Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Good Things

Hello lovelies.

It has been a long 10 days since I had anything exciting to post, and really that was mostly due to the amount of time available. Good things have continued to happen, however, albeit one venue hiccup. Well, I would call it a hiccup, Alex has used stronger language. You see, the hotel that has been our scheduled wedding venue, The Marina Villa Hotel in Fowey, was up for sale (apparently it was mentioned once when we were looking at it)--and, well, today a sale went through on the hotel to turn it into a B&B. In short, the changing of the owners means a changing of interiors which means construction in April which means a changing of venue for our wedding.

Maybe I'm glossing over how perfectly we felt this venue fit our wedding--its snazzy interiors, top notch food, deal of a corkage fee and meters upon meters of deck on the river. And, well, maybe this is just fate playing its part. You see, there are two other hotels we have looked at and can look at again for our wedding ceremony, this time with a different view and different expectations. One which might offer a larger room for the ceremony (bonus as the guest list keeps growing) and one offereing a more central spot on the river, and really it's a matter of changing our perspective on what we want. We haven't yet officially spoken with the manager of the Marina Villa Hotel yet, but given that the village is so small, he relied the already worried about news concerning the sale of our perfect wedding venue. The other upside is that given again that the village is so small, he might be able to pull a few strings for us. The result of that conversation you can be assured I will tell you.

Aside from venue unknownness, we have confirmed our reception venue of Gallants Sailing Club (woot!), met with our potential (and likely) photographer today (will explain soon), and I've picked up my wedding dress from alterations!

Today John Walmsley of Cornish Wedding Photography came to the house for a meet-up and chat about generally wedding photo stuff. He was absolutely wonderful. We had a good hour chat with him in the sitting room over tea, coffee and cheese, chatting about what the plans were for the day, taking another look at his portfolio (this time in the print), and getting to know a little about each other really. John is a landscape photographer, but as he so honestly put it, taking pictures of mountains don't pay the bills; weddings, on the other hand, do. What this does mean though is that the gorgeous scenery of Fowey will captured along with us on our wedding day, and the guy knows his lighting. We haven't officially booked him yet, pending a conversation with the parents, but for Alex and I--he's a go.

In wedding attire news, I picked up my dress this last week from Luella's Boudoir where the fabulous Kat did my hemming and strap alterations and I can tell you, I haven't been so excited about my dress since I bought it! I mean, I didn't buy it that long ago, and yet the excitement came bubbling up again! I'm absolutely in love. Also, for those who may not know about the veil debate (will be posting on SYE about it soon, so Alex won't see), I've decided on the no-veil route and ordered a lovely purple flower broach for my hair! So hoping I love it as much when it arrives from the Etsy vendor Mollusa. Look:

I'm also currently looking for necklace ideas, but they'll come too... Oh! I didn't tell you the best part of my hair piece: My brother and Best Bro, Paul, (along with his girl, Katie) found it for me online! He truly knows the way to help me perfect my 'look.' And, in case you were wondering, I will write about Alex's outfit when it comes together (and about much of it as I can know), but a trip to Brighton and Gresham Blake has yet to be made...

In other fun news:
  • Alex's wedding gift arrived in gorgeous condition from an etsy vendor. (Yes, I'll write about it after the day!)
  • Martha Stewart Wedding, Winter 2010 featured their first gay wedding!
  • Washington DC passed gay marriage!
  • Alex received Christmas cards from BOTH her grandmothers addressed to BOTH of us. (My G'ma and fam are cool, but we weren't so sure about Alex's grandmas--this is the first time Grannie's written my name!)
  • Alex completely spoiled me for my birthday weekend on Saturday/Sunday--a whole day out of food and fun, lots of very thoughtful, London-themed presents (including Burberry 'The Beat' perfume--Yay!), and pink bubbly with friends at a local pub!
And in case you missed our faces:

Adorable photo of us on my birthday-celebration day

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Version of Our Story

For our website, Alex and I wrote another version of 'our story'. I might read it occassionally read it when I want to feel snuggly so I thought I'd share:

Lovefest: The Origins: or, How We Finally Fell in Love

Well, we'll start at the beginning...

We met in our second year of college at UC Santa Cruz in the classic way that couple's meet: through our friends. At the time, Erica was working for Kresge College and Alex was friends with everyone who was working for Kresge College. Erica's first memory is of Alex in her red pleather tail coat at a Kresge event, where Alex didn't pay attention to her. Alex's first memory is queueing up with Erica for the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, where Erica didn't pay attention to her.

Alex was at once fascinated and intimated by Erica's awesomeness...and the crush began. Of this crush, Erica was unaware: second year was BUSY, and then she left for Ireland.

