Friday, March 20, 2009

Isn't That Special?

Well! Those of you who were adamantly against a receiving line of any sort at the ceremony have got your wish. We met with the Church Lady last night.

She isn’t a bad lady – just . . . rigid. The Mister and I firmly believe that the ceremony is the single most important part of the wedding. Not the cake. Not the flowers. The vows. So we spent a lot of time tailoring the ceremony to reflect the realities of our families (my family mostly) and the depth of our relationship with each other and with God. Our meeting last night seems to indicate we’re the first people ever to do this at our church.

As a brief aside, this wedding isn’t the first time my family has switched things up a bit in the church to reflect the realities of a situation. I’ve mentioned before that my twin brother died eight years ago. Apparently, his funeral was the first in the church to openly acknowledge that the death was by suicide. Until then, people had just used the euphemism, “He died suddenly.” While it was certainly difficult to be that open, my family felt that it was the best way to help shine a light on the dark world of suicide by encouraging open discussion. It was the right decision for us.

So, back to the meeting with the Church Lady (“CL”). First, we spent some time explaining that we had a mixed bridal party. A woman (Super Tall Girl) and a man (my Mantron of Honor) will stand up on my side, and a man (the Mister’s brother) and a woman (the lady who introduced us) will stand up on the Mister’s side. CL kept calling my side, “The Girls.” My Mantron of Honor is very secure in his masculinity, so I’m not worried. But it cracks me up that he WORKS AT THE CHURCH, and she still wouldn’t recognize his role.

Next step: The Parents. I’ve got all kinds of ‘em. And I decided early on to treat everybody as equals. This has caused no end of friction. In fact, I haven’t blogged about it, because it’s too delicate an issue. But trust me. This is important. CL wanted my stepmother to be seated before the ceremony began, rather than with the family. And she paled visibly when I said that both my father and stepdad were going to walk me down the aisle. Um, I know that traditionally there was no role for the stepparents. But that’s when it was traditional to have only one set of parents. My parents divorced when I was six. My stepparents have contributed immeasurably to raising me. They WILL NOT be treated as second class citizens. Not now. Not on the wedding day. Not ever. ‘Nuff said.

The Mister lost his temper when CL told him that, “There is no photography during the wedding ceremony.” He called the rule rude (I think he was going to say bulls**t), and got all red in the face. CL then softened this unequivocal statement by adding that the photographer can take photos from the choir loft without a flash. I pointed out the futility of the rule, since tons of guests bring cameras and take photos (with flash) throughout the ceremony. But I got over it. And the Mister fumed. On to the last issue.

When we asked about leaving the church after the ceremony, CL informed us that the church “doesn’t permit receiving lines” of any kind. Including releasing the rows. Whaaa? We go to the fanciest-schmantziest church in the city, where everything is too, too proper, and receiving lines are verboten? Seriously? Miss Manners would have a conniption.

Fortunately, the Mister, our minister, and I had been discussing a receiving line alternative over the past week or so, whereby we would release the rows of guests as they go to communion. This would allow us to see every guest even more quickly than a receiving line, because it would be during the ceremony. And the guests would be asked to respect the sanctity of communion by remaining silent. This is perhaps the newest idea we’ve had so far. Plenty of people have had mixed bridal parties and stepparents participating in the ceremony. Maybe not in our church, but they’re not uncommon these days. But releasing the rows for communion – now that’s different.

CL didn’t attempt to hide her disdain. “Leaving the front of the sanctuary during the service? Well . . . that’s just . . . wrong!” And so, our minister came to the rescue. She suggested that the Mister and I stand near where people came forward to take communion, so we could smile at each person. It’s the perfect compromise (and the quickest receiving line option in the universe).

So all you anti-receiving line folks out there, you got your wish. And all I’ve got to say about it is, “Well, isn’t that special?”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I See You've Won First Prize

Last night, Super Tall Girl, the Mister, and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day! One year ago yesterday, the Mister proposed to me (and my snausage finger). I love the fact that people all over the world get together wear green, drink beer, and toast our engagement! How festive!

We had dinner at home before going out. I made beef and Guinness stew, Irish soda bread, and Guinness floats for dessert. That’s right – Guinness floats: vanilla ice cream with Guinness on top. Kind of like a coke float, but with a creamy, chocolaty, coffee flavor, and a bit of a buzz. They were deeelish!

After dinner, we went to the place where the Mister proposed and had . . . more beer! While we were toasting, I said something that Super Tall Girl made me promise to blog about today. Here it is:

Jules (to the Mister): “Oh my gosh! I’m so excited! The seamstress is putting a pocket in my wedding dress so that I don’t have to put my lipstick in your purse!”

Why would the Mister carry a purse on his wedding day, you ask? Well, as I may have mentioned before, he’s going to wear a kilt. Part of the getup is a sporran, which is basically a man purse that he wears around his waist, because kilts don’t have pockets. Actually, there’s no “basically” about it. “Sporran” means “purse” in Gaelic.

So, I’m going to marry a man in a skirt with a purse. And there’s nothing in the world manlier or sexier. Hello!?! Have you seen Rob Roy? Braveheart? In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, an excited woman reaches up James Bond’s kilt and writes her hotel room number in lipstick on his thigh. So there we are. Back to lipstick. And then, of course, there’s the Scottish drinking song:

Well, a Scotsman clad in kilt left the bar one evening fair. And one could tell by how he walked that he'd drunk more than his share. He fumbled 'round 'till he could no longer keep his feet. And stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street.

Now about that time two young and lovely girls happened by. One said to the other with a twinkle in her eye. See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built. I wonder if it's true what he wears nothing beneath the kilt.

