Monday, October 12, 2009

Wedding Week!

I've been collecting the wedding photos from my friends. Don't have the professional photos yet and once I do it will take a while to go through them I'm sure, so there will definitely be a big photo blog of those later this month, but I figured this week I'd do wedding week and spend each day (except Women Who Rock Wednesday of course) talking about an aspect of the wedding. So today my topic is the theme and the ceremony, tomorrow we'll talk food and music, Thursday will be about fun with friends and family (which will prolly have the most pics), and Friday about the honeymoon/wedding aftermath.

Before Scott and I even got engaged we talked about what kind of wedding we'd like to have and we both agreed that we weren't traditional people and we'd want to do something that would reflect who we actually are as individuals and as a couple. Initially I just wanted a very private ceremony--immediate family and our respective best friends only--in our living room and then a party. But after seeing everyone's excitement when we got engaged--particularly in Scott's family since he is the first of the nieces and nephews to get married-- we realized people would be disappointed if they didn't get to attend the ceremony. I have to admit it still felt weird to have such an intimate moment in front of so many people, but anyway I'm getting ahead of myself.

We had a very limited budget for our wedding so we had to weigh what was important to us. No meat and lots of booze were my main priorities. (Hey, I'm a vegan bartender, what do you expect?) More on the food tomorrow though, but I will say that doing a night time wedding with vegan appetizers definitely allowed us to spend money on the bar package we wanted (middle shelf liquor, beer and wine and a Prosecco toast as I like Prosecco better than cheap champagne). We also wanted complete control over the music (again more on that tomorrow), so that helped cut costs because iPod replaced DJ or band. Another thing that is very important to both of us is to support local, independent businesses. I wasn't interested in a generic banquet hall. We chose Molly Malone's because it was right in our town and we definitely got the personal touch because of it. The day before the wedding I was a wreck of nerves, but when I got to Molly Malone's to rehearse, Sandra the manager made all my fears go away. She was so on top of everything and I knew they would make sure everything went perfectly from the music to the food (which they did specially for me instead of their usual Irish pub fare). And I loved the feeling of being in a dark, cozy pub instead of in a cookie cutter hall of some sort.

I wasn't at all into the girly stuff like choosing colors. I honestly had no idea what to say when people kept asking me what my wedding colors were. I'd already decided that my two bridesmaids would simply be wearing black cocktail dresses so they truly could wear the dresses again. I thought the whole colors/invitation thing was going to be a huge freakin' headache... until I found out that a friend from high school, Leslie Hamer has a really cool design company called Unless Someone Like You and she specializes in wedding invitations, etc. This meant we could find some cool designs that suited our personalities and we'd be supporting a local artist. Double awesomeness.

So we went in to talk to Leslie. We told her about the interests that brought us together as a couple: punk rock, tattoos, and Sailor Jerry rum (Sailor Jerry being a classic tattoo artist). Quickly, all three of us were rolling up sleeves and lifting up shirts to show off our tattoos. (Not something that usually happens with her clients, Leslie said.) Leslie said she wanted to come up with a classic tattoo design for our invites. Our colors were kind of chosen by default through this: bright blues and reds seemed to fit to classic tattoo theme.

To express our love of music, we went with Leslie's record player scratch off save the dates in our official colors:

Next up came the invitation design. Leslie had a great idea immediately. The only thing that changed was the text on the banners. At first it had our names and the place, but we decided we wanted a phrase instead. I was thinking of true love, but Scott thought up "forever" and we decided it was perfect:

Here's how the finished invitations looked. We also had a couple reply cards made for our elderly relatives who may not be into email, but we did an email RSVP to keep it low budget. Leslie was detail oriented down the return address label on our envelopes. (You can click to enlarge for detail, but please note I blurred out Scott's last name as I'm trying to maintain some semblance of privacy with my new last name. This way I have a private identity, his identity is private and should we ever have kids theirs will be too.)

