Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Down the Aisle - Josh Ritter

If you don't know Josh Ritter, let me introduce you. I first heard his music on the streets of Galway. I was so moved by his song "Snow is Gone," I went inside the shop and bought the album right then and there. I have loved his music ever since and cherish my autographed screen print from his Irish tour.

Hence somewhere in the mix CDs, he showed up and found his way in Alex's heart as well. From his older album, Golden Age of Radio, we found "Come and Find Me." It's been a favorite ever since--and we think it's the perfect tune to find each other walking down the aisle.

(A side note: I just found out he's touring in England, supporting Ray Lamontagne (who is also on our list for possible ceremony songs!) but his tour is when I'm in California and walking down the aisle as a bride's maid for my best friend's wedding! The timing!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Dance - Heavenly Day

We picked this months and months and months ago, almost from the first time we heard it: Heavenly Day by Patty Griffin will be our first dance. Apparently, it is the first love song Patty Griffin's ever written--and it's for her dog.

That's ok. It, of course, has different meanings for us. It is hearing it for the first time in the dining room in Yreka after Alex moved back to England. It is listening to the album together in Fowey on Valentine's Day. It is months apart with mixed CDs, sun roofs, aluminum trailers, attic rooms and memories of dancing in kitchens.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest Book Idea #1

Yesterday, the creator of the name "Lovefest," the one and only, very talented Christy sent Alex and I the link to this awesome Etsy find:

By The Wedding Perch

A Natural Wood Wedding Guest Book/Memory Plaque, with Shadow Box Frame, we think this is the coolest idea yet for a guest book. And I'm thinking that if this route sounds best, I might be able to ask my dad to rustle up a nice piece of wood (maybe some oak or fur, Dad...?).

The question again, though, is should it be the guest book for the UK or the CA wedding? I suggested this be the CA wedding guest book (seeing as we are now leaning towards Yreka as the location--more to follow on that, and possible a poll. Maybe.) and that we could find a piece of driftwood or river rock for the UK guest book. Alex kinda chuckled, but didn't respond and just kept on walking. At least she listens to all my ideas.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Table Decorations - The Family Spectrum

The first two weekends of July brought much celebration for Alex's side of the family: her cousin got married in a beautiful Methodist church and her sister got a civil partnership in gorgeous Brighton Town Hall. Both were fab, and I have to say, Alex and I looked the part. The receptions were held, respectively, in a marquee behind a pub (much prettier than it sounds) and the Latest Music Bar with french doors opening onto the street; and being the ever-observant, now-wedding-planning woman that I am, I was taking notes. Mostly, on table decorations.

OK, I was taking notes on most things, but the table decorations are really what get my creativity bouncing. Ah, craftiness.

Cousin of the Bride, Reception #1: Vintage Tour de France theme; white, burgundy and pink (although I'm told UK weddings don't really 'do' colors...)

The bride wore a vintage veil and vintage-style dress, and the table decorations matched. The red (1) and white (2) wine, from California (nice shout!), had bicycles on the label; the menu was covered in vintage French ads; alongside the ice bucket sat a framed photograph of a participant of the Tour de France. Name cards had a French-themed stamp and every place setting had a red and white sweets bag: guests were invited to 'tour' the 15 tables and collect sweets from the mason jars on each of the tables (although some people insisted on trading instead of collecting...). There were pink flowers, table names of places visited by the bride and groom and a full set of flatware and stemware.

Thoughts: The decorations felt meticulously thought out and very sweet, but the table was a bit busy.
Favorite Touch: Name cards with themed stamps.

Sister of a Bride, Reception #2: The theme was simplicity and joy, perfection for J & E; blue and white (I think there are always color themes...)

A bit too caught up in all the tapas, good music and the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, I forgot to take a photo of the tables. However, there were no seating charts or name cards so people got to move around freely. J & E decorated with blue and white striped Brighton Rock Candy (6 per table tied with a white ribbon, one for each seat; pictured above), two white flower stalks, white balloons, and white bubbles with two love birds on the cap. Their sponge cake even matched--and tasted AMAZING!

Thoughts: I loved the local sweets to flavor the evening and the different levels really worked for decorating a small space with lots of movement.
Favorite touch: local sweets with meaning.

