Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Have a Slideshow!! (Oh, and hi again!)

Oh Hive, how I've missed you!  Can you believe it's been five whole months since my last post here?  Or that I got married seven months ago and I've barely had anything yet to show for it?  This time has flown by, full of so many changes and great new opportunities that I can hardly keep track of them.  One interesting thing I've learned about myself through all of this is that, once I'm finished with a particular project, I move on really quickly.  Like, immediately quickly.  Before our wedding I had all these aspirations of coming back and writing about details that I didn't have time to cover beforehand, but it turns out that we got back from our honeymoon and I just really wasn't interested in talking about our wedding any more.  The celebration itself was amazing and wonderful and even better than I had imagined, for sure.  Yet also...  I have been more than happy to apply my superior planning skills to all the things that come next for us.

BUT lest you worry that I was planning to disappear (Were you really worried about that?  I would never do that to you!), I'm back now with something I think you'll be really excited about.  Yes, the Ferris Wheels finally have our slideshow in hand!  As if that wasn't thrilling enough (Because you are thrilled, right?!), getting our slideshow means that we will soon have our disc of images as well.  If you think you're hearing the first faint strains of impending recaps, you are entirely correct!  I can't promise when they'll happen, but I can definitely promise that they will happen.

I know, you can barely contain yourself in your chair right now.  :-)  I'm excited, too.  So, if you can forgive me for being so absent lately, I'd like to share this little treat with you from our fabulous photographers Paco + Betty.  Hope you love it as much as we do.

Mmm... makes me so warm and fuzzy every time I watch it (and I've watched it a lot).

Now that you remember what our wedding design looked like, is there any particular project you'd like to hear me talk more about?  I'm totally willing to entertain requests, I just love y'all that much!  So happy to be back!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thoughts About Last Names

Let me start out by saying this - I was never going to change my name. Never. Ever. I wasn't going to, and I didn't. So there's that spoiler out of the way. :-)

Of course, we all know that life is a little more complicated than 'I'll just make up my mind and stick to it no matter what.' Even though I may have known all of my adult life that I would never change my name, it certainly doesn't mean that I haven't had many, many thoughts and feelings about that decision. In fact, I often tell people that if I were writing a dissertation all over again I would want to do qualitative research on this topic. Not only am I fascinated by how and why people make this decision, but I'm also interested in whether there are ways to make this process easier and more equitable for all parties involved. Because, until the day comes when men get married and then are asked "So, what's your new name?" then I think we (all of us, regardless of gender) have more work to do on this issue.

Side note, and I hope this is obvious but I'm saying it anyway - I'm writing only about my own experience, thoughts, and feelings here. Of course I support, without judgment, whatever choice people want to make about their own name. That said, I do wish it were more common for men to change their names, women to keep their names, and any and all parties to create new names (hyphenated, made up, or otherwise). I have a hunch that would create so much more freedom and permission for everyone, to replace many of the judgments, assumptions and expectations that currently exist.

Certainly those gendered assumptions about names definitely affected how I felt about the name change issue in my relationship with Mr. FW. As you no doubt recall, Mr. FW was not always a mister and it's been interesting for me to notice how his gender transition has impacted the way I was navigating my own thoughts and feelings about our names and our future family. Even though I had strong feelings about not changing my name, Mr. FW did not (and does not) feel strongly about keeping his name so there has been the possibility of him making (another) name change.

When we were two women in a relationship with one another, Mr. FW said that he would be happy to take my name if and when we got married. Back then my feeling about this was that somehow one of us taking the other name's capitulated to a cultural assumption that a woman (or at least one woman) should change her name when she gets married. At the time, Mr. FW taking my name seemed inequitable and therefore not the right choice for us.

