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...