avast, there be something on your head

Ship hat for real

I haven’t really begun to think about what’s going on my head for the wedding day, but this… is probably not it.

No offense to the talented Chatham Girl, from whose Etsy shop (and from the nethers of whose mind) this hat has sprung. Because I do think this rose fascinator has something lovely about it, as does this, if only I could pull off a beret.

Because that’s what people would do, is ask me to pull it off.


darling come home
i can’t take the apartment alone
you left your beret behind
and your croissant is getting cold

we gonna party on like it’s your birfday

boot time
1961. The aunt in question is experiencing difficulty pulling on her boots. My mother is, for now, the youngest of her sisters.

I have five aunts, and one of them has a birthday on September 18th. That’s right. On the day the beau and I get married, my mom’s oldest sister will turn 55.

I want to do something to recognize her, of course. At first I thought of getting her a special little cake (inscribed with Sorry I Messed Up Your Birthday Plans in flowery script?), but the beau pointed out that there will be plenty of dessert already, and she may not want to deal with the sugar overload or the trouble of carrying the leftovers back to the hotel later.

So… what then?

A toast? A rousing rendition of Happy Birthday To You? No. I would feel incredibly embarrassed to be suddenly pointed out in a crowd, and so I wouldn’t want to inflict that on someone else.

A bottle of wine? Again with the carrying thing, though.

The best thing I’ve come up with so far is to recognize my aunt with a small sign wishing her a happy birthday and some pictures creatively arranged on a table. This would probably be set up near the collection of old pictures of the beau and I that we may or may not put out to amuse our guests. Perhaps I can also give her a special corsage or her own vase of flowers at her dinner table spot, provided we predetermine the seating arrangements.

Thoughts? Advice? Criticism? Encouragement? Heartwarming anecdotes?

ALSO, in a somewhat related development. I just found out — in one of the more surreal moments of my day — that this very same aunt recently got a new puppy and decided to name her Casey Lyn, because the dog has my “fine and delicate features.”

I do not have any fine and delicate features. Sturdy and square features, maybe. Nutty family members, obviously. To that end, I’d like to point out that this brings the total count of Dogs Who Have My First Name As Their Middle Names up to two.*


* Pepper Lyn is the other one, although nobody ever filled me in on what about that dog, exactly, reminded them of me.

sweet, i have always wanted to know what happens when you marry

When You MarryOh my god, you guys. My faithful brigadier sent me this link today, and it is quality. Amy of Amalah.com posted many, many scans (with accompanying witty commentary) of the inside of her beloved book, When You Marry, given to her as a wedding present by her brother. Intended as a high school text book, this 1962 tome delves the ins and outs of dating and marriage for “modern” teenagers.

As anyone who has seen an episode of Mad Men will be able to attest, the early 1960s were not a particularly open, accepting time (although tell me what era is; 50 years from now people are going to be looking back at us and thinking, “I can’t believe gay people weren’t allowed to marry“). This book is so, so wrong. But oh so deliciously, right. In the most whacked out sense of the word.

The entries range from shocking (on Social Class Differences: “Working class people are more promiscuous before marriage / Middle class people have less premarital sex intercourse”)* to creepy (pop quiz! when should you break off the engagement?) to eyebrow-raising (an essay on why, exactly, you should avoid premarital sex; as if the same couple who lose their “idealized images” of each other and “experience negative feelings” after having premarital sex WON’T feel the same way if they wait until after marriage?) to offensive (Background Factors in Marital Success that are not true for Negro and Swedish couples) to unintentionally hilarious (Establishing an Etiquette of Intimacy) to the surprisingly perceptive (disillusionment via advertising).

You Said You Loved MeAnd we haven’t even covered the perceptions of gender roles.

I such a sucker for old books about cultural norms. Get thee there and gander.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this insight: “The typical gallant young Southerner at the slightest provocation can string a line of sugared words and compliments which will delight any female listener.”


* Was the “sex intercourse” distinction really necessary? Also, I just realized that this post is going to bring some pretty odd traffic once it is indexed. Sex intercourse, sex intercourse.

i told him a million times, our colors are blush and bashful

The beau recently joined a couple of fellow teammates to discuss the goals of the upcoming rugby season. Being ruggers, nature dictated that they meet at a bar. What nature got blindsided by was: Weddings.

“They asked me if we had picked our colors yet,” he confessed to me, afterward.

Full disclosure: the two guys he met with just happen to be getting married next year, too. One in January, one in June. But back to the story.

“What did you say?” I asked incredulously. I mean, these are guys. Who play rugby.

“I said, well, I don’t think we’re having any colors. And they were like, why? It’s not hard to pick out colors. And I said, we thought we’d just go with whatever we like, and it would work out. We figure we don’t need to worry about matching things to everything else.”

He started munching on a piece of smoked gouda, leaving me trying to stare the rest of the story out of him. There was a punchline coming, I knew it.

“And S. said, please have your fiancée call my fiancée and tell her this. Really. Please.”


“What else did you talk about?” I asked, still slightly dubious.

“Oh, you know,” he said airily. “We talked about where we were getting married, and our caterers. Oh, and paper samples. For invitations.”

