your memory of the event, make you wonder if your loved ones actually had a good time.

Shortly after the wedding, Econo Boy and I had dinner with my father and his girlfriend. I've tried really hard to be friendly with The Girlfriend, but it's difficult for reasons I mentioned in this post, and to be honest, her general personality makes it harder. She's a bit of a drama queen, loves to complain, and puts a lot of emphasis on physical appearance. (Once she praised me for being "light and slight and a sensible eater, just like me!" We were at a restaurant. Three minutes later I ordered a giant calzone stuffed with mascarpone cheese and prosciutto and ate the whole thing, even though my stomach hurt afterwards. How's that for maturity on my part?)

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when TG told us "it was a lovely wedding" and then proceeded to tell us everything that was wrong with it. It was an awfully big wedding -- do you know, she'd always thought small weddings were the most likely to lead to happy marriages. Also, she couldn't hear the string quartet, and her food was cold. And the slice of cake she'd been given was "itty-bitty."

I jokingly asked why she hadn't just cut herself a piece from the cake at the cake table -- her table was right next to it, after all. She blinked, surprised. "I assumed it was a display cake! You know, styrofoam. Everyone does that nowadays."

She thought our cake was styrofoam. For the love of peanut butter and crackers.

Don't get me wrong, I still think we had an awesome wedding, but her comments stung a bit, and briefly (but only briefly!) made me wonder if the celebration I thought was awesome had, in fact, sucked for everyone who wasn't us. Has anyone else dealt with post-wedding sniping? How do you let it slide off your back?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vignette 10: The getaway!

I was shocked when Econo Boy told me it was only 15 minutes before the dancing ended. Where had the time gone?!

After the last dance was danced, I went back to the bridal suite to throw my things in my suitcase and came downstairs to find Econo Boy's groomsmen waiting with eager smiles on their faces. I knew immediately they'd done something to our car.

I should say now that I'm not a huge fan of the auto abuse tradition. Too often, it seems to involve making the car near-undriveable. (And don't even get me started on wedding parties who short-sheet the bed or draw penises on the mirror in the bride and groom's wedding night suite. We're not 12 and we're not at summer camp, people.) But Econo Boy's groomsmen are much less obnoxious and much more creative than the usual auto-decorating crew. The guys had scrawled "just married!" on our back windshield and attached balloons to the bike rack. So far, pretty typical. But the coup de grace was the bubble machine. Yes, that's right, they attached a bubble machine to our car, and put bubble solution in the cupholder so we could refill it!

We couldn't really appreciate the handiwork as we drove to our B&B -- it was dark and we were pretty tired. But the next morning, Econo Boy and I proudly drove our decked-out auto to the post-wedding brunch, and refilled the bubble machine so we could trail bubbles behind us as we pulled up. Several small children squealed with delight as we passed, and Econo Boy and I waved and waved. It was all kinds of awesome.

Coming up next: the details! (By which, I mean actual photos!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wine Wednesday: Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier

I've really been into white wines this summer, which is unusual for me. But darn it, they're refreshing and delicious on a hot, humid East Coast day! This Saturday, at the wine tasting run by our local liquor store, we were introduced to this beauty: Pine Ridge 2008 Chenin Blanc-Viognier, on sale for $11 (down from $14).
Image from

This is a rich, almost exotically floral white wine (the nose reminded me of jasmine), and uses one of my favorite grapes, Viognier. I told Econo Boy that this would be a perfect cocktail party wine -- it's round and interesting enough to be sipped on its own, without needing food to complete the experience. If you're looking for a more robust white, but don't usually like Chardonnay, I think this one might be a good pick!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vignette 9: I could have daaaaaanced all night, or, BiE's insane shoe quest is vindicated

After I finally scored my pair of David Tates, I started to feel a little silly about the whole shoe thing. I had a perfectly nice pair of wedges -- why on earth had I gotten so obsessed with finding "dancing shoes?"

But my craziness was vindicated on the day of the wedding. Because while the wedges were perfect for walking on grass, at the end of the ceremony? Those thin plastic soles on the Coloriffics were making my feet weep with discomfort. Econo Boy felt my pain -- his rented patent leather shoes weren't exactly cushy either. He and I both ran upstairs after the family photos to swap out our uncomfortable ceremony shoes for better dancing shoes.

And those David Tates were magic on my feet that night. I danced as much as I've ever danced in my life. I waltzed to our first dance, "Blue Eyes" by the Cary Brothers. I two-stepped to "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty, our parent dance. I twisted and shouted to the oldies, walked like an Egyptian to one of my favorite songs from my tweenhood, and while no dance-offs ensued when the DJ played "Billie Jean," Econo Boy was delighted to learn that his new wife could moonwalk.

