We’ve been blogged!

After so many months of planning, stressing, and crafting a wedding, it flies by in a matter of hours. So it’s satisfying when after the fact, prominent wedding sites and bloggers feature your special day!

I’m thrilled that Offbeat Bride, Vancity Bride, AND A Bicycle Built for Two have featured our wedding!!

Check it out: offbeatbride.com/vancouver-fairytale-wedding



It’s such a pleasure and sweet validation that we did something worth sharing with the world wide web!

Newlywed musings
Two and a half months have passed; the thank you cards have all been sent, the photo slideshow emailed to all our guests, the photo books created and delivered to our parents and grandparents, and our personal wedding scrapbook is almost finished. As the “honeymoon phase” lingers, memories of our wedding day still bring smiles to our faces and warm feelings to our hearts.

Sure, I went through a post-wedding slump like most brides- sad about the things that “went wrong” or didn’t meet my expectations, and the photo ops that were missed- but I thankfully got over it, quickly! I want to only remember the good stuff: the giddy anticipation of our first look, the magic of our ceremony, seeing my beautiful wedding party all dressed up, feeling the love from all our family and friends, and ripping up the dance floor!

Now, with no wedding to plan (and no wedding debt to stress over- thank goodness!) we can simply enjoy being married. I didn’t know if I was going to feel any different after, but I do. It took a few weeks to sink in, but my sense of our commitment is stronger, our love is deeper, and I feel more secure than ever before that this relationship and our beautiful, passionate love for each other isn’t going away, ever. It’s a wonderful thing.

So, three cheers to romantic love and modern marriage, and making it last!


Getting ready to wed

I’m still a little stunned that it’s over. 8 months of planning for five beautiful, magical hours. Our wedding was everything I dreamed of and more!

The day started off early. I woke up at 6am (this never happens) and ping! I was awake. I was glad, actually, since it gave me a few hours to shower and relax so by the time 10am came and my Mom and step-Dad came to pick me up for our salon appointment, I was calm and ready.

My up-do took over an hour to complete, but it was worth it. It was comfortable to wear and I felt positively regal.

Then, my make up. I really didn’t have to say much and he did an amazing job. I’m SO glad I had trials with both of them beforehand. Not only to discuss what “look” I wanted, but because we were just more comfortable with each other. I can highly recommend Clover Salon, Vancouver’s only “green” salon.

It was so much fun going to the salon with my Mom. We never did/do things like this- she’s a very ‘au naturel’ kind of lady. But I had convinced her that she should get her hair and make up done, and she looked fantastic! She knew it too- she couldn’t stop beaming.

My brother (and my Best Man) and his wife (also a Bridesmaid) joined us a bit later, since I had encouraged her to get her hair done too. I thought that such long locks would look fabulous in waterfall braids… and I was right!

After we were all dolled up, we grabbed lunch, picked up our floral order (bouts and corsages) and headed over to the hotel that my family was staying at to get ready. My other two bridesmaids met us there and the excitement kept building. They finished their hair and make up while I completed the ribbon wrap on my hand tied bouquet.

I took the opportunity to give my Mom her gift: a monogrammed “Mom” handkerchief.

Then she gave me my gift from my wife-to-be… this is me trying not to cry as I read her sentimental card.

Finally it was time for my dress!

We sure had fun getting me into it…

I wanted to do a “first look” with my Dad, to catch his reaction of seeing his little girl in a wedding gown for the first time. Then I gave him his gift, a photo pin from my high school graduation day for his bout.

Finally, it was time to head to the gardens for our formal portraits. My friend hadn’t cleaned out her car, and I laughed as I got in with all the garbage and clutter. “Sorry!” she apologized, “I didn’t know I was transporting the princess today!”

The Right to Marry WHO and HOW we want to

This blog was featured on Offbeat Bride!

We didn’t start out wanting a big wedding. My partner proposed to me on a gorgeous summer morning in June. That afternoon we went for a hike, walking together on a blissful cloud of love, and naturally began discussing how we envisioned our wedding.