Third year went by in Ireland (e) and the Brommer House (A). Summer came and went. Alex and Erica re-met at a bonfire on the beach in September--although Alex was more taken by Erica's Irish boots than anything else. They became proper friends this time through bonfires, nights out on Pacific Avenue, and times with the 'Kresge Crew/Kids'.

Then we graduated. Erica needed a place to live in the fall for her last quarter at UCSC and Alex decided to stay in Santa Cruz until Christmas. So Erica moved in to the Ocean St. House in September with Alex, Christy and Mallory (taking Corinne's old room). Well, thank goodness.

So, when did we FINALLY fall in love, you might ask?

For Alex, it was snuggled up on a couch reading short stories to one another; doing the New York Times Monday crossword puzzle; and the cincher was dancing in the kitchen to Nina Simone.

For Erica, she knew it best when one fall morning she woke up and couldn't think of anything else but "She's the one."

Now how we managed to stay together across an ocean, living in a trailer, working in a pub, getting into post-graduate programmes and moving countries is a whole OTHER story you can just ask us for at the wedding...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not Entering Panic Mode

If you could see the state of our house right now, you'd either think two things: 1) Look at those piles! They must be planning a wedding! or 2) How could they possibly have time to plan a wedding!? Well, both are true. To say that April has been far from our minds would be a lie, but the amount of time we get to spend thinking about it sure is limited. That said, here's the latest:

On Saturday, my friend Julie and I went to my dress fitting at Luella's Boudoir in Wimbledon Village. It was definitely an experience to be pampered and doted upon by the women who work there (who were lovely, and who loved my dress--double yay). They even got me to try on a veil, the reaction of which was not expected. If you're interested in the variations of said veil, click here (Alex has promised not to look as you can also see my dress). While it was fun to play dress-up-bride for part of it, it was also a bit shocking and, to be honest, not really 'me.' Definitely leaning more towards something like a purple fascinator or flower for me hair I think! (Maybe something like this or this.)

On the photographer front, Alex and I both got to talk on the phone to a Cornish photographer we found online: John Walmsley of Cornish Wedding Photography. After searching and looking through loads of portfolios from photographers in Cornwall, Devon and the London area, we really wanted to stay local--and we liked John's photojournalistic style best. We're set to meet him at his over the Christmas break to chat a bit and make any final decisions (i.e. whether to book him or not!). I'm really looking forward to meeting him in person, and hopefully being able to check off 'photographer' off our list with ease and confidence!

Speaking of ease and confidence, we've also found out this week that our wedding ceremony venue, the Marina Villa Hotel, has had an offer made on it to buy it and turn it into a B&B. (Alex apparently knew it was up for sale; I did not.) It would probably be fine if they were leaving it as is, but it sounds like if the deal goes through, the hotel will be under B&B-rennovations in April. Construction=no wedding venue. Not all hope is lost (although Alex was quite peeved for a bit) as nothing is final yet, and there are still other options for us to get married on the river in Fowey (just not as perfect...)

Not to end on a bummer note, have I mentioned recently how much I love Etsy? Seriously, they should pay me for all the advertising I do (hint hint). This week's Etsy wonderfulness:
  • My earrings (for california--and maine) arrived in the mail and I absolutely adore them!
  • Alex's wedding present is officially ordered.
  • AND...our wedding ring designer 'would be truly thrilled to create a set of bands for you for such a great occasion.' Jesse Danger = rockin'. He even quotes Frank Lloyd Wright on his profile...
130 days til we're hitched! (Oh wow, now that's a reality check for ya.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Speech for Marriage Equality from NY Senate Floor

Another let-down this week for marriage equality. And yet, people like NY State Senator Diane Savino still give me hope.

(Thanks to Dorothy Snarker for posting the video)

"If there's any threat to the sanctity of marriage in America, it comes from those of us who have the privelege and the right, and we have abused it for decades...We have nothing to fear from peopl who are committed to each other, who want to share their lives and protect one another in the event of sickness, illness or death. We have nothing to fear from love and committment." - NYS Sen. Diane Savino

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself. - FDR

More on this later, as Alex and I let this all soak in...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Love & Gratitude

Hello folks--we're back! After a week of Thanksgiving madness and joy, Alex and I are resuming our normal, already-hectic lives. And yet while much food and sugar were consumed in the last week, we've also been up to quite a lot of wedding-y things!

First of all, for anyone who is considering email Save the Dates, let me tell you--it's the coolest thing ever! Aside from the dozen or so emails that will bounce back, the immediate connection with friends and family--near and far--about your big day is such a thrill! Alex and I kept checking our email and watching the counter on our website (mywedding.com) to see the amount of visits rise! The boost in wedding buzz did us girls some good.

