Archive for the ‘Other Weddings’ Category

A parental wedding

The house we are renting belongs to Mike’s dad. He recently remarried and moved in with his wife, leaving this place vacant at exactly the same time we needed a place to rent. Well, it didn’t work out quite that perfectly, but good enough.

We think his wife, Penny, is great, and we’re very glad to have her in our family. The wedding was a very nice affair — just family and some close friends. And they found a way to involve all of us. I got to pin on all the boutonnieres.

And Mike was a best man, along with his brother. Mike held the rings and Brian signed the marriage license.

Penny is quite a bit shorter than Steve, so they totally stole our idea with the step stool.

Sorry guys, but I still think ours is cuter.

Here’s the happy couple cutting their cake:

And here’s another happy couple from the wedding:

All in all, a happy occasion.

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So, my Dad is getting married. This is what is happening in my life right now.

Back story. My Mom and Dad split up about 6 years ago. I was living in California, and from what I can gather it was a good decision. There was no animosity. Since then, my Mom has been living in a condo, and my Dad has moved from a rental to a house. It was a little weird to get used to my parents being apart, but I’m handling it. Christmases are even smaller now, but whatever.

And now, this.

Dad went on a dating website, and after some fits and starts, met a woman named Penny. They got serious…fast. Shan and I met her at Thanksgiving, and shortly after that spent a Christmas celebration with her and my Dad at my Aunt’s house. Then the long winter set in. My Dad and Penny went on a vacation together. As far as I know, this is the first vacation he has been on with a woman other than my Mom in at least 30 years. When Shan and I went to his house for Easter, she was wearing a ring. I noticed this within 23 seconds of walking in the door. Several excruciating minutes (hours?) later, he announced what I (and Shannon, I later found out) had already pieced together. And so, my Dad is to be wed.

I’m very happy for my Dad. If he has a chance to be happy late in life (later, anyway), then good for him. And I love Penny. She’s a down-to-earth, genuinely nice person. She’s cool, and I’m glad she and my Dad are happy. However, this is weird. If your parent has never married someone other than your other parent, you wouldn’t understand. I’m also a little freaked out by the fact that my Dad will become a grandparent when he gets married. It’s selfish, but I wanted him to become a grandparent when WE had kids (or my little brother, I guess). I actually got to watch him interact with Penny’s grand kids the other day, and it was unsettling.

One upside in this is that he and Penny are buying a house together. Since my Dad bought his house not-too-long-ago, and got a tax credit, he can’t sell. That means we get to rent a house without going through the nightmare search that goes along with that. Also, I get to be a best man! That’s not really that big of a deal, and it’ll be fairly duty-free, but still…fun!

So, that’s the big news in my life. And. So. Weird. But hey…at least the blog is about weddings again for a post.

Editor’s Note: Mike gives me too much credit. I (Shannon) had NO idea anything was going on until his dad announced their engagement at dinner. I didn’t see the ring, I didn’t suspect anything, and I was completely surprised. I guess I’m not very observant…

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Two of my sisters had their weddings last year. My sister and I each got married this year. Four sisters in less than 12 months. And when all was said and done, my stepmom very aptly observed, “All four weddings were different, but each of you had the perfect wedding for you.” She’s right.

August 22, 2009 – Andrea’s was on the beach and included three flowers girls and a fifteen-person wedding party. She wore a flowing white dress and carried no bouquet; he wore linen pants and a pressed white shirt. They were both barefoot and walked down the aisle (or sandy path) together. The reception was on the deck of a lake house with food catered by a family friend.

September 26, 2009 – Kelli’s was in the groom’s mother’s backyard and did not include any wedding party. She wore a short black and zebra-print dress with zebra-print flats and no bouquet; he wore a red shirt, grey pants and black shoes. The couple walked down their aisle (or driveway) together. The reception was in the backyard with hamburgers, hot dogs and food made by the couple’s family.

June 12, 2010 – My wedding was in early summer in my dad’s large and lush backyard with 40 guests. We had no wedding party and we talked down the aisle separately (and left together). I wore a vintage green and ivory dress with no bouquet, and Mike wore long pants, a dress shirt and casual jacket. The reception was in the same backyard with 60 guests and food made by friends and family.