These are guys. Who play rugby.

Of course, they weren’t necessarily talking about all this wedding crap with dead sincerity. The beau’s teammates also shared a couple of eye-rolling anecdotes about their fiancées’ impossible dedication to trivial wedding details. You know, the kind of jokes you hear delivered on your average cable sitcom. Just another obsessed, irrational bride! Just another beleaguered, estranged groom. Cue the canned laughter.

He smiled at me. “All that stuff they were saying made me realize how lucky I am to have you for my fiancée.” Meaning, I am so glad you don’t fret over paper weight and agonize over color schemes.

I looked at him, thinking about his enthusiasm and excitement for the wedding planning process thus far. Thinking of how we’re both putting in equal amounts of effort and getting all geeked up about ideas (me: “what if we had a TRAMPOLINE” him: “AWESOME”). Meaning, I am so glad you’re not disinterested and remote.

I smiled back. Me, too. Me, too.

it’s a date

Last Friday we finally heard back from the venue coordinator, and she confirmed that the 18th was, indeed, open. So we took it.

Yeah, I’m not a fan of the number 18 (apologies to my pal with a birthday on the 18th), but you know what? It works better. It works better for some of our people.

So. September 18, 2010.


My brigadier tried to cheer me up by pointing out that, well, 9×2 = 18. And that 1+8 = 9. And that 9+1 = 10. Mathematics be damned, 18 is still an even number.

I don't recommend this vehicle as a getaway car after your wedding.
1984: Maybe it was some Orwellian thing.

On Sunday I was talking with my dad on the phone about the whole date thing. “You gals sure seem to have a thing about numbers,” he observed. “I couldn’t care less what day anything happens on.” Truth, but then in almost the same breath he admitted he has a superstition about even-numbered car model years. He maintained that all the cars he’s owned that were manufactured in even years were piles of junk, the most egregious offender being a 1984 Ford Tempo. God, I remember that car. If this car had a theme song, it would be Arcade Fire’s “No Cars Go.” Nothing could make it go, at least not very far. It spent a great deal of time parked under the carport in front of our apartment building. My dad spent countless weekends sweating under the hood of that evil red chariot, cursing mightily.

Everything I learned about dealing with inanimate objects, I learned from my dad during this period of time. Here is how it works. You struggle repeatedly with an object, and when after the umpteenth time it still does not work, you get mad and throw it across the room, and/or use it to hit something. This will undoubtedly inflict personal injury and sometimes cause the object to break, at which time you shout a lot of bad words. This pretty much the system I use to this day.

Weddings! Yes. That is the topic of this blog, it turns out. We were talking about a wedding date. My wedding date. My wedding has a date! Whoa.

I may not be incredibly enthusiastic about the number, but it boils down to this: who cares? It is just a day. I can get behind the 18th. It’s the day I’m getting married; why wouldn’t I be excited? I would even be excited if it was the 13th, which is another number my dad went on to cite his apprehension of. Right, and I thought it was only chicks who cared about what numbers mean.

And now, No Cars Go. Except for yours, of course. And mine. But I drive a 1993, so I think I’m all good.

the people make the wedding

Malki! wedding action poster!
Malki! wedding action poster!

I’ve followed David Malki!’s wonderful Wondermark webcomic for a while, which is always a quality read. But I really snapped to when I read today’s post, in which he highlighted some of the creative aspects of his wedding. He and his now-wife are big action movie fans, so naturally they had to announce their wedding via an epic poster and a movie trailer. Yes, a movie trailer, replete with a deep-voiced dramatic announcer. Go to his site to watch it and to see a bigger version of his poster.

Oh yeah. And there was a cake. An action movie cake. What else could it have been?

Sure, it’s a “theme.” But this feels like a theme done well.  This comes from a joyous space of common interest. Just two people who love action movies, you know? Two people whose exuberance and humor just happened to overflow themselves and spill over into their wedding plans. And that makes me happy.

progress is made, hiding places are… unhidden

Tomorrow the beau is delivering the contract and cheques (yeah, I’m temporarily Canadian) to the venue. He would have done this today, on his lunch break, but it turns out the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is closed on Mondays. Lazy non-history-having bastards.

Tonight, we delivered the contract and the deposit check (ooh! back to being an American) to our caterer. Our caterer is fabulous. He lives a block down the street. If my life was a sitcom, he’d live next door and would saunter in to make snarky remarks every hour. Also, if my life was a sitcom, I’d have a miniature train with a set of tracks snaking through the living room, but now I’m just channeling Silver Spoons.

Yesterday, the beau and I were out running and, as per usual, decided to run past our venue. Usually we stop for a couple of minutes and stare into the courtyards through the gate, but this time we went inside. Because we are total nerds, we walked around for a while trying to picture where we’d have the ceremony, where the dance floor would go, etc. I did some triceps work on the edge of the big fountain while we enthusiastically chatted about lighting options. Later on at home, while looking the contract over, I found out you are pretty much barred from sitting on, touching, gazing at directly, or daydreaming about the fountains — or anything resembling a fountain — because they are historic. Ha ha! My bad.

