Monday, June 7, 2010

Love Apples & other Growing Things

When Alex and I got our first wedding present, the tag on the gift bag read 'Love Grows.' But even months before that, the 'seeds of love' were already winging their way to us in the form of Love Apples.

Now, I didn't know this before, but 'Love Apples' are another name for Tomatoes. Um, can you already see how cool that is for two newlyweds embarking on growing tomatoes for the first time!? In a secretive envelope, a dear friend has enabled us to grow our own love apple alley of heirloom tomatoes. A month after planting, look how well their doing:

Out 32 seeds, 21 plants of 6 different varieties have sprouted and have now been transplanted into (temporary) larger homes. On top of that, the sunflowers, marigolds & strawberry seeds addressed to The Brides have shot up like there is no tomorrow and so far our house-warming rose plant, spearmint, pineapple mint, rosemary, cilantro & basil are all alive & well!

In the midst of cultivating our relationship, we're also nurturing our green thumbs--and we're becoming quite fond of having growing green things around! It's also made me start to think about what other growing wonders we'd like in our garden (if you can crave lavender, then I've been craving a lavender plant for over a year now), and it's inspired a bit of wedding planning too, in terms of gift registries. I mean, c'mon, how cool would it be to have a strawberry tree as a wedding present:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Full UK Wedding Recaps

Hello lovelies!!

We're married!! On April 17, we tied the legal knot and just over a month later now, we are just getting back to the real world again (blogosphere included) and I'm now officially allowed to stay in the UK. Double awesome.

What's awesome again is that I've finished recapping the UK wedding for So You're EnGAYged, the awesome gay community wedding blog daily publishes that love is all around us. Since it would be a bit silly to post it all again here, I encourage you to go check out the latest over at SYE and get a feel for how our UK wedding came together (Hint: It rocked my world to the very core).

And guess what....? The wedding planning is SO not over. A rainy day in England meant that Alex and I have started to revamp our wedding website with a new California look! Bring it on, wedding website re-launch, new Save the Dates, and a whole new wonderful wedding to the love of my life...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wedding Week: Paul Arrived!

No photos, but Paul arrived safe and sound at 7:30 am-- 4.5 hrs before they closed the British airspace.

All exhausted and very happy in Cornwall.

Wedding Week of Photos: A Day Trip in London

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wedding Week of Photos: Mom Arrives!

Mom arrived at Heathrow Airport!!

Had to take a photo in front of her first Marks & Spencer (Terminal 5 at Heathrow)--and make a reference to Calendar Girls within her first hour of landing....

Together again!!

With her fabulous new luggage from Corey--rockin' style...

She's so cute waiting for the lift to take us to the Underground: World Traveller.

And she made it to Tooting--and took a picture of the flower stall first thing. (And now she's fast asleep--12 hours later!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wedding Week in Photos: Cards & 1st Present

The wedding cards have started arrive... I can't say that we've been able to wait to open them. Many contained RSVPs cards that people didn't want to trust the Royal Mail with on their own. The snuggling seals and the Mrs. & Mrs. are pretty awesome.

Then our first package arrived today! And, well, we asked 'What Would Christy Do?' and opened up her! (Look! It says "For the Brides" Eek!)

Along with a beautiful card inside, the tag on the (Liberty of London by Target!) bag said "Love Grows..."

What is it? What is it!?

Strawberries, sunflowers & marigolds! Put these together with the love apple seeds we received earlier this spring (i.e. heirloom tomatoes!) and we're gonna have a beautiful (newlywed!) garden this summer!

Wedding Week in Photos: Programmes

We are officially in the week of the wedding--Yes! Kicking off the week was the printing out of the programmes, or Order of the Day. With so much jam-packed into one day we couldn't see going without, but wanted to definitely do with the ribbon and playbill style programmes. So, we decided to write a letter to our guests. Part a little love story, part excerpts of the ceremony poetry, equal parts functional and grateful--we are quite pleased with our creation if we do say so ourselves....

Designed on faux letterhead for The Fowey Hotel, we wanted to carry through the day the theme of our relationship being transatlantic--both long distance for a year, and that our lives are transatlantic. Hence, the airmail envelopes.

And the ampersand. The joining us our lives together. There are two fonts in the letter: script and type. The first time the ampersand appears in the script after the envelope is at our signature: Alexandra & Erica.