As I am spending many hours in front of my computer these days (yes, more than usual--and that's saying something) my mind has gone off and wandered over to many places, the old and new favorites being Etsy and Rock n' Roll Bride. All was not in vain, however, as I am finalizing the details on Alex's wedding gift (no, I'm not telling), we may have officially, finally found our wedding rings (more in a minute!), and I now truly know the meaning of the blogger term 'wedding porn' (thank you, Off-Beat Bride for that, too!).

Rings? Sorry, did I say something about rings? OH, I did. And no, we've decided not to have diamonds (champagne, recycled, conflict-free, eco-friendly, or otherwise). Check out "Love is on the inside:"

So, where did I find it? Etsy, of course. And this lovely ring is made by the guy with the coolest name: Jesse Danger. (And if you click over to his shop, yes, we are getting the dragonfly wing necklace and ring, too.) This is the description of this sterling silver and rose gold ring goes like this:

"The silver on the outside has a clean and modern look that will take on its own unique finish as it wears over time, while the inside remains true to the day it was first made..."

*Melt.* Gorgeous. Meaningful. Our two favorite metals. One ring to symbolize our continuous committment to each other. No diamonds that are 'forever,' but not really us. (We can save those for birthdays, maybe anniversaries, we think.) Nothing crazy out of our budget. Oh yeah, and did I mention all the materials are recycled? Yes, we are just a little bit in love.

The other fabulous news is that we may have found our UK photographer! More updates on that soon, but we spoke with John from Cornish Wedding Photography on Sunday night and we think it's going to be a fit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

OMG Shoes -- The Pictures

Our shoes have a little story: Over the course of the last five weeks, Alex and I have been on team for a Mastery Course with the More to Life programme. We each had various jobs: audio, props, hospitality, etc--and apparently finding our wedding shoes. One of the teachers, H, for the course has not only become an inspiration to each of us in our lives, but she's is also a serious fashion inspiration! Dressing so smartly for each session, H rocked each session with the material--and her outfits.

As it happens, H wears a lot of deep reds and purples (if I'm not mistaken, they are part of the late winter palette she was given when she had her colours done). Alex's favorite color, as you may know by now, is red which she wants to accent with at the CA wedding. She has also been looking for broughes/wing tips. My favorite color is generally green, but for our UK wedding, I have been looking for little purple kitten heels to match our colors there of purple and green (based on dark purple tulips).

So, when H show showed up the first week wearing chunky heel, patent leather, two tone broughes/wing tips both of our jaws dropped. Then our mouths fell open again when she said she had bought them at the same time as another pair of heels: dark purple suede kitten heels.

Well, upon seeing the second pair the following week of Mastery, we were sold and booked a lunch date with H to go shoe shopping! Twenty minutes or less in the shop and we had our shoes!!

Alex's shoes--if you know her at all,
you'd know how incredible it is that she bought heels!

So sweet and adorable,
I'm already breaking them in around the house.

As for the specifics, I'm definitely wearing my to the UK wedding only, but Alex is torn about how many times/when/where to wear hers. Irregardless, we couldn't be more excited about SHOES!

Update: Also blogged about on So You're EnGAYged!

Friday, November 13, 2009

OMG Shoes

We bought our wedding shoes!!

AND our lives are crazy busy right now--and awesome. So for a full-blog substitute, please accepts this ode to shoes, if you will:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And you shall call her by her name...

This is the phrase that keeps ringing through my ears: it's a poem, knocking. I could write about shoe shopping on Wednesday, my search for an amethyst necklace or how the Save-the-Dates haven't gone out yet, but today, today I want to write about love.

It seems like most days all I want to write about is love.

Last night there were lots of tears. There were lots of tears for different reasons, from both of us. No one's sick, no one's died, and I am learning there is nothing wrong with tears. And last night I held Alex as she fell asleep, her head nuzzled into my chest. I tell you this because it was then, a half hour gone of her asleep and me awake in the street-light-through-curtain darkness that this phrase whispered in my ear: "You shall call her by her name: Love."


It is what I call out when I speak of Alex, and what she calls for me.

My parents called each other "Babe" when they first got together. I have given and been given nicknames from lovers and friends past: e, darling, lovely, sweetheart, babe; names with inside observations, names not reserved just for me.

In London, it is common to be called "love" by friends, new acquaintances, customers, retail employees, etc. Imagine the American diner waitress asking, "What can I get you, sugar?" Insert "love" instead and make the waitress a barmaid in a pub. In Cornwall, instead of "love," it is "lover." Are you alright there, my lover? I did not know this casual, cultural use of "love," then.

In the first weeks of being with Alex, the name escaped from my lips before I even consciously recognized what I was saying. I remember it was an autumn morning in the Ocean St house, the light was so crisp on those last days on the coast and there was a soft breeze through the window. I remember sitting on the stairs, she was by the kitchen table.


