Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Final Countdown: Thursday, or DIY Flowers

On Thursday morning, I awoke early after dealing with our stupid escort/place cards, utterly exhausted and still with the damn Worst Headache I Have Ever Had in My Life.  It was time for our biggest and scariest DIY task:  the flowers.

Early in the morning, we drove down to Watsonville (near Monterey) to pick up our flowers from Country Essences Flowers.  When I saw what she had prepared for us, my first thought was, "Seriously?"  The reason we had picked this vendor was that she had her own ranch and grew her own flowers.  The reason I was willing to drive an hour two days before our wedding to get them is that I thought they would be fresh.  And yet the roses were already browning.  And I'm not just talking about a few; they all looked like they were dying already.  The other flowers were OK, but they were still not as expected.  The orchids were MASSIVE compared to most, honestly bigger than I wanted for our cake, and the solidago which was supposed to be little yellow flowers was in fact little green buds.  It was supposed to open up.  It never did.  Overall, I was disappointed with Country Essences and wish I had gone with someone else.

But it was too late to do anything about it, so we loaded up the flowers, reminded the florist that she owed us boutonnieres, waited while she made them, and headed back to San Jose.

Photos by My Dad

Originally, we had told the wedding party they all needed to help us with flowers on Thursday.  Most of them said they couldn't come.  Actually, most of them didn't say anything, and I had to pry their "no"s from them with my bare hands (aka massive amounts of emailing).  However, it worked out for the best because both of our families showed up to help, and thanks to them, we were done with most of the prep work in about an hour.  We would have been done with the centerpieces soon after if our flower expert, Julia, had not insisted on doing the arranging herself.

Thursday wast the first day that I could take a step back and let other people be in charge of the main activity.  Julia, bless her, did the vast majority of the work on the flowers, leaving me time to go over plans for the next two days with Nicole and the other key wedding helpers.  I feel bad about how much Julia did alone though we did all offer to help a lot more than she would allow.  Though she works for a florist, she had never done a wedding before, and she was really stressed out.  I tried to assure her that it was all great, but I still felt really bad about how much she stressed herself out.

Julia Making the Centerpieces

Teaching My Brother to Arrange Flowers (Was Hilarious)

 Nicoles Planning the Wedding Day
Photos by My Mom

The centerpieces didn't take too long, but then it was time for the bouquets.  We did mine first.  It was a pain in the ass.  Because our roses sucked, we had a tough time making it look big enough.  We had to strip the outer petals, leaving the roses small and hard to work with.  Julia spent ages trying to get them into the right position.  Finally, we worked out something suitable and then added in some leaves and solidago.  Then it was time for the fun part.

For months, I had been looking for the right blue flowers to stick in my bouquet, and I always came back to the same ones.  You see, there are these little blue flowers that grow beside the freeway on my way home, and they were perfect.  I had no idea what they were called, so I couldn't order them, but I decided to just go collect some myself.

And so it was that my dad and I found ourselves on the side of the freeway collecting flowers for my bouquet.

The first time, we underestimated how many we would need, so we had to go back for more which made the whole thing even funnier.

Photos by My Mom

It was quite the adventure.  Fortunately, we did not get run over or fall off the road though I did get a bunch of stickers in my fingers.  Woops.

We weren't sure how long these flowers would last, but they actually held up better than the store-bought ones.  I guess they have to be tough to survive next to all those cars.

Once my bouquet was done, all we had left were the bridesmaid's bouquets which were also a pain in the ass, but we got it done.  I really cannot thank Julia enough for all the help she gave us, especially since she did it for free and doesn't even know us that well being my brother's girlfriend.  She did an amazing job, and we have told her many time since that we are forever in her debt.

Everyone who helped us out that day means so much to us.  It was a shit job, and we could not have done it without their help.  Friends and family, we love you.  Thank you for saving us from a flowerless wedding!

