2 New Brides 2 Be

Now that I’ve been blissfuly wed for nearly four months and my posts have begun to slow down, I can let you in on two little facts: 1) It is true that I have been hiding most of the wedding day photos. I promise to share in the near future. 2) My hope for this blog as my own wedding becomes a memory is to share stories of other brides.

We all know I’m not a gold star lesbian. I don’t have as many lesbian friends as I’d like, but those I do have are pretty bodacious. Not long after our wedding, two of our dearest friends moved away from us and across the country to Los Angeles. Our devastation was overshadowed by all of the crazy final wedding plans and the hectic aftermath. Still, we miss them constantly.

Carie & Kelly have been together for 8 years. Kelley and Sam grew up together in Sarasota, and I first met the girls when I moved with Sam to LA in 2007. Carie and Kelley were living in San Diego at that time. They have been our partners in crime, our beloved travel companions, and our go-to girlfriends for all things lesbian. Needless to say, we adore them. Back in May Sam and I enjoyed insider knowledge the night before Kelley was going to propose to Carie. A group of us went to dinner and our excitement was not easy to contain, but I am honored to share their adorable proposal story with you today.

As told to me by Kelley:

The Proposal

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All Green Everything

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A quick Google search sealed the deal. 2013 was the year of the green.

This past year there were many catchy headlines to remind us that green was indeed the color of 2013. To be precise, the color of the year was Emerald. Pantone, the authority on this, made it perfectly clear last December.

By the time this news was delivered to the masses I already had my gown designer, Kathryn Conover, on a search for the perfect shade of green french lace and silk taffeta for my wedding gown. I didn’t make her job an easy one, and she was often reminded as she searched for the fabric that while it was hard to find at the time, it would soon be available everywhere. So yea, I’m excited that my dream color for my wedding gown turned out to be the color of the year. That’s cool and I’m inclined to give myself much more credit than I deserve. However, had green been voted the worst color of 2013, the absolute ‘don’t you dare wear it’ color of 2013, I still would have walked down in the aisle in my perfect green gown. Ladies, be who you are. This is not a straight or gay thing. I’m just certain that life is too short to do what everybody else says you should do.

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My parents still leave newspaper clippings on my bed in their house. Each time I arrive for a visit there are relevant articles in a pile on my comforter. Last year, any time they came across breaking news about the color of the year they left me the pages. Cuties.

Looks like the color of 2014 is Radiant Orchid … Hmm.

The real point of this post is that I’d like to know – Any of you ladies have a wedding dream that everyone raises their eyebrows at? 

Carnival Cut-outs

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Carnival cut-out by the talented Kate Taney

Don’t know what a carnival cut-out is? Yes you do, just like I did, but I never really knew the name for them.

I googled and googled until I discovered that the classic name for that lifesize thing that ya stick your head through is called a carnival cut-out!

Have talented friends? Me too. My beloved pal Kate started asking us a lot of questions leading up to our wedding. She wanted to know about Sam’s secret dress and the wedding cake, she wanted ceremony location details. Sam and I were alarmed. Then Kate showed up to the wedding toting this carnival cut-out, which was not only a huge hit at the reception, but was so imaginative, beautifully done and thoughtful. If you can’t tell there’s a Milk Bar cake, which our pups Luda and Winston are peeking out from behind. There’s a rainbow flag, of course, and our dresses are pretty spot-on. I was completely blown away. Some of our guests who dared instagram themselves as the two brides are now shown here for your enjoyment …

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Wedding Whites – Nightfall

After the gorgeous toasts and the sinful meal (Are brides supposed to gorge like that the night before their wedding?) we had one more trick up our sleeves for our Friday night rehearsal guests – Movie Night!

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We bought two carts full of blankets from Ikea. We forgot that they don’t have bags, so the blankets were spilling all over our car. My mom helped us wrap each blanket in twine.

Friday evening was planned to every last detail by both me and Sam. I really pushed for those mountaintop toasts, but I have to give Sam credit for the movie. This was her idea. We wanted something fun and lowkey, because after all, Saturday was going to be a big day. After dinner and s’mores we led our guests down to the great lawn where we had a giant blow-up movie screen set up on the edge of the lake. Meg from That Time Events set out the blankets (An Ikea purchase as a gift to our guests) and lanterns to make everything super cozy, while Lisa and Stephanie from Cedar Lakes Estate made sure there was wine and popcorn for all.

We kicked off the festivities by releasing giant paper lanterns into the night sky as a slideshow of photographs lit up the screen in the background. We nearly set a tree ablaze, but otherwise the lanterns went up without a hitch. Then it was movie time. Sam and I had settled on cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer. We weren’t surprised that most of our aunts and uncles had never heard of it, but we were shocked to find that some of our cousins just a few years younger than us had never seen this gem. We curled up and enjoyed movie night until Sam and I were ready to sneak off to bed.

My dad still maintains that Friday night was his favorite part of the weekend. It was a warm, no-frills evening for everyone to enjoy being together and for us to spoil our guests (and ourselves) a little.