This morning I realized I was echoing a biblical phrase: "...and you shall call his name Jesus." I Googled it to find out that it was from Luke 1 and a church website included the partial accompanying verses: "And the angel said to her...you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great...and of his kingdom there will be no end."

I don't think an angel spoke to me, but I do believe that when I knew what love was, I called her by her name.

I believe that each time I invoke the name "Love," it is powerful and it is great. There is a heft to it. It reminds me of why I want to connect with Alex, with others, with the world, and I believe love has no end.

I do not tell this story to spark conflict between religious text and personal experiences nor is it told for political gain or change of consciousness. I tell this story because it is my own. I tell this story because it is my love story, my Love: the head on my chest at night; the face I look to each day; the single, most powerful capacity bestowed upon human beings.

Love. I believe in love. And I ask for nothing more than to continue believing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For California--and Maine

Yesterday, the State of Maine passed Question 1, a measure similar to Prop 8 denying same-sex couples the right to marry in their state. My reaction since I heard the news was just to ignore it; to even consider to take in the news felt like too much to handle.

I had forgotten what last November felt like: the tension, the queasiness, the disbelief and anger. I had forgotten that I could barely stand going to work at City Hall that week, keeping my mouth shut, and so thankful I could escape down to Santa Cruz that following weekend. I wonder if someone in Maine is in the same shock as I was; I wonder if they'll have a place to escape to and know they are loved.

I don't remember if it was after the election or after the start of this blog that myself or someone else (cousin?) found these earrings on Etsy: Rainbow over Sacramento, Shame on H8. The entire purchase price is donated by the artist to overturn Prop.8 in California. I couldn't afford them whenever I saw them first, but today I woke up thinking about Maine, feeling that pit in my stomach, and decided to buy them.

Purchasing power: I am still grappling with the concept of using capitalism as a mode through which to effect change. And yet, how can it not be when my money goes directly to funding a movement for change, a change for the acceptance of love.

The money may go towards funding California's freedom to marry as a result of this purchasing power, but, Maine, I bought these for you. I had forgotten what it felt like to have love lose out, and you were the reminder. I will wear these on my wedding days, legal and not, and remember.

Rainbow over Sacramento - Shame on H8
AlaineJewelry on Etsy

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's Wedding Ponderings

First of all, someecards is hilarious--and always reliable for a good gay laugh. Case in point: They are now doing wedding invitations. Alex and I should have gone there instead of Etsy! My favorite reads: 'Please be our guests for some state-sanctioned girl-on-girl nuptials' and depicts two women kissing in princess hats! Hilarious!

Secondly, the extra yard of fabric I ordered from The English Department for my wedding dress arrived today! A yard of Shantung silk in 'Snow' from Jenny Yoo for 'Bride: Erica Gillingham' was pretty exciting to see in my hands. (I'm still not used to being called 'a bride,' particularly by shop owners and businesses. I'm not sure I always like it; more on that in a minute.)

The English Department
Shop front in Portland, OR. (Photo via site.)

The extra fabric means that I can now change the straps on my dress to a wider, more sophisticated style which will also allow me to pin a corsage/boutonniere (instead of carrying a bouquet; see Ceremony Gender Flips if you want to hear more of my thoughts) to my beautiful dress!

For the alterations, I've just spoken with the ladies at Luellas' Boudoir in Wimbledon. Rachel Attwell's shop caught my eye from the window of the 493 Bus on my way to university each day. When my home-town friend, Leslie, came to visit me in London, we took a trip over there and really enjoyed chatting to Rachel and checking out their range of accessories and new dresses.

Luella's Boudoir
Shop front in Wimbledon, London (Photo via site.)

This, of course, was BEFORE I proposed... Still, I remembered the pleasant interaction (which included telling her about proposing to my girlfriend; not sure she'd heard that one before!) and have made a tentative appointment to have my dress looked at for alterations by their designer.

With all the goodness continuing to abound (ease of picking things out, items arriving on time and in one piece), I still have two concerns:

1. Where to go for alterations: While Luella's Boudoir has been on my list of places to visit with Alex (or without her and with my friend Julie--there are some things Alex isn't supposed to see before the big day!), there is part of me that feels hesistant to have my dress altered there. Will it be more expensive because it's a 'wedding boutique' and not a tailors? Possibly. Possibly not.

Another part of me keeps thinking of all the tailors in my own area of London--there are two practically across the street from me after all! Still the tailors in my area are either housed in dry cleaning shops or specialize in saris or West African formal dresses, not American wedding dresses, and a third part of me wants to ensure I'll get the vintage look I want with the strap alterations and have a bit of the fuss of being in a bridal shop. Luella's, I think it will be.