Photo by My Mom

Was there anything in your wedding that you could not have done without your friends and family?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Break from Wedding Posts

We're going to take a quick break from weddings to talk about the Occupy movement.  If you'd rather stick with wedding stuff, you'll want to skip this post.

I won't bore you with my non-committal opinion of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but since the protesting hit Berkeley, I have been feeling a little nostalgic.  When I was at Cal (aka University of California, Berkeley), I was fascinated by its history of protests.  One of the first papers I wrote there was on the Free Speech Movement (FSM), and I always wanted to take part in a protest like that while I was at school.

But I was saddened to learn that that part of Cal's history had really fallen by the wayside.  I went to a few protests while I was there, but none of them had that feeling of solidarity and historical significance that came with the FSM.  And there were very few protests held for things I felt strongly about.  I'm sure there were still far more protests at Cal than at most schools, but I just wasn't getting the vibe I imagined should come with them.

Not that this is all bad.  I'm glad we didn't have the civil rights and Vietnam War issues that fueled most of the protests at Cal in the sixties and seventies.  But there were still things worth protesting (the Iraq War being the big one for me).

Of course, as soon as I left, a group of students took over Wheeler Hall in protest of the 60+% tuition increases that were scheduled for that year.  I watched from Chicago, wishing it had happened a few months earlier (but still happier that I avoided the crazy fee hikes).

And now the Occupy movement has come to Cal, and there have been major protests for the last few weeks over even more tuition hikes (80%, yikes!), and while I am very glad that I am done with my degree and don't have to worry about the financial implications of this shit, I do almost wish that I was there and could take part in these protests that finally matter, to me and to the country (or at least the major news networks).

At the same time, I am glad I avoided this:

And I'm glad that I wasn't in Haas when someone decided to start waving a gun around on Tuesday (though apparently that was not related to the protests).

Still, I think I would enjoy the atmosphere, watching people fight for what they believe in.  That to me is the real spirit of democracy in this country, and it is quite a sight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


And now, a pause from our regularly scheduled recapping to bring you this awesomeness:

Harry Potter Engagement

BEST ENGAGEMENT EVER!  Daniel, time to step up.

Major thanks to Dana for pointing this out to me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Final Countdown: Wednesday, or Meanwhile...

While everyone else was working on our table name signs, I was working on ridding myself of the Worst Headache I Have Ever Had in My Life.  By Wednesday, I was getting really worried that my headache was not going away.  I had never had a headache that lasted more than 24 hours before, and entering the fourth day was pretty scary.  Something was wrong.  This couldn't just be from stress.

And so it was that I went to the doctor, and we figured out (with some help from Daniel's aunt who is also a doctor) that I had a menstrual headache.  Let me explain.  Ever since I had surgery to treat endometriosis, my period has been a little complicated.  The doctor wanted me to have as few periods as possible, so instead of having my period every month, I take birth control back to back so that I should have my period every three months.

But it doesn't really work out that way.  Thus far, it's been more like every one-and-a-half to two months before my body revolts and has a period anyway.  It's been pretty unreliable, but based on the length between periods I'd had thus far, it looked like I was going to start right around our wedding day and go through the first part of the honeymoon.

Obviously, I was not very happy about this, so I decided to do something about it.  I would just force my period to come the week before the wedding instead.  It had been so irregular that I figured this wouldn't be much of a problem.  What's a week out of two months when it's been jumping around anyway?

Yeah, I really didn't think there were going to be side effects, but apparently that's what caused my headache.  Both doctors were appalled that I would do something like this (which I still think is kind of weird.  Who wants to have their period on their wedding day?  Or honeymoon?), but even with the splitting headache that lasted for a week, I still don't regret it.  My period was so not something I wanted to deal with on my wedding day.

Anyway, I left the doctor with two choices:  one was an intense prescription that would get rid of the headache while trashing the rest of my body for days, the other was Excedrin Migraine.  You can probably guess which one I went for.  The Excedrin knocked out the headache, and while it continued to come back for the next few days, taking that was much better than facing the vomiting and fatigue that the other medication promised.

