Category Archives: guests

look, i have collected some words and will now present them to you in a semi-organized fashion

First of all, PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: I clicked the link.

I did it. I looked at the first batch of my wedding photos.

Fifteen times in a row.

I did it for you guys. And the money and fame. Wait, that’s not right. I did it for you guys. And to finally sate my raging curiosity.

We are still eagerly anticipating the photos from our other photographer, so I think I’ll just wait until I have all of them to figure out which ones are going up here. Or perhaps I will just grow impatient and post some of the ones I already have. Gist of this story: I shall make it up as I go!

And hey, by the way, thanks for taking the poll in the last post. Over 60 people voted, which is, like, way more people than I actually even thought were on the interwebs.* A whopping 72% of you — which, according to my careful calculations, comprises roughly one third of the total poll-takers — want to see all of the pictures, oh my god, like right now. Two of you only care to see me at my ugliest, and one of you apparently wants only pictures of my shoes. Surprisingly, absolutely no one expressed interest in acquiring animated GIFs of Anthony Michael Hall, which is totally the response I would have selected if I’d actually taken the poll. Most of the rest of you replied along the lines of “post whatever you’re comfortable with,” a sensible answer I chose not to include in the poll options because I was Trying To Be Funny. One notable response featured some good advice about posting only the photos that make me “flutter,” another managed to lovingly address me as “beeotch” (thank you!), one endeavored to inform me that I am hot (beau, I’m looking at you), and yet another simply replied, “Your Mom.”

I am truly touched. So touched, in fact, that I want to include a poll in every post, just so I can see what you come up with next. But lo, such a gimmick would soon grow old. And I just had to restrain myself right there from making a poll about whether or not you like polls. So yes! Hurrying on! Photos and stuff, I will show them to you in some future post!

Meanwhile, there’s so much I want to tell you about getting married, you guys. For example, it turns out that when you get married people give you gifts. I was just as shocked to learn this as you are, but not as shocked as I was the first time I sent someone else a wedding gift and received a thank you card for it well before the actual wedding had even transpired. Seriously. Has this ever happened to you? It never had to me until just this year, and then all of a sudden, BAM. Advance thank you cards have arrived in the mail for every single wedding we’ve attended thus far. Do I smell a fresh new trend, or am I just really late to the party?

When I got that first early thank you, I had to back up off of it and set my cup down. I’d always envisioned opening gifts after the wedding, and here these other folks were turning that concept on its head. After the first few boxes from our registry** arrived, there commenced a few days of hand-wringing and brow-furrowing as I worried with the beau over whether or not it would be rude to for us to save them until we got back from honeymoon instead of ripping them open immediately and sending back a prompt thank you. We eventually decided no, we were just going to wait, trends and etiquette and general mobility around our living quarters be damned. And so those boxes kept coming, and we kept stacking them up along the walls and running into them with our shins. Ow! No matter, for I was bound and determined to have something to look forward to after the wedding, dammit.***

Getting gifts for your wedding is icing on cake. It’s a consolation prize — well hey, we just spent a year fighting over paper products and crying ourselves to sleep at night, but look, baby, a rice cooker! I couldn’t see the fun in prematurely spoiling that gleeful reward. It would be like opening gifts before your birthday! Except they are gifts you already picked out, so it’s not like there’s any element of real surprise involved. Still, you can never really know for certain what the contents are. Like that one box your mom’s friend constructed out of two glue gun boxes taped together and then wrapped in a brown paper bag? What the hell did she put inside that thing, anyway?

So last Saturday night we poured ourselves some drinks and finally sat down to find out. And you know, I never felt like I could talk about wedding gifts without coming off like a covetous, foot-stomping asshole with dollar signs for eyeballs, but I’m about to put on my asshole hat**** and do just that. A few points to remember about wedding gifts:

  • Some guests will not give you gifts.
  • This fact will cause you to experience a low-simmering mix of bewilderment, insult, and doubt.
  • At least it did for me, anyway.

As we opened our gifts, the beau tracked them on our guest list so that we would know whom to thank for what. But as he marked the last gift down, he couldn’t help but notice all the, uh, gaps. “A lot of people didn’t get us anything,” he murmured quietly. “That’s okay!” I chirped. “Who really cares? That’s not what we got married for, anyway.” And I truly, wholeheartedly believe this statement. I do.