2. Here comes the bride--shopping (or Who's the Groom?): I have had a particular pre-occupation the last few weeks about the intense focus on THE BRIDE in not only all the wedding advertizing and websites (think of all the Bridal magazines out there) but also with the promotions of vendors. For example, wedding photographers: it feels like half of their 'wedding galleries' are close up shots of the bride getting ready, standing in a window, posing coyly, oh yeah, and then with the groom. And the groom? Aren't there two people in a wedding? Isn't a wedding supposed to be about than how pretty the bride looks?! SO frustrating!

But it's not just frustrating aimlessly. It's frustrating for two reasons I've been able to pinpoint so far:

Firstly, I have started to feel that the word 'bride,' like the word 'wedding,' equals huge dollar/pound signs, blown-up ideas and mass marketing. With this interpretation then, every time I heard/read the word 'bride' or are in fact called a bride by shop owners, I just feel like a walking, gullable money purse just waiting to be plucked. As if all the wedding photographers, jewellers or wedding boutiques have to do is make me feel special enough so that I won't bat an eye at a few extra accessories along with a few extra hundred pounds missing from our pockets. Gross, right?

Secondly, no matter how many deep breaths I take, it still sucks to see an online form (try wedding registries, blogs, or even Luella's Boudoir's contact email) which ask for the 'Bride's name' and the 'Groom's name.' I know not all wedding vendors are going to support, let alone include, same-sex couples wanting to get hitched, but it is frustrating that even in a country where every same-sex couple has the right to a legal union, those couples get left out.

Considering the last point, our solution has been for Alex or myself to put me as 'The Groom' (again, see Ceremony Gender Flips) but it's still mentally exhausting work to be OK with it, to even fill it in because for as much as I may think I am a walking, money bag 'bride,' I'm still not the bride the advertisements are for--no matter which side of the alter I stand on.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Stampy

From reading The DIY Wedding, I got the idea to look for a personalized address stamp to save time + our wrists when writing out the invitation envelopes. Needless to say really, I searched on Etsy and came up with these favorites! Now just to see which one Alex likes best (or at all)!

Sweet and circular:

Self ink stamp by ishandmadestamps

Sexy Calligraphy:

Self-inking Rubber Stamp Calligraphy by emililies

And my personal favorite:

Eco Friendly Self-inking Rubber Stamp Calligraphy by emililies
(Um, awesome. Recycled plastic, water based ink, re-fillable)

Anyone know of any other great places to look for customizable stamps? Possibly in the UK?

Also, just started looking for a photographer and it is HARD. Like, not finding one (just google Cornish Wedding Photography, and, boy, do you have a whole heap of choices!) but, like, how do you pick one from SO many!?!?!?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DIY Reading

Hi y'all. It is another busy week in the Gillingham Crisp household, let me tell you. I've just made a schedule to write a chapter of my dissertation a week to finish by my birthday in December (and to meet the university deadline) and Alex is up before the sun to go take bloods and patient histories at a nearby hospital. Crazy times up in here. And still, any free moment where my mind gets to wander and be playful a bit, I'm still smiling about our wedding. Smiling, mostly, cause I'm getting to marry Alex (YAY!) and also because it's really fun planning a wedding with her. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times when we're on such different pages it's like we're reading different books, but the giggling, the giggling and giddiness makes it all worth it.

Speaking of books, my current selected reading a la weddings: The DIY Wedding: Celebrate Your Wedding Your Way.

The DIY and money saving info is fab, but occassionally my feminist consciousness wants to toss it on the floor (i.e. the focus on the bride is crazy and sometimes I get tired of swapping groom for bride and fiancé for finacée).

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Ring?

Discussions of how many rings, how to source them and their meaning aside for another post, check out this beauty. We think we've found our ring design.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Praise of Google Docs

While the work on the wedding website continues this week (I hope y'all are impressed with it--I spent an hour and a 1/2 yesterday on the Accommodation page for Fowey alone), this week it is all about the praise for Google Docs, in (short) list form.

Reasons Why A&E love Google Docs (thus far):
  1. Our time, effort, and new skills in Excel have not gone to waste in the guest list/contact list compiling exercises.
  2. We can share the UK Guest List, CA Guest List and HUGE Contact List with anyone really, primarily our folks (and we don't have to print them out! Yay trees!).
  3. Anyone we share the 'documents' (files) with doesn't have to have a Google account.
  4. Multiple people can be viewing, editing and saving those documents at any given time and those changes happen instantly.
  5. Alex and I can sit at our own computers in separate rooms and chat and giggle online like old times across the ocean while we edit the lists together.
Betcha can't tell which one is my favorite reason...