Interestingly, that really changed when Mr. FW was post-transition and officially a man. In fact, I kinda liked the role reversal of Mr. FW taking my name. In my eyes, one person taking another person's name is by its very nature an unequal act, but in this case it didn't feel inequitable or unfair. Neither of us was completely sold, though. We had just come off one name change process, and embarking on another felt really daunting (though Mr. FW was willing, which is simply amazing given how tedious the process was).

Also, I was considering how our shared name would be perceived by others. Although our personal reasoning felt good to me, in the eyes of the world it would be assumed that our family name was Mr. FW's name and not mine - because he's a man. I think the right thing to say here is that I don't care what other people think. Perhaps technically I don't, by which I mean that I would never make this decision solely because of how it would be seen by others. But it would be dishonest to say that I don't care at all about it. It's important to me to hang on to my name - not because of a sentimental attachment to the name or to my paternal lineage or anything like that. It's important to me on principle. My name is mine and I suppose I want people to know that this name is and always has been mine.

I think it says something about me that I'm a person who wants to keep my last name, so if Mr. FW and I share a last name then that principled choice will be less visible than if Mr. FW and I have different last names. That dilemma gave me enough pause that, at least for now, Mr. FW and I are both keeping our names.

When it comes to our eventual childrens' last names, we have had a solution to that problem worked out for a while. It didn't make much sense to us that we would both keep our names but then choose one or the other for our children, nor are either of us a fan of the hyphenated name. We thought about finding some combination of both our last names, but no matter what we tried they just don't combine very well. Also, combining our last names would give a nod to both of our paternal family names but would leave out the maternal side. So one day I sat down with four names - both of our father's last names (our last names) and both of our mother's last names before marriage - and I created what Mr. FW and I think is one rockin' last name for our kids.

Okay, in case I lost you, here's the recap: Mr. FW and I both kept our last names and we've created a "family" last name that our children will share.

There is, however, one little hiccup to this plan. Mr. FW is still deciding whether it's important to him that he share a last name with our children. If we have kids via me getting pregnant, then Mr. FW won't have a biological link to those children, which means he might then feel more strongly that he have a link in the form of a shared last name. So then he would consider taking the "family" name that we created. In that case, if Mr. FW and the kids all share the same name, then I'm guessing that might change how I feel about having a different last name than the rest of my immediate family. But until the day Mr. FW actually makes that decision, I'm not going to force myself to decide what I would do in that currently hypothetical situation. And if we end up having children through adoption, then that might result in a whole other set of considerations (legal, cultural, and emotional) that we haven't yet fully flushed out.

So that's where we stand. We are happy with our decisions because they work for us, for now. And we're both open to the idea that the future may bring new and exciting adventures that could cause us to re-think these decisions and/or make new ones.

Now, who will comment and tell me that their partner is considering taking their name?? I know you must be out there, and I want to hear your story!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reliving Our Wedding, One Tree at a Time

Sheesh - I can't believe it's been over two weeks since my last post.  So much for coming back "regularly," huh?  Sorry about that.  As it turns out, returning from one's honeymoon right as the holiday season is getting into full swing is perhaps even more crazy-making than wedding planning.

During this time each year, Mr. FW and I typically make a special shopping trip to buy a few new ornaments for our tree, but this year when we looked around at a house full of wedding decorations and honeymoon souvenirs, we just couldn't imagine trying to cram more stuff into our space.  So what did we do?  We repurposed.  

You remember our string balls, right?  

Well, after putting in some hard time as our lovely wedding centerpieces (and I can't wait to show you just how lovely they were!!), some of these lucky balls are once again bringing a little cheer to our lives... as ornaments!

Once the sun goes down and the string lights are turned on, the holiday warm fuzzies are in full force in our little house.  And this year, as we mark our first first holiday season as a married couple, those warm fuzzies are just a little warmer and fuzzier thanks to the wedding memories on display.  

Could you or have you repurposed any of your wedding decor for the holidays?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We're Back, and We're Married!

