Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Legally Hitched

(In a big, booming voice)
Behold, London City Hall:

Tower Bridge (left), City Hall (right)

On my way to a friend's house last night, I was keeping an eye out for my directional landmark, Tower Bridge--the world's *cough* England's *cough* most famous bridge (What can I say? It's not the Golden Gate.)--and had simply forgotten that London's also well-known, helmet-shaped City Hall is practically right next to it. I've seen City Hall many times before, but mostly from the opposite side of the river and I am usually in the midst of making some architectural joke about it. Last night, however, I just melted into mush and dialed Alex's mobile.

'Guess where I'm walking by,' I told her.

'Umm...London Bridge?' she replied from her study-induced state.

'City Hall,' I said.

'Oh! [but in that really cute adorable mushy kind of way] Really?' came her response.

'Yeah. I suddenly realized that might be where we get married...' I said.

Having talked about getting 'legally hitched' before the big party, Alex and I have so far come up with London City Hall as our ceremonial pick. Given last night's response, I think it might have to be a pretty good reason not to get legally hitched there, a picturesque wedding along the Thames.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Guest List before the Venue

By the time I proposed to Alex on Easter Sunday, everyone in the Crisp house was just ready to celebrate--enough of this waiting stuff, don't even think about planning yet! It was a bit of a different story though when a few weekends later we were down in Fowey again and found ourselves attending a beautiful masked ball at the Eden Project.

Shameless photo opportunity...

The event room overlooked the old clay mine, the gardens and biomes and thoughts of wedding dinners and dances swam through our heads. It could have been a few glasses of wine or adrenaline from all the dancing, but I asked for a venue hire brochure.

While the excitement at the possibility of such a venue mixed with the horror of the cost, Alex's mum asked, 'Well, how many people are you inviting?'

Ha, good question. Half of California and all of Fowey?

Not knowing exactly where to start with who-comes-to-what, we set out to make the biggest list possible of anyone and everyone we could possibly think of that would want to dance at our wedding. (Have I mentioned there will be dancing...?)

We spent our afternoon and train ride home making 'The List' or, as we called it, 'LoveFest Guest List,' including categories like Erica's Family (83), Alex's Family (28), Fowey People, Y-Town, The Ladies (E), Santa Cruz (A), Marin, VIPs (E), London, More to Life, and Ireland. Of course, there were subcategories within subcategories at some points, but Alex's handy Mind Maps (which she uses for her PA studies), well, came in handy.

Behold, LoveFest Guest List:

I'm beginning to really love Mind Maps...

If you're wondering why you can't really read it, even when blown up, it's cause there's a total of 330 names on there. And we're still not sure we got everyone.

While your reaction to a 330 person guest list probably depends on your family's versions of a wedding, I wasn't that shocked: it is a guest list for TWO weddings afterall.

Still, we did just make the 'Basic UK Guest List' which included 153 people getting invites, expecting about 106. (We like to be exact around here.)

So, if you'd like to receive a UK invite--cause it will be pretty--or you would prefer to go international in your celebratory dancing, speak now or in the coming months: next step is to pick a venue that won't be rained out in April.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Official Official Wedding Blogger

While there aren't exactly any brand new developments in Alex and my wedding planning per say, there are new developments for me in the wedding blog-o-sphere: You're reading the new blogger for the gay wedding blog, So You're EnGAYged! Apparently, I can't get enough of writing about my impending weddings.

But in all seriousness, I do think it's pretty cool. With what feels like the constant and endless debates that surround gay marriage in this current moment, I am glad that I can give my voice--and our story--as part of a movement towards visibility. This blog is part of that. Joining a community--albeit an online community blog--is another. You'll still get more of the juicy bits here, but if you're interested in what other queer and allied folk are doing for their ceremonies, check out So You're EnGAYged. And if you want to read yet another telling of how Alex and I fell in love, you can find that here: Introducing a New Blogger: Erica.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Napkins & Vintage Vases

I tell ya, right now, the ideas are flowing, and my thoughts on napkins and vases are my current favorite. Most days I check a few different craft blogs I admire and a few weeks ago, I found a post on The Purl Bee that made my fingers start to itch with excitement: hand-made napkins!