Our guests danced up a storm -- I knew I could count on my college pals to get down on the dance floor, but I had no idea my uncle or my cousins could cut a rug that way! The dancing pictures are some of my favorites from the whole wedding -- everyone looks happy, silly, and like they're having a great time.

One of my favorite moments was when the DJ played a song I'd requested for the playlist, "Melt With You" by Modern English. This was the first dance song for two dear friends (I'd been a bridesmaid at their wedding) and I'd hoped they would be on the dance floor when it was played. Sure enough, I was standing right next to them when the first notes played, and they both jumped with delight, grabbed hands, and tangoed out onto the dance floor! It was adorable.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vignette 8: The aftermath of the rain

The ceremony had ended, the marriage license was signed, and our families assembled on the porch for those dreaded posed shots. Meanwhile, our guests started the outdoor cocktail hour. Hors d'ouevres were passed, and the lovely caterer brought a plate of them to the bride and groom, who scarfed them down gratefully. Those empanadas did not disappoint.

And then? Just as the last family shot was snapped? The rain came back. With a vengeance.

The rainstorm sent our guests scurrying inside (thus solving the problem of how to get everyone off the porch and into the dining room for dinner!), and sent our serving staff into overdrive. The lovely outside bar had to be struck down and moved inside as quickly as possible. With the staff scrambling to cope with moving the cocktail hour inside, a few things didn't get done. Most notably, there was no sparkling wine poured for the toasts (it was later plopped down just prior to the cake cutting), which was kind of a bummer, but did mean that we had lots of leftover Cava!

The humidity also made our menu cards a little droopy. And, for some reason, our candles kept going out! (Guess I know why they were $5 a dozen ...)

A slightly blurry guest photo of our centerpiece -- complete with 3 non-lit candles!

But despite the rain-related chaos, dinner turned out lovely. My dad gave a charming welcome toast -- efficient and to the point, but full of affection and warmth. Very much like him! Supermaid and the Best Man gave wonderful toasts as well -- Supermaid teased me about my previous conviction that I would never marry and ended by saying "I told you so!" The food was very good (especially the hors d'ouevres ... oh, those sausage and pecorino bites were divine!), the wine was amazing (naturally ;-)), and with a few calories and a little alcohol in my system, we began the process of table-hopping.

I had pushed for a receiving line. Boring, yes, but you get to see everyone. Econo Boy hated the idea and insisted we could simply visit tables during dinner after scarfing down our own food. Table-hopping worked fairly well, but gave us very little time to visit with anyone. (Then again neither would a receiving line.) This was the moment when I really felt the downside of our large wedding. Part of me resented the moments I felt obligated to spend with people like my mother's co-worker and her family (and it didn't help that one of the teenage girls informed me that they weren't having any fun!), rather than having a longer conversation with two of my favorite people who were sitting at that same table.

But I did get to talk with my friends, take one large group photo of our graduate school crew, and meet lots of people Econo Boy has been talking about for years but whom I've never met. Before I knew what was happening, our DOC tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we were ready for the first dance!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vignette 7: In which BiE realizes something has gone astray

There was but one little hiccup in our otherwise perfect ceremony. When Econo Boy's father got up to read the prayer we'd selected ("Wedding Prayer" by Robert Louis Stevenson, an author dear to both Econo Boy and his dad), I looked out at our loved ones and realized something: no one had programs! With the rain, they had simply never made it out to the chairs as planned.

At the time I brushed it aside -- too many wonderful things were happening to dwell on the missing bits of paper. But after the wedding, when I looked back, this was the one thing that really bummed me out. Our programs were so lovely, and moreover, they were a fair amount of work! But you know what? We count ourselves lucky that this was the biggest disappointment of our day. (Second biggest: not getting to try both flavors of cake! The lemon-raspberry was untasted by me, but received rave reviews.) If that's all the rain took from our ceremony, that's not bad. And at least the programs made it to the tables at dinner, so our guests could still admire our hard work!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our ceremony

I don't think I can attach the word "vignette" to our ceremony. It was too weighty, too beautiful, too perfectly imperfect to think of as just another little story. Talking about it still gets the two of us choked up.