Oh hive, it feels like I've been away for such a long time - but I guess that's understandable since SO MUCH has happened in the last few weeks.  First and foremost, we got married (obvs)!

As expected, we haven't yet seen any pro pics, but there have also been surprisingly few pictures taken by guests, at least that we've seen.  So I'm forced to rely on only our photobooth pictures and a few other candid guest shots in order to relive our day so far.

{I think this is before our first dance, which would explain the giddily nervous smiles on our faces!}

{Thanking everyone for coming, with the cute detail of our clasped hands behind Mr. FW's back.}

Whenever people ask how the wedding went, the only reply I can come up with is "wonderful" or some similar descriptor.  Throughout our wedding day I just felt so, so happy and it seemed like everything was so blissfully amazing.  I know, of course, that nothing is ever absolutely and completely perfect, but I was made aware of precious few hiccups on the day of.  And I'm not lying when I say this, even though I know it probably sounds like an exaggeration - I honestly wasn't bothered by a single thing for longer than about two seconds.  I had this incredible Teflon-like mentality where something would come up (realizing it would rain throughout the day, feeling that things were getting a little chaotic during prep, hearing that we were running behind on our reception timeline, etc.) and then just as quickly it slid right off of me.  I was able to... let it go.  For the record, I'm not typically a person who can easily let things go, so I wish that whatever magical transformation happened that day could stick around forever!  I guess all that wedding mojo just made it easy to be consistently relaxed and in the moment, and for that I am extremely grateful.

There's tons more I want to share with all of you that I'm going to save for my recaps, but I will sum up our day by just saying that I thought our wedding was perfectly us and our reception was one hell of a party!

So yeah, we got married and then two days later we left for our epic (for us) two-week honeymoon to Australia.  I know y'all got a little sneak peek of our trip thanks to Mrs. Jaguar, when we got to meet up with her and Mrs. Teaspoon during our stay in Sydney.  (Yay for the power of the 'bee - when you can travel to the other side of the globe and see some familiar, wedding-loving faces!)  I promise to post some honeymoon recaps as soon as I can find time to pare down my 1000+ pictures.

{on the Skyrail to Kuranda}

We returned last Monday afternoon and I went back to work on Tuesday, so it's taken me the last few days to successfully transition back into my pre-wedding routine, not to mention my pre-honeymoon sleep schedule.  But now I'm back and ready to go!  While I'm waiting for our pro pics to come in, I've got several projects, thoughts, and stories to share that I didn't have time to blog before the wedding.  All that to say, you can expect to hear from me pretty regularly again starting right... now!  Because I've missed all of you!

Do you imagine yourself having a Teflon-like mentality on your wedding day? I highly recommend it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Time

It's 1:00 a.m. on the day of our wedding, and I'm writing this from my hotel room.  Party Person N is asleep nearby and junior party person M is asleep in the living room (yes, my hotel room has a living room!), yet here I am so amped up that I can barely even fathom the thought of closing my eyes.  I know I need to sleep, but I feel this intense need to keep my eyes open and take all of this in - like sleeping for even a second might mean missing out on part of this crazy-wonderful-magical time.  I've been sensing the 'wedding bubble' around me all day today, and I know that the feeling of this moment won't last forever.  I'm trying very hard to take the sage advice offered in my bee twin Miss Seal's last post, and just breathe and stay in that moment for as long as I can.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up and do a little bit of a decoration set-up, then I will sit back and wait for all the rest of the meticulously planned pieces to fall into place.  To say that I'm thrilled wouldn't even begin to cover it.  :-)

To the hive: Thank you so much for all of your help, advice, support, and kind words over these last few months.  Sharing our planning with you has been an amazing journey, and I've learned so much about myself along the way.  I look forward to having some time post-wedding to write more about the personal aspects of our planning process, and of course I can't wait to show you how all the details come together!

