Thursday, June 26, 2014


First dance, captured by Lisa Mathewson Photography
It is hard to believe it, but Chris and I have already been married for one month. A special, tiny anniversary that we celebrated yesterday by seeing Ray Lamontagne at Summerfest.

I had been intending to write a blog post about our wedding weekend a bit sooner, but was simultaneously hit by an intense summer cold while trying to relax and take a break from doing All. The. Things. My first week back at work was a total blur. I've been in catch up mode ever since. And trying to do all of the fun summer things, so it doesn't feel like this one got away.
But I didn't want to get too far away from the wedding, because there were so many amazing memories from that weekend that I worry will get lost. The fact that it was beautiful, relaxed, fun, and perfectly us.

I started to write a post, that then felt like a novel. Too much. Too too much. You would have stopped reading, three paragraphs in. So instead we will break this up. Make it a bit more digestable. Consider it Kirstin and Chris' wedding, in small plates. Starting with the favorites.

Some of my favorite things about our wedding:

  • The most beautiful weather. I think JerBear called that one in for us. 
  • We hosted our cocktail hour before the ceremony. Call us untraditional, but I think it was the best decision ever. I was so much calmer going into the ceremony, and okay with all eyes being on us, because we had already greeted folks. I got past the stage fright, for the most part. We didn't want folks to think that we weren't taking the ceremony seriously (I wrote the thing over and over many times, trust me), but we wanted the vibe to feel a bit less stuffy and more us. It worked. 
  • Our ring warming ceremony was absolutely beautiful. We weren't really sure exactly how the timing was going to work out, or if it would just drag on. But it turned out lovely, when we just let it happen. Plus we had to awesome "ring bears" (HIMYM shout out!) 
  • I really loved all of our ceremony, as we actually heard and said it. As I had pulled the pieces of it together in the months before the wedding, I spent a lot of time thinking about what words and what vows would "fit" us. And then, in the early morning hours of that day, I was tossing and turning, and realized that I had taken out a critical part of the thing that I needed to add back in. The one legal part that you have to say. Nothing like last minute editing. In the moments of the ceremony, I felt each of those words though. And they were just right. 
  • The food was awesome. We didn't really get to eat any of it that night (in fact, the first thing I really ate that night was a piece of pizza a friend gave me at a bar afterwards), but everyone seemed to enjoy that we skipped the traditional plated chicken or steak, and instead went with a taco bar, pulled pork sliders, assorted apps and a mini-dessert bar. Food was one thing we cared a lot about and we wanted stuff folks would enjoy eating. Not the typical banquet meal.
  • In lieu of favors, we made donations to the Humane Society and American Cancer Society. We invited friends and family to join us in the donation (instead of clinking glasses, we'd kiss for that), and we doubled what we were able to donate. It felt so meaningful when we made the donations. Seriously the best moment. 
  • We also donated all of our flowers after the wedding to Petals for Patients, an organization that shares them with hospice patients. We loved our flowers, which were beautiful and exactly what we wanted, but we also knew that we didn't need to take them home. Not only was it helpful to us in our planning, but also a meaningful way to pay it forward.
  • We listened to the most amazing, heartfelt speeches/toasts from our friends and family. It was truly a room filled with love. There were many, many tears. I cried a lot.
  • Our first dance to "Oh" by Dave Matthews. Specifically the Live from Las Vegas, Dave and Tim version, for those of you who know our love of Dave Matthews. While it felt totally weird to have folks watching us dance, and I think we were both glad that we picked a shorter song, it was the perfectly sweet moment. 

We were pretty selective about where we put the most time, money, and energy. Some things were important to us, others were not. I am glad that we were thoughtful about our ceremony and reception, with a focus on our guests. I loved the entire feel of the event because you could see all of us throughout. I loved our decorations and some of the smaller touches about our day. I am also really glad that I didn't spend time doing favors, escort cards, or programs. We just didn't need them.

I am also really glad that we kept our wedding small and intimate. We aimed for 75-100, and ended up with just under 80 guests. Any couple planning a wedding will tell you that the guest list is the hardest part. And it was. There were so many people I wanted to be there, but we knew that a 300-person wedding would have scared the crap out of us. Neither of us are fans of being the center of attention. We also knew that there were friends and family we would really want to be there, that wouldn't be able to make the trip. And they were definitely missed, but there in spirit. 

Since the wedding, folks regularly ask, "How does it feel to be married?" My typical answer is "Mostly the same. But isn't that kind of how it should be?" In many ways, our day-to-day lives haven't changed. The adjustments, at least within the first month, have been:

  • Lots of name change paperwork. Holy wow. Also, hoping my new driver's license arrive, because it feels silly using a paper one...
  • Getting used to saying my new last name or saying "my husband" without giggling. Sometimes caused by others giggling or freaking out when they hear me say either.
  • Getting used to signing my new last name. Looks like third grade cursive classes all over again.
  • Focusing in on making some of those bigger plans together. The grown up things. Like financial decisions. Those things that make me feel old.
We are now past the wedding stuff, and on to the marriage stuff. And that's the part I was most excited for. As beautiful of a day as it was, it was just a day. And now is the part where we try our best to live our vows every day, and to figure this thing out was we go. 

Not long after our wedding, I was looking at a web site that posted the following from Anne Morrow Lindburgh's "Gift from the Sea". I sent it to myself and put in the subject "Remember this," because it strikes me that this is what being married is really all about:

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”


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