Ok, maybe the sound of it might not have the same effect on you, but check out this table setting:

Gorgeous. One of the ladies of The Purl Bee, Jen, used a variety of fabrics to make the napkins for each place setting at her wedding. The guests got to take them home as wedding favors if they wanted and she had enough left over to make a wedding quilt for herself. While the quilt seems like a lot of work right now, the napkins feel like they could be such an enjoyable venture! (Especially if I get my Y-town quilting ladies to help me.)

The napkins would add such color to the tables (right now we're thinking deep purple tulips would be perfect in the UK for April--maybe purple & green, a little pink for me?). Plus, I bet I could find the majority of the fabric at second-hand shops in Yreka (or gladly visit my fav quilt shop in Mt. Shasta, Sew Unique). I'm also thinking that my growing collection of clear glass vases (mostly from second-hand shops as well, or ones people I have known didn't want at one point or another) would be perfect for an ecletic mix of table arrangements.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Best Bro

Almost more exciting than getting to marry Alex--almost--is that my one and only younger brother Paul, or 'Bud' as I call him (I don't know where the name came from), is going to be my legal witness and best man for the UK gettin' hitched ceremony! I really couldn't wait until I see him in September to ask him in person so I opted for catching him on the phone last Sunday. His response: 'I think that might be the more important/coolest thing I've done with my 18-year-old-ness!'

Paul's Senior Prom, 2008

Being the modest person I am, I agree.

While I'm not exactly sure what his legal witness/best man duties will be, I'm thinking a rocking tie and a choreographed swing dance for the reception. What d'ya think, Paul?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Who Leads

When Alex and I got to Jitterbugs on Wednesday night, we were a few minutes late and the lines had already formed: boys on one side facing the girls on the other. We were there to watch a friend perform (Carla Viegas and the Big Swing Band), learn to dance the Lindy Hop, but also how to dance with each other.

With one of our biggest mutual loves being music and dancing, I have long dreamed of taking ballroom dance lessons with Alex. As wedding plans are slowly simmering, Jitterbugs seemed the perfect opportunity to start on the right foot, so to speak, towards dancing to Nina Simone and Patty Griffin, let alone the Glenn Miller Orchestra, on our big day. I just hadn't remembered that it would probably be a boys & girls set up!

I quickly looked at Alex: "Who's gonna lead?!"

Her reply: "You. You always lead."

Not the answer I was looking for. Yes, I do always lead, but that's because I've taken swing dance lessons before. I wanted to follow and do all the twirling bits! But, with the instructor already going through the '1-2-triple step-triple step,' I took a deep breath and high-tailed my high heels and low-cut shirt to the boys side.

After I answered the affirmative to the instructor's "Do you want to lead all night?" and the majority of the women danced graciously to my shabby lead, I was ready to take Alex for a spin on the dance floor. Unfortunately, everybody else was ready to jive as well and tonight was not their first night--leading or following.

We did, however, manage to get in a few rounds of the routine we had learned (separately) in the dance lessons and I do rather like holding Alex in my arms. I think we'll be back to Jitterbugs for a few more go-rounds--it was good fun, after all-- but I might also start looking into some other come-with-your-partner-and-learn-to-dance-only-with-her lessons as well. By the looks of it, we're not the only couple-to-be that books some dance lessons before their first dance.

And while part of me still wants to be twirled in my wedding dress when the big day comes, there is a little part of me that giggles inside at the girl in the dress doing the leading.

In terms of dance lessons that are same-sex friendly/oriented in London, I've found 3 so far. Anyone know of any more?
ACW Dance Studio
Pink Jukebox
Come Out Dancing

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rainbow Garters & Earrings

My cousin Karin just happened to be trolling Etsy the other day looking for No on Prop 8 garb and sent me the link to the most amazing garters I have ever seen:

Same-Sex Wedding Garter Set
PetereneDesign on Etsy

Of course, I think I also need these Swarovski Shame on H8 earrings:

Rainbow over Sacramento - Shame on H8
AlaineJewelry on Etsy

Finding the Perfect Ring

Not gonna lie, I started to look for a ring for Alex in July 2008. While I knew she was the one for me ever so early, it was after a three-week stay with me in Los Angeles (where I was living at the time) that prompted my search: I just wasn't gonna let this girl go. There also might have been some time to kill in between restuarant work and the endless summer hours in my aluminum trailer...