Two more notes:
  • Yes, I did totally co-opt the title of Cheryl Dumesnil's new book of poetry, In Praise of Falling--how did you know!? And yes, you should check it out.
  • And blog posts are more fun with pictures, so here's an old school one of Alex at her desk at the Ocean House. :D

Friday, October 16, 2009

Save the Date -- Done!

For all of you following this who are actually coming to one or two of the ceremonies, this may be a bit of a spoiler, but I'm just so pleased with how the Save the Date and photo collage came out I couldn't resist sharing.

As for our to-do list, the photo collage is now checked off, the website coming along nicely, and some more basic details to be covered this weekend (like getting a Certificate of Approval from the UK Home Office--immigration stuff scares me! The bonus part though is that I just spoke to a very nice man at our council office who we'll go see to Give Notice of Intention for our UK ceremony. There's no Vegas-Let's-Get-Hitched! around these parts!).

Now onto the good stuff, what people will be receiving in their email boxes next month (yeah saving trees, postage, and fossil fuel!), with the exception of our grandmas--some of them are computer saavy, some of them prefer good ol' post.

Click on either for a larger view.
Images, respectively by savethedate and Wyatt Olson Photography.

The Save the Date design is called Jenny by savethedate's etsy shop. She was super easy to work with and Alex and I just love her design. Plus her slogan is 'Save the Date * Save the Trees' --pretty rockin. Then we picked out our favorite photos and threw them together in the collage! (Ok, ok, it took a bit more time than that...) In all seriousness though, we loved working with Wyatt and can't wait for him to photograph our wedding in California!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week's To-Do List

I have to say that after being back in London for over two weeks now, I finally feel like I am sort-of back in the routine again. The realization was signaled by finally moving all of my IDs, cards, etc. from my US wallet to my UK wallet. (Yes, I have two different wallets. And if you've ever traveled abroad, you know the difference coins can make!)

With the settling came the time to start looking at the 'to-do's before the 'I do's--and let me tell you, we've only got 6 months left now before April 17th rolls along. Loads of time really, what with a dissertation to write, hospital placements to attend, jobs to find, shifts to work. Ok, ok, I'm not really complaining. Here's what we're up to this week:

Wedding Website

MyWedding.com is a free wedding website site up for couples to post their wedding info of where to go, where to stay and what to do along with their story, photos and select music. Let me tell you, Alex was stoked on that last one.

I heard about them as a dear dear friend used the website for her wedding and I really liked the set up. I have no idea who owns them (Anyone? Anyone?) but I've found their site easy to use and gay friendly--i.e. I didn't have to pretend to be a 'groom,' instead I could be the 'partner' that I am. (Although, best thing would have been to let their be two 'brides,' but hey, it's a US site and partner has a heck of lot more politic weight there than in England.)

This week I'm in charge of filling it out with the goal of having it done by the end of the week, ready to send out with our email Save the Dates going out at the end of the month.

A little preview:

The header we picked out of about a hundred,
it was a long process...

One of our favorite listed attractions!

Another awesome reason for doing a wedding website: saves on paper, printing, and postage. Unlike some wedding invitations that come with different cards of where to be, where to stay and what to do, we hope our guests will use the power of the internets to garner all that information for themeselves and save some trees while they're at it!

Photo Collage

Alex's job for the week, among other glorious, but not so exciting feats in Excel and Google Docs, is to create a photo collage from our engagement photos (a few here) to send out with the Save the Date. Conveniently, the photo collage will also have the url for our wedding website. So far, it looks like it will be a run-off between these two photos for the 'big' photo in the collage. Votes?

Sort of traditional in pose and a nice shot of our faces.

More stylized and great colors!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lovefest Turns Two

Paraphrased phone conversation between Alex and her mum, Andrea, on Saturday:

Alex: We're going to Wahaca tonight for our anniversary.
Andrea: I thought you were going to Rick's on Monday.
Alex: We are. But we planned to go to Wahaca before we knew about the wine tasting on Monday (our actual anniversary).
Andrea: Do you have to do everything twice?
Alex: Yes.

So Alex and I celebrated our anniversary twice. And really, since it was our second anniversary and there are two of us, it really just made sense (well, it made sense to our stomachs, but maybe not total 'pence' if you know what I mean). At any rate, it was lovely.

Alex had found Wahaca (phonetic spelling of Oaxaca, Mexico) in Covent Garden, read the menu, and decided before she even told me about it that we were going there to celebrate our anniversary. As our anniversary fell on a Monday, we thought the smartest thing was to celebrate it on the Saturday before. Plan #1 was formed.

And excuted on Saturday October 3, 2009.
(Those aren't match books, by the way, but chili seeds!)