I cannot praise Leslie enough because her design work snowballed into the theme of our whole wedding! When we decided to do mix CDs as favors (again, details on that tomorrow), she created labels and found cool cases for us:

When I enlisted my friend Ashley to help me find cupcake toppers and toasting glasses, she stuck with our theme. (Note the photo of the glasses are from the etsy seller's site because it was so hard to get a picture of ours, but ours are engraved with our names and wedding date. Also I wish I could get a picture to do the birds justice. They are adorable, an early wedding gift from Ashley and Aaron.)

Then of course it was important that Scott and I both dress in our own personal style. I had no interest in the long white bridal dress with all the ruffles, poofy stuff and veil. I wanted something that reflected my personal style of mostly vintage and babydoll dresses. I think this one which I found at Macy's (a Jessica McClintock, probably meant to be a prom or homecoming dress) was just perfect, all ribbons and lace, totally my thing. I also kept my bangs blue for my something blue. My something new was the dress, something old was vintage rhinestone hair pins, and something borrowed was my friend Marcel's ring. He passed away last year and I'd borrowed the ring for much of high school. When I told his mother the story about it, she gave it to me, but I still consider it borrowed and it was really important to have it with me to feel like Marcel was there. I wore it on a satin ribbon which I felt went perfectly with my dress.

Here's a good view of the dress from the back:

As for those of you wondering what happened to that cute but too short Betsey Johnson dress I was considering.... Bachelorette Party!

I must also give a shout out to my friend Jenny who did my makeup as well as the maid of honor's, the officiate's, and my mom's:

Scott's big thing was he wanted Adidas shoes, so he and all the groomsmen got them. He also decided at the last minute that he wanted to wear his hair in a mohawk, which of course I supported and thought it was extra awesome that his best friend decided to do the same. Here's the wedding party, we kept it small (L to R: Scott's sis Kelly, my bff Katie, me, Scott, Scott's bff Chris, my bro Dan):

It was the little touches that made the wedding extra special. Like my mom got all orchids (my favorite flower, one that Scott went out of his way to remember when we first started dating) for the bouquets and for bud vases spread around the place:

Last thing to discuss today but probably most important is the ceremony. Neither of us is religious. We're both atheist (though I am a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, but I consider that spirituality as opposed to religion... long story), so we decided we wanted a friend to marry us. We chose one of my dearest friends, Tai, who was my roommate at the time that Scott and I met, so she's known us longest as a couple. She's also atheist so that worked out (and we thank her for be ordained as a reverend online even though it goes against her beliefs) and we share the same politics, which is very important when wording a ceremony. For example, obviously she knew there would be no "obey" in the vows or "who gives this woman to this man" sexist jargon and she actually even changed "kiss the bride" to "you may kiss each other," pointing out that it was mutual as opposed to acting on the woman.

One of the biggest compliments I got about the wedding was how perfect the ceremony was, how it was unique and tailored to the two of us and it wasn't too long (I think approx 10 minutes). It honestly wasn't that hard to pull together. It took us three hours including going over it with Tai the night before to perfect the wording. We pulled from a book on wedding vows and rituals that my friend Amber lent me, a couple ceremonies that our friend Autumn (who is also an ordained online person) performed, a couple online resources and reworked stuff to suit us. I don't know why more people don't do that because it makes things much more personal. My cousin Becca and friend Amber also personalized their ceremonies and they were some of my favorites and my inspirations. Anyway I will share a bit of what we did.

Tai also has a huge musical collection so she found us the perfect procession music. The wedding party went down the aisle to "Untitled" by Ogurusu Norihide and I walked to an instrumental version of "Why Does My Head Hurt So" by Isobel Campbell. Here I am walking down the aisle with my dad (all the gorgeous black and white photography taken by my cousin Becca, btw):

Before our vows we did a unity candle ceremony because I love candles and light and think they are very symbolic. We combined a Wiccan candle ceremony (which spoke to individuality) and a non-denominational one and came up with this:

Stephanie and Scott, I would like you each to light a candle. These two candles are yourselves. Each of you is a whole and complete human being.