And the creativity is off bouncing again: Ok, so, purple tulips, vintage vases, handmade napkins (purple and green), Cornish fudge or truffles from Middletons... Hmm, custom stamps or photographs... candles or no candles...?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Proposal Story #2

On Saturday July 11th, Alex, her parents, her brother (T), her sister (J) & her financee (Erica not from America), and I are in Brighton for J & E's civil partnership the following day, taking a walk along the seaside for the afternoon. It may be July, but it's windy and cold and my hands start to hurt about halfway down the beach. Naturally, I go to stick my hands in Alex's pockets to warm them up.

'Not in there!' Alex snaps, batting my hand away.

I felt something in her pocket and must look startled as Alex apologizes, but without explanation. We continue walking on, but now my mind is racing: 'Is that a ring in her pocket? No, it's a funny shape for a ring box. I don't even know if she's gotten a ring! It's her sister's wedding weekend. I thought I was going to have to wait until August, after exams and papers and everything. Could she really be proposing today--where?!!?'

As a family, we walk on to the Fishing Museum. I have absolutely no interest of going inside at this point.

'You're too clever,' Alex says, a bit deflated.

'I don't know what you're talking about,' I reply.

She smiles.

'Should we go for a walk?' I ask.

Brighton beach is rocky and I take off my flip-flops to manage over the rocks; Alex is quiet for a minute and then says, 'I've always wanted to propose on the beach.' We stop near the edge of the surf.

Alex turns to me, takes my hands. She looks gorgeous: her hair wind blown, black shirt, white jacket; I can't believe she's my girl, my financee.

She says, 'Erica, I love you. I want to go on this big adventure with you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Every day I am in awe of you: your strength, your beauty, your passion.'

The tears start rolling. I try not to lose focus.

Alex takes the little cardboard ring box from her jacket pocket.

'Should I get down on one knee?' she asks.

'You don't have to,' I reply.

'I want to,' she says and kneels before me. 'Erica, will you marry me?'

'Yes. I will.'

Tears are streaming, I can barely speak. She places the ring on my finger. I kiss her and we hear applause from up the beach--a group of people our age are cheering for us!

We giggle and go all mushy and then make our way back to the Fishing Museum where her family is waiting for us:

'Wanna see my ring?!'

From Cry of the Gulls, in Fowey, Cornwall. Picked out in April 2009.
Silver and rose gold ring by Les Grimshaw.

Too excited to take pictures,
we only have this one of both of us!

Celebratory sweets from Sweet Boutique, strawberry flavored, of course!
(And some pineapple for good measure...)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rainbow Cupcakes!

Checking up on the latest at So You're EnGAYged, Alex and I both, separately, stumbled upon these amazing cupcakes. If traditional English fruit cake is our wedding cake for the UK wedding, I don't see why we can't have the 'groom's cake,' i.e. the California Bride's cake be a stack of rainbow cupcakes, right? So mouth-wateringly tempting.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Good Reason

Last week I wrote about how Alex and I have been dreaming about getting legally hitched along the Thames River at London's famous City Hall. I also wrote that it would take a very good reason for us not to get married there. Turns out there is a very good reason: London City Hall doesn't have a wedding license.

Alex & City Hall, before we knew we couldn't get married there.

This fact checking came about last week as I started a preliminary budget for our UK wedding. Alex was home and she was been interested to know how much 'the legal bit' costs. So we Googled it. Googled again. And then Googled some more trying to find any helpful information.

Finally, we rang the civil partnership number on one of the official London sites and spoke with a lovely lady at the Registrar in Islington (a borough of London) about our inquiry regarding London City Hall. After Alex explained that we meant the City Hall on the Thames, 'you know, the famous one,' she rang us back a few hours later, 'after extensive research' she said, to tell us that she was 99% sure that London City Hall didn't have a wedding license--i.e. we couldn't get legally hitched there.

Ultimately bummed, we still thanked her profusely. If our online research was at all telling of the bureaucratic mess of London wedding licenses, she'd been through a lot to get us that answer.

In the interim, Alex and I had changed modes and started looking at (non-legal) wedding locations in Cornwall to consider where we might hold a separate, more intimate ceremony as well as the dancing. Turns out most of the locations in Fowey are smaller than we had thought or been (in our heads) planning for.

As it is right now, we're left with lots of questions to be answered and without a clear picture on where any of this celebratory dancing may take place. Still, the woman at the borough of Islington was very nice (and they actually hold civil ceremonies at her office) and we've got time in August to look around Fowey for a place to hold the dancing. Since we both have intense loads of academic work at the moment, maybe putting off the big chunks of planning until then isn't such a bad idea. It won't stop us dreaming though...