Friday, March 26, 2010

The Hag Do

We weren't hens, we weren't stags, so Best Man Tom named us 'Hags.' Dinner and then off to the Peacock Bar in Clapham Junction. It was a good night to be had. Here's a few of the cute pictures...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Put a Ring On It (In the Post, That is)

Our rings arrived today!!! I might be wearing mine as I type; Alex might be wearing hers while she cooks. We're never going to tell, but I can tell you that they don't feel like ours. Not yet, anyway.

AND, can you guess what song came on the radio (yes, I'm totally serious) when we went to open the USPS box full of silver and gold love: 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)'. Yep, seriously awesome.

So in honor of our rings arriving, the wedding just over a month away and the giddy-gay vibe in our flat right now, I give you Glee's version of Beyonce's 'Single Ladies:'

We might just have to play this song at the wedding.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Posting our UK Wedding Invitations

At the post office, we stole the counter for ourselves and put on the stamps and airmail stickers.

Would you believe it, the International Stamps were even purple to match our wedding colors--and we didn't even have to ask...

Ms. Alex smiling with the stack of ALL the invites.

Posting them through! (We kissed them for safe travels.)

Yay! I posted the English ones through...

....a few at a time.

Celebratory coffees & scone!

Celebratory lunch! (We do like our food.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Week in Photos

It has been a joyful week of the letterbox (& mall) and the camera has been at hand to capture it all so I thought I'd share in photos this week....


My amethyst necklace arrived from Etsy's Artwark!



Our invitations arrived in the post from Etsy's Baumbirdy.

(The first one was addressed to my parents!)


Our Certificate of Approval arrived in the mail! Almost exactly 8 weeks to the day. There was serious dancing that took place upon its arrival!


At day at the mall with esteemed friend & UK guest, Donna, brought the good fortune of finding Alex's UK wedding shoes. Gorgeous black wing-tip boots with skinny laces. (Apologies for the poor photograph.)


With our COA form in hand, we rode the bus over to Wandsworth Town Hall to 'Give Notice of Civil Partnership.' The receptionist and registrar were totally 'in the family.' We felt welcome and more excited than either of us anticipated. We celebrated with Starbucks afterward!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Signing of the Registry & Brandi Carlile

I'm at home today for a few reasons. 1) It's my day off. 2) Tuesdays have become wedding to-do list days. 3) I'm waiting for our COA application to arrive, which really just means I'm crossing my fingers it'll arrive today--8 weeks after we submitted it--and that I don't have to call the UK Border Agency to inquire as to its progress because it's starting to reach urgency status. Deep breath. Let me explain.

To get hitched in England, gay or straight, foreign or natural born citizen, you have to Declare Your Intention of Marriage/Civil Partnership at least 15 days before the actual ceremony. You declare this intention in your local borough where the members of staff then post your intention for all the borough to see for 15 days. That way, I guess, anyone who has a legal reason to object, can. This is an old law, me thinks.

A newer law, however, (although I don't know how old or new) is that being that I'm an A-meri-caaan, they need proof that I'm legit enough to marry one of their own, live in their country thereafter, and won't be a drain on the empire, I mean, country. That is where the Certificate of Approval (COA) form comes in. Just before New Years, Alex and I sent off our COA with the necessary signatures, documents, & photographs (we hope) to the UK Border Agency up in Durham. They received it, and we read that it would be 6-8 weeks before it would arrive back.

Well, it's week 8 since we sent it off, and I wouldn't be terribly worried, except that if for any reason they reject it, we've only got 6-8 weeks to apply again. Yeah, some more initiative in the fall would have been preferable. BUT, never fear! Week 8 is not over, and I have a number I can call!

I also have a song I can dance to! You see, once the COA is here and we declare our intentions, and the ceremony actually starts, Alex and I will become OFFICIAL CIVIL PARTNERS once both of us sign the registry. There will be verbal vows, yes, but in the domain of UK same-sex hitching ceremonies, it's the signatures that count. Thus, the song that plays during that bit (like the procession & recession songs) will hold quite a bit of significance. And well, ladies & gentlemen, we've found it: "Way to You" by Brandi Carlile.

I haven't blogged about Valentine's Day really, and in some ways, it was sort of a non-uber-romantic event. We were with another couple at their house in Surrey for the weekend, taking walks and watching lesbian movies, which was lovely. I gave Alex her gift on Sunday morning before I went to work (wooden cufflinks with a pin-up girl reading on them. Message: Reading is Sexy.) and then bought her Sunday Roast at the restaurant. For Alex's gift, she kept saying that there was a certain way she needed to give me my gift, with all these vague descriptions included without giving away what it was she had gotten me. Well, as it turns out, she got me Brandi Carlile's online-only Valentine's EP: XOBC.