July 17, 2010 – Emily’s was a summer wedding in her mother-in-law’s backyard with less than fifty guests and no wedding party. My dad walked her down the aisle (and was forced to wear a tie!). She wore a gorgeous, modern, white dress and carried a colorful bouquet. He wore a grey suit and boutteniere. The reception was much larger and included extended family and friends, in a rented hall.

All different. All perfect!

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We all know that wedding dresses are expensive, and brides usually spend a lot of money on a dress they wear once and then put in a closet for all eternity. Some brides sell or donate their dresses, which I think is brilliant, but most, I believe, stash them away for all time.

So when my friend Robin offered to let my sister Emily wear her dress, I was floored. She saw the dresses Emily loved on our recent bridal shop outing, and suggested that maybe she’d like to borrow hers, which was very similar. It’s kind of a perfect arrangement because Robin is excited to see someone get some more use out of her dress, Emily gets a gorgeous dress for free (though she will be paying to have it altered and dry cleaned), and Robin can still keep the dress for all eternity after Em’s wedding.

(Robin’s words were something like: “I know I’ll never wear it again, so I don’t care if she alters it, but I might want it back, for sentimental reasons.” No problem!)

I’m so grateful to Robin, and Emily is near speechless about her generosity. And I’m so happy that Em has a dress she feels beautiful in. She told me that it has taken so much stress off her shoulders now that the dress issue is solved.

So thank you, Robin. You’re a role model for all brides!

Here’s Robin looking stunning in the dress:

And here’s Em trying it on:

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So i realized the other day that Shannon is posting at a rate of 7 posts to each one that I post. Blogs are a lot of work, and she makes it look so easy. I’m definitely not a daily post kind of guy, but I’m going to try to catch up a little bit. I don’t want to disappoint Shannon. So, here goes.

First of all, we sat down and reviewed our wedding planning itinerary the other night. We’re ahead of schedule, and that seems amazing. It doesn’t feel like we’ve done much of anything, but we’re coming along. Our reception menu is almost completely planned in regards to what we’re eating, who’s making it, and who’s paying for it. We started talking about gift registration, wedding shower plans, and decided on music. We placed due dates on all our tasks, and right now we’re up to the first of the year. So, go us.

Another thought on marriage equality. I’m taking a business law class right now, and last week we talked about employee rights. The Civil Rights Act set up a lot of equality legislation. It protects people against discrimination in employment based on race, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, and a bunch of other categories I’m not able to think of on the spot. But it doesn’t protect against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. I realize that this legislation was passed in the late 60’s, but we’ve had lots of legislative updates since then. But not to protect LGBT individuals. What’s taking so long US government?

More specifically dealing with marriage equality, recently a study was completed to determine the economic effects of not being able to marry. I read in Rolling Stone that not being allowed to marry costs a gay couple almost half a million dollars over the course of their lives. Talk about abridging the right of citizens to the pursuit of happiness. The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law also recently did a study on the financial effects of gay marriage legislation. According to this study of Maine’s recent legislation, if gays were allowed to marry without restriction, Maine would see $3.6 Million over 3 years in tax revenues from food, lodging, marriage licenses, and other wedding-related activities. Not to mention the economic impact of weddings. People spend a lot of money on weddings, gay or straight. Come on government.

Now, I realize that economics shouldn’t be the reason for legislative changes to guarantee marriage rights, but it shouldn’t be ignored. Especially the consideration that not being married costs money. Half a million dollars is a lot of money over the course of your life. That’s like buying a really nice house. Or a pretty good house and being able to take a vacation every couple years. So, really, get with it government.

Next up for us, Thanksgiving with Shannon’s Grandparents. Her Grandmother is the queen of Thanksgiving in her family, so she’s doing most of her recipes. I’m making rolls though. It’ll be my first foray into baking for other people, but I’m excited about it. It’s making me feel like part of the family, and that’s a pretty good feeling (I know…aww).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this will be our first major holiday together, and it’s got me thinking about family traditions. What are some of your favorites?

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I was scanning the radio this morning and stumbled upon a local morning show that I don’t normally listen to. I was intrigued by the few seconds the scanner caught because it was a woman explaining why she didn’t change her last name when she married. This is one of my very favorite topics, so I listened. In the next segment a man called and asked the hosts to help him with an intervention. I got the idea that these interventions are meant to be fun or funny, but this one very quickly went very wrong.