Wanting to head down an eco-conscious route from the start, I began looking into recycled materials and conflict-free diamonds. One of my ladies from university, Knits with Carrots, is my go-to girl for anything ethical and so when I asked her about where I might start to look, she pointed me to Brilliant Earth, Dawes Designs, Green Karat, and Etsy.

Realizing after I'd been dazzled by diamonds that Alex probably didn't want any bling, I thought I'd combine money with politics instead and looked up Love and Pride, an online jewelry and accessory store where 10% of the profits are donated to LGBT orgs like Lambda Legal and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Of course, I found one I liked for me:

18k White Gold 3 Stone Spiral Ring, Love and Pride

The search still continued, but it brought me back to Etsy, my favorite place for all things handmade. I figured what could it hurt to type in "tree bark wedding ring" just to see what came up, right?

Why "tree bark wedding ring," you might ask? Well, I'd already decided where I was going to propose too, beneath this:

St. Catherine's Castle, 14 February 2008

Lo and behold, Etsy delivered and I had the absolute pleasure of finding Beth Cyr's jewelry, the Athens, Georgia, creator of--wait for it--the tree bark wedding ring. Not only that, but Beth's first wedding set was for two lovely ladies in Georgia and she was a such joy to get to know over the course of designing Alex's engagement ring.

The end result was perfect.


Tied with a ribbon, 11 April 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sitting Down with the Folks

I've written about having lunch with Alex's parents before popping the question over at So You're Engayged--check it out!

The Proposal Story

E: On March 31st, I sat down with Alex’s parents for a chat (more on that later) in St. James’s Park in front of Buckingham Palace. Alex had no idea.

A: I had no idea.

E: We arranged for Easter Sunday to be the day; they would be around the corner, waiting, with champagne to celebrate with us and family friends, S&J.

A: I had no idea. I was busy celebrating being 25.

E: Alex and I arrived in Fowey on Thursday for Easter weekend. It was torture not telling her anything about the plans–so I told all my classmates in London instead!

A: I was just happy to be in Fowey at last!

…Easter weekend…

A: The weather is beautiful on Easter Sunday. We’ve finished our Sunday roast and decide to go for a walk up to the St. Catherine’s Castle, except I don’t want to go.

E: I quickly convince Alex that it is a GOOD idea to go for a walk–we can visit the big oak tree after all!–and today is a very special day for me: Easter reminds of a time when you can build your own kind of family and today I am here with her.

A: So off we go, with the rest of the family up ahead: Mum, Dad, S&J.

E: I haven’t been nervous up to this point. Just excited. Really excited. But now I’m nervous, and walking really fast!

A: I still have no idea. I’m just happy walking along with my love.

E: We get to the tree–and no one’s around, phew. The ring’s in my pocket. I had a speech planned, but that’s all gone out of my head at this point. I look at my love.

A: She hangs my jacket over a branch of the tree, looks into my eyes and says: ‘Alex, I honour you. I want to go on this journey with you.’ |And then she gets down on one knee–at which point I forget how to breathe, and start crying–and she says ‘Alex, will you marry me?’ And she pulls out the ring.

E: Meanwhile, I’m freaking out and trying to remember all the bits I wanted to say–like ‘Alexandra’ not ‘Alex,’ and the romantic leading-up bit about having found the love of my life–and now my left knee is kind of wet and she says ‘But I’m wearing mascara! Are you serious?’ Yep, she is (and it’s not running) and I am serious.

A: And then I say ‘Yes.’

E: And then she says ‘Yes’… but I’m not sure I believe her. So I ask her again, as I untie the ring from its ribbon.

A: And I say ‘Yes, without hesitation.’

E: Then we kiss!

A: Our first kiss as fianc├ęs!

E & A: We don’t take any pictures, but there’s more talking and hugging and kissing and we go round the corner to the shelter on the cliff above St. Catherine’s castle and enjoy champagne and strawberries and chocolate Easter eggs in the beautiful Cornish sunshine.