To Mr. FW: Tonight when you teared up as I was reading my vows at the rehearsal, I was reminded of why I'm marrying you - because you are deeply touched by this commitment we are making to each other, and I know you don't take that for granted.  Right now those vows are just words on a page, but you know that those words are truly written in my heart and that this little wedding thing we're doing tomorrow is just the incredible celebration of a love that's already rock solid.  After so many months and years of planning and preparation for this day, I am ready beyond words.  

And with that, I'm finally turning in for the night.  See you all on the other side!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Artistry, of the Hair and Makeup Variety

Of the many things that I love about my appearance, perhaps my very favorite physical features are my eyes and my hair.  Nearly every time I look in the mirror, I notice one or both of those and I can't help but smile at my reflection.  It's not vanity, and I hope it doesn't come across that way.  It's just that I truly believe everyone should have aspects of themselves (physical, relational, emotional, intellectual, etc.) that they can acknowledge as strong, positive features (even if, at times ,it's simultaneous with with less positive features - for instance my acne-prone skin).

So, given this love affair I have with my eyes and hair, you'd think I'd have spent more time considering my wedding hair and makeup.  But, in actuality, I had one very brief moment of hair inspiration and zero ideas about makeup.  I don't know if it was anxiety or just feeling overwhelmed with other stuff, but I showed up to my trial session with one inspiration picture and almost no ability to articulate what I was looking for.  Thankfully my amazing hair and makeup artist Lucy Flint knew just what questions to ask to get a sense of my wedding day vision, and then she began to work her magic.  (Side note: She even continued with said magic as the building was rocked by a 3.8 magnitude earthquake.  That's running a business in the Bay Area for ya!)

Over the course of a few hours we tried out a makeup look, with and without false lashes, and two different hairstyles.  I was so pleased, relieved, and excited about how great everything turned out that I wanted to go back for a second trial to do a bit of a different hair version.  You know how I love me some options!

Forgive the poor lighting - it was dark by the time we finished.

{half-up hairstyle, makeup with no lashes, and post-work sleepy eyes}

{low messy side bun, with lashes}

{with the headband}

From this trial I learned that even relatively heavy makeup can look quite light in pictures, so we're going to pump up the eyes and lips a bit on the wedding day until it looks just right in our photographs.  Also, I am absolutely going with the false lashes because they looked amazing!  Lastly, although the low side bun was oh-so-lovely, I realized that I really had my heart set on a half-up hairstyle.  The only uncertainty I had was about those frizzies along my hairline.  Hmm...

So today I returned, complete with updated hair color, to try a curlier look.

{curlier half-up 'do, my regular makeup}

Ignoring the crazy curl wisps escaping on the top of my head (which we'll smooth down in the final look), I'm thinking I like the curlier style better.  The frizzies are still there, but they're much less noticeable.  Also, this style probably has a better chance of making it through the night without becoming a frizzball since my curls weren't brushed out (as they were in my initial trial).  Mostly though, this whole look just feels a little more "me."

The only thing I'm now trying to decide is how much to pull my hair over my forehead.  The sideswept hair is very different from how I normally wear my hair, so it feels more special.

Whereas I think the pinned-back hair opens up my face more.

I'm leaning towards the side-swept hair, but if anyone has a reality check for me please let me know!  Otherwise, I'm feeling great about how my beloved eyes and hair will be showcased on our wedding day.  Yay!

I feel so grateful that I somehow stumbled across an incredible hair and make-up artist who is talented, responsive, patient, and so much fun to be around.  What more could I ask for?!  Unfortunately for my Bay Area brides, Lucy is moving to New York in January.  But good news NY brides - you have an amazing resource headed your way soon!

Would you ever consider ponying up the cash for a second trial?  Why or why not?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last-Minute Dress Decision(s)

Today marks the two week point for the Ferris Wheels, and I gotta be honest that it feels crazy-making to know we're so close yet there's still so much that needs to get finished.  Some of those last-minute tasks make sense:  escort cards (because we're still trying to finalize our guest list), seating arrangements (because we're still trying to finalize our guest list), and baking stuff for the dessert buffet (because there's only so long that a baked good will last).