When we left the museum, the docent — an elderly lady — asked us what day we were getting married. “Ohh, September,” she nodded approvingly. “That’s the best time of year.” Then she leaned over toward the beau conspiratorially, lowering her voice. “You know, I always tell the groom. I’ve got lots of room under this desk here — perfect for hiding away on the big day. Remember that.”

Oh, I will.

four days ago he was only my brother in name. and this morning we had PANCAKES.

Instead of the usual rehearsal dinner at a fancy restaurant with the wedding party and parents, what if we threw a big pancake dinner for everyone?

I sketched these pancakes at work today. Because it's not like I have a catalog to get out or anything.
I sketched these pancakes at work today. Because it’s not like I have a catalog to get out or anything.

I can see it now. Mimosas, fruit toppings, maybe even bacon. Probably bacon. Definitely bacon, knowing the beau. And perhaps omelettes. Maybe someone would come make omelettes for us. For free.

We could make it a whimsical affair. The invite would say, “Come on down for pancakes in the park. We’ll be eating in the dark. I dare you to chew the bark. On a lark. Have you seen my gratuitous link to fark?”

Get it? Because it rhymed?


There will be maple syrup, of course. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure it’s on the table before the pancakes are.

Raymond: Of course you can't have pancakes without maple syrup. Charlie: You bet your butt.
Raymond: Of course you can’t have pancakes without maple syrup. Charlie: You bet your butt.

** I caught most of Rain Man on AMC on Sunday. Can you tell?

analog can be instant, too

You just have to have a bit of patience.

So excited! I just found out today that the effort to bring the Polaroid instant camera and film back has paid off. After a somewhat noisy campaign by a group of Polaroid ex-employees and enthusiasts (under the umbrella of Florian Kaps of the Impossible Project), it was announced today that The Summit Global Group signed a licensing agreement that will enable the (re)development of analog Polaroid cameras and film. The products will resume production in an old Polaroid factory in Amsterdam under the watchful eye of the Impossible Project team.

Interestingly, the Summit Global press release neatly knits analog into the broader fabric of future-forward Polaroid products, then glosses over it completely by focusing on its digital instant photography gadgets. For example, consider the Polaroid Two, a “digital version of the instant camera that produces instant digital photos.” Think “Polaroid technology within a 5mp camera,” (so says TechRadar.com) and add in an LCD screen, a zoom function, limited image-editing capability, and a 2×3 image output in 40 seconds.


I’m not yet sure how well this will sit with Polaroid devotees, who have presumably been clamoring for the return of analog camera and film because of its unique textile, visual, and nostalgic qualities. But no matter. What matters is that the analog Polaroid camera is indeed coming back — as part of a broad family of iterations.

What does all of this mean for weddings? Everything. Think about it: from DIY photobooths to guest books to fun favors, Polaroid photography has had its hands all over weddings in recent years. During the last few months it’s been out of production, it even made an exclusive (if now thankfully brief) appearance at weddings as expired Polaroid film (thus making it more exotic but no less striking, as seen here (scroll down) and here). And now, an increase in production — not to mention an expanded product line — can only yield an increase in creative use. Am I right?

I’ll close with this quote from the “State of Affairs” section on the home page of the Impossible Project website:

Large-scale production and worldwide sale of The Impossible Project’s new integral film materials under its own brand will already start in the beginning of 2010 – with a brand new and astonishing black and white Instant Film and the first colour films to follow in the course of the year.

I am tossing out my prediction now: black-and-white Polaroid photos will be one of the prominent wedding memes of 2010. I know I, for one, would be all over that trend.

we have liftoff

We picked the venue. It’s going to be the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

The lower courtyard
The lower courtyard

Happies! It’s what we both loved, but we were hesitant because didn’t love the price. Yet it meets 8 of the 10 things we were originally seeking in a venue, and that is a pretty fantastic success rate. In order to compensate for the hole blown in our budget, I decided to pick up extra freelance work. According to my calculations, I will only have to work 125 additional hours until I earn back the site fee! Yessssss.

The date, however, is still up in the air. It’s a well-established fact that I prefer the 11th, but a couple of weeks ago the coordinator emailed us to say the folks who’d reserved the 18th had canceled. At the time we chose to keep a hold on the 11th, but as the Dude said, certain things have come to light. I found out my grandparents’ Air Force reunion is in Seattle from September 8-11th, and the beau’s parents have a college reunion scheduled for the weekend of the 11th. It would just be easier for them if we moved it to the following weekend.

Door detail
Door detail

So we’ll have to see. Incredibly, the coordinator doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasm for getting things completely finalized, in the sense that her communication response rate is on par with a jar of molasses on a chilly day. We shall have to wait a few more days before we even know whether we can swoop on the 18th or not.

In other news, lately the beau and I have been all MARRIAGE F-YEAH CAPSLOCK. We’re positively giddy at the prospect of getting hitched to each other. I think making the final decision on the venue helped spur us towards this point. Plans had languished for so long, and now it begins. We have a place and we almost have a date. We’re about to fork over a boatload of cash. Things are coming together. It’s getting real up in here, yo.