For those that don't know, Brandi Carlile is one of Alex's all-time FAVORITE artists that ever lived. And, while Brandi in general has grown on me over time, I am really really liking her latest stuff (XOBC & Give Up the Ghost). Well, we sat down to listen to the album and within SECONDS of the start to the song "Way to You" we both looked at each other in excitement with the same thought: it's the song we've been looking for!

To have a listen, you'll have to buy the song (or album, it's worth it!) from iTunes, but for now here are the lyrics (as I've just transcribed them):

Way back when the days were young
Ah, we had our fun
Never worried much about being cool
Growing old to play the old fool

Part of your life you spend paying your dues
Walking the miles & singing the blues
But if I'm a born to a pair of rambling shoes
I'll tell you what I'd do
I'd take my wings with a heart that's true
And follow my way, my way to you

Ooh, my way to you
Ooh, the way to you

Part of your life you spend paying your dues
Walking the mile in your old man shoes
But when I finally find a way to shake loose
I know what I'll do
Hang my worry on a golden noose
And follow the way, the way to you

Ooh, the way to you
Ooh, the way to you

When we're all old and withering sages
Talking about what might have been
Like a missing line on torn out pages
We're gonna miss you then

Walking the miles & singing the blues
Learning to love what God gives to you
And if you give me rockets on the bottom of my shoes
I tell you what I'd do
I'd burn my sole where the sun was new
and find the way to you

Ooh, the way to you
Ooh, the way to you
Ooh, the way to you
Ooh, the way to you
The acoustics on the song are beyond gorgeous--and for Brandi Carlile, this is about as romantic as you can get. Maybe it was written for her policewoman up in Seattle, too...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cool Wedding Planning

Ok, for starters, this is why it is so cool to live in London: the above picture was taken from our table at Strada this evening, just after sunset, in a restuarant with a panoramic view of the Thames River including City Hall, Tower Bridges, the Tower of London, the HMS Belfast, the Gherkin, and with glimpses of the Monument and London Bridge. We weren't necessarily there for any particularly special occassion, and it's not a particularly special: it just happened to be where we were at the time. It has nothing to do with our wedding planning, but still, sometimes it is so way cool to live in London.

In terms of wedding planning, this week's been pretty cool too. For starters, we bought our plane tickets to Dubrovnik for our honeymoon!! The tip jar savings (a.k.a. the Honeymoon 'Jar') are paying off and Alex and I were excitedly counting coins again last night; thank you restuarant job for the graciousness of your boss & customers. Honeymoon in Dubrovnik = way cool, and flights and accomodation sorted two months out is pretty darn good!

We also had my friend and classmate, Holly, over last week to talk shop on wedding flowers for the wedding. A children's literature nerd like me, her hidden talents just happen to include floral arrangement; I love it when that happens. We've got the number for a wholesale person we can use to get the goods so I'm thinking wedding flowers are definitely on the "Check!" list.

Via post, our Scrabble tiles & trays arrived! I tell ya, 200+ Scrabble tiles is not quite the pile you might expect, and yet, I think it'll work. More than that actually, we think it's gonna look super cool! Also super cool is what we've decided to do for our guest book. Check it out:

Postcards. We hadn't really considered a guest book until Alex's mum mentioned, and then we just kind of looked at each other in a daze: what to do? Well, the word theme kicked in again, the long-distance aspect of our relationship for a year, and our mutual love of postcards. We want to have a bowl/basket of random postcards for people to choose from, write messages to us, and be able to display, bind or use them later.

I had been trawling Etsy again for any great finds and then realized I had a huge resources right here in my own files! When I lived abroad before and first traveled with friends P & FF, I started collecting postcards, like they did, from everywhere we went; and I continued to do so from almost every place I have traveled to since. Given that each postcard held a memory of some trip, place or memory, I've carried these innumerable amount of postcards with me whenever I've lived, re-purposing them at every turn. From my collection, we've got about half the number we need. The other half we're keeping our eyes out for...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Rings....