She revealed that she had always wanted a beach wedding. I wanted to incorporate elements of my pagan spirituality in the ceremony. We both agreed it had to be in the summer. Since we don’t have a lot of money, we thought a simple party in one of Vancouver’s lovely beach parks would be perfect. We’d invite 30 or so people, immediate family and our closest friends, and have a potluck picnic. Simple, inexpensive, no frills.

Then a funny thing happened. We announced our engagement by emailing everyone a photo slideshow I had created, and a lot of people got really excited. And we got more excited along with them. When we first sat and wrote down all the names of the people we wanted to be there, we had over 100! If we stayed with our original “intimate wedding” plan, that meant NOT inviting a lot of people that we loved, and who loved us.

We got to thinking- this is a major life event, and should be celebrated properly! We are undervaluing our wedding and treating it like a kid’s birthday party in a park! This isn’t good enough for family to fly across the country for! We are completely committed to building a life together ’til death do us part, so we might as well kick that off with a helluva party. We realized we wanted a real wedding.

What’s a real wedding?

Every couple has their own answer to that question, but it’s a very potent (and political) one for same-sex couples. We are lucky enough to live in Canada where it has been legal since 2004, and I am so thankful for that. We are also lucky enough to have supportive and loving families, so planning a more formal wedding wasn’t our way of making our relationship more “legitimate” in their eyes- but I know that IS the case for some. They want the whole grand affair to prove to their parents, friends, themselves, and society at large that this is a real wedding.

Same-sex weddings are still new enough that a lot of people wonder how different they will be compared to a straight wedding. I suspect that some straight people automatically think that all queers are alternative, counter-culture types and in their minds gay wedding = rainbow musical theatre circus. Or something to that effect. I guess they just don’t know how many conservative, mild-mannered queers there are out there, who plan black tie formals and get married in churches.

Interestingly, I see that more and more straight couples are throwing out the wedding rule book and getting married in a myriad of offbeat, eccentric and entirely unique ways, whereas it seems like many same-sex couples are adhering to traditional customs. Go figure.

Some people expect gay weddings to be different, for a variety of personal reasons and pop culture assumptions. Straight or queer aside, we hear more about the challenges couples face with their non-traditional wedding plans, but how about the challenges/criticisms/judgements we face when we choose to include tradition? I have personally experienced this- close family and friends expressing their disappointment in our more conventional ideas in not so tactful ways. My Mother hoped we would elope. Others have openly displayed their surprise that we were having a bridal party (?!). I was hurt- do they think my wedding is less cool now that they know there will be flower girls and a father-daughter dance? And I was confused- WHY should a same-sex wedding be so different from a straight wedding?

I didn’t set out to make my wedding gay, but by having two women at the altar we are put in that category by default. I feel that I am planning pretty much the same kind of wedding I would have wanted whether I was marrying a man, or a woman (personal note: I did at one point in my late 20’s get very close to marrying a man). This celebration will reflect who we are as individuals, not as gay people.

The heart of this party is the joining together of two people in love, and their two families becoming one. Truly, this is what has sustained us when we had our doubts about it all- we want our parents, siblings, extended family and our circle of friends to meet each other and share in this one special day together.

I know that it will be the first same-sex wedding for most of our guests- myself included! I hope that afterwards, even if they hadn’t thought much about it before, our guests will go home and muse on the fact that ours was just like any other wedding. And I hope that this realization will have a ripple effect that eventually encompasses the entire world, as more people will accept that our love is like any other love and can be celebrated in any way we choose.

Gunning for gifts at B3

Starting up our gift registry was WAY more fun than I anticipated. We weren’t even sure at first if we wanted to do one, since we are hoping for more cash gifts, but since many people like to give actual physical gifts and we certainly could use more household items, we went with Bed Bath and Beyond. I know, real original.

When we arrived, we were directed to the Bridal Registry desk in the back of the store. It was very traditional, the walls lined with China patterns and heart frames of happy couples. It was all very… bridal. All very… straight. But that’s okay, and my fiancee and I didn’t experience any weirdness from the staff. Sam, the friendly registry employee who set us up, quickly got us ready to start scanning our potential gifts.

Here I am, pulling a Charlie’s Angels move with the scan gun.