But then after a minute or two of silence, I had to ask: “Who?” And as the beau rattled off the list of names, I felt myself sink into a little funk. Check this: four out of the beau’s five groomsmen didn’t give us anything. Okay, granted, two of them tried to get us things that fell through (concert tickets, for example). But still. Some of the people closest to him didn’t deign to get him anything? What the hell?

I am reluctant to admit I had these feelings, because their very existence makes me feel like the epitome of MonsterBride IIV: Now That I Have Your Soul, Please Proceed To Give Me All Your Money.***** Yet even though I tried to squelch them, they continued to well up in me unbidden: Who goes to a wedding and doesn’t send a gift? We gave them gifts for their wedding. How freaking RUDE is that? Do they think that our parents paid for the whole damn thing, as if that would even make it okay? Did they just forget? Do they just not care? Do they secretly hate us? I can’t believe we gave them all that booze when they secretly hate us!

And then the real zinger of doubt: Oh my god, what if they sent a gift but it got lost or stolen and now they’re going to think we’re rude for not sending a thank you card?! I don’t want them to think I’m impolite and unappreciative of their thoughtful gesture!! And I can’t bring it up to them, because then I’ll look like I’m fishing around for presents!! Cue frantic hand-flapping, waves of anxiety. This etiquette thing? It kills me sometimes.

But you know what? It’s fine. A day or two after those feelings came, they ebbed away. I just don’t have it in me to resent people – people I genuinely like – for not playing along with traditional wedding rules. I don’t really want or need any more stuff, anyway, and as I already mentioned, that’s not what our marriage was ever about. So there. Take that, petty and ignoble emotions. You can just go stick a fork in your eye, because I’m done with you.

Overall, we were incredibly, ridiculously blessed on our wedding day, in both material and spiritual terms. “Overflowing with love”****** would be a fairly accurate description, and in my book, that’s way better than the dutch oven left unpurchased on our registry could ever be. So that’s the moral I’m going to end this story on: our friends gifted us with love and support, which is all we ever needed in the first place.

And now, before you go hurl in a Dixie cup from all the saccharine cuteness, I want to leave you with a fascinating bit of history. My mother, in a hyperactive fit of “let’s document everything for posterity,” typed up the old handwritten list of gifts she and my father received for their wedding and emailed this list to me. The perspective between then and now is fascinating, at least to me. True, they were wed in a heavily Polish part of rural Michigan, where the tradition was to give cash for the wedding (hence the wee smattering of gifts on the list), so their experience is not necessarily reflective of overall trends in the 1970s. Still, I’m amazed to see how grand of a gesture it was to give $30 for a wedding 31 years ago.

Makes me feel pretty damn lucky, that.


* I thought there were only seven people on the interwebs, one of them being a snarling, ironic-mustachioed hipster whose vast music library is comprised only of Bands No One Has Never Heard; one of them being a seething, mouth-frothing, patriotism-swilling Tea Partier; one of them being a Bob Marley-blaring, 420-loving, godless liberal socialist communist hippie; one of them possessing an impressive collection of tinfoil hats; and three of them being tweens lacking basic reading comprehension skills who are on a dogged quest to bring about the utter destruction of the English language (“OMG woah Thatsso stooped R U th Dummest person ever hehe LOL :P”).

** Registry sidebar: we made a Wishpot registry for our honeymoon, and an registry for our housewares. I wished we had used Traveler’s Joy for the honeymoon registry instead – when you go to make a payment, Wishpot just dumps you into PayPal’s website, which feels sort of sketchy and tacky – but the Amazon universal registry ended up working out perfectly. About 95% of what we wanted was actually being sold through Amazon, which meant our guests got free shipping. Not that that actually mattered in the end – the vast majority of our guests actually ended up buying off the honeymoon registry, which was admirably anti-traditional of them. There you go, kids! That’s the way to strike a blow against the Wedding Industrial Complex! Or something!

*** Let me just say that I was VERY EXTREMELY GOOD about not looking at our registry to see what had been purchased, so by the time we got around to opening them, it was like opening boxes of stuff you’d packed away years and years ago: “Oh, yeah! That! I love that! Yay!”

**** I’m not at all certain what this is, but I’m willing to wager it involves the likeness of Glenn Beck.

***** Personally, I much prefer Monsterbride XI, feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard: You Know My Name, Now Gimme My Money.