I just couldn't wait. This morning I got an email from Jesse Danger, the eco-metalsmith making our wedding bands, with a teaser photo. I've just melted all over my chair at work:

My head keeps falling to the side, too, as I sigh looking at them. You know that scene in Legally Blonde where Selma Blair's character and her bitchy friend are at the Halloween party and her friend reassures her that everything will be OK because she has the Harry Winston diamond her finger? Well, in case you don't, Blair holds out her hand for them both to admire the ring, and then they sigh in unison and their heads fall to one side. That's how I feel. Gorgeous perfection.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Letters to Our Hearts

Reserved for trinityscott

You've seen our cake toppers of old letterpress stamps of 'A & E' and now I give you our table decorations: wooden Scrabble tiles! Words and wood: our developing theme for decorations for the UK reception. Words for all the letters, emails, phone calls, cards, poems, short stories, novels that have passed between us. Wood for my growing-up as a contractor's daughter, the oak tree in Fowey, the redwoods of Santa Cruz.

Reserved for trinityscott

Unsurprisingly to me, I found exactly what we were looking for on Etsy, (and after a few days of searching) with XO Supplies: a whole lot of 200 Scrabble tiles and 4 Scrabble trays. Imagine little scrabble tiles strewn across the tables instead of rose petals or rocks or confetti, and trays randomly placed around for special messages. Plus, for the Bride's Cake (like the Groom's cake, but not!) a secret message scrawled across the top! Oh the fun to be had...!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Starting to Take Shape

Well ladies and gentlemen, not only is the UK wedding starting to take place, but the California ceremony as well! Yeehaw! (Sort of. ;)

On the UK front, multiple little packages are winging their way to us from across the globe--invitations, rings, table decorations (You'll have to wait and see on that one! So excited!). Alex's suit has been ordered and discussions about the reception have started! Boy is that sailing club not going to know what hit it.

The website, too, has gotten another new look: UK Ceremony and UK Ceremony Plus are everything happening throughout the weekend; Our Honeymoon outlines our hopes and dreams for Dubrovnik; and, by popular request, we've got our gift registries up and running.

Alongside the UK wedding planning, the California plans are starting to cook too! Above is the first design idea by the gorgeous and talented Ms. Christy for our invitations. Isn't it amazing?! My maid of honor. KT, & Mom are on a ceremony/reception venue hunt, and I'll say now, things are looking up! Plus, Mom went to a Wedding Fair in YREKA with G'ma. Um, rad.

April smiles and California dreaming...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Invitation Proofs!!

Our invitation proofs arrived via .pdf yesterday and Alex and I couldn't be more thrilled. One typo to catch and imagine it on brown recycled, eco-friendly paper... Ooh la la!

Our favorite bit is the 'and'...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

UK Wedding Update!

Whew--the wedding planning is on a serious roll. A check list for as much your enjoyment as to save my sanity!

Wedding Dress: As you know, bought my dress in September in Portland and brought it back with me to London; loved Luella's Boudoir too much not to take it there for alterations and ended up meeting the lovely Kat who altered the straps and hemmed it. Let me tell ya: I loved it when I bought; when I tried it on after all the alterations were complete, I've never felt more beautiful.

Wedding Suit: After months of talking about Gresham Blake's women's suits, Alex, her mum and I went down to Brighton weekend before last to have Alex try on a few (and for me to get some much desired frozen yogurt). I did see her in variations of a 3 piece suit, but not sized to her and in a different color--so technically not seeing her before the big day, right? She settled on a 3 piece suit in an oatmeal wool with lilac lining to be ordered asap! Eek! She's gonna look gorgeous...

Wedding Shoes: My shoes for the UK wedding are sorted (purple and lovely) while Alex is still deciding to wear red or not wear red. I think it'll help once she's got her suit to try them on with.

Hair: While some of you may not have seen the veil experience, I have decided no veil. Instead, I've ordered and received a gorgeous purple flower for my hair. Plus, had the hair trial with Tiko Lilly in Fowey over Christmas and booked in for the day of the wedding--yay!

Ceremony Venue: Well, you've heard the Marina Hotel had sold. It's definitely officially, definitely a construction site in April, and we've definitely moved to The Fowey Hotel. And actually, my Aunt R was right: it is a blessing in disguise--bigger room, same cost, extras like flowers and chair covers, wider views, and kick-ass honeymoon suit. Check out So You're Engayged for the updates on what happened 'When Your Wedding Venue Gets Sold: Parts 1-3.' All in all: Yeah Fowey Hotel! Bring on the cava and strawberries and make way for the magnificient Clare Murphy to weave her storytelling magic...