We quickly realized how easily it would be to get carried away. Look at that high-end cookware! Oh, I’ve always wanted a slow cooker! And we really should add some towels, they are so practical (and these plush ones are so pretty!).

In the end I think we acted in a mature, restrained manner while still allowing ourselves to dream a little (I really have wanted a slow cooker for years, not to mention a complete wicker picnic basket with service for four). I finessed our list online the following day, and if we even get a quarter of the items from our registry gifted to us, we will be stoked (pardon my West Coast snowboarder lingo ;))

I love the growing trend of the honeymoon registry, it sounds like so much fun. Since we are planning a local weekend getaway it did not make sense for us, but in an alternate universe we’d be jet-setting to the Mediterranean. I hear of other couple who ask their guests to make donations to a charity they choose, in lieu of gifts, and others still that go with a theme- for example, asking for Christmas tree ornaments or bottles of wine to start a collection.

It is refreshing that now in the 21st century we are less bound by the rigid rules of wedding registries being solely for household items at the same, predictable department stores. The irony is not lost on me however, that this is one area where we stuck with tradition! Oh well, this will the first lesbian wedding for most of our guests (heck, it’s my first too!) so maybe getting us a kitchen gadget will make it feel more normal.

For brides-to-be, have you registered, and if yes, where? If your wedding has already happened, what was the most generous, or surprising gift you received?

Keeping romance alive

What I hear over and over again from newlywed brides is that try as they might, the months leading up to the wedding were some of the most stressful in their lives; putting strain on their relationships and not letting them ‘enjoy the ride’ to the altar, so to speak. Many of those woman, wiser now, advise us fledglings to not sweat the small stuff, give the wedding obsession a break now and again, don’t freak out on family and friends and damage those relationships, and remember to make quality time for you and your fiance to keep the love burning.

Since I know that I have stress-ball tendencies, I wanted to take all that advice to heart and ensure that we remained as happy and blissfully in love along the nuptial road as we were the day we got engaged. (sigh) Easier said than done.

For a little insight into our lives, we are both university students going to school full-time and working part-time. As you can imagine, this 6-day-a-week schedule is pretty hectic, and on its own could cause duress on an individual and a couple. Add in all the extra hours that go into planning your own wedding plus the unexpected things that life throws your way, and I was getting fairly uptight.

Last week, on an ordinary Tuesday morning, I was surprised by a delivery of flowers at the office where I’m interning. To my delight, my fiance had sent it, just because, with a little note saying “From the one who loves you most, I’m so proud of you!”

She said it was a multi-functional gift: to celebrate a recent accomplishment in my performing career, to congratulate me on landing the internship I wanted for my next semester, and in sympathy for my Grandfather recently passing away. “And also just to remind you how much I love you.”

I was so moved by her gesture, as I often am by her generosity and kindness. Not to brag, but my girl really raises the bar when it comes to romance and considerate actions every day. In the three and a half years that we have been together, I have been her willing pupil as she has trained me in how to express love and care in a very tangible, and consistent, way.

For instance, last winter I was working a receptionist job that I hated. Not a morning person at the best of times, I was such a grouch being forced to get up at 6 am to go to that horrible place. Every day she would bring me tea, wake me with kisses, and have my lunch made for me. And every day, there was a little love note inside to brighten my mood. Really, who does that?! 🙂

“In April we’ll be finished school and start working and everything will be different” has become a sort of mantra in our household, repeated to bring comfort that positive change is on its way. Sadly, it’s too easy to get caught up in all your to-dos and deadlines and busy schedule that we forget to take a moment to acknowledge our loved ones and let them know how much they mean to us.

I haven’t got a love note in my lunch for a while, mainly because I’ve been making my own. But yesterday morning I woke up to this on the kitchen counter:

It’s little things like this that keep the romance alive. No matter how obsessed or stressed I get with planning our wedding, I know she will be there to bring me back to reality and remember why we are doing this in the first place: if you like it, then you better put a ring on it. LOL! So true, Beyonce! And hey, have you noticed how her name rhymes with fiance? Hmmmm…

How are you and your hubby-to-be staying sane through the planning process? Share your cute, lovey-dovey stories!