With these candles, we can see how to achieve a beautiful marriage. In your marriage, you will try to bring these lights, the symbols of yourselves, closer and closer to each other until they become one (we join our flames and hold them together)—one great torch of light, a radiant symbol of love, joy, peace, and harmony.

Yet it is vitally important to remember that there are always really two (we divide our flames) in a marriage, each with his or her own desires, dreams, and wishes. And these must be responded to with great love, compassion, and genuine tenderness.

Stephanie and Scott, I’d like you to remember when it was in your relationship that you first realized you were truly in love and wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. And holding that thought, together light the third candle without extinguishing the first two. Because in marriage you do not lose yourself; you add something new, a relationship, the capacity to merge into one another without losing sight of your individual self.

We know that it is the hope of your beloved, as it is the hope of each of us here, that you will continuously light this candle in love, so that there will always be light and joy and peace and harmony in your hearts and in your home.

We also wrote our own vows. Though um, we should have broken them down into smaller bits to repeat back after Tai because they got a bit unwieldy. They nearly brought both of us to tears, though I promised Tai I wouldn't cry because then she'd cry and the ceremony might end in disaster.

Anyway here are the vows as I spoke them, obviously Scott used my name and said husband instead of wife at the end:

Scott, I love you. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life. I vow to bring you happiness and celebrate the joys of life with you. I will trust you, respect you, and give you my heart for safekeeping. I promise to support your dreams and walk beside you offering courage, comfort and strength through the good and the bad. From this day forward I will be proud to be your wife and your best friend.

Here I am with Tai, who married us.

And I'll close for today with another one of my favorites from the ceremony that Becca took:

More tomorrow!


Reverie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! You are so adorably cool! Love that dress and all the details!

Kathy said...

Joe and I both agreed that your wedding was the most fun/sweet one we have ever been to.

little miss gnomide said...

A beautiful celebration of love. I'm so glad that you both found a way to make it completely reflect you and your beliefs. Truly lovely and I really like the sparrows.

Sab H. said...

OMG! You look so beautiful!!! Wonderful pics!!! Cant wait for more!

Sara Hantz said...

Wow, sooooooooooo cool! You looked fab, love the dress!

Melissa Walker said...

How awesome! Love these details. Keep them coming!

Marie said...

Awww... this is so great! I love hearing about this stuff. I got married this July & we had a sort of modified Wiccan/Agnostic thing with candles, etc.

Your photos are beautiful!

Are you going to get the tattoo of your wedding logo??

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks for all the congrats and sweet comments guys! Kathy, I'm so glad you guys thought it was the most fun/sweet :) Melissa and Sab, I will definitely keep it coming :)

Marie, I would consider the tattoo, but I'm kind of weird about getting names tattooed and so is Scott. Like somehow it is cursed. I had my bff's name tattooed on me and right after we had a big falling out. We are fine now, but I covered that tat recently and replaced it with something symbolic of our friendship instead (something we both have). Scott and I have a plan for a tattoo we'll get together. Hopefully for our first wedding anniversary :)

Kay Cassidy said...

YAY honey!!!! What a wonderful, thoughtful wedding celebration. I love when couples create a ceremony that is both lovely and perfect for them. Cheers to you both!

Alyson Noel said...

WOW--that is just beautiful!!

I wish you a lifetime of happiness--and more!

audrey said...

I was never a wedding person, but seriously, your wedding sounded absolutely perfect! I'm so happy for you, and thanks for sharing :)
That dress looked gorgeous on you, and I especially loved the last pic :D

Laura said...

Stephanie, your wedding looked perfect and the pictures are incredible. It is awesome that you allowed us into a very special time in your life! You and Scott are so cute together!

No when do the kids come???? :)