Of course, Heather Waraksa was there to capture the magic.

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Wedding Whites – The BBQ

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Naturally once we had everyone wearing white and drinking booze it was time for a BBQ.

The group headed down to the open air Dining Pavilion where a fire roared in the stone pit and where Meg, from That Time Events had arranged mismatched vintage plates among wildflowers and lemon-filled vases full of yellows and creams. We offered our guests custom designed paper bibs by Sand Scripts to keep themselves safe from splatters of sauce.

Lisa from Cedar Lakes Estate cooked up a BBQ that guests are still raving about. I, of course, required pulled pork on the menu, but the fried chicken was also unbelievable, not to mention I ate about two plates of mac & cheese and made a mess of myself with the corn on the cob. I ate so much dinner, in fact, that I was too full to dive into the s’mores bar that was situated around the fire. That’s okay though, I watched everyone else enjoy the homemade marshmallows, which included flavors like vanilla, toasted coconut and pumpkin. The fire crackled and the whole place smelled like summer camp. We played an ipod playlist of folk and bluegrass tunes.

We also used Friday night as an opportunity to showcase some of our favorite wines. The bar for the evening included a Firefly cocktail, beer, and some of our favorites  from vineyards we’ve visited, including Rusack Vineyard Chardonnay, Archery Summit Pinot Noir, Erath Pinot Noir, and a Lieb Vineyards white blend.

Everyone was full of food and wine by the time darkness had fallen and it was time for a surprise …

Insert Lesbian Wedding Joke Here

I’ve always viewed lesbian weddings in black and white. You either have two girly lesbians (what’s the lingo these days? Lipstick is out, femme is in?) or you have a big butch wedding with one bride in a suit waiting at the end of the aisle. This is totally unfair, and I know it. Every single relationship is different, therefore I should acknowledge that every lesbian relationship is different. Just because this is glaringly obvious doesn’t mean that it had ever occurred to me before. I think my fear was that if we planned this as a lesbian wedding then we would be overlooking that this was, really, a wedding.

I was careful how I approached the ‘lesbian’ factor. I was conscious to toe the line between lesbian wedding and wedding. For some guests, the same-sex element was half of the appeal. I didn’t want to ignore that, but I didn’t want to make the wedding a gay pride party. This was a wedding to celebrate a marriage, and that’s what I wanted it to be. Still, what’s the use of ignoring the elephant in the room?

At our rehearsal celebration on Friday night, some of our friends and family gave speeches and made toasts. For both me and Sam, it was one of the highlights of the whole weekend, and I am absolutely going to tell you more about it in posts to come. On Saturday, at the actual wedding, both of our fathers said a few words, and then Sam’s brother Jonathan (the best man) and my sister Katy, (the matron of honor) both gave speeches. Every one of them had heartfelt and wonderful things to say, and listening to their words are moments I will hold dear in my memory of the weekend.

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(Did I mention she looked gorgeous while doing it?)

I am going to share the ending of my sister Katy’s speech with you. She didn’t just give an incredible MoH speech, which was poignant and funny and candid, but she also took the opportunity to acknowledge what we were all here to celebrate. This was a same-sex wedding and here we were, in a candlelit barn filled with our nearest and dearest. There were many different kinds of people in that room, from my 88-year-old conservative Grandfather (who ends every phone call with, “Love you both”) to Sam’s Jewish aunts, colleagues, childhood friends and glam gay best friends , and many of our college sorority sisters, and every single one of them was there with love and support for us. We never once, over the course of planning this wedding, had to worry that someone might disapprove, or that a family member wouldn’t show up. Everything about planning this wedding felt normal. It felt right to plan a wedding so that I could marry the person I love, and it felt right to include all of these beautiful people, and this was worth acknowledging. My sister ended her speech with these lines:

This is a real life modern family. The rest of the world is very slowly learning what we here have already known for years, that love is love.  A family can be comprised of so many parts but in the end it’s love and friendship that holds it all together. Laura and Sam, congratulations, I wish you all the happiness in the world and love you both dearly.

She had to pause for a moment when she said “love is love,” as the entire wedding had erupted in big, boisterous applause. It was worth saying, and worth noticing, that in this room we didn’t see ourselves as different. We saw ourselves as family.

The Final Countdown

What is the typical bride usually doing the week of her wedding? I have no idea. But I can tell you what Sam and I have been up to.

On Friday we got facials at Bliss. They do a great job there, but generally I regard facials as the worst. I have big pores so facials are a mostly unpleasant task that end with the esthetician reminding me that those huge pores are only going to get bigger as I age, and that if I take better care of my skin and use the products she suggests then maybe, maybe, I can save myself. So we did that.

We have more poking and prodding coming up this week. Some of which is enjoyable–mani pedis–and some of which is not–getting waxed. Tomorrow the dogs are getting groomed, of course, and we are picking up our dresses. On Thursday we are heading up to Cedar Lakes Estate. The more we can get done and organized on Thursday, the better, that way come Friday we can relax as friends and family begin to arrive for the rehearsal.