The man, Ryan, said he is getting married in three weeks, but something has been bothering him for awhile. His fiance doesn’t want to change her last name. She told him a long time ago, but he was never sure how to bring up his problem with the idea, so it was never discussed. Hence the intervention. So they get Stacy, the fiancé, on the phone and break the news to her: Ryan feels very strongly that you take his last name.

She stayed very calm and explained that she felt very strongly about keeping her name. She said the kids could have his name, but she liked her identify—for professional and personal reasons—and was going to keep it. He kept repeating that he wanted them to “be a family,” as if having different lasts names renders you not so. Ryan said he’d be ok with Stacy hyphenating her name, but his last name must be incorporated somehow. Stacy didn’t want to do that, and never once did either of them suggest that he hyphenate as well or that he take her name in order to “be a family.”

Neither was budging, and while Stacy remained calm (though a little shocked and teary at her fiancé’s proclamation), Ryan started to get really upset, even hinting that he may not be able to move forward with her if she didn’t agree to change her name. At this point the radio hosts were befuddled and I think they were leaning toward ending the call and letting these two deal with the issue in a more private forum.

But suddenly Ryan said, “You have to make a choice Stacy. I feel strongly about this, and if you can’t change your mind, I have to call it off. Who cares about all the money we spent. It’s either me or your name.”

And then he hung up.

And everyone else was shocked and confused. They quickly took Stacy off the air after asking her if she was ok (she just cried and said she couldn’t believe this was happening). And they went to break shortly after.

Wow right? I mean, change your name or I won’t marry you? Holy shit. Even if she gave in and agreed to that, how could he accept it? She’d be marrying him under an ultimatum. She’d probably always regret her decision on some level, and maybe even come to resent him in some way. She’ll have made the choice not willingly, but out of desperation and resignation. Maybe eventually she’d get used to it and accept her decision, but it will always have been made under these circumstances. Is it worth that? I surely hope not.

Full disclosure: I plan to keep my last name. And I’ve always been very open and passionate about it, even writing about it several times on my personal blog.

I’ll write more about that decision and our plan as a couple later, but for now, what do you think of the above scenario? Should Stacy give in? Was Ryan crazy for posing the ultimatum? Should they even get married at this point? How might they work this out?

Also, what did you do or what do you plan to do if you marry?

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My friend Robin got married this weekend (10/3/2009). Mike and I were Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, so this was not a show up and relax wedding for us, but I was thrilled that she asked us to participate in this way.

The weather didn’t cooperate, as Mike suggested, and the couple decided at the last minute to forgo the park venue and have the ceremony at their indoor reception location. Regardless, it was beautiful and intimate and perfect.

Friday before the wedding, Robin, her sister and I got pedicures, and that evening we had rehearsal and a big dinner with all the out-of-town guests (almost everyone!).

The bride and groom spent their last night as an unmarried couple apart, so I stayed in Robin’s room with her. And Saturday morning we had breakfast and ran wedding errands together. Mike and I took care of many of our M&M of Ceremonies duties, and just when we were getting the park set up for the ceremony, Robin and Jason made the call to move inside. A blessing in disguise I think because the view from the reception room was gorgeous.

As was the bride…

(A peaceful moment before the ceremony.)

(Robin & Jason’s first dance.)

Robin did all the graphic design work herself, from save-the-dates to invitations to programs and name cards, etc. She also did a great job (with some help from Jason I’m sure) planning all the little details.

(Caramel apple favors and Robin’s bouquet.)

I was so happy to be part of this wedding. Robin and Jason are wonderful together, and they deserve all the happiness the other brings them. But don’t worry, the toast I gave was not nearly this sappy. Congratulations Robin and Jason!

PS – Bonus: here’s me rocking out to “It Must Have Been Love.”

Venue: Bryant Park (original ceremony location) and Park Place Hotel, Traverse City, MI
Bride’s Dress:
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: American Living at JC Penney
Bride’s Necklace: antique
Bride’s Earrings: borrowed from sister
Groom and groomsmen’s tuxes:
Food: Appetizers and plated dinner with several options
Favors: Caramel apples from…
Cake: Cupcakes from…
Flowers: friend of bride
Photographer: Andy Wakeman Photography (these are not his photos)

(Robin, help me fill in the details!)

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Shan and I just got back from our friends’ wedding in Traverse City. I have always liked outdoor weddings. Churchs (and other indoor venues) are just so stuffy, loud, uncomfortable, etc. If you’re doing a Spring, Summer, or early Fall wedding, you might as well do it outdoors. Soak up the sun, surround your special day with the sounds of nature, and commune with the natural world while you join in marriage. Of course we live in Michigan.