****** Oh, and terror. I was fairly overflowing with terror, at least in the hours before the ceremony.

what the hell do we do with these people we love?

First of all, can I just say that last night I combined my two most-thought-about topics of yesterday, weddings and olympics, into one dream. Yes, the Wedlympics. Details are hazy, but I’m assuming it involved races to see who could make the most beauteous centerpieces in the least amount of time, and the like.

I think I just came up with a new reality show.

Also, dude, McDonalds. Do you really expect me to believe that Olympians come cruising by your restaurants after competing for the gold, eager to wolf down a hyper-processed sludge patty with a side of chemicals? On second thought, I guess I can see how those by-products could really help them ramp up their performance. Not to mention they wouldn’t mind hooking up with some of those youthful, trim, attractive people that populate your commercials. Oh yeahhhh.

ANYWAY. Moving on to the actual topic of this post, which is: My life as a Ukrainian mime.

No? Fine. Don’t be surprised when it gets turned into a Lifetime movie special. Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney will play me.*

OK, OK. You really don’t want to hear about that? I’ll talk about the wedding party instead. Our wedding party.**


When the beau and I got engaged, I knew immediately who I wanted my brigadiers to be. I’m lucky enough to be close to three stupendous ladies, and I can’t imagine getting married without them by my side.

The beau hasn’t had it nearly as easy. There was a time, a few years ago, when he wouldn’t have hesitated to call on four of his good buddies from college. No doubt in his mind. But after graduation his pals all slowly scattered to points north and south in search of jobs and in hot pursuit of their own relationships. They still love each other and all, but he’s just plain not as tight with these guys anymore — so he’s waffled on making a final decision because he’s not sure it feels right. Cue the sad violin music, right?

We were talking about this the other night, and he was voicing particular concern with having to select a best man from this potential group of four. “Do you have to have a best man?” I asked.

“Well, if I don’t have a best man, who will give a speech?” he wondered.

“Do we have to have people give speeches?” I asked.

You see where this is going. Over the course of this conversation, we proceeded to deconstruct the basic roles of our wedding party and and came to the conclusion that, well, they really don’t have any roles to speak of. At least not in the traditional sense.

Sidebar: Unsurprisingly, The Knot has a glossary of wedding attendants and their respective roles, and I am genuinely flummoxed by the depth and specificity of these duties. Pay for the bachelor party. Escort elderly women. Dance with dateless women. Address invitations. Make favors. Plan the shower. Toast. Dance. Usher. Decorate the getaway car. Adjust the train. Hold the bouquet. Hold the rings. Enforce guest book signing. Dole out money to vendors. The maid/matron of honor even gets the special honor of “… help[ing] the bride get dressed, taking care to frequently remind her that she looks beautiful.”***

Look, I am not actually trying, for once, to mock The Knotness.**** I know these are just examples, and that everyone’s wedding needs are different. But it got me thinking. We’re not walking down an aisle, so we don’t need our peeps to perform the typical paired processional. We don’t even necessarily need them to stand up with us during the ceremony, mostly because the fountain we’re getting married next to is kind of small. And hearing some toasts would be cool, but instead of assigning the task to certain people, we’re leaning towards just having an open mic session during which anybody to come up and talk. I won’t have a train that needs to be adjusted. We won’t have a getaway car. My girls don’t have the money to pay for my shower or bach party. And two of ’em don’t even particularly like to dance.

In fact, outside of holding the rings during the ceremony, and helping us remember where we stashed those envelopes of cash to pay the vendors, I can’t really come up with anything our wedding party really needs to do. These are people I care about, and I don’t want to dump a buttload of expectations and tasks on them. I want them to have fun. And be happy.

This, of course, led us to ask ourselves: If we don’t really need a wedding party, then why have a designated wedding party? Why not just let them be regular guests? What’s the point?

Well, we considered that one for about half a second. The point is, they’re our people. Our chosen family. Even if we may have drifted slightly from some. We still wouldn’t be who we are without them. We want to have them around us all through the day, and we want to recognize and celebrate how much they mean to us. That’s why we want a wedding party. We just… don’t… know… what to do with them.