We also decided to lay low for Labor Day weekend, but ended up seeing a lot of friends that we don’t see very often. It has been nice to spend time with loved ones as the excitement mounts, especially because at the wedding we know that we won’t possibly have a chance to spend very much quality time with everyone. The extra work-outs at Punch Fitness and Soul Cycle can only do so much when I’m brunching at the new UES Meatball Shop, drinking, and meeting friends for dinner. Juice cleanse? Who needs it! Once the dress fits I say we are good to go.

We’ve also been checking the weather religiously, but more on that tomorrow. I am just about packed, which is not easy for me. I detest packing and am known to either grossly overpack or bring a bunch of underwear and like, two tee shirts.

Today it’s out to New Jersey for some last minute errands, another trip to Soul Cycle and a concert with some friends. Staying busy has helped keep me pretty calm, since we are getting married in FOUR DAYS!!!

The Great Garter Debate

So yea, the tradition of removing the bride’s garter during the reception and tossing it into a crowd of guests is a touch antiquated. I still think they’re great. My sister, on the other hand, finds them trashy. Many would agree with her. I think something a little sexy hidden beneath your dress adds some spice to the whole shebang. Sure, weddings are about marriage and promises and commitment, but you’re still attracted to the person you’re marrying, right? Well, I am.

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The man can strike a pose.

That said, a mere ten days before our wedding I was still without a garter. Initially I thought I would get something cute. For instance: Sam’s friend Caroline (and my friend too because she likes me like, a lot) wore a garter with her husband’s favorite sports team. Sexy little secret. Cute too. Secret no more. Sorry Caroline. Unfortunately, Sam’s favorite things involve horses, young adult novels (especially trilogies), CW shows and this guy. Even if a Vampire Diaries garter does exist, I’m not the girl to wear it. I finally realized I’d just have to get a boring old garter. Still, I wasn’t sure where I could find one at the last minute.

So I called Trav.

Trav knows every last bit of celebrity news, he’ll teach you to pole dance and/or twerk and he’ll do it all with a smile on his handsome face. He suggested we head to West 4th street and 6th avenue and hit up some of the slutty shops, like  Pink Pussy Cat. We checked out a few places, annoyed a few sales girls who did not really feel like pulling every single garter out from behind the glass, and finally chose to keep me both simple and elegant with a lace garter. Two actually. Trav bridal gifted them to me. He’s a doll.

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Basically the only way to pose in front of this shop.

And all that made us hungry so then we got falafel, naturally.

Maybe I didn’t adequately explain …

Technically Samantha and I have both officially changed our names. Until September 7th when we both become Mrs. Abby, we are both currently Miss Abby. I say “technically” because I haven’t even considered when I am going to the dmv or dealing with social security. For now I just enjoy saying Miss Abby and I am going to wait until after the wedding to make it any more official than that.

I would walk you step-by-step through the name-change process, except I’ve already forgotten it. This past month has become one big, mushy memory in my mind. I’ll do my best!

I should start by saying that the tedious process of changing our names has nothing at all to do with gay marriage. Had either one of us chosen to take the other’s last name the process would have been easier. The marriage license would have allowed either spouse to take the surname of the other. Path of least resistance, why, we’d never take it! Straight couples who decide to swap middle names and mess with last names have to do the same thing we did. That being said, we certainly confused some of the employees downtown who could’t quite figure out why two women were simultaneously changing their names to Abby, so it sounds like what we’ve done is a little out of the ordinary.

Step one is to start your name change petition which will cost $65. Once you fill that out you must print it and follow the steps outlined for you. Bring it to civil court to file the petition. In New York City this is done at 111 Centre Street. You complete your petition and then you are sent upstairs to the cashier, who then sends you back downstairs at which point you are given your court date. The cashier is easily the nastiest person in the building, and you can either pay with exact change or a personal check. We were the idiots using the atm. They do not accept credit or debit cards and they don’t care that you didn’t realize you’d have to pay six other hidden fees. They want exact change!

So on another day, likely the following week, you return to 111 Centre Street to see the judge. If your experience is anything like ours you will enter a large windowless room and cautiously approach the court officer who has no patience for your confusion. He’ll swipe the papers from your hand then tell you to sit down, and without any prompting will let you know, “You’re gonna be here a while.” Then you will sit quietly in fear. Then a judge enters, but you don’t talk to him. Then some guy calls your name, you chat, you sit back down. You wait another 40 minutes and someone else starts handing out your petitions as the judge reminds you all to read your documents thoroughly, because even if they got it wrong, once you leave here this is your new, permanent name. They tell you which newspaper you’re required to publish with and they give you that information. Ours was the Irish Echo, so when we called we obviously spoke to a lovely Irish lass named Mary, and $70 later our name change was published the following week, at which time we received an affidavit. We then took that affidavit back down to Centre Street where we finalized the paperwork and bought certified copies of our name change documents. TA DA!

And finally, as I guessed in my first post about our name change process, “What’s in a Name?” this did take three trips downtown.