They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as can be. Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see. Lo and behold for them to view beneath his Scottish skirt. Was nothin' more than God had graced him with upon his birth.

They marveled for a minute and one said, "We must be gone.Let's leave a souvenir for our friend before we move along."As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon tied into a bow. Around the bonnie star the Scott's kilt did lift and show.

Now the Scotsman rose to nature's call and headed for the trees. Behind the bush he lifts his kilt and gawks at what he sees. And in his drunken voice he says to what's before his eyes."Oh, lad I don't know where you've been, but I see you've won first prize."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Opposites Attract

After my bout of mischief at the premarital counseling required by our Church, I came to our final counseling meeting on my best behavior. It was yesterday, and the point of the meeting was our Myers-Briggs personality inventory scores.

I find myself wondering why we get these scores so late in the wedding planning process. Wouldn’t you think that incompatibility would be best learned sometime before the 50-day final countdown? And at first blush, we sure looked incompatible.

There are four elements to the Myers-Briggs test, and we only shared one. We’re both planners. In case you hadn’t noticed from this wedding planning blog.

But we’re opposites on the other three elements. I’m a feeling, intuitive extrovert, and the Mister is a thinking, sensing introvert. Ruh-roh.

Our premarital counselor didn’t bother to do more than explain the elements of the test, so I did a little
online research to find out what our scores meant. Why did we feel so good together if we were so very different?

I learned that we have a duality relationship, which is summarized as the most favorable and comfortable of all relationships between personality types. One article I saw even said that duality relationships provide “complete psychological compatibility.” Whew! Here’s more:

Dual partners are like two halves of a whole unit. They usually understand each other’s intentions without any need to say a word. Your dual partner will naturally protect your weak points and appreciate the strong ones. Interaction with your dual allows you to be yourself without the need to adjust to your partner, like you would in other relationships. This often saves both partners a lot of energy which they can use for their own interests. Conflicts between duals are very rare and if there are any, they are normally short-lived and solved without pain. Your dual partner will love you just for what you are, and if there is such a thing as true love, it usually occurs in relations of duality.

There are at least two conditions to be completed for a successful relationship between duals. First, between the partners there has to be at least a minimal mutual attraction. Second, and most important, the partners must truly strive for the same or similar things. This may include common interests or life goals. In other words, two halves of the same whole must not move in the different directions, or the whole will break into pieces.

No wonder being with the Mister feels so very right. And why I feel, for the very first time in a relationship, that I can be myself, and he’ll appreciate me just as I am (and vice versa!). Since we share common interests, common life goals, and (a lot!) more than “minimal mutual attraction,” I now understand why we’re so well suited for each other.

I guess opposites really do attract.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Amen, Sara!

Sara, over at 2000dollarwedding posted a fabulous rant about wedding hysteria. You'll have to head on over there if you want to read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:
Dear David's Bridal,

For a large number of people, planning a wedding is not easy. Of course there is excitement and eager anticipation, but there is also a lot of anxiety.

Some of us are anxious about how to plan ideal weddings that fit within our budgets. . . . Some of us worry about hurting other peoples' feelings . . . . Some of us wonder why it is that we find ourselves thinking about our weddings ALL THE DAMN TIME even though we are perfectly rational beings with many, many passions beyond the scope of our weddings.

As you can see, the wedding planning community has enough pressure as it is. David's Bridal, we do not need to hear subtle statements from you that serve to increase our anxiety, such as this statement from a recent
press release: "Amidst troubling economic times, a wedding is still the most important day in a couple's life."

Yes, a wedding is a great day in a couple's life. It is meaningful and memorable. But it is not--by any stretch of the corporate imagination--the Be-All-End-All of our lives. A wedding is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim and celebrate our love and commitment, but it commemorates an official beginning, not an end. We have many opportunities ahead of us for "important" days in our lives as a couple. . . . [T]his isn't our one chance to have our most important day.

Amen, Sara!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Hello, self. It's me, Jules."

It’s official. I am ready for the wedding. Not because all the projects are finished, but because the wedding has taken over my life.

If my mind were a computer (and believe me, it’s not), the wedding would be a program running in the background at all times -- with hundreds of popup messages per day. I am able to get everything else done, but it’s almost as if all of those other responsibilities revolve around the center of the universe. Which is The Wedding.

What did I think about before I was contemplating centerpieces over every lunch break? What did I do with my time when I wasn’t making invitations and programs and bridesmaid gifts and writing welcome letters and toasts and vows and day-of timelines?

I. Completely. Forget.

I used to think of myself as a person. But the wedding industrial complex has nearly redefined my identity to: BRIDE. Nearly, but not quite entirely. Which is how I’m able, through my remaining scrap of self-awareness, to see a glimmer of the Jules I was before the wedding. The person I still am, under layers and layers of tulle.

And if I’m overwhelmed with this Event-with-a-capital-E, imagine how it’s affecting the Mister. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation I had with Mama last week:

Mama: “The wedding doesn’t stress me out. Now Mr. Mama’s retirement – THAT stresses me out.”
Jules: “You live with Mr. Mama’s retirement.
You don’t live with the wedding. The Mister does.”
Mama: “And he still wants to marry you?! He must really love you.”
This is why they say to have a short engagement. Eighteen months is waaaay too long for my crafty mind to contemplate all of the possible wedding details I can arrange to perfection. Enough already!

So we’ve planned a wedding-free day this Saturday. We won’t be checking the mailbox for RSVPs; we won’t be making darling little wedding crafts; we won’t practice our first dance or edit our song list or review the budget. It’s not really about reconnecting with each other; we’ve remained very close through all this creative chaos. It’s really about reconnecting with ourselves.

"Hello, self. It's me, Jules."