By Saturday, my headache was pretty much gone.  I took an Excedrin before the wedding just in case, but I didn't have any problems the day of.  Thank God!  I was pretty scared in the days before though.

Did you have any unexpected personal problems right before the wedding?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Final Countdown: Wednesday, or the Day of Table Names

It was on Wednesday that everyone started arriving.  Becca was already spending the day with us, but my mom and our officiant trickled in on Wednesday as well.  Upon arrival, we immediately sent them to work.

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what to do for our table names.  We knew we wanted to use the names of all of the streets we'd lived on together, so naturally we wanted to make them look like street signs.  But how to do it?

I searched and searched for something that would work.  In my head, I saw one of those photo holder things with a cardstock sign atop it.

This kind of photo holder but bigger and more street-signy.

Alas, I could not find anything that would work.  About a week-and-a-half before the wedding, I told Daniel I was out of ideas, and as usual, he immediately figured out a plan.

Thus, we made street signs out of actual wood.

And when I say "we," I mean Daniel, Becca, and my mom.

Actually, come to think of it, this is where my missing Sunday afternoon went.  Yay!  I'm not losing my mind!

First, Daniel bought some wooden planks and doweling, cut them to size, and drilled a hole to stick the doweling into the wood.

The Drilled Hole
Personal Photo

Sawing the Wooden Pieces to Size
Personal Photo

That worked fine, but there was still the matter of the sign itself.  Originally, we thought we would just cut slits in the doweling and stick in strong card stock for the sign.

Slit in the Doweling
Personal Photo

Possibility #1
Personal Photo

But the cardstock really wasn't strong enough to hold itself up.  Solution?  We would make the slit a bit bigger and find very thin sheets of wood to use instead, making actual wooden signs.

This meant that instead of printing out the street names, they would have to be painted.  And so it was that I spent a Sunday afternoon picking out the right shades of white and blue for the signs, and that Becca and my mom spent a large portion of Wednesday carefully painting in stenciled letters.

It took hours, and even still, the look is more homespun than professional, but I really, really like the way they turned out.  What can I say?  My husband should be a professional idea giver (or saver in my case).

The Day's Labor
Photo by My Mom

Sign in Action
Photo by Laura

We really owe Becca and my mom for doing the lettering all by themselves.  We never could have found time for it, and it looked so much better the way they did it than it would have if we had had to throw it together quickly.  Thanks!

Did you do anything last minute that turned out great?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Final Countdown: Sunday through Tuesday

The week before the wedding is largely a blur to me.  I'm pretty sure I was out of my mind for most of it (as I'm sure our helpers can affirm).  Nonetheless, I am going to try to recap it as best I can, counting down to that most coveted of series:  the actual recaps!

Sunday:  I truly do not remember what happened the Sunday before the wedding.  I'm pretty sure I was at work most of the day, but I'm also pretty sure something important happened and that I had the afternoon off.  But try as I might, I cannot get this day clear in my head.  This may be because the one thing I do remember about Sunday is that it was the first day of the Worst Headache I Have Ever Had in My Life.  On Sunday, it was but a little thing, a headache I assumed was caused by stress and lack of sleep that would go away by Monday.  It didn't.  And as the week progressed, I became increasingly concerned that the pounding would ruin the wedding day.  It was strange because headaches are one of the few common ailments I've never had a problem with, but by the end of the week, I was downing migraine medicine like candy.  But at this point, it was just a nuisance, another thing to deal with the week before the wedding.

Monday:  My recollection of Monday is slightly clearer.  I worked in the morning then headed over to Staples to have our escort/place cards printed, was momentarily seized with fear that they would not be done in time, and left with a later pick-up date than I was comfortable with and a gnawing terror that something would go horribly wrong as it in fact did.