This was due in no small part to our officiant, Katie, a family friend and socially progressive minister. She opened with a welcome, including the following words:
As we celebrate this marriage today, the covenant promises that these two will make and the rights and privileges that will be offered them as a result, we are ever mindful that there are loving couples to whom these privileges are not offered. Econo Boy, BiE, and I celebrate this moment with the hope that marriage might someday be an institution recognized by both church and state for all couples who would make the promises of living their lives together.
Then she read us the declaration of intent, the "I do" questions. Econo Boy went first, and I was so spellbound by those words that when my turn came, Katie had to prompt me with a little smile and nod -- "Do you?"

Yes, I do.

Katie then read a homily she'd written, with 3 new R's for these two academics: Recognition (of our differences), Reverence (for the promise we'd made to one another), and Ritual (shared traditions binding out lives together).

And then the vows. I handed my bouquet to Supermaid, and took my fiance's hand.

Econo Boy almost cried, but managed to hold it back to just a few sniffles. And when my turn came, my voice suddenly broke. For a moment I thought I wouldn't be able to say those words back to him, that my throat was too closed with emotion and that I'd have to whisper them. But my voice came through, wobbly and soft and not at all like my usual public speaking voice. But Econo Boy could hear me.

When the vows were through, we beamed at each other, clutching hands for dear life, and instinctively, we leaned in to kiss -- stopping ourselves just in time. Katie laughed, and so did our family and friends. "You can kiss if you want!" But we held off until after we exchanged rings and Katie presented us as the newlyweds.

Katie gave the benediction and blessing, the string quartet started up the "Hornpipe" from Water Music, and we turned to go down the stairs, but then I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.

Supermaid: "Uh, sweetie? Do you want your bouquet back?"

Me: "Oh, yeah!"

And down the aisle we went, married, glowing, and complete with bouquet.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vignette 6: The processional

Pictures were taken. The rain had lifted. Our awesome DOC said the ceremony was a go. And so we all lined up at the side of the house to process down the aisle, up to the front steps of the mansion.

The processional began with Katie, our officiant, followed by Econo Boy and his parents, then the groomsmen, all to the strains of Vivaldi's "Largo" from the "Winter" suite of the Four Seasons.

As my bridesmaids started down the aisle, our string quartet, who had prima donna-ish-ly insisted that they had played zillions of weddings and that there was no reason for them to be at the rehearsal, botched the processional royally -- they restarted "Largo" instead of moving on to the hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth." Fortunately they switched in time for the last two bridesmaids to walk down the aisle to the right song. I was annoyed, but pushed it aside. Because as soon as the last bridesmaid was down the aisle, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" started, and it was my turn to walk down the aisle, my dad on my right and my mom on my left.

Of course, being the total goofballs we are, we couldn't resist talking as we walked down the aisle.

Me: "Between not wearing my glasses and this veil, I can't see a damn thing."
Mom: "Hey Dad, are we supposed to remain standing at the end of the walk?"
Dad: "Yikes. I forget. Well, everyone will stand when the bride enters, right? So we'll stand."
We entered the aisle. Everyone turned, but no one stood.
Mom: "No one is standing."
Me: "Eh, close enough."
Dad: "I guess we'll sit then."

And suddenly there we were at the end. I hugged my parents, and extended my hand to a beaming Econo Boy. I grinned at him through my tulle, and as the quartet finished the verse, I whispered, "Hey, want to help me with my veil?"

Econo Boy lifted the veil. Supermaid adjusted it subtly as we ascended the stairs. Katie smiled at us warmly. And the ceremony began.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vignette 5: Rain, rain, go away

When Econo Boy and I decided to have our ceremony outside, we of course made sure we had a contingency plan for bad weather, but we never thought for a moment that we'd actually *need* it. Colorado is bone dry in the summer. Rainstorms in the summer are short, few, and far between ...

... except, as it turns out, in the summer of 2009, the wettest Colorado summer since 1882, when they began tracking rainfall.

The forecast all week had been for "possible PM thunderstorms." And sure enough, just as my bridesmaids and I left the salon, it started sprinkling. The rain soon cut out, but three hours later, as the ceremony setup was completed, it began to rain again.

To my surprise, I was completely calm as I watched the drops fall from the window of the bridal dressing room. It was still an hour before the ceremony, and in my heart of hearts I believed that the patch of blue sky was coming towards us just quickly enough.

For the first look and the wedding party photos, our brave photographer posed us under the mansion's awning and stood out in the rain, cheerfully ignoring the drops as he called instructions to us. (I am absolutely dying to get our photos back!) I periodically shook my bouquet dramatically at the sky and told the rain to stop, never seriously considering that it wouldn't.