We sat down to dinner 9:30 PM, like good Londoners, with Coronas in hand and heated anticipation over the shrimp ceviche and steak burritos.

The shrimp ceviche nearly had me on the floor it was so good,
and it was by far the best dish of the night!

And Alex couldn't leave until we tried the churros--which we quickly devoured, licking the chocolate mug and everything!

Plan #1 was the only plan until I arrived back in London (tell-tale sign?) and we found out at our first night back at Rick's (we love it there, it's around the corner from our house, and I work there one night a week) that they were having their monthly wine tasting night ON our anniversay. Well, it was just too good a deal to pass up. Hence, Plan #2 was booked for October 5, 2009.

We started with aubergine caviar but moved onto wild mushroom risotto with Pucela (Castille y Leon, Spain). Both were to die for.
AND Alex doesn't normally drink red wine or eat mushrooms.

Between courses.
Note the grapes from Rick's garden (we thought of you, Dad)
and the perfectly placed engagement ring.

Our notes sheet. Yay Rick's!
We might have spilled a glass of wine, but who's counting really.

Lovefest turns two! (And got tipsy!)

It was a lovely night and we talked about loads of things--my recent university work, Alex's hospital placement, food mis-adventures and, of course, wedding stuff! We've done quite a lot in recent weeks and there's always something to talk about.

Next on our wedding to-do/ponder list: best ways to gather email/snail mail addresses for our now-ready eco Save-the-Date card; researching and tasting local/organic rose wine, presecco and pink cava; picking a local Cornish keg to have behind the bar; and possible tap water ideas for reception (an idea from Rick actually). Oh yeah, and securing a reception venue. We're so laid back...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Show Stoppers

Can't get over these two photos. They stop me in my tracks every time. (Pun not intended) Photos by Wyatt Olson.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wedding Dresses!!!

So, I've done it: I've bought my wedding dress, and found the next one. The best part: I wasn't even trying to find a dress, let alone the dress or two dresses.

Basically, The English Department in Portland, OR rocked, the owner and designer, Elizabeth Dye pulling my perfect dress from the rack: "Dana" by Jenny Yoo. My friends and I fell in love instantly.

I tried it on that Tuesday, tried on the other dress Thursday, and bought it (in 'Snow,' not 'Garnet') on Friday. Now to change the straps on 'Dana' and order 'Jocelyn' (below) next summer! Bring on 2010!

Jocelyn in Poppy Red

And for those that are interested, it looks like the wedding dress total, for two dresses, will be well under $700 with both totally wearable or donate-able afterward. Yes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So You're EnGAYged 6 Month Anniversary!

So You're EnGAYged is having their 6 month anniversary! Since I started writing for them a few months ago, it's been a blast and such a wonderful place to talk to others planning their own big gay weddings. So click on over and check 'em out! Happy Birthday SYE!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We Interrupt This...

Normally Scheduled Program for a sneak preview of a wedding gift (not for me!) in progress--More in a few weeks after she's married!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cake Toppers & Traditional English Wedding Cake

Have I told you yet how excited I am about our cake toppers? While we bought them a month ago while we were at Spitalfields Market in East London, we've decided if we can make them work with our traditional wedding cake, these cake toppers are a go!

Aren't they just rad? I know, I know, we're freakin' adorable.

And for those of you who don't know what traditional English wedding cake is (i.e. I'm assuming most of the Americans) a few more photos to show off the fruity and marzipan goodness that gets served in tiny slices at many English receptions. Alex would probably much prefer Victoria sponge or some other creation, but her mum and I vetoed her. Fruit cake it is.

Before the icing...

Flowers and pearls are common decoration

As previously mentioned, Alex's aunt is going to be baking and decorating our wedding cake for us. (Yeah!) In preparation for that, she sent along the design guide last week that she gives to all her clients--including everything from numbers of tiers to flavors and colors to fake or real flowers.

So far, the only thing we've decided is that we want 2 tiers, that's as far as we've gotten. However, looking at the cake toppers again, I'm thinking maybe square instead round, maybe colored marzipan instead of white...oh, the choices!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dog-Earring Pages of Dresses

Thumbing through wedding magazines can be really fun. It can be way overpriced and ridiculous, but way fun too. Alex and I have been dog-earring different pages from money saving tips to D.I.Y. ideas to wedding dresses for me (for the UK wedding).

So far this is my favorite. Anyone know where I can get the sewing pattern for Alfred Angelo's Style #1148...? Also, any other suggestions for where Alex can get a suit tailored in the UK?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bi-Coastal Planning

Photo by C. Elizabeth Bors

Whew--it has been a busy couple of weeks. Firstly, Alex and I were in Fowey with her family enjoying the festivities of Royal Regatta week. Then we caught a train back to London on Monday to fly out to California on Tuesday--now we're with my family celebrating being home!