But it was Monday night that our savior arrived.  We owe groomslady Becca more than anyone else who helped us with the wedding, except possibly our officiant, Nicole.  Becca was there for us the whole week before the wedding, having headed down to San Jose early to spend some time with her family and boyfriend (when in fact we stole her for the vast majority of her visit), and I truly do not think we would have gotten through it all without her.

As I feverishly wrote out thank you notes for the people who were planning to or already had helped us greatly with the wedding preparations, Becca made reserved signs for our ceremony, directions and maps from the ceremony to the reception, and helped us with a few other signs that were needed at the reception.  You think signs are a small thing until you have no time to make them, and I am so glad that someone else could save me from this simple task.

Becca also helped us start (yes, start) on our music playlist and contributed a fair amount of material to it.  I think listening to her music was the first time I relaxed since coming back from Catalina.  Even though it only lasted about 15 minutes, I was grateful to be working on a wedding task that was actually fun for the first time in too long.  Then, it was off to bed in the hopes of ridding myself of Day Two of the Worst Headache I Have Ever Had in My Life.

Tuesday:  By Tuesday morning, my headache had gotten so bad that I couldn't lower my head without having to sit down for a minute.  And when your job is teaching gymnastics, this can be quite limiting.  I stopped demonstrating for the kids, stopped chasing them around, pretty much stopped moving unless I had to.  Thankfully, my last day at work ending at 1pm, and I was free to devote all of my time to the wedding (and to keeping my head as still as possible).  Most of what I remember about Tuesday is going through every type of painkiller in the house, trying to find something that would quiet the pounding in my head and finally giving up and making a doctor's appointment for the next day.

I think I confirmed all of our vendors and appointments this day too.  There was a momentary scare when our make-up people messed up our appointment time, but we got it sorted out (or so I thought).  I debated whether or not to steam my dress (because I soooo did not trust Elegant Lace Bridal by this point), decided it wasn't necessary, and got the flower girl's dress steamed instead.  And most importantly, I printed out our ceremony and stuck it into a book for the officiant, readers, and us to use during the wedding.

Becca came back over and continued to save our asses by performing whatever small tasks were needed.

It was on Wednesday that things truly began to get crazy.

Do you remember the week before your wedding, or is it blurry to you too?  What tasks did you leave to the last minute or forget about?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Hey there, Mrs. F--! How's married life?"

Even now, almost three months after the wedding, everyone I see asks me the same question:  "What's it like to be married?"  "How does it feel being married?"  "How's married life?"

And even now, I have only one answer:  "I wouldn't know."

Strange as it may seem, it still hasn't hit me yet.  I know we're married and that we've been married for a decent amount of time now, but I still don't think of myself as a wife or of Daniel as a husband.  In fact, whenever I refer to Daniel, my thought process still goes something like this:  "my...(boyfriend, no, fiance, no) husband..."

And anyone who calls me "Mrs. Hislastnameeventhoughitisminenowtoo" has a decent chance of being punched...or at least glared at.

I just don't think of us as a married couple, even among other married couples.

I'm not exactly sure why this is so hard for me to process.  I think my age is one factor; I still sort of think I'm too young to be married, and that makes it hard to think of myself as married.  But I think the main thing is that nothing has changed.  Really, nothing in our relationship is different.  I thought changing my name might help jolt my brain into realizing we're married, but I guess I don't talk about myself in the third person enough for it to process.

Anyway, I think it's interesting.  I do wonder if my fear that being married would change things (not a big fear, but still something I thought about) has put me in denial.  But I think really, it just doesn't matter that much.  "Married" like "husband" or "wife" is a just a title.  It doesn't mean anything.

Much as I hate how often people quote Shakespeare's "What's in a name" monologue (Names are important.  Deal with it), it does seem to apply here.  Calling our relationship a marriage doesn't actually change it.

Thoughts?  Did it take you a while to think of yourself as "married"?  Do you still not really think of yourselves that way?  Did being married change your relationship?

Classy Wedding by the Sea