Our Friends planned a beautiful outdoor wedding on a bit of grass overlooking Lake Michigan. We were next to a playground, there were treasure hunters down the beach with a metal detector, the waves were lapping lazily onto the shore, and, oh yeah, it was raining. The weather couldn’t have been more miserable. The happy couple were understandably disappointed, but to their credit they remained calm, decided to move the ceremony to their reception hall, and had a very nice ceremony at the top of their hotel, surrounded by a panoramic view of Lake Michigan and downtown Traverse City. But what a drag to put all that planning into an outdoor wedding only to be foiled by October in Michigan. It could just have easily been 75 degrees and sunny yesterday. Instead it was 45 degrees and raining. Outdoor Michigan weddings are just a risk. And it became obvious to me yesterday that you need a backup plan.

This summer has been refered to in this blog as the summer of the wedding. Yesterday was our 5th wedding, and Shannon went to a sixth without me earlier in the summer. Out of the 5, 4 were outdoors. One was cool and drizzly on Lake Michigan, one was cool and downright raining in a park, one was overcast but thankfully dry in the groom’s mother’s backyard, and one was cold and raining in Traverse City. Not a good string of weather for weddings. Michigan weather is not predictable. All these weddings were beautiful in their own ways, despite the weather, but they were not the events they were intended to be or envisioned to be. That’s Michigan for you.

So, as Shannon and I plan our outdoor June wedding, we’re discussing a backup plan in case of weather. Our options are to rent a massive tent, likely blowing our budget, or cramming our 40-ish wedding guests into a living room and doing the ceremony in front of the fireplace. And, either way, we have to make the decision without letting it ruin our wedding day. We’ve seen weather that could potentially ruin a wedding averted by positive attitudes and last-minute decisions, so at least we know now that it’s possible.

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There are four sisters in my family (actually five, but one is only 8 years old, so I can’t really include her in this post). As of Saturday, two of us are recently married (Andrea in August, Kelli in September) and two of us are engaged to be married next year. Within 12 months, all four of us will have gotten married. And all four of us have very different rings and engagement stories:

Clockwise, from top left:

Kelli’s ring: Kelli proposed to Kevin one day over dinner. Rumor has it she had salad all over her face when she asked the big question. She gave Kevin a ring, and then Kevin quickly got a ring cleaned and sized to give to Kel. It’s an antique family ring, Kevin’s grandmother’s. White gold with a diamond and lots of intricate metal detailing. She is not wearing an additional wedding band.

Emily’s ring: For a long time, Emily wanted a pearl engagement ring, and wasn’t shy about telling Drew as much. But he had other ideas in mind. This is an antique family ring, Drew’s great-grandmother’s. It’s gold with a solitary diamond in a unique starburst-esque setting. He surprised her one day by telling her he was having it cleaned, and a few days later he proposed. I’m not sure if Em is getting a band.

Andrea’s ring: Andrea and Blake never officially got engaged. They think it’s lame. They just started planning a wedding, and eventually Ann started wearing a simple silver-colored band. At the wedding she received the second, smaller, band and now wears both.

Shannon’s ring: You know the story. Mike and I mutually and simultaneously decided to get married, and shortly thereafter both bought rings. Mine is white gold with a cushion cut green amethyst, set with tiny diamonds. I plan to get a wedding band, but I doubt I’ll wear both rings together. On fancy-feeling days I’ll wear the amethyst, on casual days I’ll wear the band. And on days when my fingers are sick of rings (as often happens), I’ll probably wear neither.

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My baby sister got married on Saturday (9/26/2009). They threw their wedding together in about two weeks, so it was small and casual. They invited only parents, siblings and really close friends. The ceremony was short (and sweet), and the reception was just an informal hang-out, basically.

Venue: Groom’s mother’s house
Dress: Charlotte Russe
Bride’s Shoes: Target
Bride’s Necklace: JC Penney
Bride’s Earrings: Kohl’s
Food: Burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, fruit salad, cheesy potatoes, finger foods
Cake: Rice Krispie Treats and ice cream cake
Photographer(s): Family and friends in attendance
Officiant: Sister of the bride

Congratulations Kiki and Kev!

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