While much revelry took place in Fowey (as you may have guessed from the pirate costumes), we did tick off a few wedding "to-do's" from our list. Alex and I checked out the Fowey Hotel and Marina Villa for possibly ceremony locations and settled on the Marina Villa. We sat down with her folks to talk about our visions for the big day and crunched some numbers. We ate some really good food provided by family friends, Becky and Sue, and decided, yeah, we want them to do our wedding buffet and emailed Alex's aunt about baking our traditional wedding cake. Plus, we inquired about making reservations at various places around town!

Pinky Murphy's

Pinky Murphy's for post-wedding breakfast, the Dwelling House for pre-wedding tea, and the Old Quay House for our honeymoon suite. A busy week, but it was great to start laying some of the groundwork for the UK ceremony while we were actually in Fowey. As you've read, we've booked the registrar for April 17, 2010, and now we are setting the final details with the Marina Villa for the ceremony. Things are starting to fall into place!

Now that we're in California for a little bit, we've been kicking around some ideas for both the UK and CA weddings. So far, we've bought our first wedding magazine, The Knot, where I've dog-earred at least 7 pages already for dress ideas AND we've had engagement photos taken by none other than the wonderful Wyatt Olson!

With all that, we're off for the weekend, with much wedding conversation expected to ensue. So much to write about--can you tell I'm getting really excited?!?--and more formal posts as each of the details lock into place. Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Wedding Date!



April 17, 2010 Lovefest is getting civil partnered.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Match Made in Piracy

Fowey Royal Regatta week, folks. Last days of our Cornish (pirate) holiday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Venues: Fowey Hotel and Marina Villa

Yesterday was official round one of visiting possible wedding locations in Fowey. First up was the Fowey Hotel--Alex and my top pick from viewing them online (and, of course, growing up around them for Alex).

The walk up there was beautiful--just up the road from the Crisp house--and Candace gave us their wedding packet, showed us the restaurant and honeymoon suite. The Fowey Hotel just got their wedding license a few months ago so they've only had one wedding so far. We liked it, but feel like there are more downsides than up: only 70 people max, must book out all the rooms if we want an evening wedding, OK menu selection, and the room must be re-set for dancing later in the evening.

What we're keeping in mind: the honeymoon suite. The corner room has one of the best views in Fowey with a balcony for two.

Next up was the Marina Villa, where Andrea had already briefly spoken to the manager, James. We had a lovely chat with James, viewed the restaurant and balconies and got a little excited about the purple decor.

As Marina Villa is much smaller, we weren't too surprised that their maximum number of people was 40. Still, after witnessing J&E's civil ceremony (small, short and to the point) a smaller ceremony followed by a big party somewhere else could be a possibility. Also, we may be able to get a discount on room prices for guests in the nicest hotel in Fowey.

It is Fowey Regatta Week, however, so wedding ideas are dropped in between floral dances and carnival. We also want to look at a few more venues to see if we can find a place that'll hold our potential guest list of just over 100 people: Fowey Hall, the Yacht Club, the Sailing Club and the Eden Project. Ideas are brewing and hopefully we can have some chats this weekend about picking a venue--fingers crossed!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brighton Finds

A weekend in Brighton with the lovely and newly civil-partnered J & E (Alex's sis and now sis-in-law!) proved wonderfully delightful for wedding ideas.

First, Greshman Blake, bespoke tailors. J got her wedding outfit from there and Alex is definitely pining for the same. We've been to their shop in Brighton a few times now, but after purusing their site just now, found out they have a by-appointment-only, London shop too!

Let's hope, though, Alex doesn't want the shotgun to go with her wedding outfit, too.

Next, the Lanes in Brighton are full of jewellry shops and on a last-ditch whim on Sunday, Alex, Christy and I found ourselves staring into the windows on an antique jewellers--and found a design we really, really like. Both of us. BOTH of us. It's exciting.

Of course, it being a second-hand ring, there was only one. Hence, it's just an idea, but a really good one. And one that we can take to preferably eco-friendly, conflict-free designers (Brilliant Earth, Green Karat, Leber Jeweler, Dawes Designs or the like*...) and use it as a possible starting point for a custom design.

And last, but not least, J&E passed on A Very Pink Wedding: A Gay Guide to Planning Your Perfect Day. I'm not sure they actually read the whole thing, and it may possibly be stressing me out a bit, but hey, it's nice to have a book for your kind of wedding.

Now I'm crossing my fingers Fowey will be as fruitful, but with wedding venues and dates this coming week!

*Hat tip to Robyn. It's no coincidence that she's born on Earth Day.