Then there are other tasks that I really wish had been completed earlier, but for one reason or another they're still up in the air like the videographer (because we didn't decide until the last minute that we even wanted one) and wedding party gifts (because of various snafus in the production process).  But perhaps the biggest last-minute project(s) has to do with my dress.

When I bought the dress, I didn't pay much attention to the train because that just wasn't on my priority list.  Well, now that I'm having to make final alterations decisions, apparently I have to decide whether or not I want to keep it.  My primary concern about the train is how it will fit with the limited amount of space in our ceremony venue.  If you don't recall, the ceremony room looks like this.

{Mr. FW and I will stand in that window along with our wedding party, the area leading to the window will be the aisle, and limited chairs will be squeezed in there as much as possible.}

And now here's a picture of how the original train length looks on me.

One thing's for sure: the train as it is will absolutely not fit well in the space.  For.  Sure.  Plus the alterations woman told me that, no matter what, she recommended reducing the length of the train because it's currently disproportionate to my height.  This is not something I'd ever considered before, but I suppose it makes sense.  

So I think my options are thus: 1) reduce the train, hope it fits in the ceremony space without looking stupid, then bustle it for the reception; 2) leave it bustled throughout the day, no need to worry about whether or not it fits in the ceremony space; 3) chop it off - no train, no bustle, no hassle.

For your reference, here are some pictures the seamstress took of a potential bustle for this dress (not necessarily the one I'll go with, but it's an option).

I feel torn, Hive!  If I'm being really honest with myself I can admit that I kinda like the idea of chopping off the train.  But as soon as I think that I tell myself this is probably the only time in my life when I'll get to drag around a bolt of extraneous fabric attached to a garment I'm wearing, and I question whether I'd actually want to give up that experience.  Plus - the bustle is just 'meh' for me.  I don't necessarily love it.  

So I'm looking for the invaluable insight that only a group of similarly wedding-obsessed people can provide!  Given what you know about me, my style, and our ceremony space, which train option do you think I should go with?

(insert poll)

Option 1: Let it flow then tuck it in.
Option 2: Bustle me all night long.
Option 3: No bustle, no problem.

Can't wait to see what you think!  Have you given any consideration to train changes you might want to make for your dress?

(And also, in case you were wondering, the other last-minute dress decision has to do with whether or not I'll be wearing a shrug with the dress.  I really want to, but as the days tick by without a good option on the horizon, this decision might just be made by default.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's Feeling Real Now, Folks!

Yep, today Mr. FW and I made the arduous ten minute trek to City Hall, and we completed the shockingly easy task of applying for a marriage license.  As we walked up the front steps of the building I recalled that the last time I was actually inside the City Hall rotunda was a few years ago when one of my friends married his husband during the brief period of time when gay marriage was legal in California.  On that day the entire building was full of lights, cameras, press members, happy couples, and excited guests.  But today the place was silent, with only our voices echoing off the marble.

There were no signs directing us where to go, so we wandered around until we found the unassuming corridor with the door marked 'County Clerk.'  We actually arrived on time for our appointment, and if you know me at all, you know what a miracle that is.

Mr. FW lovingly offered to fill out the form for us since I was pretty busy snapping pictures of the whole process.  My favorite part of the license application was this: "At the time of application for a marriage license, one or both parties to the marriage may elect to change the middle or last names, or both, by which that party wishes to be known after solemnization of the marriage...  Parties may adopt any of the following last names: the current last name of the other spouse; the last name of either spouse given at birth; a name combining into a single last name all or a segment of the current last name or the last name of either spouse given at birth; a hyphenated combination of last names."

How incredible is that?!  I love the flexibility that California law allows for both parties when it comes to changing names with the marriage license.  (Also, I know I haven't posted about mine and Mr. FW's thoughts when it comes to name changes, but I will later if it interests anyone.)