I feel like I’m tripping balls. I realize this entire thing should be a non-issue. I know we can just do what we want, right? But I’m having a hard time justifying the extravagance of a wedding party when the lack of clearly defined roles precludes the need for one. But we still want it. And I know we can just do what we feel like. But there’s no good reason to have one. It’s a giant circuitous merry-go-round of fuzzy logic. In my brain. Kind of like the Olympic rings, but less colorful.

Are you choosing a wedding party? If so, what are you doing with them?


* You are SO JELLUS right now.

** I would talk about yours, but I haven’t met them. I hear they are nice people, though. Upstanding citizens. Outside of that one incident at the Krispy Kreme, of course.

*** You hear me, girls??? Feel free to use other adjectives  like stunning, gorgeous, breathtaking, and so on.

**** Although just between you and me, if I wanted to, I would point to The Knot’s definition of a Page, which is “Young boys (or girls) aged six through nine who carry the bride’s extra-long wedding gown train (think of Lady Di’s wedding) as she walks down the aisle. Also known as ‘train bearers.'” Bwah? This actually happens outside of royal weddings and fairy tales? I had NO IDEA.

picture this

You guys. This morning I had a dream about the best wedding idea ever.

The sad part here is that I am now apparently dreaming about weddings. As if I have nothing better to do in my sleep.

Anyway. So I know that putting Polaroid cameras on the guests’ tables has been SO DONE before, but I’m still kind of enamored of the concept. The beau and I are also big fans of the wedding photobooth — yeah, another super original idea — but not at $1,000 a pop. Using Polaroid cameras would at least be a relatively inexpensive way to amuse our guests, while getting some fabulous shots we wouldn’t normally have gotten.

That’s what I dreamt about — making a book of Polaroid pictures from our wedding. In my head, I came up with this fantastic method for arranging the pictures on each page. I was gonna take a large sheet of nice paper, carefully cut Polaroid-sized holes in it, paste up some descriptive text next to each hole, carefully lay the paper on the bed of my scanner, put the Polaroids face-down on top of the window holes, then scan everything at a high resolution. And then do this again for the next page. And the next. Then, we were going to print all these pages out and cobble them into books that we would then mail to each of our guests.


I dreamt I was doing this. My dream self was. So. Excited. But my dream self apparently failed to realized that 1) It is 2010 and holy crap, words and pictures can be laid out digitally on computers, not to mention that 2) There is no way in hell could we possibly afford to make and mail 120 books to 120 people.

The more my now-awake, slightly-more-rational self thinks about it, the more I wonder if we should even bother with Polaroids at the wedding. To start with, isn’t it kind of rude to provide Polaroid cameras to guests and then expect them to hand over the pictures for us to keep? I mean, who am I to be the picture nazi? What would that even entail? Would we need to post little signs at each table directing the guests to deliver their Polaroids to a special basket on the main table, or something? Yikes.

Assuming that we could even collect the Polaroids in a way that wasn’t totally impolite, what can we really do with them once we have them? I’ve heard of people making picture books of their weddings and gifting them to their families and wedding party, but my family’s going to be way more interested in seeing the “professional” pictures versus some Polaroids snapped by our drunken friends. So that leaves us with a pile of photos that only we will enjoy. We could make a book, yes. One book for one couple to peruse, in the privacy of our own home. But don’t printers have a minimum quantity for things like this? God knows I’m not about to try to print and bind a book myself.

Eh. I’m willing to just let it go. Put the cameras out on the tables, let guests tuck the pictures in their pockets and purses to be found later; a hidden surprise. Know that I’ll probably never see the boozy, fuzzy, blurry, trigger-happy outcome. That’s the closest they’ll get to favors, anyway, since I’m pretty sure the beau and I are going to be too lazy to worry about favors.

Are you providing your guests with any form of “entertainment?”

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.


I was wondering whether my maternal grandparents would be able to make it to the hitchin’. They’re not so old (mid 70s) but they’ve definitely slowed down in the past few years. My grandfather is Not So Much into driving these days, for example, especially at night. And they never ever fly, because despite (or perhaps due to) the fact that my grandfather spent most of the Korean war in an airplane, he developed a case of claustrophobia and he can’t abide being in confined spaces from which he can’t easily escape.

But it turns out they’re already planning to make a cross-country drive from Michigan to attend their annual Air Force reunion in California next year. And guess when that’s going to be held? Oh yeah. In September 2010. Looks like that worked out perfectly.