Reception Venue: Gallant's Sailing Club it is. Andrea is on it for how to decorate it and somehow we're gonna squeeze around 80 people in. It'll work. I'm just looking forward to the good food, DJ Guy, and the dance floor that opens up onto the balcony. Cross your fingers for warm weather!

Photographer: Over Christmas, we met with John from Cornish Wedding Photography and got along swimmingly. He's down to earth, shoots gorgeous lanscapes, and is totally up for being our wedding photographer! Plus, he really liked 2 of the places in Alex's house--the landing on the stairs and the garden stairs--that we want photos taken. Good times.

: Speaking DJ Guy (not sure if that's his actual DJ name, it's just what I'm gonna call him here) is a friend of Alex and her brother's from way back. We went to the club he DJ'd in Bristol for New Years and his collection of vinyls and iPod were funky and classic. He's up for requests and Alex's sister wants to bring along a few of her vinyls to share in the mix. Dancing. Can you tell we like dancing? Also, Alex's sister-in-law, Erica (not from America), has agreed to sing at the reception (Yay!). We've still to figure out what, but we're getting there. There is talk of 'The Rose'... (Mom & Kay, I'm looking at you...)

Food: After the ceremony, The Fowey Hotel is providing cava & strawberries as well as cream tea (scones, Cornish clotted cream, and jam + sandwiches) later on in the afternoon during storytelling. Yum. For dinner, we're in the process of ordering a selection of meats, cheeses, stuffed peppers, quiches, salads, breads, mini Cornish Pasties (pronounced p-aaa-sties, like past) from family friends Sue and Becky from Bellamama Deli in Lostwithiel. Double Yum.

Cake: The cake order is also in the process from Alex's aunt: 2 layers of Traditional English wedding cake, white marzipan, purple & green ribbons, fresh tulips, and letterpress cake topper in A & E. Woot!

Rings: Just ordered our wedding rings today. They are gorgeous, diamond-free, recycled metals, Etsy found. Check them out. Of course, we couldn't resist a few extra goodies from the same designer, Jesse Danger.

Invitations: All I can say on the invitations is I'm glad we didn't order them BEFORE we found out the Marina Villa had sold; luckily, it was the same day. We have also officially ordered them today though and Baumbirdy on Etsy is rocking the quick order. Those of you expecting UK invites, they'll be to you in early March.

*Breath* Holy moly, that's a lot of stuff we've done! Things still need to be confirmed, smaller fiddly-bits (like jewellry, table decorations, hen night, etc) are still needing to be planned, but really, we are doing damn good. On the day we went to try on suits for Alex, it was 3 months until the wedding. There are moments when that timeline causes a bit of a panic; other times, I can hardly wait.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Portugal backs same-sex marriage

In mild procrastination of remaining course work: a short blog post.

In the week when New Jersey has shot down gay marriage, Portugal parliament backs same-sex marriage. Sadly, they didn't think too much of letting married gays adopt though.

Quote: "The ratification would make Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriages after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway." England may not be on the list, but civil partnerships here = equal rights so I'm not complaining too much; and I'm still calling our civil partnership a wedding.

Next week, no more MA for me = more time to write about wedding schtuff. Oh, and work. Alex is busy as ever with placement but somehow we find the time. Happy weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Sewing Machine for Christmas

Totally unrelated to our upcoming weddings (or maybe not actually): I got a sewing machine for Christmas! Off the top of my head, these projects are definitely on the list immediately upon finished my MA (next week!):
  • a winter quilt
  • a stethescope case for Alex
  • a stuffed squirrel to match Tulip
Of all the things I can think to possibly make for our wedding, with as much recycled material as possible are:
  • table cloths
  • bunting
  • fabric hearts
  • linen napkins
  • table runners
  • thank you presents
  • ties
  • um, ANYTHING.
2010 is gonna be such a good year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year of Getting Hitched!

It's 2010! We're getting married in 2010! This is the year we're getting married--whooooo!!!

The holiday break has involved lots of planning--securing the photographer; finding out our venue has officially sold, and negotiating a new venue; going for my hair trial and booking my hairstylist; a friend offering to do our make-up, and getting a number for a floral wholesaler; chatting with our food lovelies from bellamama deli in Lostwithiel; finding a DJ! Updates will come...but right now, I'm gonna enjoy New Year's Day with my love (and my dissertation :) ...