A few minutes later and our form was all processed and ready to go.  We were given the information about what our "officiant" (aka deputized sister of the groom) needs to fill out, which we promptly forgot and will have to research again later.

And that was it.  So quick and so simple, this legal process to get married.  Mr. FW commented on our way out that, for how easy it was to get a marriage license, it somehow makes it even more sad and ridiculous that not everyone can get married - in this state or so many other places.  And I certainly agree.  *sigh*  Maybe one day...

As for us, our license is good until January of 2012 so let's just hope we can pull off a wedding sometime between now and then!

Was anyone else amazed by how easy the marriage license process was?  (I think I remember my mother telling stories that, back in the day, they required bloodwork in order to secure a marriage license.  Sheesh!  So, so glad we've moved on from that.)  :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

History, and Old School Photoshop

You know how I said that my mom and I were going through her wedding stuff this past weekend?  Well as part of that conversation I found out the most fascinating thing about her wedding photos - something I'd never noticed in all my years of casually flipping through her wedding album every now and then.

She showed me this picture:

And she focused my attention on one particular detail.

Notice anything about this close-up, besides the fact that my mom is absolutely gorgeous?  Anyone thinking that her eyelashes are amazing in this picture?  Well, they should be.  Those lashes were given the old school photoshop treatment.  If you don't have the slightest clue what that could mean, then you're in good company because I'd never heard of this particular technique either.

It means that those lashes were actually painted onto the printed photo itself!!  Can you believe that?!

I was completely floored when she told me, but as I flipped through her album looking for additional evidence of old school photoshopping, I saw it everywhere.  There were pictures where the photographer painted in sections of my mom's hair because the tip of her ear was peeking through, and multiple examples of him painting in eyes on my father because my dad was squinting in many of the photos.

It's incredible to me that I never noticed this before, but I guess it's proof that no one scrutinizes your wedding photos like you do.  That's certainly a good lesson for a perfectionist like me.  It also made me really happy that there are more advanced photo manipulation techniques available to modern photographers.  Of course, the minute I have that thought I flash forward to the day we'll flip through our wedding album with our kids and they will scoff at how dated those now-so-modern Photoshop effects are.  Ahhh, the neverending march of time (and technology).

Was anyone else aware of photographers painting/drawing directly onto printed images?  I'm curious how widespread this practice was.

A Little Piece of History

This past weekend I flew back to Georgia to spend a weekend with my mom, brothers, and my grandparents.  In all the crazy hustle and bustle of last-minute wedding planning (24 days and counting, gah!), it was nice to get away from the stress for a bit and reconnect with family.

While I was home there was a lot of wedding talk of course, which spurred my mom to pull out some of her own wedding stuff.  As soon as I saw her veil and headpiece in the dress box, I couldn't resist trying it on.

Here's my beautiful mother wearing her veil over thirty years ago.

And here I am - proving that this look was much better on her than it is on me.

The headpiece may not be the right style for me, but I actually liked the edging on the veil and I started to wonder whether I could find a way to re-purpose my mom's veil as my veil.  So I gathered it up and held it in a way that kind of imitated what it would look like if the veil was attached to a comb rather than the lace headpiece.

It has a little more body than I might have chosen otherwise, but the history and symbolism of it being my mom's veil way outweigh any tiny preference I have about length or puffiness.  The only question now is whether the color is a close enough match to my dress.  In the overhead lighting of the house it looked as white as the day my mom wore it, but in the bright SF sunshine it was looking a bit more cream.

I have my first dress fitting today, so that will give me a chance to see if the coloring will work.  If it does, then you can pretty much bet this will make its way onto the "must have" project list.  I'm not-so-secretly hoping that it does!

What little pieces of history will you be incorporating on your wedding day?  And does anyone have any tips for me about how to attach tulle to a comb?