And then somehow, miraculously, as the guests began to arrive ... it stopped. My optimism was rewarded! Once the clear weather had held for 15 minutes, our wonderful DOC declared the ceremony a "go!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wine Wednesday: Ironstone Vineyards Obsession

We interrupt our recaps to bring: a return of Wine Wednesday, and a brief rant on the liquor laws in my new state.

I don't think it's telling you too much to say that Econo Boy and I have relocated to the Boston area. (We're American academics, it's sort of inevitable.) There are many things I like about our new home, including the beautiful wine and liquor store that's literally just around the corner (time from front door to wine shop: 3 minutes).

But I cannot stand MA liquor laws! We can't have anything shipped here, taxes on alcohol are through the roof, and to combat underage drinking, some stores only take a MA driver's license as proof of age. I look young, I'm always carded, and I'm OK with that. I respect that there are strict penalties for selling to teenagers. But at 27 years old I hardly expected to have a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc nastily snatched away from me by a very unpleasant woman at a Costco in Waltham, with the snotty announcement that it would be ILLEGAL to sell to someone offering another state's driver's license as proof of age. Yeesh.

Fortunately, our corner wine store is much friendlier, and didn't bat an eye at our out-of-state licenses. They also stock a wide range of unusual wines, including this one that Econo Boy and I opened the other night: Obsession, from Ironstone Vineyards, made from the Symphony grape (a hybrid of Muscat and Grenache Gris).

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I've started making a point of trying anything that looks "weird," and a grape I'd never heard of in a Riesling-shaped bottle, selling for $9, caught my attention. The wine was juicy, with lots of tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, and even a hint of starfruit), and had a clean finish. It was clearly thoughtfully made. But to be honest, it was a bit sweet for us -- I think we needed a spicier dish than the fairly tame stir-fry we were eating to really stand up to its sugar. I'm not sure if I'd buy it again, but if you like sweeter wines, this one is worth a look.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vignette 4: Tree Pose

The morning of the wedding, I woke up feeling rested and happy. My bridesmaids, who were staying next door, came over for breakfast (mmm, leftover brunch muffins), and a lovely, lazy morning began.

But despite getting some exercise and eating some snacks, the nerves began to build. I had to force down the light lunch of tuna salad and grapes my mom prepared. And so every half hour or so, I started stepping into Tree Pose to quiet the butterflies in my tummy.

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I'm actually not that good at Tree Pose, but I did find that it helped to just stand perfectly still, on one leg, breathing deeply and focusing as best I could. Before I knew it, 1:30 had arrived, and Supermaid rolled up in her car to drive us all to our hair and makeup appointments!

And who met us there? Econo Boy!

OK, I know what you're thinking, bad luck, etc. etc. etc. But Econo Boy and I aren't very superstitious. What we are, is a pair of dorks. We couldn't stand not seeing each other until 4:30 pm, so Econo Boy scheduled his hair clean-up for the same time as my makeup appointment. Feeling his arms around me was wonderful. I won't pretend that all my nerves went away, but seeing him then was just about the best, most soothing thing I could have asked for. Way better than tree pose.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vignette 3: In which BiE truly begins to enjoy her wedding weekend

My mother-in-law completely outdid herself with the rehearsal dinner. It was western-themed, with BBQ food, adorable table settings, wildflowers everywhere, and 75 chocolate daisy lollipops, hand-made by Econo Boy's mom.

And they were yummy, too!

It started with a cocktail hour outside, then moved in for BBQ food and fun. I got to meet Econo Boy's aunts, uncles, and cousins, and he got to meet mine. I saw friends I hadn't seen in ages -- including apricot, a friend from summer camp (we were both counselor-type people) who I hadn't seen since 2005! The moments with all of these people were, of course, way too brief. I could have spent hours hanging out with every one of them, but had to settle for hugs and short conversations and the excitement of knowing they were there.

The slideshow (yes, we did the mandatory baby pictures-to-adults slideshow) was adorable. The toasts made us laugh and cry. Highlights included my former Girl Scout leader's subtle reference to that time I barfed on a camping trip (her advice to Econo Boy included "don't feed BiE s'mores and hot dogs for dinner"), much teasing about our braininess/geekiness, a rather embarassing picture of Econo Boy that I won't describe here, and two stories about me drinking, both prefaced with, "Now, BiE *never* drank."

I had so much fun that when I finally got to bed, I slept until 9 the next morning, after several consecutive nights of tossing and turning and waking up at 6:30. It was darn near perfect.